In conversation with Teastreet
During Dry January, tea is a popular alternative to alcohol. And because we want to look beyond the supermarket brands, we have nice contact with tea sommelier Barbara Veldhuizen. She is a real tea fan and has even made it her job. We asked her how, what, why regarding tea.
What is tea to you?
“Tea stands for purity and diversity. But tea is also surprising and versatile. It has been around for thousands of years and yet we know little about it. There is so much to tell, so much more to discover. Tea can be made and is available in an infinite number of flavors and blends. A whole new world opens up to you when you combine tea with food. Just like wine, a tea can enhance the taste experience of food.”
What need does Teastreet meet?
“I started Teastreet a few years ago because tea, both at work and at home, should be of good quality and taste, just like coffee. The coffee at most offices or in the catering industry is nice to drink and there is a varied selection available. The same cannot be said of tea. As a tea drinker you are often disappointed. With Teastreet we want people to experience the diversity of tea. We have more than 120 types of loose leaf tea in our range. That is because there is a specific tea for every moment of the day or for every mood and feeling.”
Where does Teastreet get the tea from?
Our tea comes from the original tea countries. Oolong tea comes from China, Darjeeling from India, the rooibos teas come from Africa and Maté has its origin in South America. The blends (mix of teas and/or herbs) are mainly made in Europe. What many people do not know is that there is only one tea plant. The processing of the leaf after picking determines which type of tea it is. So there is no black tea plant. The way of heating in the tea production process also gives a difference in taste. For example, originally in Japan the tea leaves are steamed, which causes a grassy taste, and in China they stir-fry tea leaves. That gives a completely different twist to the tea.”
Why would people want to trade in the 'grocery store' tea for Teastreet tea?
“Because tea leaves have much more and a better taste and have little waste. There is only one way to find out and that is to put it to the test. For example, buy Earl Gray tea bags from the supermarket and 'Old School Earl Grey' from Teastreet. Let both teas steep for four minutes and you will see and taste the difference.”
What can tea do for a person both mentally and physically?
“There are so many teas for just so many different moments and moods. For example, during the IkPas period, you may feel the need for a drink that gives you energy. Tea can be an energizer. Or you want to relax in bed at night. Drink a herbal blend or rooibos tea and you may sleep better. A growing group of people see tea as more than just a bag that you hang in hot water for a while. tea is getting hotter shall we say. Drinking tea is part of a healthy lifestyle and that may also be a quality tea.”