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BTB: Bioluminescence

On today's episode of Behind the Blend, I'm going to take you through the synesthetic taste experience of one of our prettiest blends: Bioluminescence.

Those of you that are familiar with my blending process already know, but for the folks just joining us, let me tell you a little bit about my work. I have a rare neurological oddity known as Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia. Now, synesthesia itself is actually relatively common. The brain cross-wires sensory input and the results cause folks to see music as colors, experience sound as tactile sensation (I have this one too. Sometimes fun, sometimes not so much), associate personalities with colors/words/sounds or, like me, literally taste language and concepts as complex flavor profiles. For me, thinking about a character, a personality or a word is no different from eating a tasty (or nasty) snack. So let me introduce you to one of my favorites: Bioluminescence!

My friend Jill commissioned two blends from me for a writer's w…
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Some Categories of Medicinal Herbs

Medicinal Herb Exploration
Herbal remedies are categorized by application. Here are a few of the most common categories and some examples of herbs that fit them!



Anti-Inflammatory This group is comprised of plants that release soothing compounds into the body to reduce inflammation. Examples include circumen (found in turmeric), zingerone (ginger), flavonoids (tea, chili peppers), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), eugenol (clove) and so on. While some compounds reduce inflammation by breaking down free radicals (which cause tiny-scale inflammation in the body that can accumulate to a big problem), others inhibit enzymes that cause inflammatory response in the body. More examples of anti-inflammatory plants are peppercorn, sage, rosemary, and spirulina.
Expectorant Expectorants loosen congestion and cause all that gnarly mucus to work its way out of the body. We most frequently see expectorant properties in roots and resins, though many seeds also help with congestion! Some examples of expectora…

Guest Post: Chamomile Lemon Shortbread

Today's guest post comes to us from Ben, who we hope will share more of his fabulous recipes in future! -Friday


I’m a bit of a tea obsessive. What started as an (unhealthy) addiction to coffee, has now seen me
change lanes to tea. And with this change, I’ve always tried to get creative with my tea use. From 
putting together therapeutic cups of turmeric tea, to using tea bags as a way to battle my shoe odors, 
I’ve found a plethora of ways to adapt it for everyday use.

Enter these chamomile tea and lemon shortbread biscuits.




Using tea for baking isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when I think of interesting ways to  incorporate it, but these shortbread biscuits are too good not to try.
Chamomile is the perfect ingredient for these shortbread biscuits. Its delicate flavors and relaxing  properties match beautifully with the lemon zest, bringing together a subtle taste to an already  comforting food in the form of shortbread. Also unsurprisingly they pair wonderfully with a cup …

How much caffeine is too much?

Espresso, matcha, yerba mate, hot cocoa...even some soaps and lotions contain caffeine! We encounter the stuff every day, and as a society, we love it. But how much caffeine is too much?
For starters, why do we even need to moderate caffeine? What's the big deal?
Caffeine is a highly addictive substance, like sugar or cocaine, according to studies by many institutions. It doesn't take a lot to develop a dependence. How many folks do you know who "can't function" without their morning cup of coffee? The science behind the hook is simple. Caffeine can disguise itself as adenosine, the molecule in our bodies that makes us feel tires, and take its place. This not only delays our feeling of tiredness, but also spikes our adrenaline and dopamine production, making us feel rad and happy and ready for action. When the caffeine wears off, our exhaustion catches up with us hard. We get cranky, tired, sore and headachey. Know what the easiest fix for this bad feeling is? That…

Cold Brew Season!

It's that time of year, friends! All the coffee shops here in Seattle are bragging about their cold brews again, and we refuse to sit out on the fun. Did you know you can cold brew your tea for the same smooth, delicious, lightly sweet results that have people obsessing over their summer coffees? Totally true and totally easy.

Cold brewing is fab. Just throw 2-3 tablespoons of loose leaf (or a few teabags) and cool water into a pitcher/teapot/fancy carafe/whatever, and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain the liquid off the spent leaves (or just remove your teabags) and enjoy your tea.

There's a super cool trend circulating the tea industry the last year or two that takes cold brewing to a whole new level. Have you heard of ice steeping? This is my new obsession for Japanese green teas in particular. Sencha, Genmaicha, even the delicate and beautiful Gyokuro can turn on you and develop bitter edges in a snap if you don't brew them just so. Personally, fin…

Our new tea tasting series!

Hello!

This month we are pleased to announce our first educational tasting series here at the tea room. Join us Thursday evenings at 5:30pm for a guided journey through the world of tea! I will personally be serving teas from various categories and regions and leading a discussion on the science, history and culture behind different teas. These are free events, though of course we encourage you to pick up some loose leaf to take home while you're here!

Our first educational tasting session is scheduled for Thursday, May 17th at 5:30pm and will focus on green teas. We'll experience toasted and steamed, high and low altitude green teas, side-by-side for an enriching look into what it means to be green.

Mark your calendars,
Friday


Mental Health Awareness Month

Hello, friends.

I'd like to take a moment to remind you that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We generally keep things pretty light and fun here at Friday Afternoon Tea, but today I'd like to chat on a more serious note. Just about everyone I know struggles with their mental health to some degree. I've lost my best friend to suicide and seen others I love battle Bipolar Disorder, depression, dysmorphias galore and stress burnout. I personally have struggled with eating disorders, PTSD and OCD my entire adult life. This is everyday stuff. It's not glamorous, it's not fun, it's just the reality of being a Person in this world.

I don't have anything particularly profound to say on the subject, so maybe even posting this is silly. I just wanted you to know that you are Seen and Cared For and that it is OK to be your lovely, struggling, patchwork self. If you need to take a breather from it all and gift yourself a break from carrying this around with you, I…