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Posts tagged 'tea'

​Exploring the Green Teas of Japan

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 15 days ago 803 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) 1 month ago 2116 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)

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

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 3 months ago 2863 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) 4 months ago 2385 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!

The Best Fall Tea Latte Recipes (And Other Yummy Seasonal Sips)

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 5 months ago 2369 Views No comments

Pumpkin spice, move aside…

This autumn, we're thinking of some interesting tea-based drinks that don't fit the typical mold of seasonal sips. Sure, cinnamon and nutmeg are always delicious in your hot cup of tea, but it's about time that we get more creative with our cold-weather beverages. Trade your jitter-inducing café latte for a tea-based latté or another tasty drink that will never bore you.

Two Leaves and a Bud Tea writes some helpful tips on how to create the tea latte of your choice:

"To optimize the flavor or your tea, it's helpful to understand what steep temperature to use for different teas. Delicate leaves like white and green tea should be steeped in below boiling water at 170 to 185°F, to prevent burn resulting in bitter notes. Oolong teas need a medium boil at 180 to 190°F. More robust teas like black and herbal can use fully boiled water at 208 to 212°F. A digital thermometer helps to gauge the temperature of the water, or you can keep an eye on how rapidly the bubbles break the surface when it's being heated to make a prediction."

Using this technique, you can always wing it if you don't feel like following a specific, step-by-step recipe! Use whatever you have in your pantry and apply the flavors that please your senses the most.

We have omitted ingredient lists below, but click each link for all the ingredients for each recipe and more fun tea content! Visit Heavenly Tea Leaves to check out our vast variety of loose leaf teas and pyramid tea sachets that can be used as the base of each of these delicious beverages! See our favorite fall sips:


Black Tea Latte (in just 5 minutes!) via Jessica Gavin:

Are you a traditionalist? If so, a black tea latte may be as far as your journey away from traditional hot tea takes you. But that's okay, because this latte is simply delicious. Using a quality black tea like our Assam, you can turn a watery beverage into a more substantial fall drink, in lieu of hot chocolate or eggnog.

Steep 1 oz. of loose black tea in 1 cup boiling hot water for 5 minutes (using a strainer or disposable tea bags). This will yield a concentrated tea for the latte. Warm milk in a medium sized saucepan, you want the milk near boiling but not rapidly boiling. If you have a milk frother, you can use it to create foam for the lattes. Add ¼ cup tea concentrate, ¾ cups milk, and foam (if available) to your mug. Add sweetener and toppings if desired. Enjoy with your favorite biscuits!


Rooibos Vanilla Spice Latte via Two Leaves:

Rooibos is a fantastic fall-time tea in that it's rich in polyphenols and said to help boost your immune system. Plus, it tastes great when drunk warm. This recipe especially enhances rooibos's deep flavor thanks to touches of exotic spices and a dash of honey.

Place one serving of rooibos tea in ½ mug of boiling water for 5 minutes (use strainer or disposable tea bag), then remove the strainer pr tea bag. In a separate container, heat milk & 1 tsp. of coconut oil. Add 1 tsp. of honey and ¼ tsp. vanilla extract and stir. Froth the milk mixture to perfection and pour over fully brewed rooibos tea to fill mug. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.


Autumn Spiced Apple Tea via The Mostly Homemade Mom:

Reminiscent of the hot apple cider we all know and love (and especially prefer after a long day of pumpkin picking), this strong and cozy tea is ideal for snuggling up next to the fireplace. Sip on this one while you're contemplating stocking stuffers and other holiday presents!

Bring water, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in apple juice (and sweetener). Turn the heat back on to low and simmer until heated through. To serve, place two apple slices in the bottom of two mugs. Pour hot tea over apples, being careful to strain out cloves and cinnamon sticks. Serve with additional cinnamon sticks in the mugs if desired.


Matcha Latte via Japan Centre:

Matcha is concentrated green tea powder from Japan that's good for your body and great for your soul. When turned into a creamy latte, its assertive and leafy flavor profile is mellowed and complemented beautifully. Showcase your matcha and please crowds with this easy recipe, which gives the option of frothing regular milk or alternative milks if you're dairy-free, plus the choice to make it hot or iced:

Spoon the matcha green tea powder and sugar into a mug or cup. Add some warm water and whisk until it is a smooth dark green paste to ensure no lumps form. Warm the milk in a small saucepan and pour into the mug until nearly full. Use cold milk for an iced latte. Use a whisk to mix the paste and milk together until smooth and light green in color. If you so wish, you can add a few sprinkles of matcha green tea powder on the top for decoration. Or add ice for an extra cold iced latte.


Cafe Chai Latte via Heavenly Tea Leaves:

This is a signature chai tea latte recipe from yours truly – the team here at Heavenly Tea Leaves. This drink of Indian origin is traditionally had at breakfast due to a high caffeine content (because it's based in black tea) and strong and spicy flavors (think cinnamon and cloves). But we say, when its fall, you always have an excuse to drink a chai latte. So without further ado:

Boil a 3:1 mixture of milk to water (Make sure to use whole milk for the best results!). Pour masala chai into the mixture and heat on a medium simmer for about 10 minutes. Add sugar to taste (you can begin by adding 1.5 teaspoons for each cup of liquid in your mixture), along with a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. Using a ladle and tea strainer, pour out the masala chai latte into individual cups, straining out the tea leaves and extra particles; serve hot.


Golden milk via Epicurious:

This is one of the health-promoting recipes that has been trending the most this year, and for good reason. It packs a strong-willed antioxidant punch without sacrificing flavor (or sheer beauty, thanks to its bright yellow hue). This concoction will leave you wanting more, no doubt.

Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon.


Mint tea punch via AllRecipes:

If you're still in the mood for a crisp, refreshing tea drink rather than a hot latte, you're in the luck – this recipe for mint tea punch is just the surprise to your palette you're looking for. With the perfect balance sweetness, depth, and vegetal character from the mint, your Thanksgiving guests will definitely be asking for a second helping.

Place the loose leaf peppermint tea and mint sprigs into a large pitcher. Pour boiling water over them, and allow to steep for about 8 minutes. Add sugar until dissolved, then stir in the orange juice and lemon juice. Pour in the cold water. Pour through strainer into cups with ice cubes, garnished with orange or lemon slices.


So, next time you conjure the flavors of the season, you can use some of these recipes (or your own) to create something interesting and new. Use premium, gourmet loose-leaf teas from Heavenly Tea Leaves to take your cup from good to exquisite and enjoy your autumnal drinks in good company.

​Choosing the Perfect Tea for Every Version of You

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 6 months ago 2301 Views No comments

A true tea drinker does not neatly fall under one category. As a tea devotee, you could be a free spirit or a cautious introvert, a runner or a yogi, a businesswoman or a full-time mom. You could be full of energy or constantly calm; you could be all about having guests or happiest solo. Wherever your groove lies, though, a certain Heavenly Tea Leaves gourmet loose leaf tea is made just for that.

Tea comes in many origins, shapes, and sizes, each with unique, naturally-occurring properties. One person could prefer many teas and a group of people might prefer a single, staple tea. But most of the time, people drink tea based on their respective routines and moods. No matter your habits, personality, or lifestyle, we've rounded up the most suitable for each and every kind of tea lover.


Athlete's tea

Pre-exercise, you're looking for a tea that can provide you a smooth stream of energy. An athlete needs a tea that's both invigorating and delicious. That's why Rose Oolong, a partially oxidized, medium-caffeine tea, is the perfect option.

Rose Oolong


Sleeper's Tea

Those who love to doze off early and quickly each evening need a tisane that's synonymous with sleep. An intoxicating elixir of valerian root, lemongrass, and other sleep-inducing herbal ingredients will have you dreaming peacefully in no time.

Sleep


Holiday Tea

The air is crisp and family and friends are gathered around the table. Before or after dinner, enjoy the sumptuous flavors of this unique dessert blend based in high-quality black tea. Featuring bits of organic raspberry, cocoa husks, and flower petals, this is a truly festive brew.

Raspberry Cocoa Truffle Black


De-stressing Tea

Are you wound up tighter than you should be? Sometimes, all it takes to decompress after a long day or week is the right cup of tea. Our fragrant Chamomile Lavender blend captures the essence of relaxation thanks to healthy heaps of organic lavender flowers and calming chamomile.

Chamomile Lavender


Early Riser's Tea

No beverage provides a jolt of energy the way green tea does. If you're early to rise, you'll want a steady boost to last you for several hours without the jitters or the hard crash that comes with a cup of coffee. That's where Japanese Zen Super Green tea comes in. With a vegetal aroma that blends precious sencha with matcha tea powder, it'll be the most pleasant way you've ever started your early morning.

Zen Super Green


Exotic Traveler's Tea

Featuring body-easing and detoxifying ingredients like organic ginger and cardamom, Rooibos Cream Chai is reminiscent of the Far East and the spices traded along the ancient Silk Road. In a more practical sense, drinking this blend while you're traveling will help keep you satisfied, energized, and de-bloated!

Rooibos Cream Chai


Yoga Retreater's Tea

For the health nut and diet detoxer, tea isn't just a drink – it's a lifestyle. Our Serenity Tea is all about balance; it's made from the planet's most healthful ingredients like peppermint and chamomile – all organic, of course. This one will have you aboard the wholesome lifestyle train ASAP.

Serenity


Glam Host's tea

Having company over, be it for a fancy dinner party or a lovely lunch, isn't complete without the serving of a truly gourmet pot of tea. With its neutral taste and its high quality evident with each sip, no tea is more suitable for special guests than rich and flavorful Ceylon Black.

Ceylon Black


If you're unsure about which teas you prefer, our loose leaf tea samplers are a great place to start. Our extensive line of custom samplers is categorized by tea type and theme so you can try out a variety of options and figure out your favorites!

Tea is all about bringing people together and satisfying their taste buds, as different from one another they may be. The tennis player and the fashion model can sit together and enjoy whichever distinct Heavenly Tea Leaves blend strikes their fancy. After all, in the wise words of Maya Angelou: "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."

​Tea Traditions from Around the World

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 8 months ago 3125 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.

​Tea and Sustainability: Going Green

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 9 months ago 2453 Views No comments

Agricultural sustainability has become a bigger issue than ever this year as a number of large corporations are taking steps toward reducing waste and pollution. As sales of loose leaf tea continue to rise, our duty to reduce our carbon footprint in enjoying tea should be at the forefront of our minds. After all, without Mother Earth, there would be no tea to enjoy, and wouldn't that be sad?

The huge recent push to ban plastic straws in the United States has come on the heels of controversial news about vast swaths of plastic junk crowding our oceans and even blocking the nasal passageways of precious marine life like sea turtles. By making tiny sacrifices on behalf of ourselves and our businesses, we can make a huge improvement in the lives of many people and animals around the world. Reducing our carbon footprint by lowering our daily disposable plastic consumption is a major step toward going green, but we can all undoubtedly do more. From kitchen utensils to office supplies to food and beverage, there are unlimited areas to which we can direct our attention and make a difference.

Tea is no exception – instead of being part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution. At Heavenly Tea Leaves, we are striving to make our full line of tea eco-friendly. Supporting organic and sustainable farming practices that help nurture the delicate earth from which our tea grows is just one step. All of our tea samplers are packed in 100% biodegradable kraft paper boxes; we encourage our customers to reuse their tins. Still, we are aware that this is just one of the many steps we can take to improve our carbon footprint. Ultimately, it's the small steps that we take collectively that will really make a difference in saving our planet.

We totally understand that making some of these changes may seem abstract. But there are plenty of tactics, large and small, that you can employ in order to contribute to saving the planet. We have compiled a list of some of the ways in which you can go green in your daily routine:

  1. Skip the disposable water bottle. This one is as straightforward as it seems. Reuse bottles like the S'well and save a ton of plastic. Unless you're in a dire situation, avoid purchasing disposable plastic water bottles! Plastic is one of the most significant problems we face on a daily basis, so making small strides is a huge deal.
  2. Get on your bike. Carpool. Ride public transit. In addition to raising your heart rate, biking is great for the earth, assuming you're doing it instead of driving, which burns dangerous fossil fuels. Carpooling and public transportation can really help in the grand scheme of things, too.
  3. Eat smart and plant-based. Natural and organic foods that come straight from the earth, like nuts, seeds, tea, fruits, and vegetables are your best bet in terms of avoiding chemical processing and supporting sustainable farming methods that treat the Earth well. Reducing your meat intake can have a huge impact as well, as over-farming and carbon pollution from cows have become increasingly problematic.
  4. Keep electronics out of the garbage can. Donate and recycle plastic and chemical-heavy items like old computers and CD players and make sure to dispose properly of hazardous waste, such as batteries.
  5. Think carefully about kitchen tools and grocery items. A metal tea strainer can be reused infinitely, whereas traditional paper tea bags are more wasteful. This also saves space (and money!).
  6. Switch your bulbs. LED lights give you amazing lighting without the electric waste. Plus, you save a ton on power bills.
  7. Support green institutions. Donating to environmental causes or staying at hotels that put sustainability first are great ways to create a strong economy around the cause, which in turn will help gain social and political clout.

It's pretty simple: The only way our planet will survive our current consumption, population growth, and environmental damage is if we acknowledge these problems and gradually make steps to bring change. Each one of us can get closer to becoming more sustainable and conscious of preserving our precious planet. Now is the time when we decide whether we want to sit back and watch, or make a change. And the will to change starts with each and every one of us. Are you in?

​It's Tea (Terminology) Time!

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 11 months ago 4219 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!

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

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 11 months ago 4155 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!

Thank you! Our Blog Makes It To The Top 100 Tea Blogs of 2018!

By Heavenly Tea Leaves 11 months ago 4111 Views No comments

Heavenly Tea Leaves blog has made it into the top 100 tea blogs of 2018! Thank you for all the support!

Link: https://blog.feedspot.com/tea_blogs/

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

By Heavenly Tea Leaves 1 years ago 4769 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