New Recipe Book! IKR

Ok!  This is what happened.  I’ve been talking about a lot of wonderful teas, their origins and how they are processed.  I got so fired up that I thought, why not give my readers a way to taste and smell the teas I mention for themselves.  So, voila “FAST and EASY TEA RECIPES…No Matter the Ingredient!” is born.  A tea recipe book written just for you!  I wanted to reach out to the person who desires to learn how to perfect their method of making tea; to the one who is new to the world of tea and is looking for some guidance; and to the one who knows a lot about tea and just wants to add another great read to their library.

So What’s Inside This Book?

Inside this tea recipe book are a number of my most favorite, fun, fast and easy-to-follow instructions on how to best enjoy your tea.  There are traditional and not-so-traditional tea recipes coupled with fun tips and facts of how to steep tea leaves, herbs, and spices in water.  Also inside are some recipes that are geared toward promoting good health for your entire body from head-to-toe. As with any recipe, these instructions are simply suggestions to help inspire you.  I say, mix them up and come back here to tell us all about your experiences.  Some bonus features in this book include a neat little section called “Tea Hacks” that gives you some of my common sense solutions and ideas for re-purposing some things and substituting others.  There is also a fairly robust glossary that helps to take the guess work out of what is meant when certain terms are used.

Don’t Drink The Bath Tea!

“BATH and BODY TEAS”.  This chapter is all about bath tea recipes that you can actually soak your tensions away and relax in.  Beginning on page 34, each recipe highlights a loose tea used specifically for the benefit of bathing and cleansing the skin and hair. These teas are prepared in the same manner as if to be consumed but is poured into a bath tub instead of a tea cup. Some benefits you can experience include treating skin inflammation, rashes, cuts, scrapes and abrasions.  There are also remedies for colds, bronchitis, and allergy symptoms like sneezing and itching.  PLUS: bathing in tea offers the wonderful help of aromatherapy.  Disclaimer…….Beware! Test the tub for stain resistance before adding tea to a bath as tea may discolor the surface.

One Cup At A Time

I admit it!  I have been known to drink a lot of tea in a day.  While some might say that’s not a good practice, I’ve been drinking tea for a while and I know when to back off.  A little secret?  When I notice that my teeth are looking a little bit tinted, that’s when I know I need to back off for a week or two.  Anywho!  If you have read my previous blogs, you may be able to guess that there are recipes to cover the four main tea groups.  For instance there are yummy black tea recipes, cool oolong tea recipes, creative white tea recipes and on page 12, a step-by-step guide of how to make matcha green tea latte (one of my most favorite recipes in this book).

Fruit and Spice Infused Tea Recipes

There are many loose tea recipes inspired by and imbued with fruits like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes and apples (see page 7 for “Grammie’s Peach Black Tea” a homemade tea recipe); spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves; as well as hibiscus and lavender flowers, chamomile blossoms and eucalyptus leaves just to name a few ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong, tea is awesome all by itself and in most cases can stand alone even without being sweetened.  However, I get totally excited when I start talking infusion.  The combinations are limitless!  Some of the infusions I have seen and tried are fantastic and tastes soooooo good!  To celebrate the relationship between tea and other natural ingredients you will find a mix of this and that throughout this recipe book and I hope you enjoy every single one of them.

The Real Intent

This recipe book was written because when inspiration comes,one must adhere to it.  There is this cool thing (I love) about tea, from preparing it to tasting and sipping it.  For me, It is more than just consuming a beverage.  I find a place of contemplation, imagination and relaxation.  It is in those moments that there I discover resolution, peace and gratitude within my life. That being said, I simply desired to share with you how I go about keeping my sanity, recharging my batteries, and strengthening my spirit through a little conduit called tea.

So scroll back up, look to your right and click on the very first banner you see with an image that looks similar to this one and order your Kindle copy today!  If you are also the touchy-feely type (like me), paperback copies are available too.  Actually, if you buy a paperback now, you can get more than 60% off the price of the Kindle version.

Let’s Talk Exotic Tea Flavors – Fusion is an Awesome Thing!

I always get so excited when I learn about a new tea flavor that has been combined with flavors I wouldn’t normally expect. I find it amazing that an oolong tea can be successfully infused with mango and coconut flavors or that my next cup of white tea may surprise my palate with a burst of blueberry flavor. I admit, some flavor fusions did not taste as good as I imagined based on the magnificent aroma they gave off. Has that happened to you? However, I am not deterred from my continued quest to experience the ultimate tea flavor combination. And so, I want to chat a little about a few exotic tea flavors that are healthy and tasty, exotic teapots and exotic tea gifts.

Lotus FlowerThe Lotus Flower

Tea leaves are not the only ingredient used to make tea. I know, that sounds funny but it is 100% true. Although tea leaves are the ultimate tea makers, fruits, flowers and herbs are also great ingredients to used to make tea. All you have to do is boil water, add ingredients and steep. Also, these flavor infused teas are great served cold and I even read that some make tea ice cubes to enhance the flavor of other beverages like lemonade.

Do you know that practically every tea no matter its ingredient(s) usually contains some type of medicinal benefit? Doesn’t it sound great to think that you can actually look forward to and enjoy drinking “your medicine”? That being said, lets start with the wonderful and oh so helpful lotus. When you hear the word lotus do you usually think of the flower with beautiful pink petals? I do too. The thing is though, the tea from the lotus flower is not necessarily made of the pink petals but mostly of the green leaves that are underneath. The green leaves is where the good stuff is. This is the part that provides our bodies with magical and healing nutritional properties. In fact, the entire lotus plant (its flower, seeds, leaves, and stem) is used to make medicine. It is reported that the lotus helps to regulate hypertension contributors, prevent asthma, treat diarrhea, promotes sleep, reduces inflammation in the body, aides in digestive health, helps with headaches and nosebleeds.

Lotus Leaves

  • The first picture here is what the lotus leaf looks like in its original state, separated from the flower.
  • The second picture reflects what the fresh lotus leaf looks like after it has been cut into strips and steamed.
  • The third picture shows what the fresh lotus leaf looks like after being dried.sore throat, chest congestion, coughs, lung infections, and other chest ailments. They also take it for diarrhea, kidney problems, joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), headache, and cancer.

At any of these leaf stages, one can enjoy a wonderful cup of tea that tastes good and contribute to your good health. Unlike some other teas I mentioned in previous posts, the lotus leaf whether fresh or dried does steep a little longer.

Labrador Tea

This herbal tea is in deed an exotic tea as it comes from a shrub that blooms beautiful white flowers. There are major medicinal benefits hidden inside each shoot and flower of this North American shrub. Some of these benefits include clearing up sore throat symptoms, relieving chest congestion and coughs, treating lung infections and other chest ailments. Labrador tea can also be taken to treat diarrhea, kidney complications, joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), headache, and cancer, inflammatory conditions, headaches, indigestion, constipation, bloating, cramping, eczema, psoriasis, as well as those who are at high risk for cancer.

Exotic Teapots – What Mood Are You In?

If I could, I would own hundreds even thousands of teapots. However, I am practical and I know I can only drink out of one at a time. Plus, I don’t have the space available to put that many on display. But I divert. For me, teapots are not just a vessel to steep tea. Teapots invoke emotion and show off its owner’s style. Although I don’t own hundreds of teapots, I do have a number of them and each one of my teapots positively affect my tea making experience. I think teapots also help compliment the tea and tea flavors I choose to enjoy. For instance, when I drink Jasmine tea (loose-leaf of course), I usually reach for the teapot with a beautiful floral pattern that makes me think of a wonderful rose garden. It somehow reflects the lightly flavored tea and makes me feel delicate (if you know what I mean). One thing I pay attention to when choosing a teapot for use and not for show, is how easy it is to get the loose tea leaves out of it. Unless I have a teapot, I prefer teapots that have strainer holes made into the pot. Pictured below are some pictures of some exotic teapots that show off my personality the most.  Do you like any of them?

Multiple Teapots

Conclusion

There are plenty more awesome tea flavors, fusions and herbal teas to mention that taste good and provide great health benefits too. This is why I love everything about tea! The palate pleasing possibilities are limitless.

The Magic Number 4 – Four True Teas That Is

There Can Be Only 4 – Four True Teas That Is…You may be thinking, “What does that title mean?”, “I just steeped and enjoyed a wonderful Earl Grey!”. Well, the title is telling you that all true tea comes from the very same evergreen shrub and there are really only four true teas produced by it. This evergreen shrub is named Camellia sinensis and it produces white tea, green tea, oolong tea (another one of my favorites) and black tea. The main difference between these four teas is the level of oxidation/fermentation the leaves have gone through with black tea being the most oxidized. What is meant by “true tea” is the leaf is the only part of the plant utilized.Production Chart

If you have ever relaxed by sipping a great cup of Earl Grey, peppermint or chamomile tea, then you have experienced the sublime world of herbal tea. Herbal teas are made up of leaves, roots, fruits or flowers from divergent plants that are unlike the conventional tea plant. This is great information to know, because each tea has its own individual and distinct flavors, health benefits and nutritional attributes. And like I have pointed out in previous posts, no tea is better than the other as far as how it is categorized.

Let’s Compare Green Tea vs White Tea


We have previously talked about green teas in fairly good detail and it is only befitting to talk about white teas too. What we will do here is discussed green tea versus white tea. Both white and green teas are considered unoxidized. Likewise, both teas usually yield a very light and delicate tea that in my opinion do not require much sweetening if any. The tea colors that both produce range from very light to yellow-green.

Likewise, there are many similarities between white and green teas. For example, a white tea health benefit likened to green tea is antioxidants. However, white tea has a higher level of antioxidants than green tea because it is the least processed of the two. It has been noted that white tea has properties that positively affect the brain, the reproductive system as well as properties that lower cholesterol and help to burn fat.

Best White Tea Brand


Well, I’m going to preface with: it is up to your individual palate to determine the best white tea brand. My goal here is to share with you what is out there, what’s available for you to choose from and what it should look like. So lets begin… There are about four major types of white tea and they are:

  1. Silver Needle aka Baihao Yinzhen
  2. White Peony aka Bai Mudan
  3. Long Life Eyebrow aka Shou Mei
  4. Tribute Eyebrow aka Gong Mei

Here is a quick visual of the tea leaves to give you an idea of what to look for:

White Tea Varieties

Move Over Green Matcha!


White MatchaI know, I know… I love to drink green matcha tea. Howeverrrrr, white matcha tea is just as delicious as its counterpart. The taste of white matcha is quite interesting and depends on where you are. Here in the US (where we like sweet drinks), white matcha tea is usually served slightly sweetened and accompanied by steamed milk. The real deal is if you think about it, matcha comes from the youngest and most fresh leaves of the Camellia sinensis (tea plant). That being said, white matcha tea in all actuality tastes more like fresh grass with a hint of bitterness and seaweed flavor. There should be a botanical flavor profile that is very fresh. If you ever smell a matcha that is stale or old with a chalkiness scent to it, then throw it away!

Likened to its counterpart, white tea matcha is a great compliment and ingredient in many recipes. For instance, it can be added to smoothies, healthy energy drinks, cookies and cakes.

Conclusion


To sum it up, if you like to drink green tea matcha it is very likely you may enjoy drinking white tea matcha. It is important to keep in mind that green tea leaves are processed more than white tea leaves (not by a great margin though). More importantly, have fun, try something new! Even if you are a seasoned tea drinker, there is always a new flavor that can be infused with a tea you are quite familiar with. Please comment below and let us know about YOUR tea-sperience!

Best Green Tea Leaves – Pre-Oxidation

Our previous post provided information about black tea leaves. We discussed that black tea leaves are in actuality green tea leaves that have gone through the oxidation process. This post will delve deeper into the best green tea leaves and how to best enjoy them. We will talk about how to buy green tea leaves and how to best brew green tea leaves along with other great tips and information as it relates to green tea.

The Backstory


From the last post, we discussed that China is the major origin of green and black teas. We can also look to our fellow tea connoisseurs who inhabit an island nation in the Pacific Ocean better known as Japan. This is thanks to China for introducing this fine beverage to Japan in the 700’s. To date, Japan offers a variety of teas that are derived from tea plants as well as teas that are not. For example, some teas are made by infusing a cereal grain like roasted barley with water.

For the purpose of this post, we will focus on Japan’s most commonly consumed green teas. These green teas are:

      • Ryokucha (green tea): gyokuro, sencha, bancha
      • Matcha (powdered green tea)
      • Konacha (residual green tea)
      • Hojicha (roasted green tea)
      • Genmaicha (green tea with roasted brown rice)

Which Tea Makes the Grade?


Actually, all the teas as listed above make the grade. What we want to share is “how” does each tea grade. So, here is how the teas rate to give you an idea of what to look for when choosing the best green tea leaves.

Please note that grading these awesome teas by no means suggests one tea is sub par to or not as tasty as the other. This grading system is provided to give insight as to how green tea in Japan is processed based on three major factors, (1) how the tea is cultivated; (2) the timing of harvest (such as the beginning of the year versus the end of year); and (3) the amount of sunlight the tea leaves receive.

What Flavor(s) Do You T-fer?


I first have to say that matcha tea is my most favorite green tea and I prefer it cold. There is a smooth yet creamy texture to this specific tea. The aroma is delicate and there is a refreshing quality about it as well. Flavor profiles range Matcha green teafrom gyokuro that has a mild flavor and fresh, flowery-green aroma, hojicha that is sweet and slightly caramel-like aroma to bancha that is more stringent That being said, each of the green teas discussed in this post are delicious and I suggest that you try each one and decide for yourself which is your favorite.

When you find a tea flavor you prefer, you can recreate that experience over and over. It’s all about the temperature of the water used to brew green tea leaves as wells as the amount of tea leaves you use. At least that’s how I enjoy my cups of tea every time. It may be a tad time-consuming, but I will take the time to test different water temperatures (basically ranging from extremely hot to warm) to test the flavor of my tea. I find too hot, causes some tea leaves to steep to quickly that results in a very bitter taste. I have also found that when the water temperature is not hot enough (just warm), the tea leaves don’t steep enough and that results in a very flat-tasting, blah and flavorless experience. Likewise, I may measure out more or less tea leaves when I’m ready to brew up a pot. What I find with this is the flavor intensity changes. I have to say though, that I usually follow the preparation suggestions that tea potcome along with the tea I purchase. The tea measurement and water temperature suggestions are usually spot on. I just want you to feel comfortable and confident that if your palate says “I want a stronger tea today!”, then you know you can make your tea the way you want it.

 

How To Buy Green Tea Leaves


Because green tea is widely consumed, there are plenty of avenues by which they can be purchased. Thanks to the internet, you can actually buy green tea leaves directly from their source of production. Of course there is also a range of prices you have the luxury to compare at your leisure. I would also like to tell you that when you decide to buy green tea leaves from authentic sources, be prepared to wait. It may take a minimum of twenty days to a maximum of forty days, I contribute this to any tea worth having is worth waiting for.

Here is a little visual of what each tea should look like in its natural state:

Gyokuro, Sencha, Bancha, Matcha, Konacha, Hojicha, Genmaicha

Conclusion


In summary, I hope that you find the information contained herein helpful and fun! At the end of the day, anything we eat or drink is about our own individual tastes and preferences. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy a great cup of tea and just like when you take your friend’s advice to watch that movie you may have not been sure about watching, it can be fun to take a chance and try something new.

Chinese Black Tea Benefits – What’s In It For Me?

It may surprise you to learn that black tea and green tea are one and the same. Yup! You read correctly. Black tea leaves are the direct result of green tea leaves that have gone through the process of oxidation. It is through this activity that the oxygen-exposed leaves change color from green to dark-brown to black. Did you know that the amount of oxidation can be regulated by a tea producer? This is a natural and healthy way to create a wonderful variety of black teas to enjoy.

Types of Chinese Black Teas


In addition to the region of China, you should know that black teas are Region with teasproduced in other regions such as India, Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Turkey too. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the following Chinese black teas that are congou (pronounced con-goo-ow); lapsang souchong (pronounced lap-sang sue-shong); keemun (pronounced key-mun); dianhong (pronounced diane-hong); and yingdehong (pronounced ying-de-hong).

Each of these teas have their own distinct flavor and are savored all over the world. The flavor profiles range from toasty to malty to sweet. Some flavors are robust and rich and some are medium bodied. The wonderful thing about Chinese black tea is that the flavor profile can be customized to please any palate with a simple addition of milk and sweetener.

Exactly What’s in Chinese Black Tea?


Pipturus albidis-Healthy teaThere are a number of scientifically proven naturally healthy properties found in Chinese black tea. These properties include caffeine that can provide energy boosts and help increase alertness; small amounts of theophylline (a medicine commonly used for the treatment of respiratory diseases; and antioxidants (polyphenols and catechins) that may help to prevent certain cancers as well as provide protections from DNA damage to cells.

Steeping/Brewing the Tea…The Fun Part!


Personally, the most fun and exciting part about tea is steeping it. There is something magical about adding perfectly hot water to a measured amount of Chinese black tea leaves to witness each one unfold to show their beauty and uniqueness. It is at that time that you know your tea is ready to be sipped and enjoyed.

Most tea comes with preparation and serving suggestions so don’t be alarmed. While it important and simply part of the process to follow the combretum micranthum shrubdirections as closely as possible, it is nothing wrong with coming up with your own tea preparation process. After all, it’s all about individual taste right? So buy a tin of loose-leaf tea, boil some water and begin steeping that tea. Just remember, sometime if the water is too hot, the tea will steep too fast and may result in a bitter tasting experience. If the water is too cool, then the tea won’t steep enough and the result will be blah resulting in a weak tea tasting experience. Also, if the tea leaves steep too long, the tea flavor may also result in a very bitter tea tasting experience. Believe you me, there is not enough sugar or sweetener in the world to mask that bitter taste.

Extra Tips and Info


If you want to take your tea tasting experience to a higher level then scrap the tap. Use a filtered water or spring water. Believe it or not, the quality of the tea with milkwater you use can take your tea experience to up a notch or two. Try sweetening your tea with honey from around the world. Honey comes in just as many varieties as Chinese black tea does. If you have not taken this leap, I also suggest that you try your tea with milk. Although it took a long time for me to convince myself to try it, I finally did it and boy oh boy was it delicious. Mind you I used sweetened condensed canned milk (this way I didn’t need to add sugar).

There are plenty of black tea recipes as well as healthy green tea recipes along with other tasty ways to enhance your tea experience too. You can add spices like cinnamon, star anise or cloves and flavors like lemon and/or ginger to your tea. A splash of pomegranate juice and other fruit juices can add a zing to your cup of tea as well.

Not Just for Sipping and Drinking


Here are even more ways to enjoy tea Even if you do not steep or brew the tea Relaxing cup of teayourself, to sit down and relax while sipping on a cup of hot tea can be quite nerve calming. Tea is a great stress reliever in this way. Tea can be used for cleansing the skin as well as changing the color of one’s hair, treating sunburn, reducing puffy eyes, pep up your roses and treat poison ivy.

So you see that Chinese black tea is an all around healthy and natural way to inspire our senses whether it’s taste, smell, sight or touch.

Please consult your doctor first and discuss how black tea may benefit you before you consider drinking Chinese black tea for alternative medicinal purposes.