Today's cup of tea is from Teavana. It is their Rooibos Rose Garden, which I believe they are clearing out. It is a really great tea and a total steal at just $2.40 for 2 oz.
You may know matcha as the powdery green tea that is blended with hot water in order to make a refreshing & healthy cup of tea. Have you ever wondered how matcha powder is made? Well I did so I set out to do some research in order to find out.
Tea leaves that are going to become matcha powder must be specially prepared while they are still growing on the tea bush. A few weeks before they are harvested they are covered so that they do not receive any sunlight. This prevents the sun from reaching the leaves, which slows down the growth and makes the leaves darker and sweeter.
After the tea leaves are picked they are laid out flat to dry. This causes the leaves to crumble. The stems and veins are removed and then the leaves are stone ground to create matcha powder. This powder is then whisked into hot water to make matcha tea. I also enjoy matcha lattes where you add milk and sweetener.
Here is a great video on how to make Matcha:
A great source of Matcha is American Tea Room. They have everything that you will need to start preparing Matcha tea at home. Order some today.
This morning is tea for two and I brewed a whole pot of American Tea Room's Earl Grey Shanghai. It has certainly been the week of Earl Grey tea and I still have one more to try. They have all been lovely with their own flavor and twist, from black to green to rooibos. Who knew there were so many varieties of Earl Grey tea? Here is my daily cup of tea picture for the day.
Want to add some Earl Grey Shanghai to your tea cabinet? It is easy with free shipping from American Tea Room on a $60 order.
I know that I am on a kick of American Tea Room teas the last few days, but I just returned from a conference and got all of these new yummy samples to try. I can honestly say that I have yet to try one of their teas that I don't like. They are all so good and the quality of the ingredients is top notch. So this morning I brewed their Lady Grey tea. It is a black tea blended with cornflowers and has a citrusy & creamy aroma. Here is my daily cup of tea picture:
You can try it yourself by clicking here.
In what I hope is a new feature I want to start sharing my daily cup of tea with you in photos. Today I am drinking an Earl Grey Rooibos from American Tea Room. It is a delightful red rooibos flavored with bergamot. It is one of the best Earl Grey teas that I have tried and a wonderful decaf option. Plus it is organic to boot.
What kind of tea are you drinking today? Click on this link to buy some today.
One of the most important components of brewing tea is water. It is important to use a good source of water, preferably filtered. Equally important is the temperature of the water. Different types of teas require different temperatures to get the best cup of tea. Here is a guide to the perfect water temperatures for brewing tea.
- Black Tea - You want to bring the water to a full rolling boil for black tea. You want to steep black tea for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Green Tea - This is the most delicate tea to brew. You will get the best cup of tea if you bring the water to 160 degrees and steep for 2 to 4 minutes.
- White Tea - A prized tea, it is a bit more robust than green tea. You will get a great cup of tea if you bring the water to 180 degrees and steep for 4 to 6 minutes.
- Oolong Tea - Bring the water to a 190 degrees and steep this tea for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Rooibos Tea - This tea is very similar to black tea in that you want to bring the water to a full rolling boil and steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
Keep this guide handy by bookmarking this page. That way it will always be available when you are brewing tea. It is also a good idea to invest in a good tea thermometer to help out.
David Frawley wrote in The Yoga of Herbs, “Within each thing is contained all things. In the seed is the tree; in the tree is the forest. Therefore, intelligence is contained implicitly in the many worlds of nature.” When we use herbs, we are transmuting light into life, becoming receptors to the power that plants bring us. Herbs are used in many capacities, from the culinary kitchen to the bath products for our hair, but there is nothing quite as soothing, relaxing, or healing as a warm cup of herbal tea, especially when we relish in the communion with it.
Herbal tea is most often viewed and employed as a refreshing beverage, taken with scones, fruit, or breads. While you can enjoy some of the properties of the herbs in this fashion, the effects are rather mild. However, tea for medicinal purposes is quite beneficial and inexpensive. The mere act of making the tea, as you utilize your intuitive sense for choosing the herb to smelling the aroma wafting from the cup, involves you in the self-healing process. While not as potent as tinctures, herbal teas are highly effective in dealing with chronic, long-term imbalances. They are also easy to prepare, simple to dose, and deliciously tasty.
For the delicate parts of the plant, like the leaves and flowers, infuse your herbs by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep at least 30 minutes. The more tenacious parts of the plant (root, bark, and seeds) are often placed in a pan, covered with the water, covered, and simmered for 45 minutes to an hour. The ratio, for medicinal use, is 1 to 3 tablespoons per cup of water and is best sipped throughout the day (up to 3 or 4 cups). For a pleasing beverage, I recommend 1 to 3 teaspoons of herb per cup of water.
Herbs do require research before use, understanding, and a sense of intuition, but I hope you appreciate the Plant Kingdom’s gift when you sit down with your next cup of tea.
Today I would like to discuss teapot strainers and tea infusers in a bit more depth. Specifically how they should have some depth to them in order to allow the tea leaves to unfurl, expand and impart all of their goodness to hot water. Let's discuss the different types of loose leaf tea strainers out there.
- Tea Infuser Ball - This type of infuser is good for brewing a single cup of tea. It keeps the tea leaves contained, but not allow them to expand and unfurl much. I find them a bit tricky to fill, so that takes some practice. Once you have it mastered though, this is a great way to steep tea.
- Teapot Strainer - We love this option for its versatility. It can sit inside the rim of our teapot or on the rim of a teacup. All you have to do is put it in place, fill with tea leaves, and then pour water into it. The tea leaves have a lot of room to expand and unfurl, plus the mesh is small enough that even rooibos tea is contained. Cleanup is a breeze too. Just rinse it out to remove the tea leaves and pop it in the dishwasher.
Whatever type of teapot strainer or tea infuser that you prefer, they are both great ways to enjoy loose leaf tea. Right now they are 20% off at American Tea Room, along with their teapots, matcha, and accessories. What is your favorite kind? Let us know in the comments below.
Monday through Friday I have to drive my daughter to school, so morning is a rush. I seldom like leaving without a travel mug full of fresh brewed tea in hand though. The mornings are pretty cold right now and it is nice to have something warm to drink for the drive. I typically brew my tea inside of a teapot, but in the morning I am in a hurry and don't want lots to clean later.
My solution for brewing loose tea to go is an infuser basket and a stainless steel travel mug. Why stainless steel? We tend to avoid plastic in our house for a variety of reasons. They do make some lovely glass travel tea mugs, but I'm a huge klutz so I'm guessing it wouldn't travel for long (for me anyway). Stainless steel is a great choice because it is resilent (within reason of course), cleans up easily and retains heat for a long time.
I use this one and really like it. It has a 20 oz capacity so I can make a really big cup of tea to get me through the morning. Plus it can also be used at my local coffee shop for their venti size drinks. I like to go green whenever I can. I then start my kettle, set the infuser basket to rests on the rim, fill with some loose tea, and steep for a few minutes. When it is done I just remove the infuser basket, put the lid on and go. Very easy and minimal cleanup.
That is how I enjoy a nice cup of loose tea to go. You can save even more time by setting up everything the night before, including putting the tea in the infuser basket.
If you are new to tea drinking or are a long time tea drinker, than chances are you are used to making tea with a tea bag. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you are missing out on having a really great cup of tea. Loose leaf tea makes a superior cup of tea for a number of reasons.
The tea leaves inside of a tea bag are usually the leftover little pieces of tea that are too small to be used in a loose leaf tea. These bits of leaves, or fannings, do not have the same quantity of essential oils that a whole tea leaf does. These oils are what gives a cup of tea their flavor.
A typical tea bag does not allow the tea leaves the chance to unfurl and expand in the water either. Tea leaves need to be able to do that to impart flavor to the water. A tea bag just compresses the leaves together and doesn't allow for that.
It is however possible to get a great cup of tea while using a tea bag. Look for a tea bag that contains whole tea leaves. There are several companies that offer tea bags that unfold into a pyramid shape. This allows the tea leaves to unfurl and expand so that the water can swirl around them. One of my favorites is Mighty Leaf Tea. Right now Mighty Leaf is on Sale Today! Check it out. I especially love their Green Tea Tropical and Chamomile Citrus.
If you have a favorite whole tea leaf tea bag tea, please share in the comments below. We would love to check them out and add them to our tea cabinet.