Tea, small word, huge entity. Its beginnings mythical, its historical significance epic and its current incarnations, unending. A lot to fit in a week. But because my Mom reared me on the Orange Pekoe, I am going to have to narrow down my obsession to black tea. I know, I know, it is not as chic as green tea. It is not as in fashion as the white varieties popping up on shelves. But the black leaf is best known in the Western Hemisphere because of its popularity and historical predominance – beginning with the simple cuppa and evolving into a full on meal. Why? Because it’s the bomb.
Yes, I understand that the green, the white and the herbal varieties are currently considered healthier. And that much of the world prefers the lighter brews. But what I love about black tea is not just its strength of flavor, but its ability to easily wed and showcase other flavors while maintaining its true essence. And let us not forget that it is black tea that holds up to milk. One particular habit of mine that my Mom has never been very keen on. She would shake her head and say, in regards to my need for adding cream, “it’s the Irish in you,” referring to that bit of my ancestry that was out of her control.
So this week, while I am waxing philosophic and posting my ideas on flavors, pairings and variations, it will be the black leaf variety that is center stage.