Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tea Cuvee: Cold Brewed Pleasures

The South End is a cool area that abounds with restaurants and unique shops. I recently attended a Blog And Tweet Boston event, at Gifted, a gift shop with lots of funky items, from jewelry to art, greeting cards to tableware. At the event, we got to meet numerous local shop owners and artisans, showcasing food, drink, jewelry, candles, glassware and more. It was a fun evening and good to learn about some of the new places and purveyors in the South End.

Travessia Winery presented three of their wines, including a Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc and Rose. As I have said before, Travessia is one of the best wineries in Massachusetts and you really need to check out their wines. All three of these wines are great for summer, and would pair well with a wide range of foods.

There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”
--Lin Yutang

Prior to attending the event, I was most intrigued to experience the new Tea Cuvee by Evy Chen (pictured above). I love tea, especially iced tea, so the idea of Tea Cuvee intrigued me. Evy is originally from the Fujian province of China, which has a lengthy history of tea and is a major region of tea production. At bars and elsewhere, Evy desired a nonalcoholic option, something other than soda or water. However, she also found most commerical tea products to either contain little tea or possess many artificial ingredients and flavorings. This inspired her to create a solution, to produce a new tea product that would be natural, refreshing and delicious.

The company is only about one year old, and Evy currently produces two different teas, with a third in production. The first tea is Moonlight, which is made from white tea, apricot and jasmine and the second is Amber, made from oolong tea, rosemary and orange zest. The tea is sold in 13.4 ounce bottles for $8.99 at places like Whole Foods, Shubie's and small gift shops. Organic whole leaf teas are used, and there are no sweeteners, artificial flavors or colors. Plus, it has 0 calories.

Tea ... is a religion of the art of life.”
--Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

One of the essential aspects of the Tea Cuvee is that it is fully cold brewed and there is absolutely no heating involved. In small batches, the tea leaves are soaked in cold water for 16-20 hours. Why did choose to use cold brew rather than hot brew?  Because cold brewing is chemically different from hot brewing, and some say that it is a better process.

In short, brewing extracts various substances from the tea leaves and hot brewing performs this process faster. In addition, the heat causes certain chemical reactions which cold brewing does not. Cold brewing tends to produce less caffeine and acid, and the flavors are often more delicate and subtle. In addition, cold brewing is supposed to create more antioxidants, making it healthier for you.

Only the Amber was available for tasting, and I found it to be fresh and clean, with subtle roasted tea flavors, enhanced by bits of herb and citrus. It wasn't sweet and was quite refreshing. Evy suggests pairing the Amber with aged cheese or grilled meats. This is definitely a tasty tea that you should check out and I look forward to tasting more of Evy's teas in the near future.

I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea.
--Lu T'ung

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