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Flower Power: Blending Floral Teas

April 21st, 2016 by Eliot Jordan

Eliot Jordan tea-team

When thinking about adding flowers to teas made of Camellia sinensis leaves and herbal teas, several things come to mind. The aroma of a nice tea is pretty subtle, which is why some people like to flavor teas. Flowers as a group tend to communicate aroma and taste, but rarely in equal measure. Consider the rose, which contributes about 90% aroma and 10% taste. If you’re thinking of adding rose to a green tea, brew the green tea leaves and smell rose petals in your hand for a preview of what that blend will taste like. People don’t really like to drink just rose petals steeped—it tastes like rosewater and your palate wants more because there’s nothing to back up the aroma. Mandarin Rose brings together black tea with rose for a tea that has a bit of a feminine edge. It would make a wonderful afternoon tea party tea or as an iced tea for enjoying outdoors on a warm day.

Rose and jasmine are very flowery in the aroma department. Jasmine-scented green tea is normally given as a gift in parts of China around Chinese New Year in February. It’s really cold there and the idea behind this particular gift is that the scent of the tea captures the summer from the previous year and is a reminder of the coming spring when enjoyed during winter. In my mind, Organic Spring Jasmine is a tea I associate with drinking during the afternoon or with Chinese cuisine.

Hibiscus is on the opposite part of the spectrum than rose since it’s 10% aroma and 90% taste. You can a smell a cup of hibiscus and it’s subtle until you get it on the palate—it’s thick, dark, sour, and bittersweet. Hibiscus will radically change the taste, color, sweet-sour-bitter balance of a tea. Since rose and hibiscus are at opposite in aroma and taste, they could play well together. Hibiscus-based herbal teas are wonderful—I like the sourness, the red wine aspect of hibiscus. Wild Berry Hibiscus is the blend of ours with the most prominent hibiscus flavor. It’s great sweetened and drunk during winter. It makes a really good iced tea in the summer too as it turns into a refreshing drink in the way that cranberry juice is refreshing. Hibiscus, as a flavor, rejuvenates the palate and makes you salivate. To describe the taste of hibiscus, it would be in the center of a map of where cranberry juice, red wine, strawberry and cherry flavors intersect. It’s a flower that’s really fruity, and it tends not to play well with others – you wouldn’t want to add milk to a hibiscus tea, and it wouldn’t swap in for a good-with-milk-tea to serve with food, much like it’s rare to see red wine served with scones.

Other flowers like linden flower are sweet and rounded with body, making them interesting additions to tea even though those flowers are not as well known. Chrysanthemum blossoms make for a good anytime herbal tea. I can imagine drinking this infusion in the morning or evening, when it’s cold or hot outside. It’s very sturdy in that way and pairs well with lighter flavors of food or can be served by itself. Within China this herbal tea is very popular; it’s one of the classic herbal teas enjoyed within the country that created tea. You can also spike chrysanthemum with other ingredients, blending in mint, chamomile or if you’re feeling adventurous, another tea bag. Chrysanthemum gets used in blends a lot.

Blending flowers into herbal teas, it’s important to consider they have a different mouth structure—herbs are not astringent and tend to be softer on the palate. A successful herbal tea blend balances aroma and taste. Take pure chamomile. By itself, this flower has a sweet aroma and some body but it doesn’t have much structure on your palate. Just drinking good chamomile will exhibit apple-y, honey sweetness but a limited flavor range. One of our most popular herbal tea blends, Chamomile Citrus brings a complex flavor interest to the cup. It’s a brilliant blend with rosehips, lemon, orange, lemongrass, and a touch of mint to give the chamomile backbone and aromatic dimension. I can’t take any responsibility for this blend as it was a blend created by the founders of Mighty Leaf. Chamomile herbal tea is drunk whenever Peter Rabbit’s mother says you should drink it. Seriously though, with the word chamomile in the name of Chamomile Citrus, it has a soothing taste and effect. The citrus is more tart and I tend to think of this as a blend enjoyed in the afternoon or evening to be served by itself or with food.

A tea flower is another description for a blooming tea. Blooming teas are almost all green teas and resemble balls or cones of tea leaves tied together with a flower inside that blooms when you brew the tea. If you’ve heard them described as flowering teas or tea flowers, they’re actually known in the tea world as blooming teas or display teas. They’re meant to “display” themselves by unfurling from their original shape when placed in hot water. The teas as a group are very difficult to make since they’re totally handmade. They look fantastic. The rare thing is to find good tasting ones. I’ve seen some of these made in China—it takes so long to form them that the green tea leaf often suffers in the process. To make the large balls, they have to dry them so much to dry the center of the leaf. Mighty Leaf only has one blooming tea in our collection, 1000 Days Red Jasmine with a jasmine blossom that unfurls from the center as the tea steeps. We carry this blooming tea because the tea producer is able to manipulate the tea quickly to finish it or skillfully for a good tea. The blooming teas from Fujian and Anhui provinces are the best ones.

 

How to Video: Making Traditional Green Tea Matcha

April 1st, 2011 by admin

Making traditional matcha green tea is fun and easy. We are big fans of matcha, the premium Japanese powdered green tea that inspired the Japanese tea ceremony and provides the main ingredient in a variety of tea treats, including green tea lattes, smoothies and ice cream. Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, its complex and addictive flavor may quickly become a favorite of yours too. It also contains an amino acid, L-theanine, that is know to promote calm and a relaxed mind.

By using a tea bowl (“chawan”), bamboo tea scoop (“chashaku”) and bamboo whisk (“chasen”), you will be whipping up bowls of froty matcha in no time. Find your inner tea master and check out our video for more details.

Organic Earl Grey Named Best in Class

January 28th, 2011 by admin

Mighty Leaf’s Organic Earl Grey was recently selected by “Everyday with Rachel Ray” magazine to compete in its Black Tea Taste Test. The results were announced in the February 2011 issue and it named our Organic Earl Grey as the “Best Earl Grey”. One of our best sellers, this tea is known for its well balanced blend of organic black tea and citrusy bergamot.

The magazine said:

“Earl Grey (black tea flavored with bergamot citrus oil) can sometime taste bitter or astringent, but this brew is perfectly balanced. ’It has a smoky orange flavor–mmm,’ one panelist cooed as she savored this complex earthy blend. After taking a sip, another enthusiastic taste deemed it ‘pure perfection’. ”

Our Organic Earl Grey is perfect not only in the morning but throughout the day. A great alternative to coffee, it delivers an energetic boost with a unique depth of flavor and body. Organic Earl Grey 15 Count Tea Pouches are available in supermarkets and online. If you are interested in purchasing in bulk you can also find 100 Count Tea Pouches and loose tea options on our website.

Go ahead and introduce yourself to the “Earl” – we’d like to think that the original “Earl” would be proud to drink our version of this classic. Happy steeping!

Celebrate National Hot Tea Month with a Healthy Cup

January 12th, 2011 by admin

January is National Hot Tea Month. You may wonder why this month receives the honors? It’s a cold time of the year, and hot tea is perfect for not only warming up after shoveling some snow out of the driveway but helps fight flu and cold season. You probably already have your favorite teas that keep you toasty and in good spirits, but perhaps it’s time to kick of the new decade with something new and healthy. Freshening up what goes in your mug might just help you beat the winter blues.

Signature Biodegradable Tea Pouches:

Whether you are on the go or at home our Organic Detox Infusion Tea Pouches provides a refreshing and relaxing way to detox. With a unique list of ingredients including, mint, basil, licorice, burdock root and dandelion root this is a tasty blend that promotes calm, aids in digestion, and acts as an overall body tonic. For an energizing pick-me-up try Rainforest Mate Tea Pouches – a delicious and healthy blend of green yerba mate, rosehips, green anise, mint, licorice, cloves, apple pieces, cornflowers and marigold petals. Yerba mate may assist in curbing your appetite while providing a natural source of caffeinated energy.

Whole Leaf Loose Tea:

If you are looking to kick your coffee habit, rooibos (pronounced ROY-bos) or sometimes called Red Bush is an herbal plant grown in South Africa that provides an ideal caffeine-free alternative. Literally the national drink of South Africa, people have been drinking rooibos there for centuries and swear by its health benefits, including using it for nagging headaches, combatting allergies, insomnia and infants suffering from colic. High in antioxidants it’s also rich in vitamins and minerals. For a rich and flavorful introduction, try our Coco Chai Rooibos – a sweet and tasty blend of rooibos, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, red peppercorns and shredded coconut.

Another legendary herb known for its healing properties is tulsi or what in India and traditional Ayurvedic medicine is called “holy basil”. This Ayurvedic tea is thought to assist with promoting overall balance within the body including relieving stress, boosting immunity and supporting general well-being. As an introduction try Tulsi Rose – a unique well balanced blend of tulsi, coconut, rose petals, lemon myrtle, chamomile and stevia leaf

A Feel Good Bank Ad with Mighty Leaf

Mighty LeafOctober 1st, 2010 by Mighty Leaf

Nothing like a feel good banking ad to make you aspire to be more. We thought you might enjoy seeing a local ad that was produced by the Bank of Marin, our local bank, highlighting their relationship with our company. It provides a quick peek into Mighty Leaf and introduces you to our CEO, Gary Shinner. The Mighty Leaf footage was shot at our headquarters in San Rafael, California (about 20 minutes north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge).

Green Tea Ice Cream Sound Good?

Bliss DakeAugust 3rd, 2010 by Bliss Dake

Green tea ice cream is one of my favorites. Before I worked for Mighty Leaf, I always wondered how they made it so green and tasty. Matcha, a green tea powder made from ground Japanese premium green tea leaves, is the wonder ingredient. Rich in taste and flavor, Matcha is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make beverages like lattes, frappes and ice cream.  Some chefs  (more…)

Rooibos Renewal in South Africa

Bliss DakeJune 29th, 2010 by Bliss Dake

Soccer fans attending the World Cup 2010 in South African may be introduced for the first time to a comforting cup of Rooibos tea (pronounced ‘roy-bos’ – Afrikans for red bush). Grown only in the Cederberg mountains of South Africa’s Western Cape, a semi-desert like geography, Rooibos is a wild shrub or herb that is naturally green. But after a fermentation process involving oxidation similar to that of black tea, it develops a red color and rich flavor.  (more…)

Breakfast Tea: Jump Start Your Day

Bliss DakeMay 3rd, 2010 by Bliss Dake

Mornings are slow for me. Having two kids with a third on the way will do that to you. So I jump from bed to the kitchen, and fire up a cup of something black – a strong breakfast tea, perhaps a spicy chai or I will admit sometimes even coffee. You know the drill, I am not alone. Every day tea fans around the world tame their mornings and energize with tea rituals ranging from tea cups of English Breakfast with a spot of milk to mugs of earthy Rooibos. The question arises then as to what exactly constitutes a breakfast tea? (more…)

Lapsang What?

Bliss DakeMarch 18th, 2010 by Bliss Dake

Lapsang Souchong is either a love or hate thing for tea fans. A familiar refrain is that it’s like drinking a campfire. If Smokey the Bear had a favorite tea, perhaps this would be the one. With its famous smokey taste and aroma, Lapsang Souchong is produced in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian, China by smoking black tea in bamboo baskets over pine fires. (more…)

Flowering Tea: A Valentine’s Day Twist

Bliss DakeJanuary 19th, 2010 by Bliss Dake

Flowering tea, also commonly known as display tea, exhibits some of the best artisanship that China has to offer with hand-crafted tea leaves that unfurl and blossom into unique flower shapes. When steeped in a glass teapot, flowering teas look like something you would see in the movie Avatar on the planet of Pandora. (more…)