TeaGschwendner

Tea Merchants Since 1978

The Wonderful World of Matcha

A lot of people don’t know what matcha is. Even more people are scared off by the slightly-more-elaborate preparation involved. We want to help you get to know matcha because it really wants to get to know you.

Matcha is powdered/ pulverized tea. It hails from Japan but is now enjoyed all over the world for its health benefits. Do you think that there’s a lot of benefits to drinking tea? Well…. there are. However, matcha can offer you just that much more. When you are drinking matcha you ingest the entire leaf of the camillia sinensis (tea plant.) Ergo, you get 100% of the good stuff that leaf has to offer. When you simply brew tea leaves you only get apprx. 20% of that. To reiterate, matcha is 80% more potent than normal tea. Kind of makes you re-think that “daunting” preparation a little, doesn’t it?

To those of you who are interested in the prefect way to make matcha, we’ve put together a little how-to for you.

Basically what you will need: Matcha, water (cooled to the suggested temperature), whisk (chasen), bowl (chawan), spoon (chashaku… not pictured)

Measure a small amount of matcha to the bowl with the wooden spoon. Go by the instructions on the tin- ours comes to about 3-4 grams of matcha per 400 milliliters of water.

Then you want to add a small amount of water and begin whisking to create a paste.

Add the water a small amount at a time to be sure that all of the powder is incorporated. Whisk for about 30 seconds- or until the matcha looks a bit frothy on the top.

Then it is time to enjoy!

Through May 21st, enter the code matcha2012 at checkout and receive 15% off all matcha products. Enjoy your matcha exploration! shop.tgtea.com

Know Your Flushes 2.0

Assam Edition.

Located in the far northeast corner of India lies the state of Assam. There are 2 major rivers that dominate the landscape- the Brahamaputra and the Barak. Carrying water and sediment along with them, these rivers are what makes Assam the tea powerhouse it is today.

Happy tea plants= loamy soil, sunshine, and tremendous rainfall.

Assam tea typically reaches its peak in May and June during the Second Flush. The brilliant, gold-flecked chocolate leaf creates a stunningly rich, malty cup that is often enjoyed with milk and sugar.

Assam technically has 2 flushes. However, the climate in Assam doesn’t usually make for fine First Flush teas, so generally one will only see Seconds.

First Flush: Spring-harvested and has a fresh, floral profile. These teas are slightly more intense than spring tea from Darjeeling.

Second Flush: Harvested in the summer, these teas are the best that Assam has to offer. They offer a rich coppery or mahogany cup and possess a full-bodied, creamy, malty character.

The Assam Marangi that we carry won 1st place in the North American Tea Competition last year. The caramely Assam Mokalbari is not only a State St. staff favorite, but also one of our most popular black teas. We’re a little in love with our Assams.

Find them here http://shop.tgtea.com/store/category/13/26/Assam/

As always, if you have any questions about tea or life, we’re available. info@tgtea.com

Know Your Flushes!

Darjeeling Edition.

The “flush” of a tea, or what time of year it is harvested, greatly affects the flavor profile of tea. The next few posts are going to address the different flushes of the different regions. Today though is all about the champagne of teas: Darjeeling.

There are five harvesting seasons in Darjeeling.

First Flush. After the chilly, dormant winter months, life takes a new lease in Darjeeling, heralded by the appearance of tender spring shoots on the tea plants. The teas produced are distinctly brisk and herbaceous in taste, with subtle notes of muscatel.

In Between. After giving 4 to 5 flushes during the early spring, the tea bushes need a few weeks of rest in order to prepare for the second flush.

Second Flush. The weather dries out in early May and the plentiful sunshine inspires a vigorous new flush of leaf, larger and less tender than that of spring. It is here that the bold muscatel character develops as the teas take on additional depth and body.

Monsoon. Midsummer heat and drenching rains yield larger leaves that  deliver an intense, deep red cup. Overall, these teas offer far less nuance than their early summer counterparts.

Autumnals. The final round of picking occurs in mid-fall when the weather is dry and cool. Autumnal tea is coppery in color but milder and lighter-bodied than summer tea.

All the above information was quoted from the TeaGschwendner “Book of Tea.”

We know you’d like to check out our different Darjeelings…. http://shop.tgtea.com/store/category/13/27/Darjeeling/

If there’s one thing that we’ve made clear, it’s that we enjoy playing around with tea. Our newest experiment? Fancy Tea Soda!

Here’s how to make it!

Make a simple syrup with 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. Heat in a sauce pan until completely dissolved. Put in about as much tea as you would for the amount of water (if you were brewing it normally) and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and refrigerate. Mix with soda water and voila! Fancy Tea Soda Pop!

We used Rooibush Orange Peppermint and it was FANTASTIC but you can use whatever tea you like.

For more flavor inspiration: http://shop.tgtea.com/store/

We had a tea party.

                            

This week the TeaGschwendner family got together and had a little party. A dinner party, that is. We were all eager to experiment with and experience tea foods and try our hand at pairings. We invite you to share in our findings.   

The Menu.

Arugula Basil Salad. Tea: China Fancy White Peony

A light salad is best complimented by a light tea. The simple salad has a light olive oil/lemon dressing that is a great compliment to the subtle floral flavor in the tea. The China Fancy White Peony is a great pair, since the abundance of white tips creates a smooth cup with a slightly sweeter flavor than the other white teas, which is an excellent compliment to the basil and lemon in the salad.

Carrot-Ginger-Apple Soup. Tea: China Lung Ching

This soup is usually prepared with a vegetable broth base, but I chose to substitute strong brewed China Lung Ching. The carrots and apple create a nice sweetness in the soup that is supported well by the nutty notes in the tea base. The flavors are congruently rich and satisfying with a slightly indulgent natural sweetness that is hard to match. It seems basic to pair the dish with the same
tea used to prepare it, but that combination will help the palate distinguish the rich green flavor in the soup that may otherwise be lost.

Garlic-Herb Sauteed Shrimp -Kukicha Broccoli Rice. Tea: Japan Tamaryokucha


Since one of the dishes was cooked with tea, I wanted to make sure that the tea paired with it was going to compliment the rich woodiness that the Kukicha added to the rice without overwhelming it. A Japanese green made the most sense to pick up the subtle nutty flavor from the rice as well as the oceanic flavors in the shrimp. I decided on Tamaryokucha because it has notes of the typical briny/ seaweedy-Japanese tea flavor, but a slightly richer, rounder quality due to it’s pan-fired process than it’s steamed counterparts.


Broiled Sirloin with Simmer Vegetables -Baked Mashed Potatoes. Tea: Vietnam Yen Bai OP


This hearty, rich course called for an equally hearty tea to compliment it. It was a toss up between China Golden Yunnan, Assam Mokalbari, and Vietnam Yen Bai OP. After a few tastings, it seemed that the Vietnamese tea would be the best to stand up to the full flavors of the bacon/beer simmered veggies. The tea has an Assam type quality that creates a rich coppery cup with sweet hints of cocoa and molasses that picks up the subtle sweetness of brown sugar cooked into the dish. But don’t think subtlety and nuance is all to be found in this pair, rest assured that the heaviness of the cup will be able to support the full flavor of such a hearty traditional meat-and-potatoes meal.

Now for some general notes on tea pairings. We recommend checking out the “color wheel” approach toward pairing. It’s pretty cool.

Tea pairing, like wine pairing, beer pairing etc, is somewhat intuitive and determined by one’s own palate, so it has quite a bit of wiggle room. There are a number of traditional, regional, or cultural pairing approaches; which are a great place to start but otherwise it’s mostly about exploring and letting your taste buds be the test.

Techniques.
You can approach pairing from a few different angles. Think of a color wheel: often the best color combinations are either analogous or complimentary. Analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel, like green, blue green and blue) create an overall mood or tone that is rich due to it’s use of nearly uniform hue. It creates an easily understandable presence. Conversely, complimentary color combinations are be extremely useful as well. Complimentary colors (across from each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange) are somewhat challenging to one another and are compelling as opposites. Blue points out the inherent orange quality of orange when they are near one another. The same goes for food and tea. Since this was my first experiment with pairings, I went the more analogous route with the dishes chosen.

Analogous flavors: teas and food dishes that have similar flavor profiles (fruity, nutty, etc). This can enhance the common
flavors in both the beverage and the food by having them similar. For example, my choice of pairing the kukicha rice and shrimp
course with Tamaryokucha.

Complimentary flavors: like with colors, sometimes flavor pairings that seem somewhat opposite or challenging can be surprisingly successful. Think of the bacon chocolate bar: by adding the saltiness of the bacon, you can really appreciate the sweetness of the deep milk chocolate.

Classic Pairings

White Teas- fairly light flavors, such as rice, light greens etc.
Green Teas- mild veggie flavors, nutty flavors, chicken, fish. Japanese green teas pair better with “fishier” flavors, while Chinese green teas tend to be more successful with nuttier or lightly smoky dishes.
Oolong Teas -Some argued that oolongs are too nuanced in their own right to be successfully paired with food, that the food dish overtakes the subtlety of the tea, but others said it was great with food. Since there is such a range of oolong
flavors, make logical connections: greener oolongs with lighter foods, darker oolongs withe heavier dishes, especially Chinese or Thai dishes.
Black Teas- rich, meaty or spicy flavors (Assam with breakfast, Keemun with spicy dishes, etc.)
Pu-Erh-functions sometimes as a digestive and is often served with or after greasy or rich dinners, like stir fry.

We have a great deal of fun playing with tea. We’d also like to thank Abby (in below photo, far right) for not only being the brains behind the evening but for furiously cooking between courses.



If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us an email at info@tgtea.com

Also, if you’d like to purchase any of the aforementioned teas, just visit our website http://shop.tgtea.com/store/

TEA THAT TELLS A STORY

The Story of Lapsang Souchong

This smoky tea was not created purposefully. The passage of armies through the Chinese hills of Wuyi during the Qing dynasty kept tea workers from accessing their leaves. When they were finally able to get back to work, they realized that the customary drying process would take far too long if they were going to fill the rising demand. In a stroke of desperation, they decided to dry the tea over burning pine wood to hasten the process. They took the tea to market and it became an overnight sensation. We are so glad it did.

PSST. Wanna buy some? http://shop.tgtea.com/store/product/5091/China-Lapsang-Souchong-Organic/

TEA THAT TELLS A STORY

The Story of Earl Grey

There are actually a few different versions of how Earl Grey tea came about. Here are two of them:

Once Upon a Time…. The second Earl of Grey (pictured above) was on his way home from a diplomatic mission. The seas were stormy and rough and his cargo was heavily battered about. Upon coming into port, it was discovered that the Bergamot oil had spilled onto the tea. The Earl feared that the tea would be ruined. However, after sampling the tea he discovered that it was not ruined- it was awesome.

Once Upon the Same Time… The special tea blend was presented to the Earl as a thank you gift from a Chinese man. Apparently, one of Charles’ men saved his son from drowning. He liked it so much that he recreated it back in merry England.

PSSSST. Wanna buy some tea? Earl Grey, perhaps? http://shop.tgtea.com/store/category/17/37/Black-Tea/page2.html

Tea That Tells a Story

The Story of Margaret’s Hope

The estate was owned by an Englishman who visited regularly. He was the father of two daughters. One year his youngest daughter, Margaret, braved the journey with him to India. She immediately fell in love with the estate and told her father that it was her dearest hope to return one day. Tragically, Maragaret fell ill on the long journey back to England and died shortly after arriving. Devastated, her father re-named the plantation in her honor. It’s rumored that her soul has returned to the estate and roams through the fields and the houses that she so loved…

Want to experience the legend? We carry an Autumnal Flush from Margaret’s Hope here at our website http://shop.tgtea.com/store/product/5007/Darjeeling-Margaret%27s-Hope-Autumnal/

It’s a new year! What are your resolutions? If they involve things like losing weight, drinking less coffee and/or pop, exploring, learning new things…. Tea just might be your new best friend.
Granted, we here at TeaGschwendner are a little biased, but tea really can help you be amazing and achieve your goals.
Did you know…. The typical American-sized cup of coffee is going to contain around 150mg of caffeine while tea, depending on what kind, will land about 30mg-70mg. However, the caffeine in tea reacts with your body differently than the caffeine in coffee due to an amino acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid helps to produce a calm sense of focus instead of the typical “coffee jitters.” The L-Theanine bonds to the caffeine and gradually releases it into your system supplying you with a slow rise, hours of energy and focus, and a soft denouement.  It can help you focus at work or help you get to get your moneys worth out of that new gym membership.
Another great thing about tea? No matter what kind you drink or the specific flavor you like, every cup of tea is going to have less than 5 calories. Plus it has antioxidants and a myriad of other health benefits besides its low calorie count.
We love tea and think everyone else should too. How could you not?

It’s a new year! What are your resolutions? If they involve things like losing weight, drinking less coffee and/or pop, exploring, learning new things…. Tea just might be your new best friend.

Granted, we here at TeaGschwendner are a little biased, but tea really can help you be amazing and achieve your goals.

Did you know…. The typical American-sized cup of coffee is going to contain around 150mg of caffeine while tea, depending on what kind, will land about 30mg-70mg. However, the caffeine in tea reacts with your body differently than the caffeine in coffee due to an amino acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid helps to produce a calm sense of focus instead of the typical “coffee jitters.” The L-Theanine bonds to the caffeine and gradually releases it into your system supplying you with a slow rise, hours of energy and focus, and a soft denouement.  It can help you focus at work or help you get to get your moneys worth out of that new gym membership.

Another great thing about tea? No matter what kind you drink or the specific flavor you like, every cup of tea is going to have less than 5 calories. Plus it has antioxidants and a myriad of other health benefits besides its low calorie count.

We love tea and think everyone else should too. How could you not?

Hello one and all!
Above is a picture of Abby a part of the tea shop family.  And what is that she is holding?  Lemon and Matcha marble pound cake!  You can click through this link to see the recipe on Joy the Baker.  We all tried it here in the store and can verify the deliciousness of this recipe.  Hope you all enjoy!

Hello one and all!

Above is a picture of Abby a part of the tea shop family.  And what is that she is holding?  Lemon and Matcha marble pound cake!  You can click through this link to see the recipe on Joy the Baker.  We all tried it here in the store and can verify the deliciousness of this recipe.  Hope you all enjoy!