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Rose Dragon Ball Black Tea from Teavivre. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 12:00
When I lived in Montreal there was a tea from a local tea store, Camellia Sinensis, that I loved. I usually am not one for florals but that blend, Des Roses et Des Bonbons was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, that tea was discontinued. This tea is reminiscent of that great rose flavor, even if it does lack the “bonbons” candy element. Nonetheless, it’s sweet and floral making for a delicate treat. The black tea base contributes Read More

Tea culture in Mexico; an interview with Claudia Aguilera

T Ching - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 09:00

As part of helping to moderate an international-themed Facebook tea group, and just due to being curious about the subject, I talk to people in different places about tea.  One of those people is Claudia Aguilera, a tea enthusiast in Mexico, and founder of  TÉ EN HEBRAS HINDIE, (on Facebook here).  I had previously been surprised to learn that tea isn’t produced in Mexico, although the climate is suitable in places.

She answered questions about tea culture there and her experience as follows.

  1. Can you say a little about specialty tea awareness and consumption in Mexico?  How large is the demand?  Are there specific types that are popular, eg. Japanese green teas or Chinese oolongs?

Specialty tea awareness in Mexico is something that just started. We can say it has been around for 20-30 years and it’s been built by the new experts along with the tea culture. Still a lot needs to be done, shared, and settled in order to see better results and positive answers by consumers. The demand belongs to a small percentage of population and is highly related with the power of acquisition, since having access to it is always an expensive option. 

Because of our connection to USA, some teas on trend like matcha are becoming very popular in our country. The thing is, very few people know what it really is and why it is becoming so popular, but they are willing to buy it because it’s trendy and related to health, again referring to a small group of consumers. Black teas are known from tea bags, but good quality black teas like Darjeeling do not have much popularity yet. 

Brands like Teavana, are introducing teas like oolongs which is helping people to open the door to new options, mostly because it’s advertised as a fat-burning product. 

  1. How long have you been interested in specialty tea?  What got you started, and which type is your favorite?

I’ve been interested on these types of teas since I had the opportunity to travel to Europe 7 years ago and discover the amazing variety and quality of teas around the world. Later on I became more interested on getting to know the roots. That was the time when I met the Tea Sommelier Certification, and it totally made sense to me–the fact that this complex world needed more attention and study. I honestly have something with oolongs; I love the complexity of its flavors depending on its oxidation, the possibilities of every infusion, the process of production and the art on the leaves. In general, I am very curious and always enjoy a good quality tea, but the journey of discovering makes it all the way more interesting. 

[editor’s note:  nice answer!]

  1. In the US, the earlier tea tradition was essentially the same as the British version: black tea prepared as tea bags drank with milk or milk and sugar, and also sweetened iced tea, then leading to floral blends and such.  Were those also the starting points in Mexico?

The consumer behavior with teas in Mexico was not completely like in the US. In this country, since ancient times, herbal remedies were part of the culture, and there is rich knowledge of the uses and benefits of many plants. Every Mexican family has its remedy recipe, mixing different herbs and roots for any ache.  Considering this, we can observe that the Camellia Sinensis introduced itself as another plant but was not really considered for its benefits in the beginning. This information is kind of new to consumers and it has just started to receive some respect and consideration. 

  1. Is specialty tea interest developing differently on different levels?  I mean in the US, we see people getting introduced to blends, then to different lighter oolongs, Japanese green teas, or maybe better black teas, but then tea enthusiasts might prefer pu’er, Wuyi Yancha or Dan Cong instead.

In this case I can say, we are managing it very similarly. I found out the excess of sugar consumption had lead us to sweet blends in order to introduce teas in a friendly way, slowly migrating to specialty teas. Learning and educating our palate is key to really appreciating the real natural flavors. Still, there is a big effort needed considering sweet sodas are directly competing with tea drinking.

5. Are both Western style brewing and Gongfu cha style brewing used?

 photo credit

As tea culture is just starting, the western style brewing is gaining more strength. I can see how us, tea sommeliers, try to first make people aware of the correct brewing methods in order to have a good tea to drink. Gongfu cha is automatically dismissed as it is considered a ritual just for special occasions. Anyways, there are some tea masters teaching this ritual and some tea ceremonies are offered in different places of Mexico. Hopefully, it will gain more attention in the spiritual world and in different disciplines such as Yoga. 

Part two reviews more related issues: if there is a connection with tea appreciation in Mexico and South American teas, tea production in Mexico, Claudia’s experiences with developing tea awareness there, and tea and Mexican food pairing. See you then!


The post Tea culture in Mexico; an interview with Claudia Aguilera appeared first on T Ching.

A Tea for Cold Winter Months. . .Spiced Mulled Wine from Simpson and Vail. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 00:00
A wine tea? That’s a new one. I have seen cocktail-inspired blends. Even beer teas. Never wine. It’s a fun idea though and one I am very excited to try. Well, this brews up the color of red wine, so that’s a good start. Also it manages to do so without hibiscus which is a plus since there won’t be that oh-so-familiar tartness hibby comes with. It’s also smooth, like a fine wine. It goes Read More

Sleep from Blue Hour Tea. . . . . .An Herbal Way to Get Some ZZZZ’s

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 20:00
Sleep. It’s something that I have been lacking as of late. In times like these I tend to gravitate towards calming and relaxing herbals and tisanes. Sleep from Blue Hour Tea has certainly helped me wind down at night before floating off into dreamland. There are many herbals and tisanes that I don’t really care for the taste but still appreciate them for the ingredients that are in them because they are wellness tisanes and Read More

The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time for Tea: Travels Through India and China in Search of Tea by Jason Goodwin

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 18:35
I always get excited when I come across a tea book that I haven't read before. This one popped up on Kindle Unlimited so I was able to read it for "free" through my subscription. The digital version is still fairly inexpensive even if you do have to purchase it.

There have been many books written about the history of tea but The Gunpowder Gardens takes a bit of a different route. He uses the lives of his grandmother's, one who lived in China and one who lived in India, to tell the story of this simple leaf we all love so much. This book is as much a travel book, if not more so, as it is about tea.

The author's adventures in China with Professor Tea were probably some of my favorite passages in the entire book. It's funny to hear that Yunnan pressed green tea (aka puerh) is not economical or popular. That's quite a stark contrast to the 2007 bubble and today's current dark tea craze.

Overall it was a well written and enjoyable narrative. The many differences between these two points of origin and the way tea is enjoyed are simply fascinating for a tea nerd like myself. The reading might be a bit heavy for someone new to the cult of the leaf but it'll be worth re-reading down the road. There's something to be said for personal experience versus just absorbing facts and figures. For those of us not yet able to travel, books like this can be an invaluable part of our tea journey.

My one point of contention is that there are important parts of tea history, particularly human rights issues in India, that were a bit glossed over. For this reason, I always recommend and practice reading everything you can about tea. Getting multiple perspectives deepens our understanding of every subject.


Sunshine on the Shire from Living Books Nook. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 16:00
There’s something about the whole “warm milk at bedtime” trope that has always appealed to me. I’m sure I read about it in my beloved Little House of the Prairie when I was a little girl, and ever since, this comforting nighttime ritual spoke the perfect amount of comfort meets romantic whimsy to my bookish heart. Nowadays, tea is most often my nighttime treat– but recently, I was inspired to combine the two (spoiler alert: Read More

Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Black Tea . . A Downton Abbey Inspired Tea!

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00
Over the Christmas break, I took some vacation time. I ended up still working a good chunk of the time but I was able to at least binge watch a few shows that I had been wanting to. Downton Abbey was on the list of shows I wanted to start so I was saving this tea until I had a few episodes watched. Unfortunately, the flashy ads for The Crown (staring Matt Smith, one of Read More

Green Tea Extract – Part Two

T Ching - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 09:00

Part II

Based on our original research, we received feedback from readers with a different viewpoint.

Some of the comments that were received are…

“I take one Green Tea Pill a day and I feel great!”

“GTE has helped with weight loss, so I don’t care what you say, this is GOOD for me.”

“It’s not fair for you to say that all green tea supplements are bad.”

And yes, there are more, but let’s address these issues for now.

I take one Green Tea Pill a Day and Feel Great

Alright… This is possible.  There are very different doses of GTE that are out there, and many of them offer a dose that is safe if consumed properly and in limited quantities.  The problem that many people have is that they start to see whatever result it is that they want from a pill, and they begin to overconsume GTE in a manner that over-concentrates the EGCG within the body, which is potentially harmful, as stated previously.

The other point that was mentioned was to take these supplements in accordance with the specific instructions that are posted on the package.  In most cases, these instructions tell you to take the supplement with at least 8 ounces of water and/or to take these supplements with food.  Often times, exceeding one of these pills with most brands is getting into the “danger zone” for consumption of EGCG and other known catechins.  Like anything else, the difference between this being a medicine (word used loosely) and a poison is in the dosage consumed.

Basically, here is the thing: if you are taking one of these pills per day while following all of the directions provided on the package, and it is a high-quality brand supplement, then you lower the risks. But nutritionists will always argue, that obtaining nutrients through food, or in this case, through tea, is better than supplements.

GTE has helped with weight loss, so I don’t care what you say, this is GOOD for me

This is an argument that could be presented, and, in fact, has been presented.

While this makes sense to someone who is finally experiencing weight loss that they may have been struggling with, there are plenty of reasons that results that produce weight loss might not be healthy.

After all, we know that starvation is not healthy, yet this will definitely result in weight loss.  The same can be said for smoking (nicotine helps with weight loss), over-exercising, and following the most recent “fad” diet.  All of these will allow weight to come off of the body, but the end result is a body that is in poor health and is more likely to regain more weight at a later time.

The same can be said for GTE.  If you are taking these supplements and seeing weight loss, then there is definitely a possibility that there is one of several things going on.

The first thing that can happen is that you drop too much weight too quickly.  Generally, dropping greater than 1-2 pounds a week (there are exceptions) creates metabolic and biochemical changes within the body that make it harder to keep this weight off.  In fact, this can result in an increased chance of putting more weight back on later.

It is also possible that your body will become addicted to the GTE, which means that the moment you stop taking the supplement, the process of weight loss begins to revert.  This is a common problem that people experience with metabolic enhancers and fat burners.  While this has yet to be demonstrated with the GTE supplement, the possibility should not be discounted.

If you want to experience real and healthy weight loss, I will not say that a proper regiment of GTE is necessarily bad, but it needs to be coupled with proper dietary changes and exercise to complete long lasting and safe results.

It’s not fair for you to say that all green tea supplements are bad

This could be considered a fair point.  There are a number of factors that should be considered when GTE is being consumed.  You really need to know where it is coming from, how it is processed, and you need to make sure that the dosage that is recommended is within the prescribed guidelines.  If you can’t find out where it comes from, how it is processed, and if the company is unethical enough to want you to overconsume so they can make a buck, then it is a bad product (or at the very least a bad company).

While calling all GTE unsafe might appear as unfair, the fact is that the EGCG content and catechin count is what is thought to be responsible for the results that are generated from these supplements.  When you take GTE you are eliminating the built-in safety mechanisms that come with consuming the green tea naturally, which could be harmful if used improperly.  In the end, whether all of these supplements are “bad” or not may depend upon proper use, but there is mounting evidence that actual green tea consumption is still the better option.

The Conclusion…

It is possible that, in the future, science will determine that these supplements are safe.  It is also possible that all of the information that has been provided is proven to be incorrect.  However, at the present time drinking green tea is the more natural and healthier way to receive high concentrations of EGCG in your diet.

While not a medical journal, Consumer Reports magazine recently had a big article on the dangers of supplements. In it, they listed the top 10 supplements to avoid, and lo and behold Green Tea Extract was listed as one of them. As always, do your research.

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The post Green Tea Extract – Part Two appeared first on T Ching.

Violette from Dammann Freres. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 00:00
I will admit that this wasn’t the first tea that I added to my shopping cart from Dammann Freres. I do like floral teas, but they have to be really special for me to enjoy. Floral teas can either be very nice or they can remind me too much of perfume and cause a headache. I have high hopes that this tea will be tasty. The scent of this tea is of a rather plain Read More

The Tea-Stained Glory that was 2016

The Devotea - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 22:45

Pinching an idea from the world’s most popular tea blogger, Nicole Martin at teaformeplease.com , I am posting a short rundown on which of my 49 blog posts in 2016 were the most widely read. Reading these ten will make you incredibly smart, and very well informed, but sadly, mostly informed about my own defects. […]

The post The Tea-Stained Glory that was 2016 appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Jasmine Pecan Shortbread from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 20:00
I know Jasmine Pecan Shortbread is one of those teas that the name just intrigues you right off the bat and if its coming from A Quarter To Tea. . well than I’m really intrigued! A Quarter To Tea offers unique hand blended small batch flavored teas that are simply brilliant. I’ve ordered my fair share of A Quarter To Teas and have never been disappointed. So I knew when I took a gamble on Read More

Lemon Green Tea from Tea Trunk. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 16:00
IInstagram is both awesome and terrible when it comes to tea. Well really when it comes to anything. Through the App, I have learned of countless tea companies, a billion restaurants, and so much more. It truly is an effective marketing tool. Tea Trunk is one of the tea companies I found through Instagram. I came across it and was instantly intrigued by their adorable packaging. Seriously, the elephant theme is just too cute. I Read More

Tomato, Basil, and Black Pepper Black Tea from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 12:00
Hello 2017! Welcome! Yes. . .  I know I’m a few days late but I’m very ready to welcome this new year in. This year I’m not going to make resolutions but I am going to make myself explore different types and flavors of tea.  I thought this tea would be the perfect tea to get that ball rolling.   Yesterday I made a few homemade soups for my hubby’s and my lunches. One of Read More

Shaking up the tea and food equation

T Ching - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 09:00

It’s always heartening to find that every time I present a session on pairing our favorite beverage with other than a scone or a cookie, there is an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. What I thought might have been self-evident over the years has turned out to be anything but. Comments such as “I never thought of that, ” “I have been drinking tea for years but have never tasted it with cheese” and others like these which confirm the validity of what I have been thinking about tea for many years, i.e. that it is more than an able sidekick to foods–cheese and chocolate–the foods that I like to feature in these sessions (the recent LA International Tea Festival at the Japanese American National Museum is a case in point).

It makes perfect sense that foods where fat plays an important role in transferring flavor to the palate, enjoying tea hot or even warm “opens up” the flavors in the cheese and the chocolate. Accentuating the salty finish of the cheese when it melts and blends into your mouthful of tea is a pure pleasure on the tongue.  Even the complex flavors of delicate green or oolong teas shake up the tea and food equation in a provocative but delicious way. And believe it or not, black teas from India or China, from Darjeeling and Assam to Lapsang Souchong are appropriate partners to blue cheeses from California, France, Italy and beyond. The salty creamy funk of these cheeses is somewhat tamed by the tea. There is a back and forth pas de deux between the tea and the cheese, each transforming the other, in a most unexpected way.

Here is a digest of a savory pairing to get you started on the tasting journey. I hope this inspires you to add an extra course to your holiday menu. Here I offer one goat cheese and two anything-but-saintly sinfully delicious cheeses from France. Be sure to serve the tea hot and the cheese at room temperature for maximum impact.


The post Shaking up the tea and food equation appeared first on T Ching.

Barbados Beach from Tea Taxi

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 00:00
Shortly after discovering Tea Taxi, I found out they were starting a monthly subscription program. Each month they send 10 tea samples, all selected to fit the particular theme chosen for that package. At just $7.45CAD per month (for 12 months, it is slightly more if you order for fewer months), I found myself signing up. Now I have a giant pile of Tea Taxi blends that just keeps growing as I am slowly making Read More

Sugar Plum Waltz from For Tea’s Sake. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 20:00
The one Black Friday deal I actually took advantage of was at my local Chapters Bookstore. 40% off was just too hard to pass up. However, I own a Kindle and normally buy ebooks so I hit up the gift section, more specifically the teas and teaware they offer. I took the opportunity to pick up a selection of For Tea’s Sake blends, including this particular tea which seems to be sold exclusively at Chapters/Indigo Read More

It’s Finally Tea Time!

Joy's Teaspoon - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 21:19

Whew! I don’t know about you, but I love hot tea. I mean, duh, but wait for it. For me, tea is the ultimate comfort drink. There’s nothing I love more than curling up with a blanket, a book and a hot cuppa. Finally, FINALLY, it’s cool enough to do that (in Seattle – Naomi, you’re on your own in Vegas).

In Seattle, we’ve had a scorcher of a summer and while it’s been wonderful, it’s pretty uncomfortable curling up on a leather sofa in your short shorts and sipping hot tea when it’s 90 and humid. I’m just going to let you sit for a moment with that picture in your mind. 

But there’s always iced tea, you say? Well sure. And I drank a considerable amount of iced tea this summer. It’s wonderful and refreshing. There are so many options for turning tea into summer treats.

However, nothing beats a lazy morning, sipping on a piping hot Earl Grey while reading about ghost stories or endless love. There is nothing cozier than curling up in blanket, staring into the fire and breathing in the smell of a jasmine green.

Finally cool enough for a proper tea time. #100happydays #day7

A photo posted by Audrea Fink (@audrea11) on Sep 30, 2015 at 2:18pm PDT

AND. IT’S. FINALLY. TIME. TEA TIME! The best kind of tea time. The fall leaves, morning fog, crisp air, boots and scarves kind of tea time. The time where your cup warms your cold fingers and the steam warms your cool nose.

The best part of it all is that now, it’s going to be the perfect tea time (in Seattle at least) for the next few months. And I’ve already started gearing up the office to be prepared. A co-worker and I built our own little tea cozy corner.

Life achievement- having a #tea spot at work. #LexBlog #tealife

A photo posted by Audrea Fink (@audrea11) on Sep 18, 2015 at 11:32am PDT

That entire cabinet the basket is sitting on is filled with tea, so you can be sure we’re prepared for the teapocalypse here. So bust out your mugs, scarves, boots and hipster hats because it’s finally time to enjoy a proper cup of tea (without sweating and sticking to your leather seat).

Go With Passion

The Sip Tip - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 20:08
It was a fall evening in 2008 that I decided to start a tea blog.  In retrospect I knew very little (still do in fact.) However I did have one thing, passion, passion to learn, passion to know, and passion to try. Honestly I had no clue then what the next 7 years would entail, and what I would learn, but knowledge about tea aside, the thing I have learned is what passion can do for life, and

Avoid Cash Advance Mistakes

Tea Reflections - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 15:17

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5′ con Debbie Han

Tea & Co. - Sun, 12/29/2013 - 16:01
by tea alberti 1. How did you start your story with tea? - I’m not quite sure if I understand your question properly. Do you mean how I first started drinking tea? I actually talked about it in the Wall … Continue reading →
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