Being a regular tea drinker provides many wellness benefits to ones life and the ritual of afternoon tea must be listed among those providing a calmness to our otherwise chaotic lives.Read More
This morning I am enjoying my daily Matcha smoothie and as a bonus a cuppa of Olive Leaf Tea. The Olive Leaf Tea is something new for me, I have read a lot about this leaf and it's possible healthy benefits throughout my studies of herbs. According to many articles continuous use of Olive Leaf Extract or Tea can increase energy, be benefical for blood pressure, painful joints, cardio vascular issues, and diminish cravings.
Here again, the more I read about Herbs, leaves, and natural foods (no preservatives added), the more I realize the American lifestyle in the early 40's and 50's was a healthy lifestyle. Most American homes had a garden for their own home-grown vegetables, especially tomatoes. After school snacks were homemade by Mothers and probably the most important norm was all family members sat down to dinner together -- they talked about their days, dreams, and plans. Ahhhhh, peace.
Okay now that I have had my lovely trip down memory lane let's get back to "what is in my cup this morning." Oh yes, the Olive Leaf -- the taste is light and floral with a mild vegetable background with a slight astringent after taste. Very enjoyable beverage which presents an amazing "agony of leaf" dance for your enjoyment during the steeping process.
- As an antioxidant, Olive leaf extract protects those blood vessels from damage, and has been shown to be effective in protecting the heart from coronary occlusion. When taken over an extended period of time, it is believed to reverse arteriosclerosis. Olive leaves are astringent and antiseptic. Both the leaves and the bark have valuable febrifuge qualities. (Www.herbwisdom.com)
Here's raising my cuppa "Olive Leaf Tisane" to you today. The sun is shinning beautifully here in Central Pennsylvania, the earth is warming, and I am enjoying life . . . Wishing you the same.
The Tea And Hat Lady
During the last couple of weeks my tea corner of the world has included new tea books, new teas, tea cuppings with friends (old and new), and preparation for the 2016 World Tea Expo http://www.worldteaexpo.com/, But long before the World Tea Expo is my participation at the Southwest Tea Festival on February 27, 2016, in Las Vegas. (Good thing, we decided to Winter in the Southwest.) https://tealet.com/ The Southwest Tea Festival is planned by an energetic group of young Tea Professionals that will soon be taking the industry by storm . . . If they have not already done so. I am so looking forward to spending the day with Naomi, Elyse, and Ree.
Preparation to attend a trade show can be time consuming to say the least. First there is the on-line registration process to conquer as well as deciding which events are worth the additional fee(s). This decision involves does one base an attendance decision on the topic being presented or on the person/people doing the presentation. Granted there are tea professionals I enjoy hearing from year after year but if one does that then you never have an opportunity to meet the new up and coming tea professionals. In either situation I find that I always learn something new about tea and its contribution to a healthy lifestyle.
The 2016 activi-teas are beginning with a renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Raising my cuppa to sharing tea with all involved,
The Tea And Hat Lady
Wow, what an ordeal . . . All I wanted to do was to be able to quickly blog from my iPad through an App. In order to use the Squarespace app that is recommended I had to be using Squarespace 7 which meant a full day of changing versions of the Host's service, changing the Domain Name connection, and finally cancelling the Squarespace 5 page. Okay, that's done now I have to learn how to function in the newer version, fine tune the appearance of my page, and make sure the iPad App updates work.
So . . . . Here it goes.
Along with the cool weather, falling leaves, and frosted mornings comes a natural need for a bolder, stronger, warmer beverage. I turn to the bold black breakfast blends for comfort, especially when feeling a little blue or under the weather. A touch of rich cream and honey does wonders for the mental spirit and outlook during these times of holiday preparation.
As The Tea And Hat Lady, yesterday I had the pleasure of attending The Rosemary House (www.therosemaryhouse.com) Traveling Herb Seminar #86. A trip to three Pennsylvania Lavender Farms. We visited Carousel Lavender Farm (www.carouselfarmlavender.com) in Mechanicsville, Pa; Peace Valley Lavender Farm (www.peacevalleylavender.com) in Doylestown, Pa; and Hope Hill Lavender Farm (www.hopehilllavenderfarm.com) in Pottsville, Pa, with each providing a specific picture of the types and sizes of today's artisan lavender farmers.
After hearing the detailed lectures of all three Lavender Farmers, I found it interesting the similarities of farming lavender to farming tea. What struck me first was the amount of raw plant it takes to create the end product. With lavender you need approximately eleven pounds of flower and stem to produce one ounce of lavender oil which is very close to the ten pounds of fresh leaves, about 12,000 shoots to produce two pounds of tea.
Looking out over the fields of lavender a tea person is instantly reminded of the Japanese tea gardens with their rows and rows of rounded plants. The difference being that the rounded mounds of lavender are a creation of nature while the rounded rows of Japanese tea are created by the plucking/harvesting process. In the case of lavender it is generally always harvested by hand using a sickle or scissors. Today in some countries machines are used for harvesting tea whenever the terrain of the tea garden permits but some specialty teas are still harvested by hand to guarantee the uniqueness of the ending tea.
Both plants are extremely intoxicatingly aromatic, especially during the harvesting and processing stages. One has only to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation during tea harvesting to embrace the heavenly sweet yet green aroma of tea. This aromatic characteristic of the plant is what initially attracts us.
The wellness benefits and uses of either or both plant must account for a great deal of their resurgence in today's society as both have been available for hundreds (if not more) years. Each lavender farmer emphasized the wellness uses of lavender from treating burns to being a household cleaning product. Whereas lavender appears to be product of nature that is used primarily externally, tea delivers its benefits internally.
Of course, let us not overlook the fact that many times these two herbs do and can work together to provide wellness and culinary benefits. Once again, nature has provided plants that can be used to heal, enhance, and calm our spirits.
Here's to dropping a few lavender buds in your cuppa tea,
The Tea And Hat Lady
[maht-cha] Powdered tea used in Japans formal tea ceremony. Top-grade Matcha is a bright shade of green. As a rule, the lighter green varieties are sweeter and the darker ones more astringent. Matcha completely dissolves in the water when well mixed and thus the leaf is consumed in its entirety, providing more nutrients. Matcha is also a popular ingredient in savory dishes, desserts, ice creams and chai. In its unpowdered form it is called Tencha. When the new shoots on the tea bush have two or three leaves, they are shaded from sunlight for two or three weeks. In processing leaf for Tencha, the leaves are dried after being steamed but are not rolled, unlike most other green teas. During the drying process all the leaf veins and fine stems, are removed before the leaves are ground into a fine powder in a special stone mill.
- When purchasing Matcha, I like Japanese ceremonial Matcha. Until recently all marketed Matcha was from Japan and was routinely used only for the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Now Matcha or green tea powder is processed in Japan or China and is used in smoothies, culinary recipes, and cosmetic creams, scrubs, or lotions.
- The brighter the green coloring the better. To me Matcha should be a brilliant grassy green, not a mossy green. This is one major difference between the Japanese Matcha Tea and the Chinese green tea powder. Japanese tea processing halts the oxidation process of tea by steaming the leaves; thereby retaining a brighter green coloring. Also during the growing process the tea plants are shaded the last couple weeks of growth to increase the green. Whereas the Chinese green tea process uses a dry heat to halt the oxidation creating a mossy green color. Besides color there is a significant difference in taste between Japanese Matcha and Chinese green tea powder. The brighter the green the more naturally sweet and grassier the taste. . .In my opinion!
- Because Matcha is now being manufactured by different processes you need to be very careful of what you may be purchasing thinking you have bought the traditional Matcha. I recently made a purchase of what I thought was the type of Matcha I prefer only to learn that it was a mossy colored green tea powder. Needless to say, this tea did not deliver the aroma and taste I was expecting. Tea labeled "green tea powder" is not necessarily Matcha. Unless the label indicates Japanese manufactured Matcha Tea I do not purchase it. Here again is another food item for which you must read the label . . . the entire label.
- Remember true Japanese Matcha is expensive and usually sold by grams. When paying a lot for a tea, it is important to store it properly to maintain freshness and taste. My normal practice when handling Matcha is to store unopened Matcha in the freezer and opened Matcha in the refrigerator. I try to purchase Matcha that is sealed either in foil packaging or small tea tins. Remember that light, heat, and dampness are enemies of Matcha (as well as all teas).
If you keep all this in mind when purchasing your Matcha, you should be choosing quality Matcha.
Keep it "Green" and happy sipping,
The Tea And Hat Lady
Afternoon tea, ladies wearing their favorite chapeau, and friendship make for a perfect Sunday afternoon. That is exactly how I spent my Sunday afternoon yesterday only topped by having this happen at my favorite tea room -- Sweet Remembrance in Mechancisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.sweetremembrancestearoom.com)
Only one additional thing made the Afternoon Tea perfect . . . Nancy and Susanna gave me an opportunity to share my passion for hats. . . "Ladies and Their Hats." Let's see just how do I go about sharing my passion while incorporating women from history, literature, and today who are also "hat ladies." The rules being (1) not to bore the ladies, since they will have just eaten a bountiful tea, (2) find hat ladies people will recognize but not too easily, and (3) add interesting hat-tidbits. The method I chose was to provide each attendee with a pamphlet displaying ten hat ladies and lots of hat fact, quotes, and information.
For the Hat Ladies I choose the following:
- Caroline Ogden-Jones -- The last Mistress of Tudor Place in Washington DC. (Her portrait was styled from The Green Hat.)
- Iris Storm -- femme fatale, character from The Green Hat that races around London and Europe in her yellow Hispano-Suiza in a swirl of romantic intrigue.
- Dorothy Parker -- American satirist, poet, a great wit from the twentieth century, and a member of the Algonquin Round Table. (see my previous blog for more details on Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. (www.facebook.com/Round Table Mysteries/)
- The Tea and Hat Lady -- No list of hat ladies would be complete without me!
- Audrey Hepburn as she appeared in My Fair Lady.
- Princess Eugenie of York wearing her world famous Fascinator.
- Princess Beatrice of York wearing the Fascinator she wore to the recent Royal Wedding.
- A young Queen Elizabeth in a Turban style hat.
- The Honorable Genevieve Blatt -- Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge appointed by Governor Milton Shapp.
- Milliner Louise Green -- Louise has a unique and intuitive ability to combine colors, materials and textures, creating wearable works of art. All hats are handmade and trimmed with the finest ribbons, flowers, feathers and crystals.
Do not wait too long to muster your courage. Put a smile on your face, a hat on your head, and "walk into a room as if you won the place." ------ (Skirt Magazine)
Enjoying a cuppa tea from beneath my chapeau,
The Tea and Hat Lady
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2467-you-can-never-get-a-cup-of-tea-large-enough
Oh, how I live by that C.S. Lewis quote which made yesterday a perfect day in my world of tea, books, and hats. There were books, galore -- all mysteries -- my favorite. I had my tea travel buddy filled with Chocolate Cream Tea and one of my most favorite hats upon my head. Best of all I was able to share this all with my daughter. We had a very special day together doing our favorite things -- meeting new people, buying books, shopping, and learning about new authors (at least to us).
We spent the day at the "Murder as You Like It" Mystery Conference hosted by the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop http://www.mysterybooksonline.com/. We found at least three or four authors that will easily be listed among our favorite as well as four or five authors that will be placed on our "to be read soon" list. Yes, people who read do categorize their books, not always in the most logical manner but to us it is a system.
I am very excited to start reading the Algonquin Round Table Mystery series whose main character is based on Dorothy Parker. Dorothy was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles. I find her captivating because she was a witty hat-wearing female in the 1920's (favoring the Cloche), and drank from a tea cup. Not necessary always tea; in fact, the beverage may not have never been tea. If it was tea I am sure it was blended with a stronger libation.
Dorothy Parker's remains rest in a memorial garden designed by the NAACP outside their Baltimore headquarters. Her plaque reads,
Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, 'Excuse my dust'. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people. Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 28, 1988.
What a fantastic way to be memorialized.
Of course I think there could be no better way to be memorialized than to become a feisty character in a fictional historical mystery series. To have your name and qualities (perhaps improved or expanded to be more interesting) read by future generations is the ultimate to me. More information is available about these books at the author's (J. J. Murphy) web page at http://www.roundtablemysteries.com/ and the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries on Face book.
I raise my tea cup to Dorothy Parker . . . her feisty, witty humor and her debut in the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries.
“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
― Dorothy Parker
The Tea And Hat Lady
No matter how much we would love to have the warmth and sun of summer to stay, we in the Northeast must face the fact that . . . "Fall is coming!"
When the weather starts to be cool in the mornings my cravings turn to warm spices. . . cinnamon, cardamom, and chocolate. I know chocolate really is not a spice but combined with spices, chocolate becomes absolutely decadent. And thus enters a new tea selection for me . . . Chocolate Cream. . . Yummmmm. Chocolate Cream is blend of black tea, coconut, cocoa bits, chocolate chips, peppermint, and flavor creating a rich creamy dark chocolate tea.
What better way to enjoy Chocolate Cream than to use a Tea Buddy Traveler. Bringing this chocolate delight to you all day long. We now have a new design available at Reflections Hair Design for your Fall/Winter Tea enjoyment.
Here's to a Decadent Chocolate Fall Tea to you
The Tea And Hat Lady
One cannot travel anywhere without having the availability of a genuine cuppa of loose-leaf tea. My answer on how to accomplish this is to always have my tea buddy and a favorite selection of tea with me.
Dry Tea goes through airline security without a problem and there is always a beverage kiosk beyond security at which to obtain hot water. Here again caution is offered as their hot water is always too hot for my taste. One cannot taste the essence of the tea when one's mouth is burned. . . Just saying!
When selecting a tea to enjoy for a long period of time -- as a Tea Buddy allows -- choose one that does not have the tendency to become astringent after being steeped for a longer than recommended period of time. I have found that Matcha, Chinese Dark Tea, Puerh, and Oolong Teas travel best.
Although summer and Tea travels are decreasing, one must always have a quality cuppa of tea within reach at all times.
Here's to your Happy Tea Travels,
The Tea And Hat Lady
"Tea beckons us to enjoy quality time with friends and loved ones, and especially to rediscover the art of relaxed conversation." . . . Dorothea Johnson
It doesn't take much to make me happy -- just serve me an excellent cup of tea -- there might be some that would disagree with me but, they are wrong!
We recently traveled many miles (7,133) and ate many meals in restaurants, I could count on one hand the number of times I was offered quality loose-leaf tea. (Other than the times I prepared it myself from my "travel tea.") Only twice was I served quality tea in a restaurant. In my opinion these establishments are excellent and deserve to be mentioned, recommended, and revisited.
After having enjoyed a delicious meal of free-range chicken and vegetables at True Food Kitchen (2502 E Camelback Rd #135 Phoenix (http://www.foxrc.com/restaurants/true-food-kitchen/), I decided what I needed was a cup of herbal Chamomile Tea to complete my pleasant dinning experience. Imagine my surprise when I was offered a "Tea List." Wow! a place that actually knows tea. Then they brought me a lovely little teapot with loose-leaf tea steeping for my enjoyment. Later I learned the restaurant is the creation of Dr. Andrew Weil. Mission accomplished -- healthy and delicious! There is no doubt in my mind that I will visit True Food Kitchen when in Phoenix again. Which, if all goes well, will be very soon.
My daughter, a friend and I went to the Wy-Knot Cafe on 7th Street in Phoenix (http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2012/03/wyknot_cafe.php) for breakfast. Once again, I was thrilled to be served quality loose-leaf green tea in a self-steeping pot to accompany my breakfast selection of stuffed French toast. Although the review linked here talks about the coffee I, for one, can recommend the tea selection. The made-to-order breakfasts are well worth the wait providing you time to enjoy an outstanding cup of tea while chatting with the owner about her menu offerings and art decor.
The experience of being served quality loose-leaf tea will definitely become the norm with the Specialty Tea Institute (http://www.teausa.com/14527/sti-tea-education-courses), offering courses like -- "Tea in a Food Service Environment." This course is being taught by an extremely experienced Tea Sommelier and author. Those attending will be approaching an opportuni-tea of a lifetime. Wishing everyone the very best and looking forward to reaping the benefits of your excellent tea education.
Until we once again share a quality cup of tea,
The Tea And Hat Lady
New blogs will be posted soon. Please stay tune and visit www.teaandhats.com often.
Looking forward to talking with you soon.
The Tea And Hat Lady
Have you ever walked through a historical home, museum or cemetery where there were many aged markers and have a portrait or marker touch the inner you? I must admit this is an experience I have had many times when enjoying tea in a historical home where years ago ladies of the manor enjoyed the afternoon tea with their family, friends, and guests. But none have spoken as clearly or as loudly as a portrait of Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter at Tudor Place (www.tudorplace.org) in Washington DC. (For more information on the lovely tea I attended at Tudor Place, visit www.therosemaryhouse.blogspot.com)
Neither the portrait nor the lady were among the most famous occupants of Tudor Place. But, nonetheless, she and her portrait reached my sole and haunted my memory of the day until I finally reached out to Tudor Place to tell me more about Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter. The docent I talked with had never been asked about Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter prior to my inquiry. Could this be a sign of my intelligence or my deep desire to "know all"?
My delightful enchantment with Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter began while reading a poster prior to our tour of Tudor Place. There she was, her 1920’s fashion portrait, as the last lady of the house wearing a fashionable “bright green” cloche-style hat and colorful scarf. My initial thought was why so plain a portrait for “the Lady of the Manor.” Her piercing eyes penetrated my sole . . . with an invitation to tea. . . You see all tea people connect all things to tea. As I watched the other tourists, I realized that no one else was particularly intrigued with this portrait or lady.
The tour entered the dinning room and to my delight there was the “The Green Hat” portrait positioned before a table set for casual afternoon tea. The piercing eyes once again sent an invitation to tea and conversation. I ask about the portrait and was told it was Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter, painted by her husband Armistead Peter III. Caroline had chosen to exemplify a woman from the novel, “The Green Hat” by Michael Arlen written in 1924. Once I discovered the novel captured the atmosphere of the 1920s and was about a femme fatale who races around London and Europe in her yellow Hispano-Suiza in a swirl of romantic intrigue . . . I was hooked. I had to read the book and I understood Caroline’s invitation.
When the book arrived (had to be ordered from London)(www.capuchin-classics.co.uk), I learned “The Green Hat” was adapted for screen with Greta Garbo as Iris Storm . . .My enchanted tea is in full swing with guests Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter, Greta Garbo, Iris Storm, and myself . . . Ladies who wear hats . . . hats that have a story to tell . . .ladies with a verbal smartness, youthful cynicism and the spirit of rebellion.
Thank you Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter for the introduction to The The Green Hat,
The Tea And Hat Lady
How many times have you heard someone say, "I do not like Green Tea."? Okay, I can understand that we have different taste preferences but to make such a general statement about a tea that originates from many different countries, has been grown in unique terroirs, and processed by the use of precise methods is just wrong. Sorry about being so definite with this opinion but fair is fair and just as one would not judge a country by one person or city one should not judge all green teas by one cup.
Okay, now that I have started this . . . let's take a look at just the Green Teas of China. (We will look at the Green Teas of Japan later). It seems only right that we should begin with Chinese Teas as China is recognized as the home of tea. Although all colors of tea are grown and processed in China, green tea is the most sold and consumed.
The most common and favorite Chinese Green Tea is probably Long Jing/Dragon Well (A ribbed flat leaf). Originally from the hills around the town of Hangzhou but because of its popularity and sales success it is now being copied and processed in many places. This tea usually has a touch of bitter/acidity but can be slightly sweet as well. The better Long Jing/Dragon Well will offer a complex aromatic bouquet with green notes (veggie), iodized (fish), amino acids, licorice, and toast.
Bi Luo Chun (Dong Ting, Bi Luo Chun, PiLo Chun) a green tea from Jiangsu Province of China. This particular Chinese Tea is known for the way the leaf is rolled into small, intense green spirals (Green Snail Spring). Bi Luo Chun is a little more astringent than other green. The dry leaf is very small and delicate with contrasting colors of jade and silver leaves.
Tai Ping Hou Kui has a very unique shaped leaf: a stem of deep, intense green, comprising a bud and two flattened leaves. During infusion, the leaves opens out to resemble a flower floating on the surface. Tai Ping Hou Kui has a flowery note scent that sometimes resembles orchids. This tea may have a slight astringency with a rich and complex herbaceous notes that are specific to Chinese teas.
Huang Shan Mao Feng/Downy Tips from the Yellow Mountains, a tea recognized throughout China as a high-quality tea, rich in buds. Huang Shan Mao Feng is an exceptional tea that is considered by the Chinese to be the very finest of its type. This tea normally has a taste of acidity and light umami. A very delicate tea.
Huang Shan Mu Dan/Peony of the Yellow Mountains, the original hand-tied tea owes its excellent reputation to the high quality of the leaves selected and the very interesting flavor that accompanies its attractive appearance. Please note this exception quality is not true of all hand-tied teas. The latest trend is to have a flower in the center of the bunch so that when infused in a glass pot the flower blossoms as the tea is steeped. The taste will usually fall within the astringent to slightly sweet.
Bai Mao Hou. This tea is relatively rare and less known than the other teas mentioned. Bai Mao Hou gets its name (White Hairy Monkey) from the appearance of its leaf, which is covered in down resembling the long white hair that grows on the backs of old monkeys. Bai Mao Hou offers sweet and umami tastes.
Gunpowder, Zhu Cha (Pearl Tea), Gong Xi Cha (Splendid Tribute) is a rolled green tea from Zhejian Province. Gunpowder was one of the first teas to be exported to Britain in the eighteenth century. Gunpowder is the tea most often used in mint tea and holds the top position of most produced of the Chinese Green Teas.
Now, how can tea as complex and unique as the seven we just discussed be generalized into a definite like/dislike after having had just one cup of only one "Green Tea"? I ask you to be adventurous when selecting a "Green Tea" while withholding judgment of a class of unique, aromatic, herbaceous teas by your preference of one.
May your cup be filled with pleasing Green Tea,
The Tea And Hat Lady