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You can usually find Certified Tea Specialist and award-winning author Lisa Boalt Richardson sipping tea no matter what time of day it is. Her philosophy is “teatime is anytime and all the time.” She is a globally known tea expert and consultant who travels the country speaking at conferences and special events and also works with businesses to better understand this complex and delicious drink. She lives in the Atlanta area with her family. For more information about Lisa, visit www.lisaknowstea.com.

Tea is a drink that has taken beverage connoisseurs by storm. Similar in complexity to wine, tea is a multidimensional drink with many facets to be explored and understood. And now you hold in your hands the key to unlocking this wonderful world and steeping yourself in the essential knowledge required to become a bona fide tea sommelier.

With this easy-to-read, comprehensive guide, you’ll explore tea’s world history, learn essential terms and definitions, and appreciate the terroir of tea. You’ll also discover how to use tea in your everyday life, from shopping, storing, steeping, and tasting to using tea in pairings, cooking, cocktails, home health remedies, and more.

So whether you’re a tea rookie or already a tea guru, MODERN TEA is the ultimate guide to help you realize that, yes, this is your cup of tea.

How to Prepare Matcha

Modern Tea_Japanese


Matcha, a green tea in which the leaves have been ground to a fine powder, is at the center of the Japanese tea ceremony. To make it, you will need a tea bowl, a fine-mesh strainer, a bamboo whisk, and a tea scoop. Here are the basic instructions for each cup:

Measure 1½ to 2 teaspoons Matcha.

Set the strainer over the bowl and gently sift the tea through the strainer into the bowl. This keeps the tea from clumping and helps to achieve a nice foam on the top.

Pour about 1/3 cup/75 ml hot water (about 165°F/74°C) over the tea.

Begin whisking the tea briskly back and forth in the bowl. When foam begins to develop, slowly lift the whisk from the bowl and enjoy the tea.


Tea Cocktails: Old Becomes New Again


Modern Tea_Cocktails

Before the now-ubiquitous “cocktail,” there was “punch.” The origin of punch is a bit sketchy, but most authorities agree that a proper punch included alcohol. According to one of the most-repeated theories on the origin of punch, British sailors brought it back from India in the early seventeenth century. Its name comes from the Hindi word panch, or “five,” which referred to the five elements used to create a proper balance of five flavors: sweet, sour, weak, alcoholic, and bitter. The corresponding ingredients were, in order, sugar, lemon, water, arrack (a distilled beverage made from the sap of the unopened flowers of the coconut palm), and, not surprisingly given where it was created, tea.British and American cookbooks from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries include punch recipes that also call for tea and some sort of alcoholic beverage. Among the oldest of these recipes is English regent’s punch, a mixture of tea, citrus juices, sugar, brandy, rum, and Champagne. Around the same time, a similar drink, Saint Cecilia punch, began gaining popularity in the United States. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music, and the Saint Cecilia Society, founded in the 1760s in Charleston, South Carolina, started the first subscription concert series in the country. The society later sponsored fancy balls and dinners, at which its eponymous punch, a heady mixture of lemon, pineapple, sugar, tea, brandy, peach brandy, and rum, was served. A tea punch also appeared in the 1839 cookbook The Kentucky Housewife. It called for tea concentrate, sugar, cream, and claret or Champagne and could be served hot or cold.As you can see, blending tea and spirits goes back a long way, and although punch bowls have been replaced with stemmed glasses, the appeal of this mixture remains. (I have heard rumblings that punch is making a comeback, so don’t give away that old punch bowl just yet.) Here are some things to think about before you attempt to create a tea cocktail.

• What class of tea do you want to use? You don’t need to use a highly priced tea that is especially good on its own, but it must be a good-quality tea that you enjoy drinking.

• What overall flavor profile are you looking for? Do you fancy fruity, savory, or sweet?• What is the texture of the drink? Will it be creamy, slushy, or strained over ice?

• What type of spirit do you want to use?

• What is the best method for introducing the tea? Will you use brewed tea, a tea-infused alcohol, or a tea-infused simple syrup?

These excerpts may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage by Lisa Boalt Richardson. (Chronicle Books; October 2014; $19.95/Hardcover; ISBN-13; 978-1452112299). http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Contact: David Hawk
(415) 537-4276