Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tea Tales: Magical Mysteries, Health and History with Regional Flavours

It has been an extremely busy few weeks for MayKing Tea.  A couple of Tea Note Speaking gigs in Melbourne, one in the Sunshine Coast and now it’s back to Brisbane this weekend, this time in South Bank where I will be doing tea talks as part of the Regional Flavours Food and Lifestyle event.  It’s a fabulous 2 day event showcasing the best of Queensland produce on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July.

Showcasing local produce is especially poignant for me as one of my Queensland Business members very sadly announced last week that she found out that a second vegi/deli/small goods store closed down in Brisbane within a week.  An amazing discussion ensued with the plea for our members to go local and events such as Regional Flavours is a perfect opportuni-tea for local businesses to showcase their fabulous local produce and encourage consumers to go local.

If Celebri-tea chefs are your cup of tea, I understand that there will be live cooking demonstrations in the Epicurious Tent by said chefs.  There’s a whole host of amazing speakers talking about cheese, wine, and beer in the Froth and Bubble Sessions (do check out my dear friend Matt Kirkegaard aka @goodbeermatt in his Good Beer Hunting talks).  There’s plenty of children’s activities in the Tea-licious Garden and I will be sharing a few tales about tea on the Little Stanley Street Lawn.  Follow the bright yellow wheelbarrows and you should be able to spot me.  Children will be able to pick their favourite herb from one of the wheelbarrows and take them to the infusion station (next to the T-licious stall) where the freshly picked herbs can be made into a cup of herbal infusion goodness.

This is a quick breakdown of what I’ll be talking about on each day:

Billy Tea, Ann Street

10:30am – 11:00am – The History of Tea


Come and find out who discovered tea, how tea came to Britain, what is the Boston Tea Party, the Opium Wars,
who invented the tea bag and I’ll also be sharing some local Australian stories too.

11:30am – 12:00pm – Tea 101


 Did you know that green tea is not a tea but a category of tea?  Find out more about the other categories of tea including white, oolong, pu’erh and black teas.  I’ll also be talking about the difference between blends, scented, flavoured and smoked tea too.

1:30pm – 2:00pm – Teas and Herbal Infusions

Why is Peppermint not really a tea? What is a herbal infusion and what is the difference between a tisane and a fruit melange?  I shall be sharing my thoughts on all of these tea-licious beverages in the afternoon.

3:30pm – 4:00pm – Health Properties of Tea


Find out about the health benefits of tea, the truth about green tea, oolong tea, and I’ll also be dispelling some myths about caffeine and weight loss.

In between the talks I will be available to answer any questions you may have, so do please stop by and say hello.  It’ll be lovely to share a cup of tea with you this coming weekend.

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What to Do with Broken Teapots

I remember going to South Carolina to complete one of the levels to my STI certification class a couple of years ago and, after the study class, I thought I’d venture into the town. There I came across an arts and craft market. I love to browse arts and crafts markets, admiring the beau-tea of the designer’s works, be it clothes, photography, textiles, or art. One particular stall caught my eyes as the designer had recycled broken teapots into pieces of jewellery, jokingly telling me that a necklace I was admiring is a broken teapot from the Ming Dynasty. She had a very cheeky smile. Unfortunately, my budget was blown on tea on that trip, so I didn’t make a purchase, but it did get me thinking, how else could a teapot be reused?

Tea Pot Wind Chime

 Read the rest of the article here…

Cooking with Tea

I love the Twitterverse and after admiring from afar, I finally had the opportunity to tweet with, and eventually meet, Sally Lynch of Taste Trekkers. It is always a pleasure to meet someone who is as passionate in their field as I am passionate in tea, and Sally is no exception. She LOVES food! She loves talking about food, cooking food and also writes about food. You can imagine my delight when I was invited to an event organised by another influential foodie, Natasha Mirosch.

The Christmas Foodie tour consisted of a food shopping tour of Brisbane, visiting stores that sold authentic European food, herbs and spices; a wonderful lunch, care of Taste Trekkers; and a wine tasting from the local winery whilst I provided the tea. You can read more about the event and view some wonderful pictures of the event via Rhubarb Wine’s blog.

Sharing Tea with Foodies care of @rhubarbwine

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Favourite Tearooms in Australia — Part III

Carrying on a theme of favourite tearooms, I head back to Australia and this time my tea journey took me to Adelaide.  After asking for recommendations on Twitter, two places came highly recommended.  In this post I’ll talk about The Perfect Cup.  According to their website The Perfect Cup has several retail outlets Adelaide as well as the one that I visited in Adelaide Central Market.

The website informs us that the market is 140 years old, home to 80 stalls and is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction.  But I digress: back to the tea.  The Perfect Cup has an extensive list of coffee and as I look for the tea menu the lady behind the counter tells me that their tea list is much bigger than the list displayed and invited me to the back of the store to have a look.

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Tea and Art

In my last post, I talked about revisiting the UK. One of the things I decided to do was get my tourist hat on, take trips down memory lane in London, and in one of my trips, I came across this:

Bethnal Green Road Tea Sign

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MayKingTea on Twitter, Collaboration and being Star Struck

As I reflected on my trip to London, I felt that the title of this post is a succinct summation of my time there.  Let me explain.  I was first invited to speak at New Direction Partnership (held at Back2Balance) and shared the platform with Claire Boyles. Claire is a public speaker on what is, and how to use Twitter.  She gave many examples of how the micro-blogging tool has helped her and her business and also has a great story of how Twitter helped her to find her dog! She does give a warning in her bio though, that she does tweet a lot 🙂

One of the most wonderful things about networking meetings are the unexpected tweetups.  One of these occasions occurred at KallMeBack’s Ultimate Business Women’s Day Out in Enfield.  Daniella came by to the MayKingTea stand and wondered why my business name sounded so familiar.  After I talked about MayKingTea, she realised that we had actually been tweeting about the delights of Chai tea a few days earlier! Her twitter id is @sprintstationers – and so from meeting in the Twitterverse to meeting in person, it truly was a wonderful experience.

I also had the privilege of catching up with @amandaeatwell again who has a formidable eye for capturing those special moments on camera.  I’m rather disappointed that I won’t be able to attend her recently launched photography courses but they’d make a great Christmas present for those interested in photography.

Another regular tweeter is @AlisonPerssonAlison provides practical guidance on how to get a property in shape for selling or letting out.  So whilst Alison deals in property, I deal with proper tea :o) (thanks Adrian for the clever pun!) Alison also attended my “Around the World in Eight Tea Cups” tea-tasting class where we talked about all the tea categories, tea processing, and the health benefits of tea.  More importantly we were able to taste some beautiful teas including Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Dragonwell green tea.

I love to network and in attending one of Stella’s Athena groups it was great to catch up with Lisa Symons, Dawn Gomes and Vanessa Harris to name but a few.  There were lots of new and familiar faces including Maxine Glover.  Maxine has a beautiful place in Loughton called The Relaxation Place where she carries out workshops on meditation and alternative therapies.  We’re looking to collaborate next year, so watch this space.

Another wonderful surprise I had was when I popped into Espressimo Café and found that the café recently had a refurbishment which included a new price board showcasing my teas.

I had a star struck moment when I discovered Claire Ptak’s The Whoopie Pie Book in Sainsbury’s, Bolton.  As soon as I visited her wonderful cake shop I asked her to sign my copy.  I can’t wait to try some of her recipes as they would go extremely well with some of my teas (currently sold at Violet Cakes).  Having an endorsement on the front of her book from Jamie Oliver, Claire has many plans for Violet Cakes and we’ll be looking to collaborate together next year too.

My second star struck moment was when I was invited to Poulomi Desai’s Usurp gallery.  I was in wonderment, shock and admiration of Poulomi and her thought-provoking book. I took out my teapot, shared some tea and whilst she signed my copy of her book, we shared our experiences of growing up as an ethnic minority in 80’s Britain.  We are currently working together on a tea-themed event scheduled to run next year.

So that was MayKingTea in London, cherishing the memories, my friends and colleagues over a cup of tea.

The best kettles in the world perhaps?

When I talk to folk about the best temperatures for particular tea types, I’m sometimes faced with a blank expression (except from coffee enthusiasts who are familiar with the perfect temperature = good coffee concept), and so during my tea-tastings, I would advise my tea friends to pop the kettle on, watch the water gauge and think of the following quote from Lu Yu, a tea scholar who wrote Cha Ching – ‘The Classic of Tea’ in 780 AD.

When the water boils for the first time,

something akin to the eyes of a fish appear on the surface

and a faint hissing sound can be heard.

Then the gurgling brook develops

with a string of pearls round the edge.

This is the second boiling.

Then the turbulent waves appear: this is the third boiling.

 

The first boiling (eyes of a fish) is around 70-85C (158-185F) and is perfect for green or white teas.

The second boiling or string of pearls (90C or 194F ) is perfect for any oolongs.

The third boiling (roaring waves) is suitable for black teas (100C 0r 212F).

Or you may want to buy the best kettles in the world which does all the thinking for you! I came across these two wonderful kettles last week, which got me terribly excited! (See my flikr pictures on the right).

After all the excitement of seeing them, I realised that I didn’t want a kettle to do the thinking for me. Making tea is not an exact science and part of the fun is getting the water to the right temperature and the right steeping time to make the tea how one wants it. That said, it is comforting to know that if I did change my mind, I have a choice of kettles to choose from.