It’s the non-beer The Session about what I drink when not drinking beer. If you’re unfamiliar with The Session, it’s a unified blogging event where one writer writer picks a topic and everyone follows and writes about that topic. The Session blogs appear on the first Friday of every month.
No big surprise, it’s tea. Hot tea, ice tea, tea sitting in my mug for hours that’s hit room temperature. Tea made from soaking bags or infusers filled with loose tea. Mass-produced tea from the grocery store, semi-exotics from MarketSpice, or teas blended at my new favorite shop, Tea Madame.
Rooibus isn’t actually from a tea plant, it’s a wild Legume Native to South Africa from which a “tea” is made using its needle-like leaves. Wikipedia info says—
… Rooibos is grown only in a small area in the region of the Western Cape province of South Africa. Generally, the leaves are oxidized, a process often, inaccurately, referred to as fermentation by analogy with tea-processing terminology. This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour of rooibos and enhances the flavour. … Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves. Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones. …
The ladies at Tea Madame tell me—
Used much like a Tea, Rooibos is delicious and sweet, full of powerful Antioxidants and naturally caffeine free. Rooibos is very easy to use, getting sweeter the longer and hotter it steeps. Rooibos is a medium to full bodied herbal with woodsy citrus and vanilla notes.
Woody? Citrus? Vanilla? Those flavors sound a lot like two of my favorite beers of 2011: Fremont Homefront IPA, with its big citrus hop and dry-woody finish due to aging on maple Louisville Slugger bats, and North Coast Old Stock 2009 Cellar Reserve, with its woody, vanilla, toffee, bourbony goodness.
My favorite Rooibus selection from Tea Madame: Belgian Chocolate.
White tea is known for its light body, clean finish, fresh and lightly sweet flavor. Of it, Tea Madame says—
True White Teas are the unfurled new growth of the Chinese Tea plant grown specifically in Fujian region of China. This region is the birthplace of the world’s finest White Teas. White Teas are the least processed of the five types of Tea; the White Tea buds are hand-plucked, withered, dried (usually using no heat) then sorted and packed. Because of the lack of processing and the high quality of the new buds used, White Tea is considered to have the highest Antioxidant properties of all the Tea types. White Teas generally have a delicately light, sweet flavor with slight peach, honey and floral notes considered light in body but big in satisfaction.
My favorite White Tea selection from Tea Madame: White Wedding.
It’s delicate and beautiful, with dried rose blossoms and green leaves brightening the cup during infusion. Delicate, flavorful, delicious. As I sip my cup of hot White Wedding, I can only imagine its ingredients could bring to a Belgian-style Witbier.