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Bai Ye Varietal Dan Cong Black Tea Spring 2016 from Yunnan Sourcing

SororiTEA Sisters - 4 hours 25 min ago
Behold…Bai Ye Varietal Dan Cong Black Tea Spring 2016 from Yunnan Sourcing! This Bai Ye dan Cong was picked in late April 2016 and processed through May. Instead of being processed like Dan Cong Oolong this tea was processed into Black Tea by wilting in small cloth bags in the sun and then shade. I had to think for a moment which category to put Bai Ye Varietal Dan Cong Black Tea Spring 2016 from Read More

It's beginning to look at lot like. . . a Gilded Christmas

Barb's Tea Shop - 6 hours 39 min ago

Marble House dining room 
This year's Christmas theme at the Gulley household is, no surprise, GILDED!

Our inspiration came in great part from our recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island,  where we visited five mansions from the Gilded Age. We were there the last part of October and the cottages were just starting to display their Christmas decorations.

In the Marble House, home of Alva Vanderbilt, Christmas trees and other trimmings showed up in the dining room and foyer.

Christmas tree in the Marble House foyer
Channeling our inner Gilded, we sorted through some of our fancier Christmas decorations "in house" and then found some added delights at a pre-Thanksgiving trip to Pier 1.

Gilded decor for the Gulley fireplace mantle
I purchased some lovely garland filled with fruit, pinecones, and greenery all tinged with gold. It makes a spectacular statement on the mantle.

Gilded decor glows with a semi-blazing fire
The glow from the fireplace adds a little extra sparkle. Just like Marble House!

Then, to the Christmas tree. Rachel and I continued our annual tradition of decorating the tree - and the dog -  with a pot of tea brewing and holiday tunes in the background.

Trimming the tree with Gilded sensibilities

Christmas sweaters must be worn when decorating

Garland from Frankenmuth with some fancy gold ribbon make a statement
Turning again to the Marble House, we imagined what their their staircase would look like all decked out at Christmas. With glittery garland we purchased from Bronner's ( Frankenmuth) last year, we added a bit of gold ribbon for extra glitz worthy of a Newport cottage. If our staircase was made of marble, it could easily be mistaken for the Vanderbilt's front entry.

I will add, this took two hours to complete.  (Results - finished product to time spent ratio, a little off).

Marble House dining room 
Moving to the dining room, I once again sought the Marble House for guidance.

Adding some bling to the chandelier
Still working on the dining room chandelier. Added some bling from Pier 1, but still need shiny ribbon and some greenery.

Silver tea set on the dinning room buffet awaits more glitz
Took out the silver coffee/tea for the buffet. Will be adding more glitter and gold this week.

In a slight detour from this year's theme, we put up a few holiday items representing mid-nineteenth century England -  most notably, a tea room from Department 56's Dickens Village. Did we mention Frankenmuth? Yes, this year's purchase was the "Joseph Edward Tea Shoppe".

Sistahs annual trip to Bronner's 
In yet another tradition, my cousins, Dianne and Kathy, and I (aka "the sistahs") make our yearly trek to Frankenmuth, spend the night, and fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast to shop at Bronners for four  hours (yes, four).

Last year, I purchased the banister garland and the Dicken's Village tea cart lady. With this year's tea shoppe, perhaps next year's theme is in the making!

It would take me several days to decorate this banister
In the meantime, for the remainder of this month, Chestnut Hill Court will be (almost) one-in-the-same as Bellevue Avenue. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, however it is decorated!

Harry Potter Fans-Check this out! Pumpkin Juice Green Tea from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - 8 hours 26 min ago
The thing I was originally going to write about this was “this tastes like the Hogwarts library.” I was going to talk about the vegetal green taste with the rich old spices, like herbology books being read by Neville Longbottom after a long day of academia. I had a variety of very interesting, seemingly novel ideas. (NOVEL IDEAS? GET IT?) Then I went to 52Teas’ own description which — I do not jest — literally Read More

North from Metolius Artisan Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 12/04/2016 - 00:00
If you would have told me a few weeks ago that North from Metolius Artisan Tea would be an herbal tisane that I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about I would have called you CRAZY. I mean…I’m pretty finicky when it comes to herbal tisanes. Let’s face it…they’re NOT really tea. I’m not saying that as a slam it’s the technicality of it, folks! North from Metolius Artisan Tea is a Read More

Bohemian Raspberry Green Tea from Culinary Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 20:00
I love the way Bohemian Clothing LOOKS so why not try a Bohemian Tea? Recently was I was seen sipping on Bohemian Raspberry Green Tea from Culinary Teas and it was delightful! Not that the actual sight of me sipping on the tea was delightful…but the Bohemian Raspberry Green Tea itself was delightful! (teahee) And YES…you can use that TeaSlang/Humor if you want! Nichole (aka CuppaGeek) and I giggle over chat while drinking our tea. Read More

Coconut Joy Tea from The Tea Can Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 16:00
I like Coconut. I like Joy. So why not a cup of Coconut Joy from The Tea Can Company? Sure…why not!? This Coconut Joy Tea from The Tea Can Company contains Ceylon Black Tea, Coconut Flakes, and Coconut Flavoring! Let me tell you…it’s a whole lotta coconut! So…in a NUTshell…if you like coconut you just might enjoy this flavored black tea! I know I did! The Black Tea base was fairly strong but seemed to Read More

Mini Yunnan Tuocha Tea – Blue Label from Teasenz

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 12:00
Recently I experimented with Mini Yunnan Tuocha Tea – Blue Label – from Teasenz. Here are a few of my findings and personal tasting notes on each infusion. Infusion 1: Mini Yunnan Tuocha Tea – Blue Label – from Teasenz infused to a darker brown and had a slight gloomy texture to it as well. The whiff was like a warmer autumn day…sunshine, leaves, dirt, dry wood, and a bit of malt. The flavor was Read More

Raspberry Matcha from Tea’s Me

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 00:00
Flavored Matcha. Yup! I will try just about any flavor. (As long as it’s vegan and this one is). So when I saw Raspberry Matcha from Tea’s Me I knew I had to spend some time with it. This not only has green matcha powder it also has natural raspberry flavor and pure cane sugar, too! I will say that I was able to taste the raspberry flavor AND the pure cane sugar right away. Read More

Bittermelon Stuffed With Roasted Tie Guan Yin Ooong

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 20:00
I have a feeling this is going to be a lengthy post but with good reason, I promise! You see – in THIS post – I will be telling you all about Bittermelon Stuffed with Roasted Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Yunnan Sourcing! Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took bittermelon, took out the insides, left the thick rind, and then stuffed it with Tie Guan Yin and roasted it? That’s what Read More

Tea Party: A Color, Punch Out, and Play Set

Notes on Tea - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 17:01

Have you noticed that the coloring book genre has expanded to include coloring books for grownups?  I got into the activity with gifts from my sister-in-law and books courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing. Even youth coloring books have changed; simple line drawings are being replaced by more complex scenes. As a parent to young children who enjoy arts and crafts, I don't mind that children's coloring books are more intricate. If we are coloring together the activity is more engaging for me. Now enter artist, writer, and teacher Margaret Peot with her Tea Party: A Color, Punch Out, and Play Set published by Pomegranate Kids. This kit incorporates coloring and dramatic play with a tea theme. How perfect is this activity for me and my family? This is a rhetorical question.

Pomegranate Kids provided me with a boxed set. My son was excited to create a stage with me to display during Thanksgiving. He chose the English Manor House Tea and the Castle tea pot, cup, and serving plate.  Peot's Tea Party play set is a great collaborative activity. We had to make several decisions before we could color. Which stage should we chose? Which serving ware? What colors, and should we use markers or colored pencils? We selected markers. It's my experience that it's easier for children to color with fat markers. Who would color which parts of the stage and serving ware? At no point did these choices become stressful. The design of the box and informational brochure within set the stage for a happy experience. Our musical selections also helped. Thanks, Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.

After completing the stage and selected tea ware - we did not color all the white space - we displayed the items on the dining table. We did not set the stage with any of the paper teatime treats. We had several real desserts on the table: chocolate peanut butter tart, apple crisp, and a raspberry pistachio tart. The paired tea was Lupicia's black tea blend, La Belle Epoque.

There are two stages and seven cardstock pages of teaware and treats remaining in the boxed set. Another clever feature of this set is that you can mix and match stages and teaware. I foresee many more tea parties this winter. If you have a young child in your life and are looking for a collaborative, creative activity, I recommend Margaret Peot's Tea Party play set.

Tea Party: A Color, Punch Out, and Play Set provided by Pomegranate Kids.

Sri Lanken Chai (AKA Chai of Sri Lanka) from Chash Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 16:00
I received a small sample of Sri Lanken Chai (AKA Chai of Sri Lanka) from Chash Tea and was pretty curious about it. It was an herbal chai. Chash Tea states on the product description that as with most chai, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, pink and bruised pepper form the spicy foundation and said that these warm spices need to be softened and that the original Sri Lankan version uses lemongrass, coconut chips and pineapple Read More

Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 12:00
Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas is a 1st Place Winner of the North American Tea Championships 2011 and contains black tea, coconut flakes, and almond bits and smells delicious! Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas is one of the companies best sellers and I can see why! The black tea base is a heftier strength and brews to a reddish brown color while the aroma is heavy on the coconut followed by a good deal of Read More

Blast from the Past: Experimenting with a Samovar

T Ching - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 09:00

Given the high number of Russian immigrants in our area of the Pacific Northwest, we recently decided to try out their time-honored way of drinking tea.  We took a trip to a nearby store that sells groceries and kitchen supplies for the Russian community, and purchased ourselves an electric samovar.  The ladies working in the store seemed excited that we were interested in their style of doing things, and gave us enthusiastic instructions in the art of Russian tea-drinking.  Fifteen or twenty minutes of cordial conversation, and we were ready to take our new gadget home and put it through its paces.

Basically, a samovar consists of a large hot water canister and a teapot that perches on top of it.  Russians will typically leave it simmering for hours on end – on a low heat setting – so that the water is always kept warm, and thus so are the contents of the teapot above it.  Another great thing about a samovar is that each drinker can decide exactly how strong they want their tea.  While the brew inside the teapot might be quite strong, it can always be diluted by adding hot water from the canister.  The name “samovar” literally means “self-cooking,” since the water-heating and the drink preparation are all there in one appliance.

Following the instructions we had been given, we started out by filling the canister with water, plugging it into the electric socket, and putting its thermostat on high to boil the water.  Meanwhile, we spooned some tea leaves into the infuser that fits inside the teapot.  We mixed up the cultures a little by using Twinings Earl Grey.

Once the water boiled, we opened the tap on the side of the canister and poured some into the teapot.  Turning the thermostat down a little to keep the water warm, we placed the teapot in the dip on the top of the canister and let the tea draw.  Then we poured it out and enjoyed our first cups of samovar-made tea.  We drank it from cups, although one of the ladies in the store told us that Russians often pour it into the saucer and sip it from there.

The verdict?  It’s a great way to make a strong brew that will stay hot for hours, growing ever richer as it goes.  The samovar is also an attractive and elegant sight.  Silently cooking away in the corner of the living room, it seems a nice homey touch.  But we have also been thinking how great a samovar would look in the workplace.  It would make an interesting feature – like a water cooler, except with more antioxidants.

This article by Elizabeth and David Hill was originally posted to TChing in December of 2009.

The post Blast from the Past: Experimenting with a Samovar appeared first on T Ching.

Friday Round Up: November 27th - December 3rd

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 05:00
Google Is a Lazy Co-Author
+Robert Godden isn't one to sugarcoat his feelings, especially when it comes to something related to tea. In this week's blog post he highlights the myths that are perpetually repeated in tea books. This is one of my biggest pet peeves so we're definitely in agreement here.

5 of the Best Chai Brands You Should Try 
Tis' the season for chai. +Lu Ann Pannunzio put together a great list of some of her favorites. I never got around to trying the chai from Blue Hour Tea at World Tea Expo earlier this year and now I am definitely regretting it.

Helping an Aged Oolong Touch Up his Stinky Navel
I recently started following Funky Leaves, a new-ish blog written by an apprentice at Floating Leaves Tea. I have an electric tea roaster but for those who don't the method he shows for refreshing old tea could definitely come in handy.

The Tea Squirrel's Holiday Gift Guide for Tea Lovers - The San Francisco Edition
+Anna Mariani highlighted some really fantastic local companies, making a gift basket that would be a tea lover's dream. I would definitely be snatching all of these items up if I lived on the west coast.

Things You Should Know About Matcha
+Eleonora made some important points about the poor quality matcha that is available to most tea drinkers. She also puts the spotlight on Nohohon Tea Room, my go to place for matcha bubble tea when I'm near St. Mark's Place in Manhattan.

Irish Whiskey Cream from Tea & Absinthe – The Other Irish Breakfast

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 20:00
As the weather gets colder, I get a craving for sweeter, more dessert-like teas.  So when it was the first real, cold and blustery day of the season, I was excited to taste Irish Whiskey Cream from Tea & Absinthe. The dry leaf smells mild but sweet, like black tea with a hint of caramel.  When brewed, this blend smells amazing, as rich and decadent as crème brûlée.  I take my tea without milk or Read More

A Herbal Tea from the Tea Dude!

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 18:00
There is something so wonderful about knowing a product is homemade. Knowing someone has put time and energy and effort into producing a high quality item and that they want to share that item with the world… well, that’s insanely cool in my book. Maybe that’s why I can’t help but smile every time I open my container of Meegs Tea from the Tea Dude. There’s a simple sticker on the back of the tin Read More

Santa Berry Tea from Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 16:00
Now THIS is a fruit flavored black tea I can get behind! Oh! Maybe that is because it doesn’t have hibiscus in it! Santa Berry Tea from Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co, that is! Santa Berry Tea from Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co smells like fruity candy straight out of the bag! I think it is the fruity combo of orange, cranberry, strawberry, and raspberry. It’s truly a delight! Once infused Read More

Pig Sprinkles. . . Need we say more?? Miss Figgy from Tea and Tins

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:00
This tea gets top points for the cuteness factor.  Pink pig sprinkles? Check. Delightfully punny name?  Check.  Delicious, unexpected, cookie-tasting tea?  Check. This tea made me smile without even opening the bag, and I just had to break out my adorable sky blue teapot to brew up this blend. Even in the dry leaf, you can smell the fig flavor, immediately reminding me of Fig Newton cookies.  Cookies and tea are an age-old couple, and Read More

Tea and Travel: Finding Comfort in Tea While Abroad

T Ching - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 09:00

If you were given the chance to live abroad for a year, would you take it? My response was an absolute yes. It was a no-brainer decision when my husband was offered the chance to move to Dublin, Ireland for work.

As avid travelers, we looked at this move as a chance to explore new places and cultures. There’s always something different to see, smell, hear, or taste. We would have Europe at our fingertips with the convenience of budget airline Ryanair based out of our home airport. 

Little did we know how many places we’d explore. We are based in Dublin during the week, but travel as much as possible on the weekends. I went from a “9 to 5” to spending my days creating unforgettable itineraries, finding the best places to stay for our money, and searching for flight deals.

I started a travel blog, Two Blue Passports, with a girlfriend as a means to share these adventures. We’ve found through our years of planning trips that tips from friends always turn out to be the best travel advice. We share our practical tips and creative itineraries for seasoned as well as first time travelers to ease the planning process and encourage others to get out and explore the world.

Along with the highlights and adventure, travel also brings uncertainty. During our second weekend in Ireland for instance, we rented a car and drove to the west coast of the island. We found the cutest Airbnb, a newly renovated-barn-turned-guest-cottage that boasted freshly lain eggs and homemade soda bread about 30 minutes outside Galway. We arrived at the house shaken and frustrated after getting lost for hours in the darkness without internet.

The next morning, we headed into town in search of breakfast and a place to warm our spirits. We found Cupan Tae, a traditional Irish Tea Shop, and knew we had to go in. The small shop was filled with the scent of freshly baked scones, white doily tablecloths, and colorful china. We ordered the full Before-noon Tea with their house favorite Dreamy Creamy Galway Tea. Talk about a special tea – it will turn any coffee lover into a tea convert, just ask my husband. It’s a flavored black tea with a hint of roasted coffee beans and jasmine flowers.

I walked in with a feeling of doubt that perhaps we had made the wrong decision to move abroad. Even though we were living in an English speaking country, there were new customs and everything was more of a challenge. Looking back, I was a bit melodramatic, but in the moment it really hit me that we truly were foreigners.

I walked out with a smile and renewed sense of adventure. Wasn’t that why we moved in the first place? It’s amazing what a hot pot of tea and the warm Irish hospitality can do for one’s attitude. I make it a point to pop in when we’re in Galway and recommend Cupan Tae to visitors. Now, we look back on that weekend and chuckle and are reminded of the comfort of that Dreamy Creamy tea every time we brew it at home.

Do you have a favorite comforting tea? Perhaps a similar tea experience? Share with us below!

The post Tea and Travel: Finding Comfort in Tea While Abroad appeared first on T Ching.

Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1 CH Muscatel 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Exclusive from Lochan Tea Limited

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 00:00
I love it when a tea ‘takes me to another place’ and Giddapahar SFTGFOP 1 CH Muscatel 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Exclusive from Lochan Tea Limited did just that. Giddapahar Estate – is a small family owned Darjeeling Tea Estate and is located on a mountain – also known as “Eagles Cliff” – just a short drive from Kurseong – the garden is situated at 4864 feet above sea level. It’s said that from the Read More
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