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Solar eclipse 2017: Keep calm and drink (sun) tea

Barb's Tea Shop - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 01:22

Best to be prepared for tomorrow's solar eclipse.  While special glasses or hand-crafted viewing equipment, (see below) are important, don't forget about your choice of tea.  Keep calm and drink sum-themed tea.

Tomorrow, August 21, the first solar eclipse in the continental US since 1979 will take place. While Michigan isn't in the "path of totality" that crosses several states from Oregon to North Carolina, we'll get about an 80% view of the eclipse, per The Detroit Free Press.

From 1:00 PM to almost 4:00 PM, the moon will cover a portion of the sun. At approximately, 2:27 in Detroit, the moon be directly in front of the sun, turning afternoon light into night time. I know what you're thinking - that's just in line with afternoon tea time. And, you are right!

Black tea is an excellent choice, considering the outlook of the afternoon sky at 2:30.  Here's what we picked out:

Hot Cinnamon SUNset from Harney & Sons. This is a spunky black tea blend with cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves. This will keep you going when nature lulls you into a premature evening atmosphere.

Another black tea choice for the eclipse is Tiger Tea from Yumchaa.  It is a refreshing Assam black tea with orange, blackberry, apricot and SUNflower.  We bought this in London at a Sunday Market when last in England, and find it to be a lovely alternative to Earl Grey in the afternoon.  Hearty, but fruity, it will lean you in the direction of the eclipse.

While black tea is a great pick-me-up in the afternoon, some of us rely on herbal tea to reduce the caffeine intake after noon. Light of Day's SUN in Winter is a fruit salad blend of ingredients with blackberries, cherries, blueberries, grapes, and currents along with lemon myrtle and lemon balm. A tisane that is prepared to "make you feel sunny in dark winter months".  If it can sustain us during the months of November through February, it should be more than sufficient for two minutes on an August afternoon.

Now for the other necessary equipment, aside from your teacup and kettle, for eclipse viewing - a pinhole projection box. The one we have here was put together at the home of BTS partner, Pam B., using an empty Cheerios box.

Put a piece of white paper at the bottom of the inside of the cereal box. Cut out the box top and place aluminum foil over the opening. Insert a pinhole in the aluminum foil. This pinhole allows the sun to reflect on the white paper at the bottom. You just look inside to see the eclipse in reflection.

My son, Rob, is the only one in our family who is actually traveling to another state for a better experience. He'll be in Kentucky tomorrow afternoon and I'll be anxious to hear about the eclipse festivities in the blue grass state.

As for me, I'll be at home with my pinhole projection device and a cup of tea. Keep calm and enjoy this rare occurrence. As noted in Time, we'll have to wait seven more years for the next one.  

Blackberry Blizzard from DAVIDs Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 23:00
Blackberry Blizzard, one of the teas from DAVIDsTEA’s 2017 Summer Collection. This collection is comprised of a variety of fruity tisanes and rooibos blends that do NOT include stevia. Yep, you read that right. From what I recall, this collection contains no stevia at all (I may be wrong so don’t take this as fact) which is rare for DAVIDsTEA as of late. So, no stevia means no sickly sweet flavor, right? Wrong. Blackberry leaves add a slimy sweetness to this iced tea that is not really for me. Other people might enjoy this though because between the sweetness of Read More

Raspberry Champagne from The Love Tea Company. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 17:00
Love Tea Company purchases have been making the rounds of me and my friends lately. It all started when Nichole (Cuppageek here on the site) sent me a Tea It Forward care package.  So I sent a few to my friends. And then bought samples. 25% of net profits go to the Flagg Foundation for Mental Wellness.   So I’m of course already in a good mood just looking at the packaging and getting a cup going. Plus, the idea of Raspberry Champagne is very appealing to someone who’s on a diet. Helping people! Drinking but not really! FIVE STARS. Read More

A Different Type of Chamomile Tea! Happy from Wild Leaf Active Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 13:39
Welcome to Leah’s Tour of Decaf! Today’s pick is Happy by Wild Leaf Active Teas. The irony of drinking an “active tea” on a day I have no plans to hit the gym is not lost upon me. But I’m still not going. Let’s talk about its contents and vibe! I love whoever wrote the copy for this blend; and I honestly am not sure I can do better. The tagline for it is “Take us to your happy mug. We’ll take you to your happy place.” The blend & ingredients are described thus: “A modern blend to cheer you Read More

Summertime White from 52Teas. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 17:00
90% of the time, I’m not really a white tea fan. It’s kinda floral, it’s a little too light for me, I’m not entirely sure I’m fancy enough to be able to claim it as my own– etc., etc. But the other 10%? Meaning, the few months out of the year that I bust out my white tea sample backlog and put it on ice? White tea and I are bffs, you guys. This particular blend from 52 Teas claims to be orange-cream-y, a bit fruity, perfect summertime sipping (as the name would suggest). It may have just been my Read More

Garden Therapy from The Tea Can Company. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 15:06
This tea is a stroll through your garden. It’s a sunny, quiet morning at the farmer’s market, stashing bundles of herbs in your reusable bag. It’s floating through a sun-soaked kitchen, plucking green leaves from your window-box and muddling them in steamy water for a fresh, herby cup. “Garden Therapy” is the perfect name for this particular brew. Packaged in a pyramid bag, the herbs are visible and present, and I get that familiar golden-brown brew from my beloved tulsi and lemon myrtle, accented with a slight sweetness from the rose and berry, balanced beautifully by the bright, fresh spearmint. Read More

The Good, The Sad and The Figly

The Devotea - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 15:04

With lots to do in Vancouver, our approach to tea shops has mostly been to just find them while walking past and drop in. On a recent walk we came across two that were totally different and loved them both. We were vaguely searching for Neverland Tea Salon when we stumbled across Bayswater Tea Co just […]

The post The Good, The Sad and The Figly appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Orange Creamsicle from BlendBee. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 01:53
Often, I’ll find myself looking lovingly at my tea cabinet (not unusual) and envision myself as a tea blender. In this very particular fantasy of mine, I’m set up in a perfectly crisp, clean and home-y bright white kitchen, sunlight flooding through the windows, a gentle breeze pushing in the open windows, and I’m hand-blending delicious teas while the birds outside chirp backup as I trill, Snow-White-ing-ly. I’m pretty sure this isn’t how actual tea blending happens. But this is my fantasy, so we’re gonna pretend it is. Luckily, there exist some incredible companies who offer this service to fulfill Read More

Tillerman Tea Oolongs

Notes on Tea - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 19:01

I am starting this tea review with a shout out to David Campbell of Tillerman Tea. I haven't met David but I had heard good things about him and his company so I was pleased when he reached out to me to taste his teas. I accepted and began to drink them as soon as they arrived. However, I was not able to review them in a timely manner as other parts of my life crowded out this type of activity. I was surprised then when David contacted me again with an offer of a second batch of oolongs. By including this story here I do not mean to imply that other tea companies are not similarly generous. If anything, it is a reminder to myself to be more generous with my acknowledgements of tea companies who make my passion for tea possible.

Dong Ding Winter 2016

This review is about that first batch of oolongs: Oriental Beauty 2016, Dong Ding Winter 2016, and Cuifeng Gaoshan Spring 2017. It was easy to drink and assess the Oriental Beauty and even the Cuifeng which I don't think I had drunk before. The challenging tea for me was the Dong Ding. I've been drinking a Dong Ding or Tung Ting from a local vendor and Tillerman's version did not taste the same. The dry leaf was aromatic but this quality did not translate into the liquor. I thought I had mislabelled the teas during my tasting so I infused a new cup (albeit with less leaf) but the results were similar: a mild flavored liquor. One of the first questions I asked myself was: what is the quintessential flavor profile of a Dong Ding? Also, does this profile change with season? I also wondered about plucking style because when I thought I had mislabelled the Dong Ding and the Cuifeng, a quick confirmation would have been to study the leaves, but assuming oolongs are plucked with a bud and three leaves, that approach would not have been helpful, or would it? Does the bud and three leaves pluck apply to all oolongs? I think there were other questions but the three I've just mentioned were the most outstanding ones. I did not conduct extensive research but I consulted by go-to tea book titled Tea by Kevin Gascoyne et al., my ITEI lecture notes, and read around the internet. According to Gascoyne et al., the liquor of Dong Ding smells "powerful[ly]...of lilac, vanilla and clover honey" while its aroma is of "narcissus and peony...against a background of ripe peach and butter". These tasting notes were echoed on various websites even for winter harvest Dong Ding. I don't know how to explain my experience of this tea.

Cuifeng Gaoshan Spring 2017

Where the Dong Ding was mellow, the Cuifeng Gaoshan was intensely aromatic and flavorful. Tillerman's Cuifeng was harvested from Li Shan. This mountain range is the tallest tea mountain in Taiwan at 6,550 to 7,900 feet. I won't use Gascoyne et al.'s tasting notes here; instead, I will use mine.  I prepared this tea twice. Once with 3 grams in preheated cups with 195F for 3 minutes and a second time with 2 grams keeping the other parameters the same. The lemon-green colored liquor was floral and savory where the dry leaves were creamy. The liquor was medium-bodied at a minimum with a creamy mouthfeel. Sweet and savory notes were present and pronounced on the middle of my palate. A lemon note emerged as the liquor cooled. My notes for the second session are quire similar. The liquor was floral and creamy though not as thick as the tea made with 3 grams. The flavors lingered in my mid-palate and in my cheeks with a citrus tail note. The depth of flavor increased as the liquor cooled.

Oriental Beauty 2016

I don't need to note that this tea is a summer harvest, right? Oriental Beauty may not have have geographically protected status but it definitely can't be harvested outside of summer which is when the leafhoppers bite its leaves catalyzing the release of that desirably aromatic hormone. This OB has a medium presence of buds with leaves of fairly uniform size colored in various shades of brown. The dry leaves smelled of dried cherry and grape must and the infused leaves only got better with honey, herb, fruit, and warm spicy notes. The taste of the liquor was consistent with smell of the infused leaves. It was a complex, many-splendoured cup of tea.

Tillerman's Oriental Beauty is such a classic where the term indicates a very good experience. Given the richness of the Cuifeng Gaoshan, this green oolong would be suitable for colder months as well as for warmer months. Too, you could prepare it hot with more leaf and iced or cold steeped with less leaf. One of lessons I have learned from drinking tea is the individuality of one's palate so although I found the mild nature of the Dong Ding confounding, you might find it a palate pleaser.

Thank you again to Tillerman Tea for the oolongs for review.

Friday Roundup: August 13th - August 19th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 16:00
Favorite Teaware - Philip Aba of ZeroZen Artlab

Georgia at Notes on Tea interviewed ZeroZen Artlab for the latest installment of her Favorite Teaware. I was super excited to check out this one because I have been admiring his amazing Instagram pictures for some time.

Tennessee Oolong from Steven Smith Teamaker

I've said it before and I'll say it again, west coast tea folks get the coolest stuff! Char from Oolong Owl wrote an awesome review of a whiskey scented Jin Xuan. Although pricey, it sounds like it was definitely worth the try.

7 Best Online Puer Shops of 2017
Looking for a good place to get your puerh fix? Look no further than The Oolong Drunk's latest post. The big players are there along with a few smaller companies. Funnily enough, my list would look just about the same.

Matcha Victoria Sponge Cake

I love to combine my passion for tea with my love for baking (much to my fiance's chagrin). This matcha twist on an afternoon tea classic sounds like a definite must try. If Anna at The Tea Squirrel came up with it, it's got to be good!

Brothers in tea

One of my favorite things about tea is that it brings together people from across the globe. Stéphane from Tea Masters Blog shared a little tea event he had in Taiwan with tea lovers from Spain and Finland. There are always nuances to making tea on this blog that I don't see written about anywhere else.

New Ice Tea offering Without Sugar…..but…..

T Ching - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:00

I was happy to learn about a new offering of iced tea blends from Glucose Health. I do however have some concerns.

Although you can see what they’ve added to the mix, it fails to show the actual ingredient label so that one can’t see if there are any additives not mentioned. Also, although they note that stevia is used, again, I’d like to see the ingredient label required by all manufacturers. When it isn’t available for review, it makes me suspicious. The dietary fiber and soluble corn fiber could easily be from GMO crops. The other concern is that the ingredients are not organic. This brings unfortunate pesticides into the mix which can very well eliminate any of the otherwise healthy ingredients.

Is it a move in the right direction by eliminating sugar? Absolutely, but it might not really be a “healthy” beverage until we have more information. I have called the 800 number in the hopes of getting more information but at this point, no additional information is available. If I learn anything else, I’ll be sure to add it to the comments section. To be continued.

The post New Ice Tea offering Without Sugar…..but….. appeared first on T Ching.

Favorite Tea Ware - Philip Aba of ZeroZen Artlab

Notes on Tea - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 15:01
As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore teaware, from the chasen to the yixing teapot. Everyone has their favorites! I designed this series as an opportunity for tea drinkers to showcase the very special tea objects in their personal collections. Today's selections are brought to you by Phillip Aba ZeroZen Artlab. Phillip is a prolific photographer on Instagram at ZeroZen Artlab. Phillip started his life with tea drinking from teabags as a boy. Without the influence of parents, he "fell in love with Asian culture" as a boy. His first epiphanic experience with "the real good stuff" was with Sencha. The photos and stories below are courtesy of Phillip Aba. 

I owned much more on teaware in the past but sold some of it to a good tea friend. The reason? - In my tea development I made some major mistakes choosing way to big tea vessels in the past around 200-240ml. Some might think "That's not big!" but the more you dig into Gongfu cha the more you realize it's way to big. Now my teaware I daily use is mostly around 110-120ml which is perfect and those are my favorite ones.

125ml Petr Novák teapot

When it comes to teaware I deeply love European artists because they are majorly inspired by Korean or Taiwanese rustic earthy ways of creating teaware. Speaking of it Petr Novák from the Czech Republic is my absolute hero when it comes to this certain type of teapots & co. My most beloved 125ml teapot is made by his skillful hands - what I love the most about it is its ancient rustic tree bark look. Nowadays it is quite hard to get hold on his stuff because it is sold within seconds. I hope I can get another one of this style one day. This unglazed one nearly screamed "Wuyi Yancha" to me and I never regret this choice. The stony texture of the clay suits this type of Oolong perfectly.

110ml Andrzej Bero pot

Next in the row is Andrzej Bero from Poland. I do not even own a Japanese Kyusu anymore because I felt so much in love with the ones he creates. This round shaped 110ml pot is glazed inside/outside and I use it for all kinds of green Taiwanese High Mountain Oolongs and also Chinese Tie Guan Yin. The feel of the handle and the handling of the pot itself is just flawless.

130ml Andrzej Bero pot

Next one of Bero is my beloved Korean and Japanese greens dedicated 130ml pot. It got a stronger thicker handle and a bit of a Korean type of pottery look I really love. This one is also glazed inside.

120ml Jiří Duchek teapot

Before we jump to the Chinese art of pottery there is one last European hero I discovered at last Jiří Duchek also from the Czech Republic. I only own one teapot and a lovely feather cup of him but I absolutely adore and love his work to the bits. This 120ml pear shaped tea pot smashed its purpose of being raw Sheng used with all its might into my face because this is what I use it for and it seems like this type of clay was made for it. Raw Sheng tastes pure, perfect and so well rounded and placed within this pot - it's like a miracle. This pot like most I own is unglazed. It is good to have 1-2 unglazed ones you can use for anything but I really love it to dedicate a certain teapot to just one type of tea. Because over the time you really can taste and scent the difference which evolves within this pots. The Yancha pots scent more stony and pu-erh pots more herbal and field flowery.

Li Changquan Nixing teapot

Now let's jump to the Chinese territory of Craftsmanship. Here my most used and absolute hero is this fine Nixing teapot made by an artist called Li Changquan. Beside Yixing, Jianshui, Chaozhou and Jingdezhen porcelain Nixing is one of the famous types of pottery material in China. This type of clay is normally dedicated to Heicha like Liu Bao but in my opinion it is one of the best material to be used for raw or aged Sheng. I use this small 118ml unglazed Nixing pot for aged Sheng and again it is like if it was made for it. If I could recommend the perfect vessel for Pu-erh it would be Nixing for aged and raw and Jianshui for all types of Pu.

Chaozhou 120ml teapot

Next in row is my beloved Chaozhou 120ml teapot. This type of clay is located in the same region as Dancong Oolong is grown. So most of the time it is praised to be the best for this type of Oolong and I can say that's freakin right. In this case it seems and feels like the circle finally closed and everything is in exact perfect balance and harmony. If you fell in love with Dancong's as I do there are only two options first Chaozhou and second Jianshui - nothing else. Beside the great craftsmanship I really love the wide open lid which makes it very easy to pour the tea in and watch it unfold.

120ml Benshan Lv Ni style Yixing pot

The last one is a Yixing in a very unusual shape. I really love the silky soft feel of this fine craftsmanship and those lovely carved Chinese ideographs. This 120ml Yixing pot is a type of Benshan Lv Ni and dedicated to Chinese greens only. This type of Yixing works like a charm for green teas.

Cups and utensils

Beside the pots I love to collect and use different types of cups. From those named European artists to Jingdezhen - glass or celadon - For my personal use I like bigger cups but when it comes to photo sessions or drinking with my wife I use smaller cups in pairs.

Last but not least my most used utensils are those coaster, scoops and this stainless steal strainer to keep all the dusty stuff out of my tea. So that's it for now. This isn't my whole collection but my most loved and used ones. And I am 100% sure this isn't the end of my collection at all. If you love tea you never can resist to fall in love all over again and again...and again.

ZeroZen's favorites were an introduction to teapot makers; I'd only known of Petr Novák. I also learned the names of different styles of teapots. I can see why the objects he shared with us are his "most loved and used ones"! What do you think about ZeroZen's favorite tea ware? Thank you to ZeroZen for contributing to this series.

Teance Burnt Sugar Red

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 17:17

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark, slightly twisted
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark amber

I have a funny habit of saving the tea that I think I would like the most for last. I previously reviewed and really enjoyed Teance's Tiegunyin Dark Stone Fruit but something about the name Burnt Sugar Red told me that it would be a special one. The red part of the name might seem confusing but what we call black tea in the west is usually called red tea (or hong cha) in countries like China and Taiwan. Not to mention the fact that rooibos is often labeled as red tea.

The taste was malty and sweet with absolutely zero bitterness or astringency. Since this is a Taiwanese black tea I was expecting it to be something a bit like Ruby #18. There were a few things that really set it apart for me though. Rather than notes of cinnamon and dark fruits, I was getting deeply caramelized sugar, gingerbread, and black strap molasses. It was the creme brulee of black tea!

Gongfu is definitely the way to go with this tea, especially when you consider the higher price point. It performed well in a gaiwan and I found myself continuing to drink past its prime because of the residual sweetness. I'd be hesitant to use it with clay unless the vessel is very well seasoned. My .5 oz sample was just enough for two good sized gongfu sessions.

This tea was made by Miss Lin, one of the most decorated tea makers in Maioli. I always enjoy reading about Teance co-founder Winnie Wu's sourcing blogs, particularly the ones about Miss Lin. While it is certainly possible to have a good tea where the source is not known, I very much prefer to have transparency when buying my tea.

This is a limited batch tea so it might not be available for much longer. If you're intrigued, I definitely recommend picking some up before it is gone. You won't regret it.

Burnt Sugar Red sample provided for review by Teance.

Fruit Punch from The NecessiTeas. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 17:00
Often, when I’m about to review a tea, I ask myself: what does this tea make me think of? What memory is associated with these flavors? But you guys– I couldn’t even do it with this one. The flavors of “fruit punch” are apparently so ingrained in my childhood that even with thoughts long and hard, I couldn’t pinpoint one specific memory, just a flood of tasting this exact fruity mix over and over again throughout the years. (And ending up with a cherry-red-stained mouth every time!) This oolong blend from The Necessiteas is impressive– even just by scent alone, Read More

United States of Tea - Minto Island Tea Company

Notes on Tea - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 15:01
Minto Island Tea Company tea plot in flush (all images courtesy of MITC)My story of Minto Island Tea Company begins with my husband. His best friend is from Salem, Oregon. His best friend’s parents still live there. His best friend’s mother knows of my love of tea. She purchased two teas from Minto Island Tea Company, based in Salem, and mailed them to me when I lived in Virginia last year. The Steamed Green Tea and the Black Tea were harvested in August 2016. I first drank them in November 2016. I finished the black tea first. I drank the last portion of the green tea earlier this year. The black tea was very good; I drank all of it very quickly. The green tea was also very good but I’m a fan of teas with a chocolate and dark fruit profile. The green tea always started out mildly sweet and vegetal, but later infusions, especially when the leaf proportion was higher, yielded a more robust cup. I checked Minto Island Tea Company’s website while writing this post and new teas have not been added to the inventory, yet. In February of this year, I reached out to the company for an interview as part of this emerging series on U.S. based tea growers. My thanks to Elizabeth Miller for speaking with me about her family’s tea business.

Camellia sinensis propagation in the shadehouseOrigin of Minto Island Tea Company

Minto Island Tea Company is part of Minto Island Growers (MIG), a direct-to- market vegetable business formed about 10 years ago by Elizabeth Miller and her husband, Chris Jenkins. The produce company has several components including a farm stand and community supported agriculture (CSA). MIG grew out of land farmed by Elizabeth’s family since the 1970s. (In addition to the farmland in Salem, her family, going back to her grandfather, owned land in Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon. The tea company began as a half-acre tea plot planted in the late 1980s by her father, Rob Miller, and his partner, John Vendeland. The tea plot was a research venture; John had the plant materials and he and Rob experimented with various cultivars to determine which ones had flavors that would be worthwhile planting out in bigger blocks. Elizabeth became familiar with the tea plot as a child so when she Chris became interested in tea farming she already knew that these cultivars had thrived in Oregon for over 20 years. She and Chris had been harvesting and processing tea on a small scale when people began to reach out to them in significant numbers with requests to purchase their tea and to visit the farm. This enthusiastic response spurred them to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) from the USDA to expand their operations. With funding from the VAPG program, the small tea plot became Minto Island Tea Company. Elizabeth and Chris scaled up their tea production to sell at a public farmer’s market in Portland, a farm stand, and on the web. The farm team planted 12 acres in 2016. The original half-acre plot is the only field that is currently producing tea. In addition, it functions as a propagation site. Also, it hosts a mix of cultivars so teas made from this plot are blends. Elizabeth and Chris would like to propagate individual cultivars of Camellia sinensis on the new 12 acres. When I spoke to Elizabeth earlier this year, she said their goal for the end of 2017 was to plant a total of 20 acres but have recently decided "10 acres is a more reasonable goal."

The Cultivars

What’s growing on Minto Island? Yabukita, Yamatomidori and Okumidori originally from Japan. Some cultivars from South Carolina as well as from Hawaii. C. s. var. assamica as well as unnamed cultivars of C. s. var. sinensis. Elizabeth and Chris would like to focus on green tea cultivars from Japan and/or on cultivars from regions with a similar climate to Japan. They both love Japanese green teas. Although they are interested in “honor[ing] and respect[ing]” Japanese green tea methods, the cultivars growing in Salem are “becoming an Oregon tea.” Over the past 20 years, they, along with Rob Miller and John Vendeland, have planted and replicated blocks of seeds from over 200 varietals across microclimate, soil, drainage, and other variables.

Farm Team Roles

Both Elizabeth and Chris are plant lovers. Chris brings professional plant expertise — he worked for Rana Creek, an ecological design firm — but Elizabeth has an active interest in plants, too. Chris and her father (Rob) and Rob’s coworker, Jill, primarily focus on propagation and field culture while Elizabeth co-wrote the VAP Grant as well oversees marketing, administration, and communications. The tea company is a “family affair”. Elizabeth grew up on and participated in this family farm; she “can drive all the tractors”. Their daughter smells teas during cupping sessions and Elizabeth hopes her daughter will have a passion for tea. She said, there is “really nothing better than working with plants, if that’s what you love.”

Withering tea leavesConsumer Tastes

One of the goals for their 10 acres is to produce more tea to meet demand for a customer base interested in lower price point niche products likes kombucha. They have also identified black and green teas as the two most popular tea types. As a result, they would like to cultivate more Assamica but have not found the appropriate plant materials. They are also interested in making senchas. Coincidentally, several Japanese tea farmers on a tour of the Northwest as well as a young farmer form Uni visited Minto Island Tea. They hope to visit the young farmer who offered to show them how to process and steam sencha.

Good, Early Advice

She has been inspired by her father to be innovative and to not be “paralyzed by history and traditions of tea.” Her father has always said, more or less, “don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.” Also, early consumers of their tea encouraged them to take the next steps to expand their company. They abandoned the illusion of “a perfect tea” for a goal to make unique teas from 20-year-old tea plants growing in certified organic conditions in Oregon.

Last summer's teasPredictions for Tea Culture in the U.S.

The economics of tea production in the U.S. is challenging. It it difficult to compete with India, China, Taiwan in terms of scale and a large workforce skilled in picking and handcrafting techniques. However, there are opportunities in terms of incorporating tea into kombucha or beer. They want to pursue handcrafted teas but have found it difficult for black teas in particular. Elizabeth noted that it is “hard to get to the level of oxidation for black [tea] by hand.” Elizabeth predicts tea will remain a niche industry with potential and pointed to the evolution of Pinot Noir in Oregon. Elizabeth has an evocative way of describing the relationship between people and plants, something of deep personal and professional interest to me. She spoke passionately about humans “deep craving to interact with plants, to know the story of the plants they are consuming”. Minto Island Tea Company can fulfill this need. She is dreaming of a beautiful teahouse to host tea drinkers and to strengthen their connection to the farm.

5 Surprising Ways Matcha Boosts the Immune System

T Ching - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 13:12

Matcha green tea powder is one of the healthiest beverages in the world- it’s rich with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Matcha green tea powder helps boost your immune system in five surprising ways, from helping you ward off the flu this Winter to reducing inflammation!

Immune System Boost 1: Matcha Green Tea Powder Fights the Flu

Matcha green tea powder’s high antioxidant content, particularly Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) assists your body’s production of T-Cells which reduce inflammation and fight pathogens. This makes matcha green tea powder a great immune system booster during the Winter flu season!

Immune System Boost 2: Matcha Naturally Detoxifies

Matcha is a powerhouse of chlorophyll (where the vibrant green comes from!) due to the unique shading process the tea plants undergo. As a result, matcha helps detoxify the body of harmful chemicals, toxins and heavy metals.

Immune System Boost 3: Matcha Kills Bacteria

Matcha contains a high level of both flavonoids and antioxidants which form a powerful anti-bacterial defense force! The flavonoids will eliminate bad breath, kill off bacteria from viruses/infections while the flavonoids are perfect for soothing a sore throat!

Immune System Boost 4: Matcha Reduces Inflammation  

Matcha green tea powder can help reduce inflammation and arthritis pain because of its active ingredient EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant that works to stop the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body. Matcha contains a much higher level of EGCG compared to standard green tea bags making it the perfect immune system boosting drink.

So where can you find matcha green tea powder? It’s critical that you buy high quality matcha green tea in order to gain the full health benefits. Zen Green Tea is my own company which sources premium quality Japanese matcha green tea powder with the full health benefits.

Starting to feel the flu? Try making this Matcha, Ginger Immunity Tea Recipe

Ingredients – Makes 4 cups


  1. In a medium sauce pan bring 6 cups of water and all ingredients excluding the matcha green tea powder to the boil.
  2. Cover with a lid and boil the tea for 15 minutes
  3. Strain the tea into a pot.
  4. Dissolve the matcha green tea powder into one tablespoon of hot water- ensuring you dissolve any lumps.
  5. Add the matcha green tea powder to the pot of tea, and stir.
  6. Serve immediately. You can keep any left over in the fridge to drink cold or heat up again.

The post 5 Surprising Ways Matcha Boosts the Immune System appeared first on T Ching.

Blissful Buds from Mellow Monk . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:00
Tea has become more of a mindfulness exercise for me lately, rather than simply a means to caffeination. I reverently begin this tasting by getting on the level with the loose, green grinds. Dry leaves are sweet-smelling like a japanese tea.  They tease me with something that almost smells of raspberry, though I know there is none in this blend. After brewing the tea leaves got much lighter in color and presented a cloudy olive-green infusion with lots of tiny stowaways from the gravity brewer into my cup. I cannot stress enough, as with all green and white teas, watch Read More

Organic Earl Grey Black Tea from Waterfalls Tea Company. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 17:00
Waterfall Tea Company (AKA Waterfall Teas) is one of the companies I haven’t been able to dive into much thus far and I’m not really sure why!? I guess I just haven’t seen it around much and haven’t ordered it online yet. About a month or two ago I re-visited Tea Leafs in Williamsville, NY, and came across a few of their teas that were available for sale and individually wrapped. I decided to buy a single bag just to try it out. The one I grabbed first was the one I decided to buy and that was their Organic Read More

My Morning with Blooming Teas from Flower Pot Tea Company. . . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 12:31
Lately I’ve noticed that my tea loving heart has been craving more lush green and vibrant white teas than anything else.  With having a more stressful job right now, I’ve found that these particular teas have a way of calming me in the afternoon, letting me know everything will be okay. Recently, The SororiTea Sisters received a gracious sample box from Flower Pot Teas, a company that mainly focuses on floral teas and blooming teas. I have to say, blooming teas and I haven’t always gotten along. I love the flavor but can never get them to bloom correctly. I Read More

April Siesta from 52Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 11:00
Okay April Siesta, I see you, okay. Now I want to start off this review saying that my love of this tea was 110% unexpected. The ingredients are not my usual (aside from chamomile- because unlike a lot of people, I actually am a fan of chamomile). However, the ingredients of lemon, orange, and licorice definitely scared me. Licorice, not as much as lemon and orange. I am not usually the kind of girl that wants tart tea or citrus flavors. When I smelled the dry leaf, I could smell citrus and it definitely made me second guess trying it Read More
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