Greetings from Modern Steep Tea Co.! We hope you've enjoyed a wonderful summer thus far though it's hard to believe we're on the brink of autumn already.
In this month's newsletter we introduce a new (and fabulous) tea from Nepal, the 10th Annual Northwest Tea Festival, and a brief lesson comparing tea & wine cultivation. So, grab a cup of delicious tea and read on . . .
Introducing Kumari Gold
We are proud to introduce to you a beautiful new tea from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate situated in the foothills of Mt. Kanchanjangha – the world’s third tallest mountain. This is a unique black tea made from young tea plants carefully cultivated by farmers in a unique Nepali tea cooperative. While this tea is simply divine in the cup, it can be appreciated even more when you take into consideration the nature of the co-op itself.
The Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, producing Nepal’s first certified organic orthodox tea, was established in 1984 as a cooperative. The model was developed to strengthen and sustain a higher quality of life for the inhabitants of this rural, mountainous community. Proceeds from the sale of the estate's teas stay in the farming community and are pooled to provide essentials such as: free education for the children of the full time farmers; free shelter and/or subsidized food for the farmers and their families; the establishment of a "cow bank" that provides farmers and their families with added resources and income; clean and safe drinking water and so much more. Modern Steep is proud to work directly with this amazing co-op to bring you this beautiful, healthful and great tasting tea.
Click here to see photos and to learn more about Kumari Gold.
10th Annual Northwest Tea Festival
Saturday, Sept. 30 & Sunday, Oct. 1
Make plans now to attend one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive regional tea festivals! This year, the Festival will expand into Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall and will run for an amazing two-days filled with educational events, tea tastings, shopping opportunities and so much more. Check out details by visiting nwteafestival.com.
While at the Festival, be sure to stop by our booth to say hi, grab a sample and visit a while. We'll have plenty to browse, including a couple of new items and great deals on tea and tea ware. See you there!
Parallel Worlds: Tea & Wine
As you are likely aware, all true teas are derived from a single species of plant known as Camellia sinensis. Similarly, true wines are derived from Vitis vinifera. (We say “true” in that there are many beverages made and consumed like tea or wine though using alternative ingredients such as herbs, spices and/or a variety of fruits aside from grapes.)
The major factors affecting the taste of a finished tea or wine include the cultivar used, terroir and post-harvest production. For this month, let’s take a closer look at terroir in particular . . .
A huge factor affecting the taste of tea or wine is this phenomenon called terroir (the totality of environmental conditions in which the plants are cultivated). Such conditions include: farm elevation, pitch of slope, soil conditions (sandy, rocky, pH levels, nutrient levels, drainage, etc.), temperature variables (seasonal; between day and night, etc.), proximity to and direction of coastal winds, humidity, shading and so forth.
To further explore the effect of terroir, let’s take an example from the wine world using a single variety of grape, specifically the pinot noir. Many notable pinot noir wines are made in Oregon, France, New Zealand and California to name a few. However, each locale (down to the individual farm) brings with it nuances in taste tied in a big way to terroir. Whereas, pinot noir from one locale might yield subtle berry notes and a light to medium bodied clean style wine, the same variety of grape may present a bolder, more fruit forward and even syrah-like wine with dark berry notes when grown elsewhere. Like wine, the tea plant will exhibit different tasting notes based on terroir. And, this is why we're thrilled to offer such a variety of pure leaf green, white, oolong, pu-erh and black teas from around the world!
Next month, we'll discuss cultivars and production methods and how they play into the taste and nuance of tea (and wine). Stay tuned!
In closing, we want to offer up another word of thanks to all those who shopped, gathered, shared and enjoyed our space on Capitol Hill over the years. We will miss your stories, smiling faces and personalities as we continue on with our online and wholesale operations outside of Cap Hill.
We hope to see many of you at the upcoming Tea Festival and at other events as we move forward. Until then, we hope you continue to enjoy our amazing collection of healthful and organic teas from the ancient classics to our bold and beautiful blends!
Peace, Love & Tea to you and yours.