Reading Tea Leaves – indulge in a little magic

Tasseography… the art of reading tea leaves. It all sounds so Harry Potter- with Professor Trelawney turning and turning that china tea cup seeing haunting image after haunting image.   Real or not, fantasy or honest to goodness fate – it seems like it would be amazing to try. Filling your cup with hot water and intermingling the tea leaves with the steam, seeing the dark tendrils of the tea stretch out into the water, taking it over and finally pouring that cup, now filled with more than the comfort of tea, but the promise of some knowledge. Even if it really isn’t the future – it’s fun.

The Tea Association of the USA has an article on their website on how to read tea leaves. Essentially you have loose leaf tea in your cup, you put a little pinch in and you let it steep. When it is ready, you drink the tea and leave a little liquid at the bottom. You then take the cup by the handle and spin it three times in a circle. Some leaves will cling to the side, others to the bottom. Then you put the cup face down on the saucer so that the rest of the liquid can drain. Now you can pick it back up and make a reading of the tea leaves.

Here is an example

Turning around the tea cup you can identify images and try to discern meaning from them. As the article says,

The “sitter” should approach the oracle in all seriousness and during the ritual should concentrate on his or her future destiny and “wish” that the symbol shall correctly represent happenings to come. The handle of the cup represents the “sitter” in his or her own “sphere” or “residence” and is the “south” point of the compass. This fixed point designates “letters to” the consultant or “journeys away from”, “visitors to be expected”, distance “to and from”, etc.The cup is divided into three parts. The rim designates the present; the side, events not far distant; and the bottom the distant future. The nearer the symbols appear to the handle the nearer to fulfillment will be the events foretold.

For example the “anchor” symbol means success in business or in love and “palm trees” mean success in whatever you take on. There are more symbols defined on the website as well as how to more specifically do tea leave readings. So explore. Drink some loose leaf tea and read those fuzzy images on the size of your cup. Maybe you’ll be able to see your future or maybe it’ll be another awesome thing to do with your tea. It could be an awesome theme party.

Tea is still partying hard

When one thinks about having a nice tea party nowadays, it seems like the art is dead. Even searching the phrase “tea party”, brings up all sorts of politics as Republics in the US has usurped the word. But tea is still being celebrated all around in all sorts of events.

In Old Salem in North Carolina, as explained in this video

http://www.digtriad.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2192747898001

they are having an event in their museums to celebrate chocolate, coffee and tea through hands on demonstrations.

In Vacaville, California  Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center will host its annual tea from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on March 23 at the church, 350 N. Orchard Ave.,Vacaville. The public is invited. Tea, scones, tea sandwiches, sweets and a presentation on the history of tea is planned.

In Oakland, as it turns out, there is a tea house within a museum, written about in this article.

So, there are tea happenings and tea parties all around. Despite how it feels, you haven’t outgrown tea parties and neither has anyone else. There might be some events happening in your area, if you can parse through all the politics. So get out there, meet some tea fanatics and wear awesome hats while eating those little sandwiches. Drink proper tea in pretty cups and learn about the history. Tea is great alone, but even better in company.

Chai Tea – add a little spice to your life

There’s a lot of talk and studies going on in terms of Green Tea, but not a lot is heard about its multi-spiced friend Chai. In latte form it’s a staple in coffee shops and to those that have loved it all their lives – the cardamom and the clove seems to be steeped into the fabric of their being. There are those memories of the multi-layered scents and musks filling the house, seeing a pot full of spices boiling and boiling, the dark liquid being poured into a tea pot and drinking it with heavy cream.

But as most teas, Chai can provide a lot of health benefits. Dr. Isaac Eliaz writes, in an article on MindBodyGreen, the benefits of this delicious tea. He even says,

If I were stranded and could only choose one beverage, I would probably take chai. A powerful blend of tea,herbs and spices, chai has been cherished for centuries in India to preserve health and increase peace of mind. But, the more we learn about chai, the more benefits we find. In addition to improving digestion, chai enhances the immune system, fights inflammation and has antioxidant properties. It has also been suggested that chai has antibacterial and anti-cancer effects.

All of the different components within Chai Tea provide different health benefits. For example the Black Tea in it contains anti- oxidants, ginger boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation, and fennel provides potassium and fiber.

Ultimately, drinking a little chai could spice up your life, both for your taste buds and improving health.

British Airways team up with Twinings to make airplane friendly tea

As seen in this article on etravel Blackboard Asia edition,  British Airways have teamed up with Twinings to create a tea that will taste as good up in the air as it does sitting in your home. British Airways serves 35 million cups of tea per year  and they commissioned the tea  to be a part of their £5 million investment in new products to enhance their customer’s experience. This special tea is a “blend of Assam, Kenyan and high grown Ceylon tea that withstands the conditions at 35,000 feet, such as the water which boils at only 89 degrees centigrade and the affect that the reduced air pressure and humidity has on flyers taste buds”. People in first class can choose from Twining’s line of whole leaf silk pyramid tea, including teas like English Breakfast or Jasmine Pearls.  Now I guess, if flying British Airways, you can have high tea, literally.

Your tea drinking habit can be even greener

Have you ever wandered what to do with all of those old tea bags?  Well you don’t have to throw them away or let them dry up in that saucer on your kitchen counter – they can be re-used.

In this article, greenprophet.com provides numerous ways that those old tea bags can be used including

1. As a cold or hot compress

You can use cold tea bags for tired eyes, bruises, sunburns, bug bites and more by applying it to the affected area – it helps heal it and provides soothing relief. A hot tea bag can help with pink eye, canker sores, and fever blisters. By placing it at the affected area, it can draw out the infection

2.  Making flavored rice

If you stick an old tea bag into the water while you’re making rice, the flavor from the tea can permeate into the rice. Jasmine tea in particular would be a good choice of tea bag to throw in with your rice.

3. To eliminate odors

If you put dry tea leaves into your cats litter box or in your trash can, it can suck up those nasty odors. It will also suck up food odors if you put a bowl of dry tea leaves in the fridge. You can even rinse your hands with tea or if you feel like you’re coming down with a case of Halitosis – you can skip the Listerine and gargle mint tea instead.

And these things are just the tipping point of what is listed in the article and other things you imagine you can do with tea. Next time you feel a flair for the artistic, sepia it up with your tea bags, you can even treat your paper with it to give it that vintage feel. Tea doesn’t have to be just for drinking. It can help with those bags under your eyes, be your inspiration and your medium, and help you out around the house. Tea drinking really is a life style.

Let’s make some tea!

It’s tea time somewhere!

Below is a charming guide via whatpeoplebrew.tumblr.com, a blog in which the owner pairs different tea with different characters from pop culture. For example she pairs Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit with Irish breakfast tea  and Moriarty from Sherlock with Chai Tea. Fandoms aside, this fantastic guide is a wonderful source that goes through the numerous ways you can make a good “cuppa tea”:

This adorable graphic goes through what is inherently necessary to make, as she puts it, “an awesome cuppa tea”. The guide goes through, as you can see, the temperature of the water, how to steep it, and even goes through different things you can put in your tea. This is a great guide to start looking at what different worlds of tea you can explore. If you grew up on black tea, use this to figure out herbal and floral teas, if you usually use sugar cubes, try some lemon, if you usually use the microwave, try literally putting “the kettle on” – there are multiple ways to be a tea sipping rock-star. I think I’ll be rocking out with some chai tonight.

 

Green Tea is found likely to prevent Breast Cancer

As found in Nathan Gray article on Nutraingredients.com, a study published in Nutrition Journal has found

consumption of Green Tea may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by modifying the metabolism of oestrogen, according to new research

The study looked at the possible association between drinking green tea and “urinary oestrogens ” and “oestrogen metabolites”- finding that high intake of green tea can modify oestrogen metabolism and conjugation and can in this way “influence breast cancer risk”. This study was led by Dr. Barbara Fuhrman from the National Cancer Institute of the United States National Institute of Health. Oestrogen Metabolism is one of the known causal elements of breast cancer. Oestrogen is a variant of Estrogen and affects various female sexual characteristics. Essentially, although more tests need to be run,  if you consume a lot of green tea, you may be less likely to get breast cancer. It was found in the study that  when post-menopausal Japanese women consumed large quantities of Green Tea, there were “reduced urinary concentrations of oestrone”. So now in addition to the potential to fight heart disease, lowering cholesterol, preventing diabetes, and staving off Alzheimer’s, and the sheer power of its antioxidants – it could also prevent breast cancer. There’s even more reason to go green, not only because it’s so delicious, but to prevent even more pink ribbons in the future

coffee versus tea in China

coffee versus tea in China

Coffee has become very popular in China nowadays. Franchise chains like Starbucks and Costa coffee has expanded really fast by opening many stores in first and second tier cities. Especially Chinese office workers in big cities like to drink coffee to stay focused. We noticed TChing’s post about this topic and found it quiet interested that they are hoping that Coffee will outpace Tea in China. 

I agree that coffee has been a big success especially in big cities. However, what we find in China is that most people drink coffee because it’s a Western status symbol to them. They drink Starbucks because they can show off they have a good job, they made it. This effect might be reduced when coffee becomes more common. Also many Chinese are genetically allergic to milk, so cappuccinos and lattes are not an option for them. 

We don’t think coffee will win over tea, because tea is still the most consumed beverage in the world by far.