Today we're getting to know Lainie Petersen, blogger at Lainie Sips. I hope you find her answers as fun and interesting as I did.
Q. Why did you decide to blog about tea?
A. I kept updating my Facebook and Twitter status with whatever tea I was drinking at the time. People kept asking me about the teas, so I started the blog in self-defense.
Q. How do you decide which teas to review?
A. It depends on a number of factors. It depends on what I have on hand, in part, it also depends on my mood, and, of course, what I have recently reviewed. I try to vary things a bit.
Q. What’s your favorite kind of teaware to brew in?
A. Depends on the type of tea. I have six Yixing pots and I do prefer teas brewed in Yixing. However, since only one type of tea can be brewed in an individual Yixing pot, this is very limiting.
For Chinese teas that do not have their own Yixing, or that are not suitable for Yixing, I will either use a gaiwan (for white/green teas) or a little glass gongfu teapot (for oolongs or black teas). Indian teas and suchlike are brewed in larger ceramic or glass teapots, or even in a tea infuser like my ingenuiTEA from Adagio.
Q. Do you prefer a cup & saucer, mug, glass or gaiwan?
A. Again, it depends on the tea. For more substantial Chinese teas, I prefer one of my thicker glazed ceramic tea bowls. For the more delicate greens and whites, one of my thin porcelain tea bowls is just the thing. I prefer oolongs in tiny gongfu teacups, though I have been known to enjoy my beloved Ti Kuan Yin in a large, double walled glass, with the leaves steeping in the glass even as I drink from it.
Other teas are paired to drinking vessels as appropriate. I don't tend to drink directly from a gaiwan though, as I prefer to decant most of my teas.
Q. Do you take your tea straight up, or with sugar and/or milk?
A. Straight up. Sometimes, as a special treat, I will prepare an Indian black tea with a bit of milk and sugar, but only at breakfast-time, and only about once a month on a week-end.
Q. Do you remember the first cup of tea you drank? How was it?
A. Not really, though it should be noted that tea was a medicinal beverage in my family, so I would have got a cup of weak Lipton with honey every time I got a sore throat as a child.
Q. When did you make the switch to loose leaf teas (or have you)?
A. Oh, I enjoyed some loose leaf teas starting in my mid-thirties, but didn't get dead serious about them until last year (2008).
Q. Do you drink tea predominantly for health or enjoyment – or both?
A. Enjoyment, certainly. I wouldn't drink something I didn't like just because it was "healthy". That said, I do believe that tea makes me feel better, but I wouldn't drink bad tea just for any purported health benefit.
Q. What are your three favorite teas?
A. Ti Kuan Yin
Da Hong Pao
Q. What’s your favorite pairing of food with white, green and black teas?
A. Hrm, a more robust white can go well with a mild fish. Green tea? Depends on the type, though I have found that green tea can go surprisingly well with chocolate.
Black teas, again, depends on the type. A good Keemun is my beverage of choice if I am enjoying a peanut butter and bacon sandwich.
Q. Do you have a favorite tea company? Which one, and why?
A. Hard to say...I love the offerings of TeaGschwendner...so much to choose from! Dream About Tea is a tearoom here where I live that gets some marvelous teas from China. Seven Cups also brings in some excellent oolongs. It is really hard to pick just one.
Thanks so much to Lainie for her time. I think blogging as a form of self-defense is new one for me - but so are peanut butter and bacon sandwiches! You can contact Lainie through her blog, on Twitter @lainiep or leave a comment below.