Reading: The Tea Book

I’ve lost some time lately to little things like, oh, introducing a second cat to my first cat, plus discovering that NYPL library cards are available to anyone who lives in NY state.  So many ebooks of fun, fluffy, escapist reading!  So convenient to download while preventing growling cats from killing each other!

But I’ve also been following through on some of the things I said I needed to learn about, when last I wrote.  Specifically, I have now read The Tea Book: All Things Tea.  Scholarly?  Heavens, no.  Unbiased?  Again no–this was written by some people who own a tea company.  So I can’t really blame them for the pages that discuss things like which of that tea brand’s teas are best for whatever mood, etc.

It did, however, serve me well in giving me a very brief history of tea drinking, some recipes, and explanation of the differences between green tea, black tea, and white tea.

In short–most of the difference is in how the tea leaves are processed after they’re picked.  There *are* some exceptions to that, like how white tea seems generally accepted to involve younger tea leaves / buds, and matcha tea involves shading the tea bushes for a couple weeks before the harvest.  Also you drink the entire leaf with matcha, instead of filtering it out, which makes sense of the fact that when I tried matcha this week it tasted like, well, leaves.  (It does taste nice in a milkshake with coconut ice cream, though, FYI.)

Anyway the difference between green tea and black tea is that black tea is allowed to oxidize (more) before they heat it to stop that process.

Plus everyone makes a big deal out of where the tea was grown, including considerations like elevation.  That part really sounded a lot like reading about wine.

And… now I know.  I’m also intrigued by some of the recipes in The Tea Book; I hadn’t previously considered cooking with tea.  That now seems like a grave oversight.  Culinary adventures, here I come!

Things I need to learn about

What have I learned this week?  Well, my friends, here we go:

  1. A reminder that I hate being sick.  Hate.  Hate, hate, hate.  Thing to look up later: What *is* the maximum volume that normal human sinuses can hold?
    1. In my initial, less-than-five-minutes attempt to find this out, I have discovered that there is such a thing as the American Rhinologic Society.  Add that to my list of things that shouldn’t be surprising but somehow are.
  2. I have learned that I need to learn more about tea.  I consumed vast quantities of tea this week–white tea, Darjeeling, lapsang souchong, oolong, green tea with jasmine, and my more normal orange pekoe.  I know that lapsang souchong has a whole thing about being smoked… and isn’t oolong fermented, maybe?  But all in all I have no idea what makes these teas different from one another.  There are a couple books in the collection at work that I expect to be reading by this time next week.
  3. Snowshoeing is fun.  It’s probably not best undertaken on one’s first day of (relative) health after being flattened for a week, but I couldn’t resist my first chance to try out that Christmas present.  Somehow I had expected to “float” more on top of the snow than you actually seem to, but I have confirmed with multiple sources that I was mistaken in that belief.
  4. I have begun to read The Weaver’s Idea Book.  I had no idea so many things were possible on my rigid heddle loom!  Stay tuned for lots of weaving posts.
  5. I have also begun to read Needlework.  Lots of broad strokes in this one; it’s your basic historical overview.  Plenty of good pictures, though.
    1. I’m learning that when it comes to western embroidery, I generally prefer the aesthetic of pre-1700s work.  That’s always good to know, I suppose.
    2. Also stumpwork (aka “raised embroidery”) is a thing–embroidery in 3d.  I need to find some kind of directions/tutorial for a stumpwork project that isn’t hideously ugly.  Who doesn’t need to up their embroidery game to involve three dimensions??
      1. AND, someone wrote this book, which I need to ILL asap: Stumpwork, goldwork and surface embroidery : beetle collection

So I guess this week has been more of a week for “Oooh, I need to learn about that,” than anything else.