What’s in a Cup of Tea?

 

tea wall

According to the Tea Association of Canada, we here in the Great White North have been drinking tea since 1716, when it first reached our shores as part of a shipment for the Hudson’s Bay Company after a year in transit. Canadians have been tea drinkers ever since – about 10 billion cups are consumed here each year!

Some people like their tea black with a little cream and sugar, while others prefer green or white tea with a slice of lemon or a spoonful of honey. Then there are folks who enjoy sipping oolong tea with the giant leaves unfurled at the bottom of the cup. There is a multitude of ways that you can take your tea, and amazingly, they all start with the same plant.

What is Tea?
Tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which is indigenous to China and India. Tea is now also grown in places all over the world, but most commonly in Japan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Differences in growing conditions will produce subtle differences in the way teas taste. But the flavour of tea comes from more than its growing conditions!

Some teas taste malty and robust, while others are sweet and grassy or light and floral. This diversity of flavour stems mostly from the way tea is processed. The different types of tea – black, oolong, green and white – are ultimately the result of what happens to the leaves after they’re picked.

Black Tea
This tea is prepared from leaves that are picked, withered, rolled and then left to oxidize before they are fired. Black tea is usually prepared with boiling water. This produces a strong cup of tea that takes milk and sugar well.

Try: Golden Garden Ceylon for a clean finish or malty Rungagora for a sturdy cup in the morning

Oolong Tea
This tea is partially oxidized, and is therefore sometimes described as falling between black and green tea. After the leaves are picked, the tea is withered and bruised before firing. Oolong tea should be steeped in water that is below boiling and is typically taken without milk or sugar, though of course that’s not a rule!

Oolong teas not only can be steeped more than once, it’s actually a recommended practice! Some folks say the third steep is the best – try it yourself and see!

Try: toasty Formosa, floral Ti Kuan Yin or buttery Milk

Green Tea
Green tea is picked and then dried before heated to halt oxidization. There are two distinct methods of heat processing green tea. The Japanese technique of drying green tea is steaming, while the Chinese method is pan firing. These different methods produce distinct flavors: Japanese style green tea is generally sweet and grassy, while Chinese style green tea is slightly toasty.

Nearly every day at Tealish, we hear from our customers that they thought they didn’t like green tea because they found it bitter, but after talking to us they changed their minds! The secret is in the water temperature: green tea should be steeped in water below boiling to prevent the bitterness of burned tea leaves!

Try: smoky Gunpowder or classic Sencha

White Tea
White tea is the least processed of all the teas made from the camellia sinensis plant – it’s made from the youngest leaves and buds and is picked and then steamed or fired to halt oxidization. White tea has a very delicate flavour and should be prepared using water that is below boiling.

Try: Pai Mu Tan for a great everyday option, or share a cup of Silver Needle to celebrate a special occasion with a friend.

While many of us love tea just as is, flavoured blends are increasing in popularity, and Tealish has a whole wall to choose from! We also have herbal and rooibos infusions – these are not true teas in that they don’t come from the camellia sinensis plant, but since they are steeped in water we think of them as teas, too!

Which type of tea is your favourite? How do you take your tea?

Spring Cleaning with Tea!

 

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Here in Toronto, the temperatures have been above freezing for one full week! Spring has officially arrived, and we’re throwing open our windows in celebration!

Tea can be your best friend when it comes to getting ready for warmer weather. Here are six of our favourite ways to incorporate tea into our routines:

 AROUND THE HOUSE

  • Use black tea to clean and shine hardwood floors. Add two teaspoons of plain black tea to boiling water, let steep about three minutes, then remove leaves (don’t discard! We’ll tell you how to use those leaves in a moment!). Allow liquid to cool, then pour into a spray bottle and spray lightly on floors. Wipe with a mop and you’re done! No need to rinse. Bonus: the black tea will help to enhance the deep colour of hardhood, so over time, your floors will look even better. Also great on windows and mirrors!
  • A black tea infusion is a great way to mask scratches on wooden furniture. Brew up a strong cup of black tea (try adding twice the amount of leaves for darker wood), allow it to cool and then dab onto scratches with a cotton ball. The tea will stain the wood and hide the scratch.
  • Use leftover tea leaves to deodorize your fridge. Once used tea leaves are dry, just put them in your refrigerator (we recommend putting them in a pretty bowl or tying them up in cheesecloth) to absorb unpleasant odours. No need to buy baking soda, and a great way to reuse tea!

BEAUTY

  • Apply brewed black tea to a sunburn to help heal your skin. Enjoying the sun so much that you overdid it? Don’t worry – there’s a tea for that. Brew a cup of black tea and allow it to cool, then use a soft cloth to gently apply the tea to your skin. Do not wipe off.
  • Reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. Folk medicine has long boasted the benefits of black tea for puffy under eye circles! Try it yourself at home: fill two tea filters with one teaspoon of black tea each. Gently soak the teabags in boiling water and allow to cool. Put brewed tea and teabags in fridge for about half an hour so they’re nice and chilled, then wring out teabags and place on your eyes for five minutes.
  • Use green tea to exfoliate your skin. A mixture of brewed green tea and sugar will help to smooth your skin. Combine 1 tablespoon of lukewarm green tea with about 4 tablespoons of sugar. Make sure the tea isn’t too hot, or the sugar will dissolve! Using your fingertips, apply paste to your face, gently rubbing in a circular motion. Rinse off with warm water.

Have you tried any of these ideas? What are some of the other non-traditional ways that you like to use tea?

Razzmintazz Smoothie

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This pretty pink smoothie is a terrific morning pick-me-up!  Fresh strawberries and raspberries blend perfectly with Razzmintazz, a delicious fusion of fruity blackberries and raspberries, tart hibiscus, floral chamomile and cool peppermint.  The end result is a sweet and refreshing breakfast drink that’s sure to brighten even the rainiest of days in April.

Serves one thirsty person

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 cup fresh raspberries, rinsed
1 banana
1/4 piece of avocado
1-2 tablespoons agave or honey, optional
1 cup boiling water
4 teaspoons Razzmintazz tea
1 glass of ice

Directions

1. Start by brewing your tea.  Put the tea leaves in a small brewing vessel, pour the water over them and allow the tea to steep for about four minutes.  This will create a strong infusion.  When the tea is brewed, pour it over the glass of ice.  Some of the ice will melt and dilute that infusion, and you’ll be left with the perfect glass of iced tea!

2. Put the rest of the ingredients along with the tea into a blender, and blend until smooth.

3. Enjoy!

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Tea and Health

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Yesterday marked the official start of spring.  After months of what was an unseasonably cold winter across most of North America, we’re thrilled that the days are finally getting warmer and longer!

The notions of rebirth and renewal associated with spring have many of us starting to clean out the cobwebs that gathered during Old Man Winter’s reign.  If you’re like us, your spring clean might also involve tidying up your physical and mental wellbeing by integrating healthier habits into your everyday routines.

Tea has been linked with a variety of health benefits, so drinking that cup with breakfast does a lot more than just help to wake you up in the morning. Here are four things about tea and health that we hope will inspire you in your personal spring cleaning this year!

1. Black tea may help alleviate stress! A 2007 study indicates that drinking black tea can reduce cortisol levels and help you calm down after a stressful event. 

Black Tea Choices from Tealish: One of our most popular black tea blends is Patisserie, a tea that has all the sweet and spicy tastes of a fresh-from-the-bakery cookie (including almond, pistachio, cumin and coriander!)  We’re also madly in love with Peachy Lychee – it’s the ideal balance of fruity and floral that works equally well hot or iced!

2. A 2003 study shows that drinking oolong tea may help manage Type 2 diabetes. 

Oolong Tea Choices from Tealish: Coconut Bongo just might be the ultimate coconut tea.  This lightly oxidized oolong tea has notes of sweet, creamy coconut reminiscent of a fresh coconut cream pie.  Delicious hot or iced, with or without milk.  The sky is really the limit with this tea!  We also recommend Dulce de Leche, a blend with pieces of real caramel and marigold blossoms on a toasty oolong base.

3. Green tea has been linked to a wide array of health benefits, including possible protection against cancer, lowering cholesterol and weight loss. 

Green Tea Choices from Tealish: Try our Sakura Cherry Rose, an invigorating blend that is equal parts sweet, tart and floral on a fresh sencha base, or go classic with Sweet Macaron, a green tea blended with walnut, almond, coconut and hazelnut.  It’s naturally sweet and always delicious.

4. South African rooibos tea may help to prevent cancer, lower cortisol production and reduce allergies and inflammation.  Plus, it’s naturally caffeine-free, so you can enjoy this drink well into the evening! 

Rooibos Tea Choices from Tealish: Like dessert?  Then try Sweetie Pie, a delicious rooibos-based tea that features notes of amaretto, coconut and rose.  If you’re looking for something to help relax you before bed, try Vanilla Lavender Rooibos, a gentle blend of – you guessed it – real vanilla pieces, lavender flowers and organic rooibos tea.

Tealish Teas can be enjoyed for their flavour and health benefits!  Talk to your doctor before starting any new health plan.

Matcha Float

 

Matcha Float 2

March 17 is just around the corner, and we’re already thinking green! Try our Matcha Float to celebrate the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day!

What You’ll Need:

1 ½ tablespoons Matcha Latte Mix
6 ounces hot water
1 16 ounce glass ice
2 tablespoons milk
3 scoops vanilla ice cream (or more to taste!)

Directions:

1. Blend the matcha with 2 ounces of the hot water, using a matcha whisk to smoothly incorporate the powder into the liquid.  If you don’t have a whisk, stir vigorously with a fork! Add the rest of the hot water and stir to mix.

2. Pour the matcha and water mixture over the ice.  Top with milk.

3. Spoon ice cream over the drink, stick in a straw and enjoy!

This cool and creamy drink is an alcohol-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth and join in this weekend’s festivities!  In case you do overindulge, though, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.  Our Hangover Helper will get you through Tuesday morning!

Matcha Float 1

Thank You!

We are thrilled to be selected as one of the top sites for herbal medicine in Canada by HerbGeek.com!

To see the other winners, go here.

herbgeek

Lavender Tea Biscuits

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What could go better with afternoon tea than a plate of hot tea biscuits, fresh from the oven? Lavender-infused tea biscuits, of course! These bite-sized scones are the perfect accompaniment to any tea party. Fancy cups, hats and gloves optional.

 Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon Tealish Tibetan Wild Lavendar tea
¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup milk or milk alternative

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, sugar and tea in bowl.
  1. Cut in butter or margarine. Mixture should look crumbly.
  1. Slowly add milk and combine. Knead gently and divide dough into two. Form each into a 4-inch flat disc. Slice disc diagonally to form six wedges.
  1. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned on tops of biscuits.

ABOUT TEALISH

Tealish is a modern tea boutique located in downtown Toronto, Canada. This blog is meant to be a peek in to what Tealish is up to as well as a source of information about loose leaf tea and all things tea related. We hope you enjoy these posts and we hope you enjoy our teas – check us out online at www.tealish.com

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