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Posts tagged 'Leaves'

​Exploring the Green Teas of Japan

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 months ago 2641 Views No comments

Konichiwa!

You could say our team here at Heavenly Tea Leaves has a thing for Japanese culture, and of course, Japanese tea. Japan is a country that is revered for its ancient history, rich traditions, and pride in quality and care for every product they grow or create. Because among our team members we've visited Japan a number of times, we've developed a special interest in all types of teas from this Pacific nation--and we don't just mean matcha!

Originally sought after as medicine, tea was first brought to Japan by Chinese monks in the 8th century and was first consumed by the upper class (Samurai) and priests in Japan. The archipelago proved to have the right climate and terrain for growing tea; to this day, tea is cultivated in almost all regions of the country. Access to tea by the greater public did not come around until the Middle Ages. Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the Japanese tea ceremony (known as chanoyu or chado) developed as a unique practice with its own specialty teas and clean esthetics.

Japan focuses mostly on green tea, which serves the benefit of lively and deep flavor, a plethora of healthy properties, and a steady stream of energy. Not all Japanese green teas are made the same, however. Here, we will take a closer look at the various tea types, both popular and rare, that you'll need to add to your South Pacific tea repertoire!


We always love to start off with a bang; in this case, that bang is a cup of rejuvenating Gyokuro green tea. Gyokuro is a green tea for those looking for umami flavor (perfect for the AM hours). Thanks to a unique processing method at the final stages of this tea plant's growth, it is shaded, leading to a higher chlorophyll content than the typical green tea, as well as a deep, rich green color and grassy, vegetal flavor.

For a nuttier variation, try Genmaicha Japan. Also a green tea, this one is known as the "people's tea" in Japan because it was economical to include toasted rice in the home blend; this tea doubles down on your umami senses thanks to the presence of popcorn and fire-roasted rice alongside a classic, rich green tea. The result? A party in your mouth that won't be ending any time soon.

Sometimes, though, we like to climb the green tea ladder. One of the more lavish Japanese tea experiences you can have is with our Kukicha. What makes this one special is that it contains stems and stalks left over from sencha and matcha tea production, so it utilizes the entire plant. Once considered peasant's tea, this variety is now known as a delicacy in Japan because of its natural sweetness and laundry list of health benefits.

Looking for yet another Japanese green? Our well-rounded Zen Super Green is the answer for those looking for the consistency of regular tea but the potency of matcha (which in turn is made from first-flush spring Gyokuro). This blend of organic sencha and matcha green tea powder is the perfect balance between strong and delicate and finishes with a velvety, umami, vegetal mouthfeel. Be careful not to brew this and other delicate green teas at higher than 170 degrees, as you may burn the tea and extract unwanted bitterness!

As you may know, we're total matcha lovers. In fact, we've written an ode to matcha already--check it out! Matcha is a fine green tea powder that's super-concentrated in flavor, texture, and health benefits. It's made by simply whisking the powder into boiling water (and perhaps adding frothed milk and sugar if you're going for a matcha latte!). Our ceremonial-grade 30-gram matcha tin contains hand-picked and stone-ground green tea and come ready to brew. In honor of spring, and of japanese green teas, you can find our 30g Matcha green tea tin on sale for $17.99 (normally $24.99) for a limited time!

Sencha Miyazaki, a delightful lighter tea, and Hojicha, which has a distinct roasted taste, are other signature Japanese blends carried by Heavenly Tea Leaves. So, what's the conclusion? Japan is definitely a tea destination worth learning about (and visiting), and its green teas are quite varied and totally spectacular. Japan's rich and detail-oriented culture shines brightly through their ability to manufacture some of the world's most premium green teas. Which one will you get your hands on this spring?

Arigato!


P.S. Stay tuned to our Instagram page (@heavenlytea) for some photos of our latest trip to the majestic tea fields of Wazuka, Japan!

Afternoon Tea: Customs and Etiquette, Now and Then

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 months ago 2787 Views No comments

Ever wonder whether you're following, or whether you even really know about tea-time etiquette? Living an informal culture of to-go tea and coffee (which means, yikes!, a drink that may or may not have actually been brewed, in a paper cup), it's hard to have the opportunity to sit down in a formal setting and engage in customary tea rituals. For some, it's hard to even imagine that there are a series of formal customs for consuming tea, which today, is an everyday (for us, 3x-a-day) beverage.

The origins of tea lie very far in the past, but it's really the influence of the British East India Company that turned a regional staple into a worldwide phenomenon starting in the 17th century. Tea etiquette not only tells the drinker what to do, but more importantly, it advises us what not to do.


Starting from the basics

When tea arrived to the West, people were left wondering what the proper vessels were to drink it out of. The answer? Porcelain, according to Jane Pettigrew of London's Langham Hotel, who described the history of tea etiquette to CBS News. (The stuff came from—you guessed it—China; hence the current nickname for porcelain serveware.) Until today, any fine tea service is made from some variation of precious porcelain, such as bone china. More modern and casual tea sets seek to display tea's rich and beautiful color, opting for glass. (Another benefit to glass is that you can tell how strong and saturated the tea is at a glance.)

Pettigrew describes the coming together of family and friends for a midday tea as "afternoon tea" for a long while before the less formal "high tea" took over as a cultural mainstay in England.

Elaine Lemm of The Spruce Eats describes the origins of afternoon tea: "When afternoon tea became fashionable thanks to the Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, it was never intended to replace dinner but rather to fill in the long gap between lunch and dinner at a time when dinner was served as late as 8 p.m. Lifestyles have changed since those times and afternoon tea is now a treat, rather than a stop-gap." Once industrialization hit England, however, this tradition became widespread, known as high tea. By the 19th century, the middle class had grown in Western Europe and tea before dinner became a routine in most households; it was no longer for the elite. This was a huge shift in cultural norms and accessibility that would signal a reduction in class divisions that we're thankful for today. Workers who needed some extra food after a long day were having more than just delicate tea sandwiches with their meal, but started to have heartier dishes instead.

Amy Reiter of the Food Network delves into the history of the term: "Contrary to the haughty images stirred by its lofty moniker, high tea is actually a lot more relaxed than afternoon tea. (The 'high' part probably refers to the fact that one traditionally enjoys it while seated at an actual dinner table, rather than on a low armchair or couch.)."

Today, high tea is generally taken between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., often as dinner, while afternoon tea was historically taken at 4 p.m. as a snack for the elite. Today, the dinner meal is called "tea" in working class families in parts of England.

And how to behave at tea? Pettigrew also has a few comments when it comes to general manners.

"'I mean, you would never actually slurp your tea, but a professional tea taster always slurps their tea because that's what you need to do to get the sort of flavor. But no, it's got to be quiet, elegant.'"

Other notes from this seasoned tea expert? No clanking the spoon against the cup when stirring; no raising your pinky while holding the cup (it's pretentious); and when you have your crumpets along with your tea (yes, it's a thing), add a little wad of clotted cream or jam, but don't smear it all over! (On this side of the Atlantic, muffins or cookies go just as well!) Oh, and she'd never put milk in non-standard blends like oolong. Let the flavor shine through. According to Doltone House, an upmarket party venue group in Australia, the rules for stirring don't stop there. Start with your spoon in the 6 o'clock position and stir clockwise, setting the spoon down beside the cup when you're done.

Want to emulate high tea at home today? You can follow some simple steps to bring some tradition to your next family gathering. For starters, loose leaf tea is preferable over supermarket tea bags (which are often adulterated and of inferior quality), according to Afternoon Tea of the UK. Heavenly Tea Leaves' vast selection of gourmet loose-leaf tea leaves you with plenty of options; the most apt for this occasion would be the Afternoon Tea Sampler, which comprises four lovely teas to please any palette. For the caffeine-sensitive, the sampler comes in an herbal version, too. To stack your accompanying snacks, grab a pretty, tiered cookie tray, preferably in sterling silver for the full effect!


Other pointers

Never dip your biscuit, crumpet, or any other side snack into your tea. Layer jam over cream on your scone. If adding milk (for example, to black tea), pour the milk into the cup first for a better combination of the liquids. And when it comes to your appearance, dress up! Doltone House also recommends eating your tea sandwiches, scones, and other snacks with your hands (contrary to what you might think would be polite).

While etiquette centering around drinking tea might seem antiquated, it is in fact a nearly lost art, and a tradition that should be revered and preserved. We, for one, are working hard to help make that happen.


Photo credit: @bunabuna1234 (Instagram)

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

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 8028 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.

The Wonders of Green Tea: Everything You Need To Know

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 16017 Views 1 comment

When it comes to wellness, you can't go wrong with a cup of green tea. Year after year, studies emerge suggesting that this drink, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, have some serious superpowers. Drinking green tea has been clinically shown to help with everything from cholesterol and weight management to bone health and even free radical delay. (It is thought that free radical proteins in the brain are what lead to diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.)

Wellbeing of the mind and body starts with daily habits. Incorporating a couple of servings of green tea in your everyday regimen can make you start feeling healthier and more vibrant almost immediately. If you're already a heavy coffee drinker and concerned about your caffeine intake, try replacing one of your coffees with green tea. This is a clean alternative at a comparable price and with an awakening result. Why not experiment?

The benefits of green tea seem endless; studies have been conducted for years and scientists continue to examine its role in supporting a balanced lifestyle. A recent Today Show segment dubbed green tea a superfood, rating it an amazing 4 on a 1-5 scale. The hosts pointed out that catechins (EGCG), a type of antioxidant found in green tea, have been shown to 'relax blood vessels' and therefore ease blood pressure. Plus, increased blood flow to the brain means improved overall brain and body function. This is based on just two cups a day!

And then there's the taste. Green tea differs from other teas in its grassy, herbal, earthy flavor profile. It is also unique in that, when mixed with other flavors, it yields a whole new, complex profile that is very different from, say, a black or white–plus herbal concoction. Green tea is far from muted or neutral. Though calming, its taste is distinct and bold. It's a beverage that will make you pause to enjoy each sip. When combined with a drop of honey, it's simply divine.

What most people are surprised to learn is that all green teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The processing will make each of these nine distinct types of green tea from Japan different from one another. Elements such as what part of the plant is used, whether the plant is mostly exposed to shade or sun, when the leaf is picked, and how the tea is exposed to heat will affect the taste and characteristic of the tea. Japanese green teas including Gyokuro are very well know for having a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor.

The other famous tea nation – China – has been cultivating tea trees for more than 2,000 years, incorporating it into medicine and cultural practices that remain engrained in the society today. While China grows all types of tea, some of the most famous green teas are Dragonwell, Bi Luo Chun, Chun Mee, Mao Jian.

Of all the green tea varieties and blends to choose from, each has a new character, but all contain the same essential benefits.

To focus the spotlight on green tea's calming properties and richness of flavor, try out Zen Super Green from Kagoshima, Japan. This is a mixture of high-grade sencha tea with its powdered, concentrated cousin, matcha. The combination results in a velvety, umami taste as a result of farming methods that delay the matcha plant growth.

Finally, we suggest another premium grade green tea that provides the energy boost that the beverage is famous for. Mao Feng is a single bud variety grown at high altitudes in the tea-specializing region of Hunan, China. With a well-rounded, straightforward flavor, you can drink this tea with breakfast to cleanse your palette and perk you up for the day!

Once you choose the green tea of your liking, you can bask in some more of its unexpected upsides, like its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Jazz up your cup with other superfoods like fresh ginger, or add a natural sweetener like agave to mitigate a strong herbaceous flavor.

Which green tea adventure awaits you?

Amazon Dash Button for Heavenly Tea Leaves Now Available!

By Matthew Ebrani 3 years ago 5288 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."