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Tea Tutorials From Tea Experts

Niamh Spence discovers her essential daily brew is just the start…

Published on August 22nd 2014.


Tea Tutorials From Tea Experts
 

PROMOTION

THERE’S not much a cup of tea can’t solve. For many it’s an essential part of their morning routine, and we can’t function without a good cuppa. We’re a nation of tea drinkers, yet our knowledge of one of our favourite imports is surprisingly small.

With a wide menu available, and also some tiny batches of rare artisan teas, this is more than just your average cuppa

Sure I’m a fan of a milky brew (two sugars thank you) as much as everyone else, and I have been known to have the odd fruit tea or green tea, but my knowledge of tea stops where the Twinnings boxes finish on the shelves of Tesco. I nod along when told of detoxing effects of various teas and blindly try and swallow the murky bitter waters in the hope that all of this is good for me. I’ve never even questioned it.

Proper Tea, at Manchester Cathedral from those behind the long-running Teacup in the Northern Quarter, invited me down to drink tea and learn about the science and history behind brewing that perfect cup. If anything, I’d at least be able to ask why my green tea always tastes so bitter.

Sitting on a warm day and drinking hot drinks might not have sounded pleasant to some but the café is airy and light and I soon forget that I’m not outside in the sunshine.

Kalpa Gosrani, the resident tea expert at Proper Tea, invited the Confidential team to discuss our various experiences with tea. None of us turned out to be tea connoisseurs, and most of us never went further than the standard supermarket green teabag.

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Even worse, some of us stuck with ordinary teabags and heaped our mugs with milk and sugar. “Adding sugar to tea is a western tradition, because it used to show how wealthy you were to be able to have sugar on your table,” she explained. So my sugary brew is not such a standard cup of tea, but in fact a flashy show of wealth.

Still there is hope for us all as Gosrani assures us that even the most die-hard breakfast tea fan can be weaned off milk and sugar. Her father did it by slowly reducing his sugar and milk until he could drink tea au naturel, she tells us.

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Gosrani was determined to show us the world of loose leaf teas and their rich history. With a wide menu available, and also some tiny batches of rare artisan teas, this is more than just your average cuppa. Her table was laid with various teas from red teas to Wu-Long to rare white Darjeeling and batches so rare Gosrani wasn’t even sure when they would next be in stock. “We just have to snap it up,” she smiled.

Over the space of an hour we were taught everything from how long tea has been grown, how many times tea can be re-used and also the right temperature for making tea – turns out boiling hot water burns tea, hence my bitter green tea. The tea world is so much more than dunking a teabag into a mug and requires patience…and possibly a multi-temperature kettle if you’re eager to get brewing spot on.

If loose leaf tea seems like an overwhelming world, especially due to the wide variety of options on offer, a workshop like this is a great way to understand the colour, taste and beauty of tea. Consider it a starting point, a foundation course, in tea.

A good cup of tea can alert the mind and keep us focused, as well as detoxing the body and giving health benefits. Maybe hold off the milk and sugar though.

Book your tea workshop and find out more on our Proper Tea pages.

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