"Decaffeinated" with "tea" is an ill-suited pair in my mind. Because no, I can't live without caffeine (my family will attest to this). Still, there are several flavored decaf black teas that I've found quite acceptable. But what about classic teas, those teas without flavor additives? Can those withstand the decaffeination process? Decaf tea itself is … Continue reading How Does Decaf Tea Compare to the Real Thing?
Continuing my informal guide to selecting tea—having gone through the caffeine/no-caffeine decision and having looked at low- and no-caffeine options (see New to Tea? Start Here)—we're now looking at the types of tea that come from one plant, Camellia sinensis. And asking whether you want white, green oolong, black, or fermented? And do you want … Continue reading New to Tea? Start Here (Part 2: White and Green Tea)
Step into any tea store, in person or online, and the choices are staggering. If you're new to loose tea, the range of options can even be paralyzing. Where do you possibly begin? Added to the confusion is that although tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) are rightfully called "tea," other leaves, flowers, and even spice blends … Continue reading New to Tea? Start Here
As probably all of us have been discovering, staying at home brings some unforeseen minor inconveniences. We dismiss them as petty, especially in light of those who are currently working so hard to ensure we still have groceries and garbage pickup and emergency furnace repair and health care despite an overburdened system. But for those … Continue reading My Moroccan Teapot: Graceful and Functional, but Is It Safe?
Mr. Takatomo Katagi comes from a long line of tea growers in Japan's Asamiya region of the Shiga Prefecture. The seventh-generation head of Katagi Kokaen tea garden, Mr. Katagi is building on his family's legacy. Some forty years ago, his father converted the garden to organic production. As Mr. Katagi explains, "Unlike vegetables, tea leaves … Continue reading Making Houjicha with Tea Grower and Tea Master Takatomo Katagi
Old Tree Bancha. Does that mean bancha made of leaves from ancient tea plants (good)? Or bancha that's been sitting around awhile (bad)? Actually, neither. I had never heard of this tea until Lisa of TeaHaus told me about it after touring Japan's tea gardens in Shiga Prefecture back in 2018, having been invited by … Continue reading Old Tree Bancha Tea Contains the WHOLE Tree!
Cranberries are fully entrenched in current thanks-giving traditions—and rightfully so because these bright red berries are native to our country and had long been eaten by Native Americans, including mixed into pemmican, a nutrient-rich food that stored and carried well. Our native cranberry is Vaccinium macrocarpon, which has a larger berry than the European variety. The … Continue reading Cranberries Add Balance to This Fruity Tea
Living in a country where "matcha" too often means sweetened matcha lattes, how amazing to read about a place in Japan that offers matcha gelato—in seven levels of bitterness! If it weren't for Japan being a pricy 13+ hour journey from Michigan, I'd be sampling gelato today! Because matcha gelato is really fantastic. Actually, matcha … Continue reading Matcha, and Embracing Tea’s Bitterness
Although few knew it at the time, a seismic shift took place when botanist Robert Fortune spirited high-quality tea plants out of China in the mid-1800s. Transplanting them into Himalayan soil, he opined that “a boon will have been conferred upon the people of India” if that country’s poor could be provided with an affordable tea, … Continue reading Nepali Teas Come into Their Own
Ups and Downs If asked to list the countries that produce the world's best teas, Georgia probably doesn't cross most people's minds. In fact, many of us probably haven't had Georgian tea—or even realized that tea is produced there. Now I'm not referring to the sweet tea that's popular in our southern states, such as … Continue reading The Revival of Tea in Georgia