Friday, August 6, 2010

freddo fridays

If you're lucky enough to live near a Peet's Coffee and Tea house, don't forget that it's Freddo Friday!

Every Friday in July, Peet's was offering any medium Freddo for only $2 all day long! That includes their coffee, tea, and fruit Freddos, blended any way you like them. The good news? It has been extended for at least another two weeks!

Last Friday I enjoyed their Dark Chocoate Caramel Mocha Freddo {Luxurious Scharffen Berger cocoa, pure caramel and coffee, topped with whipped cream, Scharffen Berger chocolate shavings, and a caramel drizzle}. I don't even know what Scharffen Berger chocolate is and I'm surely mispronouncing it when I say it, but it was absolutely delicious.

Sadly, Peet's is limited mostly to California with a few other locations in Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, etc... If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to take advantage of their $2 Freddos today! {And hopefully it's warm enough where you are that a frozen beverage is refreshing as opposed to downright chillling!}

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Jacqui for winning MRM's birthday giveaway! Make sure to stop in and let us know how much you love your teas!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

adopt a branch!

If you missed out on Adagio Tea's Earth Day tea tree planting, it's not too late!

I adopted a tree in the Fujian region of China because its province yields the country's finest White teas. My tree sprouted and has begun growing branches, 20 of which are available for you to adopt!

So head on over, adopt a branch and when my tree matures, both you and I will receive free tea from my tree courtesy of Adagio Teas. I was so excited to partake in the Earth Day tree planting and was even more excited to learn that I could share my tea with friends. Just a reminder that Earth Day should be celebrated year round!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

it's my birthday (month)!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to sponsor a giveaway hosted by my July birthday buddy, MRM. The winner will receive 4 ounces of an AdaptabiliTEA signature blend of their choice, an IngenuiTEA teapot, and a Guide to Teas. To enter, you must head over to Preppy Girl Meets World and wish MRM a very happy birthday!

{comments for this post have been turned off so that there is no confusion that you must enter at MRM's post}

Sunday, July 11, 2010

do you sweeten?

When it comes to tea, there are many different preferences on how to drink it. Milk, no milk; lemon, no lemon; and sweet, un-sweet. I personally prefer mine plain and slightly sweet. With so many sweet options, how do you choose?

My only rule in regards to sweetening tea is no white sugar. In my opinion, processed sugars can mask the natural flavors of delicate teas. Raw sugars, honey and other natural sweeteners all enhance the delicate teas while adding varying degrees of sweetness.

I actually keep a complete arsenal of all of the following products on hand and sweeten depending on my desired sweetness and current tea of choice.

{rock cane sugar}

Rock cane sugar is best used with hot tea, as the larger crystals take time to dissolve. One of the purer forms of sugar, unprocessed rock cane sugar adds the slightest touch of sweetness to your tea without changing its taste or complexity. 

{rock sugar stir sticks}

Much like rock candy, minus the artificial dyes and flavors, rock cane sugar can be found in many forms. These rock sugar stir sticks make a lovely presentation when paired with afternoon tea or espresso. 

{sugar in the raw}

Turbinado sugar, commonly known as Sugar in the Raw although available from many manufacturers, is an unbleached crystalized sugar. These crystals retain their natural molasses and bring extra flavor and richness similar to brown sugar. This is usually my preferred sweetener, as it's rich flavor is sweeter than most sugars and requires much less to achieve one's desired sweetness. 

{stevia in the raw}

From the makers of Sugar in the Raw, a new raw form of Stevia is available. From their website:

Stevia Extract In The Raw gets its delicious, natural sweetness from Rebiana (aka Reb-A) — an extract from the Stevia plant. This extract is the sweetest part of the plant and has recently been isolated to provide pure sweetening power without the licorice-like aftertaste that many of our predecessors exhibited. All you get is the sweet flavor without any calories.

Unlike some of our competitors, Stevia Extract In The Raw does not use additional sweeteners such as erythritol (Truvia™) and isomaltulose and erythritol (PureVia™) to mask the natural sweetness of Reb-A Stevia Extract. The high purity level of our product eliminates any of the licorice-like aftertaste associated with less pure Stevia products currently in the market.

I was recently introduced to Stevia through our naturopathic doctor at work. This is the first "artificial" sweetener (although there's nothing artificial about it) that I actually like. There is no false aftertaste, 0 calories is always a plus, and the finer consistency enables it to easily dissolve in iced teas as well.


Honey is an excellent sweetener if you're looking to get more sweet with fewer calories. This highly potent sweetener allows you to use far less than you would if sweetening with sugar alone. It will, however, add a very distinct flavor to your tea - a flavor I absolutely don't mind when enjoying bolder teas. If choosing honey, I highly recommend picking up local honey from either the Farmer's Market or organic foods store. Local honey helps build immunity to local allergens, thus helping to lessen sensitivity to seasonal allergies. 

There is absolutely no right or wrong way to sweeten tea as it is merely a matter of preference. As I mentioned, I keep all of these sweeteners on hand in order to produce the perfect cup of tea to suit any mood. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

tea-infused chocolates

While browsing the lovely images of Tastespotting, I came across tea-infused chocolates. I can't decide if I'm bitter that they only ship to the UK and I cannot try them or grateful that they only ship to the UK and my backside isn't growing as we speak. It's a semi-sweet situation for sure!

I'd like to introduce you to Matcha Chocolat - tea infused, handmade chocolates.
All fresh Tea Chocolates are made entirely by hand, from start to finish by Katie, the creator of Matcha Chocolat. The making of each batch of Tea Chocolates begins by infusing fresh, organic cream with a select white, green, or black tea. The resulting fragrant cream is combined with chocolate to create a ganache that is ready to be enrobed in chocolate, specially chosen to compliment each tea infusion. The finishing steps involve lovingly decorating each Tea Chocolate with crystallised flower petals, dried fruits, or colourful motifs.

The seasonal a little bit of everything selection is currently their Jade Selection.
The Jade Selection contains a total of 16 chocolates in the following 5 varieties: Sencha, China Rose, Liquid Jade, Strawberry Summer, and Masala Chai.

But you can't have delicious tea-infused chocolates without a fine tea to go along with them. The all-inclusive Jade Gift Set includes the above chocolates along with:
2 Chocolate Parasols - Kashmiri Chai and Bergamot.
50g English Black tea in decorative tea caddy.

What are chocolate parasols you ask? Well, I'm so glad you asked!
Solid white chocolate disks infused with Kashmiri Chai spices and Solid milk chocolate disks flavoured with bergamot oil.
Yes, Please!

If you're looking for a smaller all inclusive set, I think the Chai Tea Gift Set looks absolutely divine. Chai  does happen to be one of my favorite blends of tea!
Giant Tea Chocolate box containing four Masala Chai chocolates.
Kashmiri Chai Chocolate Parasols.
50g Masala Chai in decorative tea caddy.

As I mentioned, Matcha Chocolat does not currently ship to the US, but if you're within the UK I'd recommend finding out if they're as delicious as they appear. Seriously, take a moment and check out their Chocolate Selections and see the details of these sweet creations. Grab a napkin, you'll be drooling on your keyboard before you reach the bottom of the page.

I am just dying to give these gorgeous confections a try myself. Any UK bloggers want to work out a deal? =) Or if you're out there Matcha Chcocolat, could you bend the rules just once for this American with a serious sweet tooth?

**all images are original images from the Matcha Chocolat site**

Monday, June 21, 2010

non-paper cups

While browsing World Market this past weekend, I came across their new "non-paper cups." I'm a big fan of reusable to-go cups as part of my efforts to go green - I also firmly believe that everything tastes better in porcelain or ceramic. I don't know about you, but a paper or plastic aftertaste just isn't how I choose to flavor my tea!

I absolutely fell in love with these ceramic mugs. They are heavy-weight and their silicone sleeve insulates them so that you can comfortably hold them, even with your hottest beverages. I absolutely love the feel of drinking out of a porcelain mug, even while on the go! I was slightly skeptical of the silicone lid, but decided to go ahead and purchase one anyway. After several uses, I'm excited to share that there was absolutely no leaking around the edges of the tight fitting silicone lid.

These mugs are dishwasher safe and come in a large variety of colors and patterns {many more than what is pictured on the website}. They are available as a set of two online, but are sold individually in stores. If you're looking for a fashionable way to go-green, I highly recommend these non-paper cups!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Joie goes public!

I was so excited to be on Twitter late enough last night to see that Joie Patisserie has officially opened their virtual doors to the public!

{cute is right! I love the new site!}

I first tried Joie Patisserie's French macarons at the Pamper Me Fabulous event earlier this year in L.A. Let me tell you, they were fabulous! I have to admit that they were the first French macarons I had ever tried. After one bite, I was hooked. And after trying several others, these are still hands down my favorite to date!

{Mango, Fleur de Sul, and Cassis Macarons}

I have personally tried the Mango with fresh mango cream and they were to die for. Just the right amount of sweet, tart, crisp, and creamy all working together in perfect, mouth watering harmony. I have my eye on the Fleur de sul Caramel, as after falling in love with her Pistachio Caramel macarons, I know her caramel is top notch. I would also like to get my hands on some of the Cassis with Cassis Raspberry Ganache because they are just so pretty! Besides, you can never go wrong with raspberry in my book!

I'm very excited to see that Joie Patisserie has expanded to online ordering, especially because it means that I can enjoy these fabulous treats outside of L.A, and I wish them the best of luck in their newest adventure!

*All images from

Thursday, June 10, 2010

iced tea month

June is designated as National Iced Tea Month and just in time to celebrate, Celestial Seasonings has come out with iced tea K-cups for the Keurig brewing systems. I absolutely love my Keurig system. Although, I have to be perfectly honest that I've never used it to make tea from pods. I simply use the reusable filter cups to make my own selections of coffee or simply heat water for my own loose leaf tea.

Celestial Seasoning's Perfect Iced Tea look enticing enough for me to give them a try.
Brew Over Ice K-Cups® are specially formulated so that these refreshing, flavorful beverages are never diluted or watered down... Perfect Iced Tea K-Cups contain a blend of tea, sugar and natural flavor, specially formulated to brew directly over ice for a Perfect Iced Tea every time.
They come in a pretty wide variety of flavors for being a new product - my only complaint being that they don't offer a variety pack. Flavors include: half and half {half tea, half lemonade}, unsweetened black, sweet lemon, sweet peach, southern sweet, and sweet raspberry.

When I do purchase K-cups, I hit up Bed Bath and Beyond with some 20% off coupons to save a little extra. I just may have to stop in and check out the southern sweet or sweet peach later this weekend. I'll be sure to keep you posted on my thoughts once I check them out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

adagio teaV

The very first signature blend that I created at Adagio Teas has been featured on Adagio TeaV! Check out Zack Luye's review of my very own Spiced Pomegranate Tea!

After Zack's review, I have switched the cherry tea from a green base to a black and upped the pomegranate ratio to give the tea a little more "umph." As always, signature blends can be purchased directly from Adagio's website for only $10 per 4 oz!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

my favorite things

My favorite travel infuser, to date, is the Aladdin Essential Infuser (12 oz).

I have gifted these infusers to several friends and family members and many have gone out and purchased a second one because they are so wonderful. Most of us have two, one for home, and one to keep at the office. 

What you can't see is a small metal infuser that is attached to a lever. You drop the infuser into the tumbler to brew and when your tea reaches the perfect steep, you just lift up the basket where it nestles inside the lid. For me, it's a timesaver as I can brew my tea as I'm heading out the door in the morning. I no longer have to wait the full length of the steep so that I can toss the leaves before heading out - I just lift the basket when it's complete! 

From their website:
Don't think you have time for tea? Well now you do. Just infuse and enjoy with this classy all-in-one solution. Add loose tea to the basket, fill your infuser with hot water, lower the basket, steep to your preferred shade and then lift the basket. It's like a trip to the spa. Only not as expensive. And you don't need an appointment.

• Multipurpose. Brews loose leaf tea, tea bags, and coarse ground coffee.
• All-in-one. Tea time, anytime.
• Microwave safe. No teapot required.
• Smart design. No fuss. No mess. No spills.
• Car-cup friendly. Take your tea to go!
• Dishwasher safe. For a little more “me” time.

The double walled plastic keeps the tumbler from sweating and keeps your hands cool while keeping your tea hot. It is currently available in blue and chai {a mossy green}, but their colors change with the seasons. I have purchased purple, fuchsia, and grey in addition to the current offerings. They are even available at Target so there is no need to live in a town with fancy tea shops to make one of these your own!

In my opinion, the Aladdin Essential Infuser is just that, essential if you're going to be drinking loose tea!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

loose tea on the go!

There has been an explosion in the variety of innovative and stylish "travel" tea-ware available recently. These make the, once challenging, task of brewing a cup of loose leaf tea on the go a breeze. However, at the end of the day, you still have to find a way to transport a small amount of loose leaves. The sample tins from Adagio are always a fairly simple solution, but at any given time, you can still pretty much guarantee I'll have a full bag of leaves taking up space in my purse.

While browsing Tea Forté's website, I discovered that they are now selling a gift set of single serving loose tea pouches. Genius! 

The variety pack includes 15 single serving pouches of loose teas including: Chamomile Citron, Earl Grey, Green Tango, Forté Breakfast, and Ginger Lemongrass. They are portioned for a twelve-ounce serving and I bet they're hearty enough teas to be reused a time or two.

Tea Forté has an adorable single serve twelve ounce mug that would compliment these pouches perfectly. It is a dishwasher safe, double walled ceramic tumbler, with an infuser that rests at the top. I'm a big fan of double-walled anything as they keep drinks hot or cold, yet allow you to comfortably hold the mug. I don't know about you, but I've burned my hand a time or two on single walled ceramic mugs.

The Kati Loose Tea System, as this gorgeous tumbler is called, is available in three colors: Grass, Green, and White. Just look at the gorgeous clean lines of this tumbler. I'm wanting one more and more as I type!

Although the majority of my tea consumption and purchases would remain as bulk loose leaves, I absolutely love the idea of single serving loose pouches. They would be perfect for traveling, storing in your purse for when you're out and about, etc. This is an idea that I really hope more companies catch on to, because as I said, there are some really cool travel infusers out there that could benefit from this concept. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

all about chai

Chai by itself simply translates to "tea" in Hindi, Punjabi, and many other languages of South Asia. So the popular term "Chai tea" is actually a redundant "tea tea" when translated. The shortened term "chai" in the Western World typically refers to "masala chai."

Masala chai is black tea brewed with aromatic Indian spices and herbs. As with any recipe, there are many variations of the spices used, depending on the region in which the recipe is from. There are of course a few standard ingredients as well. These ingredients can include ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves, and more. 

{spices used in preparing masala chai}

The term "chai latte" is a Western term indicating that the spiced tea is brewed with a milk base. {Much like the recipe that I posted previous to this}. This term is also a bit redundant as the traditional masala chai has a milk base. 

There are four components to the basic masala chai:
  1. Tea Leaves
  2. Spices
  3. Sweetener
  4. Milk
The actual preparation varies by household, but typically all ingredients are boiled together and strained for serving. 

There are several "Americanized" variations of masala chai which include tea bags, liquid concentrates {typically what is prepared at coffee shops}, and pre packaged spice mixes. Although all of these meet the general principles of masala chai, nothing beats the intensity of flavor when you follow traditional methods to make it from scratch.

Some of my personal favorite bagged and loose chai include:
If you haven't tried chai in any form, I highly recommend it. In my opinion, the spicier the better, but of course each palate is different!

For more information on masala chai, visit 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

spiced chai latte

The random cold snaps over the last few weeks encouraged me to make up a batch of my favorite Spiced Chai Latte.

This recipe was a personal combination of my favorite flavors found throughout multiple chai recipes. It is  a simple recipe and is delicious served both warm or iced. Enjoy!

Spiced Chai Latte

2 tsp fresh ginger - finely sliced or smashed
4 bags of black tea
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
8 black peppercorns
4 cardamom pods
1/4 honey
1 quart of milk - your choice of fat content
*As always, I picked up my spices fresh in bulk from Whole Foods and chose a high quality organic tea. Buying bulk saves money and ensures freshness.

Pour milk, spices, and honey into a saucepan, float the tea bags on top, and let come to a boil while continuously stirring. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes while continuing to stir. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. The milk will get a skin on top of it; skim and discard. Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Serve hot or iced.

Added Tip
I doubled the recipe and made a half gallon of tea to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Among other things, I have an unnatural fear of spoiled milk. I typically only drink milk immediately after the carton is opened. I usually buy the smallest containers available to accommodate this fear with the exception of glass bottles. For whatever reason I believe glass bottles keep milk fresher longer and will continue to drink after the initial opening. The great part is that since the screw on caps seal well, I just returned the tea to the empty bottle for storage.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

we all live in a yellow submarine

Back in January, pictures of this beauty started floating around the blogosphere. The sad news? There was no information on where or when it was available for purchase.

The good news? Today I thought I'd give it another search, and low and behold - it's now for sale!

If we weren't in the middle of a complete relocation, I'd be placing my order as we speak. Sadly, I'll be waiting a bit as our current living arrangements and finances are more secure, but that shouldn't stop you from picking up one of these lovelies!

What is it, you ask? None other than a silicone yellow submarine tea infuser, AKA The Tea Sub! Genius? Yes!

Currently available for $14.99 with free shipping worldwide from Animi Causa.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

double spice chai hot chocolate

I typically do not care for chocolate, vanilla, or caramel flavored teas. I do, however, love unusual flavored hot chocolates. So when I came across a post on a tea forum suggesting using a strongly brewed tea as a base for hot chocolate, I knew I had to try it.

I chose my double spice chai black tea from Stash Teas, as it is one of my favorite chai's and I loved spiced chocolates. Oh my goodness, it was delicious. It was a perfect alternative to a simple cup of hot chocolate and would be a delightful twist to serve while entertaining.

Making it was simple enough - 8 ounces hot tea of your choice and 2 tablespoons of instant cocoa mix. Stir until fully combined and serve.

I'm thinking of trying this out with a cinnamon black tea next, but the possibilities are endless! Talk about a grown up version of an old favorite!

Friday, April 16, 2010

plant a tea tree!

In celebration of Earth Day 2010, Adagio Teas is allowing customers to plant a tea tree in their name. The best part is that when the tree matures, Adagio will send them 4 ounces of tea straight from their plant!

Adagio says:
This is no ordinary Earth Day celebration. Join a program where stewardship of our Planet is a year-round activity. Help us plant 2,000 trees in three tea-growing regions — China, India, and Taiwan. Once the seeds are in the ground, we'll invite you to cultivate it virtually, nurturing your tree to maturity. Do this responsibly, and once your tree begins harvesting, you'll reap the fruits of your labor — fresh tea from the tree you've nurtured from birth.

You're able to choose the region where you would like your tree planted - the Fujian region of China, the Assam region of India or the Nantou region of Taiwan. I chose China because its Fujian province yields the country's finest White teas.

I think this is an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate the life of the tea tree in honor of Earth Day. There are still trees left to be planted, so head on over to Adagio Teas and plant one of your own!

If you're looking for some instant gratification while you wait for your tea to mature, be sure to check out AdaptabiliTEA's Signature Blends. Spiced Pomegranate {pomegranate, cherry, & subtle spices} and Mighty Mango Mojito {rum, mango, and a hint of lime} blends are available in 4 oz tins for purchase for only $10 each! I also highly suggest Ari's Berry Fusion - a fruity harmony of rasberry, strawberry and blueberry.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

paulette macarons

One of my new favorite sweets to accompany my tea is the French macaron. During our last visit in San Francisco, I happened to notice a French Macarons shop across the street from our hotel. I immediately added it to my list of places to wander through the next day.

I have to say that the macarons were good, not amazing, but definitely good. {Keep in mind that I only have one other source of macarons - Joie Patisserie - to compare to, which happened to be simply phenomenal}. I surprisingly favored the richer, ganache filled, selections to the fruit selections.

My favorite was hands down the Caramel Macarons, with {much to my surprise} the Rose-Water Infused Macarons a close second. I think I favored the rose-water so much because they somehow tasted just like our almond spritz cookies at Christmas. Other noteworthy selections included the rich Caribbean Chocolate and the Colombian Coffee Macarons.

I think I may not have cared for the fruit macarons as much because they were filled with a gelled fruit center. As a personal preference, I prefer a distinctly flavored buttercream to the sweeter, more subtle gel filling. It's a texture thing for me, I'm funny like that. Strange preferences aside, they were still good, just not my favorite.

Paulette Macarons has locations in Beverly Hills and San Francisco. I would definitely recommend stopping by and giving their Caramel Macarons a try!

Friday, April 9, 2010

why blog?

I mentioned this week on my personal blog that at the end of the day, it's emails from my grandfather from 1,500 miles away stating that he "keeps enjoying all of my pictures and blogs" that keeps me blogging.

So why blog about tea? I'm not keeping my friends and family back in Texas informed on what I'm up to these days. Why bother?

Earlier in the week I was discussing the idea of only steeping your tea for 20-50 seconds and always tossing out the first brew with a fellow coworker in our break room. Another coworker listened intently, and although I knew he had something to say, kept quiet throughout our discussions.

Today he stopped me to share his story.

Around December he gave up coffee due to the withdrawals and crashes he was suffering from due to his dependency. He made the switch to tea and hasn't looked back. He did, however, notice that something was causing mild nausea on his way to work after he drank his tea, but it went away quickly enough each day that he didn't change his habits.

When he heard me talking about steeping tea for such a short amount of time he said his immediate reaction was that "it was total bullshit - that there was no way his tea would have enough flavor or caffeine after being steeped for such a short period of time." He went ahead and decided to try steeping his tea for a shorter amount of time, more than likely to prove me wrong, but he tried it nonetheless. He shortened his steeping time from five minutes to just around 50 seconds.

Guess what he discovered? He's been nausea-free the last few days. There are many factors that could contribute to this result, but in the end he found that steeping his tea for a shorter period of time resulted in the same flavor, less nausea, and longer life of the tea leaves for re-steeping.

So why do I blog about tea? You know that warmth that overcomes your body after a good cup of tea? That same warmth overcomes my soul when I'm able to enhance someone's quality of life - either by exposing them to potential health benefits, or brightening their day by sharing a product that I know, they too, might enjoy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

vital tea leaf - san francisco

I have to admit, that when I came across Chinatown during my wanderings in San Francisco, I was hesitant to enter. Cheap junk and crowded streets just isn't my scene. However, I knew I had some time to kill and figured why not. And boy am I glad I checked it out! I stumbled upon a Chinese tea house called Vital Tea Leaf and met the most hilarious man ever.

Meet Kenny.

"You think my tea shop looks like all the others? You must also think all Asians look alike! Get out!"

The tea might have drawn me in, but his humor kept me captivated for over an hour. He started by sharing his sales techniques:

"You learn two things working here. How to lie so people buy and how to fight. You fight when people don't buy!"

We started by learning that all tea is in fact green tea. "White tea" is the first picking of the green leaves, green tea is the leaves in their natural state, and "black tea" is just the result of roasting or fermenting the leaves. {Similar to how coffee beans are green until roasted black}. Oolong actually translates to "mistake" and is the product of accidentally mixing green and black teas. The flavor of oolong depends on the ratio of green to black teas in the mixture.

"My grandfather say next time someone talks about decaffeinated tea you slap their face!"

Because all tea leaves are essentially the same, just from different regions and plants, there is no such thing as a fully decaffeinated tea. "Herbal teas" are not actually teas at all, but simply infusions of other plants. To call them tea is inaccurate as there are no tea leaves present.

"You like that one?! Now I know what kind of tea to give you. It's called caramel frappuccino. Get out!"

He asked what kind of teas people liked and one woman responded floral or sweet teas. Chinese culture has traditionally only used two things to naturally sweeten their tea - the lychee fruit and jasmine. All other flavors are more recent additions to keep up with trends set in India and Thailand, but are not consumed as much in China itself. Ginger, Ginseng, and Pine {my allergies say "ew!" to pine} are also common additions for their medicinal benefits.

"When you put sugar in your tea, it's like putting 7-Up in your wine or ketchup on your filet mignon. My grandfather say shut up and drink it!"

He reminded us that in Chinese culture, tea is drank as a method of prevention when it comes to various health concerns. Health first, taste second. Adding sugar or cream to tea can actually start to neutralize the effects of the antioxidants in tea - one of the most common reasons people drink tea.

The assortment of teas Vital Tea Leaf has to offer.

For a quick rundown of benefits:
White teas are highest in antioxidants and lowest in caffeine.
Green teas support the body's natural defenses against oxidation, cancer, allergens, and viruses.
Red, Yellow, and Black teas aid in digestion, helping to cut grease and fat.
And the addition of ginseng is the only way to actually get natural energy and focus. Caffeine is simply a stimulant that causes a peak of alertness, mistaken for energy, followed by a crash.

Unlike everything I've heard previously, the Chinese recommend to brew tea for 30 to 50 seconds. {Also, don't forget to toss out the first brew!} Much shorter than the one to eight minutes that I've heard from other sources. I found that when brewing for only 30 to 50 seconds {shorter for black teas, longer for whites} that I didn't need any sugar as there was absolutely no bitterness.

Brewing pots, like this new beauty that I picked up while I was there {you know it's a good tea brewer when there's not a single word in English on the packaging}, drop the tea away from the leaves when brewing is complete. These allow for you to save the leaves for later brewing without over brewing your current cup. With shorter brewing times, leaves can be brewed five to seven times before being tossed out, in turn saving you money.

Looking into Vital Tea Leaf from the street. 

All humor aside, it was actually the most comprehensive tea tasting I have participated in {I tried over 15 different teas}. Although I knew quite a bit about tea already, I actually learned a lot from Kenny, as I've barely come close to sharing all that I learned this weekend. If you find yourself in San Francisco {or Seattle} please check out one of the five Vital Tea Leaf shops. You're in for an education in the benefits of tea, a good laugh, and a delicious selection of loose leaf teas to go home with {I discovered the Supreme Yellow tea which is absolutely delightful}. Not to mention they have some of the best brewers, most gorgeous tea sets, and most unique handcrafted tea trays around. {What I would do for a handcrafted tea tray...}

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

why tea?

A blog entirely about tea? What was she thinking?

Tea leaves are known for an array of medicinal benefits to both the body and mind. In today's fast paced world, we rarely take the time to sit back and relax. From ancient tea ceremonies in Asia, to high tea in England to sipping sweet tea on a Southern porch, tea has forever been an icon of spending time unwinding in good company.

Having been raised in the South, traveled the world, and settled in California, I have enjoyed tea in all of the above ways and more. I find that, in life, I can cope with just about anything with a good cup of tea. In the end, it's all about slowing down and tending to your own needs every so often. Join me as I share my favorite teas, tea ware, tea houses and more!

Related Posts with Thumbnails