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.
It’s that time of year again.
A time of rebirth, growth, cleansing.
March 20th is officially the first day of Spring – otherwise known as the Spring Equinox (learn more about it here).
Today, Spring has sprung!
It’s an opportunity to start afresh, with renewed hope, strength and vitality. To heal, to hope, to cleanse, to thrive, to be alive!
It is also the time of the First Flush in the tea world, where harvesters pick the most tender two leaves and the bud for a fresh, vibrant, highly sought-after tea.
You can read more about First Flushes in our next article.
As a way to bring in the Spring, we at teALCHEMY have all sorts of goodies in store for you: Giveaways, gift sets and other glorious goodies. So keep an eye out for us on our site or our partners’ sites.
We’re also starting a vlog to show you all the wonderful things you can do with teas, besides just drinking it, like: Wear it, Set it, Bake it, Mix it, Shake it, Rub it. The’ll will be short and sweet, less time than it takes to brew a cup of tea.
Do you love our brand? Are you a blogger? Chef? Life coach? Micro influencer? Would you like to appear on our vlog as a guest?
If so, get in touch so we can figure out how to make chemistry together, at email@example.com.
Happy Springtime Everyone!!!
Macarons are a very delicate and beloved pastry that comes from France made of egg whites, sugar, and almond flour. Typical fillings are buttercream or ganache. They’re most popular during high tea or at baby and/or wedding showers.
Amy Lu, a self-taught baker and the creator/owner behind Charming Desserts, an online dessert shop based in Markham, Ontario was asked to create a tea-infused recipe using one of teAlchemy’s signature blends and she created the below macaron recipe using the Dung Ti Oolong.
“I was attracted to its delicate, aromatic and sweet taste,” says Lu who infused the tea into the ganache filling along with white couverture chocolate and cream.
Oolong Tea Macarons Recipe
For the shells ~
42g almond flour
75g icing sugar
45g egg white (room temperature)
25g granulated sugar
Sift almond flour and icing sugar together into a bowl.
Mix egg whites in an electronic mixer at speed 6 until it becomes foamy. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites and then increase the speed to 7.
Continue mixing the meringue until it reaches a medium-stiff peak. Fold in half of the almond/sugar mixture into the meringue in a circular motion.
Incorporate the remaining half of the almond/sugar mixture into the meringue. Continue folding until the batter falls back slowly. When the spatula is lifted, the batter should create a ribbon, but disappear within 5 seconds.
Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a 1-cm circle tip. Pipe out circles onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray, around 2-inch in diameter. Rap the bottom of the baking tray to remove air pockets and to flatten the batter. You may add chopped tea leaves on top at this time, if desired. Let piped out macarons rest for 45 minutes before placing them into the oven.
Preheat oven to 250F and bake macarons for 24 minutes, rotating the tray half way through.
Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheet. Once fully cooled, you may pipe a dollop of oolong tea white ganache onto every other shell and sandwich two shells together.
For the white ganache filling ~
7g Dung Ti oolong tea leaves
50g boiling water
60g white couverture chocolate
45g whipping cream (35%)
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 25 second intervals until completely melted. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler if preferred.
Place the whipping cream into a sauce pan and remove from heat once it boils.
Add the boiling water to the oolong tea leaves and let steep for 2 minutes. This will allow the leaves to open and let out its flavour. Place the tea leaves into the hot cream with a lid on, and allow the cream to infuse the oolong tea for 5 minutes. Strain the leaves and add the cream to the melted white chocolate half at a time, until fully incorporated.
Cover the oolong tea white ganache with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to set. If the ganache becomes too firm to pipe out, place it into the microwave for 5-10 seconds until it is a spreadable consistency.
Last Tuesday, teAlchemy‘s very own Lynda Budd held a Shop and Sip tea party at the Hazelton Hotel‘s ONE Restaurant in the posh neighborhood of Yorkville. Traditional media and social media alike were invited to sample from a selection of teAlchemy’s teas, from milder white teas to bolder black teas. Pairings of artisinal cheeses, fruits and the crowd-pleasing scones made from teAlchemy’s Rooibos tea powder (transformed into a syrup) were served.
Invitees were then escorted to one of the Hazelton Hotel’s beautiful suites where Lynda gave invitees a brief intro into the founding of teAlchemy. Having tired of her career in corporate planning and real estate development, she wanted to fuse her business skills with her passion for tea, and that’s how teAlchemy was born.
The event concluded with a Q +A sessions where attendees were able to call upon Lynda’s knowledge of teas. And what better way to learn about tea than to sample? All attendees walked away with a $50 gift card courtesy of teAlchemy.