The joys of tagging or how global warming melts my tea blog

November 18th, 2013

Rachel of @iheartteas tagged me! Can you believe it? There I was happily minding my own business while lurkingly reading her post, and I saw it says “I tag @jackie.” What a blow to my blissful state of blog freeze. My own writings have been on ice for months. I got quite used to my posts being so unavailable. And then – wham – Rachel gives me a dose of global warming to melt even the iciest blog.  Sigh. Well, I guess the day had to come along sometime. So here goes. Thanks anyway Mrs C. because it is nice to write a new post:

1) First, let’s start with how you were introduced & fell in love with the wonderful beverage of tea.

I was introduced to tea when I was just a sweet, bouncing embryo. My mother has always been a tea drinker with never a shortage of tea in our house. More often than not it was loose leaf tea. Granted my mother also drank coffee but it is clear that I developed my aversion to the stuff while still in the womb.

2) What was the very first tea blend that you ever tried?

I can’t be sure because “first tea ever” was a very long time ago. Probably English Breakfast but mostly we drank Darjeeling, or Ceylon tea.

3) When did you start your tea blog & what was your hope for creating it?

I started this blog shortly after we created Tea Trade but then everyone else’s blogs take priority over mine. Also, there are other things that are more important than my scribbles.  For example world peace.  Or the meaning of life.  Or the shrinking number of penguins in the South Pole. While writing I’m not giving these very important issues any attention at all.

My hope for my blog was for it to be phenomenally successful without too much effort. I’m quite optimistic still.

4) List one thing most rewarding about your blog & one thing most discouraging.

Most rewarding? The happy feeling that I wrote something because (in theory) I love writing.

The most discouraging? Realizing that one good post requires another one, and then another, and so forth. And that’s when the whole peace and penguins issues arise, and the writing ceases.

5) What type of tea are you most likely to be caught sipping on?

8.9 times out of 10 it’s black loose leaf tea. With a very small amount of milk. And if I had my way it would be Vanilla tea every morning.

6) Favorite tea latte to indulge in?

Ugh. Shudder. I’m not even going to find out what that may be.

7) Favorite treat to pair with your tea?

My husband @peter. If he’s not available then a praline, or a cookie. Actually if I’m really lucky I get Pete and the chocolate. But the chocs do have to be good. None of that stuff that can be found in big colorful bags.

8) If there was one place in the World that you could explore the tea culture at, where would it be & why?

Perhaps Sri Lanka because my family once owned a tea plantation there. A long time ago, long before I was born, or even imagined. My sister traveled there and saw the old (and dilapidated) villa. I don’t know what happened to the plantation, or if it is still there now.

9) Any teatime rituals you have that you’d like to share?

Every morning I start my day with tea. Nothing really happens until I’ve had my first cup.  I wish I had a fully automated tea service right next to my bed. Well, one that isn’t sound asleep I mean. My morning cup is one of the things I look forward to when I go to bed at night.

10) Time of day you enjoy drinking tea the most: Morning, Noon, Night or Anytime?

Not anytime because I don’t want a cup of tea at 3:00 am. I guess anytime I’m awake comes close to it.

11) What’s one thing you wish for tea in the future?

To be so popular that I won’t ever have to bring my own tea to a friend’s house because they’ll have a fully stocked pantry of the finest leaves.

Who do you tag? @bram because I love his blog posts and he’s not on twitter, so doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves. Also @cazort because he always asks questions and prompts you to think.  And @happygaiwan because we miss having him on here while he’s getting himself yet another degree. And @amyoh because her San Fran Tea blog discovered so many new places we knew nothing about.

My fellow tea bloggers…

December 29th, 2012

I’ve been thinking about tea blogs recently, in part because some of my favorite bloggers aren’t saying much. Thankfully @thedevotea’s been keeping up with quirky posts to keep me entertained, @xavier wrote beautiful poetry, @thepurrfectcup’s having a giveaway and @liberteas and @azzrian  pen so many reviews there’s never a void in the stream.

Bloggers, don’t think because you’re not talking that readers don’t notice. We do. Apart from @gingkoseto and the boys (@lazyliteratus @lahikmajoe) I mentioned yesterday, I miss @happygaiwan and @malenkitea’s youngster observations and tea fun. Equally @bram and @jopj for cultured tea times. @vsopfables and @fragrantcup are much enjoyed and missed for their amusing (Vsop) and musing (fragrant) posts to read with cups of tea. I know @amyoh and will return to fill my knowledge gap of San Francisco tea. @iheartteas will pour her tea heart out soon enough, so we can share her up and downs. @supermoon10 will pick up his freezing pen all the way up north. @verity and @latteteadah I used to much enjoy your posts but it’s been so long, where are you fine ladies? @teapages and @teaformeplease your blogs aren’t Tea Trade originals but I miss seeing what you’re up to. Thankfully we have our Ladies Hangouts where we get to chat. @amazonv  only visits occasionally but when she does she hits hard with a whole bunch of reviews at once. Anyway, I am sure one day @teabytiffany will blog away on her site, @whatmyteasaystome and @tea-author will dive into theirs, @lochantea will include us all in tales of Indian tea and @hiphopteashop will arise from the sands of Brighton.

One day, right? In the meantime I must keep my own blog updated, encourage @peter to keep his up, tend to Tea Industry and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Tea. Perhaps that could be my New Year’s Resolution. I’ll drink to that. Cheers and tea love to all!


Holiday Cheer

December 1st, 2012

You know Christmas is a-coming soon when you get your first two Holiday cards in the mail. The first one is on our acting mantlepiece, a lovely display of affection sent by our local Hallmark store, the second one is still in its envelope. Where it shall remain for a while still. It’s from the paper-man complete with self addressed envelope inside. While I’m eager to display every holiday card sent to us, I’m in no rush with that one. If the only two greetings you have so far are from your card shop with coupon and your delivery agent reminding you to tip, then you’ll appreciate my next tips:

Pop that second card onto the shelf if the count is still low in two weeks time. Dig out some of last year’s unsent Santa greetings and add them to beef up the numbers. No-one will be the wiser. Which reminds me of the time when I received the exact same Christmas card from my friend two years in a row. How do I remember? It was Junior’s unmistakable Santa drawing that adorned the greetings.  Trust me I don’t forget a green, crooked Father Christmas when I see one.

If you’re in a pickle financially, or too worn out to hit the card stores again, help is once again at hand: in the form of last year’s gently loved greetings. The ones you received in the mail and stuffed into drawers afterwards. If you’re a firm believer in the value of recycling, you’re practically morally obliged to follow this recipe for Winter Wishes bliss. You will need:

10 used Christmas/Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa cards
1 ball point pen.

Open each card, cross out all names vigorously, substitute with new recipient’s name and sign. So easy. Bet you’re thinking “Why I didn’t I think of this“, right? To “Jackie” becomes to “Aunt Louisa” and from “Uncle Ben” becomes from “Yours Truly.” I actually tried this once with a birthday card playing a prank on a sweet friend. Thing is I used the exact card she had given me for my birthday. To my utter disappointment she didn’t even notice. What kind of good friend doesn’t remember what card she lovingly chose for me? That is sad is it not?

Either way, moving forward – I am writing this post because today things changed in our mailbox. Today marks the first day of the arrival of a real Holiday card. Not from a company, not from someone who has no clue who I am. It was from a very good tea friend and it truly made my day. There was a handwritten greeting and there was tea. Wonderful, special tea in pretty little packets. I have to say, I’m not even going to joke about re-using her card. We will treasure it as we treasure her, and it is already on the pretend mantle. Firmly in front of the “card store-with coupon” one.

Darjeeling tea, India & Hip Hop “Machas with Attitude”

October 18th, 2012

Yes, Tea Trade is a community of tea lovers, a social network for Camellia Sinensis fans. That doesn’t mean that everything here has to be about tea. However, since I love the leaves, many other things I think about, and enjoy, have a connection to tea. So while sipping on an excellent cup of Darjeeling, my thoughts turned to India. And music. I love listening to music, while writing or browsing the interwebs. I also like learning more about the cultures of the countries our tea comes from. Not just ancient Chinese traditions, but the modern ones each country has too. In my quest for tunes to entertain me, I searched for “modern Indian music.” That led me to a whole new world of music I knew little about. Here’s one find, a music video of a South Indian Hip Hop/rap/pop band from Bangalore. “Machas with Attitude” also known as MWA.

I didn’t know anything about India’s Hip Hop scene, let alone it’s underground one. I think these guys are pretty good actually. Not only musically talented but clever too. One of them is a researcher at The National Center for Biological Sciences. Apparently “Smokey” (left) might be getting a patent in Biotechnology. Great; bright and musical. Now let’s just hope these guys drink tea.

It’s a tea chair, not coffee!

October 15th, 2012

Here’s a nice chair to sit and drink your tea on. Billed “coffee chair” we all know that just panders to a presumed majority of hot drink sippers. For the rest of us (the chosen) it is a tea chair.

In answer to your question in the video blonde lady, I’d rather have tea with you than the coffee. To be even more precise I’d rather have tea with @peter actually, or any fine Tea Trader. I guess I feel you’re working for the other side.  By Korean designer Sunhan Kwon of Seoul.

Good bye summer, hello blog!

September 2nd, 2012

Well, summer isn’t officially over for a while still but it seems like it is, as soon as school starts up again. Life picks up pace everywhere except on the busy streets, where it’s back to the usual clogged road business, and travel never exceeds 4 miles an hour. With the weeks of relative leisure firmly behind me, it’s time to pick up the blogging again too. You think blogging is just for fun? It’s serious tea business my friends.

So here I am on Labor Day week-end pondering what to write about. I’ve had three cups of tea – deliciously creamy black Vanilla from Mariage Freres. Bought in Paris, sipped in America, perhaps it’s good supply isn’t endless. I’d be spending far too much time in the kitchen, idling over the pot and searching for more pralines to enjoy with the tea. While not the worst way to spend a morning, our site would take a dive, while I happily gobble up chocs. After brewing the morning’s pot, barely 25 leaves looked back up at me from the depth of the packet, signaling that the end is nigh.

Good bye Paris, good bye summer, hello blog.


Forum – let’s talk! Part 2

July 21st, 2012

In my last post “Forum let’s talk! Part 1” I highlighted our top ten most popular forum posts (although I didn’t research back to when the forum started.) Here’re in part 2 I’m recalling forum posts that didn’t make the top, but are much worth looking at. I’ve grouped them loosely by subject matter. Enjoy! And feel free to add your 2 cents to bring them back to life!

Image by Leafbox Tea/Tea Trade


A little fun humor on MarshallN’s blog started by @jackie

A royal cup of tea for 40 bucks started by @jackie

Bloggers must read started by @jackie

General chat:

How to clean a bamboo whisk started by @scottteaman

Writing tea blogs what’s the hardest part? started by @jackie

Tea stocks to keep in a salon started by @xavier

How to blend tea started by @peter

Breville One Touch started by @jackie

How to start a tea company, perhaps not? started by @peter

Recipes for baking with tea started by jackie

Tea tasting terms started by  @lahikmajoe

Seriously educational:

List of all Darjeeling tea estates started by @jackie

History of tea drinking in India started by @bram

How to grow tea started by @jopj

Young Hyson – originally Yu Qiang? started by @mbanu

Tea blending as a fine art (1896) started by @jackie

The book of Korean tea started by @jackie

Ceylon Greens started by @mbanu

Tea photography tips from Alex started by @jackie

Tea growing regions started by @jackie

 Tea celebrities talk:

Interview with Emeric Harney of Harney & Sons Teas started by @jackie

Interview with Stephen Twinings started by @jackie

Tea News:

New American tea growers on the horizon started by @mbanu

Tea abroad:

Tea in Norway started by @xavier

Tea Rooms in Edinburgh started by @jackie

Not just tea:

Video series: Learning Japanese from scratch started by @jackie

Marketing by masculizing the feminine started by @jackie