Today’s post was meant to be on my annual ‘Tour of the North’ but my brand new laptop decided to be weird and no longer let me upload photos so while it is at the repairmen, I’ve provided something I wrote earlier for you instead. Happy New Year people! Welcome to 2014. How were your holidays?
Rather fittingly for the New Year, this post is all about tea. Go on, admit it, you’re still trying to stick to those New Year’s resolutions… we’ll check in next week. Mine is to survive going back to ‘serious day-job’ and not put on two stone in the process of trying to balance this work-life thing.
I feel like I’ve discussed JING Tea an awful lot on here. That’s because I’ve found it in a lot of London afternoon teas, bought Mr Man one of their amazing teapots several years ago, and the company has somehow continued to seep into my life. You won’t be surprised to find that I was beyond delighted when they invited me to a master class back in November, this one with a view as it was at the top of Centre Point.
We were welcomed in with a glass of iced jasmine silver needle white tea, the perfect way to clear the palate/cobwebs from braving the Central Line in rush hour, and also very refreshing. We then sat down in groups of five, a representative of JING at each table. We were lucky enough to have the knowledgeable Felicity as our “tutor” for the evening – there is nothing that this girl doesn’t know about tea. Also at the table were fellow bloggers Rachel from I love London Town and M from In her 30’s. Go follow their blogs – they’re both hilarious and just awesome. Anyway, back to the tea…
Felicity knows her tea. I like to consider myself somewhat of a tea ‘enthusiast’ ever since my year in China a decade ago with several of my travels since being devoted to the drink, but she’s a walking encyclopedia on the subject. She started us on Silver Needle white tea, then Anji Green before moving onto Phoenix Honey Orchid Oolong, each time stopping to ensure we’ve inspected the leaves to show the difference in the teas, smelled the tea before and after and of course, tasted the various infusions. We were each asked to pick our favourites and all had surprisingly different tastes. When we first went in I thought I’d definitely want more of the oolong but I surprised myself in loving the quite light and refreshing Silver Needle.
Here’s what I learned that night:
- JING did a study with a leading university (I didn’t write down who sorry) and concluded that you can’t say white tea has the least caffeine in it and that black tea has the most as they vary and there wasn’t a lot of difference between teas… Interesting.
- JING are quite detailed in sourcing their teas and each tea has a unique history behind it. For example, their Anji green tea was only discovered in the 1980’s and was quickly officially classified by the Chinese government as a “special kind of tea” – I would have to agree with the Chinese government, it is not like any green tea I’ve ever tasted and I loved the creaminess I could taste in it.
- In China green tea is roasted, in Japan it is steamed, producing very different tastes
- JING sell the most exquisite smelling Earl Grey I have ever had the pleasure to stick my nose in
- In Russia they take their green tea with a spot of milk in it
- JING sell the UK’s most expensive black tea and it tastes so very different to any black tea I’ve ever tasted.
Below are some videos of us preparing the Wild Wuyi Gold black tea which currently retails at £90 for 10 grams. Picked from 100 year old tea plants (camellia sinensis) and produced in tiny batches by skilled masters who have generations of experience, it is beautiful.
And that my friends was our class. My head is still full from everything I learned from the night. Thank you Felicity for being so patient with us.
Following the class M and I may have ordered a cocktail, thereby reuniting me with my long-missed friend Gin. We could have stayed for hours admiring the view and I very highly recommend the Paramount’s lavender sky cocktails…
Disclosure: I was a guest of JING Tea and I did receive a goody bag containing an amazing tea infuser mug and tin of silver needle white tea. Both have gone down rather well in LLC HQ but did not influence this post which is entirely my thoughts and poor videos of the evening. Thank you for having me JING!
P.S. Next week’s post is also on tea and cocktails…