The Seasons of Tea

Spring into tea with this Flowering Tiffany Rose Melody Green Tea (ETS image)
Spring into tea with this Flowering Tiffany Rose Melody Green Tea (ETS image)

The last time I checked, many parts of the world experience four fairly distinct seasons. People seem to think that we don’t have seasons here in the blistering deserts of south Arizona but that’s not quite true. They just break down roughly as follows – warm, hot, hotter and hottest.

But regardless of where you live you’re going to experience some type of seasons and each one of those seasons means something when it comes to tea. Since spring is approaching as I write this I’ll start there.

Spring is an important and eagerly awaited time for many serious tea fans, especially those who are keen on the fine green teas that hail from Japan. The first teas of the year there are harvested in spring and are some of the most eagerly awaited of the year. In Japanese, the term for these teas is shincha, which more or less translates to “new tea.”

It’s not too hard to figure out what tea is best for those balmy days of summer. That would be iced tea and even though we don’t drink all that much tea overall, here in the United States, the majority of what we do drink is of the iced type. Iced tea has been covered extensively at this site. Go here to review the many articles on the topic.

In my part of the world fall is pretty much like other people’s summer and is therefore still a good time for iced tea. Your mileage may vary. In some tea growing regions, such as Darjeeling, the fall or autumn flush is the fourth and last harvest of the year, following the second flush in late spring to early summer and the monsoon flush in late summer.

Winter, of course, is the time for hot tea (at least for most tea drinkers). If I were drinking hot tea in the winter time I’d probably turn the more robust flavors of black tea. Anyone who has the taste for such bold teas as the more processed oolongs and puerh might also want to go that route. Not that there’s anything wrong with drinking a lighter tea during winter – such as green – if that’s what you like.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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