You are currently browsing jackiegamber’s articles.

Longing Heart Flowering Tea

Longing Heart Flowering Tea

If you’ve ever tried a flowering tea, you know there’s more to the experience than just the end result. A flowering tea is crafted as a beginning-to-finale art form. A tight little ball of mystery is dropped into a warm bath, and a breath of anticipation is held. Then, slowly and deliberately, petals of green tea unfurl, revealing carefully chosen blooms and herbals for more color and taste than first hinted at.

English Tea Store’s Longing Heart Flowering Tea comes from the Anhui Province of China, created by a tea master to ease his longing heart on difficult journeys to Beijing. And it is a perfect example of art-meets-flavor. Gentle green tea effortlessly mingles with jasmine and a plume of amaranth (another name for the plant called Love Lies Bleeding), producing a mild but satisfying botanical finish.

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding

It’s the ideal sipping companion to Jess McConkey’s paranormal mystery Love Lies Bleeding. In McConkey’s novel, Samantha Moore awakens from a coma to find herself enwrapped in a life of pain and dependency. She is at the beginning of her difficult journey to recovery; not only from the injuries she sustained in a brutal attack, but from the emotional aftermath. Her father and her fiancé agree to send her to recuperate in a remote cabin in an isolated town in Minnesota. A town that is a tight little ball of mystery, much like Sam herself. She resents her loss of freedom, both because of the way her family controls her decisions, and the way her fear controls her mind.

But as the novel unfolds, Samantha grows and unfurls, slowly and deliberately, to reveal more strength than first hinted at. At Elk Horn Lake, hidden secrets effortlessly mingle with danger, haunting, and romance, and author McConkey navigates these treacherous waters to produce a mild but satisfying literary finish.

If you choose to sweeten the tea, don’t add much! This tea, and this story, are artfully understated. But one thing is strongly clear: sipping English Tea Store’s Longing Heart Flowering Tea while reading McConkey’s “Love Lies Bleeding” (with a bloom of the title-worthy plant) is a literal taste of real mystery.

© 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.

Jasmine Dragon Tears green tea

Jasmine Dragon Tears green tea

The English Tea Store’s Jasmine Dragon Tears tea is a steamed, hand-rolled, jasmine-infused experience that is not to be rushed. Heated in water just shy of boiling, the pearls unfurl to reveal themselves and the top bud of the plant, still bearing soft hairs, so indicative of a gentle handling and masterful touch. The tea is designed to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed with a deep appreciation for its artful result.

Which is exactly my experience in reading Michael Williams’ magical realism novel, Trajan’s Arch. The reading of the book is not to be rushed. Just shy of literary, the language unfurls to reveal the memories of the main character, Gabriel, and the strange and magical influence throughout his lifetime of his mysterious neighbor, Trajan. Through Williams’ imagery, so indicative of gentle handling and a masterful touch, the novel is designed to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed with a deep appreciation for its artful result.

Trajan's Arch

Trajan's Arch

But the unique quality of Jasmine Dragon Tears tea really comes through with its flavor. The highest quality jasmine blooms are picked alongside the tea plants, in the Wuyi District of Fujian Province, China. The harvest is then layered—jasmine blooms, then tea leaves, jasmine blooms, then tea leaves—until jasmine essence infuses the overall character and outcome. The intensity of the high floral notes make this truly the best of what high quality jasmine tea can be.

As well, in Williams’ Trajan’s Arch, the novel is literally layered with stories, written by Trajan, to reveal how the character infuses Gabriel’s life and love (Gabriel’s estranged wife happens to be named Jasmine). Trajan affects those who know him with an intensity that lingers for generations.

With English Tea Store’s Jasmine Dragon Tears tea, you won’t be disappointed. There’s no need for sweetener, the rich blend of green tea and floral makes for a satisfying sip. And pairing it with Trajan’s Arch is a novel and tea companion that brings to the senses an experience of magic-come-true.

© 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.

Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea that is only partly fermented, giving it an in-between character that lacks the bitterness and body of black tea, yet is richer and rounder than a conventional green. English Tea Store’s Oolong Orange Blossom Estate Tea is a particularly satisfying rendition of this Far East treat, with the gentle addition of the essence of orange blossoms.

Orange blossoms are the jasmine-looking blooms of a springtime orange tree. Their elegant petals cup to form the place where an orange will eventually grow; but first, they flourish on the limb as their own kind of gift. Orange blossoms fan the air with an amazingly heady perfume of honey, turning orchards into magic gardens, and beckoning passers-by to pause, and to breathe in deeply. They are the reminder that soon, more gifts will follow. In that way, orange blossoms are a promise.

In The Secrets of Jin-Shei, a novel by Alma Alexander, we are swept into the mythical Chinese kingdom of Linh-an, steeped in tradition and culture, that beckons us to pause, and to breathe in deeply. In the novel, we learn of the covert written language jin-ashu, the woman’s tongue, taught for generations from mother to daughter to allow a woman to reveal the dreams and desires deeply held in her heart. It is through these words that sister-bonds are formed. And it is through this language, as the heady perfume of sweet tomorrows, that vows are made. In that way, the jin-shei is a promise.

Be patient in brewing Oolong Orange Blossom Tea, to give it the time it needs to unfurl into the richness of its character. And there’s no need to sweeten; it brings its own honeyed aftertaste. As well, give The Secrets of Jin-Shei time to reveal the depths of its characters and the fulfillment of its own sweet promise.

As tea-and-novel companions, Oolong Orange Blossom Tea and The Secrets of Jin-Shei are a most honorable match.

Learn more about Jackie and her work at JackieGamber.com!

© 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.

I have been a long-time fan of October, with its unassuming takeover of the season. It breathes in clammy summer air, and breathes out dulcet, cooling sighs of relief for heat-wearied brows. It transforms a soothing cup of hot tea into a spa experience. And, just before it relinquishes the stage for November’s dramatic entrance, it parts the curtains of fall and offers us a grand carnival of a finale: Halloween.

Is there a tea that captures the flavor of October and its candy-collecting holiday? A book for the young and young-at-heart that borrows spookiness from Halloween’s tradition, but remembers its true soul of fun? You bet.

Chanakara’s Dragonfruit Tea, from the sample assortment through English Tea Store, is a taste of warm summer air that finishes to an understated, minty autumn. But the real magic is the smattering of flavors in between: chewy ®Mary Jane and tangy ®Smarties and ®Spree candies, married into a mouthful of flavor as satisfying in the tea as the sight of them colliding at the bottom of a bag of Trick-or-Treat plunder.

And the book as a sweet companion to Chanakara’s Dragonfruit Tea is Alpha-Oops, H is for Halloween, a children’s book written by Alethea Kontis and illustrated by Bob Kolar. In the book, the alphabet is putting on a grand carnival of a show in honor of the holiday, but when “A” (the usual first) isn’t quite ready, “H” nabs the first place honors, and the show is on. What ensues is a little disorder, some costume calamities (don’t you hate showing up to a party to discover someone else wearing the exact outfit as you?) and, most importantly, a lot of fun. Letters come alive in the flamboyant tones of Halloween candy, set against the dramatic hues of Halloween spookiness.

Just the taste of Chanakara’s Dragonfruit tea. And the tea is herbal, and perfect for children! Add a little more sweetener than you normally might, to really bring out the candy flavors. And drink it fresh and piping hot, before it mellows into a heavier taste.

This tea and novel companion choice is, like Halloween, for kids. And for the kid in all of us.

Visit Jackie’s site, JackieGamber.com, to learn about her!

© 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.

English Tea Store brand Ginger Tea is a classic tea with a twist. The high-quality black tea leaves brew into a rich, golden liquid just right for polite tea society, yet the mild ginger brings a hint of glamor and heat to the overall sipping experience.

It’s similar to what you’ll find in reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey, a novel Jane Austen might have written, if she lived in a world of magic. Kowal captures the rich tones of England’s nineteenth-century polite society—the gentry folk who revere an afternoon tea—but mixes in a new, gentle art skill: magic, or in Kowal’s writing, glamor.

Her main character, Jane, must navigate the complicated rules of her culture, keep to her high-quality standards, and yet discover her vein of passion that brings her strongest glamor to fruition.

In brewing English Tea Store’s Ginger Tea, you’ll taste a cup of classic flavor enhanced with the delicate warmth of ginger essence. In reading Shades of Milk and Honey, you’ll touch a world of classic characters flavored with the gentle heat of their glamor.

And to match the novel with its tea companion even more closely, add a shade of milk and honey! Milk, not cream—this tea curdles cream—and just a dollop of honey. Does it get any more perfect?

English Tea Store’s Ginger Tea and Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey. The combination is pure magic.

Visit Jackie’s Web site, JackieGamber.com, to learn more about her work!

© 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.

Stash’s Fusion tea of a green and white blend is, at first glance, a tea of familiar elements. And yet their combination masterfully creates an entirely new flavor experience, unique unto itself. It is the taste expression of Jay Lake’s novel “Escapement”; a story of familiar elements masterfully combined—fused—into an entirely new world.

In “Escapement”, Queen Victoria rules England and American Possessions. The Royal Navy is on the job defending; not in the seas but in the sky, in great airships. And Earth turns by way of gears and mechanism, following God’s grand mechanical design. In this world, Paolina Barthes has grown up as a genius undetected, with a skill for engineering even she doesn’t understand, but by which she creates her destiny.

Stash’s Fusion tea carries this metallic clang of flavor that strikes the tongue, but is mellowed by the smooth after note of the delicate white tea leaves. Even in the cup, the tea is the warm bronze of reflected sun from an airship’s hull. It is innovation and tradition, a classic with a twist. It is rich and utterly believable.

Just the way a great story should taste.

Jay Lake’s “Escapement” and Stash Fusion Green and White Tea. It’s a fit like clockwork.

Visit her site, www.JackieGamber.com, for more information!

© 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 English Tea Store’s French Blend tea is a romantic mixture of mystery, depth, and fragrant petals. It hints at royalty, but drinks smooth and easy. It’s a journey from the familiar into the magical, as the first nip of malt touches the tongue, and then fades into perfume.

It’s the ideal complement to Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold by Terry Brooks.  In the novel, widower Ben Holiday purchases a magical kingdom through a quirky gift catalog and discovers that not only is the kingdom real, but there is much information missing from the fine print of the contract. “Landover” is falling to ruin, what with a witch and a dragon running amok, and Barons who won’t submit to authority. It’s chaos in Landover, and Ben Holiday is the new king.

The English Tea Store’s French Blend might appear at first glance to be a little chaotic; it’s a brew of Ceylon, Nilgiri, Assam and Kenya, and that’s just the base.  Add to it the Jasmine, Lavender and tangy Bergamot of Earl Grey, and the tea becomes a veritable cornucopia of elements. But it works together to make a unique flavor blend that just can’t be created any other way.

Just like the kingdom of Landover. Ben Holiday finds himself surrounded by unfamiliar creatures; kobold servants, a talking dog as the court scribe, a magician, a paladin who appears no more than a suit of empty armor, and lovely Willow, who loves like a woman but lives more like a tree. It’s a place of wonder and adventure, and through Ben’s journey from the familiar to the magical, he discovers a unique understanding that just can’t be created any other way.

With Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold and English Tea Store’s French Blend, take a journey of your own to discover your inner royalty.

To learn more about Jackie and her work, visit JackieGamber.com.

© 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.

Stash’s Ginger Peach Green Tea is a startling blend of traditional tea and nouveau fruit flavor, creating a taste experience that is more than the sum of its parts. With its daring ginger overtaste, it’s brave. Bold. Maybe even pioneering.

It’s a taste found in reading Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. The story is chronicled by D-503, a cipher of the One State. He is happily obedient as worker-mathematician, toiling for the Benefactor. But by the meddling in his head of a woman, I-330, he becomes ill with a “soul” that torments him with feelings, laughter, confusion…love. In the end, has he forsaken one dictator for another?

Zamyatin was no stranger to Totalitarianism. This novel emerges from the time of revolutionary Petrograd. It took the Czechs to manage getting it to print. Zamyatin had been arrested and exiled from Russia, arrested and internally exiled (when they couldn’t keep him out), and put before a judge again who kicked him back out. All for his revolutionary writing. Some say Zamyatin is the inventor of Dystopian literature, and it may be true. We is rife with “cliche” plot twists and turns, but at its time of writing, it hadn’t become cliche yet. It was pioneering.

And like Stash’s Ginger Peach Green Tea, it’s brave and bold, too. As the flavors of the tea blend artfully into each other, so too does the “stream-of-consciousness” narration of the novel. At times it’s difficult to tell the difference between D-503’s imaginings and reality; true to the design of both tea and writing.

Deeper still, the overall flavor experience of Stash’s Ginger Peach Green Tea is nothing if not clean. Sip after sip, it complements the tragic–but aseptically unsoiled–life of Zamyatin’s ciphers living at the mercy of the One State.

Try both, the book and the tea, and let me know what you think!

To learn more about Jackie, visit her site, JackieGamber.com!

© 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.

There is, perhaps, nothing so impractical a food as gummy bears. A food that exists for the sheer pleasure of the mouth; for the taste, the texture, and the experience of the moment. The intrinsic value of gummy bears is exactly what they are created for, and that which makes them just a little bit silly. But you know it and I know it. Silly is good.

English Tea Store’s Lady Londonderry Tea isn’t the least bit silly, as far as tea goes. It’s rich and dark, with a leaf that bears all the characteristics of a tea with excellent character. But beyond the leaf is a flavor that’s sweet and fruity, and, if you’ll allow me the comparison, just a little bit gummy bear. It’s a giggle on the tongue; from aroma to taste bud, it appeals as a flavor simply for the pleasure of it.

Much like the humorous science fiction work from Douglas Adams, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” What began as a radio play for BBC Radio has grown into numerous adaptations, including a beloved novel. It follows Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect , an alien, as they traverse the galaxy on a quest for the Question to the Ultimate Answer. Collected along the way are such characters as Zaphod Beeblebrox; Marvin, a depressed robot; and a fellow named Slartibartfast, who insists his name isn’t important. It isn’t.

Though “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a story full of all things story-like; plot, action, and excellent character, it nevertheless goes beyond that to impractical puns, sweet and fruity turns of phrase, and is, in every aspect of the word, gummy bear.

Lady Londonderry tea nearly sweetens itself; you can go light on the sugar or honey. But don’t pass up the chance to taste this giggle sensation, especially paired with “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Repeat after me: Silly is good.

Visit her site for more information!

© 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.

Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein's monster

Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein's monster

The English Tea Store brand of maple-flavored black tea may not quite be what you expect to taste upon trying it. The scent of maple wafts from the tin, promising a candy sweetness. As it brews, it releases even more aroma, watering the mouth in anticipation. With a little sweetener and a dash of cream, it presents itself as a swirling, steaming mug of dessert.

And it delivers polished maple charm. But it’s unexpectedly rich and dark, as well, sobering the tastebuds and offering a distinctly “grown-up” and satisfying flavor.

For me, it immediately brought to mind one of my most cherished novels: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Originally published in 1818, it is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student who, in his relentless pursuit of science, discovers the secret of animating life. He does so, creating a monstrous being who, upon being rejected by society and his creator, vows that “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”

The story was written at a period in Shelley’s life around her early twenties, and was her first novel; but it may not be quite what you expect upon reading it. The narration delivers polished Old English charm, but it’s unexpectedly rich and dark, as well. It’s a sobering tale with a distinctly grown up and satisfying flavor.

Mary Shelley describes the summer experiences that inspired the story as the time “when I first stepped out from childhood into life”. And English Tea Store’s Maple Tea reflects this concept exactly. Its flavor is the memory of penny candy and home-cooked breakfast, blended into the smooth and sultry taste of stability and responsibility.

English Tea Store’s Maple Tea deserves a permanent home on your cupboard shelf, with your collection of tea classics. And don’t forget to include Frankenstein on your bookshelf with your collection of novel classics to pair with it.

© 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.

Categories

Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:


Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to del.icio.us    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© 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.

Blog Affiliates

blogged
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: