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tea cultures

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.

green tea detox

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

Hosting A Tea Party – 5 Important Things to Remember

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

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

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

1. Plan your menu.

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

Tea

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

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

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

Finger Food

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

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

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

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

Other Drinks

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

2. Test your recipes.

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

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

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

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

4. Bring out your tea set and accessories.

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

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

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

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

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

5. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

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

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

tea for different moods

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

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

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

Stress

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

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

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

Sleepy or low on energy

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

Green Tea, Black Tea, Yerba Mate, Mint Tea

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

Super Active

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

Chamomile, Valerian, Lavender

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

Creativity / Cognition

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

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

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

Emotional wellness

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

Saffron, Turmeric

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

Frustrated or Angry

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

Chai Tea, Citrus Blend Tea

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

Anxiety / Panic Attacks

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

Lavender, Jasmine Tea, White Tea

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

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

tea blending

5 Essential Guidelines to Remember In Tea Blending

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

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

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

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

1. Choose your base tea.

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

2. Consider the taste of tea.

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

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

3. Know all your ingredients.

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

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

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

4. Be precise with your measurements of the ingredients.

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

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

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

5. Be bold in experimenting with flavors.

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

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

blending your own tea

Some of the blends you can try are the following:

1. Hibiscus base + strawberry & blueberry

2. Black tea + rooibos & fragrant spices

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

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

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

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

*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.

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

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

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

1. Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea

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

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

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

2. Invitations

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

tea etiquette

3. Components of Traditional Tea

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

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

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

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

4. Art of Serving Tea

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

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

5. Drinking Tea

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

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

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

6. The Add-Ons

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

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

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

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

7. Finale

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

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

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8 Easy Ways to Infuse Tea to Recipes and Cooking

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

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

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

1 . Use Tea Leaves as Spices or Herbs

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

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

ways to infuse tea to recipes

2. Use Tea as Stock for Soups

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

3. Tea as Water

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

4. Bake Tea Cookies

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

5. Marinades and Dressings

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

6. Tea for Poaching Liquids

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

7. Infuse Into Milk and Cream

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

8. Infuse salts, butter, and oils

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

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

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

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Getting to Know Your Favorite Matcha Green Tea

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

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

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

Origin and Preparation

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

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

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

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

Two Forms of Matcha

Usucha

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

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

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

Koicha

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

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

Awesome Health Benefits of Matcha

Rich in antioxidants

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

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

Helps burn calories

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

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

Detoxifies the body

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

Helps boost the immune system

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

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

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

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

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