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Exploring, sipping & delighting in all things tea.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Herbal Teas * Guest Post * Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena a.k.a Lemon Beebrush, Louisa.

Can be bought as: fresh plant, dried leaves, teabags.

Can be mixed with: Geranium, Lemongrass, Sage, Raspberry leaf, Mint.

Fun Fact: In Peru there is a renowned drink called ‘Inca Kola’. You guessed it, it's a soft drink of the cola variety though the base is Lemon Verbena. A bright green, glass bottled drink, first marketed in 1935, the drink is still a favourite of Peruvian, soft drink lovers!

O.K. so it’s not theoretically tea because we're on the herbal variety which does not contain black tea leaves or caffeine! However I don’t think that here at Isle of Tea we’re discriminating…

Lemon Verbena, Louisa or Lemon Beebrush, as I now like to call it, is an amazing perennial bright leafy herb hailing originally from South America. Brought over to Europe in the 17th century by the Spanish, it has been growing in the warmer, southern and eastern European countries ever since.

Its appearance could be missed (when not in flower over the spring/ early summer) when nestled amongst other more rambunctious growing herbs such as Geranium. Needless to say it’s lovely long, pointy, effervescent, green leaves, tiny white/purple flowers and irresistible, heady lemony aroma should not be missed.


Once a fresh leaf is bruised between your fingertips, it’s a job not to start eating them! It’s addictive, seductive freshness is what helps make it a perfect ‘anytime’ tea.

I love to make it straight into my glass mug for a cleansing morning beverage. Popping 3 to 4 good sized leaves into my mug, splashing with freshly boiled water and watching the leaves swim for 10 or so minutes, whilst the aromas are released its a great way to say good morning to yourself!


As a morning tea, I find Lemon Beebrush to be a natural wake-up to the body and mind. Its light and rejuvenating properties make it easy and delightful to drink. Before sipping I like to place my noggin over the top of my mug, take a deep breath and inhale (as a mini aromatic facial!) the green, lemony vapours.

Equally enjoyable is a good pot brewed late at night after a good meal with friends. Executed with a generous spoon of honey which adds a rounder, softer and calming sensation, a nice little cup will do wonders for a full belly and your diegestion.


Lemon Beebrush is considered a powerful healing herb also, noted for aiding: Digestion, feverish cold, muscle tension, easing colic, keeping candida at bay, strengthening the nervous system, de-stressing, easing spasms in the colon, anti-oxidant.

Another favourite way to enjoy Lemon Beebrush is as an Ice Tea.

Find a good heat protected glass bottle with lid, of 1 litre size more or less. Place a small branch of leaves or a small handful of dried leaves inside along with, half a lemon and a spoon of brown sugar or more to taste. Cover with boiling water and leave to cool for 15-20 minutes. Screw on the cap of the bottle and holding at both the top and bottom of the bottle give it a good shake up. Place in the fridge and leave to cool further for 1-2 hours. Serve up in a cooled glass with an ice cube on a warm summer afternoon! Bliss!

Thanks to Rosa for this lovely post! You can check out her Rhen Shop on Etsy too.

Next up...
Are you getting excited about the giveaways we've got coming up? Some exciting
T.ART, even more guest posts and Tea & Bakes!!

Chin chin...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dorset Tea Tasting & Tea Amnesty


Yesterday we were invited to join the folks at Dorset Tea HQ in Wimborne for a tea tasting session and talk from master blender Ben Hitchcock.



Firstly though, we were invited to have a lovely cup of the good ol' stuff and it was even more of a treat to be drinking tea that was blended and packed right under our noses in that very building (in the wonderful County of Dorset - where we are also based!)


Let the tea tasting commence!



Many leaves from around the world were brewed up for us before our eyes and we each were given a spoon to dip into the various cups. Ben demonstrated that it is very important to slurrrrrp the brew from the spoon and then proceed to all spit it out into a special spitting bucket. Much fun indeed!


We next examined the colours of the teas once milk was added.

And even compared this special brew to some other well known brands!

But there's only one T in Dorset!




It was a very enjoyable and informative visit to Dorset Tea's HQ and they were a very lovely bunch indeed.

And here's where you can get involved!!


So if you live in or around Dorset do pop along to the Tea Amnesty but remember to take along a box of non-Dorset Tea (not completely empty though!) and you will be given a whole new fresh and beautiful box of Dorset Tea to take home with you!! Do follow them on facebook and twitter as they often have goodies up for grabs and fun competitions to enter too and like they say, there's only one T in Dorset!

Chin chin...

Friday, August 16, 2013

FOXY VINTAGE SUMMER Discount!!

We thought we'd treat you before the summer is out and give you all a summer discount on everything in our SHOP...









To receive your discount on anything in our shop, enter the code FOXYVINTAGESUMMER and receive 15% off your order. The discount expires on August 31st, so you'd better drink up (tea of course) and get in there quick.

Chin chin...

Kashmiri Pink Tea - Your cup of Tea straight from paradise - *Guest Post*

I’ve had tea from around the world. Green, black and even pink! Where I come from, we drink a special kind of tea that is pink. Behold the wonders of the Kashmiri chai! (Tea is chai in Urdu).

My grandmother’s been making this special tea for as long as anyone can remember and I wondered if I could share it with everyone on Isle of Tea.  The special thing about this tea is its beautiful pink colour and the fact that it’s not drank sweet but salty instead. The tea is prepared with traditional spices and has a very distinct aroma to it.


For the purpose of this post I have tried to translate my grandmother’s recipe and the ingredients to as much accuracy as possible. Just so everyone knows the traditional names of the spices, they are written in the brackets as well.

Ingredients
  • Green tea leaves (Sabz chai ki patti)          4-5 Tablespoon

  • Water                                                              Around 4 cups
  • Green Cardamom (Sabz Elaichi)                 5


  • Star anise (Badian Khatai)                            1 Star

  • Fennel (Saunf)                                                ½ teaspoon


  • Salt to taste
  • Cracked Cinnamon ( Daal Cheeni)              1 Teaspoon  
  • Milk to taste
  • Ground pistachios and almonds for garnish
  • Full cream for garnish                    
Procedure
  1. Add the 4 cups of water to a heavy based pan and add green tea leaves, cracked green cardamom, Star anise, Fennel and cinnamon.
  2. Let the mixture simmer till you are left with just around 2 cups of water.
  3. Now add the salt. It is advisable to add just a pinch more than you want because of the step that follows.
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and place it in the wash basin. Now add 2 cups of chilled water to the tea.
  5. Now take a cup and scoop some tea in it and pour it back in from a height. Repeat this procedure at least 7-8 times because this procedure brings the pink colouring to the tea.
  6. Now strain the tea and place it on the stove again. When the tea starts to simmer, add milk to taste.
  7. Pour your Kashmiri tea in cups and garnish it with full cream, ground pistachios and almonds.
  8. Sip away and enjoy your tea from Kashmir.
The pink coloring of the tea actually depends on the quality of the tea leaves you use but don’t forget step 5 because it is the most important step if you want your tea to be that beautiful rose pink. Kashmiri chai is best served in winters and it warms you right up. The cream and pistachio, almond garnish adds a lot of texture and taste to the tea and makes it look more appealing.

For all the people out there who love themselves a great cup of tea, Kashmiri chai is bound to become one of their favorites because of its richness and unique taste. I believe that this recipe is one the best out there because my grandmother’s been making it even before I was born. I hope that all of you try this recipe and fall in love with it exactly like I did when I first had a sip of it in the cold winters of Kashmir.

Bibliography:
  1. www.pukkapaki.com
  2. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Leaves_of_green_tea.jpg
  3. http://www.vannsspices.com/Vanns-Cinnamon-Chips.html
About me:
Student and self thought chef, I believe in making my own dishes from traditional recipes. A fan of dark chocolate and everything spicy. My aim in life; to make the perfect cheese cake and lasagna. Studying to become an environmentalist and working as the creativity manager at www.southasiatrading.com

Next up... 
Oh so many exciting giveaways, more vintage dresses, guest posts, recipes and our trip to a vintage teacup themed wedding coming up!
Chin chin...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hello Nettle Tea ~ Goodbye Hayfever


Did you know that nettles are a natural antihistamine? And just like peppermint leaves you can make a tea from them. There are many teas available from the local supermarket to health food shops and of course to the nettles (Urtica Dioica) growing in your garden.
Taken from here

Antihistamine tablets are widely used by hayfever sufferers, but if you can't find any of the non-drowsy types, you can often feel like you're a walking zombie all day long and it's not such a good look either. So one of the huge benefits of using nettle tea to help with your allergies means you won't have to also endure all the horrible side effects of the drugs either. And it can be completely free if you choose to pick your own nettles!

Taken from here
So if you're fed up of popping the pills and would like to try a natural way of sending those sneezes and irritating itches away, head out into the countryside with scissors and a red riding hood basket at the ready. We've read that making your own infusion (recommended dosage is 300mg 2-3 times a day) is much more effective than the teas widely available and even better if you leave the leaves to infuse in hot water, with a cloth over them to take the next morning. Depending on how potent you make the infusion you could then add hot water to your concentrated nettle concoction the next day and then drink throughout the day, building a natural defence and generally preventing allergies.

Although a little contrary, we have found that if you sup on a good brand of nettle tea a couple of times a day, letting the tea bag steep for a jolly good while, (more than you're even comfortable with) and leave it until it is quite thick and gloopy (yes it isn't incredibly appetising, but needs must!) and get it down in a couple of gulps, it does make quite a difference. In actual fact we did find that we were surprised by how effective it was.

To make things a little more appetising why not try a couple of nettle tea bags in a teapot with fennel or rose? Or perhaps cinnamon or liquorice and let it steep for a good while still, but diluting the taste. In actual fact nettle tea isn't very offensive. It has an incredibly earthy taste as may be predicted and isn't very strong, but some people may not be accustomed to this kind of taste, so perhaps a juxteaposition is the answer!

Next up...
We've got many exciting guest posts and giveaways coming up shortly, including a little something from House of Fraser and Whittards Tea and one of our favourites, Chash Tea!
Chin chin...
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