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White Currant Tea from Caraway Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Caraway Tea Company

Product Description:

Juicy aromatic currants paired with the delicacy of white tea leaves delivers a smooth flavor profile with a deeply fruity finish. There’s a lot of flavor is this healthy white tea.


China Pai Mu Tan, China Cui Min, rose hip peel, freeze-dried blackcurrants, flavoring, mallow blossoms, cornflower blossoms.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about UniqTeas hereUniqTeas is the “sister site” of Caraway Tea where you can create your own unique tea blend!

Taster’s Review:

Oh yum!

As I was preparing this review, I had the teacup sitting just under my nose (well, about a foot from my nose) and I enjoyed the fragrance of the tea.  It smells really yummy.  And as I was enjoying the aroma, I started thinking:  there really aren’t a lot of currant flavored white teas.  I’ve encountered quite a few currant flavored black teas and maybe a couple of currant flavored green teas, but I think I’ve only tried a couple of currant flavored white teas.

And that’s a shame, because I think that the tart with a touch of sweet flavor of currants seems really well paired with the crisp sweetness of white tea.

What I’m drinking now – this White Currant Tea from Caraway Tea – tastes a lot like a sweet wine, only without the tannic quality of a wine.  Sure, tea has tannins too, but I find white teas to be less tannic than black teas.  Perhaps this is because I brew my white teas at a lower temperature.  Or perhaps it’s because they’re just less tannic.  I don’t know.

Disclaimer:  I’m not a tannin expert.

So, imagine if you would, a sweet red wine without the tannins.  Now, imagine it … served hot.  That’s what I’m tasting now.  Since I don’t usually drink wine hot, I’m thinking that this tea is a stunner served iced.  (Then again, I don’t drink wine much at all.  Hot or otherwise.)

The currant flavor is lightly tart – not puckery – and there is a pleasant sweetness to it too.  The white tea is not overpowered by the flavors of this tea.  It is light and refreshing with delicate vegetal notes and a sweet, airy quality.  I also notice a hint – just a hint! – of a warm, gentle spice to this too.  Like a slight peppery kick.  It’s a nice contrast to the tart and sweet fruit notes and the light sweetness from the white tea.

A really good tea.  This is one that I’d happily drink again!

A New Way of Displaying Teacups

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:00
Displaying teacups has always been a challenge for me, especially on shelves that are higher up. I recently found some nifty stands on Amazon that were a great solution. They're just simple plastic pieces that allow the saucer to stand up behind the teacup. Not all cups will fit perfectly but I didn't run into any where I couldn't make it work. Some of my saucers have pretty designs that were Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Time for repose

T Ching - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 12:00

To the Chinese, the heart is the central life image, and a source of thought and intelligence. A healthy life includes essential time-taking activities, such as repose.

Take time for repose – it is the germ of creation. The Chinese believe that during a deep breath, the energy of heaven is brought in through the nose into the heart/mind. The dictionary definition of repose includes, but is not limited to: freedom from that which excites, disturbs or stirs up; resulting in peace, tranquility, and calm. Synonyms include ease, quietness, peace, and relaxation.

In our busy lives, as we are pulled this way and that by technology; financial worries; and daily annoyances, it is easy to forget the healing power of deep breathing. Breathing deeply through the nose, then exhaling loudly and fully are excellent ways to lose stress and let go of life’s indignities, large and small.

Practice this as you prepare your tea: inhale deeply through the nose, and loudly out of your mouth. With each breath, say goodbye to something in your life that robs you of repose. After the tea steeps, put the cup up to your nose and take a deep draught of the energy of heaven. Rest yourself.

For me, two teas are perfect for repose . . . one is Jasmine Pearls, a jasmine tea that reminds me of a peaceful summer Sunday. Meditative Mind, a well-named blend from the Tea Spot, lends itself to repose as well.

This post was inspired by a lecture on Chinese characters given in 1991 by Chinese scholar and illustrator Ed Young.

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The post Time for repose appeared first on T Ching.

Peppermint Herbal Tisane from Simple Loose Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 03:59

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tisane Description:

Enjoy the refreshing and cooling flavor of peppermint straight from the leaves. Peppermint can be enjoyed on its own or added to another tea blend. The soothing leaves lend well to any sweetener. We recommend a touch of honey and lemon when enjoying these herbal leaves hot or iced.

Ingredients:  Peppermint Leaves

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op program here.

Taster’s Review:

Crisp and cool!

Yes, this is plain and simple pure dried peppermint leaves.  That doesn’t make them any less enjoyable!  The leaves produce a really invigorating yet soothing drink that is tasty served hot or cold.  It’s especially nice after a spicy meal because I like the way peppermint tames the tummy after eating my chili!  (And I love chili this time of year!)

The tisane tastes very refreshing.  It’s a very uplifting drink.  And mint is a big hit in this household – this is something I can brew and chill and know that my daughter will pour herself a cold glass of this rather than reach for a sugary soda.

To steep this tisane, I used below boiling water.  I generally do this with all herbs, because it’s been my experience that boiling water can scorch the herbs and they end up tasting bitter.  I don’t know if this is the case with all herbs, but I’ve noticed it with some herbs so I’ve just taken to the practice of using under boiling water for all herbals.  195°F ought to do it!  I steeped 1 bamboo scoop of leaf in 12 ounces of 195°F water for 10 minutes and this produced a very minty cup!

Peppermint isn’t something I can drink all day long because it is a very strong minty flavor and after a while, it does end up getting a little too much.  But like I said, I do like to have peppermint leaves on hand for after a spicy meal, and it’s also quite nice to sip on when I’m feeling a little under the weather (especially with an upset stomach) because it perks me right up.

It’s also nice when served with a little citrus.  The description above suggests lemon, but my personal favorite is lime!  I love the taste of lime with peppermint!  Also, if you want to give a boost to your favorite green or black tea, add a little bit of peppermint leaves to the loose leaf green or black tea before brewing to add a bright twist to your favorite tea.  It’s a good tisane to have on hand.

Packing up the Tea Garden for another year

Barb's Tea Shop - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 00:40
In February the TEA garden is plannedBack in June I wrote about what was to be the beginning of my tea garden at our place in northern Michigan, Pemberly Pines. In an area that is in a Plant Hardiness Zone of 4 (for comparison purposes, northern Alaska is Zone 1 and southern Florida is Zone 11), the gardening season isn't very long, but what time we do have, we certainly make the most of it. The tea garden flourished this summer and provided some very enjoyable tea times with family and friends.

My husband, Chris, built planters to be placed in the tea garden.
We planted herbs and flowers and added some teapot decor.
I labeled most of what I planted except for whatever was in the
big redwood planter. The seeds grew like crazy, but I was never
quite sure what they were.

Chris made the planters and transports plants in the tractor
Planting herbs, flowers and mystery seeds.
Tea garden tiles bought in February look lovely without snow
Not sure what I planted in here, but it really took off.
By August, the tea garden was in full bloom - just in time for our family reunion. In between paintball, outdoor movies, and golf, there was still time for a tea party.

Mystery plant? It's like a chia pet!
Herbs held on and hoping they return next year.
Having tea with Rachel and sister-in-law Cara in August
Pemberly also treated us with a bumper crop of blueberries - great with tea time
Last weekend, we were back up to Pemberly Pines with good friends, Rik and Carol, for our annual color tour of northern Michigan. We also walked the grounds of Pemberly and it was clear it was time to put the tea garden to bed. Rik took this picture which best captured the end of the tea garden for another season.

Seasons changing at Pemberly and the tea garden will take a hiatus.
It's time to switch from iced-tea by the pond to earl grey by the fireplace.  I'll have a few months to figure out what to add to next year's tea garden and maybe figure what's growing in the redwood planter.

Will now be posting on Wordpress location

Tea Time With A.C. Cargill - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 18:48
We have switched to posting on Wordpress instead. Check us out here: The World is a Tea Party

Little Yellow Teapot and his Tea Gang will be posting there, too. Or should I say "TOOOT!"?

Hope to see you there!

Gopaldhara Wonder Tea First Flush 2014 from Darjeeling Tea Lovers

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

GOPALDHARA WONDER ‘GOLD’ one of the most popular tea among the Darjeeling Tea Connoisseurs. A very limited stock is manufactured from the YOUNG TEA PLANTATIONS of this garden and this particular lot has been tagged as GOLD due to the supreme quality.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf looks a lot more like a green tea than a black tea.  The aroma is pleasantly floral.  Because the leaves are more “green” than black, I would advise not going higher than 195°F to brew this tea – that’s what I used and I’m quite pleased with the result.  This is my usual ‘go-to’ temperature when it comes to Darjeeling teas, because they don’t seem to be as fully oxidized as other black teas are, even though they are usually categorized as a black tea.  Darjeeling teas tend to be a little more delicate and should be treated differently.

I brewed these beautiful pale green, silvery tipped leaves in my Breville One-Touch.  I used 2 bamboo scoops of leaf and 500ml of water heated to 195°F, and steeped the leaves for 2 ½ minutes.  As I said before, I’m quite pleased with the resulting tea.  Delicious!

Then again, I’ve been blown away by all the teas that I’ve tried from this company.  Let me tell you, Darjeeling Tea Lovers KNOWS Darjeeling tea.  If you’re a devotee of Darjeeling tea, this is a company you should be exploring.  They have some of the very best Darjeeling teas I’ve ever tasted.

And this Gopaldhara Wonder Tea is indeed a wonder!  Wonderful, that is!  Sweet, crisp and refreshing!  The liquid is somewhere between gold and green.  It’s much paler than many Darjeeling teas that I’ve had this year.  And it has a “greener” sort of taste to me.  It tastes lighter and cleaner than a typical “black” Darjeeling.  This doesn’t have that “muscatel” flavor that you might expect from a Darjeeling.  This tea seems more focused on the sweet, delicate notes of flower.  I taste notes of jasmine!  Nice!

There are also delicate vegetal notes.  Not so much vegetable (as in steamed veggies) as it is lightly grassy.  But this is a sweet grassy note, not a bitter one.  The sip starts out sweet and I pick up on the floral notes right away.  Toward mid-sip, some of those lightly sweet, grassy notes start to come into focus.  The sip ends with a floral note that is jasmine-esque, and this flavor lingers into the aftertaste.  There is a light astringency at the start of the cup, and this astringency does develop as I continue to sip, but never becomes a really strong or what I would call astringent tea, instead, it’s a moderate astringency that leaves the palate feeling clean and invigorated.

An excellent afternoon tea – break out this tea when you have special guests over that you’re looking to impress!  Or save it for an afternoon when you have time to reflect – this is one of those teas that I’d call meditative!  The kind of tea that I want to enjoy when I don’t have a 101 different things to do … or the kind of tea I want to enjoy when I do have 101 things to do but I want to forget about them and just enjoy a moment for me!

Blueberry Hill Shou Mei White Tea from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Yerp, I’m going to say it: I’ve found my thrill… and it’s Blueberry Hill Shou Mei. This is a crisp, refreshing shou mei white tea blended with real freeze-dried blueberries and organic flavors. No, it’s not as far out there as some of our blends. It’s not peanut butter, bacon, tuna fish sandwich on rye flavored tea. Just delicious, amazing blueberry flavor in our lovely hay-like shou mei.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn how to subscribe to 52Teas’  Tea of the Week program here.

Taster’s Review:


Yeah, I’ve had a few blueberry teas.  Blueberry teas are not as popular as say, strawberry teas, but there are still quite a few blueberry teas out there and even some blueberry white teas and I’ve tried a few of them.  But that doesn’t make this Blueberry Hill Shou Mei any less tasty!

One of the things that I enjoy about a 52Teas blend is the fact that there are (usually) chunks of the thing that I’m tasting in the blend.  Like for this blend, as I was scooping out the tea into my Breville One-Touch tea maker, I found a couple of freeze-dried blueberries.  Not just one little tiny berry.  These are large berries and I must have scooped out at least three in the 2 1/2 bamboo scoops of tea that I measured into the basket of the Breville.  (I generally use a little more leaf when it comes to white tea because the leaves are bigger and create more “space” in the scoop when I’m scooping it out.)

My settings for the tea maker:  500ml of water into the jug, 170°F and 3 1/2 minutes steep time.  Delightful results!

This tastes just exactly how I hoped it would.  Sweet blueberry-ish goodness with pleasing white tea notes of hay.  The white tea is crisp and refreshing and doesn’t hide behind the flavor.  The blueberry tastes sweet and a little tart and it tastes true to the fruit.

It’s a really enjoyable cup of tea that tastes wonderful served hot and even better iced.  The tea can be resteeped and it still tastes wonderful.  This is a win – even if it isn’t one of 52Teas more unusual creations.  Sometimes simplicity is just plain tasty!

Featured Tea Book - Book of Tea Classic Edition

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 18:24
from the publisher:

Now available in a gorgeous hardcover slipcase edition, this "object d'art" will be sure to add grace and elegance to tea shelves, coffee tables and bookshelves. A keepsake enjoyed by tea lovers for over a hundred years, The Book of Tea Classic Edition will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the seemingly simple act of making and drinking tea.

In 1906 in turn-of-the century Boston, a small, esoteric book about tea was written with the intention of being read aloud in the famous salon of Isabella Gardner, Boston's most famous socialite. It was authored by Okakura Kakuzo, a Japanese philosopher, art expert, and curator. Little known at the time, Kakuzo would emerge as one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century, a genius who was insightful, witty—and greatly responsible for bridging Western and Eastern cultures. Okakura had been taught at a young age to speak English and was more than capable of expressing to Westerners the nuances of tea and the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

In The Book of Tea Classic Edition he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of tea and Japanese life. The book emphasizes how Teaism taught the Japanese many things; most importantly, simplicity. Kakuzo argues that tea-induced simplicity affected the culture, art and architecture of Japan.

Nearly a century later, Kakuzo's The Book of Tea Classic Edition is still beloved the world over, making it an essential part of any tea enthusiast's collection. Interwoven with a rich history of Japanese tea and its place in Japanese society is poignant commentary on Asian culture and our ongoing fascination with it, as well as illuminating essays on art, spirituality, poetry, and more. The Book of Tea Classic Edition is a delightful cup of enlightenment from a man far ahead of his time.

The Book of Tea Classic Edition

A Moment for Tea - Barry's Gold Blend

Tea Time With A.C. Cargill - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 15:58
No matter what life throws your way, everything is a bit better when you take a moment out for tea. I'll be presenting various teas here as I am enjoying them and encourage you to join me, setting aside cares of the day for at least a short time.

This is Barry's Gold Blend that we used to be able to buy from World Market but now have to find elsewhere since we moved and they don't have a store near our new location. (I think the nearest is in Wichita, Kansas - quite a drive away, but I guess we could always take the risk of shopping online.) And of course, I always cut open the bags and dump the loose tea in the pot for steeping. Tastes better that way.

2014 Northwest Tea Festival @ Seattle (10/4-5/2014)

Pon Fon Cha - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 19:20

Cheers!  Cheers to all of our tea friends in Northwest !
This one indeed has been delayed for 7 years.

Back in 2008 at the World Tea Expo, Julee and Doug had invited us to be part of Northwest Tea Festival at Seattle, our answer was 'maybe... next year'.  It ends up, year after year, and we have missed them all till this one.  Due to our TOST program happens to have conflict on the schedule. Both events are taken place in October, and it is extremely difficult for us to loose focus.
Here we are, finally, attending 2014 Northwest Tea Festival at the famous Seattle Center.

I am shocked to see how busy the festival is... we need to squeeze and get by...while each exhibitor is happily serving customers.  The official tea cups are totally gone almost right after the door open on Sunday, and it shows how tea lovers in the Northwest are really thirsty for fine tea.  We have two sessions here, one is on main stage, Saturday 2pm, which Josephine and I share with our open audience - 'Spectrum of Taiwan Oolongs'., another one is Advanced Cupping on Taiwan Oolongs with signed up attendees.

Friday Round Up - October 12th through October 18th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:00
Obsessed by Tea and How to Know Cwyn's brand of wit and sarcasm are just my cup of tea. This list definitely speaks to much of my life as an obsessive tea drinker. Especially the part at the end about having to pee... Matcha Cornflake Clusters +Bonnie Eng is at it again! This recipe had me drooling (and making a mental note to pick up some culinary matcha). I thought that the poppy seeds addedNicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

The Upward Trend in the Quality of Teas from India

Tea Time With A.C. Cargill - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 15:26

Four teas from Doke Tea Garden – truly a cut above!
Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.For centuries, many of the teas from India that we Westerners in Europe and North America were used to drinking were of the CTC variety or that dust in teabags. Not anything to write home about, as the saying goes, and in dire need of flavor additives such as milk, sugar, spices, honey, lemon, various fruit flavors, and even flower petals and mint leaves. These days, though, there is a definite upward trend in the quality of teas we are seeing from India.

Some of this trend can be attributed to the tea gardens in the Darjeeling area of West Bengal, India, having achieved a geographical designation for their teas a few years ago. When customers are assured that they are getting true Darjeeling tea, not some inferior tea with a bit of Darjeeling leaves blended in, they are willing to pay more, as some of the record prices now being paid for these teas can attest.

But there are other indicators: more teas from other tea-growing areas of India, such as Assam, Nilgiri, and Bihar, are being sold by tea garden and flush, not just as “black Indian tea” in bags. And the various styles are increasing. I, for one, hadn’t heard of green teas from Assam until quite recently. Now I see them all over. And white teas. Plus I am getting inquiries online from people in India wanting information on how to process oolongs.

What does all this mean? Personally, I see it as a very good sign. From huge plantations churning out nondescript black teas, growers are now beginning a transition to smaller gardens (or huge gardens with smaller sections) growing tea plants for use in making more premium teas. Tea processors from China and elsewhere are being sought out to help in this transition. Tea expert Nigel Melican is now working with the India Tea Board, lending his vast knowledge on processing teas. Yes, indeed, things are looking up for India and for tea drinkers around the world.

A great illustration is the Doke Tea Garden, Bihar, India.

My experiences trying various samples of this garden’s teas have been real eye-openers. I mean, they could have taken the easy route – harvesting the leaves, processing them into those little CTC bits or that dust in a teabag. After all, people drink a lot of that stuff. The Doke teabag brand could have been crowding out all those cheap bagged teas off of the grocery store shelves. So why not? Because there’s more at issue here. That trend upward, for one thing. A slow, tough slog with a substantial learning curve for folks who are used to how those other teas are processed. And hopefully a path that leads to better things for the owners of the tea gardens and for the people who work for them there.

While those bagged teas, those blends that are in the cups of people all across The United Kingdom, Ireland, and even here in Canada and the U.S., still have their place, people there are waking up to this new trend, waking to these more varied and higher quality teas. We’ve learned to stop accepting just “green tea” and “black tea” as our choices, and now we want that Spring Flush, etc., from a certain garden, or an oolong from Taiwan instead of Anxi, or a raw well-aged pu-erh instead of that artificially aged ripe/cooked pu-erh. In other words, we’re getting picky. And that’s a good thing. Having a vendor smother that inferior tea with flower petals and bits of dried fruit will no longer due, at least I hope it won’t. Getting a taste of the “good stuff” can be addictive and mean that you’ll never want to go back. These Doke teas are certainly some of the ones that spoiled me!

Back seven: tea and tomlike

T Ching - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:03

It was a crisp clear morning toward the end of September. All were properly attired in layered outerwear and with backpacks packed with food and beverage as well as the requisite all purpose knife, thermos, and traveling tea set.

After a beautiful 40 minute drive, we arrived at Wahtum Lake, trailhead for our destination: Tomlike Mountain – one of the most remote destinations in the Columbia River Wilderness. Michelle and I had never been there before, but Regena was an old hand at taming the ridges of Tomlike. From the parking lot we immediately began our gradual ascent. Our goal was to reach the highest peak at the north end of the ridge. A long hike lay a head of us. We forged ahead at a relatively quick pace with our goal fixed in our minds. Fortunately, (depending on your perspective) we quickly got sidetracked and slowed down to a crawl. The cause: Cantharellus kauffmanii. As you can see from the photo, it is quite an eye catcher. Unfortunately, none of us brought our mushroom, wildflower, or any other field guides. We had no idea what we were looking at, just that it was quite intriguing looking. From there, our forward and upward zeal went downward and downhill, becoming a “let’s move at a snail’s pace and cover every inch of the area” kind of zeal. It turned out that the Anthill Trail to the top of Tomlike Mountain was teeming with mushrooms. Scores of the beautiful and exotic looking Amanita muscaria as well as melting Boletus edulus and other assorted fungi. As excited as we were at our discoveries, it was quite clear that we had missed the sweet spot for edibles by about a week. Everything was on its way back to the humus from which it arose.

We finally gave up the ghost and returned to our onward and upward moving zeal. We were cruising along at a nice pace now, stopping occasionally to appreciate the awe-inspiring surroundings. Winding our way along the ridge, the path became narrower and more obscure. At one point, even the seasoned Regena became a bit disoriented as to where the path was. Tapping eventually into her muscle memory, her legs started heading in the right direction until we found ourselves once again on an identifiable path.

At that point, we decided it was the perfect time for tea and repast. We found a beautiful spot on a rocky outcropping overlooking the mountains and valleys below. Regena took out her thermos – an antique Stanley which looks as though it was run over by a tank from the Normandy invasion and weighing as much as a cheap laptop – and I took out my hiking/traveling tea set made up of a small 100 mL gaiwan, a sharing pitcher, 8 tasting cups and a special tweezer used to take out the tea leaves. I brought An Ji Bai Cha and Bai Hao Yinzhen. We decided on the Angel White (An Ji Bai Cha). There is an old Chinese saying that the best way to enjoy tea is while in beautiful natural surroundings with fresh water from a spring and with cherished loved ones. This certainly fit the bill. I can attest to the fact that there is something qualitatively different about sharing a cup of tea with friends and loved ones while surrounded by nature’s bountiful beauty. The beauty, peace and tranquility of our surroundings was brought internally by virtue of sharing some delicious tea.

We resumed our hike and along the way became sidetracked two more times as we passed through a good sized patch of huckleberry bushes laden with their luscious dark purple fruit (Yum!) and finally passing through a grove of pygmy pines. We were prepared for the pines, for this was one of Regena’s favorite spots on the hike, an odd saddle at 4000 feet elevation, covered with pines stunted as if growing at timberline. Timberline – that point where trees cease to grow – is usually about 7000′ at our latitude.

As we came out of the grove of pygmy pines, we found the pathway penetrated by a plethora of pleasantly pigmented paleolithic stones and our eyes penetrated by a panoramic perspective of promethean prodigiousness. We were surrounded on all sides by vistas that simply took our breath away.

The last leg of our ascent required us to traverse an enormous pile of very large platter-sized scree, called Cascade Dinner Plates. A little intimidating at first because these platters rocked when you stepped on them. It made for a very exciting ascent (and descent). Finally, we reached the pinnacle of our climb and, craving a respite and more tea, we found a spot at the top of the ridge. There we repeated our richly rewarding shared tea ritual in yet another magnificent setting. Beautiful as it was, weather blowing in kept us from the best views: Mts. Hood; St. Helens; Adams; and Rainier. This time we shared some Silver Needles (Bai Hao Yinzhen). The delicately sweet refreshing taste of this tea accentuated the sweetness of the moment. Having spent a wonderful day together in such heady surroundings left us in a light, heady almost meditative mood. It was delicious.

Loading image provided by contributor.  IMAGE 1:       IMAGE 2:       IMAGE 3:

Originally published November 5, 2007.

The post Back seven: tea and tomlike appeared first on T Ching.

Our 8 Favorite Fall Flavors

Joy's Teaspoon - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 04:16

Spicy Apple

by Naomi Rosen

Fall is in the air, even here in Vegas. When we dropped into the mid-60′s a few mornings ago, my boys asked me if it was going to be a snow day. Then there’s Trader Joe’s and their pumpkin butter! Since it is the season for some of my favorite flavors and aromas, I figured now was a great time to share 8 of my favorite Autumn teas and some suggested recipes to go with them!

Spicy Apple and Spicy Pear - These two have a lot in common. Both have black tea bases and that spicy cinnamon zing. And both are subtly sweet due to their fruity additions. I’m a fan of pairing these teas with sweets, namely Banana Bread. Mostly because it’s freaking banana bread!

American Chai - This chai is heavy on the cinnamon and to compliment that flavor, it pairs really well with this Beef Chili with Cinnamon and Chocolate. It will help bring out the subtle chili and chocolate additions and, let’s face it, it’s the ultimate fall meal!

Tie Guan Yin - This oolong tea is unique because the leaves have been roasted to add a natural nutty flavor to the cup. Now, I know Thai noodles don’t seem very “Fall-ish”, but in my house, we eat them all year round. One of my favorite recipes is this Chicken Thai Noodle with Peanut Sauce recipe. If you are looking for a meat free option, this recipe is great with tofu as well.

Lapsang Souchong - If you’ve never tried lapsang souchong before, you are in for quite a treat. It’s a black tea that has been smoked over pine and because of that smokiness, it’s one of my favorite things to pair with salmon! In particular, this super simple Almond Salmon. You can even use some of the dried tea in the pesto to give the fish a subtle smoky flavor. Bonus Suggestion: Lapsang souchong paired with an aged cheddar cheese is quite possibly the tastiest thing you will ever put in your mouth.

Apple Cider - The only green tea to make this list, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this green tea will be mild in flavor. Normally I would pair green teas with chicken and fish, but this flavor is strong enough to hold its own against just about any dish. I’m pairing it with an Apple and Onion Pork Chop recipe that is simple and one of my families hands down favorites!

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland - Let’s go with the idea, for just a moment, that the perfect accoutrement (said in a my horrid French accent) to a delicious cup of tea is a scone. These Orange and Cranberry Scones are just the ticket! Winter Wonderland has star anise, oranges and cinnamon doing most of the talking and the sweet jab of orange and cranberry in the scone is refreshing without duking it out with those strong flavors.

Masala Chai - Traditionally, masala chai’s are made by steeping the leaves and spices in milk (vs. steeping in water and adding milk). Because of this, chai’s always make me think of sitting in a bakery. They’re rich and creamy and heavenly…and then you add something sugary and floury! Some of my favorite recipes to go with this fall staple include: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes, Caramel Apple Cheesecakes, and Krispy Kreme’s Original Glaze doughnuts. Stop judging me! I’m sure I could make doughnuts to pair with it, but they would never beat KK!

Now I want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite fall teas and their BFF recipes? Have a better recipe idea to pair with on these teas? Let’s hear it!




2014 L.A. International Tea Festival (8/16-17/2014)

Pon Fon Cha - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:48

Glad to see The 4th Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival is growing bigger and bigger. We are still at the same venue: National Japanese American History Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.  It is mutually beneficial to our tea festival and Nisei Matsuri event over the weekend.
Josephine and Karen are working so hard at the booth while I have to do the tea classes.  We just hope more and more tea lovers will enjoy a festival that brings so many vendors and shoppers together, plus a great deal of programs in the classrooms.

We have one class 'All about Taiwan Oolongs' in Saturday, and then join Mr. James Pratt Norwood for the 'International Tea Forum' on Sunday.  We believe in tea education to effectively cultivate our regional tea market.

Favorite Tea Ware: Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized

Notes on Tea - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 18:00
As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore tea ware, from bombillas to matcha whisks. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite 3 of folks in the tea blogging community. Today's faves are from Jee Choe of Oh, How Civilized.

Mariage Frères Tea Canister: On the last two trips to Paris, I picked up tea canisters from Mariage Frères. They're so pretty and the colors are gorgeous, like this mint green one. This one is filled with Marco Polo, one of the best selling Mariage Frères blends. [Mariage Frères]

Matcha Ladle: I got this Bamboo Matcha Ladle from Ippodo, at their shop in Midtown East. This delicate ladle scoops out the perfect portion of matcha and I use it almost every day. [Ippodo Tea NY]

Matcha Whisk: When I got the ladle at Ippodo, I got this 80-tip Bamboo Whisk with it. This is my second one since the first got a little beaten up from not using it properly. I was too aggressively whisking the matcha against the bottom of the bowl -- something you shouldn't do, which I learned the hard way.

All photos are courtesy of Jee Choe. Thank you, Jee. 

Revitalize Ayurvedic Tea from TeaVeda

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  The Veda Company

Tea Description:

“Revitalize” your mind, body and spirit with refreshing and rejuvenating essences of wild mint, cinnamon and traditional Ayurvedic Indian Gooseberry.  Each blend is mildly caffeinated with green tea, one of nature’s antioxidant wonders.

Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.

Taster’s Review:

Indian Gooseberry is not something that I’m well acquainted with, so I googled it to learn more.  Based on the information that I could find, it is high in vitamin C, it is an antioxidant and does all kinds of other good for you things like enhances brain function, heart support and it’s good for your skin and hair among many other benefits.

OK, sounds good to me.

The berry is supposed to offer a very strong sour and bitter taste.  Bitter and sour are not two of my favorite words when it comes to describing tea.

So maybe the Indian Gooseberry is starting to sound less good to me.

But, hey, there are other ingredients in this tea too.  Not just the gooseberry.  Cinnamon and wild mint.  I like them.  And I like green tea.  So, maybe these other ingredients will help make the Indian Gooseberry more palatable.

So, I’ll try it.  Hey!  That’s what I do.  That’s why I’m here.  And that’s why you’re here.  You’re here to read about what I’m drinking.  And I’m about to drink this tea.

To brew it, I heated freshly filtered water to 175°F and I got out my favorite teacup.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the gorgeous Revitalize teacup from the TeaVeda collection.  But I like my sunflower teacup anyway!

I let the tea sachet steep for 2 minutes.  The aroma has a strong fruity essence with light background notes of cinnamon and a whisper of mint.

The flavor is strong.  It has a strong, berry like flavor that is indeed both bitter and sour.  The cinnamon and mint do balance this strong flavor out though.  I’m finding the flavor a little surprising because cinnamon and mint tend to be very strong, aggressive flavors and it surprises me that the Indian Gooseberry is a stronger flavor than the other ingredients.  The gooseberry is what I taste – front and center – while the other flavors seem to temper the bitterness and tart character of the gooseberry.

That said, I find the flavor to be enjoyable.  I am not a big fan of bitter and sour flavors, but, because of the presence of the mint and cinnamon, these two flavors are much more acceptable to my palate … not just acceptable, but actually enjoyable.

I don’t taste a lot of green tea here and if I’m to offer a complaint about this tea, that would be it.  I would like to have a stronger green tea presence.  After all, I’m drinking tea.  I want to taste the tea.

I found this tea to be quite interesting, and I could notice myself feeling revitalized after I finished it.  I would certainly drink this again if the opportunity presented itself.

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