Spring Tea Talks with Matthew

Tea in History: Thursday, March 3rd at 7pm at Guilderland Public Library

Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world (only second to water), its origins date back five thousand years and encompasses the world; there has to be a good story or two in its history. This is a fun interactive session that will reveal “Who was Earl Grey, Anyway?”, “John Fortune’s Misfortunes” and “Name that Culture”. Registration is Free at www.guilpl.org

 

Tea and Cheese Pairing: Thursday, March 10th at 6pm at Honest Weight Food Co-op

Looking for more knowledge on tea, cheese or both? Short and Stout and the HWFC Cheese Department has came up with 5 pairings that will delight the senses and inform the curious mind. Learn what makes for a good pairing, preparation tea and effective garnishing. Registration is free at eventbrite.com

 

Thailand Tea Tasting: Tuesday, March 22nd at 6pm at Short and Stout Tea Lounge (Note Date Change)

Our travels to Thailand earlier this year provided us with an opportunity to procure a variety of unique teas. We will be offering a tasting with our USDA Organic Certified Matcha and several grades of oolong including one Frost Tea that is only picked during an overnight frost. Traditional Thai food will be offered. Register at the lounge, Cost $10.

 

The Next Generation of Tea: Thursday, April 7th at 7pm at Guilderland Public Library

Can’t teach a 5000 year old dog new tricks? I beg to differ. The culture of tea has ever evolved and this tea talk will build on March’s session on tea history and discuss where tea is going. Will it be traditional, will it be organic? What is Bubble Tea anyway? Registration is Free at www.guilpl.org


Herbal Teas from Your Garden: Thursday, May 5th at 7pm at Guilderland Public Library

Learn how to make and enjoy herbal teas grown from your garden. A discussion on health benefits and a tasting will be provided. Registration is Free at www.guilpl.org. This session will also be given March 20th during the Garden and Flower Show at Hudson Valley Community College, Troy.

 

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Tea Journey to Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand: Part 3 of 6

Chiang RaiTea Farm

Throughout traveling Chiang Rai and visiting several tea estates, one stands out as being a spectacle. On approach the facade of the plantation is a steep hill with almost perfect rows of tea plants. Mounted on one of the tea field summit are large Hollywood style letters spelling out the plantation’s name. After parking near large buses we were quickly corralled to the tasting room to watch a 3 minute movie about tea making, short tasting and shuffled on through to the gift shop. We were intrigued by the news of a large tea infused menu in their cafe, so we ventured on. On the roof there were newly built overlook platforms which made wonderful snapshot locations that the crowds of tourists took advantage of.

Tea Infused Pastries Tea Farm SideA short walk and several pictures later we were diving into deep fried tea leaves with a chili and vinegar sauce, sweet and spicy chicken wings topped with crispy fried tea leaves, pork dumplings and fresh tea salad and a green tea sweet bun. The deep fried tea leaves were fantastic. The coating was not greasy but just as light as the tea tip contents. The fresh tea salad was a welcoming sight and the flavor was like any other tossed salad. The flavor of pork and chicken meat in Thailand is fantastic. The freshness of old world style raising allows true flavors to remain present that American livestock has lost.  These dishes were as good than those found outside the estate. The deserts were just as diverse and flavorful. They included green tea cheese cake, green tea lava cake, green tea crape layer cake, Thai tea cake and green tea honey toast. The green tea cheese cake was by far the group winner.

Chiang Rai is steeped in history since it was founded over 750 years ago. Many traditions remain unique to this northern most city, but a newer attraction called Wat Rong Khun or the White temple is the most popular. The temple is on grounds that are the play land of Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipt. For 20 years, he has been constructing an intricate White Temple along with other beautiful buildings. The basis of the artistic architecture is an exaggerated traditional Buddhist temple with a healthy dose of morality and afterlife themes. The lavish grounds continue with a large koi fish filled reflecting pond, flowering lattice shaded walkways and the most expansive bathroom I’ve ever been in.White Temple Chiang Rai2White Temple Chiang Rai

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Tea Spotlight for Valentine’s Day

Tea for Two, Two for Tea. What could be more romantic than sharing a steaming pot of tea with

Tea Gift Box

your loved one? This Valentine’s Day, let’s flout convention. Let’s forget the fancy wine, ditch the bottle of bubbly, and set our kettles boiling. Tea warms hearts and melds spirits. Sharing a teapot and filling each other’s cups are intimate acts of understated elegance, echoing centuries of ceremony.

In the spotlight this month are two Short and Stout teas ideal for celebrating Valentine’s Day, be they for sharing with a significant other or simply to enjoy solo. (Let us not forget the importance of self-love.)

Midnight Rose Black Tea

First Whiff: Pure potpourri. Strong, floral, and heady.

Prep: Add 2 tsp per 8 oz of boiling water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

First Sip: True to its name, this tea tastes like a rose garden. Black tea makes an ideal base for rosehip and rose petal, rounding out the floral tones and lending a fragrant, full-bodied flavor. Some sippers may deem Midnight Rose too rosy for their tastebuds, in which case, sweetener should help temper the intensity. Take it to the next level with a touch of milk or cream.

Champagne Fizz White Tea

First Whiff: Enticing and sweet, with hints of grape.

Prep: Add 1.5 tsp per 8 oz of hot (175-degree) water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

First Sip: So light! So airy! This white tea provides the perfect contrast to darker, headier Midnight Rose. Berry and floral notes mingle in perfect harmony. For strongest flavor, steep for the full five minutes. Delightful by itself or with honey.

 

Midnight Rose, Champagne Fizz, and more are available for purchase in pre-wrapped Valentine’s gift boxes at our tea lounge. Add a selection of our tasty French macarons, and you have yourself the perfect Tea for Two.

This Valentine’s Day, all you need is love…and a cup of tea.

 

TEA

I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

― Carol Ann Duffy

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What’s Brewing at Short and Stout Tea

Return From our Tea Journey:

Tea Estate Visit

Tea Estate Visit

We have returned from Thailand after visiting several tea estates. It was fantastic trip. We learned so much in such a little time and we have a few ways for you to learn about our Tea Journey.

  1. Short and Stout Tea Web Blog: Although I still have more to publish you can share in our experience while flying through Japan to Thailand. Before we made it to any Tea Estate we found that green tea is such a popular flavor to ice cream, candy, snack food and drinks. For ice cream it seems like green tea has replaced vanilla.
  2. Tea Journey Presentation at Short and Stout: Starting at 5pm on Thursday Feb 4th we will have our presentation. The format will be a casual “drop in” talk including a slide show and Q&A. The event is free. Stop in when you can for a few minutes or stay the whole time.

We are Re-Opened for Sundays:

While we were away Samantha did a fantastic job overseeing the day to day duties of the lounge, but we couldn’t ask her to do it for7 days a week. We had a great response for being open on Sundays in 2015, so we are re-opened on Sundays from 11:30am to 4pm, now through May.

Tea Talk at Guilderland Public Library:

In addition to the Tea Journey Presentation at S&S on 2/4 we are continuing our Tea Talk Series at Guilderland Public Library. Our next talk is January 28th at 7pm the topic is Health Benefits of Tea and Tisanes including brewing methods. Registration is free, please sign up on their calendar.

 

New Products:

Although many of our new loose teas from Thailand won’t be ready for another week, our new teaware is available.IMG_2519 (1)

  1. Yixing Teapots: For those looking for a Gongfu Cha teaware, we now have traditional Yixing Teapots with matching cups. Gongfu Cha is a brewing method preferred by the Chinese where several 30 second steepings occur within a small unglazed clay teapot.
  2. Teapot and Travel Mug Cozies: We have partnered with Fibres of Life which is a fair trade handmade fabric design company from Nepal. We offer beautiful teapot cozies made of felt wool with hand printed designs. They are perfect to keep your teapots warm on these cold mornings (pre-warming your teapots help as well). Also, we have travel mug cozies offered in a knit design.
  3. Glass Tumblers: We are excited to finally offer a glass travel tumbler with infuser. This is perfect for the tea drinker on the go. One side has a screw cap with a quality removable infuser and the other side has a screw cap for pouring or sipping. The glass is tempered to handle boiling water and the silicone gripper insulates the heat with ease.

Tea Quote:

When it comes to tea business, it’s more like family than customers- Tea Estate Owner.

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Tea Journey to Northern Thailand: Part 2 of 6

Chiang Rai: First Day in Thailand’s Tea Growing Region

When things are meant to happen, they happen. I had my doubts that my tea journey and garden experience was not going to meet my expectations. When I heard that the owner of our first tea garden was going to pick us up at the airport, I figured that it was a good sign. I was even more excited to hear that they would be picking tea at the farm on that day.

When we met the owners at the airport, we were greeted with the largest smiles, you know the ones that is so joyful

Hand picking of tea leaves

Hand picking of tea leaves

that their eyes closed. They spoke good English and we discussed our respective role in the tea industry. The two sisters described how their four gardens of 100 acres each, 2 shops and 260 employees started with humble beginnings. Their father started with just a small plot of land and the factory was not much more than him in a barn. Each processes was completed by his personal experience and formal training in Taiwan for hand tea processing.  After decades of farming, their father grew the business to a much larger enterprise that utilizes temperature and moisture controlled rooms as well as large pieces of equipment. The business also celebrates accolades including: USDA Certified Organic, certified Thailand Biodynamic, and One Town One Product Champion.

The factory tour was intriguing. Yes, we’ve read all about the processing steps, but it was another to be in the factory

Solar withering of tea leaves

Solar withering of tea leaves

amongst the workers practicing their craft. We had an opportunity to closely observe the process of making Oolong, the most popular type of tea produced in Thailand. The pickers pulled two leaves and a bud between the tip and knuckle of their pointer finger and their thumb. They would slide the picking to their palm to repeat the process twenty times in 10 seconds before dumping their stock into their basket. After their picking they have an hour to lay their tea out for quality inspection and solar wilting. Then the leaves went through seven steps of wilting and tumbling. The tumbling in bamboo chambers causes the leaves to “wake up” and wilting occurs again after letting it stand in humidity controlled rooms. The tea is let to sit longer to continue its withering. This is the process to ensure that the water component in tea leaves get out as much as possible.  Next is another two step process of firing and massaging. Each task is repeated 36 times. The roaster is set at 570 degrees. Final step is the Drying and sorting of leaves of similar size

Tea Roasting and Massaging

Tea Roasting and Massaging

to ensure uniform infusion.

The tea factory includes a packing room for loose and bagged tea. They chop their finished product to make fannings for biodegradable pyramid tea bags. Lesser quality tea producers will use the tea dust left behind the sorting process or finely chop the machine cut fresh leaves before further processing. These shortcuts produce poorer tasting teas.

In all, the owners picked us up at the airport, fed us lunch, gave a wonderful tour and a broad sampling. When we offered to pay, they sternly refused and said that their customers in the tea business are like family.
And the journey continues…

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Tea Journey to Northern Thailand: Part 1 of 6

Our tea journey experience started immediately after takeoff from Chicago bound for Tokyo. As the plane leveled out

Matcha Served In-flight

Matcha Served In-flight

stewardesses walked up and down the aisles offering green tea. This isn’t just any green tea as evident of its bright green jade color. This was indeed matcha. Many passengers took advantage of this Japanese Ceremonial Tea as we start our 14 hour flight over Earth’s largest ocean. The flavor was just as light as the color, no bitterness, but just a nice mild green tea flavor.

Stopping in the duty free shop in Tokyo upon arrival proved to be a trip down tea product lane. Thirty varieties of truffles, chocolate covered wafers, thin pancake like crisps and chocolate cake were all headlined by match and green tea ingredients. In the past 15 years, we have been through Narita Airport 10 times and never have we seen so many tea infused products.

We stopped in between gates to get some sushi. The style was very similar to what we find in Albany, but it was served with three large thick porcelain cups of, you guessed it… matcha. The specialty rolls and two regular rolls came to $10, so we went back for seconds. By time all our food was consumed our table was littered with those black and white matcha mugs as if they were beer cans after a frat party.Hot Taro Latte and Bubble Tea

After settling into Thailand our first business meeting took place at Sila Tea Café. Here the team buckled down for 4 hours on the second floor balcony to do some brainstorming. We first ordered a variety of spring rolls, bubble teas and a hot taro latte (which I have never heard or seen before). The spring rolls were delicious especially spinach and cheese and the hot taro latte was sweet, creamy and so smooth.

And the journey continues…

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Tea Spotlight: Choco-Mint Fantasy Rooibos

With the holiday season comes a flood of familiar, feel-good flavors: foamy eggnog, spicy mulled cider, piquant gingerbread…and of course, the magical marriage between chocolate and peppermint.

Choco Mint Fantasy Rooibos

Choco Mint Fantasy Rooibos

At Short and Stout, our Choco Mint Fantasy flavored tisane will satisfy any pallet that appreciates the refreshing richness of chocolate mint. An organic rooibos-based infusion featuring real peppermint and cocoa beans, this tea reflects the decadence of a Peppermint Mocha without the caffeine kick.

First Whiff: Cool and rich, just like an Andes Mint.

First Sip: Smooth, gentle, yet delectable. Chocolate and mint can be tricky to balance, but in the case of Choco Mint Fantasy, neither flavor overpowers the other. Cacao gives the drink its depth, while peppermint adds subtle brightness. The blend’s yogurt bits lend a barely perceptible milky quality.

Brewing a cup of Choco Mint Fantasy requires no fuss. Simply add 1.5 teaspoons per 8 oz of boiling water. Steep for 7 minutes to achieve optimal choco-mint deliciousness. Spend those 7 minutes reveling in eager anticipation.

In the mood for a sweet, creamy, and energizing version? Try our latte-style Choco Mint Warmer (or Chiller, if you prefer iced). To create this specialty latte-style drink, we use our Chocolate Fix black tea mixed with peppermint, add foamed milk (or non-dairy milk) and sweetener, and top it all off with crumbled peppermint candy and a sprig of fresh mint. The result is a beautiful drink guaranteed to fill the grumpiest of humbugs with holiday spirit.

If enjoying your Choco Mint Fantasy or Choco Mint Warmer/Chiller at our tea lounge, consider pairing with our seasonal White Chocolate Peppermint or Gingerbread macaron to complete the experience.

Choco Mint Fantasy, along with a variety of teas and a quality selection of tea accessories, are available at our online shop. Find the perfect holiday gift for the tea-lover in your life, or discover ideas for your own wish list!

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Pu-erh a Perfect Flavor for Fall

Since the change in seasons, my tea preference has changed. I am now navigating to something more rich, robust and yet less bite. Pu-erh has been my drink of choice for the past few weeks.

Simply put, Pu-erh (Pooh-Air) is an aged black tea. When we think of black tea we typically think of bitter and harsh. The aging process affects tea just like a couple of days affects stew. That is all the sharp flavors mellow into a nice smooth wholesome broth. The same holds true for aged Pu-erh.

Digging deeper into the history and process there are two types of Pu-erh. The most traditional Raw Pu-erh uses tea from the Yunnan Province in Southern China. The un-aged tea is very bitter so the aging process was born out of necessity for drinkability and storage. Raw Pu-erh is packed in compressed disks called cakes and aged a minimum of 15 years. These leaves hold up to several infusions and is often used in Gong Fu which is a Chinese method of preparing tea utilizing many infusions.

Ripe Pu-erh is a product of the modern age. This tea is typically found in loose form and produced by using moisture controlled rooms to speed up the aging process. Ripe Pu-erh can reach drinkability in 5 years. The downside is that Ripe Pu-erh tends to be generic in flavor where Raw will have more variability from cake to cake.

So whether you knew about Pu-erh or not hopefully you’ve learned something about this very important tea category.

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Carve and Tea Sip at Short and Stout Tea

Join us for our second Carve and Tea Sip event Sunday, November 13th from 1-3pm.

Carve and Tea Sip Event pairs your favorite activity of drinking tea and your new hobby food carving.

Learn how to carve pumpkins and create a unique center piece for your Thanksgiving table. Instruction, pumpkin and a pot of tea is included for $20 and take home carving knife for $10 more.

Call ahead to reserve your seat.

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