HippyElfChick

Looseleaf teas & whole spices blended by hand with love

Weehawken, New Jersey · 178 Sales

HippyElfChick

Looseleaf teas & whole spices blended by hand with love

Weehawken, New Jersey 178 Sales On Etsy since 2012

5 out of 5 stars
(46)

Shop owner

Christie

Contact

Announcement   Use code SHIP75 for free shipping with orders of $75 or more!

Welcome to the Hippy Elf Chick Tea Shop! I want to start off by saying if you're in any way confused (or just curious!) about the process, preparation, or benefits of loose leaf tea or whole spice chai masala, check out the About section and FAQ because there is a ton of information there for your tea edification! :)

I'm Christie, your friendly local hippy elf. I was educated as an illustrator, I work as a professional pastry chef, and throughout it all I have had a love affair with tea. I've turned my creative and culinary eye toward pairing high quality loose leaf teas with whole spices and dried seasonal fruits, flowers, and herbs to create unique, flavorful, aromatic blends that are as pleasing to the eye as to the tastebuds. They make beautiful gifts, even if you're just treating yourself!

My great inspiration in all things is Mother Earth, so the selection of teas will rotate along with the year and the flavors of the season. Right now we have a lot of warmly spiced, cozy autumn and winter teas and masala chai blends to brighten up the chilly days and dark nights.

Have a look around and don't hesitate to drop me a line with any questions, comments or suggestions!

We are currently only equipped to ship within the US.

Announcement

Last updated on Jan 2, 2017

Use code SHIP75 for free shipping with orders of $75 or more!

Welcome to the Hippy Elf Chick Tea Shop! I want to start off by saying if you're in any way confused (or just curious!) about the process, preparation, or benefits of loose leaf tea or whole spice chai masala, check out the About section and FAQ because there is a ton of information there for your tea edification! :)

I'm Christie, your friendly local hippy elf. I was educated as an illustrator, I work as a professional pastry chef, and throughout it all I have had a love affair with tea. I've turned my creative and culinary eye toward pairing high quality loose leaf teas with whole spices and dried seasonal fruits, flowers, and herbs to create unique, flavorful, aromatic blends that are as pleasing to the eye as to the tastebuds. They make beautiful gifts, even if you're just treating yourself!

My great inspiration in all things is Mother Earth, so the selection of teas will rotate along with the year and the flavors of the season. Right now we have a lot of warmly spiced, cozy autumn and winter teas and masala chai blends to brighten up the chilly days and dark nights.

Have a look around and don't hesitate to drop me a line with any questions, comments or suggestions!

We are currently only equipped to ship within the US.

Christie

Contact shop owner

Christie

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(46)
Jane K

Jane K on Apr 25, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

This tea is so amazing and refreshing! It has just the right amount of tart to offset the sweet perfectly. I also love the deep beautiful color. I love to make this in a big pitcher and serve it iced! Perfect for a springy treat.

Jane K

Jane K on Apr 25, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

This is one of my all time favorite teas. It's perfect for putting me in a fall or autumn mood but it's so tasty I drink it year round! I add a little sweetener and have it as an after dinner treat ❤️ Plus the ginger is good for your digestion! It has a rich deep flavor that will leave you wanting a second cup. Love it

View all 46 reviews

Updates

Hello Sweet Tart - for when you need some rose-tinted glasses. hibiscusstrawberryrose
Chocolate strawberry mate has all the decadence of the real treat with a caffeine boost equivalent to a cup of coffee.
Hello Sweet Tart makes a brilliant deep magenta tea, and a very romantic gift for your tea loving sweetie. heartstrawberryhibiscusrose
View all 10 updates

About

“Tea ... is a religion of the art of life.” ― Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

I've taken a meandering path in my life, but a cup of tea has always been a grounding source of happiness and comfort through all the twists and turns.

I received my BFA in illustration, but after graduating in 2009 I found the market for creative types less than hospitable. I spent half a decade working a series of odd jobs before I fell into, and fell in love with, professional baking. After a lifetime of baking for my own enjoyment, I realized being a pastry chef was my true calling. It let me clear my head, unlock my creativity and passion, take pride in my work and bring joy to other people. I couldn't have asked for much more!

In 2015, however, my health took a turn, and the long hours and physical labor became more than I could manage. I cut back to just a few hours a week at work, only able to do the bare minimum, and mourned the creative baking process I couldn't really enjoy anymore.

I was looking for an outlet for my culinary passions that I could manage from home, and kept coming back to the chai masala blend I'd been making for myself and friends for years. In all problems in life, after all, tea is usually the solution! And so that brings me here, setting to work my artistic instinct and culinary know-how to create bold, beautiful and unique loose leaf blends for the tea lovers of Etsy.

My greatest love and the inspiration for all aspects of my life is Mother Earth, and my tea blends reflect the colors and flavors and the magick of the changing seasons. Whenever possible ingredients are fair trade and organic, and all the recipes are dreamed up and hand-blended by me and packaged with eco-friendly supplies.

I hope you will enjoy them!

WHY LOOSE LEAF?

Loose leaf tea is a way of life. There's a reason making tea is a sacred ceremony in Japan. It's a meditative process; it's a connection to the essence of the leaf; it's distilling something magical from the gifts of Nature. And the depth and vibrance of flavor is worth every minute of preparation.

Sometimes bag-tea drinkers get a bit of sticker shock when they are introduced to loose leaf tea. "But I could get 5 boxes of bags for that price!" Perhaps... but did you ever think about how much tea is in one of those bags? About 3 grams, or 0.105822 ounces. And take a look at what's really in there. In most cases, there won't be any whole or even partial leaves, but a lot of ground, powdered leaves and sediment.

This yields a quick, strong brew in a hurry, but you're really getting the lowest quality portion of the tea. And when it comes to flavored teas? It's pretty rare you'll be seeing any chunks of real dried fruits or nuts or fresh whole spices in one of those bags. The cheapest and easiest flavors to put in a powdered form are often used, and that includes (depending on the company) a lot of artificial flavorings.

When you get loose tea, what you see is what you get. The package isn't full of bags and tags; it's all high quality, beautifully fragrant, fresh leaves. And as for cost-effectiveness, you may be surprised. A teaspoon of tea generally yields one 8-ounce cup. But whereas tea bags are usually spent after a single use (they are, after all, mostly in powder form)- loose tea is made for the all-day drinker.

The same leaves that you made a pot from this morning can certainly create an equally delicious second steeping this afternoon. Some teas are even good for a third and a fourth; green tea especially can be brewed many times, and the second brew is generally considered to be the best. And if you started with a caffeinated black tea in the morning but don't want to be all wired by the end of the day, about 80% of the caffeine in the leaves will have steeped into the first brew, and will continue to decrease with each subsequent use of the leaves.

But don't take my word for any of the benefits of loose leaf tea, you have to try it for yourself!

LOOSE LEAF VIRGIN?

Don't be scared! It's easy to ditch the bags! Read on below, and watch the slideshow for visual aids. And don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have!

The Gear:

1. Something to heat your water. I use a tea kettle on the stove, but you could also use an electric water heater, or even just a regular cooking pot.

Pro tip: Most teas like water that reaches a full rolling boil (and makes your tea kettle whistle,) but more delicate teas, like green and white, prefer a cooler temp of 160-180 degrees. We'll talk more about this later, don't worry!

2. Something to steep your tea in. Anywhere you can pour water over your leaves, pop a lid on, and let them mingle in a steamy brew. I use a teapot, but again, if you want to give loose tea a shot without investing in any new gear, you can use a regular old cooking pot with a lid. Just make sure it's not the one you heated your water in, because pouring the water over the leaves yields a much better brew than throwing them on top.

Pro tip: Most teas are ideal when made with a ratio of one teaspoon of loose tea to each cup of water, but it's up to personal taste. You may like it stronger or weaker! Likewise, the steeping time varies from tea to tea and by personal tastes, but steeping time recommendations for each tea will be listed on the package. :)

Oh and remember how we were talking about those delicate teas that like to steep at a lower temperature? For a no-fuss shortcut, let your water completely boil, then throw a handful of icecubes on top of your leaves before you pour the water over. This will bring down the water temperature before it hits the leaves and prevent them from having a scorched, bitter flavor. It doesn't have to be an exact science!

3. Something to strain out your tea leaves. The teapot I use has a steeping basket built in, so when I load up my tea in step 2, it goes directly into the basket that sits in the pot, and then I can pour it directly from teapot spout into my cup. If you have a teapot but no steeping basket, or if you brewed your tea in a cooking pot, don't worry! Any fine mesh kitchen strainer placed over your cup will do the trick.

4. That's it! Add honey or sugar or milk or whatever your heart desires, or simply sip your tea straight.

BUT WHAT ABOUT MASALA CHAI? WHAT DO I DO WITH THOSE?

Masala chai (which means spice mix tea) was the first tea blend I ever made. I made it because I was deeply dissatisfied with other loose leaf so-called chais on the market. They were always so one-note: all cinnamon or all ginger or all clove. There was no happy medley of spices. There was no creamy richness. So I started to experiment with it myself, and make it the original way: by boiling the whole spices.

And yes, that did the trick. Coaxing the flavor out of whole spices, rather than flavors infused into leaves through some arcane process of the big tea manufacturers that I don't understand (an alcohol-based mist, a friend has theorized? I have no clue.) takes a little more patience, but the process is as worthwhile as the result.

First of all, these whole ingredients are BEAUTIFUL, and secondly, they smell amazing. Friends often describe the blend as smelling like Christmas. It's nice enough straight from the jar or bag, but the slow process of brewing the masala on the stove will transform your home. Imagine a magical fairy has just danced through your house and left a glittering trail of pixie dust in the air, with the warm aroma of joyful, sweet spice. Imagine like a party at Hogwarts. It's that good.

So after boiling your spices for a while in a cooking pot (I like to boil some fresh ginger root with it too because I like it extra spicy,) you add some milk, and continue to simmer until the milk is nice and steamy and infused with all that spicy goodness. Be veeeery careful not to boil it over! Then you switch off the heat, and add tea leaves: Assam is my favorite, but you can experiment with any kind of loose tea. Masala Matcha is actually incredible, but pricey!! Stir the tea in so it doesn't just sit on top, and put a lid on the pot. After 3-4 minutes, remove the lid, and pour your tea through a strainer into a pitcher or cup.

Now you just need to sweeten! And no, it's not optional. The spices will be bitter if unsweetened, so don't lose heart if you take a sip and it's not what you expected! I'm a fan of honey, but of course, any kind of sugar will do. Keep adding and tasting, and once you hit that perfect ratio of sweet to spicy it instantly transforms into something that tastes exactly as good as it smells and that you won't be able to get enough of. And if the spice is a bit much for your tongue, you can always add more milk.

I like to make a pitcher's worth of chai at a time and drink it every morning. It's good cold, too! (and don't worry, all chai masalas come with printed instructions!)

Friends, it's a crazy world out there, but with tea, you can be rejuvenated by treating yourself and your nearest and dearest to a transcendent experience any time. And we all need a little peace and comfort!

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  • Christie

    Owner

    Your friendly neighborhood hippy elf! My background is in illustration, by day I'm a pastry chef, and tea is my great love. I blend up whole spices and loose leaf teas by hand, inspired by the magick of the seasons. The secret ingredient is love.

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on Nov 17, 2016
Frequently asked questions

Returns and Exchange Policy

Due to the edible nature of my products, once you receive them, they are yours to keep. I love to receive feedback, pictures of your brews happily steaming in their mugs, product suggestions, and new and interesting ways you've used my teas! I've heard some good ones, like making oatmeal with brewed masala chai!

How do I make loose leaf tea? Do I need special equipment?

While there are innumerable fun teapots to collect in the world and having one with a steeping basket for loose leaf tea is highly recommended for ease of frequent use, you probably have everything you need to make a perfect cuppa already in your kitchen! Take a look in the "about" section at the bottom of my shop for a guide, and if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer!

Are the teas vegan? Gluten free? Allergen-free?

Vegan: unless you add milk, yes!

Gluten-free: yes, but they are blended in a kitchen in which gluten products are also made (I am after all a pastry chef by trade!)

Allergen-free: Some of my teas do contain almonds, floral ingredients, spruce and fir needles, and other potential allergens, and I cannot guarantee that there has been no cross-contamination. Please carefully check each list of ingredients and feel free to contact me if you have questions about them, but I would not recommend purchasing them if you have a very severe food allergy and react to trace amounts of any food.