Sorry Hoover…unlike last time, the tea cup is empty!
Keep calm and go nuts!
Life is better when you’re laughing.Unknown
There’s nothing quite like getting together with a fun group of ladies for some crafting and chatting to help you relax. Add tea, and it’s a perfect morning.
I recently shared a cup of Pukka’s “Relax”with a friend at a Ladies’ Craft ‘n Chat.
Relax is an organic, herbal infusion made with ethically sourced ingredients. Chamomile is one of the top 5 best teas for anxiety and stress. Relax also contains Sweet fennel seeds, licorice root, oat flowering tops, cardamom pods, ginger root, and marshmallow root. Pregnant and nursing women, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure should avoid licorice root completely. Everyone else should consume it in small quantities.
Marshmallow root was a new ingredient for us, but has been used for centuries to treat infections and improve digestion. It’s a hebal remedy with natural mucilage, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Mmmm…mucilage. Mucilage is the sap-like component in the plant that behaves like a soft fiber; it swells up when combined with wate to create a helpful coating, particular for mucous membranes. THe root, leaves and flowers of the marshmallow plant are all edible, and yes, marshmallow root can be used to make marshmallows. The good kind you eat around the campfire.
My friend and I agreed that this tea had a strong grassy note from the chamomile, a subtle licorice flavour, a bit of heat as if it contained ginger (which it does not), and overall a pleasant sweetness. It was a deeper golden colour than fennel tea, and was best consumed hot. Would either of us run out to buy some? Probably not. But if you like the flavours listed above and are looking for an ethically sourced, caffeine free tea for those tense times (or to slip into sleepiness), this might just be your cup of tea.
A cup of tea will restore my normality.Douglas Adams
I’m very pleased to introduce my next “Guest What’s in my Cup” from a really great friend, Sam. We’ve been friends a long time and share many of the same passions, including music, worship, and tea! Sam was also one of my “bosses” when I was the Gatekeeper in the Cubicle of Purgatory, so we got to share lots of great teas. He even shared his 24 Days of Tea Advent calendar with me. Like I said, a great friend!
As I sit in my office looking outside, it’s cold. The weather today said it was -20 kajillion below zero, and it is! I’m holding a mug that slightly burns my fingers, full of a new hot tea, and I don’t mind. The mug is from Tyndale, the school where I completed my Doctorate last year. They gave me this mug during week 1 of the program. Even though it’s over I’m slightly unnerved even by the memory of the stress and the struggle of that season.
What’s in my cup? Jasmine Tea. I’m not normally a fan of jasmine tea; I actually have avoided it over the years. This tea was actually given to me as a Christmas gift. All 2000g of it. Yep, 2000g of a tea I don’t like! Today, the tea is growing on me.
I have been given specific instructions on how to brew this cup of tea. It’s proving to be quite a refreshing experience. I took half the amount of tea that I normally brew in a cup, around 1 tbsp. I let it steep only for about 2 minutes. Once it was brewed, I took a spoonful of honey and mixed it in. Honey is not particularly a new revelation for tea but to be honest, I’ve never done. It quite nicely offsets the bitter taste of the tea.
As I sit in my office with this surprisingly refreshing (to me) brew and ignore the chirps from my email screaming for my attention, I’m reminded how trying new things can be quite rewarding. Whether it’s deciding to go back to school with two kids under 6 and a third on the way or throwing bee barf into my drink, the payoff can be quite amazing. I do have to admit that not everything new I try turns to gold, even though I remember reading that footnote in the contract of life. Lots of things that I’ve tried over the years has proved to be an utter waste of time, resource and money. The lost money on buying and cutting wood the wrong length for a reno or the time I drove 40 minutes to realize the tires I wanted to buy were the wrong size.
As I sip my tea, I need to remind myself that risk can be worth reward, even if it ends in disappointment more often. I need to focus on trying new things and jumping into new opportunities because if I don’t I am going to miss a lot of great things. If I watch opportunities go by because of the risk, I will never get to experience some beautiful moments that God might want to show me. Not everything new I do will turn out awesome but it doesn’t have to, and that’s ok.
As for today and the bitter cold, this cup of tea was completely worth revisiting rather than viewing it as something to write off because ‘I don’t like that and it doesn’t work for me’. The risk is worth the possible disappointment or potential of simply being.
I’m very pleased to introduce my first “What’s in my Cup” guest and a very special woman: my Mom!
I am a self confessed tea granny, with tea granny genes, which I have passed on to my daughter. And when she ran out of ideas for her blog, she called on her readers to share some of their favourite teas & teacups.
Then she asked her mother.
Now while Jennifer loves to try new teas & flavours, I prefer mine strong, hot, black, & fully loaded with caffeine. She keeps plying me with wonderful new flavours, some caffeinated & some not; others, flowery, nutty, maple-y.
I have decided that I prefer the richer stronger flavours over the flowery ones.
One of my favourite decaffeinated teas is also a comfort food. When I feel like I’m getting a cold or just feel crummy, I brew some Tetley Lemon Ginger tea. I love the lemon with just a hint of ginger. It is herbal & best sipped hot & clear, to allow the full lemon flavour to come through.
I’m serving it in a fragile semi transparent teacup that belonged to Jenn’s grandmother. Wish we knew its story.
Now dear readers of this blog, be brave & send your own tea choice. I know some of you & will be watching for your contributions. 😉
Now to enjoy my lemon ginger tea!
Life handed me lemons, so I made lemonade, lemon cake, lemon drops, and I even used the rinds to make lemon art. So, the joke is on you, life, haha!Emilyann Allen
It’s the kind of day when you want to just pull the blankets over your head. Ok, that’s every Monday, but today is special because we’re having an old-fashioned snow dump. I’m taking a whopping 35cm expected, which may not seem like a lot, but in the city, it’s a lot! People here don’t know how to drive in it. Narrow streets can’t be cleared. It’s chaos.
Good thing I can stay home and drink tea!
Actually, as I settled in for tea, I noticed my neighbour though the haze of blowing snow. She ran up her driveway, grabbed a shovel and ran off again. Or tried to run. Even though Hubby started to plough our driveway, within 30 minutes, you couldn’t really tell. Guessing her car was stuck in the snow, I tossed on some clothes and went to see if I could help.
It was a slow walk, with snow well over my ankles and few car tracks to walk in. She wasn’t at the corner. She was, in fact, several blocks away, and by the time I got 3/4 of the way there, sheand her husband drove off. So much for saving a damsel in distress.
With the feeder topped up (the snow was up to my knees in the backyard), and my mittens and socks drying on the heater, I settled in for something tropical!
Hubby picked up a boxed set of tea with the intent of sharing it in the evenings. Unfortunately, every box is flavoured black tea, and he can’t have caffeine after 2 p.m. Like most boxed sets, what it promises isn’t always delivered, save one: Hibcus & Honey.
I actually sampled this at Christmas…without Hubby. I used 2 bags to make a pot because I expected it be a light flavoured tea. My Mom found it a bit too flowery. Big Guy thought it was nice but not really his thing. I thought it was great. Although it was a flavoured black tea, and therefore slightly artificial, it was still delicate and floral, and I could taste the honey at the back of my throat. It was a light golden yellow colour and smelled stronger of honey, which I found very appetizing after all the Christmas feasts. Honey is a natural sweetener, and contains antioxidants, promotes healing, and suppresses coughs. We all agreed that adding a little more honey would have sweetened the deal.
I would have liked a pj day today, but someone has to help with the snow. And we’re getting more tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m going to keep sipping, work on a beach bag, and maybe have a siesta or two.
You can’t always get what you want. No.Rolling Stones
But if you try sometimes, you just might find You get what you need.
December has officially arrived, but even before Halloween, store fronts were starting to display their “holiday wares” to entice us to spend, spend, spend! Some of those stores include yummy looking food and drink options in pretty packages. But before you purchase that tea gift box or basket with the sparkly cellophane and the big, gold bow, there are 3 things to consider:
Just what IS in that tea.
In Canada, ingredients do have to be declared in descending order in relation to their weight before they are packaged, with the exception of herbs & spices, natural & artificial flavours, and flavour enhancers. Salt is the exception to the exception and does have to be listed.
Often gift tea sets are flavoured black teas. There’s nothing wrong with that…but if the only ingredients listed are black tea and flavouring, you may not be getting the best tasting tea. Put it this way: sno-cones only have 2 ingredients too: water and flavoured syrup. It may be tasty and satisfying…or is it just a weak version of slightly flavoured, coloured water?
Where is it Made
I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but if you’ve tried a few teas, you’ll recognize the truth when I say: not all tea is equal. The quality of tea depends on so many variants: the quality of the plant, when it was harvested, the process it undergoes, etc.
In 2020, the top 5 countries for tea production were China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. China is the leading producer and exporter of tea. They produce various types of tea, including green, black and oolong. China’s history is “steeped” in a culture of tea. As a result, the taste and environment for growing and harvesting tea leaves is greatly considered. India was at the center of tea’s migration across the globe, and is still best known for assam and darjeeling tea. Tea is also a huge part of India’s culture, and more than half of the tea produced annually remains in the country. Kenya is third, and is the world’s largest exporter of black tea. It only began tea production in the early 1900’s. Sri Lanka rates fourth and is best known for ceylon tea. Vietnam is also a country with tea “steeped” into the culture. Tea is viewed as a contemplative activity, or something to be consumed while engaged in scholarly pursuits, rather than part of a social engagement. They produce mostly green tea, but are also known for their lotus tea.
It’s just something to consider when considering your purchase if you haven’t heard of the country (or the brand).
Value for the Package
Sometimes you get what you pay for, and sometimes you don’t. Marketers know how to manipulate your senses to get your attention, especially when it comes to eating and drinking. With our mouths watering over candy pink boxes and red velvet ribbons, we don’t always consider just how much tea we’re getting for the price we’re paying. I clued in when I started purchasing more loose leaf tea and realized just how much 50g really is, and the range for what I’m paying for that tiny 50g.
Did you know…Monkey Chief Tea, grown in Huangshan City in China earned the title of “King of Green Tea” at the International Tea Expo in 2004. In 2009 its price reached about $284 USD per gram.https://www.yourbestdigs.com/tea-consumption-industry-statistics/
It might be more work but also more cost effective to purchase tea that you know is good, or a brand that hasn’t disappointed in the past. You can always put together your own gift basket. Add some curling ribbon or a personal note to let that person know you chose it with them in mind. It won’t remind marketers that sometimes personal is better than flashy, but you will remind the person receiving the gift that they mean something to you.
It’s easy to get distracted by ribbon and sparkle, but it’s also important as a consumer, to consider what we’re supporting. And by all means, yes! Bless your loved ones. Because in the end, it IS the thought that counts!
Happy shopping! Happy Monday!
Most china cabinets have at least one tea cup with the markings “Occupied Japan” or “Made in Occupied Japan”. So what does that mean?
After World War II, between 1945 and 1952, Japan was occupied by the U.S. and all imported items from Japan to the United States were marked accordingly. Some may have also been simply marked “Japan” or “Made in Japan,” but serious collectors will opt for the “Occupied Japan”and “Made in Occupied Japan” markings because these pieces are guaranteed to be within this specific timeframe. When assessing your china, check that the markings are under the tea cup’s glaze as many fraudulent marks have been added to boost the price of the piece. This can be done carefully with nailpolish but be careful, and never use any chemicals on a piece that isn’t glazed.
These marks were included on the china for American consumers who believed that the purchase proceeds would help to make war reparations. The predominant patterns during this time were roses, chintzes, violets and pansies. This particular tea cup is marked “Occupied Japan” and was produced by a company called Princess China.
If a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.Japanese Proverb
The shift between Summer and Fall seemed to happen overnight. One day I was wearing cotton sundresses and the next, flannel shirts and leggings. This sudden shift in season reminds me that pretty soon I’ll be “denning up” inside, and while each season has things that make it special, summer will live always in my heart.
Thank goodness some things never change – like my love of a good cup of hot tea!
It was gray and dreary most of last week. It rained…a lot! I no longer craved Summer’s fruits, but Autumn’s spices, and what better spice than cinnamon. I paired my homemade cinnamon waffle with fresh apple, and poured myself a cup of Twinings Orange & Cinnamon Spice tea.
This tea has only 3 ingredients: rooisbos leaves, vietnamese cinnamon, and orange peel. There are different types of cinnamon and vietnamese cinnamon is a stronger, spicy/sweet cinnamon, usually used to add warmth and depth of flavour. Cinnamon has some health benefits, but like any number of things, should be consumed in moderation. Since this Twinings tea is a rooibos-based tea, it is naturally caffeine-free.
I found the cinnamon warming on this chilly afternoon, but I think the orange peel tricked my brain into thinking it was orange pekoe, and as a result, I was disappointed that it wasn’t more robust. But it is an herbal and they are often more delicate than a black-based tea. Even so, it had an inviting aroma and a pleasant citrusy taste.
I have also tried Tetley’s Warmth: Cinnamon Spice tea, which is also a rooibos-base, and contains cinnamon, sweet blackberry leaves, orange peel, licorice root, cardamom, cloves, orange blossom and star anise. Pregnant women should avoid licorice root. I found it had a much stronger spice flavour and reminded me more of chai or a holiday blend. Certainly, in terms of availability and cost, Tetley wins!
While I usually think of pairing apple with cinnamon, the orange was a charming change. Hopefully it will help me to ease into the Fall season gently, and encourage me to embrace the changes.
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit,Henry David Thoreau
and resign yourself to the influences of each.
Even the weather has been weird. It was well into the 30s (celsius) on May 22, the day we decided to shovel and spread a million pounds of dirt and grass seed on our front lawn. We had to take frequent breaks to avoid heat exhaustion. Less than a week later, we were pulling on our slippers and watching the snow falling on our lilac blooms! And now, we’re back to sweating.
Regardless of the weather, I never lose my taste for tea. Just sometimes the temperature of the tea varies. When it’s cold, I want it hot. When it’s hot, I want it…hot or cold. It depends on what I’m doing. First thing in the morning, hot! If I’m sitting outside on the backporch with a good book, like this past Saturday, cold. And the best way to keep something cold is ice cubes. But ice cubes dilute the tea…no good!
So what if there was a way to keep it cold without diluting the tea, or a way to add flavour to your morning pot that’s already cooled on the counter? There is! It’s called an ice cube tray. It’s not that hard to boil some extra water when you’re making hot tea and use it to steep an extra mug or two. Or a few flavours in a few mugs. Once cooled, pour it into an ice cube tray and pop it in the freezer. Feel like peach? Drop in a peach tea cube. Chocolate chai? Drop in a cube! Peach and chocolate chai? Why not?!? It’s a great addition to your iced tea.
For a really hot day on the porch, with a really good book, I need a really big cup of iced tea, so I make ahead and use iced tea pop molds. I got these from David’s tea, but I’ve seen the same thing in grocery stores and dollar stores. It works great.
Just like ice cubes, don’t forget to make some iced tea ahead too, using the hot or cold brew method and prepare to sip the summer days away!
One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.Jeanette Wells, The Glass House
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