Snow flurries today and sunburns likely tomorrow. If there is one thing you can count on this time of year, it’s that change is certain. Iced tea season is upon us. Why not change up your usual choice of cold drink? Peach tea is a crowd pleaser and raspberry is very refreshing in summer months. Keep them on hand as staples during the season, but be bold in trying new tastes. May we recommend a few?
Set your sweet tea aside and try spicing it up a bit. Organic Special Calcutta Chai will awaken your taste buds and liven up your morning. Add a drop of cold cream to make this a more rich and delicious treat.
The subtleties and complexities of a Darjeeling unwind better in a hot cup of tea, but give this tea a try over ice and you might be surprised. Floral notes underline the light grain taste of a Darjeeling iced tea and new flavor nuances come through. But we don’t want to give it all away. Taste it for yourself.
For a taste both rich and earthy, try an iced Assam tea like Assam - Sessa Estate or Assam Khongea Golden Bud. This tea makes for a bold taste that complements whatever sweet treat it is paired with. It also stands alone as a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
Try something especially unique by brewing up a cup of Lapsang Souchong. Reminisce over the pine-smoked, campfire-like taste of this tea. Summer, after all, is the perfect time to sit around a campfire roasting marshmallows. Stir a spoonful of honey into your iced Lapsang and you have the smokey taste of a fresh-from-the-hive first honey harvest.
Stay tuned for some new drinkware to take your iced tea selection to go! Coming very soon…
April 17th, 2014
If you love tea and have little ones in your life, when can you start sharing that love with them? As soon as possible!
Tea for Toddlers and Beyond
Tea time teaches social skills that will only improve with more tea times. Sharing, waiting your turn, simple conversation and table manners are just a few of the things toddlers can learn from regular tea times. A child is always watching and learning. Even a one-year-old can mimic motions such as stirring with a spoon or sipping from a teacup (even if the tea is only pretend). As these skills develop and the child ages, the depth of your conversations will also develop, as will your relationship with that child.
When sharing a pot of tea, keep in mind that caffeine may not be good for young bodies already full of energy. Choose an herbal blend or a colorful tisane and make a little sugar, jam or honey available for older children to stir in themselves. Encourage the child to try new tastes too. And make tea time a tradition in your home.
Keeping It Simple
Pinterest is loaded with ideas for cute cupcakes and cookies that can make the event special or celebratory, but they can also be a lot of work. Time with a caring adult is often more important to a child than the time spent getting the cookies perfectly frosted. Keep it simple. Throw down a tablecloth, maybe share a special tea set or wear a hat. Invite a few stuffed animals to the event, and let the tea party begin. Make it a regular event and you will have a chance to see the fascinating development of a child learning to interact with you and the world.
Phyllis’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
For a treat, try this simple and classic recipe, Chocolate Chip Cookies. It has been tested and tweaked until (we think) it’s perfect. Be prepared, however, to teach yet another important social skill - self-control. It’s hard to eat just one of these.
1/2 cup shortening 2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter 1 tsp. soda
1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla 6 oz. pkg chocolate chips
2 eggs 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Beat together the first five ingredients until light and fluffy. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Blend into sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
April 10th, 2014
Sip your tea from the mouths of whimsical dragons, owls or horses; or from spouts of contemporary shapes, cubes and curves. Yi Xing teapots are an ancient tradition and a unique way to enjoy your tea.
Yi Xing Origins
The teapots are made from clay that is sometimes referred to as “Purple Sand,” found near Yi Xing, China. These teapots may have originated as early as the 10th century, and were traditionally made to be small. This way, the tea would be consumed quickly and tea leaves weren’t allowed to steep too long and get bitter. The tea would not have a chance to cool off before it was enjoyed.
Using a Yi Xing
The porous material of the clay absorbs a little of the tea each time it is used and serves to flavor the pot. For this reason, using soap or other harsh cleaning methods is discouraged. Many times, the teapots are used primarily for decorative pieces, but those who use them for steeping tea often choose one particular tea to flavor the pot.
Yi Xing teapots come in many different sizes and shapes today. Choosing just one can be as difficult as choosing just one tea to flavor your pot. A black tea, oolong or pu-erh is often the best choice for flavoring your teapot as the heavier tastes absorb into the porous clay. But green and white teas work fine too.
Browse through all of our Yi Xing Teaware. Then let us help you pick the perfect tea to pair it with.
April 3rd, 2014
What was the best tasting scone you ever had? Ever wonder how you could recreate this baked bliss in your own kitchen? The light, flakey layers stacked up high, amd it had pockets of melted butter. Just the right mix of chocolate bits, nuts or berries were folded in and the taste left an impression in your mouth that you don’t want to forget. It is not unattainable to achieve on your own with a little practice and a few key pointers. Grab your favorite scone recipe, get your tea steeping and read on.
Keep It Cool
The biggest secret is butter, cold butter – so cold you can’t even cut through it with a knife. Use a cheese grater to cut it in instead. Cold flour and milk help too to keep the butter that much colder as you cut it in to the flour mixture. You want the butter pieces to be solid when your scones reach the oven. Use a quality pastry flour, and don’t work the dough too much (it will melt the butter). Roll the dough out, fold it and roll it again to give the scone that desired flakey finish. But again, don’t overwork the dough.
Add Your Own Touch
Be creative in what ornamentation you fold in. Fruits in season, cheese, nuts, spices, chocolate bits or a combination of any of these will work. Don’t over-bake the scones. A touch of brown around the edges should tell you when they are finished. After they’ve had a chance to cool a bit, you can add toppings such as sugar glaze or frosting. Or, of course, butter.
Scones freeze well too. The key to longer-lasting freshness – the more butter, the longer they stay fresh in the freezer.
The Perfect Pairing
May we suggest paring this rich treat with a malty, dark Assam or Irish Breakfast to cut through the butter and compliment the light, feathery taste of your perfect scone?
Butter, in great moderation, is a very good thing. What will you add to your recipe?
March 27th, 2014
With the change of seasons, our cravings change too. Warm and savory flavors such as cinnamon and nutmeg are replaced by more sweet and fresh flavors like berries or other fruits. We’ve got some new tisanes steeping that we think you will want to try.
Not familiar with tisanes? Let us introduce you to the beauty of a versatile herbal blend that combines a variety of fruits, flowers or spices. There is typically no tea in these blends which makes them an ideal evening drink - no caffeine.
Take in the aroma of a warm, smooth vanilla combined with the sweet, tart taste of citrus in our Citrus Vanilla Cooler Tisane. It is the perfect blend for warm days and cool nights. The name suggests trying it cold, but this drink is just as delicious when enjoyed hot.
Looking forward to the heat of summer? Memories of sweet lemonade on the front porch swing come through in our Mango Lemon Sunshine Tisane. This herbal blend also combines rosehips, hibiscus and apple bits. Try it over ice.
If you’re already familiar with our tisane offerings, revisit a cup of Bright Berry Tisane. It is packed with berries and hibiscus to give this old favorite a truly “Bright” berry color with a sweet, tart taste.
As the weather warms, and you are ready to don your flip flops, try our Pina Colada Tisane iced. It is a blend of pineapple, coconut, apple and rosehips.
What mood are you in? We’re willing to bet there’s a tisane for that. Check them all out here.
March 20th, 2014