Mighty Leaf News
Iced tea has evolved a lot over the past thirty years, and thank goodness. There was a time when the only iced tea people drank was simply plain black tea. Now, we’ve got a lot more choices, from fruity, flavored black teas to iced green tea in ready-to-drink bottles. I’m thrilled to see iced tea evolving, and even better, to see people drinking it at home more often. There is, however, a science to making sure that you’re making a good iced tea brew. It’s not hard, but if you follow these few tips, everyone will be begging for your iced tea. It’s up to you whether you share the secrets or not.
Join Eliot Jordan on his tea tour of the Shizuoka province of Japan, from factories, to fields, to tea houses.
This summer, we are excited to introduce three new teas in our pyramid whole leaf tea pouches: Emerald Matcha, Almond Spice, and Coconut Assam. They will soon be available on amazon.com and in grocery stores. When we first started talking about adding teas to our current mix, we began by looking to develop teas that would be unlike anything we currently offered. My goal for any tea we put into a pouch is to always try and think: what’s going to be the next classic tea? I’m not interested in launching a tea that’s going to compete with our top-selling tea. Nor am I interested in chasing trends to introduce a tea that will be interesting for six months until the next big thing comes along. I want whatever teas we carry to be cornerstones going forward.
The Japanese tea ceremony dates back to Sen no Rikyu, a tea master who served General Oda Nobunaga and then with his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He's credited with his influence on the way of tea, also known as chado. The way of tea incorporated all of the major components of Japanese philosophy and aesthetics 500 years ago. Rikyu's influence extended to introducing the concept of wabi-sabi — an appreciation for beauty that is imperfect and impermanent into the tea ceremony, a style known as wabi-cha. The classical Japanese art seen in calligraphy and ikebana, the Japanese style of flower arranging are brought into the tea ceremony along with the issue of harmony and balance, finding the universal in the immediate and simple thing in front of you.
New ingredients come in every year in the tea world. If you consider the herbal tea world, there are half a dozen bases for all herbal teas. These include chamomile, mint, hibiscus, and rosehips, which form the flavor foundation for many herbal teas. They're all many centuries old and used widely. But rooibos has only been a worldwide tea ingredient for 25 years.
China, Japan, Great Britain, and other cultures offer a tea ceremony that is uniquely theirs. In the United States, we are a nation of immigrants and an American tea culture reflects this. As the American traditional approach to food has revolved around producing and consuming large quantities, there is a shift at play, demanding higher quality. With tea, we had a strong cultural bias early on because so many British came and settled here. Paul Revere was a silversmith and made teapots. The New England area was a little England. American colonists emulated the British style of tea-making to a degree up until the American war of Independence. Then, tea went from being the beloved drink of the country to a symbol of oppression. We became a coffee-drinking nation at that point, encouraged by the British-rival French who had already begun coffee cultivation in Martinique. In the 21st century, we are now becoming more well-versed in tea. The cultures of tea around the world are becoming more known and popular here too.
Britain's relationship with tea has everything to do with the British empire. The demand for tea made the empire happen. Without the demand for tea, I don't think it would have gotten as big as it did.* Morning is one part of the ritual as the traditional cuppa breakfast tea is drunk first thing, usually prepared with black loose tea. The ritual of tea continues into the afternoon tea. High tea derived its name from tea set on high tables for maids, cooks, and butlers of the big houses where they had a cup of tea and snacks at around 4 p.m., standing around a high table because there was no time to sit down. Low tea was the name for the tea service presented upstairs to the estate owners at low tables, and among finery.