A unique connection: India meets China and I meet the tea connoisseur at Teapot

A unique connection: India meets China and I meet the tea connoisseur at Teapot 8:40 am IC on the way from Hamburg to Dusseldorf. In front of the window, a storm rages, which once again paralyzed Hamburg traffic. After the horizontal rain out there, even the cold, shabby train compartment seems to me like a cuddly refuge. And the train goes. After all. Unusual. Thank God.

I'm on an important date for my agency TBWA \. More precisely, to our customer teapot, but actually not cared for by me. Also, I have no presentation for a new campaign in the luggage or drive to a briefing - today, in fact, everything is quite different. It's about a project that has kept some people busy in the last few weeks: a lot of thought was made, countless e-mails went back and forth, small, mysterious packages were sent, hot drinks were brewed and sampled, heads were rocked thoughtfully, made a preselection and discarded, the CEO asked and met. Personal assistants with admirable equanimity have kept all the strings together.

All this has happened in the special TBWA tradition of developing, in collaboration with a client, a very unique Christmas surprise for the people who visit us each year are important. A gift that does not exist that way and that can not be bought anywhere else. This year, we're going into tea and have set ourselves the goal of inventing a very special tea creation.

Speaking of surprise: The biggest surprise for me was that I was asked to join this project. Most colleagues know that I like to cook, write about food and related topics - but quite honestly: tea was definitely not one of my core competencies. I cook only occasionally delicious, no. About white wine I know one or the other. And now I'm supposed to meet an absolute connoisseur, a tea-taster, and talk to him about top tea? Oha. But hey ... that sounds exciting: a new topic that I can conquer (and write about). Let's go.

If the (new) media meets a traditional (tea) culture, you have to play a little bit. Without basic know-how, nothing works. For example, you first have to know that white tea is not white at all. Too bad, would otherwise be great for White Christmas fit. My colleagues from the teapot team are probably rolling their eyes right now - you just know something like that. I did not know, but I learned it. And we got a great, unusual tea. A really good one.

* Tusch *

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our

TBWA Christmas Tea Limited Edition 2011 - India & China
An Unusual Combination from a "vintage tea" Darjeeling First Flush Phuguri and a real white tea Pai Mu Tan, the original white tea from Fujian.

Thanks for the applause! But do I see a few disappointed looks? This tea looks like ... tea ?! No colorful blossoms to see far and wide ... he smells at least for cinnamon or chocolate? A decided "no!". Why this pure tea is still something very special (or more precisely for that reason), we now find out together:

The Darjeeling has deliberately been segregated at the ideal time without regard to a maximum yield. The white tea comes from the original tea plants, which grow only in one province of China and is very rare as well as of first-class quality.We pass through a few long corridors and suddenly find ourselves standing in a room involuntarily shooting the ancient name "Kontor" in my head. In addition to two simple wooden desks with computer screens, shelves full of labeled tea caddies, large carts with small white tea cups, several large copper basins, a metal table with small bowls full of tea, lots of small bowls and an army of little shields draws attention all over the room lined up in order. With a large portion of tea magic blows - here determines the tea over everything. And Jörg Sakulowski determines the tea as a senior tea button.

I go enthusiastically along the long table with the countless teas and read the labels. Under all the alien names and shortcuts, I also discover a bowl labeled "TBWA Christmas tea" - I feel spontaneously a little honored.

But before we devote ourselves to the professional and all-important tasting of the Christmas tea, Once there is a small crash course in Teekunde with some helpful Teeweisheiten. (Tea professionals just read on.)

Countries of origin
China, India, Sri Lanka and Taiwan count to the classic tea growing areas of the world. Africa is one of the tea-producing nations. Personally, the fact that a lot of tea is grown in Argentina and mainly exported to the US surprised me personally.

All my colors
Green tea changes color and taste through a fermentation process and turns into black tea. White tea, on the other hand, gets its name from the rare tea bush, which has very fine, white hairs on the underside of the leaves. The finished white tea does not differ in color from its green relative. Although today different varieties of white tea are grown to meet worldwide demand, not so long ago it was limited to a very rare species of tea, which is accordingly precious. Yellow tea is a longer unprocessed variant of green tea.

Tea processing
After careful picking, the Dried, rolled, fermented (black tea) tea and finally heated to stop the fermentation process. When picking, a distinction is made in First Flush (only the teapot and the first two tender leaves in the first crop), Second Flush (the second crop), and tea leaves from the entire tea plant.

Coarse, medium, fine - what can it be?
Teas are processed just as we get them from the production of tea gardens. Coarse, especially voluminous tea is e.g. not later shredded to better fit in a standard package or tea composition. Tea leaves are rolled uniformly during production, eventually the pressure is varied. It is then up to the tea itself, into which components it breaks down. There are always coarse, middle, and finer qualities, which are later separated by sieving.

A unique connection: India meets China and I meet the tea connoisseur at Teapot

Therefore, one can now say goodbye to a tea prejudice: The coarse tea is not automatically of better quality. The fine crumbs in the teabags are no less valuable. All finenesses are from the same tea leaves. The rough usually only accounts for 20% of the operating income.Much more decisive, however, is the degree of hardness of the water. Too hard water has an adverse effect on the tannic acids in the tea and also provides e.g. that after some time an oily film forms in the cup. This is this annoying film that is difficult to remove even in the dishwasher. So: Soft water must come! Non-carbonated mineral water mixed with tap water in a ratio of 50:50 is the ideal combination for achieving a very good result at home.

100 degrees - and no My less
Each tea should always be brewed with boiling water at 100 degrees. Often it is recommended to brew green tea with no more boiling water. Although colder water does not make the tannins so noticeable, it does not bring out the best in taste. 100 degrees hot water also ensures that the tea is very safe as a food. No seed has a chance of survival.

A unique connection: India meets China and I meet the tea connoisseur at Teapot

Well, and now the big moment is here. We will be tasting our Christmas tea properly.

In order to have a valid comparison option, all tea samples are brewed according to a strictly observed procedure: 3 g of exactly measured tea are brewed with a particularly soft, 100 degree hot water and drawn exactly 5 minutes. Then the tea is poured into a bowl.

The look and feel of dry tea is just as important as the texture of the brewed and the color and taste of the ripened tea in the bowl. All three dosage forms will be assessed and evaluated.

By the way, Jörg Sakulowski does this every morning as a tea taster. Just in time for the start of work, the tea samples from the current production are ready for tasting. If one of the flavor compositions deviates from the desired result, he would notice this immediately and the tea mixture in the production should be corrected according to his specifications. Even before tea is purchased for ongoing production, the tea samples from the plantations are compared against each other and classified according to their quality and their potential for a composition. Only then will the tea be bought.

We move on: Jörg Sakulowski puts on a brown waterproof apron in which he suddenly looks very official, takes a spoon in his hand - And then it starts: He dips the spoon in a bowl of tea, brought to his mouth, slurps, zizelt, gurgling the tea in his mouth and then spits it unerringly into one of the available copper pools. Then the next bowl follows, spoon dipping, sipping, gargling, spit finished. The whole thing is done in such a lightning speed that I can hardly follow with the look. With a short mouth open, then think of the legendary Schlurfszene with Loriot: "You have to get it under the tongue". I am as amused as amazed and inquire whether the extremely short time in the mouth is really sufficient to judge the quality of a tea.

Me meets a mischievous look: "Of course, if you're good and has been doing it for 25 years. "I have no doubt. "That has to be done so fast. The optimal drinking temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees - and sometimes we have 150 bowls here for tasting. "

Mr. Sakulowski also has two colleagues. For example, if a Tea Taster has a runny nose, then it has done with tasting directly. Also, spicy or particularly aromatic foods are prohibited for a Tea Taster during the work week and are only allowed on weekends - the taste would simply be too much unduly and the result will be affected. I think that would not be for me. I! LOVE!For a moment, I wonder if I can smuggle one out in my purse - but then my good nursery will win.

Jörg Sakulowski really likes the aroma and quality of our tea. I am relieved! Then I give up the procedure with the spoon (because I would certainly spill from top to bottom) and prefer to grab the classic cup. Delicate ... wonderful ... aromatic ... just a tiny bit of bitterness at the very end.

Mission completed! Now we can give the go for bottling and packaging the tea. 150 handpicked jars set out to hopefully, just in time for Christmas, spread a little, special joy.

A unique connection: India meets China and I meet the tea connoisseur at Teapot

Merry Christmas and have fun with your own tea discovery journey!