Friday, October 22, 2010

How Do You Make The Perfect Cup of Tea

You need a good teapot to truly enjoy a good cup of tea. And, it all starts with the vessel – the Yixing Teapot. For centuries, the aesthetic Yixing teawares are known to be the best vessel for brewing tea. Yixing teapots are famous in China and abroad for it’s renowned beauty and practicality.

Yixing teapot was first produced during the Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960 – 1280) but did not flourish until the Ming Dynasty (1600). This traditional style commonly used to brew tea originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from the world’s only source of uniqye clay produced in the region of the town of Yixing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. This clay is called “Zisha” or purple clay. During the Ming Dynasty traders have bought these teapots to Europe. Demand throughout China and from Europe had spurred a high level of artistic mastery in teapot design. The Yixing craftsmen inscribe Chinese art, classical literature, and calligraphy on the body of the teapots. Due to the exceptional artistry, they became sought-after treasures and were often found in the homes of royal families and social elites.

The Benefits
The Chinese have made teapots from different materials: jade, agate, crystal, lacquer, bamboo, iron, chinaware, sand, and clay. Yixing clay teapots have endured the test of time and are the most popular teapots in China. Individually handmade, the Yixing teapots are made from purple clay. With continued usage the porous and unglazed teawares will absorb the aroma and flavors of your tea. It is said that if you use a Yixing teapot for many years, you can brew tea by just pouring boiling water into the empty pot. The exceptionally strong purple clay will also increase in luster and color with repeated use. They have the ability to withstand high temperatures and are slow to conduct heat; therefore, the handle remains comfortably cool even when pouring very hot tea.

Preparing The Teapot
Prior to FIRST use:
1. Remove lid and add tealeaves into the teapot. Use tealeaves that you intend to brew in the future with your Yixing Clay Teapot.
2. Pour boiling water into your Yixing Teapot.
3. Let your teapot soak in the tea for 24 hours.
4. After 24 hours, remove the contents of the teapot.
5. Rinse well with hot water. This removes the natural earthy aroma of the teapot and rinses away any clay residue from the inside of your pot.
6. Let it air dry uncovered.

Cleaning Your Yixing Teapot
After each teapot usage, follow instructions below:
1. Pour the tea sediments away.
2. Rinse out the pot with hot water.
3. Wipe the outside dry with a soft cloth.
4. Leave in a dark dry corner to dry naturally.

Caution: Never use soap, cleansers, or detergents on your Yixing teapot

Having at least one Yixing teapot is essential to the tea lover’s kitchen collection!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yerba Mate? Drink Up

Yerba mate (pronounced YERB-ah mah-TAY) is a popular South American herb that is brewed into a high-caffeine infusion.

It’s a drink native to South America, considered similar to green tea in both composition and taste. Although it is not a typical tea, it is called a tea for its similarities to other drinks, and due to the fact that it also contains nutrients and chemicals associated with very few side effects. It is harvested from the leaves and stems of a particular type of holly tree. It is sometimes roasted or aged before consumption to mellow its flavor.

Yerba Mate is abundant in xanthines, including caffeine and theobromine. It also includes potassium and magnesium.
Yerba mate has a bold, bittersweet flavor. It is traditionally drunk from a hollow gourd through a filtering straw (bombilla), but it can also be infused in a Western-style teapot, brewed with a French press, or made in other ways.

Coffee drinkers tend to prefer their yerba mate straight, blended with sugar/honey or made into a latte. Tea drinkers often like yerba mate blends. In parts of South America, yerba mate is blended with mint, citrus, gin and/or other ingredients.

Authentic Yerba Mate and commercialized Yerba Mate do not differ in composition either, so chances are consumers are getting the real deal here. It makes a tasty afternoon beverage. Here’s a Yerba Mate Latte recipe to get you started…..

Yerba Mate Latte Ingredients
• 1 heaping teaspoon loose-leaf yerba mate
• a single-serving tea strainer
• 1 tsp organic peppermint tea
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup low, non-fat, or soy milk
• a martini shaker
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 nice, big mug

You can create your own tea bags by using our individual paper tea bag filters. Heat the Water. Start by heating at least one cup of water but be careful not to let it boil so as not to destroy any of the naturally occurring antioxidants and amino acids.

The ideal temperature is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the Tea Strainer or paper tea bag with your Praise Tea Yerba Mate. While the water is heating, fill your tea strainer with yerba, and douse it with cool water, which helps to seal in all the mineral nutrition.

Let the Yerba Steep, according to steeping guidelines. Once the water is heated, slowly pour it over the yerba and peppermint tea, and allow it to steep for 3-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your mate.

Remove the strainer and/or personal tea bag, and add a tablespoon of honey to sweeten. Shake the Milk in a Martini Shaker. And now it’s time for the latte. While using an espresso machine or frothing wand is a convenient way to give your milk a rich, foamy texture, this method can work just as easily, without the extra equipment and messy cleanup.

Pour about a half cup of milk into your martini shaker, and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Using vanilla or almond soy milk will not only cut down on the fat content of your mate latte, but can provide for an even more tasty treat.

Combine the Milk and Yerba Mate. Pour your agitated milk into a microwavable container, and heat for about 30 seconds. Remove the milk from the microwave, slowly pour over the yerba mate, sip, and enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bring More Tea Into Your Life...

If you like tea, appreciate tea, or just want to have more tea in your life, then becoming a member of our Tea Ritual Program (tea of the month club) is a wonderful way to do this.

It is the perfect way to get to know a whole variety of teas. Each month, as a member, we will send you a number of teas. This way you become familiar with a variety of teas, some you would never have thought to buy yourself. It’s like a great tea surprise package that comes to your door every month.

Not only can you enjoy the teas yourself, but you will discover the wonderful world of tea. Oftentimes, you will discover a certain tea becoming a favorite. In fact it’s a good idea to always take notes about the teas you drink. This way you will be able to find that certain tea for a special occasion.

Want others to join in on your journey? Have a once a month tea party. This is a great way to invite friends to enjoy different sorts of teas. Make it extra special by preparing small tea sandwiches or small pieces of cake to go with the teas. They will have a great time and thank you for it. It’s a lot of fun to share your different teas with others and find out who prefers which variety.

You can also make gifts of teas to your friends and family and once you have converted them to avid tea drinkers, you can even give them a Praise Tea gift certificate to use towards their very own tea ritual. Happy Sipping!

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