Healing Heart Tonic

rose tea

Say Hello to District Blend #02: Brookland!

Welcome to the little hamlet where Pearl Fine Teas was born almost 11 years ago. To honor this lovely part of Washington DC, I’m finally introducing the newest member to the Pearl Fine Teas family: Healing Heart Tonic.


But first, a little about Brookland:

“Brookland evolved in the early 1870s, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran its western branch line through this area. The rail line was situated alongside a fine 1840 Greek Revival farmhouse known as the Brooks Mansion, home of Colonel Jehiel Brooks. In the late 1880s, Catholic University was established just north of Colonel Brooks’ farm. Developers quickly responded, creating a new Washington neighborhood beyond the central city and taking its name from Colonel Brooks. The university provided a centerpiece for a large number of Catholic institutions.

In the early days, Brookland, with its single-family, wood-frame houses in styles ranging from Queen Anne to Craftsman – attracted government workers, Smithsonian Institution scientists, and people of many ethnic backgrounds who shared the Catholic faith. In the 1930s, Brookland attracted affluent African Americans looking for an area that was not restricted to whites only. Of particular note are 13 International style houses designed by Hilyard Robinson and Howard H. Mackey, two of Washington’s most prominent African American architects of the era. Robinson was responsible for the Ralph Bunche house, 1510 Jackson Street, NE, built for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Many other prominent black Washingtonians made their home here, including the entertainer Pearl Bailey, the poet Sterling Brown, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Robert Weaver, Senator Edward Brooke, and historian Rayford Logan. Brookland enjoys an interesting history of civic activism. Most recently it rescued the Brooks Mansion, which still stands near the Brookland Metro station, a symbol of this community and its heritage.”


This neighborhood is located in the Northeast section of DC and is known informally as “Little Rome” due to the influence of the Catholic Church and home to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Rose garden at the Franciscan Monestery

I first discovered this little enclave back in 2003 – a hidden gem, devoid of trend and pretension. I loved the diversity of people, the loving warm-hearted neighbors, the chirping birds, the stunning green spaces with gardens galore – and the gorgeous refuge of the Franciscan Monastery where you often see a Monk or Nun strolling in deep contemplation and reflection. A quiet walk through the rose garden instantly infuses a sense of peace and puts all things in perfect perspective. As a member of the Franciscan Garden Guild, I’ve spent time in the greenhouse, helping with the famous yearly Plant Sale and even learned how to extract honey from the bees they keep.

My neighborhood has inspired me in so many ways – mostly notably with the profound friendships I’ve made living here that have touched and warmed my heart – specifically my good friend Bill. He is no longer with us, but I had the privilege of being his next door neighbor for 14 years.  We had a lot of fun during those years and he taught me a thing or 10 about everything from how to install a light fixture to how to navigate some of life’s steeper slopes. It was a joyful friendship and one I deeply cherish. It’s also why I wanted to create a blend that reflected and honored that special friendship – which was born right here in Brookland.

Bill was a Deacon in his Church; He loved roses, and chewing on lemon grass and good ole’ fashioned ginger root. The Brookland Healing Heart Tonic is a blend of  those 3 ingredients and is totally caffeine free, healing, and heart warming. Besides the emotional healing benefits of this tisane, there are also many actual health benefits to this wellness tonic:


herbal rose tea.

Rose: 
• Naturally uplifting (especially for those prone to feeling down or depressed)
• Regulates hormone levels (how the neurotransmitters in our brain are regulated)
• Can help to improve liver function and increase urination (natural diuretic)
• Releases toxins from the body
• Good source of Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• May also help treat arthritis, menstrual cramps, cold/flu, digestive issues, and insomnia


Lemon Grass. Cymbopogon citratus. Capim Limao, Santo.Lemon grass:
• Traditionally used to help control and normalize heart rate and for high blood pressure.
• Used for the treatment of depression and anxiety
• Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
• Loaded with Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• Citral is the active constituent and lemon grass has the highest concentration of it compared to any other plant in the world. Citral has antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that both benefit the brain.


Isolated gingerGinger:
• Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Fungal
• Boots Immunity
• Aids digestion and relief from nausea
• Improves heart disease risk factors
• May lower Cholesterol
• May have powerful anti-diabetic properties
• Can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride level (similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin)
• Studies show its effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis
• Can protect against age-related damage to the brain (Alzheimers) and can also improve brain function in elderly women



Healing Heart Tonic (District Blend #02: Brookland)
will debut at markets on:

• Saturday, May 5th: Falls Church Farmers Market, VA  (8am – Noon)
• Saturday, May 5th:  Monroe Street Farmers Market, Brookland DC  (9am – 1:00 pm)
• Sunday, May 6th:  Central Farm Market in Bethesda, MD (9am – 1:30pm)
• You can also purchase online in the Tea Shop here.

“There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.” ~ Charles Dickens
“Happy Sipping!” ~The Chief Leaf

 

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Healing Heart Tonic

Don’t throw out those tea leaves!

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Sadly, these went straight to compost

Yesterday was spent cupping new teas for our curated tea selection at Pearl Fine Teas. 38 teas were included and only 1 made the cut this week: Drum Mountain White Tea. It will be joining the 2017 tea family in the weeks to come, so keep an eye out for it or sign up on the website to be notified when its available.

For those of you that don’t know what “cupping” is, it’s a way that tea professionals assess tea leaves for both quality and defects. There is a standard used so that everything is on equal ground. Typically teas are cupped at 5 minutes for this kind of assessment. Having done this now for 10 years (a drop in the tea bucket compared to others), I remember the early days when I was learning about tea and was introduced to cupping for the very first time. One instance stands out because it had an actual physical effect on me. I was cupping teas at an STI class that lasted for a whole day. I lost count at how many teas were sampled, but by mid-way through, I had to stop because I was over caffeinated. That’s an experience you don’t want to have. I was so wrapped up in tasting the plethora of teas, that I forgot to spit them out after each taste (like wine tasting) and it caught up to me. Not fun.

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Giant tea leaf pyramid ready for compost

Learning how to cup teas correctly was necessary and invaluable, but I don’t always follow the international standard. Sometimes, I’ll cup a tea twice: the first time for evaluation and the second, at a time that I feel works best for my customers in real life. If some teas are just downright awful, they don’t make it to the second round. It’s disheartening when I come across these, which sadly, is far too often. I know what goes into producing these leaves: from planting to plucking to processing, and the immense amount of work that goes into delivering you that delightful cup of tea.  Each leaf deserves respect–even the less then tasty unlovable ones.

One way I reconcile this is to make sure all tea leaves have an honorable ending. So whether I’m cupping samples, or just having my daily cups of tea, the used tea leaves get put back into the earth via compost. I keep a plastic tupperware container on my kitchen counter just for used tea leaves. When it’s filled I bring it to my rose garden and work the leaves into the soil. I did a post on this a few years back about tea and roses that you can read here.

When I’m cupping large amounts of tea samples, the used leaves go into a giant bowl and then are transferred to my compost bin. I always say I have the best smelling compost bin in DC! So please, don’t just throw your used tea leaves into your trash bin. Collect them and give them back to the earth. It will make your plants happy and it keeps the circle of life flowing. If you happen to prefer to use teabags, you can open the bag, discard the nylon into the trash, and put the tea leaves into your compost or garden. I love being able to give back to the earth, especially since it gave us the tea bush. I know you will too!

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

P.S. –  If you haven’t voted for us yet, we kindly ask that you vote for Pearl Fine Teas as best Tea Shop in Washington DC. Thank you much!  Vote here!

 

 

Don’t throw out those tea leaves!