Theanine in Tea May Help Students Focus

Back to school reminders are everywhere these days. From the sales at every store, to Facebook photos of kids on the first day of school, you can’t escape the season’s change. We’ve mentioned before that tea is a great habit to get into to boost brain power and creativity, but it’s worth hearing again. It doesn’t matter whether you like white, green, black or oolong teas, they will all help you focus.

How does it work?

L-Theanine is the key. This natural component found in tea leaves has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve cognition and cognitive performance. It has also been tested as a mood booster. It is especially effective when combined with caffeine – another component of tea. This compound can be found in supplemental vitamins, but why not get it naturally? Besides, we can help you find a flavor you will love when it’s time to hit the books.

Encourage Good Habits
Teacup with infuser

Know anyone headed off to college this time of year? Tea would make a tasty parting gift and could help a student focus. Not sure what kind of tea your college friend would like? Get a gift card and direct them to our website to explore on their own. We can ship anywhere, including college campuses across the nation.

Grab a cup the next time you need to get away and get some work done. We hope you notice a difference. We certainly do!

Add comment August 13th, 2015

Exploring the World of Caffeine-Free

At heart, I am a tea purist. I like my leaves as little tampered with as possible. However, a recent change in health shut the doors on caffeine of all types. I felt so alienated from the world of tea that had become so much a part of my life and the lives of those around me. It’s a lonely place when everyone around you is enjoying a strong, sweet cup of warmth while you sit and nurse a glass of water with your scone instead. There was still hope, however.

Rooibos

Once I finished my pity party, I started looking a little closer at the world of caffeine-free herbals. Rooibos and tisanes, chamomile and peppermint were all very different than my traditional cup of tea, but each had its own flavor bouquet and aroma. Rooibos has the rich, dark taste that I enjoy about black teas, but it has less astringency and a little more earthiness to it. This herbal could easily stand in for my morning cuppa. And with so many rooibos flavors and blends to choose from, there is a taste to suit me no matter my mood.

Tisanes and More

Ginger Sweet OrangeIn the afternoons, I explored some of the other herbals such as sweet, fruity tisanes like Bright Berry, Pina Colada and Ginger Sweet Orange. All of these go over ice well, too, so they were refreshing choices for hot July days.

There were even avenues to explore in the evenings. Normally, my tea consumption had to stop around 3 or 4pm if I didn’t want to stay up late, so I really enjoyed the change. Eastern Chamomile or Lavender Flower Infusion had the opposite effect in helping me relax and get to sleep easier. They are both distinct in taste but share a similar light, soothing sweetness.

I know my caffeine-consuming days will return, but these herbals will still play a major role in my daily routine. Try some out for yourself! You won’t be disappointed. 

Add comment July 9th, 2015

A Royal Tea Party for the Least of These

It’s time to enjoy the great outdoors. For many kids, that means attending a summer camp. For one group of children in particular, summer camp can be life changing. Dozens of volunteers from the surrounding area get together for one week out of the entire year to take kids who have been abused and neglected out of their foster homes and treat them like royalty. One of the ways they do that is by treating them to a royal tea party. There is so much more, too, than a simple cup of tea for these rowdy youngsters.

Treating Them Royally

The girls pick out a dress from donated bridesmaid and prom dresses. They choose gloves and hats to wear. They are given a formal invitation to attend this special tea party, and when the time finally comes, the girls are beautifully dressed and glowing. As they enter the room where the event is held every summer, you can hear an audible gasp go up to the vaulted ceilings which are decked with banners and lace. Each table is decorated with colorful tablecloths and cloth napkins, fancy teacups and pots, and tiers of desserts and finger foods.

The grand hostess of the event is also made up in lace gloves and a fine dress and hat. She goes by Miss Manners, and she offers lumps of sugar while sweetly sharing advice on having the best manners at a tea party. The children rise to the occasion and beam with gratitude as they raise their pinkies up and take that first sip of Boldly Blackberry or Peach Paradise tea.

Inspires So Much

Tea TimeWhat does this do for the girls who attend? Much more than we have the space to share. Many of these kids come to camp with very low self-esteem. They have been hurt by those who were supposed to care for them and love them the most. They sometimes have behavioral issues as a result of their abuse or neglect. It’s a simple cup of tea, served elegantly, but it communicates to these girls that they are accepted, loved and worth celebrating. The dresses make them feel beautiful and make them want to act with the best manners possible. The changes are small and may not by long-lasting, but the memories will last their whole lives.

What does this have to do with you? Well, you can learn more about this camp. Or you can simply go a little out of your way to host your own tea party, and invite those who are struggling, feeling down, or simply could use a reminder of how special they are.

Add comment July 2nd, 2015

Using Garden Produce for Tea Time

Eating fresh and local is easy this time of year, but dealing with an abundance of that tasty garden produce can be a challenge. Soon, many of us with our own attempt at gardening (even on a small scale) will be overwhelmed with foods like squash, tomatoes and cucumbers. While you try to make good use of every last precious vegetable from your garden, you may find yourself eating them at just about every meal of the day. Well, here is another time to incorporate them that you may not have considered: tea time!

Cucumber Sandwiches

English Tea Cucumber SandwichesThese are incredibly easy-to-make treats that are healthy and refreshing. Making cucumber sandwiches can take as few as 4 ingredients, or more if you like a little extra flavor and spice. Toast up some English muffins, spread them with cream cheese, layer on a few cucumber slices and sprinkle with dill weed or garlic powder (or both!). Then enjoy with a crisp black tea such as Ceylon Star. If you are serving them to guests, go ahead and give guests a chance to take home some of your abundance of cucumbers for their own enjoyment. After all, we don’t want any fresh garden produce to go to waste, right?

Tomato Treats

With a little extra time and a few more ingredients, you can integrate your extra tomatoes into tea time, too. Italian bread slices, garlic, cream cheese, black pepper, parsley and plum tomatoes are all you need for these tomato toasts. This recipe is a little more heavy in taste but a perfect companion to the light, refreshing cucumber sandwiches. They both go well with a malty Assam or a nutty Darjeeling black tea, but feel free to try others, too. And again, invite your guests to help themselves to your tomatoes if you are overwhelmed with them.

Have fun making these treats and even more so in eating them! What other ways do you like to use up an abundance of garden produce?

Add comment June 25th, 2015

Tea for a Crowd Made Easy

Making tea for a crowd can be a daunting task, especially when you want to serve hot tea and keep the event somewhat formal. How can we make this easier for you? The simple answer: we can cater your event! But that’s not always an option if you don’t live in Omaha, or if you just want the joy of preparing and serving it yourself. Here are a few tips on how to make tea for a crowd easier on you and on your guests.

Keep It HotBaked Goods from The Tea Smith

With a party of more than 8 people, planning ahead is essential. And although attention to detail is important for a successful tea party (i.e. the sandwiches, desserts, napkins, teacups), tea is the most important element. It shouldn’t be treated like an afterthought. One of the easiest ways to serve the tea and ensure that it will be hot is to make it no more than an hour ahead of time and pour it into glass-lined air pots. Just make sure that the pots haven’t been used for coffee recently, or your tea will end up tasting like coffee.

Give Guests Options

Another option is to make individual tea bags ahead of time and have the water boiling as your guests take their seats. This way, you can offer them a more diverse variety of teas. Make sure you provide cups with saucers if you go this route as your guests will need a place to put the tea bags after their tea is brewed. I prefer this method, but it can be a little time consuming on the party preparation end.

Use Your Favorite Teapots

Finally, you can do away with all of the tea bags and air pots by making a tea concentrate ahead of time. Simply make your tea as you normally would, but double the strength of it. Let it come to room temperature, and have water boiling as guests arrive. It would be wise to experiment with ratios of hot water to tea before you serve it to your guests. This is a fun way to serve the tea because you can easily use your favorite and fancy teapots.

Tea parties are fun, and they don’t have to be difficult to plan. Give it a try! Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Add comment June 18th, 2015

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