The Rolling Tea Cart menu offers 23 different varieties of tea.
Trying to pick just four might seem like a daunting task, but
spend a few minutes with Glauser and you realize you’re in the
hands of a true expert.
“One of the ways I increased my passion for tea was to
become a Certified Tea Specialist through the Specialty Tea
Institute of the United States,” says Glauser.
It’s a two-year process, during which Glauser spent up
to four days at a time learning about a particular category
of tea. “Black Tea took four sessions and we still didn’t learn
everything there is to know,” she says.
All tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.
The differences between types of tea depend on where the
leaves are grown and how they are processed. The estimated
3,000 available tea varieties fall into six basic categories: Black
Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, White Tea, Tisane, and Pu’erh.
Traditional English teas are usually Black Teas. Black Teas
are the most processed; English tea varieties are often blends
of Black Tea from China and India. “For example, English
Breakfast Tea is a blend, usually an Assam from India and a
Chinese tea as well,” says Glauser.
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What’s in the Cup?
And the other categories? White Tea is the most delicate,
least processed type of tea, “almost as if you’d just picked the
leaves and steamed them,” says Glauser. Oolong (or WuLong)
Tea is “more or less from mountainous regions and probably
the most flavorful of teas.” Green Tea is also minimally
processed. Tisane is not actually tea, but a mix of herbs –
chamomile or mint, for example. Many of us refer to Tisanes
as herbal tea.
Pu’erh Tea (pictured above) is an ancient form of tea from
China. “It was developed on the Silk Road, when merchants
would carry tea up the road. They realized that the tea was
often not fresh by the time they got where they were going,
so what they learned to do was to ferment it and press it into
shapes, most often a flat cylinder.”
To this day, the production of Pu’erh is a closely guarded
state secret in China. And because it’s fermented, it’s possible
to get Pu’erh teas that are more than 200 years old.
Glauser only uses loose leaves (as any tea connoisseur will
tell you, loose tea is the way to get the best cuppa). Guests at
Glauser’s Afternoon Teas are invited to select from one of the
four teas pre-selected by the host.