Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Posts tagged ‘Tea 101 – A Brief Introduction’

New Tea Love Talks!

Hi everyone!

A quick announcement 🙂   I have not one, but TWO Tea Love talks coming up in April!

Make sure you see the fliers below and attend 🙂

I hope to see you all there!

Tea Love Talk At The Camden County Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Camden County Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

 

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Thank You, West Milford Township Library!

Hello everyone!

I apologize for not posting last week!   But here I am again with a thank you to the West Milford Township Library 🙂

So, at the talk, I explained basic tea knowledge, including the history of tea, the science behind tea, the medicinal benefits of tea, and finally, how to brew a good cuppa.

We had over 50 people at the West Milford Township Library, all with some amazing tea knowledge!   At the end, we celebrated the day with tea and goodies made by the Friends of the West Milford Township Library.

Everyone had wonderful tea mugs, including proper tea saucers and china, some heavy mugs that seemed sturdy enough to hold a whole pot of tea, and even some mugs that would be suited for a museum.

Some of the patrons told me that they have tasted tea from all over the world, including Israel where they have an herbal mint tea of mint leaves and sugar with a touch of lemon, another who sampled tea in Turkey, and yet another who sampled from Africa!   Obviously, we had some very well-traveled tea samplers as well.

One patron asked for some tea shops in the area where they could search for some good loose and bagged tea.   While I could not provide the answer, not being from the area, all the other patrons stepped up and threw out so many names, I was in awe!   So many places to shop in West Milford for tea!   Obviously, I am growing up in the wrong town.

At the end, people thanked me for the talk and some mentioned that they exchanged contact information with one another in order to host a tea party of their own.   The power of tea, bringing people together for a relaxing cup 🙂

So again, thank you so much, West Milford Township Library, for being wonderful hosts!   I hope to come again to give another talk.

Another Great Talk!

Hello Tea Love readers!   So, as many of you know, I just gave a Tea Love talk this past Wednesday and, my goodness, 63 people showed up to the Randolph Public Library to hear me speak!   That sort of outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!   I hope all the patrons enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed giving the talk 🙂   A special thanks to the Randolph Public Library for hosting me and a thank you to all who showed!

I got many questions while there and I figured I would address a few of them below.   Hope this helps you in your tea journey:

What are some different things you can do with used tea?

Compost, compost, compost.   Yes, this was my favorite answer for the talk.   I do enjoy helping the environment whenever I can and what better way than to using your tea to create something new?   Now, I have blogged about different uses for tea, including my oh-so-popular tea bag earrings, but there are many uses for tea.   For example, you can cut grease, hydrate your skin, help relieve those bags under your eyes, control odors, use it for cooking…   The possibilities are endless!   What are some of your favorite methods?

With all the scary news about different foods and everything in the news, how can you trust the tea that you buy?

That’s a tough one.   After all, we all want to ensure that our tea is of high quality and will not harm us in any way.   However, due to the ever-useful nature of tea, the FDA has trouble regulating it under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.   After all, tea can be used for cosmetics, health reasons, and as a delightful beverage.   How does one classify it?   Honestly, the best way to go about it is to just purchase tea from a trusted retailer.   You can find tea vendors who are members of The Tea Association of the U.S.A. or research your vendors before you buy.

What is bubble tea?

Bubble tea is amazingness wrapped in awesome wrapped in fantastic.   Bubble tea is a tea-based drink, invented in the 1980s in Taiwan.   The tea is often mixed with a fruit flavor or a milk with tapioca balls, known as pearls or bobas, added to it.   You are then usually given a large straw that can fit the bobas through in order to imbibe your drink of tastiness.   Bubble tea shops are starting to sprout up more and more.   Frozen yogurt restaurants are starting to sell them as well.   I definitely would recommend finding a bubble tea shop by you so you can sample some.

Can you decaffeinate tea by brewing it longer and dumping out the old tea?

According to “Caffeine and Tea: Myth ad Reality” by Nigel Melican, it’s sort of a yes and no.   It really all depends on how long you want to brew your tea.   A study published in Food Research International breaks it down by the numbers:

30 seconds: 9% caffeine removal
1 minute: 18% caffeine removal
2 minutes: 34% caffeine removal
3 minutes: 48% caffeine removal
4 minutes: 60% caffeine removal
5 minutes: 69% caffeine removal
10 minutes: 92% caffeine removal
15 minutes: 100% caffeine removal

So yes, you can remove the caffeine from a tea by brewing it.   However, it depends on how long.   If you want to remove all of it, you’ll need to go a full 15 minutes, which is possible, but if you are looking for a brew to bring with you to work, it isn’t the most appealing option.   However, it is more holistic than some decaffeination methods, which can include chemicals to remove the caffeine.   So, make sure you pick which option you are more comfortable with.

So, those are just a smattering of questions that I received at the Tea Love talk the other day.   Want to know the answer to a question?   Feel free to comment here or write it on my Facebook wall and I will do my best to get you an answer 🙂

The Art Of Tea Leaf Reading

Hello Tea Love readers!

So, the past two weeks have been MAD!   Now, back to work 🙂

First, I want to thank all those who came out for the last Tea Love Talk at the Riverdale Public Library!   We had a huge group and I got to share my birthday gift of a glass tea pot 🙂   Wonderful for showing off my blooming tea.   Handy tip – Check out the events coming up in October.   They all look like a lot of fun.

Second, I have another talk planned for all you lovely guys and gals!   This one is at the Randolph Public Library in Randolph, New Jersey!   Come out on Wednesday, October 16th, 7:00 PM, to learn all the tea basics and sample some great tea 🙂   Please note, this event is open for people 18 years old and older.   Randolph Library card members can register at any time but non-members can register only up to a week prior to the event.   Registration is required.

Come Out For My Next Talk!

Come Out For My Next Talk!

Now, since the Halloween season is upon us and my friends and I are obsessed with Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about the art of tasseography, or tea leaf reading.

Now, what is tasseography, exactly?   Tasseography is an ancient art used in ancient Greece, Asia, and the Middle East to look at formations made by coffee, candle wax, and, of course, tea leaves and interpret what they mean, including telling the future.

Tea leaf reading is understandable coming from mankind.   After all, it is a journey into the self that can sometimes seem vague and mysterious.   What better drink to use than a cup of green tea?

Reading tea leaves is also a lot of fun and not terribly hard either.   Tasseography.com details the steps one-by-one:

– Make a cup of tea.   Use a light-colored tea mug or a white mug.   Any type of tea should do the trick for this particular… well, trick.   This even includes a tea bag, though you will need to open the tea bag and use the tea dustings for that particular one

– Brew your tea and meditate.   This is my favorite part of drinking tea anyway.   Why not use it to learn my future?   Just quiet your mind.   Free yourself of any distractions.   Allow the magic of the tea begin

– Find your focus while you drink your tea.   Try not to drink the tea leaves (they tend to not be the best tasting thing in the world).   Use your non-dominant hand to drink the tea.   However, if you are ambidextrous, reach for the tea with whichever hand, stop, then use the other hand.   Keep meditating and figure out what is the most stubborn thought in your mind.   As hard as this may be, you’ll need to leave some tea behind in your tea mug

– Swirl your tea leaves three times, then gently dump them out into a saucer.   Wait three breaths, then turn your mug back around

– Look at the different symbols and record them.   Since tea-leaf readings are very personal, it is like reading an ink blot test.   You’ll need to interpret what is there on your own.   Divide the cup into rim, middle, and base, recording what is in each section in a clockwise motion.   Take your time and record everything

– Do your interpreting.   Again, because this is so personal, you might interpret things differently.   For example, seeing a black cat might instill fear for some but might remind others of a family pet.   To each his or her own.   Write down what each symbol means to you.   The first symbol represents you or someone important in your life.   The symbols you see in the rim apply to moments in time.   The middle section of the tea mug is the near future.   The base of the tea mug represents the ultimate conclusion of your tea leaf reading

Some common symbols are:

ACORN—Continued health—improved health.

ANCHOR—Lucky symbol. Success in business or in love. If blurred or indistinct just the reverse.

HEART—A lover. If close to a ring, marriage to the present lover. If indistinct, the lover is fickle.

HEAVENLY BODIES—(Sun, Moon, Star)—Good luck—great happiness and success.

OWL—Indicates sickness or poverty. Warning against starting a new venture.

PALM TREE —Good omen. Success in any undertaking. Single people learn of marriage. MOON (crescent)—Prosperity, fame. If cloudy, difficulties will be solved.

ELEPHANT—Good Luck—good health—happiness.

TRIANGLES—Unexpected good fortune.

BIRDS—Good Luck. If flying, good news from the direction it comes. If at rest a fortunate journey.

Did you do a reading?   What did you see?

Tea Love Talk + Wet Tags

First and foremost, who is going to the Tea Love talk on Saturday, September 21st in Riverdale, New Jersey?!   Come out, get free tea, and learn more about the tea process 🙂   Registration is a must, so make sure you call the library and RSVP 🙂

And now, for the blog…

While doing a quick Google search, I came across TeaTime Magazine, a Burlington, Alabama publication that, “proclaims the pleasures of tea as a gourmet beverage, and offers informative articles that range from food features to tearoom profiles.”   Their Facebook page posted an article from the Washington Post about tea bag tags slipping into drinks.   Ugh…   Always a mess, always a nuisance, and you want to stick your fingers in to fish out the tag right away but know you will face burning immediately.   By the time you get a spoon to fish out the tag, it is already soaked through and you have a blog hanging off of a string.

Whatever is a tea drinker to do?

Well, the Washington Post polled around for this exact question and got some great responses.   You can see some of theirs below, with my own assortment thrown in every once in a while.

One reader, Lynda Maudlin of Chevy Chase, said to just tie it to the handle.   Makes sense, right?   After all, it is a string.   It should be simple enough to make a pretty bow on your mug handle.

Another reader, Laura, recommended to just use a clip, almost like a potato chip bag clip or an alligator clip found in the office, and just slip the string on.   But my oh my, now I have a clip in my tea!   I’m not sure I would be entirely fond of sipping my tea to have a plastic clip poke me in the eye.   No thank you!

What about Wayne Williams of Lake Ridge’s suggestion to just wrap the string of the tea bag around the handle of a spoon before you pour the water?   Personally, I very rarely use a spoon when I have my tea.   More often, I drink my tea without any sugar, cream, honey, etc, so I don’t have that handy-dandy spoon.

Why not follow Thomas Leo Briggs’ suggestion to put the tea tag under the tea mug?   Ah, closer!   But what if your string is not long enough to go under your mug?

One that I like Jane Smith’s reaction.   She said to just pour the water in first, then add the tea bag.   Personally, that’s what I do when I have tea with a tea bag.   Usually, I’m fine with that.

Randall Bovbjerg has a pretty good tip – Hold the string against your mug while you pour.   I wouldn’t highly recommend this one, especially as a sloppy pour-er.   More often than not, I slosh a little bit of water over the side and a burnt thumb does not appeal to me one bit.

My personal tip?   Use loose-leaf tea leaves!   While it’s also not entirely error-proof (sometimes, the hook at the end of the tea ball will slip off the side of your mug and fly into your hot brew, leaving you at risk of a bitter tea), it’s better than a spit-wad of a tag resting on your table.   Or you can always hold onto the string of your tea bag while you pour, allow your tea to steep, then toss the bag out immediately afterwards (which you’re suppose to do anyway but, if you’re like me, you don’t mind a bit of a strong, sometimes bitter brew).

And that’s that!   What are your tips to avoid having the dreaded wet tag?

Some Tea News And A Tea Review

First, an apology for all my lovely tea-sippers.   Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you think of it), I was so swamped last week.   One of my good friends from college slept over, then we took my other good friend out for her birthday all day Saturday, and Sunday was dedicated to more friends 🙂   In other words, no post last week.

However, I have two exciting fun news items for all of you in the New Jersey area!

1 – I am doing ANOTHER Tea Love talk!   This one will be in Riverdale, New Jersey at the Riverdale Public Library.   Make sure you call and RSVP!   Seating is limited.   Attend, hear an awesome talk, get some tasty tea samples from The Tea Spot in Cranford, New Jersey and even enter to win a basket of tea goodies from The Tea Spot!   Not only that, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – that’s my birthday 🙂   Give me an awesome birthday gift and attend the talk!

I Hope You Can All Make It!

I Hope You Can All Make It!

2 – There is an art store/organic boutique in Cranford called Artemisia.   Some of you might remember me raving about their teas that they supply called Miss Tea, an organic blend made in Brooklyn, New York.   Well, Wendy of Artemisia informed me that they will be getting some new flavors of Miss Tea in shortly!   So keep stopping by, looking around, and asking about those delicious teas 🙂

So, what’s the deal with Miss Tea?

Miss Tea is a Brooklyn-based business that specializes in organic teas and herbs.   Why invest in organic teas?   Because they tend to be healthier for you, since they do not use pesticides and herbicides, and are healthier for the environment.   What could be better than that?

According to the Miss Tea website, “We bring you products from the finest tea growing regions of the world – globally responsible sources who practice sustainable growing methods and fair trade for the complete cycle of workers, from the pickers to the sellers.”

One of the nicest things about the Miss Tea products?   You can see every part of the tea, which is intentional.   I just bought my friend who stayed with me last weekend a jar of the FemininiTea, which is a blend of red raspberry, peppermint, and nettle leaves, oatstraw, ginger root, dandelion leaves, rose petals, chamomile flowers, horsetail, and stevia leaves.   Even in the picture on the website, you can see the separate leaves and petals!   As I tell my guests at all my Tea Love talks, the more that you can identify in your tea, the better.   That means less tea fannings and less scary unknowns.

It is also an affordable tea.   Tea itself is already expensive at times if you are looking at high quality.   Throw in the fact that the tea is organic and you could potentially pay that much more.   However, you can get a substantial amount of tea from this purveyor for a decent price.

And the taste?   Well, I obviously would not be writing about it to you if it weren’t incredible!   Full flavored, just the right amount of sweetness, lovely color – I couldn’t ask for more.   This is definitely a tea I would recommend buying again and again.

So, in ending, remember to a) RSVP to my Tea Love talk on September 21st and b) buy some amazing Miss Tea from Artemisia!

Until next time ❤

Happy Easter From Tea Love!

First and foremost, HAPPY EASTER!!!!   Here is a picture of some tea-dyed Easter eggs 🙂   Learn how to make them here!

Some Lovely Tea-Dyed Easter Eggs :-)

Some Lovely Tea-Dyed Easter Eggs 🙂

 

Second, I want to thank everyone who came out for my Tea 101 – A Brief Introduction this past week!   We had about 20 people total show up (a full house!) and I am in the works of planning other talks across New Jersey 🙂   Stay tuned!

I want to give a thank you to the librarians at the Hickory Corner Library for their delicious scones, wonderful tea pots and lovely set-up for the event, as well as the Friends of the Hickory Corner Library, who made it all possible.   Make sure you keep your eye on their calendar of events for more fun talks on their website!

I also want to give a shout-out to my friends over at Tea Spot, who provided the tea that everyone was raving about!   The owner always does a fantastic job and knows her tea well.   If you ever find yourself in Cranford, New Jersey, pop your head in for a cuppa 🙂

While at the talk, there are two questions that I wanted to follow-up here and address:

Q – One person mentioned that her mother had the unfortunate diagnosis of kidney stones and was instructed that she would need to give up tea.   Why tea?

A – Tea, it turns out, contains oxalates, which primarily makes up a kidney stone.   These nasty-little buggers can be found in high concentrations in the plant, but low to moderate concentrations in the brew due to the small amount of leaves used for brewing.   Teas do have different amounts of oxalates depending on the type, according to the Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition with black tea in tea bags and loose tea leaves measuring 4.68 and 5.11 mg/g tea, respectively, green teas and oolong tea ranging from 0.23 to 1.15 mg/g tea, and herbal teas ranged from not detected to 3.00 mg/g tea.   If black tea is imbibed with some milk, then the calcium binds to some of the oxalates and cuts down on the amount that you are drinking.   All the same, it’s best to keep away if that’s the doctor’s orders.   If you REALLY cannot give up tea, make sure you mention this to your doctor to find out what the best plan is for you.

Q – How much caffeine is in a cup of tea?

A – While at the talk, I explained that depending on the tea, you’ll have different amounts of caffeine content.   There’s no set, “Oh, each tea has this much caffeine.”   However, the caffeine content of tea is typically much lower than coffee.   Find a comprehensive list of caffeine content at The Mayo Clinic, in case you have a sensitivity to caffeine or you just want a tea that will not keep you up all night if you drink it at midnight.

Thank you, all, again!   I’ll keep you posted for more tea talks soon 🙂

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