Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tea-time with God.

When I was younger than I am now, I always thought it would make a nice afternoon to have Tea with God. A sort of tea-time to beat all tea-times. A light-hearted tea-time of the soul. This tea-time would be paired with a game of Chess. I pondered that it should be a very odd experience to play a game of Chess with someone who, by definition, would have to win.

If God did not win, then there would be at least one thing that God attempted but did not succeed at. If there is something that God did not succeed at, then God is not all powerful. Additionally, if such a game were to be proposed with the unbendable rule that God should win, then the game would be remarkable unfair, and God is a perfectly fair God, and a perfectly just God, so this too would make it the case that the chess game is unplayable.

If God cannot play a game of Chess with a human, then there is at least one thing that God cannot do without violating his own rules, which he also cannot do. This could serve as a rationale to why God is not all-powerful.

It might be the case, however, that God did not intend to win the Chess game. Perhaps it was the intention of God to allow his tea-partner to have the experience of winning a game of Chess. That would certainly seem to fulfill his requirement of being all-good. However, it seems almost definitionally incompatible with God to allow a lesser being to triumph over him, no matter how small the stakes were. A human having completed such a task would have quite the boasting rights, and would probably form at least one religion in his/her own honour.

I wondered what sort of tea would be served, and at what temperature. It seems to me that a truly courteous host would want to serve a beverage at the most comfortable possible temperature for his guest. However, if that host is God, then he would also want to serve the beverage at the most comfortable possible temperature for himself, since Gods settle for no less than perfection.

Additionally, a truly courteous host would allow his guest to select the beverage being served. Although, if the host were God, the again the host would not settle for anything less than his personal favorite, having the high standards for beverages that only a God would have. So unless it were the case that both God's guest and God himself had the exact same beverage preferences, including temperature, God would be unable to pour the tea, or to accept the tea if his guest poured it (which is just poor etiquette anyway.)

One way around this would be for two pots of water to be boiled, and two separate types of tea to be infused in that water. However, to be truly proper, which it is assumed that a perfect God would be, he would not be so presumptuous as to drink a separate beverage than that which he offered his guest.

So the scenario we are left with is that of a tea-party where no tea can be served, and a chess-game where no chess can be played. Or at least that is what I penned in my journal as a young teenager.

If you are wondering exactly what explaining this journal entry has to do with tea, the answer lies within Tea Etiquette, and Tea Custom. Following proper tea custom is what makes serving the tea impossible for God.

Proper tea custom would dictate that the guest should be the most important consideration when brewing a beverage for such an invited guest. Proper tea custom would also dictate that the host should not drink a separate beverage from his guest, and also that a host would not be permitted to abstain from beverage while offering it to his guest. Additionally, the beverage must be poured for both members only in the presence of the guest being served.

There are many reasons why such customs came about. One of these is the fear of poison. If a host refuses to drink the same beverage offered to his guest, then it is a reasonable suspicion for that guest to assume that there might possibly be something wrong with the beverage. However, if the host does sip the same beverage as his guest, it provides a certain level of comfort and reassurance that there is, indeed, nothing wrong with the beverage at all.

There are a number of reasons why is a poor rationale (such as if the host had built himself up an immunity to a certain poison, or if a poisoner planned to kill both his guest and himself,) however most social customs have an equally poor rationale, such as the wearing of modern ties, which, in their origin were worn in medieval times at feasts, where they were used to wipe ones face and hands.

The reason for wearing ties has now vanished, and today's modern ties would be very inadequate to perform this job, not to mention it would be very socially unacceptable. However, because it was established as a social custom, it persists. Likewise, someone following proper tea etiquette in today's society almost certainly does not have in mind the assurance of their guest that they are not being poisoned.

So, the moral you should take away from this posting, which is probably the most random and bizarre, yet still tea-related posting I have ever done, is three-fold.

1: If you are a believer in the traditional God, you should on no account allow such God to invite you to tea, or to play chess or some other game of skill.

2: If you are a guest who has been invited by someone for tea, it is much less likely that you will be poisoned if your host follows proper tea etiquette, therefor you should always insist that your host does so.

3: Wearing ties is ridiculous.

Now you are three ideas wiser than you were before reading this post. You should be very pleased.

Over and out,
Relznuk Zero Relznuk

Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's a Revolution!!!

Hello again readers.

Today, I'd like to tell you about a brand of tea that I discovered (actually, interestingly enough, it discovered me!)

The brand is Revolution Tea (, and they produce something that astounded even myself - Quality tea... IN TEABAGS! Now, if any of you have spent very much time on this blog, you'll know that my attitude towards teabags is less than positive. The reason for this is that most teabags contain poor quality tea that is broken into too small of bits, resulting in a weak, bitter, nasty tasting cup with bits of particulate in it. GROSS! With these teabags, however, this is very much not the case.

Revolution has abandoned the idea of paper teabags in favor of expanding nylon ones. The teabags are also extra-large, and are not overfilled (another thing that most commercial teabags have a problem with. Using the teabags that they supplied me with (one each of every flavor they sell), I was actually able to get complete water circulation around the tea (which, by the way, remains in whole leaf format.)

Another thing I found particularly interesting and useful about this tea is the packaging. It is extremely convenient. In the sampler that they sent me for evaluation, each teabag was contained in a single-serve T-box. Five of these t-boxes were placed inside a carrying tube, which listed all the flavors from left to right that were included in the box.

As for the tea itself, I found it to have very good flavor and low bitterness. Additionally, they seem to have a knack at blending herbs to create unique and pleasing flavor profiles. The first sample that I drank, called Dragon Eye Oolong, combined a mixture of safflower, peach, and apricot along with a base of high-quality Chinese Oolong leaves. The resulting beverage was mild and slightly sweet, with a very comfortable lingering aftertaste.

The beverage also had very nice color - something which can be difficult to achieve without the use of artificial coloring agents (none of which are present in any of their teas.) Using only herbs, they managed to create a blend that was both aesthetically pleasing, as well as orally pleasing.

Now, I hope I don't sound like I've been paid to do an advertisement here. This is not the case. I have remained objective in my review of this product, and have maintained my editorial integrity - But when something truly is an outstanding product, I feel that my readers should know about it.

I did mention that they used an extra-large nylon teabag to house their concoctions in, and it seems to work well... But I couldn't help thinking that it would do even better if they gave that some dimension, perhaps by embracing a pyramid design or something.

All in all, though, this new company manages to produce a quality tea that is both portable and convenient.

Thanks for reading my tea review, and have a splendid day.

R 0 R

P.S.: Due to spam at my blog posting robot's email (which ended up on the blog with me having to delete it), I have been forced to change said email address. If you would like the new address, please send me an email.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Put Your Tea on Ice!

Guess what folks?!? June is national iced tea month, so I thought it would most appropriate to offer a blog entry to that affect. I will share with you some history on iced tea, as well as providing you some brewing methods and some recipes.

While it would be unfair to say that iced tea was created in 1904 (there is significant evidence that this is not the case), it's very much the case that Iced Tea was, in popularized in 1904, the circumstances of which are as follows:

It was a particularly warm summer day in Saint Louis, Missouri. This was were the World's Fair was being held that particular year. An Englishman named Richard Blechynden was manning a concession stand selling tea. Not surprisingly, hot tea was not a big hit with the crowd, who were too busy wiping the sweat from their eyes to notice him. Not wanting to put up with poor sales all day, Mr. Blechynden turned on his English ingenuity, and began pouring the tea over a cup of ice. The beverage was a big hit, and the world quickly caught on and followed suit, hence the popularization of iced tea in the US.

I could tell you a great deal about the history of iced tea prior to this event, but since this is national iced tea month, and the nation I am in happens to be the US of A, I seems fitting only to emphasize the American portions of this tale.

Quite nearly any tea can be turned into in iced tea by being brewed a tad stronger and poured over ice. Some times with certain teas this process will cause the beverage to cloud, causing no difference in flavor, but perhaps making it a bit less aesthetically pleasing. A couple suggestions that sometimes work is to add a small amount of lemon juice or boiling water. Another suggestion if your going to use a tea prone to temperature clouding, is to simply allow the tea to cool slowly instead of pouring it over ice. This will take some time, but will be worth it if you aim to eliminate cloudiness.

One very popular way to create iced tea is to place a large, specially made tea bag into a massive pitcher of cold water and allowing it to sit overnight. Those of you that are aware of my thoughts on tea bags can predict what I will say next - that this is not a proper way to make any sort of tea, even iced tea. The tea used in any teabag is almost always broken into too small of bits, and is generally of much lower quality.

A second popular way is to use instant or powdered iced tea. This is an abomination to the world of tea, and does tea tradition a huge disfavor. Using this method, you have zero control over flavor blending, and zero control over quality - you're simply stuck with whatever they happened to put in that mix (generally ungodly things like processed sugars or corn syrup.)

I maintain my position that loose leaf is still the best way to go, even for iced beverages.

And now, I would offer you some links to delicious iced tea recipes. I hope you will enjoy them, but what I hope even more is that you'll experiment and create your own delicious concoctions.

The links are as follows:

Saigon Iced Tea

A few recipes and some great suggestions and ideas (although with this one take care to avoit the teabag recipes.)

A great from-scratch Thai Iced Tea recipe (although I recommend you leave out the food coloring).

Cheers, and enjoy the tea!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

No Stamp Act!

In American History there is a tendency to place messages upon teapots. Generally these messages are about political thinking of the time. From "No Stamp Act" to the ever so charming "Votes for Women"

It is possible to get reproductions of these items, and recently I have come into owning a "Votes for Women" one. I purchased this while in Rochester, New York, at the Susan B. Anthony house. It is quite lovely and now adorns my teapot collection.

While reproductions are nice, there are times when you can see one of the originals. There are three of these known. One in the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., one in Williams burg, Virginia, and now, recently collected, The National Museum of American History Smithsonian.

To find out more about this, historic teapot perhaps even get the chance to see it when the Museum re-opens in Summer of '08, click on 'No Stamp Act'