The weather sucks with the lousy rain turning into heavy wet snow and I have a migraine and my car is making a loud scraping sound whenever I turn left. Yeah. I totally get that these are very minor complaints in light of, well, pretty much everything else that's happening pretty much all around us … Continue reading Herbal Japanese Mulberry Leaves Tea, an Antidote to a Lousy Morning
Cinnamon may well be autumn's quintessential spice. Where would pumpkin and apple pie be without it?! Or your favorite chai on these chilly evenings? Culinary Spice Extraordinaire Although the Western world tends to reach for cinnamon as part of dessert, this versatile spice is capable of so much more. Native to Asia, the bark of … Continue reading The Cinnamon of Autumn Teas
Want a nice evening herbal tea that helps you sleep? Yerba mate is not it! Yes, it is an herbal, being the dried leaves and twigs from a variety of holly that grows in South American rainforests. And yes, legend says it is a gift from the gods. But, it promises to keep you alert … Continue reading What Is Yerba Mate Tea?
When Russia first imported tea from China—back in the late 1600s and early 1700s—the journey by caravan took over a year. (See previous post for more.) So what kind of tea would taste good after 16 months of being hauled by a camel? Well, for tea to survive the arduous journey, it had to be … Continue reading Greet the Morning with Russian Breakfast Tea
Night owl? Then a bracing cup of Irish breakfast tea is in order for those way-too-early-it-can't-be-morning-already mornings! As with English breakfast teas (see my previous post), the Irish counterpart was not intended simply to deliver caffeine to the sleep-deprived. (Though that undoubtedly was a welcome perk for the overworked.) Rather, back in 1784, when those … Continue reading Begin the Day with Irish Breakfast Tea
Anyone else take extra days off for the Fourth of July "weekend"? This morning's de facto Monday necessitated a stiff breakfast tea. Really stiff. Sort of a jolt back to reality. But this isn't really why "breakfast teas" exist. Rather, these tea blends were designed to accompany the heavy breakfasts of late-1800s-England—a meal perhaps more akin … Continue reading Wake Up with English Breakfast Teas
Although Earl Grey tea—with its distinctive bergamot flavor—is one of the most well-known and beloved tea blends, the origin of the tea and its name is less certain. Charles, the Earl Grey Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, is often cited as the source of Earl Grey tea. There are stories about his being gifted with such a … Continue reading Earl Grey Tea: Who Was It Named For?
In a recent visit to Boston, my daughter bought this fun tea for me: As the tin says, early Americans drank Hyson and Young Hyson teas along with the gunpowder teas that my last posts examined. The English deliberated about which teas to ship to the colonies, evaluating flavor, price, storability, profit—and what they could convince … Continue reading Hyson Green Tea and the American Colonists
Tea plus smoke equals lapsang souchong, yes? Well, sort of. This indescribably smoky tea is a product of its exact spot in the world! It is unique among teas. Of course every fine tea has its particular processing method, which makes it one of a kind, and lapsang souchong does have its own, very specific, manner of production. But this particular tea—produced … Continue reading Four Things That Make It Lapsang Souchong
Smoky Tea (or, you mean you actually drink this?!) Subtle tea smokiness may fall within meh territory, but: full-blown-campfire-smoke-ingesting lapsang souchong or can-it-get-smokier-than-this smoked lapsang souchong?? These intensely smoky teas tend to stoke a love/hate response—so how did they become a thing? Wisps of Smoke Some teas, of course, are intrinsically and pleasantly—lightly—smoky. These include keemun, first grown and produced in 1875 in China's … Continue reading What Is Lapsang Souchong?