Nine months gone and the tenth month of the year is beginning, a time for enjoying those cooler temperatures and the landscape change from leafy to bare branches against skies where birds flock to warmer climes. Normally, I list some teas for you to enjoy during a particular month, but this month is special and so are the teas – ones that certainly can scare your tastebuds, or at least give them a bit of a wake-up call:

5 "Scary" October Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 “Scary” October Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Conjuring: Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea

The very name makes me think of the horror film Pumpkinhead where a demon was conjured up to exact revenge. The name of this tea also conjures up (pun intended) images of some fairly scary pumpkin carvings. The tea itself, though, is neither demonic nor wickedly grinning at you from the cup. It’s a blend of black teas and South African Rooibos, using natural pumpkin flavoring and spicy notes of cinnamon. It also includes pieces of apple, almond, orange, rosehip, and vanilla, and petals of calendula, sunflower, and hibiscus. Perfect served hot with milk and sugar. Might make you afraid to have any other type of tea.

2 The Strength of Ogres: PG Tips – The Strong One

Huge, hideous beasts said to eat us humans, ogres are the stuff of scary tales indeed. Their strength in legendary. Thus the need to imbibe a tea that will instill you with a comparable level of strength. And this tea from PG Tips, the most popular British brand, is a perfect option. Kenyan and other African teas have been blended for a bold cuppa that has a strong, bright red color, malty aroma, and thick character. Great with a splash of milk and a dash of sugar to enhance that bold flavor. And you can give those ogres a strong scare!

3 A Sinking Feeling: Le Marche Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea

This tea’s name “Le Marche” (pronounced “luh mar-SHAY”) makes me think of the horror movie from 2006 called The Marsh. Don’t recognize it? Small wonder. Despite the splendid acting talents of Forrest Whitaker and others, the movie reeked in whatever theater it appeared. Have no fear, though, for this tea does not reek – quite the contrary. It’s an excellent spiced black tea (natural high grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level) combining the taste of cinnamon with delicious fruity tones. So good, it’s scary!

4 Very Grimm: Blackforest Naturally Flavored Black Tea

The Black Forest in Germany is home to various gruesome tales, many documented by the Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Willhelm). The original versions they gathered from people living in the area were often too sexual for children and so in later editions were “sanitized” in the sexual area and beefed up in the gore area. Fortunately, this tea is neither X-rated nor gory. It’s a blend that beautifully captures the subtleties of chocolate, cherries, and cream. The base is a natural high grown Ceylon black tea. Fantastic with a dash of sugar and a spot of milk. And keeps you away from scary forests.

5 Transforming: Dorian Grey Blend Tea

In case you haven’t heard of one of Oscar Wilde’s most famous stories, The Picture of Dorian Grey is about an astonishingly handsome young man who wishes to remain so and have a life-size full-length portrait of himself age instead. His wish comes true, as he soon finds out after mistreating a young woman who was in love with him. The portrait, hidden away in the attic of his home, grows old and grotesque, bearing witness to his evils deeds, while his appearance never changes. This tea, though, will neither grant your wishes, whatever they may be, nor prompt you to a life of debauchery and ruination. Thank goodness! It’s based on the floral notes of a strong Earl Grey with a touch of caramel, dried apple pieces, calendula petals, and delicate elder blossoms – products of nature that lend a character of tragic allure. You’re sure to feel years younger, more attractive, and more free of the guilt of your misdeeds. And not scared to look in the attic…well, maybe.

Hope you get to try some of these during October and don’t get too scared!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea plantation in Kyoto Japan (source unknown)

Tea plantation in Kyoto Japan (source unknown)

The Way of Tea is naught but this:
first you boil water,
then you make the tea and drink it.
-Sen Rikyu

I have to admit that there aren’t too many big names from tea history that I can name. Some of the best known are probably Sir Thomas Lipton and Thomas Twining, those great captains of tea industry from centuries past. Then there is the ancient tea master Lu Yu, who was probably one of the first people to write about tea whose writings have survived to this day.

I was vaguely aware of the Japanese tea master Sen Rikyu before now, but I have to admit that I didn’t know that much about him. Or the tradition of tea that he was such an influence on. So I set out to remedy that. Sen Rikyu lived in the sixteenth century (1522 – 1591) and is said by some to be one of the most famous Japanese tea masters of them all. So much so that in a book called The True History of Tea, the authors dedicate an entire chapter to his contributions.

Sen Rikyu’s early days were a time of turmoil in Japan, but apparently not so much in Sakai, a city located to the south of Osaka, where he was from. It was there that Sen Rikyu was initiated into chanoyu, sometimes called “the way of tea” or “the Japanese tea ceremony,” at an early age. His demonstrated talent for this sort of thing brought him to the attention of the rich and powerful in Japanese society in the day.

Sen Rikyu performed ceremonies for warlords and emperors and the like but, as is so common when one is entangled in matters of politics and the like, things came to a bad end. Though the details are somewhat unclear, he fell afoul of a powerful leader for some reason and met an untimely end by being sentenced to commit ritual suicide. True to form it’s said that one of his last acts was to conduct an elaborate tea ceremony.

As for his contributions to tea, they are too considerable to detail here but are discussed extensively in the aforementioned volume and elsewhere. Including this overview of Sen Rikyu’s teachings from the Urasenke Foundation, a branch of chanoyu that he’s credited with founding.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It’s amazing the memories that a cuppa tea can evoke. This time it was when I got caught playing a computer game at the office. I must have turned 10 shades of red. But it’s not all you would think it is. I’d better start at the beginning.

Caught in the act! Hey, it helps me be creative! (Screen capture from PC)

Caught in the act! Hey, it helps me be creative! (Screen capture from PC)

Once upon a time, I was able to find gainful employment writing very boring yet clearly understandable translations to normal English of computer geek jargonese. It was sort of like going from some obscure language from some remote corner of the world to a more commonly known language (English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc.). Often, these positions would be on a contract basis, that is, I’d sweep in, bestow my “genius” on them, and then sweep back out. Sort of like some tidal wave washing in a bunch of flotsam and then taking off and leaving it littering the beach. Ha! Actually, my efforts were more useful than that for the most part. I hope.

These days many companies have their computers set to block game playing on them. The amount of productive time wasted by employees on playing games, cruising the internet, and even online shopping is a big expense to companies and government agencies alike, so I guess it’s not surprising that such things get blocked by their Information Technology (IT) departments. Clever folks can figure ways to get around the blocks, though, and I did just that. Why? Because in my case playing a bit of Solitaire or Minesweeper helped me sort out issues and get a clearer perspective. Honest!

So one day I’m in my Dilbert-like cubicle and running a good game of solitaire while the latest issue of how to lay out the upgrade plan for the Marketing Department was working its way through my brain when along came the manager of the IT section I was assigned to and her second in command. (As they would say on Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway and Number One had arrived.) Blushing ten shades of red, I quickly minimized the game and hoped they hadn’t seen. A quick slurp of tea from the cup at my side helped restore my equilibrium a bit.

How to explain my process to them? I didn’t bother. Most people don’t understand how the creative mind often works. We need stimuli and time to arrange and rearrange them mentally. Games can give us that rearrangement time we need. Whether writing articles like this one, creating jewelry designs,  painting still lifes, or writing poems, the creator needs that mental space that a game can provide for excelling at that creative endeavor. Of course, taking a break and steeping some tea works, too! Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

The great works of literature are the ones that withstand the test of time. They have probably done so for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t stand some improvement – if I dare say so. Such as adding more tea. While tea is a topic the crops up now and then in great literary works, it’s rarely the focus of the story. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing such works were more tea-centric, here are a few suggestions.

A Christmas Carol
On Christmas Eve, four ghosts teach Scrooge, an elderly miser and tea merchant, who actually doesn’t like tea, that love and friendship are much more important than amassing a fortune. The ghosts reveal to Scrooge scenes from his past, present and future. After witnessing these scenes, Scrooge is a changed man and celebrates with an elaborate Christmas tea for each and every one.

Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad’s famous story concerns the journey of the narrator up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, a tea trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair that Conrad saw at the heart of human existence. In the end, however, Kurtz turns to be a very nice fellow and the latter part of the book chronicles the fascinating chats the pair have over many excellent cups of tea.

On The Road
A fictional telling of Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. As Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience and most importantly – the perfect cup of tea.

Ulysses
James Joyce’s also fictional chronicle of a day in the life of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, as they criss-cross Dublin on June 4, 1904, in search of…what else – the perfect cup of tea.

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
Perhaps the most tragic tale in all of literature, Daniel DeFoe’s novel chronicles the adventures of the title character, who is shipwrecked on an island with no tea in sight. Read it if you dare.

Dracula
“I never drink…tea.”

Gone With the Wind
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about anything but a good cup of tea.”

Moby Dick
“Call me Ishmael. If you want. Just don’t forget to call me when the tea is ready.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea has practically become synonymous with England. The Brits do more than their share to keep those tea gardens in other parts of the world very busy growing and processing tea. Two of those places are China, where tea growing and drinking is said to have originated, and Japan, where tea is so important to their lives that it was part of their emergency rations after a tsunami hit a few years ago. While a Western or British touch to your tea time is very customary, more people are opting for that Asian touch. Here are 5 ways for you to join in the trend:

1 A Tea from China or Japan

Tea time starts with tea. So an appropriate choice is important. And you have quite a few. I focused on the green ones, but in China there are others – black teas, oolong, white teas, and a wide variety of pu-erhs.

Top to bottom: Bamboo strainer, tea scoop, and teapot (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

Top to bottom: Bamboo strainer, tea scoop, and teapot (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

Chinese Green Teas to choose from:

Most tea in Japan is green, but they have quite a variety.

Japanese Green Teas to choose from:

2 A Matcha Experience

The matcha tea mentioned above is part of a tea ceremony. You don’t have to go quite that far. But a Matcha Tea Spoon will certainly help. The “spoon” (more of a scoop) is just short of 7½ inches long and made of bamboo, a quick growing member of the grass family. (The spoons are sold separately.) Bamboo is a symbol of longevity in many Asian countries, so you are also adding that image to your tea experience.

3 A Zen Style Teapot

This Zen Style Glass Teapot isn’t really Asian, but it will convey that Asian air to your tea time. It holds a generous 42 ounces of liquid. The body of the teapot is hand blown borosilicate glass, and the handle is bamboo. It comes with a raised bamboo base, bamboo tea scoop, and micro-mesh stainless steel filter. The filter is definitely NOT Asian, but compromises in tea preparation or blending in with your usual pattern some different ways to enjoy tea can be inspiring. The scoop is great for getting the loose tea leaves into the teapot.

4 A bamboo tea strainer

Once the tea has steeped in that glass Zen teapot, you can use a bamboo strainer to keep the leaves out of the cups. Keep a few on hand, so that they can thoroughly dry between uses, and don’t use them for teas with very fine particles.

5 Asian Symbols

A few Asian symbols are a nice touch here. Since we are heading into that colder time of year, include in those symbols the 3 Friends of Winter: Plum (mei 梅), Bamboo (zhu 竹), and Pine tree (song 松). A bit of red here and there are good, too, since it is the color of good luck and happiness. Or go with yellow which is one of the 4 colors of longevity. Combine both red and yellow for double good luck. Chrysanthemums symbolize the tenth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (roughly our October), so have a vase of them on hand. The crane is another sign of longevity, so a picture of one is great to have.

Whatever your particular selections, have a great Asian tea time!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The colors of Fall are all around us, especially those in the U.S. northeast. Reds, golds, oranges, and chestnut browns have replaced those verdant views. And Fall flavors tend to invade our menu, especially at tea time – and especially when it comes to those delectable sweet-smelling (when fresh from the oven) scones!

Some Sticky Fingers Scone Mix Fall Flavors (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

Some Sticky Fingers Scone Mix Fall Flavors (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

The brand I like best is Sticky Fingers. Each package needs only a little water added to the mix to make about 12 scones (depends on how large you make them). The mix has a one-year shelf life and no eggs or partially hydrogenated oils (and thus no cholesterol, transfats, or saturated fats) but do contain dried buttermilk. Simply follow the step by step instructions, and you’ll be enjoying fresh scones from the oven in no time. (A tip for increasing their moistness: add an extra teaspoon of water, a spoonful of applesauce or fruit preserves, or even some additional dried fruits. And use the shorter baking time on the package.)

The big key is the scone flavor. Here are a few that would be tops on my list:

  • Scone Mix – Pumpkin Spice -15oz (425g) – Wonderful autumn-inspired spices and pumpkin flakes – a welcome treat at any time of the year. But Fall is when they are best. Pair with Ceylon Black or Green tea, Dragonwell, or an Autumn Flush Darjeeling.
  • Scone Mix – Cinnamon Raisin – 15oz (425g) – Delivers a unique, spicy taste, and full of plump raisins and a generous helping of sweet and spicy cinnamon. I love these with a little butter (great backup plan when you run out of clotted cream). Pair with a hearty tasting black tea like Assam and Yunnan or an Autumn Flush Darjeeling.
  • Scone Mix – Pumpkin Cranberry – 15oz (425g) – A taste of fall any time of the year. Sweet and spicy with lots of spices, rich pumpkin flavor, and cranberry pieces. This autumn inspired flavor is one of my favorites. If you have any pumpkin butter on hand, add a spoonful to the mix just for that extra touch.
  • Scone Mix – Cocoa Chocolate Chip – 15oz (425g) – Loved by kids and adults alike. Each bite is packed with chocolate chips and are sure to curb your chocolate craving. Pair with green teas like Sencha or Gyokuro, oolongs, Darjeeling teas, Earl Grey, or more hearty tasting black teas like Assam and Yunnan.
  • Scone Mix – Apricot – 15oz (425g) – California apricots make this scone flavor absolutely delightful. The apricots are chewy but not too tart. Delicious with tea and jam, these scones are sure to become your next favorite.
  • Scone Mix – Blackcurrant – 15oz (425g) – A traditional scone flavor that’s a long-time favorite, our Blackcurrant Scone Mix is sure to be delicious with afternoon tea. This mix contains blackcurrants with a touch of nutmeg for a gourmet taste that will have you coming back for more. Pair with Dragonwell, Darjeeling, or any oolong.
  • Scone Mix – Cranberry – 15oz (425g) – Packed with tart, chewy cranberries, this mix is accented with a hint of orange and subtle spices. The perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee.
  • Scone Mix – Apple Cinnamon – 15oz (425g) – a great accompaniment to spiced teas, like chai, apple spice, or holiday spice. This apple cinnamon scone mix is packed with juicy apples, cinnamon, and spices, and is great for breakfast. Pair with Dragonwell, Ti Kuan Yin, Darjeeling, or any oolong.

Don’t forget to enjoy a bit of Fall scenery while munching and sipping!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Scotland’s tea culture and consumption might be overshadowed by the likes of their neighbors, England and Ireland, but tea is certainly important there and there’s even a Scottish Breakfast tea blend to keep the likes of Irish Breakfast tea and English Breakfast tea company. There are also famous Scottish tea people from history like James Taylor, Robert Fortune, and Thomas Lipton, and the first of these has even inspired a tea festival there.

The first incarnation of the Scotland’s Tea Festival just took place this August so you missed it. But we’ll hope for another one next year that might include such events as “Tealicious Tearooms to a Teddy Bears Picnic, James Taylor Heritage Exhibition to High Teas, Afternoon Tea to Art workshops, Cutty Sark Knot tying to Cakes, tea tasting and blending, tea cocktails, talks, lectures, afternoon teas, high teas, opening dinner, unveiling of a plaque on James Taylor’s home.”

I wrote about tea dueling a while back, a practice that seems to have gotten started in the Steampunk community. On a somewhat related theme, here’s an article about the Travelling Tea Museum, which is produced by a gent who’s said to be the “UK’s foremost Steampunk artist.” Rather than an actual museum, it’s apparently a travelling exhibit that “consists of three large display cases, complete with skirting board and wallpaper, along with curios and memorabilia telling a history of tea you never knew existed.”

Finally, if you’re looking for a skin moisturizer that you can probably eat – in a pinch – then you’re in luck. Here are instructions for making a (tasty?) skin cream that uses green tea and coconut oil. For more on a tea-based treat that’s actually intended to be eaten, have a look at this Asian Spumoni ice cream that was put together by a Las Vegas creamery. Not only is it much more colorful than the average ice cream, it’s a challenging and unique taste blend. I’m no expert on spumoni but according to the article it’s traditionally made “with three layers of cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice cream.” However, this alternate version substitutes red beans, green tea powder, toasted black sesame seeds and sesame seed paste, and tops it all off with toasted cinnamon sugar wonton strips.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The other day (or month) hubby came home with an amazing book: Lord Peter: A Collection of All the Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers. I pounced. Literally. Snatching the book from his hands I exclaimed “Lord Peter Wimsey! Where did you find this?” It had been donated to the local book drop and he had chanced to see it. Thinking immediately of me and my disappointment with a recent more modern mystery series (I won’t name the author here, but she’s pretty popular right now), he thought this might be better, despite not being familiar with the author. I knew her name immediately, though (thus the pounce). What a treasure! And what a great time to put the kettle on to steep some tea to enjoy while reading!

A good book, a shortbread cookie, and a tasty cuppa! That’s living! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A good book, a shortbread cookie, and a tasty cuppa! That’s living! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Sayers is one of three female British mystery authors I love. Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and P.D. James have several things in common: they write/wrote world-renowned murder mysteries, are/were British, and look like they could/did bake up a nice batch of cookies…uh, I mean “biscuits” as they’re called in the UK. Their mysteries are hardly the soft-boiled grandmotherly kind. James is especially adept at creating visual images of victims in her novels. Sayers’ are a bit more toned down. In any event, these three rule the roost for British murder mysteries. At least as far as I’m concerned. Wimsey, Poirot, and D’Algliesh have their personal eccentricities, which seem to make them more adept at solving crimes. Humdrum folks seem too placid, too accepting of the obvious, too unable to “think outside the box.” A monocle, an excessively neat moustache, and a penchant for writing poetry aid each of these sleuthers in their sleuthing.

Dorothy L. Sayers – a cookie-baker if I ever saw one! (via Yahoo! Images)

Dorothy L. Sayers – a cookie-baker if I ever saw one! (via Yahoo! Images)

Maybe Sayers, Christie, and James thought up some of their plots while baking those cookies (biscuits). Maybe while waiting for the kettle to boil and the tea to steep. Whatever the case, it was certainly time well spent. And the novels and short stories also give us a view of British life during the time each author was writing (the career of each spanned decades).

The best thing is that they are all perfect tea time reading. Wimsey is especially so (quite whimsical, which might be why Sayers gave her character that name), guaranteed to keep you enthralled but not grossed out. So, put the kettle on, prep that teapot, and get ready for a lovely sitdown with Lord Peter Wimsey. Bunter, his man servant, will cater to your every whimsy as Wimsey solves one baffling case after another, each sure to leave you saying, “How clever! Another cuppa, Bunter.”

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you wanted to make a few cautious generalizations about the future of tea – as I’m about to do – you could start by taking a look at the past. At its most basic, tea is a relatively simple thing, at least in comparison to something like a computer or an iPhone. Which is to say much of it has not changed over the years and will likely not do so in the future.

On the production end of things it’s probably safe to say that tea growing and harvesting is not that much different than it ever was, except for the fact that some of the key steps have been mechanized. But while some aspects of tea harvesting, for example, have been mechanized in certain regions, the delicate nature of tea leaves and the precision required to select just the right ones means that we often still see good old-fashioned non-mechanized humans plucking them. Perhaps we’ll see slightly more sophisticated machines processing and harvesting tea in the future but will it look that much different than it does now? It’s not for me say.

Then there’s that critical portion of the tea equation – making it ready to drink. Which also hasn’t changed that much over the centuries – except when it has. While we see more fancy automated gadgets as the years pass and we’ll undoubtedly see more in the future, for many people the process of heating water and pouring it over tea leaves or a bag is not that much different than it ever was.

But what about the business of conducting the business of tea? Look to the past again. The flurry of tea houses that opened in the United States and elsewhere in the last decade or so would not have seemed all that unfamiliar to Thomas Twining, who went into business in the early days of a coffee/teahouse craze that was sweeping through London in the seventeenth century.

Of course Twining and his contemporaries didn’t have Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and so on to help them get the good word out, nor could his customers make use of online commerce to order tea and have it shipped to their front door. When it comes to figuring out what types of these technological wonders the future might hold maybe you could try looking toward science fiction.

One thing is fairly certain, no matter how far into the future you go. People will still drink tea in their homes and workplaces (which may look a bit more Jetsonish), and they will probably still gather in public places devoted to the fine arts of tea selling and consuming.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Genmaicha: a cuppa saniTEA! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Genmaicha: a cuppa saniTEA! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

You may like that English Breakfast at breakfast, some Earl Grey with the mid-morning snack (or in place of it), a nice pot of Mim Estate Darjeeling tea with lunch, some Ti Kuan Yin for that afternoon tea break, and a bit of Adam’s Peak Ceylon white tea for your pre-dinner (or even post-dinner) cuppa. Me, too. But there are times when a cuppa genmaicha is just right.

Now, over the past five years of writing about tea, I have gone from drinking almost nothing but Earl Grey to drinking dozens of different styles and types of teas, preferably without extras added in (such as oil of bergamot). Genmaicha remains one of the few exceptions (the other main one is a good masala chai that’s not too heavy on the cinnamon, and a nice green tea with pomegranate is also good, but I digress). These days, my morning tea is still in the black category – the range is from Keemun, Kenyan, high-grown Ceylon, Assam, Nilgiri, and even Houjicha (not technically a black tea, but the flavor and other qualities are similar). But the daily line-up runs the gamut and is often a tea sample leftover.

So when is the time right for that genmaicha?

  • When my palate needs to rest a bit from more stimulating teas – genmaicha has a smooth mildness (when steeped in water heated to only 160°F for no longer than 2 minutes – otherwise, you’ll get some bitterness).
  • When having some of those so-called “sushi rolls” from the deli section of the grocery store (no raw fish – just bits of fake crabmeat, avocado, dried kelp, rice, wasabi, and ginger root).
  • When the day has been annoying or hectic or harried or full of interruptions and a bit of quiet “me time” is in desperate need.

Do yourself a favor here. I know that teabags are this big convenience, but steep this tea loose in a small pot (holding no more that 16 ounces of water) and use a fairly large mesh strainer. The liquid will be a bit cloudy, but that’s just toasted rice and green tea leaf goodness in your cup. Also, use a smaller cup than usual (typical size in the U.S. is about 8-10 ounces). I find that my sipper cups are best. They hold about 2-3 ounces each. And take your time sipping the tea, starting with it being hot from the pot to being cooled during the time it takes you to sip slowly and savor each drop. This might not make the tea taste better, but it will sure make you feel better.

Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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