Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cooking With Tea & Tea Recipes

Since starting TGS, I've run across a number of useful resources to assist those looking to cook with tea. Since they were scattered throughout the archives, I thought it might be useful to gather some of them together in one place.

From the New York Times, here's a recipe for Tea-Smoked Chicken Thighs With Pomegranate Glaze.

The Baltimore Sun ran an article on Tea Cuisine, that includes recipes for Chinese Tea Eggs, Chai Tea Ice Cream, and Tea-Sauced Scallops With Orange, Soy and Honey.

The Washington Times has also done their take on tea cuisine, in an article that includes recipes for Glazed Chicken Breasts in a Honey Lemon Tea, Tea and Lime Sorbet, and Tea-Smoked Scallops.

From NPR, here's a piece that ran some time back about tea, along with a Tea Primer and three recipes from Eat Tea, by Joanna Pruess with John Harney. The recipes - Lapsang Souchong Gravlax, Tea Grits and Green Fruits in Jasmine Tea Syrup.

On the Web, take a look at TeaChef, a forum for tea cuisine hosted by Adagio Teas. They hold a monthly recipe contest featuring a different tea each time and their archive contains recipes submitted in past contests.

Also on the Web:
Bigelow Tea - Recipes
Boston Tea Campaign - Recipes for Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling Tea Network - Tea Recipes - Tea Recipes
Hibiki-an - Tea Recipes
Lipton - Recipe Search
Nathmulls of Darjeeling - Tea Recipes
Simpson & Vail - Rooibos Recipes
Yogi Tea - Summer Recipes
YuzuMura - Matcha Recipes

If you're looking for tea cookbooks, here are a few to get you started:

Cooking with Green Tea: Delicious Dishes Enhanced by the Miraculous Healing Powers of Green Tea
by Ying Chang Compestine

Cooking With Tea: Techniques and Recipes for Appetizers, Entrees, Desserts, and More
by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen

Eat Tea: Savory and Sweet Dishes Flavored with the World's Most Versatile Ingredient
by Joanna Pruess and John Harney

Making Your Own Gourmet Tea Drinks
by Mathew Tekulsky

New Tastes in Green Tea: A Novel Flavor for Familiar Drinks, Dishes, and Desserts
by Mutsuko Tokunaga and Jane Pettigrew

Tales of a Tea Leaf: The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine
by Jill Yates

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Worst Tea In The World

After posting this piece yesterday, I ran across a 2005 article in one of the British papers decrying the state of tea. Included is a chart that ranks the countries where you're likely to get the worst cup of tea. The United States ranks third, after France and Spain.

Original Post:
What's the worst tea in the world? Wow, there are so many worthy contenders. Here's an article from Scotland's Daily Record which takes those "supermarket cut-price teas" (yeah, them) to task. My favorite quote - "cabbage water tastes better." "Even 29p for these tea bags is outrageous - 1p would be too much" runs a close second.

Speaking of the United Kingdom, here's an article that reveals that the Queen hasn't made herself a cup of tea since she was six years old. That's 75 years, for those of you keeping track. I don't think this actually qualifies as earthshaking news. After all, you can hardly imagine the Queen fussing around in the kitchen, hovering over the teakettle or fixing herself a corned beef on rye.

Last up is an article from an Ohio paper about Wright State University. They are auctioning off a chance to have tea with Tom Hanks on the set of his new movie, the sequel to The DaVinci Code. But if you haven't got at least 40,000 smackers - forget about it.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tea Auction, Festival & Topiary reports that Christie’s is opening the series of Asian Art Sales at Rockefeller Center with Art for the Way of Tea, a unique sale completed devoted to tea-ceremony related items. There will be 40 lots auctioned off and the total tab is expected to top out at around 3 million dollars. In other words, this is not an auction for the faint of wallet.

If you missed the recent tea festival in Hangzhou, in East China's Zhejiang Province, don't despair. People's Daily Online recently posted a selection of excellent photos here.

Speaking of tea photos, here's a larger version of the tea-shaped topiary shown here. The Lipton Tree was designed by an Egyptian agency called JWT Cairo, who won the Outdoor category at the Dubai Lynx Middle East & North Africa Advertising Awards.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some More Of The Tea In China

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently released a report suggesting that the typical Chinese restaurant meal (that's American Chinese restaurants, presumably) is not so good for you. But we've still got Chinese tea.

As luck would have it, I've been working through samples of Dragon Well and Pi Lo Chun lately, and having quite a fine time of it. For an interesting look at the region of China that produces the former variety, check out this article from China View.

If pu-er is more to your liking, have a look at this article from CCTV International. It's about a two and a half kilo lot of pu-er tea, which was sent to the emperor in Beijing as a tribute 150 years ago and is now heading home to Pu'er city, in China's southwestern Yunnan province.

Here's the Web site for a company called Tea Tech. They make an assortment of green tea beverage mixes that are endorsed by none other than Jackie Chan.

Here's a use for tea that you probably never thought of. Some Chinese reporters recently submitted tea in place of urine to hospitals that apparently had dubious reputations. Six of 10 hospitals in Hangzhou concluded that the "patients" in question had urinary tract infections. Read the Reuters article here.

Image: Tea Tech

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Articles About Tea

If you're looking to expand your knowledge of tea, here are a few article archives that might aid the cause.

Information Index - Upton Tea Imports
Dr. Tea's Library - Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium
Articles by Bruce Richardson - Elmwood Inn
Articles About Tea and Tea Culture - Culinary Teas
The Tea Man's TeaTalk Index - The Tea Man

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

All About Tea Robots

TGS has featured several pieces about tea and robots thus far. I thought I might as well gather them all in one place. This is it.

Some of the earliest tea robots - which might not a totally accurate term, in this case - were the Japanese Karakuri. The Wikipedia entry for Karakuri describes them as "mechanized puppets or automata from Japan from the 18th century to 19th century."

From, here's a more in-depth description of the Chahakobi Ningyo, or tea-serving doll, complete with photos and a schematic, of sorts.

From Anthrobot, here's a larger version of the schematic (or you can click the one at the previously mentioned page for a larger version). Which will be even more meaningful for those of you who can read Japanese.

At The Karakuri Corner, you can actually buy your own tea-serving doll. Look here, here and here for more details.

Or check out this Tea Server Robot Kit, from the Jameco Robot Store. They also sell an assembled version.

Here's a link with more information about Karakuri and an account of a visit to a Karakuri craftsman.

Here's an account of a Chinese farmer who's been forced to sell of some of his homemade robots, including at least one that makes or serves tea. Read it here or here.

From CNN, here's a report about a clever humanoid robot developed at the University of Tokyo that can serve tea, among other things. Do you have enough faith in technology to feel comfortable with one of these critters running around the place, brandishing a container of boiling hot water? Not sure if I do.

To the best of my knowledge, there's no such thing as a tea-tasting robot. However, the New Scientist has a report here on one that can "taste" wine. We have the technology...

Image: Jameco Robot Store

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Teatool Tea Bag Squeezer

Some of us have opinions about loose tea vs. tea bags, but this piece isn't going to get into any of that. The fact is that there are plenty of people out there who use tea bags. Over the course of this winter I've been hitting the ginger tea - in tea bags - pretty hard myself.

Most tea bag users probably utilize some manner of squeeze type gadget so they don't have to slop around with a soaking wet tea bag after steeping. I haven't had a chance to try a Teatool, but from what I can see at their Web site, it looks pretty nifty.

See for yourself, right here.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tea Review 84 - Snapple Red Tea

Mandarin Orange Red Tea

As a general rule, bottled tea doesn't float my boat. I can sum up my reasons pretty succinctly - too sweet. There are exceptions, but they're few and far between.

Given that, I wasn't prepared to be impressed by Snapple's new line of red teas, which are made with rooibos, an herb grown in South Africa. But I figured I'd try to keep an open mind.

Snapple Red is available in Acai Mixed Berry, Peach Pomegranate, and Mandarin Tangerine flavors. I sampled the latter. According to the label, Snapple Red "contributes to a healthy immune system." Yeah, whatever. Ingredients include crystalline fructose sugar and pear juice concentrate, among others. Rooibos is number five on the ingredients list, oddly enough. I'm not sure what to make of that.

As I drank this one, I kept telling myself I could taste the rooibos, but I wasn't really sure that I could. The tangerine flavor was a bit more pronounced, but overall things were pretty understated and - surprise - not over sweetened. This one's also caffeine-free, for what it's worth.

Not too bad, but I think it would probably go down a lot better on a blazing summer day, as opposed to a frigid winter night.

I doubt that I'll seek out another Snapple Red, but if I was really hot and thirsty I probably wouldn't turn one down.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Giant Tea Kettles & Teapots

From the TGS archives, here's some info about giant tea kettles and teapots.

Boing Boing posted a classic photo of a giant tea kettle a while back. See it here.

The original post, at Modern Mechanix, is located here.

Here's an article and photo from Reason magazine. It's about a Malaysian religious cult who believe, among other things, that their giant teapot has healing properties. As the article notes, the Malaysian government has cracked down on the teapot cult. They've gone into hiding and the teapot has been destroyed.

Here's a giant teapot that calls Zillah, Washington home. It's the Teapot Dome Gas Station, actually. Check out the photo at Roadside America.

Also from Roadside America, a photo (scroll down) of a giant tea kettle in the Boston area.

Here, courtesy of Weird Asia News, is yet another giant teapot photo. This one is located in Jiangsu province in eastern China.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Tea Review 83 - Mateveza Yerba Mate Ale

Mateveza Yerba Mate Ale
Mateveza LLC

I've mentioned Mateveza a few times now. Recently the good people who make it were kind enough to send me a bottle.

Mateveza is made with yerba mate. If you scout around here at the site you'll find that I've written about it a good bit. I don't drink beer much these days but I discovered yerba mate a few years back and developed quite a taste for it.

Along with the sample of Mateveza, I also received a small amount of the yerba mate used to make it. It was good, but I suspect that I'm not quite enough of a connoisseur to make much of a distinction between different yerba mate varieties.

As for Mateveza, I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised. What I found most interesting about the product was that there were two very distinct flavors happening at the same time - the sweetness of the ale and the bitterness of the yerba mate.

Which worked quite well, in my opinion. The two tastes offset each other nicely. If you're not a fan of yerba mate - and it can be an acquired taste - you may not agree. But it's certainly worth a try.


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Uzbekistan, Vietnam & Britney Spears

You might be wondering what Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Britney Spears have in common. Of course, since this is Tea Guy Speaks, it's probably not too hard to figure out.

Here's an interesting article about tea-drinking and tea culture in Uzbekistan. It's not very long, but it's worth a look.

For some thoughts on the Vietnamese tea-serving art and Mr. Truong Xuan, one of the practitioners of that art, check out this article from VietNamNet. It seems that a little something might have been lost in the translation to English, but it's also worth a look.

Then there's Britney Spears. Perhaps you've heard of her. In an excerpt from an interview with the Today Show's Matt Lauer, Ms. Spears suddenly throws out the following observation - "I make good tea okay?"

Well, okay. That's all we needed to hear.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Dragon Well, Gyokuro And Yunnan

Dragon Well, gyokuro and Yunnan - now there's a threesome that's sure to warm a tea lover's heart.

The Fragrant Leaf has a nice overview of Dragon Well, a Chinese variety of green tea. Also known as Long Jing, it's grown in China's Zhejiang province and it's well worth a taste.

I had my first taste of gyokuro recently and I intend to be sampling a lot more of it in the future. Gyokuro is a Japanese variety of green tea that's generally considered to be near the upper end of the quality scale. has put together a guide to "the perfect cup of gyokuro green tea."

If black tea is more to your liking, you might want to give Yunnan a try. Though in China, where Yunnan is produced it's more commonly known as red tea. GoKunming has a brief overview here called Yunnan - The Birthplace of Tea.

For more on Yunnan, check out this rather more in-depth article from the quite worthwhile Cha Dao site, a collaborative effort of 17 tea lovers.


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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spring Tea Harvest

Spring is still three weeks away, but a recent article in China's Shanghai Daily noted that some spring teas in China are already being harvested.

Thanks to unseasonably warm weather, green teas from the Emei Mountain area in Sichuan Province and Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province have already begun to turn up in shops in the Shanghai area.

If you're waiting for shincha (new tea) from Japan, you'll have to sit tight for a while, according to an entry at's Green Tea Blog. For more on shincha and the green tea harvest in Japan, look here.

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