Three Must Have Base Teas For Blends

Some of your favorite tea blends start from three main base teas: Assam, Keemun, and Darjeeling.  You can make your tea experience much better and conserve cupboard space by keeping these teas in stock.

Let’s go over these teas and then we can get to some recipes and customization!

Assam Tea

Assam comes from India and has a rich, malty flavor which is complimented well with milk and sugar.

The version we get is the highest quality T.G.F.O.P (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is mostly tips.

You will find Assam at the base of many favorites like Earl Grey.

Keemun Tea

Keemun is also known as China Black which is one of the highest quality of teas to come out of China.  Often referred to as the “burgundy of teas” it produces a sweet, liqouring, full bodied, dark red cup.  Keemun also makes a great iced tea and does not cloud easily.

Our Keemun is F.O.P. (Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is a high quality long leaf tea with pleanty of tips.

By itself Keemun is a delicious tea and when combined, as we will see shortly, with other teas it becomes something magical.

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling comes from the southern slopes of the Himalayas, which is located on India’s northern border.  It’s delicate floral aroma and a mildly fruity flavor, with a slight astringent nip makes it indescribably unique and delicious.

Our Darjeeling is a high quality T.G.F.O.P. and is considered one of the fanciest of Darjeeling teas.

Blending some classic teas and making them your own

The three most popular breakfast teas are English, Irish, and Scottish and though there are no standard recipes for them we can get a general idea of the ratios.  They have essentially the same ingredients but in differing ratios:

English Breakfast Tea: 2 parts Assam, 1 part Keemun

Irish Breakfast Tea: 2 parts Keemun, 1 part Assam

Scottish Breakfast Tea: 1 part Assam, 1 part Keemun, 1 part Ceylon

An initial way to customize your breakfast tea blend would be to slightly alter the ratios until it is exactly where you want them.  Be sure to make note of this so you can recreate it each time.

Another variation would be to replace the Ceylon in Scottish breakfast tea with Darjeeling.  This would add it’s unique flavor to the blend and help round it out.

 

We made a post a while ago about making Earl Grey Tea and a slight customization.  As we said in that article Earl Grey is a black tea base with bergamot essential oil.  Though Assam is the primary tea used in Earl Grey, Keemun and Darjeeling make excellent substitutions.

I love mint tea as it is great for clearing sinuses, treating indigestion, and it’s just plain tasty.  Sometimes I really want a little caffeine kick with it so adding peppermint or spearmint to Assam or Keemun does just the trick.  The mint is also naturally a bit sweet so adding sugar or other sweeteners is not necessary.

Keemun is our go to for making iced tea which is great on it’s own but you can take it up a notch by adding fresh fruit slices while you are brewing it.  You can also customize your cup by brewing it straight and adding some of your favorite fruit juice to your glass and blending in the tea until it’s just right.

Running low on Earl Grey Tea?

Darjeeling Jasmine Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey is one of our favorite teas and is a staple in most tea cupboards.  But what happens if you run out and you really want a cup but don’t want to run to the store?
Well, make it yourself!

What is Earl Grey anyhow?

I am not going to rehash the entire Wikipedia article on Earl Grey but I will summarize.
Earl Grey was presented to Lord Charles Grey by a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men.
The tea is typically made with any number of black teas and bergamot oil. 
Really, it’s that easy!

Some tea companies are branching out and using other base teas like green, oolong, and others but most blends use Assam.

Great history lesson, how do I make Earl Grey tea?

One of the great things here is that you can make your own unique blend of Earl Grey that no one else will have, because you made it.  Here’s how:

  1. Select a black tea of your liking
  2. In a mixing bowl put in a few drops of Bergamot Essential Oil.  The amount of oil you use is up to you and is what will make this your blend so experiment and keep notes.
  3. Put some of the black tea you chose earlier in the bowl and move it around the bowl to get it coated with the Bergamot Essential Oil.
    The amount of tea you use is also up to you as this will make it more unique.  Be sure to keep notes on how much you use so you can replicate it later.
  4. Taste test.  Drop a few leaves in some hot water and let it steep.  Taste the resulting tea and adjust the amount of tea and oil until you have it just to your liking.
  5. Don’t stop there.  That is the basic Earl Grey recipe, but there is no reason you can’t keep going.  For instance adding some crushed up jasmine flowers, orange peel, etc.
    This is your tea, be sure it has your signature all over it.

A Gift of Tea

The Perfect Introduction to Tea

This holiday season when you are trying to find a special, unique gift why not choose the gift of tea. One of the best things about tea is that it is versatile and can be blended to just about anyone’s taste, even those that don’t think they like tea.

Herbal, Black, Green, Red, and yes Blue too

The variety of teas is vast and can be a little daunting when you are presented with a wall of herbs, teas, and spices. I like to keep the following things in mind when I am buying tea:

  • Can I see it?
    • You should never buy tea that you cannot see or, in the case of shops like ours, you can’t see the raw materials that the bags were filled with. Many brand name companies will hide inferior ingredients in prebagged tea but still, charge you a price.
  • Can I smell it?
    • This has two meanings:
      • If I have a stuffy nose it’s not a great time to be looking for new teas. Being able to smell the herbs and base teas is essential to making sure it will be enjoyable.
      • Some teas are in sealed packaging, to keep it fresh so they say, which does not allow you to smell it. When you make hundreds of thousands of boxes of tea that could sit around for quite some time before being sold this is the only way to go. Sadly this also means that you will not always get the best cup of tea or even what you might have been expecting by the manufacturer’s description.
  • Can I taste it?
    • When we get a new shipment of teas and herbs I like to take a little of it, mash it between my fingers and taste it on my tongue. This gives a pure indication of what it will taste like and if there are any oddities. You should do this too when you are looking at buying tea, herbs, and spices so you are sure about the flavor.
    • If it is a prebagged tea it is always nice to get a cup from somewhere first to try it out and see if you really like it. In some tea shops, like ours, we have the bags we make loose so you can get a cup of tea to give it a spin.

Make your gift unique

Tea Gift Box Single Bag

Whether you want a big box of tea, or a few bags we can make custom blends for your stocking stuffers and presents for your tea lovers. We look forward to helping you get one of the best gifts this year, the gift of tea.

Chai Tea Friday! (with a twist)

Peppermint Cocoa Chai

It’s Friday which means it’s time to brew up some chai.

Today we crushed some cocoa nibs and added some peppermint and stevia to our Chai tea blend.  The result is an amazingly mellow, cooling mint, spicy chai which really matches the mood today.

Chai isn’t just for lattes

Don’t get me wrong here, I love a chai tea latte, especially when it gets dirty with a shot of espresso, but sometimes I don’t want that heavy of a drink.  This is one of the reasons we like to experiment with our Chai tea blend and see what we can come up with sans steamed milk and foam.

More teas and things on Saturday

We are really looking forward to attending this year’s Aberdeen Founders Day Parade and Street Fair.  We will have some of our loose tea as well as a few of our custom blends,   We are also bringing our remedies, essential oils, and other healing products.

There will be a lot of other great vendors, music, and food. Hope to see you there!

Cloud Buster Tea

Bust those clouds with today’s tea

Cloud Buster is a blend of Bancha Green Tea, Kava Kava, Greater Galangal, and Stevia.  Full of anti-oxidants, with a little spice and mood lifting properties we’re sure you will see the sun through any cloud.

Bancha is a wonderful green tea that has shown to improve mental alertness, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent infections.
Kava Kava is a mild pain reducer as well as mood balancer.  It has also been used to help quit smoking.
Galangal is very high in anti-oxidants and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.  This has also been used to help fight cancer and supports mental acuity.  This is also a wonderful type of ginger that you can use in cooking, especially red meats as it assists with more complete digestion.
Stevia makes things deliciously sweet with very low calories and no sugar.  10 Stevia leaves are the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of sugar, in sweetness, and is only 1 calorie.

Did you know we can bag it up for you?

We have press and seal tea bags that we can take any of your or our tea blends and make tea bags for you.  This is a great way to get the tea you want in a more portable form.  You can also buy the components as well as the bags and seal them yourself at home, all you need is an iron (we even used a mini hair straightener once).

All New Tea Blends

Three New Tea Blends

We have been hard at work coming up with new tea blends that help with headaches, sleep, and that time of the month.  We will have all three of them at the upcoming Aberdeen Founders Day Parade on Saturday, June 30th.

Headache and Migraine Blend

We have our headache remedy roll-on which is great for regular headaches, but recently we have had to treat some really daunting ones and the dreaded migraine.

Our headache and migraine blend has been working great for us and those we have treated.  This works even better when combined with feverfew capsules and a gentle massage.

Nighttime Tea Blend

This is our favorite blend to brew up at night as we are settling in for the night.  It is a perfect blend of tea and herbs that helps calm the mind and let you sleep soundly.

Auntie Flows Monthly Tea

We saved the best for last.  Yes, this tea is for that time when Auntie Flow shows up and makes things all crampy and uncomfortable.

This blend has cramp bark at the center which has 4 substances that help relax and relieve muscle spasms.  The other components work with the cramp bark to become a complete relief tonic.

Spicy, Zesty Rooibos Chai Tea

It’s Chai Tea Friday

We have a wonder Chai tea blend that we get from our vendor but every so often I decide to do something completely off the wall and make up a special blend of Chai that is spicy, sweet, tangy, and delicious.

When you want spicy use Thai chilies

Thai ChiliesThat is right I spiced up this blend with just a little part of a Thai chili pepper.  These peppers add wonderful heat and taste to Thai dishes and they don’t disappoint with our Chai.

Chili peppers, in general, have wonderful health benefits that we should all be taking advantage of, among them are blood pressure regulation, pain relief, clears sinuses, boosts the immune system, and more.

A Recipe for Flavor Explosion

Spicy, Zesty Rooibos Chai TeaOkay, enough of me going on about health benefits and the such as I am sure you are wondering what else we put in here besides peppers and Rooibos tea.  Here is the recipe which we brewed three times in our 16 oz French press:

  • 3 tsp. Rooibos tea
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1.5″ Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Star Anise seeds
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 1/4 Thai Chili pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. Stevia leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. Galangal root
  • 1/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 strips of fresh Lemon peel

Add the Rooibos, Thai chili, Stevia leaf, Galangal root, and Lemon peel to the French press.
Put the Coriander, Cinnamon, Star Anise seeds, Cardamom pods, and Cumin in your mortar and pestle and lightly mash them until they are broken up, then add them to the French press.
Add water that has been brought up to about 80 degrees Celsius, let this steep for about 5 minutes before pressing.

We hope you have a fantastic weekend and if you are coming out to the beach be sure to stop by Westport for their Weekend with the Fleet event.  We will be there with our lotions, sunscreen, essential oils, and more.

New Arrivals

We have some new arrivals that are sure to please

Our latest order of herbs, spices, and teas has arrived and with it some amazing new items.

Press-n-Brew Tea Bags

We have some fantastic paper press and brew tea bags, put your tea in them and seal it with an iron, or a mini hair straightening iron like we do.
These bags are fantastic for making your own blends ready to brew when you want them, making gifts for friends and family, and more.

Let us fill them for you

We also are offering an assembly service where we will fill and seal the bags with up to 3 ingredients of your choosing, we can do other custom orders as well, just ask.
For 15 bags filled and sealed it will be $10.00 and additional bags after 15 will be $0.75 each.

New Herbs and Spices

We are constantly updating our stock of herbs and spices to make sure we have what you want and need.  Here is what we just added:

  • Chaga Mushrooms cut and sifted
    • Stimulates and regulates the immune system
    • Helps fight and prevent cancer
    • Strong Anti-Inflammatory
    • Helps normalize cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Elder Berries Whole
    • Immune system booster
    • Great for fighting colds and the flu
  • Kava Kava Root
    • Pain relief
    • Sleep aid
  • Linden Leaf & Flower
    • Cold and Flu relief
    • Headaches
    • Fever relief
    • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Orris Root peeled, cut, and sifted
    • Helps with water retention
    • Treatment for bronchitis, coughs, and sore throat
    • Liver detoxifier
  • Organic Calendula Flowers
    • When used as an oil:
      • Burn treatment
      • Stops bleeding
      • Soothes pain
      • Promotes healing of wounds
      • Treat earaches
    • When used as an infusion
      • Reduce fevers
      • Treat ulcers
      • Relieve menstrual cramps
  • Organic Hawthorn Leaf and Flower Cut and Sifted
    • Normalizes blood pressure
    • Treats insomnia
  • Organic Licorice Root cut and sifted
    • Diabetic safe sweetener
    • Liver and blood detoxifier
    • Relieves coughs and chest congestion
    • Sore throats
  • Organic Passion Flower cut and sifted
    • Relieves insomnia
    • Treats hypertension
    • Anxiety relief
  • Organic White Wilow Bark cut and sifted
    • Natural replacement to Aspirin
  • Organic Paprika Powder
    • Spice for making delicious food
  • Organic Cocoa Mix – Kylie’s Blend
    • A delicious organic cocoa mix.  Combine 2 to 3 tablespoons with 8oz hot water.
  • Organic Raw Cocoa Nibs
  • Organic Chunmee Green Tea F.T.
    • Reduces risk of hypertension
    • Regulates cholesterol
    • Helps decrease the risk of cancer
    • Overall detoxifier

Bags for Tea and Soap

At long last, we have finally restocked our supply of reusable muslin tea bags.  We were out for a time as we wanted to see if we could find a higher quality bag and we were successful.  These bags are great for brewing teas that have finer leaves like Rooibos and Chai, you can also use them to brew large batches of tea with just one bag.  When you are done brewing your tea you can dump the contents, rinse it off and let it dry for your next brew.

While we were searching for tea bags we also came across these great cotton textured bags for holding soap bars.  These bags are made of organic cotton, hold a 112 gram (that’s 4 ounces) bar of soap, and gives you a nice minor abrasive that can help exfoliate your skin while you wash.

Be sure to come in and sample our tea of the day, English Breakfast with Raspberry leaf and Stevia.  English Breakfast tea is a great mental stimulator with powerful antioxidants and Raspberry leaf is great for digestive issues, cramps as well as imparting a light berry flavor to the tea.

Anxiety Relief Tea

Our tea today is inspired by a good friend that suffers from anxiety and we wanted to help her out a bit.  We combined Earl Grey with Valerian Root, Dong Quai, and Raspberry Leaf which came out as a very nice earthy tea with that nice back note of bergamot you get from Earl Grey.

There are many things that can cause us to be anxious and confronting them can be very difficult.  This blend of tea and herbs helps create balance in your system and relieve other issues that could be preventing you and your body from fully dealing with the issues causing anxiety so I hope you will try it where ever you may be.