World Tea Expo: Jane Pettigrew and Rare Teas

wte

This is my third year attending the World Tea Expo so I was able to prioritize and work the show floor in a day which left more time to relax, mingle with my teapeeps and attend a few choice classes. The one at the top of list was given by Jane Pettigrew on Rare Teas. If you haven’t been exposed to Jane, you surely are missing out. She is simply fabulous. Her love, knowledge and passion for tea fills the room. 

I tweeted about each tea during the tasting. I found them interesting and was pleased to be able to sip something out of the ordinary. I will say that my expectation for what I considered RARE was different then what WTE thought. To me a rare tea for example, might be… an aged puerh that was produced in limited quantity 11 years ago and only a 10 people in the world have access to it. This seminar was more about UNUSUAL Teas. That said, I still loved it and was grateful to have atteneded.

Here is a brief recap:

Tea 1: Malawi White Tea (Antlers)
This was the biggest surprise of the 6 for me. While I like white tea well enough its not a “go to” tea for me. It took just one sip and I was, well, in TeaLove. The liquor was sparkly, clear and sweet. There were light notes of fruit. No leaves were used to produce this tea which we all found interesting. A leafless tea made only with the stems. This was my top pick and favorite. 8 grams, Steeped at 176˚ for 5min.

Tea 2: South Korean Spring-Picked Green Tea
Very unusual for a green tea. The immediate smell is nutty which I wouldnt have expected from a green. It was more like a tie kwan yin. The wet leaf had a beautiful aroma that was slightly vegetal and nutty. The color: a bright, vibrant green. Very light colored liquor and taste. This teas is handmade. 8 grams steeped at 14o˚ for 2 min. (The steep should have been longer to bring out the flavor)

Tea 3: Ancient Lotus Green (Vietnam Flavored Green)
An immediate burst of anise both in aroma and taste! Quite unexpected. Dry leaf was dark and long but also rolled. Liquor was light gold. Wet leaf was long and curly. This tea is handmade and infused with Lotus blossoms. Steep time and temp wasn’t given.

Tea 4: Thai High Mountain oolong (Chang Mai)
Most of you know my deep, unwavering love for oolongs, so I was excited to try one from Thailand. The dry leaves were very large, rolled balls. The liquor was golden and had hardly any aroma. But perhaps the paper cups smell was getting in the way. I likened this oolong to an extremely light Jade Oolong. Its a 2 day production for this one as opposed to the usual 1 day for oolongs. 8 grams, Steep time 180˚ for 4 min.

Tea 5: Bolivian Organic Black
Did you know Bolivia produced black tea? I didn’t. This tea endures 18 hours of withering, has a very large leaf that is rolled. The color of the liquor was a lovely medium redish brown. The taste reminded me of a ceylon but with more complexity. It was slight fruity or plumy and very smooth. 8 grams, Steep time 212˚ for 4 min.

Tea 6: Tregothnan Classic Black (Cornwall, UK)
Tregothnan means “house at the top of the hill.” Not a true tregothnan, but a blend. Made locally. The dry leaves are small and cut like a CTC process yet this was all handmade. Impressive. Wet leaf fluffed up and turned brown. The liquor was a lovely shade of deep red. The taste was immediately astringent and made my lips pucker.Steep time and temp wasn’t given.

Today is the last day of the Expo and I’ll be attending Lisa Richardson’s class on pairing tea and chocolate! More posts to come later!

Happy Sipping!

World Tea Expo: Jane Pettigrew and Rare Teas

Christmas Tea at the Mayflower Hotel

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Amy, Mysoon, Nicole (owner of Quiet Mind Yoga), Tiffany, Rochel (owner of Joyful Bath Co.)

Every year it’s the same. I send out an email in August to my “TeaPeeps” suggesting a Sunday in December for us to meet for Christmas Tea. A bit early for an RSVP, but this way we are all on the same page and can actually make it happen. It seems to work because this is our 5th year! Amy, Mysoon, Nicole and Tiffany were all past students of mine (when I was teaching design and creative thinking) who obviously transitioned into being dear friends. Rochel was a past vendor of mine, who is now a dear friend. Nicole has recently followed her heart and has started a yoga studio here in DC called Quiet Mind. Rochel has done the same with following her heart and has started her second business called Joyful Bath Co. Amy and Mysoon have followed their hearts and passion and are both working as designers and Tiffany followed her heart into a wonderful job that has her traveling to exotic locations like Vietnam!

A fabulous group of woman,  we met today at 315p at the Mayflower Hotel, in downtown DC. I’m sure many of you have heard of  hotel – think Eliot Spitzer.

The Mayflower Hotel  is elegant and their afternoon tea is well done. I have often met many a client for tea here, but was impressed with their version of Christmas Tea. Decorated with poinsettias on each table and a harpist in the corner of the room, each of us was offered our own 2-tier of savory and sweets.We decided that we likes this rather than a large 3-tier in the center of the table.

food2It began with a selection of savory tea sandwiches including: smoked salmon, grilled vegetarian sandwich on focaccia bread, smoked duck and a mozerella on pita. Delicious! Rochel enjoyed it so much, she requested a refill! The sweets section was abundant and I don’t think any of us were able to finish what was offered. There was a raspberry fruit tartlet, chocolate eclair, black currant scone, clotted cream and lemon curd, raisin brioche, coconut rocher and hazelnut macaroon and their signature banana bread. We often add on a glass of champagne, but this year we skipped the bubbly and just enjoyed the tea. I enjoyed a pot of Wild Blueberry. And I believe there were some oohs and ahs over their Mountain Spring Jasmine tea. I had a sip – quite good. The tea menu included the following: Breakfast Americana, Darjeeling Choice Estate, Earl Grey, Wild Blackberries, Orchid Oolong, Mountain Spring Jasmine, Sencha, Chamomile Citrus, Ginger Twist and Organic Mint Melange. All I believe from Mighty Leaf. I thought the service was good and the overall experience was pleasant.

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The menu

The room was filled with many young woman who were obviously there with family and friends to celebrate season and enjoy each others company. I can say that our Christmas Tea event has become something I look forward to each year. Though we many not see each other for 364 days, we can always count on coming together in early December over tea and treats to catch-up on whats happened over the last year. I truly treasure the time we spend together and look forward to next year!

Here is a little bit of history on the Historic Mayflower Hotel:

The Mayflower Hotel was known as the “Grande Dame of Washington, D.C.,” boasting more gold than any other building in the country except for the Library of Congress. Just four blocks from the White House, this grand, historic hotel remains not only a place to make history but to absorb it; throughout the last 80 years the hotel has hosted events that have changed the course of human affairs. Its opening function, the annual banquet of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, was totally eclipsed by Calvin Coolidge’s Inaugural Charity Ball held two weeks later in the Grand Ballroom. The ball began a long tradition of presidential use of the Mayflower. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ate lunch at the hotel every day for 20 years, and President Harry Truman lived at the Mayflower during the first 90 days of his presidential term. Franklin Roosevelt lived in Suite 776 during his pre-inaugural period and dictated his famous, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech there. In 1942, the hotel staged Washington’s first blackout drill, installed air raid sirens and first aid stations on every floor, turned the roof into an observation post and made plans to convert the barbershop into an emergency hospital. Harry S. Truman announced his intention to run for the presidency in 1948 at a Jackson Day dinner at the Mayflower (“I want to say that during the next four years there will be a Democrat in the White House and you are looking at him.”)

1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20036 USA
Phone:  1-202-347-3000
Fax:  1-202-776-9182

Christmas Tea at the Mayflower Hotel

The Wonderful World of Tea and Honey

honeycomb2

All of a sudden, I’m fascinated with honey. Honey producing, honey bees, honeycombs, worker bees, honey facts. All of it. I had no idea honey was so complex and magical. I’m in awe of those  little honey bees that work so hard for us to enjoy some sweetness in a simple cup of tea. We must thank the honey bee – especially the worker bees (who are female, only live 6-8 weeks and do all of the work) for gifting us with such sweetness. Read on if you want to learn more…

10 Fun Facts about Honey

  1. In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.
  2. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
  3. An average worker bee (female) makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  4. It would take approximately 1 ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
  5. Honey contains vitamins and antioxidants, but is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free!
  6. Honey is less than 20% water.
  7. Honey speeds the healing of open wounds and also combats infection.
  8. Beeswax is edible. If you’ve eaten a Gummy Bear, you’ve eaten beeswax.
  9. Honey is the only produce with NO EXPIRATION DATE.
  10. Tea and Honey are a perfect match! Both are known to contain antioxidants which help prevent damage to cells and tissues

23 Honey Varieties (Did you know there were so many? I didn’t)

  1. ACACIA – made from nectar collected from Acacia tree blossoms which produce a honey that is remarkably clear and pure. Popular and sweet with a mild, delicate floral taste.
  2. ALFALFA – light in color and mildly scented floral aroma. Its delicate nature doesn’t overpower other flavors making it a perfect with tea. Not as sweet as most honey.
  3. AVOCADO – tastes nothing like the fruit, avocado. Dark, fairly rich and buttery in flavor.
  4. BASSWOOD – one of the few varieties that that is light color but has a strong biting distinctive lingering flavor. Very good with teas like Earl Grey.
  5. BLUEBERRY – made from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. Light amber in color, has a pleasant flavor, a slight tang, and a blueberry aftertaste.
  6. BUCKWHEAT – hard to find. The darkest of honeys with a full-bodied flavor. Rich in iron. Popular with honey lovers. Has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys.
  7. CLOVER – a classic honey with a mild sweet taste. One of the most available and popular varieties.
  8. EUCALYPTUS – a special herbal flavor which carries a hint of menthol. Traditionally used as a protection against colds and headaches. Try it in your morning or afternoon tea.
  9. FIREWEED – One of the most popular honeys. Very smooth, delicate, and buttery in taste.
  10. HEATHER – thick, amber in color. Strong, fragrant and floral with a very lingering aftertaste that is almost bitter. High in protein content.
  11. LEATHERWOOD – a native eucalyptus found in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia and is the source for 70% of the country’s honey. Excellent on wheat toast. Adds a fantastic aroma to tea.
  12. LINDEN – light yellow color and a delicate, fresh, woody scent. Known to have sedative and antiseptic qualities. Used in the treatment of colds, cough and bronchitis.
  13. MANUKA – found only in New Zealand’s coastal areas, and comes from the flower of the Tea Tree bush. Said to be antibacterial and helpful for healing of sore throats, colds, indigestion, stomach ulcer, acne and pimples.
  14. ORANGE BLOSSOM – light in color, mild in flavor with a fresh fruity scent with a fragrant citrus taste.
  15. PUMPKIN BLOSSOM – harvested once a year in the early fall. Dark amber-colored liquid with a light floral fragrance. Tastes nothing like Pumpkin Pie. A seasonal honey –  limited as the bloom is short and does not produce much nectar.
  16. RED GUM – found in Australia. A darker honey with a thicker consistency, bold taste and higher level of antioxidants compared to others.
  17. REWAREWA – found in New Zealand. Full bodied and malty. A classic dark red premium honey with a caramel, slightly burnt flavor. Quite unusual.
  18. PINE TREE – from Greece. Less sweet, a little bitter, with a strong aroma. Rich in minerals and proteins. Resistent to crystallization.
  19. SOURWOOD – light-colored, delicate, with a caramel or buttery flavor, and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.
  20. SAGE – produced in California. Light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. Slow to granulate, making it a favorite variety among honey packers.
  21. TAWARI – from New Zealand’s Tawari trees. Golden in color with a creamy butterscotch flavor.
  22. TUPELO – a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. Heavy bodied but with a mild, distinctive taste. One of the sweetest honey varieties.
  23. WILDFLOWER – also known as “multifloral” or “mixed floral” honey.  Its color can vary from very light to dark. Flavor range from light and fruity to tangy and rich.

honeybear115 Recommendation for Pairing Tea and Honey

  1. English Breakfast or Earl Grey Tea: Blueberry honey
  2. Lemon or Mint Tea: Clover honey
  3. Jasmine Tea: Alfalfa or Sage honey
  4. Irish Breakfast or Assam Tea: Eucalyptus honey
  5. Ceylon or Darjeeling: Orange blossom honey

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, or rather honeycomb. Honey seems to be an uber-super-duper food that just happens to have a natural affinity with tea. Lucky us!

Today, December 12, 2008, you can read a cool article at Mail Online UK by Jenny Hope on tea and womans  health: “Women who drink three cups of tea a day may be protecting themselves against heart attacks and strokes.”

Newsmax.coms article on June 20, 2008: “The clearest consistent evidence points to an association between tea consumption, in excess of three cups per day, and a reduced risk of myocardial infarction or a heart attack.Dr. Ruxton found that drinking up to eight cups a day would deliver optimum benefits from polyphenols without affecting sleep quality.

I hover around 8 – 10 cups a day so I should have the heart of a infant. Or, I should be glowing…or levitating… or something like that. Here’s an 11th fun fact about honey:  When adding honey into tea, wait till it’s not too hot to avoid destroying its natural goodness.

Happy Sipping!

* If you liked what you read, please recycle. Send to someone who might be interested!

The Wonderful World of Tea and Honey

Steeping tea. In a Gravy Boat?

gravyboat-girlAs you may remember, we were at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show 2 weekends ago. I met so many wonderful tea people! It was a great event. These two lovely woman who’s names have escaped me were so interested in tea so we stood and spoke for quite a long while. They ended up buying a few bags of our super fabulous loose leaf. During the course of the discussion one of them asked me about tea pots and methods for steeping. I immediately went into teapot mode and shared with them some of most beloved pot, infusers and tea pillowcases. As I’m deep into my passionate conversation on pots, the woman on the right says, “I don’t need any of those. I steep my tea in a gravy boat.”

Dead silence. Disbelief. Followed by more silence, with a quick scan of the room and then…

24 oz Scarlet iPot
24 oz Scarlet iPot

A recommendation for an actual tea pot. I had never heard of anything like it! So creative! So unusual! And just a little bit odd, but in a good way. I believe I steered her in the right direction. We have a few nice options for steeping tea. The first being the fabulous iPot. Comes in many colors and 3 sizes. We carry the 17oz and 24oz. The larger of the two seems to be moving off the shelves pretty quick. We also have the Universal Infuser and the Ceramic Mug with Infuser. Both great investments. Now and again we carry the Globe British Tea pot, but they aren’t easy to find. They are classic. I happen to believe that investing in a good pot and/or infuser is really worth it if you are a true tea lover. Part of the fun and delight is not just the liquid, but what the liquid is held by.

I haven’t counted how many pots I personally have collected over the years, but I know its quite a bit. They are hidden all over my house and sometimes I’ll open a cabinet and be joyfully surprised that I forgot I had that particular one.

Whats not to love about a teapot??

If you have a teapot you love, send us a picture and we’ll post it on the blog!

Steeping tea. In a Gravy Boat?

Presidential Tea Race Results: Obama Wins!

obama_blendThe people have spoken. “Drink For Change” won by a landslide (90%) while “Extra-Mavericky” fell behind (10%). Were you one of the lucky ones to order a Presidential Tea Blend? Hope so.

Here is to a future full of antioxidants!

Presidential Tea Race Results: Obama Wins!

Obama v. McCain Tea Tweets on Twitter

Continue reading “Obama v. McCain Tea Tweets on Twitter”

Obama v. McCain Tea Tweets on Twitter

Chocolate Tea?

Chocolate tea?
chocolate in my tea?

As a self proclaimed “tea snob” sometimes its hard to wrap my hands around a trendy blend.  Especially some that are just… the oddest of concoctions. I’ll refrain from mentioning anything specific, but one that comes to mind is a tea with so much strawberry in it I dumped it out immediately. It wasnt tea, it was Strawberry Quick!

We don’t sell “crazy blends.”  I like a blended tea that keeps with the integrity and mission of the company which is to: source and sell the best leaf with the best flavor. Quite simply: I like quality. Recently, a fellow TeaPeep & tea merchant strongly recommended I give chocolate tea a try. Here is what happened:

I loved it.

With just a touch of local honey (buy local!) to boost the chocolate flavor – you’ve got yourself one of the best secrets out there! Rich, smooth and creamy it reminded me of sitting fireside in Vail … watching everyone ski and snowboard into each other.

Do you have a chocolate addiction? Consider yourself a choco-holic? Like a chocolate-y snack around midnight? Try chocolate tea to satisfy the craving. I highly recommend this wonderful, surpising tea as a way of enjoying chocolate and tea without… consequence. (ie: calories).

*** If you contact me directly (info@pearlteas.com),  I’ll send the first 10 TeaPeeps a sample of our newest member to the tea family: “TeaChocolatte”.

In the subject line put: “TeaChocolatte, please!”  and let me know if you found us via Twitter or the TeaLove Blog! and don’t forget your mailing address!

Happy (TeaChocolatte) sipping!

Chocolate Tea?