I’m teaching a four week Tea Discovery Seminar for Labyrinth Home School Co-op in Sammamish this April. We actually started our first class on March 31. We are exploring tea through a historical perspective, starting with tea’s Chinese origins and so our first teas to taste and understand are green teas and pu’erh teas. There are seven participants in this first class: two adults and four children. It’s always so rewarding to have adults take my classes with their children because I Know they both will love what they learn and get excited about exploring tea together.
The discussion part of the Seminar focuses on what is true tea and what is herbal infusion. From there we move on to how white, green, oolong, black and pu’erh teas are made from one plant species: Camellia sinensis and then the Chinese use of tea for the past 5,000 years. I keep the classes low-tech with laminated pictures I took on my China trips. During the discussion we begin our tasting.
For the green tea, we tasted Tian mu qing ding, better known as Clouds & Mist. This is a traditional green tea that is grown at higher altitudes and has a more delicate flavor profile; it also has a hint of smokiness from the wood fires used in production.
Our pu’erh teas included both raw, aged pu’erh—a five year old cake from Mengsong Mt. in Xishuangbanna, and cooked pu’erh—a five year old loose leaf tea. It’s important that participants learn the difference between raw, aged and cooked pu’erhs because they are very different and the prices can vary a lot.
We are skipping spring break week so my next class with them is April 14 and we will focus on black tea: how it is made from the Camellia sinensis leaves and the “when and why” of black tea production (the ruined tea). I’ll keep you posted….