About This Blog

Tavalon's own Tea Sommelier and author Chris Cason inspires your teacups and answers all your tea questions with The Voice of Tea. The perfect way for beginners to learn more about tea and for connoisseurs to stay on the cutting edge!

30 June 2009 - 14:38Tea Fights Superbugs

Besides instilling an aberrant affinity to pipettes, my molecular biologist mother taught me to always understand the importance of finishing the prescription of my antibiotics. If the cycle is not complete, she would say, the result can be that some bacteria from your infection will survive. oh, no! it's superbug!These survivors then will go on to replicate themselves in such a way to form a resistance to the prescribed medicine. This infection then spreads to more and more people, and the power of the bacteria grows.

These drug-resistant microorganisms can cause major problems, as eliminating them with the usual antibiotics can be quite difficult.  Those that prove extraordinarily problematic are dubbed Superbugs, and the only way to destroy them, it was thought, was with quite powerful medicine (which usually took a major toll on the human body as well). That is, until Egyptian scientists, tired from all those pipette parties, reached for their favorite tea and decided to add it to the regular antibiotic regimen.

They shared their findings recently at the 162nd meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. In their research, they went on to say, they were surprised to find that in almost every case and for all types of antibiotics tested, drinking tea at the same time as taking the medicines seemed to reduce the bacteria’s drug resistance, even in superbug strains, and increase the action of the antibiotics.

This would’ve been a pretty staggering accomplishment for any drug that they’d developed, but the fact that tea is a natural product makes it even more amazing. I hope this discovery helps tilt the spotlight a little more in tea’s direction!

So, to conclude: to prevent the creation and dissemination of a nasty Superbug, finish your pills - and drink your tea!

1 Comment | Tags: Health Benefits, Tea Musings

29 June 2009 - 13:55Tea Video: the Art of Tea

While not my favorite tea on the market, I have to admit that the below Twinings commercial is pretty creative- it uses tea leaves (ahem, tea dust, really) to create split-second pieces of art.

The real art of tea, though, is in the taste.

Have you found your Mona Lisa of tea yet?

No Comments | Tags: Enjoyment, Video - Other

26 June 2009 - 14:56Tea Video: High Pressure Firefight

Leave it to my friend Lindsey, aka “Vee” from the Vee Tea Blog, to find this bizarre, Quentin Tarantino-esque Japanese tea commercial. Tea really does help you lower your blood pressure, though!

WARNING: while quite hilarious, this is also a little gross. Don’t press play if you have a weak stomach!

No Comments | Tags: Video - Other

25 June 2009 - 16:37Unearthing Tea Notes

Most tea lovers are familiar with Lu Yu’s famous Chia Ching or Tea Classic, but this is just one of several ancient texts covering the art of tea.

ol timey tea tastingAnother interesting ancient tea scholar was Zhang Yuan, who lived hidden away in China’s Dong Ting mountains. There he devoted his life to studying the simple enjoyment of tea. Through his reclusive research, Yuan wrote Tea Notes, a meticulously comprehensive guide to virtually every aspect of tea. In fact, it was through the publication of this work that Yuan was granted access to the imperial court.

However, it was never translated into English and could’ve easily drowned in the murky waters of Lethe - that is, until the tea-loving gentlemen over at The Leaf graciously did us the honor.

Among my favorite passages is a particularly salient interpretation of what a true tea ceremony embodies:

“When tea is produced, precision is essential. When stored, dryness is most important. When brewed, purity is crucial. Precision, dryness and purity - the tea ceremony is complete.”

Still rings true today, and Yuan said it in 1595!

No Comments | Tags: History, Tea Musings

24 June 2009 - 13:37Frozen moTEAjos, anyone?

Looking for an easy, healthy, deliciously refreshing summer treat?

Look no further! I give you my newest recipe, frozen moTEAjos! Time to chill…

Frozen moTEAjos


lookin' gooooood!2 heaping tablespoons moTEAjo mix
6 cups 180 degree water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice


Place tea in a large bowl. Pour less-than-boiling water over tea; steep 5 minutes. Strain and discard tea leaves.

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and light corn syrup in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar mixture and lime juice to tea; stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature. Pour cooled tea mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; cover and freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm. Remove tea mixture from freezer; scrape entire mixture with a fork until fluffy. Spoon into a container; cover and freeze for up to 1 month. Garnish with lime slices and springs of mint, if desired.

(And, if so inclined, top with a shot of light rum!)

1 Comment | Tags: Enjoyment, Recipes, Tea Musings

23 June 2009 - 14:07Tea Video: Drinkin’ with Mr. Tea

No Comments | Tags: Video - Other

22 June 2009 - 15:29Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer

With Father’s Day just behind us (Happy Father’s Day, Dad, by the way- oops!), this report couldn’t come at a more appropriate time: according to a new study carried out by researchers in Philadelphia, tea may actually be able to slow the progression of prostate cancer.

healthy papas!The study consisted of a group of 26 men in total between the ages of 41 and 72-years old.

All of the men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and all had to go through prostate surgery. When some were given a routine intake of tea, researchers found was that those who took the tea had a major reduction in terms of the progression of their prostate cancer.

While this particular study focused on green tea, but the main ingredient responsible for the tea’s health benefits, EGCG, is found in abundance in all teas.

So, Dad, do yourself a favor: drink some tea!

No Comments | Tags: Health Benefits

19 June 2009 - 14:07Tea Video: Tea Pouring Skills

This guy is actually pouring tea (and not all over the place!) - kids, don’t try this at home!

No Comments | Tags: Video - Other

18 June 2009 - 22:51Tea Video: Bring Me Your Tea

As this video aptly proves, real men drink tea!

No Comments | Tags: Video - Other

17 June 2009 - 14:34An Iced Tea Revolution

When you think of all the varieties of tea available to the United States, it seems fairly odd that about 99% of the iced tea that Americans drink comes from just one type of tea, black tea. iced white tea with limeNot that there is anything wrong with that, but adding a bit of variety will definitely keep your tastebuds interested.

Being that any tea can obviously be transformed into a refreshing cold beverage with the simple addition of a few ice cubes, the possibilities are endless. It seems kinda silly that we’d limit ourselves with such a tea-tunnel vision.

So what I am calling for is nothing short of an American Iced Tea Revolution. The rallying cry is simple: try something new!

To get the ball rolling, my (current) favorite iced tea is Peachy Oolong, which has that strength that most iced tea drinkers are used to, but also has a uniquely oolong flavor and finishes with a touch of peach. Perfect for a hot summer day!

Now go out there and take on the wide world if iced teas!

2 Comments | Tags: Tea Musings