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Posts tagged 'teas'

​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!

New Heavenly Tea Leaves Website

By Noushin Ebrani 3 years ago 8641 Views 1 comment

Hello Tea Lovers,

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website http://www.heavenlytealeaves.com

Register on our site to get $5 off your first order!