Monday, October 22, 2012

Something Strong, Something Spicy, Something Sweet

Trust you had an enjoyable long weekend.  I spent mine watching the Elite Mens World Triathlon Championships in the pouring rain and howling gale.  Yesterday was spent on my feet as a run course marshall for the age group competitors.  Great to see so many entrants from around the world who'd come to NZ to participate, thousands of them.  By the time I'd got home cold and tired it was all I could do to make a LARGE pot of tea to warm me up.  Next time I'll take a thermos.... and a chair.

Assam CTC Soongachi 
I wouldn't be so rude as to call this tea 'gumboot tea' but it certainly passes muster for a good strong brew.  CTC refers to Cut Torn and Curled which is a processes used to make the small balls of tea rather than small pieces of tea so often found in strong teas.  Soongachi means Golden Tree, the name of the tea garden from whence this tea hails.  I visited there in 2005 and stayed as a guest on the tea garden.  The lady of the house taught me to wrap a sari while the men put on a good display of whiskey drinking.

Nepal Masala Chai Tea
Masala is a generic word for spice so Nepal Masala is a spiced Nepalese tea, something we in NZ would call chai.  This black tea can be brewed as a normal tea and drunk with milk or without, alternatively you can brew as a proper boiled chai which is ideal for this extended cold snap.  Click here for chai recipes

Mango Star Fruit Tea
Lastly for something sweet and fruity thanks to pieces of pineapple and mango amongst other things.  One of our most popular fruit teas with the cafe's we supply, I often find myself nibbling the fruit pieces whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Time to Detox, Earl Grey or Darjeeling?

I love this time of year at Tea Total, our warehouse starts to fill up with tea in preparation for the busy season, which you'd think would be winter wouldn't you?  Our most exciting arrival to date is a new Darjeeling, please read on......

Darjeeling First Flush Organic Junpana
Interesting fact: more Darjeeling tea is sold around the world than is actually grown/exported from India.  So it's likely some of the Darjeeling you've previously drunk was a blend of some sort.  Our latest batch of First Flush Darjeeling, bought directly from our supplier in India, is a stunner.  It reminds me of the freshest most delicious tea we drank while staying in Darjeeling some years ago, a taste I haven't discovered since.  The flavour is light on the tongue, almost like a green tea, but distinctly Darjeeling.  For full information about this tea and the garden from whence it comes, click here.

Earl Grey Blue Star 
There are times that call for a strong Earl Grey and our Blue Star is just the thing.  Based on a good Indian black tea, sprinkled with cornflowers, hence the blue star reference and a decent strength bergamot for flavouring.  Earl Grey Blue Star is our most traditional Earl Grey.

Detox Herbal Tea  
I often read about liver cleansing diets, detox diets, juice diets and it all just seems too hard.  Other than choosing to eat well, the closest I come to detoxification is drinking this tea.  Containing dandelion flowers to assist liver and kidney function, lemon balm, fennel and peppermint as carmatives and to aid digestion,  nettle to assist high blood pressure and joint pain plus an array of flowers and leaves to assist the detoxifying process. 

Todays photos highlight the difference between tea bushes and plucking methods in Darjeeling (left) and Assam (right).  Baskets are used to protect the small, delicate Darjeeling leaves with only 7kg plucked at a time while in Assam bushes exhibit vigorous growth and pluckers carry up to 20kg in their head cloths.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Premium Organic First Flush Darjeeling

Direct from the tea gardens to the Tea Total warehouse, we bring you the lightest, brightest and freshest premium quality first flush Darjeeling tea.  Every year we select from different samples, searching for the tea that most closely matches our taste requirements, a tea we're confident you'll enjoy.  Picked during the prime first flush (when the camelia tea bushes are picked for the first time in a season, around March each year).  This premimium darjeeling is a classic muscatel tea. light in colour with a clear, clean finish.

For the first time we bring to you a premium first flush that has been grown under organic conditions.

This season our first flush is from the Junpana estate in the Kurseong South valley.  According to a legend, the estate is named for Jung Bahadur, faithful servant of an Englishman hunting a man-eating tiger in these hills.  Jung was mortally wounded trying to save his master and since his dying wish was for water which is 'pana' in the local language, the hills came to be called Jung-Pana.  The estate is known to produce some of the most sought after muscatel Darjeelings and borders the classic Goomtee tea estate.