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!

13 July 2010 - 18:093 Ways to Lower Risk of Dementia

Among the many studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu recently, three in particular found reliable sources which seemed to lower the risk of brain decline with age.

brain on dementiaThe first study tracked more than 1,200 people over 20 years.  Of these now-elderly folks, 242 had developed dementia. Those who got moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40 percent lower risk of developing any type of dementia. Those reporting the least activity were 45 percent more likely to develop dementia than more-active people.

In the second study, researchers examined data from 3,325 Americans 65 years and older, and found the odds of cognitive impairment were about 42 percent higher in those deficient in vitamin D, and 394 percent higher in people severely deficient.

And the final study, a 14-year project, followed more than 4,800 senior men and women.  It concluded that tea drinkers had less mental decline than non-tea drinkers, and those who drank tea one to four times a week had average yearly rate of decline 37 percent lower than people who didn’t drink tea.

So what does this tell you?  Do your brain a favor- get plenty of exercise, take your vitamins and, of course, drink lots of tea!

No Comments | Tags: Health Benefits

12 July 2010 - 14:50Tea Video: Can Tea Help You Grow A Beard?

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9 July 2010 - 17:27Tea Recipe: Orange-Cumin Earl Grey Chops

grumpgryLooking for a quick meal that is easy, out-of-the-ordinary and sure to impress?  Well, twist my arm: OK, I’ll share another one of my secret weapons from my recipe arsenal…

Of course, the recipe I’m referring to includes tea, but not as the primary flavor, rather as a balancing, enhancing flavor -  helping to bridge the gaps for an all-out delicious combination.

Really utilizing that classic bergamot flavor of any good Earl Grey with a little fresh-squeezed OJ (after all, bergamot is a citrus too!), this well-balanced recipe will hopefully make its way into your regular rotation as well!

(note: if you don’t eat pork, chicken breasts work great with this recipe as well!)

Bon AppeTEA!

Orange-Cumin Earl Grey Chops

Two 1/4 inch thick Berkshire pork chops
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
the earl of pork chopKosher Salt (to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 heaping teaspoons Earl Grey Reserve
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Mix the flour, cumin, salt & pepper. Coat chops in flour mixture (shaking off excess flour).

Add 1 tbsp oil to a pan over medium high heat and saute chops until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the rest of the oil and saute shallots for about 1 minute (until fragrant).

Meanwhile, put tea leaves in cheesecloth and tie securely to make a pouch.

Add chicken broth, orange juice and Earl Grey pouch. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup.

Lower heat to a simmer and remove the tea pouch. Whisk in honey and butter, adding salt and pepper if necessary.

Add the pork chops back to the pan, cover and allow to slowly simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

1 Comment | Tags: Tea Musings

8 July 2010 - 17:06Twilight Stars Love Tea

a dapper young lad with his teaHis skin may be ice cold, but it is tea - not blood - that warms him up.   That’s right, heart throb vampire Robert Pattinson goes all sparkly for a good cup of tea!

And with box office numbers heating up with the recent debut of the third part of the blood-sucking teeny-bopper series, Eclipse, Mr. Pattinson may want to try to cool down with some iced tea as well.

Need proof?  To the left is a pic of the guy on the set of his new movie, Bel Ami, slurping his tea between takes.

And let’s not forget that good old Mr. Cullen really got his first taste of fame starring alongside Daniel Radcliffe in the Harry Potter series.  And Mr. Radcliffe, as you may remember from a  previous post, is a certified tea addict!  Perhaps that is where Robert got his love for the stuff!

In fact, in a recent interview, Pattinson’s wolfish counterpart, Taylor Lautner, also expressed his love for tea.

So whether you are a fan of Team Edward or Jacob (having seen none of the movies, I prefer to stay neutral), there is one thing all can agree on: tea is delicious!

No Comments | Tags: Enjoyment, News

7 July 2010 - 13:58Tea Video: You, Better! Get Some Tea

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6 July 2010 - 16:44Tea Recipe: Tropical Peony Granitas

No matter where you are on the East Coast right now, one thing is for sure: it’s HOT.

But no worries, your friendly neighborhood Tea Sommelier has got the coolest way to chill out: granitas.  A granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings - kinda like an upscale Slurpee.

Today’s version of this Sicilian classic is not only perfectly refreshing, but also a bit intoxicating (and, of course, infused with tea!).

Tropical Peony Granitas

graniTEA?2 cups lukewarm tropical peony
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coconut rum
2 tablespoons pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar melts. Pour mixture into 9 by 13-inch metal pan and place on level shelf in freezer for half an hour. (Mixture should only come about 1/4-inch up the side of the pan.) Remove and use a dinner fork to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the side or bottom of the pan. Return to freezer and repeat scraping every 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours. Once mixture is thoroughly frozen, fluff with a fork and allow flakes to “dry” in freezer another half hour before serving. When served, the granita should look like a fluffy pile of dry crystals.

Scoop into goblets and top with barely sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

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2 July 2010 - 16:35Tea Recipe: The American Classic

American Independence may have been spawned, at least indirectly, thanks to tea.  And what better way to celebrate this 4th of July weekend than with a little tea?

Even better, today’s cocktail recipe infuses tea into the classic American spirit (and one of my personal favorites), Bourbon, sure to bring on the fireworks!

Hope everyone has a happy and safe weekend - Happy 4th!


The American Classic

it's classic!2 oz. Peachy Oolong-infused bourbon (recipe follows)
2 Dashes peach bitters (recommended: Fee Brothers)
2 Dashes Cointreau
orange wheel

Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange wheel.

Peachy Oolong-Infused Bourbon

one 750 mL  bottle bourbon (recommended: Bulleit)
2 heaping tablespoons Peachy Oolong
One vanilla bean, split

Add tea leaves directly into full bottle, replace cap and shake vigorously to thoroughly combine. Allow to “steep” for 4-5 hours, shaking every 30 minutes for full incorporation.

1 Comment | Tags: Recipes

1 July 2010 - 17:57The Great White (Tea) North

Today, July 1st, may be an ordinary day to most Americans, but just north of the border there’s a swingin’ party going on.

a mountie!That’s because today is Canada Day, the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, which united two British colonies and a province of the British Empire into a single country called Canada.

This day is not only notable because this Sommelier has many wonderful friends that are from the Land of Maple Syrup, but also because Canadians are crazy for their tea!

In fact, according to a report released in 2007, our kindly Canucks drank more than 274 cups of tea per capita - compare that to Americans, who averaged about 170 per mouth - that’s a considerable difference!

There are many explanations as to why there is such a difference in consumption with two countries so close together.  Some say that it is because of the climate: Canada is, on average, colder so folks are more likely to gravitate to the stuff.  Others believe it is because they never had a historically consequential event such as the Boston Tea Party to stain the image of tea.

My opinion, however, is that Canadians just get it: tea is delicious, healthy and functional.

Happy Canada Day, eh!

No Comments | Tags: Enjoyment, News