I first connected with Subhorup Dasgupta via his blog, Subho’s Jejune Diet. The fact that he lived in my home town, Hyderabad, was another connect. When Subho organized a blogger’s meeting with a difference, I knew he was someone I wanted to meet with.
I was glad to finally meet him earlier this year at the Mindfulness workshop he organized. Although I was aware of Subho’s love for tea, I saw how passionate he was about it when he gave us a session at the workshop. I have been
pestering requesting Subho for a guest post for a while now, and I’m so happy he obliged.
Subho, is one of a dying breed – a genuinely nice guy! I’m impressed with the courage with which his wife, Madhavi Padma and he, dare to live an alternate lifestyle, following their passions and beliefs.
I’m so glad to have him share his love for tea with you, dear readers. Also, if you’re in Hyderabad/Secunderabad, do make time to attend Subho’s workshop on Tea Appreciation (details at the bottom of this post).
Walk into any fancy tea shop and you will find a wide array of teas, classified typically into white, green and black teas. The same, with a few variations, applies to e-stores that home deliver premium tea. More than 90% of the world’s tea production being used to make black tea. What makes black tea such a hot favorite, pipping its allegedly more salubrious cousin, green tea to become the most widely consumed type of tea? The secret lies in what tea does to you – stimulating and relaxing you as you need at that point in time. Black tea is significantly more stimulating than green tea, and several times more stimulating than white tea.
Like most things in life, the beauty of this unique aspect of tea lies rooted in pain; death pangs, to be more specific. From the leaf on the tea plant to the dry leaf in your kitchen, tea undergoes extensive processing. The leaves are crushed, cut, bruised, and rolled. Sometimes they are pressed to allow all the oils to blend uniformly. Sometimes they are left for some time in the dark to ferment and oxidize. Sometimes it is dried very, very rapidly. This unnatural process of dying causes the cells in the tea leaves to behave in a peculiar way. The more you crush, bruise, roll, throw up in the air, the more they release the chemicals that make tea what it is. And as tea goes from white to green to black, it begins to behave more and more like coffee, a drink that is several, several times more stimulating than tea.
Coffee picks you up as soon as you drink it, and the more you drink it, the more your body goes into the hyper-prepared, hyper-efficient mode that we all associate with caffeine and sugar. The first differentiator between tea drinkers and coffee drinkers lies in the amount of caffeine and sugar consumed per cup of beverage. The second is the fact that you do not need to keep drinking tea (unless that is the only choice you have left to get water into your system!!). The tea “high” is a more gradual one, like a therapist speaking to a client, reaching out and feeling for what needs to happen most urgently and importantly right now. Tea also “picks you up” but in a slow, gentle manner and lets you off the ride almost without your knowing it. These, dare we say “off label” black tea benefits are often lost to the clamor of marketing and hype and the overall need for speed.
The Darjeeling region yields several of the best black teas each season with delicate taste, aroma and variants of the muscatel flavor, a mild, fruity, grape like complexity that sometimes baffles even the most experienced of palates. Sadly, fine tea is time and skill intensive to produce, making it prohibitively costly for many. The reason why almost all the black tea varieties Blend Of Tea recommends are from Darjeeling is because it is the only place in the world where the British were able to “go sinensis,” and that too with a geographical gusto that made the champagne of tea the champagne of tea. We have been drinking and studying (sounds like fun, doesn’t it?) for decades, and we are yet to find something that comes close to the beauty of Chinese cultivars grown in North Bengal, gifted in a manner of speaking by the trading ingenuity of the British.
Enough of that for now. Time to get the tea infuser out. You go look at what Blend Of Tea recommends from this season.
This workshop introduces participants to the basics of tea appreciation.
What will be covered:
Black, green and white tea
How to make tea
Water, temperature, steep time, leaf size and amount
Taste, Aroma, Color, Body, and other boring things.
Tea and Mindfulness
Date: Saturday, 25th July, 2015
Time: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Venue: Our Sacred Space, Secunderabad
Facilitator: Subhorup Dasgupta
Call 88855-72873/9030613344 for registration and group booking