Brew it green

Published: 23 October, 2012 11:12 IST | Soma Das |

Tea sommelier and founder of the website, Tea of Life, Neetu Sarin, shares interesting anecdotes about green tea

The website, Tea of Life, was started in 2010 by tea sommelier Neetu Sarin who has an abiding passion for the beverage, even as she crisscrosses the country to conduct tea appreciation sessions. She offers a variety of green teas and tea hampers that help you detox and experience different kinds of tea. The site also explains tea traditions from around the world.

Excerpts from an interview:

What was the inspiration behind Tea of Life?
There are so many different types of teas out there. Green tea was considered a necessary drink with its health benefits. I wanted to introduce good green tea and share the amazing taste experience. Soon, we will start e-marketing and a tea blog as well on various tea traditions from across the globe. We also share tea trivia on our Facebook page.

How did you get interested in tea?
I grew up in Mumbai; I have lived in Europe for the last 30 years. Nowadays, I shuttle between my homes in Mumbai and Brussels. It keeps me connected with the cultures of the East and West. I have always loved tea, and while I started off drinking black tea with milk and sugar, soon, I stopped it, and started to enjoy the real taste of tea. During my travels, I’ve found new tea traditions and tastes. I was fascinated by the “simple cup of tea”. Almost everything I know is through experience.

Can you share some anecdotes related to tea?
Tea has been around for 5,000 years. It is drunk in every part of the world. The word for tea in most parts has been derived from one of two words: ‘cha’, which means tea in Cantonese and ‘tay’ which means tea in Amoy. The British brought tea to India. Tea has been considered a spiritual drink as it helps one to stay calm.  Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world (the first being water). Even though tea was consumed in China for almost 5000 years, it only came to the West and most of the world in the 1600s. Tea has also been a medicinal drink, a spiritual drink, a royal gift and also used as currency.

It’s been 59 years since the inception of tea bags. How has it revolutionised tea drinking?
Tea bags were invented when a British tea merchant sent some samples of tea to his customer in America in small muslin pouches. The American put pouches in hot water and tea bags were born. Tea bags have made tea drinking convenient. Without the need for paraphernalia, one can drink tea any time and place. But taste has been compromised. For long, tea used in tea bags was tea dust and fanning. The newer types have changed this. However, for me, there is a certain charm of drinking loose-leaf tea, traditionally.

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