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Brexit. Tea. Envy. Loss. Coffee. Really.

The Devotea - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 23:10

My preferred title for this blog post was just too long, so let’s just enjoy it here: Brexit, Elections, The Politics of Loss and the Implications in the Marketing War between Tea and Coffee. DISCLAIMER: many of you are used to my habit of (a) adding a little tea to make a long-winded rant about something […]

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J’aime Caramel White Tea from Shanti Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 17:26
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White Tea

Where to Buy: Shanti Tea

Tea Description:

This flavored white tea is no longer available on the Shanti Tea website but I thought it was still worth a mention.

Taster’s Review:

Eventho J’aime Caramel White Tea from Shanti Tea is no longer available for purchase on their company website I thought it was still worth a mention.  My first encounter with this tea was about 5 years ago and I knew awhile ago at some point the last of my stash would come to an end and it would be a sad, sad day.  That day has come.

I don’t think I have ever had another caramel flavored white tea but even if I did this one would be hard to beat.  It has that floral flavor that some white teas have but it also has a hardy caramel flavor to it too!  The two flavors paired together work oddly well together.  This tea is incredible smooth, sweet, floral, and a bit savory, too!

With the loss of this flavored white tea there appears to be a gap in the market.  So if any of those creative tea companies out there are trying to think of a new flavor offering in their catalog – may I suggest a caramel flavored white?  It’s shockingly tasty!


The post J’aime Caramel White Tea from Shanti Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Friday Round Up - World Tea Expo Edition Part 2

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 16:00
The Tea and Hat Lady
State of the Industry - Day 2 WTE

Tea Happiness
Reflections on The World Tea Expo: Day 1/2
World Tea Expo, Day 1- Re-Evaluating Tea Education

My Japanese Green Tea
World Tea Expo 2016 Part 3
World Tea Expo 2016 Part 4
World Tea Expo 2016 Part 5

Steep Stories
A Fly on Tea Journey's Wall
The Return of the Fellowship to World Tea Expo

Lasting Impressions from the 2016 World Tea Expo
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Blast from the Past: Thirsty Kids and the Search for Healthier Refreshment

T Ching - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 07:00

This article was originally posted to T Ching in July of 2010,

It’s summertime, and kids are thirsty!  Persistent, nagging reports of the detrimental health effects of BPA in containers, artificial food coloring, and sweeteners have left me wondering how to train my kids’ palates to enjoy healthier, more natural beverages such as tea and botanical infusions.  Kids run the unhealthy drink gauntlet daily, bombarded by offers of soda, “juice” in boxes, bags, and bottles, energy drinks, slushies, and other corn syrup-, sugar-, and artificial color/flavor-laden drinks.  How can I get my kids to appreciate the subtle flavors and nuances of simple, natural flavors while slaking their thirst?

For the past few years, I’ve been exploring the possibility of offering relatively caffeine-free iced teas, not the kind of “real” iced tea I drink.  Mugicha, fruit infusions, thin houjicha and kukicha, mint tea, and rooibos blends are all things I’m trying, and some have been real hits, some misses.

I’m considering buying a SodaStream to make our own carbonated waters in recyclable bottles.  Weary of picking up plastic straw wrappers seemingly everywhere, tossing plastic bottles into the recycle bin, and finding empty juice bags in kids’ backpacks and on coffee tables, I’m increasingly disturbed by how much unnecessary packaging there is for these small portions of sugar water!  Making your own carbonated water creates endless possibilities: you could add aromatics like lemon/lime/orange peel, ginger, lavender flowers, or a few cucumber slices or berries.  You could also make a favorite tea concentrate, adding carbonated water and perhaps a touch of agave to taste.

Our most popular tea flavors for icing at the teahouse are Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Melange (basically just dried fruit and flower petals), Sunburst (green tea with mango and apricot flavors), and Vanilla Lemongrass (green rooibos, lemongrass, apples, and citrus).  If you use a “real” tea, you can limit the amount of caffeine you extract into the infusion by limiting the infusion time and temperature of the water.  Remember, you’re going for a very subtle, quiet flavor here, maybe just a few steps above water.  If the flavor is too subtle for your kids, you could try making more intensely flavored infusions at first, stepping down from the intensity slowly.  Sometimes my kids are game, sometimes not, but I keep offering new things.  My 9-year-old actually likes iced, diluted kukicha (twig tea) with a twist of lime, and I’ll catch my 14-year-old mixing up a matcha-mint iced tea before her sports practice at night, despite the fact that she claims to “prefer coffee” (maybe because that’s what the cool kids are drinking?).

It can be a tough sell, especially when everyone else is drinking garbage around you.  It’s my hope that I’m training my kids’ palates to be more open to a healthier range of drinks and foods free from artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, nitrates, sweeteners, and added “bad” fats so that they can make better choices when navigating this gauntlet.  We’ll see.

The post Blast from the Past: Thirsty Kids and the Search for Healthier Refreshment appeared first on T Ching.

World Tea Expo 2016 - The Night Life

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 16:00
**Warning - this will be a long post with lots of pictures!**

We were in Sin City for World Tea Expo but I also made sure that my fiance and I were able to hit the town a time or two. We haven't been able to go on vacation together in years so it was really nice to get away from everything back home for a while.

We stayed at The Mardi Gras Hotel and Casino, which was a bit a time warp. It was a bit run down but served the purpose well enough. It was a very short walk to the Las Vegas Convention Center so that made life a lot easier. It was a little far from "the strip" and some of the main touristy attractions but that wasn't much of a big deal. Thank god for Uber carting us around! It was hot but not unbearably so and there was a nice breeze for pretty much the whole week.

Temps climbed to over 100 degrees a few days after we left so we really lucked out as far as weather goes. I would say that the only complaint I had about Las Vegas was the fact that people are allowed to smoke EVERYWHERE. As an asthmatic non-smoker, this presented a lot of challenges and sent me home with a slight cough. I actually had to stop walking through my hotel's lobby altogether.

Wednesday was our first night out and we decided to go see the sights. We started at the High Roller, the world's tallest observation wheel. We then hoofed it all around the strip. Although I enjoyed our jaunt, the crowds there were a lot to handle. I think EDC being in town probably had something to do with that.

Cheesing :)The High Roller
View from the topParisView from The Venetian
Thursday we decided to hit Fremont Street. This is where a lot of the older casinos are located. We found a cool local microbrewery called Banger Brewing thanks to a recommendation from our friends at +Tealet. Although it was crowded on Fremont Street, the vibe was quite a bit different than what I found on the strip. There were some decent bands playing on the different stages and the light show going on overhead was pretty cool.
Can't beat $8 beer flights

Jason and I absolutely love to eat. I think the highlight of the trip for him may have actually been a sandwich. We found a cute little place called Park on Fremont where we ordered Philly cheese steaks...where the cheese was macaroni and cheese. They were as amazing as they sound. I also really dug the hidden seesaw and the wall of porcelain plates on the back patio.

On our last night in Vegas, we spent some time gallivanting with my fellow tea bloggers. We hit two local tea places as well as the inevitable stop at In and Out. The first tea place we visited was PublicUs, a really cool little restaurant and coffee bar. I made Jason pose with a giant steak while I drank my Golden White Peony from Song Tea & Ceramics. Their mugs kept the tea so hot! I've never actually been able to capture steam with my camera before. Only a tea blogger would get excited about something like that but it made me happy.

Next, we visited a little place called Milk Teaze. For those that don't know it's a bubble tea shop where the waitresses wear lingerie, sort of a tea Hooters if you will. All of the drinks were made fresh on the spot.

I'm not really a fan of boba so I ordered the matcha ice cream milk green tea sans the icky bubbles. It was very sweet but absolutely delicious. Imagine drinking melted matcha ice cream with a scoop or two of matcha ice cream added on top. Their heart shaped bendy straws were adorable to boot. The staff was also really good sports given the general oddness of a large group of tea bloggers gathered in one place.

I have to give those girls props because I burn myself making tea at work while fully clothed. Doing it in my underwear would likely end up with a trip to the emergency room.

And with that, I'll end my WTE coverage for 2016 (with the exception of part two of the WTE edition Friday Round Up tomorrow). It really was an awesome experience and as always, I'm so glad that I went. Here's to next year being even more awesome!

World Tea Expo 2016 - The Seminars

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:00
The educational conference at World Tea Expo is something I always look forward to attending. As someone trying to make my way in the world of tea, the search for knowledge never ends. Having the opportunity to learn from so many voices in different fields is invaluable. I couldn't make every session on my to-do list, mostly due to scheduling conflicts, but the ones that I was able to attend were fantastic. This also my very first year speaking on my own. Talk about nerve wracking! I'll save all of that stuff for the end.

Re-evaluating Tea EducationThe first thing on my WTE agenda was a panel helmed by +Jo J. I don't think she could have chosen a better group of people to discuss a hot-button issue. James Norwood Pratt, Austin Hodge, Kevin Gascoyne and +Darlene Meyers Perry each offered their perspectives on some very thought provoking questions. The validity of the many certification programs was called in question. Although some in the audience seemed to take this personally I think these comments were meant to spark a much-needed conversation, not to denigrate anyone. The industry seems to be coming to a crossroads and what happens in the coming years will determine where we go in the future. +Geoffrey Norman furiously typed quotes on our phones and there were quite a few gems.
"The harder it is to describe the taste, the better a tea is." - James Norwood Pratt
"The more we know, the more we realize we don't know much." - Austin Hodge
"I think it's important to understand where we are. And where we are is at the very beginning." - Austin Hodge
"It's more the facts that I'm worried about. Some people are teaching absolute crap." - Kevin Gascoyne

Working with the Media: Learn from Top Tea EditorsAs a beginning tea writer, I was extremely interested in this seminar. Aaron Kiel (press guy extraordinaire for WTE) headed up a panel packed with some of the big names in tea media. They consisted of Jan Wiegel (Fresh Cup Magazine), Gail Gastelu (The Tea House Times), Lorna Reeves (TeaTime Magazine), Vaness Facenda (Tea & Coffee Trade Journal), +Dan Bolton (World Tea News/Tea Journey Magazine), +Linda Gaylard (The Tea Stylist), Scott Reitz (Freelance Journalist), and +Kathy YL Chan (Condé Nast Traveler, Ritz-Carlton Magazine). I left the room with so many takeaways about pitching to magazines and successfully getting stories published. Perhaps the most poignant for the bloggers in the room was Kathy's advice about never working for free. This is a lesson that I wish I had learned a long time ago.
Tea Vessels = A Way to Steep Up SalesFellow blogger +Darlene Meyers Perry gave a fantastic presentation on teaware. She often made us giggle with funny little vignettes of her own teaware acquisitions. I think these real world examples also helped to bring the ideas she presented alive for the retailers in the audience. Darlene's background in sales and experience as an online retailer really enable her to speak from the level of her audience. I think everyone left the room with several easily executable ideas. Her enthusiasm for the subject was positively contagious. Do you think my fiance will buy it if I blame Darlene for the gaiwan and tea pet that I bought later that day? I sure hope so!

Make sure that you check out her blog, The Tea Enthusiasts Scrapbook.
She also sells tea and accessories at The Tea Lover's Archives. I'm secretly in love with the "Turquoise Waters" matcha bowl but I need another chawan like I need a hole in the head.
Utilizing Social Media to Connect with Customers Authentically and Grow Your Tea BusinessLast of all, we come to the seminar that I presented on social media. My fellow blogger's convinced me to submit a proposal after I won the World Tea Award for Best Social Media Reach last year. Never in a million years did I think that my presentation would actually be selected. I was beyond nervous, especially when I saw the room slowly becoming quite crowded. I was not mentally prepared to present to that many people! Somehow I made it through without falling apart too much (though there were plenty of nervous um's...). I was relieved to step off stage but shocked to find that there was a line a people waiting to talk to me. What? This isn't the kind of thing that happens to a tea blogger from New Jersey. So many of them left me with kind words of encouragement and gratitude. A few even brought gifts to share. My fiance (aka faithful tea sherpa) Periscope'd the presentation for the folks at home. I've included the video below for anyone who missed it.

 I know there were a lot of seminars that I did not get to this time around. Let me know in the comments which sessions you enjoyed!

Flavoring Tea at Home with Home-Grown Herbals

T Ching - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 07:00

There are very few truly gifted blenders that make me want to give blending a try.  I know my place and it isn’t my calling.  Finding the best tasting tea and herbals in the world for our business collection is.  I know a naturally gifted blender when I taste something that is truly magnificent.

But, let’s say I drop the standard a little and want to play around myself?  I’ve found growing herbs in containers is not only easy, it’s fun, and one of my favorite things to grow is mint.  Mint is hard to kill, which makes it ideal to grow.  Above is a container I stuck a couple tiny pieces of mint into just a short time ago–a few weeks it seems.  The photo shows the results.

If you’re a mint fanatic, you’ll probably already have lots of mint blends where the mint is quite dominant.  But for those who just want a ‘hint of mint’, or even a beautiful garnish for an iced tea, it’s so easy to snip a sprig and put it in some hot or iced tea (if you add honey, please use light honey with white and green tea and stronger, darker honey with black tea and put it in the hot infusion before you pour it over ice if you are doing iced tea, or you’ll get a mini lava lamp effect if it hits tea that’s really cold).  You can crush the leaf before adding for more flavor, or just leave it alone and let it add just a light minty note as it slowly infuses into the tea.

You can, of course, also add mint to other herbals.  Yerba Mate is great with a mint note, as is chamomile.  Rooibos is the perfect foil for a host of flavors including mint.  Mint is extremely cooling to the senses and very relaxing.

Experiment with adding other herbals than mint that you might already be growing in your yard, potted or not.  Rose petals, like this beautiful one in our side yard, are used by blenders in many tisane and tea blends…why not drop a few pinky petals into that white tea to add color and a hint of sweetness?  How about naturally dried strawberries (we’re growing these in a pot but have some in-ground as well).  Chrysanthemum, fennel, new fresh tips of cedar or pine… Be creative but be safe!  Here in Southern California, I have a huge, gnarly old pepper tree in my back yard and making my own chai might even be in the future; at least adding a few pepper berries off our tree to our delicious Spicy Chai just to add a ‘personal touch’. Or not.

Stressing safety again: Google is my ‘best friend’ when I have a question about ‘safe plants’, sites like WebMd, or just put ‘edible plants’ and/or ‘nonedible or dangerous plants’ in the search box.  That lovely pink oleander flower?  Uh uh…no go.

Have fun and make your own icy concoctions this summer!  Happy home blending!

The post Flavoring Tea at Home with Home-Grown Herbals appeared first on T Ching.

World Tea Expo 2016 - The People

Tea For Me Please - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 16:00
One of my favorite parts of World Tea Expo is the people. Most of the folks in attendance live far afield so I only get to see them this one time of year. It's also a rare to chance to rub elbows with some of the folks that I look up to in the industry. The North American tea industry would not be what it is today if it had not been for the groundwork that they laid down before most of us were sipping.

Hanging out with my fellow tea bloggers is always something that I look forward to. These are some of my favorite people and I often find my face is sore from laughing so much. My famously funny fiancé joined me as my speaker's guest so I think that effect was amplified. Somehow I neglected to get a picture of the Tea Bloggers Round Table but this year's gathering was excellent. Thankfully Effie of International Tea Review was kind enough to lend me hers.

Tea Blogger Round Table - photo courtesy of Effie Gidakos, International Tea ReviewWe welcomed +Ricardo Caicedo and +sara shacket to the panel for the first time. They both added some excellent points to the conversation and it was really nice to get some new perspectives. The remainder of the panel consisted of +Geoffrey Norman+Naomi Rosen+Rachana Rachel Carter+Linda Gaylard and I. +Darlene Meyers Perry did a great job moderating and our coordinator +Jo J's emotional introduction brought a tear to my eye. There's a reason that several of us have dubbed her tea mom!

There's no one else that I'd rather share a matcha donut breakfast with!Rajiv Lochan of Lochan Tea/ITCCRajiv Lochan is one of my favorite tea producers. Not only does he make incredible tea but he is hilarious and extremely knowledgeable. I was at the ITCC booth waiting to interview Dan Robertson for an article. Rajiv entertained me with tales of eating tea leaves like a cow and somehow harangued me into signing up for ITCC (International Tea Cuppers Club) in the process. I'm not sure how that happened but I'm looking forward to joining in on their activities in the future.

I was determined to get books signed by some of my favorite authors because I wasn't able to do so in years past. It was difficult lugging a stack of books across the country but I think it's safe to say, mission accomplished!

James Norwood PrattJames Norwood Pratt is probably the person that I look forward to seeing the most each year. I could listen to him pontificate about tea for hours. His book, The New Tea Lover's Treasury, was an integral part of my beginning journey with tea. Although it was the out of print version, I carefully carried my beloved copy to have it signed. Norwood insisted on gifting me an updated copy, The Ultimate Tea Lover's Treasury, and then signed both of them for me. How lucky am I! He posed for a picture but later that evening I was dismayed to discover that the picture wasn't saved to my camera. Thankfully he was gracious enough to do a retake the next day.

Bruce RichardsonBruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas is another person in the industry that I look up to a lot. I carried my copy of The New Tea Companion to have it signed up somehow managed to forget it in my hotel room. I didn't want to risk missing him altogether so I picked up another book that I didn't already have, A Social History of Tea. There's lots of summer tea reading in my future!
I made more new friends this year than I could possibly list. As a general rule, tea folks are pretty awesome so that wasn't much of a surprise. Everyone was incredibly friendly and supportive, especially after I gave my social media seminar. People stopped me all over the show floor to offer encouraging feedback.
Sometimes I get the idea in my head that I won't attend next year's expo but then I realize how sad I would be to miss out on all of this. It might be hard to swing with the wedding planning but we'll find a way to make it happen.

A Taste of Honeys

T Ching - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:05

As a purist, my tea drinking habit requires only five things: whole premium quality tea leaves, good water, a heating mechanism, a strainer, and a cup—no sweetener, no dairy (with very few exceptions), no offending lemon wedge. But lately, I have become obsessed with the flavor possibilities of sweetening my tea with honey, preferably local honey, harvested by a beekeeper within a number of different city limits, drawing on hives set up in backyards where the bees forage for nectar within a mile of the hive.

In the interest of expanding my taste horizons, I set up a honey tasting in the following way: I chose a simple tea from Sri Lanka that tastes like tea (I apologize for defining something in terms of itself, but tea drinkers will know what I mean). The tea is Kenilworth Orange Pekoe. I brewed it using 2 grams of dry leaf per 8 ounces of 212-degree F. water; steeping time: 5 minutes.

After brewing with a watchful eye, I divided the tea equally among 6 small vessels into which I had spooned small amounts of six different kinds of honey, one per vessel. (See Chart below).  I poured the tea over the honey, needing to stir vigorously in some cases where the honey had crystallized and thickened. I waited about 30 seconds and began to taste (palate-cleansing plain crackers at the ready). The results in some cases were surprising, intriguing and even delicious enough to win me over to a different way of drinking tea. Here’s what I found:

Tea and honey pairing Raw avocado blossom

(Santa Paula, CA) Raw alfalfa blossom

(Nevada) Raw Meadowfoam

(Meadowfoam flowers

(Oregon) Raw Urban from Illinois (clover and linden flowers, mainly; other flowers indeterminate) Raw Urban from Northeast Los Angeles

(multi floral; whatever was  blooming at the moment in the area) Raw carrot blossom from

(carrot flowers over a large plot of land in Oregon) Slightly vegetable edge

Honey dominates the tea flavor Mildly sweet finish, inoffensive Persistent; vanilla marshmallow note, sweet lingering finish Fruit, cherry/ almond notes; Nice balance between tea and honey flavors Slightly metallic note Cotton candy notes, lingering

I chose to keep it simple but the experiment could be expanded to include more than one tea to taste with the honeys or one could choose to taste six teas with one honey and see what happens.  It’s up to you.

At the end of this process I was inspired to take my favorite honeys from the six tasted and introduce it into a baked product—buttery shortbread, the perfect accompaniment to tea, sweetened or not.

Accounting for the fact that sugar and honey have equal sweetening power, the recipe for my standard shortbread need not be changed, other than in the use of the sweetener. So here it is.

Honey-Topped Shortbread

6 oz (1-1/2 sticks) sweet unsalted butter, cold, plus butter as needed to grease the baking pan

2.6 oz granulated sugar (scant ¼ cup)

7-1/2 oz (approximately 1-2/3 cups) all-purpose flour

Generous pinch of salt

Your favorite honey to brush on top of the finished shortbread

Sprinkling of sea salt

Butter an 8 inch false-bottomed fluted tart pan and set aside.

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor outfitted with the steel knife attachment. Process until the mixture has been reduced to a homogeneous dry powder. Scrape the sides of the bowl once during the processing. (Do not overprocess to a paste). Place the tart pan on a sheet pan. Pour the mixture into the pan, lightly spreading it without compressing so that the mixture is distributed into an even layer. Once the mixture has been evenly spread out, press lightly using the palm of your hand to densify the mixture. Chill for 30 minutes; after 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and use a fork or the point of a knife to dock the dough at ½ inch intervals.  Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, turning the pan halfway through baking to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and brush with warmed honey, sprinkling the top with a bit of sea salt (be skimpy in the use of the topping salt; then cut immediately into 16 equal wedges. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing the wedges carefully into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Store at room temperature. The shortbread keeps fresh for a few days (more than likely it will have been consumed before that.)

I would be interested to learn which honey you have chosen to top the shortbread and which one you prefer in your tea.

Honey courtesy of Buzzed Honey, Los Angeles, CA

The post A Taste of Honeys appeared first on T Ching.

Next Generation Tea Marketing

T Ching - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 00:53

Last week tea tribe members from across the globe gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada for the World Tea Expo. On the opening night of the event a welcome reception was followed by the announcement of the coveted World Tea Award winners which can be read here.

 As a young tea company, my team was delighted to hear that we won Best Tea Marketing. In addition, as a long-time Tching contributor I was grateful to accept the World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog on behalf of Tching. Both of these recognitions validate a theory that I have been betting on over the past four years which is: tea marketing is all about storytelling. Moving into the future you will see more authentic storytelling making its way into mainstream marketing for tea.

Conventional tea marketing in the United States has involved catchy fruit blends and attractive flavors, beautiful fonts on labels, and fanciful folklore stories. Tealet is all about genuine and authentic stories of how the tea is made and the people behind the tea. When I first launched the company in May 2012 there was an initial interest in this storytelling, but mostly from experienced tea bloggers and tea lovers that saw through the conventional marketing and were interested in something more. A larger interest in Tealet’s storytelling didn’t become apparent until 2014, but it was mostly associated to the personal brand that I had developed in the tea world. At the 2014 World Tea Expo I was awarded a World Tea Award for Best Social Media Reach, which meant that people were hearing my stories. Over the past year with the release of our [Tea 101 Video Series]( https://vimeo.com/ondemand/tea101) and involvement with [Tea Journey Magazine]( http://teajourney.pub/) I think tea lovers and tea industry people are really started to show their appreciation for authentic tea story telling.

When Rajiv Lochan, one of my first tea mentors, introduced me to the staff of Tching I had no idea the impact it would have on my life in tea. At first I was excited to have a non-biased platform to share my personal tea stories, but over time I realized that I had joined a team of several tea people that had stories to share. Everyday new stories are being told on the Tching platform. Connections I would have never made have become an important part of my business and personal life through these stories. Tea people may rotate through the contribution team, but Tching remains as a platform for diverse tea stories. The World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog is a testament that the tea world values these stories. Popular tea blogs are hosted by knowledgeable tea experts that write scientifically about tea and offer consistent tea reviews, but Tching is a conglomeration of all types of tea people from around the world that offer their unique perspective on tea. Thank you to Tching for offering this wonderful gift to the tea world and congratulations on your award.

We are in a new age of consumerism that is about appreciation of the experience. Tea is one of the most experiential products in the world, so it is no surprise that the tea industry is leading the way in recognizing storytelling marketing. I am honored to be a part of this movement and will continue to tell as many stories as I can.

The post Next Generation Tea Marketing appeared first on T Ching.

Word Tea Expo 2016 - The Booths

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 16:00

This year got a bit hectic so I wasn't really able to see much of the show until the very last day. Jason and I hit the show floor hard as soon as I got out of +Darlene Meyers Perry's morning session on teaware. Going systematically row by row, I somehow managed to see almost everything. It was lucky that he brought his backpack because it was quickly filled with purchases and samples. In this post I'll list some of my favorite booths from the expo.

BitacoI first discovered this purveyor of Columbian grown tea (that's right, not coffee!) at last year's expo. They were kind enough to send me home with lots of samples so I'll be sharing those with you all soon.
Eastern ElmI'm a sucker for beautiful teaware and Eastern Elm's booth drew me in every time I passed by. Although I tried to be good a gaiwan and derpy teapet still managed to follow me home.
Gorgeous puerh wrappers at Denong's boothDenong Premium Puerh TeasI was exhausted and tea-less at the end of the second day. With 15 minutes left to the show, I grabbed +Geoffrey Norman and told him to bring me to tea. I instantly felt better after sipping some really great sheng puerh at Denong's booth. Their staff were so sweet and friendly to boot. I couldn't stand going home without some of their tea. They were sold out of the one that I had my eye on but I did bring home some Elegant Tranquility. They threw in a pretty little puerh pick which caused the TSA to open my checked suitcase but thankfully it still made it home with me.
Nepal Tea LLCIt figures that I would go all the way to Vegas just to find a tea outfit in my backyard. I tasted some really nice Nepalese teas that are produced by a coop of small farmers. What struck me most was their initiatives to improve the lives of the farmers. More than 200 of them are provided free housing and a scholarship program has paid school tuition for more than 2,000 children.
Tsou-Vayiyana Alishan High Mountain TeaLeave it to +Geoffrey Norman to lead us to an amazing fermented Taiwanese high mountain oolong. Not only was I crazy about the tea but I also finally had a chance to been Greg Glancy of Norbu Tea. I've been a fan of the teas he carries for years so it was a real treat.

The leaves, they smelled awesome!
The tea being expertly prepared for us
I was in love with this piggy lid rest
Teforia doing its thingTeforiaIt was great to see the Teforia in action again. Jason even said he'd buy it for me (if we win the lottery). I really haven't had any tea maker wow me in quite the same way. Although it does carry a pretty hefty price tag, it does so many cool things! The level of customization it offers the end user is unheard of in the tea world.
Qi AeristaI'm always on the lookout for new tea gadgets and this one definitely caught my eye (once +Rachana Rachel Carter and +sara shacket told me that I had to see it). Think Breville One-Touch but with next level technology and a smaller footprint. I'm really excited to see what they do in the coming months.

Royal Tea NYI was very much impressed by the teas offered by this new wholesale outfit. There are so few places on the east coast for tea stories to find quality products. I'm happy to have someone I can confidently refer people to.
Young Mountain TeaIt was so nice to finally meet Raj of Young Mountain Tea in person. He's seriously one of the nicest guys in tea and his team was super sweet. I have some of his Kumaon White headed my way from the Tea Journey Kickstarter and I can't wait to dig into it.

The spread of delicious teas at Young Mountain Tea
Harendong Organic Tea Estate
I've been a fan of the teas produced by PT Harendong in Indonesia for some time. Their organic black tea smelled amazing. Even on a busy floor with lots of aromas we could smell the tea in the gaiwan. That first cup of black tea was exactly what I needed at the moment. They also offered samples of cold brewed medium oolong and they were incredibly refreshing. I was beyond flattered when Melanie told me that she reads my blog. Tea really is a world-wide and I love it can connect me with someone in Indonesia without my even knowing about it.
Harendong Organic Tea Estates' offerings

Joseph Wesley Tea ImportersOne of my favorite tea companies made the trip all the way from Detroit. I was really excited to see some of their new limited edition teas. We usually associate them with black tea but there was white tea, green tea and oolong to oggle at their booth.

ScentoneOne booth that really caught my eye, especially as someone who tastes a lot of tea, was Scentone. They manufacture aroma kits that help to train your palate. Similar kits are used in the wine and coffee worlds. I'm excited to see the possibilities for tea education.

Scentone aroma testersThese smells were spot on
There really was so much to see that I could go on forever. I'll leave you all with a picture of everything I brought back with my from expo. If you attended World Tea Expo, I'd love to hear about your favorite booths in the comments!

My World Tea Expo haul
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Illustrated Review: Summer Simmers with Gong Ting Pu’erh

T Ching - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00

Can a hot cup of tea really cool you off?

The answer to this question is steeped in science–it all comes down to sweat. If you have a larger amount of sweat, this means more cooling for your body, and this cooling counteracts the small amount of heat contained in a hot beverage relative to your body. The bottom line is if you are experiencing a hot, dry day and you’re wearing loose clothing that allows your sweat to evaporate easily, then drinking hot tea will cool you down.

However, if you find yourself in a humid location with your hot cup of tea, the tea will not cool you down. The cooling of a hot beverage combined with sweat only works if you’re in an arid climate

One wonderful summer day, I chose to cool myself with a tealicious Gong Ting Pu’erh. Let the summer simmer as you enjoy a reddish brown liquor that tastes like raw, sweet chocolate. Steep Gong Ting Pu’erh for 2-3 minutes at 95C–do not over steep this one. Enjoy up to three infusions.

Gong Ting Pu’erh was acquired from SpiceTrekkers.

Interested in individually designed tea reviews? Weaving compelling visual stories for social media is a passion of mine. I love creating immersive illustrated reviews that awaken people to tea and culture. If you desire an illustrated review to engage your followers, please contact me.

The post Illustrated Review: Summer Simmers with Gong Ting Pu’erh appeared first on T Ching.

'Michigan Tea Rooms' now available at Four Seasons Tea Room!

Barb's Tea Shop - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 00:24

Four Seasons Tea Room opened all year round in downtown Houghton
We are excited to share the news that Michigan Tea Rooms, our book of our favorite tea venues in Michigan, is now being sold at Four Seasons Tea Room in Houghton, Michigan.

Michigan Tea Rooms now available at Four Seasons
Located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, in a city home to Michigan Tech University, this tea room has something for everyone. We first met up with co-owner Andrea Schuldt in 2010 and we were immediately charmed by this venue with its fun and pretty  decor and amazingly delicious menu offerings.

Charming decor

Delicious afternoon tea fare
And, yes, most certainly, they are among the twelve tea rooms in our "Steeper by the Dozen" series, Michigan Tea Rooms.

Four Seasons  gift shop. Lots of fun tea items -and now Michigan Tea Rooms
If you are visiting the upper peninsula, you must stop at this tea room. In addition to tasty food and inviting ambiance, they have a gift shop with lots of  fun items - and, now Michigan Tea Rooms.

We plan to visit this year. We will let you know when we do!

For more information on this delightful tea room, visit their website: fourseasonstearoom.com.  They are open all four seasons!!

Eden from Soleil Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 08:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Soleil Tea

Tea Description:

Eden is a premium black tea blend scented with aged Tahitian vanilla extract and Madagascar Ylang Ylang. The liquor is richly floral with warm notes of vanilla beans and sweet spice.

Native to tropical rainforests, Ylang Ylang is known for its intoxicating fragrance akin to jasmine and neroli. Mature blossoms are picked at sunrise and steam distilled to extract the highest quality essential oil. Ylang Ylang has long been used to lower high blood pressure and promote relaxation in aromatherapy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:


I’m eager to try this blend from Soleil Tea as I don’t think I’ve tried Ylang Ylang in a tea before. I think I’ve probably tried some kind of a body wash with Ylang Ylang scent of some kind, but I’ve never eaten it. The scent of this tea is really lovely.. quite delicate and sweet. It reminds me of a very floral perfume.

Sipping… I’m really enjoying the floral notes of this tea and the way they blend with the black tea base. Normally I avoid flowers in tea since they can be too strong, but those in this blend are quite mild. It’s a strange because they remind me a little bit of bitter orange peel, but also give off that nectar sweetness I find in most floral teas. One thing that I wish I could taste is the vanilla. It seems to be missing, unfortunately, and the focus is on the Ylang Ylang instead. I also don’t taste much of the Fujian black tea either. It’s mellow, a little watery and slightly boring.

I think this would be a great choice for someone who is just getting into blended teas and who wants to try something floral. The flavors are soft, but present. This is a very unique tea that I’d recommend especially to those who haven’t tried Ylang Ylang yet!

The post Eden from Soleil Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Penang: Over and Out

The Devotea - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 23:10

My last blog – before the Pictorial Interlude – ended with Lady Devotea and I in Little India, Georgetown, Penang, hailing a cab to go back to our accommodation. Over dinner, we’d discussed the idea that we would do something in morning and then head back to take it easy for a few hours before […]

The post Penang: Over and Out appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

A Pictorial Interlude

The Devotea - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 21:34

My last blog post was a bit of a teaser on our last night in Penang. Then… nothing for two weeks! I’m sorry about that. A combination of lack of time and illness and then technical difficulties at my scheduled blogging time meant I missed last week’s entry. As I work to rectify that, I […]

The post A Pictorial Interlude appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Moonlight Beauty Raw Pu-erh Loose Tea From Teavivre

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 18:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Raw Pu-Erh Loose Leaf

Where to Buy: Teavivre

Tea Description:

The moonlight beauty tea is developed by the local Yunnan tea makers based on the continuous summarization and deepened understanding of the new trend of pu-erh flavor. It is a new breed of pu-erh tea. Made of the tender buds of large-leaf tea and processed with the method similar to that of Fuding White Tea. Moonlight beauty tea has a rich bouquet and clear yellow soup broth. As for as taste is concerned, this tea has a smooth, pliable, sweet and fresh mouthfeel without any bitter note.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Thank you Angel from Teavivre for sending me this sample to try.

I love the name of this tea, Moonlight Beauty sounds so pure and happy. The website says that though this tea is a raw Pu-Erh it is also similar to a white tea due to the processing of the leaves. You can see the similarity when you inspect the leaves.

In appearance the leaves are long and fairly thin with lots of downy hairs. They are a very pale green, almost white colour and they bare a soft, fresh scent of grass and pepper. Enough to smell like a Pu-Erh but living up to it’s subtle nature. The leaves are also crisp to the touch and could easily be broken into small pieces with fingers.

I will be using 5g of leaf in a 220ml teapot with boiling water. 

First Steep – 1 minute 

After the first steep the leaves now smell malty and wooden, a real contrast to their dry form. The tea also shares hints of wood and malt, with pepper and sweet pine. The liquid is very light yellow.

In flavour this is more subtle than it smells. The first thing I notice is the smoothness of a fresh pine and sweet peony notes. The after taste is dry and slightly nutty. It actually reminds me of a Bai Mu Dan white tea in flavour.

Second Steep – 2 minutes 

More peony and slightly sweeter than the previous steep, though just as mild. More drying in the after taste too. It tastes like spring rain drops that have landed onto flower petals, that imagery is in my mind every time I sip.

Third Steep – 3 minutes

Slightly sour during this steep but with a creamy finish and just as much peony. It has to be said that the dryness is somewhat spoiling it’s subtle elegance.

Overall – I am not a fan of white tea usually and that is exactly what this tea reminds me of. It’s not very Pu-Erh like except for the peppery, wood notes in the leaves once you start to infuse it. That being said it was still a pleasant and non offensive tea. I don’t think I could drink it all the time though, it’s just too mild for my personal taste. I imagine it’s great to keep hydrated with on hot summer days though. I also imagine that the mild nature of this tea would make it rather forgiving should you over steep it. Essentially it remained very similar throughout all three steeps.

Thank you again Angel for the opportunity to try this tea.

Until next time, Happy Steeping Everyone!

The post Moonlight Beauty Raw Pu-erh Loose Tea From Teavivre appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Friday Round Up - World Tea Expo 2016 Edition

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 16:00
All of my World Tea Expo coverage will be coming out next week. This week's round up should get you all through until then. These brave souls managed to get their blogs up right away. There will be a part 2 to make sure that we don't miss anyone next week!

Niu Gu: Tealet After Hours (World Tea Expo 2016)

My Japanese Green Tea
World Tea Expo 2016
World Tea Expo 2016 Part 2

Oolong Owl
Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 1
Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 2
Oolong Owl Hoots the World Tea Expo 2016 – Day 3
Sunday Tea Hoots 22 – Tea Binge and Withdrawal
Oolong Owl’s World Tea Expo 2016 Hooty Haul

Scandalous Tea
World Tea Expo 2016

Steep Stories
Tea-Fueled Las Vegas Tourism

Steph's Cup of Tea
World Tea Expo: New Product Showcase and Regional Events

The Tea and Hat Lady
Immersed in Tea

Blast from the Past: Kukicha Citrus Pacific Sole

T Ching - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 07:07

I often combine my passions and this tea adventure – a combination of tea and food – was no different.  Kukicha, a green tea, has great citrus notes that I thought would go well with the fish I was going to make for dinner.  The marinade I describe below can be made with any tea and ingredients you desire.  The beauty of cooking with tea is that once you learn the basics, you can incorporate them into your favorite recipes.  I used the first infusion for the marinade and I drank the second with dinner.


The kukicha marinade
2 tablespoons of Rishi Tea Organic Kukicha green tea (I can’t help but love Rishi!)
8 ounces of water
1 orange
1 lime
1 lemon
Grated ginger (to taste)
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
1 sliced jalapeno
3 sprigs of green onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

The rest
1-1/2 pounds of wild-caught Pacific Sole fillets
1-1/2 cups of shiitake mushrooms
½ cup of oyster mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons of butter
Dash of salt and pepper

Prepared rice


1.    Set oven to 350 F.

2.    Make Kukicha green tea.
a.    Boil water (212 F).
b.    Let water cool to 185 F.
c.    Add 2 tablespoons of tea to 8 ounces of water.
d.    Steep 2-3 minutes.
e.    Pour tea into a bowl.
f.    Make Kukicha green tea.

3.    Make Kukicha marinade.
a.    Squeeze the juice of 1 orange, 1 lime, and 1 lemon into the bowl with the brewed Kukicha.
b.    Grate a piece of ginger.
c.    Add the chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, and sliced jalapeno.
d.    Add a dash of salt and pepper.
e.    Set aside half a cup of the marinade for the mushrooms and bell peppers; the rest is for the fish.

4.    Bake fish.
a.    Place cleaned fish in a shallow baking dish.
b.    Add a dash of salt and pepper to each fillet.
c.    Pour the marinade over each fillet.
d.    Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
e.    Lay each fillet on a greased, flat baking sheet.
f.    Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque.

5.    Saute vegetables.
a.    Melt butter and add the chopped garlic.
b.    Saute the garlic, and then add the mushrooms and bell peppers.
c.    Saute for 2 minutes and add the remaining marinade.
d.    Cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Serve with rice and enjoy!

Make your second infusion of tea and enjoy with dinner!

This article was originally posted to T Ching in June of 2010.

The post Blast from the Past: Kukicha Citrus Pacific Sole appeared first on T Ching.

Book Review + Recipe: 'New Tastes in Green Tea', by Mutsuko Tokunaga

Notes on Tea - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 18:48
New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga. Photos by Kenji Shinohara
Matcha might not be the new chocolate but I have not disliked any matcha drinks, dishes, or desserts I have consumed. I have reviewed a couple of matcha cookbooks and what distinguishes Mutsuko Tokunaga's New Tastes in Green Tea from the other titles is the attention to Japanese green tea culture and matcha's place within it. The book is divided into four sections and two of these provide extensive detail about types of Japanese green teas, how to prepare them including tea utensils, and the cultivation and processing of green tea in Japan. The book is not limited to Japanese green tea, however. Ms. Tokunaga  provides a short history of tea and how different teas are processed. You will find recipes for contemporary sencha, gyokuro, and matcha drinks as well as blending herbs, black teas, and flowers with green teas. In a separate section are the recipes for dishes and desserts. There are five matcha spreads, many savories, and several cakes and sweets.

The flow of the book could be improved if drink and food recipes were consolidated in one section. I appreciate the compactness of the book but it does not stand out among other more traditionally sized cookbooks on my shelf. New Tastes in Green Tea contains numerous photographs but in the world of tea and cooking bigger might be better. It is worth noting that I have a 2016 paperback edition and it's likely that the 2004 hardcover edition is more substantial in terms of overall size and photo presentation. Overall, New Tastes in Green Tea is well written with a balanced mix of science and prose and well-placed and illustrative photographs.

New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga. Photos by Kenji Shinohara
I am sharing one of the matcha drink recipes from New Tastes in Green Tea with you today. The drink is Matcha Coconut, pictured bottom left. It is prepared with matcha, milk (I used whole cow's milk), coconut milk, and sugar. You could probably use the milk and sweetener of your choice. The finished drink was delicious though it was not photogenic because the coconut milk separated. Next time I will use coconut cream to achieve a smoother consistency. I could taste the earthy green notes of the matcha which were balanced by the cream flavor and texture of the two milks. The amount of sweetener called for was just enough to round out all the other ingredients.

Matcha Coconut Drink
serves 1

1 tsp matcha + 2 tsp hot water
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp sugar
a little aloe or any cut fruit

1. Mix the match and hot water, and stir briskly until the paste becomes smooth.

2. Add the milk, coconut milk, and sugar, adjusting the proportions according to taste.

3. Serve garnished with diced aloe of your favorite fruit.

Recipe courtesy of New Tastes in Green Tea © 2004, 2010 by Mutsuko Tokunaga.

The next recipe I will share on the blog is the Matcha Yogurt Sour, pictured bottom right. One of the ingredients is condensed milk. Don't miss the recipe! Subscribe to Notes on Tea.

P.S. For more recipes check out my review of The Healthy Matcha Cookbook and The Matcha Miracle.
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