Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce Cup Above Tea to you, a tea company based out of Australia founded by Certified Tea Master, Alison Dillon. One of the first to earn this prestigious title in her country, Alison has transformed a simple passion for tea into her life’s work.
Sometimes, less is more. There are no added or artificial flavorings in Cup Above Tea, nor are there any contrived, snazzy names. The company specializes in single-batch teas from a few small family gardens located around the world.What sets this company apart is their commitment to the idea of provenance–understanding where each tea is grown, who grew it, and how it is processed. There’s a reverence and appreciation for authenticity and good practice, which is a hallmark of the brand.
What I love most about Cup Above Tea is that you’re able to see each of the growers for a specific type of tea. Love the Gyokuro? Master Kurihara grew it. Can’t get enough of the Jin Jun Mei? We have Master Zhu to thank. There’s something very genuine about connecting a face to a cup of tea, and this is what sets Cup Above Tea apart.
Upon studying the 4 of the teas she had sent me, I decided to make some tea sandwiches to enhance my tasting experience. Drinking a lot of tea on an empty stomach isn’t always the best idea, so I went back to a tried-and-true recipe of mine, Classic Roast Beef Arugula Tea Sandwiches.
For non-vegetarian afternoon tea enthusiasts, this little sandwich is always a hit. There are very few ingredients used here, so you’ll want to make sure each one is the best you can get. I especially love using pre-washed arugula (a.k.a. rocket) for its convenience. Using organic, baby arugula is ideal. Cup Above Tea’s thin and twisted Jin Jun Mei, also called Handsome Golden Eyebrow, was my absolute favorite of all the teas. This tea is harvested from the tea plant’s smallest leaves and shoots, and is grown by the Chen family in the Wuyi Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you can see in this CCTV video clip, this is a land of prisine waters and mineral-rich, rocky soil.
Jin Jun Mei is produced in 2 grades, gold and sliver, but true to its name, the one featured by Cup Above Tea is the gold grade. Each cup of this steep is a treasure, so I’m careful to brew it the maximum number of times that I can–4 steepings–as it makes a rare and spectacular cup.
***Enter the Giveaway*** Tea Master, Alison Dillon, has graciously offered to co-host a giveaway here at Thirsty for Tea! Enter to win a cherished pouch of Jin Jun Mei (Handsome Golden Eyebrow), a sweet and savory Chinese black tea of the highest grade. This is exceptional tea…world class…and very rare. To Enter: 1. “Like” Cup Above Tea on Facebook and 2. Leave a message on this post. This giveaway is open to readers living outside the US. The winner will be announced on May 23, 2016. Good Luck!!
- ***Congratulations, Cathereine! You are the winner of a pouch of Jin Jun Mei from Cup Above Tea!!***
Roast Beef Arugula Tea Sandwiches
Makes 12 tea sandwiches.
8 large slices of thinly cut, rare roast beef
4 slices of provolone cheese
1 cup of baby arugula
8 slices whole wheat bread, frozen
1/4 cup mayo
2-3 tsp hot cream horseradish
pepper to taste
workspace/large cutting board
1. Mix the mayo, horseradish, and pepper together. Spread the spicy mayo evenly and thinly, on one side of each piece of bread.
2. Now, on 4 of the 8 slices of bread, first layer one slice of cheese, then two pieces of roast beef. Top the beef with a single layer of arugula leaves.
3. Place a slice of bread, mayo side down, on each of the stacked slices. Press the top slice down gently to compact the ingredients, then use the serrated knife to cut the crusts off. Slice each crustless sandwich into 3 smaller rectangular pieces. Place sandwiches in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 1-2 days (if you’re lucky, with some Jin Jun Mei!).