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.
Its been a month since I blogged. Bad me. I’ve been focusing on new ventures that are coming up this fall. Like teaching a tea class at Open Kitchen and attending expos and events (more on that later). I have been loyal to my morning cup of Jade Oolong and Im about to cup a few more this afternoon. Yeah me!
I was sifting through some old emails and came across this interesting bit from my Peep over in England, Nigel Melican. He is an expert on many many tea related issues especially caffeine. So Id like to share with you what he said recently. A question was asked:
Q. “First, I was wondering which tea had the greatest caffeine content White,Green,or Black?…“
A.“A 2007 study in Germany (Hilal & Engelhardt) looked at 30 Black teas, 2 sets of 30 Green teas & 30 White teas. This is the most comprehensive study I know. They found a range of caffeine:
Black tea 2.0 to 5.4% – average 3.5%
Green tea (1) 1.5 to 5.2% – average 3.4%
Green tea (2) 1.7 to 3.9% – average 2.9%
White tea 3.4 to 5.7% – average 4.9%
My conclusion from this is that to drink any particular color of tea for its low or high level is to fool yourself. Despite what many misguided (or unscrupulous) vendors may tell you, your black could be as low as 2.0% and your green as high as 5.2% – and even on average (if you could ever find an average tea) a black will be the same caffeine level as a green – from sample set 1 at least.
White tea scores higher on average than black or green, though a ‘high’ black or green could still beat a ‘low’ white.
Steeping practice will modify caffeine intake more than your choice of tea type. Halve the tea you use = 50% less caffeine in your cup. Treble steep your green or white teas and you will have significantly less caffeine per oz of water consumed than in a single steep of black.
Finally, don’t worry so much about caffeine in tea. Nature provided tea polyphenols to complex it – so you do not get the coffee jitters from tea – and the unique relaxing L-theanine to balance caffeine’s energizing effects. New research (in mice only, so far) points to caffeine having a protecting and reversing affect on Alzheimer dementia at a dose of 500mg per day – around 14 cups! That has to be an argument for increased tea drinking.
Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.
Q. “I know this has been addressed in the past, but once again….Which if any tea has the most caffine? I am a loose tea drinker, but also love my coffee. Coffee isnt agreeing with me anymore, but Ive gotta have that “buzz” in the morning to get me going. I have a job where I sit all day and look at a computer, and need to stay awake!…[I’d] appreciate anything you can advise me on.”
A. “Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.”
I love teapots. I have a giant collection of them and can’t stop buying new ones. I probably need to open a store just to showcase them all.
I ventured into teaware last fall. I’m picky about my pots so I made sure to test them over and over again. Sometimes you see a cute design, take it home and it drips when you pour. Me no likee. Or, the mesh infuser is too thin and bends making it impossible to use again. Me really no likee.
Then there are the ones that just dont hold enough water for teatime. You know, the ones that give you just one cup of tea. I need at least two per sitting.
I’ve been happy with the choice I made with regard to iPot Teapot and have decided to keep them around for a while. There are some others I’m testing out in the TeaLab, but I’m not ready to release just yet.
Recently I ordered some new designs. How cool are the ones with the yoga positions etched into the side? Love it. Will definitely keep a few for me. 🙂 I am offering them in 3 colors: Bamboo and Grape (tree pose) and Carribbean Blue (lotus pose). There are matching cups as well that make such a nice gift. Either for yourself or someone who loves tea and yoga.
I also just had to have the Cherry Blossom design which is simply gorgeous and perfect for this time of year. We are in Cherry Blossom Season here in DC so it just makes it all the more fitting. It a also has a matching teapot.The duo is so feminine.
It’s just after midnight here in our Nation’s Capital. And I’m wondering why President Obama hasn’t ordered any of our “Drink for Change” blend? Which then led me to Twitter. Random? Of course.
While on Twitter I noticed a significant jump in people following Pearl Fine Teas. Interesting. I hadn’t been paying attention the last few weeks. I clicked to see who was interested in us. Even more interesting. As I browsed the list, checking out fellowTeaPeeps and clicking on their sites or being led to other sites related to tea, I noticed something even more interesting than the last interesting thing…
There are a TON of Tea Review websites out there. When did this happen? So I sat with this thought for a bit… Why are there so many sites that review tea? Why do so many people want to review tea? Why are people building websites and social networks around reviewing tea? Is anyone really interested in someone else’s review of tea? Remember, I was in advertising for many years and my default is extreme curiosity and intense questioning about things like this.
I must admit here on my very own TeaLove Blog, which is mostly about tea and my thoughts on things related to tea (hence totally teacentric) that even I am only mildly interested in another persons review. There I said it. From a business perspective I love the idea of people trying our teas, having an opinion about it (hopefully positive) and then telling others. I like the idea of community. I don’t know how I feel or what I think just yet on the whole “review” thing. Not knocking the reviewers, just so curious on this new trend. And forming an opinion. (Because I always have an opinion on something.)
I mean… I’ve seen movies where critics have given 2 thumbs down for a movie that I loved. Dare I admit to loving Anchorman? Shallow Hal? Dodgeball? Did I fall asleep watching Ghandi? I really did. But I did love Slumdog Millionaire!
When people ask me what tea they should drink, I always pause for a moment, and then suggest teas that I believe are of high quality and value, and why I think they may like it. However, even though I may like that tea, it doesn’t mean someone else will. High quality aside.
A few years ago I had a client who was (I think still is) the CEO of a bank. He and his wife were lovers of California wines. I remember talking to him about my growing interest in wines and reading Wine Spectator. He looked at me and said, “Elise, drink what you like and forget the rest. Who cares if something got a low rating. If you like it, drink it.”
I had no reply to that. He was right. Plus he was my client. And a lot taller then me. I feel that way about tea as well. If you like it, drink it.
I’ve also sampled many spectacular teas. Some considered so good they are collected and sold for a small fortunes in Asia (ie: puerh). Some I liked and some I didn’t. I’ve also had Lipton. Who hasn’t. There is a time and place for all things, including Lipton Tea.Think iced on a hot summer day. I refuse to bash Lipton, though I know some people who do. Sir Thomas Johnson Lipton began in 1870 and is currently one of the biggest tea distributors in the world. Its been around for 139 years! People like it.
“Whats her point“ you may be saying…My point is that, some of us are tea snobs. Some of us are wine snobs. Some of us are both. Is being a snob really such a good thing? I dunno. In the end what matters is what tastes good to YOU. Enjoy the pleasure and the journey of sampling teas and form your own opinion on the leaf (or grape). For good or for bad, its the pleasure of discovering what you like that’s fantastic. And, if you find a tea you absolutely love ENJOY IT. If it happens to be a tea in a bag from a roadside diner paired with the meatloaf special… Who cares. If YOU like it, sip it. (I can feel the tea community twitching as I type this.)
All that said… I do prefer a whole leaf tea to fannings and anyone out there who would like to review some of our teas (Teaviews & Steepster) and shout out good things to the world about us … you know where to find me.
Ok it’s now 2:23am. I’m done rambling for now and will formulate more thoughts soon on this fantastic growing phenomenon. Part 2 to come…
Every year it’s the same. I send out an email in August to my “TeaPeeps” suggesting a Sunday in December for us to meet for Christmas Tea. A bit early for an RSVP, but this way we are all on the same page and can actually make it happen. It seems to work because this is our 5th year!Amy, Mysoon, Nicole and Tiffany were all past students of mine (when I was teaching design and creative thinking) who obviously transitioned into being dear friends. Rochel was a past vendor of mine, who is now a dear friend. Nicole has recently followed her heart and has started a yoga studio here in DC calledQuiet Mind. Rochel has done the same with following her heart and has started her second business called Joyful Bath Co.Amy and Mysoon have followed their hearts and passion and are both working as designers and Tiffany followed her heart into a wonderful job that has her traveling to exotic locations like Vietnam!
A fabulous group of woman, we met today at 315p at the Mayflower Hotel, in downtown DC. I’m sure many of you have heard of hotel – think Eliot Spitzer.
The Mayflower Hotel is elegant and their afternoon tea is well done. I have often met many a client for tea here, but was impressed with their version of Christmas Tea. Decorated with poinsettias on each table and a harpist in the corner of the room, each of us was offered our own 2-tier of savory and sweets.We decided that we likes this rather than a large 3-tier in the center of the table.
It began with a selection of savory tea sandwiches including: smoked salmon, grilled vegetarian sandwich on focaccia bread, smoked duck and a mozerella on pita. Delicious! Rochel enjoyed it so much, she requested a refill! The sweets section was abundant and I don’t think any of us were able to finish what was offered. There was a raspberry fruit tartlet, chocolate eclair, black currant scone, clotted cream and lemon curd, raisin brioche, coconut rocher and hazelnut macaroon and their signature banana bread. We often add on a glass of champagne, but this year we skipped the bubbly and just enjoyed the tea. I enjoyed a pot of Wild Blueberry. And I believe there were some oohs and ahs over their Mountain Spring Jasmine tea. I had a sip – quite good. The tea menu included the following: Breakfast Americana, Darjeeling Choice Estate, Earl Grey, Wild Blackberries, Orchid Oolong, Mountain Spring Jasmine, Sencha, Chamomile Citrus, Ginger Twist and Organic Mint Melange. All I believe from Mighty Leaf. I thought the service was good and the overall experience was pleasant.
The room was filled with many young woman who were obviously there with family and friends to celebrate season and enjoy each others company. I can say that our Christmas Tea event has become something I look forward to each year. Though we many not see each other for 364 days, we can always count on coming together in early December over tea and treats to catch-up on whats happened over the last year. I truly treasure the time we spend together and look forward to next year!
Here is a little bit of history on the Historic Mayflower Hotel:
The Mayflower Hotel was known as the “Grande Dame of Washington, D.C.,” boasting more gold than any other building in the country except for the Library of Congress. Just four blocks from the White House, this grand, historic hotel remains not only a place to make history but to absorb it; throughout the last 80 years the hotel has hosted events that have changed the course of human affairs. Its opening function, the annual banquet of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, was totally eclipsed by Calvin Coolidge’s Inaugural Charity Ball held two weeks later in the Grand Ballroom. The ball began a long tradition of presidential use of the Mayflower. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ate lunch at the hotel every day for 20 years, and President Harry Truman lived at the Mayflower during the first 90 days of his presidential term. Franklin Roosevelt lived in Suite 776 during his pre-inaugural period and dictated his famous, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech there. In 1942, the hotel staged Washington’s first blackout drill, installed air raid sirens and first aid stations on every floor, turned the roof into an observation post and made plans to convert the barbershop into an emergency hospital. Harry S. Truman announced his intention to run for the presidency in 1948 at a Jackson Day dinner at the Mayflower (“I want to say that during the next four years there will be a Democrat in the White House and you are looking at him.”)
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20036 USA
All of a sudden, I’m fascinated with honey. Honey producing, honey bees, honeycombs, worker bees, honey facts. All of it. I had no idea honey was so complex and magical. I’m in awe of those little honey bees that work so hard for us to enjoy some sweetness in a simple cup of tea. We must thank the honey bee – especially the worker bees (who are female, only live 6-8 weeks and do all of the work) for gifting us with such sweetness. Read on if you want to learn more…
10 Fun Facts about Honey
In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.
A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
An average worker bee (female) makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
It would take approximately 1 ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
Honey contains vitamins and antioxidants, but is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free!
Honey is less than 20% water.
Honey speeds the healing of open wounds and also combats infection.
Beeswax is edible. If you’ve eaten a Gummy Bear, you’ve eaten beeswax.
Honey is the only produce with NO EXPIRATION DATE.
Tea and Honey are a perfect match! Both are known to contain antioxidants which help prevent damage to cells and tissues
23 Honey Varieties(Did you know there were so many? I didn’t)
ACACIA – made from nectar collected from Acacia tree blossoms which produce a honey that is remarkably clear and pure. Popular and sweet with a mild, delicate floral taste.
ALFALFA – light in color and mildly scented floral aroma. Its delicate nature doesn’t overpower other flavors making it a perfect with tea. Not as sweet as most honey.
AVOCADO – tastes nothing like the fruit, avocado. Dark, fairly rich and buttery in flavor.
BASSWOOD – one of the few varieties that that is light color but has a strong biting distinctive lingering flavor. Very good with teas like Earl Grey.
BLUEBERRY – made from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. Light amber in color, has a pleasant flavor, a slight tang, and a blueberry aftertaste.
BUCKWHEAT – hard to find. The darkest of honeys with a full-bodied flavor. Rich in iron. Popular with honey lovers. Has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys.
CLOVER – a classic honey with a mild sweet taste. One of the most available and popular varieties.
EUCALYPTUS – a special herbal flavor which carries a hint of menthol. Traditionally used as a protection against colds and headaches. Try it in your morning or afternoon tea.
FIREWEED – One of the most popular honeys. Very smooth, delicate, and buttery in taste.
HEATHER – thick, amber in color. Strong, fragrant and floral with a very lingering aftertaste that is almost bitter. High in protein content.
LEATHERWOOD – a native eucalyptus found in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia and is the source for 70% of the country’s honey. Excellent on wheat toast. Adds a fantastic aroma to tea.
LINDEN – light yellow color and a delicate, fresh, woody scent. Known to have sedative and antiseptic qualities. Used in the treatment of colds, cough and bronchitis.
MANUKA – found only in New Zealand’s coastal areas, and comes from the flower of the Tea Tree bush. Said to be antibacterial and helpful for healing of sore throats, colds, indigestion, stomach ulcer, acne and pimples.
ORANGE BLOSSOM – light in color, mild in flavor with a fresh fruity scent with a fragrant citrus taste.
PUMPKIN BLOSSOM – harvested once a year in the early fall. Dark amber-colored liquid with a light floral fragrance. Tastes nothing like Pumpkin Pie. A seasonal honey – limited as the bloom is short and does not produce much nectar.
RED GUM – found in Australia. A darker honey with a thicker consistency, bold taste and higher level of antioxidants compared to others.
REWAREWA – found in New Zealand. Full bodied and malty. A classic dark red premium honey with a caramel, slightly burnt flavor. Quite unusual.
PINE TREE – from Greece. Less sweet, a little bitter, with a strong aroma. Rich in minerals and proteins. Resistent to crystallization.
SOURWOOD – light-colored, delicate, with a caramel or buttery flavor, and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.
SAGE – produced in California. Light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. Slow to granulate, making it a favorite variety among honey packers.
TAWARI – from New Zealand’s Tawari trees. Golden in color with a creamy butterscotch flavor.
TUPELO – a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. Heavy bodied but with a mild, distinctive taste. One of the sweetest honey varieties.
WILDFLOWER – also known as “multifloral” or “mixed floral” honey. Its color can vary from very light to dark. Flavor range from light and fruity to tangy and rich.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, or rather honeycomb. Honey seems to be an uber-super-duper food that just happens to have a natural affinity with tea. Lucky us!
Today, December 12, 2008, you can read a cool article at Mail Online UK by Jenny Hope on tea and womans health: “Women who drink three cups of tea a day may be protecting themselves against heart attacks and strokes.”
Newsmax.coms article on June 20, 2008: “The clearest consistent evidence points to an association between tea consumption, in excess of three cups per day, and a reduced risk of myocardial infarction or a heart attack.Dr. Ruxton found that drinking up to eight cups a day would deliver optimum benefits from polyphenols without affecting sleep quality.”
I hover around 8 – 10 cups a day so I should have the heart of a infant. Or, I should be glowing…or levitating… or something like that. Here’s an 11th fun fact about honey: When adding honey into tea, wait till it’s not too hot to avoid destroying its natural goodness.
* If you liked what you read, please recycle. Send to someone who might be interested!
It’s cyber-monday and we are doing our part to stimulate the economy by offering a 20% Discount on tea and teaware from today through December 24th! Just enter Code TLB20 at checkout! And… If you order totals more than $100, shipping is FREE!
Need suggestions on what teas to give? How about…
Earl Grey de la Creme or Earl Grey Lavender
Perfect for the Earl Grey lover who might be interested in trying something different. de la Creme is smooth and creamy with notes of vanilla. Lavendar is light, refreshing and very aromatic. Both blend nicely with the oil of bergamot!
Know someone who needs to chill? Having trouble relaxing and falling asleep. We aren’t sleep doctors, but we have to admit… Counting Sheep seems to relax the TeaPeeps here at Pearl Fine Teas. The blend is light and fresh and has strong notes of citrus. The aromatherapy alone should have you sawing wood. Caffeine Free to promote total relaxation and a peaceful end to your day. Just don’t sip and drive with this blend… you could fall asleep behind the wheel!
Did your plans for a tropical vacation fall by the wayside this year because of the economic climate? No worries. Sip Bora Bora and imagine yourself on a tropical island… sun warming your skin… We know its no substitute for a real vacation, but why not sip this healthy green tea blended with passionfruit to warm you from the inside out?
One of the most outstanding Ceylon teas you will ever drink. Our Ceylon is from Shawlands Estate in the Uva region of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Takes well to milk although best drunk black. Full bodied, soothing and complex. Superb!
Maojian is one of China’s most famous green teas, grown high in the mountains in misty tea gardens with brief sunlight and cold nights. The difficult conditions yield strong leaves that can withstand rolling and high roasting which creates its wonderful rich flavor and aroma. If you haven’t tried this green tea, you are missing something special.
Silver Needles Long, soft and downy, Silver Needles are the first spring buds of the Da-Bai tea plant.It comes from Fuding, a serene region with soothing waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. The peaceful setting is reflected in the flavour: soft, mellow, with the sweet freshness of honeydew melon. A classic not to be dismissed.