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Edgar’s Blog: Happy birthday & many happy returns!

Happy birthday & many happy returns!

On our birthday, we feel a heightened sense of specialness; it’s our day, and even if you aren’t over the moon about it all, it’s still nice to feel celebrated. Unfortunately, our birthdays only come once a year, and even though prolonging the celebration (like a whole weekend) is fun and all, it isn’t always feasible.

Just the other day one of my friends was celebrating a birthday. A great reason to pop in and have a chat and wish him many happy returns. “Many happy returns” is a greeting which has been used since the 18th century as a salutation to offer the hope that a happy day being marked (your day of birth) would recur many more times.  An old man once said to me about age and birthdays: “everyone wants to get old but no one wants to be it!”. He is right, some people just don’t want to acknowledge their mortality.  But hey! we should be happy that we completed yet another year on this wonderful planet. Us turtles know loads about longevity and enjoying it. Why not join us and embrace age!

When I was young and it was my birthday my mum always let me choose a “special birthday tea”. Special because it was my choice what we ate and if I wanted a bag of crisps, and chocolate cake then that’s what we ate. It was fun and different to normal! Somewhere along the line we have forgotten to make special days special or we do only half of it because we get too caught up in the hassle of daily life.

So let’s not forget to celebrate our birthdays and the number of returns we have to that day and make it special. Celebrate it with something that you love. Be it cake, crisps, pancakes or …..dancing. And if you choose with a drink why not try it with one of my very special tea’s like the Yunnan Golden Tips or the Wild Mountain Clouds & Mist to go with it. They are both winners with and also go great with birthday cake.  More for the savoury celebration? Then try my Seowang Sejak or my New Zealand Oolong. Built up a thirst after dancing the night away? Then my Sencha Matcha  on ice is a must. A special tea for your special celebration of life!

So, as Edgar always promises: add special to normal and appreciate the small important things in life. Take time to celebrate your special day and also those of your friends. Acknowledge every minute of every year you spend on this beautiful planet coz as my old friend says, “you better, coz nobody gets out of here alive!”

Japanese Matcha tea with Edgar. in white cup with black background

Edgar’s blog: is Matcha a match for you

Matcha Match with Edgar

Just recently loads of peeps have been asking me about Matcha. Probabaly because they have been on holiday to the US and UK where drinking matcha tea has really taken off. It is a new healthy trend.

Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea from Japan. It is special in two aspects of farming and processing: The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three week prior to harvesting and after harvesting the stems and the veins of the leaves are removed. The leaf is dried and stone ground.

As early as the 8th century a Japanese Zen priest Eisai claimed matcha to be  “the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”. Recently matcha has taken on a new image as being a must have for the health set crowd. So why is matcha so good for you? But what’s the truth behind the health claims? Here’s what you need to know if you want to join the green health party.

To prepare matcha the traditional Japanese way, measure the tea into a heated tea bowl (chawan) with a bent bamboo spoon (chashaku). Add hot but not boiling water – 70°C is about right – then whisk to a froth using a special bamboo whisk (chasen). If you have not got the real gear use an electric milk frother just as good and great for those of us in a hurry.

So why is matcha good for you? Matcha contains small amounts of various vitamins and minerals, but is most prized for being rich in polyphenol compounds called catechins, a type of antioxidant. Matcha is made from ground up whole tea leaves dissolved in water. it’s a more potent source of catechins than standard green tea, which is consumed as an infusion and the leaves discarded. Also matcha contains must less caffeine 24–39mg per cup than a coffee shot but at the same time delivers a feeling of “calm alertness” with none of side effects that can come with coffee.

What about quality? With Matcha, as for any tea, you pay for what you get. The more you pay the better the quality. For good quality matcha you will pay about 25 euros for 25 gms. You need to see a vibrant green colour. You can also get it cheaper but then it is for cooking, not drinking and the colour is duller and less vibrant than the drinking quality.

Go on try it with me. I have a very special organic one for you, just flown in from Japan.

Cheers Edgar