GREENVILLE — Whether young or old, the longer spring days and beautiful weather invite us to rediscover the sights, sounds and places we love – perhaps, even making a few new friends along the way as we boldly venture out.
One “hidden treasure” amid the hustle and bustle of Greenville’s business district is the Blue Lantern Tea House, located at 106 Broadway in Greenville, which recently hosted the Greenville Business and Professional Women’s Club last Thursday evening.
Kim and Jesse Berry, owners of the Blue Lantern Tea House, invited BPW members to hear about the history of tea and its many exceptional health benefits, as well as to sample a few of the Blue Lantern’s delicious hand-blended artisan teas.
Kim Berry, who creates tea blends and recipes for the Blue Lantern, offered BPW guests a sample of “Indian Fire,” a unique and delicious tea blend of cinnamon and citrus peel, used to naturally sweeten the beverage without sugar.
“Although there are many kinds of teas –green, black, oolong – Kim’s recipes and blends are the more popular,” said Jesse Berry, co-owner of Blue Lantern Tea.
Green tea, of which there are many varieties, are especially good to consume, as they contain vital antioxidants (flavonoids) which may help brain function, fat burning, and possibly lower the risk of some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although green tea does contain about 25 mg per cup, it is a much healthier option than coffee (95 to 165 mg per cup).
One special form of green tea is “matcha,” a dark green powered tea which has become popular organic addition to specialty teas and coffees. Although it comes from the same species of green tea, tea farmers cover the plants 20 to 30 days before harvest, boosting the chlorophyll in the leaves, which naturally increases their amino acid content. Each leaf’s stem and veins are removed, and leaves are pulverized into a powdery form. Matcha is used in both Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies.
“Chinese and Japanese cultures each have their own tea ceremonies, which helps one to slow down…savor and celebrate the moment,” explained Jesse Berry, who addressed the audience while his wife, Kim, served samples to each person in attendance.
A traditional Japanese tea ceremony consists of several steps, which involve preparing the space to receive guests and inviting them to participate. Three scoops of Matcha is whisked with hot water in a bowl, to make a thin paste. Then, more hot water is added to make the tea, which is served to guests.
Although the Blue Lantern serves only tea, the Berrys hope that coffee drinkers will come in and try the many varieties of tea and experience the peaceful atmosphere of the tea house. Many black teas have a more ‘roasted’ than ‘grassy’ taste-appeal.
“If you can embrace the fact that tea isn’t going to taste like coffee, then, in the tea world, the spectrum is broad,” said Jesse Berry, adding, “We also have many varieties that are naturally sweetened.”
To learn more about the Blue Lantern Tea House, just stop by during open hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or visit on the web at /www.bluelanterntea.com/blue-lantern-tea-house, or on Facebook. Have a group? Just call 937-423-2862 or email [email protected]