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What is Bubble Tea?

The other day at a fall apple festival near my hometown in PA I saw a huge sign that read “Bubble Tea $6.99”. I have never heard of such a thing so I came home and researched exactly what it was because I love trying new things. I soon found out that bubble tea, also known as tapioca tea or milk tea, originates in Taiwan where you can find bubble tea stands on every corner. The “bubbles” come from the froth that the milk makes when the drink is shaken prior to drinking. The pearls in the bottom of the glass are tapioca pearls that are typically black in color but can also be white or clear. They are soaked in a simple syrup before using so that they add sweetness to the drink. After the pearls are placed in the glass, it is then filled with a chilled drink then shaken.

Now for a recipe! If you like Chai Tea, you have to try this awesome bubble tea recipe. It is delicious! However, if you prefer other flavors of tea, feel free to sub them in!

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What You’ll Need:

5 Chai Tea Bags (we recommend Tazo Organic Chai Tea)

Coconut Milk (or whole milk if you prefer)

Honey

Tapioca Pearls (you can find these on Amazon)

Simple Syrup (optional)

 

Put it together!

  1. Boil the tapioca pearls for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let them cool in the water for 6 minutes.
  2. Rinse the pearls, place in a container with simple syrup or water and chill. (If you like a sweeter drink use the simple syrup so the pearls absorb the sweetness)
  3. Brew your chai tea by steeping 5 chai tea bags in 3 cups of water.
  4. Grab a tall glass, put 1/2 cup of coconut milk in the glass, add honey to taste.
  5. Add a few spoonfuls of tapioca pearls.
  6. Put 3/4 cup of your tea in the glass and mix it up!
  7. Grab a straw and enjoy!

 

-Alexis

 

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white-chocolate-matcha-brownies

 

I hope the green coloring doesn’t throw you off because these brownies are delicious! The light and airy texture is almost like a cake. This is the perfect quick dessert for anyone who loves matcha tea.

Matcha has so many benefits to the body! It helps fight heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some even believe is slows the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. And for those of us entering the colder months and cold season, Matcha is great to boost your immune system.

 

LET’S BAKE!

 

Step 1: Choose your Matcha Tea! We have plenty of options at ETS. Such as peppermint matcha, bengal club chai, kenya white rhino and japanese izu.

Bengal Club Chai Matcha Loose Leaf Tea

Step 2: Get your ingredients ready. You will need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of milk
  • 70 g all-purpose flour
  • 100 g white chocolate chips
  • 120 g melted white chocolate
  • 30 g Matcha Tea Powder
  • 70 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 60 g sugar

 

Step 3: Get your oven ready. Preheat at 350 degrees F.

Step 4: Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

Step 5: Whisk together the flour and matcha powder.

Step 6: Beat the butter and sugar together until light then add eggs one at a time

Step 7: Stir in melted white chocolate and milk until mixed fully

Step 8: Stir in matcha mixture and half of the white chocolate chips

Step 9: Pour into pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Step 10: Remove from oven and sprinkle rest of chips on top

Step 11: Bake another 7 minutes!

Step 12: Let cool & ENJOY!

 

We hope you enjoy this recipe that we uncovered from epicmatcha.com! I tried it out even though I was skeptical and found it to be the PERFECT after dinner dessert without being too heavy. Plus I don’t feel guilty from the all the wonderful benefits from matcha.

 

-Alexis

 

 

Snowlined fence

© Ice | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The start of the new year, January being National Hot Tea Month, and new writers all facilitated bringing you new teas to try this month. I intended to write this article many weeks ago and title it, “January is National Hot Tea Month.” If my life is like yours in any degree, you are well familiar with the shortage of time fighting against a surplus of tasks, errands, and chores.

We’ve had some harsh weather in areas, which also encouraged you to stay bundled up and warm. One of my favorite things to do in the winter is find a large, sunny window that overlooks a busy street or woodland rife with wildlife; park a solid, overstuffed chair in the sunspot; encourage a cat or two to find refuge in my lap; crank the heat or wrap in a lap throw; and watch the world go by while I remain stationary. Hot tea helps with the contrast between the snowy outside and toasty inside.

Whether I am doing this alone or snuggled up with my LTR, I have enjoyed the decaf chai. I load my little infuser with the loose tea, brew it strong, and 20141224_150629add milk and honey. Robbing the cup of its heat, I wrap my hands around it until the tea is cool enough to drink.

Remembering to sit quietly and appreciate simple pleasures allows me to recharge my batteries and find more value in my world. With the fast pace of today’s connected world, I think National Hot Tea Month is a very good thing. Raising a cup and hoping you had a moment to enjoy it, too.

~Your editor

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from 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.

Here in Chicago, there is definitely a chill in the air, and while I love the colors of fall, I often find myself putting on an extra sweater as the temperature drops. Still, even though I know that the chill will eventually give way to the freezing cold of a Midwestern winter, I’ve got one comfort: It’s chai season!

Chai Tea Gift Basket

Chai Tea Gift Basket

As far as I’m concerned, nothing compares to a hot mug of spicy chai when the weather gets cold. And I don’t mean chai latte, either, though I don’t criticize those who like their chai blended with milk. I’m happy to drink my chai straight, without milk or sugar, as I simply love the flavors of warm spices in a base of robust tea.

Here are some ideas for chai drinking this fall:

  • I think that chai always tastes best when drunk out of large, thick mugs. If your supply of mugs has dwindled over the years, check out the English Tea Store’s collection.
  • Stock up on different chai blends so that you will have a variety to sip this fall and winter. The English Tea Store brand is an affordable option, but Stash also makes inexpensive, bagged chais that are both delicious and a great value.
  • If you are a DIY type, try making your own chai blend with a good quality Assam tea and a mix of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and other spices. Feeling adventurous? Try making chai with green tea instead.
  • Send your college student a chai care package: The English Tea Store offers a gift basket that contains five different types of chai, chocolate truffles and cinnamon honey sticks for sweetening.
  • If you like chai lattes, try making them with almond milk instead of regular milk. You’ll not only reduce the drink’s calorie count, but the almond milk typically meshes very well with chai spices.

See also a couple of Lainie’s chai reviews:
Review — Stash Holiday Chai
Review — Stash Double-Spice Chai

© 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.

Earl Grey Green TeaGreen is one of the dominant colors for the holidays (red being the other), so why not for your tea, too? Several choices spring to mind, teas that I have tried and grown quite fond of during the past year.

The first green tea that I think of now is Chai Green (a green tea with spices added). Chai is a holiday must, but people usually have one based on black tea, not green. Going with the green chai puts a new twist on things.

Granny Green Apple Tea is another great option. The natural fruity flavor and green tea, all hot and steamy in a decorative holiday mug, will give you lots of cheer. Enjoy it with a nice slice of fruitcake, a mince tart, or even a chocolate covered McVitie’s Digestive.

Another staple in any tea pantry is Earl Grey but made with black tea. Take a different slant on this favorite and get a bit of that holiday hue with Earl Grey Green Tea. Ceylon green tea and oil of bergamot dance a jig on your tongue. Of course, you could go with a straight Ceylon green tea — subtle, satisfying, and smooth.

This suggestion might seem a little odd but there’s a good reason for it: Gen Mai Cha. That toasted rice flavor mixed with the Japanese green tea is rich tasting, yet it’s light and leaves lots of room for all those holiday dishes, from turkey and stuffing to fruit pies and other desserts. A key to enjoying these holiday events is to make sure you pace yourself and don’t fill up on the non-essentials. This light tea really helps with that.

Cinnamon is one of those flavors that abounds this time of year in just about every dish imaginable, so why not in your green tea? Cinnamon Sibu Green Tea has an intoxicating aroma not only of cinnamon but also delicate rose and goes great with desserts or in place of dessert (for those of you wanting to refrain from over indulging).

There are lots of other green teas out there. Besides color, they have one thing in common: lighter taste. Most are delicate enough to be sipped (or even gulped) straight, which keeps them light on your tummy, too.

So, go out there. Enjoy the holidays and the many traditional foods. Then, have a nice cup or potful of one of these or other green teas. Ho ho ho!

Don’t miss A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

Trick-or-treaters driving you buggy with their routine of ringing the doorbell and shouting “Trick or Treat”? Had a bad day at your place of work? Relax with a cup of tea so special that it’s a treat in itself.

Autumn around here means things like pumpkins, corn harvests, hearty and hot dishes like soups full of fall vegetables, and fragrant and tasty baked treats with plenty of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, nuts, and candied fruits. Seems only natural, then, to have teas with similar flavors and heartiness. For your ease of gratification, I have listed a few here.

Chais

Indian Spiced Chai

We’re talking about the more U.S. style chais (tea with spices), often called chai lattés. While traditional Indian masala chai is made with a CTC Assam, your fall chai can start with green tea, Ceylon, pu-erh, or even something a bit different such as Lapsang Souchong or a fruity Darjeeling. Then, add in your fall spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Of course, there are plenty of pre-mixed chais out there from Twinings, Stash, Serenity, Golden Moon, Revolution, The Republic of Tea, and many more. You can get them in loose form, bagged, and some even in concentrate.

Pumpkin Spice
The best looking pumpkins show up at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and other venues for you to buy, tote home, and exercise your creative skills by carving them into Jack-O-Lanterns. The not-so-good-looking ones end up in canned pumpkin, yummy soups, desserts, other seasonal dishes, and teas, naturally! A prime example is Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea — a tasty blend of black teas and rooibos (red bush) leaves, also containing natural pumpkin flavoring and spicy cinnamon. Serve it hot with milk and sugar for a truly scrumptious Fall tea taste.

Vanilla Teas
Great any time of year, teas with vanilla added to them just seem even more yummy as the weather turns chilly, the skies wear their garments of gray, and tree leaves erupt in brilliant colors. Golden Moon make a “delish” Madagascar Vanilla (see reviews by Lainie Petersen and Little Yellow Teapot).

Orange and Spice

Orange Spice Black Tea

Oranges are one of the crops harvested around this time of year, although it’s not as well publicized as squash, summer wheat, apples, and other crops. So, teas such as Orange Spice Black Tea is brimming with the kind of taste that is a real treat during this season.

I’ll recommend another one: Young Pu-erh. Just let it steep a full 10 minutes (yes, I said 10 minutes), then add in some milk, sweetener, and a few autumn-time spices (a dash of nutmeg, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a soupçon of ground cloves, or whatever you might fancy). You might even be bold and top your cupful with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Of course, those lighter tasting teas aren’t bad this time of year either. Whites like Adams Peak White Tea and 100 Monkeys White Tea, and greens such as Dragon Pearls and Granny Green Apple will complement some of your fall foods, like a hearty quiche brimming with another lesser-known fall harvest crop: broccoli.

As the weather tries to decide between chilling and unseasonably warm, cherish this time of year with a suitable tea to go with an equally suitable meal or to enjoy all on its own. Cheers!

Make sure to stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

Chai Tea SamplerName: Double Spice Chai (included in the Chai Tea Sampler)

Brand: Stash

Type: Black tea, flavored

Form: Paper tea bag, individually wrapped

Review: Cold nights are here, and even the days, particularly the mornings, can get a bit chilly. Time for spicy hot drinks.

Chai, perhaps?

Stash actually sells several different chai blends, ranging from “regular” chai to a chai based on white tea. They offer a sample pack that lets you try them all, including their double-spice chai, which kicks up the intensity by adding coriander to their blend of Indian black tea, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove, and then upping the cardamom content. The result is a very strong, very pungent tea, in which the cardamom dominates at first sip, but then the coriander overwhelms the finish.

I do detect some of the black tea in the blend, and the ginger and other spices give it a hint of sweetness, but this is mainly a cardamom/coriander lover’s chai. (Not that this is a bad thing: I happen to like both spices.) If you prefer a more balanced spiced tea, I’d suggest looking further. On the other hand, this beautiful, dark amber colored, medium bodied tea is just the thing if you like a strong, serious chai. Even better, it is very convenient to make: Just pop the teabag out from its foil pouch, add boiling water, and you’ll have your drink in a few minutes.

Serving Tips: This is an intense chai blend that may be a bit too much on its own for some people. Keep some dairy milk or vanilla almond milk on hand for blending, and you might even want to add some sweetener if you find the coriander and cardamom too pungent. This would make an excellent iced chai, as its flavors are strong enough to stand out even after being chilled.

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© 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.

“Hi, my name is [insert your name here] and I am a self-proclaimed ‘chai snob’.” Okay, I got the hard part out of the way. Now, it’s time for the story of the long road to chai snobdom. Well, the road wasn’t that long, more like a short jaunt.

First of all, “chai” means “tea.” Here in the U.S., though, it means a particular style of tea, usually with lots of milk and various spices (often, there is an over-abundance of cinnamon for my taste).

Once upon a time, I would buy a chai latté at one of the many local Starbucks and think it was the ultimate, the end-all be-all of chais — sheer chai nirvana. Boy, was I ever living in a chai fantasy world! Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that this chai was not only very different from the chai I would get at our favorite Indian restaurant (with the lunch buffet where I could totally sate my curry craving), but it was also SOOOO heavy on the cinnamon. Then, I asked the Indian restaurant manager how to fix the chai he served and started fixing it at home, using the traditional stovetop method. Then, I got totally hooked and couldn’t even stand the SMELL of the Starbucks version. Then, the Twinings chai plus several other brands we had in the tea pantry were unacceptable. Then, the realization hit me: I’m a “chai snob”!

Recently, hubby and I engaged in a chai-tasting extravaganza, to the consternation of our inner “chai snobs.” (Yes, it’s contagious. Hubby has joined me in the ranks of “chai snobs.” Live around a “chai snob” long enough, and you’ll become one, too.) The snob in us kept saying, “If it doesn’t taste like what we get at the Indian restaurant, it’s not chai.” Our tastebuds, though, were much much much more open-minded.

Chai Green Tea

Those tastebuds have learned a lot recently. Several months ago, we tried an unusual chai (at least unusual to us) made with green tea instead of the usual Assam black tea. The first reaction was, “Green tea? We can’t add milk to that. How is this a chai?” I guess the snobbery was taking root already. Well, it was tea with spices and it tasted good, so we accepted it into our arsenal of chais.

Another chai, though, definitely did not make the grade. It was as heavy with cinnamon as the kind from Starbucks. My inner “chai snob” grew from an infant to a teenager that day, metaphorically speaking, and loudly proclaimed, “Too much cinnamon!”

Indian Spiced Chai

An Indian Spiced Chai Black Tea we tried was much better. The Indian spices in it (including coriander, cardamom, ginger, and cloves) were more in line with what that growing (now adult-sized) “chai snob” in us expected. Since it was made with black tea, we were able to add milk to it as we were accustomed to doing.

What these chais and the ones we tried during our extravaganza showed us is that yes, we are “chai snobs” but we are still flexible. It also led us to assign various categories to the chais we’ve tried thus far:

  • Traditional Indian — A balance of black pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in black tea (usually CTC Assam).
  • American style — Leaning toward the cinnamon and nutmeg side, with subtler notes of traditional spices like black pepper, cardamom, ginger, and cloves in black tea.
  • Excessively spiced — Overboard on one or more spices traditionally used, usually black pepper, cardamom, cloves, or cinnamon.
  • Downright “manic” — Containing such things as white chocolate, fruits, flowers, and other non-traditional spices and/or made with a tea other than CTC Assam.
  • Pathetic — That tea-dust-and-spices-in-a-bag kind.

Of course, that’s just our assessment as “chai snobs.” You might develop your own categories as you nurture the “chai snob” in you. It’s a journey worth taking. Enjoy!

To read more of A.C.’s confessions, visit her blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

Cute names do not a great tea make, but they don’t hurt either. My humans got a chuckle out of the name of this tea, then they got to the serious business of trying it as part of their week-long Chai Extravaganza.

The Subject: Night of the Iguana Chocolate Chai from The English Tea Store.

Rating:

Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 7 minutes

Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings added: Spices
Aroma, dry tea leaves: ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper
Aroma in the cup: Intriguing, non-cocoa-ish, yet something odd about it
Taste in the cup: Smooth, yet that oddness prevailed

Additional Infusion(s): Not recommended

Comments:
According to the vendor’s Website, this tea is made from a full-bodied black Assam, white chocolate, caramel, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.

Of course, we followed the vendor’s steeping instructions.

Chocolate chai is definitely NOT traditional. For many tea drinkers, the mere thought of CHOCOLATE in their TEA is blasphemous or at least downright unappetizing. Hubby and I were open to the possibilities here. After all, we like a nice cuppa hot cocoa now and then, so chocolate and tea…

Unfortunately, the name “Chocolate Chai” here is misleading. First, “white chocolate” is not really chocolate, since it contains no cocoa. Second, the white chocolate is in the form of miniscule little “kisses” and are rather scarce. Personally, I think the name should be changed to “Night of the Iguana Chai.” Of course, how this tea possibly relates to the Tennessee Williams play about breaking down sexual morés is a total mystery. Sometimes, a cute name isn’t helpful when one is seeking out a particular product.

Aside from the issues of the name and the lack of proper chocolate, we initially found the taste rather interesting. It was spicy like a typical Indian chai but with a sweet element added in. However, the more I drank of it, the queasier I got. A few mouthfuls is all I could manage. Hubby had to proceed on his own. There was something definitely off in the taste. I thought it might be anise, but the Website doesn’t list that as one of the ingredients. Maybe it was the coriander and cardamom mixed with caramel. Hm…

We did a second infusion just to see how it would go. To be brief, we don’t recommend it. I couldn’t even try it, based on the aroma. Hubby thought it was too weak, a bit bitter, not at all cocoa-ish, and smoothed only slightly with the addition of a little milk and sweetener.

The dry tea, and the tea after the second infusion:

This chai was not quite up to our expectations as self-proclaimed “chai snobs” but was still worthy of our Chai Extravaganza. Don’t miss the rest.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

If you like this review, there are plenty more at Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews!

What’s life without dessert, especially when it’s drinkable? No, we’re not talking about milkshakes, hot cocoa, chilled mocha drinks, or pie that’s been given the blender treatment (what, you’ve never puréed pie?). We’re talking tea!

Yes, some teas are so yummy and sort of sweet that they are dessert-like. Vanilla and fruit flavored teas are good options. Other teas are the basis of tea drinks that have a dessert quality. Chais and bubble teas are the best known.

Vanilla teas

Adding vanilla to tea is a quick and easy way to turn your tea into dessert. You can go cheap and easy by adding a few drops of vanilla extract to your teapot or a drop in your teacup. A better way is to purchase a tea with vanilla already in it. Usually, these “ready made” vanilla teas have other ingredients, too, making them even more dessert-like. Monk’s Blend is one I’ve tried. It also contains pomegranate, and has a fruity, caramelly, mild, milky smooth taste that needs little sweetener. Get back to basics with Vanilla Naturally Flavored Black Tea. Add some mint to your vanilla tea for a heavenly taste experience, like Golden Moon’s Vanilla Mint that uses both green and black teas. Don’t forget the coconut, like you find in Harney & Sons Green Tea with Coconut.

Fruit-flavored teas

Fruits have been a part of dessert for about as long as man has eaten fruit. (“Here, have a bite of this apple!”) So, fruit-flavored teas are a natural substitute for more calorie-laden fruity desserts such as pies, tarts, and ice creams. Black tea flavored with peach and apricot is one that comes to mind. Cranberry Orange Flavored Black Tea is another. Both of these can stand a bit of milk and sweetener added to give them a creamier, more dessert-like quality. Of course, you can also drink them straight and enjoy every fruity drop. Green teas with fruit flavors added can be just as dessert like. Granny Green Apple and Bohemian Raspberry are a couple of prime examples. Don’t forget white teas like Revolution Tea’s White Pear and Harrisons & Crosfield White Tea with Blackcurrant.

Chais

Night of the Iguana Chai

While “chai” is the Indian word for “tea,” in Western countries that word has come to mean “spiced tea.” Most are based on black teas, but some are based on green teas. The variety of spices that are used varies widely, depending on whether you want the tea to be more on the sweet side or more on the spicy side. Cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, and cloves push your chai toward that sweet side. Add milk and maybe some sugar and you have dessert in a teacup.

Bubble tea (pearl milk tea)

Also called boba tea, milk tea, pearl shake, tapioca iced tea, and zhen zhu nai cha (Chinese). Originating in the late 1980s in Taiwan as a children’s drink, bubble tea is now a phenomenon in many other parts of the world, especially where there is a large Chinese population.

So, what’s in it? Start with a darker Oolong or a green Jasmine tea served in a tall glass. Add enough milk and sugar so that they dominate the taste. Don’t forget a flavoring of your choice. There are lots of options, such as fruits, coffee, almond, and — of course! — chocolate.

The most important ingredient, and the one that sets this apart from other dessert teas, is the marble-sized tapioca balls (made of starch from the roots of manioc, also called yucca, and loaded with carbs). They are chewy and usually black. They lurk in the bottom of the glass, waiting for you to slurp up all the tea and get to them. Sort of like those cookie crumbs that break off when you dunk and then wait patiently for you at the bottom of the teacup or mug.

Milk Oolong

Actually, here I must distinguish between Oolongs that are good with milk versus a special type of Oolong that has a milky aroma and flavor. An example of the former is The Republic of Tea’s All Day Breakfast Black Tea, made from Keemun Oolong (oxidized toward the black end of the Oolong scale). The latter kind is available from a variety of vendors online. It’s an Oolong made from tea leaves harvested at the right moment (after a sudden shift in temperature, an uncommon occurrence) to produce that milkiness. There are several versions of milk Oolongs, and the tastes are described as creamy, caremelly, coconut milky, and milk toffee candies.

There is also Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong, made with a different type of milk — the kind from a coconut (great for those of you who are lactose intolerant). It’s a sweet flavor you’ll love in place of heavy desserts.

That should give you some good places to start. Pick a tea and imbibe it in place of that calorie-laden pie or cake. Not necessarily every day, but certainly once or twice a week. Your waistline will thank you. Mine does!

Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. 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, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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