Friday, August 21, 2015

Tea Review: Wan Ling Tea House’s Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer

Source: my instagram @teaaholic

"Wan Ling Tea House is the coming together of tea lovers from opposite sides of the world. Our aim is to bring carefully selected loose leaf teas and a wealth of collected information together. Giving people the chance to better understand and explore the fascinating world of tea."
Ingredients: Unblended Raw Puer

Steep Time: 1 minute

First Sip Thought: "Comfort in a cup."

Aroma: The dry smell is pleasantly of pine wood. When steeped, a hint of the scent reminds me of when a fire is about to be lit, or perhaps even just of freshly cut wood.

Taste: Harvested in 2014 and a product of Yunnan, China, the taste of this Ji Di Ancient Tea Tree Sheng Puer is very nice and mild. It steeps a bright cooper liquid as shown in the image above. It is thin and softly textured. As the infusions increase, I notice a texture that reminds me of soup broth. Wan Ling Tea House's tasting notes describe a cooked bean taste, and this might be where that comes to play. However, I feel like I am settling more on hints of barley specifically. With this, I feel more full from each experience this tea has to offer.

While enjoying each sip, I am picturing a colder evening out in a wooden cabin with a crackling fire and soft jazz in the background. As the flavour of this tea builds, it becomes more reminiscent of a warm, hearty vegetable soup which is exactly something that I would usually enjoy in that setting. I would most definitely suggest this as a tea to invest in. It will take you on an adventure.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 tea leaves

*Interested in this tea? You can find it online here

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tea & Tarot

Last night on my Facebook page I shared something I will sometimes do during my own personal tea time. That something is giving myself a reading with angel tarot cards. Similar to tea mediation, I find that this is the best moment to find a sense of calmness and select the most perfect cards for myself.

I wanted to do something a bit different last night and I wanted to share my moment with my tea loving friends/readers. That is why I shared the image above on my Facebook page with the caption that read "I would love to share today's with you! Pick one card you feel guided to and simply comment "left", "middle" or "right". I'll share each card and it's meaning sometime tomorrow." Depending on the popularity, I may make Tea & Tarot a regular mini series here on The Cup of Life where we take some time out of our busy schedules to sit with a cup of tea, meditate and see what's in store for ourselves. If this series grows, so will the details of the readings.

If you commented on the Facebook post with your selection, here is the reveal along with a meaning for each card in order. Click on the image to enlarge it. If you didn't get a chance to comment with the card you settled on, feel free to do so now on your own with the image above before viewing and reading the reveal.
Seven of Earth
"Seeds well planted. A temporary pause in action. Unnecessary worry."
The fruits of your labour continue to grow and harvest is imminent. Patience is essential as you pause to plan your next steps. You may feel you have far to go, but don't forget how far you've already come. Review and acknowledge your progress from a broader perspective.
Anxiety regarding the current situation is unfounded. Any halt in forward movement is temporary. This is a good time to rest or vacation to recharge your batteries.

The World, Archangel Michael
"A job well done! Joy, contentment, and gratitude. The path toward enlightenment."
This card is sent to you because you've happily completed something of great importance. You're now ready to move on to something new. Enjoy your feelings of wholeness and completion, and give yourself a pat on the back for your amazing accomplishments!
You've grown spiritually and have evolved to a whole new level in your understanding of the Universe. You've experienced significant enlightenment and have expanded your consciousness of how to attain joy and contentment. You feel a great sense of gratitude. Call upon Archangel Michael for guidance, courage, strength and confidence.

Eight of Water
"A desire to move on. The search for something more meaningful. Spiritual and emotional growth."
You're feeling the need to move on. What once interested you has lost its charm and you're seeking more meanings and rewards. You've grown spiritually and emotionally and you yearn to leave the past behind. These changes will bring the benefits you desire.
The inward search for answers is rewarded at this time. Don't let anything distract you from your true path. If you feel a void in your life, fill it in healthy ways! A relocation or change in your job or relationships is possible at this time.

*Did you find that this reading related to your current situation in someway? Would you like to see Tea & Tarot become a regular series on the blog? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tea Review: Café Couture's Ginger Sencha Star

Ginger Sencha Star - Café Couture
Ingredients: Chinese green tea, ginger bits, orange peel, whole star aniseed, almond pieces, apricot kernels, oat grass, whole cardamom, cinnamon pieces, rose petals, cloves

Steep Time: 1.5 minutes

First Sip Thought: "A lot of different flavours."

Smell: Grassy with floral hints. The dry leaf is dark green, long and thin. After steep, the tea is yellow in colour still releasing a grassy aroma with ginger notes and fruits, especially orange.

Taste: I'm not quite sure I have ever had a ginger-sencha combination before, at least not with a Chinese sencha. I know this one is obviously way more than just those two ingredients, but as the name of this tea blend states, the ginger bits added were the star ingredients, making for an intense flavour. With the extensive additives, I felt the sencha was slightly lost. However, the exciting flavours add a warm and soothing effective to this tea blend. Other ingredients that were easily noticed through sips were the cinnamon pieces, cardamom, orange peel, and cloves. The Chinese sencha itself is slightly grassy with some soft sweetness. Although it didn't taste a bit nutty as I was expecting, this tea blend still lived up to its name. A lovely bonus: as this tea comes in a silk sachet, it is enclosed in a package with inspiration quotes similar to the one photoed above.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 tea leaves
**If you or someone you know would like a tea reviewed, contact me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Cup of Zen: Brenden Gebhart from Whispering Pines Tea

I am a nature lover and have spent most of my life outdoors, exploring and wandering the forests and mountains in search of inspiration. I live in a cabin in the woods with my dog and spend my days sipping tea in the woods surrounding my cabin dwelling. I have a passion for purity and health, for love and life.
I love tea for the ability it has to transport me. My teas were blended on one idea only — a moment of inspiration. I blend my teas to help me remember the moments I cherish in nature. For instance, let's take a tea like Manistee Moonrise and break down the blending process. I start with the memory — a canoe trip down the tranquil Manistee River in Northern Michigan at sunset. I write down the things I felt, saw, smelled, and heard during that moment, and pair those words with ingredients that make me feel that way. There was a campfire upstream so I wrote lapsang souchong (pine-smoked black tea). I could smell fresh spring grasses and berries along the river edge so I wrote lemongrass and elderberries. It was a bit on the chilly side - cooling spearmint. Once I finish the ingredient list, it's off to blending! I begin with a specific ratio of each ingredient and then taste it. I shift the ratios around until it starts to form that memory. After hundreds of versions, months of work, and tons of tastings, I eventually arrive at the perfect blend. The final product is a tea that brings me back to that beautiful moment - that moment of life, of love, of pristine nature and pure inspiration. I pour my heart into these teas, and they will be nothing less than the purest form of nature that you can pour into a cup.

Every time I get to share these moments — these teas, it's like I'm telling a story. I love sitting outdoors with a friend or two and seeing my creation transport them. Some people truly understand how it's not always about the taste or the aroma but the way the tea pulls you in and recalls some forgotten magic from the far corner of your mind. Why tea? Because sitting by a lake at sunset and watching a memory come flooding back to an old friends eyes...that's life.

Where to find Brenden...

*A Cup of Zen is a series that began on the blog September 2014 to share tea moments from tea enthusiasts around the world. For more information and to be featured, please visit its page.

Friday, July 31, 2015

July Round Up: The Best, Most Interesting Blogs this Month

I’ve been seeing this done more and more lately - a simple post of a blogger sharing their favourite blog reads over the course of the month, or sometimes a week. I have first seen this in the DIY and Food bloggers community and I’m grateful that Nicole from Tea For Me Please has been doing a great job at tea blog round ups each Friday. I have found so many wonderful, new-to-me, tea bloggers through her round ups.

As you may be able to tell by now, The Cup of Life’s main goal is to inform readers that tea is all about how you make it and I love being able to share with others the many ways to enjoy the beverage. With this, I get my inspiration from an array of blogs. While I'll usually share a post that relates back to tea in some way, I’ll be starting a monthly round up type post for the end of each month sharing with you some of my favourite posts from every type of blogger out there - tea, food, beauty, lifestyle, etc. The categories won't be the same every month. There also won't be an exact number of how many blogs I'll share each month either as I don't want to limit myself. I hope you'll enjoy this series and find some new awesome blogs to add to your reading list!


Tea For Me Please | Is It Possible to Decaffeinate Tea? - All true tea contains caffeine naturally but there are many out there labelled “decaf”. It is something I stay away from. Nicole does a great job in this post outline some of the science behind what it actually means to decaffeinate tea.

T Ching | Why Tea? - This blog post is beautifully written and it couldn’t have come at a better time as I have just recently been fully immersing myself in the world of Chinese tea and gong fu cha. 

Oolong Owl | Sunday Tea Hoots 4 - Weird Teaware Finds of Ebay
- This was such a fun post to check out on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Do you have any very unique tea ware lying around? Some of the items here weren’t too crazy but I did get a good laugh from a majority of them!

Tea With Gary | How to be an awesome indie tea shop customer - Inspired by an article on Starbucks "coffee" culture, Gary outlines one simple step on how to be an awesome customer while including a list of things you don't have to worry about in a calm tea environment.


Joyous Health | Refreshingly Delicious Tea & Berry Popsicles - I’ve been following Toronto based Holistic Nutritionist Joy McCarthy for a while and I have been loving all of the collaborations she has with Shelby, founder of The Honest Leaf. In this blog post there is a video with the two showing you how to make healthy popsicles (bonus: it includes tea!)

A Dash of Meg | The Best Detox You Can Do For Yourself (And Your Body Image) - I first found Meg's blog years ago when she did her weekly Tea Tuesday posts. I like to stay up to date with her blog nowadays because she always has a great message to share. This post is no exception. This "detox" is something anyone can do right now!


Buddhi Box | A Tea Meditation Guide: How To Find Peace in Tea  - This is actually a guest post I did for the monthly yoga subscription box, Buddhi Box. I am grateful to be able to share my passion here and inform people of 10 simple steps to start their spiritual tea journey.


In Search of Yummyness | My Dirty Little Secret - I love that Shareba did a post like this because I can relate to it. She talks about living “a double life” as she works both in journalism and public relations. Comparing the two professions, she also goes into information on what it’s like to be an honest blogger that discloses information such as sponsored posts.

Do you have a blog you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!
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