As one year ends and we reflect on all that we’ve accomplished, at the same time we start planning for the year ahead. And the first thing on that plan is trying a new tea. With so many from which to choose, this might be the hardest part of your year. Which, of course, means that the rest of the year is a piece of cake (pu-erh cake, that is)!
You have two basic approaches here:
1. Try a whole new tea type
Most tea drinkers in the U.S. go for black tea. In fact, it’s usually the kind referred to as “orange pekoe,” a system of grading tea quality based on the look of the leaves. The majority of this “orange pekoe” comes in teabags made of a hemp-like substance and often with a string and tag attached so the steeper can dunk the bag up and down in the hot water and thus speed up infusion. Yet, a growing trend among tea drinkers is for other types of black teas, from Yunnan Gold to Keemun to Assam, Ceylon, and African. Even the Japanese are catering to the popularity of black tea by producing a version. For those of you in this category, think out side the black tea box and go with one of the other types of teas. You can choose from green, white, oolong, and pu-erhs. There is even a relative newcomer: yellow tea. It is still rather rare but quite a relief for those who find green teas too grassy or bitter.
2. Try a new version of a tea you enjoy regularly
Here again you have a vast amount of choices. If you generally drink green teas of a lesser nature such as gunpowder, go for a more high end green tea such as Bi Luo Chun Green Tea or Liu An Gua Pian. For pu-erh drinkers, you could try some raw versions if you tend to enjoy the ripe ones. In fact, try an older version such as 2000 Yong Pin Hao “Yi Wu Zheng Shan” Stone-Pressed Raw tea since this general type of tea can benefit greatly by some aging. Don’t forget the oolongs available on the market. Many focus on those from Taiwan, but there are many from China and now some from Thailand. Explore also a different black tea or a wondrous white tea.
Yes, the New Year can be one of great tea adventures, and you could find a new favorite to make it a great year!