Organic Winterberry Spice Tea

How To Clear Out Winter Teas

With Spring officially here, it’s a great time to phase out your winter teas to get ready for your spring seasonal teas. Here are some tips to get through your tea inventory.

Have friends over for a tea clearing

Have friends and family over for tea. This may be an afternoon tea party or it could just simply be a cuppa and conversation. Keep the tea flowing!

Serve your winter teas iced:

Warming, spicy teas traditionally thought of as winter teas may be served iced. Iced teas with clove, cinnamon, and ginger pair pleasantly well with heavier meals. Try your winter teas iced, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Need help brewing iced tea, check out this guide.

Cooking with tea:

Tea is a culinary ingredient. While traditionally thought of as an infused beverage, it has its uses in cooking. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Please keep in mind that caffeinated teas will indeed caffeinate your food, perhaps not as concentrated as full on cup of tea, but enough to exercise caution when eating tea infused foods later in the day.

  1. Use in soup stocks: A good smoky tea like lapsang souchong is a popular addition to soup stocks, but any robust black or green tea can compliment a soup. To add to soup, brew your tea according to instructions, but double up on tea leaves. Set aside some soup and add a little bit of the concentrated tea infusion. Test taste.
  2. Add tea to poaching liquid: Add brewed tea concentrate to poaching liquid to impart a subtle flavor.
  3. Rice & Tea: Infuse fragrant notes and flavors of tea in your next batch of rice. Substitute some of the water for a concentrated tea infusion before cooking. Try a small test batch of rice first to get your infused tea ratio to your liking.

Looking for inspiration? You can view our tea recipe collection for ideas. https://www.divinitea.com/category/tea-recipes/

Popsicles

Some winter teas make for unique and exciting popsicles. Check out this guide to making popsicles using tea: https://www.divinitea.com/iced-tea-and-fruit-popsicle-recipe/

How To Serve Afternoon Tea

What is afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea, or low tea, is a small meal of tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, cakes, and other delectable treats piled up on plates and served with tea between lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea may be enjoyed as an informal social gathering at the coffee table. It may also be a more formal affair at the dining table, either at home, or at a restaurant offering afternoon tea service.

Afternoon tea originated in 1840’s Britain as a private social event. Traditionally served at 4pm, this small meal was intended to fill the long gap between lunch and dinner, which could be served as late as 8pm. Like tea itself, afternoon tea has gained popularity over the years, and has become an anticipated experience in hotels, tea rooms, and spas throughout the world.

How to serve afternoon tea

Afternoon tea may be served in the afternoon (go figure), between lunch and dinnertime. All you need is some tea, food, and friends.

What tea to serve

As for tea, the sky is the limit. Tea should pair well with food. The safe play is a good strong pot of black tea, like a breakfast tea, or a single estate black tea. When serving guests with limited tea exposure, this is often what they imagine when they think ‘tea.’

To spruce up the experience, try serving a seasonal blend. This can go well with a seasonal themed afternoon tea service.

For a caffeine-free experience, try a robust rooibos blend, or explore herbal tisanes. Herbal tisanes have a good potential for interesting food pairings.

Green teas and certain oolongs may be paired with lighter flavor foods. An amber oolong, such as Wu Yi has a more robust and toasty flavor that goes well savory foods, and compliments sweets very well. Pu-erh blends are very rich with a distinct earthy flavor, and may be better suited for heavier meals.

On a sweltering day, flip the script; try a tall glass of iced tea. It’s afternoon, it’s tea, why not?

Afternoon tea food

Fresh scones with preserves and cream or butter, tea cakes, tea sandwiches, tarts, biscuits, and french pastries piled up on plates. And plates piled up on tiered trays. Small dainties in abundance for your guests to pluck to their heart’s content. That is the afternoon tea experience.

The recipe ideas are endless. Some are very simple. If it’s small and beautiful, and pairs well with tea, put it on a plate!

Check out The Spruce for afternoon tea recipe ideas.

Afternoon tea tableware

The standard tea service tableware will do. You’ll need a large teapot and infuser, tea cups and saucers. If serving with milk and sugar, you’ll need a cream pitcher and sugar bowl.

Aside from small plates for serving and silverware, you may need ramekins for individual portions of preserves and cream if you are serving scones or other pastries that require spreads. While afternoon tea is typically served on tiered trays, they are not essential.

How To Serve Tea To Children

Tea Time with Children

How To Serve Tea To Children

 

Did you know that you could have a real tea party with your little ones? Children as young as a year old can appreciate a good cuppa—with treats of course! A tea party is an enjoyable bonding experience to have with your children, and provides a great opportunity for children to learn lots of skills, like handling a warm beverage and table manners. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child will pick it up!

The key is selecting the proper tea. Any tea with caffeine is not recommended. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can affect a child’s sleep patterns, increase anxiety, and generally drive them up a wall. Fortunately, there are many teas that don’t have caffeine.

Technically speaking, tea is from the camellia sinensis plant, which is naturally caffeinated. What we recommend is something called an herbal tisane, or an herbal tea. There are many kid-safe herbal teas.

Recommended Teas

A quick note, we recommend serving tea without sugar. If your child has never had sugar with their tea, they won’t expect it, and they will be happy enough just playing grown up. Milk is optional, and not a necessity. Rooibos teas may benefit from a splash of milk. Certain fruit tisanes may actually curdle milk due to the acidic content, so please test first.

We also recommend certified organic blends. Due to the nature of tea production, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers can become concentrated in teas. When your tea is certified organic, it ensures that it is free from these chemical contaminates.

How To Serve Tea

When serving, we recommend a few important tips. First, this is a supervised activity. After all, you are brewing piping hot tea! Your child should not have access to extremely hot tea at any time! That means your teapot should be well out of reach unless it has cooled down sufficiently.

In the beginning, your child will need a lot of help, there are so many skills to master. If possible, have your child stay at the table. This means an age appropriate table and possibly chair. Help your child with proper handling of their tea mug. Expect spills, be ready with a hand towel and plenty of patience. And yes, that means spilt tea on clothing! Be patient and calm, it’s all about building a positive experience.

It’s also a great time to put the phone away and turn off the TV. Let your tea time be a distraction-free time. Keep your electronics in a separate room with the sound off if temptation is too great.

Tea Ware

We recommend not breaking out the fine china for this activity. Especially for toddlers, because, well, they’re toddlers. We have found that Japanese style ceramic tea tumblers work very well, and are just durable enough for the purpose. Small tumblers allow for easy handling, and the small vessel allows tea to cool faster. The ones without handles reduce complications.

Older children may be able to handle more traditional tea cups (again, not the fine china), however, children should always be supervised and instructed, especially in the beginning.

Tea should be served warm, not hot of course. Always test tea before serving. To cool down tea quickly, try keeping an empty teapot or any non-plastic vessel with a spout at hand. Instead of serving brewed tea directly in your child’s cup, pour a serving size in the empty teapot and swirl. The vessel will absorb the heat of the serving. Then transfer to your child’s mug and test to make sure it is a good temperature.

If you have a play tea set, please check with the manufacturer to ensure it is food safe and also durable enough for actual use. Play tea sets are not always intended for actual use.

Food

Feel free to serve snacks with tea. This could be a simple as cut up fruit, or a special treat, such as a scone with cream and preserves, a cookie, and other hand-sized dainties. For a traditional afternoon tea experience add tea sandwiches.

Just in case you are wondering, you can make any sandwich a tea sandwich really, just remove the crust and cut it into triangles, as long as it holds well together, you have yourself a tea sandwich! Optionally, you can use a sandwich cutter for all sorts of fun shapes, or experiment with a cookie cutter.

Best Teas for Travel Thermos

Best teas for travel thermos

As chilly autumn mornings remind us of the winter days ahead, it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the good weather while it lasts. Whether you’re walking through the park or hiking the backcountry during peak foliage, nothing is more invigorating and refreshing than a hot cup of tea.

After all, hydration is important, right? It takes up nearly the same weight to carry tea as it does water, so why not bring some hot tea on your next outing?

What You’ll Need:

Ditch the bagged tea from the grocery store; get real loose leaf tea. That said, you’ll need an infuser to brew your loose leaf tea. Our Highwave Vacuum Travel Mug has a built-in infuser, so all you need is some hot water and loose leaf tea. Otherwise you can brew tea as you normally would and transfer your tea to a thermos or insulated Kleen Kanteen style bottle.

If you’re packing away your tea, keep it sealed tight to prevent leaking, and try to keep it further inside your pack to further insulate.

What Teas Perform Best in Vacuum Bottles

Tea is so flavorful because of the antioxidants found in the leaves. The problem is that tea begins to oxidize when introduced to hot water. The longer the water is left hot, the quicker the oxidation.

Basically, some teas can get bitter or otherwise have an unpleasant taste over time, as they are left hot inside a thermos. Some teas perform better than others over time.

The best performing teas are herbal teas and rooibos. Next up are scented black teas and unscented black teas. Black teas with chai spices are especially enjoyable in cold weather. Pu-erh teas also hold up well in a thermos. Certain amber oolongs also perform well.

Green teas and jade oolong teas are hit or miss. The type of antioxidants in green and jade oolong teas are susceptible to heat over long periods, so you may find your favorite green tea is not so nice after hours in the thermos. The only way to be sure is to test your tea.

White teas are poor performers in a thermos. Do to the delicate nature of their preparation, white teas oxidize very quickly, and can even become black in color over a period of hours in a thermos.

Why Does My Tea Get Cold Too Soon?

As you drink from your vacuum bottle, you have less tea inside, resulting in greater heat-loss. It’s better to drink all your tea in a short interval instead of spacing it out over hours. If you have only a little tea left in your thermos, it will cool very quickly

Also, if you keep the lid off, you lose heat a lot faster than when you have the lid on.

If it’s very cold out, consider packing your thermos away around anything that might insulate it further.

Notes on Cleaning

If you brew a flavored tea in your vacuum bottle, be sure to soak it in a baking soda solution afterwards to absorb any flavors. Also, scrub the interior with a bottle brush to minimize staining.

How To Brew Loose Leaf Tea Using A Tea Bag

You like the convenience of dunking a tea bag in a cup, guilty as charged. That doesn’t mean you need to settle for the low grade fannings and dust used for tea at the grocery store.

Brewing loose leaf tea in a tea bag is actually very easy and allows you to sample a wider selection of tea and make it as strong or as weak as you want.

All you need is loose leaf tea, hot water, and a paper tea filter for loose leaf tea. We sell T-Sac paper tea filters in a variety sizes, for cups, mugs, and teapots. Just choose the size for what you are brewing your tea in. They have an opening at the top that allows you to spoon in the tea.

In general, use one heaping teaspoon per cup of water. Once you have the tea in the bag, pour hot water over it like you would a tea bag. Let it steep for the recommended time and you’re done.

Before you throw that tea bag away, remember that many teas can be resteeped.

Tip: If your cup or mug is taller than your tea bag, you might have to worry about the tea bag falling in. To fix that, use a chopstick. Stab the tea bag at the top and rest the chopstick on top of the mug.

What Teas Can Be Resteeped? How Many Times?

How many times can I resteep tea?

Don’t throw away your tea after steeping it! You might have a lot of flavor left in those tea leaves. Many teas are renowned for their ability to retain flavor after re-steeping. In fact, in China, many times the first infusion is dumped out! It’s the second infusion they are after.

What Teas Can Be Re-steeped?

So what teas can be resteeped? The short answer is that any tea can be resteeped. It’s a matter of preference really. If you taste the second steeping and like it, then let no one stand between you and your favorite cuppa.

Pu-Erh Tea: Pu-erh teas are fermented for years like a fine wine to get their distinct flavor. In general, the older the tea, the more times it can be resteeped. In fact, some pu-erhs hold their flavor after 10 re-steepings!

Oolong Tea: Some oolong teas have a very complex flavor that changes from steep to steep. You should be able to get at least 2-3 steepings, if not more from a decent quality oolong.

Green Tea: Most green teas re-steep very well. You should be able to get 2-3 steepings from a good quality green tea.

White Tea: While not generally known for a strong flavor, white teas have a spring-like clean, smooth flavor that is resilient to multiple infusions. Like green teas, you should get 2-3 steepings.

Black Tea: Known for their strength and robustness, black teas hold up less well to multiple infusions. In general, your first infusion is going to be strong, full-bodied. A second and third infusion will still hold pleasant, distinct notes, but will not be as full-bodied. If you like your black teas strong, go ahead and leave the tea leaves in for up to ten minutes for your second infusion. most black teas won’t get bitter. You might be able to squeeze out a second good cup.

Flavored Tea: Flavored teas tend to lose a lot of potency after the first steeping, but it’s worth a try to see if your tea holds up well.

Herbal Tea: So many herbs encompass the herbal tea category. Some herbs perform better than others with multiple infusions. Stronger flavors perform better, but any herbal tea is worth a second steeping, you’re only wasting some hot water if it tastes bad!

How to Resteep Tea

Every tea has its own steeping instructions. It’s important to use the right temperature water and length of time for each tea. Follow our tea brewing guide for a reference.

After your first steeping, paying attention to temperature is not as important, as the bitter tannins are mostly gone in the first steeping.

When resteeping tea add 1-2 minutes to the original steeping time. For each additional steep, continue to add 1-2 additional minutes until the flavor is exhausted.

How Long Between Steepings?

The biggest enemy to tea is moisture and oxidation. Once you steep your tea, it begins to break down much faster. Most teas should be re-steeped in the span of a couple of hours. After that, teas just won’t taste the same. In case you were wondering, refrigeration doesn’t help either. Better to make less tea to avoid waste.

White teas are especially sensitive. They should be re-steeped ASAP. While normally a clear color infusion, a white tea infusion can actually turn black from oxidation in a short period.

Should I Rinse My Tea Leaves?

For certain teas, rinsing is highly recommended. Pu-erh teas tend to have a harsh flavor in the first steeping. Also, teas that tend to have an unpleasant astringency can be rinsed. A quick rinse will cut unpleasant flavors.

To rinse tea, dispense your tea leaves into your infuser. Pour hot water over the leaves inside the infuser. You can do this inside your teapot or mug so the hot water heats it up. No need to fill the pot all the way, just a cup will do. Don’t let the tea leaves sit in the water too long, or it will release all its flavor. Dump the water immediately after rinse.

My Flavor is Exhausted! What Now?

Tea leaves make great compost. You can also clean with tea leaves. Let your tea serve you well!

How Long Does Tea Last

how long does tea last?

Properly stored loose leaf tea can last up to a year or longer. Will it taste as good as the day you bought it? No.

In general, you will get optimum flavor if used within 3 months.

That said, make sure the tea you purchase hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for a long time. At Divinitea, we hand blend our teas in small batches every day, to ensure that it’s the freshest it can be before reaching our customers.

Also, make sure you properly store your tea. When you buy your tea, transfer it immediately to a stainless steel tea tin. Stainless steel is great because it blocks sunlight, doesn’t absorb odors, and when properly constructed, makes a good seal.

Store your tea in a cool, dry place to ensure the greatest shelf-life. You might also want to mark the date on your tea tin if you think it will sit on the shelf a while, that way you remember exactly when you purchased it.

In addition, avoid bagged tea at the grocery store which is made of lower grade fannings and dust. This tea tends to sit on the shelf longer and oxidizes faster once opened.

For more advice on how to store your tea, check out our tea storage guide.

Note: Pu-erh teas are a rare exception to the shelf-life rule. Pu-erhs are aged teas, and improve over time, if properly stored.

Why Does My Tea Taste Bitter?

Bitter Tea?

You sit down to your favorite morning cuppa, holding it in your hands in great anticipation. You take a sip and…. yuk! Your tea is bitter!

Causes for Bitter Tea:

Steeped too long: Be sure to follow steeping instructions for your tea. If you leave your first infusion in too long, it can become very bitter.

Water too hot: Each tea needs a certain temperature water. In general, no teas should be prepared with water at a rolling boil. If water is too hot, it can burn the leaves and release unpleasant flavors. When in doubt, use 195°F water.

Too much tea used: It’s tempting to cram the pot full of tea leaves, but the general rule of 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of water holds up pretty well. That should get you a strong cup of tea.

Tea too old: If your tried a shorter steeping time and cooler water but it’s still bitter, then you may have old tea leaves, or improperly stored tea. Check out our storage guide to see if you are storing your tea properly.

Personal Taste: Certain teas, especially breakfast and Assam teas can have a natural astringency that may be unpleasant to some people.

Hard Water: If your water has a high pH, it can cause your tea and coffee to taste bitter. Try using spring water to see if there is a difference.

Contamination: If your infuser, teapot, or kettle are not properly cleaned and thoroughly rinsed, you may be tasting something other than tea.

The Fix

Before you dump that cup of tea, try adding hot water too it. Often, this can help. If that doesn’t work, try brewing another cup, following the recommendations above and using our steeping instructions.

Tea Gift Ideas: Valentine’s Day

Best Selling Valentine’s Day Teas

Sweetheart tea

Valentine’s Day 2015 is almost here! Treat the tea lover in your life with a special brew. Here are some of our best selling organic tea blends for Valentine’s Day:

  1. Organic Mexican Chocolate tea
  2. Organic Chocolate Tea
  3. Organic Coconut Creme Tea
  4. Organic Earl Grey Passion
  5. Organic Vanilla Tea
  6. Organic Red Raspberry Rooibos

Does your loved one have everything they need to brew loose leaf tea? Don’t forget paper tea filters or a permanent tea basket!

Tea Sweet Idea:

Nothing spells love like a homemade Valentine’s Day sweet. Check out this Flourless Chocolate Chai Cake Recipe for an exciting tea-themed companion to your loved one’s favorite cup of tea.

Best Tea Ware Gift Ideas

Best Teaware for Christmas

Are you looking for a holiday gift idea for someone who likes tea? Check out our best selling tea ware, they’re sure to please:

1. Double Sealed Stainless Steel Tin

By far our best selling item, our Double Sealed Stainless Steel Tea Tins are great for keeping tea & coffee fresh. Plus, they fit a wide range of kitchen decors. This is a great practical and inexpensive gift.

2. Glass Tea Tumbler:

Our Insulated Glass Tea Tumbler is perfect for someone who likes to drink tea on the road or at the office. Simply place the tea leaves inside the tumbler, pour in hot water, and you have tea! The leaves stay right inside, so you can watch them unfurl. The enclosed strainer keeps the tea leaves inside for a no-mess experience.

3. Permanent Tea Basket

This is a staple item for brewing loose leaf tea. The Permanent Tea Basket fits in a mug or teapot without falling in. After brewing, the lid can be used as a drip catch. Taste-free stainless steel mesh filter strains even the finest loose leaf tea.

4. Mist Iced Tea Pitcher

The Mist Iced Tea Pitcher is an easy, mess free way to brew loose leaf tea for iced tea. Simply place your tea leaves in the pitcher and add hot water or cold water. Watch the tea leaves expand as they brew; very attractive for guests.

5. Primula 8-Cup Glass French Press

The versatile Primula French Press brews fantastic coffee or tea. Simply add coffee grounds or tea leaves, pour in water, and push the press down. The fine mesh filter strains your beverage, ensuring a clean brew.