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Posts tagged 'black tea'

Après-tea: The Best Teas to Enjoy on Your Next Ski Trip

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 10 months ago 5288 Views No comments

It's mountain season! You might be going to actually ski, but it's more likely that you're going for some snow tubing, snowshoeing, jacuzzi time, or R&R in the lodge. From the snow-capped Swiss Alps and Aspen to the humble hills of the Berkshires and Catskills, the satisfaction of a nice cup of h̶o̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶c̶o̶a̶ soothing tea after a long winter day is the ultimate satisfaction.

One great part about tea is that it's easily transportable. All you really need is some hot water and you can make your favorite cup just about anywhere. The types of tea you want to enjoy at the chalet are deep, hearty, warming, and comforting. They do not skimp on flavor or intensity and they radiate the joyous spirit we still like to have coming off the holidays.

If you're heading to luxurious Banff this ski season, the Fairmont Banff Springs and Chateau even offers a luxurious afternoon tea that will give you a taste of the most exquisite post-slope blends (plus pastries, of course!), including green infusions, yerba mate, Egyptian chamomile, Maple Maple, and other signature blends of the resort. We've got to check this experience off our list.


In the meantime, you can create your own cold-weather tea experience no matter where you're headed (or, hint: even at home). We've compiled a few recommendations from the Heavenly Tea Leaves team to complete your next wintertime getaway.

If you want a sampler pack so you can try out a few different types of tea, try our Flavored Black Tea Sampler. This luxurious tea set contains four beautifully packaged loose leaf black teas that are invigorating, giving you the naturally-caffeinated boost you need to get through a physically intense ski trip. It will also help restore your energy after a long day of ups-and-downs, or become the perfect fire pit companion. Our personal favorite of the bunch? Ginger Black. (The ginger will help protect and relieve you from swollen feet, or the sniffles.)

If a spice-infused floral tea is more your thing, Turmeric Bliss is our preferred pick. This unique turmeric-heavy blend gives the punch of spices like cardamom with the calming floral notes of lavender, rose petals, and hibiscus. This blend will clear your head and warm your body in an instant – the perfect cold weather elixir. If you're brewing it yourself, make sure to use water that's come to a boil and steep for about five minutes.

Next on the list, the exotic theme continues with White Chai. This is a white tea blend – a great, relaxing option for those looking for depth of flavor with a lower caffeine level than that of black tea. This tea is made from Organic white tea, lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger, pineapple, pink peppercorns, coconut, clove, cardamom, and natural cinnamon flavor – a combination with a knockout flavor and aroma. You'll be warm and ready to go back up on the mountain after drinking some of this one on your break.

Another (very aptly titled) caffeine-free option is Heavenly Tea Leaves' Warmth. What makes it so warm, aside from the fact that it's best consumed hot? Organic turmeric, orange peel, vanilla, and other naturally cozy ingredients.

So, are you feeling toasty yet? These tea suggestions, in lieu of a fancy afternoon tea at a chateau, are perfectly paired with breakfast, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dessert after dinner, and even a before-bed treat (in the case of the herbal ones). What's special about a winter getaway is that unique juxtaposition of wood and snow, pine and frost, warm and cold, crisp and spicy, fresh and earthy. By bringing along your favorite selection of tea for the ride, you'll create just the right balance. Cheers to your next Après-tea!

Tea Production Methods: Various Tea Production Techniques

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 11 months ago 7065 Views No comments

We've taught you plenty of ways to consume tea, as well as why it's good for you and which taste superior. But have you ever wondered the backstory, aka how your tea is actually made? It's rare that we think about the start-to-finish process – how budding tea leaves make it to the beverage that ends up in your cup. But, as with all of your food and beverages, it's important to know where tea comes from, and further, how one type differs from the next.

Throughout history and various cultures and regions, there have been many methods in which teamakers have processed the leaf into a delicious tea. But post–industrial revolution, new and more efficient ways of processing gourmet tea have emerged, allowing for mass production. Still, many essential elements of the process have stayed the same over the millenia, and depending on the tea type, certain teas are still produced using techniques mastered over many centuries. Here are some examples of how different teas can be manufactured:


Black tea

For black tea, we will talk about mass production methods (which are common) in order to shine a light on the various types of production, ranging from traditional and hand-produced to mass produced with machinery. While many of our teas undergo more traditional processing methods, learning about both can provide interesting insight.

After being harvested, black tea leaves begin withering. Withering is a process in which the tea leaves are laid out for several hours in order to reduce moisture in the leaf, making them more pliable. Black teas are the most oxidized of any tea type. Think of an apple you bite into and leave on your counter. The exposed portion of the apple will start to brown; this is oxidation. In a process known as CTC, the tea is "crushed, torn, and curled" – meaning the leaves are pre-conditioned and then machine-shredded, and because of a manual manipulation process, the leaves begin to curl. (For CTC or tea bag grade tea, this process allows for more surface area of the leaf to be exposed to water, extracting more color and flavor from the leaf.) Next is maceration: rolling the tea in order to rupture it. At the same time, oxidation occurs, leading to the dark and deep color and flavor of black tea.

Try our Assam black tea for a brisk, full-bodied black originating in Assam, India. This tea is not produced using the methods mentioned above, although some parts of the processing may align.


White tea

The key difference between white tea and its darker counterpart is that white tea is nearly unoxidized. The leaves are then withered and dried slowly at low temperatures as opposed to pan-firing in high heat the way many other teas are. White tea therefore only oxidizes very slightly, due to lack of rolling and less exposure to air and heat. It's no wonder, then, that white tea has the most gentle, mild, and mellow flavor profile and color of the bunch. White tea is generally the least processed of all the tea types.

Try our house-blended Ginger Peach white tea for a delicious blend that makes a great cup, hot or iced!


Green tea

Green tea is typically steamed or pan-fried in order to prevent its enzymes from undergoing significant oxidation. As a result, the tea is less full-bodied and more clean and vegetal tasting. Because of the presence of health-promoting polyphenols, green tea must be processed delicately. With extremely low moisture, green tea lasts a long time on the shelf and maintains its strong aroma. A powdered form of the same tea leaves, following a similar process (although it's usually shade-grown), is called matcha.

Try our organic Genmaicha green tea for a delicious, nutty variety and our ceremonial grade matcha if you're looking for an antioxidant-rich alternative to coffee.


Oolong tea

Oolong is grown mainly in southeast China and Taiwan. In order to develop their bold and full-bodied taste, the leaves are picked when they are quite ripe and processed immediately. They are withered then shaken in bamboo baskets to slightly "bruise" (aka agitate) them; this drying period is relatively short compared to that of black tea. This yields partially oxidized tea, falling somewhere between black and green tea in terms of flavor and color. They are then rolled (which gives the leaves spherical appearance), either by hand or machine, and air dried, after which the leaves are pan-fired at very high temperatures; this allows for minimal moisture, meaning a longer shelf life than those fired at lower temperatures, such as green tea.

Try our unique Brandy Oolong tea for a rich, deep oolong with complex notes.


Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh, is a special type of fermented tea. Traditionally aged in caves, the tea is aged in climate controlled rooms where the humidity level is maintained at less than 80%. The tea artisan will carefully add moisture to the tea leaves which are regularly turned & tended to in order to grow healthy bacteria. In some cases, the fermentation process can occur for up to six years until the process is complete. This natural aging produces a very mellow, smooth cup. Here's one case where aging is good! The exact processing of pu-erh tea is still a well-guarded secret in china due to its complexity, cultural value, and the level of mastery it takes to produce a highly desired pu-erh.

Try our Royal pu-erh tea for a traditional, earthy brew.


Although we've laid out some of the processing techniques involved in making each tea type, not all oolong, green, or black teas are processed in the same way. The steps vary depending on the tea type, its use, economic factors, whether or not the tea is being mass produced, and many other factors. Still, you get an idea of the complexity involved in the processing of loose leaf tea, and how it may differ depending on the type. Now that you know the backstory, you can enjoy a sip of any or all of your favorite tea types alongside your upcoming holiday meals and have a built-in conversation starter!

Teas of Spring (pre-Qing Ming) and China’s Qing Ming Festival

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 6912 Views No comments

Spring is celebrated in different ways in each part of the world as the flowers bloom and sun emerges. While we at Heavenly Tea Leaves kick off every season with new and climate-friendly teas, spring is especially dear to us because of the range of teas it welcomes. The teas we favor in this warm-up season can be hot or iced, bold or delicate, white or black, invigorating or calming. Regardless of your choice, this season is all about good moods and positive energy; no doubt, these feelings can always be channeled through tea.

In China, spring is celebrated with an entire festival called Qing Ming – or the Pure Brightness Festival. Starting this year on April 5th, this annual festival incorporates ritual sweeping of tombs (as well as pouring wine and tea around the tombs as an act of commemoration), kite flying, lighting of firecrackers, and of course, food and beverage offerings, which is where the tea comes into play.

As a major historical producer and consumer of tea, China has adopted the drink into the core of its culture. This holiday is ultimately about honoring one's ancestors through various customs meant to acknowledge both spring and Chinese history. Along with rice balls, cakes, porridge, and other traditional foods and snacks, those celebrating the festival consume various pre-Qing Ming teas.

What does pre-Qing Ming mean, anyway? The teas served at this time of year come from tea plants that are harvested earlier in the season, before the festival; this signifies drinking from the very first harvest of the year in accordance with the Chinese calendar. These early harvest teas, according to Fresh Cup magazine, are a super-valuable agricultural gift. "When the buds and leaves of the tea plant are harvested early and with care, they can constitute some of the highest prized, praised, and priced teas of the year. But each harvest of new growth—known as a 'flush'—has its own character," writes Fresh Cup's Liz Clayton.

She continues: "Teas harvested before Qingming... are rare due to the extremely short harvest window—which can range from a few weeks to around ten days—between bud readiness and the arrival of the fifth of April. Hallmarks of these teas are the tender buds which yield a range of complex and delicate flavors—from tea to tea these may be more vegetal, floral, or grassy than the later-harvest expressions of the same plants. They may contain a richer concentration of nutrients like amino acids and a lower concentration of astringent-tasting catechins than later pickings."


Early harvest Chinese teas are beloved by the Heavenly Tea Leaves team, too, as they are noted for their versatility and delicate nature. Here are some of the newest pre-Qing Ming teas we are featuring this spring:

Qing Shan Lu Shui hails from the Chinese Tashan Mountain region and is grown at an unusually high 800-meter altitude. Picked from the Anji white tea bush, this prized tea is noted for its mixture of bright green and yellow tea leaves, delivering a fresh flavor and a subtly sweet finish. Celebrated for its cooling properties, Qing Shan Lu Shui makes the perfect hot weather comfort beverage.

Gou Nao Gong is the most well-known of Hunan province's specialty pre-Qing Ming teas. This variety originates in Chenzhou City in the Mangshan Mountain region, which has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm and pleasant weather. The young Gou Nao Gong leaf is picked from the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, whose distinctive twisted shape and thick body yield a light and fruity taste.

Jin Jun Mei is harvested in the famous Fujian tea garden on the southeast coast of China, which is owned and run by a small and dedicated tea farming family along with expert tea masters. This black tea is processed with the whole leaf and the half-open bud of the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, resulting in a reddish brew and floral aftertaste. Jin Jun Mei is one of the rarest teas in our collection, as only 50 kilograms a year is available for distribution.

Drangonwell is a highly-prized green tea. The flat, long leaf is typical of this pan-fired tea, which is a result of highly skilled shaping techniques developed over centuries. This years harvest was plucked on March 19, 2018, containing notes of roasted nuts, with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel.

Silver Needle is a very mild white tea with woody notes. Although it is typically cultivated in Fujian, this pre-Qing Ming tea comes from Yunnan, China.


Above all, springtime is about coming together with friends and family to enjoy beautiful weather, happy occasions, and delicious meals. Mark any of these happy moments with a delicious cup of tea – and this spring, make it a pre-Qing Ming one from Heavenly Tea Leaves!

How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea: A Beginner’s Guide

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 9909 Views 1 comment

Tea lovers, welcome to 2018! To start the year off right, we're going back to basics. Before you decide which tea type or accessory strikes your fancy, it's important to make sure that your tea brewing skills are in place. And we're not talking about the tea bags you've grown up using, but rather, real, loose leaf tea (though silken tea pyramids like these from Heavenly Tea Leaves are great for an individual cup).


There are a few major points you want to focus on in order to brew the perfect cup:

Tea

Make sure that your tea is fresh, aromatic, and high quality.

Water

The water you use is also crucial. The better quality and cleaner your water, the tastier your tea.

Steep Time

Make sure not to brew the tea too much or too little. Brewing the tea for too short a time will lead to a lackluster cup that isn't fully extracted and might taste acidic and watery. Brewing the tea too much will leave you with dark, bitter, harsh flavors. (While a drastic flavor change might not occur with every brew, try to be as precise as possible with your steep times.)

Water Temperature and Tea Kettle

Steeping tea at the right temperature may seem tedious, but in reality, the water temperature is a determining factor in how tasty your cup turns out. Green tea is known to burn, turning overly astringent if brewed at too-high a temperature, while extracting the full flavor of black tea requires near-boiling water.

For your tea kettle, stovetop is fine, but you'll find that using an electric kettle that lets you select temperature, giving you the most precise results. We recommend one from Zojirushi, although they can be pricey. There are plenty of more approachable options to choose from across the web, too.

Teaware

Ideally, you want to use teaware that allows your leaves room to expand. This will bring out the nuances of your tea's flavor. Porcelain is pretty and traditional, but glass lets you see the tea's color and strength. Never, ever use plastic!

Storage

Whenever possible, leave your tea in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight.


Now that we have the general knowledge, we can move onto the details. As long as you follow these basic steps, you will be enjoying a perfect pour of Heavenly Tea Leaves in no time.

The Process:

  1. Boil water. The chart below is handy in telling you how hot your water should be depending on your tea type. If you are using a stovetop kettle, simply boil it until you see steam rising straight out of the pot, or until your kettle whistles. As a rule of thumb, the darker the tea, the hotter you want your water to be.
  2. Ensure the correct ratio of tea to water. If you're brewing a pot, you want about 1 tsp. per 6 oz. of tea. Once you get the hang if it, don't be afraid to experiment with different proportions, steep times, and water temperatures to see how it affects your final cup!
  3. Pour your tea. If you're brewing a single cup, you'll need a cup and a strainer. Place the tea in the strainer and pour the boiling water over it, removing the strainer once it's done. If you're brewing for a group, you'll need a teapot. You can put the tea directly into the pot and strain through each individual glass, or purchase a tea pot with a strainer. You can also try a tea press like this one from Bodum, which will allow you to plunge the tea and virtually stop it from brewing while it's still in the pot, preventing an over-brew. (You have a few extra minutes of leeway to leave the tea in the pot here since the tea is no longer being extracted.) Ensure that the tea is still quite hot when it is served in order to preserve flavor.
  4. Steep Time. Brew for the recommended amount of time per the below chart.
  5. Finishing touches. Add sugar, honey, ginger, cream, or any other finishing touch to your delicious, home-brewed cup of tea! (Not mandatory, but trying never hurt anybody!)
  6. Enjoy! There's nothing quite like a nice, well-deserved cup of tea. Whether you're going for a green tea to get your morning going, or an herbal blend before bed, make sure to take the time to bask in your delicious cup.

Once you've played around with brew ratios, temperatures, and timing, you will begin to master to the art of tea. Then, you can venture out to different types and preparation styles, like masala chai tea lattes and matcha, which are a bit more involved. Always remember that without quality loose leaf tea, the brew will not taste up to par, even if you perform all the steps correctly. To make it through this frigid winter, keep calm and drink on.

Amazon Dash Button for Heavenly Tea Leaves Now Available!

By Matthew Ebrani 3 years ago 5636 Views No comments

Amazon Dash Button for Heavenly Tea Leaves Now Available!

Dash Button brings 1-Press ordering into the home, making reordering Heavenly Tea Leaves fast and easy

Long Island, NY-- Heavenly Tea Leaves is proud to announce that a selection of its teas are now available with the Amazon Dash Button for Heavenly Tea Leaves. Dash Button is an innovative Wi-Fi connected device that allows customers to easily re-order their favorite product with the press of a button. Dash Button is available exclusively to Prime members for $4.99 each—with their first purchase, customers receive a $4.99 credit back to their account. Re-ordering their favorite tea is quick and simple.

"We're so glad that our loyal customers can now re-order our teas effortlessly via the Amazon Dash Button for Heavenly Tea Leaves," said Heavenly Tea founder Noushin Ebrani. "Now, as soon as a tea drinker sees the kitchen pantry is running low on Heavenly Tea, they can simply press a button and have more tea delivered to their doorstep. You don't even have to leave the kitchen, pick up the phone, or run to your laptop. It's that easy and convenient."