St. Patrick’s Day is here again. Don some green apparel to symbolize the “Emerald Isle” called Ireland. Break out the green goodies like cupcakes covered with green icing and sugar cookies in the shape of shamrocks and adorned with green crystal sugar coloring. Then, steep up some green tea for a special St. Patrick’s Day tea time.
Uh… green tea? You mean tea colored green with food coloring?
Nope. Green tea as in unoxidized tea.
Green tea is not so popular in Ireland, where the Irish seem to prefer brands of black tea blends such as Bewley’s, Lyon’s, and Barry’s. These brands steep up a dark, rich-tasting liquid that takes milk and sugar well. This could be the reason that Ireland is one of the top countries in terms of tea drinking per capita, with an average consumption of four cups per person per day. A cup or two of this tea in the morning and another cup or two in the evening staves off the often chilly and rainy Irish weather.
Actually, it seems kind of odd for residents of the Land of Green to prefer black tea. Maybe they just haven’t had the right green tea such as a frothy matcha or a smoky gunpowder. Maybe it’s their obsession with putting milk and sugar in the tea (not sure if that came about due to the tea being bitter or if they wanted the tea strong and bitter so they could put milk in it — sort of a “chicken first or egg first” kind of question). Or, worse yet, maybe they don’t know how to properly prepare green tea.
Yes, there are people who don’t know how to properly prepare green tea.
And, yes, I know I split an infinitive — twice!
Time to get my Irish kinfolk to go green — tea, that is. With a wealth of tea choices and a ton of info out there on proper steeping techniques, they should be experts in no time!
Basic green tea preparation:
- Heat water to about 160° F (70° C) — some steeping guides say to boil the water and then let it cool to these temperatures.
- Warm the teapot by pouring in a little of the hot water into it, swishing for about 20 seconds, and then pouring out the water.
- Add tea leaves (be sure not to skimp) to the warmed teapot.
- Some tea vendors say to rinse the tea leaves by pouring a little hot water on them, let them steep about 10 seconds, and then pouring the liquid out.
- Add the hot water to the teapot.
- Steep for 1-3 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.
Gee, that was simple… well, sort of.
Of course, if you’re Irish and you really insist on adding milk and sugar to your cuppa tea, you might not want to make the switch to green tea. Most don’t taste too good that way, since their flavors are smothered.
Time to get back to those cupcakes with green icing!
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