REVIEW – Arya Tara Wonder by Himcoop Nepal

rangsaa tea reviewDescription of tea
The dry tea consists of slightly rolled leaves with scattered downy tips. The ample splashes of fresh green and brown leaves, add color and elegance. Aroma is impressive – strong, grassy, herbal with sweet notes.

Infused Tea/Unique Characteristics
The leaves brew a pale-golden color liquor with an amber hue. Aroma is foresty. The flavor is crisp, clean, complex and engaging. The top notes are predominantly grassy, floral, woody and grainy. Vegetal, muscatel and unique undertones, like the taste of crispy burnt ends of a cookie, build in the back of the mouth. Something is special about this one! Texture is thick/cloudy and has a wonderful buttery mouthfeel. The finish is more tannic than astringent, and has the expected high-mountain black tea’s ever-so-classic dryness and lingering aftertaste.

Infusion
I brewed 4 tsp of tea leaves in a 500ml glass teapot for 5 mins. Preferred water temperature was around 90C. The lighter-toned fresh-green wet leaves reflect the quality and delicate nature of the tea. There are a lot of flavors and character in the infusion, but I feel this tea’s winning trait is its new-wood freshness. I refilled my teapot once and a cup after 8 minutes was refined, balanced and totally enjoyable!

Arya Tara Wonder is a tea that reflects the skill of its grower. It’s a delicate, fine black tea that would give you the love of both white and green tea. Personally, as a wine lover and a fan of praiseworthy high-mountain first flush teas, I recommend this tea for its intricate personality and beautiful palate experience.

Flush – First/Spring 2018
Region – Arya Tara tea garden
Website – Himcoop Nepal

REVIEW – Ceylon Silver Tips by Premier Pearl Tea

base review XDescription of tea
The dry tea is stunning  – unbroken, downy silver and grey needles, with young fresh-green hue. Aroma is an intriguing mix of sweet, earthy and toasty notes. Shape and texture are beautiful and inviting. Buds taste pure and natural.

Infused Tea/Unique Characteristics
The tea brews a mild pale-yellow liquor that’s delicate, clear and bright. Aroma is rich and has a woodland feel. Taste is endearing with vivid but gentle notes.  The top vegetal, toasty flavors, with faint melony and malty undertones, commingle with brilliant grassy, mild-floral, hay-like sweetness. Infusion feels thick in the mouth but doesn’t settle heavily. It coats the mouth effortlessly and has a dry, tannic mouthfeel and a lingering aftertaste – like a white wine.

Infusion
I steeped 1 1/2 tsp of tea in 250 ml glass of pre-boiled water (85C) for 5 mins. After the first steeping, the needles are unfettered. The first infusion is soft, subtle, foresty with exquisite complexity. I chose to steep my second infusion for a longer time and at 10 mins I was stunned with it’s changed personality. The hidden woodsy-nutty characters were at the forefront. The infusion was fuller, rounder and had more depth. I definitely recommend brewing this tea for a longer time, for its eminent flavors to completely bloom and heighten.

I like adventurous teas and this one is fun. From the color of the liquor, the tea seems exceedingly gentle but it’s flavor experiences surprised me. I initially chose to brew my first sample for 3 mins. It was almost colorless yet flavorful. This one is a keeper. It’s personal, quietening and stress relieving. And I feel it will be instantly liked by anyone who has a special heart for delicate teas.

Website – premierpearltea.com

RANGSAA TALK – Marathi Literature Festival

I recently got invited to be a part of the panel at India’s first Marathi Literature Festival organised by Dainik Bhaskar Group in Nasik. The theme of the event was “From Tapri to Cafes: Exciting Days Ahead”.

It was an honour to join the fellow panellist Ankit Bohra, founder of Tapri Cafe in Jaipur and Priya Kapoor, founder of Roli Books Publication and CMYK stores. While Ankit represented the love for traditional chai in India and Priya highlighted the growing trend of cafes in bookstores, Rangsaa was there to introduce people to the new culture of tea and the Global Tea Movement that we have initiated.

It was a great opportunity for me to speak about our incredible Rangsaa journey. I was deeply humbled and honoured to share my knowledge, insights…and of course love for tea in the company of esteemed authors, writers, creatives and visionaries. The hospitality and kindness of people in Maharashtra always fills my heart. And I thank Dainik Bhaskar group with all my heart for this opportunity.

INTERVIEW – In Conversation with Carne Griffiths

Carne Griffiths InterviewInfusing the beautiful colours of various teas in his artwork, Carne Griffiths, a UK based Artist, swaps paint for a cuppa to create intriguing portraits, working primarily with tea, vodka, whisky, brandy and calligraphy ink.

Carne’s approach to painting, which often includes drawings of faces that break down at the edges into floral motifs and exuberant painterly marks and stains, has captivated viewers globally, with his work being exhibited from Milan to Hong Kong, as well as at The Royal Academy in London. Griffiths’ celebrity subjects include Heidi Klum and Kate Beckinsale, and his illustrations of Donald Sutherland and Jesse Eisenberg can be found in recent editions of The New York Observer.

In an exclusive conversation with LoveforTea, Carne takes out some time during his recent solo exhibition at Westbank Gallery in London, and shares his inspiration and vision behind his emotionally-driven work and why he adores painting with tea.

1. Carne, you paint with tea, ink, alcohol, gold leaf powder and diamond dust. How did such unique elements land in your work and how did it all begin? 
CG: Alcohol was the first unusual material to appear in my work, and it appeared merely by having a drink of brandy nearby – sometimes when I am working I do so in a very chaotic way so if there is something nearby that can be used to create I will use it. The water I was using was dirty so I used the brandy instead – not quite an accident but utilising something as a replacement.  The brandy had a very subtle but interesting effect on the work – so I decided to pursue it further but using a non-alcoholic alternative – and tea seemed to be the ideal way to reproduce the colour.

This led to the exploration of using different teas, different hues and colours and also different strengths.  It had the effect of providing an earthy palette to my work and I was able to build confidence using colour – I liked its chaotic nature and the way it could be steered around the page gradually becoming darker in tone as it dried. Tea became a key component in my work and certainly helped in raising awareness of my work as it created an unusual story.

2. What types of tea do you use in your work and which are your personal favorite?
CG: Early work focussed on using chai and jasmine teas – I worked mainly with Twinings but every time I travelled I would collect unusual teas – basil tea from India – different chais, wrapped teas and loose leaf teas, herbal teas such as sage and rose hip teas both from turkey – it was interesting to see the subtle differences in each and also – various teas would change dramatically in colour as they dried.

3. Which are your favourite teas and the time of the day you enjoy drinking them?
CG: I mainly drink the teas as I am using them but as I leave the teas to steep indefinitely they become bitter, as a side I normally have a cup of builders tea to hand! My favourite summer tea is Jasmine and it’s also a fine tea for painting – it has a honey like colour on the page and can give very subtle effects.  It also combines really well with turquoise inks to form a palette of blues and greens.

4. Your portraits are an amalgamation of different elements and art forms. How do you approach the blank canvas?
CG: I approach each piece of work with a very open mind – quite often the particular theme or collection of elements evolves slowly through the process of creating – I begin with a sketch which will form the basis for the composition but then the process involves layering marks and then building up and destroying areas using the hot teas or sometimes just plain boiling liquids.

5. Tell us about your ongoing solo exhibition at Westbank Gallery.
CG:
My solo opened on the 8th of June and will run until the 14th – it is a collection of works on paper using teas and inks but also a small collection of newer works on canvas.  I want to try and develop my style of painting to using a more versatile media – teas and inks work very well on paper, I use them almost exclusively on bockingford watercolour paper from St Cuthbert’s mill which I always stretch before working – this helps to keep the surface flat and prevents pooling of liquids in areas you wouldn’t want.

6. How has your work matured over the years as an artist?
CG: My work evolves very slowly and subtly – as an artist I have found that interesting projects will steer the direction of the work and force you to think how you can combine your main message with the subject of say a group exhibition.  I also work as an illustrator and with some brands through my agency Beautiful Crime, these projects bring new elements into the work and often result in changes to the overall style.  I have a passion for detailed observational drawing but I also have a passion for the abstract and the act of automatic drawing or drawing from the subconscious – I try to fuse these two areas in my work as it keeps me interested and excited about the subject.

7. Which are your favourite works from your journey so far?
CG:
I always find it difficult to select favourites but there are pieces of my work which have been key to progressing a style, the early piece Rose, was the one that defined my work as a combination of nature and portraiture, then there was the piece Strength which broke boundaries with colour and gave me a real platform to showing my work.  Following this was a piece from a triptych series called Eleven, that series had a lot of meaning for me – it was based around numerology and was created at a real junction in my life.

8. Is there an artist you admire. Tell us who and why?
CG: I spent my college years working alongside artist Dan Baldwin, when we went our different ways after college I worked the 9-5 but he painted constantly and now is established as one of the most exciting contemporary artists of today.  I always admired his drive and energy – there was barely a time when he was not an artist and I think this sort of drive and creativity are what result in a truly authentic creative.

9. How is your ideal day when you are not painting?
CG: I enjoy spending time in nature, cycling or even just in the garden – it’s small observations about the natural world that influence the work and it’s the main message in my work – returning the importance to the natural world.

Carne’s entire gallery can be seen on his website and Behance.

TEA REVIEW – Instant Green Tea by Instant Teas

Review Instant teasInstant powder – It’s mustard yellow in color and consists of fine, crystallised, non-edgy, silky granules. Aroma is mild – somewhat grassy and wet-wood like.

Infused tea/Unique characteristics – The powder dissolves in water in few seconds, into deep golden-champagne color liquor. Aroma is meekly grainy, musty and hay-like. First sip, and it’s a surprise! On the palate, the taste is nutty, with bold tannic sweetness on the forefront, followed by vegetal undertones. Together, with slight astringency, the flavors compliment the dry mouthfeel and crisp aftertaste.

Infusion – 200 ml pre-boiled water at 85C was added to about 1 gm (generous 1/4th tsp) of instant green tea. The mix dissolved in water within 5 seconds stir. There was no residue build-up in the end. This tea is pleasant, experimental and versatile. I highly recommend it as iced.

Instant green tea will surprise anyone with it’s tea experience. It’s not the usual tea leaf powder mix but 100% natural extract of pure brewed tea, without any chemicals and additives. I am not one for instant teas, but this product has impressed me. The palate experience is an innovation in tea and I believe, whether it’s hot summer afternoon, rainy day or a stormy night – this tea will refresh and satisfy!

Website: www.instantteas.com
Twitter: @InstantTeas
Rating: 4/5

Valentine’s Special – Rangsaa’s 10 Tips To Embrace Life With Tea

Get your adrenaline shooting. Shake up. Get up. Make a cup of tea. Relax. Keep walking. Set goals. Live life. Smile often. Laugh loud. Love yourself. Love more. Eat nutritious food. Stay hydrated. Drink more tea. Listen to more music and less advise. And lastly – Never give up on love. Find love in whatever and whomever you can. Find love in people, moments, places, work and things. Love is the essence of everything. It is the core of our existence and the most beautiful element in our lives. It is the ultimate path to inner peace.

Let tea make your journey better. Let it remind you that real love is pure and special. Bring more colors, flavors and aroma in your life. Wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Live well. Drink well. Be well.