“Thank you to Walt Disney World for #hosting me by providing tickets to Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
All opinions in this post are original and my own.”
There are many hidden gems and opportunities at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, but one is year-round opportunity that I just discovered when attending this year. There is a lovely little nook tucked away in the United Kingdom Pavilion where you can take it quiet moment to yourself or explore the beautiful tea gardens. They also provide daily tours to educate people on the many lovely qualities of tea that are included with your admission.
Next to water, tea is the most commonly consumed drink in the world. Some may not be surprised by this, but most will be. The “type” of tea that is popular varies greatly depending on where you are. Moms often joke about the large amounts of coffee that we have to take in to sustain us throughout the day, but I have definitely found after a few years into this motherhood thing that the balance between tea and coffee throughout the day are essential to finding a good balance.
Nothing beats a glass of cold iced tea on a warm day or a hot cup of tea on a cold night. Though I very much enjoy a cuppa, I was unfamiliar with the details of not only how it came to get into my cup, but the varieties of tea that are available. The list is endless, but the English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London® tour profiled a few of the basic varieties and give us a history of how they are grown.
What is tea?
According to the website Tea Class “An often-surprising fact to tea novices is that all teas (Black, Green, Oolong, White, and Pu’erh) come from the same plant. The scientific name of this versatile plant is Camellia sinensis (it’s actually related to the lovely camellia flowers seen in botanical gardens and landscapes). Camellia sinensis is a sub-tropical, evergreen plant native to Asia but is now grown around the world. The tea plant grows best in loose, deep soil, at high altitudes, and in sub-tropical climates. So, in short, “tea” is anything derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. Anything else, while sometimes called “tea”, is more accurately referred to as an herbal tea or tisane. Tisanes include chamomile, rooibos and fruit teas.”
There are two varieties of Camellia Sinensis. Camellia sinensis sinensis and Camellia sinensis assamica. Camellia sinensis sinensis can survive in really cold temperatures, mainly grown in China, Japan and Darjeeling and grows between 3−5m tall. Camellia sinensis assamica prefers warmer and more humid weather, is grown mostly in North East India and can reach a height of 18m.
The five basic styles of tea are White, Green, Oolong, Black and Pu’erh. How the leaves are processed will determine their final classification as black, green, etc.. There are five basic steps; some teas don’t utilize all of these steps, while other teas repeat them several times.
Plucking (withering- allowing the leaves to wilt and soften)
Rolling (to shape the leaves and wring out the juices)
Firing (ie: Drying)
Oxidizing: which occurs when the enzymes in the tea leaf interact with oxygen, after the cell walls are broken apart. This can be quick, through rolling, cutting, or crushing. Or it can be slow, through the natural decomposition of the leaf.
What is in tea?
The three primary components of brewed tea (also called the “liquor”) are:
Essential Oils – these provide tea’s delicious aromas and flavors.
Polyphenols – these provide the “briskness” or astringency in the mouth and are the components that also carry most of the health benefits of tea.
Caffeine – found naturally in coffee, chocolate, tea and Yerba Mate, caffeine provides tea’s natural energy boost.
The English Tea Garden Collection at Epcot offers twelve different pours from their gardens.
Earl Grey with Lavander
English Breakfast with Lemon
Cold Brew Tea:
Peach Cold Brew
Green Tea with Mint Cold Brewed Iced Tea
Camomile Honey and Vanilla
Orange and Cinnamon Spice
Green Pomegranate, Raspberry, and Strawberry
With more than fifty varieties available, Twinings is sure to have a blend that will be perfect for everyone. After over 300 years in the business of tea, they have certainly learned something about brewing the perfect cup.
For more information about the English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London® your click here. Tours are approximately 20 minutes long and are held Monday through Thursday at 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM, and Friday throughSunday at 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM.
To read about my “Momcation” to Epcot International Flower and Garden Show please check out my previous post here!
I also have designed some beautiful new cups in my Zazzle shop! Check them out here!