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Matcha Powdered Green Tea

Matcha Powdered Green Tea

We are very excited to feature two very special teas on the Local Tea Company menu, both are Matcha powdered green teas.  We have a ceremonial grade matcha and an organic matcha, both in 30 gram tins.

Vibrant Matcha Powdered Green Tea on a red lacquered table next to a cuppa matcha green teaMatcha Green Tea

There is no tea that is as celebrated or as famous as Matcha (powdered green tea). The tea first appeared in Japanese tea manuals sometime during the 12th century, making it one of the country’s most ancient varieties and used in the Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. It was believed by the ancient Japanese that tea was a gift of the heavens and held great restorative and spiritual power on earth. The development of the tea ceremony or Chanoyu began as a way for people to show and appreciate reverence to this power and was practiced by the Buddhist monks who drank the tea for meditative properties during long religious ceremonies.

From the unique way the tea is produced, to the important place it still holds in the cultural life of Japan this celebrated tea has taken on a whole new power and meaning throughout the rest of the tea drinking world.

So what makes Matcha so special?

This greenest of green teas is a beverage where the LEAVES are consumed, not strained like other teas. You will actually drink 100% of the polyphenol nutrients contained in the leaf, giving Matcha the label of healthiest natural beverage in the world today. Along with the nutrients, you will receive a good dose of energy for wakefulness combined with lots of amino acids for relaxation. A truly great combination of ingredients which we can all benefit from today. I think those Buddhist monks were very smart in recognizing the power of this tea!

Matcha green tea in a bowl with a matcha whisk on a small plate, both on a red lacquered surface.

Processing Matcha Green Tea

The vibrant, emerald green color of the powder is attributed to some very careful cultivation. The Gyokuro Japanese tea plant variety is shaded by bamboo mats several weeks prior to plucking. This forces the plant to produce more chlorophyll and results in a supple, rich green leaf. The youngest, tender shoots are then hand plucked, steamed and dried. All stems and veins are removed before the leaves are stone ground into a fine powder which resembles talc.

Fortunately there are no demands on us today to drink the tea only in a ceremonial manner. Matcha can be enjoyed many ways such as cold brewed, hot using water or made into a latte type beverage with regular milk or any of the alternatives.  In an earlier post, I experimented with Matcha Green Tea ice cream and it was fab.

However, there are some rules for enjoying the tea when preparing hot. Sift the powder through a strainer to prevent any lumps when water is added. Water should be used when around 180 degrees. If boiled, then it should sit for 2-3 minutes. This allows for immediate consumption when the tea is at peak flavor.

In order to brew in a ceremonial manner you will require a bowl, bamboo scoop and whisk.

1.  Warm your bowl and cup.

2.  Prepare whisk by soaking tip in boiled water for about 10 seconds.

3.  Pour out water and dry bowl. Add 2 scoops of Matcha powder.

4.  Add 2oz water.

5.  Submerge any loose bits floating on surface.

6.  Whisk briskly back and forth until surface becomes frothy.

7.  Consume immediately.

A white tea cup with vibrant matcha powdered green tea next to a matcha whisk

Enjoy some wonderful matcha today.

Cheers,
the Tea Team

Detoxifying Green Teas

Detoxifying Green Teas

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope your year has gotten off to a good start.  If not, and you were feeling bunged up and burned out after a few weeks of 2011, then it’s time to get the kettle on and brew yourself some tea!  Detoxifying Green Teas.

Where to start?  There are many teas at Local Tea Company that we can recommend you drink at this time of year to restore your energy and vitality.  Today, I will concentrate on Green Tea.   Again, we have many varieties to choose from, and the key is finding one that suits you.  If you like the taste of a particular tea, the chances are you will drink more, so experiment till you find the tea for you.

Matcha Green Tea

You should note that Matcha is finely ground powdered green tea and is one of the healthiest beverages you can ingest.  When you drink matcha, you are ingesting the whole leaf rather than an infusion of the tea leaf.

Matcha Green Tea

Most green tea benefits are gained from 2 components, a family of antioxidants called catechins, including EGCG (or epigallocatechin- 3 gallate), and an amino acid called L-Theanine.   EGCG protects against cell damage that can result in disease.   Several medical reports indicate that green tea has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.   L-Theanine boosts the brain’s alpha wave levels, leading to greater mental focus and a feeling of relaxation.  There is evidence that theanine also counteracts any negative behavior of caffeine.

Matcha is said to contain 10 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, and the same goes for L-Theanine content.  If you cannot manage between 4 and 9 cups of regular green tea, then have 1 or 2 cups of matcha every day.

Matcha can be served in many ways; again, find what works for you.  I am a juicer so blend right into my daily serving of fresh juice.  You can add to your water bottle, make an iced or hot latte with soy, almond, rice milk, or drink a shot straight up.  We offer a ceremonial grade of Matcha.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Green Tea Ice Cream

You can make ice cream too.  Check out a previous post along with a recipe for green tea ice cream.  Also, I have had customers tell me that they add matcha to their regular cuppa tea.  Matcha is all good, so you need to start drinking matcha NOW.

There are some other traditional green teas you should know about.  Goji Green contains the ‘superfruit’ goji berry, which also has powerful anti-oxidants.

We offer unflavored green teas, including  Pinhead Gunpowder, and our classic Jasmine green tea is very delicate.  Our very popular Organic Strawberry Smile make those cups of tea go down really easy!

Look out for my next blog, which will include some of our herbal teas, which also have healing properties.  Time to put the kettle on; hope you are doing the same!  Good health and happiness for 2011, and make sure you ‘take time for tea.’  Detoxifying Green Teas

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Questions

  • There are many green tea benefits.  Which Green tea is Best?  Our Goji Green tea is our most popular green tea.  We have many other flavored green teas that people love.
  • Is green tea good for you?  Or, why is Green tea good for you?  A combination of antioxidants and L-Theanine make green tea one of the healthiest beverages you can consume.
  • What green tea good for?  How much Green Tea is too much?  Drink more green tea, that is the best advice!
  • Is green tea caffeinated?  Yes, there is caffeine in green tea.  Rather than drinking decaffeinated green tea, we suggest you try an herbal, fruit, or rooibos tea.  There will always be a bit of caffeine in decaffeinated tea, so beware!

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream for July, National Ice Cream Month.  With the help of Chef Maryna of Local Catering, we used some of our new Matcha Green Tea to make Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream.  We are still working on bulk sales packaging, so our Matcha is only available in drinks at our shops.  But there are many culinary options Maryna and I will be exploring with Matcha Green Tea, and ice cream seemed like a good place to start.

Home-Made Ice Cream

Once you discover the wonderful world of home-made ice cream, your life as you once knew it would change forever.  Since starting Local Catering, an extension of Local Tea Company, Chef Maryna’s culinary world has continued to expand.  I have introduced her to our menu of teas and the magic of camellia sinensis.

Chef Maryna grew up in South Africa, so she has leaned towards our selection of Rooibos.  She explores ways to integrate tea into her dishes, and ice cream sounded like a great place to start.

Recipe

Here is the recipe we followed for Matcha Green Tea ice cream.
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs Matcha tea powder
6 Egg yolks

Directions

 

 

  1. Separate the egg yolk from whites in a large bowl.  Add sugar and Matcha, then whisk until incorporated.
  2. Heat cream and milk in a saucepan until it comes to a boil.
  3. Remove milk from heat, then slowly add 1 cup of hot milk mixture to the sugar-egg mix, whisking vigorously to prevent curdling eggs.
  4. Add mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and whisk to combine.
  5. On low heat (do not boil or cook the eggs and you will end up with Macha scrambled eggs!) continue stirring until the temperature reaches 170 degrees.
  6. Pour mixture into a clean bowl and let it cool on an ice bath in the refrigerator until completely cold (about 30 minutes).
  7. Follow your ice cream machine directions and spin ice cream for about 20 minutes.
    Pour into a container and freeze until set (about an hour).  Scoop and…..yum!

So what makes Matcha so special?  The vibrant, emerald green color of the powder is attributed to some meticulous cultivation. The Gyokuro Japanese tea plant variety is shaded by bamboo mats several weeks before plucking, forcing the tea bush to produce more chlorophyll, creating a supple, rich green leaf. The youngest, tender shoots are then hand-plucked, steamed, and dried. All stems and veins are removed before the leaves are stone-ground into a fine powder.

Matcha Green Tea

No tea is as celebrated or as famous as Matcha. The tea first appeared in Japanese tea manuals sometime during the 12th century, making it one of the country’s most ancient varieties used in the Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. It was believed tea was a gift of the heavens and held great restorative and spiritual power on earth. The development of the tea ceremony or Chanoyu began as a way for people to show reverence to this power. It was practiced by the Buddhist monks who drank the tea for meditative properties during long religious ceremonies. See blog post on Chanoyu – Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Drinking this greenest of green teas or enjoying Matcha Green Tea ice cream, you are consuming the whole leaf and will drink 100% of the polyphenol nutrients contained in tea leaves.  This gives Matcha the label of healthiest natural beverage in the world today. Along with the nutrients, you will receive a good dose of energy for wakefulness combined with lots of amino acids for relaxation. A truly great combination of ingredients that we can all benefit from today.

Visit our Siesta Key shop or the cafe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for a Matcha Latte, also excellent with soy milk and a bit of honey.  Or celebrate the summer by making some Matcha Green Tea ice cream at home.

Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens

Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens

Konnichiwa  (Kon-ee-chee-wa) or Hello from the Asian Cultural Festival.

I wanted to share some notes about the Asian Cultural Festival that took place a few weeks ago at Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.

Local Tea Company sponsored Tea Ceremonies again this year on Saturday, February 27th.  Kim Pham, the owner of the Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa, again presented 3 traditional ceremonies in the Great Room.  Also on display was a magnificent collection of Kimonos presented by the Manatee Sarasota Kimono Club.

The stage was set! And then it RAINED and rained all morning. It was so disappointing after all the excitement and preparations. However, the show goes on.

All the attractions that were due to take place outdoors were then moved to the same room. That meant I got to see the Japanese drummers, which was very energetic (and loud!). A martial arts demonstration followed.

Gongfu Cha

Our first ceremony was Gongfu Cha, the Chinese Tea Ceremony.  Kim talked during the ceremony guiding visitors through the relevance of each movement. For more details about the whole ceremony, visit our post from last year. Kim offered samples that intrigued everyone.

Sampling after the Gongfu Chinese Tea Ceremony at Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens
Sampling after the Gongfu Chinese Tea Ceremony

Chanoyu

Next was Chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, which I was honored to take part in. If you have never seen this ceremony, let alone take part in one, it is truly breathtaking.

Kim briefed me before commencing the ceremony as there is no conversation during the ceremony. I bow, enter the set and kneel. It is customary to eat a sweet first, which has been prepared for the guest.  Kim enters in a traditional kimono dress and prepares the tea in tranquil, small movements. This is such a meditative part of the ceremony, and it was wonderful to be so still and in the moment despite the large room filled with people watching.  I drank the delicious matcha, and Kim reversed all her movements before leaving the ceremony area. I then followed. Visitors had the opportunity to ask questions.  Again, more details from our blog post last year.

Sampling after the Chanoyu Japanese Tea Ceremony at Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens
Chanoyu Japanese Tea Ceremony

Panyaro

Our last ceremony was Panyaro, the Korean Way of Tea. Kim was adorned in a stunning pink and turquoise ceremonial dress. By this time, the weather had improved, the sun came out, and most of the visitors went out into the garden. The few remaining were enchanted, including 2 members of our audience that Kim included in the ceremony.

Panyaro Korean Way of Tea at Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens
Panyaro Korean Way of Tea

I want to thank all the visitors who came to celebrate with us at the ceremonies.

It was a lovely day and an experience I look forward to repeating next year despite the weather.

Sayonara
The Tea Lady

Celebrating Sarasota

Celebrating Sarasota

We completed our collection of teas celebrating the crown jewels of Sarasota. Check out our Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas. The line up includes Selby Select, Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, Mote Beach Tea, and Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea. >> We have since replaced the Mote with Siesta Tea.

All four teas are naturally caffeine-free, packed in distinctively colored resealable bags to maximize freshness, and most importantly, they are DELICIOUS.  Here is a post about Five Reasons you will Love Rooibos Tea.

Celebrating Sarasota

Here are the details, along with slogans.  We laughed at writing them.  The overall idea is – Sarasota, That’s My Cuppa Tea.

Selby Gardens

Selby Select – Juicy orange peels and yogurt pieces blended with rooibos for a dreamsicle finish. Created to honor Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a tropical oasis of orchids and other epiphytes. “Selby Select, because you can’t steep an orchid.”

Ringling Museum

Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea – Rose petals and cherry blossoms infused in rooibos bursting with flavor. Mable Ringling created her beloved rose garden before starting on Ca d’Zan, the one of a kind estate at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.  We pay tribute with this tea to this mysterious woman. “Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, if you liked John’s house, you’ll love Mable’s tea.”

Mote Aquarium

Mote Beach Tea – an exotic mix of fruits and herbs including rosehips, apple, hibiscus, pineapple, and coconut for a tropical infusion. Created in honor of the research conducted at the Mote Marine Laboratory. “Mote Beach Tea, so delicious you’ll be jumping with our dolphins.”

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea – a rooibos with red and black currants for an amethyst inspired brew. This season marks the 40th year of fabulous performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, our gem by the bay. “Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea is one hot act that’s also great iced.”

At Local Tea Company, our motto is ‘Sip Locally.’  We are committed to three core principles; promoting local businesses, protecting local environments, and celebrating local treasures.  In conclusion, visit Local Coffee + Tea at Siesta Key Village, Selby Gardens, and every Saturday at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Sarasota.

Support your local treasures and celebrate Sarasota, one cup at a time.

md

Multi-Steeping

Multi-Steeping

We have broken down the details of brewing a fine cuppa with our post “Infusion Confusion” now, let’s put the record straight on ‘Multi Steeping’ your tea.

Steep Loose Leaf tea multiple times, we call if Multi-Steeping at Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

We are talking about loose leaf tea rather than tea bags designed for one use only. See “Think Out of the Bag” post. Depending on the type and quality of loose tea, you should expect to make several steeps or infusions.

Loose Leaf Tea

Follow your usual procedure to make the first cup of tea. If your preference is a strong tea, I suggest increasing the amount of tea rather than the time you allow the tea to infuse. Make only the amount you require or decant into another pot to preserve your leaves and stop them from over infusing or tasting astringent.

This is an important step. It’s not the fault of the leaves as they carry on doing what YOU put them there to do!

Add more water to start the second infusion, releasing another round of flavor. Allow more time; I usually double my original infusion time. You may enjoy this cup more than the first; it has a roundness or smoothness, most pleasing.

At Local Tea Company, we add the first and second infusion together, making what we believe is the perfect cuppa. We call this multifusion!

Steep Again

Go ahead and infuse your leaves once again. You can continue this process until the leaves offer you no more surprises. If you are infusing a rolled leaf, you will certainly be rewarded with many infusions, a cut leaf not so many. Our oolongs offer at least 4 steeps, and my personal favorite for beautiful multifusion flavors is Goji Green.

Multi-steeping is also one reason we love using tea makers with pressure release bottoms to brew loose leaf tea. The lid keeps the leaves moist and fresh if you are away from your tea-making duties. You can also place the tea maker in the refrigerator if not using till later in the day or even the next day.

Experiment, play around with each tea. After the first steep, you will notice it is hard to overstep the tea, and you should not experience any astringency. This is one of the reasons some people prefer the second or third steeps to the first. And remember, it is suggested that oolongs are washed, basically discarding the short first steep or rinse. If you read our “Oooolongs” post, you will note that I drink this batch and love it!!

Enjoy multi infusions as you drink loose leaf tea, and keep in mind the great value loose leaf tea offers long after a tea bag is discarded.

Cheers,
the tea lady

Margaret Thatcher comes to tea

Margaret Thatcher comes to tea.

Margaret Thatcher Tea.  What a lovely week!   In the Carriagehouse Tea Room, I enjoyed conversations with many visitors from the States and beyond.  Besides, a few fellow Brits.  Everyone is interested in my story and how I started working with tea.  What a great life, making conversation, and drinking tea.

Talking of Brits, I served tea to the ‘Iron Lady’ herself!   However, in case you thought I was serious, the lady was an actor.  Margaret Thatcher Tea was the theme for the afternoon tea benefiting the Women’s Resource Center.  Our gracious hostess has a magnificent penthouse overlooking Sarasota Bay.  The tea and food service was on a collection of exquisite china.

Margaret Thatcher Tea, the Iron Lady herself from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Iced Peach Paradise in wine goblets looked beautiful.  When the ladies ate sandwiches, our Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling was served.  With dessert, I served Goji Green tea.  Above all, both teas were very well received.  Why do I sound so surprised? All of the loose leaf teas offered at Local Tea Company are delicious!

There followed some discussion about Margaret Thatcher’s time in office.  How different it would be if she were in office today.

If I had been invited, I could have told a few home truths about my experiences during her ministry.  However, I was there to talk tea, so I did my short presentation about tea and ended with a Thatcher quote…

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

In conclusion, Sip Locally with your very own Tea Lady at the gardens. Stay Cool.

Glynis

Korean Way of Tea – Panyaro

Korean Way of Tea – Panyaro

The Korean Way of Tea – Panyaro is not as rigid as the Japanese Tea Ceremony [Chanoyu] but more formal than the Chinese Tea Ceremony [Gongfu Cha].  Kim is very passionate in her presentation of the Korean Way of Tea – Panyaro.  She explains tea is an important part of reclaiming the true heritage of the Koreans.

After the Japanese invaded Korea in 1910, many traditions and aspects of Korean culture were lost.  The invaders systematically wiped out much of the history. Some writings survived in remote monasteries, and from these historical relics, the Korean Way of Tea – Panyaro is revived.

Hyo Dang

Hyo Dang initiated the revival and wrote the first full-length study of tea in modern Korea. The ceremony is an expression of the graceful way of life.  Peace and understanding accompany each cup of tea.

As with the previous ceremonies, Kim wears a beautiful costume.  She kneels for the ceremony, and the four guests, myself included, remained in the same position. This is very difficult for all of us!

Each movement is performed slowly and precisely.  Kim returns her hands to her lap after each movement. The tea items are covered with a cloth, red on one side representing the earth and blue on the other, representing the sky.

Tea and Water

Hot water in a large teapot is poured into a bowl. The teacups are filled with hot water to warm them. Each time the bowl is lifted, Kim uses a small napkin to wipe the bamboo scoop before placing the tea into the teapot. The water is removed from the cups and filled with a small amount of tea. Kim keeps going back up the line again until each teacup was filled.

Similarly, Kim places each cup on a saucer with the same precise movements and presents a cup to each of us. After that, when she indicates, we all sip together.

The cloth is placed on the cups and pots after we finished our tea.  We all bow and, with great relief, stretched out our legs!

For instance, here is a photo of Kim and me after the last ceremony.

Tea Lady and Kim Pham after the Korean Way of Tea

Above all, what a great day at Selby Gardens.  The experience is fantastic and very different from the English ritual of taking tea; however, it is very similar in many ways.

In conclusion, regardless of how you take your tea, make it special every time and embrace the moment. Local Tea Company was a proud sponsor of all three Tea Ceremonies at the Asian Cultural Festival.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Chanoyu – Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Chanoyu – Japanese Tea Ceremony

Chanoyu – The Japanese Tea Ceremony is more complex, absorbing, and meditative than the Chinese Tea Ceremony [Gonfu Cha].  For instance, through tea, every human encounter is a single occasion and is not repeated.  Nothing is permanent, and every aspect of the ceremony is to be savored.  Seek beauty with your mind and your heart.  Cherish each moment. Tea culture is “god-like” and is Teaism in Japan.

The ceremony happens in a designated room, with bamboo mats defining the area.  Guests remove their shoes.  Kim is wearing a simple creamy blue kimono. Up to four guests participate, and on Saturday, Michael is the honored guest.  He enters the ceremony by crawling through an imaginary tunnel, signifying leaving any material items outside the tea ceremony.  All are equal regardless of status or social position. No words are spoken.

Water

Only the host touches the water, which is held in a stone jar. The Yin is represented by water and the heat of the fire, Yang. The container symbolizes purity.  Guests are served a sweet while the host wipes the ceramic jar with a fine silk cloth or Fukusa.   The Fukusa is carefully folded after each movement. In other words, a high level of concentration or state of meditation is required.

The host rinses the tea bowl and whisk. Pouring the water represents a waterfall. The tea, in this case, matcha, is scooped and whisked, then presented to the guest with a bow.

Teaware for Chanoyu – Japanese Tea Ceremony

Tea

The teaware does not match.  The tea bowl represents the moon (yin) and is cherished by the host.  The water container is next to the tea bowl representing the sun (yang). After each guest drinks, the host wipes the bowl.  The host does not drink any tea. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a gift to the guest, a gesture of love or respect.

In conclusion, the crowd easily exceeded 100 people and is part of the Asian Cultural Festival at Selby GardensLocal Tea Company is the sponsor.   Kim answers many questions and is simply fabulous.

Next, see notes from the Korean Tea Ceremony soon.

The Tea Lady

Gongfu Cha – Chinese Tea Ceremony

Gongfu Cha – Chinese Tea Ceremony

Gongfu Cha.  This last weekend was the Asian Cultural Festival at Selby Gardens.  The event was packed with uniquely Asian activities; bonsai displays, martial arts performers, taiko drummers, and other dancers. For instance, on Saturday, the Local Tea Company-sponsored 3 tea ceremonies – Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. I enjoyed all three and participated in the Korean Tea Ceremony.   Here are the details, along with a few pictures.

Kim Pham

Kim Pham presents all three ceremonies in traditional attire.  She uses proper tea accessories and authentic teas. She owns Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa. Kim is fantastic, very knowledgeable, and thrilled to share the history and details with all that attended. Above all, Kim is a true student of tea ceremonies.

I will break the details into 3 posts.

Gongfu Cha

Gongfu Cha, the Chinese ceremony, was first at 11 am. This style of the ceremony is all about the tea, what it tastes like and smells like. After that, the audience asked questions, and Kim talked all the way through, describing the ceremony as “tea with friends.”  Each step is meant to be a sensory exploration and appreciation. Similarly, a tiny unglazed clay teapot, Yixing, is filled a third full of tea for multiple, quick infusions. The pot and small drinking cups get rinsed with boiling water first. Then the tea is rinsed or flushed.

The first infusion is only 30 seconds.

In other words, Kim explains the tea comes from a wild tea plant in the Yunnan Province of China.  She buys directly from farmers.  She calls it ‘No Name’ tea because the family drinks this tea, and it has no name.  Above all, this very special tea is sweet and delicious.  And Kim wears a traditional Chinese special occasion dress of silk, but back to the Gongfu Cha.

No Name Tea

In other words, the tea is poured in a continual motion over each cup.  All are filled together and taste the same.  There are 2 cups. The larger is called the “snifter.”  This is tipped upside down, releasing tea into the small drinking cups, about 2 sips worth. Then the snifter is smelled to appreciate the aroma. Kim moves everything using bamboo chopsticks. Typically up to five infusions are made from the same leaves, adding 10 seconds of steep each time.

Next up, the Japanese Tea Ceremony,

The Tea Lady