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D’s Teas– Pancake Breakfast, Marshmallow Treat, Graveyard Mist from 52Teas . . . ..

SororiTEA Sisters - 1 hour 54 min ago
If you missed the announcement in my previous post, our beloved and super-talented tea-blending friends at 52 Teas have recently launched a permanent line (yes friends, you heard me correctly) of teas! D’s Teas features all of the ultimate fan favorites from 52 Teas over the years: Pancake Breakfast black tea, Marshmallow Treat genmaicha, and Graveyard Mist green tea. If you’re curious about the history behind these beloved blends, check out my previous post. If you’re ready to hear the low-down on their delightful sip-ability, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s chat about each one individually: Pancake Breakfast: is Read More

Tea Experience Contest – Enter to win $500 AND a year of TEA

T Ching - 12 hours 53 min ago

I wanted to call everyone’s attention to an interesting contest that is being sponsored by the Tea Council of the USA. To enter is quite easy – simply share a photo/video or experience that you have with tea that communicates your enjoyment in a unique way, time, or place. For all the details – check out the information here.

The lucky winner will be randomly drawn and will receive a nice chunk of change and even better, a year of free tea. Unfortunately, they don’t specify what type of tea the winner will be receiving. That said, I think it’s still worth a shot. A Twitter account is required so be aware of that condition. Perhaps those who choose to enter would like to put their offering into the comment section below.

Good luck to one and all.

The post Tea Experience Contest – Enter to win $500 AND a year of TEA appeared first on T Ching.

2017 Tea Book Roundup

World of Tea - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 03:50

In this article, I cover 5 tea books that came out in 2017. Tea writers are raising the bar with each passing year and there are a few that came...

The post 2017 Tea Book Roundup appeared first on World of Tea.

Holiday Tea Desserts

T Ching - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 13:00

It feels like we’re hurtling toward the holidays at breakneck speed. Taking a few moments out of a busy mouse-clicking online-gift-buying dinner party-planning day for me means focusing on preparing the perfectly brewed cup of tea from a favorite tea estate. But focusing on the flavors and nuances of that tea leads me to a session that I call “baking in my mind,” a way of tasting the tea mindfully and deeply and tease out its pairing potential with other foods. How, I ask myself, can I capitalize on the flavor of that particular tea and include it in a dessert that pays many dividends of shared pleasure when I serve it at the end of a holiday meal? My mind turns easily to chocolate (whose doesn’t?), particularly if I have been enjoying a Keemun or chocolatey Assam. I am thinking of something decadent like a Buche de Noel (Yule log), those festive chic chocolatey logs of sponge cake filled with a creamy mousse and iced with a shiny chocolate glaze. Now, here is where the tea comes in. How about a tea flavored mousse filling or a tea-scented chocolate glaze for the roll? Or both? Nothing succeeds like excess, particularly at the holiday times. Here’s a quick primer on how to do it.

Sponge Cake

Yields: 1 half sheet pan of cake

6 whole large eggs (approximately 10 ozs.), at room temperature for best volume
5 ozs. (about ¾ c.) Granulated sugar
4 ozs.  (about 1 cup) Cake flour, sifted with ¼ t. of baking powder
2 ozs. (4 T.) butter, melted and warm, but not hot, plus more to coat the baking pan
1 t. real vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for sifting onto the cake before rolling it, as needed

Brush a half sheet pan with melted butter. Line the pan with baking parchment and then butter the parchment. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer outfitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together until tripled in volume. Gently fold the sifted flour and baking powder mixture into the eggs and sugar base, scraping with a flexible spatula deeply into the bowl to be sure that you have thoroughly incorporated the flour. Don’t overmix or the cake will be tough and rubbery. Fold in the melted butter mixed with the vanilla and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until cake springs back but is not overly browned.  Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven, sift an even layer of confectioners’ sugar over the cake. Invert it onto a parchment paper-lined surface.  Inver the cake onto the parchment and peel away the parchment paper that is attached to the cake. Using the parchment paper to facilitate the shaping of the cake, roll tightly (the parchment will be inside of the roll—you will remove it later when your unroll the cake.  Allow the now rolled-up cake to cool thoroughly on a cooling rack, about 30-40 minutes, and now make the Tea Ganache which will be lightened with whipped cream to become a Tea Mousse as a filling for the roll.

Tea Ganache Turned Tea Mousse

Yield: Enough to fill the cake roll generously
16 ozs. Heavy cream
1 ounce Tea leaves of your choice
10 ozs. Dark chocolate
10 ozs heavy cream, softly whipped

Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan with the tea leaves. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Sieve the cream, discarding the tea leaves. Reheat that cream until boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and stir until fully melted and smooth. Allow to cool.  Fold the softly whipped cream into the ganache.

Unroll the now cooled cake. Spread tea mousse evenly over the roll within 1 inch of all of the edges. Roll tightly and chill, using the parchment paper to help you compact and compress the roll. Chill 2 hours.

Now make the following glaze to pour over the roll.

Tea Glaze

Yield: Enough to coat the finished rolled cake

12 ozs. Heavy Cream
1 oz. Tea leaves
10 ozs. Dark chocolate of your choice, finely chopped
Optional Garnishes: supremes of citrus and softly whipped cream (sweetened a bit or not, as you wish)

Heat the cream with the tea leaves. Allow to steep for 15 minutes. Sieve out the leaves, pressing hard on them to extract as much of the tea infused cream as possible. Reheat this cream and then pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Stir in melt completely. Place the chilled cake roll onto a metal cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Pour the glaze evenly over the roll, using a metal spatula to smooth things out as desired. You can coat the cake again with the glaze that has dripped down through the cooling rack if you have areas that need more covering. Chill to set the glaze and then serve in 1 inch thick slices with a steaming cup of your favorite brew.  

Garnish the dessert plates with supremes of seasonal citrus (tangerine, blood orange, pomelo, whatever is best and available in your market) as desired. Dollops of softly whipped cream will send you and your guests onto clouds of contentment.

Image source.

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Venetian Holiday

Barb's Tea Shop - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 20:50

Riding in the gondola (recommend donning attire to match your driver)

Venice is filled with canals, gondolas and  gift shops filled with Murano glass. It's also home to St. Mark's Square whose perimeter is lined with a palace, a church, numerous cafes and the Adriatic Sea.  Throw in a palace-like hotel and exquisite tea room and, yes, this was just about the most enchanting city we've ever visited.
Gondolier on the Grand Canal (his shirt looks familiar)

In September, we traveled to Italy and visited Rome, Florence and Venice. On the high-speed train, Venice is a short three-hour trip from Rome, and once off-board the rails. the flurry of activity on the Grand Canal is there to greet travelers. Water taxis, gondolas and shuttle "buses" speed along the wide span of  liquid road to navigate the labyrinth of canals throughout the city.

Chris and Rachel at Hotel Becher
It gave us a great first impression only to be exceeded by the next stop to our beautiful hotel. Our room at Hotel Becher  included a balcony overlooking the water, a crystal chandelier, comfy slippers and -  the ultimate - a buffet set up with a silver urn, china cups and tea! 

After a quick unpack and a relaxing cup of tea on the balcony, we took in the quintessential Venetian activity, a gondola ride.  It was a half hour of fun  taking in all the scenery while witnessing our gondolier move our floating vessel through the canals in "rush hour" traffic with ease.

After checking that box, we toured the city and stocked up on a bounty of beautiful Murano glass items. Rachel and I bought some necklaces and upscale bric-a-brace  while my husband Chris, enjoyed a little red wine in the Square.

Rachel inside one of the Murano glass  gift stores in St. Mark's Square

In the evening, our concierge recommended the restaurant, Vini da Pinto for dinner. It was here we had the "house specialty" of white fish baked in salt. It is presented in two stages:  first the fresh fish is brought to the table, then once fully covered and baked in its salty blanket, the waiter is back again with a mallet to crack it open for all to see.  Amazingly delicious and, surprisingly not salty, we gave it due pollici su!

Vini da Pinto is where we also collided with celebrity. Nick Reynolds of Alabama 3 was there visiting with his entourage and he graciously took photos with our ensemble.

Dining at Vini da Pinto

Our last day in Venice was spent having afternoon tea on the Square (a future blog story!), touring the Basilica of St. Mark, (where we visited a special room that contained fascinating and eerie relics of saints) and sampling every Venetian delicacy we could, including chocolate filled crepes at Gelato Di Natura.

Basilica of St. Marks

Venice is also home to the Masked Ball, a centuries-old grand affair where paupers and aristocrats celebrated together in anonymity. It fell out of favor at the turn of the last century, only to be revived in the late 1970's. Still going strong today, there are several merchants in Venice that specialize in wigs, masks and fancy attire for those who wish to attend the elaborate event in style.

I believe I've found my dress for the ball.

Venice  is a tribute to a city's strong will and resilience that, although experiencing a wild history of conflict and power struggles,  maintains beauty and charm that has attracted artists for centuries, including Mozart, Byron and Hemingway.

Oh solo mio. Oh, so Italian!

Venice has it all:  canals, gondolas, fancy gift shops, gourmet food and, yes, even tea! It truly is a magical city and we plan to be back. Adoriamo Venezia!

Balcony at our room at Hotel Becher

View from our hotel balcony pre rush hou


Taking a break at one of the many cafes in St. Mark's Square

Adoriamo Venezia! We will be back.

Earl Grey de la Creme from Steeped Tea. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 18:00
Steeped Tea is a company I have known about for quite some time now but have never ordered from them or tried their teas. I have been to their site many times and each time when I click the “Shop” button and it tells me to “Shop Now with a Consultant” I am reminded of why I haven’t had their teas and why I am disappointed. It is a different type of business and though some people probably very much enjoy shopping in this fashion, it is not for me. With that said, thanks to the wonders of tea swaps Read More

Lemon Chiffon from The Love Tea Company. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 12:00
I am not a fan of plain rooibos, but I have found a few flavored tisanes that use it as the base that are quite good. (I am speaking of red rooibos when I say the cherry flavor is too medicinal for me most of the time. Green rooibos is another animal entirely.) This blend is really tasty! It smells great and the dominant flavors I get up front are lemon myrtle, lemon, and honeybush. The rooibos really comes as an aftertaste and is not unpleasant. The lavender and marigold are a nice side note, and if I am tasting Read More

Zen from Tazo. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:00
I grabbed Tazo’s Zen™ at the dentist’s office without realizing the dreaded mint* was inside it. However, I’m pleased to announce that the mint isn’t the primary characteristic of this tea! * A note about mint: WHY IS IT EVERYWHERE? Mint is for toothpaste only. Anyway, this lemon-mint green tea is mostly lemon with a toasty green flavor. It’s like a roasty, nutty kind of green, which is interesting against the citrus-y (and, okay, a LITTLE minty) high notes. I think this is a nice choice for recovering from the harsh blows of a dentist visit. (I need $4k of Read More

Ye Sheng Hong Cha Wild Style Black Tea from Old Ways Tea . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 18:00
It has been a long time since I have had a Wild Style Black tea. I had forgotten just how good – and how unusual – it is. The first time I had a purple tea, I was a tea noob and made it just like most average black breakfast teas. It was terrible! And it was all my fault. Fortunately I learned how to make it properly very soon after, plus there was a nice reminder of the right way to treat these leaves on the package. The water temperature is lower and the steep time is even shorter Read More

Friday Roundup: November 12th - November 18th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:00
2017 Little BingDao Sheng Puer from Bana Tea Company

Char at Oolong Owl wrote a review of a puerh cake that I've had my eye on. We have many of the same boxes that we look to check off when purchasing tea. It will likely have to wait until after my wedding next year though as that is eating up quite a bit of the tea budget.

The 2017 San Francisco International Tea Festival - The Tea Letter

The San Francisco International Tea Festival 2017 - The Tea Squirrel

It's still tea festival season. This week brings us reports from a couple of my favorite Bay area bloggers. Anna had the pleasure of taking a puerh seminar with Roy Fong while Mike took home an impressive haul.

Teabento Pika Cha

Ricardo at My Japanese Green Tea reviewed a kamairicha from Teabento, a company whose teas I've been enjoying lately as well. This uncommon type of tea is pan-fired rather than steamed during processing.

A Mabian, Sichuan Tea Flight

Geoff at Steep Stories of the Lazy Literatus has a nose for sniffing out unusual teas. Sichuan is known for its green tea and heicha but thanks to West China Tea Company he was able to try a white tea, yellow tea, and black tea.

Afternoon Tea LA Style

Tiffany at #SheBlogsTea wrote about her experience at a very cool sounding tea spot at the W Hotel in Hollywood. I very rarely visit California but this is definitely a place I'd like to see when I do.

Tillerman Tea Wenshan Bao Zhong - Winter 2016, Spring 2017

Notes on Tea - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:01

Wenshan Baozhong is unusual among Taiwanese green oolongs in its twisted presentation. The first part of the tea's name refers to the Wen Shan range where shan translates to mountain. The second half of the tea's name, bao zhong, refers to the origin of the tea's shape. The tea historically was wrapped in paper to achieve the twisted shape. This technique is still used though it is not as widespread.

Another distinctive aspect of this tea is its "generous [floral] fragrances" (Gascoyne et al.). In my reading, I have seen the following flowers associated with baozhong: lilac, lily of the valley, gardenia, and orchid. The two Wenshan baozhongs from Tillerman Tea I drank smelled and tasted of flowers. Despite my botanophilia, I am unable to say which flower(s). The baozhongs specifically were Winter 2016 (Wong One Dashi) and Spring 2017 (Wang Han Yang). Two grams of each tea were steeped in tasting cups filled with 195F water for 3 minutes.

Winter 2016 (Wong One Dashi)

Dry leaf appearance: long, twisted, mix of olive and forest green

Dry leaf fragrance: floral, dry

Infused leaf appearance: longest leaf was 1.5 inches, choppy leaves, forest green

Liquor color: yellow, clear

Liquor taste: Floral yet savory, light broth mouthfeel but medium body; as the liquor cooled, the tea tasted like buttered toast, just as Tillerman Tea said it would

Spring 2017 (Wang Han Yang)

Dry leaf appearance: long, twisted, mix of olive and forest green

Dry leaf fragrance: very floral, creamy, toasted barley [in contrast to the Winter 2016, the bag of Spring 2017 was first opened for this tasting]

Infused leaf appearance: longest leaf was 2 inches, more whole leaves, shinier, forest green

Liquor color: green yellow, clear

Liquor taste: Bright, floral, medium body, coated mouth, vegetal (but not savory); the cooled tea tasted very green, vegetal, and headily floral

The Takeaway

The two teas are of the same style but differ by farm and by season. These two factors could account for the differences in their flavor profiles. I enjoyed drinking both teas but my favorite of the two teas as infused above is the Spring 2017 Wenshan Bao Zhong. This baozhong was featured in Tea Pairing 101: Oolong Tea. Pair it with a plum. But before you go: steep 3-4 grams of the Winter 2016 in 3-4 ounces of 195F for 30-second infusions for a highly floral liquor.

Both Wenshan baozhongs were provided for review by Tillerman Tea.

P.S. Baozhong used to be processed as a dark oolong! Read about baozhong history at TeaDB.

Blast From the Past: Theoretical Tea

T Ching - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:00

There’s a theory in theoretical physics that explains and links all known phenomena.  It is rather aptly called “the theory of everything,” and is sometimes also known as the final theory.  In fact, it is sort of along the lines of the whole “a butterfly flapping a wing in China can cause a hurricane” thing.  While physicists frantically try to prove this – it’s not all that easy to unify general relativity and quantum mechanics – it’s possible for us to derive our own theories based on that sort of concept.  For example, I’d like to introduce the “tea string theory.”  Disregarding for a moment that the name is a direct ripoff of string theory and doesn’t exactly have to do with anything, my theory states that tea can be linked to everything within our lives.  In an attempt to prove this theory, I’ll examine my own daily activities and point out the overlaps.

My first class is biology.  Pertaining to the current unit, which is genetics, let’s see what happens when we cross certain kinds of tea.  Let’s go with … pomegranate green tea and mint black tea.  Assuming that all genes assort independently, and that the green tea has two dominant pomegranate alleles, and that the black tea has two dominant mint alleles, that would give us either co-dominance or incomplete dominance.  For the sake of trying to figure out what sort of weird plant is produced when combining those two things, we’ll go with co-dominance and say the product is a heterozygous mint-pomegranate tea, which is a little farfetched.

English class can’t be too difficult; after all, it’s already been established that tea appears in literature.  However, we’re reading a very select set of books this year.  For example, I’m sure they had tea back in Romeo and Juliet’s time.  And we read the Cask of Amontillado, by Poe.  Wine isn’t that different from tea, right?  My sustained silent reading book, Wicked, had some of the characters drinking tea.  Fair enough, we’ll go with that.

Third period is speech and debate.  It’s not much of a struggle to come up with how tea relates to that.  I’m sure someone did an expository speech on tea.  Or debated the merits and disadvantages of tea.  Tea versus coffee?  Of course.  All sorts of links in this class.

Moving on to geometry.  I suppose we can calculate the volume and surface area of a mug.  Or the volume of the tea.  The ratio of tea consumed per person would also work, such as 1:1, one cup of tea for every one person.  Or 1:10, depending on how tea enthused (or unenthused) the class is.  What about the viscosity of tea?  Granted, it’s probably the same as water, and that might have a little bit more to do with chemistry than math, but close enough.  Science is a loosely defined subject, after all.

Spanish.  In that language, tea is té.  Go figure.  Now, we could probably go through the rest of the subjects that exist, but I believe the theory holds true.  Tea can be linked to everything within our lives.


Originally posted on November 2011.

The post Blast From the Past: Theoretical Tea appeared first on T Ching.

Peach Melba from Traillodge Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:00
Caffeine doesn’t bother me as much as it does for some people but now that I have to go to sleep at a decent hour most nights to get up early for work, I try to make sure I have a selection of caffeine-free teas for the evenings. So now I am always on the lookout for good caffeine-free options. That is why when I saw this Peach Melba tea by Traillodge Tea in a traveling teabox, I had to give it a try. This tea is made of organic rooibos, organic honeybush, organic apple bits, organic raspberry bits, organic Read More

Winter Pine from Tea & Tins. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 00:00
Holy marzipan, Batman! The scent of sweet almond just takes over here. Normally, I don’t enjoy that but in this hot cup, I am really liking it. In taste, it is not as potent but instead underlies a comforting citrusy orange burst, providing a silky sweet undertone to provide balance. The whole tea reminds me of Christmas and yet feels new and exciting. I made this iced as well and I don’t enjoy it as much as the hot tea. The orange flavoring starts off just as nice as it is in the hot cup but becomes bitter. That combines Read More

Coconut Lychee from The NecessiTeas. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 18:18
Hello coconut and lychee. Definitely some great summer flavors, all atop a light white base. who wouldn’t love a pop of sunshine in their day? . I enjoy both coconut and lychee and though I have not seen them together often, I can see them blending really well. Unfortunately, this wasn’t around when I placed my Necessiteas order last fall because I probably would have snatched this up quick. Luckily for me, there was a small sample lingering in a traveling teabox that came my way. Comprised of white tea, organic coconut, safflower petals, goji berries and natural and organic Read More

Meet the Tea: Dragonwell

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:16

Dragonwell, aka, Longjing, is a green tea that hails from the West Lake region of China's Zhejiang Province. It is well known for both the flat shape of the leaves and its distinctive chestnut aroma. The taste is mellow and sweet, making it a perfect starter green tea. Floral notes and a crisp vegetal character are also to be expected but a well made dragonwell will have no bitterness.

There are several legends that surround this famous tea. In a city by the same name, there is a well that was said to be inhabited by a dragon. The local people would pray to it for rain when there is a drought. I have heard from several people who have visited the well that after rain, the lighter rainwater floats on top of the dense well water creating a rippling effect. It is this curious phenomenon that is believed to be the source of the legend.

Another story tells of Emperor Qian long visiting a temple and watching the ladies picking tea. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to give it a try.While he was picking the tea he received a message that his mother was ill. In his haste to leave he shoved the leaves into his sleeve. When the Emperor visited his mother, she noticed the smell of the leaves and he had it brewed for her. It is said that the distinctive flat shape of Long Jing is designed to mimic those leaves.

Leaves that are destined to become Dragonwell are roasted within a few hours after plucking. As they are heated on the wok-like roaster the tea maker firmly but gently presses them against with sides of the pan. Repeating this step many times effectively folds the leaves into a sword shape. Although this step was traditionally done by hand, machines are often used now in order to increase production.

Eric from Tea Geek posted a great video of his experience making Dragonwell in Hangzhou last year.

There are five mountain peaks in the West Lake region where Dragonwell is made. Not all tea companies will reveal where their dragonwell is from but the good ones will give you very specific information.  In order of desirability they are:
  • Shifeng - Lion's Peak
  • Longjing Village - Dragon's Peak
  • Yunxi - Cloud Peak
  • Hupao - Tiger's Peak
  • Meijawu - Plum Peak

The plucking standard is another important factor in Dragonwell. Higher quality examples are comprised almost entirely of terminal buds. Larger leaves that are more than "two leaves and a bud" are generally considered to be a sign of a poorly made tea. The first Dragonwell harvest of the year is generally the most prized. This is referred to as "pre-Qingming" as the tea is made before tomb sweeping day (April 4th or 5th). Many tea sellers will sell pre-orders of this tea before the leaves are even taken off the bushes. For this reason, the early budding cultivar Longjing #43 is often favored over classic varieties.

Dragonwell is typically prepared with water that is less than boiling, around 175-180°. Western-style steep times will range between 1 and 3 minutes. If you're going gongfu, infusions of 15 to 30 seconds are par for the course. My personal preference is to use glass vessels. The leaves are just too beautiful to not watch them dance around. You'll want to avoid heavy materials like yixing clay because they retain too much heat. One of the most popular ways to drink Dragonwell is "grandpa style". Just place a small amount of leaves in a tall glass and fill with hot water. Strain with your teeth as you drink and refill with more hot water as you go.

These are some of the dragonwells that I have reviewed here on the blog:

Firepot Nomadic Teas 2017 Pre-Qingming Lotus Heart Dragonwell

Teavivre Organic Nonpareil She Quan Dragon Well 2015

Le Palais des Thés Long Jing Premium Green Tea 2014

Yezi Tea Dragon Well Master Grade Long Jing Green Tea

Jing Tea Dragonwell Supreme Organic Green Tea

Do you have a favorite dragonwell? Let me know about it in the comments!

Travel and Tea

T Ching - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:00

Guest post by: Rebecca Brown

There is something deeply human about brewing and drinking tea. Maybe that’s why tea and travel — another deeply-rooted ancient human pursuit — go so well together.

My lifelong fascination with tea knows no borders. Literally. Whenever I would travel, I would use every stop at a cafe or a restaurant to ask about local tea blends. Different teas are like landmarks on my personal travel map, and my taste buds are always up for a new warm, exotic herbal challenge.

Much like with wine and coffee tasting, a whole new branch of tourism is developing based on tea tasting. While I find this very exciting, I’ve been doing this for too many years to abandon my own, custom tea travel experiences. What I love the most is choosing a long hiking route independent of the tea choice it might offer, and then discovering authentic teas on the way as surprises.

While this is certainly a more exciting approach, it is very uncertain, which is tricky if you rely on tea — or any other commodity — for your mental and spiritual well-being. There were cases where a cafe or a tavern wouldn’t serve teas in the summer. There were also times when only the plainest tea-bag varieties were offered. That’s why I quickly learned to carry some of my favorite “staples” with me. It would be very easy to just ask for a cup of warm water and then infuse my own tea (of course, I would order a dish or a drink to go along!). My cute duck-shaped tea infuser would always bring out smiles of wonder and joy out of the waiters and hosts.

My Latin Tea Adventure

When I decided to finally tackle the Camino de Santiago, I was already preparing myself for the fact that, unlike so many places in Asia, this wouldn’t be an overly tea-exciting trip. I just couldn’t find any detailed info on it, and I supposed that European tea flora has nothing new to offer. Still, I wanted to do the Camino de Santiago for a long time. I convinced myself that it shouldn’t be all about tea after all. I packed my favorite green and black tea blends and went to pursue the Camino Portuguese.

What I completely forgot was that it was the Spanish and Portuguese who colonized one of the tea-richest regions in the world: Latin America. Many centuries ago, they brought the tea traditions of the indigenous people back to Spain and Portugal. And that’s why as soon as I arrived in Portugal, I had the opportunity to try an authentic yerba mate. Mate is an ancient South American strong tea made from dried and ground leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. It is fairly bitter and very caffeine-rich, which was very convenient considering the energy levels I needed for the pilgrimage.

This tea is also consumed in a particular way – not sipped from the cup, but through a handy tool called the “Bomba” in Portuguese (and “bombilla” in Spanish), which looks like a medieval infuser, but actually functions both as a straw and a sieve, successfully keeping the leaf particles out of your mouth. Drinking real mate is a very energizing, refreshing and somehow uplifting experience. I was able to buy the “bomba” and some mate at an awesome souvenir show any tea admirer would love.

My Portuguese Tea Adventure – to be continued

In Portugal, I also had the opportunity to taste traditional Moroccan tea, and also a big surprise – authentic Portuguese green tea, grown on the Atlantic island of São Miguel! Since green tea is my biggest love, I took some home with me.

And I instantly decided where my next trip will take me!

Image credit

The post Travel and Tea appeared first on T Ching.

Glenburn Estate Darjeeling from Yatra Tea Company. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:57
Green tea is what I’ve been craving lately, so when my fellow sister, CuppaGeek, told me about this amazing tea, I just knew I had to try it.  And I have to say, this tea IS the green tea of the moment at The SororiTea Sisters. . in my opinion. The description of this tea states that this Glenburn Estates Darjeeling has a lemon buttery flavor and they aren’t wrong.  Brewed up per the parameters provided on the package, this tea yields this lovely smooth buttery flavor with a hint of a citrus finish.  Towards the end of each sip Read More

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

T Ching - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:00

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena, California, was created by landscape designer Kinzuchi Fujii (1875-1957), who commenced the project in 1935 and was forced to abandon the endeavor in 1942 due to World War II internment.

The garden was named after its first patrons, Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns, who relocated to Pasadena in 1931 after their marriage the same year. In 1950 gallery owner Gamelia Haddad Poulsen acquired the estate consisting of over seven city lots!

During my recent visit, I examined the garden’s low-crawling plants and was pleasantly surprised to find a few pine trees creeping near the pond and trails. Prominently featured in art and literature, pine — along with bamboo and plum — are known as Winter’s Three Friends in East Asia. Most landscapers install and nurture majestic pines in upright position. The pine trees at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden were sculpted, possibly by bonsai artists, to showcase the pines’ versatile visage.

Today the park, a neighborhood gem, is smaller and less grandiose than its yesteryear’s existence, yet it possesses all the essential elements of a notable garden: A pond with koi, a tea house where tea ceremony is regularly held, and aura of equanimity. In 2005, the Garden became a California Historical Landmark and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Images provided by author.

The post The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden appeared first on T Ching.

RYCBAR by Fandom Teas. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:00
I’m a Doctor Who fan and, even with the information that this is an “impossible girl” inspired tea, it still took me several seconds to figure out what the name of this blend meant. Maybe my brain was just really slow today? Hopefully you can figure it out faster.
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