Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Some good lovin this V-day


The holiday of love is coming up, so I wanted to tell you about our V-day offerings this year. Most importantly, we've even added tea-infused chocolates made with, and paired with, ours teas. Yumm! Here's the low-down...

CLOUD 9... TEA & CHOCOLATE! combines two of life's greatest gifts - premium tea & gourmet chocolates! These custom tea-infused chocolates are perfectly paired for mouthwatering synergy.

3 LITTLE WORDS - the new way to give flowers & chocolate! a 3 pack bundle of tea for 15% off their retail price, includes Meditative Mind, Red Rocks, & Bolder Breakfast.

TEA LOVE is a sure way to the heart of your tea-drinking sweetheart. Give your honey a cup of true relaxation with jasmine & roses in an all white Steeping Cup - it even smells like love!

Tea Pairings by Season


Green tea is to black as spring morning is to winter night, or flute is to cello, or as white wine is to red. Even though each type of tea has a very different character, all teas come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. The difference in type of tea produced has everything to do with how the tea leaves are processed once they are picked. The most natural, and often most successful, pairings in gourmet food are those which take advantage of seasonal and regional splendors. The same is of course true for tea. The newest, freshest leaf tips and buds are most appreciated in Spring, when we step outside and are reminded of fresh growth by budding vegetation, increased sunlight, and birds calling. This is also the time, of course, when fresh green and white teas are available from the current year’s harvest. Summer calls for gracefully scented teas and fresh floral oolongs. Fall is most interesting, as this is the season that brings the most complexity to food products, as they ripen and age. And Winter is the time to best present the richest, darkest and most robust of teas.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tea 101 by Alton Brown from Good Eats

Maybe it's the geeky biologist in me, but I *love* the host of Good Eats, Alton Brown. I watched this video on another blog, The Ivy Keep, and want to share it with anyone and everyone who appreciates a good cuppa. He gives the skinny on Tea 101. And even though he gives props to Tazo tea bags, I'll forgive him since the episode is packed with good info. So sit back and enjoy a cup of tea while you watch. But don't blink or you'll miss something good. He even digresses to quickly explain superheating explosions that can occur when using the microwave - Scary! Now I digress. Enjoy...


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Show Us Your Tea Spot!

We want to feature you & your favorite place to enjoy a cuppa tea. Send us a photo of your garden, kitchen nook, driver's seat of your car, or wherever you find solace with your tea.

We'll feature the photos here and our favorite 3 submissions will receive a free Tuffy Steeper & Tea Spot t-shirt.

Email your tea spot photo to info@theteaspot.com. In the body of the email please include your name & a short description of Your Tea Spot (50 words or less). We'll be collecting submissions throughout this month. Have fun with it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Nesting – After-dinner and Dessert Teas


Still deep into the winter season here in Colorado, we often find ourselves nesting at home rather than venturing into the city for dinner and drinks. Even after the holidays we're thinking up fun and healthy menus to entertain family and friends. The finale to many a winter gathering is often a beautiful sweet dessert. So what can you present as the perfect "closer" libation? Tea, of course – and with the vast variety of types and flavors tea offers, you can pick the perfect one! Desserts vary widely in taste and strength, some being very full-flavored, others being mild and refreshing. Most important in pairing a great tea for dessert is to match the strength of flavor.

I typically keep my tea pairing suggestions as broad as I can, but in this entry I will depart from that, in recommending specific teas from my company The Tea Spot, mostly because these are the teas I serve most often to my guests and have the most first-hand experience with in pairing with dessert.

With creamy desserts, like Crème Brulee or a Bread Pudding, it's great to pair something that will awaken in flavor, like our new ORGANIC NEW MOON DARJEELING, or if you're looking for something more delicate or almost caffeine-free, our MEDITATIVE MIND white tea blend with rosebuds and jasmine pearls.

For the sweetest of baked treats, try a strong black tea, such as our new ORGANIC BLUE MOUNTAIN NILGIRI, or a character-filled green, like the ORGANIC GREEN TWISTED SPEARS.

A classic with fruity desserts or chocolate with strong citrus tones is EARL OF GREY. If you're looking for a green, a perfect match here is our BOULDER BLUES, a blend of Sencha and Lung Ching with Strawberry and Rhubarb.

With lighter chocolate flavors, like a mousse, or meringues you can't go wrong with an oolong – our lilac-like overtones in the spring-picked, Taiwanese, VINTAGE OOLONG make it my personal favorite.

Some teas stand up beautifully as a dessert on their own. China black tea leaves have been flavored since around the time the Ming Dynasty was founded in 1368, and have become wildly popular in America and Europe in recent decades. The addition of natural essences and flavors create an exciting sensual and gastronomic experience, as both the tea and the scent are often enhanced in the marriage of the two. A favorite is our CRÈME CARAMEL with a well-defined, yet delicate caramel aroma, it's the classic dessert tea.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Gifting – Make your own Tea-infused Vodkas

My freezer is never without a bottle or two of chilling vodka. I’m not a regular drinker, and it may take me a year or two to get through it, but being of Russian descent, it’s something (along with pickles and herring) I feel compelled to have around for whenever a celebration might arise. Since it takes me so long to get through a bottle, and since I’m so intrigued by sourcing, blending, and cooking with teas, I started infusing little samples of vodkas with tea, herbs, fruits, flowers and spices. Here are some of the results – the good, the bad and the ugly - but some of the winners are truly exquisite. Get some nice bottles and package some up – it makes a welcome and unique gift! And of course, we’re not talking tea here… so drink responsibly!
To make infused vodka – pour 6 oz vodka into a mason jar and add 1 tsp tea leaves, herbs or spices. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Strain and pour into serving bottles. Chill well before serving. Finished product will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months. Generally, the black tea-infused vodkas and the Rooibos were the best.

Oolong-infused vodka – OK, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Seems like a silly compromise of two great products.

Red Rocks Vodka – Rooibos infused. Smooth, sleek and awesomely RED.

Darjeeling Vodka – same result as with the Oolong – not really worth the mix!

White Tea Vodka – Um… no. You’ll taste too much of it trying to find the flavor.

Green Tea Vodka – Pretty good, but use twice the amount of tea leaves as recommended, to try to make the overall drink smoother.

Very Black Vodka – my personal favorite! Infused with Pu-erh or Bolder Breakfast You’d never know you weren’t sipping a tiny tea cup of very very black tea!

Lemon Balm Vodka – OK, but haven’t figured out how to make it smooth – a bit rough going down.

Rose Bud Vodka – I’m the only one who drank this - but I thought it made a great chocolate martini. (Everyone else thought it smelled too much like bath lotion).

Peppercorn Vodka – Strong. Not many fans.

Honey Peppercorn Vodka – doesn’t make it much better.

Basil Vodka – very nice. And the leaves look so nice in the bottle.

Mint Vodka – I made 3 different kinds, and again, not many takers!

Oregano Vodka – Also rough, albeit the leaves look very pretty in there…