Friday, January 04, 2013

Welcome to Hot Tea Month!

January is hot tea month! This month we will be featuring weekly teas as well as having workshops introducing tea and tea tasting on the 18th and 25th. To get the ball rolling here are some facts about tea:

All true teas come from the leaves of the same plant: camellia sinensis. What makes the difference between, say, black tea and green tea is the amount, and process in which they are fermented. The least processed and fermented tea is White tea, followed by Green, Oolong and finally Black tea which is the most processed. The amount of caffeine in the tea tends to follow this order as well, with white having the least amount of caffeine and black the most. Within each category of tea there are hundreds of different types and breeds like Darjeeling or Orange Pekoe for black teas, Sencha and Dragon-well for green etc. Here at the store, we try to use the best quality of each type for our base teas.

For those who want something that is naturally decaffeinated, there are two other categories of "teas." The first is an herbal tea or tisane, which is basically any blend of dried fruit, herbs or flowers that you would steep in hot water, like our Cranberry Apple herbal tisane. The other is made from Rooibos, sometimes called "red tea." Rooibos comes from an African bush and has many of the same health benefits as tea but is naturally non caffeinated (as opposed to decaffeinated teas which have the caffeine removed like decaf coffee). Rooibos has a tasty, woody flavor and makes an excellent base for herbal teas, especially for sleep aids.

One of the unique things about our tea selection here at Melange is that we also offer a variety of tea additives that you can use to make your very own blend of tea! Choose a base tea that you like and then add some herbs and spices blended to your liking; could be intended for specific magical or health purposes, or your simple enjoyment. Here at the store we have invented and collected quite a few recipes with our knowledge of herbalism. So here is a quick guide to some of the magical properties of our tea additives (according to the trusty Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs) to help you make your own unique tea for exactly the purpose you want!

  • Anise Seeds: Anise is good for protection, purification, and youth. It is associated with the planet Jupiter and the element of Air. Anise has been traditionally been used to ward off nightmares, drive off and protect from evil, and as a purification herb. Anise has also been used to help summon useful spirits and to restore lost youth.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is used for money, sleep, love and purification. It is associated with the Sun, and the element of water. Chamomile is used for gambling luck, to help induce sleep, to attract love and to remove curses and spells.
  • Chopped Chai: Chai is a mix of spices traditionally from India and boiled in milk. Because it is a mix of spices it has a lot of fiery aspects namely increasing energy, protection, and purification. 
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon  has many properties including spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection and love. This hot spice is unsurprisingly associated with the Sun and fire. Cinnamon has also traditionally been used by several cultures for offerings and anointing.
  • Ginger: Ginger is used for love, money success and power. It is associated with Mars and the element of fire. Eating (or in this case drinking) ginger is supposed to help lend power to spell working, particularly to love spells. Ginger is also used  for healing, which has a scientific basis: ginger has bacteria fighting capabilities and is used around the world by medical professionals and herbalists alike to help with nausea and upset stomachs. 
  • Honeybush: Honeybush is good for gentle cleaning, love and beauty, and protection.
  • Jasmine Buds: Jasmine's powers include those of love, money and prophetic dreams. It is highly associated with the moon and also with the element of water. Jasmine flowers are used to attract spiritual love and is also traditionally used to attract money. Jasmine causes prophetic dreams and is also used to induce sleep.
  • Lavender:  Lavender is traditionally used for many purposes: including for love, protection, sleep, chastity, longevity, purification and love. This cerebral herb is associated with Mercury and the element of air. The scent of lavender is said to attract men, and for this reason it is often used for love spells. Lavender is perhaps best known to induce sleep and peacefulness and is very effective aromatherapy for insomniacs. Lavender is also used to rid one of sorrow and also promotes long life, helps one see ghosts, is used for protection against the evil eye and for purification baths.
  • Lemon Balm: Ancient Romans thought lemon balm promoted healthy life. It is said to improve mood and mental performance and is traditionally used to bring a lover into one's life.
  • Orange Peel: Orange is used for love, divination, luck and money. It is associated with the sun and fire, probably largely due to its color. Dried orange peels are supposed to lead to wedded bliss as well as prosperity.
  • Peppermint: Peppermints powers include those of purification, sleep, love, healing and psychic powers. It is associated with the planet Mercury, the element of fire and the god Pluto. The scent of peppermint raises the energy and purifies a space. It also helps induce sleep and give prophetic dreams. It has also been used since ancient times for purification and to incite love.
  • Rose Buds and Petals: Rose is a favorite flower of magicians and is used for love, psychic powers, healing, love divination, luck and protection. It is associated with Venus, the planet of love, the element of water and host of gods and goddesses: Hathor, Hulda, Eros, Cupid, Demeter, Isis, Adonis, Harpocrates and Aurora. Rose is well known for its use in love potions. Rose is also used to relieve headaches, calm stress and relieve tension in the home. It can also be added to luck mixtures and is also used for protection.
  • Rosehip:Rose hip is the berry at the bottom of the rose flower and so it has many of the same properties and associations as rose petals. However rosehips are particularly associated with healing. Rose hips contain iron, calcium, and vitamines A, B, and C. One of the richest plant sources of vitamine C and is a powerful antioxidant. Rose hips are used to help prevent colds and the flu.
So now that you have some information, start dreaming up your own tea mixtures, write them down and bring in the recipe for us to make your tailor made tea!

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