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November 23, 2015

Lift You Spirit with Tea…

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:14 am


It seems like every magazine I open has at least one article about the “novel”  drink – tea!  Ironically it is no all  that new given its five-thousand year history. What is new, however are the many different ways tea is used. Chefs have discovered its culinary gifts and bartenders now follow suit by mixing up tea cocktails.

The following Earl Grey tea cocktail would be a great start to your Thanksgiving menu.


6 oz cold Earl Grey tea

1 1/4 ounces gin

1 1/4 oz honey simple syup (recipe below)

1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 lavender sprigs


Simple Honey Syrup:

Bring 5 cups water and 1 cup honey to a simmer until  honey has dissolved. Cool in fridge.


Tea cocktail preparation:

Add all of the above ingredients into a cocktail shaker with 2 lavender sprigs (optional) and ice. Shake several times. Then strain the cocktail into a glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with a lavender sprig.


November 20, 2015

Sage – Herb of Wisdom and Longevity

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am



Sage, a Mediterranean,  native is our herb of the month. Its Latin name “Salveo” means “to heal”. Throughout the ages, sage has been associated with wise men or sages.  It was cultivated in monastery gardens, flourished in China and  was introduced to Britain in  the 16th century.

Chinese healers used sage roots to move stagnant blood and strengthen the heart

Sage is warming and strengthening and therefore an excellent herb for rebuilding vitality during a long-term illness.

It clears congestion and soothes a sore throat, tonsillitis and laryngitis.

Sage is also a great herb for women as a tonic of the reproductive system. It  eases menstrual irregularities, reduces sweating and alleviates hot flashes.

So not just a wonderful culinary herb for that stuffing of the Thanksgiving turkey, but all around an herb that should not be missing in your herbal apothecary.

Sage Tea:

1 tsp. of dried sage

6oz of water


bring water to a boil and pour over the herbs

steep for 10-15 minutes and sweeten to taste.

November 16, 2015

Tea’s Chemistry…..

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:03 am




chemistry%20of%20teaA tea leaf consists of about 77% water and 23% solid mater. This solid matter is made up of water-soluble compounds like amino acids, polyphenols (catechins) polysaccharides an vitamin C. Among the water-insoluble compounds are fiber, cellulose, vitamin E and carotene. (these are fat soluble). All of these components have their own benefits. These days, though, we hear and read a lot about the wonderful effects “catechins” seem to be having on the  body. So let’s take a closer look at what exactly these chemicals do for us.

Catechins are the compounds responsible for the astringency in tea, more commonly called “tannins”. They are related to flavonoids. Catechins

  • have anti-bacterial
  • are effective in reducing oxidation
  • may prevent certain cancers and tumors.
  • lower cholesterol levels in the blood

The have also be shown to play a role in stabilizing blood sugar and resist viruses.

It may just be true that a cup of tea a day keeps the doctor away!

resource: New Taste in Green Tea







November 13, 2015

Tea is not just for drinking…..

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:10 am



Tea is a very versatile product and aside from making a healthful and delicious drink, it may prove useful in many household situations.


Tea leaves absorb odors and can easily the baking soda you keep in your fridge to keep it smelling good. Dry the spent tea leaves well and place the into gauze bags. If you add some lavender, you can even use them in your closet and sock drawer.


Squeeze all the water out of old tea leaves and bury them in the soil next to the roots of plants and bushes. Works well for indoor and outdoor plants

For treating cuts

Smash the used tea leaves to soften the external cell wall and then apply them as a poultice to minor cuts. The tannins in tea have an astringent effect and will stop the bleeding quickly while the antibacterial properties act as a disinfectant.


November 9, 2015

Herbal Tummy Tamers

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:01 am

Like every year, November marks the beginning of the holiday season….a time of festivities, get togethers with family and friends, and of course, good food, drink and scrumptious desserts! From Thanksgiving to New Years, we are invited to indulge and sometimes overindulge. Delicious foods are abundant and who can say no to butter-rich mashed potatoes or that second piece of pumpkin pie – a la mode, of course!  All too often, however, these yummy meals leave us with an unhappy tummy.

To get through this year’s holiday season with little disruption from your digestive system, try some of the following herbs that are known to deal with the mess that too much gravy and pie leave behind.


Ginger is great as a digestive herb. One of its most well known uses is for nausea and for settling an upset stomach. Ginger is an aromatic and carminative herb which means that it helps move along a stagnant digestion with symptoms of bloating, gas and bad breath. It is also a powerful anti-microbial herb which fights pathogens in the digestive system as well, thereby preventing food poisoning. (One of the reasons why fresh ginger is served with Sushi!)

Fennel is a carminative herb which dispels gas and promotes digestion. This herb is a staple in every German household and to this day I like having a cup of fennel tea after dinner. It is safe and recommended to soothe the tummies of colicky infants. The anti-spasmodic properties help with bloating and uncomfortable cramps due to gas. Like ginger, fennel is also anti-microbial.


Orange Peel has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. According to the principles of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the orange peel is used to transform phlegm in the Lungs or the Spleen and to drain dampness. From a western perspective, orange peel is a “bitter” and stimulates the digestive fire.

Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret suggests using these three herbs as a tasty and tummy taming after dinner treat. This recipe is easy and you will get all ingredients at your grocery or spice store.

  • 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger…
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel powder
  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds

Mix it all together and serve it after your Thanksgiving Feast!  Alternatively, or in addition too, you can also serve Souvia’s Balance Tea as an after dinner digestive. With ingredients like ginger, fennel, cardamom and licorice, it will quickly bring relief to any upset tummy!

Herbally yours, Olivia!

November 8, 2015

Matcha – The Imperial Beverage

Filed under: Green Tea,Tea and Health,Tea Culture — wbwingert @ 1:59 pm

Matcha, the finely milled, emerald green tea powder is gaining in popularity among tea drinkers and shows up not only in tea stores, but also in restaurant and bars. In its home country of Japan, Matcha has played an integral part in the traditional tea ceremony for centuries and in modern times it has been used to flavor and color foods such as soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese sweets. In the west, matcha found its way into smoothies and lattes and is popular because of its rich taste and multitude of health benefits.

How is it made?

While tea is produced in different countries throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is grown by local farmers using traditional methods from growing to milling.

The tea leaves used for matcha are shade grown and the preparation of this tea starts several weeks before the actual harvest, when the tea plants are covered with bamboo mats or tarp in order to reduce the exposure to sunlight and thereby increasing the chlorophyll content in the plant. It is the high chlorophyll content that gives matcha its distinctly green color. After plucking, the leaves are laid out flat to dry – the crumbled dried leaves make up the base product for matcha and are called tencha. Tencha is then de-veined, de-stemmed and stone milled into a fine, bright green powder, known as matcha. Only ground tencha can be called matcha, powered green teas made from other varietals, like sencha, are known as konacha –literally meaning “powder tea”.

The most famous matcha producing tea regions in Japan are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka and northern Kyushu.

What is so good about matcha?

Matcha is renowned for its many health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, fiber, amino acids and chlorophyll.  Drinking matcha exceeds the nutritional value of a regular cup of green tea since the whole leaf is consumed, and not just the tea-infused water. In 2003, researchers from the University of Colorado found that the concentration of the antioxidant EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) to 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG in other commercially available green teas.

On the other hand, it is not only the nutritional value that is increased, the caffeine content is also higher than in a regular cup of green tea, making matcha a stimulating beverage that will get you going in the morning.

November 6, 2015

Ask Souvia……..

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:10 am





Owl with question mark

We always get the best questions from our tea-loving customers and I wanted to start addressing some of the more frequent ones here in my blog.

Is tea good for hangovers?

In a way, this is true. Even in ancient China, tea was used as a hangover remedy. The reason for this lies in its detoxifying properties. According to old tea books, the caffeine settles the mind and helps the body recover from fatigue. Two to three cups are recommended. Choose teas like Japanese Sencha or Gyokuro due to their higher Vitamin C content.

Why does the tea served in sushi restaurants seem so flavorful?

The tea served at sushi restaurants has a distinctive flavor and aroma, and is drunk between servings of different types of fish and shellfish to refresh the palate. The restaurants use konacha (tea powder), which is what is sifted out I the processing of sencha or gyokuro. It is also relatively economical.

Is there a good way to remove tea stains?

Tea pots and cups can become stained over time.  While bleach and strong cleaners can remove those stains, theya are not recommended because they leave that strong bleach scent and may affect the next cup you want to enjoy. Instead, mix warm water with baking soda into a paste and use that to remove the stains.  The patina of tea stains that develops on some porcelain  and  ceramic dishes is regarded as desirable in many tea drinking cultures. Especially in China it is cherished because it shows the dishes have been used with care for a long time. It is also said to enhance the tea flavor.


November 2, 2015

Green Tea Viennese

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:10 am




We just added another flavor to our matcha selection. Going with the theme of the season, this one is flavored with vanilla -very creamy and smooth! It is the perfect tea for this rendition of the traditional Cafe Viennese. We call it Green Tea Viennese!


1tbsp vanilla matcha

1 cup hot water

sugar or honey to taste

2 tbsp. fresh cream, whipped

Heat the water to 175 F and pour it into a matcha bowl or wide tea cup. Mix matcha and 2tsp hot water, and whisk briskly until the paste becomes smooth. Pour in the rest of the hot water, stir and add sweetener to taste

Serve with generous dollop of the whipped cream and enjoy!




October 30, 2015

Chai –Spiced Tea of India

Filed under: Phoenix,Tea Culture,Tea Enjoyment,Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:10 am


While not quite noticeable here in Phoenix, fall has officially arrived. It has always been my favorite time of year with the brisk morning air, the changing colors of leaves and the overall slowing pace of life. Fall also brings the taste of warming spices such as cinnamon, clove and ginger which find their way into many foods and drinks. It is the time for apple pie, ginger snap cookies and a cup of Chai.

During the past decade, Chai drinks have taken the United States by storm, and there are many blends and recipes available on the market today.  Generally, if you order a Chai here, you will be indulged in a cup of spiced black tea, with or without milk – in India, however, you will simply get a cup of black tea.

The reason is that in India as well as many Eastern European countries, Chai is the word for tea. It is derived from the Mandarin word “Cha”, also describing tea, which is still used in Japan and China today. While in India, people refer to all tea as Chai, in the Southern part of the country, a cup of chai is prepared in the British style, with sugar and milk. In the Northern part, however, people like their tea flavored with spices and call it “Masala Chai”.

Legend tells us that it was the chef to the royal king of India who first created this tea by scenting it with exotic spices from his kitchen like nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. The king, entranced by the unique and wonderful taste announced that this drink would from now on only be served in his court and he forbade the chef to divulge the ingredients to anyone. Long after the king’s death, however, the recipe filtered down from the royal family to aristocracy and then to the masses, with each group adding and deleting spices to their taste, including cinnamon, pepper, fennel and more.

Today, the combination and amount of spices varies, but cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper are usually part of the traditional blend. Other recipes may include, ginger, cumin or coriander.

It is a little like a chili recipe – while there are certain main ingredients that are common to every good chili, recipes vary and each chef  may have a secret ingredient to create uniqueness. Masala Chai recipes also vary from region to region and the proportion of spices is typically the secret of the preparer. Nowadays there are even blends that deviate from the traditional black tea base  and use green tea, a blend of black or rooibos .

If you want to prepare Masala Chai from scratch, choose a good whole leaf black tea from India or Sri Lanka since these teas have the body to stand up to the spices you add.  Other ingredients include at least four spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, pepper, fennel, etc.), water and milk. Place the tea and spices into cold filtered water, bring everything to a boil and simmer for 3-7 minutes. Strain the tea and add warm milk and sweetener to taste. For a richer Masala Chai, boil and simmer the spices directly in milk.

To usher in the fall season (regardless of temperatures), visit us at Souvia and ask for a sample of our traditional masala, green or red chai!


Olivia- Chaiwallah at Souvia Tea

October 26, 2015

The Legend of Dragonwell

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:00 am




Dragonwell,  also known as Lung Ching,  is one of China’s top ten teas. It has its origin in the West Lake region of Hangzhou  in the  Zheijiang Province.

This green tea, which stands out because of its unique leaf style -achieved by pressing the leaves flat during the pan-firing process. Dragonwell has rich aromas of lightly toasted rice or cashew. It is only lightly astringent and has a pleasantly lingering after-taste.

Like many teas whose name is rooted in legend, the name Dragonwell has a story that dates back thousands of years.

  •  The “well” that gives the tea its name is a local well in the West Lake area of Hangzhou.
  • There are two different legends explaining how the “dragon” ended up in the tea. In one story, the residents of the town believed that a dragon lived in their well who was responsible for bringing them rainfall. They would plead with him to bring rain in times of drought.
  • In the second story, the wells were full of a very dense form of water. When the rains fell the lighter rainwater resting atop the spring water swirled like a twisting dragon.

Dragonwell truly makes a special cup of tea. It is one of the few teas where you can watch the agony of the leaf unfold in front of you. Use a glass vessel and add the tea leaves. Pour the water over the leaves and watch them wake up, releasing their wonderful aroma and flavor!


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