La boîte à thé

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8 articles dans la catégorie "À la découverte du thé"

Iced Tea, herbs and fruit for a sunny day

At first, we all know that tea is a hot beverage, but when it’s too hot outside, when we can’t stop sweating and when we only have one thing in our mind – cool down – it seems that this option is not really the best. We opt for a beverage very cold instead of this: iced tea.

Ice tea

What is perfect with iced tea is that there is the possibility to have several flavours, most of the time these are fruits, which remind us of these hot days of summer. So, don’t forget that you can use herbs and fruits (we usually see lime or lemon, but if you want to put strawberries or cranberries in it, feel free) to mix them with the tea, if there are not yet. Iced tea means two different things: a cooled tea or a tea with ice.

We can also add, just to make it funnier and to give a sweet taste to iced tea, things that we call iced tea sweeteners. These sweeteners can be found as syrups or sticks. You can bring your sticks everywhere you want. That’s a simple way to add some happiness in your life!

Iced tea has now covered a big part of the planet, from west to east, in almost all countries, and, obviously, every culture puts his two cents in his recipe. At some places, this one is sweetened, but it can be carbonated (or not), flavored (or not), etc.

A lot of brand marks developed their own recipe (Lipton, Nestle, Brisk, Coca-cola and a lot more…) All these companies are fighting (oh yes, they are, always, they want more notoriety) and they wish they make happy the greater amount of palates all around the world, as in everything.

Surprisingly, iced tea successfully reached Asian cultures. For everybody, it is simple, efficient and quick: we can bring this beverage everywhere, because you find it most of the time in bottles. It’s also simple to do it. So, get your pitcher!

Wait, there are some rules to follow if you want to have a perfect iced tea:
1. Don’t be stingy on tea.
2. Don’t infuse too much (use more tea).
3. Add sugar when it’s hot (or use syrup/sticks)
4. Wait so it cool down a little bit before refrigerating.
5. Do it yourself even if bottled ones are good!

Now, you need your imagination. First, you have to infuse the tea leaves, no matter which you chose (but, you have to make sure they stay in water for the proper time) in water at room temperature for 30 minutes or more (until a full night).

Here, you will have to think about what you love. Use your fantasy: add herbs and fruits, and ice (of course… I know you knew). Everything is going to be perfect, trust yourself.

Get your cups on the table, enjoy the sun with a cooling beverage! Don’t be shy to do it when it’s snowy or when it’s cold outside, it’s always refreshing.

Let us talk to you about tea ...

Tea Discovery

Settle down, bundle up tightly in your blankets, warm. We will put ourselves in the skin of teas to better understand their history.

Chinese tea:

It is said in the legend that Chinese tea was discovered by chance, while Shen Nong, father of traditional Chinese medicine, did all kinds of experiments on plants. It's been 5,000 years. According to what I heard, he ate a tea leaf wet with rain and found it succulent.

Indian tea:

Absolutely not! You are completely wrong! He is a brave Indian named Dharma who went to China to devote himself to Buddhism. He had decided not to succumb to sleep during the nine years that this pilgrimage lasted. But, my parents told me that after only three years, he could not do it anymore. It was at this moment that he chewed a leaf of tea tree, taken by chance, which gave him all his vigor. Thanks to them, he managed his journey without even cheating by closing his eyes for a few seconds!

Japanese tea:

Wait for friends, everything you say makes no sense! It's neither Shen Nong nor Dharma, but Bodhi-Dharma. Frustrated at having fallen asleep, he cut his eyes to never close his eyes again and threw them furiously on the floor. I was told that, years later, he discovered that a small shrub had blossomed there. Of course, he decided to taste it and noticed that he had the power to prevent the closing of the eyes. Do not ask me how he knew that, with his eyes without eyelids ...

Quebec tea:

Well, let's see! Tea is just a few small leaves in a bag or made with hot water. It comes from the shops!

Tea historian:

Your stories are all far-fetched. I, myself, have studied its true origin. The tea trees come from China, not from India, nor from Japan, nor from the store. It was popularized during the Tang Dynasty between 618 and 907.

Matcha tea:

Yes ! And we made big bricks that were burned to make powder, hence my name "tea matcha", which is tea powder! Then came the Cha No Yu, Japanese tea ceremony that also uses me in his practice.

White tea, green tea, black tea (in unison):

Then, we arrived, the tea in bulk! It's simple, just put us in a teapot and infuse us.

Tea historian:

Subsequently, Europe discovered tea in the 17th century. It all started in Holland and then the English got it right (Earl Gray flavored white tea, for example). Then, tea has been exported all over the world ... Everyone has their own theory. There is no bad, we just have to trust our beliefs!

Tea Ceremony: Cha No Yu in Japan

Tea Ceremony in Japan

Each culture has its own festivals and celebrations. In the case of the Japanese, there is the "Japanese tea ceremony". It's a far more important moment than just putting hot tea in a travel mug to get to work as soon as possible. Indeed, tea brings the Eastern population a lot together, much more than at home.

The host, dressed elegantly with a magnificent kimono, receives his guests. It will reduce the green tea powder - we can now call it "matcha tea" - as the chocolate powder is for a hot chocolate (or cold). Thus, it does not require the use of a filter.

The term "ceremony" is ours, Westerners, who describe it as "accompanying the celebration of religious worship" (Larousse online).

However, even in the East, they wonder why to make simple when we can make complicated in our modern world? We like it, go through 36 different paths. That's why they named this "ceremony" in 3 different ways (two of which are variants of the same word).

  1. Cha no yu ("hot water for tea"), describing the art around this celebration.
  2. Sadō or chadō ("path of tea") which is the study of this ceremony.

As if it were not complex enough, each school of thought has its own little rules, each one has its own ritual. It's like the little routine we do every morning: no one does exactly like us.

To return to the ceremony itself, the host invites its guests to take a seat in a tea room that measures 4 tatami and a half, on average (yes, it is not only the Anglo-Saxons who use nonmetric measurement systems, but, in good French, it is equivalent to 91cm x 182 cm).

The tea ceremony is a bit like the Western etiquette at the table, its 50 knives and forks: everything must be done in the rules of art through a few steps summarized here:

  1. All utensils are cleaned by the guest (tea bowl, whip and scoop) and placed on the table in a specific order.
  2. The host will then dose the amount of matcha tea he wishes to incorporate into each of the guests' bowls.

Of course, a ceremony must have a golden rule (moreover, you should know that this rule should also be practiced in the West). This one evokes as follows: MINIMAL conversation. Calm down ! Yes, we should all get together like this, to relax! We have too little of that kind of moment in our culture.
On these beautiful words - the silence is golden - here is what puts an end to this brief interlude on the tea ceremony. It must be remembered that it looks strangely like a cake icing: everyone is a little in his sauce and there are many variations, but the base (sugar, here) remains the same.

Tea around the world : Europe

It is time to ending exploration of tea around the world! And what better way to end it than in Europe, home to the United Kingdom, one of the most recognizable tea consumers in the world.

The United Kingdom

Afternoon tea is a ritual observed by almost the entirety of the United Kingdom. The beginning of this tradition is credited to the Duchess of Bedford, Anna, back in the 1840s. As dinner was served later during the day, the duchess found it difficult to wait that long and secretly ordered biscuits and snacks as well as a cup of tea to her room during the afternoon. After she was exposed, the habit ended up spreading instead of being criticized. As tea became more and more accessible to the middle class, this afternoon break became the perfect opportunity to relax and get together with friends and family after a long day. Another well-known fan of the afternoon tea habit was none other than Queen Victoria herself.
Besides the cup of tea in the afternoon, the British also drink tea throughout the day. Black tea is the favorite type of brew, but green and flavored tea are also appreciated and consumed.


Originally introduced as medicinal, tea remained the drink of the royalty and aristocracy for a long time. It is only in recent years that it has become more popular with the masses. Unlike the British, the French are very careful with their selection, carefully exploring the different origins and tastes of the leaves. There is also some evidence that they were the first to introduce milk to their cup. They nevertheless have a particular preference for herbal teas or tisane, during the afternoon or evening.


While famous for their love of vodka, one must not underestimate the amount of tea consumed by the Russians. Inspired by neighboring Mongolia’s stoves, the samovar, is a large urn made of silver or copper where tea leaves are brewed. The inside chamber is constantly heated to keep the water warm and ready. The teapot is placed on top of the samovar containing tscheinik, a very strong concentrate of tea. Since the samovar is always functional, they can have their cup of tea at any moment they want!

The fact that tea leaves are smoked is also a unique preference of the Russians. This started when the old caravan teas stopped for campfires along the road causing the leaves to progressively get smoked. After the concentrate is ready, it is poured in a cup and hot water is added depending on the personal preference of the drinker. When drinking tea, it is either sipped through a sugar cube placed in the mouth or by adding a spoon of jam in the cup.
The type of tea leaves used can be green or black, but several different blends and mixtures can also be used.

That rounds up our trip around the world! We hope you enjoyed it! Any other countries you know of with unique tea habits? Let us know!

Tea around the world : Middle East and Africa

We continue our trip exploring tea around the world this time in Middle East and African Countries! Are you ready to go?


While Turkey may be famous for its black coffee, tea is also an important part of Turkish social life. Tradition also requires daughters to know how to prepare the perfect cup of tea before they’re able to get married. Cay tea is prepared in a double teapot: tea is brewed in the top one while at the same time steamed from the boiling water in the bottom kettle. For the perfect Turkish tea, pour into small tulip-shaped glasses and never add milk. Sugar, if needed, is not added directly into the drink, but placed under the tongue or between the cheeks while drinking.


Another large importer of tea is Egypt and black tea is consumed several times throughout the day. Tea leaves are strongly brewed and boiled and the infusion is heavily sweetened. Dried mint leaves are sometimes added for additional flavoring.


Tea is the national beverage in Iran. Always sweetened, black tea is favored for warmth and comfort, while green tea is consumed for refreshment. Also known as Chai, it is served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, in between meals… all throughout the day! A pinch of rose petals is added to the tea leaves followed by hot water and the whole is left to simmer for several minutes. Transparent glasses are used so the guest can make sure the color of the drink is to their taste, as some prefer it light while other prefer a stronger drink.

North African Countries

In Morocco as well as other countries in the area, tea is part of the local people’s hospitality traditions. Any home, shop, hotel … that you will step in will serve you the country’s version of tea. Touareg tea is a highly sweetened green tea in which spearmint is added. Because of the high honor of preparing and serving tea, it is usually done by the man of the house. Guests at tea ceremonies are customarily served three glasses each one symbolizing life, then love and finally death. It is considered rude to refuse a drink or to not finish it!
Mauritania also has its own version of the Touareg tea service. Sweetening is done progressively with the three cups, making the first one bitter and progressively ending on a sweet note.


Africa is a fertile ground for tea production. Kenya for example, is the third largest producer of tea in the world. Being right on the equator, tea can be produced all year long! South Africa may not be a major exporter, but it is where the Rooibos plant can be found. While not exactly a tea, this infusion is prepared the same way as tea is, and milk and/or sugar can be added. As for Malawi, the red color of the soil is transferred onto the plants, giving the leaves a uniqueness that cannot be found in Kenyan tea.

Tea around the world : Asia

Tea is the second most consumed beverage around the world after water. While all teas originate from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis, its methods of preparation and consumption changes from one country and culture the other.

As tea originated from Asia, it is only fitting to start our exploration there. Let’s take a trip around the world!


You can’t go to Japan without at least taking part or attending a tea ceremony. This historical and traditional ritual is organized by the host, who prepares and serves Matcha, the powdered green tea, to the guests. The powdered tea leaves are placed in a bowl where hot water is gradually added and the whole mixture whisked using special tools until it is soup-like. There are several schools and clubs that teach the art of the tea ceremony, which can sometimes take up to four hours!


The country where it all began! According to legend, Chinese emperor Shennon discovered tea when a tea leaf accidentally fell into his hot water cup. Like their ancestors before them, the Chinese still enjoy their daily cup of tea and often gather in tea houses to get together and chat over their favorite drink. It is also still commonly used as a medicinal treatment for a variety of illnesses as well as during meditation. They also have their own tea ceremony which symbolizes respect and gratitude. The most commonly consumed types are green tea, black tea and scented tea.


Unlike the rest of Asian countries, tea in Korea is drunk for relaxation purposes but recently, traditional Korean tea ceremonies are being revived. Even though green tea is the most used type, several other imported or native teas are also served. Preference is for fresh harvest and leaves are rarely left to age.


The global phenomenon of pearl milk tea, or bubble tea, finds its roots in Taiwan. Mixed with fruit or milk, it is served with tapioca balls cooked in sugar syrup. Taiwan is one of the largest producers of Oolong tea which is a favorite in the country as well.

Other Asian countries

Thai tea consists of brewed black tea served chilled along with sugar and condensed or evaporated milk. In Hong Kong, it is called pantyhose tea due to its color being similar to that of nude stockings.

Tibet is famous for its butter tea, or po cha. After brewing the tea leaves for several hours, they are then combined with salt and yak butter. This energy boosting drink is perfect for life in the Himalayas.

In Malaysia, there is also a preference for strong brews. Their own specialty of tea, Teh tarik adds milk and sugar to frothed black tea for a bubbly drink.
As for India, tea is also part of the daily life. Cha-ya is found everywhere and can even be sold on the streets in small cups. It is black tea to which pepper, cardamom, cloves and other spices are added, and then mixed with sugar and milk. Chai is also a favorite in Pakistan, where the specialty is Noon Chai, a pink tea with milk, pistachios, almonds and spices.

The teapot over time

There is an indispensable tool for preparing a good tea: the teapot. But where did the idea - well appreciated - come from? So here is a short story of the teapot, from its appearance in China to your kitchen!

The first teapots

There is no official date related to the invention of the teapot but what is well known is that it came well after the tea became a widespread drink. Most believe that the first teapot was introduced in the fifteenth century in China, but some sources associate it with previous dynasties. The tea until then was consumed in powder in bowls to which the water brought to boiling is added. There was no real brew like nowadays.

It is in the city of Yixing that the first teapots appeared and then spread from the sixteenth century. These small zisha teapots, a kind of clay, have revolutionized the method of tea preparation. Their small size meant that they were used for individual consumption, allowing one or two cups of tea.

Introduction in Europe

The tea begins to be imported into Europe thanks to the East India Company. The Europeans are fascinated by this drink as well as the Chinese pottery they tried to reproduce in vain. This rigid and translucent material that formed the teapots is none other than the primitive form of porcelain that we know today.

Initially, tea was exclusive to the aristocracy, like all exotic drinks imported from the East. In France, the first teapot was used by Louis XIV.

England and teapots

With the emergence of the capabilities of the middle class and their desire to copy the aristocratic way of life, tea is slowly beginning to be introduced into the way of life of Europeans. With the tax on tea reduced and demand increasing, many manufacturers are starting to create their own teapot concepts. In England, it's the beginning of Afternoon Tea in everyday life.

Unable to separate from their teapots, the English also introduce this new concept to the Americas.

Teapots: a decor as well as a tool

Several varieties of form are beginning to appear as well as the use of new materials. The teapots were also transformed into works of art, originally decorated with images of Baroque or Rococo style. Become fashion items, we could not keep the same set for a long time. At the end of the War of 1812 and the victory of the United States, teapots are adorned with scenes of victories and landscapes and become objects of commemoration.


The main function always present, an explosion of imagination takes place. It is no longer odd to see teapots in the shape of animals, cars ... The aesthetic side combined with the function have made the teapot an essential object in each house while also being part of the decor.

Black tea, green tea ... do you know all types of tea?

The different types of tea

Although originally all the different teas come from the same plant, the tea plant, there is a huge variety of teas to taste.

The best known is of course green tea, but others like white tea or black tea are also unique and appreciated around the world.
T-surprise offers you the chance to try this variety wherever you are!

Our selection includes so far:

But what is the difference between these different types of teas and infusions?

The teas

The different types of tea

 White tea comes originally from China but also from other Asian countries. Tea leaves undergo the least transformation compared to other teas. Green tea undergoes slightly more oxidation during its preparation. It is generally recommended for digestive disorders as well as for the elimination of toxins.
Oolong is very popular in Asia, without bitterness, although very close in terms of black tea preparation: the more the oxidation increases, the closer it gets to the latter. Black tea, on the other hand, undergoes a complete oxidation and can therefore be kept for several years without losing flavor or freshness!
Pu'erh tea is produced from the leaves of a variety of tea plants growing in a province in southern China. This type of tea is unique in that not only can it be consumed several years after its manufacture, but the flavor due to post-fermentation improves even with time.


The different types of tea

Maté is a traditional infusion of South America but has spread especially in the Levant countries such as Syria and Lebanon. It is prepared in a special container where the leaves are carefully added until it is filled, then shaken to separate fine particles. This is after the hot water is added and the infusion begins.

The Rooibos although nicknamed red tea is also an infusion, whose leaves come from a shrub growing only in South Africa. It is usually drunk with milk and sugar and its infusion lasts about 10 minutes. Its antioxidant functions are justified to cure allergies, digestive disorders and even sleep disorders!
With regard to infusions, it is their method of preparation that distinguishes them from other types of teas. In general, the leaves are added in boiling water and left for a few minutes. The liquid is then filtered and consumed before it cools.

Ice Tea or Ice Tea

Yes, even tea can be a refreshing drink! Iced tea is, as its name implies, made of cold tea served with ice cubes. In some countries milk or sugar is added, but the most common is with mint or fruit flavored syrups.

And you, what types of teas have you ever tried? What is your favorite?

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