Matcha has been getting a lot of press lately. It’s been around for thousands of years in Japan. Matcha is the made from the entire tea leaf and steamed, stemmed and de-veined before being stone-ground into very fine powder. Using a very small amount of powder, it is whisked in a bowl and then drunk. It is loaded with nutritional benefits. It is often quoted that one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidants. About a year ago, we decided to offer it in 2 oz. packed canisters for ease of use. Our wholesale customers order Matcha in 1 lb. lots. Here are the benefits of Matcha:
- High in Antioxidants
- Enhances Calm
- Boosts Memory and Concentration
- Increases Energy levels and Endurance
- Burns Calories
- Deotxifies the Body
- Strengthens the Immune System
- Improves Cholesterol
RARE SILVER TIPS IMPERIAL
Just before the summer solstice this year, on the full moon night of June 13, from a minute past midnight to 3 am, specially trained women plucked the two leaves and a bud by the light of hand-held tallow torches at Makaibari Estates in Darjeeling. The plucking time of 2 hours, 59 minutes was fixed after intensive study of the biodynamic calendar and precise astronomical charts. Rajah Banerjee, Chairman of Makaibari, explained that during the full moon, water content in all life forms decreases. ”What you have in the tender tea leaves and bud is the disitilled essence of the plant with all its subtle flavours and characters”. A very small amount of limited reserve Silver Tips Imperial was produced and acquired by only 3 buyers in the world in the UK, Japan and by us here. The sale was covered by the local and international press for being the highest priced tea sold out of India.
We are proud to offer this remarkable, limited edition tea in 1 oz. lots. Each ounce is in a specially packed canister with a card that explains the background and cites the lot number for this tea – DJ 158/14. It is exclusive and has faint notes of peach and steeps a light cup. A special batch of 420 jars of 12 gms. each is being offered in the UK with the name Moonlight Silver Tips and Japan just launched it at the prestigious Biofach Trade Show in late November. Its properties were considered so beneficial that a sought-after cosmetics designer in Japan created an anti-aging serum using Makaibari Silver Tips Imperial. The tea is certified Organic, Biodynamic and Fair Trade. Celebrate the best of Makaibari!
Just about every tourist takes a picture of a chaiwallah expertly mixing milk into an aluminum tea kettle, sitting cross-legged in a tea stall
Everyone knows Chai – the spicy, sweet, milky tea drink that is served everywhere. What may not be so well known is that it originated in India and is ubiquitous. The word “Chai” (the ‘ch is pronounced like ‘chair’) means Tea in India. The connotation here is definitely that of a Spiced Drink, not just a regular cup of Tea. In India, that spiced drink would always be referred to as Masala Chai. Masala = spice. Chai = tea. There are as many types of Masala Chai in India as there are families. It began with a single clove or green cardamom or a stick of cinnamon being thrown into a cup of tea. The base was almost always tea that had milk and sugar already added to it.
There are 3 separate tea traditions in India:
- A regular cup of Chai (tea) hawked by chaiwallahs or vendors everywhere – at every shop, railway station, office and corner. This was borne out of necessity to take into account the need for a popular beverage without the readily available modern amenities of running water, refrigeration or sanitation. And tea is served and consumed everywhere, all day long. The solution was simple – boil water, milk and sugar along with tea and serve it in clay cups that could be tossed after each use. This is everyman’s drink and till today, found everywhere you go across the expanse of India.
- Masala Chai which is extremely popular in specific parts of India – particularly the South and West. Simplicity and taste were the only requirements for masala chai. The most popular spice additions were green cardamom or cinnamon. A slice of ginger or bit of anise seed could also be used. Again, the base is almost always water, milk and sugar boiled together to make a rich, creamy, delicious taste to which spice had been added. There is nothing high-end or fancy about this Chai and yet it is served here for $6 and $8/glass!
- Darjeeling and premium teas served in a Teapot along with milk and sugar to be added to taste. This is still the tea of choice in most of Bengal or Assam, and at all the fancy hotels and establishments all across India and the tea I grew up with.
Chai in the U.S. can be found in most tea establishments and in every Indian or Asian grocery store. Like coffee, the selections cater to everyone’s taste and degree of convenience. Chai can be found in instant pre-mixed powders, in teabags and in loose leaf forms. In most coffee shops which can be credited to have popularized the Chai Latte, the beverage is too watery and too sweet with not enough of the underlying tea/spice to be noticeable. Or if it is, it is achieved via a syrup or mix. The taste is more authentic with a pre-mixed powder but the result is truly superior with Loose Leaf Tea blended with Chai spices. The secret to a great cup of Chai is to use enough Chai and get the proportion of water to milk right – a watery, sweet cup of Chai is not the aim – a creamy, well-balanced cup of tea with a nice spice note is the prize. You can make your own but be sure to use a robust tea that has a good color to the liquor and will not be overpowered by the spices and can tolerate a good amount of milk. Assam is the best choice with BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe – a broken leaf tea) and CTC (Crush, Tear, and Curl) types being the recommended grades.
To offer a wide choice to our customers, we have 5 Chai’s on our Tea Menu and a holiday Cha Cha Chai gift box:
- Chai, the Original Blend: This is the Chai blend most familiar to customers – a rich taste of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom with a touch of vanilla to enhance the creaminess.
- Choco Chai: Here’s something fun – we added chocolate chips and chocolate flavor to make this indulgent. When steeped, we add a generous dash of Chocolate Syrup which melts instantly in the hot beverage.
- Temple Chai: Clean & fragrant – served in temples and festivals all across India – we’ve kept only the fragrance of the green cardamom – no cinnamon or ginger. This is refreshing and delicious hot or iced.
- Herbal Chai: All the taste of our Original Blend Chai with none of the caffeine. We’ve replicated the blend on a rooibos base.
- Chai Zing: A tangy, refreshing addition to the Chai line. Also non-caffeinated, this is Rooibos with ginger, cinnamon and lemongrass.
Variations are endless:
- Add pumpkin puree to make Pumpkin Chai.
- Add Fennel seeds to make Fennel Chai.
- Add Coconut flavoring and coconut shreds to made Coconut Chai.
- Add Black Pepper to give it that extra kick.
- Add ice cream to iced Chai make it a Chai Float.
However you make it, Chai is a delicious indulgence on any day. Add some spice to your life.
Fresh Cup Magazine is the premier publication for the Tea/Coffee industry and each year they feature one person in the business for their December Tea Almanac issue. This year, we got the honor – read more about it here.
For consumers, our site is www.silvertipstea.com
For businesses, our site is www.ecoprimatea.com.