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

Posts tagged ‘Tea’

Mountain of Mango Madness!!!!

Before starting, I would like to write an apology.   I have not written the past two weeks due to an unfortunate illness within my family.   This Saturday, October 4th, my grandfather, William Roeben, passed away at the age of 87.   Needless to say, this is a hard time filled with a lot of tears, painful planning, but at the same time, also filled with wondrous laughter and joyous memories as we celebrate and remember his fruitful life.   Please join me as you read this in praying that my Opa goes back home to be with his wife who we lost two years ago, as they enjoy bowling up in Heaven with all their friends.   Thank you.

My Cousin Emily, My Opa, and Me Two Christmases Ago

My Cousin Emily, My Opa, and Me Two Christmases Ago

And now, on to tea…

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So, yesterday for dinner, I had the Inca Tea Mountain of Mango.   For those that don’t know me, I LOVE mango.   I remember the first time I had a fresh mango was in college.   Sitting in my dorm room, no clue how to eat it, I just went to town, burying my face deep into the green skin and pulling at the sweet yellow flesh underneath, smiling my fiber-filled grin with each bite I took.   I was completely hooked.

By the way, since then, I have learned to eat mango in a more refined manner by simply slicing off some mango and eating that way, but admittedly, the other way is still a lot more fun.

Mountain of Mango is one of the herbal blends that Inca Tea sells.   Upon opening the package, I noticed that there was a slightly acidic smell to it.   Not what I was expecting!   When I hear mango, I hear sweet, sometimes overbearingly so.   However, there was something in this one, probably the hibiscus petals, that made the sweet dull down a little bit, which is a plus for those that want to drink tea and not drink a fruit juice.

The tea looked lovely, to say the least.   A unique blend of mango, purple corn, hibiscus petals, rose hip peel, and apple, as well as some natural flavors.   You could actually see each component, which, if you have been to my Tea Love talks, you know is a big deal to me:

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty

When the tea was brewed, it created a red-ish orange hue, kind of like a sun set.   This tea is definitely worth brewing in a clear mug, if you have any.   The acidic smell went down a bit and the tea became more of a soothing smell, matching the taste.   I would not mind waking up to a relaxing morning and brewing myself a cup of Mountain of Mango.   It was sweet, relaxing, and felt like one of those teas that you would wake up early to see the sun rise with.   It is not meant to wake you – it is meant to calm you.

This would also be a good tea to have as an introductory tea for children, should you wish.   Being that it is an herbal blend, there is no caffeine in the tea.   It is sweet enough where kids would like it, but not so sweet that you are going to think there is loads of added sugar in the drink.   It will also be easier to introduce them to more tea-based drinks after using this as a primer.

So sit back, drink up, and enjoy some Mountain of Mango, courtesy of Inca Tea.

Sadly, I will be doing my last tea for Inca Tea this Sunday!   Join in next week as I review Tawantin Black Tea 🙂

Serving You Some Meow With Your Tea

I own two cats, Celeste and “Fat Cat” Freedom.   They have been with my family since about 2001 and have been a fun part of my family ever since.   Celeste is a feisty cat, always wanting to play and running around like crazy.   Touch her tail, and she will “attack”.   Freedom, on the other hand, is more docile, cuddling up next to you and demanding that you pet her.

Fat Cat Freedom Being Cuddly

Fat Cat Freedom Being Cuddly

Celeste, Fast Asleep

Celeste, Fast Asleep

Now, would you pay to pet these cats while you sip on a hot chai?   Or how about a nice, relaxing herbal?   Maybe some green tea?

People around the world are picking up on the trend of cat cafes, where patrons come and either pay by the hour or pay for their meal and as they dine, play with cats.

The trend started in Taiwan where the first Cat Cafe opened in Taipei in 1998, where many apartment buildings ban having pets.   As a result, people do not get the joys of having cuddly companionship while they sip their tea.

However, the Cat Cafe changed this, hosting cats and tea for paying patrons.   The idea became a fast hit, including for those visiting from Japan.   Who doesn’t like a cuddly cat with them while they sip their tea?

One of the more popular cat cafes in Japan, the Calico Cafe in Tokyo, soon opened in March 2007.   Their cafe hosts about 20 cats with over 17 different breeds.   Patrons take off their shoes, sanitize their hands, place personal items in a locker, and rub their faces in the soft fur of their purring friends.   Toys are strewn about the cafe so that you can play and try to lure the cats into your laps in order to pet them while you drink your tea.   The cafes advertise themselves as a great place for friends, dates, and just a nice place to swing by.   After all, in an area where you cannot have cats in your apartment, why not take a sweetheart to have a cuppa and a cat?

Cat cafes in Japan are very strict, however.   Of course, there is the concern for health regulations.   Having an animal in a cafe while you eat can be an issue.   Then there is also the safety of the animal.   Often, there is a long list of rules and regulations when entering one of these cafes, ranging from not being able to pet the cat at all unless the cat initiates contact to not bringing in outside food and catnip.

The trend started growing, spreading to Vienna, Paris, St. Petersburg, and Seoul.   In Canada, you can even adopt one of these cuddly creatures at their Small Things cafe.

Many of the cafes will use cats from shelters or cats that were once homeless or abandoned, serving a humanitarian effort as well as a good cuppa with a unique atmosphere.

So, if you are traveling abroad and miss your feline friend, make sure that you Google “cat cafes” and see if you could grab a cup of tea and a cute kitty as well.

A New Year, A New Tea Tradition

Hello everyone, I AM BACK!!!!!

I greatly apologize for all the hustle and bustle that is going on in my life!   October is the month where my friends and I run around like crazy for Halloween, then November was just insane, then December was Christmas (which we hold at my house), then things busy at work, and ACK!   But no more fear!   I am back 🙂

First and foremost, guess what!   We have another Tea Love talk coming up!   This one is on Sunday, January 19th, 1:30 PM at the West Milford Township Library, 1490 Union Valley Road, West Milford, New Jersey 07480.   As always, we will have a sampling of teas after the talk, so make sure you bring your favorite mug!   Registration is required. To register, make sure you email wmtl@wmtl.org, call 973-728-2822, or visit the Adult/Teen Services desk of the library.   Hope to see you there!

Second, 2014 is on the road and is coming up fast (ACK!   Everything seems to be coming up fast lately!).   So, people are breaking out the party poppers, champagne, and noise makers as they anxiously await 2013’s exit and 2014 grand entrance.

But, where can tea play a part in all of this?

Well, why not borrow from the Chinese New Year for ours?

An image of a 10th century tea offering, found in a tomb in Hebei, China.   Image from TeaGuardian.com

An image of a 10th century tea offering, found in a tomb in Hebei, China. Image from TeaGuardian.com

According to the Tea Guardian, a website whose mission is to promote fine tea as a gourmet habit, an offering of tea is a gesture of respect and gratitude.   Therefore, on New Years in China, children would offer to the elders of the family a cup of sweetened tea, made sweeter by candied fruits and vegetables placed at the bottom of the cup (keep in mind, different fruits and vegetables symbolize different things!).   This was done with great care, with the handle facing the right of the person receiving the offering and the left of the person offering.   The child holds the saucer with both hands as the elder takes the cup by the handle with one hand and the saucer with the other, and sips the tea while listening to child offer well wishes for the upcoming year.

The person offering does not leave empty-handed, though.   The elder, after hearing the well wishes, gives the child a red packet and offers wishes in return.   At one point, the red packets use to hold the wishes, but now they tend to hold trinkets and monetary gifts.

So, this New Years, after making all the noise, the chatter, the clinks, and the mess, offer your elder a cup of sweetened tea and wish them the best for this sure-to-be-wonderful new year.   Start a new tradition that not only celebrates tea, but also celebrates gratitude and the wisdom of years.

A Virtual Trip to The Charleston Tea Plantation

Correct me if I’m wrong, but my personal impression of tea in America is that people tend to reach for the coffee pot before they reach for the tea kettle.   While tea is boasted to have numerous health benefits, something about the addictive coffee still has people hooked on the beverage here in the USA.

However, even with all its coffee obsessions, specialty stores boasting coffee and elaborate contraptions to brew a cup o’ joe, America still has only one place where there are coffee plantations – Hawaii.

While tea cannot boat more than one tea plantation either, it does get you to think, no?

So we’re going to take a virtual tour of this tea plantation and what it is that makes this particular one special – The Charleston Tea Plantation in Wadmalaws Island, South Carolina.

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The Wadmalaws Island, approximately 10 miles long and 6 miles wide, was established in mid-June 1666 when Captain Robert Sanford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay landed on Rockville, South Carolina.   The land is generally viewed as being the most untainted, its only connection to the mainland a bridge that crosses over Church Creek.

The plantation was formally established in 1987.   The soil is sandy, the climate sub-tropical, and an average rainfall at a whopping 52 inches per year, the island is perfect for growing tea with over 320 varieties on the full 127 acres.   Their tea plants are used to grow American green and black teas in particular.   Though technically, the tea leaf can manufacture Oolong, white tea, etc, the company has been so busy with their green and black teas that the company decided to focus on those two.   Since the land cannot be commercially developed, it is a picturesque island that has still remained untouched.

Climbing Onto The Tour Trolley

Climbing Onto The Tour Trolley

The only tea to be produced by these tender tea leaves?   American Classic Tea.   The tea is harvested in May and is celebrated at the plantation’s annual First Flush FesTEAval, complete with music, entertainment and, of course, tea.   Harvesting continues until the end of September, beginning of October, when the plants are allowed to rest for the season (hey, tea needs sleep, too!).

The Charleston Tea Plantation prides itself on the fact that they are an all-natural tea.   Their tea are flavored with natural essential oils.   They do not decaffeinate any of their teas since that would require the use of chemicals.   The plantation does not even use pesticides to protect the plants from all the bugs.

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This proud Green plantation hosts special events, tours and totes a history for America to be proud of.   Their tea is widely enjoyed but both new sippers and purists and their plantation is a beauty to behold.   See about getting a visit in when you are in the area!   You will not be disappointed.

Tea, the drink that civilises – By Jem Beedoo

Today, while perusing my tea news, I noticed an editorial called, “Tea, the drink that civilises” in the New Zealand Herald.

Now, there are some writings that you can paraphrase, that you can edit, include your own words, etc, but this is a story that I would prompt all my readers to look at straight from Mr. Beedoo.

Read away, learn more about why tea is the drink that civilizes and revel in the fact that you are amongst those more refined for the simple fact that you drink tea.

Experiences With Tea

 

 

As far as tea goes, most people know I am a tea addict.   Whether it be someone that I have known for years or someone that I have just met, the first thing that they learn is that I love my tea.

My Jasmine Green Tea With Some Green Tea Ice Cream for Lunch Yesterday

My Jasmine Green Tea With Some Green Tea Ice Cream for Lunch Yesterday

With that being said, what is the big deal with tea?   Why love tea any more than coffee?   Admittedly, I go through periods where I tend to drink more coffee than tea.   Wouldn’t it make sense to have a vibrant, zealot obsession with coffee instead?

The fact of the matter is, tea and I have had some wonderful experiences together and continue to do so.   I’m in awe over how much tea has helped me in my personal life, compared to coffee, which likes to give me heart burn and heart palpitation.

So, this is a personal post, a “memoir” of why exactly I am so obsessed with tea.

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I remember, as a child, being at my church at Coffee Hour.   Adults mulling around, sipping from Styrofoam cups as they asked each other what they thought of the sermon, chatted about what the kids were up to, and lamented over not knowing what to cook for dinner that night.

I would watch the older women, usually in their seventies or eighties, go over to the hot water urn, pour out their scalding water, and grab a little yellow and white bag.   Curious, I went over and saw they were brewing bag after bag of Lipton’s tea.   Well, of course, just like every other little girl, I had my own hot pink and purple plastic tea set that I used to play with and, wanting to be an “adult,” I grabbed a cup of tea for myself.

hated it!   It was bitter and funny-tasting.   But, not wanting to waste anything (nasty-tasting tea included), I doused it with milk and sugar and soon found it appealing.

As time went on, my tea versus milk and sugar ratio decreased, and soon, I was enjoying a cup of unadulterated black tea.

Time past and my love for tea remained surprisingly stable.   I dabbled, I sipped, but never really heavily drank.   For me, it was still milk, water, and juice.

Then, I was introduced to the Asian Food Market in Green Brook, New Jersey.   The grand array of boxes of 25-100 bags of tea, flavored past my wildest dreams in all different forms.   There were plum teas, green teas, hibiscus teas and white teas.   I witnessed loose tea, tea bags, powdered teas.   the whole thing astounded me.   I bought a few teas that I knew I would not find elsewhere and brought them home.

Soon, tea became my relaxer, my comforter, my Zen.   When I was depressed, the tea pot would boil.   Every time, like clockwork, after cleaning my house from top to bottom and completing heavy work, I would light a sweet-smelling candle and sip on some tea as I embroidered and watched my favorite TV shows.   Tea was rarely used in the morning; it was not meant to wake me.

Not only would tea be used to relax me, I would use it before I turned to medicines when I got sick (which is rare, since I hardly get sick).   Normally, I do not need to turn to pills.   Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t, but it definitely was worth it to me.

My knowledge for tea expanded the more I drank it.   Why did the rice tea make my mouth dry?   Why did some tea taste bitter when I brewed it for too long?   Soon, I wanted to write a book on tea.   I started exploring different teas and sampling different tea places, including Tea Spot, InsaniTea, and Teavana.   My obsession for tea grew.

Not only that, my passion to share tea with others grew.   On October 20, 2011, I posted my first blog post and quickly became known as “the tea girl” among friends, family and acquaintances.   When a co-worker went to the hospital, she was overjoyed to find a tin of matcha tea on her desk when she came back and we formed a quick bond.   Another co-worker was excited when I introduced her to the world of loose teas.   My friend’s daughter requested that I make her a custom Tea Love necklace for her birthday.   Friends who suddenly became homeless, lost, or depressed knew that they could come to my house for a warm bed and a hot cup of tea while they worked to get their lives back together.

My love for tea has not died and my quest to learn will never end.   No matter how many times I have read how tea came into being, I will always listen to a new story, hoping to gain a new insight or learn a new passion for the beverage.   I can’t become a tea snob and hope to never be, as that would close me off from the “more common” teas that can still cause a tingling pleasure throughout my being.

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This is a short “memoir” into my love of tea.   I welcome you to share why you drink tea, why you love it and what memories you would like to share of the drink.   Most of all, I welcome you to keep drinking in good health.

 

 

SEEN AND HOOTED: THE OWL AT GRACIOUS HOME!

Hello everyone!   I follow this wonderful blog called The Teaologist, who posts all this useful information about tea and different places to grab a good cuppa.   Recently, she posted an item called, “SEEN AND HOOTED: THE OWL AT GRACIOUS HOME!” that I felt was worthy of a re-blog.

She talks about the different teas and their different health benefits.   If you ask me, that’s always handy information you should know in case you want to try some holistic remedies before going to the doctor if sick.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND – This blog is NOT meant to substitute the advice of a doctor.   If you are sick, please seek medical attention.   Use your own discretion regarding this matter.

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