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December 30, 2015

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

 

Happy New Year

With New Years Eve, the 2015 holiday season is coming to an end – another 12 chapters, 365 pages in the book of life lived and I hope it was filled with many wonderful experiences and leaves you with great memories!

2014 lies in front of us like an unopened book whose pages have yet to be filled. Make every page count and take time to savor the moments. Spend your time wisely and make the people in your life a priority. Don’t rush from day to day, but stop and catch your breath every once in a while – maybe with a nice cup of Souvia tea!

Personally, I treasure my my tea breaks that bring a little serenity and peace into my world.

After the overindulgences of the holiday season, my favorite cup is Fog Tea, a green tea from China. It will not only leave you peaceful and relaxed, it will also help your liver get rid of the toxins that were left behind by too many glasses of champagne and cookies.

December 26, 2015

Chaidoodles

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

Gingerbread cookies

The presents are unwrapped and the parties are over, but that does not mean baking time is over too!

Tea is my passion and whenever I get a chance to include it in cooking and baking, I experiment. Since cinnamon is the key ingredient in Snicker doodles already, adding the flavors of cardamom, cloves and ginger would make the taste only richer.

The recipe is very simple and you can freeze the dough to have it ready when the holiday guests arrive:

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup softened butter

1 egg

2tbsp. milk

1 cup brown sugar ( I substitute stevia for half the sugar)

2 tbs loose leaf masala chai finely ground

1/4tsp salt, 1tsp baking soda, 1tsp baking powder

2tsp cream of tartar

1tblesp  cinnamon, 1tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup granulated sugar

Mix the flour, sugar, masala chai mix, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Add the butter, egg and milk and knead into a smooth dough.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball  in cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350degrees for 15-18 minutes.

I had planned on posting a picture of the finished product, however the cookies were so delicious that not a crumb was left before I could get my camera……

 

December 21, 2015

Oolong Poached Pears

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

 

 

As you know I always like to experiment using tea in my cooking – so when I saw this recipe one of our suppliers posted, I could not resist to make this dessert myself.

Ingredients:

1 large pear (I prefer bosc)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup of oolong tea (try our Tung Ting!)

3-4 cups of water

Steep 1/2 cup of oolong tea in 3-4 cups of water for 4 minutes. Strain the leaves. Peel, half and core 1 large pear. Add 1/2 -3/4 cup of sugar and the pears to the tea. Simmer for 30min or until pears are tender. Remove the pears and reduce the liquid until syrupy. Drizzle on the syrup and garnish the pears with some of the tea leaves. Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream for a heavenly dessert!

By the way, pears are the perfect food if you leave in a dry dessert climate. According to  Traditional Chinese Medicine, each food has its own energetic and pears are said to moisten the body. So if you are suffering from a dry cough, for example – eat more pears!

Cheers

 

December 18, 2015

Herbs for Beauty from your Kitchen!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 9:19 am

Souvia calendar 2011.mortar.small.september

You will be surprised to find that many of the same herbs that add flavor to your cooking have wonderful effects on your skin and make a great addition to your beauty regimen.

Chamomile – is used in many facial care products. It calms irritated skin and its anti-bacterial properties can treat break0uts.

Lavender – is a gentle, healing cleanser for all skin types.

Parsley – fresh parsley used in a facial cleanser is soothing to dry and sensitive skin.

Rose – has a soothing, softening and refining effect on especially mature skin. Use it in a facial steam for extra smooth skin.

Sage – tightens pores and is a natural antiseptic cleanser.

Who know that your kitchen could be the source for your beauty – inside ….and outside!

 

 

 

 

 

December 14, 2015

How is tea decaffeinated?

Filed under: Black Tea,Tea and Health,Tea preparation — wbwingert @ 10:10 am

 

This question comes up in just about every one of our tea tastings and even more often at the store. So I thought it was time to address it here in the blog.

Fact is that all decaffeination processes use a solvent to dissolve the caffeine and then remove the solvent from the tea. All methods leave some small amount of caffeine behind

Two different methods are commonly used decaffeinate tea:

  • Chemical (Methylene chloride or Ethyl acetate )
  •   Super Critical Carbon Dioxide (CO2 method)

Many commonly available teas are decaffeinated with chemical methods. These methods involve extracting the caffeine directly or indirectly with methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. In both cases, the tea leaves are moistened to allow the caffeine to be removed and then the non-caffeinated water is added back to the leaves. Methylene chloride is reported to be the most effective but in very high doses studies have shown it to be a carcinogen.

Ethyl acetate is another compound used to extract caffeine from tea. Ethyl acetate occurs naturally in tea leaves, coffee, bananas, and other types of produce. For the purposes of the decaffeination process the Ethyl acetate is synthetically produced. While ethyl acetate effectively removes caffeine from tea leaves, it can also extract other chemical components as well. Studies on green tea decaffeinated with ethyl acetate have shown the potential for up to 30% of epigallocathechin gallate (EGCG-considered to be the primary beneficial component in green tea) and other beneficial antioxidant compounds to be extracted along with the caffeine.

Highlights of the Chemical Methods

  •   methylene chloride is very effective at removing caffeine
  •   At very high does it is a carcinogen (no carcinogenic effect at low doses)
  •   Tea leaves are moistened to remove the caffeine
  •   According to studies, Ethyl Acetate removes up to 30% of the antioxidants in green tea

CO2 Method

Uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) the gas that adds bubbles to mineral water to dissolve caffeine from tea leaves. At high pressures CO2 makes an effective solvent. In its pressurized state, CO2 is pumped into a sealed chamber containing tea, where it is allowed to circulate to remove the caffeine. From there, it is pumped into a washer vessel where water or activated charcoal is used to separate the caffeine from the CO2. The purified CO2 is recirculated into the pressurized chamber. This process is repeated until the appropriate amount of caffeine has been removed.

Highlights of the CO2 method

  • does not leave a chemical residue
  •   has a minimal effect on the flavor and beneficial compounds in tea. (For example, CO2 leaves
  •   intact approximately 95% of the original EGCG content of green tea)
  •  Generally costs more than the Chemical methods

Our Souvia Label decaffeinated teas use the CO2 method. We believe this to be the best method for you and for the tea. If you have to or would like to abstain from caffeine, we also offer a large selection of herbal teas, all of which are naturally caffeine-free.

December 11, 2015

Tea: Stimulating yet Calming

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Tea and Health,White Tea — Administrator @ 10:10 am

P1014272When people first come to tea, they often arrive from the world of coffee. Many are either trying to avoid caffeine altogether or seek an alternative source for there morning cup. This leads to inevitable questions about tea and caffeine. While I tend to drink tea for taste, the caffeine can be a benefit on early mornings! As this is a topic of interest to many, I always educate myself through reading (remember – Google does not equal research!), obtaining further education through Specialty Tea Institute webinars, the World Tea Expo, and consultations with herbalists and naturopaths.

There is a lot of information on the web, some of it better than others.? A couple of points to keep in mind as you search for answers about tea and caffeine.

All tea contains caffeine

  • How the tea is brewed and the leaves you start with dramatically affect the caffeine in your cup
  • Tea is one of the very few foods that contain L-theanine – an amino acid that can counteract some of the caffeine effects
  • Caffeine in tea tends to be absorbed more slowly than caffeine in coffee

In general, Black Teas have more caffeine in the cup followed by Oolong, Green, then white teas.  This assumes that the teas are brewed properly. For example, leaving white tea leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes will not only make a bitter brew it will also extract a lot of caffeine from the leaves.

L-theanine kicks in 10-20 minutes after consumption.? The net results is a reduction in some of the less pelasnt physiolocial effects of caffeine without a loss of a popular benefit – mental alertness. This is why tea is said to be stimulating yet calming.

So, whether you drink tea for taste, a boosts or both arm yourself with information so that you can make informed choices about tea and caffeine.

Cheers!

December 7, 2015

TEA TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:07 am

Aside from the Chinese tradition to serve oolong and pu-erh teas gung fu style, or the Japanese traditional use of Matcha during the tea ceremony, there are many other practices of serving tea. Each culture that has come in touch with tea,  not only embraced its wonderful taste, but also created special ways to prepare and serve it. The most well known of these practices is probably the English way of serving afternoon tea which can be enjoyed not only in England but in tea rooms around the world. There are, however, many other practices surrounding tea, some of them very elaborate and others more practical  and simplistic:

Tibet – In Tibet, tea is considered a sacred offering and is known as “Bodja”. To make this green, salty tea, a piece of brick is ground up and boiled in hot water for a few minutes. It is then strained into a churn and mixed with yak butter or goat milk before served. (I have to admit, this would not be my “cup of tea”…)

Russian SamovarRussia – Russians drink primarily green and black teas and prefer it without adding any milk. Instead of cups, Russians serve tea in a tea glass and take a sugar cube or a spoonful of jam in the mouth before sipping the tea.

Tea is traditionally prepared in a Samovar which is an elegant tea brewer often made of silver or stainless steel and beautifully shaped. In the middle, it consists of a compartment for heating water which can be drawn from a spout. Very strong tea is brewed in a small tea pot which sits on top of the samovar. A small amount of this strong tea is poured into a glass and then diluted with the hot water to taste. The samovar keeps tea hot for hours and is a convenient way to offer tea any time of day.

India – Tea is by far the most popular drink in India and can be bought anywhere from restaurants to street vendors. Indians drink their tea strong with lots of milk and sugar. One traditional way of making tea or “chai” is to boil black tea in milk, adding spices such as cardamom, pepper, ginger and cinnamon.

Iran/Afghanistan – In both countries, tea is considered the national drink. Green and Black are the favored varietals and consumed with lots of sugar. Tea is traditionally served in brightly colored porcelain cups.

Egypt/Morocco – Egyptians and Moroccans alike are avid tea drinkers and like their tea strong and sweet, but without milk.In Morocco, it is the patriarch of the household who pours the tea. He does this by holding a long-spouted pot high above lined up tea glasses as he pours, so that the tea in each glass is slightly frothy. Tea is served with a cookie or small candies.

In Egypt, tea is served on a tray with a glass of water on the side as well as mint leaves which can be chewed or put into the tea for flavoring

.moroccan-mint-tea

While the traditions surrounding the preparation of tea might vary from culture to culture, there is one common idea to all of these practices This idea is to take time out, not only to enjoy a perfect cup of tea, but to take a break from the day’s activities and to simply be!

December 4, 2015

Open on Sundays!!!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

christmas-tea

 

Everybody knows how busy the Christmas season is and there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done in time.  There are cookies to be baked, trees to be decorated and of course, presents to be bought (or made).

To help make taking care of your “Christmas List” a little easier, SOUVIA is open on Sundays during the month of December!

 

DECEMBER 6TH

DECEMBER 13TH

DECEMBER 20TH

From noon until 5PM, you can take care of all your tea gifts or just come in and enjoy some time with friends over  cup of our holiday flavors.

We look forward to seeing you and wish you a very happy and sane holiday season!

Olivia, Rene and the Souvia team!