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Pumpkin Chipotle Cream Honeybush Tea from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - 1 hour 11 min ago
Talk about being SURPRISED and HAPPY! From what I can see THIS Pumpkin Chipotle Cream Honeybush Tea from A Quarter To Tea appears to be VEGAN! Woot! I have been eyeballing some of their teas but they seem to contain dairy (butter) in most of them. This one doesn’t! YAY! According to their website this contains: honeybush tea, cocoa nibs, apple pieces, rose hips, red peppercorn, pumpkin mini sprinkles (icing sugar (vegan), modified corn starch, corn starch, fractionated palm kernel oil, cellulose gum, soya lecithin, vanillin, polysorbate 60), cinnamon bark, orange peel, cloves, safflower, natural flavors. I will say that Read More

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot – Hot Mama from Tea and Tins

SororiTEA Sisters - 2 hours 20 min ago
Cinnamon comes in two common forms when it comes to tea.  There’s the natural, cinnamon-stick flavor, which is warm and spicy, and slightly floral, evoking the smell of baked-goods and breakfast. And then there’s the cinnamon candy flavor, which is hot, hot, hot like flaming Fireball candies or like red cinnamon chewing gum.  I like both kinds of cinnamon, natural and artificial, but I always find it helpful to know which kind of cinnamon I’m getting into before I take a sip. Expecting one and tasting the other is not always a pleasant experience. Let it be known: Hot Mama Read More

Afternoon Tea: Dubai Style

T Ching - 3 hours 53 min ago

Dubai, the city of glitz and glamour, where I have been an expat for over fifteen years, is now witnessing such an increasing popularity for afternoon tea that there is a host of options available here with chefs all over the UAE trying to beat the competition and lure in customers. The result is a wide choice for tea lovers to spend a few hours in an elegant setting with gallons of tea and a variety of delicate and dainty accompaniments.

The selection of teas available from across the globe, the different views to enjoy while relaxing with friends over afternoon tea and the various innovations in the nibbles accompanying the tea is as varied as it can get.

One could be sitting in an elegant cafe in a busy mall watching the multicultural crowds milling around, enjoying the relaxing views of the beachside or sitting in a posh cafe on one of the top floors of the iconic Burj Khalifa surrounded by unparalleled views. The city residents and visitors are definitely spoiled for choice.

The selection of teas on offer could vary from Taiwanese and Chinese teas, Indian masala chai, the Earl Grey and others. What is also interesting is that Dubai has on offer a lot of innovations to cater to every whim and fancy of the lovers of this wonderful tradition of afternoon tea. There are a variety of children’s options featuring burger-shaped macaroons and cookie–flavored fries as well as fashion themed teas with cakes shaped like handbags and stilettos, that seem too pretty to eat. In fact, there is also a dim sum afternoon tea and many places offering an Arabic take on it with miniature options of popular Arabic sweets and savories. There is a Gentleman’s afternoon tea, too!

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The post Afternoon Tea: Dubai Style appeared first on T Ching.

Coconut Lime from Handmade Tea. . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 00:00
Month two of my three month Handmade Tea subscription arrived. This time I kept that wax sealed envelope closed and decided I would let the tea speak for itself before reading the provided tasting note. First thing I noticed was the big pieces of coconut in the blend. The scent of them takes over which makes since given the bright white coconut chips amidst a sea of black tea. When steeped up though, the malty assam base is what floods the nose leaving me a little bit worried that those coconut chips are just for show. Sipping on the blend, Read More

Yunnan Black from The Little Red Cup Tea Co. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 22:52
It’s been a while since I have tried a tea from The Little Red Cup Tea Co. and today I thought I would share their Yunnan Black with you! Their Yunnan Black comes from Lincang which is just a stone’s throw from Burma and home to some of the oldest cultivated tea in the world – according to The Little Red Cup Tea Co. website and product description. The Yunnan Black Tea we are reviewing today is hand picked and tightly rolled but not rolled into balls or pearls but more of a rolled pressed leaf of sorts. The golden Read More

Downton Days at Meadow Brook with Barb's Tea Service (Part I)

Barb's Tea Shop - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 17:28
Barb & Rachel (BTS), part of Downton Days at Meadow Brook
Last week, Barb's Tea Service was part of Meadow Brook Hall's Downton Days Afternoon Tea. After our presentation, guests were scheduled to tour the mansion. However, we provided a tour of our own that covered the history of tea, its introduction to England, the invention of afternoon tea and "Cora's Story", the prequel to Downton Abbey.  A lot of ground was covered in thirty minutes!

BTS "tour" included history of tea & more!
Starting where it all began, we traced the history of tea from China to Japan (brought to the latter by Buddhist monks) until it finally made its way to England in the 1600's.

BTS' display table and some of the guests at Meadow Brook
As England embraced tea, it elevated it to the fancy affair we refer to as "afternoon tea" in 1840. (For Victoria fans, it's a delight to note, it was that Queen's lady-in-waiting, Anna Duchess of Bedford who is credited for that spectacular creation.)

Gothic Room at Marble House where Lord Marlborough proposed to Conseulo
Afternoon tea was not the only event to shake up England in the 1800's! There was also the invasion of the "American Heiresses" or "Dollar Princesses", as they were referred to -  daughters of the American noveau riche who married British aristocrats in  "cash for class" transactions. Downton Abbey's Cora married Lord Grantham in such an arrangement.

Alva V. who pulled the strings on the marriage
A true life Cora, Conseulo Vanderbilt married Lord Marlborough in 1895, at the insistence of her mother, Alva, and became a Duchess at the age of 19. Lord Marlborough proposed to Conseulo in the Gothic Room at the Marble House, one of the many Gilded Age "cottages" we toured last October.

Attired in our own Gilded Age gowns, we were thrilled to be part of Downton Days afternoon tea at Meadow Brook Hall. It's a beautiful venue and we had the event captured by our cousin, Karri B., who is a professional photographer. We'll be sharing those photos very soon!

We also met a great group of ladies at the tea, dressed in gorgeous period dresses, who graciously consented to be part of our photo shoot. We'll share those pictures soon as well!

Stay tuned for Downton Days at Meadow Brook with Barb's Tea Service, Part II!! 

Great fun at Meadow Brook. More pictures to come!

Honey Mead from A Quarter to Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 16:00
I have had one other flavored genmaicha blend from A Quarter to Tea and I was not a fan. Now that I think about it, my dislike was probably due to improper steeping on my end but nonetheless, the memory had me wary of buying another flavored genmaicha offering. However, when I see flavored genmaichas I feel compelled to buy them anyways, plus the honey in the title was just calling to me. Consequently I bought a mere sample size and now I am kicking myself for not getting more because this is ah.may.zing! I should mention I have never Read More

Spiced Cucumber Melon from 52Teas . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 12:00
If you were a teenage girl in the 90s-2000s (raises hand), there’s not a doubt in my mind that at some point, you owned a bottle of cucumber melon body splash. (Am I right, or am I right?) When I spotted this tea in my sample pile, my mind immediately jumped to that infamous, chemically-fresh scent of my adolescence. Luckily, upon first sniff, I’m totally blown away– in the best way possible. There’s hints of the true cucumber-melon notes from the scent we’ve all come to know and love, but authentically, not chemically and fake at all. Underneath the bright Read More

Tricera-Tips Assam from Tea-Historic. . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 01:00
The Sororitea Sisters are known for being a bit nerdy – in a GOOD way – of course! We embrace our NERDINESS! We celebrate our NERDINESS! Some of us adore Anime, some like literature, others have a flare for Sci-Fi, and others are VERY pop culture savvy. Today – we can add another NERDY interesting to our running list of LIKES…Dinosaurs! I’ve LOVED learning about dinosaurs ever since I was 4 or 5. I still enjoying reading about the newest discoveries in world-wide dinosaur digs and finds. So when I heard about Tea-Historic I knew I had to check them Read More

Kickstarting Nepal

The Devotea - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 00:14

Some of my readers are other tea bloggers, and so I’ll just suggest right now, that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. I have a vaguely once-a-week goal and usually I stick to it. I usually write Sunday Morning Australian time, and sometimes if I have a busy Sunday, I can skip a week. Sometimes […]

The post Kickstarting Nepal appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Mint Green Oolong from My Green Teapot. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 12:00
  If you are a fan of mint. . spearmint to be exact. . .I highly recommend you continue reading. If you aren’t a fan, this tea is probably not for you. I am a huge mint fan so I couldn’t have been more excited when this tea arrived at my door. Never ordering from My Green Teapot, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I certainly didn’t expect the teas to arrive in adorable little take out containers. This tea instantly grabbed my attention and I quickly skipped to my kettle to prep my water.  While the water was prepping, I Read More

Roasted Chesnut Rooibos from Simpson & Vail. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 00:00
If tea were the dating world, rooibos tea would be the Nice Guy. You know: the fellow in the Friend Zone. The Bad Guy (black tea) rides a motorcycle, neglects your feelings, keeps you up all night, and has cryptic moods. The Nice Guy (rooibos) is friends with your mom, can balance a budget, and understands the nuances of nutrition and sleep. You don’t take the Nice Guy seriously, but he’s important. He will be your evening companion when you need one. You can call upon him at any time. He is sweet and smooth, and one day you realize, Read More

Pu-Erh Gourmand from Dammann Freres. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 20:00
I’m always surprised when I make a puerh tea.. I don’t drink it often, but when I look down into my cup, the tea is incredibly dark and mysterious. Lovely! The scent of this tea is sweet… vanilla cookies, perhaps? Maybe a bit of dry wood. There is only a tiny bit of that fishy scent that I detect in puerhs. Phew! Sipping… the flavor is very much like the scent. The puerh base is smooth and not fishy. I also don’t taste much of the wood that I smelled earlier. I really like whatever sweetness this cup is offering. Read More

Book Review - Matcha The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz

Notes on Tea - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 19:15
© Matcha - The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. Photo © Patrycia Lukas
I have been practicing my matcha whisking technique as part of my formal tea studies with ITEI. Even before I had the proper motions, I enjoyed preparing and drinking matcha at home. I like my matcha in between koicha (thick tea) and usucha (thin tea). I have also prepared beverages and baked with matcha. Many of the recipes have come from matcha cookbooks I reviewed on this blog. I was lucky in cases to have culinary grade matcha to prepare the recipes. Currently, I happily have a lot of ceremonial grade matcha. I prefer to use this type of matcha in simple beverages. I think the taste of a ceremonial matcha gets lost in a baked good. For this reason, I gravitated towards the beverages section of Matcha - The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz. I did go outside the Drinks chapter to make the Superfood Matcha White Chocolate Bark for a school bake sale. I substituted cranberries for goji berries and eliminated the pumpkin seeds and pistachios (nut allergies). The bark was a big hit and sold out quickly. The matcha really stood out in terms of color and taste with the white chocolate base. I also made a semisweet chocolate version.

© Matcha - The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. Superfood Matcha White Chocolate Bark, Photo © Patrycia Lukas
Matcha - The Cookbook is a sleeveless hardcover. The cover design is striking. White lettering and photos of vibrant matcha pop against the dark purple background. The ends papers are matcha green. The photographs, by Patrycia Lukas, are gorgeous, numerous, and well placed throughout the book. The book is organized in two main parts: history and guide & recipes. Within the former section, the chapters are History of Matcha, Green Tea Utensils and Tips, Japanese Tea Ceremony, How to Make a Cup of Matcha Tea, Why I Love Matcha, and Matcha - How to Recognize Quality. The Recipes section has chapters on Healthy Starts and Snacks, Drinks, Savory Matcha, Sweet Matcha, Baking, and Matcha Spa. All non-fiction/reference style books should have an index, and this cookbook does. This book's subject, matcha recipes, dominates the book. The history and guide section is only nine pages out of a 175 page book. This section presents a quick introduction to matcha rather than a deep dive into the tea. Volume and weight measurements are provided for each recipe. Many of the recipes are accompanied by a set of author's tips. For example, for the No-Bake Matcha Cream Cheese Tart, Gretha recommends using a tart pan with a removable bottom. For the Chocolate Fondants, you can use heatproof espresso or teacups if you don't have ramekins.

© Matcha - The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. Four-Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake, Photo © Patrycia Lukas
The recipes have a logical order. Moving from snacks to baked goods, the recipes increase in complication. Within a subsection, an ingredient made for one recipe can be used in a later recipe. The matcha syrup prepared for Kiwi Caipirinha on page 55 is used in the Green Tea Gin and Tonic on page 57. Also, stand-alone recipes can be paired. One example is serving the Matcha White Hot Chocolate (p. 42) with the Matcha Marshmallows (p. 118).

You will find the usual suspects and some creative recipes. The matchaccino seems similar to the popular matcha latte but have you had a layered Salted Caramel Coconut Matcha Latte? You've heard of bullet coffee, right? Gretha Scholtz created the Bulletproof Green Tea. The book has a recipe for matcha dusted nuts in the Sweets but in the same chapter has a recipe for White Chocolate Matcha Panna Cotta.

Baking, the final chapter, has many sweet recipes but is distinguished from the prior chapter, Sweets, by the baking process. Most of the recipes in the last chapter are jaw dropping either because of novelty or beautiful presentation or both. Consider the Four-Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake, the Dark Chocolate Triple-Layer Matcha Cake, and the Fully Loaded Matcha Drip Cake. Each element of the latter recipe, which is also the last recipe in Baking, is made with matcha. The cake, chocolate bark, buttercream icing, ganache drizzle, and decorative pieces.

© Matcha - The Cookbook by Gretha Scholtz, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. Green Hollandaise Sauce, Photo © Patrycia Lukas
I would only use poor quality or old matcha for the Spa recipes, and Gretha Scholtz admits to the same. Would you wear a matcha face mask while soaking in a matcha bath? If a matcha spa is not your thing, consider drinking your matcha in Bulletproof Green Tea or Matcha Lemonade. The bulletproof tea was very rich. Definitely add a sweetener; I used honey. The lemonade was refreshing and you can get away with using less sugar. Have more of a savory tooth? Want to stay truer to the umami nature of matcha? The Savory chapter might be your go-to. Much of what appealed to me about this chapter were the sauces and dips. A dip makes eating raw vegetables fun and a sauce can make an ordinary dish outstanding.

What are your favorite matcha recipes?

The cookbook reviewed in this post is courtesy of teNeues Media.

Friday Round Up: February 19th - February 25th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 17:00
Oollo Tea's Oriental Beauty
Michelle from One More Steep reviewed a tea that sounds as beautiful as it looks. The shot she got that showed the fuzzy hairs on the leaves is awesome! I haven't tried anything from Oollo Tea but now I definitely want to.

Garfunkle's: Afternoon Tea at a Speakeasy
Gatsby-esque afternoon tea in NYC? Yes, please! Jennifer at Inspired by Tea gives her report of this must see experience. For anyone who remembers Janam Teas from Jersey City, that's who is supplying their tea.

Tea Sessions Episode 1: What Tea Taught Me About Empathy
Mike at The Tea Letter added a podcast to his blog post this week. I really like the extra dimension that it adds. I can definitely relate to his struggle when it comes to having patience for fellow tea drinkers.

Isshin Tea Shop in the Hague: A Japanese Tea Geek's Garden of Eden
I love learning about tea shops around the world. It's unlikely that I'm going to be visiting the Netherlands any time soon but just in case I do, I now know where to get my Japanese tea fix thanks to Tea Leafster.

Yunomi: Furyu Batabatacha, Rare Bancha Tea, A Tea Review
+Amanda Freeman reviewed a fermented Japanese tea that not many people have heard of, let alone tasted. I've always found the double whisk that is traditionally used to prepare this tea so fascinating. She did a pretty good job of whipping it with a chasen though!

Earl Grey De La Creme from Steeped Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:00
I love Earl Grey. His wife, Lady Grey, was my first foray into teas I really loved, and I am grateful to the two of them. They’re like super-old friends. So when I got this Earl Grey de la Crème, I was excited to take it for a spin. But not right away. I needed to wait for that Perfect Moment when I needed a lift Now it’s a Monday morning and pouring, so boom. Tea time. Let’s DANCE, Mr. Grey. This tea is, as promised, very creamy. VERY creamy. There is also a little bit of the bergamot still Read More

Blast from the past: The psychology of bagged teas

T Ching - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 13:00

This article by Heidi Kyser was originally posted to T Ching in February of 2010.

In the business of selling specialty tea, I see two camps that – while not mutually exclusive – could be seen as opposing.  On one side are those who emphasize tea’s propensity to slow down time and invite participants to be more present in each savored moment.  On the other side are those who are busy proving to the world that specialty tea is just as quick and easy to prepare as a Lipton bag, and just as portable as a bottle of water.

World Tea News’ contributing editor, Lindsey Goodwin, returned from some roving reporting recently with an interesting story about specialty tea in quick-preparation formats, such as wands and three-dimensional sachets.  It seems some specialty tea snobs have been busy lately making their products more accessible to the masses!

That’s understandable, from a business perspective.  This morning, I had a conversation with a new colleague at World Tea who told me that, had he not started working here, he never would have tried loose-leaf tea.  He explained that it just seemed “daunting” and a “hassle.”

I don’t get this.  Most people are willing to brew their own coffee, which requires approximately the same time and equipment.  Many of them are even willing to grind it themselves – and pretty much everyone I’ve seen grinding coffee at Trader Joe’s appears willing to change the grinder settings according to the type of roast and machine they have.

But boil some water to pour over tea you’ve put in a special bag or pot…  Nooooooooo!  That’s scary.

For argument’s sake, though, let’s assume that most people will only try good tea if it’s in a bag.  If you own a tea company, then it would behoove you to put your tea in bags.

I doubt I’m the only one who imagines certain specialty tea developers holding their noses or gulping hard as they make this decision.  The “special” nature of specialty tea derives, in part, from its status as above the masses. Last year, when Teas Etc introduced its line of tea canisters with tea sacs attached, under the tag line “Ditch the Old Bag,” we all got the joke.

Some people in the industry are constantly extolling tea’s Zen virtues.  I can’t tell you how many times, during interviews, I’ve heard retailers say how much customers appreciate the chance to unplug from their busy lives, measure some tea, warm a pot, heat the water, and so on.  Entire marketing campaigns have been based on the concept that tea is not convenient; rather, it’s an unassailable excuse to indulge in some time to do just one thing slowly, patiently, and mindfully.

This is where the psychology gets interesting.  Frankly, the industry seems downright fickle.  On the one hand, wanting everyone to know and appreciate high-quality tea, we persuade them it’s convenient.  On the other hand, wanting to emphasize tea as an affordable luxury, we tell them it’s time-consuming.

Hence the “gateway” mentality; i.e., the belief that introducing consumers to high-quality tea in convenient formats gets them hooked to the point where they’ll learn more complex preparations.  It also partially explains the widespread adoption of consumer education: We have to teach them both that obtaining a quality infusion is not as hard as they think and that it’s worth the trouble it takes.  Not an easy message to convey, which may be why some brand developers and marketers focus on one side or the other.

Yet the fact that many companies don’t choose sides – or choose both sides – speaks to the diversity of the tea experience.  It means such different things to different people at different times and in different places that it can offer businesses success both as a quick treat and a lengthy engagement.

The post Blast from the past: The psychology of bagged teas appeared first on T Ching.

Roasted Dandelion Spice Tea from Yogi Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 12:00
I have looked at this tea and passed it by so many times because dandelion tea can be very strong and bitter. But dandelion tea also has amazing health benefits. Natural Grocers has been having a great sale on Yogi teas, so I decided to brave it and give it a try. It’s mixed with spices like cinnamon, clove and ginger and also cocoa shells, kind of a Chai mix. I brewed my first cup and immediately loved the smell. It smelled nutty and slightly spicy. I added a little raw sugar and a splash of coconut creamer and took Read More

Formosa Oolong from Simple Loose Leaf. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 00:00
Most oolongs taste like either greens or blacks to me, but this one’s a perfect in-betweener. It’s got that lighter, vegetal green, but throws in a dash of that sexy deep note that I love about black. There are also other notes here, some sort of a plum/raisin sugar-tartness that really kicks it up a notch. If I were going to going to assign this tea an aura color, it would be a warm autumn purple. This is the sort of tea that I would sip while exploring an attic while wearing an oversized woolen sweater. Knowing my luck, that Read More

Downton Christmas Black Tea from Republic of Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 20:00
I swear one of these days I will FINALLY start Downton Abbey…really I will! Until then…I have a nice selection of Downton Abbey themed teas from various companies to review…including this one from Republic of Tea. It’s called Downton Abbey Christmas Black Tea. So what is this bagged tea made up of? Mulling spices including cinnamon, cloves, allspice and other fragrant herbs. Many of these spices have been infused into wine and cider since Victorian England and it’s what inspired this blend. Of course it also contains premium black tea and paired with the warmth of traditional mulling spices it Read More
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