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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.

Experience Natural Green Tea Detox the Right Way

Nowadays, there are several popular detox tea plans, commonly called teatox, offered to people who want to do a body cleanse or to those who want to lose weight. A lot of people think that teatox teas are the same as the regular herbal teas or green teas, but the truth is that, they’re different. Without knowing the effects of teatox, it may cause more harm than good, so it’s always best to be informed.

Although teatox teas are also herbal teas, they are different because they contain laxatives and diuretics that will make you lose waste matter and water from your body. Note: Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements, and are used to prevent and treat constipation, while diuretics are those products that increase urine production.

Teatox diets are supposed to help rid your body of toxins due to pollutants in the environment. In truth though, the body already has built-in organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, and digestive system to help remove toxic substances even without special detox diets. This is why if you don’t have issues with your bowel movement, then teatox might just cause a range of side-effects like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and stomach cramps if you’re not careful.

If you really want to reap the best health benefits from tea, it’s highly advisable that you stick to natural green tea detox or cleansing instead. Green tea doesn’t include additional substances like laxatives and diuretics. It’s just pure healthy green tea with anti-oxidants that can help your body fight free radicals.

Green tea is the perfect drink to refresh, rehydrate, and cleanse your system. Incorporate it into your diet for over a few weeks, and you’ll see a difference in your well-being.

How to Get Started with Green Tea Detox

1. With green tea cleanse, you can start by drinking premium green tea throughout the day. They say that you can never go wrong with green tea but to keep your digestive system working smoothly, you can start with 2-3 cups of green tea daily.

2. Incorporate green tea to your nutrient-rich diet. Remember to eat natural and wholesome food as these will help your body stay energized and feel less bloated.

3. Exercise! Keep yourself active or in motion while detoxing. You don’t have to do heavy exercises when you can’t. Light exercises that at least make you sweat daily are good.

4. Choose premium green tea varieties. Strive to get the purest, freshest, and high-quality green tea you can find. It might cost more money than the regular ones, but at least you’ll enjoy the flavor and aroma. Research online what’s best for you and make sure that the green tea you choose comes highly recommended. Drinking only the best ensures that you enjoy the taste of your green tea as you go about your detox journey.

5. Steep your tea properly. Always follow the recommended instructions from the tea manufacturer. Not steeping properly will compromise the flavor and quality of your green tea. You might end up not liking the taste, and thus, it’s going to be a waste of time, money, and effort.

6. Take time to drink your tea. But not so much that it gets cold; just enough for you not to burn your tongue. Appreciate the tea’s flavor by sipping gently and slowly. Just relax and reflect.

7. Rest. Part of your detoxification is to rest well. As much as possible, choose a period when you are not stressed, or you don’t have a hectic schedule.

8. Release the bad emotions from your life. Along with detoxing your system, it’s also best to let go of bad vibes and negative energy. Focus on yourself and work on being healthy. Avoid unnecessary drama and any other things that might put your mood down.

Detoxing with natural green tea is like flushing out the toxins from your system. It doesn’t only boost your immune system; it also protects your body from toxic substances.

Green tea has also been known to burn fat and improve metabolism – both necessary to lose weight. Of course, nothing comes easy in this world (or at least on a weight loss journey). You’re always gonna need to work on yourself to achieve better health and well-being.

Green Tea Detox Recipes to Try at Home

Green Tea might as well be called a superfood. It has so many nutrients to keep you healthy and active. Although much of the nutrients in green tea are still intact even after processing, you can also try to incorporate other ingredients rich in vitamins and minerals to aid your detox journey.

We found these three easy yet nutrient-rich recipes from Detox DIY that you might want to try to keep your detox more exciting. Just go over the linked article to see instructions on how to do the following:

1. Cleansing Green Tea and Berry Shake

2. Energizing Cucumber and Green Tea Smoothie

3. Hydrating Watermelon and Green Tea Slush

If you want more recipes, Pinterest is a gold-mine of information. There’s always something for everyone! But before you decide to follow such recipes, be sure to double-check if all the ingredients are right for you.

With this kind of green tea detox, you don’t have to take in harsh laxatives and diuretics that will cause side effects (unless of course you need to and it’s approved by your doctor). Most importantly, you don’t have to starve yourself. The key is to keep a balanced diet filled with essential nutrients. Also, don’t forget to consult an expert whenever you plan to make significant changes in your diet.

 

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! 🙂

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!

*Pin for later. 

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.