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Cindy Okereke

Tea History & Culture

23 Transporting Tea Quotes

April 7, 2016

Tea brings people together. It’s a nearly magical beverage that just soothes the soul. Much like love, people often have a hard time describing the magic of tea. For each tea drinker the ritual of tea drinking is unique. There is a bond between tea drinkers all around the world, no matter what decade they were born in, what background they come from, or what their personal beliefs may be. There’s something about the rich, bold beverage we brew that forms a union that injects a little extra something into our lives.

Here are some powerful tea quotes that instantly make you want to reach for your mug.

1. Tea is liquid wisdom. – Anonymous

2. You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. – C. S. Lewis

3. As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing. – Kristin Chenoweth

4. There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. – Henry James

5. Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual. – Thomas de Quincey

6. I would rather have a cup of tea than sex. – Boy George

7. There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea. – Gary Snyder

 

tea-chamomile

8. Where there’s tea, there’s hope. – Arthur Wing Pinero

9. Tea is nought but this: first you heat the water, then you make the tea. Then you drink it properly. That is all you need to know. – Sen Rikyu

10. There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

11. Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. – Catherine Douzel

12. If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. – Japanese Proverb

13. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes. – George Orwell

14. A cup of tea would restore my normality. – Douglas Adams

15. Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. – Mary Elizabeth Braddon

16. There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life. – Lin Yutang

17. In Chinese we say tea washes the spirit. It’s not something that just enters your stomach, it also enters your mind. – Patrick Cui

18. If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. – William E. Gladstone

19. Tea is wealth itself, because there is nothing that cannot be lost, no problem that will not disappear, no burden that will not float away, between the first sip and the last. – The Minister of Leaves, The Republic of Tea

20. If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. – Japanese proverb

21. When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over. – Audrey Hepburn

22. Tea and books – Mmmmmm, two of life’s exquisite pleasures that together bring near-bliss. – Christine Hanrahan

23. A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Share some of your favorite tea quotes with us in the comments! Everybody needs a little inspiration.

Tea Accessories

Get Crafty: Creative DIY Mugs

March 18, 2016

You’re sitting at home and it’s a Saturday afternoon. You’ve watched pretty much everything on Netflix. There’s nothing on TV. You just finished that book and you’re itching to do something productive. So you decide, let me make something. You’re not in the mood to whip up a feast or bake, so what are you going to do? Get crafty and make a unique new mug to enjoy your next cup of tea, of course!

I know what you’re thinking… That sounds like a lot of work. But if you take a moment to toggle over to Pinterest, you’ll be almost overwhelmed with the variety of DIY mugs that are both professional-looking and easy to make. Here are some of our favorites:

If you’re like me, you have just enough artist skill to get by. I don’t know how to paint or draw very well, but I definitely learned to color in the lines. This metallic gold woodgrain print mug can be yours in a few easy steps.

What you will need to complete this project: plain mug, stencil, permanent marker, rubbing alcohol, q-tips, an oven, and a steady hand (optional).

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 6.21.50 AM

DIY Woodgrain Stencil Mug | Photo Credit: Desiree of The36thAvenue.com

Next we have two simple and unique techniques to creating your mug masterpiece. In the first DIY option from TheCountryChicCottage.com, you get to drip paint on a mug and blow on it through a straw. Careful it may cause lightheadedness and giggles, but it’s definitely fun! The second from CuteDIYProjects.com can be done simply with nail polish and warm water.

What you’ll need to complete the design below: plain mug, 3 colors of multi-surface paint, a straw, a feather.

Marbled Mug | Photo credit Angie of TheCountryChicCottage.com

Marbled Mug | Photo credit Angie of TheCountryChicCottage.com

So maybe you love the marbled style, but you don’t have paint handy. Remember all that old nail polish you love, but never wear anymore? Use it to make yourself a brand new mug.

What you’ll need to complete the design below: plain mug, 2-3 colors of nail polish, and a bowl of warm water deep enough to immerse the whole mug.

Watercolor Marbled Mug | Photo credit: CuteDIYProjects.com

Watercolor Marbled Mug | Photo credit: CuteDIYProjects.com

Maybe watercolor prints and woodgrain isn’t your thing. But perhaps you’ve got great penmanship, a steady-hand, and you love the smell of fresh sharpie in the morning! You can make yourself a custom sharpie design; take a crack at some of these.

What you’ll need to complete the designs below: plain mug, oil paint Sharpie markers, and creative flair!

15-DIY-Sharpie-Mug-Projects-333x800

There are so many creative things to do with your mugs. And you’re only a few steps away from the satisfaction of a fresh cup of tea and knowing you’ve made a unique mug that can never be replicated the exact same way again. Share some of your favorite designs with us in the comments.

Tea Guides

Loose Tea vs. Bagged Tea: Which is Better?

March 8, 2016

Tea connoisseurs will argue avidly about the superiority of whole leaf (or loose leaf) tea to bagged tea. However, when it comes to choosing between loose tea and bagged tea, there are a few key factors to consider: flavor, convenience, health benefits, and price.

loose-leaf-tea

FLAVOR

Loose tea is left whole. This allows the leaves to absorb the water and allow it to move through it. This process creates more bold and dynamic flavor patterns. Each leaf expands to its fullest potential releasing more antioxidants, flavors, and aromas.

Bagged tea, however, is made most commonly from low grade tea dust and fannings. This gives bagged tea a one-dimensional flavor profile, and is the reason over-steeped tea bags often become quite bitter. The finely broken leaves used in bagged tea lose many of the essential oils and aromas during processing, which when steeped release more tannins. The reason for the diminished flavor profile is simple: the dust and fannings are what’s left after the whole tea leaves are processed. However, the strong bitter brew handles milk and sugar well.

CONVENIENCE

The misconception is that it’s “harder” to brew loose tea, but it’s about the same number of steps to brew a teabag and loose leaf tea. However, taking the tea with you can be a little cumbersome. Loose teas are often held in tin containers and you’ll have to bring the steeper with you. Some companies are now making whole leaf tea bags, which allow you to reach almost identical results to steeping loose tea.  [Check out directions for brewing here]

Bagged teas, on the other hand, are individually wrapped and easy to transport. They appeal to the on-the-go lifestyle, which has contributed to its success for hundreds of years.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Generally speaking all teas contain some level of antioxidants. It’s because of these antioxidants the following health benefits occur:

Tea contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants. These antioxidants help neutralize cell damaging free-radicals which in return has a positive impact on some chronic diseases including some types of cancer (skin, oral, lung, ovarian cancer, etc.) and cardiovascular disease.

Research studies show that the theanine found in tea is a distinctive amino acid that preps the immune system to help fight infection, bacteria and viruses. This theanine helps the immune system generate higher levels of interferon. Interferon is a protein our bodies produce and one of its main functions is to build up our immune system.

Libretea.com

The biggest difference between loose teas and bagged teas are the levels of flavonoids that diffuse. Meaning, with a whole leaf tea you get more bang for your buck.

TEA-DKN-bag-or-lose_2048X970

PRICE POINT

When comparing loose tea to bagged tea, the loose tea ends up being cheaper. Even premium loose varieties that retail for about $20 come out to about $0.10 per cup. This doesn’t include the fact that whole leaf tea, because of its more flavorful profile, can be brewed more than once and still make a nice tasting cup.

We’ve given you the pros and cons of each, but at the end of the day, the choice is yours, and its a matter of preference. Whether you’re choosing whole leaf or bagged tea, you’re doing your body good by drinking tea!

Let us know which you prefer, loose or bagged tea, and why in the comments below!

Tea Recipes

5 Matcha Smoothie Recipes to Start Your Day Right

January 19, 2016

These recipes are perfect for anyone on the go. We’re pulled in a million directions, and it’s hard to make time to have a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Or if you’re like me, you have to decide between the caffeine boost or eating something good for you–with these matcha green tea smoothies, you don’t have to!

Macha Green Tea Smoothie

 6923213271_5d9574e09a_b

Time: 3 minutes

Makes: 1-2 servings

You’ll need:

  • 1 Banana
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ¾ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc)
  • 1 tsp. matcha green tea powder

Preparation:

  • Put banana and ice cubes in an electric blender/mixer or Nutribullet.
  • Pour almond milk and add matcha green tea powder on top
  • Blend until all the ingredients are combined and smooth. Pour into a glass/glasses.

Source: Just One Cookbook

 The greenest smoothie

The Greenest Smoothie via Bon Appetit

The Greenest Smoothie via Bon Appetit

Time: 4-7 minutes

Makes: 2

You’ll need:

  • 1 banana, frozen, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple pieces
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, spinach, or kale leaves
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup (nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon matcha (green tea powder)
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

Preparation:

  • Purée banana, pineapple, parsley, almond milk, almond butter, flaxseed oil, agave, matcha, and ginger in a blender. Sweeten with more agave, if desired.

Source: Bon Appetit

matcha-source-long

Matcha vanilla smoothies

Vanilla Matcha Smoothie via Love and Lemons

Vanilla Matcha Smoothie via Love and Lemons

Time: 3-5 minutes

Makes: 3 small smoothies, as pictured (or 2 larger ones)

You’ll need:

  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 1 cup original Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • matcha powder – a few teaspoons to a few tablespoons depending on your matcha and your taste.
  • vanilla bean – a tiny scrape from about 1-inch of the pod
  • a few handfuls of ice
  • optional – honey, agave, or sweetener of choice

Preparation:

  • Blend everything together. Taste and adjust to your liking. Add some sweetener if you wish.

Note: the vanilla bean pod isn’t completely necessary, it was just a nice addition. If you don’t have one handy, just omit it rather than substitute with vanilla extract.

Source: Love & Lemons

Matcha mango smoothies 

Mango Matcha Smoothie

Mango Matcha Smoothie via Love and Lemons

Time: 5-7 minutes

Makes: 2 large or 3 small smoothies

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons Aiya Matcha Zen Cafe Blend (or 2 teaspoons Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • a few handfuls of ice
  • optional – 1 frozen banana

Preparation:

  • Blend all ingredients until smooth. For a creamier smoothie, add a frozen banana.

My notes: this one is personally one of my favorites! I’m not a big fan of bananas unless they’re in their original form. Something about the blended texture and the flavor itself tends to subtly take over with every sip. So the fact that I could achieve a smoothie consistency without having to use the banana sold me on this one!

Source: Love & Lemons

Super green smoothie bowl with macha and ginger

Matcha Smoothie Bowl

Matcha Smoothie Bowl via Epicurious

Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut-milk beverage or almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen mango cubes
  • 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha
  • for serving – unsweetened coconut flakes, granola, and/or raspberries

Preparation:

  • Soak oats and chia seeds in coconut milk in a small bowl at least 10 minutes and up to overnight.
  • Transfer to a blender and add avocado, ginger, mango, spinach, almond butter and matcha.
  • Puree until smooth, then divide among 2 bowls. Top with coconut, granola, and/or raspberries and serve.

Note: to shorten prep time in the morning, soak oats and chia seeds the night before. Assemble all other ingredients except the avocado in a resealable container or blender pitcher and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, combine soaked oats and chia, avocado, and refrigerated ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.

My notes: this one is awesome! If you’re not a morning person, I’d recommend saving it for the weekend when you have more time. Additionally, if you want a more portable option, gradually blend in the oats and chia concoction. It still tastes the same, just alters the thickness making it more drinkable.

Source: Super Green Smoothie Bowl | Epicurious April 2015

Hope you enjoy these recipes. Share what you think after you’ve tried them or let me know what some of your favorite recipes are.  

 

 

Types of Tea

The History of Tea

January 16, 2016

With every sip or sniff, you can pretty much taste the history of tea. Something about this earthy beverage makes you feel grounded within the world. Perhaps, it’s the laws of matter: all matter in the universe has existed since the beginning of time and tea feels just as old. I imagine early cavemen and women brewing their first pots of tea after recently discovering fire. Drinking the warm beverage during those cold prehistoric nights.

Fine, you got me, tea isn’t that old, but it’s pretty ancient! Follow me as we journey around the world, because nothing has traveled around the world like tea.

China

chinese tea setting

The Emperor of China, Shen Neng, first discovered tea around 2737 B.C. while seeking to find remedies for his ailments. For several hundred years people drank this brew for its medicinal properties. Tea then moved into religious spaces, being used as an offering. During the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.), tea plants were scarce and only royalty and upper class people drank it. Around this time, people began to drink tea for taste and not just their health. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), more tea plants were discovered and tea drinking spread to the lower classes. The government took steps to support the planting of tea plants and the building of tea stores to ensure that everyone could enjoy the beverage. Also during the Tang Dynasty, tea spread to Japan by the Japanese priests who were studying in China at the time.

Japan

Japanese tea ceremonyIn Japan, tea is often associated with Zen Buddhism because the priests drank tea to stay alert and meditate. In keeping with ceremonial tradition, Buddhists developed the Japanese Tea Ceremony for sharing tea in a sacred and spiritual manner. Much like the Chinese emperors, the Japanese Emperor Shomu loved tea so much, he took steps to make sure tea became accessible to everyone.

In the 1500s, Sen No Rikkyu incorporated the ideas of simplicity and that each meeting should be special and unique into the tea ceremonies.  The traditional Japanese tea ceremony became more than just drinking tea; it became a spiritual experience that embodies harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

England

Tea first arrived in England in the mid 17th century, and the London coffee houses were responsible for introducing the beverage to England. One of the first coffee house merchants to offer tea was Thomas Garway, who owned an establishment in Exchange Alley. He sold both liquid and dry tea to the public as early as 1657. A few years later, Garway created two advertisements about the virtues of tea: “making the body active and lusty” and “preserving perfect health until extreme old age.”

The refreshment quickly became popular in the coffee houses, and by 1700 more than 500 coffee houses sold it. However, the tavern owners and government weren’t too happy about it. The new beverage cut into their liquor sales and thus the tax revenue the government received. By 1750 tea had become the favored drink of Britain’s lower classes.

Much like the Japanese and Chinese, tea became part of a ritual. Even today, there are still certain Tea Etiquette followed when serving traditional afternoon tea and high tea. Having afternoon tea began by royal Britain’s Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. Even though it was typical to eat only breakfast and dinner in Britain, the Duchess started drinking tea and eating light refreshments when she started to feel hungry in the afternoons. She began inviting friends to join her and soon the afternoon tea tradition was born. Afternoon tea (or low tea) is usually served between 3 and 5 p.m. and is very different from high tea, during which a more hearty meal was eaten at the end of a workday. This usually happened around 5:30 or 6 p.m. for the working classes.

America

coffee-cup-espresso-colorful

Like England, tea first came to North America in the 17th century through what was then the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York). When it was acquired by the British many of the tea drinking customs common in England were passed on. As tea drinking spread, special water pumps were installed in natural springs.  With water now readily available for making tea, places called “Tea Gardens” became popular at these tea springs. To symbolized wealth and elite social status, cities like Boston and Philadelphia adopted the English style of tea drinking and their use of fancy silver and porcelain tea products.

Tea trade between the colonies and England were centered in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Tea was heavily taxed due to the East India Company’s monopoly on tea imports. Colonists would often try to smuggle tea in. With more taxes being imposed, including, the Act of Parliament in 1767, American ports began refusing shipments of dutiable goods, including teas, causing ships to turn around with their cargo in some cases.  The Tea Act of 1773, which was intended to boost profits for the East India Company by bypassing local tea merchants and selling tea directly to the colonists, was the final straw that triggered The Boston Tea Party.

On Dec. 16, 1773, a group of protesters disguised as Mohawk Indians, along with the Sons of Liberty got the idea to dump the tea into Boston Harbor. The protestors and a large crowd of Bostonians, boarded the British East India Company ships, the Eleanor, Dartmouth and Beaver.  In  three hours, they dumped 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. This event lead to the American Revolution.

Two major breakthrough’s in tea happened in the early 1900s. First, by Richard Blechynden, who in 1904, at America’s first World’s Fair, had the idea to serve his brewed tea on ice since drinking hot tea during a summer heat wave is essentially a recipe for a heat stroke. The second was by Thomas Sullivan of New York, who in 1908 is credited for inventing the tea bag. This tea merchant packaged loose teas in hand-sewn silk muslin bags to be shipped around the world. But one day while hile delivering the bags of tea to local restaurants, he noticed they were brewing the tea while still in the bags. This sparked his idea to market the bags as a new, convenient and less messy way of preparing tea.

Craft: The Different Types of Tea

water-flowers-drink-pot

Early teas were processed into cakes, similar to the modern pu-erh teas. They were dried, steamed or processed in some way. During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 A.D.), some teas were ground and whipped into a frothy beverage like our current day matcha.  Thankfully, not long after this the Chinese began experimenting with loose-leaf teas.

It wasn’t until the 12th century when tea was divided based on the types of processing used to make them. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), foreign trade was increasing, so tea merchants needed a beverage that would last longer. The Chinese discovered fermenting and began crafting oolong and black teas that would store longer. At this point they also started experimenting with scenting and flavoring the teas in order to make the essence last.

The crafting of different types of teas continued to change over time. We now divide tea into four types: white teas, green tea, oolong teas (semi-fermented), and black teas (fermented). And there are subdivisions of these, such as pu-erh teas, which are double-fermented.

From its origins in China to its world notoriety, tea really has been through it all. It has  seen war and peace — which is truly something to drink to.

Tell us your favorite go to teas to sip on.

Tea Health Benefits

9 Celebrities Totally Obsessed with Tea

January 7, 2016

Tea has infiltrated all cultures around the world, and it’s no surprise with its elite class origins that celebrities too have become obsessed with the beverage. From the beneficial antioxidants to the delicious flavors, these celebrities can’t get enough! And to be honest, neither can we!

1. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga at The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage via Huffington Post

Lady Gaga at The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage via Huffington Post

Always the trendsetter and icon, Lady Gaga loves tea so much she brings a china tea cup with her everywhere. She was once quoted as saying that tea just tastes better from fine china. Another fun fact, Lady Gaga credits Kusmi Detox Tea as the solution she used to help her quit smoking.

2. President Barack Obama

President Obama via WhiteHouse.gov

President Obama via WhiteHouse.gov

The Commander and Chief ditches the coffee and starts his day off with a cup of tea. His favorites are berry flavored. I guess the flavonoids and comforting aroma of the beverages works to de-stress and put him in the best mindset. You’ll sometimes notice in interviews or meetings a mug next to Mr. President, and pretty much always filled with tea!

3. Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera via Billboard.com

Christina Aguilera via Billboard.com

You can find the pop diva drinking green tea mostly as a way to soothe her throat. A voice that big needs to be taken care of so she opts for antioxidant rich and light tasting green tea blends.

4. Jennifer Lopez

2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

This ageless beauty drinks antioxidant packed green tea, which also helps with digestion. If green tea can help us age flawlessly like J.Lo, it’s definitely worth adding to our self-care routine.

5. Madonna

Madonna via Fox News Outlet

Madonna via Fox News Outlet

The Detroit-native gone total Brit expat is obviously a tea lover!

6. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift via The Guardian

Taylor Swift via The Guardian

No Bad Blood here if you bring T-Swift a freshly brewed green tea. Soothes the throat and makes her skin glow, and doubles as a totally awesome peace offering.

7. Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep via the Daily Beast

Meryl Streep via the Daily Beast

Wonder if when shouting at Andy in The Devil Wears Prada to make those coffee runs, Miranda, aka: Meryl Streep, really wanted those cups to be filled with green tea. The totally mesmerizing Streep is known to relax and unwind with a cup of tea, that is when she is not winning an Oscar.

8. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs via Business Insider

Steve Jobs via Business Insider

This late tech genius loved to use tea as his stress reducer and caffeine fix. There’s an excerpt from his book Becoming Steve Jobs, where the author notes:
“As we talked, he drank steaming hot water from a pint beer glass. [Steve Jobs] explained that when he ran out of tea one day, it dawned on him that he liked plain old hot water, too. “It’s soothing in the very same way,” he said.”
If that’s not a tea lover, I don’t know who is!

9. Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner via Instagram

Kendall Jenner via Instagram

The model is often found snacking on apples and drinking tea to keep her energy up as well as boost her metabolism.
Tea has proven over the years to be a powerful wellness aide. A fresh brewed pot can curb appetite, aide digestion and even make your skin glow. It’s no wonder celebrities swear by it and guzzle it by the gallon.
Who else have you spotted sipping on some tea? Share with us!
Tea Health Benefits

6 Ways to Use Tea that Doesn’t Involve Drinking It

December 29, 2015
There are many benefits to drinking tea, but did you know you can get some of those same benefits by using it in a different way? Below are a few creative ways to repurpose those tea leaves and tea bags you’ve already steeped. It’s both sustainable and easy to incorporate into your everyday life.

1. Hydrating face mask

You’ll need:
  • 2 tbsp green tea leaves
  • 1 tbsp mashed banana
  • 1 tsp plain yogurt
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:

  • Mix 1 cup of water in a pan and 2 tbsp of green tea leaves.
  • Boil it in the low flame for few minutes.
  • Allow it few minutes to cool and then strain the tea.
  • Add 1 tbsp of banana and 1 tsp of plain yogurt to the green tea.
  • Mix the ingredients well to make a smooth paste.
  • Apply the paste to your face and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Wash off with cool water.
  • Repeat this method twice or thrice in a week.
  • Follow this remedy till you get relief from this acne issue.
Note: You can replace banana with peach or papaya.

2. Acne fighting mask

Green tea has antibacterial properties and honey does as well. This combination plus the rice will help reduce oils and bacteria on the skin, which will reduce acne.

You’ll beed:
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 tbsp or 1 green tea bag
  • 3-4 drops of lemon juice (optional)

Instructions:

  • Take ½ cup of boiling water and boil the green tea powder in it.
  • Add 1 tbsp of honey to the mixture.
  • Add 2 tbsp of rice flour to make a thick paste.
  • Increase the content of honey or rice flour to make the paste thick enough to apply on your face.
  • Mix the paste well to avoid lumps.
  • Apply it on your face with your fingertips.
  • Keep it on for 20 minutes.
  • Remove it using warm water.
  • Apply it twice a week to quickly reduce the spread of acne and remove the scars.

3. DIY fabric dyeing

Dyed Tea Swatches via Lost In Paris

Dyed Tea Swatches via Lost In Paris

You’ll need:
  • 100 tea bags
  • 4 tbsp salt or vinegar (optional and to your discretion)
  • A pot large enough for the fabric to move freely
  • Large spoon or thongs to stir
  • Approximately 1 yard of fabric per 4 cups concentrated tea (natural fibers work best: cotton, wool, silk)

Instructions:

  • Wash the fabric first to remove any manufacturer’s chemicals which may interfere with the dyeing process. (I recommend experimenting with small swatches first.)
  • Fill pot with water.
  • Simmer tea bags with salt (or vinegar) for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Remove tea bags from the pot (leaving them in results in splotches where the bags make contact with the fabric.)
  • Add fabric to the pot. The fabric must be damp first, to eliminate air pockets.
  • Soak fabric for up to one hour, depending on the desired shade. Stir every few minutes so the fabric takes the colour evenly.
  • Rinse in cold water.
Note You can also do this with Easter Eggs!

4. Green tea ice cream with earl grey dark chocolate fudge sauce

green tea ice cream

Traditional Japanese Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

You’ll need: 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
 
Instructions:
  • Put the cream, milk, sugar, matcha powder, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk ingredients until combined. Try and whisk the majority of lumps away, but don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth. The next step should help eliminate most of the lumps.
  • Heat the mixture on medium-high heat until it comes to a full boil. Keep whisking until it starts to foam. At this point, your mixture should be pretty lump free — the heat will have eliminated most of the lumps. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool down. Cover, then refrigerate the mixture in the coldest part of your fridge for at least four hours, or, ideally, overnight.
  • When the mixture has chilled, remove cover and give the mixture a whisk to bring it together. Churn for 20 – 25 minutes in an ice cream maker, or, according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Serve freshly spun — it will have an incredibly creamy texture (almost that of soft serve) at this point. For a more traditional ice cream texture, transfer to an airtight container and freeze overnight.

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate earl grey fudge sauce

You’ll need

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 garl grey tea bag
  • 1 ounce 72% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2  tbsp unsweetened, dutched cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan or in a tea cup in the microwave. Remove from heat, add the tea, and let steep for 4 minutes or longer (depending on how much you want your fudge sauce to taste like tea).
  • Wring and remove the tea bag and pour the tea into a medium bowl. Add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt.
  • Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat. The moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. Let sit for 1 full minute.
  • Slowly begin to whisk the mixture. Then continue, increasing the vigor of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and silky-smooth. This will take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. You can use the sauce at this point, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Do not freeze.

Source

5. Eye depuffer

Brew two bags of tea, wring them out then simply apply a tea bag on each eye. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. It really does soothe tired eyes, and it’s easy enough to incorporate with a face mask to achieve total spa level relaxation.

6. Bug bite relief

Repeat #5 above, rather place tea bag on bug wounds. Green tea bags make a great itch reliever.

Tea never disappoints. For something so old, we’re constantly finding new ways to use it.

What are some other ways you’ve discovered to creatively use tea?

Tea Gifts

7 Fabulous Gifts Under $20 for the Tea Lover in Your Life

December 1, 2015

Shopping for holiday gifts can be stressful, especially if you’re on a budget. But not to fear, by remaining thoughtful and mindful of the recipient, you’ll be sure to find a gift they enjoy!

Fun and festive tea Infusers

These are a nice and easy gift. Tea infusers are a budget conscious solution for gifting the tea lover in your life. They’re cute and fun, and come in so many varieties you’re bound to find one perfect for!

deep tea diver infuser

Deep Tea Diver Tea Infuser via Amazon (buy)

A Cute Mug

You can never really go wrong with a cute mug. Or one that’s got a clever saying.

tea mug etsy

via Etsy (buy)

treat yo self mug

via Etsy (buy)

Wine Infused Tea

You heard right, WINE INFUSED TEA! Vintage Tea Works gives you a unique and delicious blend of two boldly rich beverages that will surely please any wine and/or tea lover’s palette.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 9.47.00 PM

Assorted Flavors via Vintage Tea Works (buy)

A “Tea” Table Book

This book by Hattie Ellis talks about the different varieties of tea—from Darjeelings to Assams. Ellis includes best practices for brewing and walks you through different tastes, and even includes recipes! Tea is sure to be a hit with your tea lover this season.

tea the book

Tea by Hattie Ellis

Literary Candles

This one is perfect for the tea lover that’s also a book lover. Gift them ultimate relaxation: a book inspired candle they can curl up with. Cup of tea not included!

Literary Candle via Uncommon Goods

Literary Candle via Uncommon Goods (buy)

Tea Bag Squeezer

A practical but under utilized gift, the tea bag squeezer saves those fingers from ever being scaled by a hot tea bag again.

Tea Squeezer via Gevalia

Tea Squeezer via Gevalia (buy)

A Cool Teapot

This cast-iron pot is thoughtful gift and can add a little rustic feel to your next tea party.

Dutch Teapot

Dutch Cast Iron Teapot via Amazon (buy)

Tea Guides

How to Store Tea at Home

November 15, 2015

So you’ve fallen in love with the magical world of tea, and now you’ve got more varieties than you can count? Have no fear!  We’ve found a few ways to store tea that help keep you calm, cool and collected, just the way tea connoisseurs intended.

First let’s go over the rules for tea storing:

  1. Tea should be kept oxygen free.
  2. Tea must be kept free from heat.
  3. Tea must be kept away from light.
  4. Tea must be kept away from strong odors.
  5. Tea must be kept moisture free.
  6. Tea is best when stored in bulk.

Keeping these in mind. Below are a few fun ways to store your teas.

Use dividers to organize a drawer, or maybe repurpose an old photo storage box to file away your teas. If you want to invest a little more on the decor side, a tea storage box with compartments, is a lovely addition to any kitchen.

Tea Storage Boxes

Tea Bag Organizer / Tea Bag Storage / Wood Tea Box

Tea Bag Organizer / Tea Bag Storage / Wood Tea Box (Etsy.com)

unfinished 6 compartments wooden display box

unfinished 6 compartments wooden display box (Etsy.com)

Handmade wooden boxes make for great kitchen accents. Check out some other Tea Storage Boxes.

 

Modular Flip Out Bins with customizable labels.

Modular Flip Out Bins with customizable labels. (ContainerStore.com)

Mason Jars

Mason Jars with Locking Lids

Mason Jars with Locking Lids

Mason jars with locking lids are an easy way to store teas in pouches or teas that aren’t individually wrapped and sealed.

These small mason jars easily double as loose leave tea storage. (uncommondesignsonline.com)

These small mason jars easily double as loose leave tea storage. (uncommondesignsonline.com)

Gold Bird Washi Tea Tin from Teavana.

Gold Bird Washi Tea Tin from Teavana.

Small mason jars are perfect for loose leave teas. You can pack as many dry leaves tightly within them. Keep in mind the rules of tea storage, you don’t want your tea to aerate, small jars allow you to use your teas without worrying of early degradation. If mason jars aren’t your aesthetic, you also have the option of storing your loose leaf teas in decorative metal tea tins, but don’t forget to label them!

I know you guys can come up with more creative ways to store tea. Why don’t you tell us about them below?

Types of Tea

Best Pumpkin Spice Everything Teas for the Fall

November 2, 2015

Labor Day is a distant memory when the air begins to cool. Maybe, you plan to go apple picking, bake pies or just take a nice hayride on a sunny afternoon, but for me, when fall hits: It’s defiantly pumpkin time! We’ve found some pumpkin flavored teas you’ll surely enjoy sipping on while warming up on in the brisk months of fall.

1. Republic of Tea: Pumpkin Spice Black Tea

Republic of Tea: Pumpkin Spice

Republic of Tea: Pumpkin Spice

This tea is a balanced blend of black tea, cinnamon, natural ginger and pumpkin flavors, sweet blackberry leaves, nutmeg, cloves. At about $12 a tin, this milder tasting pumpkin spice beverage is great to unwind with.

2. Teavana: Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea

Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea loose leaf tea.

Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea loose leaf tea.

This Teavana blend is richly sweet. It has creamy white and dark chocolate with sweet pumpkin and toffee flavors with an undertone of sweet spice and mocha. Only downside, is this tea doesn’t have as much caffeine as the rest at 15mg per cup.

3. Bigelow: Pumpkin Spice

Hearty Pumpkin Spiced Tea

Hearty Pumpkin Spiced Tea

Bigelow mixes black tea, natural pumpkin flavors, cinnamon, licorice root, clove, and ginger in this delicious caffeinated beverage.

4. Tazo: Pumpkin Spice Chai

Tazo Pumpkin Spice

Tazo Pumpkin Spice

This Tazo brew gives you a nice morning (or afternoon) boost. Blended with black tea, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin, it’s bound to be the chai tea you love with a pumpkin twist. It’s quite flavorful and makes for a phenomenal latte.

5. Stash: Pumpkin Spice Black Tea

Pumpkin Spice Decaf Black Tea

Pumpkin Spice Decaf Black Tea

Like some of the others this, Stash, brew is made with black tea and natural pumpkin spice flavor with hints of cinnamon, ginger, and clove. But, if you’re looking for a great taste without the caffeine this is the perfect option!

Pumpkin spice is all about the balance of flavors. Each of these unique teas are made to cater to different palates. Try them all, and tell us your favorite!