Green Tea: Healing And Serenity In A Cup


Freelance Contribution by: Lucy Wyndham

Aaron Fisher in his book – The Way of Tea: Reflections on a Life with Tea, notes – “Tea’s ability to both stimulate our awareness and calm us down at the same time makes it the ideal center for a natural and spontaneous meeting with the Tao.” Every tea drinker knows that nice, uplifting feeling that comes after taking a sip from a cup of warm tea. It is since the ancient times that this warm infusion of herbs which today we call green tea has been traditionally used for calming the troubled mind and soothing various physical ailments, from the common cold to insomnia. Monks have often described how drinking green tea can awaken you spiritually. Some describe how a few sips of an herbal tea infusion can effortlessly make you flow into a state of serenity from where inspiration takes wings.

Spiritual messages in tea

For ages, people have been peeking into their teacups to find their soul’s messages in the brewed tea leaves. The herbs and the brew have long been known to hold spiritual energy. Tea leaf reading is in many ways similar to tarot reading for spiritual awakening and just like tarot, it is an ancient practice. The Buddhists believe that the bitter taste of tea leaves is very symbolic. It reminds us of life’s suffering which is inevitable. The clear liquid symbolizes the monastic life, which is of calmness and self-discipline. No wonder it is part of their daily ritual, which is a form of meditation in itself.

Brewing the spiritual herbs

The very concept of a tea ceremony is to immerse oneself in the process of making tea which naturally allows one to calm down and go within. The thoughts mellow down, allowing the voice of the intuition to become clearer. That moment is the very root of where spiritual awakening sprouts. The art of making spiritual green tea lies in brewing the tea in a lidded pot or cup, for around 5 minutes or so. This aids in recirculation of the aromatic qualities of the herbs.

Calendula tea is known to awaken the innate healing qualities of the spirit as it clears your aura and forms a protective energy shield around you. The pleasant Chamomile tea which is much cherished for its qualities in treating insomnia, anxiety, depression, and skin disorders, is also a prized spiritual infusion which calms you to make you more receptive to the Divine energy. Fennel tea is yet another such tea that awakens your spiritual qualities by physically inhibiting your sugar cravings while reminding you on an energetic level to take out time for yourself.

Mother Earth has blessed us with herbs which the sages view as God’s sacred medicines, to heal our scarred souls that often manifest physically in the form of pain and disease. The instant tea is just a cup of flavored warm water which is not the same as spiritual green tea. Green tea heals you from outside just as it does from within and connects you to your Source.

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In Three Cups of Tea


April is National Poetry Month – January is National Hot Tea Month – for those of us
that do not wait for these months to celebrate either of our loves; it is my pleasure to
share this poem with you. I wrote this poem several years ago after meeting the author
of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson before the “sand storm”. It was not the man, nor his book that captured my attention. It was the story behind the title that captivated me.

In Three Cups of Tea

Faraway lands.
Customs that are new.
Eyes darken with caution – faith has been lost.
Be wary of the stranger.
What is it really that he wishes to do?
Hidden in the desert hills awaits the danger.
From the storms that blow and stir up the sands,
the tea will always be murky.
Let the sleeping dogs lie.

Offer the stranger his first cup of tea.
Time waits for no one and no one rushes time.
Sip slowly to see what is truly in his heart.
Then let things settle – the sediment allows for clarity.
Not everyone is who they appear to be.
In days to come pour him another one.

Offer the stranger his second cup of tea.
Laughter and gestures indicate a change.
The visitor from another land becomes an honoured guest.
Seems he is not so strange.

Everyone sips their tea.
Hills, rock, and sand as far as the eye can see;
there are many other places he could be.

Invite him now for his third cup of tea.
A soul that has found his way back.
The long-lost stranger is now part of the family.

All of this, discovered in three cups of tea.

~ Dharlene Marie Fahl ~
A Passion for Tea

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You Must Believe In Spring


Spring conjures images of idyllic deep green expanses, perhaps even the finely
manicured terraced tea gardens in Japan. Closer to home, the hills that were once
brown or even blackened by devastating fires that perennially beset our region
show hopeful signs of regenerating and green appears once more. On the food
front, spring connotes a few special ingredients that make this time of year a chef’s
paradise. Rhubarb, morel mushrooms, fresh green peas and tender pea shoots all
vie for my attention on local farmers’ market tables but it is those pinkish green
stalks that I reach for first. Their bracing grassy and earthy flavor, when cooked
with only the smallest amount of sugar, are mellowed even further by a creamy
mousse made from the greenest matcha tea I can find. Here’s my vernal
celebration in a glass. Use clear undecorated glasses for the nicest presentation,
allowing the colors of the ingredients to shine through.

Matcha Mousse with Fresh Rhubarb
4 servings

For the Mousse:

  • .15 oz or 4.5 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) unsweetened gelatin powder
  • 7 t. cold water, used to soften the gelatin powder
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1-3/4 ounces ( approximately 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 5.3 ozs (2/3 cup) milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the rhubarb:

  • 1 medium-sized stalk of fresh rhubarb, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Granulated sugar to taste

Over low heat, cook the rhubarb with the sugar until it is just beginning to soften.
(Watch carefully as it will disintegrate into mush in the blink of an eye). Cool.

Sprinkle gelatin powder over the 7 teaspoons of cold water, stir and let soften.
Combine matcha powder and sugar in a bowl. Now heat milk to boiling. Whisk
boiled milk slowly into the matcha and sugar mixture.
Heat softened gelatin in a microwave proof glass or other vessel for 5 seconds
(and again for 5 seconds more, if necessary, stirring to check that it is fully
melted), then stir into matcha, sugar, and milk mixture. Strain and let cool.
Using a whisk, beat heavy cream to soft peaks, then fold into matcha mixture.
Place some of the rhubarb in the bottom of each glass. Spoon mousse over this
layer and top with the remaining rhubarb. Serve immediately, perhaps with a
ginger cookie.



Pesticides in my brew? Ewwwww


Most tea geeks agree that whole leaf tea is far superior to the highly processed stuff found in tea bags.  Even within the remarkable variety of whole leaf, there is wide variety of quality depending on processing, storage, and freshness.  Starting each morning with multiple pots of Doke Black Fusion, brewed from whole leaf picked and packaged just a few weeks ago, my husband and I are eternally grateful for the quality and freshness found in each aromatic cup. We enjoy the subtle nuance of each successive steep.

Nevertheless, much of the tea-drinking world relies upon the ubiquitous tea bag for their daily cuppa.  Tea bags are quick and convenient, can easily be packed in the lunch box, and give the consumer a mess-free fix in just a few minutes.   Like whole leaf, there is tremendous variety of quality and price in the offerings you will find at the local supermarket.  Before you grab a box of the most familiar brand, note that many of the popular brands contain illegal amounts of pesticides. (Source)

The worst offenders have some twenty different pesticides.  Ideally, your brew should contain NO pesticides. Do yourself a favor and pick up a box of organic tea bags.  Even Lipton has an organic offering, but you will find Numi, Newman’s Own and Stash all have organic offerings.  If you’re like me, you drink bagged brew only when you’re on the go. May I suggest buying a box of twenty bags and splitting it with a tea-drinking friend?  That way, you will have just eight or ten of the freshest bags in inventory. As always, store the bags just like you store your whole leaf – in a cool, dark, dry place in your pantry.

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Being Tea Addicted! – T Ching


How often have we heard about the people being addicted to their favourite dishes? A majority of the population in India is addicted to tea. I have seen people getting the cravings for tea every now and then. Excessive intake of tea could affect our health in one way or another.

Addiction to something is the key factor that strengthens your weakness. It is truthfully said that the mind should control our body and not vice versa. Similar is the case that while having tea, you must not get addicted to the idea of sipping tea frequently because anything consumed in excess leads to destruction. Getting addicted to sipping tea is actually getting addicted to the taste of caffeine present in the tea.

Fact: Tea leaves contain less caffeine than a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

Tea

Tea is a natural drink that helps in curing almost every health issue. My mother has always suggested that I have a cup of tea while suffering from a minor headache. The soothing action of the drink including ginger and cardamom seeds would calm the vibrating nerves and distract my mind from thinking about the pain.

Undoubtedly, tea has been a true companion for its enthusiasts, but drinking tea in excess has led to the heavy addiction among a majority of the people.

Tea made by adding milk to the concoction has resulted in the production of gastric acid in the human body, which relatively causes acidity.

There are innumerable varieties of tea that have differing caffeine content, with black tea having the highest and white tea the lowest. Apart from caffeine, it is the taste, aroma, appearance, and the way of preparing the tea that differentiates the type of teas. The characteristics of the teas also influence the taste buds of the tea-enthusiasts which make them addicted to a certain taste of tea.

You can also read this article regarding the caffeine addiction.

If you drink tea to occupy your taste buds, you won’t get to know when you started falling for the taste of tea. There are many people who drink tea to get their body in shape while some drink tea because they love the taste of caffeine. Being addicted to tea can actually involve a lot of side effects on your body.

A few of the side effects are listed here:

  • Chromosome damage
  • Increased PMS in women
  • Causing insomnia
  • Causing oesophageal cancer on drinking a very hot teacup
  • Formation of kidney stones

Taking a note of certain side effects on the human body, over-consumption of tea has proved to be harmful in various aspects of human life. If you are a tea-addict you must at once limit its consumption so as to avoid any future issues.



Blast From the Past: How much to buy and how much will you use?


There’s a lot of confusion about tea. There’s also a lot of confusion about how much tea to buy. Before T Ching, I would typically buy 50 grams of tea at a time when trying out a new tea. Once I knew I loved the tea and always wanted to be sure to have some in the house, I’d get 250 grams or 500 grams (which is closest to a pound). I was always interested in cost saving measures and getting 500grams does in fact cost less per gram. Here’s the problem. If you’re going to spend the money to get really good tea, you need to store it properly. That means having 1 airtight canister to store the majority of the tea and a smaller canister for daily use. I use a 70 gm. tin for everyday. When it’s empty, I refill it from the larger tin. That allows the stored tea to remain as fresh as possible. The truth is, every time you open the tin, air and light impact the tea. If you’re buying 500 grams for 6-8 months of tea delight, you want it to be as fresh as possible. Transferring amounts periodically to a small tin will ensure the long term enjoyment of tea. One could even go one step further by having a middle size canister to transfer the 500 grams into when that supply has been diminished by half.

So what is 50 grams of tea and how long will it last? Here we go again with the variable answer but the truth is, it depends. Let me explain, There are 2 significant factors to consider; 1) how much tea will you use in each cup? The correct answer is 3 grams. The truth is, nobody really weighs it out, unless you’re doing a formal “cupping” or tea tasting. Some people use 1-2 teaspoons. I like the 3 finger method. I dip my hand into the canister and grab 3 fingers worth of tea using my thumb, pointer and middle finger. That’s my rule of thumb so to speak. Then, depending upon the type of tea, I can modify from there. Tightly rolled oolongs need less while fluffy white buds like a little more. The truth is, you’ll learn after a few cups what amounts of each tea you find will taste best to you. Remember, there is no right or wrong, it’s what you like and what tastes best to you.

2) How long the 50 grams will last is another answer that has a few parts to it. In theory, if you use 3 grams per cup, that will make 16 separate cups of tea. What that really means however is potentially 64-80 cups of tea. Remember each cup can be re-steeped at least 3 times. If you’re sitting at your desk at work or home, you can easily have 4 cups of tea throughout the day with those same 3 gms of tea. In actual practice, I find that 50 grams of tea lasts about 4-6 weeks of regular use by me and my husband. We work together and typically drink tea together throughout the day. If I’m getting up to make some tea, I usually get him a cup as well and vice versa. Some days we’ll have 2 different types of tea going. Sometimes I’m just craving one particular tea in the evening, while I’m watching T.V. or reading a book. I know I won’t be making 3 more cups with it as it’s already late but what the hell. So that cup of late night tea actually costs more than the tea that yielded 4 cups earlier in the day. To put it in perspective, when you grab a can of soda or a beer, do you actually calculate the cost of that can? Well, if I were to get a case of soda at Costco, that can would actually cost me only 50 cents although when I get it at the diner, I pay $2.00 for it.

I can do the math for you if you’d like. If you pay $25 for 50 grams of tea and you can make 64 cups of tea, then it’s 39 cents per cup for very high end tea. This is not your supermarket, probably stale, boxed tea bag tea. This is fresh hand picked, premium, high quality whole leaf tea for 39 cents a cup. Compare that also, to a cup of tea bag tea at Starbucks which goes for $1.35 – $1.75 and with water that is far too hot for delicate greens and whites and you begin to see what I’m talking about.

Originally posted April 2007

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How Tea Can Help You Focus


When you hear the word focus what do you visualize? Perhaps a library with silence and zero distractions or maybe you think of a warm beach with the sounds of the ocean waves crashing nearby. Whatever you picture, many of the times we simply can’t pick up our belongings and go to those places that we’d love to be at. Instead, if you need to get a pile of tasks done and want to focus with clarity, then there is a one-of-a-kind drink you need called tea that can help you accomplish that and much more!

The three natural elements (chemicals) that aid in this process of pristine focusness are Theophylline, Theobromine, and L-Theanine. Consuming tea has been proven to reduce mental fatigue while simultaneously increasing the mind’s responsive time and active memory functions.

Unlike coffee beans, tea is the only plant that produces L-Theanine and caffeine both at the same time. Because of these brain-boosting components, tea has become a relic for some, it’s no wonder many have used it for centuries including with meditation rituals. Now don’t let the caffeine found in tea fool you, the caffeine in tea is half the amount found in coffee (between 30 to 50mg) yet it’s released at a much slower pace to your system and lasts longer rather than being used all at once. It’s definitely noticeable leaving one feeling energized for longer periods of time and getting more done. Consequently, tea will not leave you craving more caffeine like coffee does. For those who are intrigued, I suggest drinking some black tea, as it is a great choice that has been found to help massively with cognitive functions and to stay more alert.

Another way that tea excels in is by stabilizing your mood; without a good mood we can’t remain concentrated on what’s in front of us. Tea’s abundance of antioxidants will also help fight depression, and slow things down a bit. The way the brain absorbs the high levels of EGCG antioxidants and L-Theanine results in higher concentration, improved short-term memory, and a stable mood to get things finished. The antioxidants and L-theanine work by changing the electrical activity in the brain by increasing alpha waves thus raising focusness, attention, and better reaction timing. This is like the holy grail of drinks to take before an exam!

There are countless many variations of teas and some are more effective than others, but tea in general has been famously known for causing the sensation of one being calm and relaxed. Chamomile Tea, Peppermint Tea, and Lemon Balm Tea all do a great job at this and as mentioned earlier, have even been used to treat depression and anxiety. Given that different varieties of tea have more or less of the chemicals than others, no matter which variety you choose it’s still a great drink as a companion for coming up with ideas and letting creativity flourish. The best part of drinking tea is that while conventional over-the-counter anxiety treatments aren’t safe and can lead you down spiraling side effects; tea, on the other hand, is completely natural and proven to be efficient.

In conclusion, the next time you are in need of focusing on an assignment or task, drink some tea because we’re sure it’ll boost your productivity levels and your brain will thank you for it.  

Sources: http://limeredteahouse.com/blog/2014/04/30/7670/
https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/healing-tea
https://www.aol.com/food/9-teas-different-moods/
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Author: Franco Colomba



ChooArt Villa – T Ching


ChooArt Villa (樹也), located in MiaoLi County, Taiwan, is the Gold Winner of the 2017 FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence Environmental (Rehabilitation/Conservation) Award. As specified via its website, FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation founded in 1945, provides access and opportunity for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other.

During a 12-year period, ChooArt Villa’s architecture team designed and constructed the villa’s four main buildings on the hillside without demolishing the surrounding vegetation. Not only was environmental destruction avoided, future preservation was also considered most diligently; all man-erected structures were positioned in such manner that they would not deter the growth of tree seedlings or alter the natural habitat of living beings.

ChooArt Villa’s proprietor is also the founder of Zealong Tea Estate, which introduced tea production to New Zealand. What a surprise to come across a 2011 T Ching post entitled Zealong Morning that shared a detailed review of Zealong Dark. At ChooArt Villa, exquisite tea cuisine is prepared using exclusively Zealong teas imported from New Zealand, when high-quality oolong teas are most readily available at the island’s local markets.

ChooArt Villa offers a distant, stunning view of LongTeng Bridge, permanently damaged by an earthquake in 1935. Years ago I visited the magnificent site. What struck me even more during that trip were the immense fields of betel nut palm, also known as areca palm, that lined both sides of the highways. Only after watching the ChooArt promo video did I learn that those plantations could be detrimental to the environment.



Being Tea Addicted! – T Ching


How often have we heard about the people being addicted to their favourite dishes? A majority of the population in India is addicted to tea. I have seen people getting the cravings for tea every now and then. Excessive intake of tea could affect our health in one way or another.

Addiction to something is the key factor that strengthens your weakness. It is truthfully said that the mind should control our body and not vice versa. Similar is the case that while having tea, you must not get addicted to the idea of sipping tea frequently because anything consumed in excess leads to destruction. Getting addicted to sipping tea is actually getting addicted to the taste of caffeine present in the tea.

Fact: Tea leaves contain less caffeine than a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

Tea

Tea is a natural drink that helps in curing almost every health issue. My mother has always suggested that I have a cup of tea while suffering from a minor headache. The soothing action of the drink including ginger and cardamom seeds would calm the vibrating nerves and distract my mind from thinking about the pain.

Undoubtedly, tea has been a true companion for its enthusiasts, but drinking tea in excess has led to the heavy addiction among a majority of the people.

Tea made by adding milk to the concoction has resulted in the production of gastric acid in the human body, which relatively causes acidity.

There are innumerable varieties of tea that have differing caffeine content, with black tea having the highest and white tea the lowest. Apart from caffeine, it is the taste, aroma, appearance, and the way of preparing the tea that differentiates the type of teas. The characteristics of the teas also influence the taste buds of the tea-enthusiasts which make them addicted to a certain taste of tea.

You can also read this article regarding the caffeine addiction.

If you drink tea to occupy your taste buds, you won’t get to know when you started falling for the taste of tea. There are many people who drink tea to get their body in shape while some drink tea because they love the taste of caffeine. Being addicted to tea can actually involve a lot of side effects on your body.

A few of the side effects are listed here:

  • Chromosome damage
  • Increased PMS in women
  • Causing insomnia
  • Causing oesophageal cancer on drinking a very hot teacup
  • Formation of kidney stones

Taking a note of certain side effects on the human body, over-consumption of tea has proved to be harmful in various aspects of human life. If you are a tea-addict you must at once limit its consumption so as to avoid any future issues.



Pesticides in my brew? Ewwwww


Most tea geeks agree that whole leaf tea is far superior to the highly processed stuff found in tea bags.  Even within the remarkable variety of whole leaf, there is wide variety of quality depending on processing, storage, and freshness.  Starting each morning with multiple pots of Doke Black Fusion, brewed from whole leaf picked and packaged just a few weeks ago, my husband and I are eternally grateful for the quality and freshness found in each aromatic cup. We enjoy the subtle nuance of each successive steep.

Nevertheless, much of the tea-drinking world relies upon the ubiquitous tea bag for their daily cuppa.  Tea bags are quick and convenient, can easily be packed in the lunch box, and give the consumer a mess-free fix in just a few minutes.   Like whole leaf, there is tremendous variety of quality and price in the offerings you will find at the local supermarket.  Before you grab a box of the most familiar brand, note that many of the popular brands contain illegal amounts of pesticides.

The worst offenders have some twenty different pesticides.  Ideally, your brew should contain NO pesticides. Do yourself a favor and pick up a box of organic tea bags.  Even Lipton has an organic offering, but you will find Numi, Newman’s Own and Stash all have organic offerings.  If you’re like me, you drink bagged brew only when you’re on the go. May I suggest buying a box of twenty bags and splitting it with a tea-drinking friend?  That way, you will have just eight or ten of the freshest bags in inventory. As always, store the bags just like you store your whole leaf – in a cool, dark, dry place in your pantry.

Image Source