Have you ever been a part of a tea-tasting party? It is such a great experience and fun. Give wine-tasting parties a break and next time, throw a tea-tasting or a tea-pairing party for a change!
On October 8, Café Zoe at Lower Parel, Mumbai, was abuzz with food-bloggers, photographers and media, when the eminent Tea Sommelier and Founder of Radhika Fine Teas and Whatnots, Radhika Batra, brewed a variety of teas and explained about them. She was joined by the renowned Nutritionist and Columnist Naini Setalvad, who explained how adding a good-quality sweetener to your cup of tea, instead of sugar, makes the difference to your overall health.
Sipping a relaxing cup of tea is like a therapy to the body and the soul, and for those who are both sugar-lovers and health-conscious, the US FDA-approved zero-calorie sweetener called Splenda is just the perfect sweet touch you need for your favourite beverage. A great cup of tea with the perfect sweetener: this marriage is blissful! This is just what you need to kickstart your day or to soothe you instantly after a tiring day at work. Don’t you agree?
So much has been talked about tea these days and there is so much awareness already about its health benefits. There are several different teas available in the market, as are several blends of the same tea. Radhika showed us different kinds of dry tea leaves and as she brewed each tea, she helped us to compare them in terms of colour, aroma and flavour.
Radhika opened each jar of tea and closed her eyes to smell it first and then lovingly made different teas for us. As the first kind of tea was poured to us in old-fashioned, charming glasses, a smile of appreciation came to my lips even before I started sipping the first glass of tea! There was something nostalgic about those simple glasses: those transformed me to my college days when tea was always served in similar glasses in the cafetaria. Naini advised us to add Splenda as the sweetener. I read everywhere that artificial sweeteners often have a bitter aftertaste, but when I added Splenda to my tea, it really gave me a nice, sweet taste. I loved Splenda instantly!
The snacks and desserts offered were all delicious. The food was paired well with the teas offered to us.
The audience enjoyed the afternoon of tea tasting, especially in the chic and cozy ambience of Café Zoe. There was so much to learn about tea! Who knew, for instance, that rose tea is perfect to start the ceremony, especially for non-tea people. Or, the black tea pairs well with any food. According to Radhika, every tea resonates feelings and each tea leaf has a purpose. Some act as mood-lifters, some as aphrodisiacs and the others as relaxants. She used evocative words to describe each tea. For example, she described the Oolong tea as smoky and rusty. She introduced us to the lovely blue tea from Thailand, called butterfly pea tea, which is not quite tasty, but has many health benefits such as anti-greying and anti-ageing. It is often used in cocktails and mocktails instead of Blue Curacao.
Splenda is available at reputed Chemists at Worli, South Mumbai and Thane. Soon it will be available more readily.
The quantity of dry leaves and water, the warmth of the water and the steeping time are all important to make that perfect cup of tea. Every variant, right from the white tea to the oolong variety to the black tea is healthy, if brewed right. Only the black tea should be taken to the gas stove. For the others, adding warm water and steeping the tea for sometime is preferred. There is, however, no recipe for the perfect cup of tea. When the tea tastes bitter, you should add water. If the tea looks and tastes bland, add more tea leaves. The audience tasted many different kinds of teas, including, the oolong, rose, roselle, sage, butterfly pea, longan and the artisan tea. Artisan tea is a very interesting tea, as the tea is hand-sewn into rosettes, which open up beautifully while steeping.
Having sucralose as the main ingredient in Splenda, this product is a great addition to your busy lifestyle. It is a zero-calorie sweetener and has no after-taste. As it is 600 times sweeter than sugar, only a little quantity is needed to make something sweet. It is not digested in the body and passes through excretion. It aids in weight loss, diabetes and dental health. Splenda claims that it has no known side-effect. It is safe for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Avoid for kids and for cooking/baking, however. Right now, it can be used only in beverages.