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Famous Quotes on Tea

Many of history’s greatest minds – from philosophers and writers to politicians – harbored a strong affinity for tea. To them, the beverage served to elevate their mood, give them focus, and (after a full day of mental labor) allowed them to relax and unwind. The significance of tea can be observed through the documented words of many notable individuals. Here are just a few favorite tea quotes from some historical names you may recognize:

“Tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country.” 

— George Orwell

This quote comes from Orwell’s own essay, “A Nice Cup of Tea“, written in 1946. In this essay, the author shares what he believes to be the golden rules of tea preparation. He specifically propounds the use of Indian and Ceylonese tea over Chinese tea, as “there is not much stimulation in it.” And looks down upon the use of sugar or other additives to tea, which will compromise the bitter flavor of the drink.

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

— Henry James

James here speaks of the ritual beverage in his novel, The Portrait of a Lady.  This is actually the opening line of the first chapter, and succeeds in setting the tone for the novel. The passage goes on to explore the splendorous, if commonplace, pastime of tea socials prevalent during the era (later 19th century England). At the peak of description, James observes tea’s power to transform a summer’s afternoon into “an eternity of pleasure.”

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. . . . It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

— Okakura Kakuzō

Okakura Kakuzō wrote a book on tea, named aptly, The Book of Tea. The Book of Tea is a luminous account of the history and tradition of tea drinking, but further expounds on the significance of tea as a cultural influence. Addressing a western audience, Kakuzō attempts to dispel notions that ascribe an adverse sense of strangeness towards the eastern world’s appreciation for tea.

Perhaps the most apt description of tea, however, can be found in a quote by essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

These quotes are just a few examples of the near-universal appreciation of tea.  What are some of your favorites?  Please share in the comments section below.

 

 

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T CHING – Nurturing a Community of Tea Lovers

T Ching tea blog

One of my favorite tea websites to visit on a daily basis is T Ching. There’s new content posted nearly every day (sometimes numerous posts per day) and always a wide variety of tea-related topics. “Bringing people together with tea” is one our main goals here at the TeaMinded blog, and this includes introducing people to great resources that contribute to the tea Community — and T Ching delivers on that front, in many ways.

What follows is our overview of T Ching – a website worth visiting and bookmarking!

T Ching tea blog

Introduction to T Ching — How It All Started & What’s It All About

Michelle Rabin and Sandy Bushberg started T Ching to fulfill their vision and passion for tea lovers all over the world. They wanted to create a tea community where every tea lover could visit and share their thoughts on everything that has to do with tea making, the health benefits of tea, tea brewing and living a healthy life.

In reading about the formation of T Ching, it’s evident that one of the main reasons the site came into existence was due to concern for the declining state of health in not only the US but all over the world. The founders of the site knew that something as simple as drinking tea can be an effective way to reverse the unhealthy trend that is damaging the lives of millions.

Michelle and Sandy spent more than 25 years working in the healthcare industry, helping people overcome their bad living habits and changing them into healthy ones. Among these poor lifestyle choices, one of the unhealthiest is the increased consumption of high-sugar beverages. This is what the T Ching founders wanted to change as they sought to bring awareness to the masses of how damaging these drinks can be and show them the benefits of having a healthy substitute in the form of tea.

T Ching is for all tea lovers, from the hardcore traditional tea brewers to the casual/occasional ones.

It’s clear the aim is to be more than just a blog that informs its readers about tea — it’s about inviting readers to the all encompassing “journey” of tea, the benefits of drinking tea, the people who grow it, their tradition of tea brewing and the many ways of classical tea drinking, the tea rituals of many countries, and the peace that comes with enjoying a cup of tea.

The Various Content & Features of T Ching

With an amazing team and community, T Ching is one of the most informative and entertaining tea blogs. When visiting the T Ching website, you’ll be greeted with a clean and easy-to-navigate site design. You can easily see what the T Ching community is all about  — including core areas of TEA, DESIGN and LIFE.

The different categories on the website’s homepage direct readers to topics which are discussed on posts written by the contributors. Some of the latest posts on T Ching are aligned at the center of the website. From news related to the world of tea to new recipes that provide readers with an inside look into the health benefits of the many varieties of tea.

The different categories of the website (at the time of this review) include:

T Ching tea blog categories

The Most Popular T Ching Posts

Let’s have a look at some of the more popular and sections of the T Ching website.

News

The news archive is where you can read everything that is related to tea. From newly researched health benefits to the many different ways you can use tea in different aspects of your life. This section is full of interesting articles, such as how leftover teabags can be used to better your skin, how tea is increasing in popularity across the globe, or some of the latest news and trends related to organic tea farming. You can even read about how herbal teas can help reduce chances of colon cancer.

The fascinating stories coming in from all over the globe are a must-read for any and all tea lovers. This category is updated on a regular basis, so you can expect to find new and interesting stories and facts related to the world of tea frequently.

Recipes

The recipe posts on T Ching are an archive of different recipes of not only simple tea brewing, but different dishes that go with tea, ways of making different blends of teas, iced teas and so much more. By going through the many recipes, you’ll realize how much the folks at T Ching are committed to providing useful content.

These recipes are all very accessible, and the teaware and ingredients are easy to find. An example of the diversity of posts in this section include numerous Matcha tea recipes, how to make tea ice-cream and where you can watch Japanese cooking programs.

Health and Wellbeing

You may have come across numerous articles outlining the health benefits of drinking tea. Even though most all teas are beneficial for your health, you can easily get confused about which tea to drink to remedy a particular ailment. The posts in this section cover such things as how different teas can be helpful in cleansing your blood, reinvigorating your brain cells, soothing your sore throat and losing weight with the help of tea. The posts are very specific, which separates T Ching from other tea blogs that are more broad.

There is nothing more natural than treating health issues with the help of tea. Tea has been associated with helping people deal with hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and even cancer and Alzheimer’s. This is a must-read section of archives to increase your knowledge about the many health benefits of tea.

What I also really like about this category on T Ching, is that the content delves into the well-being of tea, covering the more “mindful” and meditative benefits of enjoying tea. A personal favorite topic of mine..and T Ching really delivers on this front!

Tea Education

This section is all about tea and its various nuances. With so many tea varieties, T Ching does a great job of keeping readers posted on how they are grown, picked, packaged, and most importantly brewed. T Ching is full of people who love tea, which is evident as their writers are continually testing and trying new offerings, and sharing their experiences with readers around the globe.

You can learn some of the best ways to brew a particular type of tea, ways of growing your own tea and how you can use tea to power through the day. Whether you are new to tea, or a seasoned enthusiast, you will likely find something interesting to learn, share and talk about with family, friends and others in the tea community.

History & Spirituality

Here you learn more about how tea can help soothe the mind, body and soul. This section gives you a glimpse into how vast the world of tea really is.

You will find articles covering many cultures, and how tea has been (and still is) a part of traditional and spiritual heritages. Every culture brings its own unique ways of brewing tea, different designs and styles of teaware and other cultural nuances.  For example, you can learn about the role of dragons and other mystical creatures among the Chinese culture — and why these figures often grace teapots and teacups (or learn more about the Japanese culture in relation to the natural aspects of mountains and tree spirits).

Travel

The travel section, as the name suggests, is all about the people travelling the world in search of the perfect cup of tea. Many go to countries like Japan, China, India and Taiwan in search of tea. Some travel to find new teas and different blends. The contributors share their stories and tales about their many adventures around the world. Most of the people who travel to these regions also sometimes end up establishing businesses with the local tea farmers.

The demand for good organic tea (and fair trade) is growing around the world as well, and it has become imperative for tea merchants to understand this market and how to acquire tea from sources that are pure and organic. If you are a fellow traveler yourself going on an adventure to find something new in the world of tea, you can read up about the different teashops in the places you are going to.

T Ching Social Channels

T Ching can also be found on popular social channels.

T Ching on Facebook and twitter

In order to stay in touch with their readers and to also spread the word of tea, T Ching is active and engaging on popular social networks. This allows for more people to give their thoughts on the blog posts which have been published, and also for the readers to share their views on everything related to tea.  For the visitors, there is also detailed info on how to get in touch with someone from the T Ching team.

Regular updates, and any site news or new blog posts, will be easier to follow if you subscribe or add the RSS feed to your favorite blog reader.

T Ching’s Support for the Tea Community

The tea community is made up of so many caring and interesting people — and T Ching plays a key role in this community.  So many of us are looking for inspiration, encouragement and peace of mind. This is where tea comes in…and where T Ching delivers.

Additionally, it’s evident that T Ching supports practices which ensure the sustainability and wellbeing of the planet.  They believe in a core set of values – as the T Ching community shows a sense of personal responsibility towards the environment. This demonstarted with their blog posts that encourage the practices which contribute to the sustainability. T Ching is also committed to covering topics related to organically grown, high quality tea — and teas directly from the farmers, and of the highest quality.

T Ching encourages everyone to be responsible human beings and reduce the individual and industrial impact on the world’s ecosystem by reducing the carbon footprint and to take be a part of the mission for a healthy and sustainable future.

T Ching tea blog website

Conclusion

I really enjoy staying in touch with the tea community around the world, and T Ching plays an important role. There is always something new to learn and share, and contributors are continually posting interesting and engaging content (both with blog posts and discussions/feedback in the comments section).

If you want to be a part of a tea community that is vibrant, friendly, knowledgeable and inspiring — I definitely encourage you to follow along with T Ching (and subscribe and/or add the RSS feed to your daily blog reader).

(photos copyright of T Ching)

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“Talking Tea” with Ricardo Caicedo of My Japanese Green Tea Blog & Podcast

Talking Tea wit Ricardo Caicedo

Talking Tea wit Ricardo Caicedo

Ricardo Caicedo from My Japanese Green Tea is an authority on all things green tea. His blog posts, and podcast episodes, offer the perfect balance of information and entertainment.

Many thanks to Ricardo for taking time to “Talk Tea” with us.

Q. Ricardo, can you tell us a bit about why you started the My Japanese Green Tea blog and podcast? And, what you like most about being a tea blogger and podcaster?

A. I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture, and while living in Japan as a student I experienced green tea. When I came back home, I wanted to learn more about it, but since I couldn’t find a place online like I wanted, I decided to create my own.

As I explore and learn more about Japanese green tea, I share my knowledge with everyone, which is the primary goal of the blog and the podcast.

What I like the best about being a tea blogger/podcaster is that I have been able to meet many people of the tea industry, including fellow tea bloggers. Even though I don’t live in the US, I was able to talk with most of them at the World Tea Expo this year, which was a great experience.

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

A. The best time that I have with tea isn’t related to drinking it, but when I hold a tea tasting. In my country, Colombia, tea isn’t very popular but I’m trying to change that little by little. When someone discovers loose leaf tea and is marveled at it, it makes me very happy.

I have an online tea store, Kyusu Teas, where I sell Japanese teas. The tea tastings are my main form of marketing.

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

A. A lot of people still think that all green tea is bitter. This only happens if you’re brewing it incorrectly, or if it is of low quality (such as the cheap green tea in teabags) to start with.

Follow the general guidelines when first brewing a specific type of green tea, and then you can adjust them to your taste. Japanese green tea in general shouldn’t be too bitter but refreshing, slightly sweet and easy to drink.

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

A. I have a page where I have a list of the Japanese tea cultivars (cultivated varieties of the tea plant) and also link to their descriptions.  It’s far from complete, but it’s something that hadn’t been done before in English, and it seems that a lot of people have liked it.

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

A. As I’m sure many tea lovers do, I have to admit that I’ve accumulated too much tea. That’s why I’ve been drinking the older teas that I have very frequently, before they go past their expiry date.

This month I’ve been drinking a lot of fukamushi sencha, it’s a deep steamed sencha which has a dark green color and a good body. It’s popular in Shizuoka prefecture.

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

A. For tea reviews, I recommend Nicole Martin’s blog: Tea For Me Please. For general info on tea, World of Tea from Tony Gebely, which won the best tea blog award at this year’s World Tea Expo.

You can find Ricardo at the following links:

Ricardo Caicedo of My Japanese Green Tea

Blog and Podcast

Online store (Colombia)

Google+

Twitter

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Review: Teavivre Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong

Teavivre Taiwan Li Shan Oolong dry leaf

Brand: Teavivre
Type: Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong 
Origin: Fushoushan Farm on Lishan (梨山) Mountain in Taichung, Taiwan
Preparation: 8 steeps, gongfu style (gaiwan). Rinse / 20 seconds / 25 seconds / 30 seconds / 40 seconds / 60 seconds / 90 seconds / 120 seconds / 180 seconds
Temperature: 195 F

I’ve been catching-up on a variety of Teavivre teas in my queue to taste and review…and I have been especially looking forward to this Taiwan Li Shan Oolong.  Many of the reviews of this oolong on Steepster, and on Teavivre’s site, have noted the mild sweetness, and subtle honey notes.  I definitely agree.  In fact I picked-up some of those honey tones on the nose the minute I opened the packaging (with a very pleasant aroma of the dry leaf).  I knew from the beginning I was in for a treat.

Teavivre Taiwan Li Shan Oolong dry leaf

Teavivre Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea Dry leaf

The Li Shan tea trees are at high altitudes (i.e., high mountain oolong) and grow in cooler conditions/temperatures, which make “the tea leaf soft, thick with high content of pectin substances.” (one of the things I like best about Teavivre is all the details they include on their website for every tea offered).  The dry leaf is a vibrant green (just like the liquor itself once brewed).  In addition to the hints of honey or honeydew, I also detected a mild floral-ness in the aroma of the dry leaf.

The first couple of infusions were pleasantly mellow.  Slight, but detectable, floral notes combined with a touch of sweetness.  By the 3rd and 4th infusions the flavor became much more complex and very enjoyable.  The liquor was also a very vibrant green.  The complexity relates to the addition of such sweet undertones as stone fruit, and maybe even a slight carmel-ness at the back of the tongue. The floral notes were very balanced (not over-powering).

Teavivre Taiwan Li Shan Oolong brewing in a gaiwan

Teavivre Li Shan Oolong in a taiwan with tasting cups

Taiwan Li Shan Oolong vibrant green brew

The word I would use to best describe this Li Shan Oolong would be smooooooth (yes, deliberately with a lot of “o”s).  Many have used the “buttery” descriptor, and I agree.  This Oolong will now be added to my regular rotation.  It delivers all the flavor profiles,  mouthfeel and “drinkability” that I like best with high quality, high-mountain Taiwan Li Shan Oolong.

Visit Teavivre online to learn more.

Photos copyright: Teaminded.com

(note: complimentary sample provided by Teavivre)

 

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“Talking Tea” with Nicole Martin of Tea For Me Please

Talking Tea with Nicole Martin of Tea For Me Please

Talking Tea with Nicole Martin of Tea For Me Please

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

This week we feature Nicole Martin from the very popular blog: Tea for Me Please.  Many thanks to Nicole for taking time out of her busy schedule to “Talk Tea” with us.

Q. Nicole, can you tell us a bit about why you started Tea for Me Please, and what you like most about running the blog?

A. It first started as a personal log to keep track of what I drank. After a while, I noticed that other people were actually reading what I wrote. There’s so many things that I like about running the blog that it’s hard to choose. I love getting to try amazing teas but I also really enjoy getting to meet people from all over the world.

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

A. An impromptu tea tasting in a food court at the Fancy Food Show. We drank out of little paper ketchup cups but somehow it worked.

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

A. Drink as much tea as you possibly can and don’t be afraid to try something new. There is a huge world out there to explore!

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

A. I’d probably have to say that my recipe for Red, White and Blue Tea Sangria is one of the ones that I’m most proud of. It’s been pinned on Pinterest more than any other blog post and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it.

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

A. My most recent cup of tea was a really nice sheng puerh that I received from my Global Tea Hut subscription. I chose it because the name King of the Forest made me really curious.

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

A. I definitely suggest checking out Tony Gebely’s blog, World of Tea. He’s writing a book on tea so there’s lots of great nerdy info. TeaDB is another great one. I really enjoy their tasting videos.

You can find Nicole and Tea For Me Please at the following links:

Nicole MartinTea For Me Please Blog
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

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A Complete Guide to Loose Leaf Green Tea

Loose Leaf Green Tea
What is Green Tea?

Green tea is one of the most ancient beverages in the world. Green tea, black tea, oolong, white and pu’er, all are cultivated from the same plant, called the Camellia Sinensis. The unique taste of each tea comes from the regions where they grow and the way they are processed. This highlights the nature of the land on which it grows and the craft that it takes to coax the best from each leaf.

Green Tea Plants

Nowadays, green tea is loved all over the world because of its taste and amazing health benefits (which we will be covering as well). Drinking green tea has become a connection to the land where it is grown, parts of rituals and ceremonies, and an experience of a fine taste. This guide to green tea provides an overview of the history, the types of green tea, the health benefits and the most popular accessories used to brew this tea.

 

Origins & History

The history of green tea offers great insight into the history of China and the Japanese cultures. According to one popular legend, green tea was first discovered by the ancient Emperor Shen Nong of China in 2737 BC when its leaves were carried by the wind into his kettle of boiling water. After tasting the accidentally prepared brew, he celebrated tea as a tonic and recorded it in his encyclopedia of medicine.

As the legend grew, it traveled the world, conquering the teapots and kettles of virtually every person in the world.

Green tea has become one of the most popular beverages across the globe. And, with its countless health benefits, its popularity continues to grow.

Because of its popularity and soothing qualities, the monks and priests made it an integral part of their religious ceremonies and rituals. It was centuries later that green tea production rose and the common folks were able to enjoy drinking this much revered beverage. This led to the building of tea shops and planting more tea plants to meet the increasing demands of the people.

It was during the Tang Dynasty (7th Century – 10th Century) that green tea was brought to Japan by the priests. The Emperor of Japan loved green tea so much he started a trade with China to import tea seeds from China so they may be grown in Japan as well. People who drank green tea regularly in those days noted they not only felt better and more energetic than those who didn’t, they also lived longer and healthier lives.

What Separates Green Tea from Other Teas?

Apart from its unique green colored leaves and the color of the brew, green tea is one of the most un-oxidized products of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Most other teas are completely or mostly oxidized and are processed to give them their unique flavor. Green tea, however, is lightly processed and not oxidized, resulting in it having the most antioxidants of the entire tea family. It is healthier as it has less caffeine but a higher quantity of EGCG.

Because of the full leaves of green tea, the essential minerals remain. This ensures a superior and distinct ‘grassy’ flavor compared to others. The best way to compare the two types of teas in relation to flavor is to brew a few glasses of green tea and other teas. The aroma alone will help you distinguish the natural quality of the brewed beverages.

Where is Green Tea Grown?

Green tea is among the most famous type teas in the world. It comes from both China and Japan, with regions having their own varieties and their own unique tastes. For example, Matcha tea is the most popular green tea in Japan, while in China the most popular is the Dragonwell green tea. Green tea is mostly grown in the mountainous regions of China and Japan. They are handpicked and thinly spread under a shade and left to dry naturally by air. The drying time is short because the leaves, if left for long periods of time, will oxidize and the leaves will no longer be used to make green tea.

The leaves are then taken for the firing process, which dries the leaves and readies them for export. These leaves are processed over burning wood and coal but nowadays, due to the high demand and production, the process is carried out in large ovens and tumblers. Every region which produces green tea has a unique flavor of its own. The season and the soil of the land give the plants a taste of their own and it is because of this there are thousands of varieties of green tea in the world today.

China
China is the birthplace of tea and has the oldest tea traditions known to mankind. Green tea has been enjoyed as both a revitalizing and a healthy drink for more than 3,000 years. The regions of China most famous for growing green tea are the provinces of Zhejiang, Shandong, Shanxi, Fujian and Anhui. These regions have been producing green tea for generations and as a result have some of the best quality green teas in the world.

Japan
After tea leaves and their seeds were brought to Japan during the 8th century, the people of the region have been growing tea plants to this day. The most ancient region where the tea is grown in Japan is the Shizuoka district, the region which lies under the shadow of the Holy Mount Fuji. This is the area where almost half of Japan’s tea plants are grown. Other important regions are Kyoto’s district of Uji and the region of Kagoshima on the island of Kyushu.

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Types of Green Tea

Green tea has the most varieties of all teas and it is said China alone has more than a thousand different versions of green tea. Each has its own unique taste and aroma so anyone who does not like a particular type of tea will have a lot more to choose from. China and Japan are the two biggest producers of green tea in the world. Let’s have a look at their most famous types of green teas.

Chinese Green Tea
Being the foremost producer and exporter of green tea, China is famous for giving the world the gift of this amazing beverage as it benefits the lives of millions. The most famous green teas of China are as follows:

Dragonwell

Also known as Longjing tea, Dragonwell is a type of green tea that is produced by hand and is the most famous tea in China. It is the highest quality tea available coming from China and has earned the status of Gong Cha, or Imperial Tea during the Qing Dynasty. Like other Chinese green teas, it is roasted on pans and left for natural oxidation. They are unfermented and have the highest quantity of vitamin C, catechins and amino acids. There are six types of Longjing green teas namely: Xihu Longjing, Pre-Qingming Longjing, Shi Feng Longjing, Meijiawu Longjing, Bai Longjing and Qiantang Longjing.

Gunpowder

Hailing from the province of Zhejiang, Gunpowder tea is one of the classic green teas of China. It takes its name from its petals being rolled into the shape of gun pellets, giving it a unique shape and look. Its brew is also smoky and smooth.

Gunpowder tea dates goes back as far as the 6th Century Tang Dynasty, where it was revered by the Emperor of the time. The leaves are steamed, withered, rolled and then dried. All the processes are done by hand to make it one of the highest quality green teas in the market. Even though most of the work is now done by machines, there are still parts of China where the work is done by hand. There are 3 famous varieties of Gunpowder tea, namely Pingshui Gunpowder, Formosa gunpowder and Ceylon gunpowder.

Kai Hua Long Ding

Kai Hua Long Ding is among the most famous green teas in China and is quickly gaining recognition in other parts of the world as well. In China, it is also known by the name Dragon Peak. It comes from the province of Zhejiang, the biggest producer of green tea in China. It has a sweet and flowery taste which gives its drinker a relaxing and soothing feeling, the best beverage to wash away the stress of a hard day’s work.

Hou Kui (Monkey Tea)

The Hou Kui, also known as the Monkey King and the Monkey Tea, is grown in the foothills of the Tai Ping county of China. This delightful green tea is handpicked in the mountains that are over 500m ground level. This tea has been cultivated since the 13th Century Ming Dynasty. Unlike other green teas, the leaves are pressed individually between two pieces of mesh, resulting in a tea that is floral, sweet and grassy.

Bi Luo Chun

Another one of the most famous teas in China, Bi Luo Chu tea originally comes from the Dongting mountain regions of the Jiangsu area. First brewed during the 16th Century Qing Dynasty period, the Emperor gave it the name of ‘Green Snail Spring’ due to its floral aroma, fruity taste and delicate appearance. There are seven grades of Biluochun tea, namely Supreme, Supreme I, Grade I, Grade II, Grade III, Chao Qing I, and Chao Qing II, in decreasing order.

Japanese Green Tea
Japan is the 2nd largest green tea producer and exporter in the world. The green tea coming from Japan is of the same high quality as that of China but is unique in its own flavor and aroma. The following green teas are Japan’s most famous products:

Sencha

Sencha is one of the most famous and the best in quality green teas in Japan. They are harvested from the Shizuoka district in the early summer season. It has a clean, brothy texture with a refreshing green aroma which gives it a sweet and tender flavor. There are eight grades of Sencha coming from Japan. They are as follows:

  1. Shincha or Ichibancha. First-picked Sencha of the year
  2. Toku Jô Sencha. Extra superior Sencha
  3.  Jô Sencha. Superior Sencha
  4. Kabuse Sencha or Kabusecha covered Sencha
  5. Asamushi lightly steamed Sencha
  6. Chumushi. Mildly steamed for 30-90 seconds
  7. Hachijuhachiya Sencha. Harvested after 88 days (respectively nights) after springs begin
  8. Fukamushi or fukamushicha. Deeply steamed Sencha for 1 to 2 minutes

Gyokuro

Also known as the Imperial Tea, Gyokuro is a shaded green tea grown under the shade, away from the sun’s rays. It is among the most expensive of all green teas coming from Japan as it is made from the finest leaves. Because it is grown in the shade, Gyokuro teas have high levels of chlorophylls and amino acids. It has a rich, soft and smooth flavor, with little to no harsh flavor. The specialized varieties of Gyokuro are Asahi, Okumidori, Yamakai, and Saemidori.

Bancha

Harvested from the same grade tree as the Sencha green tea, it is however harvested between the summer and autumn seasons as Sencha is harvested first during the start of summer. Bancha has 22 grades of teas, having their own unique aroma and taste. The highest quality Bancha has a strong smell and is readily available all over the world.

Matcha

Matcha tea is gaining immense popularity due to its health benefits and amazing flavor. Even though tea is a word that brings to mind images of dried leaves brewing in hot water in a tea pan or a tea kettle, Matcha tea, on the other hand, is a green tea powder that, rather than brewing in hot water, is whisked, which creates an intense version of green tea. The gentle process used to prepare Matcha ensures more than 90% of the antioxidants remain intact, while the EGCG reaches super-charged levels due to the grinding process.

Matcha tea typically comes in three different grades:
• Thick or Ceremonial
• Thin
• Ingredient or Culinary

 (View our full Matcha Green Tea Guide)

 Genmmaicha


Also known as the Brown rice tea because it is fused with roasted brown rice. Originally genmaicha was mostly drunk by the poor Japanese, but is now consumed by everyone, regardless of their stature. It has a mild flavor and the brew is light yellow. It is sometimes sold with Matcha as it adds to the flavor a stronger green brew.

Houjicha

Houjicha differs from other green teas in the way it is roasted. The leaves are kept in a pot and roasted over charcoal. Though most Japanese green teas are steamed, this tea is roasted over charcoal to give it a brown red color. This process started in Kyoto during the 1920s and has become popular among the populace. Houjicha has low amounts of caffeine because of this particular process. It has a mild flavor and is usually served during the evening or before bedtime because of its soothing and relaxing effects.

Kukicha

Also known as Bocha and the twig tea, it comprises of twigs, stems and stalks. These are parts of the tea plant which are discarded when making other types of teas. Therefore, Kukicha was born to utilize those discarded parts to make a brew which stands on its own as one of Japan’s favorite green teas. These leftovers are taken from the production of Matcha and Sencha. This combination of twigs, stems and stalks gives it a sweet nutty taste. It has naturally low caffeine content and does not require any industrial decaffeination.


Health Benefits of Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea have been known and valued in Japan and China since ancient times. With its delicate taste, flavorful aroma and numerous health benefits, green tea is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after teas in the world. Just like its sister teas, Black tea and White tea, green tea is processed from the same Camellia Sinensis plant. However, white tea is the least processed of all teas and therefore packs the most nutrients and minerals. Even though the health benefits of drinking green tea are numerous, here are five benefits which will make you want to drink it on a daily basis:

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√ Better Heart Health
Preventing the hardening of the arteries and the thinning of the blood are two of the most important roles green tea plays to protect your heart. Researchers around the world have discovered people who drink at least three cups of green tea a day have a lower risk of heart related diseases than those who don’t.

√ Cancer Prevention
According to research, green tea is packed with high levels of antioxidants and has shown to be quite effective at fighting cancer. It lowers the growth of cells which may mutate and cause tumors and abnormal growth effectively. Green tea is the least processed of all teas, making it the tea with the highest concentration of nutrients and minerals.

√ Fights Free Radicals
Green tea comes with a whole army of protective agents that hunt free radicals down and neutralize them. Green tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants, the most essential and natural cancer fighter in the world. When you drink green tea, the antioxidants fight the free radicals in your body that can go around wreaking havoc to your organs and damaging your DNA.

√ Reduces Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a medical condition that doctors call the silent killer. Known as such because it has no warning signs and people don’t have the slightest idea or symptom they have it or not. The negative effects of this condition can be eased by drinking green tea. This will ensure your blood pressure does not jump up. Because green tea thins the blood, it makes it easier for the heart to pump the blood all over the body. This lowers the blood pressure, resulting in lower risk of a stroke.

As cholesterol is also essential for a healthy body, green tea only does its work on the bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol. Another group of antioxidants green tea is rich in are called Catechins. These have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol. This helps in preventing the blockage of blood and hardening of the arteries in the heart.

√ Good for the Gums and the Skin
The free radicals (as mentioned before) are also responsible for stressing out and damaging the skin. The antioxidants in green tea also fight free radicals in the skin to prevent you from looking 40 when you should be looking 30. It protects the skin and helps reverse the damage to the skin.

√ Fights and Lowers Stress
Want to relieve stress? Brew a cup of warm green tea to alleviate your mood and relax. Green tea has levels of natural polyphenols which help improve the mental agility and focus of the person consuming it. This amino acid binds to the places that release the stress chemicals and in turn decreases the excretion of these stress causing chemicals.
Green tea has high concentrations of caffeine which improve one’s performance and mental alertness. If you want to stay alert during work or want to jumpstart your day, sipping a cup of green tea is the best way to keep your mind alert.

What to Consider When Buying Green Tea?

It is better not to buy open green tea from any local store. Chances are the quality of the green tea will not be as good as the supreme quality ones. When buying green tea, go for the purest and highest quality types of green tea. The pure ones will contain all the health benefits mentioned above, whereas buying highly processed green tea won’t be as beneficial as it loses its supreme level quality.

When buying green tea, the most important aspects to consider are:

The location where the tea plants are grown and picked
• The elevation of the plants
• The picking and drying process
• The method of processing the green tea leaves
• The oxygen exposure time

The location where the tea plant is grown is essential to its quality. The upper part of the tea bush needs to be supple and soft to ensure fine texture with high quality. The green teas made from these leaves have the best flavor and are of the highest quality. Unlike other teas, pure supreme grade green tea leaves are left to dry in the sun. All efforts are made to ensure the leaves are not oxidized too much as that will decrease the levels of antioxidants. For this reason, the leaves are mostly dried naturally. This leaves the leaves in a fine green color.

If the tea leaves are not properly roasted, they will be of a poor quality as they will not brew the same quality tea. This is why green tea leaves are roasted at a slow pace to avoid overheating due to the high temperature of the pan or pots. Once the processes have been completed, the green tea leaves are immediately packed and shipped. This immediate packing reduces oxygen exposure time, ensuring supreme quality. When purchasing green tea, make sure the brand/company you are buying from follows the above-mentioned process. This ensures you are buying the highest quality green tea.

Green tea ceremony accessories
Popular Green Tea Accessories/Teaware

The Japanese and the Chinese have been enjoying green tea for both medicinal and spiritual reasons. The accessories and culinary used by the people back then are still being used as they have become a part of the tea drinking culture and the tradition of not only Japan and China, but also for people living in other parts of the world. However, there are some tea brewing culinary items which have been used since ancient times and have been passed down generation to generation to this day.

Yixing Teapots
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, and has been used to brew green tea since ancient times.

(View our comprehensive Yixing Teapot User Guide)

Kyusu Teapot

The word Kyusu simply means ‘teapot’ and it has been used since the first Japanese monks started brewing tea. Most commonly used in Japan, unlike other teapots, which have handles on their tops or backs, Kyusu teapot’s handle is at its side. The side handle is usually quite large to keep the person pouring tea from getting burnt when holding the teapot.

Tetsubin
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 it 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 the 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.

Traditional Matcha Green Tea Accessories

• Bamboo Scoop
• Whisk & Whisk Holder
• Hand Strainer
• Natsume
• Strainer Can
• Matcha Bowls

Matcha Tea Accesories

Conclusion

Apart from regular use, green tea has become a part of the culture of people all over the world. What started out in China and Japan is now a part of the global community, transcending all barriers and part of everyday lives across the globe. Drinking and enjoying green tea is a ritual which can performed throughout the day.

For a lot of people, the time they take out to brew tea is how they relax during and after their hectic/busy days. The preparation itself is just the first step in the natural wellness green tea offers. The best part comes after a nice brew: the joy of the perfect aroma and taste of your favorite green tea.

Regular consumption of green tea is one of the reasons the people of Japan and China live long and healthy lives. For thousands of years, green tea has been benefiting the people of Japan and China and its neighboring regions. Now that it is available all over the globe, it is time for you to start benefiting from the numerous benefits of drinking green tea.

What is your favorite green tea? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Best Teas for Surviving the Cold and Flu Season

Traditional Medicinals Peppermint Tea

With the cold and flu season in full swing, we’re all at greater risk of getting sick (or having to take care of someone that isn’t feeling well). So, allow us to give a little bit of friendly advice; reach for some of the best teas around and get brewing!

For years, herbalists have been using teas to successfully combat everything from nagging coughs and stuffy noses to chest congestion and body aches. And, even though some herbal blends aren’t officially defined as “tea” in the purist/traditional sense, we’ll be using the term for easy reference in this post.

Here’s a list of our “top five” teas for surviving the flu and cold season:

1) Ginger Lemon Tea with Raw Honey

First on our list of best loose leaf teas for surviving cold and flu season are ginger lemon blends. When combined together, the natural ingredients will traditionally clear the nasal passages and give an ailing body’s immune system some much needed assistance. Why? Ginger is a very effective anti-inflammatory and lemons contain Vitamin C. To up the ante even more, add a spoonful of raw honey. It will likely help calm the tickle in your throat and help your body fight bacterial infections.

2) Garlic Infused Green Teas

Next up are garlic infused green teas…and if you can find one that also contains lemon, all the better. Like ginger, garlic has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. In addition, it has the ability to reduce the viscosity of mucus and act as an expectorant. Thus, it’s excellent at helping people cope with chest colds, sinus infections and the like.

3) Elderberry Teas

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s research, elderberry teas are wonderful when it comes to easing the discomforts that go along with having sinus infections and chest colds too. More often than not, the elderberry teas also come with helpful additives like echinacea, blackberries, pomegranate and cranberries.

4) Peppermint/Eucalyptus Teas

Since we are still on the topic of expectorants and decongestants, there are two other teas to consider. They are peppermint and eucalyptus blends. Both are also sold individually. When choosing peppermint or eucalyptus blends, look for ones that have additional cold fighting ingredients. The list includes, but doesn’t end with fennel, chocolate, ginseng, licorice and green tea extract.

5) Thyme Infused Teas

Finally, we can’t forget about thyme infused, loose leaf tea blends. A 2011 study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested that the herb is beneficial when it comes to addressing congestion, coughs and other seasonal ailments. Furthermore, over the years, many people have used the herb to fight gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections too.

Do you have any favorite teas you rely on to get through cold and flu season?  If so, please share in the comments section below.

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How to Brew Tea Using a Traditional French Press

French press for loose leaf tea

Tea has been a popular drink for centuries. And, pills as noted from the many articles here on TeaMinded, hospital there are variety long-standing traditions surrounding the brewing and drinking of loose leaf tea. Various cultures have different customs and tools deemed most proper for preparing and drinking tea.

French press for loose leaf tea

And, clinic while often overlooked (and not traditionally considered), one method of tea brewing involves the use of a special pot called a French Press. Despite the name, this pot was first patented by an Italian designer named Attilio Calimani. Essentially, a French Press is a cylindrical pot often made of glass or stainless steel, with a plunger and attached screen inserted from above. It can be used to prepare tea or coffee.

So…if you are not near your gaiwan or kyusu (or want to try something a bit different), here are the suggested steps to make a cup of tea using a French Press:

  1. Thoroughly clean the pot and plunger. If the press has recently been used for coffee or is new, this is especially important. The residue of coffee flavor must be completely gone or it will impact the taste of the tea. Many households keep a separate press for each to avoid the cross-flavoring.
  2. Remove the plunger from the press, set aside.
  3. Add your loose leaf tea. Measure according to the tea brewing directions provided by the tea merchant.
  4. Boil water in a tea pot…only the amount that is needed to make the number of servings you are brewing.
  5. Pour the water into the French Press pot.
  6. Re-insert the plunger, but do not depress completely.
  7. Allow the tea to brew for the appropriate amount of time.
  8. Depress the plunger to separate the tea leafs from the tea brew.
  9. Pour tea into your favorite drinking vessel.
  10. Enjoy!

Have you brewed tea in a French Press? Any additional tips to share? If so, please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

 

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For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History

For all the tea in china

For all the tea in chinaReleased in March of 2010, For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History was written by Sarah Rose. In this book, the author delves into one of the most controversial topics and a turning point in the history of economics. What I like most about this book is how it takes the reader right along on the adventure of how the British East India Company sent one of its men, Scottish Botanist Robert Fortune, to secretly take a tea crop from China and have it planted back at the company’s plantation in India.

This book brings us the history of a beverage that some may think of as ordinary, but is actually not ordinary at all. In fact, it highlights a sometimes forgotten, yet crucial part of this plant’s history.

It was hard for me to put this book down. The details and descriptive style of the writing made me feel like I was right there traveling with Fortune as he covertly navigated into the Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, and later into the more distant Wuyi Mountains and Fujian province.

For tea enthusiasts, I highly recommend this book. It’s like a true espionage book, but with the topic of tea at the core (a win-win in my opinion). Another benefit is all the history and tea education that is provided throughout.