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Are tea drinkers too fussy?

Cathy Horan-Anderson

"I didn't realise that tea drinkers were so fussy" said a friend as we sat alfresco at a local seaside restaurant. Which got me thinking; should we be happy with a tea bag dunked in hot water and charged $4-$5 for the favour? Would a coffee drinker accept a cup of instant coffee served up at their local restaurant or cafe? I think not! There would be a public flogging!

In our modern gourmet food & barista culture, a tea bag served in a mug of hot water is unacceptable; tea lovers should be speaking up and demanding more. How about a teaspoon of loose leaf tea served in a pot? 

You can throw a tea bag in a cup of hot water at home for about 20c. Dining out should be more than that; an experience to be savoured, something a little bit special. Call us fussy if you like, but we would like to be served nice tea. A good cup of tea will have us coming back again and again and again. 

Greetings from Margaret River

Cathy Horan-Anderson

Margaret River, Western Australia is known for a lot of good things; wine, surf, forests and beautiful natural surroundings. No longer Australia's best kept secret, it is also gaining a reputation as a world-class food and beverage destination. Although tea is not grown in this region we wanted to bring all the qualities that Margaret River has to offer, to a hand-made product that tea lovers can enjoy: organic, best practice, freshness and quality are all the values that Margaret River has earned its reputation for. 

Our teas are personally selected, blended and packaged in small batches with the roar of the Indian Ocean nearby. We want to transport you to carefree days at the beach, sandy feet and fresh sea breezes; a walk in ancient forests or a day in the lush green countryside. A place where there is always time for a cup of tea and a little down-south hospitality.

Image: Russell Ord Photography

Easy Iced Tea

Cathy Horan-Anderson

I have been serving iced tea sample tasters at the Margaret River Farmers Markets and a few people have been asking how to make it. So here goes. Easy Iced Tea using the cold infusion method. Cold infusion allows the flavours to develop slowly and avoids the bitterness that can occur when using boiling water onto black or green teas. 

All the teas in our range can be served chilled but these are some of my favourites:
Rooibos
Rooibos Chai
Moroccan Mint
Lemongrass & Ginger

Method:
1. Grab your favourite tea pot. I use these glass ones that you can purchase at your local supermarket for a very reasonable price. I like using the glass pots as you can see what the tea is doing and enjoy the natural unfurling of the tea leaves. You can also keep an eye on the colour which is a good indication of strength.

2. Add 1tsp tea per cup. These pots hold about 4 cups which is approx. 1 litre of iced tea. I also add 1/2 tsp of brown sugar. You can play around with sweetness or add a dash of honey. A touch of sweetness can enhance the natural tea flavours.

3. Fill the pot with room temperature tap water if you have nice tap water. If like me, your water is rubbish, use bottled or filtered water. Set aside for 3-4 hours or overnight. When you are happy with the strength of the tea (have little taste tests) pour out into a bottle and chill in the fridge. It should last a few days in the fridge if it is not all guzzled up.

4. Serve on its own or over ice. Play around with garnishes such as mint, sliced lemon or orange, apple or cucumber. You can also combine with cold pressed juices e.g. apple and green tea combos are delicious. Add a dash of your favourite tipple for an Iced Tea Punch (thinking Christmas festive drinks with a twist).

The cold infusion method is just a suggestion. By all means add boiling water to your tea and chill with ice for an instant iced tea. Play with garnishes, add fruit, have fun experimenting. You can also leave your brew out in the sunshine for a few hours before chilling, my American friend swears by this method. You can actually taste the sunshine :)

Your favourite tea can be enjoyed hot or iced, anytime and anywhere x


The Seven Seas Story & Top Tea Tips on Elements Margaret River

Cathy Horan-Anderson

Find Seven Seas Tea on Elements Margaret River Photo: Russell Ord

Find Seven Seas Tea on Elements Margaret River
Photo: Russell Ord

Elements Margaret River is a community forum run by a bunch of awesome Margaret River creatives. They recently ran a little story about us and you can find it here. http://elementsmargaretriver.com.au/seven-seas-tea/ Elements Margaret River is also a great place to see who and what is happening in and around the Margaret River Region. Check it out! and thanks to Paris Hawken and Russell Ord for the chance to be featured. You guys rock our tea-world!!!

Next time you reach for that cup of coffee consider this:

Cathy Horan-Anderson

Tea has a world of health benefits for you to enjoy. Image: Russell Ord Photography

Tea has a world of health benefits for you to enjoy.
Image: Russell Ord Photography

Tea has been around for some 4000 years which is a heck of a long time! For centuries the Chinese considered tea to be a medicine and although we now enjoy it for its taste, do not forget the plethora of health benefits that a cup of tea offers:

Health benefits of Green vs Black tea?
According to recent studies green tea appears to contain a higher number of polyphenols than other tea families. Polyphenols protect the body against cell damage, in particular, by fighting the breakdown of cellular membranes caused by stressors such as smoke, pollution, viruses etc. The powerful antioxidants found in green tea may help prevent the effects of ageing and onset of illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Black tea is made through a process of oxidisation of the tea leaves which does breakdown some of the vitamins contained within the leaves but allows caffeine to be more readily absorbed into the bloodstream over a shorter period compared to green tea. This means that black tea is more effective as a physical stimulant than green tea.

Tea has many beneficial health properties:
- supports the heart system
- activates circulation
- helps detoxification & elimination of toxins
- alleviates hypertension
- reduces fatigue
- slows the ageing process
- helps digestion
- reduces cholesterol
- balances body temperature
- strengthens the immune system
- enhances concentration

So, next time you sit down with a cup of tea, have a think about all the good it is doing for you.

Source: Tea (second edition) by Gascoyne, Marchand, Desharnais & Americi

Chai Time

Cathy Horan-Anderson

Seven Seas Tea traditional organic Indian Chai. Image by Russell Ord Photography

Seven Seas Tea traditional organic Indian Chai. Image by Russell Ord Photography

When we think of India we think of Chai right? Well this was not always the case. Chai (the Indian word for "tea") is everywhere in India. But did you know that the sweet, spiced, milky beverage that we have grown to love, evolved from a nation of coffee drinkers!

Large scale tea production in India began in the 1820's under British rule. The Brits were trying to break the Chinese monopoly on the tea trade and offered Europeans large tracts of land in the northern region of Assam to grow tea for export. The majority of Indians however, drank coffee.

It was not until the 1920's after a successful advertising campaign by the Tea Board, that Indians reluctantly took to tea. At first, they were sceptical, and did not want to abandon their strongly flavored coffee. But they started adding spices to a sweet and milky tea and masala chai took off!  Now you find it in peoples homes, roadsides, train stations, everywhere. The nation runs on chai.

There are as many chai recipes as there are Indians in India. Spice combinations vary from region to region and each family has their own version, handed down through generations of grandmothers. There are also many different ways of preparing it but here is the Seven Seas Tea way:

For a quick brew: 
1tsp Seven Seas Tea Masala Chai per cup. Add freshly boiled water. Infuse 2-3mins to allow spice flavors to develop. Add milk if desired and sweeten to taste.  

Traditional stovetop method (makes 2 cups)
1sp Seven Seas Tea Masala Chai per cup. You can add an extra tsp to the pot for good luck!
1 cup water  (250ml)
1 cup milk (dairy , nut or soy) 
Honey or sugar if desired
Measure tea and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 5 mins allowing spice flavours to develop.
Add milk and simmer for a further 5mins . Watch closely and stir frequently to avoid catching on the bottom of the pot or boiling over. Allow to stand for 2-3mins. Sweeten to taste. A dash of honey is delicious.
Use a strainer to pour into cups. Enjoy. 

 

 

CONFESSIONS OF A TEA JUNKIE: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Cathy Horan-Anderson

Handmade tea cups by Dariya Gratte Image: Paris Hawken Photography

Handmade tea cups by Dariya Gratte
Image: Paris Hawken Photography

The first cup caresses my dry lips and throat

The second shatters the walls of my lonely sadness

The third searches the dry rivulets of my soul to find the stories of five thousand scrolls

With the fourth the pain of past injustice vanishes through my pores

The fifth purifies my flesh and bone

With the sixth I am in touch with the immortals

The seventh gives such pleasure I can hardly bear

The fresh air blows through my wings

As I make my way to Penglai*

An old Chinese poem by Lu Tong (790 - 835)
*(Mount Penglai is said to be the base for the Eight Immortals)

How many cups of tea a day is too much?

Tea times are marked out by the hours on the clock, and if there is even the smallest disruption to my tea routine, I am one cranky mama bear. The fist sign of addiction I am told!

7.00am Kettle on and struggling to put together school lunch for three kids and get breakfast on the table. Need Lemongrass & Ginger to wake me up and get my body moving (if you know what I mean ;)

8.30am Little darlings are on the bus; kettle on. Sit down with an English Breakfast and a bowl of yogurt and granola. Check emails and get a quick social media fix (another addiction but we can discuss that later!)

11.00am Morning Tea time (my favourite part of the day). Time for a chai I think and hopefully a sweet treat (yet another addiction but we can talk about that later too)

2.00pm Afternoon Tea time (my second favourite part of the day) Maybe a Rooibos to see me through the rest of the afternoon.

9.00pm After dinner and kiddies are tucked up in bed. Time to unwind and relax with a Peppermint tea. Great for digestion especially if my hubby has been in the kitchen. That Dude Food can sit pretty heavily on the stomach. A cup of hot Peppermint tea usually takes care of that!

This timetable has not taken into account friends dropping by (add on another 2 x cups at least) or a visit to a local cafe (add 1-2 cups). I think that takes me up to the heavenly Seventh cup of tea mentioned in the old Chinese poem.

Wow, that is a lot of tea now that I am looking at it. But hey, I love the stuff and they say it's good for you so what the heck! Enjoy!