Join the party- Learn to cold brew iced tea

Summer time, mid-August, and the air is thick. Sitting still, and yet some how I’m sweating without any exertion.

The thought of having some refreshing iced tea is stimulating my taste buds, and my craving for something absolutely thirst quenching is consuming my mind.

da cha tea moroccan mint tea

Organic Moroccan Mint Tea

Home-made iced tea is what I really want. I’m wary of grabbing something super sweet off the shelf, that I’ll regret later after downing all that sugar (which is totally not on my diet.)  Also those ready to drink bottles of tea, actually have very little tea in them, just when I could use the boost.

Lucky for me I was clever enough ( based on self preservation of course ) to make the brilliant gesture the night before to put some organic loose tea in a pitcher, fill with cold water, and stick it in the refrigerator over night. I am a genius! 

Instantly I have the very drink of my hearts desire right in my hand. What could be more simple?

I have experimented with various cold brew iced teas, and I do have my favorites. Which I will be happy to share with you. Your own experimentation will reveal your best results, and perhaps you will have your own favorite cold brew blends too.

I’ve found Organic Moroccan Mint to become an excellent refreshment over night. The mint is refreshing, and the addition of green tea makes for the perfect bit of caffeine which helps to beat the heat.

Often I’m looking for a non-caffeinated refreshment, especially when I drink iced tea in the late afternoon or evening.   I make an herbal cold brew from Organic Abundance.

Da Cha Teas Abundance Ice Tea

Organic Abundance

Abundance is a cornucopia of natures bounty. The list of ingredients tells the story; made with Black Current leaves, Rose petals, Lavender flowers, Rose Hips, Citrus Peels, and Safflowers lavish with natural Black Currant flavor. Satisfying in it’s fruity and floral freshness.

Allow to cold brew in your refrigerator over night in cool water until it reaches a pretty rose color. 

My recommendations to you would not be complete without including –  My Favorite!

Plumbery Ice Tea Blend Exotic and refreshing

Plumberry Ice Tea Blend
Exotic and refreshing

Organic Plumberry Iced Tea blend.

Simply one of the most interesting tea flavors you can enjoy. I love the organic black tea leaves which are captured from ancient tea trees in the mountainous regions of Vietnam. The leaves have a unique malty flavor, deliciously combined with plum, and berry essence for a natural sweetness. This tea is profoundly refreshing, and satisfies the thirstiest of us on those days when hydration is critical.

Any of these teas and more (which I include here for your consideration) will vastly improve your summer, keeping you and your loved ones sufficiently hydrated and enjoying this magnificent summer weather.  see more iced teas 

da cha teas t sac

Available at Da Cha Teas

Remember cold brew is easy;  Use one well rounded teaspoon of tea for every glass in your pitcher. Fill your pitcher with drinking water from your regular drinking source. Cover the lid and let sit in your refrigerator over night. You’ll be so glad you did. Strain your tea leaves away in the morning and discard. It makes serving tea so much simpler all day long. Or to simplify use T-sac tea bags filled with your favorite loose leaf tea, and just discard the bags once the tea is brewed. 


Best Iced Tea recipes

organic ice tea

Organic Black Plumberry

Summer is here, and this year make your house ever ready with refreshing ice tea.

Here are two favorite and easy ice tea recipes.

Organic Rubeus Africana makes an excellent caffeine free iced tea.

Just brew your rooibos as usual, using hot water and make an ice tea base.

Use one teaspoon of tea to one glass.

Steep at least 5 minutes for fullness of flavor.

Strain into a pitcher.

Don’t be afraid to go crazy with adding fresh fruits, berries, peaches, lemon. Your fruity additions will add unique personality to your ice tea.(Strain and remove the fruits if keeping refrigerated for days.)

Rubeus Africana is already loaded with natural red raspberry tea, and natural raspberry essence. This Rooibos (roy-bos) blend makes the ideal iced tea, and is exceptionally refreshing, without caffeine.

Hands down the best ice tea you can make.     

herbal Ice tea

Refreshing Rubeus Africana ice tea

Start with a tea that already has lots of flavor.

We recommend Organic Plumberry Iced Tea blend. Plumberry is loaded with natural plum and berry flavors, with hibiscus and osmanthus flowers to bring complexity and refreshment.

Brew your tea as you would for a hot cup , but here’s a few essentials.

Use one teaspoon of iced tea blend for every glass you wish to make. (for a pitcher assume 6-8 glasses.)

Pour hot water over your teaspoons of tea, enough to cover the tea, allowing for enough additional liquid to sustain and develop the tea flavors, but not too much water to allow for faster cooling for iced tea.

Steep with a covered lid for 5 minutes.

Strain and discard the tea leaves and add lots of ice.

Organic Plumberry can be sweetened but many people like the refreshing taste on its own without additional sweeteners. If you want to sweeten your iced tea add it to the hot tea base before you strain or immediately after while the tea is still warm, to dissolve your sweetener throughout. ENJOY!


Tea steeped in tradition


chado1 In ancient days many a Chinese Scholar thrived off the inspiration and creativity unleashed while drinking tea, making it a standard daily practice.  Some scholars have attributed the act of drinking tea itself to “mindful contemplation” or Kensho. (Kenshō refers to the perception of the Buddha Nature or Emptiness.)   According to some  kenshō is a brief glimpse, much like a Zen moment or a perfect “Satori” breaking the trend of mind out of the ordinary.  Much of the Japanese practice of “Chado” or “way of tea” is epitomized in the simple ceremonial act of drinking tea, raising it to a fine art and to a more profound appreciation of ones impermanent condition, and the impermanence of all things.

” The art of tea drinking is a highly poetic and spiritual practice that leads intuitively to the recognition of reality as an intimate relationship with the practice of living” (Grand Master YeYoung).

pouring korean tea

Recently scientists have begun examining tea’s chemical structure, looking for scientific data to back up these metaphysical traditions. Researchers found that drinking 1-4 cups of tea throughout the day improves alertness, focus, and mental performance. These benefits are attributed to two chemicals – caffeine and l’theanine. Multiple studies have explored the effects of l’theanine and caffeine on the mind and body.

But what is l’theanine?

L’theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea leaves.Unisex_Meditation_Tea

According to, “People use L’theanine for treating anxiety and high blood pressure, for preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and for making cancer drugs more effective.”  L’theanine has been shown to increase alpha-wave activity, implying increased tranquility.

It would seem then that these traditional practices also find a basis in scientific facts.

In conclusion we appreciate that the daily tea drinking practice has been greatly beneficial for monks, scholars and lay persons for centuries. It is something well founded in the practices of “mindfulness” and as a scientifically based health practice.

Da Cha Teas celebrates the various traditions of tea appreciation. Whether you enjoy  green, black, white or oolong, all teas offer such great benefit. We hope you enjoy some tea today, and partake in this great tradition for clarity, peace of mind, and a simple moment of contemplation.

Tea Lovers and Natural Caffeine-Free alternatives

Drinking tea

Daily tea drinker

Caffeine has been part of my everyday life for  many years. I start my day with my favorite cup of organic loose leaf tea and  by mid day I reach for my best cup of organic white  or  green tea. I actually never considered alternatives to this daily routine, nor did I want to.  However recently a new health development has occurred for me in which dramatically reducing if not entirely eliminating caffeine is what the doctor ordered .

At first I thought this was dreadful news, but to my amazement, by giving it a try  I have discovered something new.

I went through the discomfort of a few days of headache which comes from detoxifying caffeine. I stayed with it and came out the other side to a newly discovered daily plan, and  one that has surprised me about how good I feel and how satisfied I feel in continuing my  favorite beverage “tea”.
Here are some of my secrets:
1. Any tea, black, white , green is dramatically reduced by 85% of its caffeine content simply by discarding its first steep. It is true that a great deal of caffeine in the teas first few minutes of a tea brew, is released.  I simply rinse the first brew allowing a minute or two to steep and then pour out.  Away goes the majority of caffeine and still leaving all the flavor and nutrients that I love in the leaf. This re-steeping works best with white and greens teas, although I have done experiments with black tea which taste just fine.
2. In praise of Decaf tea! I have been really enjoying a good quality decaf tea. Tea can become decaffeinated through the organic process of Co2 method of extracting caffeine from the tea. The taste remains wholly satisfying and yet I can really tell I am not receiving any significant caffeine.
3. Now if your diet or health plan calls for 100% no caffeine, then your best bet is to drink herbals and tisane. All decaf teas and even rinsing caffeine from the leaves still leaves a modicum of caffeine. I have become a convert to Rooibos teas.  Rooibos is not technically a tea and carries no caffeine.  The richness and full body of flavor really deliver.

Tisanes and herbal teas

tisane and herbal teas

4. Some of my new-found favorite teas are;  Da Cha Teas Two Scottie’s Royal Decaf Earl Grey. All the flavor of a delicious black tea but very little caffeine.  I have become a Rooibos tea lover. Da Cha Teas offers several different blends of rooibos, such as Rubeus Africana , Chocolate Cherry RooibosSugar Plum Spice, and others. All these exotic flavors keep me in good spirits through out the day and evening.

These alternatives make a very reasonable and sustainable way for me to still enjoy tea every day just as I have always done. I hope if you are looking for alternatives for whatever your reasons that I have helped show a few examples that work for me.

Happily Tea drinking once again.

by Pushkin Buntin – professional tea drinker and caffeine light weight


Chinese Oolong – the perfect winter tea

tea cup and holiday chocolatesWinter is an ideal time to enjoy oolong tea.  As winter and cold weather settles in so do we reach for richer foods, and warming comforts. Desserts and large meals, are good reasons to consider a little digestive support.

Oolong tea comes from the same plant as green and black tea. While black tea is fully oxidized or “fermented” and green tea is un-oxidized, Oolong tea is somewhere in between. It is this delicate balance which gives Oolong tea an amazing capacity to be supportive to the digestive system, and stomach.

Oolong tea has been being used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help aide digestion, and break down fats and oils from the body.  It has long been understood that Oolong tea works as a digestive, and is often served during and after meals.wuyi oolong

Da Cha Teas, Organic Oolongs are a dark long twisted leaf, of the Wuyi variety. Each tea yields full bodied, rich flavor with every cup.  A slightly woody  taste with roasted aroma, and nuances of  honey  and orchid essence fill out the body of these wonderful teas. Da Cha Teas Organic Phoenix Oolong and Organic Quilan Oolong  are outstanding in complexity and range of character.

Jasmine Scented Tea is not the same as Flavored tea

jasmine-flowersDuring China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the art of scenting tea with fresh flower blossoms became a delightful taste experience for the wealthy and elite.

Fragrances have always been valued in Chinese culture, so it was  special when a cleaver tea makers of the day began to add  Jasmine, Magnolia, Osmanthus, or Rose blossoms to tea.

Today the art of scenting continues, and the most popular of the scented teas is Jasmine.   Jasmine flowers are harvested in the afternoon and stored in a cool place until night.  During the night, the flowers bloom with full fragrance.  The flowers are layered over the tea leaves during the scenting process.  jasmine-teaThe quality of a  Jasmine tea is determined by the quality of green tea used as its base and the effectiveness of the scenting.

Fine skills are necessary to create these lovely teas and patience to allow for the natural scenting process to occur slowly and correctly.  Many hours and even days are required to fully develop the perfect scented tea.  Because the tea becomes infused with the scent of the jasmine flower, the blossoms are removed in the finished tea and then packaged for market.

This fine art of scenting a tea differs greatly from the flavoring of a tea.  Flavoring a tea is often done from fruit juices such as peach, or black current, or the much appreciated Italian Bergamot citrus fruit, which makes the very popular Earl Grey Blend.  Blends like Masala Chai are flavored from an array of spices, like cinnamon and cardamon, nutmeg and ginger.

The making of a flavored tea is also an ancient art, since the days of the Silk Road Tea Caravan’s tea was often flavored and even smoked as in the case of Lapsang Souchong to preserve its freshness for the long journeys.

When inhaling the perfume of a well prepared Jasmine Tea, such as Da Cha Teas Organic Jasmine Tea there is a relaxing moment of calm, as if luxuriating in a garden of fragrant Jasmine Blossoms.

Tea- A Gesture of Welcome

July+15Rome_Morocco_MintTeaCheers_MarsiaThomasAs the seasonal autumn weather is ushered in by the changes in temperature and falling leaves,  we welcome with renewed vigor the opportunity to enjoy the season with others and the age old practice of sharing a cup of tea. Many cultures throughout the world celebrate life by sharing tea. Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, are three countries which have many similarities with regards to their tea drinking habits.  Regarded as indispensable for welcoming visitors, tea is served as an essential gesture of welcome.

Japanese traditionally celebrate with an elaborate ritualized ceremony that elevate the tea, the server, and the recipient to heights of well considered grace and elegance. The Cha-no-yu or Japanese tea ceremony has fundamentals that lie in the humility of the guests geisha serving teaappreciation of the moment’s uniqueness in terms of time and place, also the appreciation of the art and simplicity of balance and form in the movement and objects.

Consider this humorous and cleaver bit from The Urban Shaman’ from C.E. Murphy – “In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine.  She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing.  Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting.  Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble.  Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.  In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.”

irish woman pouring teaOur own participation is critical to the alchemy and magic which is tea ceremony, however simple or elaborate. The magic happens when the participants are receptive to the tea with even a little bit of humility and gratitude.

Consider this lesson in tea etiquette –  a tea grower once invited Sen no Rikyu, the founder of the Japanese Way of Tea, to have tea.  He was overjoyed at Rikyu’s acceptance, and when Rikyu came for tea, the grower led him into the tea room and served Rikyu the tea himself.  However, in his excitement, his hand trembled, he dropped the tea scoop, and he knocked the tea whisk over. The other guests and students of Rikyu snickered at the tea grower’s performance, but Rikyu said, “It was the finest.” On the way home, one of the students asked Rikyu, “why were you so impressed by such a shameful performance?” Rikyu replied, “This man did not invite me with the idea of showing off his skill. indian vendorHe simply wanted to serve me tea with his whole heart. He devoted himself to completely making a bowl of tea for me, not worrying about errors. I was struck by that sincerity.”

Sen Rikyu, Master and Founder of the Way of Tea, immediately showed his appreciation not just for the tea, but the manner in which it was offered, with love and humility.  Tea it seems has been the age old excuse to share with our fellow man a moment of love, friendship and to make a peaceful  welcoming  gesture.  Serving tea opens the door for participation and reception of good will. Whatever your tea occasion this season, I hope you enjoy it with welcome, friendship, and a pinch of humility allowing for an appreciation of this moments gesture of goodwill.

In welcome – Da Cha Teas

English Breakfast the American Tea

English Breakfast Tea is “the classic tea” to enjoy at fine tea establishments as well as every day in your own home.   Tea Time

The practice of referring to such a blend as “English breakfast tea” appears to have originated not in England but America, as far back as Colonial times.

An additional account (referencing a period-era “Journal of Commerce” article) dates the blend to 1843 and a tea merchant named Richard Davies in New York City.

Davies, an English immigrant started with a base of Chinese Keemun Congou, and added a bit of Indian Orange Pekoe, and Chinese Pouchong. At the time it sold for 50 cents a pound as loose leaf, and it’s success led to variations of this blend, which helped  to popularize tea in America.

A true English Breakfast may vary depending on the brand, and flavor design.canapes

English Breakfast from Da Cha Teas is an all organic balanced blend of robust dark, fine quality Orange Pekoe, balanced with a lighter Indian black tea from South India.  At Da Cha Teas we also incorporate a deliciously unique black tea from Vietnam which is both sweet and malty, for that specific signature flavor, which is so pleasing and so important in a good breakfast blend. This then completes our flavor balance for the perfect English Breakfast Tea.

breakfast dish

Breakfast foods most often involve sweets, breads, eggs, and salty meats. The fantastic taste balance of breakfast foods, with their strong flavors, requires an aromatic black tea, with no bitterness but enough strong body to hold up to the flavor challenges of breakfast foods. This is what makes the chemistry of this breakfast blend work so well for so many generations.

English Breakfast also is perfectly suited for an afternoon tea to accompany light sandwiches or small taste delights. English breakfast stands well on its own without milk or sweetener.

Summer Cooling Tea

The recent soaring temperatures are a sure indicator that summer is in full swing!  Running for cover in your air-conditioned home will surely cool you off, but it won’t protect you from dehydration. The summer heat alone can easily strip us of much-needed hydration through excessive perspiration. Effects from dehydration can be severe.  For overall health, we need to drink plenty of fluid to replace any that is lost from sweating.

An excellent way to keep hydrated during these warm months is to keep a cold pitcher of iced tea always available.  
Iced Tea Tips:

It’s easy to make a pitcher of iced tea, in tandem with your morning tea or coffee. Just use the same kettle of hot water,  add to your iced tea blend and voila!

Strain as usual and keep chilled.

Add sweetener if you choose while the tea is brewing hot. The sweetener will melt and dissolve much easier when hot.

To avoid a sweetener try iced tea blends that have dried fruit and flowers, this will satisfy the sweetness while still refreshing you.

Want to avoid extra caffeine, try a loose leaf herbal blend same as you would brew regular iced tea, and drink it without worry by the gallons.

Here are some of my favorite summer blends, all fantastically refreshing iced teas, full-bodied flavor and strong enough to hold up to lots of ice.

Moroccan Mint

Rubeus Africana

After Moon Peaches

Shade Dried Tea Truly Something Special

White Peony Tea

Da Cha Organic White Peony Tea

Bai Mu Dan or Chinese White Peony Tea is a delicious and often under appreciated tea. My own love for this tea has moved me to share just a few of its many unique attributes.

This tea is sometimes referred to as “new style tea ” meaning a more recent invention for the greater production of White tea. Even so Bai Mu Dan has been made in this same fashion for over a hundred years. Still new, however,  when sized up against some centuries old teas.

Bai Mu Dan or Chinese White Peony Tea is a perfect example of tea that is a “pluck specificity”, meaning that Bai Mudan is made from a careful plucking of buds and first leaf together.  It is an early spring pick and so it has the signature downy covering on the buds.White-Tea-White-Peony-Pai-Mu-Tan5

Bai Mu Dan is essentially a shade dried tea, as is the traditional Silver Needle bud set tea.  A simple 3 step process is involved in manufacturing Bai Mu Dan tea. First is the outdoor whithering under shaded canopies, next air cooling and drying indoors, and finally a bake-drying, not firing is needed to thoroughly dry  any leaf moisture content. This final process happens quickly before the leaf  can undergo any enzymatic changes.

Because of the unique process of shade drying and air drying, Bai Mu Dan has a small percentage of oxidation. Just this little bit of oxidation gives Bai Mu Dan its particular lush, and full flavor. The result is a more concentrated flavor  than true bud set tea and one surprisingly reminiscent of full bodied oolongs. With a dark brown amber color, Bai Mu Dan is superb in its  mellow and smooth taste, with no astringency . 002_whitepeonyteabaimudan_liquor

Bai Mu Dan is a delight for all tea drinkers and not to be missed. I always prefer  teas to be organic whenever possible to make the entire experience one of good health, fullness of flavor and a celebration of the leaf and the bud.