Mangosteen Tea – T Ching

Mangosteen, an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, bears fruits with dark-purple rind and white flesh whose tangy sweetness and adorable appearance garner fans from all over the world.  In Thai, mangosteen is called mangkhud, as in the recent super typhoon Manghut that made landfall in the Philippines and persisted destruction in Hong Kong and China.

Tea is often a euphemism for “powder.”  Ground, surprisingly, from the leathery rind, mangosteen tea is known for its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties due to containing the compound xanthones.  Juice derived from cooked mangosteen shell, yet another form of “tea,” has been consumed in Asia for centuries; the fruit’s by-products are no funky commodities in the Western world either.  Some of the Internet articles dated a decade ago reiterate that like myriad other health products, mangosteen tea’s benefits such as disease-fighting capabilities are yet to be validated.  Believers continue to believe.

The packs of mangosteen tea I purchased in the Philippines last month do not come with preparation instructions.  I savored fresh mangosteen for the very first time in Indonesia more than ten years ago; the flavor was indescribably scrumptious, so sweet and juicy that I presumed indelibility.  When re-encountering mangosteen last month, I could recall neither the flavor nor how the tough shell could be squeezed, twisted, and crushed by hand to expose the sheltered edible flesh.  No way will I forget again as I have found over-priced mangosteen, probably air-flown from Asia, at one local supermarket.

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10 Ways to Enjoy Green Tea with Milk – Part 2

Green Boba Tea

Boba tea is a popular treat throughout East and Southeast Asia. It’s also sometimes called “bubble tea”, a reference to the black tapioca pearls that rest at the bottom of the cup. The classic black tapioca bubbles can be purchased at many Asian supermarkets. They’re also widely available online.

The body of the drink calls for a handful of ice cubes and equal parts brewed green tea and milk. An optional teaspoon of matcha powder can add a splash of rich green color. Mix everything together in a cocktail shaker and you’ll have a full serving of naturally colorful milk tea ready to pour. If you’re adding tapioca pearls to your beverage, make sure that you drink it through a wide enough straw to get the full boba tea experience.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Green tea is one of the most delicious ice cream flavors. Many popular brands offer their own spin on green tea ice cream. Alternatively, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of culinary grade matcha powder for every cup of wet ingredients in your favorite ice cream recipe.

Matcha Custard

For the ultimate marriage of healthful green tea and decadent dessert, we highly recommend incorporating the flavors of green tea into your next batch of custard. Only a teaspoon of culinary grade matcha powder is required for every cup of wet ingredients. The results are visually stunning, rich in antioxidants, and absolutely delicious.

Milky Green Tea Popsicles

Just like all the best homemade popsicles, green tea popsicles are very simple to make. The recipe calls for two teaspoons of culinary grade matcha powder for every cup of milk. Sweeten the mixture to taste with agave nectar and freeze it for five hours in your favorite popsicle mold.

Matcha Smoothies

Adding green tea to your favorite healthy smoothie is a simple way to give it added flavor and a little kick of caffeine. The taste of green tea pairs well with just about every fruit combination under the sun, but our personal favorite recipes bring together matcha powder, milk, and vanilla for a rich, refreshing flavor.

You can adjust our simple vanilla variation with mint, citrus, or even a little protein powder if that’s your style. You can also mix a few teaspoons of matcha into your own go-to smoothie for an easy antioxidant upgrade.

The delicious flavor of green tea can spruce up your favorite go-to recipes or inspire you to try something outside your comfort zone. As these lattes, cupcakes, and custards prove, matcha and milk are truly a match made in heaven.

Read more matcha and green tea recipe through my book.


The recipes in this wonderful cookbook by Kei Nishida highlight the uses of matcha and green tea as main ingredients. It educates and informs readers on the essence and importance of green tea to health and our overall well-being. Readers gain basic knowledge needed about brewing tea, modernized varieties of green tea beverages such as smoothies and cocktails and pastries such as bread, cakes, and the making of sweets.

The book also has over 200 clear images of most of the ingredients and food mentioned so that readers can get a vivid visualization and step-by-step guide to all the recipes given.

Check out Cook with Matcha & Green Tea by Kei Nishida

10 Ways to Enjoy Green Tea with Milk – Part 1

You already know that green tea is a delicious, healthy beverage, but you might not be aware of just how versatile your favorite tea can be. A wide variety of beverages, desserts, and baked goods blend the rich, satisfying taste of milk with the subtle, earthy flavor of green tea. The possibilities are endless, but we’ve listed ten of our favorite green tea recipes below.

Matcha Green Tea Latte

Matcha lattes are delicious, healthy, and easy to make. For the uninitiated, matcha is a powder made of ground green tea leaves. Whereas green tea leaves are steeped in hot water before use, matcha powder is blended directly into recipes or beverages. If you’re drinking matcha by itself, a fine “ceremonial grade” matcha powder is recommended. For a nice latte, on the other hand, a more affordable “culinary grade” powder will do the trick.

To begin, use a bamboo whisk to blend a teaspoon of matcha powder into 1/4 cup of boiling water. Then, add milk and sweeten the latte to taste with agave nectar or other natural sweeteners. It’s that simple! This tried-and-true latte recipe is delicious hot, but you can also combine the ingredients cold in a jar with ice and shake vigorously for a yummy, chilled alternative.

Matcha Cupcakes

Culinary grade matcha is perfect for baking. Not only is it healthy and flavorful, but it adds a dramatic splash of green to baked goods without the use of artificial dyes. Adding matcha powder to your next batch of treats will imbue them with an eye-catching grass green color derived from a natural, healthy source.

Cupcakes are the perfect confectionary candidate for the vivid green of matcha powder. Just add two tablespoons of matcha green tea powder to your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe for every cup of milk or buttermilk. Don’t forget to sprinkle a little matcha powder onto your decadent frosting of choice.

Green Tea Pudding

Lots of delicious, milky desserts benefit from the earthy flavors of matcha powder. For example, adding a tablespoon of culinary grade matcha powder to your favorite pudding recipe will add both color and flavor to a classic sweet treat. For extra presentational flair, sprinkle additional matcha on top of the pudding.

Green Tea Lassi

Lassi is a traditional yogurt-based Indian beverage. A version of lassi with turmeric powder is a popular folk beverage all across India, but lassi with green tea also has devotees all over the world. Sip this mild, chilly beverage on a warm summer day and you’re sure to understand why.

Lassi is very simple to prepare. You’ll just need equal parts plain yogurt, milk, and a teaspoon or two of matcha powder. Beat the ingredients together thoroughly and sweeten to taste with agave nectar. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice for a little citrus kick.

Matcha Donuts

As with cupcakes, donuts are great for showcasing personality through playful presentation. The vivid green color of matcha can give your next batch of donuts an eccentric style all their own.

A few tablespoons of culinary grade matcha powder will blend well into any donut recipe, but you should also consider whipping up a sweet matcha glaze to get the full effect. Our favorite matcha glaze recipe calls for half a cup of whole milk, two cups of powdered sugar, and two tablespoons of matcha powder.

Check out Cook with Matcha & Green Tea by Kei Nishida

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Georgia Tea Is Back! – T Ching

A little over ten years ago, I wrote a post for this blog–Tea from Georgia will have to wait–about the setbacks in the tea industry in the Republic of Georgia.  Just a few days ago, I ran across this article dealing with the revival of Georgian tea and I am pleased to report that we may be able to taste tea from this region in a year or two.

Over the years, tea has inspired poetry, art, and pottery–it has also been the subject of great innovation—and war.  Tremendous advances in sailing technology were made because getting tea from countries of origin to countries of consumption as quickly as possible was of paramount importance.  Now, given advances in agricultural practices, tea can be sustainably and responsibly grown on six of the seven continents on Earth. While every American school child knows the tale of the Boston Tea Party and its pivotal role in the American Revolution, J. Norwood Pratt makes the link between the tea trade and the Opium Wars.

The phrase “tempest in a teapot” has a rich history.  

As the tea industry balances greater demand with sustainable agricultural practices, readers of this blog are justifiably concerned that quality is not sacrificed for quantity, which has been a concern in growing regions like Georgia.  If the only tea available is lousy tea, consumers will make do, pay the going rate, and never experience high-quality whole leaf.

Delighted that Georgian tea is making a rebound, I am going to try to score a hundred grams of this tea.  Have any of you tried Georgian tea?

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Image 2:  Yuri Tsintsadze (image used with permission from TeaJourney)
Image 3:  Retail display of Georgia tea (image used with permission from TeaJourney)

At the Intersection of Vine and Bush—Sweet and Seasonal

A great palette of seedless grapes is appearing at my local farmer’s markets and perhaps at yours as well. Look for the deep black ones, including fragrant Thomcords: a new variant on the Concord which are seedless. There are varieties tinged with pink, and of course the ubiquitous seedless green, both tiny and colossal.  Look for the highly perfumed Muscat varieties (most likely, these will not be seedless). Truly seasonal and varied, freshly-picked grapes in all of their range of flavors suggest to me an easy and fun way to create a simple dessert where fruit and tea play equal roles. The key here is roasting the fruit first, which concentrates its flavor and adds a slightly caramelized dimension which pairs well with a malty Assam. Here’s how to proceed.

Wash and dry the fruit, allowing 6 ounces of clusters per person. Using kitchen shears or a small sharp knife, remove the grapes from the main stem in small clusters. Spray a piece of baking parchment lightly with pan spray, or–if you have one–place a small silicone baking mat on a sheet pan. Arrange the grape clusters on the pan, sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar, and bake in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for about 20-25 minutes (given the variability of the grapes, it’s difficult to give a precise baking time). Depending on their size and variety, after that length of baking time the grapes should have shriveled somewhat, and the sugar will have caramelized. If not shriveled enough, return them to the oven for a bit longer, checking on them every few minutes until done. Once you have taken the pan out of the oven, immediately remove the grape clusters onto a plate and set aside while you make the Assam cream dipping sauce: the all-important accompaniment to the grapes. It’s nice to serve the grapes and the sauce while warm.

Counting on 4 ounces of heavy cream per serving (the liquid will be cooked and reduced, yielding less than you began with), bring the cream and 1 teaspoon for each 4 ounces of cream of whole leaf good quality Assam (or other black tea of your choice) to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean bowl (discarding the tea leaves) and then add just enough granulated sugar or fragrant honey to sweeten slightly. Return to a clean saucepan and again cook carefully to reduce a bit. Serve immediately with the grapes. If you wish to make this in advance, refrigerate and then reheat over very low heat (be careful not to burn the sauce) just before serving, adding a small amount of additional cream before cooking again to make the mixture flow. The texture of the sauce should be just thick enough to coat the grapes.

Divide the sauce equally into small bowls and enjoy by swirling the grapes into the sauce or remove the grapes from their stems and then spoon a bit of the sauce onto each plate and dip the grapes into the sauce as desired.  Serve this with a thin buttery short dough cookie and a cup of tea.

Blast From the Past: The art of reading the tea leaf

Tasseography or tassology is a fortune-telling method that involves interpreting tea leaves. “Tasse” is from the Arabic root word for “cup” and “graphy” means “map.” The cup serves as a map, and the tea leaves are interpreted based on where they fall on the cup map. Tea-leaf reading is often associated with gypsies, but it actually started in Asia. You need a wide porcelain cup with a handle, small tea leaves, hot water, and a list of symbols. You can read your own tea leaves or go to an expert.

First you think of a question, such as “Will you get the job?” or “Did you make a good decision?” or “Will you be happy?” Focus on this question during the fortune-telling session. The energy you use to focus on the question influences the leaves in your cup. The small leaves will form recognizable shapes. Wet leaves stick best to porcelain cups. A wide cup is great to help spread out the leaves. Using your less dominant hand, scoop a teaspoon of tea into your cup and infuse with water. Hold the cup in your hand as you focus on your question. If you have a lot of bubbles on the surface, you will have a financial windfall. A leaf floating at the top indicates money is flowing toward you. Those are a few predictions. Gently blow the hot liquid and sip your tea. Hold your cup in your less dominant hand.

Drink your tea until there are a few drops left. Keep focusing on your question. Swirl the tea three times counterclockwise with your less dominant hand. You want to make sure the leaves are coating as much of the side of the cup as possible. Give your wrist a full rotation. Gently turn the cup upside down on a saucer. Be careful not to bang the cup on the saucer. You just want the last of the liquid to drain. Wait a few minutes and start to read the map in your cup.

Try to use a cup with a handle. The handle should always be pointed towards the drinker. Think about your question as you look at the leaves. The cup handle represents “home,” or your personal life. The point opposite the handle represents “work,” or professional life. Shapes near the rim represent events in the near future – the next 3 to 6 months. The middle of the cup represents events happening within the next 6 to 12 months. The bottom represents events happening in the next year. Tea-leaf shapes to the right of the handle represent the past, and shapes to the left represent the future. You want to keep all this in mind as you interpret the shapes. Use a symbols guide. You can find many on the Internet.

What do you see in your cup? How does it relate to your question?

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Originally posted in September 2012 by Tiffany Williams

Blast From the Past: Tea Power: Help Your Skin Glow With These Amazing Tea Drinks

The moment we collectively embraced health as our lifestyle and turned to choices that not only benefit our overall well-being but prolong life as well – we knew drinking tea was going to be the “it” treat.

Tea has been a side-nutrient to regular diets for a long time. However, recently, with dietitians and nutritionists popularized, tea got into the spotlight being celebrated for the multitude of its health benefits, and we’ve all come to adore it.

If you want to have a glowing, healthy and blemish-free skin, here are the teas to drink (or make natural masks of):


We all have it in our pantries, and this is the time to take it out! Chamomile is, by far, the most popular solution for treating the skin issues topically and it’s been known to help relieve patchy and dry skin, as well as acne. A cup of chamomile a day will help you prevent inflammatory skin conditions since it possesses flavonoids that have a powerful inhibitory effect on free radicals. Chamomile face masks are very popular, too!

tea-1150046_1280Green Tea

Ah, where would we be without this powerful drink! Believe it or not, apart from preventing aging, aiding in weight loss and helping with mental clarity, studies have suggested that drinking green tea may help reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Green tea’s become very popular so for those who aren’t really enjoying the taste, you can turn to green tea extracts and natural cosmetics based on it. Whichever option you pick, you can’t go wrong.

yerba-mate-1389825_1280Yerba Maté

If you are on a mission to keep your skin looking youthful for as long as possible, you may want to give yerba maté tea a sip! Dried leaves of the yerba maté plant are the basis for this delicious tea, and you’d be surprised how multi-practical it is. According to Kimberly Snyder, a devoted yogini and global adventurer, “yerba maté is a traditional treatment for everything from fatigue to appetite control, to a weakened immune system.” She further explains that this amazing drink contains “a long list of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and zinc.”

Just like his sister-teas, yerba maté tea has served as a basis for a multitude of skin-care cosmetic products that deep-clean pores and wash away grime, dirt and makeup, helping reduce the appearance of pores and preventing acne in the process. Even though they may not be strictly tea based, the cosmetics we particularly love are Thalgo skin care products, FIG+YARROW, 100% Pure and Herbivore Botanicals as they base on natural ingredients and work shoulder to shoulder with tea drinks or tea products to help everyone look better, feel healthier and stay gorgeous.


Made from a South African red bush, this tea is caffeine-free, and therefore great for everyone who is looking to limit their caffeine intake, or for women who are expecting. Containing anti-inflammatory properties, it’s amazing for treating skin conditions like rosacea or acne. It’s found in beauty products, too and its popularity is increasing rapidly!

Originally posted by Emma Lawson in September 2016

Peppermint Tissane – Another Healthy Beverage

I came upon a recent article the other day and it reminded me of the health benefits of peppermint tea.

Although I’m aware of its GI benefits–which does so by reducing spasms–it has other benefits as well. It appears that peppermint has the ability to calm the central and peripheral nervous system which is especially helpful for those suffering from IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome).

The one that most surprised me was about concentration, however. When I think about concentration, green tea always comes to mind thanks to the L-theanine. Apparently the same can be said about peppermint.  Peppermint tea benefits more than the gut. It’s great to sip on at work too, thanks to its ability to help increase focus and concentration. Even just smelling the tea helps. When you inhale peppermint, it ups how much oxygen is in the blood, and the more oxygen getting to your brain, the better your cognitive function.”

I also was unaware of peppermint’s antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which once again remind me of green teas attributes. And lastly, let’s not forget that it freshens the breath. We’ve all chewed peppermint gum at some time in our past and realized how refreshing it can be. This simple plant which has such remarkable healing benefits should be in everyone’s tea cabinet. Seems to me that you can’t go wrong with peppermint tea. For those gardeners out there, I can tell you that it’s extremely easy to grow so do yourself a favor and carve out a small spot of it in your garden. It can be invasive so consider yourself forewarned.

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Tea VS Coffee: Overcoming Caffeine Addiction

The average consumer drinks a total of 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, which so happens to be the standard for safety measures for most healthy adults. If you are a regular consumer of caffeinated beverages, an 8oz cup of joe might not do any justice. In today’s day everything moves fast, if you don’t keep up you are left behind with the old. Someday we need

Caffeine is–above all–one of the most widely used drugs in this world. It is a stimulant that regulates the stress hormones in the human body and unfortunately, too many individuals overuse it. Caffeine addiction isn’t associated with just coffee, many soft drinks that are drunk daily contain massive amounts of caffeine all in the name of giving you a boost of extra energy to carry you through the rest of the day. So how much caffeine is too much?  Below we list several ways in which caffeine is used in products.

The good news is there are many ways to eliminate caffeine addiction in order to get the body back to normal. This process is called “detoxing from caffeine” and it’s where good old tea comes in handy.  During the first week of cutting back on coffee, you want to replace your regular jacked-up over-caffeinated coffee with an organic decaffeinated alternative, this helps you slow down your regular caffeine intake but still have the best of both worlds.

Next is when things get fun. Mix half of cup of coffee and one cup of black or green tea. As you all know, green tea has the added benefits of having caffeine but you’ll feel it longer due to how tea releases the caffeine at a slower rate rather than all at once like coffee does. To get a bit more technical, the secret behind this magic is partly due to the abundant amounts of theanine found in green tea which counteracts the effects of caffeine and reduces greatly the jittery effects that coffee can cause.

The debate whether caffeine is good or bad never ends, the truth is it’s not bad as long as you don’t overdo it and/or become dependant on it. There are many health benefits of caffeine, and tea just so happens to be a healthier alternative to a regular intake of caffeine with many added benefits. Caffeine burns fat, aids in weight loss, lowers risk of Parkinson’s and more. So next time someone tells you that caffeine is vile, now you know the above and can respond appropriately.

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Tea For Comfort

Once, a number of years ago, I dated a man who liked a television series called “The Big Bang Theory.” In it, there is a character with zero social skills who was VERY careful–thanks to his mother’s upbringing–that any time someone was upset he would immediately offer them a hot beverage. As he told one of the other characters: “…social protocol states when a friend is upset, you offer them a hot beverage, such as tea.” It was one of the few things that I actually appreciated from the show, because it truly is an extremely helpful rule to remember.

A few weeks ago, I was woken early in the morning by a phone call from my father, letting me know that my maternal grandmother had passed away sometime in the previous night. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but he mentioned that he thought my mother would like my company. I admit, it took me a few hours to get myself together. My grandmother and I hadn’t been close, but there is such a finality to things such as this. While getting ready to go, I packed three important things to take with me: a vanilla-flavored black tea, tea strainer, and the teapot that had belonged to my paternal grandmother.

When I arrived at my parents’, my mother was on the phone with a focused look on her face and my father was sitting by exuding an air of helplessness. I saw that my mother had a half-full mug of coffee next to her, and know that she only drinks one cup of coffee first thing in the morning. I immediately went into the kitchen and put on the kettle, and in short order placed a mug of sweetened and creamed vanilla black tea in my mother’s hands.

I took a total of two days off from work and I did all the driving, took my parents out to eat, researched, typed legal documents, and made many a pot of tea.

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