It's national hot tea month, and as we sip our pu-erh from The Jasmine Pearl in Portland and consider the calming ritual tea can be, we find it helpful to define our terms.
What it means: "Steep" - to allow dry ingredients, such as coffee or tea, to soak in a liquid until the liquid takes on the flavor of the dry ingredient.
So how does it work?
Technically, the solids are releasing tiny particles into the water, "flavoring" it. Steeping is essentially soaking that results in a delicious, drinkable form of whatever solid you began with - in this case, tea!
Just like with coffee, different kinds of tea reach peak seasonality and flavor at different times of year. According to this insight into winter harvest teas by Alex Siemons, "winter oolongs harvested from October through November have a distinct sweetness that is intensified when roasted." Find yourself one to steep and enjoy in front of a crackling fireplace.
For more helpful tea terms, check out Steven Smith's "Know Your Tea" page.
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