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5 Teas Perfect for Sinhala & Tamil New Year

Taking place between the 13th and 14th of April, Sinhala and Tamil New Year is one of Sri Lanka’s most important cultural holidays. Known as Aluth Avurudu in Sinhala and Puthandu in Tamil, the holiday marks the end of the harvest season, with the sun moving from Pisces to Aries. Sinhala and Tamil New Year is steeped in tradition and rituals, but at its core, the holiday represents spending time with your family and loved ones.

There are a few things many people look forward to during this holiday; the traditional Avurudu games, new clothes in the auspicious colours, visits to relatives’ homes, and of course the delicious Avurudu spread. Plates piled high with various delicacies cover the table. From milk rice and an assortment of curries to traditional sweet treats like aasmi, kavum, kokis; enjoy a spectacle of colour and flavour.

However, in the midst of all this, you are almost guaranteed to spot a humble cup of Ceylon tea. A cup of tea is not only incredibly flavourful, but it is also undeniably comforting– perfectly capturing the essence of the holiday. Here are 5 teas to gift your loved ones that make wonderful new year gifts.

Black Tea 

You can never go wrong with gifting a box of black tea. It comes as no surprise that black tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, a close second after water. From full-bodied English Breakfast tea to the crimson-hued Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings tea, there is an endless variety of black teas for you to enjoy!

On Avurudu it is customary to offer your visitors a cup of tea and something to eat for the occasion. Having a tin of black tea will always be beneficial. If you’re thinking of gifting a loved one some tea, we suggest the Premium BOPF tea or Zesta Real Ceylon Tea.

An Assortment of Teas 

Or perhaps, you can’t choose from the wide variety of teas and herbal infusions available. In these instances, an assortment of teas is the perfect gift as it allows the recipient of the gift to try several new flavours and types of tea. An excellent gift option is this assortment of flavoured teas, which contains six fruit and spice flavoured tea bags. Flavoured teas are made when essential oils from fruits, spices, herbs, and other aromatics are infused with the tea leaves, resulting in an endless list of fun tea flavours! From peach, ginger, cinnamon & apple. This is a wonderful gift for Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Green Tea 

Another tea-lightful gift option is green tea. Nowadays green tea has become a household name and is almost surpassing the popularity of black tea! Made from the unoxidised leaves of the Camellia Sinensis, this tea has a delicate flavour and has a more herbaceous aroma. This is one of the best teas to gift someone for the new year as green tea contains a myriad of health benefits. Similar to black tea, there are quite a few variants of green tea. Choose from a tin of classic green tea or be adventurous with a flavoured green tea. Infused with aromatics such as jasmine flowers or peppermint and lemon, gives the tea a refreshing twist.

Also, drinking green tea helps boost metabolism– ideal after gorging on the new year feast!

Earl Grey  

Earl Grey tea is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular teas and is a lovely gift option if the recipient is an avid tea drinker. Despite its popularity, the tea is often mistaken for being its own category of tea, when in reality it is a flavoured tea! Named after the second Earl of Grey, a former British Prime Minister, this tea is a black tea infused with the oil of bergamot, a vibrant citrus fruit. A full-bodied tea with a dark orange hue, Earl Grey has a unique flavour with a malty aftertaste combined with the faintest notes of citrus. If you are entertaining your relatives for Avurudu, serve them this Mahagama Earl Grey Martini, which is a refreshing Earl Grey based iced tea served with orange and lime juice. While the recipe calls for gin, you can omit the alcohol for a more child-friendly option.

Zesta Wellness Range 

What better gift is there to give this new year other than the gift of health? Our Wellness Range consists of a collection of the very best herbal teas, each crafted for a specific function. From helping your sleep better to burning fat, this range can help you achieve just about anything. Other options include this Refresh wellness infusion is made from peppermint leaves and is a great morning pick-me-up, especially the day after the festivities, and our  Immune Boost infusion made from a variety of spices.

 Fun Fact:  Did you know that it is incorrect to call these blends herbal tea or infusion tea? Yes, the term tea is exclusively used for products that originate from the Camellia Sinensis tea bush. Instead, these herbal infusions are made from various aromatic herbs and flowers such as peppermint and chamomile.

 

Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a time for spreading love and spending time with loved ones. There is truly no better way to spread the cheer and set the mood than gathering with your loved ones around a pot of Zesta Ceylon tea. Get gif-tea-ing today!

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5 Wellness Teas & Infusions You Need to Try

5 Wellness Teas & Infusions You Need to Try

January not only marks the start of the new year but also as most tea aficionados know, January is hot tea month. This month, Zesta is dedicated to bringing you 5 flavourful teas and herbal infusions that are loaded with health benefits and will also help you achieve your new year’s resolutions. Read more to find out the best teas and infusions that will give you a healthy start to 2021. 

To Sleep Better

Wouldn’t we all love to have a good night’s sleep? For some falling asleep at night is effortless and as soon as your head hits the pillow you’re already in dreamland. However, for others, it’s not as easy to fall asleep effortlessly, and for these instances, you must try Sleep from Zesta’s wellness infusion range. Infused with chamomile, a cup of this is just what you need to have before you go to sleep. Although often referred to as a tea, chamomile is actually a herbal infusion that is naturally caffeine-free and made from daisy-like flowers. Apart from helping you sleep better, chamomile can also help alleviate pain from menstrual cramps, reduce stress and anxiety, treat cold symptoms, as well as bring about several other health benefits

To Lose Weight

Nowadays green tea has become the go-to drink if you’re trying to lose weight due to its ability to boost metabolism. However, did you know that green tea is rich in caffeine and each has approximately 35mg of caffeine per cup? Its high level of caffeine makes green tea an unsuitable drink for pregnant women and those trying to reduce their caffeine intake.  Instead, try our Zesta Wellness Infusion Fat Burn which uses Ayurvedic certified ingredients such as fenugreek, garcinia black seed, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cumin seed, senna leaf, and black pepper. All these spices and herbs promote gut health and have anti-inflammatory properties, and research shows that these herbs can also help with weight management. However, more research needs to be done and in order to manage your weight, you must also have a healthy diet and partake in regular exercise.

To Detox

In 2020 with all the lockdowns and stay at home restrictions, many of us may have given into our temptation, whether it be an extra glass of wine or eating more junk food. Now that we are well into the new year, it’s time to leave all those bad habits behind and start fresh. For this, you must try out Zesta Wellness Infusion Detox which is a herbal infusion containing several herbs such as ashwagandha, ginger, turmeric, nelli, and neem. This flavourful combination of spices makes for the perfect brew that will rejuvenate and cleanse the body of toxins with every sip. These herbs and spices have been used for several centuries in Ayurvedic practices and each comes with the benefits of its own unique healing properties.

To Energise

Most people start their mornings with a cup of coffee or black tea, however, if you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake you are going to need to find a replacement. Our Zesta Wellness Infusion Refresh is an excellent alternative. Swap your morning cup of traditional Ceylon tea to one of refreshing peppermint that is the perfect drink to have after a meal. Not only is peppermint a great pick-me-up, but it also improves digestive tract health, it can help relieve stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion! Peppermint also has antioxidants, antibacterial and antiviral properties which will help improve your overall health. This is best consumed as a hot tea as it will gently nourish and refresh you.

To Boost Immunity

Black tea is well known for having a wealth of health benefits due to its high level of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, black tea can promote overall health by combatting free radicals. While this is true, there are also several infusion teas that can improve overall health like our Zesta Wellness Infusion Immune Boost. Infused with Ayurvedic certified ingredients such as moringa leaves, turmeric, coriander, iramusu, and hathawariya, this all-natural immunity boosting drink is flavourful and extremely healthy. Defend your body against illness and disease with a cup of this delectable herbal infusion.

 Zesta Tea is grown on the lush misty mountains of Sri Lanka and shared with the rest of the world. There is no better way to start the year than on a healthy note with a good cup of tea. Get your box of goodness today.

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5 Healthy Teas to Start the New Year

5 Healthy Teas to Start the New Year

Tis the season to get a fresh start and plan out the new year with all the goals you want to achieve. Why not plan your new year with a healthy tea by your side? Of course, there are several healthy teas out there, which can make choosing the best teas quite difficult. Do not worry though, as this article will shed light on five amazing teas to consider when you are starting out the new year.

Green Tea

A tea that would never lose its significance is traditional green tea. With its origins dating back to the 2700BC, green tea has always been a favourite beverage for many households around the world.

According to scientific research, green tea is known to possess polyphenols and other antioxidants that aid in a healthy digestive system, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, and is also known to improve the immune system. It also helps to detox the body from any sort of impurities. Order yourself a box of Jasmine Green Tea – 15 Pyramid Tea Bags to experience all those benefits.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is not necessarily a tea, but herbal tea. In other words, it is a tea that does not incorporate the traditional Camellia Sinensis plant. Instead, the tea is made from daisy-like flowers called chamomile. However, the way of brewing a fresh cuppa is very similar to traditional tea.

Over the years, this herbal infusion has become a popular healthy beverage to many. Like green tea, it is known to help in maintaining heart health and digestive system. Additionally, the beverage is also known to aid in sleep, menstrual cramps, even mental wellbeing. To make your chamomile tea experience all the more wholesome, make sure you use Zesta Wellness Infusion Sleep for your cuppa.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea comes just behind chamomile tea in terms of popularity. Like its chamomile counterpart, this tea is prepared using the leaves of the Mentha Piperita plant, and is known to give a refreshing feeling to the body.

Some of the more known health benefits of this tea are improving mental wellbeing, provides energy, helps in oral health, aids in digestion, and helps in sleep. Although, many recommend this beverage to be drunk with no additives, a little bit of sugar is added to taste. Moreover, the tea has become a popular alternative to use for virgin mojitos when mint leaves are not available. You can make your very own version of virgin mojito using Zesta Pure Peppermint – 15 Pyramid Tea Bags to get the best peppermint taste.

Lemon Tea with Honey

The properties present in lemon and black tea are married in a harmonious, healthy cup of Zesta’s lemon tea. Amped with a good dose of vitamin C and its also a natural diuretic.

Research has shown that this tea aids in digestion, helps in nourishing the skin, eliminates free radicals, and keeps flu-like symptoms at bay. Presently, you can create this healthy beverage using flavoured tea bags. All you have to do is just steep the tea bag and add in the water and honey.

Black Tea

Black tea, like green tea, is one of the more popular teas in the world due to its taste and character. Today black tea comes in many variants and flavours as well. Some of the more popular variants are Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Additionally, some of the black teas come in citrusy flavours.

The antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds within the black tea has been identified to help maintain a healthy immune system, improves digestion, aids in a healthy cardiovascular system, and reduces bad cholesterol. The best black teas come with the stamp of Pure Ceylon Tea such as that found in Zesta Premium Black Tea –  20 Tea Bags.

 

There we have it! Five amazing and healthy teas to kick-start the journey to achieve your goals in the new year. If you prefer to go beyond the list,  check out our products and shop online from a range of teas and infusions.

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DIY Christmas Decor and Gifts with Zesta

Christmas Tea

Christmas is a time of sharing, joy, celebration, lights, and amazing festivities. There are many ways of spreading all that with your loved ones. Some of the more popular ways are by adorning your home with vibrant Christmas lights and features and inviting your loved ones for a meal. Maybe even for an evening of carolling and storytelling with warm cups of Zesta tea for everyone. But what if we said that you can decorate your own home with our products as well?

Our products can be used as great material for DIY Christmas decorations for your home, making it all the more unique. Here are just some simple DIY ideas you can use for this Christmas.

Christmas Tea Tree

Christmas tree decorations are always a sight to behold, especially when you are doing it with your family. Why not make that family time even more special by making DIY Christmas tea trees as well? They are simple and quick to make and do not require any special material for it.

What you will need:
  • Styrofoam cones
  • Individually wrapped Zesta teabags
  • Glue
  • Cylindrical mache box or homemade cylindrical cardboard box
  • Wooden stars
Method:
  • Take the individual tea bags and apply a thin line of glue on the back of it, and then attach it to the base of the cone (hold it in place until it sets).
  • When you apply the subsequent teabags, make sure you slightly overlap it over the one that was just pasted. This is to cover up the styrofoam underneath.
  • Keep repeating the process until you reach the top of the cone.
  • Glue the cylindrical mache box or the cylindrical cardboard box to the base of the styrofoam cone, so it can make a unified stump and stand on its own.
  • Insert a small weight inside the box for more stability.
  • Glue a wooden star at the top once the tea tree is complete.

And just like that, when teatime comes, all you have to do is carefully rip one from the tree to make a fresh cuppa. Since it is meant to resemble a Christmas tree, Use a mixture of Zesta Green Tea and Zesta Strawberry Flavoured Black Tea to make it reflect the traditional red and green colours of Christmas. Nothing can go wrong with a DIY decoration that dispensers Pure Ceylon Teabags!

Christmas Wreath

Another great decoration that is synonymous with the season is the wreath. Make your one unique by including some teabags in it. These types of homemade Christmas decorations serve to be aesthetic and functional pieces as well. Here is how you can make one.

What you will need:
  • Two pieces of 12×12 cardboard
  • Red and green patterned paper
  • 24 clothespins
  • Glue
  • Red ribbon for hanging
Method:
  • Glue the two pieces of cardboard together.
  • Cut the cardboard into a circle and cut a smaller inner circle to make it look more like a wreath.
  • Cover your cardboard circle with patterned paper and glue it.
  • Glue some patterned paper to the clothespins as well.
  • Once this is done, glue the clothespins on the circle, evenly spacing them out.
  • Make sure the clothespins face the outside of the wreath when glueing them.
  • Tie the red ribbon on the wreath for hanging and clip your favourite Zesta tea bags on each of the pins.

Voila! You have made your very own Christmas wreath that is a perfect ornament that is a fitting addition to your home. The inclusion of your favourite Zesta tea bags makes it all the more special since it allows you and your guests to easily pick and choose what they want to brew.

Explore our exclusive collection of Zesta Ceylon Tea here.

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What is Orange Pekoe and What Makes it Special?

Orange Pekoe Tea

Have you ever wondered how your fresh cup of black tea gets its exquisite taste, aroma, and colour? You may have looked at the packaging and probably seen two prominent symbols and wondered why they are so prominent in the first place. One is probably the mark of ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’, and the other is ‘Orange Pekoe’. 

Pure Ceylon Tea refers to the fact that the leaves were grown, plucked, and processed in Sri Lanka. However, it is the Orange Pekoe part that is linked to the taste and aroma. But how?

What is Orange Pekoe?

This does not mean that the tea is going to give an orange flavour. This is a way of grading the leaf. Orange pekoe or OP is the highest grade of black tea which is predominantly produced in the South Asian regions namely, Sri Lanka and India. Once the leaf has been graded as orange pekoe after harvesting, they are withered, rolled, heated, and fermented. Most OP teas are referred to as black tea, but there are instances where oolong tea is also made from the same leaves.

Why call it ‘orange pekoe’ though? Firstly, the ‘orange’ is associated to the Dutch royal family, who were from the House of Orange. When it was first brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company, only the best leaves were kept for the royal family. Once it was introduced to the public, vendors would include ‘orange’ in it to show that these are the same leaves preferred by Dutch royalty.

The ‘pekoe’ term originates from China. Since these leaves were plucked from the youngest Camellia Sinensis plant, they often had distinct down-like hairs. The Chinese would call these leaves ‘pek-ho’, hence the present day term. 

What Makes it Special?

Since orange pekoe is the highest grade for any black tea like that of ZESTA CLASSICAL BREW : KENILWORTH PEKOE, there are many special features, including some health benefits. 

Special Characteristics

While OP is an umbrella term for the highest graded tea leaf, some subgrades are based on certain characteristics of the leaf. Some of the popular subgrades are;

  • Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)
  • Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP)
  • Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP)
  • Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP)

These are leaves which goes into making exquisite teas and is only sold in loose-leaf format to avoid any mixing or spoiling. Certain broken leaf teas also fall under the OP grade as well such as;

  • Broken Pekoe (BP)
  • Flowery Pekoe (FP)
  • Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP)
  • Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (GBOP)
  • Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (GFBOP)
  • Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (TGFBOP)

Are there differences in these gradings? Well, yes. ‘B’ would mean broken and produces a stronger flavour when brewed. Having ‘F’ would mean that the tea is of high quality and includes the buds of the plant. The ‘G’ would mean that there is a high ratio of golden buds. A simple way to remember this is through the number of letters. The more letters there are, the more premium the leaves are.

Health Benefits of Orange Pekoe

The best thing about OP is that it helps maintain a healthy body and mind.

  • There are high antioxidant properties in the OP leaf, especially in the form of flavonoids. Which is why most black teas made from the leaf help reduce free radicals and restores damaged cells in the body.
  • Although further research has to be conducted, the polyphenols and flavonoids are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases, reduce cardiovascular problems, and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • The antimicrobial properties of OP tea are known to aid in keeping a healthy digestive system, which is linked to healthy metabolism and overall immunity.
  • There is also evidence to show that OP helps in maintaining a healthy mind. The caffeine and L-theanine amino acid in the beverage have a synergistic effect on the mind to stay focused.

Now that you know what orange pekoe is and its special features, why not try it yourself? Go ahead and choose from a wide range of OP Zesta Ceylon Tea. Whether it is flavoured or traditional black tea, you are guaranteed an amazing experience.

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English Breakfast Tea vs Earl Grey Tea: What Is the Difference?

English Breakfast

Known for their unique taste, colour, and character, English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey Tea is easily one of the more popular traditional black teas out there in the market. So much so that many believe they are the same. They are not though!

The differences are mainly attributed to the origins, and the flavour. Apart from those features, they do have their fair share of similarities.

History and Origins

This is one of the major differences between the two tea types, as they have their beginnings in separate events.

English Breakfast Tea

This type of black tea can be traced back to the 19th century, and can be attributed to a Scottish tea merchant known as Robert Drysdale. It was he who desired a strong, rich, and malty beverage after a good English breakfast, hence the name ‘English Breakfast Tea’.

The popularisation of the tea came about when Queen Victoria first tasted it during her stay in Scotland. The monarch was so impressed by its taste that she brought a supply back to London, which eventually led to a trend that never ceased.

Earl Grey Tea

This traditional tea has a similar beginning in that it was popularised in the 19th century. However, this was a Chinese invention although it has a English name.

The story goes that once a Chinese scholar visited Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (the British Prime Minister during the 1830s) in the United Kingdom. The scholar wanted to treat his host with some traditional Keemun tea. The only problem was that the water possessed a mineral taste, which did not give out the true taste of the tea. He then proceeded to use bergamot oil (an oil made from a citrusy fruit) to balance out the taste. The Prime Minister was so enthralled with the beverage that it became a staple in his household.

Popularity of the tea rose when the wife of Charles Grey served this beverage to their guests and visiting dignitaries. Hence the name ‘Earl Grey Tea’.

Taste, Flavour, and Blend

Another way of showcasing the differences between the two variants is by analysing its taste, flavour, and blend of the beverage.

English Breakfast Tea

This particular beverage is characterised to have a very strong, rich taste, which is full-bodied and robust. This is because it is traditionally a blend of Assam, Keemun, Kenyan, and Ceylon tea leaves.

The reason for its strong flavour was because of how hearty the English breakfast is. The rich taste often complemented the breakfast, and gave that much-needed energy boost for the day. Milk and sugar was sometimes added to balance out the strength of the beverage. The Zesta Connoisseur Collection English Breakfast Tea is a perfect example of the brew.

Earl Grey Tea

In the traditional sense, Earl Grey tea is made from Chinese Keemun tea, which is then infused with bergamot oil. Over the years though, the Chinese tea leaves were replaced by Ceylon Tea, since it allowed consumers to add milk into the beverage as well. A great example for this is the Zesta Connoisseur Collection Earl Grey Tea.

Due to the bergamot oil, the tea is characterised to have a citric taste, and is considered to have a milder flavour to other black teas, such as English breakfast tea.

Similarities

English breakfast tea and Earl Grey tea do have similarities when looking at certain aspects.

Preparation

While they are different in blend, taste, and flavour, they are black teas having the same core ingredient after all; the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Similarly, preparing a fresh cuppa is the same. All you have to do is;

  • Boil fresh spring water (220ml per person) to around 100˚C.
  • Add teabags (one per person) or loose-leaf tea (2.5g per person) to the water.
  • Let the leaves steep for 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve into tea cups.
  • Add a slice of lemon when drinking straight, or add milk and sugar to your liking.

Health Benefits

Another similarity of these two drinks are the health benefits. Many studies have shown that English breakfast tea and Earl Grey tea aid in strengthening the immune system, oral health, digestion, heart health, mood, blood sugar, and high blood pressure.

Regardless of the differences between the two brews, the two tea variants are equally as popular and can be equally enjoyed with Zesta.

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The Difference Between Afternoon Tea and High Tea

Afternoon Tea

Catching up with friends and family over a small snack or a full meal, during the evening hours, makes some unforgettable memories. These special meals and social gatherings can, arguably, be traced back to the Victorian-era of the British Empire. Back then it was either called Afternoon Tea or High Tea. Today, these types of meals and gatherings are still seen. So much so that Afternoon Tea and High Tea have been used to mean the same thing, except historically it does not.

What is Afternoon Tea?

Simply put, Afternoon Tea is a light three-course meal taken during the day at 4 pm. This is in no way to replace dinner, as the meal generally consists of bite-sized sandwiches, savouries, and scones. Of course, there is a good strong cuppa accompanied with the finger food too.

Afternoon tea was made popular by the Duchess of Bedford in the 19th century, when she wanted to have a light meal before dinner with her friends. Alternatively, it is called ‘Low Tea’ since this meal is traditionally enjoyed on the low tables of the drawing-room, where the host, friends, and family would sit on comfortable sofas and chairs.

What is High Tea?

Originating from the 19th century, high tea was a trend set by the working middle class. It became popular routine when workers would get home and nourish themselves with a hearty meal that included meat, beans, and other heavy dishes. This is also called ‘supper’, as this is taken between   5 pm – 7 pm. Once again, all this was accompanied with a strong cup of black tea. This was enjoyed mainly on the high tables of the dining room with the family. Hence why it is called ‘High Tea’.

Afternoon Tea vs High Tea

While there are many differences between these two, some of the most obvious is the type of food consumed, time of consumption, and the people you enjoy these meals with.

Afternoon Tea was more for pleasure that eventually leads to dinner. High Tea, on the other hand, was more about getting back that important nutrition lost after working hard during the day.

Another major difference is the time these meals are taken at. Afternoon Tea or ‘Low Tea’ is generally taken around 4 pm, whereas High Tea is enjoyed just before dinner.

These two types of meals have an element of socialising with people close to you. However, the difference is that Afternoon Tea was enjoyed with friends, whereas High Tea was enjoyed with family.

Ceylon Tea at the Very Centre

One thing that has not changed in both meals though is the ‘Tea’. Tea plays a major part in these meals, as they are generally enjoyed at the end of it. These beverages were mostly strong black tea of the highest quality, most notably Pure Ceylon Tea.

Today it is pretty much the same, and Zesta’s Premium Black Tea is one such high-quality black tea that is sure to top off a great Afternoon Tea and High Tea experience, as it provides that authentic flavour of black tea. Whether you serve straight, with a slice of lemon, or even with milk, your meal will be as wholesome as ever.

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The Importance of Tea Etiquette in the Chinese New Year

Chinese Tea

The Chinese New Year is a unique spectacle for many an individual, as it helps connect people with their families, and re-enact centuries of tradition. While there are many rituals and traditions followed, many have changed over the years due to economic and social reasons. However, one such tradition that has not changed over the years is the tea offerings and the etiquette that comes with it. With colourful decorations come a burst of flavour too, making it a unique experience that many people wait for every year.

Generational tradition

The celebration of the Chinese New Year has many origins, and has been debated by others. However, many often trace the celebration of the Chinese New Year back to 3rd millennium BC China. As a result, the new year is depicted with a special animal that repeats in a 12-year cycle. Namely, the Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, and Dragon. Each animal having special omens. Regardless of the different omens and the changing of the animals, celebrations such as tea etiquette has stayed the same in many eastern cultures and has now become quite a spectacle even in North America and Europe. This can be attributed to the respect of the traditions the older generations pass down to the younger.

Well-wishing

The tea etiquette in the festive time gives the Chinese New Year great meaning, as it gives the younger generation the chance to appreciate the older generation with a refreshing cuppa. It also works in the opposite direction, as the elders also make it a point to give something to the young. Most often than not, it is often money or something that would delight the young folded in a red envelope. The tea etiquette starts early in the morning when the young would select some favourite treats and offer them in a ceremonious manner, with tea as the main element.

Unique tea selection

The tea selection varies and depends on certain preferences. However, there are notable types that have been used over the ages. Such variants include black teas, oolong teas, and puers (shu cha). Moreover, the leaves chosen are of the highest quality, which Zesta are proud to provide during this time of festivity. Our Large Leaf Black Tea OP, and Tie Guan Yin (Oolong tea) are perfect for the traditional tea ceremonies accompanied with the dried and candied fruits to the elders.

Connecting with your loved ones

At the end of the day, tea etiquette in the Chinese New Year is still practiced today because of how it brings families and people together, regardless of their age. Whether the festive season occurs in a time where you and your family are going through some hardship, resentment, misunderstandings, or even hatred, the tea etiquette is a symbolic tradition that ushers in the new year, a new spring to start things anew and forget about what has happened.

The Chinese New Year is a myriad of traditions filled with pageantry, cuisine, togetherness, and of course tea!

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All About Sinhala and Tamil New Year

New Year Tea

Colloquially referred to as Avurudu in Sinhala or Puthandu in Tamil, the festival marks the New Year for the Sinhalese and Tamil communities on the island. The annual event brings the entire nation together to partake in traditions and games.

What is Avurudu?
Traditionally celebrated by the Sinhalese and Tamil, the New Year has now been integrated to numerous households in the country as it brings people and families together. The festival is celebrated with a series of traditions, food, and fun games that take place during the day and involve the entire community.

Food
The ‘Avurudu table’ is a colourful, decorative affair consisting of traditional Sri Lankan treats like kavum, mun kavum, kokis, asmee, peni walalu, athirasa, etc. All of this is usually accompanied by a few cups of the nation’s finest beverage; Zesta Ceylon tea, a common addition to the Avurudu table. As the new year dawns, families gather around a clay pot with milk and watch it boil over; which signifies prosperity and happiness for the entire family. Milk rice is the next traditional item to be cooked. In Hindu households, sweet rice is made with red raw rice, jaggery, ghee, plums and cashew nuts.

Games
The festival is celebrated with a range of games involving the entire community, like kotta pora, kana mutt, sack races, kabaddi to name a few traditional games. Children and adults from the village gather to take part in games. Offices and schools even partake in the Avurudu ceremonies.

The Call of the Koha
During the period leading up to the new year, the call of the Koha echoes through the village. Also known as the Cuckoo-bird, the Koha’s song marks the beginning of the new year and its festivities.

Other Traditions
From lucky colours to auspicious times, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is deeply rooted in traditions. The ganadenu tradition consists of when children offer betel leaves to worship parents and in exchange get some cash. The applying of oil by the chief monk is another significant Avurudu event.

Explore our exclusive collection of Zesta Ceylon Tea here.

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How To Throw The Best Tea Party

Tea Party with Blueberry and Cookies

Ever since the British initiated the High-Tea tradition in the 1700s, it has caught on and to-date remains a fun and classy affair around the world. It has evolved throughout the years and can either be a casual, simple occasion or a fully-fledged soiree. Either way, there are some fundamental rules and traditions that one must adhere to when throwing a par-tea!

  1. Setting the scene

Tea parties are a great way to celebrate occasions; be it a bridal shower, a baby shower, a birthday party or just a simple gathering of friends, you can’t go wrong with it.

Since it is a special occasion, the first thing to check is the location and setting. When you mention “tea-party”, the first image that pops into your head is usually an outdoor garden like setting. However, one can still choose an indoor setting as well. If it is an outdoor setting, you don’t have to worry about light too much unless the party would go beyond the dusk hours. In that case, you could bring out the candles or turn on the fairy lights that line the trees or bushes. If you opt for an indoor setting, keeping the lighting gentle and dim is perfect!

Bring out the fancy tablecloth and the Chinaware. However, it doesn’t always have to be fancy; using mismatched tea sets look very appealing and adds more character to the table. Arrange your cutlery, teacups, saucers, teapots and tiered cake stands if you’ve got them, neatly on the table, along with napkins. You could choose to have some fresh flowers as the centrepiece of the table to align with your garden themed party.

  1. Dress code

The tea party is a serious affair and therefore, the dress code must be appropriate. To be able to give a better idea to the guests, you could mention the themes. Some great examples of themes are Mad Hatter party; if it is a gender reveal party, it could be pink or blue as the main colour; floral attire; Victorian and Disney princess. The choices are limitless. A fun way of encouraging guests to dress up is to announce that at the end of the day, the best-dressed guest would win some great goodies. Everyone loves to win; therefore, this is a fool-proof idea.

  1. The tea

There can’t be a tea party without tea. This is the centre of the occasion and the part where you don’t have to limit yourself because you get to indulge in the many varieties of tea available. Browse through our online stores to find out just how many tea types Zesta has on offer, whether black, flavoured, green or herbal.  Experiment with flavours and brew a couple of different types of tea and have them ready in the teapots. You could also opt to serve each guest with their own tray inclusive of a pot, jug of milk and necessary condiments and invite them to make their own brew. This would be an interactive experience that would liven up the party as well. If guests prefer to have iced-teas, it can be made possible by having a dispenser offering just that. Apart from tea, do make sure there is water available. To make the jug of water look not so boring, you could add a few slices of lemon or orange which will also serve as palate cleansers.

 

  1. The spread

Since there is a variety of tea, the choices of food items should not be limited. Sandwiches; a hassle-free and easy to prepare snack. To ensure they don’t get soggy, it is advisable to prepare the fillings beforehand and assemble them just before the party begins. Have a variety of fillings available to entertain different taste and diet preferences. For example, have vegetarian and pescatarian friendly options. To avoid confusion, put up pretty labels which will also add to the table decorations. Cake; every party needs a cake, especially when it involves tea. You could either have a big cake for the centrepiece or have cupcakes beautifully arranged in a tiered cake stand; either way, they would look quite appealing. The preferred cakes to be served are usually the light, fruity ones like lemon sponge cake or Victoria sponge cake- a classic sponge cake with whipped creams or jam. However, if you would prefer a denser, rich chocolate cake, by all means, go ahead. Scones; another classic item which is very easy to make  pair up very well with butter and jam or fruit yoghurt.

  1. Interact

Now that everything else is in place, the most important part is to interact with your guests; catch up, introduce the guests to each other. Opt to set the tone with your favourite music, preferably on a low volume so it won’t drown out conversations. To make the event more interactive and fun, turn the party into an impromptu open mic session or perform some stand-up comedy. Reminder: Do not forget to take pictures of the event and the guests. These are not the only moments that you will cherish forever but will also be proof of the best tea party you’ve ever hosted.

Explore our exclusive collection of Zesta Ceylon Tea here.