Friday, January 24, 2014
I have been growing herbs for over 20 years. Thinking about and planning my herb gardens have gotten me through many a long winter here in Michigan. These fragrant plants have never disappointed me. Blending herbs is just a natural progression in the process of growing them. From blending herbs to blending them with tea is another step in my journey with herbs.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The flavors of my teas are delicate compared to most commercial teas. I don’t add natural or artificial flavorings. A mint tea has mint in it. A green ginger tea has green tea and ginger in it. I know this sounds simple, but there are a lot of things to take into consideration. My teas need a little time to “bloom”. I use the word bloom because like a flower, the tea and natural herbs or spices, need a little time for their leaves to open up and release their full flavors. That is why often the second cup of tea is better than the first.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I was watching Downton Abby the other night. I was thinking about the grandmother that is played by Maggie Smith. I have watched the show since the first season and something about her character was familiar. I could not put a finger on it until this week. She reminds me of my Aunty May. My Aunty May came from Brighton England around 1909. She lived to be a 107 years old and was about 16 when she immigrated to the United States with her parents and siblings. I didn't know my grandparents, they passed on many years before I was born, But my Aunty May was like a grandparent to me. She was VERY English. Very proper and stuffy in some ways and always called me "Ducky". Really she did. But she was also wise and kind beyond words and took on the roll of parent and grandparent when her brother was gone. My Aunty May lived until I was in my thirties. she was born around 1893. When I think about it, the history she was a witness to is astounding. From horse and carriage to men on the moon and beyond. I guess starting a little tea company has a bit of nostalgia for me. I learned how to make a proper pot of tea from her and I think the sharing of that knowledge is as much a pleasure and the drinking of tea is itself.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The sun is out today and the temps are going to warm up to the 20's today. I never thought that 20 degrees would look good to me. But it does! Today I am drinking Winter Spice Tea. It is a blend made with Assam and Ceylon whole leaf tea and 5 different spices. This tea is one of my favorites, it reminds me of sitting in from of a fire and soaking up the warmth. There is a nice peppery finish to this tea that makes that warmth a reality.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Its Sunday morning and we are expecting about 12 inches of snow in Brighton Michigan. Snow is nothing new for Michiganders. It is a part of our life in the northern part of the country. We get our snow blowers, shovels, and plows out and dig a path to the outside world. When we are done there is a sense of accomplishment. We can look out our windows and feel a blanket of white wrapped around us. The world looks clean and there is a view of wonder out our windows. There is typically a cup of tea in my hand at this point. There is something comforting about sipping a warm delicious cup of tea.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Organic tea is becoming more and more expected for tea drinkers. Because the tender leaf of the Camellia Sinensis is not washed after picking, it is important to know there are not harmful pesticides and other chemicals on the tea leaves during processing. It is also important to know where the tea you drink is from. Tea plants grown in heavy industrialized areas in China can have elevated levels of lead in the soil translating into the minute levels in the tea leaves. Although they claim that the levels are not considered to be dangerous for tea drinkers, it is still something to be aware of. (http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/06/12/green-tea-lead-soy-lecithin?cmpid=foodinc-fb), http://foodbabe.com/2013/08/21/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Here is a little history about tea. All tea comes from a single plant, Camellia Sinensis. Green, White, Black and Oolong are from this same plant. The Camellia Sinensis has been cultivated all over the world since its discovery in the 1600’s. Tea Gardens (The name for tea plantations) were even started in Hawaii and South Carolina. But the predominate locations for tea cultivation is still China and India. Green Tea is a combination of the bud and top leaf of the tea plant. After picking the tea is left to air dry. This is a short process to prevent the leaves from oxidizing. The next step is the firing process that locks in the flavors. White tea was considered a delicacy. It is harvested in early spring. The buds are withered and air dried to prevent oxidation. The process White tea goes through is minimal. This creates a delicate sweet tea. Black Tea goes through a full oxidation process of the bud and first two leaves of the plant. High quality black tea is also picked in the early spring. But black tea is withered or dried of an extended period of time. This removes the moisture out of the leaf and starts oxidation. Oolong Tea falls between Green Tea and Black Tea. It has all of the properties of green tea, but with the full flavor of a black tea. It is picked later in the season and larger leaves are used.