An Introduction to Bone China

Bone China English Tea SetFirst introduced in England in 1800 by Josiah Spode, bone china is a type of fine china made from a mix of clay and bone ash. Its original formula contained 6 parts of bone ash, 4 parts of china stone, and 3.5 parts of china clay, also known as Kaolinite.

The differential between bone china and porcelain is primarily the mix of bone ash in its formula. Because of it, bone china is stronger than regular porcelain and its beautiful ivory-white is far more translucent than basic porcelain, allowing light to pass through it. Its ivory-white appearance is actually attributed to the bone ash.

Bone china grew as a popular alternative to traditional porcelain china in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because although it was delicate and beautiful, it was very strong. Common items made from bone china included teapots, vases and tableware.

An additional contributing factor to bone china’s growth in popularity is from its sturdy formula being less likely to be lost in fire since it does not contain any glass. Additionally, the firing temperature for bone china is much lower than porcelain so potters could easily…

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Time for Tea: The tradition of English tea time

History of English teaAfternoon tea is a long-time British tradition that is served with a small snack and a hot cup of the best English afternoon tea. It is known to have popularized in the 19th century by the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria, who complained of having a “sinking feeling” around 4PM in the afternoon. Since, at the time, it was common to only have two meals a day, the Duchess’ solution was to have an afternoon tea time accompanied by a small snack to reenergize her spirit. In time, the Duchess shared her new practice with friends by holding daily “tea time” at the Belvoir Castle and due to its great success; she continued this tradition when she returned to London. The refreshing practice soon spread across Britain and tea time became a formal occasion. Some of the most impressive tea receptions would host as many as 200 guests.

Originally during tea time, guests were served light snacks such bread and butter, but soon complimenting tea menus were developed. A traditional afternoon tea menu included a selection of small, cut up, “finger” sandwiches, freshly baked scones with creams and…

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The Secrets of Pu-erh Tea

Aged Puerh TeaPu-erh (or Puerh), also known as Polee, is a tea from the Yunnan province in the southwest of China. It is produced from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant that produces green, oolong and black teas. The tea is dark in color and has reddish black leaves that make it a heavy, thick tea with a strong, earthy aroma.

Different from other teas, pu-erh tea is post-fermented, this means it is both fermented and then goes through an aging process under high humidity. Pu-erh tea is either raw or ripened. Raw pu-erh, also known as green, goes through sun fixation, rolling and sun drying. Ripened pu-erh, or dark, goes through sun fixation, rolling, Wo Dui (piling, dampening and mixing the tea to ensure even fermentation) and sun drying. Added processes include both types being compressed or shaped, and aged.

Pu-erh tea is compressed/shaped in a variety of ways. One of these ways is known as toucha, which is compressed Yunnan maocha green tea. In its compressed state, it can further age as it is well known that the longer pu-erh…

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The Meaning behind Black Tea Suffixes

black tea suffixPerhaps one of the lesser known stages of black tea production is the final stage, where tea leaves are sorted and categorized based upon the leaf size and the part of the branch the tea leaf was obtained.

This information is then used to assign a black tea leaf into a category: whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings and dust. In the grading of black teas from India and Sri Lanka, grading is done based on the appearance of the leaves such as Golden (G), which describes the golden or silvery tips of some leaves and buds, Flowery (F), which describes a more open leaf resembling a flower, and Tippy (T), which describes the abundance of tips.  Orange Pekoe (OP) describes the youngest tea leaves, picked very closely to the end of the branch. These are whole leaf teas with no tippiness. An additional description may be added to describe the grade of the tea such as Fine (F) and Super Fine (SF). You may also see a number 1 or 2 appear to further designate a finer grade tea.

A summary of whole leaf tea…

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The Tea Experience Begins with a Teapot

teapot experienceEnjoying that perfect sip of tea whether it is green tea, black tea, white tea or any other kind, starts with the selection of your teapot. With the vast array of available teapots and designs, we may sometimes forget the importance of having the “right” teapot. So, what is the right teapot for you?

When researching the right teapot, aside from aesthetics of beautiful design, you may want to consider the size of the pot, the material (primarily seen in glass, ceramic or porcelain) and whether or not you will be using the teapot for brewing or simply serving the tea. The options we have today are derived from the incredible popularity that tea has received over the centuries as the tea experience spread from Asia to Europe and beyond.

The Ch’a Ching (or Tea Classic) is the earliest book on the subject of tea, appearing during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However the traditional method of making tea involved brewing tea leaves in open vessels and the first teapots, closely resembling wine-ewers, only made their appearance in the world in the 16th Century. Notably, the Yixing teapot was first produced during…

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Green Tea Powder Benefits

green tea powder benefitsOver the past decade, green tea has become a prominent ingredient to a healthier, more holistic lifestyle. With its ingredients such as antioxidants and polyphenols, research on green tea has shown health benefits in many areas including: high cholesterol, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and even diabetes. Additionally, polyphenols have been linked to playing a part in the killing and prevention of growing cancerous cells.

In recent years, many findings have linked green tea to everything from weight loss, by green tea’s ability to boost metabolism, to anti-aging skin care remedies, directly attributed to polyphenols, which repair damage and help with disease prevention. Ranging in boldness and flavor, green tea appeals to all different taste buds as well as all different body types.

Not sure where to start?  Try our Green Tea Sampler.

If you’re not a typical lover of green tea, the good news is that there are other alternatives to obtaining these same benefits.  Today you can find an assortment of green tea products on store shelves, from green tea flavored ice cream to green tea facial masks and beyond,…

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Benefits of Green Tea to Cure Ailments

benefits of green teaThere has been increasing attention to the benefits of green tea to cure ailments in recent years. Because of its antioxidant ingredients, green tea is thought to offer health benefits in many areas, from helping prevent heart disease, to its use in anti-aging skin care remedies. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage by fighting free radicals, and boosting our bodies’ natural immune function. This is likely to be an area of research that we will only see more of in years to come, in the realm of natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments.

Green tea is a healthful choice of hot drink if you are suffering from a cold or virus, offering more than just relief for your throat and sinus passages. With its immune boosting properties, it should help speed you back to health while providing the hydration your body needs, and helping prevent the development of other illnesses. The low level of caffeine means you can…

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Unit of Measurement & Conversion

Unit of Measurement and ConversionWeight
1 g = 0.03527 oz
1 kg = 2.2046 LBs

1 oz = 28.35 g
1 LB = 16 oz = 0.4536 kg

Capacity
1 ml = 0.034 fl oz
1 cup = 0.24 liter
1 gallon = 4 quart = 3.78 liter

1 fl oz = 29.57 ml
1 quart = 0.25 gallon
1 liter = 4.17 cup = 0.26412 gallon

Length
1 centimeter = 0.3937 inches
1 meter = 3.28083 feet
1 kilometer = 3281 feet = 0.6214 miles

1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 foot = 12 inches = 0.3048 meters
1 yard = 3 feet = 0.9144 meters
1 mile = 5280 feet
1 league = 3 miles

More information on tea.

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Tetsubin (Cast Iron Teapots)

Tetsubin Cast Iron TeapotTetsubin, or iron teapots, were originally used in the home to boil water. These tetsubins generally were not ornately decorated, as they were placed over a hearth to provide heat and humidity during cold weather. During the mid 19th century as infused tea drinking became more popular, tetsubin evolved from being a kitchen item to being a status symbol used to serve tea. Some of these tetsubin were even elaborately decorated with a high relief design or inlay of copper, gold, or silver.

To assure the longevity of your tetsubin please follow these basic guidelines:

  • Use the tetsubin to brew tea, not as a stove-top kettle. Do not leave tea standing in the tetsubin for long periods of time.
  • Do not scrub the tetsubin with abrasive pads or use harsh detergents.
  • Simply rinse it with water and wipe it dry after each use.
  • Do not expose the tetsubin to salt or oils.

In Japan, a natural mineral layer buildup from use is considered to be good for the health and…

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Iron Goddess Oolong – Ti Kwan Yin

Ti Kwan Yin Iron Goddess OolongIron Goddess is one of the most well-known oolong teas in China. Oolong tea is characterized by the semi-fermentation of the tealeaves. Iron Goddess differs from all other oolongs in that it is fermented longer and its leaves tend to be more spherical in shape. One intriguing aspect of this tea is its unique name. Such a beautiful name is the result of an old legend that explains the origin of this tea.

Legend of Iron Goddess:
Centuries ago there lived a poor farmer in the Fujian Province of China. He lived by a temple that was dedicated to the Iron Goddess of Mercy. The temple was in poor condition since it wasn’t kept by anyone for a long time. The farmer cleaned the temple and burned incense to honor the Goddess. Touched by the poor farmer’s devotion to her temple, the Iron Goddess appeared to him in a dream and told him to find a treasure left for him behind her temple. The farmer woke up and searched all…

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