Chinese New Year – Celebrations & TEA Traditions

chinese new Year

“Gung Hay Fat Choy.” Translation: “Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.”

The Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival commences from today. It brings forth the year of the majestic goat, promising prosperity and hope. It is the beautiful time of the year, when traditional customs are followed and lots of Tea related ceremonies are practised. Homes are purified and decorated with charms to invite fortune, gifts are exchanged, Tea ceremonies are carried out and evenings are welcomed with fireworks and lots of delicacies. It is a common practise to pay respect at the temples or shrines, which also sometimes hold festivals and dance performances.

Tea has been a great inspiration and my motivation for learning and appreciating the Chinese heritage, where it is respected as an elixir for spiritual consciousness. In China, the diversity of practises and rituals in context to Tea, performed during the new year festivities, varies from regions based on their own heritage and custom. A popular practise is of brewing the traditional Pu-erh (one of my favorite tea), Ti Kuan Yin Oolong or Black Tea, which is served to the eldest member of the family and on to the youngest. Choosing a fine variety of Tea is essential to the ritual. Prayers and blessings are passed down from the elders of the family to the youngest, with every cup of tea served. The Tray of Togetherness, also called the box of prosperity is served with Tea. This is a wonderful treat of assorted sweets and is customarily shared with family and friends present at the ceremony, to bring the sweetness in one`s life.

If one travels to Southern China, the ritual is conducted by offering three cups of tea. Each cup of tea holds a meaning in this ceremony. The first cup is a ‘Sweet Tea’, for sweetness in life during the year, brewed with crust glutinous rice and sugar.  The second cup is a ‘Smoked Bean Tea’, which brings harmony. It is a blend of tea leaves, smoked green beans, shredded carrot, orange peels, perilla seeds and sesame seeds. The last cup of Green Tea is offered after a meal and this concludes the Tea ceremony. The ceremonies are not simply customary traditions but also provide a sense of togetherness and veneration, of the rich heritage of the Chinese.

The Lantern festival draws the fifteen days of this grand Lunar new year festivities to an end, with sea of vibrant colorful lanterns, with messages or prayers of love, fortune and happiness for the heavens above. It is truly said, when a cup of tea is revered, brewed and shared with people, with lots of love, a huge ounce of hope and with a dollop of promises, it brings a sense of happiness and prosperity. I conclude my blog with wishing you all a very Happy Lunar New Year and may every cup of Tea bring you bliss and fortune.

REVIEW : Semi-Pearl Green TEA By Absolute Tea

tea review

About the tea – The dry leaf consists of medium sized semi- pearl, twisted leaves, which expand and unfurl into gorgeous tea leaves. The fragrance of the dried tea is earthy and comforting.

Infused tea – The tea cups out a champagne color liquor that has malty, nuanced and tannic aroma, like a fine second flush. The texture is smooth and mellow, with lighter mouthfeel and coppery after taste. The tea is medium-bodied with a moderate amount of astringency.

Infusion – Infuse the leaves for four to five minutes with 95 – 100 C water. You will get at least three infusions out of this tea. Each of the three steeps I had, was bright, engaging, perfectly smooth and well balanced.

Rating – 3.7/5

Website – http://www.absolutetea.in
Twitter – @TeaAbsolute

Special thanks to Jayant Jalan, 23 yrs old, founder of Absolute Tea, for a wonderful evening of tea tasting.

RECIPE – Tea Sangria, Summer Party Special!

tea Sangria, tea recipe

“Drinking tea with a pinch of imagination!” – 50 Ways to Drink Tea

This is one of my favorite tea recipes for summer- it’s my refreshing Spice Tea Sangria. It has beautiful notes of many flavors of herbs, fruits and cinnamon, with refreshing and citrousy aftertaste.

KEY INGREDIENTS
3 Tbsp Black Tea (Black tea is preferred in infusions, as it goes well with strong flavors of fruits and spices)
2 Cinnamon sticks
3 Sliced Oranges
1 cup Sliced Peaches
1 cup Sliced Strawberries
3 Sliced Lemons
Mint leaves
Organic Sugar
Red Wine (Optional)

PREPARATION
In a teapot or jar, add tea leaves to pre-boiled water and steep for 4 minutes. Strain out leaves and let tea cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Top it with lots of mint leaves. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Makes 5 to 6 servings. Also, you can use oolong tea instead of black tea, if desired. Choose a lightly oxidized/fermented oolong to complement the sangria’s fruity, spicy flavors.

BEST ENJOYED
Summer parties along with summer dresses, with good music and company. It’s simple and perfect for moments when you want to surprise someone, give them some tea inspiration or just party away the summer!

Tilting Tea Cup For Easy And Perfect Brewing

“Even a unapologetic three-cups-of coffee-a-day person can appreciate this clever teacup.” – Fast Company

Do you want a perfect cup of brewed tea? Well, then this simple and perfectly designed Tilting Tea Cup is a must-have if you are a tea lover like me and like your tea as perfect as it should be. Designed by Finnish designers, Laura Bougdanos and Vesa Jaasko, for Magisso, this cup makes for an easy 2-step brewing process. The cup is divided into two compartments and lets you adjust the strength of your tea without making any mess. The unique triangular bottom allows it to rest in two different positions. Tilt the cup one way for brewing, then the other way to strain and drink your tealicious cup. Tea leaves can be reused and this beautiful design lets you make your another cup with the desired strength and flavor.

Brilliant design and functionality! What more can you ask from your tea cup?

My famous Rose Cardamom TEA Recipe For Chaayos Cafe

chaayos tea

My special Rose and Cardamom TEA, available at all Chaayos outlets.

This is one of my favorite tea recipes and is very special to me. You’ll enjoy making it as much as you’ll savor sipping it. It’s completely tealicious. You can make it yourself and if you are in Delhi, you can also go to one of the Chaayos tea café outlets and enjoy my aromatic cuppa there.

KEY INGREDIENTS
Black Tea/Green Tea
Cardamom
Edible Rose Water
Organic Sugar

PREPARATION
Depending on the servings, add crushed cardamom to boiling water (1 cardamom pod per cup). Then add organic tea to pre-boiled water and let it brew. Strain and serve it in your cup. Now, add edible rose water to your tea (2 tsp/cup) and stir it up. Add sugar as per taste. If you don’t find edible rose water in the market, no problem. You can make it right in your kitchen. I’ll blog about it soon.

BEST ENJOYED
On a day, when you want to escape to planet RELAX. This is a harmony tea tonic.