Saturday, October 16, 2010

Its tea time!


This week blog post will be a bit different than usual as I wont talk about development exactly but more about some drinking habit of mine... no its not alcohol related ;-).  Its about drinking tea and more specifically green tea!  I wanted to write about this a while ago after reading the blog from @chrismwaite about coffee and code, as indeed its not every iDeveloper that like coffee and some other are like me and enjoy tea very much (@snappytouch, @owengoss, @gavinbowman like it, if we could just get @mysterycoconut to like it too ;-)).  And after reading another blog about coffee yet again, but this time by @markusn for the love of coffee, I couldn't stay quiet any longer, the voice of tea need to  be heard!

But where should I start to let you discover the tea road?  Well if you are like me an heavy drinker and more experienced you might have something like shown above (this a more typical Chinese tea set for serving stronger tea in small quantity).  Before you can reach this level of tea enjoyment we will first cover the basic of what you need as term of tools and what kind/type of teas you should try, so lets get started!


Of course the first and most important tools of them all a kettle, since you will need to boil water that will be use to infuse the tea.  They are many kind of kettle some of them the more old fashion one need to be put on the stove as they need some heat from a fire to warm them and you need to monitor them to see when the  water is boiling.  For me I went for the electric automatic solution as you can see above, its simple to use I pour water in it then put it on the base then press the big button and voila! It take several minutes and then the water is ready.  Beware though, if you are like in our family and use it intensively it might not last long, our previous one broke down after a few years of loyal service, hoping this one will last longer.

Ohhh if you want something more fancy you can take a look at the following kettle (seems only available in europe I think), it was @llamasoft_ox (better known as Jeff Minter) who just tweet about this one and its definitely cool to watch it boil water as it have some light/disco effects ;-).


To be more precise this kettle is the Breville VKJ271 Polished Colour Select Jug Kettle (if someone can find those in North America please let me know ;-)).  And you definitely need watch it in action as just the picture doesn't render justice!



Now that you got your water getting ready to boil its time to choose some tea, but which tea should you pick?  First they are 2 main varieties of tea, they are the black variety which is the one that most people will be familiar with as this is the tea that is most sold in western market (such as Earl  Grey, English Breakfast).  The second being the green variety, which is the one that I am more familiar with and now enjoyed the most, this variety is very popular in the eastern market especially in China and Japan and having married a Chinese you can guess what kind of tea we have in our cupboard ;-).


They are also other kind of varieties of tea that is available on the market, we have a few of them at our home.  One of the other well know one is oolong (乌龙) tea which is the one that is most often served in Chinese restaurant.  They are also herbal tea which are usually a blend of other type of leafs/flowers, they are also white, yellow and pu-erh.  If you want to try some more sweat tea Ill suggest you to try at least once bubble tea, which is tea but then mix with other sweet drink and with the addition of the very important tapioca pearl aka as the bubble ;-).  Or for a bit more traditional Chinese tea which my wife will often prepare is what is called ba bao which also use green tea but then you add several kind of dry fruit and flower to the mix (its often called 8 treasures), its very delicious!

For now let stay with green tea, and once again this category get split into a myriad of varieties being either Chinese or Japanese.  But if they are one kind of tea that you should remember and really drink its the longjing (龙井) one which is one of the most famous green tea from China, this one come from Zhejiang province.  Due to its popularity and being famous, its also the tea that has the most falsification :-(, so maybe even though you think you bought longjing (龙井) it might not be an authentic one.

Normally most westerner will be familiar with tea bag (and no I don't mean the other kind of tea bag), but most green tea coming from eastern country are package in bags/boxes which contains the dry leafs that you will put in your cup of tea.  Which will look something like this (pro tip: don't bring this around in Ziploc bag, people might think its another kind of leafs...) :


Also according to several study (and my wife ;-)) green tea is good for health, so I have been drinking at least 1l of tea everyday for a few years now.  Since we often get big batch of tea, we also want to keep some fresh longer and one of the best way to do it is to make sure it stay dry and cold.  I let you guess where we put ours in our home ;-).


Now that you have the tool, the ingredient its now time to prepare tea itself by pouring the hot boiling water into your favorite cup.  Normally the best way is to first take about 1 table spoon of tea and put it into your cup (I tend to often more like 2 table spoon as I like it a bit more stronger flavor).  Then the second step is to of course pour the water into the cup and wait...


But how long do you have to wait, well it depend on you like it.  But hey "There's an app for that" and its called Tea Time! made by a fellow indie dev. @snappytouch (yes the author of Flower Garden made this app as he's also a tea lover ;-)) and it's available for a mere 0.99$!  How to use it? Its quite simple, you select the type of tea (green, black, etc...), the strenght (do you like it mild or strong) and format (in tea bag, leafs).  It will give you the recommended temperature and then you simply press the start button, which will show up a timer of how long you need to wait and once ready you will hear a little bell sound ;-).


Hope you can enjoy green tea as much as I do, but of course the usual disclaimer should be said : do it with moderation, don't over do it.  As anything that's good in life it can become bad if it become an addiction and if you take it in too large dose/quantity.  Now let me go back enjoy my tea to keep me company while I work on Mythlound : Maurlack Tower.  Also if you know other delicious tea I should try let me know and I don't mind sharing/exchanging too ;-).




This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iPhone development blogs featuring two posts per day. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web site, RSS feed, or Twitter.

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