New tea for a new year – have you ever tried Matcha?

o-MATCHA-TEA-facebook

In my ‘career’ of a tea lover, there is one question I have been asked more often than any other: what is my favourite tea?  Well, a mother cannot favour one of her children, so of course, NO I cannot pick (only) one, and I do really love them all🙂. HOWEVER, in the top 20 of all time, there would definitely be a spot for matcha & matcha latte.

HA? Matcha tea? What on earth is that? – you’d ask. Sadly, this incredible type of green tea is still fairly unkown in the West, despite being probably one of, if not the healthiest & fairest of them all. So, as this is a NEW start for my tea blog at the beginning of a NEW year, I have decided to hopefully make you all familiar with this super-delicious yet – till now – NEW to you form of green tea & chose it to be the subject of my very first 2016 post.

Matcha (meaning ‘powdered tea‘), in a quickest nutshell, is… powdered green tea🙂. And matcha latte is the only officially accepted combination of green tea & milk (though of course if you enjoy adding anything incl.milk to your cup of green tea, you are free and welcome to do so any time🙂 ).

Oh but there is so much more about it! You could write hollywood blockbuster scripts about matcha & its preparation. Traditional famous Japanese tea ceremony centers around matcha giving it indeed a very special place in the culture of tea. Not surprising, considering that due to the way it is grown & processed, it is probably indeed the healthiest tea you could ever drink.

When drinking tea from other leaves, you get to consume, according to certain sources, about 5-10% of all the tea goodness. The rest, in your teabag or strainer, gets thrown away & lost for ever. Matcha is tea leaves, without stems, ground on stones to a fine powder so drinking it, you get to taste & keep the whole of what green tea has to offer. And to achieve the very special subtle taste that only matcha has, together with better flavour and texture, tea plants are grown under a shade for about three weeks before the  harvest. This gives the leaves a chance to produce even more chlorophyll and amino acids, and the end result – a cup of matcha – a lovely brighter green color (so positive – how not to love it?🙂 ). One cup of matcha has as many antioxidants as 10!!! cups of green tea!, and in comparison to spinach for example, it can have up to 150 times more of the good stuff!

 

Check out this comparison table:

health_benefits_of_matcha_tea3

Incredible, right??!!  Source: http://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea/ 

Thanks to all its properties, matcha is proven to boost your immune system, improve concentration, & help you detoxify! Many sources say it has also been said to help regulate blood sugar and metabolism. You can see a whole beautiful list of matcha’s benefits here.

AND – as if it all wasn’t enough – matcha is not only limited to tea, but thanks to its powder form, is often used in food & drink recipes. I strongly recommend trying matcha ice cream… be careful though, as it is addictive. Most recently, matcha gets more and used in many delicious non & yes-alcoholic cocktails.

You can find some fantastic food recipes on the TeaPigs website:

There’s even matcha flavoured pancakes!! (recipe here)

matcha-green-tea-pancakes

Or perhaps you fancy buying some matcha flavoured kitkats – to combine the healthy with the.. slightly less healthy😉

For some gorgeous green cocktails & mocktails head on to Matcha cocktails – so yummy!

Matcha is so popular in Asia, I remember having it in every corner Starbucks in Malaysia, when I worked there a few years ago. I was told in Japan, every coffee / tea shop has an on site matcha grinding machine which on the spot prepares fresh matcha powder, just like all espresso machines grinding coffee beans in every coffee shop in London. I cannot wait to visit that part of Asia & see it & TASTE it one day!  In London, matcha latte can be found in lovely Yumchaa tea shops all around central London, but also in the independent and lovely Tea Box cafe in Richmond (which also organises music events combining tea & music!).

matcha-tea

You can of course prepare your own matcha at home🙂, using a very special unique set of tools. I remember hearing legendary stories about Japanese housewives who would despair if their matcha had too many bubbles after whisking it all too vigorously with the bamboo chasen  (see below)I guess I would not be the best wife in Japan, as my matcha was definitely too bubbly – it is certainly not so easy to recreate the full Japanese Tea ceremony at home, but with or without bubbles, any of you can enjoy some green goodness every day whether in tea or food form, so if you are looking for a yummy super-healthy new addition to your diet to kickstart the year in a powerful way, matcha is the way to go!🙂

Let me know what you think of matcha via comments & emails🙂

Maja xThree_piece_matcha_set.jpg

 (source: wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM  Leave a Comment  

Competition time – 4 tea tasting sessions vouchers to be won!

Hip Hip Hoorray!! Tea tastings to be won!!! For you🙂

 

IMG_1540

Postcard Teas, one of the most distinguished tea companies in the UK, whose shop is like a mini tea temple I love love love going to, offered 4 Saturday morning tea tasting sessions at their London store to the readers of my humble blog:).

As I have chosen matcha as the tea of January 2016 (blog post about this incredible special tea to be posted very soon!), the competition is also matcha-themed:).

All you have to do to be in a chance of winning of the fabulous tea tastings is let me know

What is the NAME of the family that provides Postcard Teas with their organicly grown matcha,

& what REGION in Japan does it come from?

Answers to be found on their website http://www.postcardteas.com. Please email me via facebook page or to singerforhire7@gmail.com with ‘Matcha Competition 2016‘ in the subject line by the end of February 2016 and I will pick 4 winners at random:).

photo-431

Good luck!🙂 & enjoy🙂

I will be doing a mini interview with one & only Timothy D’Offay, the founder of Postcard teas, later on in 2016, and visiting their magical tea place myself🙂 – if you love superb quality teas in the most exquisite cases – you HAVE to pop in there at least once (you will be hooked for life afterwards & keep coming back).

With tea hugs🙂

Maja

 

Published in: on January 27, 2016 at 11:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

I am BACK! Hello 2016 :)

I am back!!

After 5 years away, spent on a.o. working a bit in the tea industry, & later on freelancing as a singer / songwriter, actress, model & sales executive, more importantly years of NOT blogging on my tea blog (THIS tea blog!) despite promissing myself each year I would, I am finally back!

It is a busy year, and music still is my love, while work takes up my time🙂, BUT I will post at least twice a month, with more on the facebook page🙂

I hope to meet you all at a tea party one day🙂

Happy TEA 2016🙂

Published in: on January 22, 2016 at 9:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

Our First Charity Tea party! Sunday 17th April 2011 London, UK

Dear Tea Lovers!

Please forgive me such a terribly short notice! but only at the very last minute  a fantastic venue: Bonnigton Cafe in London, UK agreed to host a tiny first Charity Tea Party (on the belated occasion of my birthday:)). Emeyu teas (www.emeyu.com) agreed to donate some amazing teas and i shall make some cakes🙂 – all to support the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Relief fund:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Japan-Tsunami-Appeal

Teas will be sold for 2.00 £ per person/mug, and cakes 2.00 £ per person / piece.

I will be serving the most delicious Emeyu  teas & and answering any tea related questions :-)!

In the menu we shall have:

* Eight butterflies: fantastic mix of Japanese green tea sencha, with cranberry & rose petals

* Pu erh chai: renowned for its slimming properties pu erh tea, mixed with a.o cardamom, liquorice and fennel

* Organic Earl grey – a great organic version of the all time classic

* Summer Bird – cooling and light melange of peppermint, lemongrass and lavender

* Organic English breakfast – organic high quality version of malty classic breakfast tea

Organic Red Berries – a fruity infusion made only of organic dry fruit

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

WE START 3.00 PM AND END 6.30ISH LATEST  (as the venue will have to prepare for evening meal)

There may be live music afterwards  (tbc), if not – we ll just move to a pub nearby :)!

Address:  Bonnington Cafe
11 Vauxhall Grove  Lambeth, Greater London SW8 1, UK

Looking forward to seeing you all there🙂

Yours Tea-fully –

Petal

Our competition waits for your answers! Yumchaa vouchers to be won!

Hello my dearest Tea Drinkers🙂

 

Just a quick reminder about our Feb/March competition in which you can win fabulous vouchers for a pot of tea at Yumchaa!

Please check the COMPETITION tab / category and email me your answer!🙂

Good luck!

 

Petal🙂

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 4:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

With every sip of tea I drink, my heart goes out to Japan… March 11,2011 Tsunami

Dear Tea Lovers, Dear Blog Readers…

This tiny corner of internet universe, as you know, is dedicated to TEA – my favourite drink for whom I have only a seemingly inexplicable passion and love. I love travel writing, well actually, I like writing in general,  writing as such🙂 – describing my tiny fragments of life to others  :) , another (apart from singing)  form of that most heartwarming life miracle called SHARING. However this particular little project of mine is purely dedicated to that marvelous infusion drank reportedly for over 4000 years thanks to most incredible properties of a humble subspecies of camellia plant, and the genius of people who discovered that by drying and rolling its leaves in various different ways one can achieve thousands of flavours and whole worlds of drinking experiences…

But how can I write about my joys of tasting an excellent cup of hand-rolled oolong when hundreds of thousands of people in Japan – a “second” after China, historically speaking, home to tea, Japan who built its own tea history and contributed so heavily to tea culture – have been misplaced, have lost their everything, have perished in the waves and are still missing and feared dead?

Not that the disaster in Haiti or Christchurch were less terrible and heartbreaking (the blog was set up after Haiti earthquake) but in general the question of “how to write about small-er matters faced with such a tragedy”   (or any other everyday  smaller or bigger tragedies?) keeps popping in my head  together with guilt and sadness…

One friend suggested: Maja, write about JAPANESE teas… to celebrate what Japan has given to us.

Indeed I was going to share here the joy of receiving a package of top quality sencha that a Japanese friend promised to bring for me from his trip back home. He landed on the day of the earthquake,  and it feels awfully wrong to ask about it now, when i look at the BBC news website publishing today the pictures of villages on the North East coast  that were literally entirely swept away, by cruel devastating and unstoppable waves leaving emptiness behind…

Together with the news of the tsunami last Friday I got an email from a family member sharing some sad personal news… A small tragedy too. Far smaller, for sure, embarrassingly smaller, yet saddening too.. I read the email, accepted what I was told, then, without even thinking of it, I made myself a cup of tea to quietly cheer myself up.  Japanese people I met always amazed me with their peaceful approach to life, smile  and kindness offered to everyone, & quiet presence, so much in contrast with the crazy passionate, noisy perhaps and definitely rebel nature I have… I know – that may sound stereotypical (i m sure there are red  & hot blooded Japanese too🙂 but aren’t we all full of admiration for the country facing “worst crisis since WWII”  and its citizens’ stoicism in coping with something we still find hard to register? And that stoicism, stopping for a while, appreciation and peaceful acceptance, even when dealing with most tragic circumstances, is intricately linked to TEA – after all, the masters of tea who spread the word about its meditation helping qualities were buddhist monks such as Lu Yu  – the ‘Tea Saint’ & probably the most famous Tea writer ever heard of.

It feels so wrongly lighthearted to write about tea in time when so many of my Japanese friends suffer from this terrible tragedy… but even though I may write about such unimportant futile fragile things as tea leaves,  with every sip I drink, my heart goes out to Japan & every sip reminds me about the hope and prayers I keep on in my heart for all those affected by the earthquake.

Petal

PS. The least we can do for our Friends in Japan is donate:

This a link to Red Cross Appeal:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Japan-Tsunami-Appeal

and below links to two interesting articles on the disaster I found online:

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/sympathy-for-japan-and-admiration/

http://www.penmachine.com/2011/03/modern-japan-saved-lives

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 2:00 AM  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Never let go of your favorite drink: Make up for Tea lovers i.e. Iced Tea lipstick by DuWop

10/3/2011

Are you one of those people who would ideally carry around their cup of tea with them all the time?

Can’t you stop thinking of your NEXT cup of tea when you have just finished your CURRENT cup of tea?🙂

Do you open the tin of your favourite tea just to enjoy the flavour and loose yourself in the smells of green, yellow oolong, darjeeling, pu-erh, rooibos, or herbal tea?🙂

You are not alone🙂

As you can see i carry my cuppa with me🙂 yes i even take it on the  or tube🙂 ( how could i have left behind a fresh delicious malty refreshing cup of English Breakfast?  :) )

maja with her cuppa🙂 on the bus!

Well now, dear Tea Lovers, we can stay in touch with our beloved infusion all the time thanks to a special iced tea lipstick collection🙂 ! “Translucent lip treatments with  exotic fruit flavour, a subtle cooling effect and the slightest hint of colour. (..) that also hydrate with Jojoba Oil, Aloe and Green Tea Extract and contain sunscreen to protect lips” are now available from DuWop.  For details  follow  the link below – enjoy :)!

http://www.beautybay.com/cosmetics/duwop/g/icedteas/?gclid=CIGhmYj5xKcCFYob4Qodoz22DQ

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 12:45 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

We all pray for Japan…. Tsunami March 11.2011

Dear Tea Lovers all around our beautiful world..

My heart is bleeding today… i just saw the footage of what happened in Japan.. a gigantic wave of Tsunami sweeping away cars, buildings, people, … killing all on its way… Japan is an ‘earthquake-used’ country, and thank life/fate/god most buildings are earth-quake proof as this region is hit even up to 1000 times a year.. but not with such power, this was probably the strongest quake ever recorded, strongest in as many as 1000 years…. My heart goes out to all my very Dear Japanese Friends…

Petal😦

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Special Extra Tea of Month – March 2011 Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – Eve’s blend by Tea palace

Dear Tea Lovers,

Gynaecological cancers are the world’s 4th largest cancer killer of women – Every year a million women  are diagnosed worldwide,  and many of them die  because of a gynaecological cancer😦.. And yet, awareness of that problem is quite low😦.  “ The Eve Appeal tries to change this by funding vital research focused on developing effective methods of prediction, detection, treatment and care that will help save women’s lives not only in the UK but throughout the world.”

March is  The Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and so apart from our  March 2011 (“Big Smoke” by Postcard teas), this month  I would like to also promote one more special  tea : Eve’s blend by Tea palace.  All profits from its sale go to the Eve Appeal  (http://www.eveappeal.org.uk/). Eve’s blend  is a wonderful mix of Chinese green tea with real jasmine blossoms and pink rose petals. This exclusive tea is bursting with antioxidants which, as we all hopefully know by now (after our January and February 2011 posts :)) help in fighting free radicals that cause cancer.

I would also like to HOLD A TEA PARTY🙂 to raise funds needed for ovarian cancer research.  Please let me know if you would like to join me for a special tea celebration – more details soon! Hopefully it will be possible (confirming venue details as i write… :)).

And if you would like to organise a Tea Fundraising Party yourself, check out all the details here:

http://www.eveappeal.org.uk/make-time-for-tea.aspx

Petal

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 11:57 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Tea thank you :) & sample sets for the Blog subscribers :-))

Hello Hello🙂

This is just a short note to say  A HUMONGOUS THANK YOU🙂

to those who have subscribed to the Blog!🙂

They will be sent sets of highest quality tea samples & unique muslin cotton tea bags by Emeyu who sent them to me to distribute among the faithful Tea Folk🙂 (www.emeyu.com)

Enjoy!!!🙂

& thank you once again!🙂

More prizes to come!  so … subscribe today :-))

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 7:57 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,