EVERYTHING STOPS FOR TEA
We’ve been learning more about the delights of tea with Wedgwood’s very own tea curator, Bernadine Tay.
From changing taste trends to finding the perfect taste pairings and the perfect teacup, it turns out there’s much more to enjoying the nation’s favourite drink than you might think.
Our growing interest in wellbeing means that tea’s gently uplifting and relaxing properties are enjoying even more of a moment.
Bernadine recommends cold-brewing, where you infuse tea leaves in cold water and leave to steep in the fridge overnight. This creates a delicate, naturally sweet drink that’s a healthier alternative to ready-made soft drinks. Even better, cold-brewed white tea gives the best yield of tea’s immunity-supporting antioxidants, called polyphenols.
Here’s Bernadine’s recipe for a perfect antioxidant-rich morning detox blend. Just remember to make it the night before the morning after.
Place 3g or one tea bag of Wedgwood Rococo Flowers White tea into 500ml of cold (preferably filtered) water, and infuse for 15 hours in the fridge.
Strain and serve in a chilled glass. If you’re feeling particularly elegant, try a champagne flute (Wedgwood’s Vera Wang Duchesse crystal collection is lovely)
TEA PAIRINGS: HEAVENLY MATCHES IN A TEACUP
In the West, we’re used to matching different dishes with different wines, while in China, India and Japan, cuisines and varieties of tea evolved together.
Teas have many different styles and flavours, and Bernadine suggests three approaches: complement, enhance or contrast.
To create you own tea and food pairings, a good first step is to divide your favourite foods into sweet and savoury, then into their flavour characteristics. Then do the same with your teas: are they citrus, fruity, floral, earthy, nutty, meaty or chocolatey?
Taste the food and tea separately first, to really appreciate their individual characteristics. Then try putting them together.
WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT CUPPA?
Bone china please
The weight, sound and feel of fine bone china adds to the sensory pleasure of sipping a beautifully brewed cup of tea. And guess what - drinking tea from a bone china cup really does enhance its taste. This is because 90% of what we perceive as taste, is actually smell. And when tea collides with the tiny microscopic bumps on bone china’s glaze, its aromas are released; bursting open like waves against a rock. A smooth glass teacup just doesn’t have the same effect.
Reading the tea leaves
Understanding the individual characters of different teas, how they differ from each other and how best to brew them is key to finding your perfect cuppa.
Only black tea and herbal blends, such as English Breakfast and mint, should be made with boiling water.
Green, oolong and white teas should be made with slightly cooler water (80°C) and only left to steep for two minutes. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bitter brew.
And just so you know, Bernadine, a self-confessed purist, would never add milk or sugar to green or white tea, as it overwhelms their delicate aroma and flavour.
A TOUR OF THE WEDGWOOD WONDERLUST RANGE
The whole Wonderlust tea collection is inspired by travel, and each of the six unique tea blends has been carefully blended to tell the story of the Wedgwood china patterns that inspired them.
For example, Oriental Jewel captures the sense of walking through a pine forest at the foot of the Himalayas; the blend is a combination of black tea, sandalwood, juniper berries and rose petals.