jump to navigation

A passion for tea > Tea for one November 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Food Cyprus, Greek Taste Local.
Tags: , , , , ,
trackback

While most of us make it from a teabag, for one Nicosia woman, the quest for a perfect cuppa has become a lifetime’s adventure

Cyprus is a country renowned for its coffee culture, so the idea of a tea bar may seem somewhat strange. That hasn’t put off Gabrielle Duval though, who has recently opened Brew Lounge and Tea Bar in old Nicosia, which serves more than 24 types of tea.

“Cypriots associate drinking tea with being ill but I’m convinced that Brew will show that drinking tea is an entire lifestyle,” the 30-year-old said. “We have an amazing variety on offer, including classic teas from Sri Lanka, India, China and Japan to name a few, as well as herbal, scented and iced teas.”

She added that she is confident that Cypriots, “will embrace this new lifestyle that they’re not currently familiar with, much like they have done over the last decade with wine, with which we can draw similar analogies.” Duval explained that she has been a tea lover since the age of 18, “when I had to stop drinking coffee for medical reasons and needed to find an alternative.”

While studying in Toulouse, France, Duval discovered a quaint creperie, where the owner initiated her to tea. “This was the beginning of a journey which has been expanding ever since.” She said that she took the decision to open a tea bar in Nicosia, “to follow my passion, indulge in it and share it with others. This became urgent when I couldn’t find any decent tea to drink on the island.” When asked what her favourite is, she hesitated. “That is an impossible question as the variety is so great, with each tea having its own separate character. A different time of day and mood will dictate my choice.”

A teabag is how most of us will take the drink, but Duval said that the contents are the lowest grade of the leaf. “When the leaves are gathered and stored at source, all the leaves that don’t pass the quality requirements of the tea houses are ground together with the rest of the sediment to produce tea bags. Tea has been popularised and made available to the masses through a teabag, but it’s worth noting that it was considered a luxury item until just after WWII.”

So, how does one make the perfect cuppa? “There are certain basic rules and each type of tea has its own way of being brewed,” she noted. “For example, a black tea should be brewed with water of 95 degrees celcius for about five minutes, while green tea should be brewed at 70 degrees and should not infuse for longer than three minutes.”

A true connoisseur will not add milk or sugar, nor will they eat or smoke during a tasting. “The choice of tea pot is also important,” Duval stated. “For example, earthenware pots are ideal for many of the fragrant Chinese black teas as the tannin, the chemical compound, is absorbed by the pot, thus enhancing the next pot to be drunk.”

She also spoke of the drink’s health benefits. “Tea contains anti-oxidants, some are high in vitamin C, while most are diuretic. Some even have properties that lower the body’s temperature, which is great during Cyprus’ hot summers and highly beneficial when running a fever.

Brew also sells rooibos, which, according to Duval, is not technically a tea as it comes from the red bush plant grown in South Africa. “This contains no theine [caffeine] whatsoever and has become popular around the world with those who must eliminate all caffeine from their diet.”

Brew Lounge and Tea Bar, 30b Hippocrates Street, Nicosia, tel 22 100133.

Sampling a tea > We couldn’t leave without a tasting so Duval proceeded to make us an ‘Au Revoir’. The Chinese green tea is blended with traditional Moroccan nanah mint and naturally scented bergamot from Calabria and pepper from Madagascar.

Brew uses a water purifier as the water on the island can be very hard, Duval explained. She poured hot water over the loose leaves, which clearly unravelled and expanded as they absorbed the water, “which releases the flavour.” The contents were left to infuse for three minutes in a glass teapot. The taste and smell was quite minty, while I could also clearly detect the black pepper. I had never before tasted such an unusual tea but it definitely got the thumbs up. Delicious!

Advertisements

Comments

1. anonythoughts - November 14, 2007

It’s sad that people used to have time to make a perfect cup of tea. Now it’s just dunk a teabag in a cup and call it tea! Crazy. Oh well, thanks for your article.


Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: