6th
Feb
2015

Posted in Kafevend Blog

1.Which flower is left with tea leaves over night?

Jasmine: Jasmine tea is a famous scented tea produced almost exclusively in China, where it has been made for around 1,500 years using an elaborate method. Tea leaves are picked and stored until the season comes around for jasmine flowers. These are then picked early in the morning and kept cool until evening. Then they are placed with the tea leaves in a climate controlled room and infuse their scent into the surrounding tea leaves. This laborious process can be repeated for up to two weeks before the tea leaves are finally rolled tightly and packed to be sold.

2.Which of these unlikely suspects makes for a good herbal tea?

Nettles: Whilst it sounds counterintuitive, nettles are actually something of a superfood. Packed full of a dozen or so different vitamins and minerals it also, as any self respecting tisane does, has a variety of medicinal properties. It's not some obscure tea either; you can find it on your supermarket shelves, made by companies like Twinings.

3.Which tea helps you nod off?

Chamomile: Chamomile tea has been used as a remedy for a variety of ailments. Alongside helping you get to sleep, drinking it can help to alleviate indigestion, travel sickness and arthiritic pain. It also has several external uses, such as a soak for itchy skin or mild burns. The teabags themselves apparently serve well as poultices or applied to tired or itchy eyes- quite the panacea!

4.Which tea uses the plant's rhizome?

Ginger: Ginger sees a lot of use in the culinary world. It can be eaten on its own, diced and candied and added to treats, shredded and added to curries, dried and ground into a powder to add to biscuits... or brewed up to make a zingy tea. What we see as ginger is in fact the gnarly underground stem of the plant- otherwise known as the rhizome.

5.Which berry isn't a berry (in the botanical sense of the word)?

Blackberry: Rather like the peanut, the blackberry's name is a little deceptive- It is in fact "an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets" as opposed to a berry, although berry rolls off the tongue a little easier! Opinions seem somewhat divided regarding blackberries. Some folk enjoy taking a stroll through the countryside and picking them to add to crumbles (or to make tea with), whilst the ruggedness of the plant has led to it being considered an invasive weed by others.

6.Which flower has been used, not only to make tea, but to dye cheese?

Marigold: This bright yellow flower has lent itself to dyeing not only cheese but also fabrics and other foods.  The flower itself can be eaten, typically when added to a salad. Alongside these uses are the typical medley of potential medical applications. If you just fancy brightening up the garden though, they're considered one of the easiest flowers to grow, and you can always turn them into tea if you get bored with them!

7.Where does rooibos tea originate?

South Africa: Rooibos grows in a small and unique area of land right on the southern tip of the African continent known as the Cape Floristic Region. Half of this area is composed of shrub and heathland known as Fynbos, and it is here that you can find Rooibos. Attempts to grow it elsewhere have failed, meaning that the locals are able to earn a living from rooibos' increasing popularity as a tea.

8.Which plant's seeds can be used both to make tea and as an after dinner mint?

Fennel: The bulb, leaves and seeds of fennel all have culinary uses in countries ranging from Spain, right across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to India. The seeds themselves possess a taste similar to anise. In countries like India and Pakistan, they are used in a dish known as mukwah, where a variety of seeds and nuts are mixed together with sugar and oils like peppermint, and serve as a digestive aid, after dinner snack and breath freshener. Along with its use in cooking, a hollow fennel stalk was used by Promethius to return fire to humanity- quite a useful plant, I'm sure you'll agree!

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