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Posts tagged 'guide'

A Tea Drinker’s Guide to Mindfulness

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 6 days ago 216 Views No comments

Inspired by the recent trend of mindfulness, we're starting to dive deeper into the links between this meditative practice and—you guessed it—tea. But before we get to that link, it's important to define and qualify mindfulness. Best put, mindfulness is the opposite of distraction. It's paying attention to what you're doing while not paying attention to what you aren't. It's being here and present, away from our smartphones and work diversions and everyday worries.

Mindfulness is also about being in touch with yourself and your senses. More specifically, this is the result of mindful practices. So when you're cooking, you should really smell the flavors of what you're throwing into the pot. When reading, you should be absorbing each and every word. When listening to your favorite song, really take in the words. Being conscious of all that's around us is a lost lifestyle…but the Heavenly Tea Leaves team is here and ready to help you find it!

Tea has roots in Zen Buddhism, having become a staple as part of a balanced lifestyle since ancient times. According to legend:

Shan Daokai, a famous monk of East Jin Dynasty, cultivated himself according to Buddhism doctrines at Zhaode Temple. He was assiduous in his practice of sitting in meditation. To recover from fatigue and drive away sleepiness, he drank tea. It showed that in the beginning, the purpose for monks drinking tea [was] to facilitate meditation and self-cultivation. . . Shi Fayao, a monk of the Southern Dynasty . . . lived for 79 years. One secret of his longevity was to drink tea with meals. Eventually, [drinking tea daily] became a common practice among monks under Buddhism doctrines.

Tea meditation is often linked to the historical Japanese tea ceremony that is also derived fromZen Buddhism. Much of this style of meditation involves gratitude and directing your thoughts to where you want them to remain. Take a look at this clip, featuring Oprah Winfrey engaging in tea meditation. (Note: We are instructed to take a whole hour to slowly sip a cup of tea!)

Today, mindful practices should be part of a proactive daily routine. Drinking tea—especially certain blends—can be an adjacent or even essential part of this routine. How so? Tea engages the senses. The gentle brewing, the wafts of delightful aromas, the beautiful rich colors, the warmth, and of course, the divine taste. If you really participate in your tea-drinking, it can be a whole new and exciting experience in and of itself. Remember that this involves carefully brewing your tea, sitting down and enjoying it. Just you and the cup. Remove distractions like TV, phones, and computers.

A key way to bring mindfulness into your life is through meditation (in whichever form you please). You can sip on tea while you're meditating to help calm and center yourself, and to help bring about internal focus while melting stress away. No matter the style of meditation and mindfulness you choose, one must not forget that concentrating so hard on the tea we are drinking means that it better be a quality cup!


And of course, quality means premium loose-leaf tea that is unadulterated, expertly blended, fresh, and organic whenever possible. Here are a few choices that never fail:

  • For relaxation and de-stressing before bed, your best bet in terms of tea is Heavenly Tea Leaves' Sleep. With ingredients like chamomile, peppermint, valerian root, and others, this herbal blend puts your body and mind at peace almost instantly by slowing your senses down.
  • For all-day serenity and calmness, an amazing solution is Heavenly Tea Leaves' Chamomile Lavender. Both lavender and chamomile are widely known for helping relieve mild to moderate anxiety. Lavender has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and many other holistic approaches for thousands of years. If you're looking for a fix in the morning or night, this one's your next go-to.
  • For long-lasting energy, Minty Morning from Heavenly Tea Leaves is a clear winner if you're looking to invigorate (an important quality if you're trying to be more mentally present in all parts of your day). Black tea, which serves as this blend's base, is the most caffeinated of all tea types. Add in the peppermint and spearmint (combined with a lemony punch) and you have a tasty, energizing tea.
  • For concentration, we recommend Matcha Green Tea.* This green tea is a great substitute for coffee and is especially useful for those looking for focus. Matcha gives you natural, sustained energy without the jitters. L-Theanine, a natural chemical found in green tea, has been shown to help drinkers improve "mental focus and attention," according to WebMD. So whether it's before work or studying, why not give this earthy and delicious tea a go? *P.S. Our matcha tins are one sale from now through the end of September for $14.99 (normally $24.99)!
  • And for physical well-being… The options are endless! Drinking tea regularly may serve to calm you, energize you, ease your stomach, and in some cases, help prevent illnesses altogether (after all, prevention is the new focus of modern medicine, too). Whatever it is you're looking for out of your cup, there's a tea out there for all of us.

Once you've determined the ideal tea type for you, make sure to regularly incorporate it into your mindfulness routine – remember, this can include yoga, meditation, or any other practice that helps you center yourself and prioritize awareness and being present. Channel your inner Zen Buddhist and watch things start looking up!

​It's Tea (Terminology) Time!

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 5839 Views No comments

Although there are many international languages – love, music, food – there is one beverage that makes the ranks as truly international, and that is tea. From the Far East to North America, from Copenhagen to Cape Town, tea is enjoyed and appreciated in people's daily lives. But what goes into making a cup of tea? What is the verbiage that comes with a hot or cold brew?

From the farmers who pick the tea plant to the final steps of brewing at home, there is a whole host of terminology that goes along with each stage in the life of tea. Whether you are buying pre-packaged iced tea from the supermarket, making a pot of loose leaf hot tea from scratch, or doing some research on the internet, you have likely come across some head-scratching vocabulary. Ever wonder what camellia sinensis is? What about a tea grade, a tisane, or a bloom? As responsible tea purveyors, we at Heavenly Tea Leaves are here to provide you with Tea Terminology 101: a lesson in the most important tea terms to know, no matter where you're enjoying your cup. Thanks to our expert team and some of our friends across the land of tea, we present our mini-glossary of tea terms without further ado:


Aroma: The overall scent (or "nose") and character of the tea.

Astringent: The bitter, harsh, and pungent taste and texture that remains on the tongue after sipping tea containing high tannin levels.

Body/mouth feel: Quite literally, the way the liquid feels in your mouth. Relating to texture, weight, and viscosity of the tea. Can be wispy, light, medium, or full-bodied.

Camellia sinensis: The most common species of tea plant used to produce black tea, as well as many green, white, oolong, and pu-erh varieties. There are two varietals of this plant: camellia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica.

Character: The general, inherent traits of a certain tea type based on estate or region where it is produced.

Fair trade: Tea that is purchased from tea producers at fair market value and traded without coercion or exploitation.

Finish: The flavors and feels that linger in the mouth after you take a sip.

Flat/Dull/Off: A stale taste; the opposite of rich or brisk.

Flush: A complete group of fully harvested tea leaves that is ready to be picked.

Grade: The category given to black teas from the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, and Africa, based on the size of the leaf and the presence of tips. Tippy, golden, flowery, broken, orange, and pekoe are some of the grading terms used. These are usually abbreviated (e.g. OP, BOP, FOP, GFOP, TGFOP, etc.).

Liquor: The brewed liquid remaining after the actual tea is removed from the pot. This is the part we actually consume.

Malty: A flavor or finish reminiscent of wheat or barley, often with a velvety-smooth texture. Similar to "biscuit" or fresh-baked bread flavors; the term is often used to characterize black Assam teas.

Mature: Tea that tastes ripe and full-bodied, lacking flatness or bitterness that comes with a leaf picked too early in the season.

Organic: Teas grown according to USDA guidelines or those of other national certifying organizations for organic farming. These often lack synthetic pesticides and other potential toxins.

Origin: Very simply, where the tea has been grown. You will usually come across tea origins like India, Ceylon, China, or Japan. More recently, teas and tisanes have been labeled with origins like Bangladesh, Vietnam, and parts of Africa.

Orthodox: Whole-leaf tea that has not been excessively processed, keeping to the original integrity and flavor of the leaf.

Pluck: The word for picking or harvesting tea.

Single-estate/single-garden: While most commercially available teas are a blend grown in multiple gardens, single-estate teas are all grown on the same tea farm.

Tannin: Also used as a measure in wine tasting, this is the chemical component in tea that determines its astringency and palate-cleansing abilities. Too-high or too-low tannin levels throw the balance of your brew off.

Tarry: As in tar-like – having a smoky aroma.

Tisane: Also known as herbal tea, tisanes are natural plant infusions that do not come from the camellia sinensis plant and therefore also do not usually contain caffeine. Examples include chamomile, peppermint, and rooibos.


We hope you enjoyed our mini tea glossary! What is more important than knowing these names, though, is knowing the concepts behind them and how they affect your brew. The next time you are tasting a new tea, remember, knowledge is power!

How To Brew Loose Leaf Tea: A Beginners Guide (Video)

By Heavenly Tea Leaves 1 years ago 6246 Views No comments

Check Out our new video on how to brew loose leaf tea. We hope this is helpful!

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWLCqg_grLI

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

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 9401 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.