Create a strong foundation for your life with Citizen Tea

   ** This post was sponsored by Citizen Tea by product only. All opinions are my own**

Finding a few teas  start with can be a struggle. Citizen Tea has solved this problem with this (Men's) strong foundation collection. Kick start your tea collection or journey with this herbal trio from Teaopia's former owners.

 

    I get asked about which teas are best for numerous reasons. I have been learning about herbs since before my tea journey began. Back then I experimented in try blends for different reasons, that being for the three main things we all want help with. Sleep, energy and something to combat colds. We all need help with these three, that is why we are encouraged to drink tea to wake up, get better or to help us relax for sleep.
Teaopia was the first place that understood our need for tea for different purposes. While it has been about 4 years since Teavana bought and took over, it lives on again (yeah, totally made a zombie reference there). With Citizen Tea it gained a new life.
Much like with Teaopia they have amazing sets that will fit your needs. I choose one that hit those three main needs, Men’s Collection. The name of the collection is no matter as it has everything to meet those three needs. Very much it is the tool kit to get through the day and be prepared for anything.

Energy Booster

With cold season here this was a saving grace. I was riding out the end of a cold earlier this week and drank this tea to keep awake. It has a subtle sweetness to it that was very pleasing. It cleared the sinuses (read: great for allergies) and helped me get better quicker. Lapacho, the main ingredient, is also a natural antibiotic according to sources online. Normally I would be hesitant to point such a thing out but the fact remains that I am feeling much better after having it (and a detox bath, more on that latter). Cold season or not it gave a pleasant boost that was just right. 

Finding a few teas  start with can be a struggle. Citizen Tea has solved this problem with this (Men's) strong foundation collection. Kick start your tea collection or journey with this herbal trio from Teaopia's former owners.

Fit Active

At Teaopia this was my go to tea at any sign of a cold symptom (or your co-workers were sick). It is loaded with fruits and herbs that contain a lot of vitamin C and also has Raspberry Leaf which acts as a diuretic. Flushing out the illness is necessary for getting better, no one likes being sick. Rose-hip peel has been known to help with when you have the cold mostly in your chest ( this tends to be my problem). Overall most of the ingredients were put in this blend to assist with a cold, while the remainder is for taste. It is a very pleasant tea to have any time but even better when you are under the weather. 

Finding a few teas  start with can be a struggle. Citizen Tea has solved this problem with this (Men's) strong foundation collection. Kick start your tea collection or journey with this herbal trio from Teaopia's former owners.Sleep Well

Most tea for sleep has chamomile in it, which is related to ragweed , so it is a nice change to no see it in this blend. No sniffling here (allergic to ragweed), this tea is great for sleep and also when you have a cold. Lemon verbena, fennel, peppermint and licorice root – are key players in fighting back cold or sinus problems. Having these in here is great as you know you can go to sleep with the sniffles under control. You will feel this tea in your throat due to the licorice root, but with it continually getting colder the added reassurance you’re protected from colds is very welcome.

Finding a few teas  start with can be a struggle. Citizen Tea has solved this problem with this (Men's) strong foundation collection. Kick start your tea collection or journey with this herbal trio from Teaopia's former owners.

Having this set in your tea collection will mean that you are prepared for anything thrown at you. The name of the collection , Men’s Collection, should be taken as it is that cuddly-reassuring sidekick you have been wanting. Don’t let the name deter you from giving it a try, I have already shared a bit of each tea with close friends who were sick the last two weeks. Even they have seen the difference in how it makes them feel. Herbal blends are a great way to introduce yourself to tea or add a new dimension of wellness to your life.

If you were to give this collection a nickname ,what would you call it? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.

Jump start your own Tea Journey with these books on tea

Self discovery can start anywhere even with tea. Start your own tea Journey with this list of books to inspire your next steps in your path with the way and spirituality.

 Over six years ago I fell down the rabbit hole into the world of tea and began my Tea Journey. Soon after this blog, what really pushed this change in my life was a series of books. From culture right down to the nitty gritty of each tea region, they all pushed me to where I am today.
   These books either all or just one can take you in a new direction by inspiring change in your life, just the same as yoga or meditation have for many. The thing is that those two practices are even steeped in tea like I have mentioned before in a previous post. They all allow you to grow along side with them and encourage you to turn in. Which tea does as well.
    These books have been broken up into three categories. This is to help narrow down your first or next step in your journey of self discovery through tea. Reading any of them will help you look in relax and give you time to even have a cup of tea (naturally you will want to). But enough talk about this, lets move on to the list and dive in!

Discover Tea Ceremony

The Simplest way of Japanese Tea Ceremony

  At Toronto’s first Tea Festival I picked this up from Stratford Tea Leaves‘ booth. Its a gorgeous visual guide to simplified tea ceremony anyone can do with little supplies. Great introduction for yourself into Japanese Tea Ceremony without being dedicated to a specific school such as Urasenke or Omotesenke. **This book is now out of print, I have linked to a correspondence course on CD Japan that still has a few copies left with this as its textbook**

A Chanoyu Vocabulary by Sen Genshitsu

 Under the recommendation of Helen and Sorlie of Secret Tea Time, I picked up this book and the next on our list. Both are quite handy, this one is very useful if you need to look up a name of a tool or even what an item is used for when you see it online (for ebay this has been very useful).

Urasenke Chado Textbook by Urasenke Tankokai

  Both this book and the previous are from Urasenke publishers. Meaning it has information they follow but also contains information not found often in western books. The book contains history, lists of books and writers of tea (many I wish were translated), information on different tools and even seasonality of items. The best part is the description of the process of matcha and what it may assist with.  I picked this book up after reading a touch of the Tea Ceremony’s history in our next book.

Discover the way (Dao)

The Way of Tea by Aaron Fisher

    For months early in my journey I was reading Aaron Fisher’s articles in The Leaf, he was very knowledgeable and wrote about the spiritual side of the leaf. He focuses mainly on the Zen and Dao aspects which are explained in a simple and humble way in this book. I e-mailed him personally to ask about the book and could not put it down once it arrived. How he writes is very inspiring for anyone who reads it and is bound to take something away from it.

One Taste of Truth by William Scott Wilson

  While very much an impulse purchase, this book strives to teach you about different zen quotes. Breaking them down and even connecting the meaning to a story. It’s a little different from the rest as there were not many stories on tea but it did touch on zen, the spiritual practice that is connected to it. If you ever wondered about what lies behind those quotes this will tickle your fancy.

Tea Life, Tea Mind by Sen Genshitsu

 After many trips to the Japan Foundation I found this piece of gold and searched for my own copy. Written by the former head of the Urasenke school, Genshitsu, he explains the different parts behind the Tea Ceremony which may get left behind in the western world. Through his writing it really makes you see what can be brought in to your life to make it more humble and infused in the way of tea.


Discover more about the leaf

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin, Francois, Jasmin and Hugo

    Late 2013 I met with Kevin of Camellia Sinensis at the Ottawa Tea Festival and picked up this treasure (okay all of my books are treasures). Each member of the shop goes to different parts of the world to source tea and compiled that information into this book. I adore how they even show the tools and process of each different tea preparation. Then they take it even further by explaining each region, tea offerings, a bit of history, and even some recipes. But the latter part of the book just takes the cake. They conducted tests on different teas to find out exactly how much antioxidants and caffeine there is in them. Because most other tests out there are biased, I love this information as a reference when I get asked that question. “How much caffeine is there in this tea?”, now I can answer with better information.

Korean Tea Classics by Brother Anthony, Hong Kyeong-Hee and Steven D.

   Historic tea books just seem to find me. This one was very different as it is a compilation of a few different books into one. I knew next to nothing about Korea and their history with tea. Learning from the old masters just seemed like the right thing to start with.  To make things even better, each book is lead by historic information about the writer and the era on which it was written (thank you for context). Korean teas are still a little difficult to find but after reading this it will infuse you with of how it came to be.

The Enjoyment of Tea by Sen Genshitsu

Have I said that I just adore Genshitsu’s writing? This book I found on e-bay and could not pass it up. Learning about his relation to tea throughout his life and journey with tea is very inspiring. It really shows how tea and tea ceremony teaching spread through his time and effort. If it were not for this guy we would not be drinking matcha or even making smoothies with it. There would be no such thing. Through is travel’s and effort we have such access to it that we can not even think about what life would be with out it (I know I can’t). This book really puts into perspective of the efforts that was put into bringing something so humbly Japanese to the western world and the thought behind it.

  These books are just a collection of a few out there. I dearly hope that these inspire you to take that next step in your tea journey. By going beyond the drink, creating your own lifestyle by being inspired by tea’s long standing history, culture and spiritual significance you will become more of your true self. So take the next step with a cup of tea in hand and begin your journey.
 

Urban Oasis: Nohohon Tea Room

Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to find balance and  peace. Take time for you to disconnect an enjoy a space which brings a little zen to your every day.  

Nohohon Tea Room is steps from the busy down town of Toronto. Take a breater and sip a naturaly healthy Japanese drink.  | Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to find balance and  peace. Take time for you to disconnect an enjoy a space which brings a little zen to your every day

Over the last few years I have seen some great changes to Toronto in regards to Japanese specialty shops. Mostly we have seen an array of Izakaya ( Japanese Bar) and cozy cafes, but just last year we finally have a Tea room!

       Nohohon Tea really hit the spot after an afternoon at OCAD University’s Grad show. I raved about the shop for months to those that I knew would listen. A shop that specializes in Japanese drinks and a few select snacks, it was long over due.

         The inside is quite humble as it is part cafe and part shop. The latter portion is contained within a glass cabinet upon the wall. The contents were a feast for the eyes. Within were a small array of tea wares (mostly tea bowls) and some select teas from Momo Tea. It was quite clear from the cabinet that my brother and I were going to enjoy anything we tried.

Nohohon Tea Room is steps from the busy down town of Toronto. Take a breater and sip a naturaly healthy Japanese drink.  | Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to find balance and  peace. Take time for you to disconnect an enjoy a space which brings a little zen to your every day

      My brother tried the Fresh Taro Smoothie while I opted for Straight Chilled Matcha with red bean paste. It was truly the best place to stop for a drink and study or even catch up with a friend.

         Now lets go back to the tea wares. In the cabinet was an array of wares all made by Secret Tea Time. Naturally a bowl ended up coming home with us. I picked the adorable raccoon chawan to add to my collection. Not long after arriving home a bowl of matcha was whipped up to end the day. The remaining drops of collected beautifully in the swirl inside the bowl.

Nohohon Tea Room is steps from the busy down town of Toronto. Take a breater and sip a naturaly healthy Japanese drink.  | Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to find balance and  peace. Take time for you to disconnect an enjoy a space which brings a little zen to your every day

I highly recommend you checking out Nohohon Tea Room when you visit Toronto, try out a Japanese specialty drink just steps from Spadina and Queen Street West shopping.

5 Crystals to help you balance your life

Crystals have different vibrations which can help us balance our lives. Their metaphysical and spiritual properties may assist with health and  emotional balances. Pick up a stone and try it out.

    Whether you are looking for something that will help you stay grounded or new way to energize your tea, crystals are a great way to go. The energy vibrations of crystals can assist with many things. While there is no scientific information to back it, but that does not count for the experiences of the many. The only explanation is through quantum physics, which If you are interested in this I would urge you to look more into it.


     On a simplistic level, these stones give off vibrations which work along with the energetic vibrations of our own bodies. This is good as it can improve certain aspects of ourselves just by having them near us. Today I am going to introduce to you my top 5 crystals that you can use to balance out your life, or even add to your kettle for tea.

Jade

     This stone can come in a variety of colors, the most commonly found is green. With the color in mind it is no wonder this stone is thought to bring good luck, money, and wealth. Less common ones are aid in decision making,balance out the heart chakra, balance out nerves, and has been known to assist in recalling dreams.  Global Tea Hut sent out a small selection of stones in 2011, which included Jade and Quartz. Adding crystals to your tea is a great way to infuse your tea with other energetic properties.

Moonstone

        I picked this stone up as a child due to its name and my attachment to Pokemon. Today, I feel off balance with out having the stone with me. It’s said properties include aid in fortune-telling with use of intuition, enhancing feminine power, and aid syncing with the moon. It is known as a women’s stone as it resonates strongly with the bodies natural cycle and functions. Try having the stone on you for a few days and take note of how you feel, if you tend to feel floaty this stone should help bring you clarity.

Clear Quartz

       As mentioned before Jade and Quartz were sent by Global Tea Hut to add to our kettles. This is because Clear Quartz is helpful for grounding and balancing any of the bodys chakras. While quartz comes in many colors, clear is the most common out of all of them. It assists in meditation, clearing away negative energy, increases inspiration and healing. It can help with more than I have listed if you “program” the stone, but that is for another day.

Amethyst

    This stone is very important for those who have anxiety or stress related health problems. It is a version of quartz but  for on this list it needed its own spot. It has been also known to help with recalling dreams, assist with sleep, eliminate impatience and promote inner strength. Give your meditation practice a boost and hold it it during your next practice, it has been known to assist in calming the mind for deep meditation.

Aventurine

  This stone is relatively new to me but it has been a great addition to my everyday stones. My first mala had a lovely green adventurine, which I felt helped me communicate and see the big picture. The stone though is also benificial to release any habits that are keeping you from moving forward. This is to help you along your life journey to reach self discovery and strengthen spiritual connection. Just having it near can help break down blockages so that you can proceed towards your lifes purpose.

Like most metaphysical practice or tool, they are not a replacement for help from certified help. Such as, doctor or councelor. They are ment as a secondary tool to be used along side traditional help.
 
    Which stones do you use? Or which ones are you thinking of useing in your life (or tea)?  I would love to know. Share your thoughts in the comments below with the Tea Journey Community. Love and light.

Happy 6th Anniversary Tea Journey: Inspiration behind it all

   Happy 6th Tea Anniversary Tea Journey! Join us in taking a look at what sparked the creation of Tea Journey and how it is a lifestyle in itself. Tea, meditation, art, even things we eat all connect together to create a life by living The Way of Tea. 

     Like any creative work it takes love and time to mature. Road blocks pop up and need to be overcome. It takes dedication. It is exactly this quality that makes creative work so amazing. To change things up this anniversary I am going to share posts from others who inspired Tea Journey at conception and those that helped fuel it for the future.


     Early on I stumbled across Tea Masters Blog and was hooked by his lovely photographs and focus on Taiwanese teas. The thing that he did differently from others was showing his Chaxi (artful tea setting) and how to do it yourself. These posts kept me coming back for more and even to learn how to use a gaiwan. It was weird at first but I fell for the simplicity it offered to brew a cup.

       Around the same time I found Tea Gallery’s blog (which is now a shared space with the Mandarin Room). The thought of energy being behind tea really sucked me into their world. Especially how they described teas, it was a whole new vocabulary I had never seen before. They even took it further with their post on Phoenix Oolong and how its taste is improved when it is raining. It took me a while to find this tea but I fell for its wine like body.

      Lastly I want to share a specific author, Aaron Fisher (or Wu De). I found his writing in The Leaf Magazine. I waited anxiously for new issues to come out for more of his writing, to the point that I e-mailed him for a copy of “The Way of Tea”. Through that contact he sent me information on the Sage Tea Center and (at the time) the up and coming Global Tea Hut tea subscription. While I have yet to go to the Sage Tea Center in Taiwan, I have been a big fan of Global Tea Hut.

     It was these posts and organizations that pushed Tea Journey to what it is now. From the very start it was destined to be a Tea Lifestyle blog. But you may be asking what does it mean? For those who I read their blogs or publications regularly that shared this view in their own way. The Tea Gallery shared food pairings, Tea Master’s blog shared art, and Wu De shared the view that tea can change your life. With the subtle pushes and the leap urged by Wu De I continued to see Tea as a journey.

     Starting with a cup which can take you anywhere. The cup can take you to a yoga class, or inspire you to try vegan/vegetarian food or even perhaps begin to look at the spiritual side of it as well. There are so many more dimensions from this simple drink that it can take you virtually anywhere if you have an open mind.

  Now its up to you. What are your thoughts on tea being a lifestyle? Share them in the comments below, I look forward to hearing from you.