THE NEW OLD THING
by Nina Rubin
Americans are rediscovering one of the world’s
ancient beverages—tea. Maybe it’s the comfort that this
warm, soothing brew and its rituals bring to our lives – especially
given the recent comfort food revival. Or perhaps it’s the
increasingly multi-culti nature of our society that compels us to
embrace tea, the world’s most popular beverage.
Whatever the reason, tea is making a serious comeback,
and not just with Anglophiles or old ladies with flowered dresses.
Think of it as the second wave of the hot beverage revolution. First
came the Seattle-based coffee bar craze; now it’s tea-time.
We’re not just talking about basic black or
the old English Breakfast standby. Today’s sophisticated public
demands high quality, flavor, and authenticity. This trend has gained
steam in recent months, with restaurants proudly sourcing their
own teas, hotels revamping their tea programs, and chefs incorporating
teas as seasoning in their cooking. The result: a rainbow of loose-leaf
teas is now available, from rare Chinese white teas to Darjeeling
If you’re feeling a bit lost, don’t
worry: the StarChefs’ tea experts will guide you through the
terminology. We’re also pleased to offer a selection of recipes—for
and with tea—as well as advice on where to take tea, and how
to host your own tea party (for you do-it-yourself types).