Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's White Tea -- Essence de l'Amour

Essence de l'Amour


Description: This beautiful full-leaf white tea has been enhanced with the addition of large red rose petals. This heady combination produces a tea with a delicate body and refreshing floral taste. The perfect way to say "I Love You!". 185°F 1-2 level teaspoons tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 5 minutes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday's Green Tea -- Jing Mai

Jing Mai

Origin: China

Description: Jing Mai is from an ancient tea growing region of China's Yunnan province. This tea has the scent of rain and damp leaves and a smooth sweetness that is unique to the green teas of this growing area. 185°F 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 1-3 minutes. Organic and fair trade.

This is a green tea made from the same leaves hand picked from the ancient tea treas of the Jingmai Mangjing region of China in the Yunnan Province, the birthplace of tea.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday's black tea -- Ancient Forest

Ancient Forest

Origin: China

Description: Yunnan black tea that is a specialty of Southwest Yunnan with a unique history from ancient protected tea trees in China’s protected Blue Mountains of Jingmai Mangjing. This tea is handpicked and handsorted. It brews a rich golden-sunrise colored infusion with a creamy texture and notes of honey and amber. Organic & fair trade. 212°F 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes.

The Jingmai Mangjing Ancient Tea Forest is situated in the highlands of Yunnan's Lancang River Basin. This region is considered a heritage center for tea and is home to some of the oldest tea trees and tea cultures in the world. This area of Yunnan is famous for its arbor tea tree varietals that make this origin's tea so unique.

The settlements of Jingmai Mangjing consist of various mountainside villages. All the villages within Jingmai Mangjing have ancient tea trees. Jingmai is a group of villages inhabited predominantly by the Dai people and Mangjing is a group of villages inhabited mainly the Bulang people. Each family in the Jingmai Mangjing area relies on the sale of tealeaves for the majority of their annual income.

This ancient tea forest is home to many varieties of bamboo, trees, medicinal and culinary herbs, edible fungus and wild vegetables. The local people have no use for synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or large scale clear cutting to pursue their traditional agriculture. Many of the local foods and herbal medicines used by the villagers are not cultivated but wild harvested in the mountains of their ancient tea tree forest.

The villagers of Jingmai Mangjing's social, religious and economic history are intertwined with the ancient tea forest. The local people of Jingmai Mangjing are descendants of the "Pu" ethnic group, who are known as the earliest tea planters (1066 BC-221BC).
Bulang cultural and religious adherence forbids the destruction of their ancient tea trees. Ancient Bulang proverbs urge their people to conserve the forest and protect the tea trees for future generations.
Bulang Ancient Tea Proverb:
•If we leave the gold you will spend it...
•If we leave the ox it may die...
•We must leave the tea trees so they can grow and provide...
•You should not let others take the tea trees...
•You should protect the tea trees like you do your life and never let them out of your control.

Unlike modern tea farms, Jingmai Mangjing was established by ancient tea planters more than 1300 years ago and is considered an "Antique Tea Garden." Many of Jingmai Mangjing's tea trees range from 800 to 1200 years old, with the eldest tea trees exceeding 1300 years. Over the course of many centuries, the Jingmai Mangjing villagers have nurtured one of the largest areas of antique (100+ years old) and old tea trees (30+ years old).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday's rooibos -- Chocolate Monkey

Chocolate Monkey

Origin: South Africa
Flavors of chocolate and banana blend together to create an incredible dessert tea. Great hot or iced. No monkey's injured during the blending of this tisane. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Organic.

Yes ... A bewitchingly sweet blend with which to envelope your palate ... Ripened bananas swirl in a sweet symphonic song of rich, silky chocolate and spicy pink peppercorns ...
Make a cup, then kick back your feet, relax and think ... hey, this stuff is good for me too! And what a great substitute for that cannoli you were about to run down to the bakery to get ...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Flavored tea -- Birthday Dreams

Birthday Dreams

Origin: China

Description: A party in a cup! The flavor of birthday cake through and through, so now every day can be your birthday! Premium Chinese black tea with flavors of cream, vanilla and a whisper of caramel. Rainbow sprinkles added for festive effect. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes.

Why do we have birthday cakes?
The birthday cake has been an integral part of the birthday celebrations in Western cultures since the middle of the 19th century. Certain rituals and traditions, such as singing of birthday songs, associated with birthday cakes are common to many Western cultures. The Western tradition of adding lit candles to the top of a birthday cake originates in 18th century Greece. However, the intertwining of cakes and birthday celebrations stretch back to the Ancient Romans. The development of the birthday cake has followed the development of culinary and confectionery advancement. While throughout most of Western history, these elaborate cakes in general were the privilege of the wealthy, birthday cakes are nowadays common to most Western birthday celebrations. Around the world many variations on the birthday cake, or rather the birthday pastry or sweets, exist.

In earlier times, birthday cakes were mostly round in shape. Scholars associate religious beliefs and technical compulsions for the same. Greeks offered round shape cake to the Goddess of Moon - Artemis as it signified moon. Candles placed on the cake made the cake glow like the moon.

Some scholars maintain that cake in the ancient world has association with the annual cycles. Round shapes of cakes were preferred as these represented the cyclical nature of life. Most specifically, the sun and moon.

The technical reason given for the roundness of the cake is that most cakes we know off advanced from the bread. In ancient times breads and cakes were made by hand. Typically, these were fashioned into round balls and baked on hearthstones or in low, shallow pans. Hence, these naturally relaxed into round shapes. With the progress of times baking pans of various shapes were developed and today we see cakes in imaginative shapes and sizes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday's Herbal Tisane -- Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle

One of the shop's best sellers. Among those who drink Lemon Myrtle on a regular basis, there are reports that folks have gone years without catching a cold or stomach flu, though those around them my have suffered. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and said to even be able to fight free radicals. Lemon myrtle also acts as a bronchodilator, opening up the breathing passages of your lungs. Oh ... and it's delicious. Like things sweetened a bit? With just a touch of honey it's like drinking lemon drops.

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a native Australian tree growing naturally from Brisbane to Rockhampton in a range of altitudes from 50 to over 800 m above sea level. The Sunshine Coast and Proserpine area are identified as main areas of natural strands.

Lemon Myrtle is a superb tea product as a herbal infusion as well as a delicate flavoring in specialty tea blends when blended with black, green or herbal teas. Lemon Myrtle tea has enjoyed huge success in international tea markets. The superior flavor profile of lemon myrtle as well as its appeal as an alternative to lemongrass has resulted in its success as a tea product.

Lemon Myrtle essential oil has been used for many years as an aromatherapy product by world leading aromatherapists. It is also an essential oil ideally suited for blending, as well as vaporization used in a misting spray or oil burner, as a refreshing, uplifting, room fragrance. Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, lip balms, perfumes, body scrubs, shower gels, are all now available with natural Australian Lemon Myrtle essential oils.

Its use as a flavoring agent in cooking is limited primarily to Australian cuisine, but lemon myrtle is slowly taking hold in regions around the globe where it has migrated, particularly in the southern portions of Europe and the United States, and South Africa.

The lemon myrtle tree is generally petite but can occasionally attain a height of over 60 feet (20 meters). The fragrant leaves, which are 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12 centimeters) long, are dark green, glossy, and lance-shaped. The small, cream-colored flowers of the lemon myrtle grow in clusters at branch tips throughout the summer season.

Lemon myrtle trees are also grown in regions of China and Southeast Asia, where the spice leaf is prized for its essential oil, which is used for both culinary and medicinal applications. The taste is bright and citrusy, with a pronounced lemon flavor. The leaves may be used either fresh or dried. Dried leaves of good quality have an intense flavor that may rival the flavor of fresh leaves.

Because the flavor of lemon myrtle resembles that of the citrus fruit so closely but lacks the fruit's acidity, it is especially useful in recipes that are milk- or cream-based. It imparts a strong lemony flavor and won't cause dairy products to curdle. On the other hand, it is unsuitable for extended cooking times, as the lemon flavor begins to dissipate and a strong eucalyptus flavor can begin to emerge. For this reason, lemon myrtle is more successfully used to flavor cookies, ice creams and sorbets, pasta, stir-fries, fish, and grilled meats than foods requiring longer cooking times, such as roasts and dense cakes.

In addition to its use in prepared dishes, lemon myrtle is a good choice to add flavor to spice rubs and marinades for poultry and fish, flavored vinegars, salad dressings, and dips. It can even be used as a flavoring agent in hot or iced tea.

Here's a link to a great recipe for gluten-free lemon myrtle macadamia nut muffins,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Oolong -- Chamraj Vintage Oolong

Chamraj Vintage Oolong

Beguiling character with toasty muscatel notes reminiscent of the Darjeeling region of India, though this tea hails from the blue mountains of India -- Nilgiri. It has hints of fruit with a lively astrigency. The leaves open to reveal a sweet and subtle flowery aroma. Chamraj is well-known for being a tea garden that is a model of social responsibility to its workers and families. It was established in 1922, and is a pioneer in bio-dynamic agriculture. The best Nilgiri can offer. 185° 1-2 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Multiple infusions encouraged. Biodynamic, organic, fair trade, single estate.

What the heck is biodynamic?
In the early 1920s, a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soils, plants and animals, sought the advice of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the subtle forces within nature. And biodynamic farming was invented.

Biodynamic farming is a holistic and regenerative farming system that is focused on soil health, the integration of plants and animals, and biodiversity. It seeks to create a farm system that is minimally dependant on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.

This requires that, as much as possible, a farm be regenerative rather than degenerative. Materials that are imported onto the modern day organic farm are carefully considered. Often they can be tracked back to a natural resource provided by the earth. Examples include petroleum to move materials around, ancient mineral deposits, by-products of unsustainable agriculture-related industry, and the life of the seas and waterways. An important social value of biodynamic farming is that it does not depend on the mining of the earth’s natural resource base but instead emphasizes contributing to it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's White Tea -- Snowbud (Xue ya)

Snowbud (Xue ya)

Origin: China

Description: White tea from the Fujian province of China. Snowbud as its name implies is an airy, light tea, its name is actually derived from the snow-colored patches that spot the tightly wound leaves. It yields a cup worthy of its name: it is effervescent and graceful, with delicate, clean floral aroma. Snowbud is comprised exclusively of unprocessed leaves and buds, all gathered and dried in the early days of spring. Of all the teas we offer, our Snowbud is among the lightest ones. If you enjoy the subtle, gentle taste of white tea, we hope you'll give this one a try. 185°F 1-2 level teaspoons tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 5 minutes.

Snowbud, or Xue Ya, is considered a new type of white tea that was developed in the 1980’s using authentic Fujian white tea bushes according to a special process that involves nuances of white tea and green tea production. It is hand harvested in very limited quantities on the high mountain peaks. The hand harvested single leaf and bud is covered with ``bai hao'' , or fibers that resemble fine, downy hair. This is a sign of a quality tea.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday's Green tea -- Assam Fatikcherra Green

Assam Fatikcherra

It's unusual to find such a nice green tea outside of China or Japan. However, this Assam beauty is smooth and mild with very little astringency. Outstanding choice for a nice light iced tea. 185°F 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 1-3 minutes. Organic and Fair Trade.

Yesterday, I talked a bit about the Assam region of India and the dark, bold black teas that hail from those lands.

Well, this tea is a tough one to figure. I get it from an Indian importer. He calls it Assam Fatikcherra, so that's what i called it. Research since naming the tea, though, indicate that the Fatikcherra estate is located in Tripura, a small Indian state that is bordered on three sides by Bangladesh and can only be accessed in India by passing through the state of Assam. The estate can, though, be considered of the Assam region, and so I'm leaving the name as is. The landlocked state of Tripura has hilly terrains (about 15 ft. to 3100 feet above see level), rich, fertile soil and climatic conditions that are optimal for growing tea.

Literature shows that there were large populations of rhinoceros, elephant, tiger, leopard, langurs and monkeys in Tripura, but many species were facing extinction. These also include some of the highly rare, endemic and endangered species -- including the Hoolock gibbon, slow loris, capped langur, Phayre’s langur, stump-tailed macaquae and pig-tailed macaque. The other endangered and threatened mammalian species in Schedule 1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 are elephant, sloth bear, Indian wolf, Binturong, leopard, marbled cat, leopard cat, Chinese pangolin and serrow, etc. Progress is being made, and numbers are slowly increasing. Tripura also boasts over 300 species of birds. (Sorry ... shouldn't go on like that but the wildlife fascinates me ... now you're starting to learn how I got all the knowledge about all the weird things I know about).

Always try to read something while enjoying a nice cup of tea ... read something nice. The world is full of too much nastiness.

Gong Xi Fa Ca!

Gong Xi Fa Ca or Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, occurs usually in January or February. This year Chinese New Year is January 23. Today is the first of fifteen days of celebration and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. Chinese New Year ends on the first day of the full moon (February 15).

The Year of the Dragon is said to be marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity (Hmmm.... did the Mayans know that?) The Dragon is the mightiest and most favored of the zodiac signs, which brings about an excited optimism in Asia this year.

There are several variations on the mythology behind Chinese New Year celebrations. Most are based on a ugly bloodthirsty monster named Nian that would emerge on the last night of each year to destroy villages and eat people. A wise elder advised villagers to scare the monster away with loud noises. That night, they set fire to bamboo, lit fireworks, and banged their drums. The monster, afraid of the loud noises and lights, ran away to hide in its cave. In another version of the myth, an old man persuaded Nian to turn its wrath on other monsters, not the villagers. Before he was seen riding away on Nian, the old man, actually a god, advised the people to hang red paper decorations in their homes and set off firecrackers on the last night of the year to keep Nian away. On the first day of the new year, the villagers celebrated, greeting each other with the words “Guo Nian” which means “survive the Nian”, a tradition that has continued to this day to mean “celebrate the new year.”

In China, the familiar Gregorian calendar is used for day-to-day life. But Chinese calendar dates continue to be used to mark traditional holidays such as the new year and the fall moon festival. It’s also used astrologically to select favorable dates for weddings and other special events.

The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, in other words, a combination of solar and lunar calendars. It has a long history spanning several Chinese dynastic rules from as far back as the Shang Dynasty around fourteenth century B.C.. There are several different symbolic cycles within the calendar, used in Chinese astrology, that make it an intricate and complex measure of time.

A month in the Chinese calendar spans a single lunar cycle. The first day of the month begins during the new moon, when no sunlight falls on the lunar hemisphere that faces the Earth. A lunar cycle, on average, lasts 29.5 days, so a lunar month can last 29 or 30 days. Usually, there are 12 lunar months in a Chinese calendar year. In order to catch up with the solar calendar, which averages 365.25 days in a year, an extra month is added to the Chinese calendar every two or three years. As a result, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year (in the Gregorian calendar) between January 21 and February 21.

Each year of the Chinese lunar calendar is represented by one of twelve animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. For 2012, it’s the dragon’s turn. According to Chinese astrology, people born on the year of the dragon are said to be strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual, and passionate, among other things.

Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally lasts 15 days, from the first day (during a new moon) to the 15th day (a full moon). Each day holds a special significance that varies according to local traditions. But first, before the arrival of the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away ill fortune, and to welcome good luck. On new year’s eve, there are family gatherings to celebrate and enjoy sumptuous traditional feasts, and to greet the new year with fireworks at midnight.

In the days that follow, festive dance parades are held featuring colorful dragons or lions, ceremonies are held to pay homage to deities and ancestors, children receive money in red envelopes, gifts are exchanged, extended family members visit each other, and there’s more traditional feasting.

The celebration culminates on the 15th day with the Lantern festival; on this night of the full moon, families mingle in the streets carrying lighted lanterns, often creating a beautiful light display.

How will you be celebrating?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday's Black Tea -- Assam Banaspaty

Assam Banaspaty

Bold, black and beautiful, this single estate tea is known as one of the stronger black teas with a rich, malty flavor. There is an old saying ``If your strength is your weakness, then Assam is your cup of tea.'' 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Organic, single-estate and fair trade.

The Assam Valley lies about 120 miles east of Darjeeling in the northeast portion of India bordered by China, Burma and Bangladesh. This low-lying valley produces more than 1,500,000 pounds of tea annually. This region produces, for the most part, hearty, bold, malty teas, typical of what you might find in a breakfast blend or as the base for an Earl Grey.

The literal meaning of the word Assam is a bit of a mystery. One theory holds that it is based on the Indo-Aryan word Asama, meaning uneven, or unparalled; unique. Banaspaty literally means flora, fauna and trees. Assam’s tea plants have much larger leaves from their southern cousins and are therefore known for their strong malty flavor.

The Banaspaty garden is an organic, fair trade garden, in an area of Assam where tribal people are a majority. Organic pioneers are slowly rebuilding the fertility of this tea garden situated close to the Bramaputra river. Independent evaluation from the Fairtrade Foundation ensures that communities such as the Karbi Anglong tribal people really do benefit from clean drinking water, improved housing and better education.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday's rooibos -- Velvet


Origin: South Africa

Description: Sheer decadence in a cup. Sweet enticing chocolate swims in a velvety base of organic rooibos and mint leaves. The perfect answer to a dessert tea. The finish is smooth, complemented by a touch of vanilla. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Organic. Who needs dessert when I cup of tea tastes this good? A real resolution helper.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's flavor -- Aussie Spiced Chai

Aussie Spiced Chai

Origin: India/Australia

A blend of tea with chai spices kissed by organic Lemon Myrtle creates a refreshing spiced beverage that will tantalize your senses while maintaining your well-being. Experience the enticing scent of sweet, spicy cinnamon and taste the light citrus flavor, finishing with a wonderful smooth, spicy aftertaste. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes.
Ingredients are black tea, cinnamon, anise seeds, lemon myrtle, cloves and cardamom. A great treat on a frosty day, but also a surprisingly tasty iced tea.

Chai is actually the generic Hindi word for tea, just as tea is called cha in China. Tea is so popular in India that it is not uncommon to see street vendors called chaiwallahs serving up chai right in the street. A traditional way to enjoy chai is with milk and a sweetener, usually sugar or honey. Sometime a South Asian cane sugar called jaggery is used instead.

I'll be explaining Lemon Myrtle in greater depth in the future, but in brief terms I can tell you it's a leaf from a tree that is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and acts as a bronchodilator (easing chest congestion a bit).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday's Herbal Tisane -- Tulsi

Tulsi ... why not talk about an herbs I can describe in my sleep!?
One our best sellers -- because it works! At $3.00 an ounce (makes about 15 cups) prevention is the best medicine!

Holistic Health PromotionEnhances general health and well-being, having positive overall effects on the body and mind. This is backed by thousand years of positive results.

Adaptogenic and Stress ResilienceEnhances the body’s natural bipolar adaptogenic homeostatic balancing capacity and helps return stressed physiological systems to normal. Increases the capacity to cope and adapt to changing and challenging environments, and reduces the negative physical and psychological effects of stress. Supports normal cortisol.

Heart and Vascular ProtectionLowers dangerous cholesterol and stress-related high blood pressure, protects the heart and blood vessels, and has mild blood thinning qualities, thereby decreasing the likelihood of strokes. Moderates blood glucose levels in diabetics. Protects against damage caused by foreign toxins in the blood (such as industrial chemicals).

Antioxidant and Nutrition Provides significant antioxidant and free radical scavenging protection. Neutralizes dangerous biochemicals that contribute to premature aging, cancer, and degenerative diseases. Contains vitamins C and A, and minerals calcium, zinc and iron, as well as chlorophyll and many other phytonutrients. It also enhances the efficient digestion, absorption and use of nutrients from food and other herbs.

Immunity SupportStrengthens and modulates the immune system. Reduces allergic histamine, asthmatic and other adverse immune reactions.

Anti-inflammatory Reduces the painful and dangerous inflammation that plays a key role in various forms of arthritis, cancer and degenerative neurological disorders.

Liver Support Generally contributes to healthy liver function, improves the metabolic breakdown and elimination of dangerous chemicals in the blood, and counteracts various liver diseases.

Antibiotic ProtectionOffers significant natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and is, thereby, helpful in treating many serious systemic diseases, as well as localized infections. Latest reports indicate effectiveness against influzena, including swine flu.

Lung and Bronchial Support – In addition to contributing generally to respiratory health, Holy Basil has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of a variety of serious allergic, inflammatory and infectious disorders affecting the lungs and related tissues. Generally supports healthy pulmonary function.

Anti-Aging EffectsSlows the biological aging process by reducing the impact of physiological aging factors – such as stress, free radicals and decreased immunity. Helpful with symptoms associated with menopause.

Radiation ProtectionReduces the cell and tissue damage caused by harmful rays of the sun, TV, computers, X-rays, radiation therapy, high altitude air travel, etc.

Psycho-Spiritual Aids meditation and delivers nutrients to the mind necessary for the experience of enlightenment.

Energy and PerformanceImproves stamina and endurance, and increases the body's efficiency in using oxygen. Enhances protein synthesis and strength.

Allopathic Medicine Complement – Enhances the effectiveness and reduces the negative and often dangerous side effects of many standard modern medical treatments.

Prevents, removes or reduces fevers.

Anabolic EffectEnhances protein synthesis, muscle mass and strength.

Benefits SkinReduces eczema, psoriasis and various other skin disorders.

DigestionRecent news reports indicate its effectiveness against constipation

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's oolong -- Alishan Oolong

Alishan Oolong

Asked to make a list of my favorite teas ... this one is high on the list. Why? Mellow and light-bodied, this oolong perfect for multiple infusions (This makes it much more afforadble, as it greatly reduces the price per cup!) Long beautiful hand rolled leafs gently unfurl, releasing and intoxicating aroma laced with deep floral tones woven with warm sugar notes. Each sip reveals a melting creamy mouthfeel that speaks to the decadence of this tea. This is a beautiful cup of tea!

Mount Ali in Taiwan, or Alishan 阿里山, is famous for its high-mountain oolong tea. It is a broad area with many distinct oolong tea producing areas with Zhone Shu Hu and Shu Zuo as the two of the most. It is one of the most popular tourist areas in Taiwan. Fresh air and clear mountain passes add to the richness of the scenic beauty found here. A narrow guage railway built by the Japanese is found here and is famous throughout the world.

The wood from Mount Ali is highly prized. Some say it carries the spirit of the mountain, and for this reason is sought after for making popular Taiwanese ancestral tablets.

The oolong tea growing regions in Alishan are situated between 3200 and 7600 feet above sea level. The high mountain conditions offer plenty of fog and low temperatures which are ideal for oolong tea, and the water used for irrigation is from pure mountain springs. The tea is harvested later than green teas and white teas. This gives the leaves a chance to strengthen, which great increases the leaf's ability to withstand the complex processing. A later harvest also means oils in the leaf have had a better chance to develop. This leads to the cup being richer than the green and white teas.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's White tea -- Kenyan Nandi Safari White

Kenya Nandi Safari White

Origin: Kenya

Description: A rare white tea from Kenya at a very attractive price! This particular leaf has a pale green hue, with many whole tips...not as downy as some Chinese offerings, but the quality and care of handling is apparent. It's a very large leaf. It takes us an 8oz bag at a minimum to bag a 2 oz purchase! It's liquor is smooth, straw colored and finished a bite like a Sencha. A bit bolder than other whte teas, this tea offers a nice change from traditional white teas.

While it is not uncommon for one to think of China as the premier supplier to the world for premium white tea, Kenya has, in fact, been producing some amazing teas since the early 1900's! The Nandi region is one of the oldest and best tea-producing regions in the country,with it's lush highland volcanic soil, plentiful rains and warm sun. This environment allows teas to flush year-round, but the best teas are harvested in January and February and then again in July. High quality and increasing quantity of tea production in Kenya has propelled it to a major player in the tea business, ranking it third after China and India. Quite a feat since the majority of land is too dry to support cash crops.

The 26th US President, Theodore Roosevelt, hunted big game in the Nandi Hills in 1909. At that time, bagging big game was still an allowable practice; thankfully now people visit to photograph the plentiful wildlife instead. These hills, which produce Kenya Nandi Safari White also the home of the Tinderet estate. Locally the region is hailed as "the land of milk and honey."

Monday, January 16, 2012

A special day calls for a special tea -- Sparrow Tongue

Monday's would generally be green tea days, but a special day calls for a special tea .... allow me to introduce you to yellow tea ...

The delicate bud and one leaf is carefully processed to separate when brewed forming a shape much like a sparrow's forked tongue. A light yellow liquor with a pleasing mellow flavor. 185° 1-2 level teaspoons tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 2-3 minutes. Multiple infusions encouraged. Organic.

What the heck is Yellow Tea?

The process of making yellow tea differs from that of making green tea in that the yellow tea is allowed to oxidize ("ferment") for a little longer than green tea, and is then dried more slowly, often between sheets of a special paper. The result is leaves that have a light green or light yellow appearance. Some have compared the yellow tea leaves to white tea, but without the white down.

Yellow tea has a lighter flavor, yet not quite as light as white tea, and not as vegetal or grassy as many green teas. The aroma is described as flowery, fresh and mild.

Yellow tea is typically harvested early in the year, before most green teas are harvested. This means that the leaves are younger, that they are still rolled up into buds, and that the leaves are smaller when rolled out. While green tea is often cut and ground, yellow tea is always sold in whole leaves, often in thin buds.

As for health benefits, well ... not much research has been done. However, the leaves come from the same plants as white tea and green tea, so it is not unreasonable to believe that the health benefits might be quite the same as those found in the heavily studied green tea.

Yellow tea is rare, and very little of the annual harvest is allocated to yellow tea production. Yellow tea is, at $9.00 and ounce, a little pricier than other teas.

I've always justified the cost of tea by accepting that I'm paying for some that was hand-processed and flown to me from the other side of the world. In that light, its tea the most affordable luxury in our lives today? Off to ponder that over a cup of Sparrow Tongue.

(Should have been here the day it first arrived. The mysterious looking bag says Sparrow Tongues amidst a lot of Chinese text. The employee and a curious customer had a lot of questions for me when I walked through the door ...)

Hey PETA peeps: No sparrows where injured during the manufacturing of this tea.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday's Black Tea -- Ambangalu


A lively, coppery infusion that is full-bodied with rich, thick mellowness, tending a bit malty. A CTC manufactured tea from Tanzania, the leaves have been cut to a more uniform size, as is typical with many African teas.

What's does CTC mean?
CTC is a process used Tea manufacturing is normally carried out in two ways, 1) CTC and 2) orthodox. CTC refers to the Crush, Tear & Curl process where the withered green leaves are passed in-between two rollers rotating in opposite directions. There is complete maceration of the leaves and the resulting powdery material is referred to as "cut dhool". Enzymatic action is maximum in the CTC type of manufacture. In orthodox type of manufacturer, the withered leaves are rolled on specially designed orthodox rollers which twists and crushes the leaves thereby rupturing the cells. This process results in teas with a bolder flavor.

And a little about the estate ...
Ambangulu Tea Estate is in the northern part of Tanzania close to the Kenyan border and Ngorongo Crater, a prime wildlife reserve.
Ambangulu is a fairly small estate in terms of tea plantations but extremely well managed. This has resulted in high demand for this tea on the world tea trading scene by specialty tea wholesalers as well as the bazaar in Pakistan.

The owners and managers of Ambangulu have been reinvesting in the estate quite heavily providing jobs and security for approximately 1500 workers and their families. In addition to this they now ship their produce in locally made - but to strict specifications - 5 ply kraft paper sacks. In the addition to saving trees and habitat for local fauna the gross shipping weight has been reduced by 3000 pounds saving wear and tear on roads and vehicles. From time to time due to hazardous road conditions and floods, the estate is cut off for periods up to 2 weeks, accessible only by aircraft.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday's Rooibos

Blackberry Rooibos

Blackberry, also known as bramble raspberry or brambleberry has been used for ages to flavor desserts, jams, jellies, candies and even wine. Here we blend antioxidant rich, smooth South African rooibos with the juicy fresh flavor of blackberries.

And today I will give you a better description of Rooibos and it's health benefits.

Rooibos, (Afrikaans for red bush; pronounced [ROY-BUS]; scientific name Aspalathus linearis) is a member of the legume family of plants and is used to make a tisane (herbal tea). Commonly called african red tea, the product has been popular in South Africa for generations and is now consumed in many countries.

Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries particularly amongst health-conscious consumers, who appreciate it for its high level of antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), its lack of caffeine and its very low tannin levels (since tannins can affect the metabolism by decreasing absorption of certain nutrients like iron and protein) as opposed to fermented black tea or unfermented green tea leaves. Like tea leaves, rooibos can be served fermented (red) or unfermented (green), with the unfermented version theoretically having more antioxidants intact.

  • Acts as an antioxidant that slows the aging process, prevents cancer and lowers the risk of cardio-vascular disease. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and have more antioxidant activity than vitamin C. Rooibos is packed full of flavonoids and, therefore, the antioxidant activity of rooibos is much stronger than that of black or green tea.
  • Acts as a digestive aid and is anti-spasmodic therefore relieves stomach cramps and colic in babies
  • Helps manage allergies
  • Acts as a bronchodilator, easing chest congestion by opening breathing passages
  • Soothes skin irritations when applied directly to the affected area
  • Replenishes iron levels, therefore is very good for pregnant women
  • Calorie free
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Aids health problems like insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension and hypertension
  • Low tannin content (only1-4%); easy on the digestive system
  • No colorants, additives or preservatives
  • No caffeine
  • No oxalic acid, therefore, it can be safely consumed by those prone to kidney stones
  • Contains copper, iron and potassium
  • Healthy skin minerals: zinc, sodium and alpha-hydroxy acid
  • Contains calcium, fluoride and manganese for strong bones and teeth
  • Magnesium for the nervous system

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Friday's flavor is Apple

Our Apple black tea is a playful blend lively, brisk Ceylon black tea and the applesaucy. juicy flavor of fresh apples. A perfectly classic pairing! Soft, rounded mouthfeel and plush texture leaves you wanting more. Delightful hot or iced. 1 teaspoon tea per 8oz of water 212°F. Steep for 3-5 minutes (we love it steeped at 3 1/2 minutes)
For a special treat, combine it with one of the following:

Vanilla Cinnamon black tea
Vanilla black tea
Caramel black tea
Gingerbread black tea
Cranberry black tea

Yum ....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This Thursday's herbal tisane ... Hibiscus


Hibiscus is becoming increasingly popular (Thanks Dr. Oz!) for reducing blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, which shows promise for strengthening your cardiovascular system. Other reports indicate that hibiscus may be effective in helping to slow the aging process, helping with weight loss, good for easing respiratory ailments, constipation and kidney infections. Hibiscus is a rich source of vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, making it a natural choice for the cold and flu season. In Egypt, it is consumed cold as a bevarage they call karkadé (كركديه, pronounced kar-ke-day). In North Africa, it is revered as a natural coolant perfect for the hot climate.
1-2 tsp. per 8oz. hot water. Steep 5 minutes. Organic.

As always, results cannot be promised for everyone, but it might be worth a try before turning to drugs to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Amber Dragon

Wednesdays are for Oolongs...

Amber Dragon

Origin: China

Description: Amber Dragon is a darker oxidized oolong that’s character is similar to Darjeeling black tea with silvery-white tips and tender leaves that extol notes of ripened fruit and honey with an amber and coppery colored infusion. Black tea drinkers enjoy this oolong. Amber Dragon has a pleasant character that complements any meal. 185° 1-2 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-4 minutes. Multiple infusions encouraged. Organic.

One of my personal favorites ...

Oolongs may help with fat metabolism, blood circulation, blood sugar regulation, may heighten alertness when studying and Japanese studies indicate oolong teas may be helpful fighting free radicals, therefore preventing cancer. Those who drink oolong tea on a regular basis also have far fewer skin problems.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's make Tuesdays all about white tea


Origin: China Description: Block out the sun, the moon or that long day at the office. Kick back with an artful blend of organic black and white teas. Reduced caffeine levels makes it great any time of day. 185°F 1-2 level teaspoons tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 5 minutes. Organic.

So what is White Tea good for?

Key health benefits of white tea

  • Rich in antioxidants – estimated three times higher antioxidant level than that of green tea.
  • Shields cells from damage that causes cancer and heart disease.
  • Free radicals turn skin lipids that are supposed to keep the skin fresh into lipid peroxide and this accelerates the aging process. By combating free radicals, the polyphenols found in white tea slow down the aging process
  • Studies have shown that one cup of white tea each day could reduce your risk or delay the onset of cancer. In some cases (but not all) white tea has been found to work as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects
  • May slow the aging process due to its high antioxidant properties
  • Has a high fluoride content that inhibits tooth decay.
  • Flavonoids also help prevent halitosis
  • Lowers blood cholesterol; increases the good cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves bone density
  • Can thin blood and improve artery function
  • By improving artery function, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system
  • Kills the influenza virus
  • May offer protection against Alzheimer’s Disease
  • May help prevent autoimmune diseases


Tea has half the amount of caffeine than coffee and far less than Coke, nevertheless, too much of a good thing can cause insomnia and nervousness. A brewed cup of white tea (8 oz) contains about 15% of the caffeine found in a brewed cup of coffee.

Anemics should avoid excessive tea drinking with meals because the antioxidant properties of tea may reduce an individual's ability to absorb iron.

Too much tea may discolor your teeth if not properly care for.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday's are for Green teas!

All for One
White tea from China, Green tea from China, Green rooibos from South African and Green Yerba Mate from South America.

An anitoxidant powerhouse and great little pick-me-up for the afternoon. 185° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 1-3 minutes. Organic.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sundays are for black teas -- Afternoon With Aunt Faye

An Assam blend as bold and lively as its namesake. Afternoon with Aunt Faye is named as a tribute to a wonderful woman who encouraged a 14-year old's love for tea while letting her know that secrets would always be safe with Aunt Faye. Perfect with a slice of lemon pound cake or raspberry jam on toast. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Organic.

Did you ever have that special grownup in your live who just glowed because you entered the room?
Someone who made you feel like you meant something in this world?
Someone who could make you feel better just with a hug?
Someone who made you believe in yourself ... and pushed you to be even more?
I had Aunt Faye, and she'll be with me forever. (and I miss her)

What are the benefits of black tea? Those drinking 3 or more cups of black tea daily are found to have a reduced risk of stroke or cardiovascular problems, a lower prevalence of diabetes, reduced cancer risk, fewer or less severe viral troubles, and recover from stress more quickly than their non-tea-drinking friends.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday's are dedicated to Rooibos -- African Outback

Saturdays are dedicated to our Rooibos offerings:

One of our bestsellers: African Outback

The combination of rooibos with lemon myrtle makes this healthy blend an outstanding tisane that has a pleasing citrus flavor and is delicious served either hot or iced. The anti-viral, anti-fungal lemon myrtle can help keep away the flu, colds and great for a stomach virus, while both the lemon myrtle and the rooibos help keep your bronchial paths open. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 3-5 minutes. Organic.

This one is a big hit with school teachers, medical care providers and correctional officers. Many report going years without a cold!

Rooibos (pronounced roy-bus) is a South African herb that is higher in antioxidants than green tea, has no caffeine, is great for the immune system, helps maintain healthy iron levels, acts as a bronchodilator, and easy on the digestive system.

Friday, January 06, 2012

And Fridays will be Flavored tea days

Today's tea is Almond black tea;
The tangy, bright and perfectly balanced flavors of Ceylon black tea is a great canvas for many flavor expressions. The very best Ceylons blend easily with flavors and other teas, giving them excellent depth and complexity. Out Almond black tea is a fine example. Touch of raw almond aroma, plush mouthfeel reminiscent of creamy marzipan, with nutty sweetness upfront and a balanced, clean astringency. A beautiful, smooth, well-blended flavor. See how lovely a simply
dressed up cup of 'plain black tea' can be!

For a special treat, combine it with our Vanilla, Cinnamon or Vanilla Cinnamon black teas.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thursday's we'll describe our herbal tisanes -- Adam's Tonic

Adam's Tonic is a tasty blend of ginseng, damiana leaves, cinnamon, sarsaparilla, ginger root, orange peel, fo ti, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, saw palmetto berries and anise. This herbs have been revered for centuries as tonics for men. 212° 1 level teaspoon tea per 8 ounces water; steep for 5 minutes. Caffeine-free.
Fair warning ... friskiness may vary.

What's an herbal tisane? It is a beverage prepared and enjoyed as tea, but does not actually contain any tea leaves. Health benefits will vary as herbal tisanes contain a wide variety of herbs. We can never promise that any one herb will work wonders for any individual, and any health claims made are based on personal experiences shared with us or experienced by us. The FDA does not support these claims.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wednesday's we'll describe our oolongs -- Jade oolong

Let me try to describe a tea a day ... this will take me more than a year! We will make Wednesdays oolong days ... so let's start with one of my favorites! Jade Oolong!

A simply lovely organic Jade Oolong from Taiwan almost green in appearance with large, hand-rolled leaves. Once infused these leaves unfurl to release the magically delicate notes, exquisite flavor and enchanting fragrance. Sheer luxury in a cup. Sure to be a favorite. Multiple infusions strongly encouraged. (I can get up to 8 or more back-to-back cups of delicious tea from a single tea ... which makes it less expensive than the rest! ) A great tea to meals wth grilled seafood, smoked ham or curry dishes. An excellent accompaniment to fruit compote, crêpes, or desserts with black currants or dark chocolate.

Oolongs may help with fat metabolism, blood circulation, blood sugar regulation, may heighten alertness when studying and Japanese studies indicate oolong teas may be helpful fighting free radicals, therefore preventing cancer. Those who drink oolong tea on a regular basis also have far fewer skin problems.