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hosting a tea party

Hosting A Tea Party – 5 Important Things to Remember

When you’re fond of drinking tea, you may want to extend that fondness to your family and friends. How? By hosting a tea party! While it might be quite intimidating for some to host the usual British-style tea party, it’s something that you don’t have to stress about.

There are many different ways to host your own tea party. You can stick to your budget and decide how many you are inviting. You can also start by using the tea set you already have at home, or decide if you want to make it grand or simple.

Either way, as long as you focus on the important points such as the food and tea, then you and your guests will surely have fun. Let’s begin with the guidelines!

1. Plan your menu.

Most of the time, a tea party happens from mid to late in the afternoon. You can consider it snacks time, which means that you don’t have to worry about serving full meals. The basics are of course your tea, as well as cakes, and pastries.

Tea

A lot of people tend to focus on food but remember that you’re throwing a tea party so the star should be your tea. Serving one type of tea is fine, but it’s best to have a variety so that your guests have the option to choose the tea they love.

If you have more time, try blending some of your teas with your favorite herbs and spices. However, this needs some practice or mastery beforehand to make sure you get the perfect blend. If you’re into tea blending, make good use of it! You can even make it your afternoon activity.

During your planning stage, it’s best to come up with a list of teas you will be serving so that you’ll know what food is best to pair with each tea. For example, you might want to serve both caffeine and non-caffeine teas because guests have different preferences. Also, think of the add-ons that they might want for their tea such as lemon slices, milk, sugar, or honey.

Finger Food

One good thing about a tea party is that you have so many delicious food choices, most are finger food.

You can start with the most popular – scones! There are several scone recipes you can try ranging from sweet, savory to buttery ones. Don’t forget the scone toppings or spread such as lemon curd or clotted cream.

Aside from scones, you also have the classic bite-sized tea sandwiches. Well, all finger foods in tea parties are pretty much bite-sized. You can serve roast beef sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, or ham and chicken sandwiches.

You also have the option to add some sweets and savories but see to it that they don’t overlap. Just include different flavors, and you should be good. Somehow, you have to find the right balance between the finger foods you serve. Try seasonal fruits, chocolates, madeleines, sponge cakes, cheeses, and crackers.

Other Drinks

If there are kids in the party, it’s possible that they don’t like tea so reserve a few kiddy drinks for them such as fruit juices and iced tea.

2. Test your recipes.

To make sure that you approve the food and drinks, you can do a test run when making your own recipes. It’s best to buy the ingredients ahead and give ample time for preparation in such a way that won’t compromise the freshness of the food. If in any case you have no time to prepare and you decide to hire instead, ask if you can have a free taste so that you’ll know what to expect come party time.

3. Plan out how many guests you’ll have.

Just like any other party, you have to be ready with the guests’ headcount so that you won’t run out of tea or food during the party, and prepare slightly more than your original headcount just to be sure.

Based on your headcount, you can start sending invites a week or two before the tea party so that your guests can mark their calendar. Handwritten paper invites are cool and have a personal touch to it! But in this day of social media, it’s also easier to send e-invites. Either way will work just fine though as long as you make the invite personal.

4. Bring out your tea set and accessories.

You may or may not have a tea set yet, so this one depends on your preference. The most important ones are the basics to brew some tea. Here’s a compilation of tea essentials you can check anytime.

Remember to prepare more teapots if you’re planning to brew different types of tea to save time and effort.

A tiered cake stand is a common way to present and serve your cakes. If you have one, bring it out and use it. If you don’t have one, you can even DIY it! Make your presentation beautiful by adding laces, folded napkins, name signs (to personalize), and Chinaware (if you have an additional budget).

For table setting, prepare a long table and throw on a nice tablecloth. If you don’t have a long table, don’t fret, any table will do. If you don’t have a tablecloth, look for cheap ones in fabric shops. Add flowers in tall flower vases, as well as some scented candles.

If you don’t want to go all fancy, you can pretty much DIY everything and save money in the process.

5. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

There’s a reason you are planning, and that’s because you want everything to be ready come party time. Your plans may not be followed to a T but don’t worry, just focus on having fun with your family and good friends.

Although basic tea etiquette exists, you need not follow it, especially if you’re just hosting the party at home. The most important thing is for you to have a relaxing afternoon with great companions. So just chill! 🙂

tea for different moods

Anxious, Angry, or Sleepy? There’s A Tea for Different Moods!

If you’ve been drinking tea for quite some time now, you must have already known the vast health benefits that tea offers. In fact, this is one of the reasons that tea enthusiasts can’t and won’t let go of tea drinking. Fair enough! Now, to make tea even better for you, remember that it can also boost different types of mood!

Whether you are a purist or not, there’s delight in knowing that you have so many tea options to choose from when it comes to boosting your mood. This probably means that the next time you go tea shopping, you might want to consider taking a look at other types of teas too.

Stress

Whenever you are stressed, skip your pills if possible, and skip emotional eating because they can turn out to be unhealthy for you. Instead, try one of these teas as they are known to best manage moods.

Green Tea, Ginseng, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Valerian, Rooibos

For starters, you can try this Lemon Balm Tea recipe from The Kitchn.

Sleepy or low on energy

Are you feeling that afternoon slump? Or any time of the day slump? We all get that kind of feeling at some point during the day. To best combat the sleepiness or the energy gap, try one of the pick-me-upper teas below.

Green Tea, Black Tea, Yerba Mate, Mint Tea

This quick Mint Tea recipe from Pop Sugar is something you might want to try.

Super Active

Sometimes you get too hyperactive during the day and when bedtime comes, it becomes hard for you to sleep. Research has shown that the following teas have sleep-inducing properties that can help you doze off easily and soundly.

Chamomile, Valerian, Lavender

Celebrating Everyday Life has an easy Chamomile and Lavender Tea recipe that you can start making at home to get your much-needed slumber.

Creativity / Cognition

Do you ever feel that your creative juices are failing you? Tea also helps increase mental alertness, attention span, and can even help enhance your work performance. So the next time you need that kind of booster, try the teas listed below.

Indian Chai Tea, Green Tea, Peppermint, Black Tea, Lemon Tea

This homemade Indian Masala Chai Tea recipe from Keeper of the Home is worth trying.

Emotional wellness

It’s inevitable that you sometimes lose control of your emotions and it can be frustrating at times. You resort to different kinds of activities to keep your feelings in check but really, most of the time the food and drinks we consume can affect our emotional being too. Try drinking tea so that you’ll feel better.

Saffron, Turmeric

You can start making your Turmeric Tea at home too by following the recipe from Saffron Trail.

Frustrated or Angry

When you’re feeling down or upset and need to put a little smile on your face, tea can help boost your mood. There are herbs and spices that help promote positivity.

Chai Tea, Citrus Blend Tea

Here’s a basic Chai Tea recipe you can follow. It’s very easy to make!

Anxiety / Panic Attacks

Whenever you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, say you have an upcoming exam or job interview, it helps to drink some tea to calm your nerves and senses.

Lavender, Jasmine Tea, White Tea

Try this basic Lavender Tea recipe and start making your own blend in no time.

As you know, any tea has already so much health benefits but isn’t it awesome that there’s a tea type for every mood you have? Whichever type you choose to drink, make the most of it and enjoy! Don’t forget to check out this guide to making your perfect cup of tea!

tea blending

5 Essential Guidelines to Remember In Tea Blending

Have tasted enough or so much tea in your life? Or maybe you are still starting to explore the world of tea?

Whichever it is, don’t you think it would be fun to explore more tea flavors? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can amp up your tea-drinking game by learning how to blend your own tea. It’s like making different flavors of coffee, only that you’re doing it with tea now.

Tea blending requires skill, patience, effort, imagination, and creativity. It’s an art! And the more you practice, the more you get better at it. In this process, you will need to trust your palate to be able to achieve balance in flavors. But the good thing about it is that there are no rules and fixed recipes, so you’re free to create your own.

Thus, this post is not about rules at all, but rather guidelines when you start blending your own tea and for you to achieve a tea blend that you will enjoy. So if you’re ready, we’re ready!

1. Choose your base tea.

You have to start with something – which is a base tea or primary ingredient. Begin by knowing what kind of flavor you like. Would you go for strong and bold like black tea? Or subtle and sweet like white or green tea? It’s your preference. It’s important to familiarize the flavor/s of your primary ingredient so that it will be easier for you to begin the next time you decide to blend tea again.

2. Consider the taste of tea.

In relation to the first guideline, when you’re trying to determine the tea flavor you like, try to scrutinize the taste first. Your base tea should be the largest amount of ingredient in your tea blend. Do a taste test and taste different tea types separately. You have to be able to differentiate one flavor from the other.

This helps in knowing what flavor to highlight and what flavor to keep as add-ons or accents only. To know more about the different types of tea, you can read our previous post about it -> Four Types of Tea.

3. Know all your ingredients.

In tea blending, it will be a great advantage to you if you’re familiar with many flavors. Once you already have your base tea, you can start adding your secondary ingredients. But before you even add, make sure that you have already tasted all the ingredients separately so that you can estimate if they can be blended.

Again, you can have a taste test, or have someone you know help you with determining the flavors. Once you know which ingredient to add to your base tea, add them in small amounts and not all at once. It’s always easier to add more rather than to remove. You can add other types of tea or herbs, flowers, fruits, spices, and anything you can think of as long as it’s not toxic or bad for you.

Remember that the base tea should be the dominating flavor and the secondary ingredients are just accents so it’s best not to use those that may overpower the flavor of your base tea. After coming up with the right blend, you can either try to use it right away or package and store it for future use.

4. Be precise with your measurements of the ingredients.

To achieve the best tea blend, see to it that all ingredients are accounted for and that all are even. This means that the ingredients should be similar in size and density. This ensures that no parts will block new flavors added to the blend and that the tea will taste the same from one cup to another.

Instead of using fresh ingredients, it is best to use dried ones because they have more intense flavors. Dried fruits need to be chopped into same sizes while spices needs to be crushed then mixed with your base tea. For flowers, you can use the small buds or the individual petals. For iced tea, try blending the tea with ice first to see if it’s possible to be blended.

It’s also important to make sure that you have the proper ratio of ingredients. Use the same measuring tool for each ingredient and use kitchen scale for accurate measurements. This also helps a lot when you are creating bigger batches of blends.

5. Be bold in experimenting with flavors.

Tea blending involves a lot of trial by error until you get exactly what blend/s fits your taste. Be fearless and blend with a purpose. What flavor do you really want to achieve? Start from there.

But remember that less is still more. Too much ingredients may just ruin your blend. You would want to be able to determine the taste or flavor of each ingredient. Just try to keep things simple instead of cluttered. If you have other ingredients you want to try, you can always create another blend again.

blending your own tea

Some of the blends you can try are the following:

1. Hibiscus base + strawberry & blueberry

2. Black tea + rooibos & fragrant spices

3. Black tea + either cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla beans, cacao, or rose petals

4. Green tea + either lemongrass, matcha, mint, or ginger

5. Rooibos + either saffron, coconut, rose petals, peppermint, or ginger

Are you ready to create your own tea blend? We hope you’ve learned something from this simple guide. Remember practice makes progress!

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Tea Essentials: Enjoy Your Tea Daily!

There are a lot of things to consider when brewing tea. Aside from the most important which is the quality of tea leaves, one also needs to consider the brewing process, water temperature, timing of each brew, and the materials or tools needed. The no-nonsense approach would be to get yourself some quality loose leaves, a teapot, and a cup. Then you’re good to go with your cup of tea.

However, if you’re looking to up your tea drinking game, then it’s also worth it to invest in tea essentials that will help you brew tea in a precise manner. Using the proper tea ware and essentials also makes sure you reap all the potential benefits that come along with having tea. Some people are okay with the usual tea bags; others have completely ditched the tea bags and went full on loose leaves.

If you want to know the differences between tea bags and loose leaves, you can check out our post about Team Tea Bag or Team Loose Leaf. Ultimately, using loose leaves results to more burst of flavors in your tea as well as more health benefits.

So now let’s just say you already have your favorite loose tea leaves ready to be brewed, all you need is the right set of tea ware to get everything started! Here’s our list of tea essentials for your daily tea consumption.

1. A teapot or kettle

To start off, you need something to boil water in.  Although you can basically use any tea pot as a kettle, there are those that will make your routine a little easier. There are traditional teapots that will make you feel like you are really partaking in a traditional tea ceremony. There are also electric teapot kettles that are perfect for those who are always on the go or those who don’t have so much time to brew.

A stainless steel kettle or a glass model is a good choice. There are some glass models that are stove-top friendly, so it will be easier for you to brew your own tea. There are even some that already come with a built-in infuser.

An example is Kitchables Glass Teapot Kettle with Infuser Set – Stovetop Warmer Teapot with Stainless Steel Strainer for Loose Leaf Tea. It has a fine mesh stainless steel infuser for an even drink and borosilicate glass material that withstands high heat (-30 degrees Celsius to 150 degrees Celsius). The parts are also detachable, so cleaning is going to be easier.

tea essentials

2. Tea infuser

When it comes to tea infusers, you would want something that can allow the loose tea leaves to expand and unfurl completely. This way, your tea will be more flavorful. If you can’t get hold of a teapot kettle with infuser set, then you can also go for a brew basket that’s big enough to hold your tea leaves.

For large gatherings, tea socks are a great option. You can use them for both a cup and a teapot. Tea balls are also a standard tool for infusion. If you’re always on the go, tea sacs or tea pockets are very easy to use and are also convenient to bring when you’re out and about.

3. Tea cups

A cup, a mug, or a teapot will do. A regular cup will also do, but then again, if you want to have something better, there are mugs or cups that are double-walled and thermo-insulated so that your tea can stay warm for a longer period, plus it protects your fingers from being burned. You may not need a tea cozy or tea warmer anymore too.

There are different sizes and designs. There are with and without handles. Choose which ones fit your lifestyle and enjoy every tea time. I think it’s a good feeling to drink from a good-looking cup or mug, whether it’s tea or coffee. It just brings a feeling of warmth, and somehow you don’t want to let go.

You can go check these out if these cups/mugs fit your needs.

tea essentials

4. Timer and Tea Thermometer

Different types of tea have different appropriate temperatures and timing. Some teas will taste bitter or will not taste right when over-steeped. Although any timer will do, it’s also best to know the temperature of your water for utmost precision, so a timer with a thermometer will be essential.

There are “timer and tea thermometer in one” devices that can make brewing easier for you. If you don’t or can’t find the two-in-one device, you can have a timer and a thermometer instead. As long as you have the two, you are one step closer to getting the best out of your brewed tea.

Also, some electric kettles already have a built-in thermometer wherein you can set the temperature so that you know exactly that you are brewing with the right degree. Sounds fancy? It might be expensive than the regular kettle, but if you get a good one, for sure it’s worth it as it is more convenient and precise. Making tea will be a lot easier for you daily!

There are several tea accessories sold in the market, but we found the items above as the “essentials” or the most necessary materials in brewing tea. Everything else is an add-on or extra.

Some of the add-ons you can choose to purchase are tea cozy or warmers, tea chests, tea creamer and sugar set, tea spoons, honey dippers, caddies and canisters, tea wallets, and tea towels.

Whether you choose to keep things simple or to collect accessories for your growing tea set collection is totally up to you! The most important thing is that you enjoy your tea and you’re getting the benefits from it.

Ready for Your Next Tea Party? Here’s A Basic Tea Etiquette Guide

Drinking tea is already a long-standing tradition and has become a social occasion throughout the centuries. In fact, there’s tea etiquette to follow to make drinking tea more traditional, fashionable, and enjoyable. When you are in the comforts of your home, of course, you are free to do whatever you please during your tea session as long as you enjoy it.

However, when attending social gatherings in hotels, tearooms, or other events, it would be nice to come equipped with the proper knowledge of having tea the right way.

1. Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea

First off, brush up on your terms. Many people would utterly say it’s “tea” and not “afternoon tea.” Still, some people say “afternoon tea” to mean “low tea” because they have tea at low tables beside armchairs.

High-tea is never used because it means completely different from tea or afternoon tea. Although it sounds grander and nicer, high-tea was generally for servants of a large house after they had served the afternoon tea.

It’s also preferred to say “to have tea” instead of “to take tea”, and have “some tea” instead of have “a tea”. Example: I want to have some tea with my friends tomorrow.

2. Invitations

Inviting guests at least a week in advance is proper. You may do it either face to face, via mail, or telephone. Aside from yourself (if you’re the host/hostess), you should also assign or nominate a “pourer” from your guests. He or she will act as the guardian of the teapot. This role suggests deep trust and valuable social graces.

tea etiquette

3. Components of Traditional Tea

You will need a complete china tea set. This includes a teapot or a pot of leaf tea (not tea bags), another pot of hot water, creamer for the milk, sugar bowl, cups, saucers, teaspoons, tea strainer, lemon slices, cakes, sandwiches, and scones.

The tray of tea and the china tea set are placed at one end of the table. On the right side, you can place the teacups, saucers, and teaspoons while the flatware, plates, and table napkins on the left side.

Forks should be prepared if the cake is soft, sticky, or creamy, as well as knives or butter spreaders if there’s jam or cream for the bread or scones.

For the table arrangement in a private home or tearoom, the knife and butter spreader should be on the right side of the plate while the fork is on the left side. The host can also add a teaspoon on the saucer that holds the cup, or it could be on the right side of the knife.

4. Art of Serving Tea

Pour tea into the cup one at a time. Pass each cup to the guest before pouring the next one. Do not pour multiple cups then pass them on to everyone (even though that might be the easier thing to do). The guest should receive their cup from the pourer and not from other guests.

A tea strainer should also be used to sift any loose leaves. The pourer can hold the teapot on the one hand and the strainer on the other while pouring.

5. Drinking Tea

You probably already know the common practice of raising the pinky finger when drinking tea. Well, it turns out it’s a common misconception. To drink tea properly, just sit straight and position the napkin on your lap. Hold the cup with the index finger on the handle and use the thumb just above it to grip (pretty much just how you typically would hold a cup).

Bring the cup to your mouth and avoid leaning forward to drink. Taking small sips is proper. Do not slurp it or blow it to cool like it’s soup.

Stir the tea gently in a back and forth motion using your teaspoon – not in a circular motion as you would in coffee. Also, stir without making a clanking or banging noise resulting from hitting the cup or saucer with the teaspoon.

6. The Add-Ons

The tea session isn’t complete without scones, sandwiches, and cakes. First off, scones (pronounced “skon” and never “skone”) should be broken into two using your hands and not cut with a knife. As to whether you’re going to add cream first or jam first is already your preference. Lastly, do not put back the two cut scones together as if it’s a sandwich. Nope!

Sandwiches are usually cut in small squares, triangles, or rectangles. Since these are finger sandwiches, they are eaten with the hand, so there’s really no need to use a fork.

Small cakes, on the other hand, can be eaten with the hand or a small fork.

As with the commonly-debated “milk or tea first” issue, somehow it all boils down to your preference. We have explained this a bit in detail in our previous post – How to Make Your Perfect Cup of Tea.

7. Finale

Usually guests can enjoy up to two cups of tea as one may not be enough and three might be excessive. Upon leaving, you can just leave the napkin unfolded and put it on the left side of the plate setting.

Now, remember that although these best practices are put into place by tradition, the best way to have tea is still the one you prefer. Don’t let these rules worry you or cause you anxiety. The most important thing is that you have enjoyed your tea and the company of your family and friends or guests.

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8 Easy Ways to Infuse Tea to Recipes and Cooking

Do you love cooking or trying out new recipes in the kitchen? If so, have you tried using tea as one of your ingredients? It might seem unusual but infusing tea to recipes can actually make your dishes more satisfying and unique. If you’re keen in experimenting then you might want to try the different ways to infuse tea to recipes.

Of course, you probably know about the famous desserts like matcha iced latte, green tea ice cream, and matcha cake but there are more to try if you really want to up your cooking game. The good thing is that you can always mix and match or do trial by error to see which methods of cooking fit your taste.

Here are some amazing ways you can infuse tea to cooking. You never know which ones can make your everyday meals even more appetizing!

1 . Use Tea Leaves as Spices or Herbs

Well, tea leaves are considered herbs although they are rarely used or treated as a spice. You can actually grind your tea leaves and put them along with other spices and herbs that you’re using for cooking.

You can then create your own tea spice rubs or tea spice blends depending on your preference. You can add salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme. Use these spice blends on any dish that you want to have a spicy or bold flavor.

ways to infuse tea to recipes

2. Use Tea as Stock for Soups

When you run out of stock, you can steep tea and use it as a substitute. For example, you can use green tea for vegetables, fish, and poultry. Since green tea has lighter notes and savory flavor, it’s best for veggies. Black tea, on the other hand, has more of a smoky flavor so you can use it for beef and mushrooms.

3. Tea as Water

This just means that instead of using water for cooking, use tea. Start by brewing tea and letting it cool to room temperature. You can then use it to cook whole grains such as rice or quinoa. You can also cook noodles or pasta in green tea to achieve that herbaceous flavor or use tea to rehydrate some vegetables.

4. Bake Tea Cookies

Tea and butter go well together! Pretty sure you’ve heard about matcha cookies? Well, that’s one. Instead of the usual flavoring, use matcha instead. Aside from that, you can also grind some loose tea leaves to add more unique flavors to your baked cookies. The suggested measurement is that for every cup of flour, replace 1 teaspoon with powdered tea.

5. Marinades and Dressings

If you’re sick and tired of your usual marinades and dressings, then it’s about time to create something new. Why not add brewed tea? You can use it to marinate just about anything. A mixture of green tea, puffed rice, and corn also makes a good seasoning for stir-fry food. It’s even better if you choose tea that has savory or roasty flavor instead of the sweet ones.

6. Tea for Poaching Liquids

Another wonder that brewed tea can make is that it’s perfect for poached dishes. Both its flavor and aroma are a great addition to your recipe. Try poaching fish in a broth of jasmine tea or some mushrooms in smoky black tea.

7. Infuse Into Milk and Cream

Loose leaf tea is best to add flavor to your milk and cream. When you infuse, remember to strain the leaves. The more earthy and grassy kind of tea is best for pasta sauce and rice while sweet herbal tea or tisanes like rose, chamomile, and lavender are best for desserts and ice creams.

8. Infuse salts, butter, and oils

These three ingredients are often used when cooking. Your dishes will even be more flavorful when you infuse tea to salt, butter, or oil. You can make your own specialty salt and choose your flavor of tea. Same is true with oils.

You can also try making tea butter. Let unsalted butter sit in room temperature until it melts or it becomes soft. Then mix the butter with tea leaves. Once done, shape the mixed butter so that it looks like a butter stick or log, wrap in plastic wrap, and return it back to the fridge to that it becomes firm  and ready for your next use.

Hope you got some easy ideas to infuse tea into your recipes. Make cooking enjoyable and fun for you! Let us know if you have any other ideas. 😉

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Getting to Know Your Favorite Matcha Green Tea

There has been so much hype about matcha green tea, and it seems like it is almost everybody’s favorite green tea. Judging by the rise of matcha-infused recipes in several stores, coffee/tea shops, and even in people’s households, matcha can be considered a star on its own.

Although matcha is not new at all, the modern world can perhaps say that it’s well past the “hype” stage and has established its familiarity and uniqueness in the past few years. It has also certainly become a trendy drink – one that has numerous health benefits.

There are several interesting things you might want to know about matcha before you indulge or as you indulge in its goodness.

Origin and Preparation

Matcha is a real variety of green tea. By real we mean it came from the tea plant Camellia sinensis which is commonly found in Southern China. Green tea is known to be the healthiest form of tea because of lack in processing, and due to this, it has very high nutrient levels. It’s made from young leaves carefully picked from the tips of shade-grown tea plants.

While the tea plant itself is found in China, the use of matcha green tea originated in Japan. It literally translates to powdered green tea – cha means tea and ma means powder. When you ask tea experts, they will most likely tell you that the best matcha is really in Japan. It isn’t suprising because matcha had been a large part of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies as early as the 12th century.

Before harvesting the leaves, the tea plants are covered with shade cloths to trigger the growth of the leaves which then results in better flavor and texture. Green tea has two main varieties. If the leaves are rolled out flat before drying, they’re called Gyokuro  – a premium type of green tea. If the leaves are laid out to dry, they’re called Tencha, and this is used for making matcha.

The hand-selected leaves are briefly steamed to stop fermentation. The stems and veins are removed before stone-grinding the leaves into very fine powder which is then called matcha. Matcha is stored away from light and oxygen to keep its naturally beautiful green color and its potent antioxidant properties.

Two Forms of Matcha

Usucha

This translates to “thin tea” and is the most common. This is also what most cafes and restaurants offer. It’s very easy to prepare. First, sift a teaspoon of matcha powder into a bowl. Sifting is important to break up all the clumps of the powder and so you can come up with a much finer one.

Then, carefully pour 3 ounces of water into the bowl with matcha then whisk it until it becomes frothy. Remember to whisk in a zigzag manner and not stir in a circular motion. Once it’s nice and frothy with small bubbles on the surface, you’re ready to consume it.

Unlike a regular green tea where you need to brew and steep then discard the leaves, with matcha, you actually prepare or come up with a suspension. You’ll find that this matcha is usually sweet and grassy and sometimes has a hint of bitterness.

Koicha

Koicha translates to “thick tea.” This is produced with half the amount of water and twice the amount of matcha powder used in usucha. Unlike usucha, it isn’t whisked quickly. Koicha is gently kneaded using a bamboo whisk. This results to a very thick tea similar to the texture of paint.

This form of matcha green tea is made from high-grade tea leaves and is used during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Usucha, on the other hand, is made from second highest grade matcha green tea.

Awesome Health Benefits of Matcha

Rich in antioxidants

Tea, in general, is known to be rich in antioxidants. These are the nutrients and enzymes that help the body fight the negative effects of the environment such as UV radiation and other harmful diseases. Unlike other teas wherein the leaves are discarded right after steeping or infusing, matcha is whole leaves ground into powder form. This means that you are getting the best of its health benefits.

Matcha is also full of catechins which are one of the most beneficial antioxidants. Compared to other green tea varieties in the market, matcha has the highest amount of these antioxidants which are also recognized to have the most cancer-fighting properties.

Helps burn calories

Matcha is known to increase metabolism which helps the body burn fat faster than the average. If you are currently on a weight-loss journey, matcha may be a good drink for you. It’s all natural and doesn’t have side effects such as high blood pressure, and increased heart rate or nervousness.

Matcha can even boost your energy and endurance. Yes, it naturally contains caffeine, but the energy boost can be largely attributed to the combination of nutrients found in it.

Detoxifies the body

As mentioned earlier, the leaves of green tea are shade-grown a few weeks before harvesting. This increases chlorophyll production, and this doesn’t only give it its vibrant green color, it’s also responsible for naturally getting rid of heavy metals and toxins from the body.

Helps boost the immune system

With all the antioxidants or catechins found in matcha green tea, it’s not surprising that this super food helps boost your overall health. It helps strengthen your immune system so that your body can protect itself from hazardous environmental elements and other diseases.

What else do you need to know about matcha? Aside from its amazing health benefits, it does make you happy, warm, and fuzzy! You’ve got to admit that matcha is one super food or super drink that can change the way you view your morning tea.

Note: L-theanine is the rare amino acid that’s possible for the release of serotonin and dopamine. These two neurotransmitters give you the feeling of calm, happiness, and contentment.

Well, we all have preferences, and if you fancy other types of tea, that’s great too! But the next time you want to try something other than black or white tea, add matcha to your list, and you’ll likely never regret you did!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting High-Quality Tea Leaves

If you’re a beginner in the world of tea, chances are you may not exactly know what to look for in a tea to make it earn an approval seal and say that it is of high quality. A lot of tea drinkers are quite satisfied with tea bags which contain dust and fannings even though these are of low quality. In retrospect, a lot of them may also not be aware that most tea bags are low-grade teas.

But just because you are not aware doesn’t mean you throw away your chances of tasting high-grade teas available in the market now. These days, more and more consumers choose their tea wisely because as with many other things, you get what you pay for when it comes to tea.

selecting high-quality tea

A lot of consumers are now geared towards purchasing whole or loose leaf teas because these have better taste and aroma. Since these are also high-grade, they’re generally more expensive but truly worth the value for your money.

Aside from getting the most of your tea’s health benefits, every teacup or tea break becomes more enjoyable and something that you can look forward. You will most likely not forget the flavorful taste and the pleasant aroma.

High-grade vs. Low-grade

In this article, there will be lots of references to high-grade and low-grade. Tea grading is the process of evaluating tea leaves. Leaves are assessed based on their quality and condition. Therefore, high-grade tea leaves are of high quality while low-grade are of poor quality.

If you’re still grasping the ins and outs of the tea world, then the most common way to determine that tea is high-quality is through its taste. High-quality tea tastes a lot better, but most of the time, you don’t really get to taste it before you purchase it.

Your best bet is to check the leaves! Here are some characteristics you should consider. Read on for this beginner’s guide to selecting high-quality tea.

1. Dried tea leaves

High-quality dried tea leaves are whole, uniform, and glossy. Different types of teas have different leaf sizes. Apparently, some are big, and some are small, but high-quality ones are not broken. For example, green tea leaves are small. Large green tea leaves are an indication of poor quality.

However, this may not be true to other types of tea. As a tea newbie, you might not exactly know the size of the leaf a type of tea should have to know that it’s high-quality. Thus, the key here is to check the uniformity of leaves. Dried tea leaves should be uniform in sizes and shapes.

selecting high-quality tea

2. Aroma of dried tea leaves

Dried tea leaves give off a beautiful mix of aroma. High-quality tea leaves have stronger and more complex aroma than poor-quality ones. When it’s high-quality and fresh, there’s this distinctive pleasant or savory smell that’s hard to resist!

3. Tippy tea leaves

Tippy teas have generous or greater amounts of tips or hairy leaf buds. The tips are either silver or gold in appearance or color. They’re higher in caffeine and have more delicate flavor and aroma.

When looking for high-grade teas, look for tippy teas as they have been finely plucked and you can be sure that standards have been met. The more tips there are, the better.

4. Properly-rolled leaves

Rolling is an essential process of making tea. Well-rolled leaves are a key to having a flavorful cup. The preferred standard is usually wiry rolled leaves, and there should be consistency or uniformity with the rolling. To achieve this, the leaves should be rolled under accurate pressure right during processing.

When you see that some of the leaves are wiry and some aren’t, it is a sign of poor rolling and results to low-grade teas.

selecting high-quality tea

5. Stalk and flake-free leaves

Some tea leaves come with stalks but the best ones actually shouldn’t have. Tea leaves with stalks indicate that the leaves weren’t plucked finely during harvest. Stalks are also called fibre in CTC style of tea (Cut, Tear, Curl) and immediate stalks in orthodox.

Another indication of not finely plucked leaves is the coarse leaves that you will see in your tea. These are the flat and brittle ones that did not wither along with other leaves. High-grade tea leaves should be free of these flakes.

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Another point to consider in determining a good quality tea is the appearance of its wet leaves when brewed. Granted that you have purchased the best loose leaf teas based on the factors above, you can finally say that you got it right because the leaves should fully open and should pretty much look like how they were during harvest season. Again, the leaves should be largely unbroken.

Lastly, it all boils down to the taste. As mentioned earlier, high-grade teas taste way, way better than those of poor-quality broken tea leaves. So if you’re ready to take the plunge, then it’s time for you to hunt the best-tasting tea!

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Get to Know the Four Main Types of Tea – White, Green, Black, and Oolong

Just like other beverages, there are also different types of tea. Liquor is the term used to refer to brewed tea. This includes essential oils, caffeine, and polyphenols. Essential oils in tea are what make the tea flavorful and aromatic while caffeine gives that energy boost to help you last the day or night.

Polyphenols, on the other hand, are related to antioxidants which fight free radicals to keep our body healthier and away from diseases.

All real tea varieties come from the plant Camellia sinensis, and there are only four types. These are the white, green, black, and oolong tea. Those that are called teas but do not come from Camellia sinensis are often called herbal teas or tisanes.

types of tea

Herbal teas or tisanes are caffeine-free. They contain a decoction of fresh or dried flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds, and herbs that are steeped in boiling water. Although these are technically not teas, they have formed a significant part of the tea industry and culture in the world.

This article will only focus on the real varieties of tea, their origins, characteristics or descriptions, and processing methods. It’s important to know that the types of teas are categorized by the way they are processed or the varying levels of oxidation.

Oxidation refers to the natural process where enzymes in tea leaves interact with oxygen. This chemical reaction results in the browning of tea leaves, which then produces the flavor and aroma in finished teas. When the tea leaves are exposed to oxygen for a longer period, the leaves become darker, and the flavor profile becomes more developed.

Sometimes, the oxidation process could be stopped, could be deliberately initiated, or controlled and then stopped. It depends on the type of tea. There are different methods used to control oxidation. These involve rolling, shaping, and crushing to hasten oxidation while steaming, firing, and roasting the tea leaves to stop it.

So to know more about the four types of teas and their differences, read on.

1. White Tea

Origin

White tea is considered the pinnacle of teas in China and is mainly produced in Zhenghe, Fuding, Songxi, and Jianyang areas of Fujian province.

Description

White tea is the rarest, most delicate, and most refined of all tea types. It has green-gray colored leaf buds with fine white “pekoe” hairs that cover its leaves. Its flavor profile is usually floral, grassy, fruity, apricot, citrus, mild, sweet, and subtle.

Brewed white tea can be pale yellow to light orange.

types of tea

Processing

Most white teas are still handpicked and hand-processed. Farmers choose from different varieties that will best suit white tea. The best ones come from fat buds with plenty of silvery hairs and thick leaves.

White tea can be harvested during spring, autumn, or summer season. However, the taste of the finished product varies largely on when it is picked. Spring season is the best time to harvest as tea is very abundant at this time and are of high quality. Usually it is picked many times and the first two rounds of harvest produce the sweetest and the fattest shoots. Autumn is the second best time to harvest, while summer is the worst.

After harvesting, white tea undergoes heavy withering process. This means that fresh leaves are just left to dry in dormant condition for up to 3 days. Tea-makers have a very stringent task in white tea processing because they need to thoroughly check and facilitate the changes in tea leaves and factors like temperature, humidity, air, and light to achieve the desired results.

With the right conditions and careful monitoring, tea enzymes produce sugars and theanine in white tea leaves which results in its naturally sweet flavor. While there are already artificially-withered tea leaves, those that are naturally-withered still have the best flavor and aroma. Natural withering takes too much time though so it is not often used anymore.

Drying is also another way to process white tea. Some production regions use this as it is more efficient for them than withering. This involves oven-baking the withered leaves several times to reduce moisture.

In summary, white tea processing involves picking the right leaves, spreading them out to wither until moisture reduces to 20%, then drying even further. There’s very minimal heating and no rolling.

2. Green Tea

Origin

Just like white tea, green tea comes from the same variety of Camellia sinensis. Although it mainly originated in China, different types of green tea are now cultivated and produced in many parts of the world like Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, New Zealand, and even Hawaii, and South Carolina.

Description

Even though green tea comes from the same plant variety, not all green teas taste the same. Just like with white tea, its taste is largely affected by the processing method, the part of the plant that was plucked, which season it is harvested, how it is treated (whether organically-grown or with chemicals), and what kind of heat is applied.

The taste also depends on the type of environment the plant grows in – whether it’s tropical, cool, hot, or mountainous, and the different plants that surround it (if there are any).

Typically, a brewed green tea is color green, yellow, or light brown. The flavor profile can be grass-like and toasted (when pan-fired) and vegetal, sweet, and seaweed-like (when steamed). Most green teas are light in color and not very astringent when brewed correctly.

types of tea

Processing

The most widely-consumed types of green teas are from China and Japan and these two countries have different methods of processing. China’s method is pan-fired while Japan’s is steamed. Other countries that also cultivate and produce green tea just adopted the method they desired.

Pan-firing in China involves heating tea leaves in a basket, a pan, or a mechanized rotating drum. This is done to stop the oxidation process. Depending on the style of tea being produced, tea leaves may be pan-fired once or several times.

Pan-firing can be over gas flame, charcoal, or electric heat depending on the flavor tea makers want to produce. In this case, the flavor can vary largely based on the number and the type of firings done. Chinese pan-fired green teas usually come out yellow-green or dark-green with a grassy, earthy, and roasted flavor.

Japan’s steaming process comprises brief steaming within hours of plucking to stop the oxidation process and to produce the vibrant green color of the tea leaves and the brewed tea. Sometimes, green tea is also shade-grown during its cultivation process or roasted during its processing in order to bring out additional flavors.

So basically this is how the processing goes: Steaming/Roasting -> Cooling -> 1st Rolling -> 1st Drying -> Final Rolling -> Final Drying

3. Black Tea

Origin

Black tea is a unique variety since it comes from two different forms of Camellia sinensis – the Camellia sinensis sinensis and Camellia sinensis assamica.

Camellia sinensis sinensis is mainly used in China and East Asian countries and it produces shorter leaves. Camellia sinensis assamica is primarily used in some parts of Sri Lanka and India and it produces larger leaves.

types of tea

Description

Black tea leaves are fully or 100% oxidized which is why they are black in color. Also, black tea has stronger flavor than the rest of the varieties. Black tea is known to retain its flavor for several years unlike green tea which usually loses its flavor within a year.

When black tea is brewed, the color can range from amber to red to dark brown. The flavor profile can range from savory to sweet, malty, earthy, spiced, or nutty depends on how long it’s oxidized and heat-processed. Compared to other varieties, black tea is generally more astringent and bitter. However, if one knows how to brew it correctly, the flavor should come out smooth.

Processing

The methods of processing differ from one region to another but the basic steps include withering, rolling, oxidizing, and drying. There are 2 primary methods that are used in black tea processing. One is the Orthodox method and the other one is Cut, Tear, Curl method (CTC).

With the Orthodox method, more care is placed into tea leaves. Once the leaves are picked, they are allowed to wither in warm air for up to 18 hours then they are rolled into a particular machine to gently press and twist the leaves and begin the oxidation process. The process can take several rounds.

The leaves are cut and then exposed again to the air. This time it’s a climate-controlled environment to continue oxidation. When the leaves reach the proper oxidation level, they are put into a machine to dry and this stops the oxidation process.

Cut, Tea, Curl or CTC method dates back to around 1950s when the teabag industry started gaining popularity. CTC is used in order to come up with a more efficient processing and a production of smaller cut tea leaves. In this method, rolling is skipped; instead, the leaves are minced and broken apart using a machine with rotating blades.

In summary, the processing goes like this (Orthodox): Withering -> 1st Rolling -> Oxidizing/Fermenting -> Drying while for CTC: Withering -> Cutting/Tearing/Curling -> Oxidizing/Fermenting -> Drying

4. Oolong Tea

Origin

Oolong Tea is known to have originated in China and Taiwan. Legend has it that the Chinese gave the name “wulong” to mean “black dragon” because the leaves are big and dark, heavily oxidized and twisted into shapes that resemble the mystical Chinese dragon.

Different types and styles of oolong are already cultivated and produced in some parts of the world today including Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and New Zealand.

Description

The appearance, shape, and flavor of oolong are widely affected by how it is grown and its processing method. Just like the rest of the tea varieties, processing may differ from region to region.

In terms of oxidation, oolong falls somewhere in between green tea (barely oxidized) and black tea (fully oxidized) so it’s often called partially oxidized. This is why you will taste some oolong teas that are more of fresh green tea in flavor and others that taste more like a malty black tea.

The color of the leaves and the brewed tea can be green to golden to brown and the flavor profile can range from light to full-bodied, floral to grassy, and sweet to toasty.

Despite its seeming similarity to green and black tea, oolong is neither a green tea nor a black tea variety. It is really a category or a variety of tea on its own. One way to differentiate it from the rest is through its oxidation and shape.

types of tea

Processing

Oolong tea leaves are traditionally rolled, twisted, or curled into tight balls or thin strands. Rolling is such a crucial step in processing because it can alter or change the appearance, color, and aroma of oolong.

First comes the usual harvesting or picking the tea leaves followed by the withering process. Withering makes the tea leaves soft so that they won’t break when they’re ready to be rolled or shaped.

The tea leaves then need to be cooled after withering. When they’re cool, they begin to wilt and flatten. And when they begin changing shape, they are ready for rolling.

After light rolling, the tea leaves undergo oxidation usually anywhere from 8%-80% level. With this, the color and flavor of the tea depends on the tea master or tea producer. Heat is then applied through roasting, and then final rolling comes in in order to give the final taste or flavor of the oolong tea.

Once the shaped oolong tea leaves are rolled, they will undergo drying to reduce the moisture content.

In summary, it looks like this: Withering -> Cooling -> Light Rolling -> Oxidation -> Roasting -> Final Rolling -> Drying.

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We hope you’ve learned something from this tea guide! It’s always nice to know what kind of tea you are drinking so that you can adjust your taste as necessary and you can also experiment on other types of teas.

Whichever tea best fits you, enjoy your tea break!

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