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http://www.nationalteaday.co.uk/ April 21st, 2017

National Tea Day is celebrated in April in the UK. While tea is the most popular beverage in the UK, this is its official day. This day is entirely different from National Hot Tea Day in the US, which is celebrated each January. This day celebrates all aspects of tea, including Afternoon Tea, one of the most popular times to enjoy tea.

Whether you have a full on English Afternoon Tea with some friends or just a cup while curling up on the couch, take the time to treat yourself to a fine brew. It’s always completely up to you if you want to go to with a familiar favorite like PG Tips or Typhoo or go with something new and different like Taylor’s of Harrogate. Have some English Breakfast, Green Tea, or how about something unfamiliar? Try a few of these teas that are becoming popular all over the world:

Darjeeling: Known as the “Champagne of Teas”, this reigns one of the best in its class. Darjeeling is grown in India, in the Darjeeling district, which is where it gets its name. Brands to try: English Tea Store, Twinings, Harney and Sons, and Taylors of Harrogate.

Oolong: A popular Chinese tea, this distinctive tea is just a bit fermented and oxidized for a perfect balance of green and black tea. Brands to try: English Tea Store Orange Blossom Oolong, Twinings China Oolong.

Assam: Assam tea was named after the region in which it was grown in India. It is a black tea with a strong malty flavor and deep bronze color. It is perfect for breakfast or any other time of day with a little sugar and milk. Brands to try: English Tea Store and Taylors of Harrogate.

What kind of tea would you celebrate National Tea Day with and who would you share your cup with? If you are a tea lover, then National Tea Day is every day!

 

-CD

 

Break out the tea kettles teaapke1000033268_-00_ovente-electric-glass-kettle-1-5-liters-red_1and tea cozies! Autumn is finally here after a long and brutal summer! Back in June, I compared and contrasted how British and Americans take their tea during the summer. While most Americans drink their tea iced during the hot summer months, the British stick to tradition and continue to enjoy their tea hot. With Autumn, or Fall, as some call it, the weather finally begins to cool down enough for a nice hot cuppa tea and some hot, fresh baked goodies. The leaves change into beautiful colors while some cool rain may fall along with the leaves.

Tea is already a very comforting beverage but when you mix it with the things you affiliate with Autumn, it’s even better! Autumn in the United TEACKCK1000016677_-00_Scone-Mix-Pumpkin-Cranberry-15ozStates is already associated with the smells of cinnamon and maple. Then there are apples and pumpkins being harvested. A good population of Americans like to think of Fall as a cozy time, which is possibly why they list Autumn as their favorite holiday (next to Spring/Summer, of course).

All this talk of Fall makes me want to enjoy tea all over again. Since summer has ended, many people have returned to their normal lives, so it’s nice to take a break and catch up with them to enjoy a good cup of tea and a freshly baked pumpkin cranberry scone, straight from your oven. Try some cinnamon tea like Harney and Sons Cinnamon spiced tea for a good kick of cinnamon and warmth or Stash Pumpkin Decaf.

More Autumn here on the blog soon!

John Harney enjoying a "cuppa"

John Harney enjoying a "cuppa" (Photo courtesy of Harney & Sons Fine Teas)

Cha Jing, the classic book of tea written by Lu Yu in the 8th century CE, is still read and revered by tea lovers the world over. It now lends its name to a tea industry award.

World Tea Media, producers of World Tea Expo, introduced the Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award at World Tea East in Philadelphia on September 9th. As announced by WTM, the award “recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made considerable contributions to the growth, innovation, and education of the specialty tea industry throughout their lifetime.”

The first recipient of the award is Mr. John Harney, founder of Harney & Sons Fine Teas. His story, from Cornell to Connecticut, Sarum to Harney’s, and to many points between and beyond, is familiar to most tea lovers.

John Harney and Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award

John Harney and Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award (Photo courtesy of Pearl Dexter, TEA: A Magazine, and World Tea Media/World Tea East)

Almost everyone in the tea world – in the USA and beyond – has a John Harney story or two. Here’s one of mine:

When I first became involved in “the tea world” in the mid-1990s, I sourced most of my teas from Harney’s. I loved the lush, informative catalogues, and the wide variety and high quality of the teas (I still do).

In May of 1997, my husband and I spent a weekend in the Massachusetts Berkshires, and from there made a trip – or, as I viewed it, a pilgrimage – to the Harney headquarters in Salisbury, Connecticut.

We walked into the tiny shop and found someone reading a newspaper. The paper dropped to reveal John Harney, who introduced himself and welcomed us warmly. My husband says I was stammering, and although I don’t remember, I believe him: In a world of “celebrities” of all kinds, very few people truly impress me. John Harney is one of those people. To say I was delighted to meet him is an understatement.

Cha Jing Award presented to John Harney

Cha Jing Award presented to John Harney

He cordially offered to guide us around the then-small warehouse/factory areas. In the tasting room, he passionately described the differences amongst the Darjeeling flushes – my introduction to this most exquisite of teas. We went home with a variety of teas, both purchased and samples.

Since then I have had the privilege of Mr. Harney serving as tour guide through their larger facility in Salisbury, and again most recently in their newest office, warehouse, and factory in Millerton, New York. The company has grown so large that it’s a completely separate building from their beautiful expanded tasting room, shop, and café.

Some things, however, have not changed over the years: the wonderful smells and tastes of the teas; the fascinating flavouring and packaging processes; and the courtliness and tea-missionary zeal of our host.

John Harney is truly a master of both tea and of life. I cannot think of anyone who more deserves the recognition the Cha Jing Award bestows.

© 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.

Name: Japanese Sencha

Brand: Harney & Sons

Type: Green tea

Form: Silken pyramid bags

Review: I’ve always found Japanese tea to be a tricky brew: I love the mouth-filling qualities of a good Japanese green, but often manage to produce a bitter, disagreeable brew when I try to make it for myself. Fortunately, our friends at Harney & Sons have sourced a lovely Japanese Sencha that even I can make properly.

Harney & Sons sells this tea in several forms, including paper tea bags and as a loose leaf tea. (I chose the version in little individually wrapped pyramid sachets.) I gave the dry leaf a sniff, and appreciated its fresh, sweet, slightly vegetal nose.  After preparing it with fairly cool water (check out my preparation tips below), the infused tea’s nose was more intensely vegetal, and its liquor was an (almost startlingly) bright yellow-green.

Because I infused this at a relatively low temperature, it was ready to drink right away. This tea has a medium-full body with some definite creamy notes. The taste was quite fresh, somewhat spinach-y, yet also remarkably soothing. While I detected a slight bitterness in the finish, it was  not offensive, and gave the tea a bit of character.

Recommendation: If you are looking to get started with Japanese green teas, this may be a good one to start with. If I can brew it correctly, anyone can. Also, its pretty green color is most appealing, and it makes a very tasty and robust iced tea.

Preparation Tips: I advise using cool water to make this tea. I took the temperature to 140F, and steeped it for about a minute. This resulted in a very tasty cup. Keep in mind that Harney & Sons pyramid teabags are intended to infuse 12 ounces of water, rather than the 6 or 8 ounces that are standard for many teabags.

[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.

Name: Organic Green Tea with Citrus and Ginkgo

Brand: Harney & Sons

Type: Green tea, Chinese

Form: Silken pyramid tea bags, also available in paper tea bags, as a loose leaf tea, and in large “brew bags” for iced tea.

Review: Organic tea lovers unite! Harney & Sons is working hard, it seems, to source more and more USDA certified organic teas. Their organic line includes traditional Keemun and Assam blacks, as well as several flavored green and black flavored teas, including Earl Grey, mint flavored green tea, and a range of organic teas specially packaged for making iced tea.

Harney & Sons Organic Green Tea with Citrus and Ginkgo makes an excellent, and elegant, “summer” green tea. The dry leaf smells, not unexpectedly, of citrus, and infuses to a pale green liquor. Once infused, the crisp citrus dominates the light bodied tea, though without tasting fake or overly sweet. The ginkgo is less obvious, though I can detect a bit of its sweetness in the finish, and suspect that it gives the tea some structure. There is a refined quality to this tea that I like very much, and suspect that it may go well with summery foods such as hummus and pita or cucumber sandwiches.

Please resist the urge to sweeten this tea: While it may not taste particularly sweet at first sip, its sweetness emerges in the finish. If it really isn’t sweet enough for you, and you are drinking it as a hot tea, let it cool for a few minutes. The cooler this tea gets, the sweeter it tastes.

Preparation Tips: Keep the water temperature down to about 170F, and don’t infuse this tea for a very long time (a minute worked well for me). Excellent as an iced tea: Again, keep the steep time short, and just double up on the tea bags, tea leave,  or use the special iced tea “brew bags”.

[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.

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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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