Tea Giving: Day 15 (Jasmine Pearls)

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“Come, give us a taste of your quality.” – Shakespeare

Jasmine Dragon Pearls are one of the most famous scented tea in China.

I’ve read conflicting stories about how Jasmine found its way to China. One suggests it originated from Iran and traveled along the Silk Road to China during the Tang Dynasty. And, that scenting green tea with jasmine flowers starting around the Song and Ming Dynasties which is around c. 1240 – 1368. Still another says it arrived in China via India during the Han Dynasty which is c. 206 BC to 220 AD, but did not really catch on until the Qing Dynasty c. 1644 – 1912.

Thats a huge span of time. Regardless of when Jasmine actually found its way to China and they started scenting green tea with doesn’t really matter, does it? The important point is that it exists and that we get to enjoy it.

The best is grown and produced in the Fujian Region but Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Zhejiang also produce high qualities versions. (Vietnam also has a rather fantastic version of Jasmine Pearls!)

Tea leaves are typically harvested in early spring, hand rolled into little balls or pearls and then stored until late summer when jasmine flowers bloom. Flowers are picked very early in the morning when the air is still cool and the buds are closed. In the evening the buds open and the flowers release their amazing aroma which scents the green tea. The jasmine flowers are placed in layers with the green tea alternating between tea and flower and stored over night. It takes roughly 4 hours or so for the fragrance and flavor to be absorbed into the green tea leaves. This process is often repeated many times to get the right amount of fragrance and flavor into the tea.

You don’t need too many Pearls to make a fine cup of this tea. And brewing it in glass is highly recommended so that the visual part of watching the leaves unfold adds to the tea drinking experience.

This tea is beloved by many people because it’s simply fantastic. It can be enjoyed hot or as a divine iced tea as well. 

Day 15 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving features Jasmine Dragon Pearls and you can enjoy 25% OFF today. Just use code TEAGIVING15 at checkout on the website!

If you haven’t experienced the flavor of Jasmine Dragon Pearls, today is a good day to give it a try. 

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

 

 

Tea Giving: Day 15 (Jasmine Pearls)

Tea Giving: Day 14 (Kenya Black)

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Start your engines.

If you are a black tea lover, like your black tea robust, lean towards the British style of teatime (cream and sugar) and need to being the day with some power, this is your cuppa.

Kenya Black, CTC (or Morning Kickstart) is a single origin tea from Kenya with no pretense. No fan fare. No parade. No fancy words attached to it. It’s less dressed up and more: “Cut to the chase. I just want a great every day strong black tea.”

It is exceptionally smooth for a full-bodied black tea. Ours is organic and comes from Western Kenya where the rainfall is abundant and the soil is extremely fertile with red volcanic soil. The growing region is quite unique in Kenya overall and the first African tea bushes are said to have been planted in 1903 by settlers from Europe. Today there are over a billion tea bushes spread out of 4,000 miles in the Highlands. Plantations do much better at higher elevations that are over 4,500 feet. Tea grows all year in Kenya, but the cream of the crop is plucked from January to early March; then from the end of June through July. The majority of tea produced is CTC  and thats why our Kenya Black CTC after it. It’s the only CTC style tea carried by Pearl Fine Teas. 

pearl_KenyablackinbagCTC is machine processed and fully oxidized tea using whole leaves which are macerated and then rolled into little balls or pellets and oxidized.  It makes for a very quick infusion. The end flavor of some CTCs can lack complexity and is often used for tea in bags, but not this one. There is a depth and complexity to it that also stays true to the traditional black tea flavor we’ve come to know and love.

This is one of our go-to black teas and is often recommended to our die-hard black tea lovers who loyal to black tea. It stands up well to additions like milk, cream, sugar and spices but is delightful on its own. But remember: its a robust black tea with a very fast infusion time so keep that in mind when brewing.

To kick off Day 14 of our 25 Days of Tea on this busy Monday, please enjoy 25% OFF our Kenya Black, CTC Morning Kickstart by using code TEAGIVING14 at checkout on the website.

Don’t forget to add a biscuit / cookie to compliment your cuppa.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 14 (Kenya Black)

Tea Giving: Day 13 (R&R)

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Take a break.

Preferably a tea break. There’s really nothing more to add to that. And if you need some data to feel less guilty about the benefits or resting and relaxation, this might help:

Who are you?

A recent survey confirms that Americans feel a sense of identity from their jobs. In D.C. the ever popular questions, “So, what do you do?” is like saying Hello. But who are you really? Scheduling time to rest the same way you schedule work or other appointments, is critical to rebooting the brain. Once you are back online you may come to realize that what you do and who you are two different things. You may even be more productive. Take the advice of  Benjamin Franklin:

He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.”

How ironic.

The happy problem solver

Tea drinkers know that tea makes you happy. But so does resting the brain. Literally. The brain gets better at solving new problems after a good rest or even a nap. Take the advice of Sara Mednick:

Sara Mednick, author of Take A Nap, Change Your Life, led the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study. In her TedX talk, she said, “We need to rest. We need to take more breaks. Because, you see, taking breaks is actually part of life. It’s part of being active, it’s part of being productive and having endurance, it’s part of being creative, it’s part of being happy.”

3 final convincing reason

  • Improved Memory – Lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and retain information. When you sleep, your brain goes through all the activities and impressions of the day which is important for memory formation.
  • Heart Health – A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
  • Fat Loss – According to a University of Chicago study, dieters lost less fat when they got only five and a half hours of sleep.

Today is Sunday, Day 13 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving and the designated “day of rest.” What will you do? Will you rest? Will you relax? Do you know how?

zzz_halfRest and Relaxation is one of our wellness blends consisting of chamomile, lemongrass and a hint of lavender. We sell a lot of this here in the DC Metro Area. I bet you can guess why…

Please enjoy 25% OFF our Rest and Relaxation today. Use Code TEAGIVING13 at checkout on the pearlfineteas website!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz
~The Chief Leaf

 

 

 

Tea Giving: Day 13 (R&R)

Tea Giving: Day 12 (Masala Chai)

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Also known as Naked Masala Chai.

Why Naked? Because there are no liquid “chai” flavorings in the blend. It’s 100% pure black tea and spices. As it should be. I’m sure by now you know that the word “chai” means tea in Hindi. So when you hear someone ask for a Chai Tea, they are asking for Tea Tea.

Chai Tea has risen in popularity and has taken Western culture by storm. You can find it in almost every grocery store, specialty shop, tea house and even coffee shop.

Traditionally Masala Chai uses a spice mixture that can be any combination of warming spices. However, cardamom plays lead role in most Masala blends and is supported by other spices like cloves, ginger, or black pepper – with the last two added to provide some heat to the flavor of the blend.

Blends different from region to region – and even from home to home. Every family has their own “Masala” Chai blend. In western India cloves and black peppers not included in blends. In Kashmir, more subtle flavorings are used like almonds, cardamom, saffron, cloves and cinnamon. In Bhopal a pinch of salt is also added to the tea. The addition of milk and sugar emerged from both Ayurveda and British intervention.

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Naked Masala Chai

The wellness benefits of Masala Chai are what you might expect given the combination of spices and is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse (without cream or sugar).

We’re proud of the thumbs up approval we’ve gotten from friends born in India on the taste of our Masala Chai blend. Our blend is an authentic original. We hope you will feel the same.

Please enjoy 25% OFF our Naked Masala Chai by using Code TEAGIVING12 at checkout on the website for a Naked Chai experience.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 12 (Masala Chai)

Tea Giving: Day 11 (Immune Booster)

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Also known as our Mighty Immune Booster – one of our Wellness Infusions.

Drinking this is like adding more troups to the front to win the bug war. In other words, it packs a (throat) punch. Someone once said that our blend isn’t whimpy. She was right.

All three ingredients make for a healthy powerhouse known to improve overall well-being and seems to also work wonders with sore throats. Let’s just get right to it and list benefits of drinking this Trifecta of healing:

Linden

Reduces Cold and Flu symptoms such as inflamed and swollen membranes throughout the respiratory tract which can help reduce coughing and irritation. It can also help eliminate congestion.

Reduces inflammation and helps lower blood pressure as well as remove inflammation in the blood vessels, thereby preventing the small capillary back-ups that so commonly lead to headaches, as well as the swollen tissue of arthritis sufferers.

Detoxifies the body with the help of P-coumaric acid (a diaphoretic) which means it induces sweating, which releases toxins from the body. It’s valuable for people suffering from fevers, because sweating can help lower a fever faster.

Lemongrass

Antioxidant properties help scavenge free radicals in your body that may cause disease. Antioxidants of note are chlorogenic acid, isoorientin, and swertiajaponin. These antioxidants may help prevent dysfunction of cells inside your coronary arteries.

Antimicrobial properties help fight abilities against Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the bacteria most responsible for tooth decay, several types of bacteria and fungus in vitro.

Anti-inflammatory properties from two of the main compounds in lemongrass, citral and geranial, are responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ginger

We all know ginger is a Superfood with Superpowers. If ginger were a Superhero it might be Superman (or Wonder Woman). The list is mighty long related to its benefits and include: Brain benefits, Cancer prevention, Antiviral and Antibacterial.

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Ginger Lemon – Immune Booster 

In conclusion, this infusion contains healing ingredients that also (and maybe more importantly) taste good too. There are lots of herbal remedies and teas out there that work wonders but taste like scrapings from the bottom of the forest. Or the inside of a shoe. If ya won’t drink it, it can’t help ya.
Ginger Lemon – Immune Booster is one of our top Superstars and the perfect one to feature today on Day 11 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving.  Please enjoy 25% OFF today by using code TEAGIVING11 at checkout on the website.

Here’s to feeling Supergood.

 

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 11 (Immune Booster)

Tea Giving: Day 10 (Bao Zhong)

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Gong Fu Style of serving tea

Welcome to Taiwan.

Home to some our most favorite Oolong teas which most definitely includes Baozhong.

Pouchong or Baozhong in Mandarin, means “wrapped in paper” referring to an original older and unique processing style from the past when the tea was literally wrapped in paper during the drying process.

For Oolong lovers and TeaNerds reading this: Our Baozhong is oxidized at around 12% which is considered light oxidation and creates an end tea product that falls somewhere between green and oolong. It lacks the sharpness of some greens and is much more mild than other oolongs. It’s sweet, fresh, fruity, floral and buttery. It requires no sweeteners. In fact, adding any sugars would be almost down right sacrilegious and would ruin the complexity this tea has to offer.

Tea grown within Pinglin county in Northern Taiwan and processed in a specific style is considered the best quality of Pouchong – which is where ours is from.

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Wen Shan Bao Zhong

The leaves of Baozhong are large, twisty and dark green. For brewing, its similar to other greener oolongs in terms of water temperature (175°F) and time. This tea can handle multiple infusions. I’ve gotten up to seven!

High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals it has wonderful health benefits. There is research that suggests the following:

Increased Heart Health

  • May improve your cardiovascular health and lower risk of heart disease
  • May help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Rich in Quercetin which may help dilate the blood vessels

Dual Effect: Relaxing / Stimulating

  • Contains the amino acid L-theanine known to calm and relax the nervous system
  • Combined with caffeine it increases alertness without the jitters

Skin, Bones, Teeth

  • May keep your skin looking youthful and prevent signs of aging from antioxidants
  • Fluorine and calcium in tea may strengthen bones and prevent tooth decay

That makes for a pretty strong case for drinking tea daily and trying Baozhong specifically. If you are a lover of Oolongs or are intrigued to try it for the first time, please enjoy 25% OFF our Baozhong at checkout by using code TEAGIVING10 on the website. You won’t regret welcoming this tea into your life.

Happy Sipping! (Kuàilè de chuài yǐn)
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 10 (Bao Zhong)

Tea Giving: Day 9 (Lavender Grey)

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Nous avons les Français à remercier. Encore.
(Translation: We have The French to thank. Again.)

It was they who added the lavender for a distinctively South of France Earl Grey. It’s sometimes called French Earl Grey, Spa Grey or just plain Lavender Earl Grey, but in any case its a delightful, refreshing and super relaxing version of the origin.

You can read a bit here about the history of Classic Earl Grey from our 2016, but today we are all about the magical combination of black tea, citrus bergamot and the magical herb lavender.

The wellness benefits of lavender on its own are widely known with the top 3 being:

  1. Stress Reduction:
    Lavender aids in decreasing the fight-or-flight response, body temperature, blood pressure. It also reduces anxiety, emotional distress, and pain perception.
  2. Anxiety and Depression Reduction:
    Lavender is said to increase alpha and theta brain waves which aides in relaxation. According to studies, the aroma of lavender aids in the reduced anxiety and depressions.
  3. Improved Relaxation and Sleep Quality:
    The aroma of lavender can also help with insomnia and improve sleep quality by reducing the stress responses and lowering resting heart rate. It increases sleep efficiency and allows for deeper and longer sleep with an increased percentage of time spent in restorative slow-wave sleep.

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Lavender Earl Grey

Interestingly enough one of the benefits of Oil of Bergamot is that it helps reduce Anxiety and Stress. There are studies floating around that have uncovered evidence that the aroma of oil of bergamot helps to relieve stress and anxiety levels and ingesting bergamot may help relieve depression.

So in conclusion, not only is Lavender Earl Grey a gorgeous cuppa tea, it has relaxation/ wellness benefits from the moment you smell the aroma to the final drop in your teacup. Regardless of what its called, French Earl Grey is a relaxing cuppa tea.

If you are an Earl Grey lover and want to try another version of the Classic (with caffeine) please enjoy 25% OFF our Lavender Earl Grey today and use Code TEAGIVING9 at checkout!

Merci et heureux en sirotant!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 9 (Lavender Grey)

Tea Giving: Day 8 (New England)

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“Where’s your will to be weird?”

Thank you Jim Morrison. Thats exactly right. The willingness to be different, unique and downright weird is right up our alley.

That said, say hello to New England Blend. Not exactly what one would think of when choosing a black tea blend but that’s just the way we like things: a little off the beaten trail, a little under the radar, a little different than the rest.

New England at its base is a hearty black tea blended with maple, cacao, a smidge of honey, and red/black peppercorns. When listing the ingredients to customers we get one of two looks and reactions:

  1. Wide-eyed silence and a polite, “What else do you have?”
  2. Wide-eyed excitement and an enthusiastic, “I must have that!”

There’s a cult following of this blend. Our regulars (especially those from the New England corridor) love it.  They also know that it’s in limited supply for Fall and Winter and once it’s gone, it doesn’t emerge from its Spring/Summer slumber until the following Sept/October. Many have “minor” addictions to New England Blend. It’s not unheard of to get a Tea-Emergency email in early Spring like this:

“We know you have some New England left in your private stash. Give it up! We’ve run out and wont make it till Fall. Please send help.” – Desperate in DC

I personally love this tea but with some specific parameters around drinking it: It’s simply divine when the temperature drops and there are threats of snowflakes. A warm blanket, warm socks, a roaring fire and this tea is the ultimate in comfort. In DC when snow shows up (even if theres only like 32 flakes), everything closes down and it’s quiet… New England Blend comes out of my private reserve and I’m gleefully sipping, watching the snow fall, and delighting in the lack of chaos that is typical of this city.

If the snow really piles up, I’ll brew a travel mug of New England, throw on my Big Reg Parka, borrow my friends dog Midnite and walk the quiet streets.

Mixed black Truffle spicy tea isolated on white
New England Blend 

New England blend has a “weight” to it. Meaning that it’s substantial, not light-hearted and many devout coffee drinkers have crossed over into tea with this blend.

The aroma upfront is extremely sweet – like syrup on pancakes – but the tea brewed has totally different outcome: The maple combines with the cacao which is slightly bitter and they both blend harmoniously with the black tea. The pepper mellows out the sweetness and it all comes together like a Winter Symphony. Though I’ve not had it with milk or cream, some have said that it is pure decadence.

So, how daring are you? Are you willing to try something a little “weird?” If so, please use Code TEAGIVING8 at checkout and enjoy 25% OFF of our New England Blend for Day 8 of our #25DaysofTea. 

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 8 (New England)

Tea Giving: Day 7 (Russian Caravan)

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“Ecstasy is a glassful of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth.”

It’s Day 2 of Hanukkah and Day 7 for our 25 Days of Tea Giving.

The tradition of tea and sugar is fascinating and one I wasn’t familiar with. Many Russian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants drank their tea by sipping it from glasses through a piece of sugar held between the teeth.  It’s even mentioned by Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment, as “sucking tea …through the sugar.”

Evidently many Russian Jews also practiced the Flaming Tea Ceremony during the “Festival of Lights” with each person dipping a cube of sugar into brandy and placing it on a teaspoon. Each person stands in line with their alcohol-soaked cube and its set on fire creating a glow. Holiday songs are sung and then one by one, each person drops their flaming cube of sugar into a glass of tea.

A bit more dangerous than just sucking tea through sugar but still a fascinating Eastern European Jewish Tradition.

The importance of the sugar cube with tea isn’t limited to holidays like Hanukkah either. Evidently its been addressed by religious authorities and according to the Orthodox Union’s Web site, it discusses what is or isn’t permitted to eat or drink before davening (prayer) on Sabbath morning and that putting a sugar cube in the mouth is actually permitted. I just read recently a story told by the late Joseph Murphy, a former chancellor of the City University of New York about drinking tea through a sugar cube:

“Wanting to emulate the older man, little Joseph, on his grandfather’s lap, asked for a piece of sugar. The grandfather invited him to share the piece held between his own teeth, and cautioned him to take no more than half. In this way, [Murphy said], he was taught a lesson in tea drinking, a lesson in kissing and a lesson in yoysher (fairness), all at the same time.”

Regardless of the tradition (The English and Afternoon tea; The Japanese Tea Ceremony; Chinese/Taiwanese Gong Fu style of drinking tea; The Flaming Sugar Tradition) tea drinking is a way to connect, share and communicate. It offers a time of reflection with oneself and others.

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Russian Caravan Black Tea

That said, there couldn’t be better tea to feature today on Day 7 than Russian Caravan. I featured this in 2016 and because it’s still one of our more popular black tea blends, smokey tea lovers can enjoy 25% OFF today. Just used Code TEAGIVING7 at checkout on the website.

Happy Hanukkah!
Keep the fire extinguisher nearby and Happy Sipping!

~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 7 (Russian Caravan)

Tea Giving: Day 6 (Jade Cloud)

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“All our wisdom is stored in the trees (and plants.)” – Santosh Kalwar

Poor Kermit the Frog, but in this case it really is Easy Being Green. We call Jade Cloud our “least offensive” green tea.  It’s one of those green teas that’s just easy to drink and just about everyone that tries it, likes it.

Its not overly grassy, not overly vegetal, not overly spinach-y or asaragus-y. Its just not “overly”. It’s easy. It’s why it’s one of our most popular everyday green teas. And its Organic.

I often hear from many people that they don’t like green tea. My response is always a reply with these 5 questions:

  1. What green tea is it?
  2. How much tea are you using in your cup?
  3. How are you heating the water?
  4. How long are you brewing it?
  5. Have you tried Jade Cloud?

The answers to questions 2-4 once I’ve recommended Jade Cloud are:

  • 1/2 – 1 rounded tsp per 8-10oz cup (Most American mugs are larger than that)
  • It should be around 175˚ (Not boiling. Boiling burns the leaf creating bitterness)
  • Roughly 2 minutes though some people have reported they like theirs at 3 minutes. (Any longer and the bitterness will come through. And that’s true of most green teas.)

Question #1 is key because it really does come down to the type of green tea a person may or may not like. Some love the distinct notes of Japanese greens that are highly grassy while others prefer greens with lighter floral notes. It’s often a matter of finding the green tea that makes your tastebuds sing rather than just a blanket statement of: “I don’t like green teas.”

Green TeaOur Jade Cloud comes from the Anhui Province of China where clouds drift in and cool the gardens and create some shade. That brings out its deep green color and develops its wonderful flavor. It’s grown at a high elevation of 1200 meters and harvested in early Spring, when the tea leaves are young.

The color of the brewed liquid is light – almost a pale yellow and has aromatic notes of cucumber and magnolia flowers and cucumber. It’s flavor is slightly buttery, smooth, with light notes of citrus and a touch vegetal.

If you are looking to find your way into drinking green tea here’s an opportunity to try Jade Cloud. Use code TEAGIVING6 to get 25% OFF this delightful Green tea.

It just might change your mind about Green Tea.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 6 (Jade Cloud)