"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
~ C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 15, 2014

International Tea Day - December 15

International Tea Day is an annual celebration that is celebrated in many tea growing countries as it was originally established to bring awareness to the tea pickers and tea trade workers. 
How many times do you prepare your cup or pot of tea thinking of those workers who are the reasons you have this delightful beverage right now? There are many questions you could ask yourself today and any day you prepare and indulge in your tea. Where did your tea come from? Who grew the plant it is from? Who picked those tea leafs from the plant? How much are they getting paid? What are their lives like? If you do not have the answers to some of these question, research it. Devote some time to them just like the tea workers devote their time to your tea leaves. If you do not like what you find, help make a change. These questions could likely make you see your cup differently and help you appreciate tea even more than you already do.
Take a moment today to sit back with your cup of tea and imagine the hard work it took to get it to you so you could enjoy it at this moment. Feel the energy of the people who had carefully harvested these leaves. Sip your tea and close your eyes. Imagine the workers' hands touching each leaf carefully and mindfully. These tea workers dedicate many hours and motions in a day to deliver this precious beverage we have known to love for many different reasons.

This International Tea Day celebrate tea for what it is best known for and what the tea workers deliver to us that is more than just a drink -- comfort and hope.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Qterra NOVO Travel Tea Brewer with CoolStraw

As a tea lover, it is important to have a great way to bring tea with me anywhere I go, whenever I want. Sometimes the typical thermos just does not do the trick when I want to get the full tea experience when traveling all while keeping my tea at the perfect temperature. The beauty of the beverage also comes with the steeping process--watching the leaves release their flavours. That's something I can't get with my regular thermos.

I have to share this new product as it deserved to be highlighted. "This is not a travel mug or a thermos. It’s the Qterra NOVO Multi-Steep Travel Tea Brewer with CoolStraw technology."
At the push of a button, the Qterra NOVO Travel Tea Brewer steeps loose-leaf tea multiple times and cools it quickly to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for comfortable drinking. Another high plus, is that the unit is spill proof and easy to operate with one hand. 

Qterra's mission is to combine traditional practices from around the globe with cutting-edge technology to make products that enrich today’s modern lifestyles. As explained by the inventor, Pierre Baston, the “Q” stands for the cutting-edge technology added to create unique solutions for a modern world. The “terra” stands for the earth that produces the tea and food that everyone loves. 

Pierre was inspired to create the NOVO when he visited his girlfriend's family in Argentina. As mate lovers, he noticed that drinking it away from home meant carrying many equipment and involves spills. He wanted to provide an easier way for her family to enjoy their passion for mate in the traditional way and equally work well for other loose leaf teas.

"There have not been many devices that enable tea brewing without requiring the user to open it to insert leaves in water and remove spent leaves—operations naturally accompanied by the risk of accidental spills. I am confident there have been none before the Qterra NOVO that enable totally contained, spill proof multiple steepings, and that cool the beverage almost instantly to a perfect drinking temperature. The result is that with the NOVO, you can enjoy quality tea experiences in the Chinese gongfu style while riding a subway, bus or train, in a park or at the beach, or even while driving a car, for a moments of flavorful tranquility in the middle of even the busiest day," Pierre states with passion.

To support the Qterra NOVO Travel Tea Brewer with CoolStraw technology visit their Kickstarter Campaign. You will also find more information, photos and video on the product. The campaign ends January 5, 2015 and hopes to reach its goal of $150,000.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tea Review: Plum Deluxe's Reading Nook Blend

Reading Nook Blend - Plum Deluxe
"Plum Deluxe is all about making moments matter, and we think the perfect pairing for life’s everyday occasions is a cup of tea. We believe that the key to living a life you love is all about making time every day for great moments. From a mindful minute with yourself to special occasions shared with friends and family, Plum Deluxe has fresh ideas for living the good life. That’s why many of our creative blends are specifically formulated to help you truly life the good life."
Ingredients: Rosebuds, Cream Black Tea, Passionflowers, Lavender, Chamomile

Steep Time:
5 minutes

First Sip Thought: "Christmas in a cup!"

Smell: If there were any teas that smelt like heaven I think this blend would definitely be it. It's a sweet scent with strong floral notes. The floral ingredients are more evident than the actual tea when it comes to the aroma as I am just able to grasp a hint of sweet cream.

Taste: I'm a sucker for creative names for tea blends and Plum Deluxe also adds the special touch of telling us what each blend pairs well with. Reading Nook blend is their signature organic tea that is hand blended and recommended for when you are being creative whether through writing, reading and more. I am absolutely in love with this blend--it is the epitome of comfort in a cup. It is a black tea with an herbal, smooth taste. Although this blend is combined with a lot of floral ingredients, the essence is there but is not overpowering for the black tea. You can tell this was hand blended and that helped with having it balance perfectly. The black tea adds the creaminess, the rosebuds and passionflowers provide the light love of flowers, and the lavender and chamomile give you the calm feeling. It feels like a holiday!
Tea sipping, decorating & trying to keep kit-tea number two, Chai, from not eating the Christmas tree!
My boyfriend and I utilized the recommendations of being creative and sipped on this tea together as we were decorating for Christmas time. We enjoyed it with a teaspoon of sugar and next time around I would add a splash of milk for an extra creamier taste.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 tea leaves
*You can get this tea and others from Plum Deluxe's online tea shop.
**If you or someone you know would like a tea reviewed, contact me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fresh Cup Magazine's December 2014 Tea Almanac

Fresh Cup Magazine has been around since 1992 and it is a coffee and tea industry publication. Published monthly, each issue features a bit of both beverages for the readers. However, each December Fresh Cup Magazine publishes their Tea Almanac issue that is devoted entirely to tea only. I'm excited to announce that you can find an article written by myself published in this year's issue!
I featured a Toronto based artist, Dara Gold, a few months back when I stumbled upon her extraordinary art pieces that were painted with tea. You can review that article and some of Dara's favourite tea art work here. Similar to my blog post, in my article for Fresh Cup Magazine, called "Painting with Tea: Finding art beyond the teacup with artist Dara Gold", I sat down with Dara for a Q&A style article to learn more about her passion for tea, her techniques when painting with the medium and much more.

Fresh Cup Magazine is a subscription based publication and you can order your copy of the December 2014 Tea Almanac right now on their website here.

A big thank you to Fresh Cup Magazine and their Associate Editor, Regan, for giving me this wonderful opportunity of sharing my love for writing and tea in one place all while featuring some unique and wonderful art pieces by Dara.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Cup of Zen: Buddha Teas

A Cup of Zen is a new series I have begun on my blog. The following is The Cup of Life's forth post for the series featuring Buddha Teas.  For more information and to be featured, please visit its page.
 Buddha Teas is a tea company based around the idea of using natural herbs and teas to promote wellness in all areas of life, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are passionate about the soothing therapeutic effect a good cup of tea can have, and are committed to offering only the purest tea possible by using organic and wildcraft herbs and tea leaves. Our tea selection offers more than 100 all-natural teas, and now we are introducing our own exclusive line of Chakra Teas.

Our Chakra Tea line features seven tea blends expertly crafted from herbs that resonate with each chakra, and each blend has been infused with the essence of powerful crystals. This helps you to reconnect with your chakras and experience inner balance, all while enjoying a refreshing moment with a flavorful blend of herbal tea.
I’ve been a writer for Buddha Teas for nearly two years now, and in that time, I’ve gone from being a tea novice to a daily tea devotee. The subtlety involved in tea brewing fascinates me - how the quality of the leaf or herb, the temperature, steeping time and even the source of your water can profoundly impact your experience every time you bring a cup to your lips.

Though I have many tea moments to offer, one of the strongest in my memory is the first time I sampled our Solar Plexus Chakra Tea. Serenity is hard to come by in an office setting, but if anything can inspire tranquility and positive feelings, it would be a fresh cup of tea. Seated at my desk, I opened the package and was awakened to the fresh aroma of rosemary. I was instantly reminded of walking through my herb garden, where I have a rosemary bush that gives off a powerful aroma at the slightest touch. The inviting fragrance made me eager to try the blend.
When the tea was ready, I took a moment to move away from my computer and allow myself time to savor the tea. With some of my favorite music playing in the background, I immersed myself in the tea, noting the herbal aroma before taking my first sip. The blend was a balanced harmony of sweet and savory herbs, with a subtle citrus accent. I wrote out my thoughts as I finished the tea, and when I had finished, I felt refreshed, focused and empowered, confident that I could handle anything the day would bring. Now, I look forward to trying the rest of the Chakra Teas, and discovering even more stimulating tea moments.

Where to find Buddha Teas...

*Want a chance to win some tea boxes from Buddha Teas? Now is your chance! Buddha Teas is sponsoring our first A Cup of Zen for the new year. Submit your #ACupofZen tea moment to The Cup of Life by December 30, 2014. If we feature your moment for January 2015 you'll win! It's that simple.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tea Review: The Persimmon Tree's Detox Blend

Detox Blend - The Persimmon Tree
Ingredients: Organic Coriander Seed, Organic Fennel Seed, Organic Milk Thistle, Organic Chicory Root, Organic Burdok Root, Organic Dandelion Root

Steep Time:
7 minutes

First Sip Thought: "Less fennel more dandelion root, please."

Smell: To put it simple, this tisane smells just what is is--seeds. The fennel seeds are quite strong in this aroma until you steep the tisane. Once steeped, the liquid is gold and the coriander seed scent begins to shine with a nice earthy aroma.

Taste: This tisane is a soothing and healing blend with citrusy notes. There is a mild spice kick during some sips but nothing too strong to be able to compare it to a chai. When I first requested this tisane I didn't read the full list of ingredients until it came to my door. I saw organic dandelion root and got excited to order right away. I'm not a huge fan of fennel seeds and so I probably would have rated this tisane higher if it was without. I prepared this tea with no additives at first but tried it with some of The Persimmon Tree's rock sugar the second time around and enjoyed it much better then as I felt the rock sugar helped control the overdose of fennel seeds I thought I was getting. However, the most prominent flavour in this blend for me was the coriander seed (the leaf of this seed's plant is known as cilantro). All of the ingredients are organic and include health promoting properties especially when it comes to aiding in digestion to heal stomach pains. I would highly suggest this tisane as the perfect drink for after a large meal (ie. Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner) as it stays true to its name.

Verdict: 3 out of 5 tea leaves
**If you or someone you know would like a tea reviewed, contact me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tea Review: Klio's Greek Mountain + giveaway!

Greek Mountain Tea - Klio
"Klio was created to bring the unique herbal teas of Greece to people everywhere. Our 100% organic teas are hand-picked, and unrefined without any added ingredients, colorings or flavorings. Truly natural, they are hand packed with all of their natural oils, extracts and antioxidants that are typically degraded with mechanical processing. Brewing Klio teas brings to life the warm, earthy and savory aroma of Greek tea that is unlike any other on earth. Healthy, delicious and wonderfully soothing, sipping our teas will transport you to the beautiful Greek countryside and remind you why these teas have been enjoyed through the ages."
Ingredients: Dried flowers, leaves and stems of the native Sideritis plant

Steep Time: 8 minutes

First Sip Thought: "Flower power."
Smell: It reminds me most of a lemon herbal tea but with flowery essences. I would have to say that the dried leaves' scent smelled pretty much the same as the steeped leaves. It is suggested to steep this tisane by putting a small handful of herbs in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to boil, and allow it to boil for approximately 3-5 minutes. Then remove from heat and let it steep for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the desired strength. 
Taste: To explain my first sip thought, the taste is very flower-like, but not too overpowering. What peaked my interest about this tisane, and is why I say "power", was the health benefits it is known for. Research has shown Greek Mountain Tea to be rich in antioxidants. It is said a Greek grandmother would tell you to "drink a cup a day!" Klio's Greek Mountain Tea comes from Mount Othrys. According to Klio, this tisane is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial, ancient wisdom says it has a positive effect on colds, respiratory problems, digestion, the immune system and mild anxiety. In addition, all of Klio's tisanes are EU and USDA Certified Organic.
Taking a closer look at the dried tisane, it somewhat reminds me of a sage plant. I think it is best to describe the taste as a cross between chamomile and lemon.  It is not bitter at all, so I didn't use any sweetener however, Klio recommends drizzling a bit of honey into the warm liquid for an extra flavour. I especially like that Klio's Greek Mountain Tea seems to be high quality--hand picked, hand packed and unprocessed. I have heard of other brands that basically fill the packaging with mainly stems, but Klio seems to have a fair amount of the dried flowers, leaves and stems. Overall, this tisane is pleasant and calming with fresh flavours.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 tea leaves
**If you or someone you know would like a tea reviewed, contact me.


Klio was generous enough to offer one of the The Cup of Life's readers 75g of their Greek Mountain Tea and a tea travel mug (see photo above). If you would like a chance to win this prize, simply follow the instructions on the widget below. Please note that this giveaway is only opened to residents of the United States. Winners will be selected at random and announced in one week by email, social media & on our site. Feel free to enter as much as you can each day, and best of luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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