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A Guide to Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea

Darjeeling tea is often quoted as the “queen of teas” and for good reason. It’s grown on the high hills of the Himalayas and when prepared the tea takes a shimmery gold color with a delicate taste.

About Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea belongs to the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. You can find it in varieties of black, green, white and oolong. After proper brewing, the tea it takes a light color infused with a floral aroma. The flavor of the tea is often described as musky and spicy with an aftertaste of astringent tannin.

darjeeling tea
Photo credit: Partha Sarathi Sahana

Darjeeling tea is unlike other Indian teas because it is commonly made from the small-leaved Chinese variety of Camellia Sinensis, while many other Indian teas are made from the large-leaved Assam variety. Darjeeling tea is mostly found in black, but the oolong and green variety are becoming increasingly popular. Green and oolong Darjeeling teas are now commonly produced and much easier to find. An increasing number of estates are also producing white Darjeeling tea as well.

History and Origin

Tea planting started in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district in 1841 and Arthur Campbell initiated it. Campbell was a civil surgeon of the Indian Medical Service and he was transferred from Kathmandu, in Nepal, to the Darjeeling district in 1839. Two years later, in 1841, he brought the seeds of the small-leaved Chinese plant, Camellia Sinensis, from Kumaun. He started to experiment with the seeds for the purposes of tea planting in Darjeeling. During the same period, specifically around 1847, the British government also established tea nurseries. Then in the 1850s, the tea was being developed commercially. Finally, in 1856, the Kurseong and Darjeeling Tea company opened the Alubari tea garden, and soon enough others followed it.

Taste and Terrior

Apart from being known as the “queen of teas,” Darjeeling tea is also referred to as the “champagne of teas” for its unique taste. The taste of Darjeeling tea is often compared with Muscat wine. Some find that it has a very tangy flavor of citrus with a tinge of musk and sweet notes, which makes the flavor of this tea truly unique. Most varieties of the Darjeeling tea are faintly astringent in taste and few have a sweet floral flavor.

The flavor of the Darjeeling tea is uniquely distinct to their terrior, much like Champagne grapes. It is so attuned with its terrior that it has successfully achieved a geographical indication status, and hence the tea is named after the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The name protects all teas that are produced within the same region. The tea is produced in very small quantities, which is very similar to the characteristics of the Muscat grapes, including the early harvests and flushes.

Harvest of Darjeeling Tea

Typically, Darjeeling is marked as a variety of black tea, although the modern Darjeeling style uses a hard wither. About 35 to 40% weight of the leaf remains after withering, which means the tea is not completely oxidized. For that reason, the tea can also be categorized as an oolong tea. Some Darjeeling teas are also found to be blends of various teas oxidized to levels of green, oolong, white and black.

Like many other teas, the different growing seasons of the Darjeeling tea is marked under various categories called “flushes,” which includes the first flush, in between flush period, the second flush, monsoon flush and autumnal flush.

  • First Flush

When the tea is harvested in the first flush, which happens around mid-March, just after the end of winter during spring rains, it has a gentle aroma and very light color with a mild astringent flavor. The taste and color of the first flush is comparable to oolong teas and considered very fresh and brisk.

  • Second Flush

Sometimes Darjeeling tea is harvested in between flushes as well, especially if the winter ended early. The second flush is then harvested around June and it has a strong muscatel flavor that leaves a vivid amber color. The Muscat taste can be distinctly experienced and when brewed the tea takes the color of a dark golden liquor. At this point, you can also faintly taste fruity flavors, such as currant or peach.

  • Monsoon Flush

After the second flush, the tea is then harvested during the monsoon season when it rains. The harvest occurs right between the second flush and the beginning of autumn. The monsoon harvest is less withered, which means it is more oxidized. This tea is sold at a much cheaper rate and is rarely exported. Darjeeling tea from the monsoon season is often used for making masala chai. Out of all the harvests, the monsoon harvest is the least desired because most people find that the taste is somewhat muddy.

  • Autumnal Flush 

At the end of the rainy season, the tea is harvested for the final time, which is called the autumnal flush. The tea from the final harvest is much less delicate in flavor and also much less spicy, though the color is much darker, almost like a deep copper. The most desired flushes for the Darjeeling tea is obviously the first and second, but the final harvest is often used to create Darjeeling tea blends. The blending allows for better flavor profiles that make it more desirable.

Darjeeling Tea Varieties

While the Darjeeling tea is often offered in black only, there are many different varieties available for the real connoisseurs.

Darjeeling Black Tea

The black version of the Darjeeling tea is the most commonly available tea that has been produced by almost all of the Darjeeling gardens. The black tea goes through all the stages of processing, including withering, machine drying, rolling, fermenting and sorting.

Unlike other varieties of the Darjeeling tea, the black version is fully oxidized. It has completely dried and then carefully split so that it can absorb more oxygen. Soon enough the leaves turn into a dark color and develop a fruity, nutty, flowery and spicy flavor.

Darjeeling White Tea

Out of all the varieties, the white tea is the most delicate of the Darjeeling teas. It is also often the most expensive. The leaves are handpicked, dried in the sun and then rolled. There are no additional steps in the process for producing white tea, which allows it to remain in its organic form and is able to retain all minerals and natural characteristics.

The white version of the Darjeeling tea has a more delicate aroma than the black and it brews to a light golden color. The flavor of the white tea is very mellow with a tinge of sweetness.

Darjeeling Oolong Tea

The oolong version of the Darjeeling tea is very similar to the traditional Chinese tea and you can place it right between the Darjeeling black tea and Darjeeling green tea. The oolong variety was first introduced in the 1800s when the original Darjeeling tea was being cultivated in the district of Darjeeling in West Bengal.

Some tea gardens have reserved the old China bushes, called Chesima, and continue to produce the oolong variety. The leaves are withered hard and oxidized about 50%. There are different grades of the oolong tea available, depending on how much oxidation is done. Much like green tea, the leaves are steamed to stop further oxidation. The first flush of the oolong tea is not very popular but the second flush is high in demand because of its dark orange color with a strong muscatel flavor and fruity aroma.

Darjeeling Green Tea

Green tea is increasingly becoming very popular due to its health benefits. Much like other green teas, the Darjeeling green tea also has strong antioxidants. It is an excellent remedy for heart related problems and for controlling LDL cholesterol levels.

The green variety of the Darjeeling tea is withered and steamed but not fermented. The process of producing the green version of the tea helps it retain its many natural beneficial properties. When brewed, the tea takes the color of a light green. Be careful — Darjeeling green tea can become quite bitter if over-steeped.

 

Darjeeling iamge 2

How to Prepare Darjeeling Tea

Personally, I prefer Darjeeling tea prepared gongfu style with a gaiwan. All varieties of the Darjeeling tea, including black, white, green and oolong, are typically consumed without the addition of sugar and milk. Adding milk and sugar robs you of the opportunity to fully appreciate the rich and aromatic flavors of the Darjeeling tea. Below is a short guide of how to prepare Darjeeling tea.

Water

The type of water you use can greatly affect the taste of the tea. For best results, you should use natural spring water or non-carbonated bottled water if the tap water is hard. You can also use a filter to avoid using hard tap water.

Steeping

In addition to gongfu style…Darjeeling tea is typically prepared by placing the tea leaves in the tea pot and pouring hot water on top. Then, you leave it for the desired amount of infusion before filtering it in a cup. If you are using an infuser, then try to avoid using metallic infusion balls because they cause the tea leaves to expand. When the leaves expand, it blocks the holes in the infuser, which could affect the infusion process.

Time

The amount of time that the different varieties of Darjeeling tea should be steeped depends on the tea type, tea flush and tea quantity. Making tea to perfection can only happen with a lot of trial and error until you land your personal preference.

Pouring

Before you pour your steeped tea into a teapot for serving, it is best to heat the teapot with boiling water. A pre-heated teapot will keep your tea hot for a longer period. Pouring it into a cold teapot will immediately bring down the temperature of the steeped tea. All you need to do is fill the teapot with boiling water and then empty it after a few minutes. Then pour your steeped tea for serving.

Brewing

Take one teaspoon of your desired Darjeeling tea and add it to the teapot to make one cup of tea. In a separate pan, heat 1 cup of water up to 175 degrees fahrenheit. If the water has come to a boil then let it cool down for a bit. Pouring boiling water over tea leaves can spoil its flavor and nutritional value. Then add the water to the teapot and let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes without covering it. Lastly, strain the tea through a tea strainer and serve it. Remember to not add milk and sugar if you wish to enjoy the rich taste and aroma of Darjeeling tea.

Health Benefits

Regular consumption of Darjeeling tea can help you reap its many benefits. For starters, it is excellent for killing bacteria that are sitting on your teeth, which means you are less likely to suffer from tooth decay. Darjeeling tea is also can excellent remedy for gastric problems. It has been proven effective against stomach ulcers and gastric cancer. The properties of the tea are known to slow down the production of bacteria, called helicobacter pylori, that causes stomach ulcers.

Conclusion

If you enjoy tea, then the many varieties of Darjeeling tea will surely delight. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this wonderful tea from the West Bengal of India.

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Gift Ideas for Tea Lovers

Matcha Source Iced Matcha Tea Set with Martini Shaker

There has been a recent boom in the tea industry as people are becoming aware of the many beneficial properties of good quality loose leaf teas. It has significantly stirred the consumer goods market and now you can find anything from tea accessories to unique services such as tea subscriptions. So, if you are looking for gift ideas for tea lovers, here are some of our favorites to consider (click the photos, or links, to learn more).

1. Tea Forté Loose Leaf Tea Chest

People who are devoted to tea, or even new to tea, can enjoy the great tastes of Tea Forte loose leaf tea. The Tea Forte Single Steeps loose leaf tea chest is super easy to use, and the pouches of the teas are already portioned for a single serving. It has never been easier or more convenient to make your perfect cup of loose-leaf tea.

The set is equipped with a tasting menu that highlights the different types of black, green, white and herbal teas. There is no compromise on the quality of these teas, and the collection is diverse.  Tea Forte works directly with the growers of these teas, which shows their dedication and determination to provide only the best.

The Tea Chest contains 20 packets of tea of the following blends: African Solstice, Apricot Ameretto, Blood Orange, Bluberry Merlot, Bombay Chai, Caramel Nougat, Chamomile Citron, Cherry Marzipan, Coconut Chocolate Truffle, Coconut Mango Colada, Cucumber Mint, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ginger Lemongrass, Green Mango Peach, Honey Yuzu, Jasmine Green, Lychee Coconut, Mojito Marmalade, Peach Brûlée, Peach Rhubarb Preserve, Sencha, Swiss Apple, Tangerine Rosemary, Tupelo Honey Fig, White Ginger Pear, White Cinnamon Sage, Wild Apple Ginger.

2. UEndure Tea Infuser Travel Mug, Glass Tumbler with Loose Leaf tea Strainer

 

This premium product takes luxurious tea drinking to another level. This mug not only allows you to enjoy tea on the go but also is made from natural and eco-friendly materials. The UEndure Tea Infuser is made of a high quality borosilicate quartz compound. To maintain the temperature of your beverage, the bottle is insulated with double walled glass. However, do not worry about the bottle being too big because this unique design fits snugly in your hand.

Not only is this bottle eco-friendly, but it also makes cleaning super easy with its two metal lids located on either end of the bottle. It gives the bottle a modern feel and of course, it will dry in less than a few seconds. The bottle is also equipped with a stainless steel tea infuser that can be found on the bottom of the bottle. You can choose to leave the tea in if you prefer the strong taste, or remove it if you do not like your tea over-steeped. The last thing that impresses us about the UEndure tea Infuser Travel Mug is it’s packaging. The product’s packaging is of such high quality that you may mistake it for a quality scotch or bourbon. 😉

To use the bottle, simply remove the bottom lid and push the stainless steel tea infuser in place until it snaps. You can fill the infuser with whatever loose tea you life. Then place the bottom lid back on the bottle and remove the top lid. Fill the bottle with hot water and close the lid. Then let your tea steep to perfection.

3. Fred & Friends Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser


This Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser by Fred & Friends makes for a super fun gift. If you know someone who enjoys novelty items and loves tea, then you do not need to look any further for a perfect gift idea. This fun tea infuser allows you to brew your slowly. So take a break from your frantic life and enjoy a delicious cup of your favorite loose tea blend. The sloth infuser is resistant against heat and the silicon is BPA- and phthalate- free. The infuser is designed as such that the sloth hangs from the rim of your cup and slowly infuses with the hot water.

4. Matcha Tea Ceremony Connoisseur Set

This product makes an excellent gift for tea aficionados. This Matcha Tea Ceremony Connoisseur Set comes with 25g of Imperial Ceremony Grade Matcha, a high quality Matcha Bowl that is made in Japan, a bamboo whisk, a bamboo scoop, a ceramic whisk holder, a sifter and a bamboo-serving tray. It does not matter if you are new to Matcha or already a connoisseur, this gift set is perfect for everyone. It has all the tools you need to whip up a delicious cup of Matcha tea and the best part is you can do it at the comfort of your home.

All the products in the set are handmade in Japan and they represent the perfect size and style of a traditional set. The bamboo used for the products is sustainably grown and it makes the cleaning part easy.

5. Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle

Cuisinart’s Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle is perfect for making tea in shortest span of time possible. The kettle is equipped with 1500 watts of power that allows it to heat quickly. It can hold up to 1½ liters of water, which starts to boil within a few minutes. The user can choose to set the kettle for various temperatures, which makes it perfect for steeping different varieties of tea.

The electric kettle is easy to use. Temperature setting is done with simple one-touch controls. The recommended temperatures are avaialable at the push of a button for; delicate teas, green tea, white tea, oolong, French press coffee and the “boil” option for black tea, instant cocoa, oatmeal, noodles and much more.

There are LED indicators on the control panel of the Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle. There is a start button and keep warm button. The keep warm button will keep your beverage hot for 30 minutes. The base of the kettle can turn 360 degrees for your extra convenience. This allows you to pour your hot beverage into your cup without having to struggle with a power cord. The kettle also has a memory function that means when you remove your kettle from the base, the kettle does not shut down or lose its spot in the heating process.

Apart from the above features, the kettle also has a handle that stays cool to the touch and allows for a strong grip. The kettle also has an open button for lifting the lid to pour in water for heating. For your convenience, the kettle has measurement marks on a blue backlit water window that makes it easy to know how many cups of water are in the kettle. The kettle is also equipped with a concealed heating element that keeps mineral buildup to a minimum. The spout of the kettle is designed as such that it creates no drips when pouring. In addition, to keep things safe the kettle shuts off on its own if there is no water in the kettle.

If you are interested in learning more about electric tea kettles, check out our detailed guide.

6. Book – Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties

This book makes an excellent gift for someone who loves tea and wants to learn more about it. Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties is a complete guide to all varieties of tea. With tea being the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water, it only makes sense to learn more about it and the different beneficial properties that can be taken advantage of.

The book is full of colored photographs and authoritative texts that literally take the reader to another place, a place full of the finest growing-tea in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam and East Africa. Featured are the various regions where the terroir gives tea its unique characteristics.

Numerous varieties of tea, including black, green, white, yellow, oolong, pu’er, perfumed, aromatic and smoked are covered in the book. It starts by giving an overview of the history of tea, followed by tea varieties, places where tea is sourced form, how it’s processed and cultivated, and the art of making, serving and tasting tea, along with tea ceremonies. There is also a great collection of tea recipes provided by gourmet chefs.

Apart from amazing pictures, the book also has detailed charts, tables and graphs that show the contents of each tea, such as caffeine, antioxidants and other biochemical properties. People who are enthusiastic about teas actually participate in organized tours for places were tea is grown. There are also plenty of tasting seminars held and you can even earn professional certificates. If you know someone who enjoys tea, then this book makes an excellent gift.

You can also read our review of this book HERE.

7. Teavana Perfectea Maker

The Perfectea Maker by Teavana provides an efficient, easy and clean way to make loose leaf tea. All you need to do is add water with the correct temperature along with your desired tea. Then place the Perfectea maker on top of your favorite cup. The product has a patented drain mechanism that strains your tea into the cup. The leaves stay behind in a strainer in the tea maker. The Perfectea Maker comprises of four pieces that are assembled together for the purposes of steeping tea. These pieces can be dissembled for easy cleaning and then reassembled again for next time.

The product is perfect for straining loose-leaf tea. The product is sturdy and the plastic it is made of is BPA free. The tea maker requires a cup of 3.5 inches in diameter and can brew about 16 ounces of tea. It is also equipped with a drip tray and the entire ensemble is dishwasher safe, though it is recommended to wash it by hand. The product is not safe to be used in the microwave.

8. “Art of Tea” Subscription Service

Art of Tea Monthly Subscription

The Art of Tea subscription service is great and unique gift for those who wish to get regular deliveries of their favorite teas. The Art of Tea offers a monthly, semi-annual and annual subscription for the most favored blends. You will have your teas right on your doorstep and you can choose to end your subscription whenever you wish.

This tea subscription gives you access to an amazing selection. The selections change every month and Art of Tea makes it their mission to only get the finest of teas from reputed sources. The selection of teas is customized to your choices and you choose from loose-leaf teas, iced teas, sachet teabags, wellness, signature teas and caffeine free teas. Every delivery comes with a collection of tea recipes, benefits, fun facts and much more. The shipping is free within the United States.

You can learn more about Art of Tea via our detailed review.

9. Iced Matcha Tea Set With Martini Shaker

Matcha Source Iced Matcha Tea Set with Martini Shaker

This Iced Matcha Tea Set is great for those who enjoy iced tea. With the help of this Iced Matcha Tea Set and Martini shaker, you can now make iced matcha tea in the comfort of your home. The product comes with a recipe that will help you get the perfect matcha iced tea every time. All you need to do take 1 teaspoon of matcha powder and a full scoop of ice. Then add about 8 to 12 ounces of water and shake well. Strain the contents of the shaker over a nice tall glass and enjoy the refreshing drink. You can also add more flavors to your drink, such as lemon, lime, ginger, mint or coconut.

10. TeaPrints Hoodies

Here is something really fun and unique for the tea lover in your life — a TeaPrints hoodie!  TeaPrints hoodies are made of 100% California cotton fleece and have a kangaroo pocket at the front. The hoodies have various tea related prints, such as “Brew, Drink, Repeat,” “Crazy Tea Lady,” and “Tea Rex.”

Whether the recipient is a casual tea drinker or a tea devotee, this thoughtful gift will definitely make their day. Check out our Q&A with the founder of TeaPrints to learn more about this great company.

We hope that this list of tea related gifts will inspire your shopping, and spark some ideas!

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Q&A with Rosanne Muncy of TeaPrints.com

TeaPrints Gaiwan Tshirt

TeaPrints

I’m really excited to have recently discovered TEAPRINTS.  I mean, how can you not possibly not love a t-shirts design that proudly displays: “KEEP CALM and GAIWAN ON” – brilliant!  And, a great way to strike up a “tea-conversation” when out in the wild.

TeaPrints Gaiwan Tshirt

Rosanne Muncy, CEO and Founder of TeaPrints, took notice of my love for this particular t-shirt and was kind enough to send me one. I really like the simplicity of the design, and the high quality of the t-shirt is definitely noticeable.  My TeaPrints shirt arrived pre-shrunk, which I prefer, and has a comfortable classic fit (note: the women’s t-shirts are more form-fitting).  TeaPrints also has a 7-day return policy, and a great FAQ page on their website to help you determine the best size and other details and answers to frequently asked questions.

TeaPrints currently offers a collection of T-Shirts, Hoodies, Totes, Posters and Gift Cards. TeaPrints also has a blog with frequent posts on useful information for tea folk, along with active social media channels (see links at the end of this post).

I’m really impressed with Rosanne, along with the origin story of TeaPrints and where she is taking the brand.  To learn more, check out my Q&A with Rosanne below.

 

Interview with Rosanne Muncy of TeaPrints

Q. Tell us a little more about yourself (especially about your time living in Morocco). And, how did you come up with the idea to build and launch TeaPrints.com?

A. I am a tea lover, organic gardener, and a nature lover. I became a tea lover at the age of eight when my family lived in Morocco for many years. I was a tomboy and spent a lot of time with my dad. My dad was friends with the Berber tribe leader and local hero, so I was able to experience Morocco in a unique and in-depth way.

I distinctly remember the first time I experienced Moroccan Mint tea. I can even smell it every time I close my eyes and reminisce. We were in a large tent, lots of people were milling around, there was an exhibition of horsemanship and shooting, but all I could focus on was the delightful aroma of the tea. It was fascinating to watch them prepare the tea and then pour it from many feet high into the beautiful tea glasses. The taste was just as exquisite as the aroma and as beautiful as the teaware. I fell in love!

In 2014 I opened an online tea shop, Tealated, and quickly realized that I enjoyed promoting tea much more than selling it. Tea is so diverse and can transcend obstacles between different people and cultures. It is an excellent way to make new friends, it helps to maintain health (especially if you use tea to replace toxic habits like soda addition, cigarette smoking, etc.), and it is delicious! I decided to close my online tea shop and focus solely on promoting tea and tea culture. TeaPrints is all about having fun while enjoying tea and starting a conversation about tea with others.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs…tell us a bit about your creative process.

A. My designs are pretty basic. I had to teach myself Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator in order to create designs. There is no better way to learn something than just diving in and doing it. I am still a novice but I just keep learning more each time I try. I start with the saying I want and then add a design. I have a list with over 100 ideas of designs that keeps growing. Of course, I will never get to all of them, but it is fun to think of new ideas.

Q. Do you have a personal favorite TeaPrints t-shirt, hoodie, or tote?

A. Yes, I admit to playing favorites. ☺ I actually have three. “Tea Freak” is my favorite t-shirt design, “Brew. Drink. Repeat.” Is my favorite hoodie, and “Life is Better with Tea” is my favorite poster (new product).

Q. It’s great to see that you donate your excess product to the Red Cross to help clothe those in need. Has social responsibility always been a part of your business model, and what advice do you have for entrepreneurs when it comes to partnering with non-profit organizations?

A. Giving back has always been a priority for me. When I lived in Morocco the extreme poverty I saw out in the country had a deep and lasting affect on me.

My first business was an organic soap company and I donated my ugly soaps to a company that recycled the soap and distributed it to those in need. Soap is extremely important, especially in third-world countries, because it helps to fight the spread of disease.

For my tea company, I donated 3% of all sales to Water.org. Water.org creates solutions for clean water and provides sanitation for those that need it. Clean water and the dignity of a toilet can transform lives.

For TeaPrints, it was an obvious choice to donate the “oops” t-shirts and hoodies to the homeless or people in need after disaster strikes. Giving someone in need new, clean clothing is our way to show that we deeply care about others and want to show them that they are loved.

Q. You have a lot of great content on your TeaPrints blog. Tell us about one of the blog posts you are most proud of. (Personally, I found your 2015 gift guide to be a great resource).

A. I had fun making the gift guide and am glad you liked it. However, this is a tough question for me. I try to write posts that people might find helpful. I have a passion for people to be healthy and happy, so I would have to say that my post on “Drink Tea and Let It Be” that discusses slowing down and taking time for oneself would be it. Also, my post on “How I Quit Diet Soda” is important to me because hopefully it will help others to quit ingesting toxic soda and replace it with tea.

Q. What is your favorite thing about the tea community?

A. The LOVE! Really, the love in the tea community is amazing!

Q. Do you have any tips of suggestions for anyone looking to start a tea business?

A. Yes! I say, “just do it!” Planning is great, but implementing is better. Decide what type of tea or tea product you want to offer. I believe that having a narrower focus as opposed to a broad offering is best. For example, offer only matcha, or only Taiwan tea, or just hand-made teaware. Also, if you are stuck with one aspect of the business then it is important to outsource. You may be great at tea but maybe not at accounting. Outsource it. That frees you up to do what you are best at and creates a job for someone else.

Q. What are you future plans for TeaPrints? Are you looking to expand the product line?

A. Always! I love coming up with new ways to share the tea love. We recently launched posters and will be coming up with a LOT more of those. In addition to posters, we will be adding mugs, leggings, and maybe even cell phone cases!

Q. What are your favorite types of teas at the moment?

A. I am exploring the world of pu-erh tea. I have joined a few tea clubs that ship tea to my home every month and I am excited to try new tea. That is one thing I love about tea – There is always something to learn. Tea can take you on a journey of discovery that lasts a lifetime.

Q. Other than TeaPrints, what are some of your other hobbies and interests?

A. I live out in the country and have a huge organic garden. My garden is my happy place. I also love nature and enjoy hiking in the nearby Rocky Mountains with our large family. It is fascinating to see nature through the eyes of my children because they see more than I ever do.

Thank you Rosanne for all you do!

You can learn more about TeaPrints via the links below:

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“Talking Tea” with Jen Piccotti of An International Tea Moment

Talking tea JenPiccotti

Talking tea JenPiccotti

“Talking Tea” is a weekly feature where I check-in with some of my favorite tea people online.

This week we feature Jen Piccotti from An International Tea Moment:

Q. Jen, can you tell us a bit about why you started An International Tea Moment, and what you like most about running the blog?

A. I first started my tea blog when my oldest daughter was born. It was a creative outlet for me, something that I could control, when the rest of my world felt so chaotic and unpredictable. I wrote simply for my own enjoyment and sanity, and it was mostly memories of tea moments I had experienced around the world with different friends and family.

I was surprised when I realized people were actually reading it. Then tea companies started reaching out and asking if they could send me tea to try. I felt like I had won the lottery! I think now the thing I enjoy most is connecting with such a variety of interesting people who enjoy the simple pleasure of tea… and also receiving samples of some of the most amazing teas in the world!

Q. What is one of your favorite “tea moments?”

A. One of my favorites is the first time my oldest daughter suggested having a tea party with me. She was 4 years old at the time. It was so sweet to experience that with her and imagine future “moments” as she grows up. A Persian Princess Moment.

Q. What general advice or tips would you have for someone that is new to tea?

A. Try different things and then enjoy what you like. If you like fruity teas, explore those. If you enjoy teas that smell flowery, try some floral blends. There’s no way to do it ‘wrong.’  Drink what you like and don’t be afraid to try something new when you have the opportunity.

Q. What post are you most proud of on your blog?

 A. I had just been introduced to Joseph Wesley Tea and was completely in love with the entire concept of the company. The focus is on black teas (which is exactly what I enjoy most), and their website, packaging, every detail was absolutely stunning. And then there was the tea itself! It was the first Lapsang Souchong I’ve ever enjoyed, which is amazing in and of itself. Mind blowing. So, the day came when the blog post was to be published, and part of the introduction I had written focused on how such a refined tea company could spring from the gritty streets of Detroit. As it turned out, the day it was published was the day that the city would find out if it would remain in bankruptcy protection or not. So, Detroit was a hot topic online, and therefore that post has the all-time record for traffic on my blog. A Detroit Moment a.k.a. A Serendipitous Moment.

Q. Tell us about the most recent cup of tea you had, and why you chose it.

A. Today I reached for an old standby, Romanoff, by American Tea Room. I’ve loved this tea for years. It’s a bold black tea blend with a hint of blood orange. When I know I have a lot to accomplish in a day, it’s one of a select few that I reach for consistently.

Q. Do you have any recommended tea websites or blogs for our readers to check out?

A. Where to begin? There are so many great tea bloggers and tea websites out there. I’ll limit myself to 3 for the time being. These three bloggers will be my fellow panelists at the World Tea Expo in May where we will be presenting “Amplifying Your Business Voice Through Tea Bloggers” on May 6th.

You can find Jen and An International Tea Moment at the following links:

 Blog – http://internationalteamoment.blogspot.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/teamoment

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TeaMoment

Instagram – https://instagram.com/teamoment/

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The World Tea Expo – Will You Be There?

World Tea Expo

Last year was my first year attending the World Tea Expo, and the experience was amazing on on so many levels. One of the best parts of the show was being able to meet face-to-face with  many of those from the tea industry that I’ve gotten to know “virtually” over the years (but had never met in-person).

World Tea Expo

I’m especially excited that the Expo will be returning this year to the Long Beach Convention Center, May 6-8. The annual event brings together hundreds of tea companies from around the globe.  The World Tea Expo is more than just a place to taste tea and enjoy the company of other tea lovers. It’s a place of community, education, networking, ideation, and more. The annual event is attended by more than 5,000 people, coming from all corners of the world. With 250+ exhibitors from more than 50 countries, the World Tea Expo is the world’s largest tea event.

James Norwood Pratt World Tea Expo
Meeting with James Norwood Pratt was a personal highlight of attending last year’s World Tea Expo

One of my favorite parts of the event is the Bloggers Roundtable (May 7, 2:30 – 3:30 pm PST). This year’s panelists will include Nicole Martin, Jen Piccotti, Naomi Rosen, Chris Giddings, Jo Johnson, Geoff Norman and Rachel Carter.

World Tea Expo Bloggers Rountable
A “Don’t Miss” Event!

One of The Fastest Growing Industries 

The tea industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In the US alone, the tea market is worth more than $8 billion and is expected to grow by another $7 billion by the end of 2015. The World Tea Expo is attended by distributors, tea room owners, retailers, other business professionals (and many tea bloggers and writers as well!). We all get the chance to visit with more than 200 different high quality tea suppliers and vendors in a casual, one-on-one setting. According to event organizers, almost 75 of these tea suppliers chose the World Tea Expo as the only tradeshow they attend to exclusively share and display their products.

The event is organized by The Beverage Group, an integrated media company that has been providing the beverage industry all over the world with business solutions. It’s a division of the F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. The World Tea Expo is the largest event organized by the Beverage Group. Other than this, the Beverage Group also holds the professionally judged premium tea competition, called the North American Tea Championship.

Event Programs, Subjects and Topics

Attended by more than 5,000 people, The World Tea Expo is an event that is more than just about learning (and tasting) various types of teas and tea-related products. It’s a conference where tea experts from all over the world come together to discuss everything that is tea, from production to health benefits, and much more. There are a wide variety of educational topics that are covered, such as:

  • How to Source and Select Teas
  • The Science Behind Health Claims on Tea Beverages
  • Current Trends and the Future Outlook for Tea
  • Cultivating the Next Generation of Tea Connoisseurs
  • Building Your Own Successful Tea Business
  • Current and Emerging Regulatory Issues in the Tea & Infusion Products Industry
  • Why Ignoring Herbs Could be Costing Your Business

These are just the few of the main topics that are featured.

World Tea Expo speakers

Innovation is at the heart of every industry and the tea industry is transforming. It’s being driven by people who want something more — such as more variety and quality innovation. Consumers are demanding high-quality and carefully sourced teas now more than ever. This is something that is driving the competition, and more companies are coming up with new ways to introduce products that stand out from the rest. Other aspects that are quickly gaining consumer interest, and are also discussed at the World Tea Expo, include:

  • The Growing Trend of Pu-reh and Matcha Teas
  • Long-Term Trends for Ready-to-Drink, Loose and Bagged Teas
  • Fruit and Spice Flavored Tea
  • Drinking Herbal Infused Green Teas
  • Highlights, Additional Events and Focus on Key Industry Issues

One really interesting aspect of the World Tea Expo is tea experts from all over the world gathering and choosing the Best New Product. The selection committee chooses the best new tea and related products from among the many on exhibit. Once the winners have been announced, the attendees get the chance to visit the winner’s booth and try the new product themselves.

Another interesting opportunity for attendees are the tastings — including teas that have earned the ‘blue ribbon’ by The North American Tea Championship (NATC) Winners Tasting Circle. All the selected best teas by the NATC are present under one roof as selected by the independent judges. These teas are chosen for being the highest quality and best tasting teas available in the market.

Other topics of interest focused on tasting teas include:

  • Organoleptic Explorations Of Tea Styles, Tea Regions and Tea Pairings
  • Understanding How Flavor Impacts Cost
  • Shelf Life and The Quality Of Teas
  • Detecting Defects In Tea Manufacture
  • Understanding, Sourcing and Tasting Fine Teas with a Local Global Approach

World Tea Expo Tastings

Tea Industry Skills Workshop

Apart from the educational seminars, tea tasting and award ceremonies, there is also another interesting workshop that takes place here designed to hone important skills. This involves everything from cupping, brewing and blending to loose leaf tea processing and blending. This workshop is intensive, and takes participants through various topics that include:

  • New Ways to Use Tea
  • Bringing 3rd Wave Coffee Innovation & Excitement to Tea
  • Blending Award Winning Teas
  • Tea Processing
  • Tea Cupping

For anyone wanting to start their own tea business, a Tea Business Boot Camp is held for such entrepreneurs. This is a two-day program that covers topics to help guide the entrepreneur in building a solid foundation for their business. The topics covered are:

  • The Basics of Tea Business
  • Tea 101
  • Marketing
  • Legal, Purchasing and Inventory
  • All about the Leaf

Attendees also get the chance to learn more about the World Tea Academy, the one place where you can take courses to become certified in the tea industry. These courses are critical for entrepreneurs seeking insight into the tea industry as it continues to set standards and recognize leaders in the tea community.

The World Origin Tasting Tour

There is also a virtual tour called the World Origin Tasting Tour that takes place in the major countries of origin. It involves the tasting of various regional teas while also learning about the the people and cultures. The most prominent tea growing regions include Taiwan, Japan, China, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Tea & Health

Apart from the other workshops and conferences, the World Tea Expo also holds an educational program dedicated to the wellness and health opportunities provided by tea. This session offers attendees valuable information regarding different types of teas and their health benefits. Tea is one of the fastest growing industries related to health and wellness. Many health professionals are advising their clients and patients on the advantages of drinking tea and its numerous health benefits.

World Tea News — Enter the World of Tea

Even if you can’t make it to the World Tea Expo this year…you always have the World Tea News at your fingertips! The website is for tea lovers of all levels, from hardcore tea drinkers to the casual/occasional ones. The aim is to be more than just a website that informs its readers about tea. It’s about inviting you into the culture of tea, offering news, features, expert insights, profiles of the people in the tea industry, emerging trends in the global tea industry, and more. World Tea News is the premier source for in-depth understanding of the industry, dedicated to connecting businesses and tea enthusiasts to valuable industry resources.

World Tea News

There is always something new in the world of tea. World Tea News features news and stories from many different parts of the world, featuring various cultural nuances and the various methods of tea growing and processing.

As we have discovered with TeaMinded, the world of tea is full of inspiring people. Visitors of World Tea News have the option of signing up for a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter so they don’t miss anything among the tea community.

Supporting and Encouraging a Sustainable Industry

The World Tea News supports all practices that ensure the sustainability and wellbeing of the planet and those who live on it. They are affiliated with the Beverage Media Group and together they share in a core set of values with the tea community showing a sense of personal responsibility towards the environment. This is something that is evident with their events that encourage the practices which contribute to the sustainability of our green planet.

The Beverage Media Group is committed to high quality tea. This includes tea that is sourced directly from the farmers providing the highest quality from all over the world, offering the best in taste, aroma and health benefits. They encourage everyone to be responsible and reduce the individual and industrial impact on the world’s ecosystem by reducing the carbon footprint and to be a part of the mission for a healthy and sustainable future.

The World Tea Academy 

Another valuable resource is the World Tea Academy – focussed exclusively on offering Tea Certifications and online courses.  Some of the Core Courses include:

  • Essentials of Camellia Sinensis
  • Tea Enhancements and Grading Systems
  • Tea Terroir: China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan
  • The Infusion

There are also advanced courses that include:

  • The Biochemistry of Tea Processing
  • Tea and Health
  • Among others…

The World Tea Academy provides customized education on how teas are grown, harvested, packaged, and brewed. It is full of information regarding various teas (and tea-related subjects) from around the world.

Conclusion

The World Tea Expo is at the forefront of promoting the tea industry and creating opportunities for tea professionals and enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. The educational sessions, workshops and industry related seminars are all curated to help attendees succeed. This is an exciting time for the tea industry as our community continues to grow and prosper.

With an amazing and talented team of professionals at the helm, the World Tea Expo (combined with the World Tea News and World Tea Academy) continues to deliver valuable programming, as well as great networking opportunities. The event is building on a long tradition of driving the tea industry in innovative new ways, and building a community of tea enthusiasts and educated consumers from all walks of life.

(photos copyright: World Tea Expo)

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Joseph Wesley Keemun Congfu No. 5 – Review

Joseph Wesley Keemun 05

Brand: Joseph Wesley Black Tea
Type: Keemun Congfu No. 05 
Origin: China
Preparation: Porcelain Gaiwan
Temperature: 185 F

Joseph Wesley Keemun 05

Joseph Wesley Black Tea has been on my radar for awhile now, and I decided the No. 05 Keemun would be make for a great introduction. Turns out, I was right! The Joseph Wesley line of teas are all high quality, directly sourced from personally selected growers (which highlights the value and importance of trusted relationships among tea brands and growers).

Before getting into the tasting notes, the story behind the brand is worth highlighting. I may be a bit biased (originally being from the Detroit-area), but the origin story of the man-behind-the brand is inspiring. Hailing from Detroit, Joe Uhl decided to leave the city in 1992 to study in Malaysia. He traveled around the world, nourishing his passion for “tea’s craft and culture.” Upon returning home, Joe earned a law degree and practiced at a Detroit law firm. Eight years later he resigned and founded Joseph Wesley Black Tea. Thank you Joe for making that decision!

Now…onto the Keemun Congfu.

Joseph Wesley Keemun 05

The dry leaves are tightly rolled/small, dark and have a very strong (and pleasant) aroma. Beyond the expected Keemun aroma, I detected hints of cocoa, and perhaps a bit of malt with the No. 05. This tea definitely has a very distinctive nose, especially in comparison to other Keemun I’ve tasted.

Joseph Wesley Keemun 05

Once brewed, the liquor is deep auburn in color.  Interestingly, it’s challenging to pinpoint specific tasting notes with this Keemun, as it’s very complex. I quite liked this characteristic! One thing is very clear though…the wonderful sweetness delivered a variety of notes across steepings. I pulled out molasses, honey…and perhaps a hint of angel food cake. Also a malt, and touches of burnt sugar along the way. The complexity made for a very enjoyable tasting experience. And the sweetness described was very well-balanced.

Joseph Wesley Keemun 05

I can confidently say that this is one of the best Keemun black teas I’ve tasted. In addition to a great morning brew, I’ve added this one to my afternoon rotation of teas (as it brings a feeling of “indulgence,” which is a perfect mid-to-late afternoon reward).

I try to get back to the Detroit area at least once a year, and it’s been great to see the results of what many are describing as a “renaissance” taking place. Businesses and entrepreneurs dedicated to craftsmanship, community and creativity are establishing roots in Detroit and helping to re-build the city and it’s reputation. It’s especially great to see a tea brand like Joseph Wesley leading the way.

 

Disclaimer: I paid full retail price for the tea reviewed above. 

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Tea: A History of the Drink that Changed the World

Tea is undoubtedly a drink loved all over the world, and because of this it has been appreciated in many different cultures. Tea is served in many different fashions, is enjoyed either hot or cold, has travelled all over the world and has charmed the hearts of many people. In Laura Martin’s book Tea: The Drink that Changed the World, she enlightens readers with the fascinating journey of tea, and how it has helped achieve positive effects in the world as we know it today.

This book offers a comprehensive study of tea, with a focus on how it has evolved and its immeasurable value across civilizations.

This is a great book for those seeking a bit of a “thriller” behind the story of tea — as it touches on exploration, espionage, diplomacy, and competition…all revolving around tea. The author also gets very specific about the nuances of tea manufacturing.

Some specific examples from the book include details about why ancient tea caddies required locks, what Confucian contemporaries thought about tea, and the different points of view among various cultures with regards to tea drinking and tea ceremonies.

This is a great book for those interested in learning more about the history of tea, as well as for those more seasoned tea aficionados that want to expand their collection of books about tea.

(This review includes affiliate links)

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Tea Cliffsnotes — Pu-erh

The People’s Republic of China is known for its fine assortment of teas, but perhaps none is more coveted than pu-erh. The one-of-a-kind, large leaves hail from the Yunnan Province’s famed tea region, which is located just beyond the Yunling Mountain. It has everything high quality, wild teas could every hope for — including a temperate climate, nurturing soil and clean water. Once the leaves reach their peak flavor, they’re normally harvested by the bud and put through a rigorous fermentation process.

puerh tea cake

The process starts with an elaborate drying method that includes pan-frying, bruising and rolling. It’s designed to stop oxidation. Afterward, the leaves are traditionally fermented with the aid of microorganisms and pressed into a wide variety of shapes before being tucked away to age in climate controlled areas. For many tea enthusiasts, only the oldest cakes or bricks of pu-erh tea will do (and come at a premium price). Other connoisseurs are willing to buy bundles that are much younger and continue aging them at home solely for the pure joy of it. However, those that do give it a go must take great pains when storing their little treasured bundles. Otherwise, the tea won’t taste nearly as good.

In future editions of “Tea Cliffnotes” we’ll get into more detail about the nuances and differences among sheng and ripe pu-erh.

Regardless of whether a tea drinker is willing to hold out for 75-year old leaves or not doesn’t matter when it comes to the brewing process. The majority of all vintages are prepared with gong fu sets and steeping rituals to help bring out their inherent flavors. The sets are readily available online and tend to sell at various price points. As we indicated previously, pu-erh tea prices will also vary. Therefore, there’s a good chance that many tea lovers will be able to pick up loose pu-erh tea and a gong fu set that fits well within their budgetary constraints.

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Tea Review – Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Concubine Oolong (by Eco-Cha)

Eco Cha Ollong Tea

Brand: Eco-Cha
Type: Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Concubine Oolong 
Origin: Zhu Shan, Nantou, Taiwan (1500m elevation, Summer2014)
Preparation: 6 steeps, gongfu style (gaiwan). Rinse / 20 seconds / 30 seconds / 45 seconds / 55 seconds / 60 seconds / 90 seconds
Temperature: 185 F

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

I’m very pleased to now have Eco-Cha on my radar, and am especially appreciative of their story and mission (representing the “artisan tea industry in Taiwan.”)  Before sampling Eco-Cha’s wide variety of Oolong teas, I spent a great deal of time on their website, getting to know more about the team, where they source their teas from, and many other interesting details and stories about Eco-Cha (what I would best describe as their “origin-story”).

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

I chose the Shan Lin Xi, High Mountain Concubine for this first review.  I really enjoy “oriental beauty” (bug bitten) oolongs, and this particular Eco-Cha tea/harvest was described on their website as being particularly affected by the Green Leaf Hopper.  Additionally, this oolong is quite different from traditional Oriental Beauty — this Oolong having tightly rolled Concubine leaves and also being a different varietal.

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

Aroma – Dry and Wet Leaf

The dry leaf had a very satisfying aroma…strong hints of honey, and even a bit of candied pecans.  Very pronounced.  The wet leaf was equally pleasant, with the introduction of winter vegetables (particularly a brown sugar, butternut squash aroma).  From the aroma alone, I knew I was in for a treat.

Steeps

After a rinse, I steeped in the gaiwan for 20 seconds.  This first steep produced very subtle hints of almond mixed with a bit of woody-ness (not much floral…yet).  This was a satisfying steep, but also quite mild with the leaves not yet fully awake.

The second steep, at 30 seconds, introduced very distinctive notes of honey and the introduction of winter vegetables (mostly a butternut squash taste)…I even detected hints of sweet fig.  My daughter joined me in this steep, and she immediately noticed pine-nuts in the flavor profile.  I agree.  The moth feel was now also much more pronounced, and very pleasing.

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

My tasting notes for the remaining steeps include nutty flavors, along with a mild sweet corn.  The floral notes also became more noticeable.  I definitely also detected the almond and honey flavors, which are often included with descriptions of this particular tea.

Eco Cha Oolong Tea

Overall, I really enjoy this tea.  It brings some unexpected and satisfying flavor profiles, and also has a wonderful aroma (something I really took notice of).  I’m now excited to dig-in and review additional Eco-Cha Taiwan Oolongs.

Here are some additional Eco-Cha links:

 (complementary samples were provided by Eco-Cha)

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A Complete Guide to Cast Iron Teapots

Cast Iron Teapot

It is said that it was during the 17th and 18th century that the first Cast Iron Teapots were made in Japan. However, there are accounts of the cast iron teapot being present during the Sen no Rikyū period, the historical figure most famous for influencing the Traditional Japanese “Way of Tea.”

Known as Tetsubin teapots in Japan, these were originally used to boil water but after the advent of Sencha Green Tea, these teapots became a household item for tea brewing all over China and Japan. The name “YiXing” comes from the region of YiXing in China where teapots were first made using the clay unique to that region. Historically, YiXing is famous for its clay teapots, whereas the Japanese Tetsubin is known to be the first cast iron teapot.

Avid tea brewers believe the best tea is made in Tetsubin teapots and because this teapot is made with natural iron, the water boiled in them gives off a unique taste, resulting in the tea brewed to taste better than when brewed in other teapots or kettles. These cast iron teapots allowed the people of that time to keep the water warm so they could pour the water over the loose tea leaves. This has led to the Tetsubin becoming a part of traditional Japanese Tea Ceremonies.

Five Favorite Cast Iron Teapots

(click on the links or photos to learn more) 

PictureCast Iron TeapotRating
Iwachu Japanese Iron Teapot/Tetsubin, Gold and Black Maple 5
Miya Cast Iron Teapot - Purple Hanabi 3
Japanese Tetsubin Cast Iron 40 oz Black Hobnail Teapot 4.3
primula pci7440 black cast iron teapot 40 oz with stainless (peerless industries pci7440) 4.0
Dusk Cast Iron Positivity Teapot 26 Oz 4.7

(scroll down to see our full review of each of these cast iron teapots)

Benefits of Cast Iron Teapots

Why Cast Iron?

Cast iron cookwares, including teapots, have been used for centuries. With the introduction of cookware made from new materials hitting the market, people started discarding their cast iron cookware in favor of the new and supposedly ‘improved’ cooking products. However, nowadays you will see a trend of people going back to the old ways. With people suffering from different deficiencies and diseases, doctors and health gurus are recommending going back to the way of life of our forefathers. This includes cooking and brewing tea in cast iron cookware.

You may be thinking how old-fashioned cast iron cookware is but, there is a reason why everyone is going back to filling their kitchen cabinets with cast iron cooking products. Even in the modern kitchen, this dependable cookware has more benefits than any other cookware available on the market today.

Cast Iron Teapots Last Decades

There are people who have been using their cast iron teapots for generations, going back as far as the 1850s. These teapots, if taken care of properly, can stay in excellent shape and perform at their best for your children, your grandchildren and even your great grandchildren.

Chemical Free Teapots

Another major benefit of cast iron teapots is that because they are made from pure cast iron, you are able to avoid harmful chemicals that come from teapots made with other industrialized materials. A lot of teapots nowadays are coated with a material which gives off PFCs (perfluorocarbons) when heated. This chemical is known to be damaging to the liver.

Pumps Your Tea with Iron – Beneficial for Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world today. This is a problem that was never faced by our ancestors centuries ago. Because people in the old days cooked and brewed tea on cast iron cookware, their teas and foods were infused with iron that was leached into them by the cast iron pans and teapots.

A study by the American Dietetic Association has found that when using cast iron teapots, a good amount of iron is leached into the boiling water. This results in the tea brewed becoming infused with iron and the person drinking tea will receive a boost of iron, minerals and nutrients. People with iron deficiencies can greatly benefit from this effect.

Cast Iron Teapot

Why Choose Cast Iron Teapots

A Traditional Way of Brewing Tea

Those who are not really into the art of tea making will not realize how important a part is played by some of the little things they overlook, such as temperature, steeping time, the equipment, quality of the loose tea leaves and the quality of the water. When it comes to brewing your favorite tea, finding and using the the right tools is important. As all tea lovers are aware, the secret to having that delightfully perfect cup of tea is to know the right method of brewing and that requires the right equipment.

In order to brew tea in a traditional manner, it is important to pay attention to what you are brewing the tea in. Cast iron teapots are the oldest types of teapots which have been used by tea lovers over the years to brew their favorite cup of tea. Apart from the health benefits of using cast iron, tea enthusiasts swear by cast iron teapots as giving a more flavorful tea.

This taste comes, in part, from the same reason why cast iron teapots are recommended for people with iron deficiency. This water, when fused with a good quality loose leaf tea, results in a brew that is unlike any other. What’s even better is a seasoned cast iron teapot will produce tea that is more delicious and richly flavored than the last time you brewed. Old is Gold when it comes to Cast Iron Teapots!

Better Heat Absorption – More Nutrients Extracted

Another reason why you should buy a cast iron teapot is cast iron absorbs heat evenly, ensuring the water heats up steadily over time. This gradual approach, even heating while the loose tea leaves are floating in the water, infuses the tea flavor into the water perfectly. This not only gives the tea a pronounced flavor, but the healthy nutrients from the tea leaves are also extracted and bonded with the water.

When compared to ceramic and clay teapots, cast iron is able to retain heat more effectively. This way, you can keep your brewed tea warmer for as much as an hour. Cast iron teapots are more durable than ceramic or clay as well. If dropped, ceramic and clay teapots may shatter into bits whereas cast iron will not. If properly cared for, your cast iron teapot will last you a lifetime!

What to Consider When Buying Cast Iron Teapots

Why Cast Iron?

When looking for the best culinary for brewing tea, a cast iron teapot is a great choice. Not only does it give your tea brewing (and drinking) a traditional touch, it will also add to the flavor and give your body a healthy boost of minerals.

Origins

When buying a cast iron teapot, you need to make sure of its origins. As you know now from the history, cast iron teapots were first made in China and Japan and to this day, the best cast iron teapots are produced in these two countries. The Tetsubin teapots are considered the first teapots. If you wish to purchase a cast iron teapot, make sure the seller gives you the info on where it was made. Tetsubin teapots are handmade in Japan from solid cast iron.

Quality

The quality of the cast iron teapot depends on where it was manufactured. You can buy a regular teapot from your local store but the chances of it having been made with pure cast iron are fairly low. The best cast iron teapots are made in Japan. Having been used for over four centuries, the Japanese have mastered the art of manufacturing these teapots by having the most skilled craftsmen spending weeks making a single teapot.

Durability

To make sure your cast iron tea pot lasts for years and even decades, the quality of the teapot is crucial. Even though iron teapots are strong enough to resist getting cracked or shattered, the quality of the cast iron being used for manufacturing will decide the life of the teapot. Some manufacturers coat their cast iron teapots with an enamel to prevent oxidation and rusting. This ensures the teapot will last long enough to may even be passed down to your grandchildren.

The Design

Japanese cast iron teapots are handmade by craftsmen/craftswomen, allowing them to design every teapot with meticulous detail. From simple to ornate, a cast iron teapot can be a beautiful work of art with eggshell finishes and beautiful flat handles. They can also be detailed with iconic symbols of the Japanese culture or some other designs and patterns, like the Imperial Dragon, gracing the sides of the teapot.

Choosing a cast iron teapot will add a touch of power and strength to your kitchen. It represents who you are. If you want to feel the ambiance of the traditional Japanese way of drinking tea and get the great flavor as well, then sharing tea made in a cast iron teapot with your friends and family is the way to go.

You can even buy a whole cast iron tea set that comes with a pot and cups. This will make serving tea a lot easier. You can even use this set for decorative purposes as Japanese cast iron tea sets are a work of art and will look amazing in your home.

A Sign of Prestige

A time came when tetsubin iron teapots were coveted items to have in one’s home. Their unique designs and the manufacturers’ who made these fancy and beautiful teapots became a way of showing the stature of households in Japan.

Capacity

Another feature of the cast iron teapot to consider is to choose the right size. There are small ones and there are large ones, which to choose depends on your needs. If you will be brewing a cup of tea for yourself in the mornings and evenings, a 14-ounce cast iron teapot will be suitable. If you think you will be having guests over and may need to serve them tea, having a larger teapot of around 30 ounces will be enough to serve a small group of tea drinkers.

Caring For Your Cast Iron Teapot

Do you love your beautiful Japanese cast iron teapot? Of course you do! Every tea lover loves their tea brewing equipment, especially when it is something that has traditional value. For your cast iron teapot, care is important if you want to keep brewing tea for the coming years.

Make sure that when washing your cast iron teapot, you don’t use any soap or detergent. Only use your hands to clean the tetsubin teapot, rinse it with clean water and use a clean cloth to dry it. If your teapot is old, this method will keep the seasoned mineral coating unscathed and preserve the iron in the teapot from oxidizing.

To ensure your cast iron teapot lasts a long time, follow these basic guidelines:

  • When you buy a new cast iron teapot, rinse it thoroughly with hot water
  • Take a dry clean cloth and wipe the teapot inside and out while it is still warm
  • Never use the cast iron teapot as a stove-top kettle
  • Never put it in a microwave, dishwasher, or expose to oil or salt
  • Use it only for brewing tea, otherwise you may damage the fragile enamel lining
  • Never use detergents or abrasive pads to wipe the cast iron teapot, only clean water for rinsing and a clean cloth for drying
  • Never leave the teapot filled with water or tea for long periods of time
  • Try to always wipe the cast iron teapot’s exterior while it is still warm
  • If the teapot is warm, don’t cool it off immediately, let it cool down on its own
  • To ensure years of flavorful tea, never use kitchen utensils that will scratch the inside glaze of the cast iron teapot

Follow these guidelines and you will ensure a long life for your tetsubin cast iron teapot.

Brief Reviews of 5 of Our Favorite Cast Iron Teapots

To help you find the best cast iron teapots, we are providing an overview of five favorite tetsubin cast iron teapots available online. You can easily order these and have them delivered to your doorstep and start enjoying the most flavorful tea, for a lifetime.

Iwachu Japanese Iron Teapot/Tetsubin, Gold and Black Maple

Iwachu is a company with over 100 years’ experience of crafting cast iron teapots, kettles and most famously, Tetsubin. Being one of the finest makers of Japanese ironware, the craftsmen/women at Iwachu respect their tradition and have come up with one of their best Tetsubin maple designed products. The precision and beauty of this handmade cast iron teapot is visible in its intricate exterior maple leaf design.

Providing consistent heat all over the interior, the superior quality of the material used ensures the water is heated perfectly and the tea brewed being the most flavorful. The excellent quality also keeps the tea warm for a long time and the interior coated with enamel prevents the teapot from rusting. Its 22-ounce capacity is perfect for brewing a delicious tea for a nice morning and evening tea.

Cast Iron Teapot – Purple Hanabi

Manufactured by MIYA, a household name for tea lovers in China, this cast iron teapot is a must have for tea lovers around the world. MIYA is known for using the best quality materials and craftsmanship to make their cast iron teapots and this is no different. Coming with a stainless steel mesh infuser and interior coated with enamel, this ensures the teapot remains in use for years to come.

It gets its name from the famous Hanabi fireworks, as displayed on its exterior. Its quality ensures the heat is transferred equally all over the teapot, heating the water perfectly for a nice brew of your choice.

Japanese Tetsubin Cast Iron 40 oz Black Hobnail Teapot

The M.V. Trading Co. introduces this massive 40-ounce Tetsubin teapot with a design that reflects the stature of who owns it. For centuries, Tetsubin cast iron teapots have been known as a work of art as they are handcrafted, giving each teapot a unique design for the one who buys it. With a large space for brewing tea, this is the perfect teapot for when you have friends and family over.

Handmade and hand finished, it is fitted with a removable stainless steel mesh infuser basket to allow perfect infusion. The interior of the pot is lined with enamel to keep it from rusting and allow the user to keep using it for years. However, make sure you take the precautions and not do anything that would damage its exterior design. This is the perfect cast iron teapot for brewing tea for a tea party or ceremony.

Primula Pci7440 Black Cast Iron Teapot 40 Oz With Stainless Infuser

Another big contender in the 40-ounce cast iron teapot market, the Primula Tetsubin can be another graceful addition to your kitchen. Its enamel is made with FDA-approved materials, ensuring excellent quality and durability. Its beautiful black textured design makes it a unique item to have in your kitchen.

With its exceptional craftsmanship, Primula has been providing quality teaware to its customers since 1991. It only takes 3 to 5 minutes for the PCI7440 to heat the water to brewing temperatures, resulting in a tea that is not only served just as fast as in modern electric kettles but also giving a tea that tastes far greater.

Old Dutch Cast Iron Positivity Teapot, 26-Ounce, Dusk

Manufactured by the Old Dutch, this Japanese inspired cast iron teapot is designed in one of the most beautiful possible ways. The elegant craft of the Japanese style is clearly visible on the exterior as it features the looks of the antique Japanese cast iron teapots.

It features a black enamel interior coating that prevents the teapot from rusting. The 26-ounce capacity ensures you can brew tea for a small group of friends and family. The quality materials used for making this teapot ensure the tea remains warm for up to an hour, a sign of high quality cast iron material.

Just like other cast iron teapots, don’t use any detergents or heat it over a stove. Use your hands to rinse and dry with water at room temperature. This is a great Japanese style Tetsubin teapot to have in your house for any tea of your choosing.

Conclusion

When it comes to brewing your favorite tea, finding the right culinary for brewing is important. As a tea lover, you likely desire the items you use for making tea to be in accordance with traditions of tea brewing. This will ensure you are not only making tea the best way, but also giving yourself the traditional flavor that has been around for centuries.

As all tea lovers are aware, the secret to having a delightfully perfect cup of tea is not just in knowing the right method of brewing but also having the right equipment. After reading this guide, you have the knowledge to start brewing tea the way it should be done: as the old ways are often the best ways. And not only that, you also now know about some specific Tetsubin cast iron teapots that can help you achieve the dream of brewing that perfect cup of tea.

(Disclosure: These reviews contain affiliate links to Amazon, which helps support the TeaMinded website. We are not compensated by any of the manufacturers for these reviews, and they reflect our honest and unbiased opinions of these products).