What's with Milk tea?

Steam billows, the teapot fragrant. I enter a state of desires diminishing. Within the stillness, a further pleasure. Nothing coarse or superficial. This is drinking tea. – The Minister of Leaves: Republic of Tea

For a long time now, people are converting their lifestyles into a healthier one. I for one, is a coffee junkie and is guilty because I could have choose tea over it, but I didn’t.

My foodie travel and all in between buddy is a coffee addict too, however, she’s been hooked to teas lately. Years ago, I remember her just having one at every chance, if she spotted her favorite milk tea brand which is Dakasi.

We know that teas like coffee is rich in anti-oxidants too. And upon my first time to try this milk tea, I instantly love it and religiously researched for the best ones.

So what’s with milk teas? What kind of tea are they using and mixes it with milk and tapiocas? Or pearls or boba? Oh, another reason why I intentionally not that interested is due to my lactose intolerance to tea and milk. It is really hassle on my part to discover that my tummy is in trouble and I’m not home yet.

So, I really wondered, who (and where) this Milk tea craze began? I’ve been seeing Bubble tea stations here and there. In just one street? There are like 2-3 stations in awesome interiors and ingenious names. Hear some of them:

  • Creativitea
  • Infinitea
  • Serenitea
  • Bestea
  • Chemistea
  • Sharetea
    and so on.

From where the teas came from? and where is the best tea coming from? I see symbols of the Buddha in most stations. It misled me into thinking it is from Thailand or India, and thinking that Taiwan is a Buddhist country too. Is it an indication that their teas came from the same country? Or of course only those with “Thais” on their names. =) When other countries like India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, are Buddhist too.

The countries that grow the biggest production of teas are China, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. While they are mainly grown in Asia, South America, some parts of the Black and Caspian tea. Other countries like America and Africa are trying to grow their own due to demands. https://www.palaisdesthes.com/en/understanding/countries/

It is said that tea is the most consumed drink after water.

The only tea I’ve known in my entire life are Twinings, Lipton and Nestea. I heard about Oolong tea when my sister in law encouraged me to drink it due to its’ high-dose of anti-oxidants. And the famous “salabat” which is made from ginger is something I really detested and we also refer to it is tea. My mentor used to make some for me before my performance as I used to sing during elementary days. I didn’t like its’ taste, I just have to drink it as swift as I can so as to please my mentor since they will be calling my attention if I wouldn’t be able to reach some octaves during rehearsals. I do not like the taste.

Nowadays, I even see on Social media, liters and liters of Bubble teas are being brought home by junkies. Perhaps, I should look at it positively, they are doing something good to their bodies. Instead of consuming softdrinks which I stopped drinking too for years now. They are having teas. =) Just a warning, tea on its’ own is healthy. however, when you mixed them with sugar and milk, the benefits of it is greatly reduced, when all I thought is that I’ve gone “healthier” drinking milk teas lately. Let’s discover which countries produce teas.

The Top 10 countries producing teas are as follows:

I think I have to rephrase my inquiry to Google. What brands are known for producing the best teas? So from these brands, we will be able to establish as to what countries produces the best teas? https://www.marketing91.com/top-tea-brands-in-the-world/

Twinnings – Farm—> India

Twinnings is the oldest tea shop in London. It’s flagship store being 300 year old historically. Their pride is on challenging the status quo of tea. With a history dating back to 1706, quality tea has always been at the heart of what they do. Renowned for creating vibrant and aromatic blends that are loved by all, from Earl Grey and English Breakfast to Chai Lattes and super fruity infusions, they focus on the details, because it matters most. https://www.twinings.co.uk/

Packaging plays a big part too, always.

Tazo – Farm—>Kenyan highlands to the west of the Rift Valley, the tropical provinces of northern Argentina, the mountains of West Java, the beautiful settings in Malawi, the bustling port cities of Mombasa and Dubai.

Tazo’s founder: Steven Smith, explained the name and it’s as good an indicator as any of the spirit of creativity, adventure, and originality that TAZO is built on, comparing it to the whirling mating dance of pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It’s also synonymous with the cheery salutation used by residents of Easter Island in the 5th century. It’s pretty incredible. He conjured unexpected flavor blends by mixing unconventional ingredients wherever and whenever he found them. And he did it with style. https://www.tazo.com/us/en/

The Republic of Tea – Farm: Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Taiwan and South Africa.

The Republic of Tea is a privately owned American tea company based in Larkspur, California that makes and sells more than 300 varieties of teas throughout North America. The Republic of Tea is known for packaging its loose teas and tea bags in tall, cylindrical tins. https://www.republicoftea.com/

Lipton – Farm: Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, and China.

Lipton is a British brand of tea, owned by Unilever. Lipton was also a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom before it was sold off to Argyll Foods, to allow the company to focus solely on tea. The company is named after its founder Thomas Lipton. They have a long-term goal for sustainable tea production and sets out the strict standards of pesticide and chemical use their suppliers must meet. https://www.lipton.com/us/en/home.html

Honestly, I grew up with Lipton tea. =)

Yorkshire Tea – Farm: Africa and India.

Yorkshire Tea is a black tea blend produced by the Bettys & Taylors Group. It is the most popular traditional black tea brand sold in the UK. In 1886 Charles Edward Taylor Founded CE Taylor & Co., later shortened to “Taylors”, the company was purchased by ‘Betty’s Tea Rooms’ which today forms Bettys & Taylors Group. https://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/

Who doesn’t love products in tin cans! ❤

Celestial Seasonings – Farm: Colorado

Wild herbs hand-picked from the rocky mountains of Colorado, Celestial Seasonings serves more than 1.6 billion cups of tea a year. Included in their lines are green tea, chai tea, rooibos tea, wellness tea and Cool Brew iced tea, and the ingredients, over 100 of them, are sourced from over 35 countries. They’ve grown so much since they first started out picking those wild herbs in the Rockies, and still driven by that same entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for making tea that’s good for people and the planet. http://www.celestialseasonings.com/

It’s in the details.

Harney & Sons – Farm: China, Taiwan, Japan

Harney & Sons is an American tea company founded in 1983 in Salisbury, Connecticut, and now located in Millerton, New York. They specialize in high-quality loose teas and herbal teas, and offer several products that are organic and certified kosher. https://www.harney.com/

Dilmah – Farm: Sri Lanka

Dilmah is a Sri Lankan brand of tea, sold internationally. The company was founded in 1988 by Merrill J Fernando. The name Dilmah was chosen by combining the first names of Fernando’s sons Dilhan and Malik. https://estates.dilmahtea.com/

Dilmah is the brand that Picked is using. It is one of the nicest coffee shops in our area.

Dilmah pioneered the concept of Single Origin Tea in 1988 when the family company went against industry trends to declare its commitment to authenticity. #ethicaltea #integritea
Their website is so beautiful, even their Instagram account too. =)

Bigelow Tea Company – Farm: Sri Lanka

The Bigelow Tea Company is an American manufacturer of dried teas based in Fairfield, Connecticut. It was founded by Ruth C. Bigelow in 1945, based on a recipe she marketed as “Constant Comment” tea. https://www.bigelowtea.com/

Needing some tea tips? =) https://www.bigelowtea.com/Tea-Tips

Tetley – Farm: Africa & Asia

Tetley is a beverage manufacturer founded in 1837 in Yorkshire, England. It is the largest tea company in the United Kingdom and Canada, and the second largest in the United States by volume. Tetley’s manufacturing and distribution business operates in forty countries, selling over sixty branded tea bags. https://www.tetley.co.uk/

When their models are cats and dogs! =)

And while we’ve finished dissecting what countries produces the best tea, So it now answered my wonderings why most of the shops I’ve seen has an image of the Buddha. =) Now, how do we classify a good tea?

According to Seven Cups, also an American tea company based in Tucson, Arizona: “Green tea should taste fresh, not stale, and should not be too astringent. Black tea should be full bodied and fresh. In general, good tea has a sweet aftertaste and should feel very slippery going down the throat. The aftertaste should linger for a noticeably long time, like the feeling you have after listening to music, when a good tune lingers. Some teas can provide a very interesting taste by sipping some water while the aftertaste is present, the effect being quite dramatic.

Remember that tasting tea is like tasting wine: slurp it to aerate it (unlike in Western countries, in China slurping your tea is a sign of appreciation and knowledge and not considered bad manners!), let it slide down the middle of the tongue in one sip, and down the sides of the tongue in the next, followed by the whole tongue with big slurping. Pay attention to the subtleties and the complexity of the tea. A large part of learning to appreciate tea is learning to slow down and pay attention to the subtleties.” https://sevencups.com/learn-about-tea/how-to-judge-tea/

So why the need to add milk to tea? One of the practical reasons based on history is:

That in the 17th and 18th centuries the china cups tea was served in were so delicate they would crack from the heat of the tea. Milk was added to cool the liquid and stop the cups from cracking. This is why, even today, many English people add milk to their cups BEFORE adding the tea! https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/texte/drink_tea.htm

Makes sense right? And another reason is:

Adding milk creates a smoother flavor and slightly sweetens the tea. It’s a popular way to serve tea in many parts of the world and it is an easy way to dress up your average cup of tea.​ A perfect way to mellow and smooth out the flavors of tea, particularly some of the bitter notes especially found in black tea.

The addition of milk results in a less astringent, less bitter flavor. Not only does milk cover up the flavor of the tea, but it also binds to some of the bitter chemical compounds found in tea. Some of these bitter compounds are very beneficial to health. Due to this, if you’re drinking tea for health reasons, tea without milk is a better choice. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-milk-tea-765143

Health-wise, here are the top 10 healthiest teas you might want to stick into drinking:

Chamomile

Well known for its calming properties, and preliminary evidence supports this. It may also help relieve premenstrual symptoms and high blood lipid, blood sugar and insulin levels.

Peppermint

It relieves discomfort of the digestive tract. Studies have found that peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms and stomach pain.

Ginger

Best known as a remedy for nausea, and studies have repeatedly found it to be effective for this use. However, several studies have also found that ginger can help relieve period pain, and it may offer benefits for people with diabetes.

Hibiscus

May help lower high blood pressure and fight oxidative stress. However, it shouldn’t be taken with a certain diuretic medication or at the same time as aspirin.

Echinacea

Prevent or shorten the duration of the common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this use, the evidence on the matter is conflicting.

Rooibos

Preliminary evidence suggests that rooibos tea may help improve bone health and reduce heart disease risk, but more studies are needed.

Sage

Improves cognitive function and memory. It may also benefit colon and heart health.

Lemon Balm

May improve antioxidant levels, heart and skin health and even aid in relieving anxiety.

Rose Hip

High in vitamin C and antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Studies have also found rose hips effective at fighting aging of the skin and reducing stomach fat.

Passion Flower

May help improve sleep and reduce anxiety. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-herbal-teas#section10

Let me personally add Oolong tea. So that makes it 11. =) Oolong tea may not be as well known as green or black tea, but it has similar health benefits. These include benefits for heart, brain, bone and dental health. In addition, it may boost your metabolism, decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and protect against certain types of cancer. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oolong-tea-benefits

Why the craze?

There have been a few stores offering milk teas for the past years, however, there is a significant growth and popularity (probably because of social media) of this Milk tea trend, of people drinking milk tea, of business owners putting up one even there is a milk tea station some blocks away from theirs. Look at how the trend went on.

https://www.yummy.ph/news-trends/milk-tea-trend-history-philippines-a00261-20190307-lfrm2

Thankful to Yummy.ph I discovered while doing my research that Carmen’s Best have a milk tea variant already. I really must try it. =)

Yey! =)

This is what’s good about blogging, learning is truly infinite. Honestly, it took me days to do my researches, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Becoming an instant fan of Milk tea, what I define best is that I can taste the earthy flavor of the tea, better yet, experience its’ aroma. The creaminess of the milk, just the right sweetness (although most of them asked your preference), and the quality of the pearls or “sago”. It should be chewy for me. =) As I enjoy each cup, I can’t help but wonder, what brand of tea are they using? =)

So, here are my dozen favorites:

  1. Happy Lemon
  2. Nham Cha
  3. Tiger Sugar
  4. Macao Imperial
  5. Coco
  6. My Girl
  7. Black scoop
  8. Dakasi
  9. Hongkong King’s Milk tea
  10. Cha time
  11. Teaquiera
  12. Drip tea
I’m so happy to have tried it just recently, Happy Lemon is my instant muse. =)
Nham Cha is my second favorite. Not just because their interiors is so lovely, it really tasted great to me. =)
My third favorite because of their thick syrup , which is made from four types of Taiwanese brown sugar that gives the drink a very distinct aroma
Everyone’s favorite is the one with cream cheese. However, it is too much for me so I always go for the basic, Black pearls milk tea for me.
Not my favorite, but Jens. This is where I witness that looong queue just to get their cups. I like it that theirs isn’t that too sweet.
They have a wide choice of flavors, though I only tried two. Blueberries and Caramel. I like the Caramel better. =)
I go for the caramel too. What’s good with Black scoop is that Milk tea is not their major products. They have food as well. So you need not go somewhere else to find a pair for your milk tea. They also have a branch already that’s really near my place. =)
Dakasi if not the pioneer, have been here for years. So I do not question their blends, I question their service. Attendants are not paying attention and one manager is even dancing in the production area.
Hongkong king’s Milk tea is the next best thing for me. I love their interiors too. If there’s a long queue at Nham Cha, I go here. =)
I looove Cha time because of their company color. Just kidding. I love their bubbles, so chewy. They’ve been here for almost 10 years and despite of the new brands coming in, they are thriving and did not stop innovating. =)
Teaquiera is owned by a friend of a friend and it really takes ideas, hardwork and passion to make it flourish, they’re on their second branch now. They’ll meet your expectations, I’m sure. =)
This is the first brand I’ve tried. And my friends were telling me try this try that etc. And so I did. Now, I can’t do without it. Oh, cravings. =)

Currently, drinking a cup of milk tea makes me happy, just like coffee does. I have more on my list of brands to try. Though, I’m glad that those within my area great ones too. =) Also, since sugar is my number one enemy here, it’s a good thing that they now asked for your preferred sugar levels. So it isn’t 100% for me. =)

Like this one from Black scoop. =)

Nowadays, with the millennial’s meme that “Milk tea is Life.” I think I could agree. =) #pearlfever #milkteatrend #milkteaislife

My second favorite brand happens to be very accessible too. =)

Featured image courtesy of: https://dribbble.com/shots/5784557-13-365-Bubble-tea

Karen’s Kitchen

Karen’s Kitchen

Little did I know that this little cake corner in Makati, situated in a gasoline station in EDSA already branched out in Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

been there for years
I spotted Karen’s in a funny way. Due to call of nature, and since the Restroom of this specific gasoline station in Edsa is one of the tidiest, we went inside Karen’s out of curiosity.

facade
Isn’t it so inviting=)

for 2
No more than 10 they can accommodate, while the new branch is really big.

shabby chic
Shabby chic!

chands
Lovely!

If I can recall, it’s been years that we have been getting our pastries from Karen’s Kitchen as take – outs. Just out of grabbing something for loved-ones especially if you’re just gassing up. And sometimes in haste, when you’re assigned to buy cake for someones’ birthday.

wall clock
So true!

I almost got frustrated knowing I can’t find previous photos of some of my visits. Then, I found it.

apple pie
Apple pie..

tiramisu
Tiramisu..

I can’t wait immersing myself on my visit to the newest branch some blocks away from the office which I heard has a very country feel.

kk
KK! No, not Krispy Kreme, but Karen’s Kitchen!=)

Some of my friends have been there already. And by the look on their faces, it is guaranteed satisfaction.

Their pilot branch is located at: EDSA, corner Pasay Road, Dasmarinas Village, Makati, 1221. Phone #: 555-0111. (They are just across Dusit Thani hotel). Right side if you’re coming from Magallanes, and left side if you’re coming from the north.

its been here
This bell have been here for years If I’m not mistaken.

Till my next blog! =)

 

 

CATHERINE’s Cakes and Pies

Catherine’s Cakes and Pies

“Take your pleasure seriously.” ~Charles Eames~ 

Okay, reaching 40, I then came into a conclusion that my awareness has to go further even to how I feed myself. I noticed lines in my face, and remembered the years when they are not there yet.

I noticed sagging skin, my being weakling in some tasks that used to be very easy for me. How I love to walk years ago and I dread them now or maybe because I was in the wrong pair of shoes.

Nevertheless, I had to remind myself to be more conscious, simply because I am no longer in my twenty’s.

However, life is short and during occasion, I sometimes give in to my vices and indulge. =)

I am so excited to share with you how I discovered one of the best apple pie in my country as declared by spot.ph as of 2014.

spot.ph
Courtesy of: http://www.spot.ph

We had two different cakes come New Year’s Eve.

2 boxes
Both from Catherine’s!

While I listed down brands as to where I will get my New year’s eve desserts on top of my home-made salad, I finally decided to get it from Catherine’s. I saw them from spot.ph. Stalked their Facebook page and as impressive as they are in the photos. It is exactly how it is in real life. They are also very cooperative on-line. My queries were immediately answered which prompted me to choose them this year.

catherines apple pie
Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/Catherines-Cakes-Pies-258772997534621/photos_stream

catherines 1
“Delish!” Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/Catherines-Cakes-Pies-258772997534621/photos_stream

For these two different cakes. They were my dessert for almost three consecutive days after New year’s eve and honestly, I didn’t get tired eating them. I indulged in every sense of the word. And was emotional while eating like have them tried by my besties and that we will eat them together while sharing many stories.

And If I may describe the apple pie, believe me, the caramel sauce isn’t too sweet. You will catch some bits of walnuts in each bite and I’ve come to appreciate more the benefits of walnuts not only for my cravings but for my body as well. I forget to mention, I saw a lot of apples, and apples and apples. And the crust is so flaky, which tasted heavenly for me. It is really worth it. If you will find out how we were able to get them and went all the way to Sucat, Paranaque on Dec. 30 just to get them.

apple pie
Sweetly comes with personalized cards and pretty ribbons that I wouldn’t want to throw away. =)

While the blueberry cheesecake, you know how I love it, and if I can have it as often as I can, I will surely do.

my bb
Loved the cheese!

It is nice to know that they weren’t frugal in topping them with real berries. They even topped them with cheese which created a different but nicer taste for me, my son didn’t like the idea but since I’ve always love cheese, it tasted better for me. And the fluffy texture is just so right. The creaminess of the cheesecake is not tiring, which allowed the natural taste of blueberries to still be dominant. Besides, it is blueberry cheesecake with a twist. It was my first to try one with cheese on top of it.

I forgot to have a photo with the owner, they were so pleasing and thoughtful too. They even left instructions inside the box like a serving suggestion.

Soon, I’m going to get the sampler box. It is sugar, spice and everything nice. It is a happy new year indeed!

new year spread
My New Year’s Eve spread wouldn’t be complete without the sweet ones! Thank you Catherine’s!

For your reference, here’s an updated copy of their menu:

menu price list

PS

Plus the apple bars too! =)

Celebrating life with Cakes…

Celebrating life with Cakes…

“A great many things can be resolved with kindness, even more with laughter, but there are some things that just require cake.” – ~Leigh Standley~

It’s a few more weeks before Christmas. And a few more days before my mama’s birthday. And what better way to celebrate occasion such as these is by loads of sweetness from TLJ!

Ever since TLJ took over its’ own niche in the Desserts industry. An assembly of unique and delicately designed cakes that are simply beautiful and pleasing to the eyes, more so in any spread at home or outside. Their concept has taken the Filipinos by storm. Created I must assumed with passion since it entails all things to consider like taste, presentation, location and price.

Each one like a pastel-colored masterpiece with its’ curator who I can imagine is smiling while finishing up a well-done concoction in a whim. Each compliments the deep dark shade of chocolates. The base of most cakes I think are chocolates. As the saying goes: “No one outgrows the pleasure of chocolates”. Or for  my personal choice, it is mocha flavor first and foremost. =)

Check out those that I’ve tried.

tlj4.1
My first!

tlj 1
A gift for a friend on her birthday..

tlj 2
One Christmas..

tlj 3
And another…

bday ko
And then, I got one too on my birthday. Thank you Jen! ❤

Most people I’ve tried it with, loves it. Quite enamored by the dainty sweetness. It seems. So I am thinking now with excitement what variant we will get during the holidays. Unless, the other part of me would try these tempting choices:

food spots
One of these from Kitchen’s Best, I have a leaning on the purple yam cake (upper right photo) Courtesy of: http://www.foodspotting.com/places/451903-kitchen-s-best-the-fort-bonifacio-global-city-taguig/items/5458-cakes

Or this from Crimson hotel 

crimson cake
Wow!

Or Mango bene from Cafe Mary Grace

mango ben
Mango bene from Cafe Mary Grace.. Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/CafeMaryGrace/

There is also one Patisserie in Kapitolyo, “Lia’s Cakes in Season” which my soul buddy had me tried twice and I’m thinking if I can go all the way from Laguna just to get their Avocado cake for Christmas. Believe me, it tastes so heavenly.

avocado cake
Avocado cake Courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/Lias-Cakes-in-Season-280423845313979/timeline

Not to forget our all-time favorite, Mango bravo from Contis. I have to decide. I am sure they are getting orders as early as now.

mango bravo

How about you? What are you gonna get this holiday season?

Have a sweet Christmas everyone! =)

DESSERT FACTORY – Ayala Terraces, Cebu

Dessert Factory – Ayala Terraces, Cebu 

“One can not think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ~Virginia Woolf~

Is there anything more gratifying than having a dessert after a full meal? Doesn’t it feel like we missed something if after each meal, there would be no dessert? An ice cream, a cupcake or a slice of cake perhaps. So after a hearty meal with my family on our last day in Cebu. Even if they are “okay” without the dessert, I dragged them to the nearest dessert station that I eyed in advance while we were looking for a place to eat. Well, cravings are cravings, and what have been marching in my mind all the while we are having lunch is a slice of blueberry cheesecake. If I don’t indulge, they will be annoyed with me the whole day, I promised.

So off we went to “Dessert Factory”, it is just 2 stores away from Chickahan sa Cebu.

The taste of one of the best pinakbet I’ve tried is still on my palate, and the beef shank with a very creamy gravy and the scallops. Who could resist a winning dessert right?

front
The attractive facade and the number of guests speaks for the store itself. .

And I won, I ordered my slice of blueberry cheesecake and another, I asked the attendant as to which is their best seller, and ordered it.

menu
Varieties to choose from..

chiller
Had a hard time choosing, If i can get a slice of each? I will! ahaha

So as we were waiting for my blueberry cheesecake and red velvet cake to be served, I took the opportunity to take pictures since their interiors (as well as the exteriors) is literally fetching. Besides, I’ve seen the color violet in every corner, and I wouldn’t want to miss capturing subjects in my favorite color, I’ve been smitten by anything purple since time immemorial.

Since theirs is themed, I see that every inch were considered.

Here are they:

violet hearts
Purple and gold is so royal..

clown
Jesters depicts happiness…

display area
Black and white tiles are a classic..

The black and white tiles are reminiscent of castles with jesters performing. I truly enjoyed this place even for a while.

bnw tiles
For the love of bnw tiles..

second room
Amazing perspective..

masks
I had to capture this for my college bff… This is one of her fascinations..

As I felt like being transported to another time, with all the design elements that are impossible to be ignored, well almost, our slices of cakes arrived.

our cakes
Blueberry cheesecake and Red velvet cake..

We consumed the cake while talking about our trip to Bohol a day ago.. And observing the way of life in Cebu.

The blueberry cheesecake is not that extra-ordinary but is the usual taste of what blueberry cheesecake should be. Same with the red velvet cake, only that it’s like 5″ tall and so we took turns consuming it.

We also had coffee after and off we go to our last stop. My tummy then is happy! =)

Dessert factory is located at Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu, 6000