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5/3/2014

ARBOR, DAVIDSON’S ORGANICE TEAS, HERBS, COCOA AND SPICES…

Filed under: prairie musings, tea — Peg Britton @ 3:48 pm

I don’t know quite how the Davidson’s website jumped up before me but I suspect it was while I was googling for organic and free trade teas.  I’ve bought tea on line for a long time now and love milling through the many varieties that are available when you shop on line. There are good books on the market about the tea trade that I’ve enjoyed.  Tea is to me like coffee is to others.  I feel better after a cup of tea than I do a cup of coffee, so I switched to drinking tea a long time ago. And I drink a lot of hot tea.

My first major  online tea purchase was from Arbor Teas,  a great source for Fair Trade tea - which is hard to find. It’s one of the best of the sources I have researched. It has one of the largest catalogs of USDA certified organic teas around, nearly three-quarters of which are Fair Trade Certified®.   Ally called them to order tea for me for Christmas a few years ago and found them to be most helpful and informative.  It’s a mom and pop shop that offers a lot of personal attention.  Along the way she learned to pronounce puerh and rooibos, varieties of tea whose names we stumbled over.

Mackenzie has also given me tea from the Republic of Tea and I have also ordered tea from them.  They have a blackberry-sage tea that is not only Rich Vargo’s favorite, it has become one of mine as well.  It’s a lovely tea to serve guests.  I keep that variety on hand plus a half dozen other types of green and black tea.

Tyler sent me a canister of green sencha tea flavored with lemon from Brugges.  It’s a local favorite in Belgium and certainly one of mine.  Sencha is a very popular Japanese tea and it is the type that Izo and Yorika drink.  Izo said he’d never had it flavored with lemon but that he’d see if he could find some to try.

My friend, Dorothy Inoye, has sent me literally pounds of green tea that her Japanese in-laws and family have drunk for generations. When they were interned during WWII in California (the shame of that…as they were every bit as loyal Americans as either you or me) they ate the leaves as they didn’t have enough food as it was.  Dorothy is the one who really got me interested in tea.

I’ve also bought pounds of tea from “Enjoying Tea”.  They have a wide variety of puerh teas, particularly puerh touchas.  I’ve very fond of their puerh and  specialty teas.  The tea that I buy is usually the “loose” variety rather than in tea bags.  For some, the individual tea bags are more convenient, but I like strong tea and sometimes when I make it is as black as strong coffee. I like to use loose tea for that reason.

So, earlier this week I was browsing the net heading for Enjoying Tea when I  stumbled across Davidson’s Teas (and here), which was new to me. Maybe that’s because they don’t have a user friendly website.   Davidson’s offers some of the world’s freshest, purest and delicious organic teas- both directly from their own gardens in India- as well as from other small organic tea farms, all over the world. I also found their loose teas to be less expensive than some of similar quality. I bought  Davidson’s Tea, Loose Leaf Bulk, Orange Spice, 16oz bag List Price: $16.99 sale: $14.68 Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Herbal Classic Chai, 16oz List Price: $16.99: sale $14.99.  Tea has taken over a lot of my kitchen storage space.  I love it.

Thanks for tuning in …

11/14/2012

KMUZ FM 88.5 FRIDAY AT 3:00 TO HEAR DJ SLOAN’S INTERVIEW WITH ALLY BRITTON…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ally Britton, tea — Peg Britton @ 8:19 am

Ally will be doing a radio interview with her friend, DJ Sloan, this Friday on KMUZ FM 88.5 in Salem, Oregon. They will be discussing her mustard, turkeys and grassroots projects. Air time is at 3:00 CST.  You can pick it up on your computer at http://kmuz.org/  Click on “listen live”.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  Hardly a day passes when I don’t think of her … the hardscrabble days of her youth, the homesickness for family she endured while teaching on the lonely plains of eastern Colorado, the hard times of rearing three children during and following the years of the depression …the joy she shared with her children and grandchildren. She was the kindest most giving person I’ve ever known.  At the end of the day I’m always left with the feeling of “I wish I could have done more” for her.  Happy Birthday, Mom.

Today my challenge, beyond pushing and shoving “stuff” around for the move, is to make a kettle of beef veggie soup.  I’ll start out with 5# of lean chuck cubes from the packing plant.  Somewhere in emptying refrigerators and freezers I lost my beef stock that took all day for me to make…starting by roasting bones and veggies….arghhhh….

Yesterday I ordered a new supply of tea to enjoy at the Palace with my friends — Indian Mocha Chai,  Roasted Mate Chai, Young Ripened Puerh Tea and Organic Darjeeling Black Tea.  Two pounds of tea is a lot of tea.  It’s on its way to me from a company called Enjoying Tea.  I’ve had good luck ordering tea from them. They provide a wide variety of choices and good prompt service in case you enjoy tea as much as I and want to browse their website.

It’s going to be a beautiful day in Central Kansas…sunny, windless with nice clear skies.  Now for another steaming mug of roasted mate chai.  Here’s what they say about it:

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis), introduced to the world by the Guarani Indians of South America, is from the subtropical highlands of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. In South America, the morning and afternoon beverage of choice is Yerba Mate and not coffee. This drink will energize our body and bring many health benefits. Yerba Mate is known as the national drink of South American countries, and is consumed by millions of South Americans as a healthful alternative to coffee.

This delicious tea includes roasted yerba mate, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper. When brewed this full body tea produces a spicy aromatic flavor.

3/6/2011

ANCIENT TREE ORGANIC PU-ERH…FROM PEET’S…

Filed under: prairie musings, tea — Peg Britton @ 12:40 pm

pu-erh.jpg

The above picture is of the Ancient Trees Organic Pu-erh tea I ordered yesterday from Peet’s Coffee and Tea Company. I’ve consumed all the Pu-erh Ally gave me for Christmas from Arbor Teas, which was enough to get me hooked.  I’m going to try this variety from Peet’s, just to see how I like it.

This pu-erh is advertised as rich, earthy, nutty and densely flavorful, as thick and dark as coffee, yet exceptionally smooth. That’s the way I like it, at least to start the day.  Probably, I’ll turn a jaundice color one of these days.   It’s produced in very small quantities, Fair Trade certified and 100% organic. It’s almost impossible to over-steep this tea…and it goes a long way.

In the mountains of southwest Yunnan are semi-wild tea plants, many of them centuries-old and as tall as trees. The local people have been making organic Pu-erh tea from these old-growth tea trees for many generations. The unique “bowl” shape of those little packets at the bottom of the picture is termed Tuo Cha, achieved by traditional pile-fermenting, pressing and drying techniques.  They are small  compressed tea bricks of whole or finely ground tea that have been packed in molds or pressed into block form. This was the most commonly produced and used form of tea in ancient China prior to the Ming Dynasty.  Although tea bricks are less commonly produced in modern times, many post-fermented teas, such as pu-erh, are still commonly found in bricks, discs, and other pressed forms.

Another tea that looks intriguing is Imperial Red, pictured below. I’ll save that for another time.

imperial-red.jpg

If you haven’t tried some of the more interesting and flavorful teas that are available, you might want to try some sampler packages sometime.

Thanks for tuning in…

12/11/2010

ARBOR TEAS WAITING TO BE SHARED…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, tea — Peg Britton @ 10:14 am

Ally has given me a beautiful collection of organic teas from Arbor Teas for Christmas. Arbor Teas is an official licensee of TransFairUSA, offering one of the largest selections of Fair Trade Certified loose leaf teas on the internet.  They are all organic teas…no chemicals.  And, yes.  I opened them right away so “they wouldn’t get old”.

My favorite, so far, is organic special grade Pu-erh tea, but I’m a long way from trying them all.  I’ve loved the flavor of each one I’ve tried.   I’ve never had tea I’ve enjoyed so much.  The pu-erh  hails from the Jing Mai Mangjing region of China’s southwestern Yunnan province, and is harvested from the 1300-year-old tea trees found there - some of the world’s oldest living tea trees. The medium-sized, tightly-rolled leaves render a rich, dark brown infusion, with mellow earthiness and good body.  This will warm my winter.

There are about 30 different varieties of special teas stored in my tea hideaway.  I ordered all the black tea canisters on line.  They seal tightly and were inexpensive.  They join some other jars I already had for storing tea. I like them for their convenience and all are labeled with the various teas contained therein. The large white jars are full of Japanese green tea a friend sent to me.  Yea.  Organization.  If you stop by for a spot of tea, you have many varieties from which to choose.

tea-shelf.jpg

There are too many too mention, but Ally gave me several samplers, like the oolong sampler, rooibos sampler, green tea sampler, etc.  I will spend the winter sampling and drinking tea.

infuser.jpg

This tea infuser is the best I’ve ever had.  It will last forever…not only during my limited lifetime, but for whomever inherits this treasure.

tea-thing.jpg

Few people know the fascinating history of tea growing and making. There is an intriguing documentary called “All in This Tea” that aims to change that by following renowned tea importer David Lee Hoffman as he scours the far-flung corners of China to find the richest teas on earth. Tea making is an art and tradition that goes back generations in the East, and Hoffman makes it his goal to bring to the rest of the world the exquisite teas produced by struggling small farmers.

I think you all remember me fondly talking about my Japanese “son”, Izo, who lived with us for a long time and with whom we are still closely connected.  His wife, Yoriko, has spent her life studying the fine art of making and serving tea.  In the Orient, tea-making is a fine art to be appreciated like any other fine work of art.

“All in This Tea” is available on Netflix and I really did enjoy it.  It got me all excited about drinking some high quality organic teas.  Throw “free trade” in with “organic”, and you have a winner.   Most of my previous tea drinking experiences have been limited to the run of the mill store variety, except for some very special teas Mackenzie and Luke brought to me for Christmas a couple of years ago that initially peaked my interest in really good tea.  They made several selections from The Republic of Tea of white tea, plum tea and other rare specialties that I fully enjoyed.

All this reminds me of very dear family friends from Ellsworth, George and Gal Fairchild.  Colonel George served in China during World War 1, and after the war, he brought home to his wife “yards of precious silk and precious tea”. He said the tea would last forever and the silk was for her dresses to last her lifetime.

I have a source for an endless cup of perfect tea at my side.  What a nice Christmas gift.  Thank you, Ally.


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