Tea Time for Body and Soul by watereverysunday
Whether you think about Mad Hats' tea party from Alice and Wonderland or just want to relax, take a break, detox, get well, warm up or refresh, there are literally a million reasons to have some good tea time. But most of all, tea time is a time for taking care of yourself as the title says.
Literally, I know now why I haven't written a blog post about this until today and this was in my blog draft for quite some time. The sad excuse was no time…. That said, I or you all probably need this "tea time" right now. Anytime you think you need a cup of tea, it is always the right time.
Unless you are doing tea tasting or ceremony, I recommend you do this alone, just like reading a book. We can't read a book with others. Having tea with friends is fun but that's socializing not necessarily for ourselves. Give yourself a pause and a little break to enjoy a brief moment that is good, like watching rain or snow falls, trees swaying by the wind, clouds moving or crowds watching. You will find some peace and interestingly something fascinating and new every time. This simple joy will bring you new perspectives on things. You might also learn something by simply observing… As a matter of fact, from watching trees swayed by the wind, I've learned how to let things go. How they were beautifully dancing with the wind, making refreshing sounds that brushed things off my heavy chest. This also reminded me of the time when I was at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Japan. I probably write a blog about my trip to Kyoto in the future.
What if you are so happy? Congratulations! Then, simply add a little more joy to your day with some tea time. Maybe that's why all cultures have their own tea time practices and even called ceremonies. Tea brewing certainly requires some skills. You need the right amount, temperature, time and patience for a perfect taste. Well, why all have to be so right? There is no need. Just enjoy the way it is.
Please note that having teas is different from coffee, which wakes you up, energizes you and lets you go even...(this is my way for morning ritual in the bathroom), etc. However, depending on the brewing time, some teas do have more caffeine than coffees such as black teas.
It doesn't matter which/what tea, grab one of your favorites and have a tea time right now! Nothing to do today? Even better. Here is something for you to do today! Go over your tea collection(?) and indulge and enjoy them. Give more time to taste rather than just drink away. Sip slowly.
Now it's tea time. So step aside Busi-ness, here comes my or your Tea time!
SHOP TEAS in this blog cover set
*We are not affiliated with any product/company/brand/website featured in this blog post other than our own.
My Favorites & Recommendations
Some are my favorites but favorites are subject to change for whatever reasons which is natural just like change of seasons.
OSULLOC Sejack Green Tea $29.99 amazon.com
I first found this during my visit (Pre-COVID) to South Korea while looking for a gift for someone who loves green teas. This O'sulluc store that I visited was located in the heart of Insa-dong in Seoul, the area best known for traditional Korean antique shops and souvenirs such as pottery, painting and small handmade goods and also small art galleries and teahouses to visit. Tea houses are quiet and a museum like, very different from bustling coffee place like Starbucks. Koreans often meet friends, dates or business people in coffee and tea places while Americans do in a bar or restaurants(?). Having teas and coffees are built in their culture. I recommend their tea house in BukChon, a traditional Korean house (Hanok) village in the middle of the city, Seoul where you can walk around in peace.
Now as for the teas, Green teas are harvested from April to May in approximately 2 weeks intervals which is categorized by the names and its flavor profile that are distinguished by the ripeness of the leaves. Main harvest time for green teas happens in May, which is the month most Japanese green teas are harvested and the green tea taste that we are most familiar with.
Sejak (literally means thin Sparrow's tongue) is Korean green teas that are harvested in late April and 2nd harvest of the year, when the leaves are still young and tender, resembling the size and shapes of a sparrow bird's tongue. The taste is fresher and milder compared to May harvests when the leaves turn more mature into earthy color and taste. O'sulloc teas is cultivated from the company's tea fields in Jeju Island which is Hawaii of South Korea so to speak, grown in its unusual subtropical climates formed by the volcanic mountain, Halla. Jeju Island is also famous for its tangerines and camellia flowers therefore, I recommend their tea blends with tangerine and camellia flowers.
If you aren't so into the bitter and grassy taste of regular green teas, Genmaicha is another great choice. This tea has roasted brown rice in it, which adds the nuttiness of the grain and full body to the taste. It somewhat tastes like you are eating rice with green tea. That said, it is also great for fasting and people who are on diet. However, be careful that this tea has brown rice which is not gluten free. This tea is easily found in any asian market aisle at about $5 price range. But selling much higher at Amazon if you don't have access to asian markets near you.
Fujijan Jasmine Green Tea, ~$5 at grocery store near you
This basic Jasmine Green tea that you can find at any asian markets or even grocery store near you is the one of best green teas to have in your home. Instantly you smell Jasmine with green tea leaves open up upon pouring hot water and brew into a nicely bitter taste and floral jasmine aroma. I don't remember when I first found this but never found anything like this since.
Hammam Tea (Thé Du Hammam) 20 tea bags, $16 palaisdesthes.com
I found this tea during brunch in a popular French Moroccan Eatery Cafe in Nolita NYC, Cafe Gitane, still popular and it is a great weekend brunch spot in SoHo. Hammam Tea with green dates flavor notes is a perfect pairing for their French Moroccan dishes.
It is one of Palais Des Thes's best sellers and the product description states as below.
"Inspired by a traditional Turkish recipe, this sweet and fruity green tea evokes green dates, orange blossoms, roses, and red berries. One of Palais des Thés' most iconic teas!"
Malebranche Matcha Green Tea Cookies
I found these green tea cookies during my visit to Kyoto, Japan. The Malebranche store is located in main shopping streets in the Gion area, where you can spot Geishas and it is also on the path to Kiyomuzu-Dera Temple where you see one of the most spectacular views of autumn leaves. The shop screams fine luxury. Their signature letter stamped langue de chat cookies which are thin matcha french butter cookies with white chocolate sandwiched in between. Their green teas are sourced from Uji, one of the famous Green tea regions in Japan.
Traditional Langue de Chat cookies in European versions are more round at the ends with thicker biscuits but Japanese ones are shaped square, thinner and more delicate. These Matcha green tea versions have white chocolate sandwiched in between. I think I was given a sample of the cookies when I was walking by, and once tasted, I could not NOT purchase. I'd grabbed several boxes to take back to the US and still remember saving every piece for special times, there is no munching with these gourmet tea cookies. These are wrapped individually in a hard box for breakage proof. It was somewhat available in the US back from several gourmet online stores several years ago but now it is almost impossible to find in the US. You can find something similar in any Asian or Japanese markets near you but not fine as the original.
Couque D'Asse White Melange Cookies $5 Weee.com
I found a very similar one to Malebranche's cookies, called Couque D'Asse. These are Korean regular butter cookies, not in matcha green tea flavor and rather great for coffees than green teas but I was still happy with them whenever I have the longing for those fine cookies from Kyoto. Very affordable at $5 in Asian Market or Weee. On Amazon it is 3 times more(?) ...… I gave out Couque D'Asse to people because it is also individually wrapped and so easy to carry around however it breaks quite easily being so delicate. People always asked what the name means.. Why Belgium/German(?) names for Korean cookies. Here is how the name originated, Read… To sum up, it literally means "Cookies from Asse" and Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians was passing by Asse region and tossed cookies to welcoming crowds in gratitude. Not the same cookies tossed back then but which is where the name of the cookies was originated. It is nothing near a fascinating story like the Lady Godiva's but thanks to the people of Asse for the cookies! Otherwise I would not have these cookies today.
EARL GREY/BLACK TEAS:
Mariage Freres - WEDDING IMPÉRIAL Amazon.com
This is still one of my favorites of all time ever since one of my sister-in-laws first gifted me the wedding imperial tea many years ago. I also gave Mariage Freres teas for holidays and it was always a hit. There was always an initial look or pause of why a rather modest box of teas for Christmas... which seems rather humble compared to other fancy gifts like wines etc. However, there was always a long feedback after. Once they tried them and read about the brand, they knew these were fine premium teas as fine as fancy wine. To me, It had to be someone special to give these teas out, considering the price $30-$40 for a box of teas and most people wouldn't spend the money unless you know what you are buying. I prefer and also recommend tea bags over loose tin cans for people who might be dummies for tea brewing.
It brews into a beautiful orange color. Generous loose tea in muslin tea bags can brew a whole pot to share on a dinner table. This tea really brings a luxury moment to your day. The Imperial Wedding flavor is sweet and yummy with chocolate and caramel in them, however it makes me wonder what would be the relation to a royal wedding with chocolate and caramel flavors. Marco Polo series are their signature blends with fruity and flowery notes. It is black tea mixed with Tibetan flowers. Both brew into beautiful tea colors unless you get their blue teas which brew into blue color!
Kusmi Black Tea Sampler $29.90 kusmi.com
This Russian Black Tea Sampler is one of my favorites from Kusmi. Kusmi tea was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia but moved to Paris during their Russian revolution. These little pretty tin samplers actually last quite long and lovely for you to sample the variety. No idea why but it reminds me of me dining at Russian Team Room in NYC. Their tea service there isn't something I was so impressed with considering it's for their Czars (haha) but it comes in a glass tea cup that is quite a Russian cultural experience. FYI, The restaurant is renouncing Russia for their act of war and stands solitary with Ukraine.
Twining's Lady Grey Tea, $4.99
If you are into Earl Grey teas, you can simply find any brand and enjoy. Twinings started Earl Grey teas upon Earl Charles Grey's request who tried to recreate the teas that he had during his travel to China. Earl Grey is a black tea blended with bergamot oil and citrus peels. My favorite Earl Grey tea is actually Lady Grey (literally named after his wife Elizabeth Grey) which version is a bit midler than your typical earl grey tea. It has orange and lemon peels for more citrus, less heavy and smoother taste than more earthy original masculine(?) Earl Grey teas. Since Twining created Lady Grey by Earl Grey's request, they own the trademark. It means you could enjoy the original taste without much price tag or questions.
I don't know how I got into this but once you have Scottish breakfast teas, you might find regular English or Irish breakfast teas weak. Taylors Scottish Breakfast Tea is a blend of tea from Kenya's Eastern Highlands and the Assam region of India. Taylors Scottish Breakfast is designed specifically for Scotland's soft water hence it's the strongest of three - English, Scottish and Irish for all I like especially with milk. In summary, English breakfast originated from China black tea but commonly blended with Ceylon tea (Sri-Lanka black teas) while Irish breakfast tea is black tea with higher Assam tea (Indian black tea) with malty flavor and red color. All three teas are strong in general to accompany the English Region's heavily fried and hearty breakfast and best when you eat with your breakfast or brunch.
One funny story to add regarding these three English regions. Once I had the pleasure to have a drink (pub of course) with a Scottish friend of mine living in NYC, her visiting Irish boyfriend and his English friend. It was like talking with three different languages because all had their own distinct accents and dialects like vocabularies even though all were speaking the same language, English! And I basically added American accents to the table. Well, Australian accents are also another one to get frustrated but that's another story to tell. It was quite a Babel moment for us. They actually told me they don't quite understand each other. Although none were clearly understanding each other, we still managed to have a good time. I guess love and good pub conquers all.
This is not only pretty in pink but probably the most rosy as you can get tea that you would ever find. Just having this in your tea collection makes your cupboard Mary Antoinette. Visiting Nina's tea house in Paris would be a must if you are in Versailles. Loose or in tea bags, the brewing and tasting is quite literally Versailles. In fact, the rose petals and apples in these teas are from the Royal Garden of Versailles!
I also gifted these teas for holidays to females, of course. This tea unmistakably tastes and smell like rose petals. I am not sure it is my cup of tea sometimes but you will enjoy it no matter what as for experience or history.
About Thé De Marie-Antoinette
"The relationship of Nina’s Paris with the Royal Court of Versailles is being cherished until nowadays. It led us to create „Thé de Marie-Antoinette”, the only tea in the world flavored with rose petals and fresh apples from the Royal Gardens of Versailles (Le Potager du Roi Versailes). Nina’s Paris is the exclusive partner of the Gardens, created by the King Louis XIVth."
Whittard Piccadilly Blend Loose Leaf Mini Caddy, $14.97 amazon.com
Another English tea to love. While I was visiting Paris, I had to visit another friend in London. My friend in Paris asked me to bring back a Piccadilly Blend tea from London. To be honest, until her request I had no idea what Piccadilly Blend tea was. The blend was originated from a London tea house Jacksons of Piccadilly, but now it has been bought by Twining's and the fancy vintage tins are only available for vintage collectors. However, the blend is widely blended by many tea houses and companies in London. FYI, Piccadilly is the one of the most busiest road/area in London historically and presently - imagine time square in NYC. For some reason, she emphasized loose teas, not tea bags. I have to say while teas in France tend to be more sophisticated, teas from England are stronger, masculine and punchier. Probably that's why they like to drink with milk and sugars. Piccadilly Blend is black teas with floral flavors like hibiscus, rose, strawberries that add tart and acidic taste to the blend and a little more sophisticated taste than other strong English teas to my opinion.
Jelly Donut Tea, Rooibos $9.98/1.7 Oz, davidsteas.com
This tea store in NYC is a fun event. All the sweet things for the teas should be in this store. There are sparkling ones, popping sound ones and unusual blend mixes of dried fruits, marshmallows and sweets. There are chocolate ones that you think are for the treat or trick but they work so well as teas. Do you have a sweet tooth? Try their teas. I won't recommend only one. Their blends change by time and seasonally and come and go. Visiting their store was great like visiting donuts shops, but sadly they closed their physical store and now only available online.
Rooibos Teas have very earthy taste that are known for boosting heart health by lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels, etc. However, its earth taste works well as base for any blended mix with any herbal or sweet, even with chocolate and coffees. That said, I just love its blend of chocolate and mint. Whenever I brew this, I need an extra big tea mug to enjoy it fully. It's the kind of hot cocoa in tea version that you would snuggle up with a good book on a snowy day, watching the snowfall through your window.
It doesn't really matter which brand but some basic herbal teas to be stacked in your cupboard for the traditionally known health benefits and home remedy. They are so readily available in any store near you in tea sections so the only thing you need to do is stock up!
Of course, you can certainly make these with raw ingredients if you have them in your kitchen.
Camomile Teas: To Calm and Sleep
Peppermint Teas: Digestion and Antibacterial Properties
Ginger Teas: Digestion, Nausea & Menstrual Cramps - Certainly you can make this at home. Slice up gingers and drop. I also use store bought crystalized gingers. These are sugar coated so no need to add sugar.
Echinacea Teas: This is great for common cold, boost immune system to fight infections
Lemon Teas: It's commonly known detox tea. Lemon is just so well versed and good for our body. Squeeze or sliced in. Enjoy. It is good for you even though you don't know it….
I didn't think this blog could get this long. Sometimes if you want to share so much my blog tends to get longer and longer, taking forever to finish. Hope you find this blog post useful and readable during your tea time!
Happy Tea Time Everyone!
FYI, There will be another blog with medicinal herbal teas for well beings of targeted concerns. So Stay Tuned….