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DARKNESS

Winter in Finland can be very dark and cold, and some years it is also very wet. It is only natural that every now and then Finnish people need hot tea to keep warm and happy. Now with the daily cup of tea we can also get rid of that darkness, just look what a Korean designer brought to us.

LIGHTNING BAG

Lighting Bag by Wonsik Chae from Takashi Yamada on Vimeo.

RADIOACTIVE AND TOXIC

Think what you like, but to me it looks spooky. I have to admit that at first I thought that it is so beautiful, radiant and glowing etc. It didn’t take too long until the video comes to the point where the tea bag is lifted from the cup and dubiously glowing drops splash back into the cup and form brightly coloured streams. It is like witch’s cauldron full of toxic and radioactive sludge. Do you dare to drink something like this? Will it make your pee glow? What about eyes?

TEA TABLE LIGHT

One thing is for sure, if these tea bags become very common, it means dark clouds to the skies for tea table light manufacturers.

I can’t help smiling when looking at this novel design. Indeed, tea bag doesn’t have to look like “the tea bag”, and It can literally be any shape in your imagination, even better if you are able to put it into practice and make it into an interesting design item, like this one:

It’s not just design for design’s sake. As we tea-drinkers have all experienced: where to put the used teabag is sometimes problematic. I don’t know about you, but I myself often use tea bag more than once, therefore the idea of hanging teabag like hanging T-shirt on the rim of my cup is really intriguing! Although in practice it might apply better with taller cup than smaller one?

In any case, the hanger and tea-shirts look so cute that I am pretty interested in getting my hands on them. Just need to figure out how and from where. I will post more info here if I find them.

What do you think? Do you like this tea design? Would this be useful for you?

Designer: Soon Mo Kang

Information and image source from YANKO DESIGN

Tea Time's Sydney Hurstville Shop

As has written in this post, the most representative tea drinks in Taiwan – bubble tea (Pearl Milk Tea), has found its way to many Taiwanese people’s heart through years. Those like me who live abroad always can’t wait to get our hands on bubble tea as soon as arriving at our home land. During the past years bubble tea has started to be available also in some other countries such as US and Canada.

According to the CNA news in Taiwan, recently a Taiwanese tea chain – Tea Time, has successfully expandning in big scales to mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, USA, and Australia. Especially in Australia, six branch stores have opened in a short time span in responding to the demands and locals’ high interests in franchising this concept.

Tea Time has already opened seven branch stores in Hong Kong before 2010 and two new ones are opening this month. A briefing occasion for those who want to join the franchising plan is to be held in Hong Kong tomorrow, Jan. 9.

Honestly, the news surprises me and arouses my interests right away. I just briefly checked Tea Time’s website and noticed that there are eight Tea Time stores in Taipei city where I come from, though I have never heard of it before. Well indeed I only visit Taipei shortly each year, but while asking my friends randomly from Plurk (a social media network favored by many in Taiwan), not all of them know about this tea chain. Among those who have visited Tea Time, some do give good comments on certain particular drinks.

So why such an internationally “relatively well-known” Taiwanese tea chain is not especially heard of by many in Taiwan? (at least among my random Internet friends)

My guess is: there are already so many well-established tea chains in Taiwan, naturally Tea Time is not necessarily everybody’s favorites. The fierce competition in this field also make it harder for newer brand to stand out in people’s mind. (Tea Time’s brand history in nutshell: it is the 3rd generation store of its predecessor Cha-Tai house (since 2005) and is officially established in 2008 in Hsinchu instead of in Taipei)

Although not at the moment being the most popular tea chain n Taiwan, Tea Time seems to be doing extremely well in its international expansion plan. I am curious to follow its development on this aspect and for sure this will be one of the tea places I have to drop by in my next visit.

More info:

www.tea-time.com.tw (in Chinese)

WHY CEYLON TEA IS SO FAMOUS?

Sir Thomas Lipton is behind all that fuzz, which today surrounds tea that comes from Sri Lanka, and there’s an interesting story behind it.

A photo of Sir Thomas Lipton. It is difficult to see the man from behind that bush of a mustache, but unfortunately it is part of the style of Mr. Lipton. Must have been a fashionable style back then.

SIR THOMAS LIPTON

Mr. Lipton was a successful retailer and you can read more about the person at Wikipedia. He started with one grocery shop in 1871 and – eventually – was able to expand into a chain of about 400 shops with the help of aggressive advertising and low pricing. Year 1888 he decided to expand into tea and already the following year his organisation sold 4 million lbs of tea. A year later the amount had grown to 6 million lbs. Tea quickly became the most important sales article in his chain of grocery stores and transformed his business.

LIPTON SAILS TO THE CEYLON

In 1890 he traveled to Australia and on that trip he made a short stop at the island of Ceylon. One thing you need to know about Mr. Lipton is that he was all for cutting the middleman and selling directly to the consumers. This is the reason why he wasn’t entirely happy to buy tea only at London’s tea auctions. Anyway, let’s get back to the Ceylon.

Those days there had been similar financial crisis as we have now, so the asking price for tea plantations was right, and he ended up buying several tea plantations. His acquisitions tallied only up to 15% of total tea production on Ceylon, but his marketing engine took care of the image and everybody from Britain to the States thought that Mr. Lipton owns the whole island. Even today we think tea when we see the word Lipton.

I wrote about how Sri Lanka wants to benefit from their internationally recognized brand of Ceylon tea. Like most things in life this is not without contradiction. You see, Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association would like to have the right to import more tea to the island for blending and other processes that add value. Obviously

THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW – TEA PLANTERS

The other party would like to create a strong brand for Ceylon tea so that local tea plantations would have plenty of demand for their products. A big part of this brand is that the Ceylon tea is cultivated locally on the island and is not diluted with imported tea.

They already made it with used coffee grounds – bio-fuel on the cheap. Starbucks is hoping to turn a hefty profit from something that they used to treat as waste and cost. That would mean more money to company coffers and therefore less upward price pressure for the sold coffee.

Now we have a Pakistani scientist that invented some sort of nano catalysts, which do their magic and turn used tea into bio-diesel. That is seriously good news for big tea users, unfortunately big tea house chains are not as common as coffee chains therefore it will be more difficult to put this invention into real use, because I’m not going to start producing home-made bio-diesel. Anyway, calculating in all the prior accomplishments of green tea we can now safely say that tea is going to solve all the problems in the world.

In this post I introduced the winter’s “must-have-tea” – ginger tea for Chinese people, now I will introduce you another winter’s classic: Red Date & Longan tea.

As its name indicates, the basic ingredients are red date and longan, in addition Chinese often add other herbs in such as goji berries (Lycium Barbarum, goji is the way to pronounce it in Chinese) and astragali radix to enhance the effects. All ingredients have their different functions for maintaining health, but in general they help strengthening one’s Chi and make the blood circulation better.

Therefore, almost all Chinese women know that during the last part of their menstruation circle it is good to have some Red Date & Longan Tea with brown sugar, because it can smoothen the pain of menstruation and help the blood flow in a way that it doesn’t “stuck” inside. In other words, a healthy cycle help women get rid of waste in the body and Red Date & Longan Tea is helpful during the process.

Here you can see the ingredients in my kettle:

Red Date -The red big fruit-like ingredient

Goji berries – smaller ones from the kettle, orange colored berry

Astragali radix – the long-shaped one that looks a bit similar to ginseng

Longan – the black round dry fruit. From the picture you could see two longan.

Besides, I also added in some slices of gingers as well as brown sugar. As Finland is really cold now, -10 to -20 everyday, so I sort of cooked the Red Date & Longan tea and ginger tea together to keep myself warm and healthy.

The ingredients are very common for Chinese, but it could be a bit challenging to get it if there is no Chinese grocery stores nearby in your area. Let me list Chinese names of those ingredients here, which you can print it out and bring with you to stores in case you are in need of them. I don’t know how it is in the States or Canada where many Chinese reside, but in Finland, those ingredients are always big “puzzles” for many Finns. : )

Here you go:

First of all and most important of all, the Red Date & Longan tea in Chinese: (pronounced as guei-yuan-hong-zao-cha)

Longan in Chinese is: (pronounced as long-an)

You might have noticed, the characters of Longan look different from the name of the tea above, right? Actually, longan (龍眼) and guei-yuan (桂圓) refer to the same fruits. When guei-yuan has been dried up, we call it longan.

So, if you go to Chinese grocery store to buy ingredients for the tea, you should buy longan (龍眼) , but to name the tea, you should call it guei-yuan. : )

If you are enthusiastic to know all the ingredients in Chinese, here you go:

Guei-yuan in Chinese:

Goji berries in Chinese: (pronounced as goji)

Astragali radix in Chinese is: (pronounced as huang-qi)

Voila! Now you know one more “tea” Chinese drink for their health!

Want to know more health tip from Chinese wisdom? Subscribe this blog.

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Just a blog claim post, never mind nothing to see here.

Now there’s a challenge for cold Finnish winter conditions. However I am completely fascinated by the tea tree and that simply means one has to have a very own tea tree.

STARTING WITH SEEDS

Looks like starting from seeds seems to be the only choice for me as tea trees can’t be found from local shops not to mention tea tree seeds. I have to get the seeds from some online shop.

ONLINE SEEDS ARE HARD TO FIND

I found quite a few places that claim to sell tea tree seeds, but from a list of nine online shops only three actually had them in stock. None of those three places deliver to Europe, so I inquired this and now I’m waiting for the results. Hopefully I’ll get positive answers, but if not then I just have to spend more time looking for suppliers.

Under the organic label they sell the most peculiar beetle dung as tea. And people buy because someone told them that when it says organic it is healthier and tastier. Not so! Well at least not so with the taste. I’ve been drinking this organic green tea from Clipper and I can say that it tastes like dry grass. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for fair trade and all that but I so wish that they would get the tea from a tea plantation where they actually know something. OK, it’s not that bad, I’m still drinking it… or then I like beetle dung and dry grass.

Check out some SALES for the new store! Currently orders will be verified manually by email