Spring Teas have Sprung

Tea Smith Tea and white cup

With the arrival of spring and its ever-warming weather, there are a plethora of bright, floral and herbal teas to match what’s happening outside. Spring teas are among the most beautiful, colorful, and delightful flavors available at any time of year. And for tea-lovers, the start of spring is pure enjoyment!

In Japan, the season of spring is marked by the aromatic, pink blossoms of cherry trees. The sense of renewal is captured in our Cherry Blossom Green Tea, marked with dried cherry bits. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Cherry-Blossom-Green-Tea.html

Spring is most arguably the high season for Chinese tea. Some of the nation’s best and most sought-after teas originate in spring, when the first buds on tea plants are harvested after the winter.

Jasmine Pearl is comprised of Fine Pouchong leaves, scented with jasmine blooms, then rolled into pearls that unfurl in your cup. These slender green leaves produce their entrancing aroma for three, four, five infusions. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Finest-Jasmine-Pearls-Green-Tea.html

Black tea is widely known for its wealth of benefits, from increasing energy to boosting immunity. Simply Strawberry Black Tea has a subtle aroma and flavor when hot, but a slightly stronger aroma and sweet flavor once it has cooled making it a treat that can be enjoyed all year long! http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Simply-Strawberry-Black-Tea.html

Perfect for a sunny spring day is The Tea Smith’s Orange Blosson Rooibos tea. This is a light, orange-scented tea with curls of orange zest. When infused, the rind imparts a splash of citrus that comes together with the crispness of rooibos. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Orange-Blossom-Rooibos-Tea.html

If you’re looking for something soothing after a long day, the natural oils in Lavender White Tea promote relaxation even before you take that first sip. White teas are enjoyed for their floral notes. Add natural lavender flowers and you have a tea that is uplifting and at the same time relaxing. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Lavender-Spring-White-Tea.html

The short time between spring and summer brings about the new first flush Darjeelings from India. First flushes are regarded as the “champagne of tea.” Stay tuned! We will be announcing the arrival of our 2017 Darjeeling- 1st Flush- soon!

The Tea Smith’s Cooking With Tea Contest Winners

Cucumber Lime Sorbet with Moroccan Mint Tea Simple Syrup


Submitted by Tricia Chaves

• 1 Tbsp The Tea Smith Moroccan Mint Organic Green Tea

• 3/4 c granulated sugar

• 3/4 c water

• 2 c cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

• 1 lime juiced, seeds removed

• 2 T clear liquor (optional, for texture)

Make a simple syrup by combining tea, water and sugar in a saucepan on the stove top over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves without allowing the liquid to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain into the blender. Peel, seed and coarsely chop cucumber. Add to a blender with liquor and lime juice, then blend on high until smooth. Distribute evenly into two metal loaf pans and put into the freezer, stirring with a spatula every hour until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. Typically, four hours. Serve within 24 hours or transfer into a covered container up to three months. Garnish as desired with grated lime peel, cucumber slice or mint leaf. This versatile sorbet makes a refreshing dessert, intermezzo – as a palate cleanser between courses, or even as a base for a frozen cocktail.

Spicy Peach and Pecan Sweet Tea Rice

Spicy Peach Pecan Tea Rice

Submitted by Mary Marlowe Leverette

• 2 cups prepared Tea Smith Peach Paradise Black Tea

• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

• 1 cup uncooked long grain rice

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

• 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

• 1 large peeled and diced fresh peach

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Prepare tea as directed and place in a 3-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir in rice and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until tea is absorbed and rice is tender.

While rice is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add pecans and saute 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Add minced jalapeno and saute for one minute. Stir in rice, diced peaches and chives. Toss to mix well and serve. Serves 4.

Spicy Orange Herbal Tilapia

Spicy Tea Coated Tilapia
Submitted by Mary Marlowe Leverette

 • 2 tablespoons Tea Smith’s Ginger & Sweet Orange Herbal Tea

• 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

• 2 teaspoons dried thyme

• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

• 4 5-ounce tilapia fillets

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 fresh lemon

• Chopped chives for garnish

Grind tea to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or use an electric spice grinder. Place ground tea, 5-spice, thyme and salt in a shallow bowl. Mix well.

Pat fish dry with paper towel and gently coat each side with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Coat each tilapia fillet with about 1 teaspoon of tea mixture and let rest for 10 minutes.

Warm remaining oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place fillets in pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until fish is opaque throughout. Place on serving dishes and squeeze fresh lemon juice on each fillet and garnish with chives. Serves 4.

Breakfast Peach Tea Smoothie

Submitted by Mary Marlowe Leverette

• 1 16 oz. package frozen peaches

• 4 cups brewed Tea Smith Peach Paradise Black Tea, chilled

Place ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Finest Lady Grey Ice Box Cookies

Lady Grey Cookies

Submitted by Mary Marlowe Leverette

 • 2 tablespoons Tea Smith’s Finest Lady Grey Black Tea

• 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

• 8 ounces butter, softened

• 2 eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 3 cups all purpose flour

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Grind tea to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or use an electric spice grinder. Divide in half. Place half of the tea powder into a large measuring cup. Add brown sugar and mix together well. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar/tea mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Divide dough into three equal parts. Shape each into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Cookie dough can be wrapped in aluminum foil and frozen at this point for up to 3 months.)

After dough is chilled, heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place granulated sugar and the remaining tea powder on a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Roll each cookie log in granulated sugar and tea and cut dough into 1/4 –inch slices. Place slices one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack immediately. Makes 7 dozen cookies.

Chai Caramel Almond Tartlet

Chai Caramel Almond Tartlet 1

Submitted by Hidemi Walsh


For Crust:

• 1/2 cup Corn flour

• 3/4 cup All-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon Granulated sugar

• 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold and diced

• 1/3 cup Water

• 1 Large egg

For filling:

• 2/3 cup Whole almonds, roasted

• 4 tablespoons Dried cranberries

• 2 tablespoons Chai tea leaves

• 1 cup Unsweetened almond milk

• 1/2 cup Granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter

• 2 tablespoons Honey

• 1/8 teaspoon Salt


  1. Butter and flour 4 tartlet pans (4-inch in diameter each). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make crust. In a food processor, pulse egg, cornmeal, flour and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar until combined. Add water and 4 tablespoons of butter, pulse until dough holds together. Divide the dough into four and place the dough in each tartlet pan. Poke holes in bottom of the crust and place the pans on a baking sheet. When the oven is ready, put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Make filling. In a microwave safe cup, put almond milk and warm it up in a microwave (don’t boil). Take the cup out of the microwave and add chai tea leaves. Let stand 6-7 minutes. Then strain the almond milk tea into a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, honey and salt. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently. When the large bubbles start to appear, reduce heat to medium-low and keep cooking stirring frequently until slightly thickened (30-35 minutes). Then stir in almonds and cranberries, and keep cooking stirring frequently for another 4-5 minutes or until thickened.
  4. When the crusts has baked and cooled enough to handle, remove each crust from the tartlet pan. Put the filling into each crust equally and place the pans on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven (350 degrees F) for 12-15 minutes. 4 servings.

Berry Lavender Sorbet

Submitted by Alexie L. Herrmann


• 2 Tbs. Lavender Spring Loose Leaf Tea

• 2 Tbs. Agave or Honey

• 1 Can (about 14 oz.) of Full Fat Coconut Milk

• ⅔ Cup Mixed Frozen Berries

• 3 Tbs. Frozen Aronia Berries


  1. Steep tea in 8 oz. boiling water for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. (This can be done the night before or a few hours in advance and put in the fridge)
  2. Shake can of coconut milk well then open and add half of can to bowl. Add the cooled tea to bowl and put rest of coconut milk in fridge.
  3. Whisk or blend tea and coconut milk until well combined and smooth
  4. Pour mixture into ice tray and freeze overnight.
  5. Once frozen pop ice cubes into blender.
  6. Add frozen mixed berries, aronia berries, agave or honey, and the rest of the coconut milk.
  7. Blend on a low medium speed stopping often to scrape sides until all ingredients are well incorporated. Length of time depends on blender power and personal texture preference.
  8. Scrape into shallow dish (I used an 8×8 baking dish) and put into the freezer.
  9. Stir every 20 minutes until scoopable or preferred consistency.
  10. Scoop into personal dishes and garnish with fresh berries when available.

Preparation time: 20 MinutesTotal time:  Varies by blender and freezer quality but about 8 hoursServes: 4


  • This also makes a great smoothie


Being pregnant has increased two things for me. My cravings for sweet frozen foods and my anxiety. This recipe helps alleviate both! This is a bit healthier than ice cream in my opinion (especially with the antioxidants from the local aronia berries) so I can satisfy my craving without much guilt. I try to incorporate lavender into my life as much as possible to ease my anxiety often visiting local lavender farms or drinking lavender tea which does just the trick

Smoky Vegan Chili

Submitted by: Shelly J Schmidt


• 4 Tsp. Lapsang Souchong Tea Leaves

• ⅓ cup (about 6 mushrooms) Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

• 2 Tbs. Olive Oil (can substitute vegetable oil)

• 1 Large Onion Diced

• 6 Garlic Cloves Minced or Pressed

• 1 Large Carrot Shredded

• 2 Jalapenos Seeded and Diced

• 2 15 oz. Cans of Diced Tomatoes

• 2 15 oz. Cans of Kidney Beans, Drained and Rinsed

• 1 15 oz. Can of Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed

• 2 Cups of Vegetable Stock

• 2 Tbs. Chili Powder

• 2 Tsp. Cumin

• 1 Bay Leaf

• Salt to Taste


  1. Use a tea bag or loose leaf tea basket to steep 2 Tsp. Lapsang Souchong in 6 oz. boiling water for 3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Use a spice grinder or blender to grind the mushrooms and rest of dried tea leaves to a fine powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot over medium high heat add oil, onion, and pinch of salt. Cook until translucent.
  4. Add carrot and jalapenos. Sauté for 10 minutes
  5. Add minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in dried mushroom tea mixture, chili powder, cumin, and pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add diced tomatoes with juices, kidney beans, black beans, vegetable stock, brewed tea, and bay leaf.
  8. Bring to a simmer and stir.
  9. Continue a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  10. Remove bay leaf and serve with your preferred garnishments.

(Suggested garnishes jalapenos, guacamole, cilantro, cheese, fresh Nebraska corn when available, and your favorite chips.) Preparation time: 30 minutes

Total time:  1 ½ -2  hours. Serves: 8


  • This could also be cooked on low for a longer time to enhance flavor
  • Works well in the crockpot as well


  • After my daughter became vegan I had to rethink my chili recipe. She discovered the Lapsang Souchong tea at the Tea Smith and it quickly became one of her favorites. At her suggestion we added this tea along with the dried mushrooms to my basic vegan chili recipe. The mixture adds a deep umami flavor to replace the typical meat flavor of chili. I made this for my vegan daughter who loves spicy food, tea, and campfires.

Smoky Vegan Cornbread

Submitted by: Bud Schmidt


• 3 Tsp. Lapsang Souchong Tea Leaves

• 1 cup whole wheat flour

• 1 ½ corn meal

• 2 Tsp. baking powder

• ¼ cup fresh cut Nebraska corn (in season) or frozen

• 2 Tbs. maple syrup

• 1 ½ cup tea made with Lapsang Souchong

• 2 Tbs. Olive Oil (can substitute vegetable oil)


  1. Use a tea bag or loose leaf tea basket to steep 3 Tsp. Lapsang Souchong in 12 oz. boiling water for 3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Grease loaf pan
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl
  5. Mix all wet ingredients in another bowl
  6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until moist
  7. Put into loaf pan, cook for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry
  8. Remove from oven and serve with your preferred garnishments

Preparation time: 15 minutesTotal time:  45-60 minutesServes: 6 people or me alone


  • Instead of corn you could add chopped home grown jalapenos


  • After my daughter became vegan I had to rethink all the things I ate. I needed to make things that she and I could eat together. She discovered the Lapsang Souchong tea at the Tea Smith and it quickly became one of her favorites. I noticed the smoky aroma and thought that might be a nice addition to cornbread. She and I both enjoy cornbread very much. It is a great addition to chili or soup.

Experimenting with Breakfast Teas


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


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.”