According to Scientific tests the scent of Vanilla has a euphoric effect on the brain, uplifts the spirit, has a calming effect on the central nervous system and is a known aphrodisiac. Tests done by neurologist Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that:
“In controlled tests designed to better understand the connection between smell and sexual arousal, Dr. Hirsch had volunteers wear masks scented with an array of odors. Several fragrance combinations were found to be very effective in increasing penile blood flow. These included lavender and pumpkin pie, doughnut and black licorice and pumpkin pie and doughnut. However, mature men were most aroused by just one simple smell…vanilla! Modern science has proven what native people figured out centuries ago, and many of us discovered on our own — whether you prefer to eat, drink, or smell it, vanilla is definitely a potent character in the arena of love!”
That’s some serious TeaLove. Back in the day, aphrodisiacs like vanilla beans were expensive and only royalty and nobility were permitted or could afford use them. Today, Vanilla is an every day, every person flavor and scent. Below are 7 interesting facts you may not have known about Vanilla:
Thomas Jefferson is the one who gets credit for bringing Vanilla to the United States in 1789. After his ambassadorship in France, and upon his return to the States, he wrote to his French attaché requesting 50 vanilla pods be sent to him.
Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family.
The flower that produces the vanilla bean lasts only one day.
The beans are hand-picked and then cured, wrapped, and dried in a process that takes 4 to 6 months.
After saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world.
Only the melipona bee, found in Central America, can pollinate vanilla. In other parts of the world, humans duplicate the process using a wooden needle.
Heliotropin in Vanilla is responsible its ability to soothe emotional tension and reduce anxiety and stress.
When you take the sweetheart of aromas (Vanilla) and blend it with Camellia Sinensis, you end up with the most with strong aromatherapy and an unrivaled nector: our Black Vanilla Bean tea. There are many Vanilla teas on the market, ours is simply and unabashedly sublime. Smooth, easy, highly aromatic, and lacking in that “chemical vanilla” taste of some others.
Ok a little off-key, but what matters is that we are bringing back and kicking off our 25 Days of Tea Giving today – on Giving Tuesday!
If you are a regular TeaLove / Pearl FineTeas follower, then you may remember the original version of this from 2016 called 25 Days of Tea where we spotlighted and discounted a different tea each day leaving up to Christmas Day. In 2017, we called it Tea Kindness and gave a discount weekly. In 2018, we’re back to tea giving daily with discounts from today until Dec 21st – the last Friday before Christmas.
Kicking off Day 1 with one of our most recent and beloved tea blending endeavor: The Francis! Tea Blend. Francis caught our attention on Instagram in early summer and we’ve been smitten ever since. The backstory on this micro kitten is heart warming and you can read about it here on the latest feature on The Dodo. He’s also all over our Instagram page.
About The Francis! Blend: Long whiskery green tea leaves, tiny flowers that open slowly, small bits of crystalized ginger, dried ginger and granulated honey, with a micro-hint of orange citrus created in honor of our favorite micro-kitten! Fresh and bright with a touch of sweetness – with a slight zing from the ginger linger on the palate for a long while… A healthy green tea blend that brings about spontaneous happiness.
• Aroma: Earthy, sweet, floral, ginger
• Liquor (liquid): Light pale yellow
• Flavor profile: Easy, gingery, hints of citrus and honey
• Brewing recommendation: 175° Fº / 1-3 minutes
• Caffeine: Yes.
If you are interested in giving the Francis! Blend a try and supporting a wonderful cause, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas teashopand use code: GIVETEA1 at checkout and enjoy 20% Off this Blend – Today only.
We’re already donating 10% but are upping it to 20% today on Giving Tuesday! Thank you for supporting us so we may support others!
Welcome to the little hamlet where Pearl Fine Teas was born almost 11 years ago. To honor this lovely part of Washington DC, I’m finally introducing the newest member to the Pearl Fine Teas family: Healing Heart Tonic.
“Brookland evolved in the early 1870s, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran its western branch line through this area. The rail line was situated alongside a fine 1840 Greek Revival farmhouse known as the Brooks Mansion, home of Colonel Jehiel Brooks. In the late 1880s, Catholic University was established just north of Colonel Brooks’ farm. Developers quickly responded, creating a new Washington neighborhood beyond the central city and taking its name from Colonel Brooks. The university provided a centerpiece for a large number of Catholic institutions.
In the early days, Brookland, with its single-family, wood-frame houses in styles ranging from Queen Anne to Craftsman – attracted government workers, Smithsonian Institution scientists, and people of many ethnic backgrounds who shared the Catholic faith. In the 1930s, Brookland attracted affluent African Americans looking for an area that was not restricted to whites only. Of particular note are 13 International style houses designed by Hilyard Robinson and Howard H. Mackey, two of Washington’s most prominent African American architects of the era. Robinson was responsible for the Ralph Bunche house, 1510 Jackson Street, NE, built for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Many other prominent black Washingtonians made their home here, including the entertainer Pearl Bailey, the poet Sterling Brown, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Robert Weaver, Senator Edward Brooke, and historian Rayford Logan. Brookland enjoys an interesting history of civic activism. Most recently it rescued the Brooks Mansion, which still stands near the Brookland Metro station, a symbol of this community and its heritage.”
I first discovered this little enclave back in 2003 – a hidden gem, devoid of trend and pretension. I loved the diversity of people, the loving warm-hearted neighbors, the chirping birds, the stunning green spaces with gardens galore – and the gorgeous refuge of the Franciscan Monastery where you often see a Monk or Nun strolling in deep contemplation and reflection. A quiet walk through the rose garden instantly infuses a sense of peace and puts all things in perfect perspective. As a member of the Franciscan Garden Guild, I’ve spent time in the greenhouse, helping with the famous yearly Plant Sale and even learned how to extract honey from the bees they keep.
My neighborhood has inspired me in so many ways – mostly notably with the profound friendships I’ve made living here that have touched and warmed my heart – specifically my good friend Bill. He is no longer with us, but I had the privilege of being his next door neighbor for 14 years. We had a lot of fun during those years and he taught me a thing or 10 about everything from how to install a light fixture to how to navigate some of life’s steeper slopes. It was a joyful friendship and one I deeply cherish. It’s also why I wanted to create a blend that reflected and honored that special friendship – which was born right here in Brookland.
Bill was a Deacon in his Church; He loved roses, and chewing on lemon grass and good ole’ fashioned ginger root. The Brookland Healing Heart Tonic is a blend of those 3 ingredients and is totally caffeine free, healing, and heart warming. Besides the emotional healing benefits of this tisane, there are also many actual health benefits to this wellness tonic:
• Naturally uplifting (especially for those prone to feeling down or depressed)
• Regulates hormone levels (how the neurotransmitters in our brain are regulated)
• Can help to improve liver function and increase urination (natural diuretic)
• Releases toxins from the body
• Good source of Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• May also help treat arthritis, menstrual cramps, cold/flu, digestive issues, and insomnia
• Traditionally used to help control and normalize heart rate and for high blood pressure.
• Used for the treatment of depression and anxiety
• Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
• Loaded with Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• Citral is the active constituent and lemon grass has the highest concentration of it compared to any other plant in the world. Citral has antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that both benefit the brain.
• Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Fungal
• Boots Immunity
• Aids digestion and relief from nausea
• Improves heart disease risk factors
• May lower Cholesterol
• May have powerful anti-diabetic properties
• Can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride level (similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin)
• Studies show its effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis
• Can protect against age-related damage to the brain (Alzheimers) and can also improve brain function in elderly women
Healing Heart Tonic (District Blend #02: Brookland) will debut at markets on:
This is where locals get to vote for what they consider the best in everything from: best place to nap to best hangover cure to best…tea shop!
I was pleasantly surprised in 2016 when we made it as Runner-Up in Best Tea Shop category. I couldn’t have been happier, especially considering there is no actual bricks & mortar. Just a 10 x 10 tent that’s stuffed into my SUV TeaMobile, and lugged around every weekend to area Farmers Markets in the DC-MD-VA Metro Area. Through rain, sleet, snow, wind, heat, clouds and sunshine, you’ll find the #TeaTentpropped up and filled with avid Tea Lovers picking up orders or just chit chatting about current events, dogs, politics, telling secrets, picking teas, buy gifts and making me laugh.
2017 is officially my 10th year as a tea professional. July 17th to be exact! Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ve just spent an entire decade in this kooky business. Aside from the amazing tea I get to drink every day of my life, it’s taken me all over the world and given me a profound sense of community and connection.
Over these last 10 years, I have made such lovely friends out of customers and I’m always delighted and grateful when they choose my micro tea company to spend their money. I’ve said it for years, and it’s still true today: I have the absolute best tea customers on the planet. Passionate, loyal and down right funny! Thank you to all the TeaNerds near and far who have supported Pearl Fine Teas from 2007 to 2017.
As I was thinking about what tea to discuss for today, it occurred to me that talking about rituals around tea seemed timely. So, I’m detouring during our 25 Days of Tea adventure to talk about a ritual of making Full Moon Water during this full moon phase which is today, December 13, 2016. It’s the last Super Moon of the year called the Full Cold Moon, and right before the Winter Solstice.Seems like perfect timing.
Websters definition of ritual is: 1 : of or relating to rites or a ritual :ceremonial <a ritual dance>
2 : according to religious law <ritual purity>
3 : done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol <ritual handshakes> <ritual background checks>
But I like this one: “a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence.”
Rituals often bring a sense of comfort, serenity and peace. (Who doesn’t want that). And as we know, rituals and tea go hand in hand. It dates back thousands of years in almost every tea culture. The Japanese tea ceremony, the Gong Fu Chinese tea ceremony, Korean tea ceremony, even the British “ceremony” of teatime affords us the gift of being present and connecting to those we are sharing tea with, our surroundings, nature and most importantly: ourselves. You can read a very interesting article by Richard Carrico in Cultural Anthropologythat outlines the concept of ritual. He writes that “Ritual is in fact an inevitable component of culture, extending from the largest-scale social and political processes to the most intimate aspects of our self-experience.”
One ritual that may not be widely known is that of charging water. And since water is as important as tea, this seemed very interesting to me. I’m not sure where it originated (it may be Shaman) and it may sound bit hocus pocus but what the heck. Things thrive under the warmth and light of the sun, so why not the moon? Let’s give it a shot tonight during this last Supermoon and see if we can infuse some good positive vibes into our cuppa and ourselves.
Here’s how it works:
The idea is to take fresh water (without any chemicals) and place it in a glass or crystal bowl and set it either on your window sill to catch the moon rays, or outside (covered with a light plastic wrap to keep out bugs and debris). You leave it there all night. The water is said to be charged in the morning with positive energy having collected the light from the full moon. Some say it even tastes different. Let’s find out by making Full Moon Water tonight and then making our tea in it tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll feel energized. Perhaps calm and serene. Or maybe we won’t feel anything, but we will have tried something different that involves tea, and that in itself could turn into a ritual: always trying something new.
Though I already wrote a post about our Recovery Blend in November and the components of the blend, I’m going to offer it up for today’s special since an herbal remedy seems to be right on target for our full moon water experiment.
The question I’m most often asked when this tea is in our weekly farmers market rotation is: “Is it really gunpowder? Like from a gun that you shoot?” Only once did I say yes and asked if he was a hunter and in need of ammo. The look on his face was worth the karma I think I took on for that fib that clearly was meant for my own entertainment. I came clean after I stopped laughing, and he (luckily) thought it was really funny. I mean it when I say: I have some of the best tea customers around. So what exactly is this crazy tea called “Gunpowder” or “Temple of Heaven”?
It’s a classic green tea – usually from Zhejiang province, China and because the leaves are hand-rolled into tiny pellets, it was given the name: Gunpowder tea. Its often mildly smokey and has a very long finish. This is a robust green tea and if steeped too long can become very astringent and even bitter – which for some is preferred. Gunpowder is the base used for Moroccan Mint tea and the smokiness of the green tea paired with mint leaves is a brilliant combination which will be featured later in the month. In the meantime, below are some notes on this robust brew:
• Overview: A classic green tea that is more robust then most greens. It has weight. • Dry Leaf: Tightly rolled “pin head” size leaves, shiny green • Liquor (liquid): Darker then you would expect – almost a dark greenish brown • Aroma: Vegetal, hints of smoke from a chiminea • Flavor notes: Pungent, astringent, hint of smoke, long finish • Brewing recommendation: 175° Fº / 2-3 minutes. Be sure to use water that is under boiling in temperature. • Caffeine: Yes
If you are interested in giving this tea a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS4 at checkout to get 25% of Gunpowder Green Tea – today only!
Trekking down to our local school to cast a vote in this historic election is both an honor and a privilege not taken lightly. This election more then ever, we give thanks to that one thing that kept us sane over the last few months: TEA.
It feels like a hundred years ago rather then 8 when Obama and McCain were battling it out for the Presidency in 2008 – when we all thought that election was intense. Twitter was “newish” and we were all trying that thing called tweeting. I remember sitting at the computer trying to figure out this new medium and fired off a tweet into the void as Pearl Fine Teasand asked: “If Obama and McCain were tea blends what would they be?“
To our surprise, people actually responded.
Long story short… what happened was an interesting chain of events that culminated in a contest where we took votes and suggestions, and then blended 2 teas to represent each candidate. We announced the winner on Nov 4, with fulfillment the week of the inauguration. Through all that new tweeting I met Jack Cheng when he was part of Steepster. Jack reached out and showed me 2 illustrations he had done of each one of our blends made entirely out of tea leaves (you can see an early blogpost here.) They were and still are fantastic, and ultimately ended up on the cover of TEA. A MAGAZINE. I noticed recently through a feed on Facebook that Adagio Teas created an illustration of Trump and Bernie paying homage to our Obama-McCain!
This time around I wondered (like last time) what the blends for the candidates might be for this election with Trump as the (R) candidate and Hillary, the (D) candidate and America’s first potential female president. So much has changed these 8 years in the U.S. and in American Government. At the moment we are a nation divided, and its been a brutal campaign. With all the unusual shenanigans that went into this election year we all traveled a very long road to get us to today: November 8th. Regardless who wins tonight, there is no doubt that we will need support for the days, weeks, months and 4 years ahead.
It’s still early in the day as this post goes live, and we won’t know who our next President will be, but our hope is that the road to recovery is a short one and that the great divide will heal sooner then later. No matter what happens we are grateful that one thing is certain: there will always be TEA.
It’s cyber-monday and we are doing our part to stimulate the economy by offering a 20% Discount on tea and teaware from today through December 24th! Just enter Code TLB20 at checkout! And… If you order totals more than $100, shipping is FREE!
Need suggestions on what teas to give? How about…
Earl Grey de la Creme or Earl Grey Lavender
Perfect for the Earl Grey lover who might be interested in trying something different. de la Creme is smooth and creamy with notes of vanilla. Lavendar is light, refreshing and very aromatic. Both blend nicely with the oil of bergamot!
Know someone who needs to chill? Having trouble relaxing and falling asleep. We aren’t sleep doctors, but we have to admit… Counting Sheep seems to relax the TeaPeeps here at Pearl Fine Teas. The blend is light and fresh and has strong notes of citrus. The aromatherapy alone should have you sawing wood. Caffeine Free to promote total relaxation and a peaceful end to your day. Just don’t sip and drive with this blend… you could fall asleep behind the wheel!
Did your plans for a tropical vacation fall by the wayside this year because of the economic climate? No worries. Sip Bora Bora and imagine yourself on a tropical island… sun warming your skin… We know its no substitute for a real vacation, but why not sip this healthy green tea blended with passionfruit to warm you from the inside out?
One of the most outstanding Ceylon teas you will ever drink. Our Ceylon is from Shawlands Estate in the Uva region of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Takes well to milk although best drunk black. Full bodied, soothing and complex. Superb!
Maojian is one of China’s most famous green teas, grown high in the mountains in misty tea gardens with brief sunlight and cold nights. The difficult conditions yield strong leaves that can withstand rolling and high roasting which creates its wonderful rich flavor and aroma. If you haven’t tried this green tea, you are missing something special.
Silver Needles Long, soft and downy, Silver Needles are the first spring buds of the Da-Bai tea plant.It comes from Fuding, a serene region with soothing waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. The peaceful setting is reflected in the flavour: soft, mellow, with the sweet freshness of honeydew melon. A classic not to be dismissed.
So, Social Media does work. While on Twitter last week when I posted the now infamous “If Obama or McCain were a tea, what would they be” question, we were approached by Jack Cheng, a tea enthusiast, to help us with the packaging of the Presidential Blends. As you can see, they are seriously fabulous!