Category Archives: Health

San Francisco International Tea Festival returns to the Bay Area in November

San Francisco International Tea Festival banner from 2012.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

San Francisco International Tea Festival banner from 2012. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The 3rd Annual San Francisco International Tea Festival is scheduled for Sunday, November 16 at 10 a.m. Held at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the festival is a gathering of tea vendors other related business owners, along with tea scholars and tea drinkers from all over California.  The festival website reads: “Discover teas straight from local and global producers, Free swag bag includes your very own teacup to savor tea market offerings, Taste hundreds of different types of tea, Connect with five of the biggest names in tea, Learn how each cup of tea can be a different experience, Enjoy a meal and shopping in the Historic Ferry Building Marketplace, Live music by local artists.”

The event features an exhibit hall where the industry participants offer free samples of some of their tea products, along with tea, tea books, and tea equipment for sale.  There are formal tea tastings and educational lectures from tea experts like the Imperial Tea Court’s Roy Fong, and popular tea and food author and speaker James Norwood Pratt.  Well-known local tea brands are represented among the vendors, including Harney & Sons, Ito En, and The Republic of Tea.  The teas that are featured are high-quality, almost all loose-leaf, with a focus on unflavored teas, and tea as a beverage, rather than “Tea” as a social event.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 16th; admission is $25 per person, which gets you into the main exhibit hall, and perhaps into the lectures, although the formal tea tastings are first-come-first-served and cost $5 each.  Tickets can be purchased from the festival website, and may also be available at the door on the day of the festival.  Each attendee also receives a gift bag with more tea samples from the vendors, a special tea tasting cup to use at the festival, and contact information for all the vendors at the festival.

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Filed under Events, Health, History, Tea Tasting, Vendors and Shops

How to make rose-scented treats for tea

Old-fashioned fragrant rose, perfect for making rose water.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Old-fashioned fragrant rose, perfect for making rose water. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Now that we’re into the warmer spring weather here in San Jose, local rose bushes are blooming and scenting the air with their fragrance. Roses not only smell wonderful, but are edible, when grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you have access to food-grade fresh or dried roses, you can use them for both culinary and medicinal purposes — they are soothing and moisturizing — and some rose recipes are good additions to the tea party pantry! Some of the most useful rose-scented treats include rose water and rose jelly.

Rose water can be added, a spoonful at a time, to a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea, for flavor and aroma, and can be used, with granulated sugar, to make a rose-scented sugar or rose syrup for flavoring iced tea or cocktails, or with powdered sugar, to make icing for tea cakes, cookies and sweet scones. Local grocery stores carry rose water in the Middle Eastern food aisle, and this has been distilled so that it is shelf-stable. Continue reading

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Tea for new moms like Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton drinking tea in Kuala Lumpur from km-dofc on tumblr resized

The Duchess of Cambridge drinking tea on the Royal Jubilee Tour in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: KM DofC on tumblr.

Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, expressed her love for tea last year at her first official public appearance with Queen Elizabeth and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to 306-year-old Fortnum & Mason, when the department store’s restaurant was renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Station in the Queen’s honor.  Katherine said “this is so interesting. I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong.”  Tea shop staff obliged and demonstrated making the perfect pot of tea, and hopefully Katherine has had a chance to use her newly-learned tea-making skills.

When pregnant, it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge craved black teascones, and lavender biscuits.  Now that she is a mother, however, Katherine’s dietary needs have changed. Since she is breastfeeding, she shouldn’t drink caffeine freely, as she could before her pregnancy, although a bit will probably be welcome from time to time to combat the fatigue that is common to new mothers, especially once she resumes making royal appearances on September 12th.

As she rests at her parents’ home in the country, Katherine should be able to indulge in a calming cup of tea each day.  While there’s no official consensus on the topic, many doctors believe that drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea per day is safe for a nursing mother and her baby.  Many recommend that the mother enjoy her cup of tea after nursing her baby, in order to minimize the amount of caffeine that passes to the child through the milk.  There is some question about green tea and its effect on a nursing mother’s folic acid levels, however.

On the other hand, tea-drinking is so much a part of Asian cultures that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children of almost all ages drink tea as they have every day for centuries, with no (reported) caffeine-related health problems.  De-caffeinated black tea, however, is generally thought to be safe for most nursing mothers, although it still contains trace amounts of caffeine.

As for herbal teas, so-called “mother’s milk”, “nursing” or “breastfeeding” teas have not been proven to be either safe or effective for increasing milk production, despite numerous testimonials to the contrary and recommendations from naturopaths.  During pregnancy, while it is tempting to use herbal tisanes to combat discomfort, expectant mothers are encouraged to proceed as slowly and carefully when considering herbal remedies as they would when considering commercial pharmaceuticals.  The reason for this is the fact that there haven’t been enough studies done on the subject of the safety of natural remedies and herbal infusions during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the FDA encourages caution.

The result of all this contradictory information?  A vague answer that a new mother doesn’t really want to hear, but the only one an online article can give: check with your doctor! You might also want to sign up for the American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines online database.

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest

For more information:

“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Japanese tea from San Jose’s Japantown”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“5 ways to treat cold and flu symptoms with tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
“2012 Olympics-watching calls for tea and British food”
“Pregnant Kate Middleton craves tea and scones”
“Kate Middleton will be back in the limelight after the birth of Prince George”
“Kate Middleton will breastfeed Prince George, but won’t be a pinup for it”
“Kate Middleton, the Queen and Duchess of Cornwall on official visit to Fortnum & Mason”
American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines database
“Can you drink green tea while breastfeeding?”
“Black tea”
“Green tea and breastfeeding”
“Breastfeeding and caffeine”
“Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?”
“What effect does the mother’s consumption of caffeine have on the breastfeeding infant?” La Leche League
“Consequences on the newborn of chronic maternal consumption of coffee during gestation and lactation: a review.” Nehlig, A., Debry, G.  _Journal of American College Nutrition_,1994.
“Herbal safety for nursing moms”
“Review of 5 nursing teas”
“Herbal tea and pregnancy”

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Tea and breast cancer awareness: is tea a cure for cancer?

Tea is part of a healthy diet. Image: Just2Shutter, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Fight cancer with tea!” Have you heard, or read, this claim, lately? Unfortunately, it seems to be more a myth than a fact.  Studies from the 1980s and 1990s suggest that Japanese green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer, yet a recent study from Scotland suggests that drinking 7 cups of black tea a day, actually increases a man’s prostate cancer risk!  Some claim that a green tea skin spray can prevent skin cancer; others claim that drinking green tea can cure breast cancer.  Another study from 2006 suggested that green tea applied to the skin may help treat damaged skin in cancer patients. A Japanese study from 2009 suggests that drinking 5 or more cups of green tea per day may lower your risk of developing certain blood and lymph system cancers. According to more recent studies in 2011, green tea extract reduced cancer cells’ ability to reproduce, when used in animal tests in high doses, but the effect has yet to be reproduced in humans.  The American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and other research bodies call these findings interesting, but inconclusive. Scientists know that tea contains antioxidants, but more study is needed to determine their effect on the disease, as well as a person’s risk for developing cancer.

Until further, more reliable information can be obtained, it is wisest to use tea as a part of a healthy diet, in place of high-calorie beverages like sodas and alcohol, and as a flavorful assistant to proper body hydration. This will help your body keep itself healthy, which, in itself, helps it resist cancer and other diseases. Tea is still a healthy and delicious drink, even if it doesn’t turn out to be a cancer cure!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“How does tea fit in with the new USDA dietary guidelines”
“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“Tea and the mold-free diet, part 2”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“5 ways to treat cold and flu symptoms with tea”
“Gluten-free afternoon tea tips”
“Tea and Prostate Cancer: Keep Headlines Truthful” by Alex Zorach
“Does green tea cure or prevent breast cancer?” by Margaret Studer
“Tea and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limits of the Evidence” National Cancer Institute
“Tea and Cancer” by Roderick H. Dashwood, Ph.D., Linus Pauling Institute
“Green Tea” American Cancer Society
“Green tea and endometrial cancer research at UC” University of Canterbury
“Tea and Cancer” Tea Association of Canada
“Tea and cancer prevention: epidemiological studies” by Yuan JM, Sun C, Butler LM. The Masonic Cancer Center, and Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
“Green tea may curb risk of some cancers”
Chado-en’s “Tea research update”
Chado-en’s Tea and Health booklet
“Tea Extracts Help Treat Damaged Skin in Cancer Patients,” BioMed Central (2006, December 1). ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 17, 2009
“Cutaneous photochemoprotection by green tea: a brief review.” Ahmad N, Mukhtar H.Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2001 Mar-Apr; 14(2):69-76.
“Topical use of tea benefits skin health”, by Gary Goldfaden, MD, Life Extension Magazine, October 2005.
“The tea spray that can prevent skin cancer”
“Drink Green Tea to Prevent Prostate Cancer” by Dr. Geo Espinosa
“Green Tea and Prostate Cancer”

 

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Filed under Glossary & Terminology, Health, Tea, Tips

Tea for studying in San Jose.

Ready to study with a cup of tea. FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Now that the first day of class at SJSU and local high schools has come and gone, keeping the energy up for studying regains its important position in life for local students. Many choose to drink coffee and energy drinks to stay awake, but these beverages can upset the digestive system as well as sleep patterns, so a pot of tea makes a really good alternative, being gentler on the body, while still providing a caffeine boost. However, different kinds of tea are better for studying with than others.

One common tea myth states that black tea has the most caffeine, and green and white tea have the least amounts of caffeine. That’s incorrect; each type of tea – black, oolong, green and white – falls within a range of caffeine content, and the range for each type of tea overlaps with at least one other type. For example, it is possible to find a white tea that contains more caffeine than a particular black tea!  However, white teas are so delicate in flavor and aroma that they should really be appreciated when you have nothing more serious to do than relax.

For studying, or any prolonged intellectual work, like reading, or manual work where you need a steady hand, like working on your car, a black, oolong, or green tea will provide enough flavor to keep your taste buds satisfied, but not make you jumpy like coffee can. If you prefer black tea, choose a tea from India, especially Assam, as that variety has been bred over the years to have a higher caffeine content, and it is especially good if you add milk and/or sugar. A dark or amber oolong – which has a more robust and less floral flavor – is nice study companion, and a good-quality Chinese green tea can also be a great choice. You can get flavored and unflavored black, oolong and green teas at local tea shops like Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square, and even some coffee shops, like Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

If you aren’t used to the taste of tea, or if you are a coffee-drinker trying to cut down on coffee, then masala chai – Indian tea with milk, sugar and spices – is a good choice for both flavor and caffeine content. You can get chai from Starbucks and Peet’s, and find chai concentrate and powdered chai mix at most Safeway, Lucky, Nob Hill, and Save Mart grocery stores if you don’t want to (or can’t) make it from scratch. Pull some packaged cookies or some chocolate from the tea party pantry to munch, and you’ll be set for a productive study session. However you drink it, tea is a great beverage to study with, keeping you alert, but not jumpy, providing great flavor and hydration, plus keeping San Jose’s students warm during these cool, windy autumn days.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?” 
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Enjoy San Jose’s harvest moon with some hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“Study with tea instead of coffee!”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”

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Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival!

2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival postcard. Image from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

For Bay Area tea-lovers, a festival devoted to caffeinated beverages promises to be a tasty and energy-filled event; we have the Winter Fancy Food Show and the San Francisco International Tea Festival, and this weekend is the 2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on Saturday, August 18th. The event organizers have planned an information-filled morning for the festival, which ends at 1 p.m. so that all the tea-tasting and coffee-tasting (plenty of free samples!) won’t interfere with anyone’s sleep that night. There will be a vendor hall featuring coffee and tea companies, as well as classroom discussion panels and workshops about tea and coffee, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

The tea panel, Tea 2.0, will be led by the Bay Area’s James Norwood Pratt, author of the New Tea Encyclopedia, and a celebrity in the tea world. Panel members will include Ned Heagerty of Silk Road Teas, Patrick Pineda of Tisano Tea, Sina Carroll of Red Circle Tea and Eliot Jordan of Peet’s Coffee & Tea. With James Norwood Pratt as moderator, it will be a really fun, as well as interesting, discussion! Tickets are $25 each (purchase from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce or at the door) but you can get $5 off your ticket by going to the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce page on Facebook and “liking” it. Here is the vital information:

Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival
August 18, 2012, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Shattuck Hotel
Hotel Shattuck Plaza
2086 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 292-4353
Toll Free: (888) 623-7261
Fax: (510) 845-7320
E-mail: info@hotelshattuckplaza.com

It’s about a 45 minute drive from San Jose to Berkeley for the festival. To get there from San Jose, take Hwy. 880N toward Oakland, then merge onto 980 E towards Walnut Creek. Continue on CA-24, and take the Martin Luther King Jr. Way exit. Make a slight right onto Adeline St., left on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and make a right on Allston. Or, if you want to take public transportation, you’d take the 180 Express bus to the BART station in Fremont, then take BART to the downtown Berkeley station, and walk a block to the hotel.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival website
Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival – Maps and Directions
Online registration through the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
2nd Annual Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival tickets on FunCheapSF
“Perk up at the Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival”
“Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival – Saturday, August 18, 2012”
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“An overview of Chinese teas available in San Jose”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Bay Area Winter Fancy Food Show will include lots of tea”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival happens this Saturday!”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival – accessible to San Jose tea lovers”
2011 Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on YouTube

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Filed under Events, Glossary & Terminology, Health, History, Tea Tasting, Vendors and Shops

Use tea to be “green” all year round.

Tea leaves and tea bags ready for the compost pile. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Earth Day is not meant to be the only day we take care of our world, it’s a reminder that we should be responsible stewards of the gift of natural resources all the time. San Jose ordinances now require all of the shops in town to provide re-usable tote bags (for sale) instead of one-use plastic bags (for free), but many San Jose residents are looking for more convenient and less expensive ways of helping the environment. Here are some ways Bay Area tea-drinkers can be “green,” easily and cheaply:

  1. Recycle used tea leaves or tea bag (remove any metal staples) as compost for the garden or yard. It is especially appropriate for a tea herb garden, but flowers and vegetables appreciate the mulch, too. Tea’s natural acidity will remain in the mulch, so check the plant label to see if each plant prefers acidic garden soil.
  2. Choose loose tea or tea portioned in paper mesh bags, rather than nylon mesh bags, which are petroleum products and don’t break down quickly.
  3. Drink your tea out of a reusable travel mug or cup, rather than a disposable container.
  4. Drink organically grown, Fair Trade tea. Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Rishi Tea, Honest Tea, and Republic of Tea are some locally-popular tea vendors who specialize in organic, Fair Trade tea. Most American tea companies have a policy of environmental stewardship and preservation; check the website of your favorite tea companies to see what they’re doing.
  5. Use leftover tea as a natural cleaning product: it’s mild acidity cuts grease on unpainted woodwork, tile, and other non-porous household surfaces. Rinse with plain water afterwards, to prevent staining.

These are easy, inexpensive ways to make sure that your cup of tea is as good for the environment as it is good for your body.  Of course, many tea vendors also hold special Earth Day sales!  While Earth Day only comes to San Jose once a year, these are things that tea-drinkers can do all the time to help preserve our natural resources.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Earth Day SJ to Feature Street Fair, Speakers, Performances”
“Earth Day Events in the Bay Area”
“The Month Ahead: April 2012 tea events in San Jose”
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“The top 10 ways to recycle your tea and used tea leaves”
“Earth Day tea sales: Teatulia, The Tea Spot, Teas, Etc., Rishi, Two Leaves and a Bud”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”
“Review: tea tasting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s downtown San Jose store”
“The Environment” from The Republic of Tea website
“The Bigelow Tea Commitment to the Environment” from the Bigelow Tea website
“The Great Recycle 2012: a project by Honest Tea”
“Tea and the environment”
“Nylon tea bags?”
“Give tea time a human face”
“The Art of Composting: Recycling your teabags” 
“Green innovations: 12 ways to recycle used tea leaves”
“Reusing or Resteeping Tea Leaves” 
San Jose Beautiful program
SJSU Sustainability Week
Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition

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The first annual San Francisco International Tea Festival.

The Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

The first annual San Francisco International Tea Festival last weekend was a success! All available tickets sold out ahead of time, and the upstairs hall and conference rooms at the Ferry Building were full of Bay Area tea-lovers attending the lectures, tea ceremonies, tea demonstrations and other activities. The guests were greeted at the door by the Festival staff, who collected the tickets and exchanged them for a gift bag containing a handful of tea samples, brochures from tea vendors, and an official tasting cup with the San Francisco International Tea Festival logo.

Roy Fong, founder of Imperial Tea Court, and Norwood Pratt, celebrated

Roy Fong and Norwood Pratt opening the San Francisco International Tea Festival, 2012. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

tea author and speaker, opened the festival with informative and humorous speeches. Young women from the Yunnan region of China appeared in traditional dress to hand out beaded pendant necklaces for good luck, and the vendors began their tea tastings. Attendees went from booth to booth viewing the tea and other products from around 15 tea companies, tasting the various teas and other foods, including tea-infused ginger ale and  chocolates. Meanwhile, the various lectures and demonstrations began, including “The History of Tea in the United States” with Norwood Pratt, “The Great Teas of China” with Roy Fong, “The Healing Power of Green Tea” with author Ying Compestine, “Green Teas of Japan” with Rona Tison of ITO EN, “Great Teas of India” with Devan Shah of International Tea Importers, “Northern Japanese Tea Report” with Masahiro Takada from Kyoto, and “Rooibos, the Wonder Herb from South Africa” with Kristina Richens from The Republic of Tea.

Tea smoked mushrooms on crostini from the "Cooking with Tea" demonstration. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

As for demonstrations, many vendors offered samples and exhibitions of their products; Roy Fong led a Gongfu Tea Ceremony, and Masahiro Takada led two Chakabuki Japanese Tea Ceremonies. There was also a book signing with Babette Donaldson upstairs in the conference hall, and with Norwood Pratt, Scott Chamberlin Hoyt, and Phil Cousineau at Book Passage, a book store downstairs in the marketplace. A few cooking demonstrations, including “Cooking with Tea” with chef and author Robert Wemischner, were on the schedule, as was a screening of the documentary The Meaning of Tea.

Harney & Sons Fine Teas. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Lectures and demonstrations were standing-room only, and there was even a bit of a snafu when a group of people entering the tea ceremony room were surprised to discover, despite the announcement at the opening of the festival and the notice in the program, that they had to sign up in advance for the tea ceremonies and couldn’t just go in early and sit down! However, there were plenty of things to do, with the festival happening on the same day as the farmer’s market with all the market vendors open as well. The space given to the tea festival was a little smaller than I had anticipated, but the organizers didn’t know what to expect from the first International Tea Festival in San Francisco, so next year’s festival will surely be bigger. The tea celebrities were very accessible, especially the authors signing their books, which made it easy to chat with them one-on-one. All the tickets sold out in advance, so that’s a good sign that there will be a second San Francisco International Tea Festival in 2013!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
San Francisco International Tea Festival website
“San Francisco International Tea Festival happens this Saturday!”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival: February 25, 2012”
“1st Annual San Francisco International Tea Festival” review from Tantalizing Tidbits blog
“Where to buy Chinese tea in the San Jose area”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“Japanese tea from San Jose’s Japantown”
“How to prepare matcha tea”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
Imperial Tea Court
James Norwood Pratt, Tea Society
Ying Chang Compestine
ITO EN
International Tea Importers
The Republic of Tea
“Gongfu (Chinese) tea ceremony, 2011 World Tea Expo” video on Youtube
Babette Donaldson
Scott Chamberlin Hoyt interview
The Meaning of Tea project website
Phil Cousineau website
Robert Wemischner Cooking with Tea book webpage
“Spring soba salad with matcha tea-marinated tofu” recipe from Chef Wemischner, presented at the tea festival

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San Francisco International Tea Festival: February 25, 2012

San Francisco International Tea Festival tasting cup.

The San Jose area is becoming more and more a part of the tea world! Not only do we have the Winter Fancy Food Show, which includes tea vendors and products, and the Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival, but on February 25th the first annual San Francisco International Tea Festival will be open to the public as well as those in the tea trade. $20 gets you admission to the event, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building is most famous for housing an indoor public market, and it’s less than an hour from San Jose by car, and also accessible by BART.

The convention hall will be full of tea exhibitions, vendors, and authors, and will feature tea celebrities James Norwood Pratt, Roy Fong, Devan Shah, Masahiro Takada, and Mike Spillane. Lectures, classes, tea tastings, demonstrations, and more will make the hours fly for those who attend this convention. For more information, visit the website, or send a S.A.S.E. to:

San Francisco International Tea Festival
P.O. Box 2137
Nevada City, CA 95959

The festival organizers recommend that everyone purchase their tickets in advance, because they may not have them available at the door. They have also been holding ticket sweepstakes for the past few weeks, so visit their Facebook page for information about the one going on now. Keep your eyes on the San Jose Tea Examiner column for a full write-up of the San Francisco International Tea Festival!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea

For more information:
San Francisco International Tea Festival website
S. F. I. T. Festival schedule
S. F. I. T. Festival exhibitors
San Francisco International Tea Festival page on Facebook
S. F. I. T. Festival ticket sweepstakes page on Facebook
“San Francisco International Tea Festival” article on the C.U.E.S.A. site
“A la carte: San Francisco’s first ever tea festival, plus Republic of Tea turns 20” from the Mercury News.
Winter Fancy Food Show
World Tea Expo
Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival
Los Angeles International Tea Festival
Northwest Tea Festival
“San Jose’s Satori Tea Company going to the World Tea Expo” 
“Global tea culture” from the Bon Teavant blog

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Filed under Events, Health, History, Tea, Tea Tasting, Vendors and Shops

San Jose’s Asian New Year celebrations call for tea!

Small Chinese teapot. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

San Jose’s large Asian community enthusiastically celebrates the lunar New Year with nighttime firecracker explosions, dance, music, and of course, traditional foods and tea with family. Bring your tea with you by filling up your favorite travel mug with tea instead of coffee, or go tea tasting first.  Here are some Bay Area Asian New Year celebrations that you can attend:

Jan. 21-22: Vietnamese Tet Festival.  San Jose’s 30th Tet Festival will take place at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds with a wide variety of activities including lion dances, crafts, fashion shows and photography, as well as food booths. Tickets are $12 per adult or $8 per child, and parking is $10.

Jan. 22: Lion Dance Performance: Enjoy a live performance by the Far East Dragon Lion Dancers in celebration of the new year in the Seasons Marketplace at Landess shopping center in Milpitas. The performance is free and begins at 1 p.m.

Jan. 22: Free Street Fair in Foster City: The Foster City Parks and Recreation Department will transform the William E. Walker Recreation Center into a traditional Chinese street fair with musical, acrobatic and lion dance performances, a tea ceremony, martial arts, calligraphy, brush painting, storytelling, and Chinese-opera-style face painting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The 12 Chinese zodiac animal characters will be there to greet children.

Jan. 28: Penmanship Contest in Milpitas: Milpitas Community Chinese School, which usually holds Saturday classes, will have no classes Jan. 28 in order to host a penmanship contest, during which students compete in calligraphy as part of the school’s Chinese New Year celebration.

Jan. 28-29: Crafts and Shows at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose: Children can watch cultural performances and receive hands-on lessons on traditional Chinese crafts for the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Feb. 4: Spring Festival Silicon Valley: The Chinese Performing Arts of America will present a musical, “Legend of the Dragon,” as well as dances, magic and martial arts at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $38, $50 and $100 with a 40 percent discount for seniors and children. Call 408-973-8276 for tickets.

Feb. 4: Free Museum Day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. , at the San Jose Museum of Art, 110 S Market St., San Jose. Featuring Traditional Lion Dance by Rising Phoenix Lion Dance Association, Dance performance by Sukyung Choi’s Korean Dance Academy, Cultural crafts, hands-on activities, family fun, and more!  http://www.yelp.com/events/san-jose-free-museum-day-lunar-new-year

Feb. 11: San Francisco Parade: Now sponsored by Southwest Airlines, the San Francisco tradition that started right after the Gold Rush will bring out over 100 units this year, including a 250-foot golden dragon carried by a team of over 100 men and women throughout the streets of San Francisco. The parade, starting at 6 p.m., will be broadcast on KTVU Fox 2 and KTSF Channel 26.

January 2012 to February 2013 is the year of the Dragon, and those who follow the Zodiac consider Dragon years to be the luckiest.  Whether you forsee the same luck for San Jose that they do, you can still take the opportunity to enjoy some traditional Asian treats, like Tea Marbled Eggs, dim sum dishes, and plenty of tea.  What with the recent week of rain and wind, we could all use the warmth and hydration contained in multiple pots of hot tea!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

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For more information:
“Celebrate Chinese New Year with dim sum and tea!”
Chinese Lunar New Year Calendar and Zodiac Animals
Patch Guide to Lunar New Year Celebrations
Chinese Marbled Tea Egg recipe
“Tea 101: what is pu-erh tea?”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Where to buy Chinese tea in the San Jose area”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area day trips: San Francisco’s Chinatown”
“Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane”
“Japanese tea from San Jose’s Japantown”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“Tea bricks: what are they and should they be used?”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Bubble tea: one of San Jose’s most popular drinks”

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