Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tea : aromas and flavors around the world

“Tea : aromas and flavors around the world” is written by Lydia Gautier published by chronicle books.   This is a big book and is beautifully lavished with photos all related to tea.

 This tea book concentrates on the evolution of tea; its taste through the centuries.  The book delves on the history of tea and its practices and customs associated with tea consumption.  Other chapters include the alchemy of tea; the processing methods of the different tea and a interesting write up on the aromatization of tea.  Later chapters deal with tea tasting, subtle affinities of tea, recipes for cooking with tea and an address book on all the tea merchants and tea rooms of the world.  Cick the pix for  enlarged views.

 I have included 2 excerpts from this book which are very informative:

“The effects of tea on the assimilation of iron – It is often said that tea prevents the successful absorption of iron, and for this reason pregnant women are advised against drinking it.  During digestion certain polyphenols do in fact remain undigested by the organism and form complexes with iron ions (that is to say, they absorb them).  As a result the iron available to pass into the blood during digestion is heavily reduced.  However, once it has passed into the blood there is no further interaction with the polyphenols, which are digested and also pass in to the blood.  It is therefore simply a matter of consuming sources of iron separately from drinking tea or of waiting some time after meals before drinking tea”. 

“Milk – The custom of adding milk to tea appears to have been introduced by the British to reduce the bitterness of certain poor-quality imported teas, and to date from the nineteenth century.  In chemical terms, the proteins in the milk form a complex with certain tannins in tea that are responsible for its pungency and bitterness, thus making the tea seem smoother and sweeter.  When making tea in this way, the milk should be poured into the cup first and the hot tea added; the tea will cool on contact with the milk as it is poured.  If, on the other hand, the milk is added to the hot tea. The proteins in the milk are denatured by the heat and then unable to produced the desired smoothness.”

 My comments on the milk article above is that so far in Asia where I reside and all the places I have visited (Americas and Europe), all the people I know and saw pour their milk to their tea (when the tea is drunk with milk).  Nonetheless, this book is very well researched and the pictures therein are outstanding.   A recommended read.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The iron debate can be settled with the advice that you don't need to worry about tea and iron loss unless you have an iron-related problem like deficiency already. About the milk...which goes in first, tea or milk? That's a long-standing debate for the British and to this day it isn't agreed upon. Some are "Miffy" (milk in first) while some are "Tiffy" (tea in first.) --Teaternity