How to Survive the Holidays: A Tea Lover’s Guide

If you’re wondering how to get everything done and stay sane, you’re not alone. Here are our favorite tips to enjoy this crazy season:

Travel Tea Press

We don’t go anywhere without tea.

Tip 1: Stay Energized during Shopping Trips

We like to keep a travel cup of hot tea with us in the car at all times. Black tea is great for sustained caffeine without the crash you get from drinking coffee.

Tip 2: Drink your Desserts for Less Calories

Sometimes dinner requires hard decisions – like whether to get a second helping of stuffing or leave room for dessert. That’s why we crafted these sweet treats without the calories: try our Pumpkin Spice Black Tea Blend or Autumn Apple Pie Green Tea Blend.

Tip 3: Ease Indigestion

We told ourselves we wouldn’t overdo it… and then we ate the whole thing. Time for some herbal blends! Ginger and mint have been used for centuries to soothe upset tummies.

Tip 4: Stay Relaxed

The children are nestled all snug in their beds dreaming of sugar plums. Meanwhile, you’re ready to pull your holiday hairdo out. Take a minute for yourself with a hot cup of Chamomile with Lemon.

Tip 5: Buy Tea and Nobody Gets Hurt

Maybe we’re a little biased, but it seems like everyone loves tea. From smoky tea for “manly men” to fruity, caffeine-free brews for kids, The Tea Smith has something for everyone on your list. If you can’t decide, a gift card always fits!

What are your holiday survival tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Add comment November 14th, 2014

In Defense of Afternoon Tea

You’ve got a to-do list at work that grows faster than it shrinks. And you probably have one for when you get home as well. You hardly have time to catch up with friends or update family on the latest things going on in your life. If this describes you, you will definitely benefit from the 5 minutes (or less) it takes to read this. These are a few good reasons to stop and take a tea break.

Rest Well

A cup of tea is the perfect excuse to take a few minutes out of each day to rest and reflect. It’s a time to catch up with someone you truly enjoy spending time with and lets your mind wander beyond today’s to-do lists. Of course, each of of us would enjoy this kind of time, but what if we asked you to look at it as less of a luxury and more of a necessity? Tea can have an amazing impact on the mind, from helping you relax to refocusing your thinking and improving your memory. However, would you believe that the simple act of making time for tea can do more than that?

Work Better

In many countries, an afternoon tea time is a daily necessity. In others, an afternoon siesta or nap ranks as a high priority. Giving yourself that afternoon break, will actually improve your productivity throughout the remainder of the day according to a 2002 study from Harvard University. So carve out that time in your day – 7 minutes to boil the water, 5 minutes to steep the tea, 15 (or more) to enjoy every sip.

 

What will it be for you this afternoon – a cup of white tea and time to reflect? Maybe black tea is more suited to your taste. Brew up a pot of Ceylon Star and give mom a call or invite a friend who you haven’t seen recently. However you choose to relax today, just make a point of carving out that time tomorrow and the next day as well. Your body and mind will be glad that you do, and your boss will also appreciate you working harder.

Add comment October 30th, 2014

Cooking with Tea

Cooler weather can drive us in to spend more time in the kitchen. For some, that means getting creative with cooking comfort foods. For others it simply means seeking the comfort and warmth of a steaming pot of tea and delicious aromas of food being prepared. Which of these fits you? As always, we have a few suggestions for types of tea that will warm and delight you. We’ve also found a few ways you can use tea in the meals you create. Check out a few of them.

Smokey Lapsang

Are you missing the taste of meat cooked over a summer grill yet?  Lapsang Souchong could be the medium for your main course. The leaves of this unique tea are exposed to pine smoke, causing them to take on a warm, smoky aroma. When the tea leaves are ground, they make an excellent rub for meats and can even be ground in to burgers. There are also vegetarian dishes that work well with the smoky flavor. Lapsang is also a wonderful compliment to salmon dishes. Brew up a pot while you explore the possibilities with this one of a kind tea.

Sweet Bergamot

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Bergamot is a sweet orange-like, citrus fruit that is healthy and delicious. The oils from it are used to flavor the beloved Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas as well. Earl Grey recipes are often found in the baked goods category and include everything from cookies to frosting to a rich and sweet latte called a London Fog. On their own, a cup of Earl Grey and Lady Grey both make great compliments for almost any dessert.

Sophisticated Green Tea

If you are a die-hard lover of green tea, there is no shortage of recipes or ranges of taste. Make a complete 5 course meal using green tea in every dish. China Jasmine green tea is a wonderfully light and sweet accent to rice while the bitter tasting Pinhead Gunpowder makes for a great basting liquid for meat. Sprinkle Dragon Well tea leaves over a bowl of chicken soup as you serve it for a light crunch and a healthy addition to the meal. For dessert, explore a few of the sweet recipes that use Matcha, a powdered green tea from Japan.

This is just a start to the culinary adventures you can have with our selection of over 100 teas. What will you try? Get that teapot whistling and brew up a cup for inspiration as you put your creative cooking skills to work.

Add comment October 23rd, 2014

Companions for Cold Season

While you may not have had to fight off a cold quite yet, the signs advertising flu shots are everywhere, marking the advent of the season. Opinions about how well these shots actually work vary, but one thing we do recommend is fortifying your cupboard with a few items that will help to both prevent colds and nourish you back to health. Take a minute to look over this list.

 

Tea 

Why would we recommend anything less for the number one slot? The simple warmth of hot tea going down your throat to your stomach will soothe and break up mucus. Besides that, it is full of helpful antioxidants to jumpstart your immune system.  Brew up a cup of Dragon Well or Organic Sencha when you start to feel a tickle in your throat. It will ease a sore throat as well.

Ginger 

Ginger is a natural anti-virus and can help heat up the body to induce fever, and according to Doctor Oz, fever is the body’s way to naturally fight against a cold or flu. Stock your cupboards with Ginger Puerh or Ginger Sweet Orange this time of year.

Cinnamon and Honey 

Both are excellent additives to your cup of tea. Cinnamon and honey both contain antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Together they work well as powerful immunity boosters.

Vitamin C 

This one is almost a given, but make sure you keep it as a regular part of your diet. It works best to help your body prevent getting a cold or flu in the first place. Vitamin C has been used to build up immune systems, speed healing and improve general health for many years. Foods that are most rich in Vitamin C include lemons, oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli. Try a slice of lemon or orange in your next cup of tea. Ceylon Star tastes great with both!

Garlic 

Sounds like a terrible thing to add to your cup of tea, right? However, you may be surprised to know that garlic along with salt is an age-old addition to a cup of tea if you are from Thailand. If you are brave enough to try it, let us know how it tastes. In any case, keep garlic on hand for cold and flu season. It will stimulate the immune system and help fight the virus. Add it to your chicken soup instead.

So raise a glass to cold and flu prevention this season and keep drinking tea!

Add comment October 16th, 2014

Chai It!

This time of year, we start to crave the warmth of a cup of tea in our hands and the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. The rich addition of a dash of milk and a sweet spoon of honey or sugar make for one of the most savory and sweet drinks you can imagine – chai! Ever wonder what exactly goes in to a cup of chai? There are many variations right here at The Tea Smith as well as other suggestions on how you can experiment.

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Basic Chai

Travel outside of the States and you may have trouble ordering the sweet and spicy drink we know of as chai. In many countries, including Russia, the word “chai” is the word for “tea,” plain and simple. In other countries it is pronounced in a slightly different way, but sounds very close to our word for chai. You might be very disappointed to receive a cup of straight black tea.

However, what we know of as chai, is the spicy and sweet drink that originated in India. It most often consists of a black tea with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and sometimes black pepper. The blend is brewed right along with milk as it heats over the stove, which makes it extremely flavorful with rich and sweet notes from the added milk.

Try cooking up our Traditional Masala Chai this way. Then, if you need a little more spice, cook up our Organic Calcutta Chai with milk. Keep the ratios as you would for brewing a normal cup of tea – 1 teaspoon of tea to every 8 ounces of milk. Stir it as it heats on the stovetop and add your sweetner of choice as it heats.

Other Takes on Chai

Now that we’ve got the basic idea of what chai tea is, let your imagination run wild. You might like to try our Coconut Chai or throw in a few of your own ideas like dried apple bits and extra cinnamon or a dash of vanilla. Make sure you stock up on enough chai to experiment with your drink to get it flavored just the way you like it.

You can also try making your chai with different liquids instead of milk. Try soy, almond or coconut milk for example. The higher the fat content, the better your milk (or whatever) will foam.

Finally, since this is the season of all things pumpkin, give this Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte a try. It’s well worth the time and ingredients. Let us know what you think!

Add comment October 9th, 2014

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