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Posts tagged 'how'

​Tea Traditions from Around the World

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 5 months ago 2510 Views No comments

The team at Heavenly Tea Leaves only enjoys one thing as much as we do tea, and that's traveling. Through our adventures and research, we have discovered that in each part of the world, tea truly takes on a new meaning. From Tibet to Turkey, the types of tea that people drink and the way they drink it are much more diverse than you'd expect. What ties most of these deep-rooted traditions together is the respect for tea, the process by which it is made, and its ability to unite people.

Like other nature-derived beverages, teas and tisanes can come from different plants, be grown at different elevations, harvested and picked at different times, and processed to bring out certain properties over others. In each country, there is usually a preferred tea type. And what to pair with that tea? It depends where you are. Sugar, butter, cream, tamarind seeds, and lemon are just a few additions that are common around the world. You can serve tea hot, extremely hot, or iced. One of the most famous tea-time rituals is the ancient tea ceremony of Japan, which has made certain that in Far East culture, tea is much more than a beverage – it's a highly regarded tradition. By contrast, in the American South, people like their tea iced, super-sweet, and often on-the-go in a disposable cup.

But just because you live in one country, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy and adopt the time-honored tea traditions of another. We've rounded up some of the most interesting global tea traditions that you may want to make your own one day:

Mint in Morocco

Touareg tea, more commonly known as Moroccan mint tea, is a staple in the North African country. It's customary to drink three cups of this black tea, poured from a curved spout held high above the cup (same goes in Turkey), infused with fresh mint leaves and often sweetened with sugar. Moroccan mint tea is usually served as part of a celebration or accompanying a delicious breakfast.

Turkish Tea Time

Brew black tea for approximately ten minutes and slightly dilute the mixture with some piping-hot water for a traditional glass of Turkish tea. Turkish tea is similar to Persian tea in its composition and in the traditions around it – namely, the ultimate hospitality toward family, friends, and even strangers.

Iran - an Ancient Tea Tradition

Brewed with a samovar - a water heater-crockpot hybrid adopted from Russia which is filled with wood or charcoal (modern versions use a heating element), and a small pot filled with water and caravan of concentrated tea placed on top,the ideal Persian tea is strong and reddish-brown in color. Before serving, the preparer will pour a bit into a cup to check its color and warm up the cup. Pouring the small sample back into the pot helps to stir the ingredients and distribute them evenly. Out of the home, a common place to gather and enjoy tea is a chaikhaneh, or tea house.

Russian Samovar Style

The centerpiece of Russian tea-making (like in Persian tea-making) is the samovar. The result is a concentrated black tea brew called zavarka. To serve, a bit of zavarka is poured into each drinker's cup and flavored with lemon, fruit, herbs, sugar, honey, or jam. Sometimes, hot cups are placed in decorative, metal holders known as podstakannik ("the thing under the glass") to keep them from burning the fingers. In Russia, hospitality, warmth, friendship, and tea are intertwined, and it is still considered polite to offer guests a cup upon entering one's home.

Argen-tea-na

Yerba Mate is South America's chai and originates in Argentina. This tisane is served hot and unsweetened and drunk through a special straw called a bombilla. The rules: don't stir the tea with the bombilla and always refuse a cup upon the first offer as a polite gesture (Same goes in Iran!).

Better with Butter in Tibet

Tibet is home to butter tea, or Po cha, a potent concoction that keeps you warm, cleanses the body, and serves as a centerpiece for time with family, friends, and even total strangers. To prepare this unique beverage, pu-erh tea cakes are crumbled into hot water and boiled for several hours to create a strong brew called chaku, which is stored, then blended with salt and yak butter in a wooden churn called a chandong.

Ceremonial in China

Although tea is all over Chinese culture, one place the tea ceremony dominates is at weddings. As a way for the bride and groom to pay respect to their parents, it usually uses pu'erh or jasmine tea with lotus seeds and dates as symbols of fertility. The couple leans on red cushions and assume various symbolic positions as important family heirlooms are passed down.

Taiwanese Tapioca

Bubble tea – the worldwide phenomenon of iced milk teas (black, green, jasmine, or oolong) accompanied by tapioca pearls – originated in Taiwan. A cross between tea and dessert, it often includes powdered milk and a flavored syrup. Taiwanese bubble tea is a modern twist on the time-honored tea drinks of its close neighbor, China.

England's Afternoon Addiction

England is the spot where afternoon tea has been a way of life since the early 1800s. Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, invented high tea, where black tea (customarily Assam) accompanied by a light meal was consumed with upper-class companions or family in the late afternoon in an era when lunch wasn't customary. The "high" in high tea simply recalls the tall tables at which the tea was consumed.

Japan's Chanoyu Tea Ceremony

Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the Japanese chanoyu tea ceremony involves the ritualized preparation, presentation, and consumption of powdered green tea, called matcha. Rooted in ideals of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility, the chanoyu offers deep connection in a peaceful setting. From etiquette and flower arrangements to the proper use of tea-making equipment and kimono-wearing, each ritual has its place.

India's Chai Culture

Chai, India's national drink, stands on nearly every street corner. It's offered to guests, consumed during meals and breaks, or offered as a complimentary beverage in shops. Traditionally prepared using loose black tea, a generous helping of leaves is combined with water, milk, and spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns). The resulting mixture is then strained to remove solids and sweetened with sugar.

Sweet Tea in the (American) South

Served in restaurants and at homes in the U.S. South, sweet tea is a regional favorite and an entertaining must. Strong black tea is brewed hot then chilled and accompanied by a lot of sugar and fresh lemon, plus a dash of baking soda to reduce cloudiness. For hot and humid weather, few drinks are more refreshing.

Trendy Thai Tea

In balmy Thailand, tea takes an icy approach. Brewed in a cotton tea sock using strong Ceylon tea, orange blossom water, licorice, crushed tamarind seed, star anise, and other flavorful ingredients, the beverage has a truly unique character and color. A "healthy" dose of sugar is blended with the mixture, which is then poured over ice, finished off with a splash of condensed milk, and served in tall glasses.


The common theme among these global tea traditions is the unification of family and friends. Whether enjoyed in the home, at a tea house, or at a special event, tea is the beverage that carries through from one memorable moment to the next.

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

By Heavenly Tea Leaves 9 months ago 3892 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) 1 years ago 6799 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.