Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exotic Blooming Tea PUNCH!

Alcohol level-light, light sweet

Exotic Blooming tea punch is inspired by original punch which had been quaffed by sailors, explorers and patriots for centuries. The word punch either comes from Indian word “panch”, the Sanskrit word “panchan” or the Persian word “panj”, all meaning five, from the fact that this drink is made of five ingredients: tea (bitter), sugar (sweet), lemons (sour), water (weak) and arrack (alcoholic).

Best for: any parties (wedding service, Baby shower, Birthday party, etc), holidays, Family gatherings, BBQ events, Fund-raising events, Corporate events, etc. It has beautiful presentation.

Taste: refreshing, subtle, delightful, light alcohol that fits everybody's appetite.

Prepare time: 20 minutes, plus 2-3 hrs to chill
Yields: 20-24 servings (or approximately 96 oz)

1 cup Sugar
2.5 cups of Apple Juice (unsweetened, from concentrate)
¼ cups of Lemon Juice (from concentrate)
2 cups of Grapefruit (from concentrate)
½ cups of Tequila
¼ cups of Vodka
4 Blooming teas
6 cups of spring water
*Strawberry ice cubes


1. Brew tea first: Boil 48 oz spring water. Then drop 4 blooms to brew 15 minutes.
2. Mix Apple Juice, Lemon, Grape Fruit, Tequila and Vodka in a punch bowl
3. 15 minutes later, take all blooms out (will need to put back later) and add 1 cup of sugar to the tea. Stir gently until sugar fully dissolved. Mix all liquid together and put 4 blooming teas back to the mixture.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator to chill for about 2-3 hours.
5. When serve, float on Strawberry ice cubs in individual glasses or in punch bowl, whichever you like.

*Strawberry ice cubs:

Ingredients: Ginger ale and whole strawberries (or strawberry pieces)

Fill the ice cube mold with ginger ale and add whole/pieced strawberries to each cube. Freeze to use. Please allow few hours to process

Blooming Tea Cocktail

Alcohol level-Medium

This cocktail is inspired by Long Island iced tea. It’s refreshing, fun and absolutely the killer for the night! Let the party begin!

½ oz Triple sec
1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz Tequila
1-1/2 oz tea (1 blooming tea)
Splash of syrup
1 piece of lemon
Ice cubes

1. Brew 1 blooming tea (use 1.5 oz water for one bloom) for 10 minutes. Chill for use.
2. Pour the light rum, Tequila, Vodka, triple sec, syrup, blooming tea juice and lemon piece into a shaker with ice cubes.
3. Shake well and Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The History of Tea in the US -1

From the time Petrus Stuyvesant first introduced tea to the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later New York City) to today, it has been few hundrads years.

Board of Tea Experts (former FDA) was created in 1897, to regulate the quality of tea imported. At that time, tea trade grew exponently but tea merchants faced the tough situation where they found some teas were manipulated to reach the desired color and weight. At the time, people judge tea quality mainly by color, other than taste and aroma.

Board of Tea Experts is a group of tea experts selected. They meet once a year to sample teas submitted then choose one standard tea from each variety. Standard teas are sent to tea dealers, importers and inspectors to serve as a standard to judge for quality.

The process is very labor intensive. You can imagine the scene, water boiling, cupping, slurping, spitting....

It is also a subjective process as new tea species are constantly created. One of the most memorial tea stories is the He-No Tea. The tea is actually dried Kentuckey bluegrass, not a typital traditional tea. The company was charged for misbranding. A Chinese attorney defended at the court that the name clearly states Hay, NO TEA....

I like that attorney!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stand out at the Fancy Food Show

This Fancy Food Show has been an amazing experience for us as people love the quality of our blooming teas.

The absolutely fancy story about blooming tea is actually the materials used and how it is made. For example, one of the uniqueness of Tea Fame collection is the silver needle green tea plucked from over 2500 feet high mountains.

Most of famous teas grow in remote mountains where there's no road even. Tea farmers need to climb miles to pluck the leaves. Normally there are only few days a year to pluck the best quality leaves. Within the few days, there are a couple of hours best for plucking. And it can not be any rainny day!

Each person can only pluck max few pounds of fresh leaves per day. Regardless of variety of teas, roughly 4 to 5 KG (roughly 11 pounds) of fresh leaves can make 1 kg (2.2 pounds) dried tea leaves! Since Tea Fame is made of single tea buds, it needs even more fresh leaves to make 1 KG dried leaves.

After the tea is processed, the final stage is to select the best leaves, strong, good looking, similar length, by hands to sew with flowers.

Yes, this is why we call it a RARE TEA! Purely love of labor!

Another thing to remember, 10 or 20 years later, we do not know if we still can get hand-made teas any more because less and less farmers are willing to do it!

The following video is from Fancy Food Show, the courtesy of PaulLin Media.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Absolute Iced Blooming tea!!

what you need:
cocktail strainer for the pitcher
4 blooms of Grade A Collection (4 different blooms will compliment each other for the taste and display),
sliced lime or lemon,
1 pitcher,
Ice cubes

Iced blooming tea instruction:

1. Boil water 40-48 oz until it reaches boiling. Pour the boiling water into a teapot or stainless steel pot that has a wide opening. (This will allow you to take the blooms out easily). Drop 4 blooms. Wait until fully bloom. If you prefer stronger taste, let the tea sit for a little bit longer time.
2. Pour roughly 8-10 oz cold water into the pitcher first (This will avoid break the glass) Then use food tong to move the blooms into the pitcher.
4. Pour 30%-50% of the tea into the pitcher, then add ice cubes...Or you can mix the iced cubs with tea first then pour the mixture into the pitcher.
5. When you serve it, you can add one slice of lime, fruits or anything you want. Putting sliced limes into the pitcher directly will make the water look not too clear.

Put the strainer on top of the pitcher and you can serve it immediately! Refill ice cubes and tea when 30% left. You can refill iced cubes few times. If need stronger taste, add the rest of tea to you pitcher or wait a little longer time after each refill.

You also can use Tea Fame collection or Thé Luxe collection to make iced blooming tea, 4 blooms or 2 blooms, depends on your personal preference.

Wanna a different Summer experience? Want your event memorable? Try iced blooming tea!! You will be amazed about the results!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

H1N1 V.S. Green tea

I think nobody take H1N1 flu as serious as the Chinese government. Before I left for China, I called my parents. They always asked me about swine flu in the US.

When the plane landed at the Shanghai Airport, we were told to wait 30 minutes to get body temperature inspected.

I joked with people sat next to me that this scene reminds me about the natural disaster movie in which Dustin Huffman played the doctor.

On May 11th, the local news says a Chinese student from a college in Michigan was diagnosed with swine flu after he got home in China 4 days later. At night, the M hotel asked me to move to another one since they have a better sanity control. I was obviously “kicked out” by the M hotel. I even noticed the hotel manager stayed quite a distance when he spoke to me. I do not complain about people’s concerns. Chinese certainly have reasons to worry after few epidemic disease-SARS and Bird flu- outbreak in China few years ago.

When SARS outbreak in China few years ago, guess what people were looking for as a drink for prevention? Green Tea, Period! No kidding! People believe green tea helps improve immune system and keep you strong!!! Interesting enough during that time period, my friend said green tea was out of stock in his store!

I have met many professors in China who drink tea on a daily basis. They share a lot in common:
  • Look much younger: very smooth skin, less wrinkles.
  • Energetic: most of the professors are in their 70s, but the way they walk is more like they are just 50s.
  • barely get sick: this is another proof that tea helps improve health
  • Always have good mood: positive attitude about life.
  • Think fast

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tea, where I started

I conducted numerous tea tasting events in the past few months and one of the most asked questions is how I ended up with tea, given my occupational background?

It all comes together naturally, like tea itself! ;)

Last week during my tea tasting event, I spoke to one of my customers who asked me how to stop his sugar crave?

I told him my own story: it was the time that China gradually opened its door to Western markets when I bought my first 3 pounds of the best chocolate (not the dark ones, but the milk ones, Oh yeah, full of fat) ever! I remembered that I finished the first pound in less than 24 hours, then the other 2 pounds in the next few days. The consequence?…just use your imagination…I gained almost 15 pounds! Have you ever tried that? Please do NOT!

My father, who is a retired physician, called that a suicidal lifestyle!...

We all agree that "We need to change!"

My changes resulted from the long time desire for better health and longevity (why not, see you all 200 years later), family background, childhood dream, cultural thirst and curiosity about science.

My family has been drinking tea for generations. I still remember that my grandfather always used his quart-sized tea mug during each meal. Jasmine green tea is the favorite in my family. I was told Jasmine tea is good for your skin and makes your skin smooth like silk.

Drink more Jasmine Green, my dear friends!!

But after I moved to the US, I found no place to continue my Jasmine tea hobby. Simply to put, the tea quality in the US was not even near what I had in China (Sorry, my American fellows). Coffee then became the alternative. After a few months of this coffee adventure, my doctor told me I had heart palpitation. That's the time I started to seriously transport luggage full of tea back from China when I visited my parents in Suzhou. My parents even "complained" that I came back not to visit them, but to quench my thirst for tea!

Through the centuries, navigating by sea allowed people to trade from one continent to another. But there were many sea-faring crews that were afflicted by various ailments. It was known that up to 1/3 of the crew died of died of scurvy, a disease resulting from Vitamin C deficiency. But Chinese crews started long distance sailing in the 15th century and did not have the same health issue simply because they brought dried tea leaves with them!

Another true story: Most Tibetans live at altitudes of around 10,000 to 15,000 feet where growing vegetables was rare due to high elevation and the local climate. However, to combat the lack of nutrients found in vegetables, they rely heavily on tea as their source of nutrition.

Drinking tea not only provides the necessary fluid for your body, but it also gives us many health benefits. Let's drink to that!

After months of research, I found that I have developed my second thirst-tea culture! Let's look at a few interesting points:
#1: All teas we drink now were originated from China, including Indian black teas, Ceylon highland black teas and Taiwan Oolong.
#2: All tea ceremonies started from China
#3: The fabulous Japanese tea utensils, whether ceramic or pottery, were widely used in the Song dynasty in China.
#4: Strong demands and high economic value of tea leaves accelerated the formation of tea plantations all over the world. Skilled Chinese tea workers were smuggled to India and Russia to help the development of tea plantations there.

Today we drink tea mainly for its health benefits. Even though tea has been used in cooking (yes, tea is edible) and as medicine and beverage by the Chinese for thousands years, it was not clear what constituents in tea make it a healthy drink in the past. As my research continued, my curiosity in tea as it relates science grew stronger.

I was raised in the time when scientists were regarded as the most respectful occupation in China. My questions like why, what and how, kept me focused in all my science classes in high school. Broad application of science in life is another reason that I’m attracted to science. Here’s a story. My family had a cat who always sought for yum food in our kitchen. One day he ate bad raw eggs that we left in trash bag. His face was swollen like a water melon when I got home from school. At that time it was very difficult to find a Vet near us and most of vets dealt with horses, not cat or dog. My father, who was a physician, fed the sick cat some active charcoals. Next day, the cat was completely recovered! My father explained to me that active charcoals consist of numerous cells or small holes and those holes can “absorb” the poison. Active charcoals can also be used to purify air and water.

Here’s another story. One of my high school classmates one day got bit by a big hornet bee. He screamed and we saw his arms swollen quickly. There were no soaps available immediately. My teacher told him that urine can help him release the pain.

Now I use the skills and knowledge I learned to test tea samples and do tea experiements. It has become the best part of my business! Of course, I also work closely with tea experts and scientists.

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