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Go Organic!

We’ve heard it a thousand times before “read the labels”, but who needs to read the labels on tea? YOU DO.

I recently started working with a chain of café’s in Montreal who requested a signature blend.  Absolutely!  I love creative challenges… what kind of flavors were they drawn to?  After doing a bit of exploration, they came back to me with a tea they found online and I admit the description excited my senses’s as well:   “Journey to India and take in all its exotic pleasures with this modern twist on a sweet and spicy classic. High quality white tea combines with cinnamon, coconut, pineapple, ginger, cardamom, and …”.

What took all the fun away for me was the use of non-organic ingredients, artificial flavorings, and to top it off, the addition of sugar.   Ingredients: White tea, cinnamon, lemongrass, candied pineapple pieces (pineapple, sugar), coconut chips (coconut, coconut fat, sugar), ginger pieces, cloves, artificial flavoring, bruised black pepper, cardamom.

In a recent Tea article featured on CBC, Pesticide traces in some tea exceeds allowable limits, Environmental lawyer David Boyd quoted “The whole point of pesticides is that they’re chemically and biologically active in parts per million or parts per billion,” Boyd says. “Pesticides can have adverse effects at what are seemingly very small concentrations.”

In an interview with Marketplace, James O’Young, vice president of Uncle Lee’s Legends of China — whose green tea had the highest number of pesticides in the brands tested — said that pesticides are a reality of the tea industry. “If you drink tea, regular (non-organic) tea, I don’t care it’s what brand is that, the fact of life, this agricultural product does have pesticides,” he says.

CBC tested some of  Canada’s most popular brands, full test results can be found here.

One of A Kind Show Update:

I regret to say that we won’t make it this year…  I’m taking a step back from my bi-annual flight across Canada until my little bella (turning 1 years old on March 25) is a little bigger ;).  We are so grateful for our One of A Kind family supporting us through the past 5 years…it has been an amazing learning/growing experience that has made Natur’el Tea what it is today.  Please keep enjoying our fabulous Organic Tea,  our passion is creating quality & simplicity- we won’t let you down!

*Visit NaturelTea.ca & Take advantage of our Free Shipping code to re-stock  your fav flavours*                        

FREE SHIPPING CODE: FSA14AP04 valid until April 1st!  

Scarlet Berry Advisory

We count down the days to summer… But this year our bridge to the season was literally washed away…along with 40 homes in our neighbor community of Canmore and sadly billions of dollars in damage to the Great city of Calgary. This unexpected flash of Mother Natures temper has humbled us all, betraying how unstable our tiny “human being” creations are.  They can be flicked away at any point & warnings are not mandatory.

What makes us truly great is the spirit created in working together. The communities of Alberta are combining effort with their neighbors to rise up, rebuild, and move forward. In this movement a skin is shed; it is no longer about the structural loss, but the real importance is felt… Are you Ok? Once this question is asked, we are connected with those on a path going forward.

When someone offers you a hand, you get up as much for them as for yourself. 

I created Natur’el Tea from my deep-rooted passion for people, health, & happiness. I will be donating 50% of all Scarlet Berry Tea Sales in the next month to the Flood Relief Fund.

To get your Scarlet Berry: Order Online, contact us directly via Email, or visit us at one of our regular farmers Market locations in Banff, Canmore, Invermere, & Millarville.

Herbal Tea

Scarlet Berry Tea is the celebration of summer! This festival of fruitiness derives incredible flavor from the all natural dried fruits and and gourmet quality botanicals.
It’s a deep red infusion that is tart with natural tasting notes of blueberry and cherry.
Go ahead… this makes a stellar Iced Tea too!

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Making Tea

Jolene-1

NOT FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA… so they say…

This is our last week at the Lake…  our sweet little getaway space on Vancouver Island.  This place has a way of opening up my life, I never asked for that or expected it, and in fact the property is my partner’s love. I’ve deemed it before as “all too rainy & isolated” and say I come here only to accompany him, but once arrived- it continually works its magic on me. Surrounded by thick rainforest, deep blue waters,  & the uninterrupted twitter of birds (& no cell reception), I gain a new a new perspective on things… freedom.

To say the least I do drink a lot of tea while I’m here which brings me to a great topic today:

Making Tea: How much tea should I use to make an outstanding cup?  

Is the answer as obvious as: “read the label”.  “Hells yes…, but… I’ve got a dinner party waiting at the table or I’m running out the door and I don’t really know what size this thermos mug is anyway or I’m standing on 1 foot, eyes closed don’t have an extra hand to give,  but how hard is it to make a cup of tea, just dump some in and add hot water! … “.  

When you make yourself a cup of coffee do you stiff yourself on the amount of grounds or do you prepare yourself for a strong, rich, perfect cup.  Can you smell the beauty of it already?

This is what Starbucks did for us,  created a coffee revolution and now so many understand that quality and consistency make a great cup coffee. The average population in North America boasts to being a “Coffee connoisseur” and they know a cup of coffee doesn’t happen haphazardly. It’s a careful measured process done with precision so that the right amount of quality beans will be converted to a brew worth savoring.  How many out there rely on a good brew to save the day?

I was recently at a stylish little restaurant in town and ordered a cup of tea.  The presentation was very nice as they brought me my teapot and mug (tea was made by a large and reputable company), but in this rather sizeable pot was a single tea bag.  I knew what I was in for, but I went ahead and let the tea steep for a good 10 minutes.  My first sip was as tasteless and boring as my last.  Not only did I feel letdown with my drink, my satisfaction with the meal greatly decreased.  

This is a sad reflection on the tea industry as a whole- it fulfills the old prophesy many have about tea “it’s boring, watery, virtually tasteless, of course it’s healthy for you.  Arrrrg

My point is: ENJOY your cup of Tea; you bought those awesome quality loose tealeaves so Go ahead, Make Tea, and Treat yourself to a full serving size in your cup or pot.  Your tealeaves should create a rich beverage with depth to aroma, flavor, & color in under 5 minutes.

For more info visit our online Tea FAQ’s!

Wishing you a deliciously flavorful afternoon today;).

The Perfect Tea Temperature

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt.

At 6am this morning and I grogily slip out of bed and begin my slow execution of the day.  My routine includes turning on the fireplace (a quick flick of the switch ;)) and then filling up the Tea Kettle.  I listen to the sound of the kettle gaining energy and building momentum into a noisy frenzy that indicates my water is becoming the perfect temperature for my tea.  Everything is a process and sometimes our important role in that process is merely to listen and observe.

The light is not yet up, outside the window, it is black turning into grey.  In the flickering firelight,  I remove my  tea strainer from my Blueberry Rooibos blend which I’ve purposefully over-steeped the into a tangy rich & tart brew.

Yes the correct strength of tea comes down to personal preference and it should always be this way,  but when it comes to Tea Brewing Temperature, there are a couple simple guidelines I would recommend to keep in mind while bringing out the best leaf characteristics for your cup.

1.       Use Fresh Water… I have a small silver stove top tea kettle and it only holds enough for 1 teapot,  but if I am making a teacup then I am sure to empty any stagnant water and fill approximately 1 cup of water for a fresh start.  Is this an old wives tales?  No.

*Water is known to contain dissolved gases absorbed from the air. Carbon dioxide (CO2) gas that is present in water affects the acidity. Acidity of water plays a critical roll in the ionization of tea polyphenols and it contributes to the stability of the above complex.

CO2 in water is gradually released during the boiling process. Re-boiling will in fact further reduce CO2 levels, resulting in a decrease in the acidity. As mentioned above this will affect the caffeine and polyphenol complexion, and bring about changes in the color as well as the character of the brew.

2.       Temperature for Tea… Aside from choosing the best water and tea leaves possible, Tea water temp is the most critical element in preparing the perfect cup of tea.  Use the recommended heat temperature guidelines that come with your tea… whether these are direct from the plantation owner or the blend master,  this person has an intimate relationship with the infusion and knows every detail about how to bring about the top flavor they want YOU to achieve.

General Guidelines  

White Tea Temperature: 190 degrees

Green Tea Temperature: 180 degrees  

Oolong Tea Temperature: 190 degrees 

Black Tea Temperature: 200 degrees

Herbal Tea Temperature: 200 degrees  

*This is especially important when preparing delicate green teas.  

**Tea water temperature can be increased following successive brews.

 ***Quality teas can often be steeped 2-3 times.  

Enjoy an Amazing Cup of Tea Today!

Spring Show in the Bow!

River Pic

I’ve let friends know that if anyone needs me this

month…  I’ll be on the River!

An early glimpse of Spring is teasing us here in the beautiful Bow Valley of Banff National Park. Its been such a mild winter so far;  to spend these days out cross country skiing along an open river dancing in the sunshine- is time in heaven.  Surly winter can’t be finished in first of March can it?  My plan is to enjoy this while its lasts and tentatively wait for the real snow storms to hit!

I’m waiting for many things these days…  38 weeks pregnant, lucky enough to still be active (I swear drinking tea helps 😉 ),  but hanging out to meet this cool little human who is going to show up and change my life.   Normally, in March, I am busy planning, making, and packing tea, like many close friends are doing right now in preparation of the One of A Kind Spring Show.  Such an exciting event and the perfect way to open up the doors to all the stylish, creativity Canadian Artisans have to offer us for the year 2013.

Natur’el Tea and I may not be joining the parade of glamour in Toronto this spring,  but nonetheless we have spent our winter testing, blending, and preparing some fabulous new flavors that we will be lauching throughout the year.  Get this,  YOU may be receiving these tea’s in the mail for free!!

Preferred Customer Mailing List:  Once you’ve made this list… baby your on!

I have started a Preferred Customer List as a THANK YOU to the many loyal clients we have had the pleasure of supplying tea to over the past decade. (well 9 years now… almost a decade!)  There is only way you can get on this list:  Order Online at least 3 times/year and we put you on our PCL.  Once on “thee list”  you will automatically receive one of our New Blends in the mail every 3 months…hmmm hmmm…. For Free!!

To make this even easier for you  and in light of the fact all our Toronto based Customers will be missing our presense at the OoaK show…  here is a special online ordering code for FREE SHIPPING:  ONLINSHIP0   * Get your orders in today!  Don’t miss this opportunity… this offer closes March 31.

One of A Kind Show Details:

If you are planning attendance to the fantastic One of A Kind show,  March 27-31 at Exhibition Place (Direct Energy Centre),  Check out my favourite booth:    VOILÀ BY ANDRÉANNE;  BOOTH: D-06 ,   Fabulous Eco-Friendly Clothing Handmade in Winnipeg…  this is where a fair portion of my show earnings usually go.  ha ha!

Have a wonderful day and please drink a good cup of tea on me!  🙂

Tea Tools- What 3 simple things most people dont know about making Loose-leaf Tea!

sorapot

“Though many people drink tea, if you do not know the Way of Tea, tea will drink you up. ” Rikyu 16th century

My secret to enjoying a good cup of tea is an easy way to make it. Fortunately, I have a fantastic selection of tea tools so depending on what I’m doing I can grab the most convenient & easily make a cup that will enhance my day;  without skipping a beat.   I love my Libre Tea Traveller (perfect for tea on the go) this keeps my tea nice and hot until I’m ready to drink it (which is ideal while working pre-occupied on my computer). *A great tool for busy Mums attending everyone else’s needs ;).  For matcha in the morning, I whisk in a handmade Japanese bowl,  and after dinner, nothing beats making a big pot of tea in a classic English tea pot.

Maybe you just need 1 tea tool to keep you going or maybe your like me and want different options for at home, work, play, ect. Whatever your needs are, here are 3 simple factors to keep in mind when purchasing your perfect new tea infusers:

  1. Does it allow your tea leaves to fully expand? It is amazing how a tsp of dry tealeaves expands to more than a tbsp of soaked and enlarge leaves. As the leaves hydrate they infuse your water with powerful flavor so allowing full expansion is key to quality in your cup.
  2. Does it have a lid? If you’ve ever heard people say that tea tastes better when made in a teapot, well they are correct. When you pour your hot water in, it is important to trap the steam for the correct steeping time- the bonus is maximum flavour. I make a mug of tea all the time at home… if its just me, I would rather keep it small and simple. My tea basket infuser comes with a lid (see accessories: http://www.naturelifestyle.com/accessories.htm) which then double performs as a drip catcher.   When I’m at the couch or my desk, I simply take off the lid, turn it upside down, and place the dripping basket of tea in it- I love not having to get up again! * If you don’t have a tea basket with lid, use a small saucer to cover your mug for the few minutes your tea needs to steep.
  3. Is it easy to clean? I sell tea balls, they are in demand, especially the ones with little grizzly bears on the end- who doesn’t love grizzly bears :),  but I don’t personally use them. They’re not practical because they are fidgety and hard to clean which is a huge road block in ANY task I mean to perform… if I am tired or busy it’s just not going to happen.

Enjoy a great cup of tea today & stay tuned next week  for big news- One of a Kind Spring Show Special!

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5 Must Have Flavors for the Perfect Tea Cubby!

Recipe for a good cup of tea:

Recipe for a good cup of tea:

1. Good Tea
2. a Good Cup
3. Hot Water
4. A Good Heart

High Tea Service at the Banff Springs hotel is a treat worth getting excited over or another Favorite of mine is being invited to a friends for a catch up on life while they serve me tea & cookies ;).

The contentment I feel in both mind and body after quality conversation that springs from the energy of a simple cup of tea brings a smile to my face.

It is this whole ideal of the Tea Ceremony that excites me in my business & life pursuit, but that said I do have multiple cups of tea every day while I’m rushing out the door in the morning or buzzing around at work, nervously looking at the clock, juggling my tasks to get everything done. No… on the average day I do not stop for a little tea party each time I bring the cup to my lips, but regardless of how tea is served- I want quality.

So today’s focus is on Step 1: Good Tea. Is your tea cubby busting full of flavors but nothing satisfies, do you get excited at the thought of making tea? I hope so, but if not here are a few suggestions to selecting the tea that makes your day.

Tea is like music, you won’t want to listen to the same song while you work out as to put you to sleep at night. I like to have a well rounded selection of at least 5 flavors in my tea cubby which cover the basics and offer a few fun twists.

I Recommend:

• A solid Black or Earl Grey- this is a good wake up tea or when you need it- both grounding & uplifting. One of our newest blends, Black Mate was formulated to be that afternoon, 2pm, pick-me up and it is absolutely fabulous.
• A classic Japanese green, fresh, grassy, enlivening and meant to be re-steeped several times. (Snowy Mountain Genmai is my fav)
• A fruity green or Oolong – something tangy and light, like a glass of chardonnay in the afternoon this will be a treat (the flavor of fruity tea’s is beautifully enhanced when sweetened with honey or simply awesome cold in the summer). My go-to’s: Organic Raspberry Green & Citrus Flower Oolong*
• You’ll need a couple of herbals: I find a Rooibos tea is full bodied, settles the stomach, and is great after dinner with its balancing character.
• I always keep a peppermint or Chamomile on hand- something soothing & relaxing will have its place in your life. Our Alpen Glow Banff Blend is melange of local flowers using chamomile and peppermint together as a base- its been popular since day 1.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt on finding the right tea for you, stay tuned for next week when we talk about Tea tools and what is the best for making loose-leaf tea.

I’m off to enjoy this fine evening with my love, a great movie, and pot of Happy Mumma blend *.

“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s Lesson Learned:

Organic Jasmine Pearls... 4th Steeping

Organic Jasmine Pearls… 4th Steeping

They say you learn something new everyday,  but I’m going to jump in here and add that “in order to learn, you must risk yourself…just a little… everyday”.  Yesterday’s risk was setting up this blog,  today’s…my 1st post.

Last year I took a fabulous online corse called B-School (I’d highly recommend it)-  I was desperate to be inspired about my business rather than just see it as a lot of hard work… Marie Forleo’s energy filled me up.  I never watched Oprah growing up, it wasn’t on 1 of our 3  channels (farm girl ;)),  but I now see why women became such loyal followers.  How rare and exciting when someone “Walks the Talk” as does both Oprah & Marie Forleo.   I want to be like her:  live my dream (which I do in my stunning home of Banff National Park) and share my truth the secret to life I discovered that begins with a simple cup of tea.

When you have a passion,  you want to share it.  The best thing is ” giving it away is what its all about”.

So (step 1) we decide to make changes in our life and then we  (step 2) start to turn the ship.  Then life continue’s on as though step 1 and 2 never happened…we find out how time-consuming changes courses really is (step 3 is patience).

Inspiration and good intentions helped me survive last summer, but trying to maintain the past projects and commitments that my business was based on as well as start new directions from scratch was ridiculously exhausting.  I also found out I was unexpectedly pregnant which was not part of the plan, but did explain being sick, tired, and just a little bit moody all the time.  Nonetheless,  I kept chipping away at the old block trying not to feel too discouraged and many aspects of this new direction started to take form- I even produced 1 video to blog which was a huge learning curve.   ha ha-its still in step 3: waiting in a file on my computer to be edited.

Fast Forward a few more months…  2012 is over- offically now, even by the Chinese calendar.  Bye Bye exciting dragon year, I’m ready for something a little more smooth like the slithering of a snake. Here I sit in the dead of winter,  no baby yet so this is my time “choose” and plan for the year ahead- at this point it is putty in my hands.  I’m  8 months preggo (feeling pretty fine by the way- not huge, scary & horrible after all!), and today- for this blog challenge, I pulled out the big guns:   Organic Jasmine Pearls tea -I like making this one in my Libre Tea Mug because it is fabulous to watch unfurl and then keep re-steeping all day.

I’m letting go and their is a wonderful satisfaction/ hard earned freedom in this, but it won’t happen without putting myself on the line, a little bit everyday-  Hello Blog :).

Adventurous Parents

lessons in parenting through adventures, travel and the great outdoors

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Meghan J. Ward

writer + editor | BANFF, AB

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