Experimenting with Breakfast Teas

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English, Irish, Organic China, or Blacksmith Blend… why are these considered “breakfast teas” and is there really any difference between them?

First… what are they?

Breakfast teas are generally big bold black teas that are intended to accompany a hearty morning meal and therefore require a more robust flavor profile to accommodate typical morning flavors. Breakfast teas with their rich and bold flavors also blend well with milk and sugar, a morning staple for many, and they most certainly pack a decent punch of morning caffeine.

So which one do I want?

Well it probably requires some testing and experimenting but if you start with English, Irish and China you most likely will find the tea that best helps you shake away the morning cobwebs.

English breakfast is a classic black tea and may be the most widely drunk blend in the world. It has its roots in a tea that hailed from tea’s birthplace, China, in particular it was a tea called Keemun, exclusively produced in the county of Qimen. More likely today, English breakfast blend includes teas from Ceylon The Tea Smith’s English Breakfast Black Tea is a bold yet smooth blend that is as refreshing to the mind as to the body. English Breakfast should be in everyone’s pantry.

Irish breakfast as compared to English Breakfast should be stronger and bolder.  Assam teas from India combined with other styles of black tea reach an extremely rich and full bodied flavor. Some Irish breakfast blends can have a distinct earthy, almost coffee like quality. The Tea Smith’s Irish Breakfast Black Tea  stands up very well to the addition of milk and sugar.

Our China Breakfast, unlike its English or Irish counterparts which are made primarily from Assam and various other sources of black teas, comes from Yunnan black tea. These teas are note for their rich flavor and  pleasant earthy notes. The Tea Smith’s China Breakfast is an Organic  blend of  Yunnan teas that makes this a remarkable tea while remaining familiar and comforting.

So the common theme for breakfast teas is the bold robust flavor that they provide. As you can see beyond that the possibilities are really limitless. The best way to find your favorite cup of morning tea is through experimentation and in that vein you might try the Tea Smith’s exclusive Blacksmith Blend Black Tea.  Though it is not strictly a breakfast, our special blend is bold enough to stand with the breakfast teas but with a hint of Darjeeling to add a hint of sweetness to the cup. Happy experimenting!

The Tea Smith’s Cooking With Tea Recipe Contest October 15- November 15 2016

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Who is eligible for the contest?

The contest is only open to all US residents. All contestants must be 18 years or older.

 

What are the recipe categories?

Original recipes should be submitted in one of 4 categories:

  • Breakfast
  • Main Course
  • Side/Small Plates
  • Dessert

There will be one Grand Prize winner, plus one winning recipe for each category, which makes a total of 5 winners.

 

What makes a “Stand-Out” submission?

  • Stand out submissions are recipes that inspire us to buy locally and start cooking!
  • We like original recipes that are simple but creative and easy enough for a beginner/intermediate cook to prepare.
  • We also love a great photo. A stand-out submission will include an engaging photo of the finished product; of the work in progress; or with you and your creation.

 

How do I submit an entry?

  • All original recipes must be submitted via emailchiefleaf@theteasmith.com before November 15, 2016 at 11:59pm Central time. Submissions submitted after this time will not be accepted.
  • As this is a contest aimed at community engagement, we encourage you to post your creation on a blog or social media for the world to see and include the tags #theteasmith. This is not a criteria for entry, but a fun part of sharing your recipe and hard work with your friends and community.

 

What can I win? What are the prizes?

The Tea Smith is offering the following prizes for the 2016 Recipe Contest:

 

Grand Prize: $100 gift certificate to The Tea Smith. Category recipe winners will each receive a $50 gift certificate to The Tea Smith.

 

Category Winners: Breakfast, Main Course, Side/ Small Plates, and Dessert winners

 

How will we pick the winner?

Submissions to the Tea Smith 2016 Recipe Contest will be scored on a point system, as follows:

  • Recipe Presentation (photo) – Does the picture inspire us to cook? (10 points)
  • Simplicity – Is it convenient and simple enough for anyone to try making? (10 points
  • Originality – Do you use tea in a creative or unique way? (10 points)
  • The Story – Tell us what inspired your recipe. (10 points)

 

The names of entrants will not be visible to the judges. Top entries will be short listed and prepared for by students attending Metropolitan Community College’s Culinary Institute. A panel of judges will determine the winning recipes by giving a final score for flavor (10 additional points). The entry with the highest points in each submission category will be the winner. The Grand Prize will be the highest scoring entry.

 

Submission Release

All 2016 Recipe Contest submissions, including photos and recipes will become the property of The Tea Smith. We reserve the right to publish an eBook containing both the winners and other selected submissions.

We will feature a variety of submissions and winners from the 2016 Recipe Contest on our website and in social media between December 2016 and February 2017. We will provide recognition for the submissions by acknowledging the person’s full name, place of residence and link to their food blog if applicable. All submissions MUST be original recipes.

 

How will the winners be announced?

2016 Recipe Contest winners will be announced in mid December via direct email notification to the winner and public notification on The Tea Smith website and social media channels. The Grand Prize winner and 4 category winners will also have their recipes featured in The Tea Smith’s January 2017 Newsletter.

 

 

 

Tea Sourcing; How and Why

Choosing quality, delicious and beneficial tea and bringing it to tea lovers is a rewarding and enjoyable task.  Tasting teas and visiting beautiful tea gardens all over the world, bringing joy to customers, what’s not to love?  But there is a serious side to selecting tea and making sure tea sources are reliable, ethical and provide quality product.  Tim Smith does just that through his relationships with vendors and continuing education.

Tim has been providing area tea lovers with great ingredients and craftsmanship of a wide and exotic variety of loose-leaf teas from around the world for over ten years.   From the beginning, he was set upon working with and sourcing from only the best.  “When I first started I called around to other businesses and distributors getting good information on sourcing tea.” Once Tim had enough knowledge he started to source closer from gardens and producers directly and that yielded not only quality tea but special opportunities. “Some vendors that I have a long working relationship with will offer unique teas in small quantities that other buyer may not be able to get as they appreciate our art of blending tea.”

Tim adds that sourcing tea is a continual journey and his work takes him to gardens all over the globe as well as regional and world tea expos. “I have gone to tea gardens in Japan, Taiwan  and China, I do not go as often as I would want.” Tim is also is in contact on a regular basis with people who want to build relationships and source tea.

As a Tea Smith (a name that Tim coined that blends that meanings of great ingredients and craftsmanship) his  success comes from  constant and continuing education. “Tea flavor for me is naturally fascinating. Teas have a vast palate, from white tea to oolongs to black teas; there are thousands of tea varieties and I am always learning, there are so many aspects to tea. There are always new teas to discover as well as blending techniques and preparation.”

The Tea Smith employees are also in on the continuing education process as they are all familiar with the teas and each has a Tasting Book in which they keep notes about each tea they drink so that they can share flavors with customers. Tea lovers too, are able to share in tea knowledge as tea classes are offered throughout the year.

What does all this sourcing and education mean to customers? Well, they are the beneficiaries of The Tea Smith’s continual devotion to providing the utmost in quality tea especially in the upcoming months.  “We are introducing new flavored tea for the fall and winter season.  Some  customer favorites that all seem to love is the almond  apple delight, which people start looking for in late summer.  Pumpkin spice will be available for a short time and for the adventerous we have developed and blended a South-of-the-border black tea with chocolate and chili peppers.”

Keeping Your Tea Fresh, Flavorful and Beneficial

tea-canister-shortl-350One of the many enjoyable aspects of tea drinking is in the selection process.  Flavor, aroma, type of tea, intensity and purpose of loose leaf tea are all part of the decision making process.  After you decide upon your prefect blend of loose leaf tea, caring for your tea leaves is just as important.  Just how do you keep your tea fresh?

Tim Smith, owner and operator of The Tea Smith and award winning tea infusionist, says keeping your tea fresh at home starts before you buy it. “Make sure teas are fresh when purchase them, make sure you choose a vendor who properly keeps tea fresh.”  Tim added that if you can smell tea, like in the grocery store, it is not fresh.  “Tea needs to be stored with life proof containers or airtight tea storage canisters and cannot be exposed to air, light or other aromas. Tea can absorb aromas from your spice cabinet and can make for an interesting flavor tea!”

As for the length of tea freshness, that depends upon the tea.  “Properly stored tea can stay fresh for some time. We like to say that green tea should be used within six months while black tea up to one year. Tea won’t necessarily go bad but flavors and health benefits diminish. To get maximum flavor and benefits use as fresh as possible.”

In keeping your tea leaves fresh keep these tips in mind:

Keep your tea in a dark place and do not use clear jars as sunlight and UV rays can bleach out and break down your tea eliminating aroma and flavor and nutrients.

Keep your tea in an airtight container so that tea leaves will not absorb moisture and unpleasant odors from the air.  Keep tea in resealable zipper packages or containers that avoid excess air inside the bag or container.

Keep tea away from heat as exposure can ruin tea.  Keep out of sunlight and near stoves, ovens, or other warm places.  Heat can breakdown the quality of the tea and its flavor and aroma.

Keep tea away from items with strong odors as tea can easily absorb them.  Spices and other pantry items are things to keep your tea clear of.

Keep your tea dry. Moisture can ruin an entire batch of tea leaves within just a few minutes. Tea leaves can absorb moisture from the air very easily and quickly. Keep tea away from humid areas as well such as dishwasher, vents or inside a refrigerator.

The Tea Smith partners with Alice’s Embrace to Make Lap Blanket/Prayer Shawls for Area Memory Care Centers!

The Tea Smith partners with Alice’s Embrace to Make Lap Blanket/Prayer Shawls for Area Memory Care Centers! 

Organizational Meeting to get everyone started! The Tea Smith (78th and Dodge store) on September 10th from 1:00-2:00 pm or September 14th from 7:00- 8:00 pm

The Tea Smith (78th and Dodge store) has partnered with Alice’s Embrace to bring love and caring to the elderly in our community. We will be making lap blankets and prayer shawls for folks in Memory Care Units in the Omaha area. This will be an ongoing project so you can join at any time.

What do you need to participate? A knowledge of casting on, knit, purl and binding off for knitters and crochet crafters need knowledge of chain, single, double and half double stitches. Each pattern has specific requirements for needles or hooks. We will only accept 100% Acrylic Yarn since the garments need to be washed and dried by machine. You do need to supply your own single color yarn to make the designs stand out and “pop” for the residents. Please check all sales at our craft stores in the area or on-line. You can easily get the required yarn on sale for approx. $12-15.

Won’t you please join our cause, meet new friends and relax with your favorite beverage all in one place –The Tea Smith, of course!!!