blog

proper tea storage

Proper Tea Storage: Keep It Fresh!

A lot of you tea enthusiasts are probably already investing in different kinds of tea. Whether you constantly keep fresh and quality tea leaves or hoard a variety of packed herbal teas, it’s imperative that you learn the proper tea storage. It is not rocket science, but there are times it is overlooked.

Storing your tea properly is tantamount to keeping your stash fresh every time. Tea is delicious, and you can only fully appreciate that if you consume it fresh. Nobody wants a stale tea because it alters the natural flavors and it is not enjoyable to drink at all.

To keep things simple, remember that the main culprits are air, humidity, temperature, sunlight/heat, and odors. Here are the most important things you should consider. Keep your tea away from the following.

1. Oxygen

With exposure to oxygen, tea leaves become oxidized more and more. This affects the flavor profile and freshness of the tea, especially for green tea and white tea where oxidation is deliberately stopped during production. The most common piece of advice is to store your tea in air-tight containers. However, this doesn’t mean that the containers are air-free.

Even though you store your tea in air-tight containers, some air is still circulating between the leaves, and between the leaves and the top of the container. Manufacturers have different ways of addressing that concern. Some of them have nitrogen-flushing techniques when they seal the tea with a vacuum. This prevents tea from getting exposed to oxygen during storage.

proper tea storage

Now for you in your household who don’t have access to advanced methods, the best thing to do is to invest in quality air-tight containers or re-sealable zipper pouches that keep oxygen or air away from your tea as much as possible. It also helps to be mindful of when you open the container.

Sometimes, there’s the habit of opening and closing the container even though you’re actually not going to drink tea. As a best practice, only open the container when you are already going to brew your tea, or when it’s really necessary.

2. Direct sunlight

Exposing tea to light is a sure-fire way to degrade its flavor and appearance. You don’t want your tea to taste metallic. So aside from storing tea leaves in air-tight containers, make sure the containers are not transparent. If you don’t have any non-transparent containers or jars, then at least ensure that they are kept away from light.

3. Heat

Near the gas burner or oven is not the right place to store your tea. Yup, you got that right! Any proximity to heat will significantly affect the appearance and flavor of the tea. In short, store your tea in a cool, dark place.

Some green and white teas are best stored in the freezer or refrigerator because of their delicate nature. Keeping them in really cool storage areas will slow down oxidation reactions, but this should be done with utmost care. If this is what you want to do, it’s best to pack the tea in small carefully-sealed packets that you will only be using throughout the week. This keeps your overall supply fresh.

Remember to clear out or squeeze out as much air as you can from the special tea packets to prevent moisture from developing on the leaf surface. The most important step is for you to open the packet only at room temperature. When you first remove the packet from the freezer or refrigerator, obviously it will still be cold and moist. Let it sit for a few hours before use until it reaches room temperature.

If you feel that the packets cannot be sealed enough, then you don’t have to store your tea leaves in the refrigerator. Just get yourself an opaque, airtight container.

4. Moisture

About storing your tea in a cool, dry place, it is also advisable to keep your tea away from humidity or moisture. Moisture is the worst culprit in tea storage. Since tea leaves are dry, they can absorb moisture quickly and easily. This results in unpleasant odor and taste, as well as molding and caking.

Some sources of moisture are boiling water, above a dishwasher vent, near the sink, or inside the refrigerator – which is why as explained in the previous item (heat), use carefully-sealed packets and only open them at room temperature if ever you decide to keep delicate teas in the freezer or refrigerator.

5. Strong Odor

Tea absorbs moisture as much as it absorbs strong odor. This means that you should carefully choose where you put your tea. It should be away from spices, cheese, soap, or anything that has a strong odor. It’s not just the smell or scent that will put you off but also the flavor. Your tea will develop an unpleasant taste when in contact with a strong odor that often, it tastes like the item with that odor. You don’t want a tea that tastes like soap, so keep your container in a safe spot.

With this being said, it’s also essential that you choose a container that’s already free from impurities. Remember to wash and dry it very well before storing your tea leaves inside. The recommended types of containers are those that are made of non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and plastic containers that do not absorb smells or flavors.

Need to know!
• Green and white teas (less oxidized) deteriorate more quickly than black and oolong teas (more oxidized).

tisanes

What Are Herbal Teas or Tisanes?

Did you know? The herbal tea you’ve been drinking is not really tea. It’s called a tisane (pronounced ti-zahn). Herbal teas or tisanes do not come from Camellia sinensis or tea plant. “Real teas” or those that come from the tea plant are white, black, green, and oolong tea. Tisanes, on the other hand, are infusions from leaves, barks, roots, flowers, seeds, fruits, and spices.

There are many different types of tisanes which are usually derived from the parts of the plant they come from. Some of the few examples are the following.

• Leaves – lemongrass, peppermint, rooibos
• Roots – ginger, turmeric, echinacea
• Fruits – peach, apples, berries
• Seeds/spices – anise, cardamom, fennel
• Flowers – hibiscus, chamomile, rose, lavender
• Barks – cinnamon, black cherry

At this point, it’s already established that a tisane is not tea, although you’ll most likely hear everyone call it a tea. Don’t worry, that doesn’t make tisane any less worthy because it actually tastes good when steeped properly. A lot of tisanes are known to have amazing health benefits too! There’s probably a herbal tea for every ailment. Just be sure to check with your doctor if you are taking any medications that might react negatively with the tisanes.

tisanes

Here are some benefits of tisanes.

Peppermint – decongestant, anti-inflammatory, helps suppress appetite

Dried Ginger – has antihistamine properties, anti-inflammatory, eases motion sickness, flavor booster

Lemon balm – has calming effects, alleviates digestive problems, helps ease common colds, helps treat headaches and toothaches

Chamomile – helps treat sleep and stomach troubles, antibacterial

Hibiscus – helps lower blood pressure, high in vitamins, diuretic

Cinnamon – lowers cholesterol, fights viruses, increases antioxidants,

Rooibos – helps with skin irritations, contains cancer-fighting properties

Fennel – relieves indigestion, soothes stomach

Lavender – promotes calmness

Echinacea – improves cold, flu, and sinusitis symptoms

Lemongrass – relieves indigestion, bloating, flatulence, headaches, nervous exhaustion

There are also significant differences between tea and tisane. For one, all teas have caffeine while tisanes don’t. The preparations are also something to take note of. The steeping time for tea is generally shorter than that of tisane.

How to Prepare Tisanes

Infusion

For lightweight plant materials like leaves, flowers, and fruits, infusion is usually done. The preparation can be done in a variety of tools such as using a French press, ceramic or glass teapot, stainless steel pot, or bamboo infuser. Using an aluminum pot is never recommended because aluminum is a reactive metal. It can react with some types of plants, and may produce toxins in your drink.

To start the infusion, bring water to a boil then pour it into the herbs or tisanes. Let it sit covered for twenty minutes. Strain the herb, and choose to drink tea immediately or let it cool to room temperature or refrigerate. It’s pretty much the same with how you steep tea but with tisanes, it will take longer.

Decoction

For thick or hard plant materials such as barks and roots, decoction is the process. In this case, the tisanes are simmered (not steeped) in longer periods of time. The method is to place the plant materials in boiling water for 15-20 minutes to release more essential oils and flavors. Sometimes the barks and roots are smashed into pieces first to make it quicker and easier to simmer.

tisanes

After infusion or decoction, you can still do the process again given that the plant materials still give off strong tasting tea. The brewing times and proportion vary because plants have different surfaces and densities. A general rule of thumb is: 1 teaspoon of dried, cut, and sifted herb, or 2 tablespoons of fresh herb per 8 ounces of water. If you’re keen in using the weight method, you can have .5-5 grams of dried herb, or herbal combination for every 1 cup of water.

Source: Preparing Medicinal Teas | Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine

Tisanes have several variety and types that the choices can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, you can look at the most common types listed above. If you decide to purchase, most manufacturers include instructions for infusion or decoction.

A word of caution – Although there are so many claims about the health benefits of herbal teas, be proactive in doing your own research and asking the experts especially if you are trying to treat an ailment. It’s best to avoid teas with artificial flavorings. Organic ones are still better.

15 Delicious Ways You Can Use Matcha

There’s a bunch of super creative uses for matcha green tea. Yup, we hear matcha lovers rejoice! The popular powdered green tea has entered the mainstream for all good reasons. It’s been loved by many because of its earthy sweet taste, as well as the good things it does for the body.

Unsweetened matcha green tea drink is best because there’s no added sugar. Some people are put off by its grassy taste though, so if you want something sweeter, you can opt to use natural sweeteners and add moderate amounts only. That’s if you really want to reap the potential benefits of green tea.

Now if you are feeling a little more experimental or if you want to try something new, not to mention score an extra dose of anti-oxidants, there are several food recipes that make good use of matcha! You already know about matcha latte or smoothie. Take a look at these ideas. For sure, you will love at least one or two of these.

1. Seasoning for side dishes – If you are fond of side dishes, sprinkle matcha powder instead of salt, pepper, or other spices. You can also experiment and mix it with other spices and see if it comes out tasty for you.

2. Miso soup – This traditional Japanese soup can be prepared in many ways depending on the chef. Usually, there are vegetables and meat. The soup can be salty. Try adding matcha powder to counter the saltiness.

3. Chicken tenders – Mix matcha powder with panko (in Japanese cooking) or breadcrumbs that have light and flaky texture. Just do the usual routine of drenching the chicken tender in seasoned flour, then egg, then the matcha + panko mixture. Delicious when baked!

4. Chicken or pork curry – Easy! Just add matcha powder to your spices, and cook as usual.

5. Matcha Granola Bars – If you want a new kind of boost before doing your daily activities, start preparing your matcha granola bars. These will be a runner’s delight for sure.

6. Matcha Oatmeal – We mean yes! Matcha might have a strange taste for some, and you might not like it at all in your oatmeal but just try and see how it goes out. Add a sweetener if you must!

7. Matcha Chia Seeds Pudding – This one’s famous. No need for fancy equipment; just a little patience to wait it out while it’s sitting in the fridge to achieve its creamy and thick texture. This is perfect for breakfast or snacks.

8. Homemade Ice Cream & Ice Pops – This one’s even more famous! You will see matcha-flavored ice cream and ice pops in most stores nowadays. When you chance upon really good ones, you’re in for a never-ending adventure. You’d want to recreate and make your own for daily consumption. LOL

matcha ice cream

9. Sandwich Spread – So have you heard of this? This certainly exists! Think matcha milk jam, matcha milk peanut spread, and matcha cream cheese spread. Go ahead and google those!

10. Guacamole – Two very trendy foods today: matcha and avocado. What more can you ask for? Yup, quick and easy. Best for dips and salads. Holy guacamole!

11. Matcha Rice – Are you a rice person? This might interest you! It’s pretty much like adding matcha flavor to your rice. Go try it!

12. Matcha Jello – Perfect snacks for kids and kids at heart. Matcha Jello or jell-o makes a good dessert in your home.

13. Matcha Popcorn – Love popcorn? Now you can have a healthier version of your movie marathon snack. Add matcha powder instead of cheese for a change.

14. Ice cubes – Yes to matcha ice cubes! You’re probably familiar of coffee ice cubes, milk, or whatnot. Add matcha to the list. It’s a perfect addition to your cocktail drinks, lemonades, or juices.

15. Sweet treats & baked goods – There are a ton of these that you can make. Thanks to the ever versatile matcha. If you’re tired of your usual ingredients, spice up your baking life by having matcha as your new staple. Here are some ideas.

Pancakes

Donuts

Cupcakes

Cookies

Brownies

Cheesecake bars

Muffins

Pretzels

Butter cups

Souffle

Waffles

Croissants

Cream puffs

Macarons

Ice cream sandwich

Yey, are you ready to make your own matcha-infused recipe? Now go and enjoy!

12 Easy Tea Drink Recipes You Can Try At Home

The health benefits and delicious taste of tea are undeniable. Tea is best when consumed on its own because that’s how you will get the most potential benefits. You probably already know that, but of course, you can also create a variety of easy tea drink recipes using other different ingredients.

We scoured these recipes from the world wide web so that when you’re feeling a little experimental, you can try them at home. The full recipes are linked below.

1. Sweet Cinnamon Milk Tea

This sweet and creamy milk tea with a hint of cinnamon is perfect for relaxation.

2. Chai Tea Latte

This has been a favorite of several coffee lovers. The good thing is you don’t have to spend so much to make this. It’s homemade, and just as tasty as what you get from a coffee shop, or maybe even better.

3. Organic Pumpkin Spice

You don’t have to wait for fall to taste a natural and tastier pumpkin spice. Just make your own!

4. Strawberry Sweet Tea

If you love the natural sweetness of strawberries or fruits, you can try strawberry sweet tea.

5.  Vegan Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea is a well-loved drink. This recipe has no pretensions. It’s simply natural, creamy, and very easy to do.

6. Iced Orange Ginger Green Tea

Craving for iced green tea? This recipe is fruit-flavored that’s packed with antioxidants and detoxifying benefits.

7. Honey Coconut Matcha Latte

Matcha has garnered a solid fan base through the years, and it deserves such because of its unique taste, as well as health benefits. If you want to skip the caffeine jitters, you might want to try this matcha latte.

8. Turmeric Golden Milk Tea

This soothing & immune-boosting tea helps with digestive issues, and promotes good quality sleep.

9. Pineapple Cranberry Sun Tea

Here’s another fruity and refreshing tea with pineapple and cranberry. Have your dose of sweet fruits by re-creating this sun tea.

10. Ginger Root Tea

Not a lot may like ginger tea, but it is actually delicious! For added taste, you can put cinnamon, lemon, or honey. It also helps boost metabolism.

11. Green Tea Cucumber Cocktail

A touch of alcohol doesn’t hurt. This recipe can be the perfect party cocktail for you. Try it!

12. Raspberry Green Tea Smoothie

Smoothies have become popular and trending drinks these past few years, which is why this list won’t be complete without at least one tea smoothie. This smoothie recipe is a refreshing fruit and creamy yogurt in a cold drink.

Hope you can try at least one of the recipes above. Tea is a very versatile drink so you can always add other ingredients that you think your taste buds will love.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

Cold brew coffee is not new. It has been around for many years, and although its real origin is still unknown, there are already a lot of coffee companies or shops that have created their own version. If you remember from our previous post – Coffee Trends for 2017 – cold brew was rightfully included in the list. As many coffee experts and enthusiasts have predicted, it has become mainstream for all the good reasons!

Cold brew is not your usual iced coffee. Although the process is quite easy, it can get complicated because it involves a much longer or slower brewing time, and the resulting taste depends on several factors. The good thing is that it’s not limited to coffee shops or skilled baristas only. You can make your own cold brew coffee at home as long as you have the ingredients, and the tools.

Before learning how to make a DIY cold brew, take some time to know more about it first, and see if it is something you want to do.

Cold brew coffee is brewed with room temperature water or cold water for 12-24 hours.

You are free to choose how long you want to steep the coffee. The rule of thumb is that the longer you steep, the stronger and more flavorful the concentrate will be. With cold brew, coffee is not subjected to any type of heat at all. The water temperature impacts the extraction rate which is why cold brew takes a much longer time to steep.

Cold brew usually has more caffeine content.

Generally, cold brew is more caffeinated than a hot-brewed coffee. It is said to have 67% less acidity, but it also depends on so many factors such as the water temperature, ratio of grounds to water, brewing time, type of coffee beans, as well as its grind size.

Although not a guarantee that it’s always effective, it has been offered to people who have sensitive stomach or acid reflux. It may have worked for some people but it’s also not true for all cold brews. Since there are no heating elements involved during the cold brew process, the oils that contain acid in the coffee beans aren’t extracted as much as it is when the coffee is brewed hot.

If you badly need caffeine but find it hard to drink hot brew, then perhaps you can give cold brew a try to see if it fits your need.

Cold brew’s flavor profile depends on the brewing method.

As to whether it tastes better than hot brew or not is a matter of personal opinion. The general opinion of the drinking public is that cold brew tastes smoother and sweeter because of lower extraction rate. You may also hear others say that it’s dull, dead, and flat. But it is also important to note that the flavors of your cold brew depend on how you brew it.

There are two basic or common methods to cold brew, and each has its own impact to the resulting flavor.

Immersion Method

With immersion method, you just need to combine water and course coffee grounds in a container or a jar, let it sit for 12 up to 24 hours, whichever you please. Once time’s up, you can start straining the grounds. Easy peasy, right?

Because it’s simple, a lot of coffee enthusiasts prefer the immersion process. Just set it, then forget it. Also, you don’t need fancy tools or materials for this process. So how’s the flavor? The immersion method gives you a balanced flavor, which means that it isn’t too bitter or acidic. It also produces a full-bodied flavor and great mouth feel.

Since the method saturates the coffee grounds for a long period of time, the result is a smooth and low acidity coffee with lower flavor notes. Just a note – if you’re looking for brighter notes, and more pleasant coffee flavor, the immersion method is not for you.

Ice Drip Method

This method requires special equipment which is an ice drip cold brew tower found oftentimes in coffee shops. Cold water just drips into the coffee and the grounds absorb it. The coffee then drips into a jar or container underneath. It’s pretty much like making a pour-over coffee but this one needs an equipment since you have to keep the drip going for the entire day or up to 24 hours as desired.

With the drip method, you get a wide range of flavors – clean, floral, and fruity notes. It has higher acidity than the cold brew that’s made from immersion, but if you are willing to give that up for a cleaner cup of brews, then this one’s for you.

One thing that might make this challenging for you is the equipment especially if you plan to do it at home. You may need to have your own dripper, or build one yourself. Also, if you are fond of making large batches, it can be time-consuming because you can only generate a small batch of cold brew at one time.

Save your fresh coffee beans for hot-brewed coffee.

Yes, you read that right! With cold brew, a lot of the solubles from the beans do not get extracted so there’s really no need to whip your fresh coffee beans at all. Your two-week old beans can still produce sweet and quality cold brew. Don’t get too far out though! Coffee beans that have been lying around for months or so won’t give you good cold brew anymore.

Also, cold brew uses course coffee grounds because the steeping process lasts longer. If the grounds are too fine, then over-extraction may occur which will result to bitter-tasting coffee.

Basic formula for DIY cold brew

Cold brew can be expensive in coffee shops so if you want to make your own, you can certainly do so. You can follow this basic formula: 1 pound of ground beans to one gallon of water. You can even reduce it to a quarter pound beans to 4 cups of water if you like.

If you just want to make your own at home, here are the basic steps you can follow for the immersion method.

1. Put the course ground coffee beans in the jar or container, add cold or room temperature water, and then stir. Some people go against stirring because it oxidizes the coffee. They just let the coffee grounds absorb the water. Other people tried stirring, and didn’t have complaints.

2. Stir the mixture properly using a wooden spoon until it looks like mud. Again, you can skip this if you don’t feel like stirring.

3. Let the mixture steep for 12-24 hours. It’s up to you how long you want it.

4. Once done with steeping, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towel, and strain the coffee grounds. Have another jar or container ready for your brew. Just wait for 1-2 minutes to complete.

5. Discard the coffee grounds and keep your coffee concentrate – a.k.a. cold brew – in the fridge, or pour right away to a glass. You can dilute it with water if you want to mellow down the strong flavor. Use one part brew, one part water.

You can even add milk, cream, or sweetener to counter the bitter flavor. The coffee concentrate can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Here’s a video of the immersion method from The Protein Chef. In this case, you will see that the coffee grounds were strained twice.

So, you ready now to make your own cold brew?

Avoid Adding These 5 Extras to Your Coffee, and Stay Healthy

 

Coffee drinkers are in for a healthy treat because coffee itself is one of the healthiest beverages in the world, but that’s until people start adding unhealthy stuff into it. True, the add-ons are exciting, and they taste great too! But we’re going to be a little bit of the devil’s advocate here, and lure you into the healthier direction.

Whether you’re making your own coffee at home, or you’re ordering one from a coffee shop of your choice, there’s always a chance that you ask for add-ons. Coffee in itself is already healthy, but we know for sure that not everyone goes for pure black.

So if you’re not into black coffee, it’s best to make an effort to avoid the unhealthy add-ons because they can add up real quick. Here are 5 extras you should avoid adding to your coffee.

1. Sugar

Sugar is up there on the list. Ironically, it’s also one of the most common things that people add to their coffee. Understandably, it’s the most accessible, and could be the cheapest.

Of course, a little sugar won’t hurt but if you’re the type who drinks coffee thrice a day or even more, then those bits of sugar and empty calories can easily pile up! Let’s say you drink three cups of coffee daily – 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup is about 48 grams in total. It’s more than the sugar content in most sodas. Double or triple that if you drink more than 3 cups a day, and if you usually add more than 2 teaspoons per cup.

Instead of sugar, you can add natural sweeteners such as a few dashes of cinnamon, a tablespoon of honey, or cardamom. Cardamom is a spice that’s common in the Middle East, and it gives more exotic flavor to your drink.

5 extras to your coffee

2. Non-Dairy Creamers

These are mostly corn syrup solids, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Corn syrup solids (and even liquids) are an added sugar and they contribute to obesity and heart diseases.

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils have trans fats which can be the worst type of fats you can ever consume. Trans fats are artificial fatty acids created in an industrial setting process. Basically, hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

Trans fats, along with corn syrup solids, are strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes.

To avoid non-dairy creamers, you can use coconut milk creamer instead. This contains organic coconut milk and is better for your health.

3. Skim Milk

For many years, you are probably going for skim milk or low-fat milk in favor of whole or full-fat milk. Skim milk isn’t at all bad but it does retain all the sugar. Research suggests that there’s no enough evidence backing the superior effects of skim milk.

Studies even showed that because people reduce the amount of fats they consume, they also tend to increase their sugar or carbohydrates intake which can have bad effects on insulin, and can eventually lead to diabetes.

In a separate study, respondents who consumed the most high-fat dairy products lowered their risk of obesity.

4. Flavor Shots or Syrups

Of course you love flavor! Syrups add taste to your beverage but consuming a lot of these doesn’t do any good to your health. Flavor shots such as caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, and even pumpkin spice contain lots of sugar!

Avoid these flavored syrups and opt for natural sugar-free add-ons. A few drops of vanilla, peppermint, or nut extracts such as that of hazelnut or almonds are good alternatives.

5. Other sugar substitutes / Artificial Sweeteners

Whipped cream is a common add-on to coffee but is one of the unhealthiest food items out there. Worse, using whipped cream in a can gives no nutritional value. It’s only loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

A lot of the fats contained in cream are saturated fats which is associated with high cholesterol. So when you usually go overboard with your cream, it can have a negative impact to your waistline.

Now it might be hard for you to completely avoid these flavory add-ons especially when you’ve been ingesting them for quite some time, and you are already used to them. You can start by reducing the amounts before entirely eliminating them from your coffee.

If you really cannot eliminate them, then at least make sure that you are taking them in very modest amounts, and carefully take note of how much of those you include in your diet.

Stay healthy!

5 Meaningful Ways to Become an Awesome Coffee Lover

You know you’re a coffee lover, enthusiast, or even a die-hard coffee drinker when almost “everything” in your life is associated with coffee. You can’t survive your morning or your entire day without coffee. You can’t think creatively without coffee in your system. And everything just doesn’t seem right without your favorite beverage. Even your social media posts are all about coffee!

Of course we know it – you are already awesome! Given that you love coffee so much, it would also be nice to level up your coffee drinking game by taking part in little yet meaningful ways to make this world a better place. Here are some more ways to become an awesome coffee lover!

1. Support organic coffee.

A lot of the toxins, pesticides, and chemicals from conventional farming are harmful to the environment. Although these chemicals don’t necessarily get into your cup of coffee, they had such a huge impact during farming. They can pollute the waterways and can be hazardous to the farmers, workers, and animals.

It is also a great idea to support shade-grown coffee whenever you can. This kind of coffee comes from coffee plants that are grown under a canopy of trees. According to this article from Serious Eats, there is no significant difference in taste between shade-grown coffee and one that is not. This may not be the point-of-view of everyone as there are probably others who swear by the taste of organic coffee or of another variety.

Whatever the case is though and as long as coffee beans are cultivated and processed properly, shade-grown coffee plants will not only taste great but also positively impact the biodiversity of a landscape.

Fruit trees such as avocado, banana, orange, and lemon, as well as cedars, and some forest trees can provide a canopy or shade for coffee plants. Together, they all create a harmonious nitrogen balance. This kind of setup also promotes sustainability of more species.

In short, although shade-grown coffee may have little to no effect on the taste of the coffee you drink, it does have an important impact on the environment. And it is more fulfilling for you as a coffee lover if you are able to help in that kind of way.

2. Use a compostable coffee cup.

Using styrofoam coffee cups are common. In fact, almost all coffee shops employ this method because styrofoam is more sturdy, and such a great insulator. It helps keep the coffee warm for longer. However, it doesn’t help the environment at all. These coffee cups just fill up landfills, never degrade, and will forever be wastes.

Whenever you can, consider using compostable or biodegradable coffee cups, or choose coffee shops that support this environment-friendly cause. There are already coffee shops that are making a move to support positive change by replacing their plastic or styrofoam cups with compostable ones.

When hosting gatherings at home, you can serve your coffee or drinks using compostable cups too. Try looking for a set online that can also give value for your money.

This article mentioned that there’s a new packaging idea to support an environmental project. The company called Reuse, Reduce, Grow created coffee cups that have flowers and seeds embedded in the lining. These cups will degrade in less than 200 days and allow the seeds to grow. The idea is that they can plant the cups in the appropriate area in their community or give the cups to any coffee shop that supports this project.

3. Invest in a travel mug.

In relation to the second item, investing in a travel mug is also a meaningful way to help the environment because this avoids the use of disposable non-compostable coffee cups. If you order coffee frequently, or if your office serves free coffee, then bringing your own mug or cup is a great idea! For one, you eliminate waste, and also, you get to bring your favorite mug.

As a bonus, you might want to look for coffee shops near you that sell their own travel mug. Perhaps they give a discount or some sort of a reward if you use it when ordering your coffee. It’s a win-win situation.

4. Consider using a reusable filter.

If you love pour-over coffee, then it’s well worth it if you consider using a reusable filter. A lot of people invest in one-time use paper filters because they’re easy to dispose of and mess-free plus they might like the brighter, sweeter taste as a result.

However, in some cases, paper filters can also leave behind residues that can affect your coffee’s flavor. Also, although they are generally cheaper per piece, the costs can add up real quick especially if you brew coffee several times a day.

Stainless steel or metal coffee drip filters can be expensive depending on the type and brand, but it can save you money in the long run because you don’t have to purchase again and again. Metal filters usually result to a visually darker coffee and more robust or full-bodied taste.

Also, you might be thinking that metal filters are a pain to clean. That may be true in some instances which is why it’s important to look for filters that are easy to clean. Kitchables Pour-Over Coffee Drip Filter is a great option because it has dual filter micro-mesh technology that’s very easy to clean. This ensures absolutely no clogging as the mesh feels like silk to the touch. It’s also dishwasher safe.

Aside from that, its stainless steel material ensures permanence unlike glass or stoneware filters that easily break or paper filters that are for one-time use only. This can reduce your carbon footprint and help save the environment one coffee cup at a time.

5. Support local coffee shops.

There are several reasons why you should. First of all, it’s not guilt-tripping over you choosing the corporate businesses over the local ones. It’s just saying that local shops are worth visiting and knowing more.

As soon as these local shops put up their businesses, they know the need of the community, and they most likely have a vision. They choose to open their business despite the risks involved. They also most likely employ people from the locality, and so this gives way to more jobs in the community.

The profits stay local so it provides significant growth of revenue to the community too. Aside from that, it’s easier to reach out to the owners because they’re most likely locals. There’s a bigger chance that they will act upon your needs right away because they are reachable.

Thus, it creates a more harmonious relationship among the people in the community. Isn’t that a great way to build genuine connections? That certainly makes the world a better place!

Now, here’s to hoping you give these 5 meaningful ways a try, and help promote positive change in the society.

How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Coffee or Tea Kettle

Surely, you want to make sure that your coffee or tea is great-tasting every single time. The thing is that even if you make the best coffee or tea but your equipment isn’t clean enough, you will still end up with a bad-tasting beverage. And nobody wants that. Make sure your coffee or tea tastes great all the time! Here are some tips on how to clean your stainless steel coffee or tea kettle.

First of all, we have to clarify that a tea kettle and a teapot are two different things. A tea kettle is what you use to boil water on the stove, then to be poured into your teapot. However, due to modern technology, there are already manufacturers that create a “tea kettle and teapot in one” as this is more convenient and time-saving for many.

Cleaning your kettle with dish soap and water regularly will keep it clean enough, but in some cases, you may need to remove some stubborn stains or hard water buildup from the inside of the kettle. This commonly happens, so it is really essential to remove the buildup to avoid any damage to your kettle, as well as negatively affect the taste of your coffee or tea.

Descaling is the process of removing limescale buildup from the metal surface inside the kettle. Water commonly builds up in places with hard water containing minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals dissolve into the water, and when this water comes in contact with metal like the inside of the kettle, it hardens when it dries. It can be difficult to get rid of when you leave it for a long time.

Most of the things you need for descaling can easily be found in your household or the local store. The methods to descale are also very doable. You can do this to a stovetop kettle, and even to an electronic kettle (either corded or cordless).

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a common acidic ingredient that can help descale water buildup, as well as remove stains and rust. Also, take note that the strong smell of vinegar can stay in the kettle for quite some time so it’s best to boil water alone in the kettle for 2-3 times or even more until the smell is gone.

You need:  

– White vinegar or apple cider vinegar

– Water

– Soft cloths or scrubbing pads

Steps to clean: 

1. Fill the kettle with one part water and one part vinegar.

2. Bring the liquid mixture to a boil.

3. Allow the mixture to keep boiling for at least 15 minutes.

4. Drain the kettle, and refill it with water.

5. Boil the water for another 15 minutes.

6. Dispose the water and wait for the kettle to cool down.

7. Unplug it (for electronic), and use a soft cloth or a scrubbing pad to wipe off the insides of the kettle.

8. Wash the kettle and rinse completely with clean water.

Additional tip:

Dilute vinegar on a soft cloth and use it to polish the exterior of the tea kettle.

Using Citrus Juice

Sometimes, the manufacturers disapprove of using vinegar as a cleaning agent. In this case, you can use pre-squeezed citrus juice such as that of lemons or limes as an alternative.

You need:

– Lemons or limes (1 to 2 tablespoons of its juice will do)

– Baking soda

– Water

– Soft cloths or scrubbing pads

Steps to clean:

1. Put 1-2 tablespoons of citrus juice to the kettle and fill it with water.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Allow it to keep boiling for 30 minutes.

4. Drain the kettle and refill it with plain water.

5. Boil the water for 15 minutes.

6. Wait for the kettle to cool down.

7. Add some baking soda to the kettle and use a soft cloth to wipe out the interior.

Additional tip:

If you’re using fresh fruit, you can slice the fruit after extracting its juice, and add it into the kettle during the first boil. The citric acid from the pulp and peel also helps to soften the buildup even more.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is another popular cleaning agent. It’s not hard to find and can be used for nearly everything in your house that needs cleaning.

You need:

– Baking soda

– Water

– Soft cloths or scrubbing pads

– Bottle scrubber (like the ones used for baby milk bottles)

Steps to clean: 

1. Put one cup of baking soda into the kettle.

2. Fill the kettle with water and bring it to a boil.

3. Remove the kettle from the heat and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

4. Using a bottle scrubber, gently scrub the interior of the kettle.

5. For leftover buildup, pour most of the boiled water then leave out just a small amount.

6. Put additional baking soda.

7. Using a scrub brush or pad, mix the baking soda and water until you create a paste.

8. Continue scrubbing the interior of the kettle. Add more baking soda as necessary.

9. Once done with scrubbing, wash the kettle as normal and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Additional tips:

Use soft scrubbing brush or pads only to avoid further damaging your kettle. It’s best to use nylon or plastic scrubs.

Never allow the kettle to boil dry as it will create scorch marks on the inside, and it will be even harder to clean it again.

Take care of your equipment! It’s your investment too! 🙂

Tea Cultures Around The World

There’s no doubt about it – tea is well-loved by so many people worldwide. Most countries have embraced tea as part of their culture. Tea is served in every celebration or even in day to day life. Aside from that, the potential health benefits of tea are truly encompassing.

With the popularity of tea, have you ever wondered how tea is consumed in some parts of the world? Well, we got curious! We previously featured Coffee Cultures Around the World, so we think a feature about Tea Cultures should also be in order. Let’s start, shall we?

1. China

Most tea enthusiasts are probably aware that tea was known to have originated in China. With this, Chinese tea culture is famous in the world. Originally, tea was consumed for medicinal purposes only, but eventually monks drank it due to its soothing effects.

Traditional tea ceremonies began to be for religious reasons only. Through the years and centuries, these ceremonies became a ground for social and cultural activities. Gongfu cha is a famous tea ceremony in China which stands for the preparation of oolong tea. The oolong tea is served to guests as a sign of respect. The guests would usually hold the cup with both hands and take three sips.

2. Malaysia

The making of tea in Malaysia is quite unique. The country’s signature brew has black tea, sugar, and condensed milk. It’s called teh tarik or pulled tea and has a distinct frothy texture. The tradition has developed through the years, which also highlights the performance or the making of the tea.

It’s called pulled tea because the brewers pour the beverage, or drink back and forth between mugs. This process is said to give the tea access to cool air while it’s transferred from one mug to another. Watching the tea being mixed is like watching a graceful dance as the brew leaps from one mug to the other without losing a drop.

3. India

India has several different variants of tea given that it’s a huge producer and consumer. Among the many variants, a classic part of everyday living in the country is chai tea blends. It contains black tea leaves, and spices such as cardamom, pepper, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

It’s a spicy burst of flavor that is a favorite among locals and a lot of tourists too. It’s sipped on the go and also offered in most guesthouses, as well as in the streets. The brew is sold by vendors in clay cups and some even say that the dust from the cups constitutes the true taste of the beverage.

4. Hong Kong

Being located just on the south coast of China and a colony of Britain until 1997, Hong Kong has both the influences of Chinese and British. But the nice thing is that it has come up with its unique blend in the form of a Hong Kong-style milk tea. This milk tea contains hot black tea and is served with sugar and milk (either condensed or evaporated).

Tea’s flavor is usually overpowered when milk is added, so it is over-steeped to create a stronger brew that can keep up with the taste of the milk. Traditionally, tea is consumed by itself after a meal, but nowadays, it’s very common to see locals drink tea served with food at any time of the day.

5. Tibet

Known to be the “roof of the world” due to its high altitude, Tibet has a very distinctive tea culture. Tibetans enjoy two main types of tea – one is the butter tea, and second is the sweet milk tea. Both are found only in Tibet, but the more popular one is butter tea.

The traditional tea of Tibet called po cha is brewed by boiling Pemagul tea for long hours, then comes the milk, salt, and yak butter. Since the mixture is churned together, it creates a blend that has a soup-like consistency. Butter, being the main ingredient aside from tea, provides lots of calories which is very fit for a high-altitude kind of living.

Butter tea has been a large part of Tibetan tea culture so it’s usually drank daily and served to guests all the time.

6. Thailand

It has been said that most Thai people still don’t drink tea, and tea is rarely on a Thai menu. The tea culture that evolved through the years started when refugees fled to Thailand during the Chinese Civil War. They brought with them their tea tradition, and eventually most of them were awarded Thai citizenship so they were able to harvest tea plantations for their livelihood.

The tea that Thais know nowadays is the amber-colored iced tea or cha yen – a blend of Ceylon or Assam tea with added sugar, condensed milk, and spices like tamarind, star anise, and orange blossom. Some even add evaporated milk on top to create an ombre effect. The tea is served with ice in a tall glass – sweet and spicy, high caloric content, and best of all, it’s perfect for the hot weather.

7. Japan

Tea culture in Japan is famous in the world. Tea has been a significant part of the country’s food culture. The choices are diverse but the most popular type is green tea. Matcha, the powdered green tea, is Japan’s most preferred blend.

There’s so much thought put into the preparation of a tea ceremony. It includes prepping the home, how guests are invited, the order of when the utensils are brought into the room, the cleaning and warming of the tea equipment, the brewing period, and the cleanup time after the ceremony.

8. Taiwan

Taiwan is famous for its bubble tea. It is said to be an innovation coming from the Chinese. The base tea used is either black, green, jasmine, or oolong tea. Then powdered milk and sugary syrup are added. The bubbles that are referred to here are actually tapioca pearls (starchy white grain). However, this is a relatively new culture that only started back in 1988 when a manager at a tea house dropped some tapioca balls on her tea. It’s like an accidental invention!

Traditional Taiwanese tea ceremonies are pretty much just like that of Chinese. It’s performed in a peaceful and serene environment and high-regard is put into appreciating the smell of the tea. There are scent cups or sniffer cups that they use just to inhale the tea’s aroma, and then they drink tea in separate tea cups.

9. Morocco

Morocco’s hot Touareg tea, or Morrocan mint tea is a prominent part of the country’s culture. Serving tea to guests is strongly associated to the Moroccans’ hospitality. When making this blend, you need a mix of mint, green tea leaves, and a large quantity of hard sugar. When served, the tea is poured from high up into slim glasses and is served three times to guests. Each glass means differently – life, love, and death.

10. Argentina

Yerba mate is considered the national drink of Argentina. Even though it’s not really the tea that comes from tea plant itself, it has been part of the Argentinians’ culture. It’s a herbal tea that’s called the “drink of the gods”, prepared in a small pot, and drunk from a special straining straw called bombilla.

During a gathering, the small pot will be added with more hot water, and then passed around so that everybody can share the tea. It’s like a form of bonding. Traditionally, yerba mate is not served with any sweetener so the taste is pretty strong. Nowadays, younger generations prefer to add sugar or honey to sweeten it.

11. Iran

The 15th century in Iran marked the rise of tea houses called chaikhanehs. In the 20th century, the Iranians started growing their own black tea which eventually became a staple beverage in their nation, and a big element of their social life.

Iranian tea is served very strong. It’s carried in a silver tray and is served to the guests with a bright yellow rock candy called nabat.

12. United Kingdom

Last but not the least is the UK tea culture. Many already know that the British people are known for their tea culture. In fact, theirs is one of the most popular in the world. People can drink tea even before going to bed. Despite the fact that most British people are already coffee drinkers, tea is still their number one chosen beverage.

The classic British tea is served during a mini-meal in between lunch and dinner – which is around 4 in the afternoon. Mini-cakes, small sandwiches, and the famous scones are usually served along with a pot of tea. The UK is also known for coming up with lovely tea settings, often with long or round tables, with flowers and candles as table decors. Some people even came up with tea gardens where they can hold tea parties with family and friends.

It’s safe to say that tea has been a crucial part of the British identity. It’s something that people will never forget.

Learning about other countries’ tea culture will also make you appreciate your own, doesn’t it? Most people are into international travel nowadays, so it will be interesting to know some things about the culture of the country you are visiting.