Tea of the Week: Sencha Decaf

Congrats to the P. Steele Family who won last weeks Organic Texas Iced Tea Blend. This tea went out the door fast and I have more coming, guess I should add new teas more often! This weeks TOW is Japanese Sencha Decaf, a great staple to have around. More about this tea. It's great to have on hand for people that are sensitive to caffeine and I like it for my grandson, he can drink as much as he wants and isn't bouncing off the walls! Remember NOT to boil your water for any green tea.

A beautiful picture of a tea field with Mt. Fuji in the background. Sencha is a Japanese green tea, specifically one made without grinding the tea leaves. Unground tea was brought from China after Matcha (a powdered green tea). Some varieties expand when steeped to resemble leaf vegetable greens in smell, appearance, and taste. More than seventy five percent of all tea grown in Japan is made into Sencha. Developed in 1738 by merchant and tea-maker Soen Nagatani, Sencha was made by steaming then hand-rolling and drying the leaf on a large, flat, heated pan. During the Meiji period (1868 to 1912), much of the extremely labor-intensive tea-making process was mechanized. However, each step of the mechanized process mimics the traditional handcrafted method and takes the same amount of time from start to finish. Handcrafted Sencha is now extremely rare and found only among competition grade teas. History of Japanese Tea from Wikipedia is an excellent read to learn more. Sencha is very popular in Japan, and is drunk hot in the cooler months and usually chilled in the summer months.

This is what I see sitting on the deck in the evening. The humming birds are always a source of amusement. I think the older I get the more the little things in life amuse me. Sitting with my knitting, listening to the neighborhood kids play, watching the birds, and of course my dogs antics. Less than 3 weeks before school starts, time to start my lists and start shopping this week. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!


Tea of the Week: Organic Texas Iced Tea Blend

Congrats to Jason Witt who won last weeks Earl Grey tea! Visit Jasons blog Spirituality of Tea. I have a real treat this week, a brand new tea. My supplier says this one has been selling like crazy this summer, it's Organic Texas Iced Tea Blend. More about this tea.

The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. The recipe called for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving them with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India which produced black tea. Americans came out of the war drinking predominantly black tea.

So, just what do they do in Texas that makes their iced tea so spectacular? To find out, we went straight to the source - or rather, our Master Blender went straight to the source: Brownsville, the southernmost city in the State. Down in Brownsville he met with an elderly woman who claimed to posses the best iced tea recipe in all of Texas. Who was he to argue? He went with her to her home, settled into a porch swing and took out a pad of paper and pencil: “To make one and a half quarts of tea”, she began, “put one quart (4 cups) of fresh cold water in a kettle and put it over heat. When the water comes to a boil, infuse 5 grams of black tea in a teapot.” (We recommend measuring the tea with the Perfect Cup Tea Measure.) “Now,” she continued, “Here comes the tricky part. Don’t pour the hot water gently, really let the water splash down and agitate that tea - get it mad y’all! Then, set the tea aside and let it steep for at least an hour. Once it’s done, strain it out into a pitcher, add ¾ cups of sugar and stir that tea until it’s dissolved. Finally, add a couple of cups of cool water and set it in the fridge until it’s nice and cold. When you’re ready to serve it, garnish with a big ol’ slice of lemon…big enough that y’all can squeeze the juice right out of it! And that’s that!”

To complement that fantastic recipe, we’ve developed what we think is the world’s greatest tea blend for brewing world famous Texas iced tea. Brew a pot for you and yours today. Enjoy y’all!

On the home front, Candie is back from her vacation in Gatlinburg. Her sister renewed their wedding vows and they had a wonderful time. A pretty uneventful week for me, plugging away at de-cluttering and cleaning the house. I knit and sew in the evenings to relax and of course my days are filled with tea! Have a great week.


Tea of the Week: Earl Grey

Congrats to gypsiesthread who won last weeks Blackberry Green Tea! I will DM you and get your snail mail address. This is the first time one of my twitter peeps has won. I want to thank Beatrice, Jason and teatotaler for commenting...you guys are awesome! I've never been much of a writer but I am learning, and your comments are so appreciated! This week we need to kick it in high gear with one of our best sellers Earl Grey Tea. More about this tea.

Earl Grey is a tea blend with a distinctive flavor and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamont orange. The bergamont (citrus bergamia risso) is a small and roughly pear shaped citrus fruit which is a variety of sour orange native to Asia. Today it is commercially grown in Italy, Argentina, Brazil and the United States.

The Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830's, who reputedly recieved a gift of tea flavored with bergamont oil. According to one legend, a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men first presented the blend to the Earl in 1803. The tale is likely to be a marketing ploy, and has no documented basis in fact, as Lord Grey never set foot in China. Jacksons of Piccadilly claim that they originated Earl Grey's Tea, Lord Grey having given the recipe to Robert Jackson & Co. partner George Charlton in 1830; according to Jacksons the original recipe has been in constant production and has never left their hands. I thought this little bit of history was interesting and I love learning from researching . Captain Picard from Sat Trek always reminds me of Earl Grey Tea.

Well how was your week? My house is back to normal (well fixed anyway), get my car back tomorrow evening (YAH) and hubby is back to work (quiet mornings again). Took my sewing machine to get fixed (it's been in the basement for a few years), so I can hem the grandchilds jeans this year. He's got such short legs and it cost me $8 per pair to get them hemmed last year. Wow, only 4 more weeks until school starts! Summers go by so fast. Remember to take time out for the little things in life and have a great week!


Tea of the Week: Blackberry Green Tea

Congrats to karma_k who won last weeks Huckleberry Tea! I need you to get a hold of me so I can get your address. Karma_k found me on twitter and you can too, just twitter @culinaryteas. I want to thank Karen R. for her kind words about the blog. Kevin you can win the contest once a month. This weeks tea is Blackberry Green Tea.

Usually prickly, fruit-bearing bush of the genus Rubus, in the rose family, native chiefly to northern temperate regions. The blackberry is abundant in eastern North America and on the Pacific coast; in Europe it is common in thickets and hedges. Oregon is the leading blackberry producer in the world. Its usually biennial prickly, and erect, semierect, or trailing stems bear leaves with usually three or five oval, coarsely toothed, stalked leaflets; white, pink, or red flowers in terminal clusters; and black or red-purple aggregate fruits. Blackberries are a fairly good source of iron and vitamin C.

This tea has a Japanese Sencha base, most commercial green teas have a Chinese tea base. If you've never tried a Sencha tea this would be a great introduction. And lets not forget tea is a healthy alternative to some other summer time drinks. I'm still amazed how many people I talk to that don't know the right way to brew green tea. Do not boil your water! Heat your water to the point you see the tiny bubbles and you will have an excellent cuppa. For ice tea I use an ice tea maker I picked up from WalMart and it's perfect for making green tea, I get three quarts in about five minutes. And another method is refrigerator tea, put tea and leaves in pitcher leave in fridge overnight, strain leaves and it's ready to drink. Wow, I'm a little long-winded today.

Hubby is on vacation this week, so I'm home working today. Drinking a cuppa Queens Oolong at the computer with the dogs sleeping at my feet. Hubby and brother-in-law are putting a new roof on the part of the house the tree fell on a few weeks back. I get to take my smooshed car in to get fixed later today. Ethan is at his dads house until tomorrow, so I'm enjoying a couple of kid free days! Yippee!!! Everyone have a great week!