Posts tagged ‘Tea’

February 5, 2019


Way of Tea

Matcha [mah-chuh] is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. It is special in two aspects of farming and processing: the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest and the stems and veins are removed in processing. During shaded growth, the plant Camellia sinensis produces more theanine and caffeine.

The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha as hot tea and embodies a meditative spiritual style. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavor and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes, and a variety of Japanese wagashi confectionery.

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March 24, 2013



Chifir’ is a type of strong tea brewed in Russia. The etymology is uncertain but is thought to come from the word ‘chikhir” meaning a strong Caucasian wine, or a Siberian word for spoiled wine that has become sour and acidic. Chifir’ is typically prepared with either two or three tablespoons of loose tea per person poured on top of the boiled water. It is brewed for 10–15 minutes without stirring – until the leaves drop to the bottom of the cup. Chifir’ drunk without sugar is highly unpleasant; sweets can be held in the mouth before, during or after drinking to soften its bitter taste.

It is similar to Egyptian Sa’idi tea, a somewhat similar beverage (essentially a 1/9-strength recipe, but consumed in larger quantities).

October 19, 2010

Pu-erh Tea


Pu-erh tea or Bolay tea is a type of tea made from a ‘large leaf’ variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis and named after Pu’er county near Simao, Yunnan, China. Pu-erh tea can be purchased as either raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shu), depending on processing method or aging. Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and the shou or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea. The fact that pu-erh fits in more than one tea type poses some problems for classification. For this reason, the ‘green tea’ aspect of pu-erh is sometimes ignored, and the tea is regarded solely as a post-fermented product.

Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages. While there are many counterfeit pu-erhs on the market and real aged pu-erh is difficult to find and identify, it is still possible to find pu-erh that is 10 to 50 years old, as well as a few from the late Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Indeed, tea connoisseurs and speculators are willing to pay high prices for older pu-erh, upwards of thousands of dollars per cake.

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August 24, 2010



Mate [mah-tey], also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink particularly popular in Argentina. It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of the yerba mate plant in hot water. Mate is served with a metal straw, called a bombilla, from a hollow calabash gourd, called a mate.

As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture.

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August 1, 2010



Kombucha [kawm-boo-chah] is a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the ‘mushroom’ or the ‘mother.’

The recorded history of kombucha began in Russia during the late 19th century. In Chinese, kombucha is called hongchajun (red tea fungus). In Japanese, the drink is known as kōcha kinoko (black tea mushroom). Some promotional kombucha sources propagate the legend that this tea-based beverage originated in ancient China or Japan centuries prior to knowledge of leaf-based teas. There is little historical evidence to support this claim.

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July 22, 2010

Sun Tea

sun tea

Unsweetened iced tea is sometimes made by a particularly long steeping of tea leaves at lower temperature (one hour in the sun versus 5 minutes at 80-100°C). Some people call this ‘sun tea.’

In addition, sometimes it is also left to stand overnight in the refrigerator. Sun tea is easy to make, but can be toxic if not made carefully. If there are ropy-looking strands in the tea, or any other unusual-looking particles, or if the tea looks thick or syrupy chances are it has become a bacterial hotbed. A very clean container (including the spigot if there is one) and a caffeinated tea will deter bacterial growth for a few hours. Sun tea should be discarded after that period.

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