Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Demon drummers and mellow meditation

When you need a helping hand to mellow out, guided-meditation recordings are wonderful.


And Taoist Guided Meditation by Verena Johanna Smith is truly one of the best. Her super-soothing voice, gentle words, and polished technique are a steady hand to guide you to deep relaxation.


Swiveling 180 degrees from mellow to sheer intensity, I present you with the always excellent Journeyman Pictures' Demon Drummers, about a ferocious training camp where apprentice drummers are hammered into professional Kodo drummers.








—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Peony tea

Here's a photo of some peony tea that I tried recently.


Despite the name, peony tea is not a flower tea but instead a display tea made of green tea leaves tied together to look like a peony flower. The flower "blooms" in hot water.



Such a pretty &mdash and tasty — flower.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Green tea and the French connection

François-Xavier Delmas, whom I met through the filmmaker who made The Flavors of West Japan, has the most envious job in the world — touring the world's tea plantations.


He is also a founder of French tea purveyor Le Palais des Thés.


François-Xavier, I look forward to enjoying a nice cup of tea with you on a tea plantation somewhere, someday.


Another Frenchman who has made a name for himself in the world of tea is Weugue Florent, the first citizen of France certified as a Japanese tea instructor by the Nihoncha Instructor Association.



A great shot François-Xavier took of a wonderful tea house in Kunming, China.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Almost-last-minute teaware gift ideas

Those of us who have not the time to serve a long apprenticeship to become a tea master capable of, among other things, intuitively heating water to the perfect temperature for green tea (about 75°C, or 167°F) can avail ourselves of the many wonderful items out there, such as these two masterpieces:

Either one of these items can make it much easier and mellower to achieve the right water temperature, which is so important to green tea.


By the way, here is a funny story about water temperature.



For the tea lover on your list ... or for yourself.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Matcha cupcake haiku contest: we have a WINNER

The winner of our previously announced haiku contest is Amber.


Here is her winning haiku:

Cherish family time
Eschew presents for stories
While eating cupcakes

Amber will get a dozen of Foiled Cupcakes' exquisite matcha cupcakes — made with Mellow Monk's own matcha.


Mellow Monk and Foiled Cupcakes would like to thank everyone who entered the contest. We truly enjoyed all of your haiku, and the choice was a difficult one indeed.


Congratulations, Amber.


And Happy Holidays, everyone!


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Friday, December 10, 2010

Win FREE gourmet matcha cupcakes! (Chicago area only)

Chi-Town’s own Foiled Cupcakes and Mellow Monk have teamed up to offer up what will surely be known as the nation’s yummiest matcha cupcakes.

These delectable delights are made by the profession pastry chefs at Foiled Cupcakes using an original recipe they devised with Mellow Monk’s matcha.

To celebrate, we are offering a free order of ONE DOZEN matcha cupcakes to whoever emails us the most inspiring haiku.

(One condition: You have to live within Foiled Cupcake’s expansive delivery area . . . or have the cupcakes sent to some lucky person there.)

The haiku can be about anything — cupcakes, any other food, green tea, something seasonal, something funny or serious. Any feeling or moment you wish to capture poetically.

So don your haiku hat and send your inspiring entries to:
cupcakes at mellowmonk dot com

The deadline for entries is 12:00 noon on Wednesday, December 15, Pacific Time. We will announce the winner the next day, Thursday, December 16.

Time is short, but then, so are haiku.

Yet the memories of these scrumptious gourmet matcha cupcakes are sure to last a lifetime.

Oh, and Foiled Cupcakes will deliver the cupcakes to the winning haiku writer free of charge.




Just one example of Foiled Cupcakes' foiled goodness.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Monday, December 06, 2010

Chengdu teahouses

Chengdu, China, is famous for its teahouses, among other treasures, so here for your enjoyment and your mellow, I present a few photos of beautiful Chengdu teahouses;






































—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Friday, December 03, 2010

Green tea protects the heart, the liver, and our DNA

A paper published in the journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine reports that "regular consumption of any type of tea is likely to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, probably due to levels of substances called flavonoids that are found in tea."


And green tea research marches on: Additional studies indicate that the green brew we love so much has a protective effect on liver function in the face of lead and may help keep our cells young by protecting them from DNA damage.


And these findings are only the tip of the teapot when it comes to the health benefits of green tea.



Luscious leaves ready to yield a healthy brew.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Québec teaware and a teapot-shaped Chinese tea museum

The county of Meitan, in China's Guizhou Province, wasn't known for much but is now known as home of a giant teapot-shaped museum of tea.


And on a smaller scale, Québec's Camellia Sinensis teashop announces the winners of this year's Terre & Thé, a.k.a. Québec Teaware Competition.



Deservedly award-winning teaware.


—Mellow Monk

 

blog feed, facebook, reviews, steepster, teas, tweets, videos