Monday, March 23, 2015

Five Perfect Pairings: Tea and the Treat That Tastes Best

Like wine, tea goes great with certain things.  For example, scones are a favorite tea time treat.  So are crumpets.  Brits serve the spongy snacks with a variety of toppings.  Butter is standard but many people add cheese, bacon, honey, jam or clotted cream.  Tea-time traditions vary from country to country but one things remains the same.  There are certain foods that complement the flavor of tea.

Some popular pairings include:

You don’t need a special occasion to drink tea.  Pair your favorite snack with your favorite flavor of hot or cold beverage and enjoy.  Your new morning, afternoon or evening ritual gives you something to look forward to daily.

Experiment with different pairings.  You never know what flavors work together until you try them.  You may find a few pairings to add to our list.  Keep in mind the flavor of the tea.  You don’t want a snack that overpowers the nuttiness, fruitiness or freshness of the loose leaf tea.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Answers to Popular Tea Questions

Here are the answers to some of the top questions about tea.

1. How much caffeine is in tea?

The exact amount of caffeine in tea is dependent on numerous factors, such as:

      where it is grown
      age of the leave
      soil nutrients

Even the way you prepare the tea will affect its caffeine content. However, there are range estimates for each type. For a comparison, remember coffee has a caffeine content of approximately 150 mg. Notice black tea has the most caffeine and white tea has the least.

Caffeine Content (per 8 oz.)
up to 55 mg
up to 70 mg
up to 75 mg
up to 90 mg

2. How is tea made by the manufacturer?

The two main methods of tea production are orthodox and crush-tear-curl (CTC). 'Tea flavor varies depending on the method used for processing. There are two main methods of tea production: orthodox and crush-tear-curl (CTC). Most teas follow the orthodox method: Plucking, Withering, Rolling, Oxidation, and Firing. For the CTC method, which was created for black tea, machinery is substituted for the rolling step.

3. How long can I store tea?

When stored properly (see below) black teas can last as long as 2-3 years because the complex polyphenols atrophy slowly. Green and white teas can be stored between six months and a year because they contain essential oils that fade more quickly. Tea that is rolled tightly, such as oolong teas, stay fresh longer than those that are broken.

4. Where should I store my tea?

Tea needs to be stored away from light, air and moisture to remain unspoiled. It's also a good idea to store it away from competing aromas such as coffee beans or spices. Store your tea in a dark, airtight container to keep it fresh longer.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Host a Modern Tea Party

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, founded the “tea party.”  History states that she started drinking tea and eating refreshments in the afternoon because it was customary to eat breakfast and dinner not lunch.  A social butterfly, Anna began inviting friends to her home to enjoy “low tea.”  She served an assortment of sweets and teas to guests who looked forward to the parties as a form of entertainment.

Today’s tea party spares no detail.  Pick a theme and go with it.  You’ll be amazed at how many ideas you come up with during the planning process.  Once you have an idea of what you want to celebrate, you’ll find the details of your event falling into place naturally.

There are some other things you need to think about.  For starters, you’ll need to consider who to invite.  You want lively and conversational guests at your party.  Invite people you know you’ll get along with as well as people you’d like to get to know better.

You’ll also need to account for the food being served.  A general rule to go off is two parts sweet to one part savory.  Guests come to parties hungry so give them something substantial to get them through the event.

Serve several types of tea so people get to choose the flavor they like most.  When you serve loose leaf tea, make sure there are enough infusers to go around. A pretty presentation option invites people to try the tea you have to offer.

Know that not everyone drinks tea so keep a variety of beverages on hand to satisfy the crowd.  Coffee, cider, and even cocktails are permissible as long as guests are of legal drinking age.  Keep a variety of milks and sweetener options available, too.  Not everyone drinks cow’s milk nor can they use sugar. 

Be bold when decorating.  Colors excites people and brings energy to every type of setting.  If you want to skirt tradition and be memorable, choose a color scheme that matches your theme.  Then buy the items you need to host the party.

Planning a modern tea party takes time but is well worth the effort spent.  Get a group of your closest friends together today to celebrate the season, a special event or life in general.  Serve an array of foods and beverages and strike up a conversation.  You never needed an excuse to entertain before so why should it be any different for you now?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Five Tea Infusers for the Tea Enthusiast

Since the first half of the 19th century, tea infusers have made steeping cups or teapots full of hot tea quickly.  Also known as a tea ball, tea maker, and a tea egg, the small device saves time and eliminates the mess involved with brewing loose leaf tea.  In the past, all infusers looked alike.  Circular in shape and made from steel, they were easy to recognize and use. 

Today’s tea infusers are as different as night and day.  In fact, the type of tea infuser you choose says a lot about your personality.  Are you a straightforward kind of guy or gal who believes in the value of tradition?  Then you’re the perfect candidate for Granny’s beloved silver infuser.  It worked for her and now it’ll work for you.  Below, you’ll find suggestions on infusers for other personality types.

For the Loveable Geek

If you’re geeky and love a good laugh, the Star Wars Death Star Tea Infuser or Doctor Who TARDIS Tea Infuser is for you.  Shaped like the iconic modes of transportation they’re modeled off of, they make the perfect gift for your pop-culture-obsessed friends, too.  Both infusers are stainless steel so they won’t rust.

For the Do-Gooder

The Manatea is “Everybody’s Favorite Floridian.”  Declare your love for endangered species by choosing an infuser that makes a statement.  People won’t question your motive when they see how adorable this little guy is. 

For the Hipster

Tea bag shaped infusers leave little to the imagination.  Brightly colored and strangely familiar, they’re made of silicone, odorless, and non-toxic.  Be one of the cool kids by steeping your loose leaf tea in one of these beauties.

For the Fashionista

A travel tea bottle with built-in infuser guarantees that you’ll have delicious hot tea all day long no matter where you go.  Available in a variety of sizes, colors, and brands, the tea bottle makes the perfect fashion accessory for the long commutes you take.  Even more importantly, it’s easy to clean and made from materials that prevent scalding.

For the Child in You
The Tea Rex Tea Infuser thrills the inner child.  Bright green in color and appropriately designed to have tiny arms, the silicone grade material has a metal chain attached making it easy to enjoy the perfect cup of tea.

With a cleverly shaped tea infuser, drinking tea is fun every day of the week.  Load yours up with your favorite flavor of loose leaf tea.  Then steep it in hot water and enjoy!