I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there’s a festival to fit every taste or interest, but there are certainly some offbeat ones. For example, there’s the Underwater Music Festival, held in the Florida Keys, Australia’s Tunarama, which features a tuna tossing event, and Mexico’s Night of the Radishes. And of course, there are tea festivals. They might not be quite so offbeat as the above mentioned, but there’s certainly no shortage of them. As we noted most recently in an article located here. Which covered many of the “big name” tea fests that people are more likely to have heard of. But there are a few others that might not be as well-known that I thought were worth a mention.

Canada was well represented on previous lists with the Victoria Tea Festival and the Toronto Tea Festival but Ottawa is also getting in on things with the appropriately named Ottawa Tea Festival. The 2014 incarnation of the festival will take place in December, and it appears that it has been going on for at least two years already. Also in Canada, there’s a festival that’s geared more toward industry types and in which tea shares billing with that other drink. That’s The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show, which takes place in Mississauga, Ontario.

On the other side of the Atlantic, there’s Scotland’s Tea Festival, which I mentioned recently in another article. It got underway for the first time ever in August, 2014, but let’s hope to see more of it in upcoming years. Other festivals in this part of the world that also share billing with the other drink are the Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival and The Tea & Coffee Festival, which is held in London.

Finally, let’s be sure not to forget South Korea. Where the green tea growing region of Boseong celebrates with the Boseong Green Tea Festival. Their web site is mostly in Korean so here’s some information in English from a Korean tourism site.

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.

Awhile back I wrote a whole slew of poems about tea and other things such as chrysanthemums. These wonderful flowering plants are particular favorites, especially during Autumn, for inspiring my inner Muse. And they go nice with tea time!

‘Mums add a lovely Autumn touch to tea time! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

‘Mums add a lovely Autumn touch to tea time! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Chrysanthemums have been cultivated in China since the 15th century B.C. They regarded this flowering herb as an important part of their medicines. (Chrysanthemum tisane is said to have numerous health benefits, but I will leave that for you to discuss with your doctor.) In Chinese symbology, the chrysanthemum is known as Autumn, one of the Four Gentlemen (the four seasons). It also signifies the 10th month of the lunar calendar (roughly equivalent to October) as well as longevity and eternity. In Japan, the Festival of Happiness celebrates the chrysanthemum, which is the symbol of the Emperor there. Australians, whose seasons are reversed from those here in the U.S., present chrysanthemums to mothers on their Mother’s Day (in May which is their Autumn). The chrysanthemum is also the flower of November. It has been cultivated here in the U.S. since 1798 when a variety called “Dark Purple” was imported from England.

Tea with Chrysanthemum vs. “Chrysanthemum Tea”

In parts of Asia, including China, yellow and white chrysanthemum flowers (species C. morifolium) are boiled to make a sweet drink called “chrysanthemum tea” (菊花茶, júhuā chá). This is not really a tea. The term chá covers any liquid where plant matter is infused or is boiled to make a decoction. In English, many have adopted the term “tisane” (from the French) or call these beverages by the term “infusions.” This distinguishes them from tea with chrysanthemum. Many versions of “chrysanthemum tea” are available, including one in the Chanakara Assortment (Chakra #7: White Lotus – a pale golden infusion of white lotus, chamomile, chrysanthemum, and linden).

Tea with chrysanthemum, on the other hand, has true tea in it. True tea is the kind made from the leaves of the family of plants under the name Camellia sinensis. There are several varietals and many cultivars. They have a variety of aromas and flavors, depending on where grown, when harvested, and how processed. Some are so wonderful that it’s a shame to add anything to them, but maybe it’s like adding some spices to your stew. Chrysanthemum petals are one such “spice,” adding their unique qualities to those of the tea leaves.

Sprucing Up Tea Time with Chrysanthemums

“Mums,” as they are often called, are very popular in Fall. A nice vase full or a potted plant gracing your tea table will add a great atmosphere. White, yellow, rust, etc., add their beauty and aroma (which, incidentally, help deter insects from ‘bugging’ you!). If you don’t want the actual flowers, go with some teawares or table linens with chrysanthemum designs on them. Whatever your choice, you’ll have a very festive 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.

“Café by day. Bar by night. Fun things to do.”

This is how Drink, Shop & Do describes itself, and this London tea spot certainly does offer a wide variety of entertainment. As well as serving food and drink, it hosts a range of events from dancing, to poetry readings, to arts and crafts activities, to live DJ sessions. But it was their food and drink that was my focus on a recent visit—or, to be specific, their tea.

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do - party time! (photo from their web site)

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do – party time! (photo from their web site)

Drink, Shop & Do has a lovely selection of loose teas, which are ordered by the pot. In addition to the unflavoured black teas, several flavoured black teas sit alongside a range of rooibos infusions, a white tea, and a standard (but still tasty) Japanese green tea (they did not specify which one, but my guess is a sencha). I was there with a few friends and since we ordered different teas I was able to sample more than just one of Drink, Shop & Do’s offerings.

I ordered the green tea (the suspected sencha), and it was no more nor less than what I would expect: the slightly sweet, grassy taste of green tea came through clearly, and the presence of an infuser allowed me to steep it to my preferred strength. One tea companion ordered the chai — not a traditional Indian masala chai, but a black tea flavoured with various spices. It was very aromatic, and flavourful to boot; the spices were deliciously strong. However, if you are not partial to strongly spiced teas, this chai may not be one that you would enjoy. The third tea drinker in our party ordered a classic: Earl Grey. This Early Grey blend had a decently strong black base, which meant that, although it was still aromatic, for me this would be a morning brew rather than a light afternoon tea. But since I find it hard to go wrong with an Earl Grey, this tea certainly got my approval.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about Drink, Shop & Do is its décor. The furniture is charmingly mismatched, and the colourful interior gives the café a fun vibe. The mismatched theme continues in their teawares, and it is always a lovely surprise to see what style of teacup and teapot your tea will arrive in. And, significantly for this tea drinker, most of their teapots are very generously sized. One of our party actually found himself unable to finish his pot—not a common occurrence, I can assure you! But fear not, the unwanted tea did not stay unwanted for long.

All in all, Drink, Shop & Do is a lovely place to stop off for a (large) pot of tea. And, if you are up for something a little more extravagant, or if you fancy a bite to eat, they also do a traditional Afternoon Tea, along with several variations on the theme (such as “Boozy Afternoon Tea” and “Man’s Afternoon Tea”)…

Tempting. Perhaps I’ll sample some of those on my next visit.

Can’t get to London? Shop for the same tasty teas here.

See more of Elise Nuding’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.

Consistency for many is a very good thing while for others it is a bit of a bore. The same is true of consistent tea. For some it is ho-hum and for others it is the “must have” cuppa three, four, or even five times a day. So, what is a consistent tea and what makes it so appealing to many? Time for a closer look.

Stephen Twining (right) helping to get the proper blend (Screen capture from video)

Stephen Twining (right) helping to get the proper blend (Screen capture from video)

What Is Consistent Tea

In short, consistent tea is one that maintains a consistent flavor cup after cup. This can be tricky to achieve. Tea crops vary due to a number of factors. There are things like the growing climate for that harvest (called a “flush”), when the harvest is done (there are from 3 to 5 per year for most black teas), where the teas are grown (China, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Australia, etc.), the tea plant cultivar (there are hundreds with some being better for producing black teas and others for green, oolong, pu-erh, and white teas), and even how they are harvested and processed (by machine or by hand – usually it’s a combination of the two). These differences mean that the batch of tea leaves from one garden harvested in the Springtime will be different from the leaves harvested in late Summer or in Autumn from the same garden or even one nearby. This can pose a huge challenge for tea companies who want to satisfy customers that have become accustomed to their tea tasting the same cup after cup after cup, something that came about over time, presumably thanks to companies like Twinings. And a process called blending.

Some Notes on Tea Blending

This step in the processing of tea leaves is the key to achieving that consistent tea flavor. It, combined with carefully selecting the batches of harvested tea leaves, will determine the flavor profile of the finished product. The process will make use of the strengths of each batch of tea leaves used (they can be from different countries or just different growers in a particular area of one country, such as Kenya). Attributes like clarity, color, flavor, and aroma are balanced to get just the right result and to bring out the best of each batch. The top vendors selling these blended teas go through quite a process. They will cup a sample (steep some and taste it) sent to them by the grower. They place an order based on the cupping results. When the shipment arrives at their blending facility they will cup some of that. (They may even try some right off the delivery truck.) And of course they will cup some after the blending to be sure all has gone as planned.

Some Consistent Tea Brands

PG Tips, Twinings, Typhoo, Bewley’s, Barry’s, Taylors of Harrogate, Harney & Sons, Red Label, Lyon’s, and a host of others are all blended for this consistent flavor. In fact, they have more than one blend, each created for certain characteristics.

Some examples:

  • Yorkshire Gold Label Tea is a blend of teas from India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and Africa that have been balanced to produce a malty tea with a rich brown color and overall stronger flavor that is great for breakfast with milk and sugar added to smooth things out. In contrast, the Yorkshire Red Label Tea blends premium teas from the same countries but for a strong aroma, rich color, and satisfying flavor.
  • Barry’s has a Gold Blend, an Irish Breakfast blend, and a Classic Blend. The gold has a uniquely refreshing taste and a bright golden color, using the finest quality teas from the high mountain slopes of Kenya and the Assam Valley of India skillfully selected. The Irish breakfast is robust and designed for any time of day, a little smoother and milder than the gold version, using teas from the high-mountain slopes of Kenya and the Assam Valley of India (gives the tea a pungency, strength and flavor). The classic uses only the finest teas, blended by experts, to create a taste that is distinctive and refreshing and enjoyable every day and for any occasion.
  • PG Tips has their original signature tea blend and several new ones, including The Fresh One and The Strong One. The original has been around for over 75 years, blending the finest Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas to produce a rich and refreshing flavor. The Fresh One is a blend of 100% Kenyan tea (from various growers) for a fresh and smooth taste and an aroma like “freshly baked bread.” It steeps up a deep red color and is as fresh as tea gets. The Strong One is a blend of Kenyan and other African teas for a bold taste, a strong, bright red coloring, malty aroma, and thick tea character.

The Appeal

The appeal here is that people can pick a brand and then don’t have to think any further. They will know what to expect when they steep some up. This is great when their tea needs are fairly straightforward, wanting something to lift them up in the morning, soothe and invigorate at lunch, perk them up at Afternoon Tea, and yes even calm them in the evening. For many there is nothing to equal that cuppa Typhoo or Lyon’s, etc., for giving them the predictable flavor and effect they want. And the professional blenders have the very important task of assuring those brands live up to that expectation.

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.

Is the United States a nation of tea drinkers? Most people who know anything about the topic would probably say that we are not. While we drink quite a bit of iced tea, at least relative to the hot kind, our overall consumption doesn’t rank us among the world’s great tea-drinking nations. In fact, our twelve ounces a year only places us near the bottom end of the top seventy of tea-drinking nations, in a tie with those voracious tea drinkers in Somalia.

But that’s all changing – if we’re to believe a recent article in none other than the Washington Post, titled “America is Slowly—But Surely—Becoming a Nation of Tea Drinkers.” Their claim is that “There’s a quiet, and lightly caffeinated, trend brewing in America.” Which I won’t quibble with. As we’ve noted many times in these very pages, tea has been on the upswing here in the United States in past decades.

The post quantifies this by noting that in just over two decades there’s been a five-fold increase to $10 billion dollars annually, according to numbers provided by the US Tea Association. If that’s not enough to convince you then consider the USDA’s estimate that tea imports to the US have jumped by more than 700 percent in the last 50 years.

The article goes on to note that we like iced tea best and prefer black over any other type but also notes that green tea drinking is on the rise. Oh, and coffee consumption has largely remained stagnant for about the last 40 years. Nor will I quibble with any of this.

But while I can’t really argue with any of the above I’d stop short of saying that we’ve become or are becoming a nation of tea drinkers, as much as I’d like that. The article claims that “Tea has infiltrated most Americans’ everyday routine,” but I’d venture to say that for many of the people I know – with a rare exception now and then – tea still is a subject that barely comes up on their radar. Which is anecdotal evidence at best but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

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.

I love Autumn. The cooler temperatures that bring relief after Summer’s heat. The lower humidity level that makes that cooler air seem refreshing. And the colors. Especially the colors. So why not bring that indoors to your Autumn tea table? One great way is with a dishware pattern. There are tons to choose from, but these seven caught my eye. They show the variety that’s out there, mainly featuring colorful Autumn leaves but also a classic design with a very plump turkey – we had this pattern (#7 in the image below) as kids and ate our Thanksgiving dinner off of them every year. Just the sight of them can make me start salivating for my mom’s cooking.

7 patterns to set an Autumn mood (Yahoo! Images composite by A.C. Cargill)

7 patterns to set an Autumn mood (Yahoo! Images composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Hall’s Autumn Leaf

Created starting in 1933 and ending in 1976 by the Hall China Company exclusively for the Jewel Tea company in Barrington, Illinois, that gave out pieces to customers as premiums when they purchased other products (now a grocery store chain in the northern Midwest). Different pieces would be discontinued over the years to make customers want them more. The teapot is especially sought after.

2 Franciscan Autumn Leaves

This pattern is called Autumn Leaves and was made by Franciscan China between 1955 and 1966. Delicately designed leaves in various colors are on a cream-colored and speckled background. It’s pretty typical for its era and is in what is called the coupe shape, the same as their Starburst pattern but not as popular.

3 Taylor Smith & Taylor Autumn Harvest

The Taylor, Smith & Taylor Pottery was founded in 1899 by C. A. Smith and Col. John N. Taylor. They took over the facilities of the Taylor, Smith & Lee Pottery that had ceased operations three years earlier and enjoyed quite a bit of success until closing in 1981. They were historical for being one of the first potteries in the U.S. to switch from older methods used by “pioneer potteries” to the most modern mechanical devices available at that time. This pattern was made from 1959 to 1965. (See more about the company here.)

4 222 Fifth Autumn Celebration

The 222 Fifth is a brand name used by PTS America, in New York City, the marketing and distribution arm for PT Sango Ceramics, Indonesia. Their Autumn Celebration pattern, featuring glorious fall foliage, is discontinued but remains very collectible. Bold patterns featuring plants, flowers, geometrics, and even some solid colors are fairly typical for this brand. They also control the entire manufacturing process to assure quality, blending the raw materials to create their own porcelain, stoneware, and fine china. The patterns are applied using a silkscreening process that is regarded as one of the finest around.

5 Royal Albert Lorraine

From Royal Albert LTD., maker of many fine china wares. The Lorraine pattern of grapes and leaves are beautifully painted in hues of blues, greens, browns, and purple.

6 Ganz Autumn Leaf

This pattern features embossed leaves and green trim. It’s part of the Bella Casa line of products from Ganz, a privately-held family company established in 1950 by Samuel Ganz and sons Jack and Sam Ganz. The headquarters is in Toronto, Canada. In the beginning they made toys, especially plush kinds like the popular Webkinz and even a plush Grumpy Cat! Later they added collections of giftware, tabletop accents, candles and personal care, garden décor and more. The Autumn Leaf pattern is discontinued, but you can find pieces here and there online.

7 Johnson Brothers Autumn Monarch

This pattern features an ornate fruit and vegetable design on the rim of the plate and a puffed up tom turkey in the center. Made by Johnson Bros, (Hanley) Ltd., a firm founded at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in 1883 (in 2003 they moved their manufacturing operations to China just as many others have done). In 1888, they began producing under-glaze printed ware for which they became famous, so much so that they had to open up additional factories to meet demand. In the 1930s, they started bringing in more modern production methods, including kilns run by electricity. This pattern is discontinued but, as I said above, was around and served up our Thanksgiving dinners for several years when I was a kid. It holds a special place in my memory and would certainly do the same for you.

Seek out these or other patterns for a fabulous Autumn tea table!

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.

According to his Wikipedia summary, James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784 –1859), better known as just Leigh Hunt, was “an English critic, essayist, poet and writer.” His own work was overshadowed by that of his more famous friends, such as the poets John Keats and Percy Shelley, but he published a number of books in his lifetime. Including The Seer: Or, Common-places Refreshed, which came out in 1840.

It’s a book of Hunt’s essays on such varied topics as pebbles, spring, windows and rainy days, just to name a few. More of interest for purposes of this site is an essay called “Tea-Drinking at Breakfast.” It opens with a rather flowery tribute to the joys of the breakfast table, “a cheerful object” and one that, of course, is “glittering with the tea-pot.”

Which goes on for a bit and then the author inquires of the readers, “do you know how to make good tea?” Fortunately, for those who might not possess this particular skill, he goes on to provide a few tips. If you’re wondering how this works here’s the condensed version – a metal tea-pot, thoroughly boiling water, soft water, and warming the pot before steeping, to name a few.

The perfect cuppa! (ETS image)

The perfect cuppa! (ETS image)

Then there’s that age-old question about what to do with the milk. Hunt recommends putting it in the cup along with sugar before pouring in the tea. All of which – and more – can be boiled down to the following, “boiling, proportion and attention, are the three magic words of tea-making.”

From there Hunt goes on at fairly great length on various tea-related topics, including a discussion of its origins in China and some not so flattering thoughts about the Chinese. And more, all of it delivered in Hunt’s oftentimes rambling, verbose and florid prose. One might also note that the subject of tea and breakfast is not all that extensively treated. But while it might be a little tough to get through it’s yet another document in the long history of tea and thus is still worth a look.

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.

Pumpkin season is upon us. Piles of pumpkins greet us at the grocery store entrance. Ads for you to come to a pumpkin farm and pick your own seem to be everywhere. And recipes for foods and beverages with actual pumpkin or some flavoring meant to mimic it are equally numerous. So a few options for adding your own touch of pumpkin are in order here with the hope that they will spark more ideas of your own.

Pumpkin Treats and Teawares

You can go as wild or tame as you prefer. Some of us go truly “pumpkin crazy” at this time of year while others exercise restraint. It’s sort of like those who add a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to their food and those who go for just a pinch of salt or even a little chili powder. On the mild end you can have a nice cuppa English Breakfast tea in a pumpkin shaped teacup (#1); on the wilder end of the scale you can serve up pumpkin flavored tea (steeped in a pumpkin orange teapot) in that pumpkin shaped teacup, bake some pumpkin cranberry scones, cover the scones with pumpkin butter, and top it all off with treats from that pumpkin themed gift basket.

Pumpkin_themed

  1. Pumpkin shaped cup and saucer – Cup holds 7 ounces, accented with hand applied leaves and vines; saucer is leaf shaped and measures 6 1/4″. Dishwasher and microwave safe.
  2. Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea – A blend of black teas and South African Rooibos, with natural pumpkin flavoring and spicy notes of cinnamon. Perfect when served hot with milk and sugar.
  3. Scone Mix – Pumpkin Cranberry – A taste of Fall any time of the year. Made with lots of spices, rich pumpkin flavor, and cranberry pieces. Each package makes a serving size of 12 scones.
  4. Sticky Fingers Pumpkin Spice Fruit Butter – Made in small batches with all-natural ingredients. Wonderful on scones, toast, or muffins; a unique twist to traditional apple butter.
  5. Fall Harvest Snacker Gift Basket – Send all the flavors and colors of Fall this season with this beautiful hand-painted gift basket. Includes: Fall basket, Frosted autumn pumpkin cookie, Creamy vegetable cheese spread, Three Pepper crackers, 3 ounce beef salami, Stuffed olives, Honey mustard pretzels, Chamberry chocolates, Sonoma three cheese swirls, and 2 ounce caramel corn.
  6. Teaz Cafe Teapot with Stainless Steel Infuser in Bright Pumpkin Orange – Comes with a stainless steel infuser so you can brew your favorite loose leaf or bagged teas in no time. Made from stoneware, lead free, and microwave and dishwasher safe.

Pumpkin Teapots

The humble pumpkin has been an inspiration for talented potters for many centuries. A quick online search pops up hundreds and even thousands. They range from garish to rustic to refined. Pumpkins are popular for Chinese Yixing (unglazed clay) teapots – The pumpkin (nangua 南 瓜) symbolizes a wish for sons – the pronunciation of the word sounds like “boy” (nan 男). The one shown here (#1) is a true work of art. Even 2, 3, and 4 would lend that Autumn air to your tea table. The hard part is choosing which to use!

Pumpkin_teapots

And let us not forget the potential of these teapots to be transformed into a golden carriage to take us to the ball at the palace!

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.

I’ve written about tea patents at this site more times than I can count. If you’re wondering how many tea-related patents there are, the answer is: I don’t know. But there are certainly a lot. So many, in fact, that we’ve decided to start highlighting them on a regular basis, in a monthly column. So here we go.

Have you ever wished for a beverage that combined the best qualities of wine and tea? Me neither. But one inventor recently devised a Method for Producing a Red Grape Tea-like Composition made from red grapes. The claim is that “once brewed, steeped within hot water, tasteful to ingest as herb tea, and that complementary contains antioxidants, Catechin, Resveratrol, Tannin, Quercetin bearing anti-inflammatory and blood glucose lowering capacities; as well as a human skin rejuvenating natural product derived there from.” Which sounds well and good but I’ll probably stick with “real” tea for now.

This one’s also not about tea in the strictest sense of the word, but it’s interesting and close enough that I thought I’d share. It’s a 2005 patent for a Vending Machine for Oriental Tea and Method for Vending the Tea. Oriental tea apparently referring to herbal and/or medicinal teas, rather than Camellia sinensis or “real” tea. Why we need a vending machine specific to this type of tea is not for me to say.

What’s more interesting is the description of the device, which “comprises a monitor, a monetary detection part, a pulse detection part detecting the user’s pulse, an iris photograph part for photographing the user’s iris, an oriental tea selection switch, a data input part, a controller for deciding the health condition of the user, a plurality of oriental medicine material storage barrel, discharge controlling part, and a mix and heat part for mixing and heating a certain water and various oriental medicine tea.”

Finally, there’s an invention for those of you who have been wondering what to do with your tea dregs, or who didn’t even know there was such a thing (unlike our Esteemed Editor, who wrote about them here). It’s called Absorber Comprising Pulp, Tea Dregs and Water Absorbent Resin; Sanitary Articles Using the Absorber and Production Method Thereof. The purpose of all of this, says the patent, is “for water-absorbing, drying, and odor-eliminating with good visual quality, and maintaining sanitary conditions, and sanitary articles using the absorber.”

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.

Celebrating with Darjeeling tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Celebrating with Darjeeling tea! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Tea is being cultivated in more and more countries around the world. China and India remain top producers with Sri Lanka and Kenya being close contenders. It makes me and others interested in the culture of these countries, and that includes some of their holidays. So, I have been looking them up and thought I’d start sharing some of them with you as a way of enhancing your experience of enjoying their teas.

Durga Puja – India and Nepal

30 September through 4 October2014 – Durga Puja festival commemorates a victory by the Goddess Durga over an evil buffalo demon named Mahishasura – an allegory for victory of Good over Evil. An important holiday in several states in India, including West Bengal (home of Darjeeling teas), Bihar (home of the Doke Tea Garden, an up and coming contender in the Indian tea world), and Assam (home of Assam teas). It is also celebrated in nearby Nepal (another area where their teas are beginning to gain more prominence among lovers of fine teas).

Double Ninth Day – Taiwan

Double Ninth Day falls on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month of the year. The number “9” is part of “yang” (positive energy), so the festival is sometimes called “Double Yang.” It also represents longevity. The Tawainese celebrate by climbing hills, drinking special wine made from chrysanthemums, and other customs from the Han Dynasty. Originally, these were meant to avoid dangers. These days they provide a reason to enjoy a hike and cool winds of the season, flying kites. Many fine teas come from Taiwan, mostly oolongs. And they continually strive to improve those teas. Enjoy a few to join in the celebration!

Thanksgiving Day – Canada

Yes, north of the border those wonderful folks also celebrate a Thanksgiving day, and yes they are growing tea. Not much yet, but who knows? The holiday was declared on 31 January 1957 by the Canadian Parliament as a day to celebrate harvest during the past year. It is on a Monday (the 2nd one in October), making a long weekend for parades, ball games, family gatherings, and other festivities. A few provinces have this as an optional holiday (Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia).

Diwali/Deepavali – India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji

23 October 2014 – This is the “Festival of Lights” and is a 5-day Hindu celebration (with the main night being on this date to coincide with the darkest new moon night of the month of Kartik) dating back a long time, signifying the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair (same theme as Durga Puja above). The event is marked by cleaning and fixing up homes, dressing up in their best clothes, fireworks, feasting, and gift exchanges with family members. The countries where this holiday is observed are all ones where tea is grown and/or enjoyed very much. Malaysia seems to regard tea almost as an obsession, rivaling the UK and the Irish Republic.

Daylight Savings Time Ends – UK

26 October 2014 – Clocks “fall back” one hour so there are more useful daylight hours, supposedly. Personally, it’s a time when I want my “elevenses” tea time at 10 a.m. and my afternoon tea at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. It takes a few weeks for my “tea gene” to adjust its internal clock. Tea growing in the UK is at the Tregothnan estate and also some in Scotland. (Clocks in the U.S. aren’t set back until 2 November 2014.)

Halloween – Canada, UK, US

31 October –“All Hallows Eve” was when evil spirits were able to walk among the living and do their mischief. Posting scarily carved squashes (in the UK) and their kin (the pumpkin here in the U.S.) with lit candles in them were said to keep your home safe from these pests. Now they are something to delight the trick-or-treaters. Tea growing in the U.S. is on the rise, with the tea plantation in South Carolina being the best known (see my article here). This date also happens to be Nevada Day in that U.S. state, but no tea is grown there. Just thought you’d like to know.

While you dedicated tea drinkers certainly need no such reasons for drinking a great cuppa, these will help you get a better feel for the source of those teas and may inspire you to a special toast to them all.

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.

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: