Yesterday I went to a Summer Tea tasting lead by Jennifer Wood, founder of the Canton Tea Company. It was at the Petersham Nursery's Teahouse. Petersham Nursery is hidden away up a narrow lane between a church and the R Thames and is an eclectic mix of unusual plants, antique garden furniture, glasshouses, flower filled borders as well as being foodie heaven ! There are lots of places to sit and meet friends.
The teas were delicious and delicate with the exception of one of them!
They were Jasmine green tea, White tea silver needle, Green tea Poochong, Black tea Bai Lin Gong Fu and iced tea made with Bai Lin Gong Fu and honey.
There was a selection of wonderful homemade cake: lemon polenta and almond, coffee, parsnip and maple syrup, chocolate brownie, beetroot. and fig.
The coffee cake was moist and light and came in joint favourite with the lemon polenta and almond, richer and full flavoured.
and then there was this....................................
2005 Xing Hai cooked loose Puerh Tea compressed into the form of a cake. To produce this tea leaves are dried then dry pan fried to prevent further oxidation. The next process is fermentation by micro organisms and is done in a similar way to composting by piling dampening and turning to produce ripened Puerh.
Some were reluctant to try this brew. The smell was variously described as grassy or earthy, tobacco, leather even unwashed dog or dung! The flavour was robust and interesting. I went back for more trying identify what the smell reminded me of, probably a mix of the inside of a brewery and a haystack. It is believed to have extraordinary health benefits.
These guided tea tastings are held occaisionally. The teahouse is open most of the time.