It is possibility. Rebirth. Changing the elements.
Every single moment we are alive on this planet we are alchemists. My fingers touching this keyboard in exactly the right manner is what is making these words – previously merely just thoughts in my head – appear logical to you (I hope).
The breath I just took in is being filtered through my lungs to feed my blood and body. The coffee I drank this morning is making me a jittery mess, which makes me regret not starting with tea, considering I’m writing on a TEA BLOG, but I’m having a lovely pu-erh right now to boost my metabolism and help aid digestion.
Alchemy is what makes everything possible: the planet with its ozone layer, H2O and other gases so that we can breathe and live, so the plants we enjoy can grow with vibrancy and in health. Tea has been a very important component throughout history for good health and life-giving properties, not to mention its cultural implications throughout the centuries.
At teALCHEMY, we belong to the chemistry-making process because we’re bringing the best quality, lovingly sourced teas and herbal elixirs directly to you. We understand that we can change the condition of our bodies by using the amazingly diverse plant world to not only heal but to enrich our lives as well. We use teas and herbs to achieve this because we believe it’s one of the easiest, most effective and potent ways of utilizing the healing properties of plants. We want you to become teALCHEMISTS too.
The idea that we are alchemists can be very powerful, in terms of the choices we make at every moment of every day. This is how we create our reality, whether we are aware of it or not. What we put into our bodies is critical to our survival as well as our vitality. Which means that many factors must be taken into consideration before we consume any substance, tea included. At teALCHEMY, we also like to give you peace of mind in the knowledge that our teas are organic.
If you come on this alchemic journey with us, you will discover just how complicated something as ‘simple’ as tea can be, and why you’d be wise to know the most important elements there are to know about the teas you buy. As well as what each tea can do for you.
They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but I say ‘other people’s ignorance is bliss,’ because there are people who benefit from what we don’t know. At teALCHEMY, we believe that transparency transforms and creates trust, in ourselves and in how we approach the world. How we sort through the maze of consumer items and make the right choices.
We have a finite period to focus on an infinite amount of things. So here at teALCHEMY, we focus on teas and everything we call tea-like beverages (whether there’s tea in it or not), to help create chemistry on the journey of wellbeing and – more importantly – being well.
Our next blog post will be on irradiated vs. organic teas.
Before you go jumping to conclusions, we’re not talking about your early morning bathroom rituals.
“First Flush” is a term we use in the tea world to talk about the first harvest of tea, which usually happens around this time of the month up until the first week of April.
(Two leaves & a bud. Source: flickr)
There are many names for this special time of year. Here are a few:
First Flush (English)
(Pre) Quinn Ming (China)
Sincha (Japan, not to be mistaken with ‘sencha’)
Ujeon (South Korea)
These teas are the first picked in a plant’s harvest season, are highly sought-after and have fresher flavors than the later flushes. Due to its youthful nature, there are properties in it that are highly coveted by tea connoisseurs and health-conscious people alike. It is said to yield the purest and freshest cup of tea.
The first flush is when harvesters pick the delicate and tender two leaves and a bud in the earliest spring growth, lending the teas a more light, floral, fresh, brisk and mildly astringent flavor (i.e. Darjeeling). These teas are generally less oxidized and may appear more greenish in color than typical black teas.
First Flush teas are the freshest and among the most exquisite, hence it’s usually a bit of an investment. If you can get your hands on some premium First Flush tea, it’s best to use it sooner rather than later. Store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container (not see-through), away from moisture and other pantry items (like spices or coffee) since the flavors can leach into these delicate teas more easily.
Brewing will depend on the region in which the tea was grown and how it was cultivated, harvested and processed. Best to ask your tea expert, who can give you specific instructions on how to brew the perfect cup based on your purchase.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Use fresh, cold filtered water (spring water is best)
Brew First Flush teas in slightly cooler temperatures and for less time.
So, use water just off the boil and steep it for 2-3 minutes, covered.
Use about a half a teaspoon per 8oz cup.
You can steep it multiple times so don’t discard the tea after first use.
These days, we all strive for a more balanced, mindful life. It’s not easy to maintain the modern lifestyle with peace of mind. Yoga and meditation have become household methods for slowing down. But what we drink also plays a vital role in shaping our mental state. Tea might just be the best drink for a more calm and meditative life.
The history of the tea ceremony reveals some secrets about mindfulness. Zen Buddhism played a major role in the development of the tea ceremony. In fact, the history of Zen and the practice of tea drinking have developed side by side and have greatly influenced one another.
The story goes that Shuko, a budding student of Buddhism was expelled from his temple for his failure to follow orders, his tendency to fall asleep while meditating and his overall restlessness. His problems followed him as he got older and became a Zen priest. Finally, he begged a renowned doctor to find him a cure for sleepiness. The doctor ordered him to drink green tea. The tea worked and his meditation practice grew deeper. From then on, Shuko studied tea ceremony and became a devoted tea enthusiast. Word spread of the powers of tea, and soon it became a common meditation aid in monasteries. The monks developed formal tea rituals to suit the monastic life, and eventually, the drink spread outwards to the surrounding towns.
Tea is known to help us with tranquility and concentration while also keeping us alert and focused. This is the affect of a combination of properties found in the Camellia sinensis plant: caffeine, polyphenols and theanine. The stimulant caffeine helps to keep us alert. Tea also contains theanine, a psychoactive amino acid. There has been evidence to suggest that theanine increases calm, improves cognitive performance and, in synergy with caffeine, actually improves our mood.
Interestingly, studies in the Japanese population, where green tea is very popular have found overall, green tea is associated with lower levels of psychological stress than in cultures where green tea is uncommon.
For those who feel too mentally activated by caffeine, some herbal remedies will provide similar affects. Blends with active ingredients like kava kava, lemon balm, lavender and passion-flower will promote calm and reduce nervousness.
Whether you’re a meditator or just want some more Zen in your day, replacing common high sugar drinks with tea remedies can really help. So be mindful of what you drink! And know that tea has a long history of helping us finding peace of mind.
While the weather today is a little on the grey side, this cocktail is sure to lift your spirits. It’s a perfect combination of tart citrus with sweet pineapple. The brilliant colour is so beautiful so make sure you serve it to your guests or yourself in a clear glass!
We used our Flash Chill to brew up the Citrus Splash for this one, which is perfect for a summer gathering. You can find it in our accessories boutique here.
This recipe uses the following tea:
CITRUS SPLASH (visit the tea boutique)
Triple Citrus Spring Splash
Yields: 1 Cocktail
- 1 cocktail glass
- 6oz Citrus Splash Iced Tea
- 1 1/2 oz vodka or rum (we used vodka)
- Orange or Pineapple for garnish
- splash of triple sec
- Make a strong brew of Citrus Splash tea (double the tea to water ratio – 2 tsp tea leaves for 7-9 oz boiling water)
- Store in fridge to cool
- prepare garnish while tea cools
- Mix the vodka or rum with the iced tea in a cocktail shaker with ice if you have one. Otherwise simply stir the vodka or rum into the iced tea with ice
Tea Used in This Recipe:
Visit the Tea Boutique by clicking on the tea below