/ The DC Traveler
Washington DC — By Jon Rochetti on April 11, 2010 at 9:00 am
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Learn About Tea from a Tea Master

GiraMondo Wine Adventures, the Washington DC area wine aficionados that host dozens of great wine events, is hosting a new series of food and beverage workshop called Tasty Workshops.  The series of tasting classes and experiences will focus on specific foods and drinks other than wine.

Tea cup and flowerThe first of  the 90-minute series is a High Tea Class and Tasting which will include tasting 9 different teas including 2 white, 2 green, 2 oolong and 2 black teas, along with one very rare vintage pu-erh tea.  Attendees will learn about the origins and history of tea, and the many kinds and classifications of teas from Elise Scott, a certified Tea Master, one of the only 23 certified in the US and owner of Pearl Teas, an online tea store.

Tea is thought to have been first brewed in northern Myanmar (Burma) and southwest China around the 2000 BC.  Tea quickly spread around the globe by the like of traders such as Marco Polo and trading companies including the Dutch and British East India Companies.  Since then, tea has grown in global popularity to become the second most consumed beverage in the world, second only behind water.

In colonial America, the Boston Tea Party protest sparked the American Revolution, as colonists rallied against the British government’s tax on one of their favorite beverages.   As a result, Colonialists stopped drinking tea in favor of coffee for years.  And today, coffee is still more popular than tea in the U.S.

There are six common varieties of tea, each with thousands of variations, including  black, yellow, green, white,  oolong, and pu-erh tea, plus herbal tea which is generally not considered real tea.  Some people drink tea as a medicinal beverage or tonic, others as a relaxant, while others for the caffeine.

China is still the largest producer of tea, representing about 25% of the global production, while India is the second largest producer, with about 17% of total annual production.

Some interesting facts about tea and tea consumption:

  • In 1907, American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan began distributing samples of his tea in small hand-sewn silk muslin bags in New York, selling the first tea sold in brewable tea bags.
  • Tea was rationed in the United Kingdom during World War II, allowing just 2 –4 ounces per person per week (about 4-8 cups per day.)
  • Global tea consumption exceeds coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol combined.
  • Russia imports more tea than any other country.
  • Iced tea makes up more than three-quarters of the tea consumed in the U.S.
  • Iced teas are consumed in just about every country that consumes hot tea. Some are sweetened, others are not and some iced teas are flavored with lemon or other fruit flavorings.
  • Tea has about half the caffeine of coffee.
  • The Arnold Palmer or half and half is a mix of iced tea and lemonade.
  • One pound of tea yields about 180 cups of brewed tea.
  • A tea bag can be used to soothe insect bites, absorb refrigerator odors, used to make a window cleaner, and soothe a sunburn.

Future classes include olive oil, chocolate, cheese, and even root beer!  The sessions will include aroma workshops, tasting exercises, presentations and educational games with prizes. Workshop items will paired with a selection of gourmet foods specially prepared for each tasting event.

Tasty Workshops
GiraMondo Wine Adventures

Workshop location:
Alliance Francaise
2142 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  (map it)

Dates & Times – April 16, 2010 – Tea,  April 30, 2010 – Honey, additional workshop dates to be announced.

Tickets – Tea – $49.00, Honey – 444.00 and are available online or by phone at 301-841-7609.

Nearest Metro Subway Station – Dupont Circle, Red line, then a 1-mile walk.

Parking – Limited metered street parking and area paid garage parking is available.

Images – Flickrtea cup & flower, British tea service

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