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February 28, 2010

Small but exquisite – Yixing teaware

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 4:27 pm

They may be small, but what they lack in size they make up in originality and creative design. Yixing pots (yee-shing), named after the town where they are crafted, are prized by collectors all over the world. What makes these tea pots so special? It is the clay (zisha) they are made out of. The clay, which can only be found in the southern portion of Jiangsu province, about 120 miles northwest of Shanghai in China, has three characteristic colors: light buff, cinnabar red and purplish brown. The blue and dusty black also found with Yixing pots is achieved by mixing certain minerals into the clay.


Tea aficionados consider Yixing pots superior vessels for tea brewing because the purple clay is porous and absorbs small amounts of tea with every brewing. The patina which develops over time retains some of the flavor and scent of the tea brewed in the pot which explains why it is best to chose one particular (your favorite) tea for brewing in this pot. Some tea drinkers will swear that after repeated use, you can fill the pot with hot water and still get a good cup of tea out of it.


Typically used for Oolong teas, these pots only hold a small amount of water.  But, this allows for maximum tea/water contact producing a great cup of tea.  Most oolong teas can be infused 3 or more times in these pots making them as functional as larger pots despite their size.


Yixing pots are hand crafted and often multiple colors are applied and inlaid to achieve the unique and fascinating designs. There are hundreds of styles, shapes, and designs available from simple to intricate.  To get an idea of what is available, stop into to Souvia®  and see a sampling.

 You can also see a selection of contemporary Chinese Yixing pots and enjoy a cup of Souvia® tea at the Phoenix Art Museum where the Asian Art department features an exhibit of Yixing pots from the James T. Bialac Collection titled “Tea and Immortality”. The exhibit is open through April 25th

February 14, 2010

Create your Urban farm right here in the city!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 7:33 pm
Greg Peterson discusses how to create your urban farm

Greg Peterson discusses how to create your urban farm

Our Saturday forum with Greg Peterson, attracted quite a crowd.  There are a lot of  gardeners out there and I am sure that many of those attending the forum were inspired to try their gardening skills.

While Greg’s Urban Farm is on 1/3 acre, it is not necessary to turn you whole back yard into an edible landscape. He said that you can grow more food than you can eat in 100 square feet. The key is to know how to best utilize a space for growing fruit and vegetables.

Most important is to find the right place for your garden. For best results, the plot should face either East and get the morning sun, or South where you take advantage of  the midday sun, but limiting exposure. The North side does not offer enough light and facing West, the crop is exposed to extreme heat for too long.

Once you have picked the right spot, the next task is soil preparation. Greg mentioned several ways to create a nutrient rich environment for your plants. The first option is “sheeting”, where you layer dried material (mulch) and organic manure about 18 to 36 inches high.  Alternative ways are “digging”, which basically means you remove any grass and vegetation, add a layer of compost or manure and then turn the soil to a depth of eight inches. Preparing the soil is the foundation for healthy plant growth and a plentiful harvest. Greg also mentioned that people throw away between 60 and 80% of nutrients when they get rid of those fall leaves and grass clippings!

Once your soil is ready, the question is what to plant and when. Greg offers a great guide on his website.

To a question on pesticide use, Greg responded, “The more my yard is in balance, the less I have a problem with pests”. He also went on to explain how this balance can be achieved through the practice of  permaculture. The word permaculture was created in the 1970’s by Bill Mollison and is a contraction of  “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture”. Greg defines it as the art and science of working with nature so that natural resources are renewed and eco-systems are enriched. This means, don’t think of the chicken as just “meat and eggs”, but also as pest control, fertilizer, etc..

Although there are many crops that thrive even in this challenging climate, tea is not one of them. So grow what works well and enjoy the “fruits” of your labors and avoid the common attitude which Greg summarized eloquently: “We are arrogant enough to think we can control nature and stupid enough to think it is our job”. 

Join us for our next Souvia Saturdays Forum – Author Ken Weene introduces his book Widow’s Walk




February 10, 2010

Souvia Saturday Forum: Urban Farm

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 4:35 pm

Greg Peterson
– owner of “Your Guide to Green”
“You can create your own Urban Farm”
  – tips on on how to transform residential landscape
   into edible delight

Greg Peterson is a green living and sustainability innovator who truly
lives what he speaks.  He is a writer, teacher, and lecturer on many aspects of green living, sustainability and permaculture. His passion is to present the applicable concepts so that everyone who desires is able to implement some kind of green living into their lives. He is a dynamic speaker on Green and Sustainability topics and regularly draws hundreds of people for his “Living Green, What Does it Mean?” lectures.

February 9, 2010

Souvia Tea update for January

Filed under: Black Tea,Newsletter,Tea and Health,Tea Culture,Tea Enjoyment — wbwingert @ 9:59 am


Unable to view this newsletter?  

Quick and Current


Tea and Chocolate


Goings on



If you missed the

Segment on Tea and

Chocolate for 

Valentine’s Day

it is archived here



Featured Teas



Several New teas arriving



Lomi Lomi Herbal infusion

is a delight for the senses






Taiping Monkey King is

a unique and rare green 

tea with a long leaf style






Sencha Kombucha is a

green tea with kombucha

powder.  Plum like

flavor is simple to make







Fog Tea is a green tea

also known as “Clouds

of Mist” or Wu Lu.  Grown

in misty mountains it makes

a great tea.



Quick and current

February not only contains Valentine’s Day, but is also American Heart Month.   Tea is a great way to tackle both!  Black Teas have been shown to strengthen the cardiovascular system and tea fills the bill in many other ways for Valentine’s Day.  In this edition:


  • Souvia Teas can be found in more places like The Java Spa in the Sachi Salon and the Water Mart at Camelback and Miller.  Ask for Souvia Teas at your favorite haunts – we can deliver anywhere in the country!
  • The popular Souvia Saturday Forums continue on February 13th at 10am, providing speakers on a variety of general interest topics. They are free and run from 10am-Noon on selected Saturdays.  Next up: Greg Peterson on “Creating your own Urban Farm”
  • See below for tea pairing, teas that are arriving and teas that are going away


Tea and Chocolate

Tea pairs well with ChocolateCan you imagine a chocolate chip cookie without a glass of milk, a peanut butter sandwich without jelly, vanilla ice cream without hot fudge?  There are certain food combinations that take the taste from just good to simply delicious!


 Wine, for example, is often paired with foods and desserts to enhance the flavor in both. Tea shares many of wine’s complexities and pairing it with food can enhance the taste experience of both. Since February highlights chocolates and sweets as the perfect gift for your Valentine, why not take it to the next level and create tea and chocolate pairings for that romantic Valentine’s dinner that will surprise and delight?


One way to look at tea and chocolate is as friends, where similarity in characteristics enhance the flavor, or as lovers, 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  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.


We like rich and creamy desserts and, therefore, choose 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. 


If you are interested in learning more about this topic and would like to sample some creations, sign up for our  “Tea and Dessert Pairing” class on Sunday, March 7th from 2 until 4 PM.

Lots going on at the store…

Lots happening over the next month or so

  • Souvia Saturday forums started last month.  These are presentations of general interest to the community.  No registration necessary, just stop in and learn something new.  Got an idea for a topic or speaker?  Send us a note
  • New teas are on the shelves: Fog Tea, Lomi Lomi, Sencha Kombucha, and Taiping Monkey King – check them out!
  • The New Class Schedule is posted for the first half of 2010. Next up Herbals for Detox, Tea and Dessert Pairing and Tea 101
  • Tea Tuesdays at the Kerr Cultural Center – Music sponsored by Souvia, so there is no charge for refreshments or the programs!   March 9th – “Viola Studio, Students of Nancy Buck”
  • The Chinese New Year starts in February and it is the “Year of the Tiger” – We have an instore drawing for a boxed set of some of the top teas from China
  • New arrivals in March – Licorice Root and White Cherry
  • Leaving us soon – Pumpkin Pie, Nutcracker Suite, Assam Mangalam, Snow Buds Special, Spring Green, Cupids Arrow, Gingerbread House, Ginseng Oolong

Thanks for Reading

Win a Souvia T-shirt for answering the following question – Name two herbals that are good for your heart.  Send your answers to  I will draw 4 winners this month…


We hope to see you in the store or online soon.  If you can’t get in remember we ship same day and your tea will arrive quickly!



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February 8, 2010

Update on Souvia Saturday Forums

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:24 am

Here is the updated list of upcoming Souvia Saturday Forums -  All of these events are 10am-12pm Saturdays, are free, and allow for time to interact with the speaker –

Greg PetersonFeburary 13th

Greg Peterson
– owner of “Your Guide to Green”
“You can create your own Urban Farm”
  – tips on on how to transform residential landscape
   into edible delight

February 27th – Book sigining

Widows WalkKen Weene will be on hand to sign his latest book “Widow’s Walk”

Kenneth’s novel, Widow’s Walk, is for women who are trying to decide what to do with their lives. It’s a book for people who like to experience emotions and at the same time think about life’s meaning. Kenneth’s career – primarily in New York – has included teaching, pastoral care, and psychology.


 March 13th – “Best Laid Plans”

Do you have a living will, POA and an estate plan? 

 Marsha Goodman, Attorney PLLC

 March 27th – DWD – Driving While Distracted

LOGO_DrivingMBACharlie Sobczak of Driving MBA will be here to discuss the dangers of distracted driving including texting and cell phone use.  He’ll have a simulator to  show how distracted driving will impair your ability to avoid accidents.

Charles has a diverse background ranging from a traffic agent responsible for weight and balance of aircraft to hazardous material coordinator, customer service supervisor as well as sales. From 1993 to 2003 Charles was in charge of certification and on-going training of sales personnel in automotive retail.