Tea Blog

Iced Tea and The Cold Brew Contingent or Before Ice was cool..it was water

June is National Iced Tea month and in honor of this holiday we'll be offering some deep knowledge and deeper discounts to help keep you intellectually and actually insulated in the impending summer months. Starting on June 1st you can enjoy all our iced tea offerings at 20% off and while your sipping on that sweaty beverage we offer you some fodder from the pages of history.

The idea of icing this beverage is as old and celebrated as the union of this fair country.  However, the advent and origin are wildly debated.

Cookbooks and confederacies touted the incorporation of cold cubes and crisp flavors as early as the 1840's. The Kentucky Housewife was one of the first periodicals to preach the gospel of this lovely libation calling it "Cold-Tea" and even articulating a recipe calling for "scalding" your kettle and then adding 2 teaspoons of green tea to it. Hard to believe given we see so much black tea these days, but then Chinese and Japanese green dominated the market prior to World War I & II.

However, the most widely distributed tout of truth brings us nearly half a century later at the St. Louis fair where, Richard Blechynden, director of the East India pavilion, became frustrated as he tried to offer samples of the hot stuff in the midst of the sweltering Midwest summer. His idea had not yet inoculated this beverage with sub-zero cubed delight; instead he channeled his brewed benevolence through a series of lead pipes immersed in ice resulting in a cool, refreshing beverage that tamed the tongues of fair goers alike.

Today, the newest of iterations have begun to emerge in the way of something known as "cold brewing". This is an idea that incorporates steeping the leaves of the tea for longer periods of time and at much lower temperatures to abide a full-strength non-ice necessitating refreshment. The resulting infusion lends itself to a softer, silkier palate and at full strength. Zhi Tea is proud to have been an early originator providing cold brew at zhitea.com since 2011 and we are overjoyed to see the trend taking off with a swift "can't stop won't stop" attitude.

As the summer season opens up and we find a revitalization in the newness of our own lives, perhaps cleansing the palate with the crisp and fervent flavors of an icy libation becomes necessary; something that reminds us of backyard barbeques, new beginnings and better times to come.

Ceremony or convenience? Get both with Matcha!

Matcha_Green TeaNeed a healthy boost of energy to help you enjoy the season? Try matcha!

Matcha is a finely pulverized green tea from Japan. This green tea powder has been enjoyed ceremoniously in Japan for almost 1000 years. A staple in Japanese culture and history, matcha was reserved for the royal family, religious dignitaries and the honored Zen Buddhist monks who used matcha to enable their constant meditation.

Today, matcha is finally being enjoyed in the West as studies and experiences are proving it important for wellness and convenience. When one makes a cup of matcha to drink, there is no steeping involved. One is essentially dissolving the tea powder into hot water with a whisk and drinking the instant tea, leaves and all. Consider adding a scoop to your smoothie for a quick antioxidant rich pick-me-up!

Even though it takes only seconds to make a cup to drink, it takes a great deal of time to make the matcha itself. Tea plants typically take 10-15 years to mature. Then, to finely grind the powder, one must go incredibly slow lest the speed of the grinding create heat and oxidize the leaves. It can take up to an hour to grind only 30 grams of matcha!

Truly superior matcha should have brilliant color, superior umami, frothability, and incredible mouthfeel. There should be crema to the very last drop. Rest assured, Zhi’s matcha always has these qualities and is always certified organic.

While many tea companies are offering ‘matcha styled’ green tea, Zhi’s matcha is the real deal: sourced by an independent organic tea company in Japan whose family has been making matcha for three generations. Here’s a video showing just how easy it is to enjoy a shot of matcha today! Do you like matcha?

Mother’s Day Tea Ideas

At Zhi,  we’re always looking for moments to connect.

Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to pause, reflect and celebrate ‘Mom.’  Isn’t she great?

When in a state of mindful appreciation, its almost impossible not to think about all the nurturing women in your life. We bet that creates many special moments for tea beyond the familial.

To show your thoughtfulness, give tea!

Zhi’s vast selection of organic tea from around the world can customize your gift and tea party. Choose from caffeine free herbals, energizing black teas, healthy greens, and antioxidant rich rooibos. Everyone loves Zhi’s hand blended original signatures like our Saigon Rose and Plumberry Black.

Can’t decide? Give them thoughtful and easy to use online gift certificate. They’ll love exploring the luxurious world of loose leaf tea on our picturesque and user-friendly website.  Available 24 hours a day and redeemable in minutes: great for busy families and tea loving moms.

Are you gifting the luxury of tea this Mother’s Day? If so, include us in your memories by tagging #zhitea in your Instagram, Facebook posts and tweets.

For more inspiration, please enjoy this Mother’s Day slide show from Tea Time Magazine.

 

The Very Patient Old Man Dong Ding

Dr. OolongHowdy folks.  Dr. Oolong here.

Having recently arrived back from a most pleasant journey to Taiwan, I can safely say I am a changed man. The person I was when I set out to explore the world of Taiwanese teas, on the ground, at source, is no longer with us. The man that emerged is even more in awe and wonder of the beauty and mystery of Taiwanese teas and the Taiwanese people.

The first thing that really struck me was the incredible amount of work that goes into making a batch of oolong tea. Wow! Having participated first hand in several steps in the making of the tea itself, I can say my respect for the tea workers is quite high! It is a hard job!

I was lucky enough to share numerous tea cupping/tastings during my three weeks in Taiwan. I sampled various cultivars and methods of production, from low oxidized to highly oxidized, and unbaked, to strongly baked. Aside from my personal preferences, several things stood out to me. The first of which is the concept of ‘patience’.

The more patient a tea measures the number of steeps one can get out of it. This is one of many ways to assess quality and value in an oolong tea. Regardless if you steep Western-style (small amount of leaf to water) or Eastern-style (large amount of leaf to water), or somewhere in between, the number of flavorful and aromatic steeps of a given oolong is a fantastic indicator of its inherent quality.

One of the simple treasures I was fortunate enough to acquire on this trip was a small amount of a Tung Ting made in the traditional fashion: organically, hand picked, and strong roasted. It is called Old Man Tung Tung. It is named after the gentleman who has been making this tea since he was a teenager; he is now in his 70’s! The tea is a fantastic example of a tea with tons of patience. We steeped about ten grams in a ten ounce yi xing pot last weekend and had to stop after 15 steeps!

Experiencing the flavors unfold with each steep is a remarkable experience and one that should not be missed. We hope you share in the journey with us too! Stay tuned for more articles on amber oolongs and have a great day!

Where to Shop for Gifts for Tea Lovers

Shopping for gifts for the tea lovers in your life can be difficult if you have little knowledge about tea. Buying boxes of bagged teas from the grocery store and a typical tea kettle isn’t going to satisfy a finicky tea lover. Surprise the tea lover in your life with a tea lover’s gift basket from Zhi Tea.  Zhi’s tea lover’s gift baskets are customizable so that you can pick a variety of tea samples to include.

Perfect Gifts for Tea Lovers

Zhi Tea also sells various teaware such as tea makers, tea spoons, tea timers, infuses, and tea pots that are perfect gifts for tea lovers. Having the correct teaware will allow your tea lover to correctly steep tea, for the most flavorful tea drinking experience. Tea lover’s gift baskets and teaware make excellent birthday and holiday gifts for the tea lovers in your life.

Advantages of Using the Perfect Tea Maker with Loose Leaf Tea

Why drink loose leaf tea over the bagged tea bags you find in a grocery store? As anyone who has enjoyed a cup of perfectly brewed loose leaf tea can attest to, the drinking experience is far superior to the bitter and bland teas most people have experience with. Many people are unaware of how to properly brew and steep loose leaf tea so they simply stick to the cheaper, inferior versions. Brewing loose leaf tea is made easier with the Perfect Tea Maker from Zhi Tea.

How to Use the Perfect Tea Maker

To use the Perfect Tea Maker, one simply puts the desired amount of loose leaf tea and the correct temperature of hot water into the Perfect Tea Maker. Then allow the tea to steep for the recommended time, depending on your tea, then simply place the Perfect Tea Maker over a mug and the tea will release. Learn more about recommended water temperature and steeping time at Zhi Tea.