You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘tea’ tag.

Green Tea Sampler (ETS image)

Green Tea Sampler (ETS image)

Those of us who have been drinking tea for a while might tend to forget that there are a lot of people for whom tea is a mystery. Which is probably more likely to be the case in a country like our own United States than someplace that’s more tea-centric, like the United Kingdom. I can vouch for this since a mere nine years ago I was one of these people who found tea quite mysterious.

This came to mind recently when I ran across a comment on Twitter recounting a tea novice’s first experience with green tea. This individual seemed surprised and perhaps a bit relieved (and perhaps a bit of both) to discover, as they put it, “it’s actually not horrible!” Well, what a relief.

Which brought to mind a few beginner’s type tea-related incidents from my own past. One concerned yours truly, in the early days of my acquaintance with tea. As it so happens someone at the office where I worked had a box of something alleged to be green tea. It was in tea bag form and so I proceeded to steep a cup of it. And proceeded to taste it. And while I didn’t spew it across the room like a character in a sitcom, I might as well have. Because it actually was quite horrible. I was familiar enough with green tea to realize that this just a bad specimen or it might have put me off green tea for a while.

The other incident took place when I had become better acquainted with tea and had gotten my hands on green tea that I considered to be not in the least bit horrible. In fact, it was nearly spectacular. I thought I would share some of this fine elixir with someone I knew who had a passing interest in green tea but not much experience with it. Who took a few sips of a it and asked for sweetener.

Needless to say I was quite floored, baffled, and put out, though I tried not to let on. But looking back on it from the perspective of someone who’s been drinking “good” tea for a while, I can see that it sort of kind of made sense. It had taken me years to get to the point where I could appreciate the subtle flavors of a delicate green tea, and so it was asking a bit much to expect a tea novice to love it at first taste.

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 first half of the year has passed and the seventh month of the year is beginning, a time for displaying your independent spirit with a bit of red, white, and blue. Some teas and herbals to help you get things going:

5 very “independent” teas for July. (ETS image composite)

5 very “independent” teas for July. (ETS image composite)

 

1 Blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice: Bingo Blueberry Herbal

A full flavored herbal with a strong blueberry character. Specially formulated to acknowledge the great taste and known health benefits of blueberries. In addition to the antioxidants in the blueberries, hibiscus brings the added benefits of Vitamin A and C to the blend. Bingo Blueberry will accommodate the tastes of people who want to experience a refreshing healthy new style drink without caffeine since it contains no tea. Excellent hot or cold. Add a pinch of natural cane sugar to accentuate the natural flavorings and bring out the subtle tastes of the dried berries. Ingredients: Elderberry and Raisin and Apple pieces, Hibiscus and Cornflower petals, and Natural flavors

2 Fruity and flavorful: Long Island Strawberry Green Tea

A Sencha style green from Hunan, China, combined with the sweet flavor of strawberries. Green tea foregoes the fermentation process required to produce black tea. The leaf is steamed after plucking, then bruised either by machine or by hand. After that it’s pan or basket fired, leaving it with a distinctive glossy look and light sweetish flavor – an almost perfect match for the strawberry in terms of character profile. The juiciness has been further enhanced by the addition of dried papaya pieces. Ingredients: Green tea, Strawberry and Papaya pieces, Natural flavors

3 More blueberry goodness: Blueberry Flavored Green Tea

A delicious green tea with a wonderfully sweet character and a pleasing astringency. Made from a green Pekoe Gunpowder, this wonderful tea is flavored naturally. Blueberries rank the highest when compared to 40 other fruits for antioxidant activity, and their sweet character make them a wonderful additive to a delicate green tea. Terrific when served hot or iced. For the best brew, steep in water that is steaming for 1-4 minutes. Ingredients: Green tea, Cornflower petals, and Natural flavors

4 Red for hardiness and valor: Strawberry Tingle Rooibos Herbal

The perfect harmony between rooibos and strawberries. The mellow flavor of the rooibos goes particularly well with sweet strawberries. The Strawberry Tingle Rooibos blend is a caffeine free tea. Ingredients: Rooibos, Safflower & Rose petals, Blackberry leaves, Natural flavors

5 White for purity and innocence: Oasis Mango White Tea

An oasis of tropical mango flavor. The flavor is delicate and round with light honey notes, deep hits of mango and a lightly astringent finish. Ingredients: White tea, Natural flavors

Hope you get to try some of these during July to your independent spirit a boost!

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.

Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea (ETS image)

Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea (ETS image)

How well we like a tea is often a matter of what we’re used to. The simple proof of this is giving teas you didn’t like awhile ago a new try. Or revisiting a tea you have fond memories of but haven’t had in a few months … or even years. The results can be quite surprising.

That Grassy or Seaweedy Green Tea

I have seen numerious comments from tea drinkers out there about green teas that taste like an infusion of grass clippings or dried seaweed – and they said so as a complaint, not a compliment. And I was one of them. That was about four or five years ago. Fresh samples of some green teas from China and Japan arrived recently (I’ve been trying to reduce the flood of tea samples coming in to more of a smaller, steady stream so I can keep up), and I eagerly dived in to see how they would compare. Let’s just say that the “grassy” quality now had more dimensions to it, such as sweetness and a mild floral quality. The seaweed quality in some of them now took on a new appeal, too, especially when paired with some sushi we had fresh from a local eatery. Either the growing conditions were better this year (quite possible) or my palate is improving for detecting some of these subtleties (also possible) or I’m paying better attention (definitely!). Or maybe I’m just getting used to these flavors in these teas.

That Bitter Black Tea

Lapsang Souchong can be overly smoky for my taste. Assam needs milk and sweetener to cover that bitterness and be palatable for me most of the time, even when steeped only 3 minutes, as some folks suggest. Pu-erh teas (especially the kind called “cooked” or “raw” or “shu”) can be overly earthy (like the aroma of wet decaying leaves on the ground of a forest). Yet, revisiting each of these reveals new surprises. The Lapsang Souchong can be steeped lighter to reduce the smoky quality. Switching from a CTC Assam to a higher quality tippy Assam will shift the flavor profile away from being bitter to a more nutty quality. And you can gain an appreciation for that earthiness, especially if you steep it in a more gongfu fashion (small amounts of tea leaves and liquid – usually about 4 to 8 ounces of liquid – steeped in water brought to just below boiling for about 10-15 seconds the first time and adding about 5-10 seconds each time you add more water to those leaves for another steeping). Sometimes being able to get used to something is a matter of altering it to suit you.

That Flavored Tea That Didn’t Quite Please

Flavored teas (that is, those teas where the vendor thinks he/she needs to improve on nature by adding flower petals, spices, fruit pieces, etc.) are a real dilemma for me. For the most part, I have begun avoiding them. The exceptions are masala chais and a few flavored with fruits such as Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea. The added flavors mask the tea flavor (yes, I know there are many of you out there that want the tea flavor masked), tend to get distorted over time, sink down inside the container so that you have to stir things back up each time you want some (applies to those loose forms, not the bagged ones), and generally steep up consistencies each time. I keep retrying some that at first impressed me, but frankly can no longer find them appealing, again with a few exceptions such as Monk’s Blend which is always pleasing. I’m thinking here that if you get used to the flavors in high-quality teas, you won’t need the flavored kind.

Bottom Line

Just as we all deserve a second chance, so do your teas. Give that Assam or Chun Mee or Hojicha another chance to tickle your tastebuds! And expand what you’re used to tasting so your tea enjoyment can expand, too.

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.

We’ve all been there: there’s that tin of tea lurking at the back of your cupboard, boldly asserting its continued existence as you make a quick grab for your favourite teas at the front of the shelf. This lurker is the tea that you thought you were going to love but somehow never quite managed to enjoy properly, the tea that you were given as a gift and never opened, the tea that is almost the same the one you drink all the time, except not as good…

There comes a turning point with these teas, when you can no longer abide their silent skulking. Or maybe it’s just because you’ve run out of space on the shelf. In any case, there comes a point when you need to decide how to deal with these un-drunk teas. If it’s a tea you are convinced you just do not like, you may opt to throw it away, with no regrets.

The Tea Taste by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved

The Tea Taste by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved

However, sometimes it’s more complicated. Perhaps you are one of those people who feel guilt-ridden whenever they throw things away unnecessarily.  Whatever the reason, you may find yourself having to submit this unloved tea to The Tea Test; that is, you may have to try it.

The Tea Test can be a dodgy business, especially if the tea has been sitting on that shelf for a while. Is the tea still good for drinking? Did that tea tin do its job? There is only one way to find out—after all, what’s the worst that could happen? A bad cup of tea? Granted, this is a sorry affair, and if the tea is no longer drinkable because it’s sat there too long, it will have to head for the bin. However, you might also find that the tea is still perfectly fresh and drinkable. What’s more, you might even enjoy it! After all, for many of us, tea tastes do change…

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.

The sixth month of the year is beginning, a time for honoring fathers everywhere. In recognition, here are some teas that I would tend to think of as very fatherly and not to miss in June, along with some tea treats worthy of their appreciation:

5 “fatherly” teas for June (fathers are so special). (ETS image composite)

5 “fatherly” teas for June (fathers are so special). (ETS image composite)

1 Give Dad some choices: Best Sellers Sampler

Give your dad choices. This sampler is a convenient way for him to try some classics and see which best wets his whistle. Five bags of each in resealable pouches. No muss, no fuss, and a lot of pleasure!

Some of the flavors that are offered (substitutions may be made according to availability) – steep each (except the chamomile) for 2-5 minutes in water brought to a rolling boil:

2 Show Dad he’s special: English Breakfast Tea Gift Basket

Man (nor woman) does not live by tea alone, no matter how good the tea. Tea and food go together so well, in fact, that in many countries, especially Britain, having tea usually means something more like a meal with various foods involved. So this gift basket includes some very traditional tea time foods (the kind served at one of the most traditional tea times around – the cream tea). Scone mix, jam, and clotted cream are tight and cozy with some tasty tea – English Breakfast Blend No. 1 (a personal favorite) – and a sturdy teapot for steeping it. (Substitutions might be made depending on availability.)

3 Show Dad that he deserves the gold: Yorkshire Gold Loose Leaf Tea

The best Dad’s are good as gold, so some Yorkshire Gold Tea is quite appropriate. The flavor of this rich brown colored tea is malty and even better with milk and sugar. Teas from India, Sri Lanka, Africa, and elsewhere are blended just right and add a great brightness to your breakfast cuppa (but of course you can enjoy some all day long). (A good alternative is English Breakfast tea. (Get more info on the company here History of Taylors of Harrogate.)

4 Flowers are for Dads, too: Jasmine with Flowers Green Tea

Green tea from the Fujian province of China is steamed and the leaves spread out among jasmine petals to absorb their aroma. Of all the teas out there with natural floral flavors and aromas, jasmine is not one of them. It has to be added. The process has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular flavor-enhanced teas around. Dad will feel quite special. This version is the first grade below the exotic jasmines and has all the flavor, aroma, and good green tea qualities without the exorbitant price.

5 De-stress Dad with this herbal: Casablanca Caffeine Free Herbal

Dad can enjoy a cup of this caffeine-free herbal infusion after a hard day of doing dad-type things. It a combination of several fruit pieces (elderberry, apple, passion fruit, kiwi, raspberry, and strawberry) and flowers (rosehip, hibiscus, rose, sunflower, cornflowers). The flavor is so Casablancan that Dad will be saying “Play it again, Sam” before you know it!

Hope you get to try some of these during June to help you show Dad how much you appreciate him. 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.

Izu Matcha can be a bit strong in taste, so be prepared! (ETS image)

Izu Matcha can be a bit strong in taste, so be prepared! (ETS image)

Can you pair a taste description with the tea it’s referring to? Take this quiz and find out. But first a bit about tea taste descriptions.

Describing the taste of a tea can be like trying to describe color to someone who has never seen. Or music to someone who has never heard. Plus there is a major subjective component to taste: your personal experience with other flavors. Sensory experiences tend to build on each other. We try to relate a new taste to something we’ve tasted before. Thus, so many things are said to taste like chicken. But if you’ve never tasted chicken, then this description of the flavor of that item doesn’t help you much. The same goes for saying that a tea has a green bean like flavor or an asparagus character; if you’ve never experienced those flavors, you won’t have a clue what these mean.

For this quiz, though, we took descriptions from various tea vendors’ sites and want you to pair them up with the proper tea. Some of these you will know by reputation. Others may leave you wondering what in the world the vendor is talking about (partly because the description is an overly literal translation from another language). Have fun and see how well you do.

The Quiz

Descriptions

  1. “a malty full-bodied character with bright flavoury notes and hints of cask oakiness”
  2. “the flavor is nutty and full, but still young enough to have plenty of ‘cha qi.’”
  3. “a unique, toasty rice flavor tending sweet”
  4. “an initial astringent, vegetal taste which then gives way to a lingering sweetness”
  5. “a very sweet, appetizing honey-life fragrance, taste and finishing. The sweet aftertaste will linger on in your mouth after a few sips.”
  6. “a warmed sugar sweetness and a subtle hint of white grapes”
  7. “sweet, vanilla like and floral. Some fruity character can be noticed along with almondy character. It has very little astringency and leaves the tip of the tongue with a sweet aftertaste. The after taste lingers and even after your tea has cooled, there still are beautiful flowery and fruity notes.”
  8. “a rich and refreshing flavor” (a rather non-descriptive description)
  9. “a distinctive nutty/oak taste”
  10. “a robust, nutty and pecan flavor, with a sweet finish”

Tea List

A – 2002 Hai Lang Hao “Mengku Wild Arbor” cake
B – PG Tips
C – Tie Guan Yin
D – Scottish Breakfast Tea
E – Denong Wild Ripe Pu-erh  (2009 or 2010 vintage)
F – Superior Gunpowder
G – Matcha
H – Genmaicha Japanese Green Tea
I – Puttabong Moondrops First Flush Darjeeling
J – Silver Needle from one of the larger tea vendors

 

 

The Answers

1 = D 2 = A 3 = H 4 = G 5 = C
6 = J 7 = I 8 = B 9 = F 10 = E

 

How Many Did You Get Right?

Don’t be at all surprised or feel bad if you didn’t get many of these. Describing taste is very tricky and tea reviewers are all different. Some tastes are commonly ascribed to certain teas, but you may not perceive them. Worse yet, you may get an unpleasant experience from a tea because of what you were led to expect by the taste description on the vendor’s site. Try the tea again without any preconceptions and see how it goes. Also, be aware that some teas steep up stronger than you would expect – one example is Matcha which can overwhelm those new to it or not used to a higher grade version.

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 fifth month of the year is beginning, a time for the real Spring time to begin (finally!) and to celebrate motherhood. In recognition, here are some teas that I would tend to think of as spring-like and not to miss in May:

5 “motherly” teas for May (mothers are so special). (ETS image composite)

5 “motherly” teas for May (mothers are so special). (ETS image composite)

 

1 Give Mom some choices: English Tea Store Flavored Black Tea Sampler

Give your mom choices. After all, she gives you some, usually! And each of these is sure to please. Five bags of each in resealable pouches. No muss, no fuss, and a lot of pleasure!

Some of the flavors that are offered (substitutions may be made according to availability) – steep each for 2-5 minutes in water brought to a rolling boil:

  • Lemon Flavored Black Tea – a great Summertime treat with a fresh lemon character combined with a refreshing medium black tea; great with a little sugar, and stunning when served iced.
  • Mango Flavored Black Tea – natural mango flavor combined with medium black teas.
  • Peach Flavored Black Tea – high grown Ceylon teas and a wonderful, yet delicate peach flavor. Delightful served hot with a bit of sugar or over ice.
  • Raspberry Flavored Black Tea – full natural raspberry flavor and high grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5500 feet above sea level. A clean true taste with no chemical aftertaste. A bit of sugar enhances the raspberry character.
  • Vanilla Flavored Black Tea – warm vanilla paired with a lovely cream character. Try it with a dash of sugar to bring out the sweet flavor.
  • Holiday Spice Flavored Black Tea – a refreshing, medium black tea with natural flavors of cinnamon, orange, and clove, and so popular that we make it available year-round. Try it with a little sugar and milk for a wonderful taste experience.
  • Monk’s Blend Flavored Black Tea – a dramatic combination of grenadine and vanilla flavors with high grown Ceylon tea that is delicious served hot and wonderful iced. This is a naturally flavored black tea.
  • Peach Apricot Flavored Black Tea – a medium black tea with the natural flavors of delicate peach and apricot. Perfect with a touch of sugar.

2 The city of romance in a teacup: Harney and Sons Tea Paris Tea

Harney & Sons will whisk your mother off to the city of romance and rose-colored light – Paris! Well, not physically – just in her teacup. Fruity black tea combines with lemony Bergamot and vanilla for a taste to delight and an aroma that one customer described as “amazing”!

3 Music soothes, and so does this tea symphony: Flower Symphony White Tea

This blooming tea was inspired by artist James McNiell Whistler, famous for his painting of his mother – how appropriate! Three of his other paintings were a series called Symphony in White No. 1, Symphony in White No. 2, and Symphony in White No. 3; they contained portraits of women dressed in flowing white gowns and posing in rooms filled with beautifully decorated fabrics and flowers. They inspired this blend of white teas dancing with hibiscus and lavender flowers. This tea infuses a liquid full of honey notes, white tea sweetness, citrus notes, and floral undertones that delight. Your mother will feel like a queen!

4 Decadence in a cup: Taylors of Harrogate Raspberry & Vanilla Herbal

Ripe raspberries and creamy vanilla flavors dominate in this herbal infusion. Caffeine- and sugar-free, so Mom can sip it all day guilt-free. The mix of hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, apple pieces, blackcurrant leaves, licorice root, poppy flowers, natural raspberry flavor, and natural vanilla flavor can be served hot or iced and still taste great! Your Mom will certainly appreciate it.

5 Rose beauty in a glass: Tiffany Rose Melody Flowering Green Tea

Louis Comfort Tiffany, the American artist who is known for his rose glass lamps, inspired this tea, according to a legend. An American tea trader visited China, brought a Tiffany lamp along as a gift for the tea plantation owner, where an artisan saw it and was inspired to create this blooming tea. The amaranth and marigold blossoms combine with green tea and open into a shape that mimics the lamp. The tea liquid gives off an aroma like freshly cut roses and has a flavor of grassy green tea with notes of rose. Brew in a glass teapot or glass so Mom can get quite a show!

Hope you get to try some of these during May to help you show Mom how much you appreciate her. 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.

(Wikipedia image)

(Wikipedia image)

If you’re expecting anything serious…or historically accurate…or even decisive, best to move along. This is strictly tongue-in-cheek. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The “Green Light” Given for Starting Construction on Knossos Palace (2000 BC)

Okay, so they didn’t have tea in Crete yet…or did they? How do you make such a decision without tea? I mean, having seen this palace and how big those stones are, I’m convinced that you’d have to be pretty firm in your commitment to the project. I don’t know about you, but I would need several strong pots of hot tea while mulling over something like this. One thing is for sure – the design was great, keeping out the soaring heat of the day and even having indoor plumbing. No running to the well to fill the tea kettle.

The First Legal Code Created (circa 1792 BC)

This necessitated the first lawyer. And the first lawyer joke. Hammurabi of Babylon, conqueror and empire builder, united all Mesopotamia into one big tea party and set up the biggest law firm in history. Not really, just the legal code, and it was a great period in Babylonian history with plenty of tea. (Sure they had tea. After all, the Chinese were guzzling tea like crazy. Word must have gotten to Hammurabi via a selfie posted on the Chinese emperor’s Facebook page or Twitter account maybe. Or a text message. Something!)

Trojan War Launched (circa 1180 BC)

Too many history books say that this war started over the ravishingly beautiful Helen of Troy. Nope. It started over a spilt cup of tea. The Greek commander Agamemnon was in Troy for one of those fancy schmancy state dinners when a clumsy waiter knocked over Agamemnon’s teacup while putting more pats of butter on his bread plate. (In all fairness to the waiter, I’ve served at such banquets and found this butter pat maneuver to be quite tricky.) The matter was further exacerbated by the waiter getting a little jittery and spilling a whole pot of tea on Agamemnon’s tunic. Thus began a lengthy besiegement of Troy by hordes of Greeks united to demand justice for this insulting (and messy) action. Plus the Trojans refused to pay the cleaning bill for that tunic.

Building the Great Wall of China (220–206 BC)

Tea has been around for thousands of years. So has what we now know as the Great Wall of China, with the most famous part having been built in 220-206 BC at the command of Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of China, along the historical northern borders of China. It was meant to protect the empire from invasions by more hostile groups. The wall we know today was mostly built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). So, how was tea involved? Well, as I heard the story, Qin Shi Huang was waiting for the tea water to reach the “crab eyes” stage (just the right temperature for green tea) and was playing with his Lego® set (okay, so it wasn’t called “Lego” back then) and built a wall. Just then a messenger came running in saying that a horde from the north was heading their way. “Hm…,” thought the emperor, “invading horde…wall of Legos…” Ding! A lightbulb suddenly went off over his head…oh, sorry, the lightbulb hadn’t been invented yet so it was probably a candle being lit…and he told the messenger to get a crew started building that wall right away. Just then the water reached the “crab eyes” stage and, with a major decision having been made, he turned his attention to infusing his tea. From that day on, he was known as the Wall Emperor Who Steeps Tea or some such thing.

Henry VIII Decides to Behead His Second Wife Ann Boleyn (1536)

After a mere 3 years of marriage, Henry said, “Get me out of this marriage.” His loyal minions did. Some say it was so he could marry someone else and beget a son (Ann was only able to have a healthy daughter, Elizabeth I). In reality, it was over tea. Yeah, this was about 70 years before the Dutch brought tea to Europe, but hey, Henry was a very forward-thinking monarch. In fact, I think that’s what the whole disagreement between him and Ann was about. Something like this: Henry: “Ann, tea is going to be the most popular drink in our empire some day.” Ann: “How idiotic.” Henry: “Guards! Off with her head!”

Declaring Our Independence from King George III of Britain (4 July 1776)

Sure, you’ve heard of the Boston Tea Party, but that wasn’t the only involvement of tea in the decision of the original 13 colonies (actually, only 12 since New York abstained from voting) to declare their independence from Britain and especially King George III (aka “The Mad King”). Part of the issue was all that pinky raising the Colonists were required to do when lifting their cups at tea time to drink. Another was those teeny weeny tea sandwiches that were served. Oh, wait, that was in the 1800’s. Well, the pinky thing was enough to fight over. So they did. And now we can sip our tea without raising our pinkies if we so desire.

Sending Men to the Moon (circa 1960)

On 20 July 1969, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made one small step for man and one giant leap for tea drinkers. But the decision to send men to the moon came years earlier over a pot of Lapsang Souchong. That smoky taste is very invigorating and stimulates creative thinking. One potful and the guys at NASA were saying, “Monkey schmonkey…let’s send a MAN to the moon!” Wow, now that’s good tea!

The First Blog Is Set Up (late 1990s)

Again, tea stimulated those creative brain cells and had someone thinking, “Gee, I want to post about this tea online…just something short…with photos.” Voilà! The Web log was born. And then that person had some more tea and said, “The name ‘Web log’ is too long. I’ll just call it a ‘blog.’”

Enough history. Time to get back to tea drinking!

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.

A great start to a tea leaf's journey to your cup! (stock image)

A great start to a tea leaf’s journey to your cup! (stock image)

by Guest Blogger Sarah Rosalind Roberts

Everyday millions of us drink cups of tea, but how many of you have ever wondered about the journey the tea leaf takes to make it to your mug? This is the story from the tea leaf’s point of view.

Hello – I am Camellia sinensis. It’s early spring and time for me to begin my journey. As one of the top two tea leaves on the plant, I am destined to be made into premium loose black tea. I have been allowed to grow to the perfect height to make harvesting easier to complete. Approached by an expert picker, I am twisted and plucked from the stem by hand and start to fly through the air into the basket on the plucker’s back. I’m left waiting a while until the basket begins to get full, at which point I’m moved to quality control to check that I’m good enough (which of course I am!)

From the moment I was picked, I feel myself start to wilt, which gradually starts enzymatic oxidation, also known as withering. I’m laid out with all the other leaves in the sun which is making me lose a lot of my water content and I’m starting to feel limp as my structure weakens.

Tea leaves ready for packing and shipping. (stock image)

Tea leaves ready for packing and shipping. (stock image)

I’m now being rolled and kneaded, causing me to ooze some of my leaf juices, which will help with the final flavour once I’m brewed. After this I’m left to oxidise in a climate controlled room for almost an hour. If I was going to be a different type of tea, I’d be oxidised for a shorter period of time. To finish me off and seal me at the right oxidation level, I’m being heated gently – it’s actually getting quite warm!

I’m now being shipped across the globe to a tea wholesaler to be sold on to a tea vendor. As a loose tea leaf, I find myself being placed into packaging with many others (it’s pretty dark in here). I find myself on the shelf of the tea vendor ready for someone to buy me. Although I have no idea who’s bought me I know I’m being transported somewhere. Suddenly there is light as the packaging that contains me opens. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or more precisely, I can see a teaspoon that shovels me into a teapot.

Black tea in the cup (ETS Image)

Black tea in the cup (ETS Image)

The hot water from the kettle hits me like a wave and all the time that went into my preparation makes it worth it for you. I’m being poured into a cup now and being stopped from entering by the strainer.

My journey has come to an end – it’s been one that has taken time and spanned many miles to reach your mug. I hope you can appreciate the lengths I’ve been through to give you the perfect cuppa when you need it most.

© 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.

 

From Hugh Jackman to the Beatles to “the Oprah,” famous faces are popping up related to tea. All this to get you to go ga-ga (or should I say “go Lady Gaga”?) over their tea and rush out to buy some (and inspire various tea accessories like these Beatles-themed ones). Good or bad, it seems to work, at least for awhile…until the next celebrity tea endorsement comes along. So here I present my good and bad reasons for these endorsements (and why you might want to ignore these endorsements).

Celebrity endorsements are common worldwide. (Screen capture from site)

Celebrity endorsements are common worldwide. (Screen capture from site)

3 Good Reasons

There must be something good in this marketing practice, because companies keep doing it over and over. So I put on my thinking cap and also did some online searching. Here are the results:

  1. Gets a big splash of attention from customers.
  2. That big splash very often results in a spike in sales.
  3. The association of the brand with the celebrity continues in people’s minds for awhile past that initial big splash.

3 Bad Reasons

After awhile, I tend to go “ho-hum” when the latest celebrity tea endorsement is announced, such as the one a large coffee shop chain (that is now getting into tea big time) recently ballyhooed. But there are other bad reasons besides customer ennui. Here are the ones I came up with:

  1. Implies that we should all drink the tea the celebrity is endorsing, with little or no information given about the actual quality and value of the tea product.
  2. Encourages “celebrity worship” where we base our life choices on what these famous people like instead of on what we like.
  3. The association of the brand with the celebrity continues in people’s minds for awhile past that initial big splash. (Yeah, this one can be both good and bad. If a celebrity like Lindsey Lohan is pictured with a bottle of ready-made tea in hand and has clearly been partying all night, that image will be linked with the tea.)

Feel free to add your own good or bad reasons for celebrity tea endorsements. Love ’em or hate ’em, I’m pretty sure they’re not going away any time soon.

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: