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Tangerine Cupcake? With Marshmallow FROSTING? #52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 11:00
There’s just something about a well-named tea, you guys. I’ll be the first to admit that I TOTALLY judge literal books by their covers when I’m in a bookstore, or the library– and that same tendency seems to spill into the tea-loving parts of my life as well. So when I stumbled across this tea– TANGERINE cupcake? With MARSHMALLOW FROSTING? it immediately got bumped to the top of the list on name alone. Like many other sisters reviewing here, I am a sucker for marshmallow in tea– particularly, the pillowy, creamy goodness that the marshmallow root herb adds to a Read More

Dragon Pearl Jasmine from Teavivre

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 23:00
Jasmine – Take Me Away! I swear this stuff is better than any bubble bath for soothing frayed nerves! My jasmine vines are in bloom which set me to hankering for some delicious jasmine tea. The first jasmine tea I ever tasted was a painful experience. I will try to distance myself emotionally enough to recount it for you. It was EXACTLY like drinking perfume. Or soap. Or something nasty that was supposed to taste like a flower but tasted like chemicals instead. It was synthetically flavored with jasmine, and it showed. Then along came Teavivre and they sent me Read More

White Peach Iced Tea from Story of My Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 17:00
Story of My Tea has been one company that has peaked my interest several times.  Between their social campaigns and reading the thoughts of fellow tea bloggers, Story of My Tea appears to be one that we should take note of. Especially with their new iced tea offerings. I’m one of those tea drinkers who is extremely picky about their peach tea flavorings.  It seems that artificial peach flavors are a dime a dozen, but teas that have that fresh crisp peach tea are ones that you have to search for. So to say I was skeptical of Story of Read More

Newbie Tips for Japanese Tea

T Ching - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 12:52

Everyone loves an acronym, so at Chiki Tea, we decided to get in on the game too: WATT.

It’s a helpful way for beginners to remember the vital points of making potentially fussy Japanese green tea.

WATT stands for:

Water Amounts Temperature Time Water

We often take for granted the foundation ingredient in a cup of tea. Water!

For your usual cup of Lipton’s or PG tips, this isn’t a very big issue. But when it comes to very delicate, highly sensitive sencha, kabusecha and matcha, the type and quality of water you use becomes imperative.

At the very least, ensure your water is filtered or bottled. Filtering can be done through a Brita or similar water filtration system, but avoid using an RO (that’s reverse osmosis!) system. For tea, an RO removes the many minerals along with the gunk making your tea taste flat. We are advocates of adding binchotan (Japanese white charcoal) to both filter and add minerals to the water.

Bottled water should be high quality and not the cheapo gallons you buy at Walmart… where you can actually smell the plastic before you take the first sip! Evian on the other hand has too many minerals in it, so avoid that too. Distilled is also a tea-taste killer.

If you’re lucky and live near a natural spring, draw fresh living water straight from the source. You wont’ believe how amazing your tea will taste! We have natural springs and mountain water all around us in Kyushu, including a natural spring 80 meters below our building which comes straight out of the tap! It’s worth a trip to Japan just to taste this water!

Amounts

For the best cup of tea, the amount of water and the amount of leaves is vital. It’s all about the ratio. And over time, you will find the ratio of tea-to-water that your tastebuds prefer.

It sounds obvious, but if you use too few leaves, the tea will taste too weak! But often times people think they can get around this by steeping it longer. This might work with Chinese or Indian black and oolongs but not for fresh Japanese teas.  See below for ‘Time’. Likewise, adding too many leaves and the tea can quickly taste overbearing, bitter, even fishy.

I suggest the following ratios for most Japanese green teas:

  • Single serving: 8g tea / 200ml water
  • Double serving: 16g tea / 400ml

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes a few more leaves for a slightly stronger profile is recommended, but these ratios are a good starting point to find your perfect taste.

Temperature

Tea connoisseurs might roll their eyes at this point, but the truth is, outside of our tight-knit circle, few people know about this rule: when it comes to Japanese green tea, avoid using boiling water.

If the water is too hot, it will force the extraction too quickly, in effect scalding the leaves, and result in a very bitter flavour brought on by the caffeine. The balance is completely thrown off kilter.

Aim for water between 70ºC and 80ºC  (158ºF – 176ºF) for pure greens and 90°C (194°F) for houjicha and some genmaicha teas.

Hon Gyokuro and regular Gyokuro require very cool water – around 55°C (131°F) for the first steep, slightly hotter for the second and slightly hotter yet for the third steep. The waiting time is roughly 2 minutes,  90 seconds and 30 seconds respectively, depending on your leaves.

Time

One minute is the universal guide. Once you become proficient at steeping Japanese tea, you will instinctively learn how to read the leaves and know when the time is up. If you go into any tea shop in Japan and watch the owner making a pot of tea, she will never use a timer, or a thermometer for that matter. Soon you will be able to do this!

As a general rule, hotter water requires less steeping time; therefore, a 90°C pot of houjicha is generally steeped for 30-45 seconds max for the ultimate flavor, without that burned taste if you go too long.

All four of the WATT aspects of tea-making are inextricably linked. It’s what makes steeping Japanese green tea both an art and a science!

WATT FUN (water amounts temperature time for ultimate newbies)! We hope this little acronym is useful – it makes our cute Japanese customers giggle as they practice their English.

The post Newbie Tips for Japanese Tea appeared first on T Ching.

Tardis Eleven Geronimo from Tea and Absinthe. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:00
Okay, guys I have a confession to make. I have no idea what the name of this tea is referencing. I don’t know if I just live under a rock or if I am too young for the reference, so it took me a while to gain interest in trying this tea. But today I was digging through my little tea sample box and wanted to try something different. I did a google search to see what this tea was all about and on the company’s description it mentions vanilla custard- that is one of my favorite flavors!!! So I Read More

Candied Chestnut from The Tea Spot. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 23:00
This tea tastes like a baby shower for a child of unknown gender. Try to imagine the scene: comfortable, lighthearted, full of pastel yellows, whites, and light green gifts. Everyone’s in a good mood. It’s sweet and exciting and soft. Boom. That’s this tea. It’s a smooth, buttery light flavor that is sweet. It tastes like nuts. It tastes like sugar. It tastes like calories. The Tea Spot likens this tea’s flavor to a wedding cake, which I hadn’t realized until after I started this review’s “baby shower motif.” But you can see that I was spot on with their Read More

Romancing the Beach from Beach House Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 17:00
First of all, a name like this– Romancing the Beach? So fancy, you guys. Also maybe a little risqué, no? Sassy name or not, this one had a lot of promise for me, a blend of red rooibos with strawberry and cacao, a touch of hibiscus and rose. Brewed, it’s a beautiful pink (hello, hibiscus!) and smells like a light, floral rooibos. I’ll admit– I had HIGH hopes for the flavor. Cacao? Strawberries? GIMME. But it fell a tiny bit flat on the complexity for me. It was a great rooibos blend, none of that medicinal ick that sometimes is Read More

Confessions of a Teaware Hoarder

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 16:00

When starting any hobby I find that we all tend to indiscriminately collect anything and everything related to our new passion. I've been through this phase in the past with other hobbies (such as collecting Breyer model horses when I was young) but nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming miasma of stuff that the tea world has to offer. Teapots, teacups, gaiwans, books, and gadgets; if it was related to tea I just had to have it.

After a while, I actually ran out of room to store and display everything. A normal person might have said, "Enough is enough.". I, on the other hand, went to Target and simply bought a larger bookcase. This continued on for several years. While working in NYC I constantly perused thrift stores and local tea shops for my next prize. Combing through local Asian grocery stores was also a favorite activity.

It wasn't until it came time to move in with my boyfriend (and now fiance) that I realized just how much stuff I had accumulated. Jason knew I was into tea but I don't think he was at all prepared for it to invade his person space just yet. When it came time to set up the bookcase in our new apartment, I just couldn't bring myself to reassemble the cluttered mess that was my teaware collection. Anything that had not been used within the last six months was either given away or donated.

I do believe that part of this change had something to with my evolving preferences. When I first started drinking tea, large teapots and infuser baskets were my go-to tools. Nowadays gongfu is my method more often than not. Not only are these pieces are significantly smaller as well as harder to find. They also really need to be suited to the preferences of the individual brewer.

My passion for tea remains as fervent as ever but I'm much more selective about what I purchase these days. I find that I enjoy my collection much more because of this new policy. Everything looks a lot nicer in my apartment to boot! You know what they say, a Petr Novak in the hand is worth two cruddy teapots in the bush.

My revised collection, minus a few pieces that were in use at the time

Are you a teaware hoarder? Have you changed the way that you purchase tea things over time? Tell me all about it in the comments!

This amended article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Tea for Me Please Quarterly. Sign up using the form below to receive informative tea articles four times a year. 

Sign up for my free quarterly tea journal!

JusTea: A Passion for Purple & A Passion for People

T Ching - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 12:52

Wouldn’t we all like to know that the tea we’ve purchased benefited the lives of others?  At JusTea that is just what happens–however it’s not just tea, it’s JUST tea; justly made in Kenya, justly farmed by Kenyans, justly sourced by Canadians, and justly delicious!

I met Grayson Bain, the founding “father” of JusTea.com at the World Tea Expo a few years back and this post is long overdue. This giant of a man indeed has a giant heart and is doing something in Kenya for which all of us in the tea industry can take pride. You simply must explore the JusTea website; trust me, your heart will be delighted.

The Bain family, from Vancouver, B.C., (fellow Canadians) has undertaken a mission with the small farmers from Kenya that helps entire families of the farmers. What they are doing for women-owned businesses too is something grand as well.

The Bain family-owned and operated business believes in trade, not aid.

“Charity has no end – but business creates jobs. When people earn a steady wage, there is no longer a need for charitable donations. Money circulates in the village, and boosts the local economy. More than $1 trillion has been given as aid money to African nations over the last 50 years, but many countries are poorer and more in debt than ever before. Business creates opportunity for the development of resources, infrastructure, and wealth. JusTea is dedicated to putting people to work, while still making profits in Kenya and North America.”

I recently received some tea samples from their new Purple Tea line, and they are certainly worth sharing. Here is a short video featuring their Purple Tea:

“Purple Tea is low in caffeine and organically grown. This vibrant tea is the only tea to contain anthocyanins, the same super-antioxidants that are found in other purple plants, like blueberries and pomegranates. Anthocyanins have been found to lower cholesterol, improve immune health, and help as a natural anti-inflammatory. Similar to a green tea, our farmers craft Purple Tea as an unoxidized leaf to retain the most health benefits.”

I have to admit that their Purple Rain blend is marvelous, and is also helping the women that grow the herbs that have been added to their Purple Tea.

I will long cherish the hand-carved wooden spoon I received along with the tea samples. “Steep the perfect cup of tea with this one-of-a-kind, hand-carved Kenyan teaspoon. We employ 20 different woodworking families through the sales of these beautiful olive wood spoons. The spoon project is lead by husband and wife, Paul and Penina, with members of the carving community of Makweni (just east of Mt. Kenya). Each spoon purchase creates employment for artisans of the Makweni community.”

The spoons sell for $3.00 each! If several of you simply purchased six of those spoons, and gave them to cherished tea friends, you’d make quite an impact in the lives of Kenyan families. You must try their teas, too!

I have great admiration for the Bain family and their work with small-scale tea farmers which provides them with new opportunities for sustainable growth, as well as employment for the farmer’s families. Their focus on ethical, natural, and quality tea deserves to be recognized. It is my honor to share my tea experience, but moreso the heart-warming journey of new families from two separate countries all becoming one.

The post JusTea: A Passion for Purple & A Passion for People appeared first on T Ching.

Sweet Cinnamon Mate from Because UR Priceless. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 11:00
I have never actually had a mate blend. Which is interesting because I have drank a lot of teas, but just never had an interest in mate I guess. Although mate is considered an herbal blend, it still contains a pretty high amount of caffeine. I really needed a caffeine boost today so I decided to brew up a cup of Sweet Cinnamon Mate. I like sweet cinnamon, not hot cinnamon, so I hoped that this tea would live up to its name. Now, I don’t have any other mate blends to compare this to, but I noticed a pretty Read More

An Afternoon in Paris from Fauchon. . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 23:00
This is one of the teas my sister brought back from Paris when she stopped there on her honeymoon. If I am being honest, I would have never picked it for myself because I see citrus and think to myself “meh”. Luckily I wasn’t choosing because I would have missed out. This is a smooth tea. The vanilla is a lot more prominent than I anticipated and has a creamy vanilla bean quality to it. The base is maybe a little thicker than I would normally like but it helps add depth to the vanilla. The citrus is bright but Read More

Alishan JinXuan Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 17:00
Descriptions for tea plantations are like works of art, describing misty cloud-covered mountains where finicky plants flourish. The words evoke vintage Chinese brush paintings where ascending mountains disappear into mist shrouds. This tea has a delicate flavor, a little bit vegetal, a little bit flowery, a little bit creamy. Soft and gentle. If you want a kick-you-in-the-face morning brew, this isn’t it. But if you want a gentle sunny-day accompaniment (now THERE’s a hard word to spell) this could be your new go-to. Why might that be? Let’s read: “Jin-Xuan is a special variety of Camellia Sinesis (tea plant) developed Read More

Pomegranate from CHASH The Fine Tea Co. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 11:00
“If ‘Tea Makes Everything Better’ shouldn’t we ​be drinking better tea?” This is what CHASH is all about. This tagline is found on their packaging and prominently displayed when you go to their site. When I first saw this quote on my tea sample packet, all I could think is “I don’t know if their tea is better yet, but I will say their packaging is a step above the rest”. Without even trying the tea and with one mere tea sample in my hand, I was impressed with the high quality material, the beautiful green color of the package, Read More

Natural Cacao Tea from Micacao. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 02:14
The site for this tea describes cacao as a “superfood” — a fact that almost every woman on Earth innately knows. (Am I right?) The touted health benefits of this tea include kicking caffeine addiction, weight loss, and boosting mood. Like I care about any of that. I just want to drink chocolate. This is a tasty brew, sweet with a tiny smoky tinge. It has a lot of the impact of eating chocolate, with few (if any) of the calories. Would I rather be shoveling pure candy bars into my face? Obviously. But this tea does, to a degree, Read More

The British Accents Tea Room in Sarasota: A taste of England in The Sunshine State

Barb's Tea Shop - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 17:43
The Barb Gulleys enjoy traditional afternoon tea time at British Accents
In an unassuming strip mall in southern Sarasota, there's an aptly named tea room and retail store:   The British Corner Shop and The British Accents Tea Room. In this little corner of the gulf side of Florida, you walk through the storefront doors of an All-American shopping center into a most delightful slice of England, complete with tea time and merchandise from "across the pond".


Burgundy-hued lines cover tables donned with three-tiered trays and fancy china.
Last week, my mother-in-law, Barb Gulley, and I (the other, "Barb Gulley"), visited The British Accents Tea Room, having made reservations the day before for their Traditional Afternoon Tea.   We enjoyed every minute of our stay, from the retail shop's shelves filled to the brim with fanciful English merchandise to the cozy tea room in back, with tables covered in crisp, burgundy-hued linens donned with three tier trays and teapots festooned in hand-knit coverings. A glowing "fire" in the fireplace along the back wall added to the ambiance, feeling much more British Isles than tropical U.S.


Moira Nichols and Arlene Sullivan add to the British connection
But, perhaps most importantly, the food and service are excellent. We were cheerfully greeted by chef and server, Moira Nichols and Arlene Sullivan respectively, and they bring home the British connection. Moira is from England, having moved here over twenty years ago and Arlene did a study abroad in Britain.  Both shared interesting stories of their native/adoptive home.


Delicious scones served with strawberry preserves and Devon cream
The Traditional Afternoon Tea is absolutely delicious, consisting of scones, sweets and savories all served up with a smile and an expertly brewed pot of Earl Grey (our choice, there is a wide selection of teas to choose from).


Tea sandwiches include, cucumber and smoked salmon
Our scones, accompanied by strawberry preserves and Devon cream, were freshly baked and scrumptious -  and just the right consistency, too.

We were given the choice of two sandwiches each and you can easily share their generous portions. We asked for the smoked salmon and cream cheese, the egg and cress and cucumber. All were amazing, but I especially loved the smoked salmon!

Three-tiered tray topped with miniature pastries.
All of this was topped, quite literally, by an assortment of small pastries for dessert. Chocolate-topped tiny tortes and lemon cake were our favorites.

The British Corner Shop shelves are filled with merchandise fro England
And, after dessert, there's shopping to be had. The British Corner Shop carries a wide variety of products from England including tea, tea sets, purses and teddy bears.


Tea accessories, including child tea sets in hampers
The store caries a full-line of assorted teas.

Cute purses and British snacks are also available

The British Corner Shop and British Accents Tea Room is a lovely trip to England without ever needing to cross the ocean.  A wonderful place to enjoy a spot of tea in Sarasota, Florida.

The British Accents Tea Room serves tea Tuesday - Saturday
The British Corner Shop and The British Accents Tea Room are located at 2236 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. For more information, check out their website at The British Corner Shop.


Organic Royal Camomile from Hampstead Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 11:00
Hampstead Tea has been around since the 1980’s. They are committed to biodynamic practices in producing what they sell; i.e. putting in more than is taken out. They offer organic tea with fair trade options. This particular tea came in an individually wrapped tea bag. And yes, they spell it Camomile. Is that a British thing? Is it just the Americans who spell it Chamomile? This particular tea came in an individually wrapped tea bag. And yes, they spell it Camomile. Is that a British thing? Is it just the Americans who spell it Chamomile? If the herbs are fresh, Read More

Greek Mountain Tea by Sparta Natura. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 23:00
Steeping specs: about 3 g in about 8 ounces of water at about 212° for about four minutes The first thing I noticed when steeping this tea or trying to rather is that it’s kind of hard to fit all of the leaves and stems into the amount of water I have available. The tea turned out tasting pretty good though, so I don’t think I used more leaves than I’m supposed to. I guess I could be wrong about that. It has a distinctly herbal fragrance even while steeping that’s almost a little bit like licorice or anise. The water turns Read More

Getting started with teapages.net

Tea Pages - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 19:25

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In our next post we show how to run teapage softwareon health,medical,finance, auto car websites.

The post Getting started with teapages.net appeared first on Tea pages.

Banana Split from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 17:00
Everyone knows I love banana teas, and I also love dessert teas, especially ones modeled after ice cream. I have had tremendous luck with this company, A Quarter to Tea. Their flavors are so different and interesting, and all of their teas are really well done. This one, Banana Split, I knew would be extra special the minute I smelled it. It really smells like a banana split- banana, cocoa, and strawberry. The white tea leaves were big and fluffy. I was really excited to try it! On taste, I can honestly say it was spot on. The white tea Read More

Friday Roundup: June 4th - June 10th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 16:00
The Jade Leaf's Teaware
James from +Tea DB talked with tea friend +emilio delpozo about him fantastic teaware creations. Those side handled teapots are something that I've had my eye on for a while.

2016 EoT Wuliang Single Tree
I really enjoy Late Steep's style of reviewing. Not only do we get a picture of each steep but we also get a play by play of how the taste evolves. This sheng puerh sounds like it's right up my alley too.

Norwood Pratt and Bruce Richardson Revive the Romance of Tea
I was so happy when I saw an update from +Bruce Richardson this week. A group of tea biz greats are teaming up to revive William Ukers out of print classic, The Romance of Tea. It will be making its debut at World Tea Expo next week.

Tasting: Korean Mt. Jiri Joongjak Hwang Cha by Teas Unique
Korean teas are still pretty hard to find, particularly in the U.S. market. +sara shacket reviewed a delicious black tea from a company that I've seen making the rounds on a lot of blogs. Those chocolate notes are really intriguing!

Tea-infused Negroni, two ways
+Anna Mariani crafted two different versions of the Italian classic negroni that features tea-infused gin. I'm generally more of a whiskey person but these recipes look too good to not try.
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