Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Detox, Lose Weight & Relax in 2009...with tea!

We are dedicating the month of January 2009 to the health benefits of tea. We will be running a special discount of 20% off any 4 ounce purchase of loose tea for both our online and store customers. Our green tea face toner was a real hit and we will be featuring a variety of DIY beauty recipes using tea.

You probably already know that the L-theanine, caffeine and EGCG found in tea can help you burn more calories and curb your appetite but consider using tea to curb food cravings. If you are triggered by chocolate try a chocolate coconut tea or a caramel rooibos. If you crave blueberry pie try a green blueberry tea or if salty snacks are your weakness drink a smoky Lapsang Souchong. Replace dessert with a delicious guilt-free rooibos toddy:

1 rounded teaspoon of Vanilla Rooibos tisane (rooibos is not really a tea)
1 tsp of honey
1 cup of boiled water
1 tablespoon of sugar free whipped topping

Combine the tea, honey and water in a teapot or cup. Steep for 5 minutes and strain into a cup. Top with the whipped topping.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Chai Eggnog Brandy Punch

Last week during a special event we served an Eggnog Chai punch (with a bit of brandy) and have received numerous requests for the recipe. It is a twist on typical holiday punch recipes.
Here you go:

Serves 14

In a punchbowl mix together:

5 cups of strongly brewed Chai that has been chilled for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator

3 cups of cold eggnog

1 cup of good quality brandy

1/2 cup of ice (large cubes- do not use crushed ice)

Sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg on top


Monday, November 24, 2008

Stress and Tea

In these difficult times many people are experiencing some level of stress and anxiety. A few signs of stress are sweating (palms especially), trouble sleeping, stiff shoulders, nausea, backache, and headache among other symptoms. To help alleviate stress look for tea with chamomile and lavender. Chamomile's high content of the amino acid tryptophan, has been used for insomnia since the 1600's. The Chamomile plant also contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium, as well as iron, zinc, flavonoids and essential oils which soothe muscles and stress. Lavender comes from the Latin word ‘lavo’, meaning ‘to wash’ and got its name because the Romans liked to sprinkle lavender into their bath water. Lavender relieves tension headaches, bad breath, pain in muscles, wounds of various types and helps insomnia. A tea infusion of chamomile and lavender will surely offer a soothing reprieve!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You are invited to a party on 11/21/2008!

On November 21st come to historic Chestnut Hill for the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony and then stroll down the hill to The Hill Tea Bar for a community celebration for the launch of the Germantown Avenue Parent's Blog (5pm-8pm). At 5:30pm Madam Olga will be conducting tea leaf readings, at 6:30pm there will be storytelling performed by local Story Artist Annie Hart and also enjoy live folk music by Michael Mabry. The Germantown Parent's group will be giving out goody bags! See you tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do It Yourself...Anti-Aging Green Tea Toner

I have had many customers ask me about the benefits of green tea in anti-aging (creams and serums) products for the face. Many expensive (I have seen a particular brand that sells for over $150 for .17ounce- and it only has traces of green tea) and popular anti-aging products contain green tea because of its powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that when applied to the skin green tea helps tighten pores, calms redness and provides anti-aging benefits such as deep wrinkle reduction. It is simple to make a soothing, and inexpensive, green tea toner at home.

- 1/2 cup of spring water
- 2tsp of gunpowder green tea

Steep the gunpowder green in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Strain the tea leaves and allow the tea to cool. Apply to face with a clean cotton ball- and don't rinse it off. You can store the toner in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Annie Hart

I wanted to thank all of you who made our summer storytelling series such a success! I also wanted to let all of the Annie Hart fans (who knew that a Breakthrough Coach could moonlight as a Love Goddess??) know that Annie has a new series coming in 2009....more information to follow. Cheers!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Live Music on Sunday, November 2nd

Live Folk Music by Michael Mabry on Sunday, November 2nd at 11am in the garden room.

Folksinger Michael Mabry performs an eclectic mix of traditional and
original story songs, drawing on American, British and Celtic roots. An
accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, Michael has been
entertaining audiences in and around Philadelphia for 15 years.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Event - October 31st

Halloween is next week and we have an entertaining event planned for our customers. Join us on October 31st at 7:30pm for a story by Annie Hart (she has promised an extra special story!!). Enjoy traditional tea party fare while Annie spins a tale of intrigue and mystery! Space is limited in our garden room so give a call (215-381-2226) to reserve your spot. Cost is $25 per person. PS- We will be sampling the new "Love Goddess" blend inspired by Annie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Traditional Quilt Watercolor Art Exhibit

The Hill Tea Bar is proud to exhibit original watercolor quilt art by Ginny Lang in our garden room. If you enjoyed the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum, or are just a quilt lover, Ginny's art is a must-see! Ginny has exhibited her work at the Woodmere Art Museum and currently has pieces displayed at the Pejepscot Historical Museum in Maine. Ginny paints quilt patterns based on authentic, traditional quilt patterns that date back as far as the 1600's. Stop by and take a look or give us a call for more information.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tea and Reduced Risk of Diabetes

As a supplement to the 4th International Scientic Symposium on Tea and Health a study (J. Nutr. 138:1584S-1588S, August 2008) was included about the effects of tea on diabetes. Diabetes impacts 194 million people worldwide with the majority of that number being type 2 diabetes. Early epidemiologic studies have shown that there is some relation between tea consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Findings suggest that tea and its components may encourage glucose metabolism and diabetes through several avenues such as enhancing insulin sensitivity. This study showed that black, green and oolong tea enhanced insulin activity. Since data is limited further investigation must be completed- but I think the initial findings are significant. I have a Grandmother with diabetes and this is another reason to get her to drink tea!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just a Reminder...

This Friday night (9/26) is the final garden Storytelling Event for 2008. The story starts at 7pm. There will be live music accompanying the story. See you then!

Thanks to all who attended the Teddy Bear Tea Party!

Thanks to everyone who came out to see Ursu-La! I hope everyone enjoyed the very-berry tea.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Teddy Bear Tea Party This Saturday- September 20th

The AbZOOlutely(2) Bears have been unveiled on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia, PA)! The Bears will be on display from September 14-November 9. The ten bears are unique works of art which will be auctioned off on November 15th at the Chestnut Hill College. Contact 215-247-6696 for more information regarding the auction.
In celebration of AbZOOlutely(2) The Hill Tea Bar is hosting a Teddy Bear Tea Party (Bring Your Teddy Bear!!) on Saturday, September 20th at 1:00pm. Cost is $5 per person and reservations are recommended (215-381-2226). Weather permitting, berry tea and cookies will be served in the garden at The Hill Tea Bar. In the event of inclement weather the event will be held in the garden room at The Hill Tea Bar.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Last Outdoor Storytelling Event For 2008!

at The Hill Tea Bar ...Featuring Annie Hart
When: The Last Friday September
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: The Garden at The Hill Tea Bar/ 215.381.2226

Fireproof in the Realm of Love
 Why is the realm of love considered so perilous and fraught with danger? 
For good reason!  This is the realm where the Gods and Goddesses once lived…..
a land of inspiring power…but filled with incredible perils and obstacles to overcome....a place where most mortals fear to tread.
Get ready......for a wacky adventure in the realm of love……with a pitiful protagonist and a kick-butt Love Goddess who explore and transform the wild and dangerous realm of love and partnership. 
Learn to overcome the obstacles to love and take home the essential elements that
hold it all together.

About Annie Hart: 
Annie Hart is a mystic, storyteller, breakthrough coach and world traveler whose stories blow the world into proportion.

Teddy Bear Tea Party to Celebrate Chestnut Hill's Zoo 2

Join Us For a Special Children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party
...in Celebration of Chestnut Hill’s ZOO 2

Bring your teddy bear and sip some berry tea!

Date: September 20th
Time: 1:00pm
Cost: $5
Reservations: 215-381-2226

To learn more about Chestnut Hill's Zoo 2 click on the link: http://www.chestnuthillpa.com/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

October Wine Class- A Tour Of Italy

Friday, October 17th~ 7:30pm-9:30pm
Join us as we take a tour through a variety of Italy's 20 wine regions. Taste 8 exceptional Italian wines with perfectly paired cheese selections from The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop. Cost is $40 per person. Call 215-381-2226 to reserve your spot.

Special Storytelling Event Added! A Night Of A Thousand Wishes...

At the request of our customers we have added a special storytelling event to our calendar. On October 31st (Halloween) we will combine a special story from Story Artist Annie Hart with a mini teaparty. Enjoy mini pastries and a selection of hot tea while Annie spins a magical tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat. We will hold the event in the Garden Room at The Hill Tea Bar from 7:30pm-9:30pm and the cost is $25 per person. Please call 215-381-2226 to make your reservation; space is very limited.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Please Vote For The Hill Tea Bar!

I would like to ask our wonderful customers to vote for The Hill Tea Bar as one of Philadelphia area's best local businesses. We've been nominated for the myfoxphilly.com Hot List as one of the best Tea House businesses.

Please vote for us at www.myfoxphilly.com/hotlist (under Specialty Food & Beverage- Tea House)

Thank You!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chamong Estate Darjeeling is Here!

The Chamong Tea Estate was a finalist in the Super Black Tea category for the 2008 World Tea Competition and was awarded a final score of 93. The Hill Tea Bar has the Chamong whole leaf darjeeling Spring, Summer, Autumn and Monsoon flushes available- including a sampler pack. The tea is organic and was packed in July 2008. We are regularly asked about the darjeeling flushes and what it really means to the tea drinker.

Spring Flush- After a period of dormancy in the winter months the tea bushes present delicate new growth shoots that have a green/grey tea leaf appearance. The tea liquor will be fresh with a mild floral flavor.

Summer Flush- From May until the end of July the summer flush teas are produced. The tea leaves will have a sprinkling of silver tips. The aroma of summer flush tea will be full bodied while the flavor of the tea liquor will be mellow with a slight muscatel flavor.

Monsoon Flush- Produced from August until October the monsoon flush darjeeling will have a bolder flavor than the summer flush. The aroma is strong, fresh and sweet. The infused tea leaf will be light-coppery gold in color.

Autumn Flush- Produced from October until the winter season this tea liqor will have the boldest flavor of all of the darjeeling flushes. The aroma is sweet and the infused tea leaf will be bright coppery-gold in color.

Green Tea Mojito Cocktail

Hi. I wanted to post the recipe for the Green Tea Mojito that was so popular at the July 25th Storytelling Event. This icy cocktail is the perfect summer thirst quencher!

Green Tea Mojito
Serves 4
Brew 3 & 3/4 cups of Green Lemonade Tea and pour into a 1 quart heat-proof pitcher. Add sugar to hot tea and stir until dissolved. Add peppermint leaves to tea and stir. Allow the tea mixture to cool. Add lime juice and rum to cooled tea. Fill 4 tall glasses with ice and pour Green Tea Mojito over ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh peppermint.

3 3/4 freshly brewed Green Lemonade Tea (or lemon flavored green tea)
15 large peppermint leaves
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
Juice of 1 small lime
4 ounces white rum (optional)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Annie Hart- Storytelling Scheduled for August 22nd

Annie Hart's special story blend has been a tremendous hit at The Hill Tea Bar! The next event will be on August 22nd at 7pm. This month's theme will be stories of tea leaves....more to come.

Friday, July 25, 2008

French Wine Essentials Class

Thank you to everyone who made our Wines of Summer Class a sell-out!
Our next scheduled wine class is on September 19th~ French Wine Essentials. This class will have an added bonus; the cheese specialist from The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop will be on hand to discuss French Cheese pairing. Do you know the difference between Pouilly Fume and Pouilly Fuisse? Find out as we take a tour of the French countryside and sample 8 wines along with perfectly paired cheese selections . You will learn simple pairing concepts and the essentials of deciphering French wine labels. Cheese will be provided by The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop. The cost is $40 per person. Please call 215.381.2226 to make your reservation- space is limited. Cheers!

An Exceptional Pu-erh Resource

As an avid Pu-erh drinker I am always on the look out for interesting (and legitimate) Pu-erh resources. I found a blog that is a virtual Pu-erh library with recent pictures of Ancient Tea Horse Road. Click on the link to check it out! http://www.ancientteahorseroad.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 18, 2008

Storytelling by Annie Hart on July 25th- 7pm

Please join us in the garden on Friday, 7/25 for the second event in our Summertime Storytelling Series. The theme is "Other Beautiful Worlds" and you will be delighted as Annie shares her original stories from the heart of the cosmos. Storytelling will begin at 7pm.

Tea Tasting for July 19th- 10:30am - 12noon

This Saturday we will be tasting some fruit flavored teas. Stop by to sample Ginger Orange Oolong, Ginger Peach and White Ginger Orange. We will be tasting hot tea but these are all delicious iced as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wines of Summer Class- This Friday 7/18

Join us in our garden room for an in-depth look and discussion about summer wine. Taste 8 different "wines of summer" and learn foolproof pairing concepts that will make your summer parties and picnics the talk of the town! The class will be taught by a professional wine educator with over 20 years experience. Call 215.381.2226 to reserve your spot. Cost- $35 per person. 7:30pm-9:30pm

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tea Tasting For This Saturday- July 12th

Our tea tasting this Saturday will be held from 10:30am-12noon. We will be sampling teas that have been specially blended to promote health giving benefits. Stop by to try: EnergiTea, SereniTea and VelociTea. Cheers!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Quick & Easy Tea Infused Dessert

I am back from the pu-erh class and was motivated by a conversation while at the class about the many ways to incorporate tea into our meals -for enhanced flavor and to add unique characteristics. At The Hill Tea Bar we regularly carry artisan pastries that have tea fusions such as jasmine green tea muffins or earl grey tea cakes but I wondered how easy it would be to add tea flavor to cakes or muffins made at home (I apologize in advance to the baking purists) from box mixes. The answer is that it is very easy- when making a cake or muffins from a box mix simply replace the water required for the recipe with a double-strong brewed tea of your choice (cooled of course). I tested this with a box carrot cake mix and added strongly brewed chai instead of the water called for in the recipe. I was shocked at how delicious the cake turned out- and I definitely tasted the spicy chai in every bite. I tested the cake out on my finicky family and they were shocked that it came from a box; the chai added a unique flavor that took it up a notch. Give it a try! I am going to try orange oolong tea in the cupcakes I will be making for my son this week.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pu-erh Class This Week With The Specialty Tea Institute of the US

Tomorrow I will be attending a full day pu-erh class in NYC and thought that for next Saturday's tasting we would sample some pu-erh. Pu-erh is my absolute favorite tea and if you have never tried it (or if you have and are a pu-erh lover) stop by between 10am and 12noon on July 5th. Cheers!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Iced Vanilla Rooibos Will Keep You Cool!

Try this icy rooibos beverage for a quick pick-me-up during the hot days of summer:

4 servings
Brew 3 cups of Rooibos Bourbon tea double strength (6 tsp of rooibos).
Add 1/4 cup of vanilla syrup to the hot rooibos and stir well.
Pour warm tea mixture over 3 cups of ice.
Serve in tall glasses and enjoy.

Stop by our Storytelling Event tonight to sample some Vanilla Rooibos iced tea!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reminder: Summery Storytelling Series begins on June 27th!

Our Summertime Storytelling Series will start on June 27th at 7:00pm in our garden. Join Annie Hart, local Story Artist, as she spins a tale of love and enchantment. Iced tea and chocolate samples will be available.

Summer Wine Class Scheduled for July 18th

Join us in our garden room for an in-depth look and discussion about summer wine. Taste 8 different types of wine and learn foolproof pairing concepts that will make your summer parties and picnics the talk of the town! The class will be taught by a professional wine educator with over 20 years experience. Call 215.381.2226 to reserve your spot. Cost- $35 per person. 7:30pm-9:30pm

Friday, June 20, 2008

Angella Irwin To Play At The Hill Tea Bar on 6/28/2008

We are excited to announce that Angella Irwin will be playing live in the garden at The Hill Tea Bar on June 28th from 2-4pm.

Angella Irwin's music melds the inheritance of the american songwriter with contemporary world music in a simultaneously powerful and tolerant expression-- "a chaotic world described by a peaceful soul."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Cheesecake Lady- Coming on June 21st!

Starting June 21st The Hill Tea Bar will begin carrying The Cheesecake Lady brand cheesecakes. These are individual size cheesecakes in amazing flavors like sweet potato, banana cream and caramel. When we met with The Cheesecake Lady (the real lady who makes the cheesecakes) we could not believe how utterly delicious they were. We are excited to offer these little gems on weekends this summer. Ask us about the best tea to pair with each!

The Tasting Menu For Saturday, 6/21/08

Stop by this Saturday between 10am and noon to taste: Chocolate-coco tea, Butterscotch tea, Rooibos Darling and Vanilla Bean tea. See you on Saturday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

When Is Tea Not Really A Tea?

Only beverages made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant can accurately be called tea. Herbal "tea" such as chamomile or any made from leaves, flowers, roots and bark are considered infusions or tisanes. White, Green, Black and Oolong tea are all derived from the Camellia sinensis and therefore real tea.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tea Tasting for Saturday, June 14th

On Saturday, June 14th, we will be tasting Oolong tea: Formosa Oolong, Fujian Oolong, Oolong Earl Grey and Orange Oolong. Stop by to sample all four between 10am and 12noon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summertime Tea Recipe Class on June 20th

Sign up for our Summertime Tea Recipe Class. Learn to make an array of healthy and delicious summer drink recipes that utilize tea, fresh herbs and more! From Lavender Chrysanthemum Iced Tea and Papaya Green Tea Mojito to an original Diet Coke Addict's Elixir. You will learn recipe tricks and tips on how to sneak health-promoting botanicals into cocktails and summer soft drinks as well as methods to reduce processed sugar while increasing taste.

When- 6/20 5:30pm-7:30pm
Where- The Hill Tea Bar
Cost- $25 per person

Call 215.381.2226 to reserve your seat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cardamom Tea Radiates Warmth

I have a customer, originally from India, who turned me on to cardamom tea. I have to say that I have become a bit obsessed about this tea- the warmth and flavor is unique and delicious. Cardamom is related to ginger and the most common and widely used variety is grown in southern India. Cardamom is one of the oldest and most valued spices in the world and is known to be the most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. It is traditionally used in curries, breads and pastries in addition to being one of the spices used in traditional Masala Chai. Cardamom is thought to counteract the effects of dairy allergies, revitalize the kidneys and aid with respiratory disorders. Cardamom loses its flavor rapidly so it is best to buy the whole pods and grind them yourself as the ground version has probably already lost much of its flavor by the time you get it home.

The following is a recipe for a tasty Cardamom Infusion (this will also help alleviate symptoms of the common cold or flu):

* 1 tsp of good quality dry basil

* Seeds from 1 large cardamom pod

* 1/2 tsp of ground ceylon cinnamon

* 1 tsp honey or raw sugar

* 2 cups water

Mix spices together and place in the strainer basket of your teapot or in a Finium tea filter and infuse in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove spice mixture and add honey or raw sugar. Enjoy!

West Coast Wine Tasting - Friday the 13th

Just a reminder that the West Coast Wine Pairing Class is this Friday at 7:30pm. We have a few spots remaining. If you are interested please call 215.381.2226 to reserve your seat~ tickets are $40 each. The Wine Educator will be discussing wine from the west coast along with fool-proof ways to pair wine. The tasting will consist of 4 whites , 4 reds along with the perfectly paired cheese selection for each wine. The cheese is being provided by The Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop. This will be a fun evening for all- and a good way to celebrate Friday the 13th.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Drink Tea. Win $20,000. Experience The "Calm-A-Sutra Of Tea"

On May 9, 2008 The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. launched a $20,000 Nationwide Scholarship Competition with celebrity spokesperson Megyn Price of the CBS hit sitcom, Rules of Engagement. The scholarship competition will award one creative student $20,000 towards their education in an effort to introduce America's young people to the health benefits of drinking tea. Click on the link for rules: http://www.teausa.org/calmasutra/rulesandreg.cfm

Tea Tasting For Saturday, June 7th

This Saturday we will be tasting florals: Rooibos Rose, Rose Sencha, Lavender Earl Grey and Bianca Chamomile. Stop by between 10am and 12 noon to try all four.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Friday, June 20th Join Us For A Summer Tea Recipe Class!

Sign up now for our Summertime Tea Recipe Class being taught by tea expert Pamela Zimmerman on June 20th at 5:30pm-7:30pm. The cost is $25 and tickets can be purchased by calling 215.381.2226 or stopping in The Hill Tea Bar. Pamela Zimmerman is an experieced tea educator who has previously taught green tea cermony classes and tea history classes. She is currently writing a Tea Cookbook and will be demonstrating some of her favorite tea recipes during the class and discussing simple ways to introduce the health benefits of tea into your everyday diet. You won't want to miss this summer sizzler!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Storytelling Event at The Hill Tea Bar!

When: June 27th
Where: The Hill Tea Bar's Garden
Time: 7PM

Join us in our garden for "Sultry Stories for a Starry Night"

Come sip a taste of Love's Enchantment as you sample a romantic tea blend and dark chocolate. Be transported to a wondrous world among the stars...where romantic magic is fully alive. Enjoy an evening of love's splendor with local storyteller Annie Hart's special story blend.

About Annie Hart: Annie Hart is a fun, dynamic and entertaining Story Artist who has been featured on TV, radio and at conferences. She was once told by a psychic that she would be famous...after she dies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tea Steeping Guide

While there are no set rules regarding the amount of time to steep loose tea the typical recommendation guidelines are:

Black Tea- 3 to 5 minutes

White Tea- 4 to 5 minutes

Green Tea- 1 to 3 minutes

Oolong Tea- 4 to 7 minutes

Herbal Infusions- 5 to 7 minutes

Water temperature also plays an important role in making an exceptional cup of tea. Generally, the larger and more delicate the tea leaf the lower the water temperature should be. White tea is best if the water is around 175 degrees F whereas black tea requires hotter water approximately 195 degrees F. Herbal infusions and Rooibos require the hottest water and 208 degrees F is recommended. If you don't have time to montior your water temperature don't sweat it! For white or green tea that require cooler water simply boil your water as usual and allow it to cool a few minutes prior to pouring over the tea leaves.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Time For Iced Tea

Today it is very humid in Philadelphia and I am excited that iced tea weather is finally here! A simple way to make the perfect iced tea from loose tea leaves (for approximately 1 1/4 quart of iced tea):

1. Place tea leaves in a brewing bag such as Finium slim unbleached bags. (1tsp tea per cup- if using Finium slim bags put 2 tsp of tea in each bag)
2. Bring 1 quart of cold water to a rolling boil.
3. Remove from heat and add 8-10 teabags for 1 quart of water.
4. Steep the tea for 5 minutes and pour over 3 cups of ice cubes.
5. To serve pour into tall glasses filled with ice and sweeten as desired.

Today I made iced tea from Rooibos Bourbon and it is delicious- the vanilla bean flavor is very prominent and creamy. I believe that a shot of rum would turn this into an elegant cocktail.

PS- I love the Finium unbleached bags; I use them in my tea bar for all of the tea "by the cup" that I sell.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tea Tasting Favorites

The overwhelming favorite from the tea tasting we held at The Hill Tea Bar on Saturday was the apricot black tea. We also had iced apricot tea which was popular; it had a nice hint of fruit without being overwhelming. On Sunday we tasted pu-ehr and a rooibos bourbon and the rooibos was the pick of most customers-(I should add that this was to my dismay since pu-ehr is my favorite tea). I have not met many pu-ehr lovers...but would like to. Today we brewed vanilla black tea for the iced flavor of the day and it is delicious with a shot of vanilla syrup.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Buying Loose Tea

One question I have been asked numerous times is how to know the amount of loose tea to buy. As a general rule of thumb for purchasing loose tea:

* 1 ounce will make 10-12 six-ounce cups of tea
* 2 ounces will make 20-24 six-ounce cups of tea
* 4 ounces will make 40-48 six-ounce cups of tea

After you arrive home with your loose tea there will be a few options for brewing. You can use an infuser such as a brew basket or a teapot with a built-in strainer. If you are in a hurry, or just like to keep it simple, try putting your loose tea in a Finium filter bag. If you consider using a tea-ball make sure to find one that is large enough to give the tea leaves room to uncurl as they brew~ a small tea-ball is not the best choice for tea brewing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tea Tasting Selection for Saturday 5/24/2008

The theme for the tasting this Saturday will be fruit flavors.
We will be tasting: Ginger Orange Peach Tea, Green Lemonade Tea, Orange Oolong Tea and Apricot Spice Tea. Stop by between 10 am and 12 noon to try all four selections.

Tea and Caffeine

Do you ever wonder why you don't get a "buzz" from tea like you experience from coffee? The amino acid L-Theanine, which promotes physical relaxation without drowsiness, is found in tea and counterbalances the caffeine. L-Theanine also supports cardiovascular heath and provides important antioxidant properties (Polyphenolic antioxidants) that combat a wide array of neurological diseases. The amount of caffeine in tea can be influenced by numerous factors such as the amount of time the tea is steeped or the quantity of tea used per cup but in general a cup of tea has about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. If you want to limit your caffeine intake but cannot find your favorite tea in decaffeinated form you may want to try this natural caffeine reducer:
1. Brew/steep your tea as usual or based upon the instructions that accompany the tea.
2. After brewing the tea discard it. Yes, pour it down the drain. Most of the caffeine in the tea will be released in the first brewing of the tea.
3. Brew the tea a second time- this is the tea you will drink.

Caffeine Content of Tea and Coffee per 8 ounce cup(source: Linus Pauling Institute)
Green Tea: 9-50 mg of caffeine
Black Tea: 42-72 mg of caffeine
Coffee: 72-130 mg of caffeine

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weight Loss With Tea

I wanted to recommend two books to those trying to lose weight- "Lose Weight with Green Tea" by Patricia Rouner and "The Ultimate Tea Diet" by Mark Ukra. Both of these books give exceptional information regarding the benefits of tea when dieting. In 2007 I lost 40 pounds and used both of these books to help navigate the way. I found that drinking tea at least 1/2 hour before mealtime helped curb my appetite which allowed me to reduce my calorie count. As a part of my weight loss effort I gave up coffee and found that I actually had more energy from drinking tea.

Recycling Used Green Tea Leaves

Steeped green tea leaves can be used for a variety of purposes but first you must make sure to dry them thoroughly. Lay the tea leaves out on some clean wax paper and turn them a few times until they are dry. Once dry the tea leaves are called "chagra". Chagra can be used in the refrigerator to absorb odors, it can be scattered in your cat litter box to keep the odor in check, or chagra can work as a carpet deodorizer. To use chagra as a carpet deodorizer: sprinkle dried chagra on the carpet, allow to sit a few minutes and then vacuum. If you prefer teabags instead of loose tea the used teabags can be cooled and used as eyepads to soothe tired, puffy eyes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Web Blog Directory

Answer to question about black tea counteracting anthrax

I found the following article http://cryptogon.com/?p=2335 regarding black tea and anthrax. Cheers!

The Hill Tea Bar Grand Opening

Hi! We had our grand opening on May 17th and it was a smashing success. I met so many interesting folks with a passion for tea~ it was great fun. We tasted a selection of specialty teas including an Organic first flush Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Choco Coco and Bianca Camomile. The Choco Coco was the overwhelming favorite. The live Jazz music was performed by Jim Dragoni, who has a studio in Chestnut Hill, and many folks enjoyed their tea in the garden while enjoying the music. I have a few items I was asked by customers to research such as the ability of tea to counteract anthrax...I will report back on my findings on that one. We have scheduled our first wine class which will be held on June 13th at our location in Chestnut Hill, PA (6 East Hartwell Lane, Philadelphia) ~ we have 12 seats left. The class will be a West Coast Pairing with a tasting of 8 exceptional wines paired with cheese. Call 215.381.2226 for tickets ($40 each).