Friday, September 27, 2013

Tea Consumption Patterns

This magical hot beverage is just not only a breakfast item. The consumption is based much on our lifestyle and eating habits. While drinking tea in the morning and afternoon is a regular affair some people consume it during odd hours. 

In many countries the brew is offered to visiting businessmen anytime the meeting takes place. Similarly it is offered to house guests any time of the day. Tea is also instrumental in cementing relationship. This could be between friends and relatives, lovers and acquaintances and during important meetings.      

Tea is consumed most during wedding ceremonies, business meets, seminars, product launches, sporting events and what not.  

The consumption usually depends upon the availability of the hot brew. In India chai or spiced tea is available in all urban and rural surroundings hence ordering hot tea is a matter of minutes. The widespread availability of ready chai increases consumption many times.This is thanks to chai wallahs all over the country. 

In countries where tea is available only in selected places the consumption declines. This happens in most Western Countries where coffee is more popular. In these countries the brew is not a part of social or ritualistic occasions. Hence the consumption is strongly motivated by personal like. The usage is growing in these countries due to easy availability in malls, market places and online. The product availability online means one can buy any type of  leaf from world over. The health benefits are another reason for increased usage in non tea drinking Nations.      

Ritualistic consumption of the hot brew is more popular in the Oriental Realm. In Western Countries like UK English Tea Rooms or Tea Parties invite consumption. While traditional ceremonies in China and Japan make green leaf very popular. Certain premium leaves like Darjeeling from India are very popular ceremonial accompaniments in the tea parties.     

India is among the major tea producer in the World. The unique leaf known as Darjeeling Tea is grown in the Indian state of West Bengal. Some black leaves from Assam also fall into the premium category.   

The blending has become an art form with availabilities of many varieties. Hence major companies employ master tea taster to create the finest blends.  

About Iced tea

This tea was consumed in many Southern States of North America before it was accidentally introduced by Richard Blechynden during a fair.

Iced tea is now a worldwide phenomenon it is consumed in many countries including India. In India premix iced tea is available in powder form in cartons. One can also avail  iced tea from a vending machine.

This form of tea is available in many flavors and competes with the cola beverages. The consumption of  iced tea extract is increasing in hot countries like India rapidly.  With changing lifestyles the cool beverage is giving tough competition to colas in countries where tea is popular.

Tea Recipe: Steeping

The vast and varied World of Tea has its own characteristic brewing style. While the chai wallahs in India boil the brew over and over the tea brewing elsewhere could be a subtle affair. What type of leaves people prefer also differs? In some cultures green leaf is part of lifestyle while others may prefer the strong astringent flavor of the black leaf.   

One way of making the hot beverage is steeping. In this case the water is brought to boil and then transferred to the pot.  The leaves are then immersed in a loose form. They are kept in the hot water for few minutes before the brew is poured through the stainer for drinking. Similar immersion could be carried out after the water has cooled down. This way the lead does not get cooked and the flavor obtained differs.  Ice tea could also be prepared in this manner.

During this process the flavors and nutrients dissolve in the water. The method usually delivers a subtle flavor and the green leaf is most popularly used. The temperature varies and depends upon which tea leaf is used. Oolong, White, Green or Black tea. The steeping time also makes a difference in taste. If the leaves are kept for a longer time tannins are released in the water making the brew taste bitter.