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Southwest Tea Fest - Las Vegas, NV

2017 Tea Festival Round Up

After our first year’s trials, we went West Coast tea fest shopping and came back with quite the haul.

Southwest Tea Fest – Las Vegas, NV

We started back at our roots with the 2017 SWTF. This year, a two day event, was held at the lucky dragon casino in Las Vegas. As event veterans (loosely used term), we felt at home and managed to spread tea and Ringtons to the bottom left region of the states while enjoying the company of friends and fellow tea lovers. As for the future, the event will be postponed until further notice. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Southwest Tea Fest - Las Vegas, NV

Tea Fest PDX – Portland, OR

Out of the desert and into the city of roses, this time for the inaugural pdx tea fest. There was an incredible reception for a place that has quietly changed the world of tea. Home to Stash Tea, and the legend of tea entrepreneur Steve Smith, it was rejuvenating to see people’s enthusiasm, interest, and the growing industry we consider ourselves lucky to be a part of.

Tea Fest PDX - Portland, ORNorthwest Tea Festival – Seattle, WA

The Mecca of the west coast tea festivals. The Northwest Tea Fest. We missed the opportunity for year 9 but were fortunate enough to make it to the decennial event.

Held in Seattle, we made the drive up from San Jose with one lunch stop, and arrived 17 hours later.

Worth it.

People were amazing, kind, and genuinely interested in everything tea. By far the most successful show we’ve attended and look forward to being able to return for number 11.

Northwest Tea Festival - Seattle, WA

San Francisco International Tea Festival – San Francisco, CA

As our second SFITF, and the one we consider our home festival, we were much better prepared this time around. Thousands came out to experience Bay Area tea as well as our locally produced honey! With the popularity, we almost felt like a honey company that does tea on the side! It went fantastic and we already have space marked on the calendar for next year!

San Francisco International Tea Festival - San Francisco, CA

Devan Shah Tea Festival – Pasadena, CA

The final destination for this year’s tour, Pasadena.

People turned out in droves for the two day event. We feel as if we’re starting to get a hang of these events and even feel like locals as we’re recognize not only our fellow tea vendors but returning tea aficionados as well. Hopefully we’ll continue to learn and improve from these ventures and add to our tea tour!

Devan Shah Tea Festival - Pasadena, CA

That’s it for our 2017 tea festival circuit!

The seeds have been well planted this year and we’re looking forward to 2018. 

If you’d like us to pay a visit to your town through an event or as a vendor, please reach out at info@finestenslightea.com or call us at 408.444-1013

Best,

Ian, Michael, & Kirsten

The Tea Festival Team

Creamed Honey Image

Why We Love Creamed Honey

Did you know that creamed honey is known as la crème de la crème? Oftentimes, creamed honey is sold at a premium price due to its thickness, unique taste and aroma, and nutritional benefits. Many parents enjoy creamed honey because its thickness prevents spills and messes in the kitchen; in addition, creamed honey makes the perfect breakfast or snack for children.

At Finest English Tea, we specialize in top quality raw honey, whether it’s plain or flavored. Here are a few reasons why we love creamed honey:

  1. Creamed honey is just as nutritious as liquid honey.

Many people are surprised to hear that creamed honey is equally as nutritious as liquid honey. There’s no difference in health benefits, quality, or antibiotic value. The only difference is that creamed honey has a thick and full-bodied texture compared to liquid honey. In addition, creamed honey is less messy than liquid honey, which is perfect as a breakfast treat or afternoon snack for your kids.

  1. Creamed honey comes from a variety of beekeepers.

The delicious, rich, and thick creamed honey comes from an assortment of organic beekeepers across the United States, Canada, South America, and New Zealand. Although creamed honey sells at a higher price than liquid honey, it’s the worth the extra dollars! Creamed honey is incredibly thick, rich tasting, smooth, and easily spreadable; you can spread creamed honey on toasted bread for breakfast, or on apples and pears for an afternoon snack.

  1. Creamed honey isn’t the same as whipped honey.

Many people think that creamed honey is whipped liquid honey, like butter; however, this is just a misconception. Creamed honey is crystallized, not whipped. If you whip liquid honey, it’s actually dangerous and can possibly introduce moisture and bacteria in the mix. Whipping liquid honey will also not produce the thick, rich quality of creamed honey. In the future, be wary of recipes that call for whipped honey.

At Finest English Teas, we pride ourselves in producing top quality honey and delicious teas for everyone. For more information on our honey and teas, please visit finestenglishteas.com.

Top 5 Types of Tea Image

Top 5 Most Popular Types of Teas

Although all teas come from the exact plant called Camellia Sinensis, there are hundreds of  unique kinds of teas, with their own exotic taste, appearance, and aroma. The most popular types of tea today are green, white, oolong, black, and herbal. These types of teas refer to how a tea is oxidized, or fermented. By exposing the tea leaves to air, tea growers can expose special flavors and aromas from the leaves.

At Finest English Tea, we have a fine selection of rich, full bodied teas to enhance your tea experience. Here are the top 5 most popular types of teas, from black teas and oolong flavors to white teas and fruity infusions:

  1. White Tea

Only a few years ago, white tea was cultivated in China. White tea is the most gentle and soothing taste of tea, and it can even taste elusive with unusual flavors like asparagus or bamboo. White tea also has several health benefits, including numerous antioxidants that help boost cardiovascular health, lower bad cholesterol levels, and manage healthy weight loss.

  1. Green Tea

Unlike white tea, green tea is unoxidized, which helps keep their important color. In China, green tea leaves are roasted or pan-fired to bring out more unique flavors in the tea. Green tea has a range of flavors, from smoky with a lighter body, or citrus-like. Green tea has enormous health benefits, such as high antioxidants with about 20-45 percent of polyphenols by weight.

  1. Oolong Tea

Did you know that Oolong tea means “Black Dragon” in Chinese? Oolong tea is semi-fermented, whereas black tea is fully fermented. Oolong tea was first created in China and Taiwan, where the oolong tea leaves are oxidized and then fired. Oolong tea has a wide range of flavors, with distinctive tastes and fragrances. Oolong tea is known to improve mental alertness and thinking skills, and it has plenty of antioxidants that may boost your metabolism by up to 10%.

  1. Black Tea

Black tea is the most reputable tea in the West, although it was originally cultivated in China and comes from the Indian regions of Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri. Black tea makes a great breakfast drink or soft afternoon tea. In Europe, “estate teas” are the new trend, meaning that teas come from an estate or yard from a certain year. Like a nice glass of wine, estate teas have unique flavors depending on where they’re grown.

At Finest English Tea, our black teas are specially crafted from the finest blends and estates; from Kenyan earl grey teas and Assam breakfast blends to flavorful Kenyan gold teas and exotic African teas. Browse our black tea selection at https://finestenglishtea.com/product-category/everyday-teas/.

  1. Tisane, or Herbal and Fruity Infusions

Tisane teas, or herbal and floral teas, refer to a large selection of plants and fruity infusions that present delicate and sweet tastes and smells. Many people who drink decaf coffee or caffeine-free products choose herbal teas; tisane is soothing for the body and makes an excellent drink for children. Many herbal teas have natural health benefits, such as Vitamin C and antioxidants.

At Finest English Tea, we offer Herbal Range Teas with unique herbs and fruit, such as pure peppermint, lemon, ginger, and ginseng, pure chamomile, and many more. Browse our herbal range teas at https://finestenglishtea.com/product-category/herbal-range/.

We hope you enjoy these 5 most popular teas around the world. For more information on Finest English Tea and our high-quality, unique tea selections, please call our toll-free line at 800.529-4954.

Tea Smoking: A Unique Flavor Enhancer

Tea Smoking: A Unique Flavor Enhancer

Are you looking for a simple way to add a unique flavor to your food? Tea smoking is a centuries-old culinary technique known to add a delicate smoked flavor to chicken, pork, seafood and other meats. Food smoked with tea leaves originated in ancient China, where a mixture of tea leaves and uncooked rice would be heated in a wok until it smoked. The trapped smoke would then be used to cook and flavor their dishes. Since tea smoking only requires a few tools, it is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your food.

Each type of tea has its own unique notes and works best with certain meat. Black teas are perfect for red meats, turkey or salmon and infuses deep, dark caramel notes. If you’re looking for a spicy kick, chai teas are your best bet. For an extra depth of flavor, herbal teas can add floral notes while green teas impart fragrant grassy notes, pairing it well with white fish or chicken. For a great source of rich tasting, full bodied tea products, check out the tea collection offered by Finest English Tea. You’ll find a wide range of tea products that include everything from traditional English black teas, green teas, herbals, fruit infusions and more!

Naturally tender meats like pork belly, chicken thigh, salmon and duck are usually selected for tea smoking. However, your options are endless so experiment with different tea types and find out which one you like the best. Vegetables can also be infused with smoky tea flavor and will taste delicious!

Tea Smoking: A Unique Flavor Enhancer

To get started, follow these simple steps and immerse yourself in the art of tea smoking.

1. Gather these items:
-wok/pan
-tight-fitting lid/foil
-wire rack/steamer

2. Layer your wok
You will need 3-4 layers of foil to line your wok. The foil edges should overhang the sides of the wok.

3. Prepare the tea mixture
Combine loose tea leaves with uncooked rice in equal parts. Feel free to add seasonings, spices and herbs to the mix. Brown sugar can also be added to help speed up the smoking process.

4. Add the tea mixture to the wok/pan
Evenly spread the mixture over the base of the wok/pan. Heat it up until the tea leaves begin to smoke.

5. Start smoking
Position the wire rack/steamer around 5 cm above the tea mixture. Place your food on the rack and then cover it with the lid or foil until the food is thoroughly cooked.

Precooking your meat may be a good idea if it’s extra thick. Be careful not to let the tea leaves smoke too long or you may end up with the smoky flavor becoming too bitter.

Once you’ve perfected the art of tea smoking, you can start experimenting with the various tea types and add a new dimension of flavors to your food.

Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags

Loose Leaf Tea Vs. Tea Bags

Loose Leaf Tea Vs. Tea Bags

At Finest English Tea, we offer a multitude of tea varieties in both loose leaf teas and tea bags. However, many tea drinkers are unsure of which form to choose based on their teaware, lifestyle and overall preferences that they have.

While the difference between loose leaf tea vs tea bags are numerous, it is really quite simple to determine which will work best for you in any given situation. And while there are pro’s and cons to both types, the tea type that you should choose is really based on your own personal preference and the manner in which you like to prepare your tea.

The Case For Tea Bags

Tea bags are an obvious choice for tea drinkers who are looking for ease of use, convenience and quickness when they are preparing their tea. All one needs to enjoy tea from a bag is simply a cup or mug, hot water and a tea bag of your choice. This makes tea bags the optimal choice for tea drinkers on the go because it’s a quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy your tea.

However what tea bags make up for in convenience, they somewhat lose out to loose leaf in terms of quality.

The Case For Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea may be more involved in terms of it’s preparation, however the flavors that you get from loose leaf tea are far more bold than that of tea bags. While it isn’t necessarily an everyday ritual for busy individuals who are on the go, loose leaf tea has a greater aroma, flavor and more antioxidants making it the better choice for those looking to get the most out of their cup of tea.

Tea needs space to expand during the brew process in order to fully release the flavor components in the leaves. Inside of the tea bag, there is simply not enough room for the tea’s expansion, so you are left with tea leaves that are not fully steeped. In addition to this, the material of the tea bag is not as permeable as loose leaf tea devices meaning less water can penetrate the leaves and release their full flavors.

Should I Choose Loose Leaf or Tea Bags?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong in terms of the type of tea that you choose to buy, prepare and drink. At the end of the day, whether you choose loose leaf tea vs tea bags is entirely up to your preference, lifestyle and the given situation. The flavors, aromas and health benefits will still be there whether it’s loose leaf or tea bags.

At Finest English Tea we appreciate both methods for tea preparation and provide a wide selection of teas in both bags and loose leaf forms.

If you have any further questions regarding tea bags vs loose leaf tea or need help finding the right variety for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.

Afternoon Tea Vs High Tea

High Tea Vs. Afternoon Tea

What’s The Difference Between High Tea And Afternoon Tea?

If you’re a regular tea drinker, chances are you might have heard a reference to the terms “afternoon tea” and “high tea.” More often than not, the phrases are used interchangeably because many people mistakenly believe that there’s no difference between the two. However, though both tea traditions are found in British history, the differences between the teas lies in their origins within the culture itself.

What is an Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a tradition in British culture of sitting down for a cup of tea along with scones, sandwiches or cakes. Popularized in the 19th century, afternoon tea is generally served around 4p.m., and was not intended to replace dinner but instead fill in the gap between lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea was most commonly enjoyed by royalty along with the wealthy upper class Brits.

Due to changes in the work/life balance many people are no longer afforded enough time to sit down, relax, and sip tea while eating cakes late in the afternoon, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea has become more of a luxury for modern Brits rather than a necessity.

If you find yourself in London, an excellent place for an authentic experience of delicious afternoon tea is at the Ritz in London. In addition to this, Yorkshire boasts a variety of tea rooms that have barely changed since they opened in 1919.

What is a High Tea?

While the history of afternoon tea was the preserve of the wealthy in the 19th century, for lower class workers in an industrialized Britain, tea had to come after work. During that hour, tea was served with heavier dishes, such as bread, potatoes, and vegetables. Workers needed substantial meals after work, followed by a strong pot of hot tea.

Today, evening meals in working households are sometimes called “tea,” but many households now refer to an evening meal as supper or dinner. The addition of the word “high” to “high tea” differentiates between the afternoon tea as served on low, comfortable chairs or relaxing in a garden, and the high tea is served at a table and seated on high back chairs.

Whether afternoon tea or high tea, confusion often arises as to what exactly each entail. At Finest English Tea, we have a diverse selection of teas for any tea party or gathering of yours. Give us a call at 408.444-1013 today!

Southwest Tea Fest | Explore tea through the Southwest

Southwest Tea Fest | Explore tea through the Southwest

Southwest Tea Fest | Explore tea through the Southwest

Southwest Tea Fest

The dust has settled and Nevada’s earth, admittedly a few months later, has been washed from the car. We were reluctant as we had such fun at the inaugural Southwest TeaFest in Las Vegas on February 27th.

 

It was an eventful day where the 600+ visitors could walk through and enjoy the old Las Vegas subway station, which has since been converted into a marketplace. Yoga, Live music, food trucks, every type of tea, tea education, teaware, and everything else tea was available and on display at the festival.

 

We were fortunate enough to take part in the growing tea community of Las Vegas, handing out samples of both our tea and honey, as well as holding a raffle, where the winners took home some coveted teaware.

 

Southwest Tea Fest | Explore tea through the SouthwestSouthwest Tea Fest | Explore tea through the Southwest

 

The people were lovely and truly made the event.

Not just the attendees, but the volunteers and coordinators made it the success that it was. It was an honor and privilege to be a part of the SWTF2016.

 

We had our own success as well, as we ran out of tea samples, and completely sold out of our honey! We’ll be better equipped next time, as we plan on doing it again in 2017, hoping to see you out there next year!

 

Watch the video recap here:

 

 

Learn more about the Southwest Teafest @ https://swteafest.com

San Francisco Honey & Pollen Co Logo

Match Made: Tea and Honey

Match Made: Tea & Honey

Logo of San Francisco Honey & Pollen Co.

An apiary hidden among a traditionally industrial area is not where you’d expect to find John McDonald’s hobby turned family business, San Francisco Honey&Pollen Co.

People come from all over the greater bay area, and further, to experience something rarely offered, a chance to safely submerge themselves in a bee’s world. John’s class begins with a lecture, explaining everything from where you will learn why bees are so important to our local agriculture as well as how easy it can be to set up and care for your very own hive. Following the lecture is time to ‘suit up.’ While students take to the full bee suit, the instructor boldly forgoes any protection. The whirring sound of thousands of bees and the ability to watch their entire lifecycle is truly a unique occurrence.

 

We were fortunate enough to set up a booth with live tea samples for both bee amateurs and enthusiasts.

 

Match Made: Tea and Honey          Match Made: Tea and Honey

 

They could sample our teas and get a cup while waiting or for the duration of the lecture.

 

Tea and honey are complimentary products, and as a natural source, honey is the healthier alternative to processed sugar.

 

Find us at future classes and SF Honey&Pollen Co. at

1172 Shafter Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124

 

Learn more about San Francisco Honey & Pollen Co. and their classes @ http://www.sfhoneyandpollen.com

Teas From Around the World

Teas From Around the World

Teas From Around the World

Though there is little definitive evidence to suggest where exactly tea was first discovered, most historians believe that it was first consumed accidentally by an ancient Chinese Emperor. And, while the origins of tea may begin in ancient China, the evolution of the beverage and how it is consumed has varied greatly from country to country over time.

 

Fast forward to today and tea flavors, preparation and drinking methods differ dramatically depending on where you are in the world. From green tea in Japan to ice tea in the U.S., it is easy to see that tea can accommodate many different cultures or lifestyles.

 

Below we take a look at some of the various teas and preparation methods that you will find from cultures around the globe.

 

Japan

Japanese green tea

Japan is one of the earliest adopters of tea drinking, with the earliest references dating back to the 9th century. Matcha, or more referred to as Green Tea, is finely ground powdered tea. Well known for it’s flavor and antioxidants properties, the Japanese tea ceremony focuses primarily on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha.

India

indian tea

India has a storied history of using tea for it’s medicinal properties as well as for consumption. Commercial production of tea began after the British East India Company began producing tea on conquered lands.

Little has slowed down for tea production in India and they remain one of the worlds largest tea producers. Renowned teas such as Assam, Darjeeling and Masal Chai tea are grown exclusively in India and are often combined with other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom tea

Tea drinking in the UK is wholly engrained into every day life, making the UK one of the greatest consumers of tea in the world. Tea drinking is far more diverse in the UK than anywhere else in the world. While most tea is served with milk, many also drink it black, with lemon or sugar added in. Be it formal or casual events, tea is always a welcome element of UK culture.

Turkey

Turkish Tea

Turkish tea, referred to as Chai by the locals is a very important aspect of Turkish culture. Chai is a black tea that is produced on the Black Sea coast and is consumed without milk. Chai tea is served everywhere, for almost every meal throughout Turkey which is why it is considered by most to be a sort of obsession for Turkish people. Generally, Chai is served in a tulip shaped glass on saucer accompanied by two small sugar cubes and small spoon for stirring.

Tibet

Tibet butter tea

Tibet is home to one of the most unusual tea blends in the world. Butter tea or po cha in Tibet, is made from the churning of tea, salt and yak butter. The particular tea used in Butter Tea is unusually potent and smoky type of black tea coupled with a salty, oily and sometimes rancid flavor which makes it an acquired taste but also a long time national favorite.

Morocco

moroccan tea

Morocco is world renowned for its Magheribi mint tea, a tea unlike anything else in the world. So unique in fact that many travel to Morocco for the specific purpose of sampling authentic Moroccan tea. The preparation process, referred to as tai, is an important part of the tea tradition and is performed right in front of the guests.

Russia

Russian tea

The cold climate of Russia has created a rich tea history for the country and it is widely considered as a national beverage that is closely associated with Russian culture. However, what sets Russian tea drinkers apart is that they drink tea almost exclusively at the end of meals along with dessert.

China

Chinese Tea

Currently, China holds claim to being the earliest tea drinkers in the world. Legend has it that Chinese Emperor Shennong discovered tea when a leaf accidentally fell into his boiling water. He liked the taste that it created so much, that he spread the idea across ancient China. In addition to being a popular drink, the Chinese also utilize tea in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine.

Egypt

Egyptian tea

Tea has been ingrained in Egyptian culture since ancient times and as such it is no surprise that Egyptians are big tea drinkers. The national Egyptian drink, Karkadeh tea, derives its bright red color from dried Sudanese rose flower bracts. Karkadeh tea contains a sweet and sour flavor that can be enjoyed either hot or cold.

Argentina

Argentinian Tea

Tea drinking in Argentina places added emphasis on the medicinal properties of tea as the national tea, Yerba mate, is a vitamin packed green tea grown locally throughout South America.  well known for it’s signature earthy, smokey flavor and is services in a small container that is shared throughout a group, making tea drinking a very social experience in Argentina.

USA

USA Iced Tea

The United States is a cultural melting pot and the tea consumed is no different. Different varieties of teas as consumed throughout the U.S. However, there is none more famous than good old fashioned Iced Tea. Usually prepared from bagged tea, this iced sweet tea has become commonplace throughout much of the U.S and especially in the Southern states.