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Bohea Tea

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On the Tuesdays that I host crafts in my home, I always serve tea. Sometimes we drink iced tea, and on other days we'd all rather have hot tea. Since it was 73 degrees here in South Texas today, I didn't know whether my friend would choose hot or cold tea, but a cup of hot tea was in order for this afternoon.

My son-in-law's mother visited Boston a couple of months ago, and she thoughtfully brought back some tea for me from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum for my Christmas gift. I had not tried it yet and decided to serve it today.

The tea we sipped today is called Bohea (pronounced Boo-Hee) and is "a distinctive black tea blend with a light smoky flavor. It was the most popular tea with the early American colonists - imported in greater quantities than all other teas, and was the majority of the tea destroyed in Boston Tea Party protests."

I didn't read about the tea before I tasted it, and it was so strongly flavored that I wondered what I was tasting. I first thought that some sort of peppers had been blended into the pekoe black tea. Distinctive? Yes. Light smoky flavor? No, make that a very heavy smoky flavor!

The oat cookies and butter pecan meringue shells were not the most compatible food items that I could have served with this tea. The tea was just too over-powering. I could imagine the Colonists drying their tea leaves inside a wooden smokehouse, along with all their sausages and wild game. Thinking that they probably drank this robust tea with their cheese and sausage, I decided that the next time I brewed some, I would do the same. This tea belongs with a heartier fare -- not dainty tea cookies!

Bohea tea is blended by Oliver Pluff & Company, offering a range of fine teas that were popular with early Americans, imported from tea gardens that supplied the British East India Company. Here's their website:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fascinating! I'm so sorry to have missed it!

    And YOU!
    3002 days ago
    "She went to plain-work, and to purling brooks,
    Old-fashion’d halls, dull aunts, and croaking rooks:
    She went from Op’ra, Park, Assembly, Play,
    To morning walks, and prayers three hours a day;
    To part her time ’twixt reading and Bohea,
    To muse, and spill her solitary tea;
    Or o’er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
    Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon;
    Divert her eyes with pictures in the fire,
    Hum half a tune, tell stories to the squire;
    Up to her godly garret after sev’n,
    There starve and pray, for that ’s the way to Heav’n."
    Alexander Pope "Epistle"

    Pope also mentions Bohea tea in "Rape of the Lock". I have tried it but did not fall in love. I really do love Lapsang Souchang and am well and truly addicted. Thank you for the link. I might place an order with them. I have been ordering with Harney & Sons for a long time now and should investigate some new tea, perhaps. I'm such a creature of habit that I should really SHAKE UP MY LIFE by trying a new tea.

    3005 days ago
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