Why people who hate green tea are probably doing it wrong November 20 2015
When I tell people that I blend tea, quite a few people have told me they hate green tea; that it's just too bitter. I try not to sound like a know-it-all-hyper-excited-about-tea-nerd and explain that this may be because of the type of tea they are using or the way they’re brewing their tea.
Here are three things you should watch out for when you brew a cup of green tea:
The quality of your tea
If you grab a pack of 50 green tea bags from the local supermarket for $2.50, the quality isn't going to be the best. That doesn't mean you need to splash out on Tieguanyin tea (a Chinese oolong selling at a cool $3,000 per kg), but a whole leaf tea will do the trick, at around $10 a pack.
Tea comes in different grades, according to the size and quality of the leaf. The stuff in those $2.50 tea bags is called ‘fannings’ or ‘dust’. Sometimes joked about (well, I hope it's a joke) is that fannings are what they sweep off the floor of the tea factory. Not ideal! The grade of tea we use at Ritual Tea Company is 'orange pekoe'; a quality, whole leaf. After you have brewed a cup of Ritual, you will notice that the dried leaves have unfurled to reveal a whole leaf. A whole leaf means you get great flavour and health benefits, without the bitterness.
The temperature of the water
The other reason green tea can taste bitter is the water. Please do not pour boiling water on your tea leaves. This burns them. For green tea, the water should be at about 80 degrees celcius. If you don’t have a kettle that boils your water to specific temperatures (yes, they exist!) then you can boil your jug and leave it to cool for a few minutes (3-5 should do the trick). Water that is just below a boil (97 degrees, to be specific), is perfect for a black tea. Green tea is more delicate than black tea, hence the difference in temperature.
How long you leave your tea to steep
Watch the amount of time you leave your tea to steep. I recommend one minute for a green tea. Anything longer means the brew can end up tasting bitter. Start taking note of the colour of your brews as well. The colour differs from tea to tea, but if you brew the same type of tea often, it can be a great indicator of whether the tea is brewed the way you like it.
Try it out and come up with a ritual that works best for you! I'd love to hear if these tips help you get the best out of your cup of tea, or if you've got any more tips.
Founder, Ritual Tea Company
How rituals can help your life July 19 2015
Ritual n 1 regular repeated action or behaviour 2 a ceremony involving a series of fixed actions performed in a certain order
Our lives are a series of small moments. The everyday things we do; our habits, routines and rituals, create this life.
‘Habits’ and ‘routines’ can sound really boring, but good ones are not at all boring. In this busy world we live in these habits, routines, rituals help frame our lives. It’s important to take time out to relax and recharge, as well as connect with those around us.
Here’s three things that I do (or am trying to do) that you could try and incorporate into your daily routine and see what difference they make to how you feel.
Tea is a ritual. It’s a tradition and an everyday fixture for millions of people around the world. In Eastern cultures, tea ceremonies have an ancient and important role in society. In modern times, drinking tea is a healthy way to unwind and recharge.
Set your morning up the right way by taking some time to prepare a cup of tea. Doing this provides a time for reflection. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this can make to how you feel, as you mentally prepare for the day.
When there is noise and clutter around you, you can find sanctuary in tea. A few minutes taken in the afternoon to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea can be helpful in enabling you to take a step back, reflect and recalibrate.
As well as allowing you to enjoy time to recharge, preparing and serving tea is a ritual to bond with others over; to connect with family, friends and work colleagues. Our connections with people make a big difference to how we feel and help to make us happy.
I recently read ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson. One of the tips that piqued my interest is ‘do nothing’. I get this, but I don’t do it enough. There’s always a million things to do and if I do take some time to relax, I usually feel bad about it!
Taking some time out to sit and do nothing is incredibly hard, but is really beneficial as well. Start with just ten minutes, perhaps with a cup of tea in hand (that way you can’t look at your phone as well!).
Get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night
Recently I took part in a two day workshop called ‘The Art of Deliberate Success’. The author of the book and creator of the programme, David Keene, said to me “it sounds so simple but if you go to bed earlier, you will find it easier to wake up in the morning”. He was right. SO simple, yet I hadn’t been doing it.
When we were kids, most of us probably had a set bed time. When we got older we could decide for ourselves and for me this has meant getting in a bad habit. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning is a work in progress, but when I do, I notice what a difference it makes. I have more energy and I feel more organised (because I’m not rushing about and I have time to make that cup of tea).
If you give any of these things a go, I'd love to hear about how they went for you. If you have any other rituals, routines or habits that work for you, I'd love to hear about them too. Feel free to leave a comment below.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
Good things take time May 17 2015
Life is getting faster and faster.
I’m generation Y, and as fellow twenty-somethings know, most of the time we can have what we want, when we want it. I'm attempting to slow things down. To wait. As the Mainland man says, “good things take time”; cheese, bread, goals, businesses, long trips to delicious places.
Slowing increases our ability to see greatness in small things. A flower in the crack of a pavement or a child smiling. I believe a cup of tea is in this same vein, it takes more than a moment to boil the jug, more than an instant for the leaves to brew and then at least ten minutes to sit down and enjoy it. That’s the best way. Of course I've also been known to make my tea then rush around doing the dishes, making the bed, putting on washing… stopping every few minutes to take a gulp… but it’s not nearly as satisfying or fulfilling.
Some of my best thinking is done when I stop and let my brain work its magic. The best places I find for my 'personal strategy sessions' are while going for a walk alone, having a long, hot shower and sitting down with a cup of tea.
Create the space to tap into your inner brain. When you next brew a pot of tea take the time to sit, limit (or better yet eliminate) distrations and disconnect (no phone, no internet). Take a moment and find sanctuary in tea.
“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” ― Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales
Tea isn’t just what you have when you go to your grandma’s house to visit. It’s making a comeback in today’s busy world. Where people are rushing from one thing to the next, it’s a healthy way to unwind and recharge.
There are so many health benefits associated with drinking tea, especially the green variety, here’s just a few of them...
- Green tea is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells from damage. Free radicals are increasingly linked to many serious, chronic illnesses like arthritis, diabetes and cancer.
- Green tea aids in weight loss – it is loaded with potent antioxidants called catechins. These catechins can help speed up your metabolism.
- Tea is better than water for hydration; when you drink tea you are rehydrating as well as taking in all those healthy antioxidants. Next time you head out to the gym or out for a walk, try cold-brewing some green tea in your drink bottle for re-hydration instead of drinking water alone.
- The stable energy release which occurs when you drink green tea means people can find themselves more productive and focussed when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.
- Studies have shown that the microbial and antioxidant compounds in green tea can help clear your skin. To benefit, brew a cup of green tea, let it cool and use it as a face wash. For oily skin, mix our peppermint blend with green tea for an oil blasting wash.
Make it your ritual.
Artisan tea April 06 2015
We are very pleased to have the seal of approval from Life Magazine! This article appeared in a recent edition of Life Mag...
Tea has been around for thousands of years but is at the beginning of a resurgence of the kind that the coffee industry has experienced over the last ten years.
Joining the artisan world of single origin coffee, craft beer and bean to bar chocolate is Ritual Tea Company. The Wellington company hand-blends Fairtrade and organic tea from the world’s oldest organic tea plantation in Sri Lanka, the Idulgashinna plantation. Producing 11 different varieties, everything from stock standard earl grey to herbal varieties like Madagascar vanilla and chamomile and lavender.
Founder Katie Smith says Ritual Tea was so named because tea-drinking is a ritual. “When there’s noise and clutter around you, you can find sanctuary in tea,” she says. In today’s busy world, people are looking for a healthy way to unwind and recharge. Taking time out to enjoy a cup of Ritual Tea is the perfect way to do this.
People are very aware of what they are putting into their bodies. The health benefits associated with drinking tea (such as the powerful antioxidants) mean that Ritual Tea is a healthy brew that is also a pleasure to drink.
The Ritual Tea Company range is available at Moore Wilson’s Fresh, Commonsense Organics and also online at ritualteacompany.co.nz.
Spring Cleaning October 06 2014 1 Comment
It’s spring and what better time for some spring cleaning. Not just the usual spring cleaning (like washing the windows and clearing out my drawers), but a total spring clean of KTea. Over the last few months we have spent a lot of time researching, blending, tasting (the best bit!), talking, drawing, thinking and planning. Out of all that ‘Ritual Tea Company’ has emerged. Ritual Tea Company is about showcasing tea, the most popular drink in the world, after water. How delicious and healthy it really is, when it is created and brewed properly; with care and attention.
Tea is a ritual. It is a tradition and an everyday fixture. Taking time out to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea should be a relief and an escape. In Eastern cultures, tea ceremonies have an ancient and important role in society. In modern times, drinking tea is a healthy way to unwind and recharge. Preparing and serving tea is a ritual to bond over and it provides a time for reflection. When there is noise and clutter around you, find sanctuary in tea. Make it your ritual.
We’d love to hear about your tea rituals, do you have a breakfast tea every morning or a lemongrass tea when you aren’t feeling well? When my grandparents arrive I always put the jug on to boil. Before anything gets done, tea must be consumed!
Share with us your tea ritual and we’ll pop a bag in the post for three lucky people!