Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kuding Pearl Tea- Bitter Nail Tea

This tea is not your typical relaxing cup of bliss that you may be used to. However, the benefits of pearl ku ding tea are many: according to traditional Chinese medicine, it eliminates toxins,  disperses wind-heat, reduces inflammation, enhances focus, memory, and improves digestion plus more. It's not consumed for its great flavor but it is very good for you. 

Kuding Pearl Tea- leaves are plucked from the top three young and tender leaves of the Kuding bush. The leaves are then rolled into fairly large pearls. I recommend that you start with only one pearl (I started with 3... Not good) for steeping so it doesn't get too bitter. The Kuding bush is not technically a tea plant, because it comes from the Ilex Latifolia Thumb bush. This Holly bush is an evergreen that produces leaves 5-6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. It is a relative of yerba mate (one of my favorites) from South America. Also known as bitter tea in China, its first taste is bitter, but its aftertaste is rather unexpectedly sweet. Kuding Pearl Tea is a cleansing tea that helps hypertension and is cooling in nature it's also known to aid digestion, and weight loss. It can be steeped three or four times with full flavor. Steep for one to two minutes with 180-190 degree water for a healthy and new beverage. Contains 2-4% caffeine which is about the same as a green tea. Others recommend using less leaves at first with quick steeps to introduce yourself to this different herbal tea, I agree.  Hales from Guangxi, China.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wabi-Sabi, Kyle Stewart at TEDxSMU 2012

Kyle Stewart is the owner of the Zagat Rated Coffee and Tea shop The Cultured Cup. Located in Dallas they are considered one of the best places to buy and learn about tea in the US. Kyle is always willing to teach you something new about tea. As the first Texan to achieve the title of Certified Tea Specialist (CTS), Kyle serves as an advisory board member for the Specialty Tea Institute (STI), a division of the US Tea Association, and teaches for the STI Tea Certification Program.

Kyle spoke at TEDxSMU 2012 in which he talks about Wabi-Sabi which means simplicity, or finding beauty in the imperfection. We can learn a great deal by applying the concepts in our life.

Take a moment and next time you are about to brew a cup of tea and stop to enjoy the Wabi-Sabi

If you are in Dallas, call Phil or Kyle at The Cultured Cup and you can schedule a tasting or come on Saturday 11-4.

Follow them on Twitter: @thecupcouch or on Facebook/TheCulturedCup

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall into Chai

I have to start out with a shameless self promotion... its my birthday today, yep I turned 35 today, feeling a little older but not to much  so there we go, happy birthday to me, feel free to send gifts bleated or not :) Now on to the review:

As fall is fast approaching, its time to switch things up a bit. I really like a good green tea in the spring and a refreshing iced tea preferably a citrusy black tea for summer, yet when fall hits the air. I'm all about a good Chai Tea  (but who isn't). That blend of sweet spicy goodness just steams out of the cup. 

Tali's Masala ChaiI think the old saying goes he that finds a good Chai, finds a good thing... maybe that's  not quite right but you get the general idea. I have found a good Chai, it is one of my favorites:
Tali's Masala Chai From Art of Tea:
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda we need to have a balance of all six tastes throughout the day. Our fusion of organic Assam tea anchored in cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and other spices, is finely balanced to create the perfect aromatic blend. Sages in India are known to infuse the tea with milk and sugar.

This tea seems to have that perfect blend that I look for in a good Chai the balance of black tea flavor with the spiciness of clove ginger and cardamom. This  tea goes well with milk and honey or simply on its own, I highly recommend picking some up and making a pot (or two) today. curl up with a good book and watch the leaves turn from green to red orange and yellow... or if you are in Texas like I am, from green to brown to on the ground, either way pick some up and enjoy the rest of your day.

Below is a link to the tea: 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Green tea can save lives, and your breath.

We all know drinking one or two cups of green tea every day is not only a tasty way to relax. But a new study published in the Journal Archives of Oral Biology (say that 3 times fast) tell us it could help you fight bad breath and even prevent mouth and esophageal cancer. Not that we really needed another reason to love green tea.

In this latest study Dr. Meenakshi Bajaj, dietitian at the Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital. Shares along with fellow researchers that the antioxidants, called polyphenols, found in the tea, help in eradicating several compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and even mouth cancer. You had me at eradicating compounds.

The properties of Polyphenol an antioxidant found in the tea, called epigallocatechin 3 gallate or better known in the tea world as (EGCG) (watch the ninja tea video from an earlier post for more on that) helps reduce dental plaque and thus destroys the bacteria that cause bad breath. Knowing this may just increase green tea orders on the first date, especially if you ordered the garlic chicken.
Dr. Bajaj points out that “Green tea is rich in flavonoids and has a lot of antioxidants. The presence of polyphenols makes it anti-carcinogenic and helps in preventing cancer. Green tea also increases the metabolic rate and reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s,” plus don't forget... It tastes great AND is less filling!

Prior studies show that tea helps reduce cardio-vascular problems, helps with weight loss, is a great immunity booster and it's unconfirmed, but rumor has it that it also makes you look really cool in front of your friends.
We see green tea popping up everywhere, it's in the news, on TV and it's becoming quite the "beverage to be seen with" amongst the stars, just check out the site: if you don't believe me.

“A lot of people are consuming green tea these days and it is a healthy trend. However, it is potassium high, so patients suffering from kidney failure should refrain from drinking green tea,” said Dr Bajaj. But let's not focus on the negative, for all it's benefits, Dr. Oz in the May issue of Woman's Day (my wife gets it... Really) tells us "green tea is a great replacement for soda, and high calorie energy drinks which give you a quick sugar rush but then you crash." And with 1/4 the caffeine of coffee it won't give you the jitters reminiscent of those late night college cram sessions.

So drink on for your health and feel confident that your breath and your body exude a healthy glow...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Elephant Tea

The newest craze in high dollar tea is Elephant Tea it's high grown mountain Darjeeling First Flush that is passed through an elephants trunk. This process allows enzymes in the elephant saliva to begin a slight fermentation process that brings out very complex floral notes as well as an earthy balance that some are saying make this the best tasting April Fools Day joke around... Happy April Fools Day!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Tea Review: 365 Tea Vanilla Blossom

This is a very smooth Pouchong is blended with Lemon Myrtle, Organic Marigolds and vanilla essence, creating a wonderful balance of flavor while not loosing the lovely Pouchong tea base.

Pouchong is found somewhere between green tea and an Oolong tea due to its lack of the sharper green tea flavors. Pouchong is a milder, lightly fermented (oxidized) tea ,with a twist shape, and subtle floral notes. While this tea has traditionally been found in the Fujian region it is now widely cultivated and produced in Pinglin Township near Taipei, Taiwan.

This particular tea is a wonderful afternoon tea to sip while you unwind. the great balance of flavor make a favorite among tea critics the world over.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Numi Organic Tea Moroccan Mint - Full Leaf Herbal Teasan

If you are looking for a good start into the world of Tisanes (teasans) basicly this means an Herbal drink that doesn't contain actual tea, "sans" tea, then this may be a good place to start (but you do need to like mint).

This was one of the first mint tisanes I tried years ago. It was a good intro to mint teas, and reasonably priced as well as easily accessible since you can find you it at Walmart. This has a strong mint flavor as it should and is a good tisane to get your mint whistle wet, its basically tastes just like if I made tea out of my spice cabinet mint jar. On a day when I need a bit of a refreshing pick-me-up, this can do the trick.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A-Z Tea

I know it's been like 4 months, what the hey...... I can't believe I did that!! Its not like I haven't had some awesome tea this year and would love to share it with all of my fellow Tea Lovers, what can I say its been a crazy last few months.
I thought I would try to make a list, of all the teas I have had a chance to sample some from around the world. But I realized that would take FOREVER, and I don't have another four months to do that, so instead I decided to create an A-Z of Tea. To be honest that wasn't as easy as you may think... There are some tough letters out there to find a tea for. But I pulled through, I took up the challenge and I did it, (ok I cheated on a few and listed some growing regions, but cut me some slack, you try to find a tea that starts with X or Z... {if you do let me know})

Here is a list from A-Z of Tea:

Assam- black tea named after the region of its production, Assam, in India.

Bancha- Japanese green tea, that is harvested from the second flush of sencha between summer and autumn.

Ceylon- Now known as Sri Lanka, known for its black tea, with a crisp, citric aroma.

Dragon Well- Also known as Longjing tea this is a variety of roasted green tea from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Its rated as one of the finest green teas.

Earl Grey- A tea blended with with the rind of the bergamot orange giving a distinctive flavor and aroma.

Fugian Province- An area of China well known for its tea production including oolong, Wuyi Yancha, and Fuzhou jasmine tea.

Genmaicha - The Japanese name for green tea combined with roasted brown rice.

Hojicha- Japanese green tea that is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal; Most Japanese tea is steamed so this makes it a unique tea all by itself, (one of my personal favorites).

Iced (its a stretch but it works)- The most common tea drink in America (85%), its normally black tea, served with a lemon slice.

Jasmine Pearls- Green or White tea scented with Jasmine flowers, the most famous tea scent in China.

Kukicha- Known as Twig Tea, this is made from the stems and twigs of Sencha or Matcha.

Lapsang Souchong - This distinct tea is traditionally smoked over pine needles.

Matcha- Fresh leaves from a supreme Gyokuro green tea are stone ground into a fine powder. In the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, Matcha, literally “powdered tea,” is elegantly delivered by bamboo spoon into a bowl of hot water, then whipped with a bamboo whisk into a frothy, rich brew sipped right from the bowl.

Naked Pu-Erh- A post-fermentation tea where the leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process after they are dried and rolled. It stems from Yunnan, China and delivers a deep red infusion with a sweet woodsy aroma and mild earthy finish.

Orange Pekoe- A term used in the Western tea trade to describe a particular genre of black teas, not a flavor of tea.

Purple Oolong- Purple Oolong is Oxidized at 99%, its a very rich brew that delivers a full roasted dark purple infusion with solid notes of cinnamon, musk, and amber. A rare treat from Sumatra, Indonesia. This tea can be steeped multiple times.

Qilan- A very mild Wuyi Oolong tea, it has an obvious sweet and nutty aroma.

Russian Caravan- A blend of Oolong, Keemun, and Lapsang Souchong. It is described as an aromatic and full-bodied tea with a sweet, malty taste.its name originates from the 18th century camel caravans that facilitated the transcontinental tea trade from tea-producing areas (namely India, Ceylon and China) to Europe via Russia.

Sencha- Japanese green tea, specifically one made without grinding the tea leaves. It is the most popular tea in Japan, and represents about 80 percent of the tea produced in Japan.

Tirguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) - Named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Guanyin, who is known in Japan as Kannon and in Korea as Guam-eum. Named after the legend of a poor farmer named Wei who after cleaning the temple repeatedly. One night, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream. She told him of a cave behind the temple where treasure awaited. He was to take the treasure and share it with others. In the cave, the farmer found a single tea shoot. He planted it in his field and nurtured it into a large bush, from which the finest tea was produced. He gave cuttings of this rare plant to all his neighbors and began selling the tea under the name Tieguanyin, Iron Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Over time, Mr. Wei and all his neighbors prospered; the rundown temple of Guanyin was repaired and became a beacon for the region. Mr. Wei took joy in the daily trip to his tea fields, never failing to stop in appreciation of the beautiful temple.

Uji Gyokuro- The most precious and sought after Japanese green tea. Select Tencha leaves are shade grown for two weeks then promptly deep steamed after harvesting, maintaining elevated levels of chlorophyll and resulting in a bright green vegetal cup.

Vanilla Chai- Traditionally Masala Chai is a beverage meaning literally "mixed spice tea", often mixed with milk. However western adaptations have come to include non traditional ingredients like vanilla, or even chocolate.

White Tea- A lightly oxidized tea grown and harvested almost exclusively in China, primarily in the Fujian province. It comes from the delicate buds and younger leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. These buds and leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. This preserves the characteristic flavor of the white tea.

Xiaguan- This tea factory is a major producer of compressed pu'erh tea, most notably túochá. Aged túochá and bĭngchá, particularly those produced in the 1970s and 1980s, are highly valued by collectors.

Yerba Mate- Not really tea in the purest sense since it isn't of the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae), which is native to subtropical South America in northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It's traditionally served in a hollowed out gourd called a guampa with a metal straw.

Zhenghe- Actually not a tea but a growing region for Bai Hao Yinzhen (silver needle), but I couldn't find a tea that started with Z. Silver Needle is the most sought after white tea and is only harvested for a few days each year. This magnificent tea has a light golden flush with a unique savory aroma and a woodsy body. The finish is pleasant with a lingering, yet balanced sweetness.

So there we are the list A-Z teas, I look forward to being able to do more with the blog this year. Let me know what you think, I want to make sure its worth reading and consequently worth writing, not that I have any doubts about weather or not tea is worth writing about, but rather that my insight and knowledge is worth it.

Hope you have a wonderful January and I look forward to next month!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

August Tea Review, Arbonne Essentials, Herbal Detox

Part of the joy of tea is that it is really good for you; our bodies have seven organs that can help us remove toxins through a detoxification process. These organs are the skin, colon, liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, and immune system. And sometimes it’s time to give back to those seven that gives so much for us. This month I am looking at one of my new favorite Detox Teas.
I have been cleansing the past few weeks and so I needed something to help me out, I have never felt better and I am looking forward to some new growth in the future.

My Selection is Arbonne Essentials Herbal Detox Tea: It smells great, tastes really good and helps to really keep you going (insert pun here).
Any detox tea will generally include herbs that assist in cleansing one or more organs. The key is to know which organs are in need of cleansing and then select an herbal blend to do the job, what I like about this is it combines a number of good detoxers so I don’t have to think too much about it.

So what’s in it?
The ingredients:
Milk Thistle: Which is well known for its ability to cleanse the liver and one of the best preventative herbs out there, since it cleanses and protects the liver.
Peppermint: Aside from being one of my favorite ingredients of a good herbal tea, Peppermint is also used to calm and soothe the stomach.
Dandelion: Used today for liver and gallbladder function. It’s also known as a blood purifier.
Sweet Fennel: Love the taste, and it helps to relax the intestines, and bring bloating down after a heavy meal, in fact it has been used for years as an after dinner “mint” in India and Pakistan.
Elder: This been used for hundreds of years to help with the flu, and quite well in fact. It is also used for cough, colds, fever, and inflammation.
Parsley: This is a known diuretic and cleanser.
Walnut: reduces inflammation.
Uva Ursi: I’ll be honest, I had to look this one up, I had never heard of it, but it’s a great little herb, it’s also known as bearberry and has been used since the 2nd century. It’s great for urinary tract infections, and helps heal inflammation.
Licorice: one of my other favorite herbs, it also has great detoxing power for our body, plus combined with the Sweet Fennel, it gives it a really good flavor.

Bottom line, this is a great bagged Detox tea and I would recommend it if you are about to start a cleanse or already on one, or simply if you are just looking for a good tasting herbal tea.

Link below:

Legal stuff when talking about Herbs: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Gotta keep myself safe here. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July tea review Grey's Tea, Good Afternoon blend

Grey's Teas

Good Afternoon blend-

So maybe I am longing for some relief from the heat and wanted something that remind me of a cool fall day, campfires and the smell of dried leaves that hits me right around my birthday in October (18th, if anyone wants to get me a present).

This tea did just the trick, it is reminiscent of my grandmothers love for afternoon tea, and it really has a calming effect to the hustle and bustle of my day.

My first reaction was joy at the sweet woodiness of the leaves, followed by the undeniable smokiness that usually follows a good Lapsang souchong (one of my personal favorites) but with a bit more earthy sweetness. The liquor also had beautifully rich caramel redness to it, I have to say that it reminded me of a fall evening and I will be more than happy to relive that again and again. The taste was very full without being overpowering, it's warm flavor (not temp but, think brown sugar) and sweet almost (this may sound crazy) light artichoke like notes were very well balanced.

I have to give this very high marks for a very GOOD AFTERNOON tea.

Our Afternoon blend - Well chosen China and Indian teas are blended to give a light, fragrant liquor with a little smokiness. Once you have tried it you will not drink an average tea during the afternoon ever again! Can be drunk with or without milk.
Go to Grey's Tea

Below is a direct link to this tea

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June Tea Review Obubu Tea Plantations, Sencha of the Earth

This month I am reviewing some lovely tea from the Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations. 

Sencha of the Earth (Spring harvested Shincha)

This tea was very good, I mean its hard to wrong when you have a spring harvested Shincha tea. But this one has a very good quality liquor and a nice balance of vegetative sweetness with just a hint of the ever expected bite of a green tea.

I was pleasantly surprised with the earthy taste that this tea has, it really is worth trying.

From their Website:
Balancing sweetness with bitterness, the Sencha of the Earth or 大地の煎茶, was named because it comes from standard tea plants over 30 years old. The strength of these plants is simply amazing, and we can feel the power of the earth as we drink it. Grown on northwest facing slopes near the Wazuka River.

This Tea gets 4 out of 5 cups for me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tea 101, what makes a great cup

So I just realized after all I did with this blog last year (not that much) I never actually posted the basics of how to brew a good cup of tea.... so sorry, so here goes.

First things first, start with a good tea, but at this point it really doesn't matter what you start with as long as you are starting, for this example I will use some loose leaf Sencha Green Tea.

  • The average cup of tea 8 oz, needs approx. 1 teaspoon of leaves (or one tea bag). 

  • Put into your infuser or if you are bagging it set it in your cup. For this I am using an Adagio Tea ingenuiTea brewer (to the right though I am showing a typical wire mesh infuser). 
  • Now lets boil our water.The quality of your water WILL affect the taste of your tea, so make sure if you have off-tasting water you use either a filter or bottled water.  Slowly boil this really will affect the waters taste

  • For this part your tea will determine the temp that you boil your water at:
    • Green tea bring your water (slowly) to around 150-160 F and only steep for about 2-4 minutes, 3 being a good average. 
    • Black tea (as well as Rooibos, African red tea) you want to truly bring it to a boil and steep for about 5-6 minutes. 
    • Herbal teas or Tisane should be around 5 minutes, now there are lots and lots of types so this may need a little testing to get it right. if its bitter it may need to be reduced in time a bit. 
    • Oolong tea is a tea fermented between Green and Black its best temp is right around 190 F but steeped longer than Blacks at around 5-8 minutes. 

Its a good idea to have a thermometer handy if you don't have an automatic kettle (and even then sometimes its still a good idea). But if you don't a good rule of thumb (first keep thumbs away from boiling water... ouch) is small bubbles float on the waters surface at about 160-170 F. Then as it gets hotter around 180-190F you will start to see the little stings of bubbles form from the bottom of your kettle, after that the party gets started at a rolling boil of about 212 F. 

Remember once you have brewed your tea if you are using a higher quality loose leaf you may get 2 or 3 steeps out of it. If you are using a bag tea, its only going to be good for one (more than likely).

Resist the temptation to "squeeze" your tea bag, that will only make your tea bitter. 

And know that its not like ribs, the longer you slow cook the better it gets doesn't apply here. Timing is everything here in tea, if you the tea in too long it will become over steeped and bitter. But the flip side is true too, if you don't leave it in long enough it will be weak tea... so experiment, find what you like.

Enjoy, I know I am.... I am drinking this cup right now 

*For Iced tea preperation, basic amounts can be doubled, then add ice... so brew double strength and add equal amounts ice and water to suit your tastebuds. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ninjas Can't Mess with me

This is really funny Contest entry for Calm-A-Sutra of Tea 2008.

For all you hater Ninjas out there. You better step off Cause I've been drinking my green tea.

Chuck Norris you aren't the only one who can do a round house NOW!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Tis the time of year to look back and look ahead, doing that at one time though can cause a really bad strain on your neck.  So part of me feels like I failed a bit, I didn’t get to blog nearly as much on tea as I wanted to. Life happened, what are you going to do. I enjoyed this last year of discovering many types of tea and I really had fun with the friends I was able to share it with. From our trips to the tea stores to just hanging around talking about different types of processing amongst other things. This next year I plan to continue with the journey, a bit more educated but nowhere near an expert. I still have much to learn grasshopper. And I will do my best to share it with you, please feel free to join in, I know I may have an unhealthy obsession with this, but I know that there are those out there just like me, and you know who you are (if you are reading this you may just be one of them).
If you want to know more about me personally you can follow one of my other blogs: or my wife’s:  her blog is more than likely going to be better than mine, just saying. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Matcha A brief history and use

Please know I am not a Matcha expert and this is only the info that I have found so far. As with all of our blog this is designed to be a beginners walk along the discovery of tea. I am still learning and loving every bit of it. So here we go, into the wonderful world of Matcha we dive. 
Matcha is the oldest and most premium variety of green tea in Japan - the mother of all green tea!
Matcha has been used by Buddhist monks since ancient times. The monks produce natural remedies from different plants. Since tea was known as medicine from its discovery, it was natural for Buddhist monks to powder it as they would powder other plants to obtain traditional Chinese medicine. This is how Matcha was born.
In 1191 Zen Master Eisei brought the new and revolutionary idea of drinking tea from China to Japan. Eisai traveled throughout the country and planted tea. In his book "Kissa yojoki" Eisei writes "Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one's life more full and complete. Tea has an extraordinary power to extend someone's life. Everywhere people plant tea, long life will follow". From this point on, Matcha became the "secret medicine" of Buddhist monks and the imperial court.
In the 16th century another Zen-master shaped the image of tea in Japan: Sen-no-Rikyu invented the tea ceremony. This highly sophisticated cultural art of drinking tea has greatly influenced the image of Japanese tea in the west. The tea that is exclusively used in the famous Tea Ceremony is Matcha green tea. As the Tea Ceremony became more desirable as an art form, Matcha became popular among the powerful samurai class in Japan. For centuries, Matcha remained the secret tea of Japan's elite - now it has been rediscovered for modern times and Aiya is proud to share this luxurious experience with you.

Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make gyokuro. The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids that make the resulting tea sweeter. Only the finest tea buds are hand picked. After harvesting, if the leaves are rolled out before drying as usual, the result will be gyokuro (jade dew) tea. However, if the leaves are laid out flat to dry, they will crumble somewhat and become known as tencha (碾茶). Tencha can then be de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha
It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.
Note that only ground tencha qualifies as matcha, and other powdered green teas, such as powdered sencha, are known as konacha (粉茶, lit. "powder tea")

My personal love for Matcha goes beyond its great health benefits, it has a wonderful vegetative flavor with a smoothness that I have not found in any other tea. Now it also comes at a high price, Matcha is one of the most expensive teas out there, but it is worth it.  

Prior to use, the matcha is often forced through a sieve in order to break up clumps. There are special sieves available for this purpose, which are usually stainless steel and combine a fine wire mesh sieve and a temporary storage container. 

A special wooden spatula  called a Chashaku is used to force the tea through the sieve, or a small, smooth stone may be placed on top of the sieve and the device shaken gently.

If the sieved matcha is to be served at a Japanese tea ceremony, then it will be placed into a small tea caddy known as a chaki. Otherwise, it can be scooped directly from the sieve into a tea bowl.

 Pour 3 oz. of  hot (not boiling, about 80 °C or 176-185 °F) water .

 The mixture is then whisked to a uniform consistency, using a bamboo whisk known as a chasen. There must be no lumps left in the liquid, and no ground tea should remain on the sides of the bowl.  Make sure that you whisk from the center of the bowl in a M pattern breaking any large bubbles and remove the whisk from the center of the bowl. 


Since Matcha is a power it will not dissolve in the water it is simply suspended in the hot water so try not to wait to long when drinking it will begin to settle in the bottom of the bowl. 

this is a mixture of my own photos and ones I got online:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back in the saddle

It has been quite a while since I last posted anything, partly due to the heavy school load I had last semester, and partly because I was really busy with work. Now School is over (at least until next semester) and work is well still work, I own a CPR, First Aid & safety training company... sooo if anyone out there in Blogland needs to be certified... (and it wouldn't hurt if you were in the Dallas area) then shoot me a comment, I would love to train you and I can come to your location. I love groups.... O.K. commercial over.

For Fathers Day this year my Lovely bride bought me an ingenuiTEA infuser by Adagio Teas. I have to say I love it. I have been brewing in a Boum glass infuser so far but this cup at a time infuser is amazing.

I have so much to share soon. for now however I am just glad to be back in the tea saddle.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Speak Fluent Tea

This is a list of some of the terms commonly used by many in the tea world.

·         Aroma: the fragrance of the tea liquor (liquid) and the infused leaf.
·         Astringency: the dry mouth feel that some teas give off
·         Balanced: when all of the flavors are well rounded
·         Body: the feel of the tea on the tongue, some have a heavier body than others
·         Botanicals: the Herbs that are made up of the leaves, roots, barks, berries, grasses, petals, and peels.
·         Brightness: Crispness of the flavor, and clarity of color.
·         Brisk: The bite of a tea, akin to the Astringency of the tea.
·         Character: The signature attributes of a tea from a given region. For example, a tea from Darjeeling that doesn’t have the floral or nutty notes one would expect to find is said to “lack character,” even though it may taste very good.
·         Chewy: A tea with a dense, complex, full flavor. Not just a character from star wars.
·         Colory: Describes a tea that exhibits great color but not necessarily great flavor.
·         Common: plain, thin liquor that has no distinct character.
·         CTC: A grade of tea, Cut, Tear, and Curl (CTC) is an alternative to the orthodox leaf styles, and has more pronounced thickness of flavor. Leaf size is more granular, with more surfaces exposed.
·         Delicate: Used to describe teas that are subtler in flavor, yet still complex.
·         Dull: Describes the flavor of an old or poorly manufactured tea.
·         Fermentation: Also know as oxidation, this is the process of exposing fresh tea leaves to oxygen in order to turn them from green to black tea.
·         Flush: the period when tea bushes develop tender new shoots for harvest.
·         First Flush: The early-season harvest in many tea-growing regions, most notably Darjeeling.
·         Flat: Used to describe a tea that lacks flavor and character.
·         Flavory: Used to describe a tea that has good flavor but may lack color.
·         Intense: Most often used to describe a tea that has unusually robust or concentrated flavor and aroma.
·         Liquor: Brewed tea is regarded to as liquor in tea tasting.
·         Metallic: An undesirable coppery quality found in some lower-quality black teas.
·         Orange Pekoe: Refers to a finely manufactured full leaf grade, not a tea type. No one knows why the word “orange” is used in this context.
·         Orthodox: Refers to tea processed in the orthodox method of being mechanically rolled, resulting in a twisted leaf. Typically lighter and more delicate than CTC’s.
·         Origin: Where tea is grown and manufactured.  
·         Original Line: An unblended lot (or invoice) of tea ranging from 500 to 2,000 lbs that posses its own unique flavor and aroma characteristics.
·         Oxidation: The process where crushed tea leaves exposed to oxygen begin to turn a dark red-amber color and develop complex flavor.
·         Pekoe: (Pee-ko) is a leaf grade typically made from a coarser plucking.  “Pico” is a boulevard in Los Angeles, not a tea term.
·         Personality: Indicates whether a tea is the outgoing, life-of-the-party type, or the more introverted and given to quiet contemplation.
·         Plain: Characteristic of the liquor of a dull or thin tea.
·         Pluck: Describes a person with courage and spirit, but with tea it simply means to pick.
·         Rolling: The process of manipulation tea leaves in order to change their shape and break down cell structure; leads to enzymatic reactions that allow flavor development. (And you thought it sounded simple).
·         Second Flush: The second leaf harvest period of the season. Second-flush teas have more body, color and intensity.
·         Strength: Used to describe teas that have a lot of flavor, color and aroma. Also refers to the extraction level of teas resulting from steeping time.
·         Tea Shaman: A title given to one who after many lifetimes achieves the ability to create teas of extraordinary taste, as well as interpret the subtlest nuances of nature and balance plates on his nose.
·         Thickness: Similar to body or strength.
·         Varietal: Refers to an unblended tea from a particular origin: e.g. Darjeeling.
·         Vegetative: Green teas often have qualities that remind people generally of green vegetables. It is a sign of freshness and quality.
·         Wallah: One who is a master of a particular craft or skill. Chai wallahs have honed their skills by serving chai to wandering souls for centuries. And you just thought it was a place in Washington.
·         Withering: The process of allowing tea leaves to lose moisture and become soft and pliable immediately following plucking; usually takes 10-16 hours.
      This great resource came from the good people at Tazo Tea,

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Origin and History of Tea

Kicking off this year with a bit of history is just the way to start our journey into the world of tea, now remember there will be a test at the end, just kidding. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, learning about a new culture or should I say a very old culture is a great deal of fun, and to think that tea has played such a huge role in history makes our cup of the day a little more awe inspiring. So sit back steep yourself a cup and enjoy the read of the Origins and History of Tea.

The Origins of Tea Lore take us to China around 2737 BC, during the Reign of emperor Shen Nung, a scholar and trusted herbalist, as the legend goes, he knelt by a fire, boiling water in a small pot when the breeze blew the leaves from the top of a bush into his vessel, creating a flavorful aroma that caused the emperor to investigate. When Shen Nung tried this brew he was amazed and delighted.
Like Art Tea has its periods and its evolution may be into three main stages Boiled Tea the Whipped Tea and Steeped Tea, we moderns belong last school. The Cake tea which was boiled the Powdered tea which was whipped, and the Leaf tea which was steeped mark the distinct emotional impulses of the Tang the Sung and the Ming dynasties of China If we were inclined to borrow the much abused terminology of art classification we might designate them respectively the Classic the Romantic and the Naturalistic schools of Tea.
The tea plant a native of southern China was known from very early times to Chinese botany and medicine It is alluded to in the classics under the various names of Tou Tseh Chung Kha and Ming and was highly prized for possessing the virtues of relieving fatigue delighting the soul strengthening the will and repairing the eye sight It was not only administered as an internal dose but often applied externally in form of paste to alleviate rheumatic pains The Taoists claimed it as an important ingredient of the elixir of immortality The Buddhists used it extensively to prevent drowsiness during their long hours of meditation. By the fourth and fifth centuries Tea became a favorite beverage among the inhabitants of the Yangtse Kiang valley.
It was about this time that the modern ideograph Cha was coined evidently a corruption of the classic Tou. The poets of the southern dynasties have left some fragments of their fervent adoration of the froth of the liquid jade. Then emperors used to bestow some rare preparation of the leaves on their high ministers as a reward for eminent services. Yet the method of drinking tea at this stage was primitive in the extreme. The leaves were steamed crushed in a mortar made into a cake and boiled together with rice, ginger, salt, orange peel, spices, milk, and sometimes with onions. The custom obtains at the present day among the Tibetans and various Mongolian tribes who make a curious syrup of these ingredients. The use of lemon slices by the Russians who learned to take tea from the Chinese caravansaries points to the survival of the method.
Luwuh’s celebrated work the “Chaking, The Holy Scripture of Tea” in which he formulated the Code of Tea consists of three volumes and ten chapters. In the first chapter Luwuh treats of the nature of the tea plant, in the second chapter he disuses the implements for gathering the leaves in the third of the selection of the leaves, The forth chapter, he talks about the equipment of proper Tea making, in his book he describes 24 specific pieces beginning with the tripod brazier and ending with the bamboo cabinet that contains these items.
In the fifth chapter, he describes the method of making tea. He eliminates  all ingredients except salt. He dwells also on the much discussed question of the choice of water and the degree of boiling it. According to him the mountain spring is the best the river water and the spring water come next in the order of excellence. There are three stages of boiling the first boil is when the little bubbles like the eye of fishes swim on the surface, the second boil is when the bubbles are like crystal beads rolling in a fountain, the third boil is when the billows surge wildly in the kettle. The Cake tea is roasted before the fire until it becomes soft like a baby's arm and is shredded into powder between pieces of fine paper. Salt is put in the first boil, the tea in the second, and at the third boil a dipper full of cold water is poured into the kettle to settle the tea and revive the youth of the water.

In the Sung dynasty the whipped tea came into fashion and created the second school of Tea. The leaves were ground to fine powder in a small stone mill, and the preparation was whipped in hot water by a delicate whisk made of split bamboo. The new process led to some change in the tea-equipage of Luwuh, as well as the choice of leaves. Salt was discarded forever. The enthusiasm of the Sung people for tea knew no bounds. Epicures vied with each other in discovering new varieties, and regular tournaments were held to decide their superiority. The Emperor Kiasung (1101-1124), who was too great an artist to be a well-behaved monarch, lavished his treasures on the attainment of rare species. He himself wrote a dissertation on the twenty kinds of tea, among which he prizes the White Tea as the rarest and finest of quality.
In the middle of the fifteenth century the Ming Dynasty was harassed by internal troubles, and China again fell under the alien rule of the Manchus in the seventeenth century. Manners and customs changed to leave no vestige of the former times. The powdered tea is entirely forgotten. We find a Ming commentator at loss to recall the shape of the tea whisk mentioned in one of the Sung classics. Tea is now taken by steeping the leaves in hot water in a bowl or cup. The reason why the Western world is innocent of the older method of drinking tea is explained by the fact that Europe knew it only at the close of the Ming dynasty.

Marco Polo records a discussion in 1285 in about the tea-taxes, it was more commonly spoke of by Far eastern travelers Giovanni Batista Ramusio (1559), L. Almeida (1576), Maffeno (1588) and Tareira (1610)
By 1636 it had reached France and then Russia in 1638. England opened itself to  Tea by 1650 and spoke of it as “That excellent and by app physicians approved China drink called by the Chineans Teha, and by other nations Tay, alias Tee.” It was however not met with all positive remarks, a Heretic Henry Saville (1678) denounced drinking tea as a filthy custom.  Jonas Hanway (Essay on Tea, 1756) said that men seemed to lose their stature and comeliness, women their beauty through the use of tea. 
Tea has played an important part of our modern history; Colonial America lived under heavy oppression until a group made a stand in Boston to heavy taxation on Tea. To this day we see cultures that still observe tea time and still hold true to the mindset that a day without tea is a day  not lived well. I will leave you with this quote from The Book of Tea, that much of the information that we have learned in this blog today came from.

The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism in the ordinary acceptance of the term, for it expresses conjointly with ethics and religion our whole point of view about man and nature. Pg 4

Okakura , Kakuzō “The book of Tea”.  New York: The Shilling Press, 1906. Print

This is a brief but maybe deep history of tea, I hope that you enjoyed learning of its roots as much as I did in reserching it. I find the greatest joy in discovering somthing new that I didn't know about before, this has been one of those situations, I learned a great deal also.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Zen Tea

Starbucks is introducing new sachets with loose leaf tea instead of the paper teabags, I just got a preview of the new Zen, and I have to say that it is a much much better cup of tea, the aroma is very full and the flavors jump out of the cup, in a side-by- side comparison to the old Zen tea bag there is no comparison hands down a better cup of tea. Rumor has it they will be doing away with African Red Bush and Wild Sweet Orange, so if I were you I would stock up now, much like Sweet Cinnamon Spice (RIP) one of my personal favorites I still have a few bags left, I have been rationing it out only for just the proper time.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

great holiday treat

So I just had something that I had to post, quite possibly my new favorite tea combination drink, its a combination of black tea and rich dark chocolate powder, it makes a very rich dark drinking chocolate experience like none other. For starters I took a bag of Tazo Awake black tea, I have to stop myself by saying that I will be getting into the joys of black tea in a few months, but I had to post this before then,  steep black tea properly for 5 minutes. Different tea types steep for different times to properly bring out the flavor, steep to long and you may get bitter tea, to short and you will loose the fullness of  its liquor (that's tea talk for the liquid of the tea),  then I added two tablespoons of Starbucks mocha powder, this is the kind that you can buy on the shelf, mixed it with just a splash of cold nonfat milk, the type milk used is always very important to the flavor outcome, the higher the fat content of the milk the richer the flavor will be, however sometimes the higher fat content can cause you to loose some of the subtle notes of some teas, just be aware.  mix them together and the dark undertones of the black tea combined with the subtle bitterness of the coco make a wonderful combination. Try your own combination of chocolate and black tea and comment on it, let me know what you think. Remember whatever you do enjoy your tea, keep clam and carry on.

In a nutshell:
  • Awake Tea steeped for 5 minutes
  • 2 tablesoons Starbucks Mocha powder
  • 1/4 cup of nonfat milk
  • Sip by a fire

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Welcome letter, soon to start

Welcome to 365 Tea, this is a new endeavor that we are going to embark on, the goal is to bring the world of tea to those who haven't traversed her sweet and sometimes spicy hills, to open the doors of a land of tastes and flavors never thought to have existed. I hope that in this year we will all learn and grow, we will try things this year that we may have never thought of and we must be willing to expand our horizons on the fields of tea and herbal infusions, as well as other delicacies that go with the world of tea.

This blog is geared for the new beginner in the world of tea, as well as others more experienced. We will start with the basics from the history of tea to the different types of teas, brewers, and pots as well as foods and candies that pair well with teas, much like fine wines, teas have different flavors bodies, and textures. Lets work our way though till we reach the summit of the art of tea.

I want to have feedback from your experiences and your ideas, I would love to see what things you have learned along the way and I hope that we all can grow to enjoy tea by the end of this year.