The holidays are perfect for combining your favorite teas and festive desserts. Bakers from around the world share their best tea-themed recipes with Tea Journey readers.
Inspiring enthusiasts to refine their taste in tea
Badaga food from the tea-growing Nilgiri mountains is distinctive from all other Indian tea-inspired cuisines. Tourists drawn to South India are fascinated by the stories of this indigenous tribe that has lived in the Blue Mountains for centuries.
Stay in a restored bungalow originally built in 1910 and once the residence of the Nepali royal family. It offers 12 exquisitely decorated and spacious suites, each named for an historical figure attached to the estate.
Experience a holiday in the tea gardens and hotels near Darjeeling where lodging is an indulgence, with old-world charm and gorgeous vistas.
The Butsuryu-ji Temple grounds are a treasure trove of historic tea memorabilia that includes statues of the famous Japanese Buddhist monk Kukai and his disciple Kenne and artifacts so significant to Japanese heritage that the national and local governments registered them as cultural properties.
Rose reserve tea is not just a mark of the enchanting flavors fostered by Nepal’s unique high-altitude micro-climates and terroir but also an embodiment of the keen talent of a new generation of tea-makers.
Mai Tea Estate Breathes Life Into Nepal Community | Ritu Rajbanshi | The Mai Tea factory, located in Mai Pokhari wetlands near Ilam, Nepal, has been a boon to the 180 local farmers who earn a stable income from producing high-quality teas. Tea maker Thribikram Subba honed his tea-making skills for nearly two decades, slowly gaining opportunities to work with experts from India who came to the factory as consultants. Over the last two years, he has started making his own tea without supervision. “I feel like I have finally mastered the language of tea,” he says.
Planter Rishi Saria is reinventing tea production in the fabled Darjeeling hills. “It has been over a hundred fifty years since the British brought Chinese tea to Darjeeling and over three-quarters of a century since they left,” he says, “yet we Indians continue to process tea the same way the British did rather than learning from our fellow Asians.”
Marcela Figueroa held a vision and a mission to convince the people of El Salvador to become tea drinkers. Twelve years ago, she began experimenting with local herbs and flowers in blends to meet the demands of consumers seeking health benefits. Four years later she started LAFIROA tea to realize her vision. Marcela spoke with South American correspondent Horacio Bustos about her award-winning teas.
Farmers and other locals run the five-hour tea-making workshop near Japan’s Yamazoe Village. Tea Journey contributor Greg Goodmacher attended to learn from teacher Kenichi Ikawa Sensei how to select, pan-fire, and hand roll freshly picked raw leaves transforming them into sencha tea using centuries-old techniques.
This Father’s Day give dad the gift of a new favorite hobby, pairing tea with alcohol.
Misako Lelong-Nohsoh shows us that Japanese green tea is nothing to fear. She takes away the formality of the Japanese tea ceremony and introduces us to Japanese green tea as she wants us to experience it: as a beverage like wine, coffee, or black tea that is woven into the everyday fabric of our lives. This is the delightful story of her journey from Japan to France and from violist to Japanese Green Tea Ambassador.
This book is for every person who has ever dreamed of having formal tea with the upper classes, perhaps at Downton Abbey. The photographs of bone China cups and saucers, three-tiered plates of scones, savories, and sweets, and settings for enjoying afternoon tea’s decadence will make you swoon — a true hedonist’s delight.
Use the magic of tea to delight and honor your mom this Mother’s Day. These tea-infused recipes are the perfect way to celebrate!
“Stepping into the teahouse should feel like stepping out of the daily world into a place of beauty – of carved wood, paintings, sculpture, calligraphy, and delicate porcelain. It would be lit with silk and stone lamps. Music would be playing at just the right volume, and the tea served must exceed the drinker’s expectations even more than the environment where it is done.” – Austin Hodge
This book is a sensual delight: in it, you learn to explore tea using your senses, including sight, smell, taste, and even sound. Dr. Lovelace describes experiments you can try at home with tea using budget-friendly materials. This is a fascinating journey into the science of tea you can take without leaving home.
Consumers who experience the origin, terroir, and processing of the leaves in the cup can engage more deeply by visiting tea-growing regions to learn about tea. Visiting origin forever alters one’s relationship to tea. But before delving into the myriad tour options it is important to reflect on how our actions may impact others. Namely, while simultaneously seeking an authentic, hands-on tea tour, one must also consider which programs are sustainable and respectfully engage the host culture(s).
Hosen-in is not just a gorgeous place to enjoy tea. The gardens are a marvel of meticulous care and attention to detail. The Buddhist temple, part of a group of temples on a hillside overlooking the village of Ohara, was founded 800 years ago. Hosen-in has stood the test of time.
Make this Valentine’s day unforgettable by cooking a romantic dinner with tea as your captivating and alluring secret ingredient.
Katrin Rougeventre’s journey is a singular one. She is France’s leading expert on Chinese tea and Chinese culture and has contributed to its diffusion in Europe. Among all the great French tea experts, what distinguishes Katrin is undoubtedly her roots in Asia, where her entire gustatory and sensory training took place.
It is demanding to do justice to the “good teas” in their characterization and description, to capture and describe the nuances accurately and all the work that goes into these teas. It is also crucial to find a price that does justice to the work that the tea pickers, the tea makers, and the garden management put in. – Stefan Gieschke
Before the advent of electricity, all oolong tea was charcoal roasted to reduce moisture in the leaf. It’s only natural that many producers choose the gentle, stable heat of electric burners and ovens. It makes tea roasting easier and more consistent. The tea makers who remain loyal to the charcoal fire often learned by tending the coals at a young age as part of a long-standing family tradition. Others find that they simply cannot resist its captivating call.
Bhairab Risal, a veteran journalist with a sharp memory at 94, speaks with ease and zeal of his memories of the early days of Kathmandu’s tea culture. In 1948, at the age of 20, he recalled his first cup of tea at Tilauri Mailako Pasal, one of Kathmandu’s earliest and best-known tea shops. In this article, Kathmandu journalist Prawash Gautam shares tales of two storied tea houses.
Tea plays an essential role in Kazakh culture, as no celebration or family feast is held without drinking tea. Sharing tea is a ritual of unity. When someone visits a Kazakh family, tea is served first. The custom, called syi-ayak, begins with the washing of hands. The tea is ladled into a ceramic drinking bowl called a Piyala (Piala). The head of the family (husband) is the first to be served; the guests thereafter. Tradition holds that after dinner, everyone remains seated until the last person has finished drinking their tea, then everyone leaves together.
“Our stores have always offered the option to smell the tea, and clients really appreciate the opportunity to select their tea sensorially. We are done with the impracticalities of the sit-down visit, but we wanted to capture that special tasting moment and offer the possibility to take it further.” – Kevin Gascoyne, partner Camellia Sinensis, Montreal.
The world of smells is closely linked to our experience. We work on memory, and so everyone describes tea with different terms. My role as a tea taster is to understand each one and say, “you are actually talking about the same compound.”
Spring begins a romance as jasmine flowers meet the newly plucked tea. Spring green tea and summer jasmine flowers are mixed at a strictly-calculated ratio. Hundreds of processes exist to make the miracle tea. The bitterness of tea and the sweetness of flowers are a perfect compliment. Jasmine grown in Hengzhou meets the high expectations of famous brands at home and abroad.
A pioneer tea sommelier in France and the author of several reference books on tea, Lydia Gautier has been a consultant for many international brands. Her 25 years of experience and proximity to producers have led her to become one of the major figures in tea expertise in the world, and in 2107 to create her own brand, Lydia Gautier Thés et Tisanes.
Mountainous Suichuan county in Jiangxi Province offers an incomparable microclimate for local cultivars, producing an exceptionally tender leaf. Gou Gu Nao Green Tea is highly prized. The processing method is quite complicated. It is refined through eight processes. The shape of Gou Gu Nao Tea is tight and rolled to a slight curl. The color is bright green, the aroma is fresh and elegant, and the taste is fresh and thick with a sweet and long aftertaste.
Depending on the variety and quality, the price of local tea in the domestic market ranges from $4.70 to $29 (8-50 manats) per kilogram. Recently, farmers say, the demand for higher quality has increased markedly. People have discovered that local products are of better quality, and therefore they are willing to buy Azerbaijan tea, despite the apparent high cost.
What’s changed is what I hoped would change. There is no such thing as ‘Tea Cuisine;’ it is no longer an oddity or a fad. It’s just another palate of ingredients and techniques that can and do inspire many chefs and mixologists. – Cynthia Gold
Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) is a cutting-edge organization in the Agro-technological sector in agricultural research, extension, and innovation. The institute is a decentralized state organization with operational and financial autarchy, associated with the Ministry of Agroindustry. INTA operates in the five ecoregions of Argentina (Northwest, Northeast, Cuyo, Pampeana, and Patagonia) through a structure that includes: a central headquarters, 15 regional centers, 52 experimental stations, six research centers, 22 research institutes, and more than 350 Extension Units.
Meitan Cuiya is an early spring green tea oxidized for a few hours in the shade before processing. It is made from high-quality fresh and tender tea leaves and undergoes 20 complex processes, including spreading, fixing, shaping, and drying. The leaves appear straight and flat. The aroma is long-lasting above a bright green liquor. The tea has a fresh taste with abundant amino acids, polyphenols, and vitamins.
Luo Shi uses iron-rich Miaoli clay and traditional methods to bring his vision of nature to life. His work, such as his wonderful teapots, sell for hundreds of dollars each in his homeland and have earned him celebrity status in Taiwan’s fine arts and tea-drinking circles.
The Barbote tea farm is nestled in the steep hills of Ilam, Nepal, planted by his grandfather and tended by his father but grower Narendra Kumar Gurung spent most of his working years with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Like most of Nepal’s new-generation farmers, specialty tea is a new endeavor built on a century-old foundation of commodity production.
Once the most productive growing region in Africa, Mozambique’s tea gardens lay idle during decades of war until investors realized the potential of rejuvenating millions of mature tea trees naturally purged of pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
Many tea drinkers enjoy the benefits of herbal teas, but are they receiving herbal tea’s health benefits? The critical question is, “are herbal teas good for you?” This article addresses the risks of herbal teas and aims to answer that question.
Knowledge of how tea is grown and processed came naturally to fourth-generation Argentine grower Carolina Okulovich but she observed that was not so for the tourists and visitors to the farm who found tea cultivation and processing fascinating. That was how the idea arose to create a learning experience for visitors touring the 15 hectares known as La Ruta del Té.
Tea in Colombia was first planted 75 years ago. Joaquín Llano González and his son, Alberto Llano Buenaventura, became the first commercial tea growers and their farms La Sofía and Hacienda Himalaya, located in the mountains of the western Andes above the Pacific Coast, continue producing Colombia’s sole domestically grown brands.
The Tea History Collection fills a huge gap in the documentation of the history of the business of tea the world over. Very few individual tea companies possess archives that relate to their own history, and many other tea businesses simply disappeared when they closed or were bought out.
With its 1,800 hectares of soil, the Jersey Royal is spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to plant tea. The islands’ acid soil is perfect for the tea plant to grow. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Jersey winters are mild, without any risk of frost, while summers are moderately warm and sunny. The island’s high humidity also provides ideal conditions for the tea plants to thrive.
For centuries, in southwest Anhui, Huangshan Mountain has endeared itself to scenic seekers, poets, and tea lovers. During the Five Dynasties, Shezhou Dafang tea was a tribute tea favored by the imperial family. In the Song Dynasty, at the onset of commercial trade, the acreage under tea expanded continuously and a variety of famous teas emerged.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew houses a remarkable cache of tea leaves and tea material culture collected over the past 174 years. Kew, a 326-acre botanical garden southwest of London opened in 1759 and today houses one of most diverse living and dried botanical and mycological collections in the world.
In 2011 Portuguese wine maker Dirk Niepoort and his wife Nina Grutkowski planted two hundred seedlings in their garden adding a little at a time until, in 2018, there were 12,000 seedlings. Last spring Camélia Tea processed its first commercial crop, with a distinctive flavor that is the result of a terroir of its own.
From Hwuy-Chow Foo, a tea-growing district in Anhui, China to Pauri, India, the Nilgiris, Munnar, and Chennai … the Ajoo family story traverses an untold chapter in the history of Indian tea, a road James Ajoo is trying to retrace, “to say I landed my feet where my ancestor had walked.”
Growers in Anhua county invented the dark tea processing technology before 1524, which led to the rise of dark tea production and marketing. The compact and easily transported tea was very popular locally and in 1595, Anhua dark tea was formally designated as the “Official Tea” of the Ming dynasty government making it a regulated form of currency.
The Bolivian government has invested in tea production as part of its Poverty Alleviation Program leading to the creation of ecological brands pioneered by ChaiMaté Tea, an IMO certified supplier producing teas competitive for export.
The Léonard region of Brittany in Northern France has been considered a land of plenty for centuries; but who would have thought that a tea perfectly expressing the alliance between land and sea would grow from its soil?
Tie Guan Yin oolong, the quintessential “slow tea of China,” is time-consuming to produce and meant to be savored slowly. In Anxi, Fujian, the birthplace of Tie Guan Yi, the locals, like organic tea grower Rong Feng Wang, are fiercely proud of their oolongs. Here’s Wang’s tea journey.
Tanyang Gongfu tea is experiencing notoriety as well as increased demand that dates to the 1980s when local growers collectively raised their production standard, earning a reputation for quality hongcha (red tea). The tea is grown in Fu’an which takes its name from a poem in which a Song dynasty emperor bestowed five blessings: “Lucky Heaven, Lucky Earth, Lucky Mountain, Lucky Water, and Lucky Tea.”
The Satemwa Tea Estate, founded in 1923, began to revive the production of orthodox teas about 15 years ago. It is the only estate in Malawi crafting orthodox teas. Taster Alfred Mwase says, “my only experience prior to 2010 was CTC. My first tasting of specialty stimulated interest in these unique teas. Satemwa is a pioneering estate that is open to experiments with new tea cultivars, withering times, rolling techniques, oxidation times, and drying cycles.”
The pandemic was the worst thing to happen to Nepal’s Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, but there is a silver lining. “It radically changed how we work,” says Nishchal Banskota, who manages operations via Zoom calls between Long Island, New York, and his family’s tea estate. It’s early morning for me and the end of the day for my father, but after nine months, he says, “I have more confidence that I can manage a farm remotely.”
“Down-chain tasting invites creative adventures into language and experience that is independent of a single lexicon. The focus is on concrete references to scents and aromas but abstract descriptors that personify overall quality are effective. Of course, your words have to describe something that touches on a shared experience — otherwise, it’s useless.”
Tea Journey readers span the globe. Half of the magazine’s subscribers reside in Asia and Europe and Africa. That’s why this year’s last-minute gift guide features festive items from India, Europe, and China. These gifts bring to mind holiday celebrations around the world
The aroma that swirls from a package of gyokuro, especially one of the highest grades, is so extraordinary that you could stop right there and be satisfied.
Orit Eisenberg is irrefutable proof that it sometimes takes 25 years to become an overnight success. During the recent World Tea Virtual Summit, Eisenberg, a product development specialist and production designer, told her founding story with humor and extraordinary passion. She launched the Mennä ONE in September 2019 after testing 20 prototypes over five years, gradually refining the elusive challenge of controlling steep time on the go.
Given the interest among young adults, tea promoters would be wise to expand their outreach to places where these folks congregate: colleges and universities.
Chileans drink an average of 427 cups of tea a year, more than any South American country and almost as much per capita as the Chinese, placing them among the top 20 tea consuming countries.
My introduction to tea was unspoken and visceral. Humble mugs of the strong, milked ‘builder’s tea’ of my youth in the North of England still fill me with nostalgic pleasure whenever I’m in the U.K. My body chemistry has never been without the magic nectar. – Kevin Gascoyne
The currents of Japanese tea culture are flowing outward to Europe. In the past 50 years, Europeans have been diving and delving into the green waters. What is it about Japanese tea that attracts Europeans, and how is it pouring into European culture?
Sri Lanka celebrates diversity in tea. A new generation of Ceylon tea growers recently established an artisan tea collective to showcase exceptional teas produced to interest a niche domestic market and equally, the international market.
Modern Songyang integrates the essence of mountain and river, the taste of the countryside, and the beauty of folk art and local customs. The terraced hillsides are typical of traditional tea-producing regions, but Songyang is also a model county for national tea industry development. Plantations cover 20,403 acres of plants used in making 76,000 metric tons of Yinhou and Xiang green tea.
The Global Japan Tea Association educates and informs tea enthusiasts about Japanese tea, but it is also about making and developing human relations that transcend national boundaries.
Uniquely positioned in the southern hemisphere where the harvest will soon be underway, Argentina is one of the world’s great tea producing nations. The first few months of the November 2019 harvest were very rainy. Growers report achieving normal volumes of good quality black tea for export.
In 2014 in Brittany, France, Denis and Weizi Mazerolle processed 50 grams of their very first green tea using traditional Chinese methods. The tea had its own typicity, expressing aquatic, greeny, and seaweedy notes, it was a pure evocation of its terroir. Two thousand trees now make their garden, Filleule des fées, one of the largest in Europe.
In marketing tea, health has always played an important role. In her book Tasting Qualities, Sarah Besky writes that back when the Indian Tea Association (ITA) was promoting “Empire Tea” (teas originating in the colonies), medical journals were linking the increased consumption of these malty, astringent teas from British colonies to a population-wide rise in indigestion and constipation. Tea’s most important benefit today is boosting immunity.
At age 6, on his way to school, Roy Fong would linger at a Hong Kong food stand where day laborers were making gongfu cha. Sometimes someone would offer him a cup, and he never forgot the wonderful aroma and taste.
The originators of the Japanese tea ceremony believed that the simple activity of sharing tea with a friend was like the path of a falling cherry blossom. It is a fleeting encounter on a path that can never be exactly repeated.
There is no doubt that in this golden age of tea quality frontier teas are precious opportunities to increase the spectrum of possibility. With the right care, everybody could win as producers gain a new source of income and the flowering of that beautiful craft-pride from focused artisanal activity. We should never forget, when tasting new tea, to exercise reverence for the passion and determination it takes to harvest and convert any form of the leaf into a finished tea.
Shun the expensive spring water If you want a better-tasting cup of green tea ― your water of choice should be from the tap. If it is health benefits you seek, choose bottled or deionized water for superior extraction of catechins, nearly double that of tap water.
Tasting Qualities: The Past and the Future of Tea by Sarah Besky manages to easily deconstruct and demystify the space between the plantation and the cup of tea.
During the past few decades, all types of tea, from herbal to Pu’er, have re-emerged in premium formats favored by younger generations. “What makes the super-premium tea category unique, in my view, is the importance of storytelling with regard to ingredient origin, processing, and functional appeal,” says Euromonitor Beverage Analyst Howard Telford.
The Tea Leaf Theory team is very lean, choosing to remain independent, bootstrapped, refusing certifications, they represent a new kind of startup, modern yet rooted in something traditional, ancient even. There’s the social impact but Tea Leaf Theory is not an NGO working for small farmers. “We want to make them entrepreneurs, not beneficiaries,” say co-founders Upamanyu Borkakoty and Anshuman Bharali.
Immersive tours are a remarkable equalizer, bridging the gap between seasoned tea connoisseurs and novices. Through shared experiences of plucking tea leaves alongside local farmers, crafting their blends, and witnessing the alchemy of leaf to cup, they forge bonds that go beyond language and cultural barriers.
Masala chai is like a mini meal, as it not only includes the well-documented health benefits of tea but also has protein and calcium from milk, anti-inflammatory properties from ginger, and superfood benefits from spices.
Easy Leaf Tea is a tea recipe book with a difference. This sumptuously illustrated book focuses on recipes for brewing tea and tea-centric kitchen creations. This isn’t a book about cakes with a dash of tea thrown in; this is tea, tea, and more tea, but with a twist. Tea is, as it rightly should be, the star of the show.
Enjoying tea and food outside allows you to soak up nature’s vibrant energy. Tea-party picnics act as a soothing tonic for our overstimulated bodies and remind us that the simplest things in life often come with the greatest rewards.
Tea makes everything taste better, from BBQ sauce to spice rubs and frozen desserts. Learn how to use tea to cook delicious party food. Whether grilling outdoors with friends or enjoying a picnic on the beach, the Summer Fun issue is packed with suggestions for entertaining outdoors with tea-themed recipes and iced and cold-brew teas, pitchers, brewers, utensils, and gifts.
Camping season is in full swing. Whether you’re into car camping, hiking, backcountry camping, or canoe camping, one thing you will not want to leave behind is your favorite tea. In this article, Tea Journey explores five teas that are perfect for camping, considering their portability, ruggedness, flavor, and functionality.
Teabags are easy to deal with; sachets are also easy but somehow fancier and certainly more expensive; and loose leaf is even more expensive and is often much more complicated to brew. As a nerd, I decided to look into the issue by buying the same tea packaged as a teabag, sachet, and loose leaf, to see the differences. Presumably, then, they will all taste the same when brewed. (Spoiler alert: they don’t!)
The perfect afternoon tea scone! Aromatic, flakey, and pillowy soft, Chef Shania Thomas-Floyd has created the ultimate scone. Bursting with […]
Karl Holl, the Culinary Director of Smith Teamaker, has created a match made in heaven. The simple yet exquisite combination […]
Loaded with the enticing flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, and pink peppercorns, chef Shania Thomas-Floyd has created the perfect tea cookie. […]
The True History of Tea, a meticulously researched yet readable 280 pages of travel back in time. Reviewer Kyle Whittington, the founder of the TeaBookClub in London, describes the work of sinologist Victor H. Mair and journalist Erling Hoh as QUOTE “one of those rare instances where, rather than the dry read that the title suggests, the reader is instead treated to an engaging and captivating page-turner.”
Pairing tea with food is a less well-known art than wine pairings, but every bit as rewarding for cooks and connoisseurs. TeaBookClub founder Kyle Whittington reviews author Mariella Erkens’s comprehensive cookbook, Tea: Wine’s Sober Sibling.
Tender and juicy, this flavorful recipe uses the tannins in Assam black tea to draw out the pork loin’s moisture. Creating a succulent and satisfying dish that’s easy to prepare and delicious to enjoy. The leftover marinade is used to make a rich sauce at the end.
Community Driven Tea Nestled in the Adam’s Peak mountain range of Sabaragamuwa Province, in the tiny village of Erathna, Kuruwita, […]
Peru’s tea industry is gradually expanding after decades of decline. Tea drinking has grown in popularity, but due to social and political problems and the economic crisis, commercial production in the late 1990s began a seemingly endless decline, compounded by bad administrative management and the arrival of less expensive Argentine tea. In the ten years since 2011, Peru’s tea market has increased 61% by value.