Bagged or Loose? Decisions, decisions…

Hi friends! Did you know many people don’t know the actual difference between bagged tea and loose leaf tea? Do you know? I mean it is all tea right? What’s the big deal? However, on the contrary there is a big difference regardless if people know about it or not.

In the bag—

Today in the US 95% of all tea sales are sold in little bags. You know why? Because it’s cheap and convenient. Although, all you really get is water that is slightly brown and has little to no flavor—ew. Do you remember Lu Yu from my brief history of tea? Well he has the earliest teachings (written down) spelling out the loose leaf brewing process. I’m pretty sure that he did not say anything like, 1: Open package 2: Take out bag of tea 3: Put in hot water 4: Steep for 3-5 minutes 5: Drink.

The first guy to introduce bagged tea was Thomas Sullivan. When I was reading up on this, I keep reading Sully in my head so that’s what I am going to refer to him as in this post. So Sully was from NYC in the late 1800s and early 1900s employed as a tea and coffee merchant. Lucky him. Back then, most people would buy their tea in little tins that were pretty costly for that time. In order to save himself some cash money, Sully decided he was going to put the tea in small sacks which were much more cost efficient. When he shipped the tea out, the intelligent people of the US didn’t know what to do, so they threw the whole sack in the hot water. Stupidity can equal brilliance. Pretty soon Sully’s tea sacks (tea bags) were all the rage and his made it big. The tea bag became popular throughout the US in 1904 and also started to globalize internationally.

So, yay for ease, and convenience, but for us tea lovers, where’s the flavor at?! In order to get all the flavor out of the leaves, they need to be able to stretch out their leaf legs. In order to make a flavorful cup of bagged tea, smaller leaves are put in the bag. Smaller leaves = less room needed to stretch. So basically all bagged tea contains the little leaves at the bottom of the bag (ex: the Keystone of Coors). Recent developments within the bagged tea industry introduced bigger nylon bags that allow bigger leaves to be in them which enhance the quality of your otherwise amazing cup of tea.

Loosey Goosey—

Now that 95% of tea consumed in the US is in little bags, people just don’t know about the secret garden of loose leaf tea. Please know that there is life outside the bag! I personally have an awesome loose leave brewer called ingenuiTEA which I purchased online from Adagio Teas. My tea world literally has not been the same since. This device allows you to put the loose leave tea in the container, pour in the hot water, brew, and then place on top of your mug and it dispenses the tea full of amazingly super awesome goodness with copious amount of flavor. I 105% recommend this to anyone who wants to dive into loose leaf teas, especially beginners.

 

ingenuiTEA from Adagio Teas

I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day regardless if you choose to celebrate it or not! Also a huge thank you and love you to my mom Anne for my Valentine’s Day present! It’s the best tea kettle ever! I also have a wonderful roommate who happened to be my Valentine today.

Room mate Valentine's love

Tea Kettle from my mom

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Tea is good for you!

Hi tea lovers!

We all love tea here (or at least like it), so did you ever wonder if there were any extra bonuses that we get from drinking tea a lot or frequently? Well if you’re thinking about it now there are! A lot of people also know that tea can be good for you, but just don’t know exactly what the specific benefits are. After reading a bunch of different articles, within books about tea and just info from the interwebs, all tea seems to be good for you. So the benefits that I’m going to point out will be in regards to all tea, not just specific types. All tea comes from the same plant, so its composition is relatively the same.

Here are the top 5 benefits to your health from drinking tea!

  1. Antioxidants galore! All kinds of tea have antioxidants in them which make it super good for you. They are basically like a kick-ass way to prevent disease and keep you healthy throughout your life.
  2. Keepin’ them pearly whites white! Many people think that drinking tea, especially black tea, will make your teeth brown and stained. However, on the contrary tea actually contains fluoride which helps keep your teeth nice and white, and also helps prevent stinky bad breath!
  3. Hydration! Even though tea does contain caffeine, it still adds to our overall hydration throughout the day. A recent study found that regardless of the caffeine, you still can get the overall fluid requirements by drinking beverages such as tea. Just don’t drink 6-7 cups of caffeinated beverages at a time, and you’ll going with the flow.
  4. Immune system armor! It had been proven that if you drink tea regularly it can help build a strong immune system which helps fight against the stupid head colds that just put a damper on your whole week.
  5. Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer! These are some big ones that claim the lives of people every day. However, drinking tea can help decrease the risk of these problems. Tea works really well by keeping your arteries nice and clear from gross crap the clogs them up increasing the rise of heart attack and a stroke. Though the studies of tea protecting you from getting cancer are inconclusive, numerous studies have shown a high percentage of people who drink 2-3 cups of tea a day are less likely to get cancer.

If those aren’t enough reasons to keep drinking tea, then I don’t know where your taste buds are! I’m just teasing 🙂 Hope everyone is having a good week so far, and stay warm out there!

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Need a Cup of Tea in Town?

Hey friends!

How have you been staying warm out there? For me layers and a cup of hot tea! However, if I’m out and about around downtown Burlington, where do I go to get a good cup of tea to help me feel my fingers and toes again? I mean how do you expect to keep carrying all the bags of awesome—but spent too much money and totally regret, but hey they looked great on me so I had to get them—stuff?  Here are couple of great places I’ve been to that are just as awesome as all the stuff you bought!

Dobra Tea- If you are in need of a relaxation place to totally Zen out then Dobra is your place! They have a very large variety to tea to choose from in a very peaceful atmosphere. The teas that I have tried there are wonderful, and so are the people that work there!

Dobra Tea
80 Church Street
Burlington, VT
(802) 951-2424

Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea- How about if you are with some friends and want to catch up, or want to go to a friendly welcoming place to do some work, or read a book? Uncommon Grounds is your place! Their tea is really wonderful, and they have a great selection . (Good coffee too!)

Uncommon Grounds
42 Church Street
Burlington, VT
(802) 865-6227

There is also Starbucks with a semi-limited selection, New Moon on Cherry Street, Muddy Waters on Main Street, and Speeder and Earl’s on Church and Pine Street. Dobra and Uncommon Grounds are just two of my personal favorites so I wrote more about them because I think they deserve it!

I hope everyone stays warm out there,

Cheers!

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Brief History of Tea

Welcome back to Katherine’s Tea Pot!

It’s a frigid one out there in Burlington, VT so I think it’s a perfect day drink a cup of tea and to take a look WAY back in history and figure out where tea actually originated from.

Since the very beginning was so long ago, there aren’t exactly known facts, but a legend! Nothing more exciting then to read about a long told legend! It starts over 5,000 years ago in ancient China. There was an emperor named Shen Nung who was a pretty smart cookie, with interests in science, the arts and the lovely world around him. Back in the day, for a warm beverage people would just boil up some hot water and drink that; hygienic purposes of course. Anyway, Shen Nung and his royal posy were traveling about the kingdom when they stopped to take a break. His servants began to boil up some water, when some leaves from a nearby bush blew in the wind and coincidentally landed in the pot of water. The clear liquid then turned a brownish color making the servants very worried that they ruined the emperor’s water. However, because Shen Nung was as curious as a kitty, he decided to try the new beverage. Rather than being disgusted, he was quiet refreshed! And so tea became the new thing. Keep in mind though, this is just a legend (sounds pretty true though huh?).

Now in order to keep this history of tea brief I’m going to have to do some quick mentioning of facts and then move on to the next era of tea!

A few hundred years later, a man named Lu Yu raised by Chinese Buddhist monks wrote a book all about tea entitled Ch’a Ching, (that seems kind of silly now because we use that phrase when think something is going to make big money). When he was younger he wasn’t so much into following the path of the men who raised him, but rather was interested in tea and how different areas of China prepared and cultivated tea. He became super popular because of this, and it also helped start the globalization of tea.

Second stop Japan! A Buddhist priest named Yeisei who visited China decided to go back to Japan with his new found knowledge of tea, its benefits to meditation and some tea seeds. He quickly became known as the “Father of Tea”! One heck of a title. Once tea was introduced to Japan it took off like wild fire and was soon used all the time. Eventually Japan adopted a unique art form of a Tea Ceremony. This was basically a fancy title for brewing and serving a cup of tea. However, the Japanese believed it took years of meticulous training, grace and patience to be able to perfect the art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Unfortunately over the next hundred years this ceremony eventually became more of a competition among royals rather than practicing the Zen aspect of it. Boo!

Beginning around the late 1300s a movement was started in Japan by Ikkyu (a price who eventually became a priest) to revert the direction of the now messed up Tea Ceremony back to the Japanese culture for its original purposes of art. Horray!

Now to make an abrupt jump, eventually in 1560 the FIRST European (well to write about it) finally tried tea!! That personally made me super excited; hence double the amount of exclamation points. Tea is getting closer to America! From there Portugal developed a trade route which allowed them to now acquire tea. YAY Europe! Then tea eventually spread around all of Europe except to Britain. Believe it or not tea came to America in 1650 before it got to Great Britain in around 1653. Beatcha England!

Holy Facts! Even my brain is a little soar form that. But you have to admit, it’s pretty cool! Don’t worry, I promise not all my blog posts will be this long or text book like. I hope you enjoyed learning about the origins of tea though! Hey, now if someone asks you if you learned anything new today you have something to tell them! Hurray for awesome informative blog posts 🙂

Sources used (I may be smart but I’m not Google):

Stash Tea – http://www.stashtea.com/from+2737+b_c_+through+today.aspx

Google Images:

http://bit.ly/fwarJz

http://bit.ly/fwarJz

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Why Tea?

Out of everything in the world that I could possible blog about, why did I choose tea?? I could drone on and on about all the reasons why I love tea, but for the simplest answer, tea is my escape in a cup.

I’ve always grown up loving tea, because that was the drink of choice for my mom. I’m not saying that tea was forced upon me at a young age and I eventually grew to like it, however it did become a method my mom used and implemented into my life during certain times. The times that I would normally drink tea would be: when I was upset/sad/angry/stressed (see the pattern of negative emotions 😉 ), when I wasn’t feeling well (especially stomach bugs–peppermint tea was a life saver), before bed or a nap, after dinner or lunch, hot tea on a cold winter’s night, iced tea on a hot summer’s day (no soda for Katherine!), and especially on the boat.

After a while, I would just start a routine of drinking tea during these times whether or not my mother was around to brew the tea for me. It became so much of a routine that even now when I’m in college and living alone, I still find myself craving tea, or just turning the kettle on when I’m stressed out.

Something like tea, that I enjoy drinking and has a wonderful resonating meaning to me seems like the perfect topic to write about. Eh mates?

 

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