12 gifts for Your Soulful Tea Spirit

New Years may be over on the Gregorian Calendar but the Lunar New Year is not until February 16th. As a tea and culture lover, I prefer to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This is because it truly feels like a fresh start energetically and because I was brought up with some of the traditions with my Mom’s Indonesian background. One tradition for this time is to give red envelopes with money in it to the younger generation, which my mother loved to share with us, but also sometimes even small gifts.

With that thought, I pulled together some items to celebrate this time and also set the right tone for the year of the Dog. I cheekily pulled in a few baby cat items because I really wish there was a year of the cat (how about you?).  Use this guide either for yourself or for loved ones to bring them good wishes as we make this transition.

1. Drippy Unicorn Chawan Tea Bowl by Kira Call Ceramics

2.  Cosmic Baby Cat Hoop Art Kit by Sparkle Collective

3. Plum Tama Yunomi Cup set from Hibiki-An

4. Essential Tea Pot in Ocean from Tea Ave

5. Huiming Tea Bags from Camellia Sinensis

6. Embrace Imperfection Throw Pillow from Chapters 

7. Midnight Magic Iron on Patch by Sparkle Collective

8. Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide from Chapters

9. Lifefactory Active Flip Cap Waterbottle from Chapters

10. Toronto Tea Festival Tickets 

11. Journal – Mentally in Another Galaxy  from Chapters

12. Belle & Bloom Demi Tin Candle “Life is a Party” – from Chapters

Best wishes. Many steepings (and many cats) for the New Year.

Digital Table: Tea as “medicine”

Digital Table is back and with a new twist. Let’s both put the kettle on and sit together to talk and get to know each other. While reflecting over our cup of tea we will dive into discussions at our Digital Table together. From discussions on Global Tea Hut subscriptions to what’s going on in the world, from blog post reflections to debating where tea begins and spirituality ends, this series is all about conversation and connection.  So get cozy, let’s curl up and sip at our digital table together.

As I turn on the kettle for our talk, I feel like we need to reflect on the holistic healing of tea. Sipping my tea the last week has been very healing, not only for my mind but my body. As we approached the end of October I found my body was sick from a sinus cold (or sinus-chest-cold of doom as I liked to refer to it). Modern medicine such as “big brand” cold daytime or nighttime has always left me feeling groggy and unable to do regular everyday tasks. But worst off my gut health goes down with it, possibly leading me further into this care for my colitis. This time around I opted for a holistic healing with thousands of years of history to back it up: tea and herbs.

Over 5,000 years of history of tea as medicine

Have you heard of Lu Yu? This writer (no, Tea Scholar) changed how I view tea forever. In his book Cha Ching – which is The Classic of Tea – he documented all things related to tea in the Tang Dynasty. Literally, all the small things we take for granted (like water) are in this book. But the bigger part is the note about additives to this boiled brew, things such as orange peel, ginger, and flowers. In 2010 realizing what Lu Yu adding these ingredients meant, he had just made tea blends. And that made a lightbulb go off –  so-called “blends” are NOT new. Lu Yu documented the first tea blend, and expressed his dislike of it, but also acknowledged the “long-rooted practice.”

This Tea Sage even makes a note (ahem, credit) of Sheng Nong, the first Emperor of China and Herbal medicinal god. This God-Emperor-Person experimented with steeping different leaves and made note of their effects. His biggest discovery was the tea plant, also known as Camellia Sinensis, which he found cured him of a poison he got from some leaf he had steeped. True tea is made from this plant and all others are called Tisanes or Herbal Infusions.

Skeptics of Tea Medicine

In the tea professional community, it is seen as a touchy subject to talk about holistic healing as it relates to tea. The reactions when the subject is brought up quickly go to skeptical: “ Who did the study?”, “What were the steeping methods?”, “How hot was the water?”, “They must have used too much tea or too hot of water.” The reactions go on (and on… and on); it shocks me that some even try to not answer customer questions relating to health. Have you experienced that when shopping for tea, too? I hope not dear friend.

But if you have please keep in mind that not everyone though is like that. I have one friend who is seen as the go-to for tea health information. Michelle Peirce Hamilton is a lovely woman who took her own health into her hands and sought out a Holistic Medicine certification. If you talk to her, she lights up the room with her passion not only for tea but health.

Tea is a Holistic Medicine

Michelle had a talk at a Tea Guild of Canada meeting a few years ago on health. Her well-sourced research silenced many skeptics with proven fact that tea IS a holistic treatment. From findings from The 5th International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Health, she presented these facts for us to take to heart. Some of the findings are:


  • Drinking any amount of tea (green, black or oolong) can help reduce the chance of a stroke

  • 5 cups of green tea a day can contribute to preventing some types of cancer

  • Tea is proven to help with mood and problem-solving.


Even with science to back it up, there is no better proof than how it makes us feel as we drink it. Take another sip of your tea. Do you feel a calmness wash over you? That my friend is the L-theanine within the tea. It is the anti-stress component which relaxes your body when the tea is sipped telling your body all is okay (even if it’s not). And you may also feel more alert or able to concentrate better on our conversation and our tea.

 As it affects the body and makes us feel better, is there really the need for debating if tea is holistic? I don’t think there is after all one of the definitions of medicine is healing substances or drugs collectively.”  With that wording then tea is truly medicine for the mind, body, and soul. But dear traveler, what do you think?


Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Who doesn’t want a snack? When I found my first mug cake recipe I was blown away, but add in matcha and it makes it a Matcha Mug Cake. Since, who doesn’t like matcha? In university, I would use the same ingredients in a rice cooker for a whole cake. Just. For. Me. #guiltypleasures This version is quick and portion sized to be just the right amount for a “healthy” snack that will also go well with a mug of matcha (why not right?).

  The matcha I used for this recipe is Momo Tea’s Momo Usucha, but their Matsu or Take would also do well. The latter two are both great introductory teas to try matcha. I personally like to use a higher grade of matcha for more taste, a vivid green and to make it that little bit extra special. Use whichever works for you and feel free to adjust the sweetness or even omit if you would like.

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe


3 tbsp All-purpose Flour (or alternative)

1tsp Momo Tea’s Momo Usucha Matcha

2 ½ – 3 tbsp sugar (or alternative)

¼ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Milk (or alternative)

1 egg

2 tbsp oil

½ tsp Vanilla Extract



  1. Sift and mix all dry ingredients together to prevent lumps.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix till combined
  3. Grease a mug and pour mix into it
  4. Microwave on high for 90 sec or till cooked.

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Just a quick note on when you are cooking, keep an eye on it. It can “levitate” out of the mug if it’s not watched. This is because it is basically being steamed by the microwave and because you greased the mug.

Lastly, if you want to add anything extra it’s all up to you. This recipe goes well with fruit, dark chocolate or even white chocolate. The choice is yours.

Have you tried a mug cake recipe before? Share your experience with us in the comments below. 

Momo Matcha Tea was purchased on my own, without sponsorship from the brand. 

How to get started with Tea and Food Pairings

Get your feet wet with Tea and Food Pairings with friends or at your next party. Simple steps to help you share your passion for tea and expand your tastes.Tea and food pairings can be daunting as the word choice can be seen as too “upscale”.  While in the past that may be true but it allows us to mindfully consider pairing between the beverage (tea) and food.  Kaiseki is a great example of this. The meal originally is a light coursed dining before Japanese Tea Ceremony, and every aspect had to be thought out. This includes textures, flavors and even smells. Every aspect of the five senses was thought of.  Now for a Tea and Food Pairings, you can go to this extent but if you were to have it with friends who may not be that into tea, keep it simple. Explaining the pairings and your reasoning is most important, but using simplicity with help get your passion across (and they will ask, many many questions).

In many places around the world, there is a reason for different pairings. Such as Japan, having wasabi with sushi. Together the wasabi cuts down on the fish smell and also protects the body from harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When it comes to tea, on the other hand, it can help with digestion and also act as an alcohol-free beverage. Wine and tea have similar notes, which makes it best for this.

Get your feet wet with Tea and Food Pairings with friends or at your next party. Simple steps to help you share your passion for tea and expand your tastes.


The other aspect is that, much like wine, you can contrast, compliment or balance out the tastes. Creating an open dialogue amongst your friends will be the most important part of this. We all have different tastes, so if they are not keen on a pairing to ask them what they would suggest. You may be surprised by their answer (and maybe make them into a foodie, and possibly a tea drinker).

Why do I suggest having this experience and including friends outside of tea? The truth is when we get to close to something we miss some of the smaller details or even solely think about the “rules”.  Go ahead and break some with your friends, by doing this your ability to taste tea (and anything else ) will increase. You may even find yourself become a connoisseur (or want to be a tea sommelier) of taste at the end

Choose your selection of Teas

To get started with your tea and food pairing adventure decision of what types of teas you want to try out. A “standard” way is to pick a range of types (white, green, oolong, black, puerh). But you can also broaden out, go with all whites or even puerh if you so fancy. It’s a great chance to break out some teas you have been wanting to share with your friends. In my case, all of them were new to them, so a range of types worked.

In my case, all of them were new to them, so a range of types worked.We ended up having Pai Mu Dan White, Sencha, Tie Kuwan Yin Oolong and Assam Black. Broad selection but I also took into consideration that most do not like the dryness or astringency of the tannins in black tea. After testing, the Assam at work was the best fit.

Research the types of food go well with those teas

Do a quick search on the internet and you will get varying ideas of food ideas. While there are”rules” to pairing,  test our flavors together yourself. It is very “copy- paste” on the internet and it is highly suggested that you get inspiration. But also to test (before your gathering) yourself. For example, I had truffles and was pairing them with matcha one night, which went well. But the matcha truffle was the only one that paired well with the sheng puerh I had the next night. Consider all the flavors in a dish, as part of your pairing.

Get your feet wet with Tea and Food Pairings with friends or at your next party. Simple steps to help you share your passion for tea and expand your tastes.

Try your tea and food pairings

Finally get your friends together and it’s time to eat and drink. Take time to explain about the teas but keep it simple. Your friends are bound to have questions for you during your tasting. Keep an open dialogue so that everyone can voice their opinion.

Food pairing is the adult way to “play with your food”, so have fun with it and try new things. The foods we had were Italian Caprese Tea Sandwiches, Matcha Butter Cookies ( which we did not end up having due to cooking times, so we tried a bit of the olive oil in its place), Watermelon Salad with Mint and Carrot Cake. I kept the recipe choices very summer like to suit the changes in the season and kept my friends tastes in mind.

Get your feet wet with Tea and Food Pairings with friends or at your next party. Simple steps to help you share your passion for tea and expand your tastes.

Tea and food pairing is a great way to introduce your friends to tea in a fun way. Another idea is to have it as a small part of a tasting day with also beer, wine, and cheese. The more things you have to “play” with the more fun you will have in the end. Plus, you will be broadening out your tastes which you can use for tea later on. Win Win.

   I hope you enjoyed this post, I am sure you have ideas for posts you would love to see. Please take a moment to fill out this quick survey. All information is anonymous but will help me create more content for you to enjoy (and help with my copywriting class, I want to be transparent with you). Click this link, Thank You for your help dear reader, fellow blogger, tea lover, a student of the leaf, creative or soul searcher. Satnam.

Spread Joy to you Tea Stash with KonMari

Spread joy to your tea stash by using the KonMari method. Get control and only have teas that you love.

A few years ago the KonMari craze blew up social media and also changed many lives in the process by spreading joy.  The process of reducing belongings was innovative (and at times really made you think). Marie Kondo’s book “ The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, was and still is the book to get for making a fresh start and learning how to tidy.

Creating this post with her steps in mind was really fun. I do suggest to start with other categories (clothes, books, and papers) to build up your skill in identifying what brings you joy. Plus, in her book she states to do harder things, later on, this is why I suggest starting with clothes, then books, and then papers. That way you are truly keeping what brings you joy by changing what you have around you. So let’s dive in together to get ‘er done, and spread joy with KonMari.

Evaluate Before starting KonMari

Look at your tea stash right now. How much do you have? Is it an “I have a problem”, “everyone gifts me tea”, or “when did I get all of these”? Or anything similar? It does not matter who you are, tea sommelier, tea fanatic etc. We are all in the same boat and it is time to keep only what brings you joy.       

 What do you want from your teas? Is it diversity? Or do you tend to gravitate towards certain types or varieties of teas? Image the type of lifestyle you want with your teas, draw it out if you have to.  Lastly, what do you want your life to be like with your tea?  

If you are having trouble take a look at Pinterest to get an idea how others structure their life with tea. Make a mood board, walk away for a while. Then narrow it down to about 6-10 images. What is the overall theme? Is it in line with the life you want? Take time to write down your thoughts and dig deep on what you truly want (psst. I may or may not have a teaware KonMari post in the pipeline, so stay tuned!)

Lay them all out

Take out all your teas, all of them. If you miss any consider them void and null (aka give them away), having this thought really makes you get them all together (I found some in a bag for sampling and other random places, so look everywhere). Get them all together in one place, I used my bed. But you can easily lay out a sheet to lay out all your teas on till they are all together. Once you are 100% sure you got them all, then we can move on.

Spread joy to your tea stash by using the KonMari method. Get control and only have teas that you love.

The essence of KonMari- “Does it fill you with joy?”

 If you finished the clothing, books and papers categories, then this will be easy. But if you haven’t you have to really dig deep and use your intuition to check if your heart feels joy from that specific tea. The process is simple: pick up each one individually. Ask yourself ” does this fill me with joy?”. I found that occasionally I needed to smell it ( resist brewing, its hard but the end will be worth it promise!) and occasionally look a the leaves.

       If I notice the smell is off or stale, or the color is off. Then I take that into consideration, based on type (Puerh, of course, changes over time, but I also kept an eye out for red flag mold, thankfully there was none but it is best to check). Repeat the process for every tea, each and every one of them.  

  The ones that don’t bring joy will go in a separate pile, these will be “disposed of” or used in an alternative way (but ONLY if you are truly going to do it). I used some for fertilizer and some got turned into a bath mix with Epson salts. But if you can not decide an alternative use, then dispose of them. The leaves will understand. Simply, before letting them go, thank them out loud for their service to you and all the brews you had together.  

Notice the trends in what brought you joy

    Take a look at what remains for you. My own collection went from a mish-mash of random teas to specific types that were right for the life I want. Now it is narrowed down to Japanese teas, Taiwanese oolongs, special oolongs and Puerh and select herbal teas. It’s much more manageable now to know what I have on hand at any given time. 

Since you now have gone through your teas, now and only now, is when you can organize them. Doing this part last is important as we needed to make sure our collection reflected what’s in our heart and brought us joy.

Spread joy to your tea stash by using the KonMari method. Get control and only have teas that you love.

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