Virtual Tea Tasting – Dragonwell

April 13th, 2014

by Naomi Rosen

The second time around and we are getting the chance to be a part of history! Teaity is breaking ground again, on Wednesday April 30th, with the first ever-online guided tea tasting! If you’ve never experienced a tea tasting, it is similar to a wine tasting. This virtual event will help participants discover the unique nuances of Dragonwell (Lung Ching or Longjing) — a Chinese Green tea.

Participants will steep the selected tea immediately preceding the tasting with instructions shared by Teaity and the co-hosts, Stash Tea and Joy’s Teaspoon.

Together, with the guidance of our hosts, we will:

  • Evaluate the leaf quality (dry and steeped) by visual inspection and smell.
  • Assess the liquor for color and clarity of the steeped tea.
  • Sample the liquors’ mouthfeel, astringency, taste, and finish.

You can brew your perfect cup of Dragonwell, from Stash Tea, with the help of Teaity!

Be ready for the Virtual Tea Tasting by ordering Dragonwell from our Co-Host and Sponsor, Stash Tea!

To be entered to win one of our 4 prize packs, RSVP and follow @teaity@stashtea and @joysteaspoon.

#TEAityChat: A Virtual Tea Tasting 
Hashtag: #TEAityChat
Date: April 30, 2014
Time: 8 PM – 9 PM ET
Prizes: 4 Prize Packs
Co-Hosts: @teaity, @stashtea, @joysteaspoon
RSVP Link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/teaitychat-a-virtual-tea-tasting-tickets-11204293343

We look forward to tweeting with all of you that night! Prepare yourselves for green tea frivolity!

Who Knew It Could Happen Twice?

April 11th, 2014

by Naomi Rosen

When I first launched JoysTeaspoon.com, I made a Tea Business Bucket List (Crytpic name, I know). It looked like this:

  1. Offer great tea.
  2. Educate tea drinkers on palate and nuances.
  3. Educate tea drinkers of environmental and social impacts of tea.
  4. Meet Leonardo DiCaprio. (What?)
  5. Be a part of the educational offerings presented by World Tea EXPO.

I do offer great tea, I do educate, and last yeath-r I was a part of a World Tea EXPO panel session discussing blogging within your business. Damn you security guards for thwarting my 100% completion on that list!

That said, World Tea EXPO has asked me to come back. And not just for one session…but two! Firstly, I will be moderating the Bloggers Tea Roundtable (5/30). I admire every single one of the bloggers on this panel and am super excited to hear what is said! The line-up includes:

For my next trick…I was also asked to represent small tea businesses as a panelist in the “New Face of Retail” panel discussion being offered on Saturday (5/31) morning. It’s being moderated by Elyse Peterson of Tealet, who happens to be one of my favorite tea people! Here’s a snippet of the description for this class:

“Join some of the brightest up and coming stars of tea retail in the United States as they come together to discuss the current and upcoming trends in tea retail. This panel will include experts in the area of tea education, in-store blending, popup retail, bitcoin payments, and true tea sales. You do not want to miss this session!”

They called me “brightest”! That almost never happens.

As you can clearly see, between these two sessions, the countless cups of tea I will be ingesting, the US League of Tea Growers meeting I will be attending, and the reconnecting with tea friends, it is shaping up to be an epic three days for me!

I always have a “Lookout List” with me of products, teas, and items I am trying to track down. Is there something you think we should start carrying? Shoot a note over to naomi@joysteaspoon.com and fire off your suggestions!

#Teaity Twitter Party

February 24th, 2014

Teaity, a free online tea steeping resource, was created to help tea drinkers experience their best cup of tea. With a database that is continuously growing, it’s sure to be a helpful tool for any type of tea you are craving. But, whether you consider yourself a novice or a guru on the subject, The Tea Experience Twitter Party is for you.

We’ve assembled a team of tea experts and lovers for “The Tea Experience” chat. We’ll talk steep times, favorite teas, lots of Q&A with new and old tea drinkers…and all from the comfort of your couch, or bed, or favorite coffee shop chair.

 

 

Twitter Party: The Tea Experience

Hashtag: #TEAityChat
Date: February 25th, 2014
Time: 8 PM – 9 PM ET
Prizes: 5 Prize Packs
Co-Hosts: @teaity@joysteaspoon@teaformeplease
RSVP Link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/teaitychat-tickets-10456029265

I am super excited that Joy’s Teaspoon is a co-host for this event and I look forward to tweeting with each of you until my fingers fall off!

Change Our Steep Times?

January 24th, 2014

by Naomi Rosen

I love getting feedback from customers.  Especially when the comment or question prompts me to want to write about it.  In this case, I received an email from a regular customer recommending that I change the steep time on one of our teas as he had found that our suggested steep time was a little too strong.  I love it!  A customer that took the time to give me some insight into his experience!  A customer that is experimenting with his tea! So keep the feedback coming.  I enjoy it all…the good, the bitter, and the totally not tea-related!  (Note: The thoughts below are specific to Joy’s Teaspoons teas and may not represent every tea on the market!)

  • Steep times listed on on our packaging come from one of two sources…the grower or the blender.  It is my assumption that every grower/blender is going to provide me with information that will maximize the flavor of their particular tea(s).  I taste the teas at multiple stages: as a sample, upon receipt of shipment, and anytime I re-order or there is a new flush.  In most cases, I use the steeping specifications that are provided to me.  I will, on occasion, change the times if I really feel that it is off.  Case in point, I have a Kenyan tea that was so strong it made my mouth pucker when I followed the specifications that were sent my way.  So I readjusted those specs when placing the tea on the site to fit what I felt was a more enjoyable flavor profile.
  • It is my firm belief that those steep times are simply a jumping off point for negotiations!  All of us have to start tea drinking somewhere and my goal is to give newer tea drinkers a comfortable place to start from.  Suggestions regarding temperature, time, tea quantity, etc., are simply to make the process as simple as possible at the start so that new tea drinkers can enjoy their first few experiences.  That said, once you’ve got a few cups under your pot, I fully expect each of you to take the liberty of brewing these teas to fit whatever makes your taste buds the happiest!

So do a little experimenting with those teas and tell me about it!

We Got Tagged!

January 24th, 2014

Audrea (left) and Naomi (right)

By Naomi and Audrea

Before the craziness of the holidays, I was trolling through some of my favorite bloggers and catching up on 2 weeks worth of reading that I had missed.  It’s a busy time of year and I lag with the blogging in November and December.  I noticed that a few of my friends had been “tagged” and I was green with envy.  And then I got a notice on Facebook that Audrea and I had been tagged by Geoff of Steep Stories and I jumped for joy!  I eat this stuff up!  So here goes…Audrea and I are going to try our best to behave and answer the questions about our tea experiences!  We’ve opted to answer them separately, kind of like The Newlywed Game minus the word whoopee every 5 seconds.  And we are going to try to behave.

(Speak for yourself Naomi. I ain’t promising no one to behave!! – A)

(1) First, let’s start with how you were introduced and fell in love with the wonderful beverage of tea.

N: Sarah (sister) and Audrea (cousin) moved to Chicago a few years back and introduced me to loose leaf tea via a cute tea shop in Forest Park, IL. Sarah and I attended a green tea tasting and I was a goner after that! (I appreciate that you kept the dates vague. I want to be young forever. – A)

A: I was introduced to Chamomile tea by my mother & initially I hated it. My grandma used to make her spiked Chamomile when she was sick but my mom never gave me the “good stuff.” Overtime though, I got into drinking iced tea. My dad used to make huge pitchers of (bagged – gosh so embarrassing) Lipton iced tea & I thought he hung the moon so I copied him. Thankfully, Chicago had a local tea shop that introduced me to the good stuff & it’s been all uphill from there.  (Thank God for Chicago! -N)

(2) What was the very first tea blend you ever tried?

N: Bagged – Bigelow’s Constant Comment.  Loose – Lung Ching

A: Genmaicha. I don’t remember much about it except it was when I was in Chicago, at a local tea shop & I thought adding toasted rice into a green tea was brilliant. Like rocket science brilliant, but then again, what do I know about rocket science?

(3) When did you start your tea blog and what was your hope for creating it?

N: The blog was started in April of 2010 along with the online shop.  I originally launched it to help boost my SEO, but absolutely loved writing about tea so it turned into more of a place to share and interact with fellow tea lovers.  I’m actually really terrible at using the blog for SEO.  And I like it that way.

A: Luckily for me, Naomi did all the work here. I just get on & make an idiot of myself. It’s a full time job guys.  (She speaks the truth. -N)

(4) List one thing most rewarding about your blog and one thing most discouraging.

N: As far as rewards go, I have met some of the most wonderful tea folks from around the world via tea blogging.  People that I now consider more than just “tea nerds” but actual friends that I have met in person, shared tea and meals with, etc.  Tea is unifying in that aspect.  As for discouraging, I find that I blog in spurts which is rough.  I am always thinking about things to write, but finding the time is something totally different. (If it would help, I could threaten to take away your CAH time. I bet that would motivate you. Am I right Geoff & Chris?!?! – A)

A: I think the most discouraging is how many blog authors there are for Joy’s Jabberings & what blog slackers we all are… But I think the most encouraging thing is how no one (including us) seems to mind. This blog is fun & hopefully informative without being too snobby. We get to chat about stuff we love & things that make us laugh. (Like cats, dressed as sharks, riding on a Roomba. -N It’s awesome!! – A)

(5) What type of tea are you most likely to be caught sipping on?

N: I think I’m the politician of tea drinkers because I flip flop around…a lot!  At the moment, I’m on a Ceylon kick.  But just last month I was chugging oolongs (specifically LiShan and Blue Beauty) like my life depended on it.  Sencha is another one that I am constantly coming back to.

A: Anything from Joy’s Teaspoon is the easy answer because I make Naomi give me tea a lot. But if I’m being specific, I love me a good sultry Chinese black tea or a respectable Earl Grey (I even like disrespectable earls but that’s another matter).  (Is disrespectable a word? -N Technically, no but I could care less. I’m like Sarah. I am an academic. I can make words up as I need to. – A)

(6) Favorite tea latte to indulge in?

N: I’m not a tea latte fan.  I am a coffee latte fan.  It helps mask the taste of coffee which I am not overly fond of.  Thus the reason, I don’t do it with teas.

A: Admittedly, I’ve only ever had an Earl Grey latte from Starbucks & it was gross. I do LOVE adding heavy cream or full fat coconut milk to my chai tea though. Does it count as a latte if I don’t overpay for foamy milk?

(7) Favorite treat to pair with your tea?

N: If I’m drinking it for fun, and not sampling for buying reasons, a handful of nuts or a couple of pieces of cheese will do.  We’re working on a healthy lifestyle up in this house and if I had a sweet treat with every cup of tea I drank I’d be in trouble.

A: A good book & my couch. This might not seem like the world’s best treat but I don’t get to enjoy it as frequently as I’d like to. I’ve also been known to double fist a good oolong & a glass of red wine from time to time.

(8) If there was one place in the world that you could explore tea culture at, where would it be and why?

N: Sri Lanka.  Not to say I wouldn’t love to travel to India, China, Japan, etc. and really dive into the tea cultures there, but there is something about Sri Lanka that I find utterly captivating.  Tea is a huge part of their GDP, and there are some social movements happening there within the tea growing communities that I wish to see firsthand. (Me too! What she said. – A)

A: Is it weird that my first thought is Russia? Or possibly the Ukraine? I think Iran would be cool too. I don’t really have a good reason for my choices. They are places I find fascinating & have tea cultures we don’t discuss as frequently. Does it make me a hipster to be listing places that are a little obscure for tea?  (No. What makes you a hipster is your comment about “overpaying for foamy milk” above.  You hipster… -N)

(9) Any tea time ritual you have that you’d like to share?

N: It’s not necessarily a ritual, but I love sharing tea with my friends and family.  Not in a snooty “you must try this blah blah blah tea that I found while scaling the Alps” kind of way (insert snooty accent here).  More like “let’s sit down, have some tea, catch up, laugh and possibly make fun of some people” kind of way. (Every time you lie about being snooty, an angel loses a bell? Wait, how does that go again? – A)

A: My favorite is probably not *technically* a ritual. One of my favorite tea times is at Naomi’s place. I only get to make it into the office at Joy’s Teaspoon one or two times a year & it’s always awesome. We stay up late giggling, sniffing & sipping all the new teas, playing with the new teaware, brewing pots of our favorites. While in Vegas I get to relax into a world surrounded by tea & laughter. It’s almost as good as Christmas but without the stress of the holidays. Sharing tea with “JT Herself” is my favorite tea ritual regardless of whether we’re bothering with ritual (which chances are we aren’t & we’ve over-steeped everything).  (And she does mean…everything. -N)

(10) Time of day you enjoy drinking tea the most: Morning, Noon, Night or Anytime?

N: I’m more of a late morning, early afternoon tea drinker.  Caffeine keeps me up so I have to cut it off around 5ish and I’m not a huge herbal drinker.

A: Anytime is a good time for tea. I do tend to change what I’m drinking depending on the time of day though. I’m so cliche. I drink darker oolongs & black tea in the mornings. I switch to lighter oolongs or green blends in the afternoon & I drink red wine at night because herbals are for pansies! (I feel like I should apologize here to anyone who likes herbal teas, but it would be half-hearted because red wine is awesome.)

(11) What’s one thing you wish for tea in the future?

N: There are two things that I am hopeful will be successful for tea in the future (I can’t choose just one!).  The first is that I would love to see more and more tea companies and tea consumers become educated about the impact they can have on the lives of the tea growers, pickers and processors.  Simple questions can ensure that tea is purchased from environmentally and socially responsible sources. The second wish is that US grown tea will become a viable and successful crop here in the US.

A: I’d love to see the future of tea be a clean, safe and sustainable source of income for the farmers & all the workers. I’d like to see more people get into tea in a way that actually helps promote the land, the culture, the people producing the tea rather than just see tea be a hip thing. I’d like to see more small shops selling small quantities of quality tea over a boom taking place with the larger retailers. I’d love to see tea as a movement for positive change in the nations it’s grown in & in the nations it’s purchased in. Lastly, I’d like to see Naomi send me more samples… but large sized samples, maybe extra large.

Technically, we were supposed to tag some additional tea bloggers but most of my friends were tagged.  So, if you’d like me to tag you, shoot me a note and I will do so publicly!!  -Naomi

Well Hello There 2014

January 23rd, 2014

Thanks to Wikipedia for the Silkie shot!

by Naomi Rosen

It seems like I always start the year with the best of blogging intentions, and then October hits and it’s all downhill from there.  One would think I might try to work in advance, but that’s just crazy talk!  So, standing with tradition, I will strongly start this year blogging!

Over the last few weeks, in an attempt to break a lame habit, I’ve been trying to do some brainstorming and planning for the year and have found that I have so many other topics that I enjoy writing about and never put to “keyboard”.  Executive decision time…I will start blogging about all sorts of topics, both tea and non-tea related!  Topic #1…

Why I Would Make An Excellent Chicken Farmer…

  1. I’ve seen Chicken Run like 20 times.  I know to separate the chickens with glasses from the rest of the gaggle (I should probably look up what a group of chickens is called). I won’t leave the parts for an airplane laying around either.  Lastly, I have mean British accent.
  2. I like rubber boots.
  3. There are no chicken farms here in Las Vegas.  Well, at least none that I know of yet.  If there are, pass on the info!  There are hobbyists, and a few that do it for the eggs, but none that sell pasture raised chicken meat.
  4. I think they are super cute.  Especially the ones with the super furry feet and feathers that look like hats!  (See Silkie pic above.)
  5. We have a ton of bugs in our backyard because my family and I are attempting to become Master Desert Gardeners.  I think the chickens would think it was a like Strip buffet out there!
  6. I’m really good with pets.  We have a dog and a Beta.  How much more work could chickens be?

The only problem I see with this plan is that I don’t really want to be the one that slaughters.  It’s messy and stinks.  So, I’m thinking I’ll find someone that I can bring on that doesn’t mind the messy, stinky parts.  If I can’t fill the time with chickens, they can always supplement hours by babysitting my boys.  They’re messy and stinky so it’s kind of the same thing.

That’s it.  I can’t think of a single thing that could go wrong.  I’m off to start building a coop!

Teany, The Amazing NV Tea Plant

November 17th, 2013

Teany and Naomi

by Naomi Rosen

I’ve been following the US Grown Tea movement for a while now.  Three years ago I had the pleasure of meeting some Hawaiian tea growers at the World Tea EXPO and was really impressed with the teas that I had a chance to sample.  Therein started my research on US grown tea and I came across a few growers in Oregon, Washington and South Carolina.  While US grown tea had my attention, it wasn’t a primary focus for me.  About this time last year, I came across the FB page of a farm in MS claiming that it was going to grow tea.  I started following their progress and eventually contacted the farmer and was told that there was a new US League of Tea Growers (USLTG) forming and that I was invited to check out their inaugural meeting at this years World Tea EXPO.  The rest is all kind of a blur.  Jason McDonald, who owns that MS tea farm (FiLoLi Farms) and I became wonderful friends and I now voluntarily help maintain the social media and newsletter arms of the USLTG.  I got a note from him a few weeks back that he had sent a little thank you gift with Elyse Peterson (Tealet) who was making her way from MS to Las Vegas.  Imagine my joy when she handed me this beautiful little tea bush, whom I’ve lovingly named Teany!  It’s a part of their (Elyse and Jason) #TeaAcrossAmerica initiative and I am proudly representing Nevada!  The goal is to start conversations, exchange information and share our tea growing experiences via picture, video and social media.  As of right now, we still have plants available for an eager grower in Delaware and Nebraska!  If you are in either of these states, and would be interested in being a part of #TeaAcrossAmerica, visit this link and submit your information.  The bushes will be sent out in waves over the next 8 weeks with simple care instructions.

I look forward to tracking how Teany’s brothers and sisters are doing across America!

Sourcing Sustainable Teas

September 6th, 2013

A woman tea plucker in Nepal

I write, on a monthly basis, for a blog called TChing.com.  It’s fun since they almost never limit my topics and I can bounce around until my hearts content.  I recently wrote something that I think is the beginning of Joy’s Teaspoon’s environmental policy, and specifically pertained to sourcing of our teas, spices and herbs.  I would love your feedback, either here or on TChing!

Seven Summer Tea Trekkin’ Tips

August 12th, 2013

You know we love a good guest blog now and then.  Geoffrey Norman, of The Lazy Literatus and Steep Stories, has graced us with some very helpful tips and tricks for the tea traveller!  Happy Trekkin’!  -Naomi

 

by Geoffrey Norman

I’ve been called upon by the ladies of Joy’s Teaspoon to give my two cents on how to tea while traveling. Although, I’m not sure what about me screams, “Seasoned Traveler.”  I can barely afford to go downtown. On a weekday. Around noon.

That said, I have done some minor road trips in my time and have tried to maintain my tea snobbery while on the go. These are – by no means – rules that are set in stone. People have their own ways of coping with cuppas while trekkin’. The following techniques (if you can even call them that) are ways I’ve found to make a decent cup while knee-deep in vagabond splendor.

#1. Teabagging.

Hear me out.

I’m not talking about the cheapo pre-bagged dust that you can buy in any supermarket. Nay, I’m referring to a special type that can carry whole leaf tea. Do-it-yourself teabags, if you will. Believe it or not, these are a thing, and – boy! – do they come in handy. If I hadn’t discovered these on a chance trip to the Stash Tea Store several years ago, my tea-ing would’ve suffered.

The kind I normally go for are the Kotobuki fold-in teabags, but T-Sacs do the trick as well (and carry more tea). Joy’s Teaspoon also carries tea filters for just such an emergency. I haven’t used ‘em, but my overlords assure me they work. (“You can put the sword down, now.”)

If this sounds like far too much work for you, I suppose you can buy pre-bagged tea. Just remember: If it’s anything less than a net sachet, you will be judged. I’m judging you. Right now.

#2. Finding Hot Water

This is an easy one. Your first thought will likely be to pack your Breville One-Touch and heave it wherever you go. Not necessary. There is one thing that is ubiquitous, whether or not you’re traveling by land, sea or air, and that’s coffee machines. What do coffee machines have on them? Hot water spouts.

Hot water running through the average coffee machine is 195F or hotter. Take it from a guy who has worked in the hospitality field (against his better judgment) for more than a decade. If you’re brewing black tea on the go, you’re set. Should you be chancing a green, white, yellow or oolong tea, simply pour the water and wait a few minutes for it to cool down. Or shorten the steep time.

Gas stations, hotels, airports, kiosks, everything has access to hot water. And if they don’t…um…you must be out of the country. Good luck with that.

#3. Storing Your Tea

This is a touchy subject, and I can’t say that there’s one clear, right way to do this. Larger tins are too cumbersome to transport and Zip-Loc bags are too unreliable. The safest bet is – strangely enough – the bag you bought your tea in. Chances are, they’re re-sealable and can put up with the rigors of luggage.

If you don’t have any such bags on hand, investing in smaller tins is another way to go. The way I settled on was pre-bagging loose leaf teas and having them share one larger tin. Of course, that takes some forethought, determining how much one plans to drink on said trip. In the end, it’s a subjective thing. Just make sure to keep the leaves in a cool, dry place. Never leave them in the car.

#4. Tea Powder

You can thank the Japanese for this innovation. Okay, technically, they got it from the Chinese, but the Land o’ the Rising Sun darn well perfected it. If you’re a green tea buff, then you already know of a place to procure powdered green tea. Heck, you probably even have the number of the nearest Asian mart on speed-dial.

Aside from the fact that a good many of them taste delicious, they’re also useful in a travel bind. That and it doesn’t take very much powder to make a decent cup or pint of tea. Less than a teaspoon, seriously! If powdered green tea isn’t your bag…there are places one can purchase powdered oolong, powdered white tea, and powdered black teas galore.

Just stay away from powdered pu-erh. It’s evil.

#5. Cold-Brewing

I, personally, haven’t tried this, but I hear it works. The idea is simple: Collect some empty bottles, fill ‘em with water, stuff a filter with tea leaves in ‘em, put ‘em in the fridge, and pull the filters out in the morning. From what I gather, a good cold-brew takes up to six hours or so to infuse. I only have testimonials that attest to this.

In the end, I suppose it’s up to personal taste, but a way to go if you want a DIY RTD. Another suggestion would be to fill a clear bottle with cold water, add a teaspoon of powdered tea, and shake it thoroughly. Same result. I have tried that to resounding one-handed applause.

#6. Tea-ing is Peeing

The plight of the tea drinker: It goes right through you.

I have not found the cure-all for the numerous bathroom breaks we tea drinkers must subject ourselves to. It’s the cards we’re dealt for drinking so much liquid – a diuretic, no less. I can, however, give some personal pointers on minimizing the frequency of trips to the loo.

Always eat while you’re drinking tea. Or eat beforehand. Whichever. Food acts as a buffer between brew and bladder. I’m no biologist, but there has to be some evidence pointing to this. Something with protein in particular is a must, be it in bean, bar or…uh…beef form. Point being, you’re less likely to run to the John on a full “belleh”.

Don’t drink [tea] and drive on empty.

7. Teaware

This is perhaps the easiest tea tip of all. Travel mugs are practically their own business model. Coffee drinkers have been using them for years. We tea drinkers, however, haven’t had anything good for loose leaf tea, except within the last decade. Thank the times we live in for the sheer enormity of options.

There’s LibreTea,  AquaOvo, and the Eight Cranes Perfect Steeper, to name three. Many ways for steeping loose leaf tea in the comfort of your…car? Personally, I think the larger the containing vessel, the better. No eight-ounce travel cup for me. Hell no. Go big or go home. 16oz. or above.  And if you can help it, get a clear one. Watching the leaves expand is distracting when you have an hour wait for a flight.

Those are the only recommendations I have. I’m sure seasoned travelers have other tea traveling tips they could add. I love being enlightened. If you have any suggestions, leave ‘em in the comments.

Unless they involve powdered pu-erh, then clearly you’re just wrong.

Bon voyage!

 

20 Peppercorn Factoids

August 3rd, 2013

by Naomi Rosen

Pepper.  You know, salts BFF. A culinary pairing that many of us don’t even bat an eyelash at nowadays.  It’s as common as butter on bread.  Or ketchup on eggs.  Or chocolate and cheddar.  Trust me on that last one!  Don’t let the anonymity of that salt/pepper combo fool you though!  Peppercorns have a colorful history, complex flavors and some really awesome “sans salt” uses!

  1. Pink peppercorns aren’t actually peppers.  They are berries.  And shouldn’t be confused with their little, pink, poisonous cousins.
  2. Why does pepper make you sneeze? Per the Library of Congress“Pepper, be it white, black, or green, contains an alkaloid of pyridine called piperine. Piperine acts as an irritant if it gets into the nose. It stimulates (or irritates) the nerve endings inside the mucous membrane. This stimulation will cause you to sneeze. Actually, the nose wants to kick out this irritant and the only way it knows how to do this is by sneezing.”
  3. White peppercorns, at harvest time, have a red shell.  That shell is removed in the processing and you end up with a white peppercorn.
  4. Black peppercorns are actually somewhere between green and yellow right before they are harvested.  After harvesting, they are allowed to ferment and air dry.  Thus, their darker color and wrinkled appearance.  Kind of like a raisin. Only spicy. And hard. And not at all like a raisin.
  5. Peppercorns grow on a vine.
  6. Originally cultivated in Peru, Brazil is now the largest exporter of pink peppercorns.
  7. Like many other spices and herbs, black peppercorns were once considered a luxury and used as money. You’re bill comes to…2000 black peppercorns.
  8. Our Four Peppercorn Blend peppercorns hail from Brazil, India and Sri Lanka.
  9. One of my favorite blogs, Spice Hunting, says pink peppercorns were “used to make chiche, a form of beer. Pink Peppercorn Beer was a trademark of the Amazon forest-based Wari tribe and drinking it functioned as a marker of tribe identity.”
  10. Similar to tea processing, black, green and white peppercorns all come from the same evergreen, vining plant (Piper nigrum).  Time of harvest and processing are what determine the final type of pepper that the peppercorn will become.
  11. Red peppercorns and rose/pink peppercorns are two different animals.
  12. Rumor has it…if you combine water with ground pepper (or any dried peppers), and spray it on your garden, it will deter a whole host of bugs and parasites.
  13. Black peppercorns are thought to have originated on the Malabar Coast of India.  Our black peppercorns are from this region.
  14. In 1998, the Quarterly Review of Biology reported that ground black pepper killed about 25% of the bacteria that could cause spoilage of food.
  15. Green peppercorns are commonly used in French, Creole and Thai cooking.
  16. White pepper is more popular in Europe, and European dishes, than black pepper.
  17. The oils and aromas of a peppercorn are at their strongest after just having been crushed.  If you want to get the most flavor out of your peppercorns, purchase them in the whole peppercorn fashion and use a pepper grinder/mill.  Or you can go all old school and use a mortar and pestle.
  18. Since I’ve never seen a tiger season its’ food prior to eating it, I would like to say that the age old adage of  ”Tigers loving pepper and hating cinnamon” is likely not true.  But then, I’m not a tiger.
  19. If they are not freeze-dried (like ours), green peppercorns are usually jarred in a brine or pickled.  Have you ever had pickled peppercorns?
  20. Pepper is the #1 most used spice here in the United States!

Lay it on me…what did I miss?  What are you just dying to know about peppercorns?