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

Posts tagged ‘White Tea’

Getting a Pick-Me-Up From Inca Tea™ Pick Me Up Peach

Right now, as I write this, it is almost 9:00 PM on a Monday. I just got home from waking up at 6:30 AM, driving to work by 8:30 AM, working about nine hours, driving home, went to WalMart to do shopping, fought a HUGE crowd, came home, cleaned my car from a busy weekend abroad, ate dinner, wrote a press release for my church and now, I sit at the computer writing this article.  Shouldn’t I be tired?  Exhausted?  Saying that I will leave my writing for another night?

Thanks to Inca Tea™, I don’t need to.

For those who haven’t read my last blog post, you might have seen some gorgeous brown boxes stacked neatly in your local stores.  A new brand of tea called Inca Tea started popping up in stores and it is quickly growing.  The Earth-oriented company is based out of Cleveland, OH.  Founder and owner Ryan Florio first discovered the majesty of purple corn tea when he and his friends traveled to a Peruvian mountain trail for a whole ten days, led through the dangers by their guide, Edgar.

Prior to the hike, Florio had multiple health issues and was advised not to go.  However, the trip was too enticing and soon, he found himself on a trek through the mountains.  The first day out, Edgar decided to brew a cup of tea.  “Is an old Incan tea.  Very good.  You must try,” Edgar said, brewing enough for the entire group.

Florio was struck by the deep red-purple color that the brew created and asked Edgar to brew a cuppa for each day of the hike.  “I felt physically awesome,” he said.  He eventually came back to the States, quit his job despite never having had coffee nor tea in his entire life prior to that trip, and started researching the tea, especially purple corn.

A Look At The Peruvian Spiced Berry Tea, Which Started It All

A Look At The Peruvian Spiced Berry Tea, Which Started It All

Look At That Awesome Biodegradable Packaging!

Look At That Awesome Biodegradable Packaging!

The tea, Florio explains is “based off of a thousand-year-old recipe.”  By September, loose teas should be served up along with the current four teas that are offered.

All teas are made with 100% biodegradable sachets and packaged in 100% recycled boxes.  The corn is also ground by hand, blended in Cleveland, bagged in Philly, and then Florio’s parents box it every night for sale.

Right now, Tea Love has four tea bags from Inca Teas.  Last blog post, we reviewed the reason for Inca Tea – Peruvian Spiced Berry.  Tonight, after a highly hectic day, I review Pick Me Up Peach.

Opening up the orange package, the scent is the first thing to hit you.  Wow, is it strong!  This is a pleasant surprise, given that it is a white tea.  Typically, I often receive comments at my Tea Love talks that the white teas are too weak for my sippers.  However, in conjunction with the purple corn, apples, oranges, natural flavors, rose hip peel, and hibiscus petals, the tea is simply bursting to come forth.

Yummmmm, Peaches...

Yummmmm, Peaches…

I brewed the tea and instantly, the beverage turned its shade of purple, a trait of the purple corn.  The scent diluted slightly, but not to the point where it was diminished.  Imagine a strong Cabernet going down to a Zinfandel.  So most definitely still pleasant.

The peach, the rose hip peel, and hibiscus petals were all the flavors that immediately got me.  It was sweet, but sour and sharp at the same time due to the hibiscus.  Most importantly, even after the type of day I had where I was considering going to bed around 8:30 PM, I woke up immediately.  Given that white tea has the least amount of caffeine, that was a bit of a surprise.  The other plus?  I don’t need to worry as much about going to sleep later because I know that the caffeine content is so minimal (mind you, this is coming from a girl who can drink seven cups of coffee with no adverse effect and yes, this fact has been tested).

I would recommend this for a nice afternoon cuppa, since it doesn’t have a lot of caffeine and won’t keep you up all night but it is enough where you will perk up enough for an afternoon meeting.  Be careful not to overbrew though, as this does have the potential to get bitter!

Next stop on the tea list?  Mountain Of Mango!

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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.

An Introduction to Wonderful, Whimsical, Warm White Tea

White tea is the purest tea available.   Containing only trace amounts of caffeine, it’s perfect for those who are sensitive to stimulants, who don’t want the jittery effects of “harder” teas and drinks or who just want a nice cup of tea before heading off to bed.   It is minimally processed, which means that it also contains the more nutrients.   Sometimes, it is enhanced with fruit, flowers and other flavors, adding that much more to its nutritional value.

White tea bushes have to be cared for carefully.   They are tended for a few years before they are ready to be harvested for white tea.   Even then, workers only have a small window to harvest in early spring.   They must avoid rainy days and days when there is frost on the ground.   Everything from climate to soil to the plant must be perfect to get the perfect silver bud!

Minimally Processed White Tea Pearls

Minimally Processed White Tea Pearls

White tea pearls are not only visually aesthetic, they also brew a very light tea, amber in color, that is a decent starter tea.   It is not harsh enough to turn away anyone who is just breaking into the tea world but it still has that “tea” flavor (unlike teas like fruit teas, which can be comparable to fruit punch).

White tea also contains lots of antioxidants, which protects against free radicals.   This super-tea might also help to prevent cancer.   It lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.   It promotes heart health, stronger bones, healthy teeth and skin.   It seems impossible to consider white tea as anything less than super due to all the health benefits.

To get a great cup of white tea, make sure that you get high-quality white tea.   Personally, I am a huge fan of Teavana tea, since you can see exactly what you are getting in the tea and you can tell by the aromas what the cup will taste like.   They do doctor it and add items, such as fruit and sometimes, even popcorn, to their tea, but it enhances rather than detracts from the tea.   If you can get pure water, do so but don’t stress out about it if you can’t; your tea will still taste amazing.   Make sure the tea water is hot but not boiling.   Teavana suggests that the tea water be about 175 degrees Farenheit.   When you put the tea leaves in, make sure you keep them in for only 4-5 minutes, or you risk losing the delicate tea flavor that white tea is known for and get a more bitter taste.

If you are just breaking into the tea world and want something a little stronger than a fruit punch tea, make sure to go and buy a good quality white tea.   Then sit back, relax and enjoy you nirvana tea experience.

Photo Credit:

White Tea Pearls.   2008.   Chado Tea Room: White Tea Pearls, 27 Oct 2011.   GIF file.

Source Credits:

White Tea Guide.   Whiteteaguide.com.   Web.   1 Nov 2011.

 “How to Make Tea: Making the Perfect Cup Of Tea.”   Teavana.   Teavana, n.d.   Web.   2 Nov 2011.

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