Why Use Cast Iron Pots

Are you wondering what the benefits of cast iron are? Look no further!

  1. A Teapot To Pass Down: Cast iron teapots are extremely durable. With proper care, they can last a lifetime (and longer).
  2. Retains Heat: Cast iron is good at retaining heat. The trick is to heat up your pot with boiling water before brewing tea. Dump the hot water out and brew tea normally.
  3. Presentation: Cast iron teapots are beautiful and ornate. The heft of the pot feels good in the hand. It makes for a great tea brewing experience.

Proper Cast Iron Care

  1. Hand wash with soapy water
  2. Air dry after use
  3. Don’t use on stove. Most cast iron pots have an inner lining that prevents rust, but doesn’t take well to heating on a stove.

How to Brew Matcha

How to prepare organic ceremonial grade matcha

If you haven’t tried a good organic matcha, then you’re missing out on a uniquely smooth and flavorful tea experience. Plus, matcha is high in antioxidants, making it a healthy beverage. Here’s how to make yours at home:

What you’ll need:

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to 160F – 180F. Preheat your matcha bowl by swishing in hot water. Dump this water.
  2. Hold matcha strainer over matcha bowl. Using a matcha spoon, or teaspoon, dispense 1tsp matcha over matcha strainer. Sift the matcha through the strainer to remove clumps.
  3. Pour hot water over matcha in matcha bowl. Whisk vigorously with matcha whisk.
  4. Serve immediately. Swirl finished matcha beverage on occasion to prevent settling. Consider adding milk and sugar if you’re looking for something light and sweet.

How to prepare iced matcha

  1. Prepare matcha using instructions above
  2. Add sweetener, if desired
  3. Add milk to taste
  4. Add ice to chill
  5. Optional: Place in blender for a smoothie texture!
  6. Enjoy!

Advice

More than most teas, you can tell quality by taste. Avoid lower grade matchas, they just don’t taste the same. That’s why we stock a ceremonial grade matcha.

Tips On Using A Tea Snap

How To Use a Tea Snap

A tea snap, or tea tongs, is a tea ball style infuser with a handle that allows you to open and close the mesh tea ball like a pair of tongs.

It looks very easy to use, but if you’re not doing it right, you could be wasting tea.

Tip 1: Don’t use too much tea

If you like a strong cup of tea, don’t cram your tea tong with loose leaf tea—get a bigger infuser instead. Loose leaf tea can double and triple in size when it gets wet. When you cram your tea snap full of tea, it expands and binds up, preventing the inner tea leaves from infusing. By using less tea, you are giving your tea snap breathing room.

Tip 2: Keep the edges clear

If you have stray bits of tea around the edges of your mesh ball, it won’t form a seal when it closes. As a result, loose fragments of tea will seep out. If you have a lot of loose tea in your cup, you can strain it into another cup, or just tough it out. No harm in swallowing stray tea leaves!

Tip 3: Stir your tea

A tea snap has a convenient handle that allows you to stir inside your tea cup. By stirring, you are allowing the tea to infuse better, making a fuller bodied brew.

Tip 4: Save the leaves

Don’t throw your tea leaves out just yet! If it’s an oolong tea, a pu-erh, a green, or a white tea, try making another steeping with the leaves. Just leave the infuser in the water a few minutes longer. You might be surprised at how much flavor is left in those tea leaves!

How To Make Tea In A French Press

How to make tea in a french press

While most people are familiar with using a French Press for coffee, it’s perfectly suited for brewing tea. In fact, it’s design makes a great mess-free tea brewing experience.

Step 1: Prepare Water

Brew water to the appropriate temperature. Check out our guide for help

Step 2: Add Tea To French Press

Add 1 tsp. loose leaf tea per cup of tea brewed. Pour water over tea leaves.

Step 3: Depress and serve

Push the plunger down. Now your tea is ready to serve.

How To Clean Tools With Tea

Clean Garden Tools With Tea

Image Courtesy of D. Laird, Flickr

Don’t throw out those used tea leaves! Save them for a safe and natural way to remove rust from your tools.

Instructions

  1. Set aside used tea leaves, enough to make a bucket of tea. You’ll need enough tea to cover your tools. You can refrigerate the used leaves if you need a few days to collect enough.
  2. Place the tea leaves right in the bucket. Pour hot water inside the bucket. Make sure the bucket can hold hot water.
  3. Submerge your tools inside the bucket a few hours.
  4. Remove your tools, wipe them clean. Make sure to store them dry

Matcha Facial Recipe

Matcha is ground up tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. The powdered green tea has a number of culinary uses, including smoothies, ice cream, and general drinking. The same reasons that make it good to drink, make it good to apply as a face mask. Just one week using this recipe, you’ll start to notice the difference in your skin.

Skin Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

  • Clears Blemishes, Helps Treat Acne
  • Reduces Scarring
  • Protects and neutralizes UV Damage
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Rejuvenates old skin cells
  • Reduces appearance of wrinkles
  • Evens Skin Tone

Recipe

  • 1/2 tsp organic matcha (sifted to remove clumps)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp spring water

Instructions

  • Mix ingredients thoroughly in a shallow dish. Use a cotton ball, cosmetic sponge, or your finger to mix.
  • First time trying this? Try on a patch of skin first to see how your skin reacts.
  • With a cotton ball or cosmetic sponge, apply the matcha generously on your face. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Remove with a clean, damp cloth. Rinse face, pat dry, and apply a moisturizer.

Try the routine at least 2 weeks to observe significant results.

Have you tried a matcha face mask? Let us know how it works for you!

Resources

How to Store Loose Leaf Tea

Proper storage tins for loose leaf tea

Nothing’s better than fresh, flavorful loose leaf tea. Nothing’s worse than good tea gone bitter and flavorless due to oxidation. Fortunately, it’s easy to properly store loose leaf tea to ensure freshness.

Best Tea Containers

The following make great tea containers, provided they have an airtight seal, are completely dry, and odor free:

  • Stainless steel tins: tea tins made out of stainless steel block sunlight, don’t absorb odors, and can be made durable for everyday use. Our stainless steel tea tins are designed especially for loose leaf tea.
  • Colored glass: darkly colored glass blocks most sunlight, doesn’t absorb odors, and is easy to clean. However, avoid direct sunlight even with colored glass.

Worst Tea Containers

  • Plastic: plastic tea containers absorb odors. If you have to use plastic, use only one flavor per container
  • Clear glass: clear glass tea containers don’t block sunlight. If you use clear glass, keep your tea in a dark place.
  • Leaky Containers: tea containers that don’t have a tight seal allow air to oxidize the tea and moisture to introduce mold. In addition, other smells in the kitchen can seep in.
  • Paper Bags: If you bought your tea and it came in a paper bag, transfer it into a more permanent container, unless you intend to consume the tea within a month or two.

Where to Store Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea absorbs moisture like a sponge. If tea gets damp, it begins to mold and decay. Keep loose leaf tea in a cool, dry place. A kitchen cupboard is a great place to store tea. Do not store your loose leaf tea in a refrigerator or freezer, this will introduce moisture and prematurely age your tea.

Loose leaf tea absorbs odors too. Don’t store your tea near spices or you might find your tea tasting like something you had for dinner!

Sunlight robs tea of flavor. Avoid direct sunlight. Even indirect light takes its toll.

How Long Will My Loose Leaf Tea Last?

Properly stored tea can last up to a year, perhaps even longer. However, to insure the best tasting tea, try to use up your supply within 3 months.

Fun Fact: Did you know that properly stored pu-erh can last for decades? In fact, a good pu-erh improves with time. That’s because pu-erh is the only fermented tea, aged just like a good wine!

How to Use Mulling Spice: 5 Creative Uses

find 5 creative uses of organic mulling spice

With a nice blend of organic mulling spice, you can do a lot of fun things. Give your favorite seasonal beverages a spicy kick. How about adding to maple syrup or vinaigrettes for your salad, or even simmer some on the stove to scent your home?

A good organic mulling spice is a combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and orange peel. This decadent spicy blend is traditionally used for hot apple cider or mulled wine. Here are a few creative uses you might not know about:

1. Organic Mulled Cider

If you haven’t had hot mug of spiced cider, you’re missing out on a magical autumn beverage. This will warm your bones and help keep you healthy. All you need is some organic mulling spices and some organic apple cider. For the adult version, try adding a little rum.

Check out the recipe for mulled cider here:

2. Organic Mulled Wine

This is a great holiday treat for guests or for general enjoyment on a cold day in front of the fire. The recipe is very simple, similar to mulled cider. All you’ll need is a good red wine, mulling spices, and some organic sugar. You can serve it hot or chilled and served over ice as a cooler.

Check out out the recipe for mulled wine here:

3. Organic Mulled Maple Syrup

There’s nothing like a stack of flapjacks for breakfast, topped with berries and drizzled with maple syrup. Try adding some mulling spices to your maple syrup for the perfect breakfast! It’s a quick and easy way to earn points in the kitchen.

Check out the recipe for mulled maple syrup here.

4. Organic Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Drizzle a homemade mulled apple cider vinaigrette on your favorite salad, or add to marinades and sauces for meats. It’s just the right blend of sour and spice.

Check out the recipe for mulled apple cider vinaigrette here:

5. Organic Mulling Spice Home Fragrance

This is a great trick to make your house smell like a mulling spice confection. 3 to 4 hours before a party, boil 8 cups of water over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs. organic mulling spices to a large tea bag and tie off the end. Place tea bag in the saucepan and reduce heat to a simmer for 3-4 hours.

How To Make Iced Tea with Loose Leaf Tea

Why use loose leaf tea for iced tea

There are a few reasons why you should consider switching to loose leaf tea for making iced tea:

  1. It tastes better: Loose leaf tea is higher quality than most tea bags. Tea bags use fannings and dust, the leftover bits of tea once the good stuff is used.
  2. More Variety: When you buy tea bags, you’re limited to a few selections. With loose leaf tea, you have a wider selection. Plus you can blend teas yourself to make you own specialty
  3. More affordable: Given the same quality ingredients, loose leaf tea is more affordable than its bagged counterpart.

How to brew loose leaf tea for iced tea:

Here are two methods for brewing iced tea. The first method is to use an iced tea pitcher design for loose leaf tea. The advantage of this is ease of use, plus you can serve tea right out of the pitcher—no need for additional tea ware. The other method uses existing tea ware to brew a double strength batch.

Method 1: Using an Iced Tea Pitcher

Our Mist Iced Tea Pitcher is the best way to go for brewing iced tea. All you have to do is add your loose leaf tea directly inside the pitcher. Then add water! The filter at the top of the pitcher will keep tea leaves from reaching your glass. With the Mist Iced Tea Pitcher, there are is a cold brew and a hot brew method.

Cold Brew Method

  1. Add 7-10 tsp loose leaf tea to the 50oz pitcher
  2. Gently pour 2 cups hot water first, then 4 cups cold water
  3. Place pitcher in fridge. Steep 2 -6 hours.
  4. Pour to serve!

Hot Brew Method

  1. Add 7-10 tsp loose leaf tea to the 50oz pitcher
  2. Gently pour 3 cups hot water first, steep 2-5 minutes
  3. Add 2-3 cups ice cold water with ice cubes
  4. Pour to serve!

Method 2: Using traditional tea ware

We have a handy guide for brewing loose leaf tea here. The only difference for brewing iced tea is that you double the amount of loose leaf tea you use per cup of water. For example, Instead of using 1 tsp per cup, use 2 tsp. This is because once you’re done steeping the tea, you are going to add ice. Adding ice dilutes it.

Simply follow the directions in the guide. When you are ready to serve, pour over a glass of ice. Tip: let the tea cool a little while so you don’t need a lot of ice