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February 8, 2016

Tea and Chocolate for a Tasty and Healthy Valentine

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:46 am

What better way to show someone that you care on Valentine’s Day than to celebrate with tea and chocolate in honor of National Heart Health month. Both tea and chocolate contain antioxidants that have shown to aid in keeping your heart healty and your cardiovascular system strong and are therefore a great  combination for your romantic Valentine’s dessert.

Tea and chocolate make a great pair and you can enhance the taste experience by following a few guidelines when matching the two.

One way to look at tea and chocolate is as “friends” where similarity in characteristics enhance the flavor. The other way is to view them as “lovers”h, where contrasting characteristics will complement each other through their differences.

Since tea and chocolate share the same flavor profiles, floral qualities and bite from astringency and tannin, they practically invite you to create fun and tasty combinations. While you should always trust your taste buds to find the right combinations, there are some general guidelines that might help you get started.

White teas have a very delicate flavor and pair well with mild chocolates and fruit. Try a Silver Needle or Bai Mu Tan with chocolate covered strawberries or a white chocolate cheese cake.

Green teas have vegetal flavors and aromas and pair well with creamier tastes such as berry flavors and milk chocolate. A Japanese Sencha with its savory profile, for example, is a good match for white or milk chocolate.

Oolongs, which are partially oxidized teas, are very complex in flavor. The lightly oxidized, greener oolongs go well with rich sweet desserts like caramel filled pralines, milk- or dark chocolate, while the more oxidized oolongs complement the stronger flavors of dark chocolate.

Black Teas tend to have a stronger flavor, more body and their tannin content matches up well with rich and full flavored dark chocolate, maybe with a hint of berries, citrus or nuts.

I, personally, like rich and creamy desserts and therefore my choice for a perfect Valentine’s dessert would be a Ti Kuan Yin Oolong from China with its slightly toasted notes and a slice of creamy chocolate, caramel cake. Just writing this makes my mouth water!

Happy Valentine’s!

February 5, 2016

Do You Like Your Puerh Cooked or Raw?

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:33 am

 

 

 

Puerh is a great choice for fall and winter.A tea varietal from the Yunnan region in the Southern part of China, it is traditionally made with leaves from old tea treas and is well known for its rich flavor and aroma as well as its health benefits. Pu-erh teas are processed like green teas – but then aged to perfection!

There are two categories of Pu-erh

1.Raw (Sheng Puerh)

Raw Puerh, also known as uncooked, or green Puerh is processed like green tea. The teal leaves are wilted and then pan-fired, using a large wok. This stops the enzymatic action and prevents any oxidation of the leaves. The leaves are then rolled, shaped into strands and then dried in the sun. These dried tea leaves are the foundation for Puerh and are called “Mao-cha”. Mao-cha is sent to the tea factories where it is pressed into raw Puerh cakes or nests and left to age. For more than 1000 years, this process and the tools involved have remained unchanged. Raw Puerh requires quite a long time for aging to develop its character – up to 20, 30 years.

Cooked/Ripened Puerh (Shu Puerh)

During the second part of the 20th century, Chinese scientists explored the possibility to accelerate this aging process through induced, high speed artificial fermentation. The production of Shu Puerh involves wilting and pan-firing the tea leaves just like with Sheng Puerh, but after the sun-drying, they undergo a unique process known as “wet piling”. The tea leaves are piled up, watered and then covered with a wet cloth. They are then submitted to high heat and moisture for extended periods of time. During this process, the chemical composition of the tea leaf changes,  leading to a reduction in bitterness and a purer flavor. This process is repeated for 30-40 days and requires much skill and experience.

Regardless of the type, Puerh teas have been enjoyed in the Southern parts of China for thousands of years and have been revered for their healing properties. If you need to settle your stomach or have overindulged at the Sunday brunch buffet, a cup of Puerh might just be the answer to bring order into your digestive system!

Try it yourself!

Cheers

 

 

February 1, 2016

Tea and Heart Disease

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

 


During February (National Heart Health Month),  the National Heart Association is raising awareness about the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S..

While proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction play an important role in cardiovascular health, a recent Australian research study suggests that heart disease rate could be reduced by 10% if everyone took to drinking tea.

If you have to or simply want to avoid tea’s caffeine or, there are many wonderful herbs that can support cardiovascular health. Many, like hawthorn, have been well studied and are popular in Europe as heart tonics that can safely be taken over long periods.

At Souvia, we have utilized the findings of this research and created a blend that will benefit your heart and cardiovascular health.

Our TICKER TONIC, is a blend of hawthorn, hibiscus and peppermint. It is naturally caffeine free and is

delicious whether enjoyed hot or cold!

 

 

 

 

 

January 29, 2016

Got Sniffles…..?

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

 

 

If the recent cold and rainy days have left you with the sniffles, then Echinacea (Echinacea angustufolia, E. purpurea, E.  pallida) is just the right herbal infusion for you to stop those nasty bugs in their tracks!

Echinacea is an immune-system booster and one of the most important and well-studied herbs of our times. Echinacea, taken at the onset of a cold/flu, can shorten its duration and reduce some of the unpleasant symptoms that go along with these winter ailments. This herb is very works very well by increasing T-cell activity in  the  body. Even though it is a potent medicine, it is absolutely safe for children and the elderly.

Most of the medicinal properties in Echinacea are water soluble and therefore make a wonderful infusion. Use leaves and flowers to make an infusion and the root to make a decoction. For an 8 oz cup of boiling water use 1 heaping teaspoon of herb and steep covered for at least 20 minutes. (it takes this long for the medicinal properties to be absorbed by the water)

Despite the common belief, that Echinacea is not a preventative or tonic herb because its effectiveness decreases when it is used continuously. It is best used in cycles. Take it for five days and then stop for two. Repeat this cycle until the infection is gone.

Here’s to a healthy winter season!

 

 

 

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January 25, 2016

Stay Healthy Through the Cold and Flu Season with Elderberries!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

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While there are many herbs to help treat cold and flu symptoms and to shorten the duration of an illness, one deserves special attention:

Elderberry (Sambuccus nigra) is Mother Nature’s version of the flu shot and may actually help prevent you from contracting the virus. Elderberry syrup is Europe’s most esteemed formula for colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.

Just how does elderberry keep the cold and flu at bay?

Flu viruses are primitive organisms that need the body’s cells as a host to replicate themselves. They puncture the cell walls with little enzyme-coated spikes called hemaglutinin and so break into the cell. Research has shown that elderberry has chemical compounds that disarm these spikes and prevent the virus from entering the respiratory cells thereby working in a prophylactic way.

Growing up in Germany, my mother got us through the winter by making sure we got our daily dose of elderberry Syrup. (The adults, on the other hand, preferred a glass of elderberry wine!) She would make many batches of the syrup and I have kept up with this tradition in my family as well.

In recent years, Elderberry syrup has been gaining in popularity here in the U.S. too and can be found in many  health food stores. But why spent a lot of money, if it is so easy and fun to make in your own kitchen.  All you need is:

½ cup of dried Elderberries

3 cups of spring water

½ -1 cup of honey *

In a saucepan, bring the elderberries and water to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and let simmer for 30 to 4o minutes. Strain the liquid, making sure you mash the berries in order to get every drop of the decoction. Add the honey to the warm liquid and fill in a glass bottle. The syrup will keep in the fridge for 3 months.  Take 1-3 tbsp per day for as a preventative remedy.

Alternatively, elderberries can be taken as a tincture which is also very easy to make. Important is to start the tincture early since it takes six to eight weeks before it is ready for use.

 

2 cups dried Elderberries

100 proof or higher alcohol (I prefer vodka)

Quart size Mason jar with tight fitting lid

 

Place the dried berries in the jar and add enough alcohol to cover the berries. Macerate the berries until they are quite soft and the liquid is dark purple. Finish by adding enough alcohol to fill the quart jar until an inch from the top. Place the lid on the jar and label it with name of herb and date. Gently shake contents and keep in a dark cabinet for six to eight weeks. Strain the alcohol from the berries using a cheese cloth. Fill the liquid into tincture bottles, label them and keep them in a cool dry place.

Take one dropper full 3 – times per day to give your immune system a boost!

Elderberries are safe and can be taken over extended period of time, however due to the use of honey, refrain from giving the syrup to children under the age of 1

Develop your Taste Buds with Tea Tastings at Souvia

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

Tea has so much in common with wine and that is why we often use this analogy when describing the aroma and flavor of certain tea varietals.

Like wine, tea is an agricultural product and its quality and flavor depends largely on where it is grown, soil chemistry and texture, climate and seasonable changes. Even native flowers and trees that grow in close proximity to the tea fields can add a special nuance to the taste.  Tea is harvested primarily during spring and fall and depending on which harvest you are purchasing you may notice a difference in color, aroma and flavor. Darjeeling teas from India, harvested in the spring, have a much brisker note than those harvested in the early summer and fall, when the typical characteristics for this type of tea are fully developed and produce a richer flavor.  If you are a wine connoisseur, you may be familiar with Ice Wines, which are produced from grapes picked at the first frost. Tea estates in India also produce what is called a “Frost Tea” – picked at the first frost and processed to develop a smooth and sweet taste. Just like with wine, it takes a lot of tasting before your taste buds can fully appreciate the many flavor profiles.

To help you explore and exprience new teas, we offer a daily complimentary tea for sampling.

To kick off the new year we have a traditional Gong Fu tasting scheduled for Sunday, February 7th!

Explore the world of tea and check out our classes online!

January 22, 2016

National Hot Tea Month Part 2

Filed under: Black Tea,Newsletter,Phoenix,Tea and Health,Tea Culture,Tea Enjoyment — wbwingert @ 10:50 am

woman drinking teaTea deserves to be celebrated; after all it is the second most consumed beverage in the world next to water. Over the past decade tea has experienced a renaissance here in the U.S. largely due to the multitude of its health benefits. Research supports what the ancients in China have known all along – that drinking tea regularly may promote overall health and well being and potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Tea may be medicine in a cup, but is also a wonderful drink, complex in taste and aroma and with a selection of over 3000 different varieties, there is much to be explored.

 

Whether you drink tea for health, to sooth you mind, or simply for pleasure, celebrate Hot Tea Month with these ideas:

  1. Try a winter flavor –

Ginger, Cinnamon and Cardamom are delicious and warming, or add orange and lemon peel to a black or green tea for a zesty note.

   2. Use good quality tea- Ask a Souvia Tea Consultant and find out why loose leave tea trumps tea bags! Learn    how to make the  “perfect cup of tea”  – water quality, temperature and steeping time are important factors      in preparing tea the right way.

  1. Expand your horizon

Always stuck with your good old favorite blend? This month, try something new- a silver needle white tea or a Darjeeling oolong. If you usually drink flavored teas, try something non-flavored and if you prefer iced tea, give hot a chance.

4. Create your own blends – be creative and try blend your favorite flavors for a new taste experience

  1. Cook with tea

Tea is not just for drinking. There are many ways you can incorporate tea in cooking or baking. Add a nice jasmine flavor to rice by boiling it in jasmine tea instead of water.

  1. Hold a tea tasting

Invite some friends and have them bring their favorite tea, then sample each other’s selections and maybe you’ll find a new favorite!

  1. .Nurture yourself

Take some time for yourself with a nice cup of herbal tea. Rejuvenate with peppermint or relax with a blend of chamomile and lavender

  1.  Read a tea book

With a cup of tea by your side, lose yourself in a good book

  1. Tea with a twist

Need something a little stronger, take your afternoon tea in a “Mar-tea-ni”.

  1. Take a tea class

Sign up for a class at Souvia and explore the world of tea during a fun and hands-on “infotainment” session.

No matter when and how you drink your tea, celebrate National Hot Tea Month with us at Souvia and be sure to make tea a constant companion during 2016!

January 18, 2016

National Hot Tea Month!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

 

January is the perfect time to celebrate “hot tea month”.

Even here in Arizona, the daytime temperatures have dropped to a chilling 65 degrees F! Cold enough to warm freezing hands on a hot cup of tea.

During the whole month of January, our daily specials will be served “hot”!

Especially with your straight black, green and oolong teas, it does matter whether your drink them hot or cold. Just like with a good wine, the proper temperature allows unique flavors, floral notes and special accents to shine. Just like red wine would lose its characteristics when refrigerated, many teas loose their unique flavor when iced.

This month, open your mind and your taste buds and try our daily “hot” Teas of the Day” and remember:

The perfect temperature for tea is two degrees hotter than just right. “

Terri Guillemets

 

 

December 30, 2015

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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

 

Happy New Year

With New Years Eve, the 2015 holiday season is coming to an end – another 12 chapters, 365 pages in the book of life lived and I hope it was filled with many wonderful experiences and leaves you with great memories!

2014 lies in front of us like an unopened book whose pages have yet to be filled. Make every page count and take time to savor the moments. Spend your time wisely and make the people in your life a priority. Don’t rush from day to day, but stop and catch your breath every once in a while – maybe with a nice cup of Souvia tea!

Personally, I treasure my my tea breaks that bring a little serenity and peace into my world.

After the overindulgences of the holiday season, my favorite cup is Fog Tea, a green tea from China. It will not only leave you peaceful and relaxed, it will also help your liver get rid of the toxins that were left behind by too many glasses of champagne and cookies.

December 26, 2015

Chaidoodles

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

Gingerbread cookies

The presents are unwrapped and the parties are over, but that does not mean baking time is over too!

Tea is my passion and whenever I get a chance to include it in cooking and baking, I experiment. Since cinnamon is the key ingredient in Snicker doodles already, adding the flavors of cardamom, cloves and ginger would make the taste only richer.

The recipe is very simple and you can freeze the dough to have it ready when the holiday guests arrive:

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup softened butter

1 egg

2tbsp. milk

1 cup brown sugar ( I substitute stevia for half the sugar)

2 tbs loose leaf masala chai finely ground

1/4tsp salt, 1tsp baking soda, 1tsp baking powder

2tsp cream of tartar

1tblesp  cinnamon, 1tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup granulated sugar

Mix the flour, sugar, masala chai mix, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Add the butter, egg and milk and knead into a smooth dough.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball  in cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350degrees for 15-18 minutes.

I had planned on posting a picture of the finished product, however the cookies were so delicious that not a crumb was left before I could get my camera……

 

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