Tea Giving Day 17: (Breakfast Blend)

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“In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.

Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea…”

 

It seems to solve every problem or challenge in the known universe. I’ve written about how the simple act of making tea starts a chemical reaction in the body and brain which promotes relaxation. It’s a ritual of comfort. And as we know about rituals, it has tremendous benefits on personal well being. Making a cup of tea says, “I care.”  It’s an act of love towards the other person and yourself.

Add to that, drinking tea has been scientifically proven to have a number of health benefits due to the antioxidants and other chemical components like L-Theanine, which helps to relieve anxiety.

The next time you’re aggravated, annoyed, upset, challenged by someone or something follow the British and:  Put on the Kettle and enjoy a cuppa. As you already know, Tea can be consumed as a warm drink or a chilled (iced tea) – which is how many Americans like it.

Tea was introduced to Britain in the 7th Century by Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese wife of King Charles II. She made sure to bring a large chest of tea with her when she arrived in England in 1662. This put drinking tea in fashion within the royal court. Over time tea made its way through class structure and became the everyday people’s drink it is today.

The habit of having tea at breakfast is said to have originated with Queen Anne the successor to King Charles II when she chose tea as her drink of choice for breakfast. The royal court and subjects began to follow her lead.

What’s interesting about traditional English Breakfast Blends is that it didn’t actually originate in England. It was a Scotsman named Drysdale who come up with the first Breakfast Blend of black tea that was quite strong. He simply called it “Breakfast Tea”  – and because Queen Victoria loved “all things Scottish” it immediately became popular.

Close up of small porcelain English teapotTea merchants in London used the power of branding and marketing and changed the name to what is now known as ENGLISH Breakfast Tea which is how its most commonly known today.

A bit cheeky of them, don’t you think? 

For those of you who love a classic cuppa, Breakfast Blend is for you. It’s a smooth blend of Indian Black teas: Assam and Darjeeling that marry together perfectly. It has the strength and character to stand up to milk or cream and sugar, but it’s balance enough to enjoy on its own.

On Day 17 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving, please enjoy 25% OFF our Breakfast Blend. Use Code TEAGIVING17 at checkout!

Go fire up the kettle… and Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

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Tea Giving Day 17: (Breakfast Blend)

Tea Giving: Day 16 (Vanilla Bean)

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“In this moment, I am euphoric.” ― A.A. Lewis

According to Scientific tests the scent of Vanilla has a euphoric effect on the brain, uplifts the spirit, has a calming effect on the central nervous system and is a known aphrodisiac. Tests done by neurologist Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that:

 

“In controlled tests designed to better understand the connection between smell and sexual arousal, Dr. Hirsch had volunteers wear masks scented with an array of odors. Several fragrance combinations were found to be very effective in increasing penile blood flow. These included lavender and pumpkin pie, doughnut and black licorice and pumpkin pie and doughnut. However, mature men were most aroused by just one simple smell…vanilla! Modern science has proven what native people figured out centuries ago, and many of us discovered on our own — whether you prefer to eat, drink, or smell it, vanilla is definitely a potent character in the arena of love!”

That’s some serious TeaLove.  Back in the day, aphrodisiacs like vanilla beans were expensive and only royalty and nobility were permitted or could afford use them. Today, Vanilla is an every day, every person flavor and scent. Below are 7 interesting facts you may not have known about Vanilla:

  1. Thomas Jefferson is the one who gets credit for bringing Vanilla to the United States in 1789. After his ambassadorship in France, and upon his return to the States, he wrote to his French attaché requesting 50 vanilla pods be sent to him.
  2. Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family.
  3. The flower that produces the vanilla bean lasts only one day.
  4. The beans are hand-picked and then cured, wrapped, and dried in a process that takes 4 to 6 months.
  5. After saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world.
  6. Only the melipona bee, found in Central America, can pollinate vanilla. In other parts of the world, humans duplicate the process using a wooden needle.
  7. Heliotropin in Vanilla is responsible its ability to soothe emotional tension and reduce anxiety and stress.

When you take the sweetheart of aromas (Vanilla) and blend it with Camellia Sinensis, you end up with the most with strong aromatherapy and an unrivaled nector: our Black Vanilla Bean tea. There are many Vanilla teas on the market, ours is simply and unabashedly sublime. Smooth, easy, highly aromatic, and lacking in that “chemical vanilla” taste of some others.

If you are looking for a cuppa that’s caffeinated, uplifts, soothes, brings a feeling of euphoria and may get your love engine started, then use Code TEAGIVING16 at checkout on the website to enjoy 25% OFF our Black Vanilla Bean blend on Day 16 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving.

Happy Happiness! Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 16 (Vanilla Bean)

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 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 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.

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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)