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Sweet Cocoa Genmaicha from Liquid Proust

SororiTEA Sisters - 7 hours 17 min ago
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Liquid Proust

Tea Description:

Ingredients: Genmaicha (second flush sencha, roasted rice, popcorn), hojicha bancha (bought in Tokyo), caramel cocoa (pure cane sugar used)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

See those ingredients under tea description? You taste each and every one of these flavors.  Maybe this tea should be re-named- Coco Pebbles.

This tea is from the amazing Liquid Proust’s tea shop, a Steepster friend who I was very glad to support when he opened up his Etsy store.  The Sweet Cocoa Genmaicha was the first tea that went directly into my cart when I was placing my order.

The instructions for this tea (that Andrew so graciously added into the package) said one scoop of tea but I would recommend using two scoops when prepping this tea with 1 cup of water and brew this like you would any green tea (175F-90sec).

I continued prepping this tea anxiously awaiting for the 90 sec timer to go off.  When it did, I don’t think I could pour the tea into my cup fast enough.  I took a deep breath of the hot steam and was greeted with a sweet green tea like aroma.  Took one giant gulp (yep-gulp) and my taste buds were greeted with this delicious roasted dark chocolate sweet dessert flavor.  Wow was this ever good and just the right amount of chocolate and the right amount of roasted rice like flavor.  The chocolate is so rich but not overwhelming and the caramel flavoring is there but very light almost delicate like.  The base of the genmaicha really delivers the roasted bright flavor I have grown to adore and love.

I love my genmaicha but the flavored ones are either hit or a mess.  This one is a hit for sure and being the green tea fan I am, I love how this tea satisifies my sweet tooth by delivering a natural tasting flavor with roasted notes as well.

I’m a big fan.  Great job Liquid Proust’s Teas.  I can’t wait to see what else is down the line for this aspiring tea entrepreneur.

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Wymm Tea Mahei Zhai Sheng Puerh from Ancient Tree 2011 Spring

Tea For Me Please - 13 hours 18 min ago
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: somewhat compressed, visible buds Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: brassy gold I think I've mentioned this before but I adore the handmade mulberry paper that Wymm Tea wraps their tea in. The texture and feel of them make wish that I was one of those crafty people Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Tea Times: My Favorite Times to Have Tea

T Ching - 16 hours 28 min ago

“Tea time.” Those two words are music to my ears. As self-proclaimed tea fanatics, we all enjoy a good tea time. But everyone’s different, we all have our own tea times and rituals, and today I’d like to share mine.

My first cup of tea is in the morning with breakfast. I always make one cup of black tea with milk and sugar and enjoy it either inside at the breakfast table or outside on the deck in the summer. This is the tea that wakes me up and prepares me for the day ahead. This is followed by a cup after lunch to aid with digestion. I generally enjoy a cup of white or green tea a few minutes after lunch; this tea also helps me relax for the coming afternoon.

One of my favorite tea times is after school when I have five or so of my friends over to have tea. I make up a few little pots and we enjoy them around a table and talk about the day’s events. My after dinner tea is very similar to my after lunch tea. I have a cup of white or green tea after dinner and sit quietly in a corner and reflect on the day. My last tea of the day I have about an hour before I go to bed. I have a small cup of oolong to help me relax and prepare for bed. For me, this final cup of tea is the perfect conclusion to my day.

As schedules change, the school year ends, and I start working for the summer, my tea times change a bit. On days when I work from 8-1, then 4-8 I am given the perfect time for and afternoon cup of tea. This is my favorite tea time as I often enjoy a cup of black tea and a bit of bread while reading a good book.

In closing, tea time is my favorite time of day no matter when it is. It’s a time for relaxing, socializing and peace. Each tea time for me is a wonderful thing, and I’m sure everyone can agree. Now that I’ve shared my favorite time for tea I’d love to hear yours!



The post Tea Times: My Favorite Times to Have Tea appeared first on T Ching.

Coconut Cabana from The Tea Spot

SororiTEA Sisters - 19 hours 18 min ago
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  The Tea Spot

Tea Description:

A decadent dessert tea, to be sipped & savored. This milk oolong has a smooth yet fruity and creamy taste. It’s blended with shaved coconut to create a delicate and calming experience in aroma and flavor. It gained a large fanbase under its former name, Coconut Milky Oolong. If you love coconut milk sweets and sophisticated oolongs, this is your tea. Discover this guiltless dessert – simply extraordinary!

Learn more about this tea here

Taster’s Review:

This tea has been one of my favorites for a while now. I’m such a huge fan of plain milk oolong, so the addition of coconut could only make a delicious cup.

After the tea has steeped, the cup does get a little bit oily due to the shredded coconut. It’s not enough to bother me, but it isn’t all that pleasant to look at. The scent of the tea is of sweet coconut with a hint of green oolong in the background. It actually reminds me a little bit of a coconut candy.

What I really enjoy about this tea is that the coconut isn’t overwhelming. It may seem weird that in a coconut oolong tea that I would like the coconut to be a little mild, but I love that I can taste the coconut and the milk oolong together. The coconut is definitely present, though. The cup is sweet, a little bit creamy, slightly tangy. Very delicious and perfect for summer!

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Joy Blend White Tea from Plum Deluxe

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 08/02/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy: Plum Deluxe

Tea Description:

A happy tea for celebrating happy moments. Sip, smile, & share. $7/oz. $1 of every sale goes to our charity partner, The Joy Team.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love my purple packages each month.  Those are the ones from Plum Deluxe and those are the ones that make me drool.

I have learned from just the few months that I have been a member of Plum Deluxe that how they descrie their tea is exactly how their tea tastes.  If they say it is a grapefruit black tea, that is what it will taste like, making Plum Deluxe a tried and true tea shop to order from in my book.

This little gem was in this month’s package.  I have been eyeing it for a while.

The smell of the dry leaves was a sweet jasmine citrus aroma.  So delicious smelling.

I prepped this up using my handy dandy Breville One Touch on the white tea setting.  Poured the sweet jasmine tea into my tea cup and instantly tasted it.

Jasmine, check.  White delicate base with sweet notes, check.  Hints of a citrus like tangerine flavor, check.  Yep, check on all the flavors that were described.  But does it taste good?

Oh yes it does.  This is a sweet white jasmine tangerine tea that delivers a delicate sweet slightly floral taste.  Exactly the flavor I was hoping would actually come thru.

I’ve been able to get another steeping out of these quality leaves and ingredients. Another winning tea from Plum Deluxe.  Awesome job guys!

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Pancake Breakfast Black Tea from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 08/02/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: 52Teas

Tea Description:

Because the love for this tea is so strong, we stuck closely to the original recipe.  One difference is that we’re utilizing different teas in our black tea base.  I think you’ll notice the difference and I’m confident you’ll feel this was a change for the better!  We’ve made a really yummy thing even better!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about the Tea of the Week Program from 52Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Well hello there! It’s been a long time, no see! It has been a hot minute since this Dodo has written anything in the world wide tea web about tea. Just to catch anyone up, I have started a new job, and it is that job that has made this little bird a bit apprehensive about writing any reviews. You see, I now work with the tea company, Tealet. The curtain has fallen, and the inside of the tea world looks quite different than it did on the outside. Taking everything I learn with a grain of salt, I think I can safely begin reviewing teas at perhaps an even more subjective perspective than before. (Cracks neck) Now I am ready to get back to work!

On to the tea! This is the first tea that I cracked out of the re-blend sampler pack I receive as my kickstarter rewards. This was the one I was most excited about. Upon opening the package, I get a strong whiff of the flavors. Maple at the forefront, light and fluffy buttered pancake at the bottom. At first whiff it smelled like the black tea base was cowering in the wake of the flavoring.

Steeping the tea, the black base does get to shine through a bit more. It’s a robust cuppa, very suitable for a breakfast setting. A dash of cream, no sugar, and you get more dessert flavors from the maple and the black tea. The flavoring themselves are quite strong, maybe a little too strong for me. Even so, they pin down hot, fluffy pancakes, buttered and drowned in syrup so well I almost don’t care.

This tea is quite good. I finished my sampler bag in three days! I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a quirky twist on your plain, old, worn out English Breakfast. Two for you, 52Teas, you go 52Teas!

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Wai Tisane from PONOinfusions

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  PONOinfusions

Tea Description:

Wai will refresh you with a tranquil infusion of herbs & botanicals, inspired by breathtaking waterfalls, streams, and fresh water pools, all preciously vital to life in Hawai’i.  Made from certified organic and fair trade ingredients and caffeine-free, Wai immerses you in a marriage of mint & berry.  Wai means fresh water in Hawaiian—a precious resource in Hawai’i’s fragile ecosystems.

To learn more about efforts to conserve wai and the native plants & animals who call Hawai’i’s wai home, such as the endangered pinapinao (Hawaiian damselfly) and the uluhe fern featured on this package, please visit the Native Flora & Fauna section of our website.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

PONOinfusions is a company I only very recently discovered. So far, I love everything about them from their use of organic and fair trade certified ingredients to the incorporation of Hawaiian ingredients in their blends, creative themes to their teas, incorporation of Hawaiian culture and most importantly the strong emphasis on the fauna and flora in Hawaii which are endangered or at risk. On each tin you can see some of these species highlighted in the packaging, and a portion of their sales go to support working to sustain and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and plant and wildlife.

As described on their site, ‘pono’ means ‘the right thing to do’ and my first impression here is that Alex and Andrea are certainly doing their best to do that for Hawaii! I am very excited to get my first taste of one of their blends.

The tisane I’m trying today (and not all of the teas in their line are tisanes) is called “Wai” which means fresh water, and the feature fauna and flora on their package’s design are the Hawaiian damselfly and uluhe fern. As I taste this for the first time, I’m definitely keeping the intended ‘theme’ in mind and will be seeing how the flavour compares to it.

My first impression of the taste is that it’s very familiar in a really comforting way. Breaking down the flavours I can see why; a lot of the ingredients are ones I like a great deal individually and they’re working very well combined. The body of the flavour of comprised mostly of the mint in the blend. I know this uses both peppermint and spearmint, but the spearmint is definitely more of a dominant/concentrated flavour than the peppermint is. Layered under that is the raspberry. It’s not raspberry in a really obvious way; but a gentle, subtle soft hint of raspberry that provides contrast from the mint. The nettle leaf is a little earthy and unrefined, it seems to roll in and out of sips as a flavour that I’m noticing. Finally there’s a floral aspect that finishes the sip. It reminds me of a mild jasmine though as far as I’m aware there isn’t actually any jasmine or floral ingredients in the blend.

While none of these ingredients individually make me think of fresh water there’s something about the way they interact with each other that’s very calming and tranquil and reminds me of seafoam, and skinny dipping with friends in the middle of July as the sunsets. Additionally, I remember reading a poem not too long ago that compared the ocean to a womb, first and foremost giving life and that’s the kind of feeling I get from drinking this tea. I want warm waves to wash over and cradle me.

Overall, I really like the overall taste of this tisane but more importantly I love the way it makes me feel. I haven’t been this excited about a newly discovered company in a really long time, and I’m excited to hopefully try more of their blends (in particular I’m hoping I get to try Nahele) and I very, very much recommend checking out their website! Definitely a cool company, and I think they deserve a little more attention.

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Pu’er: The Final Frontier

The Devotea - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 20:49

Pu’er is a tea sub-type that I don’t often write about. And when I do, it’s usually with a sense of confusion, as in this post of a few years ago. I was approached by Nicholas Lozito, of Misty Peak Teas, which is a pu’er boutique supplier, with a proposal to offer some education to my readers via a guest blog or interview. I have only heard of Misty Peak...

The post Pu’er: The Final Frontier appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Mint Yerba Mate (Herbal) from Aka Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Mate

Where to Buy:  Aka Teas

Tea Description:

Need some energy and focus? Yerba Maté has been shown to help the body digest carbohydrates (more energy!), burn calories from fat, and delay the buildup of lactic acid after a workout. 

Stimulating to the mind, body, and taste buds, Mint Yerba Maté can’t be beat. With it’s healthy concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants, Yerba Maté has been touted as the most nutritious and balanced energy-giver, when compared to coffee, black tea, green tea, guarana, or kola nut

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Aka Teas is one of my newest love affairs when it comes to tea shops.  I love their hand blended teas and the flavors each tea yields.  When I saw this one, I knew it would be instant love. And it was.

I’m a sucker for mint teas.  I have digestive issues so I find mint so refreshing and cooling.  Almost relaxing because of the cooling effect it seems to have on my body.  Pair that up with another love of mine, Yerba Mate and you have yourself a match made in heaven.  And that is exactly how I see this tea.

I dumped the sample of this tea into my One Touch Breville and hit the Herbal setting for 5 minutes @212F.  I wanted for that lovely beeping noise to alert me that my tea was ready.

I let this cool for a moment and dove right in.  The mint hit me first.  Such a lovely spearmint.  Clean and refreshing.  The Yerba Mate had a solid roasted flavor and that is the second flavor that hit my taste buds.  The two combined was a unique flavor but one I really enjoyed.  A mint refreshing cooling invigorating roasted tea.  Simple but full of flavor.  Each flavor played off the other and one flavor didn’t dominate the other.  If you are a mint fan and an yerba mate fan, I think you’ll like this one too.

The post Mint Yerba Mate (Herbal) from Aka Teas appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Yogi Berry from Yellowstone Tea Co

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Yellowstone Tea Co

Tea Description:

This Berry tea is great iced and full of antioxidants for flu season.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been neglecting my herbal teas as of late.  I’m sorry herbals! I’ll try to keep you more in sight ;).

This tea is from Yellowstone Tea Co, an Etsy Store.  I have tried a few of their teas in the past so when I saw this poor neglected fellow in my tea basket, I knew it was time to try him.

Into my tea pot the sample went along with 1 cup of water at 212F to steep for 5 minutes.  The tea produced a gorgeous dark red liquid.  So very pretty!

What is so nice with this herbal is the different and unique flavors that have been added in.  There are apples, orange peel, elderberries, hibiscus, rosehips, carrot flavors, orange slices, lemongrass, beet powder, raspberry fruit powder, and freeze dried grapes. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a tea with carrots or beet powder.  I was excited to see what these flavors would produce.

The first flavor that hits me is the tartness from the hibiscus but it is nicely contrasted with the lemon from the lemongrass and the sweet flavor from the grapes.  The other lovely flavor is what I’m assuming is the beet powder.  There is a really nice sweet yet I swear there are hints of an earthy flavor there, maybe I should describe it more like a tangy note.  Last but not least are the orange peels.  They are probably my favorite part.  The citrus flavor that is added in really kicks this tea up a couple notches and really balances out the flavor.

This tea iced is even just amazing.  So many flavors going on.  Each sip is different from the next.  An explosion of flavor with each taste.

Such a fun herbal to end my day with.

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Friday Round Up: July 26th - August 1st

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 16:00
TEA BOOK REVIEW: Linda Gaylard’s The Tea Book +Drew Bednasek wrote a great review of my current tea read, an exciting new book from fellow tea writer +Linda Gaylard. July White2tea Club with 2015 Green Shroom Pu’er – Tea Review +Charissa Gascho made me quiet jealous with her review of this fun 'shroom from +White2Tea. Why does it have to be sold out?!? White2Tea 2015 Milk, Cream & Alcohol +Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Blast from the Past: Experiencing the Interest Firsthand

T Ching - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:00

If they’re not careful, trade journalists like me can begin to operate in a bubble.  From their desks, they research and write about what’s happening on the business-to-business side of their industry, losing touch with the business-to-consumer side.  Good reporters will prevent this by getting out often and talking face-to-face with individuals from every phase of the supply-and-demand chain they cover.

So it was with pleasure that I responded to my boyfriend’s request to hand out tea samples at an art opening in his flower and gift shop in downtown Las Vegas last Friday night.  He carries a small selection of tea in his shop and wanted to raise awareness of specialty tea among his customers.

Because it’s Las Vegas in August, I chose to offer one iced tea – a white tea-strawberry blend that I brewed and chilled about four hours – and one hot – a green-citrus blend.  For obvious reasons (it was 90-plus degrees outside after the sun went down), the chilled tea was the more popular of the two.

The opening was part of a monthly art walk, and my boyfriend’s shop got lots of foot traffic.  I probably handed out 40-50 samples and talked to a dozen people at length about the tea.

It was the latter that surprised me; that is, how many people were not only willing to try the tea and give feedback, but were also genuinely eager to learn more.  A few stayed at my table 10 to 15 minutes asking all kinds of questions about where the tea came from, how it was brewed, and so on.

Their curiosity was heartening, for several reasons.  First, I could tell that the overall ignorance of the difference between specialty tea and lower grades was matched by an overall desire to become informed. Second, I gathered that they would use the information gained in purchasing decisions.  And, finally, it helped my boyfriend create some tea customers.

Back at my World Tea News editor’s desk, I recalled the many conversations I’ve had with industry manufacturers and retailers about this process.  They’ve told me how important it is to educate consumers by handing out samples, conducting tastings, and creating other opportunities for conversation about tea. Hearing other people describe it and actually experiencing it are two different things, however.  I’m glad I was able to close that loop.

Telescoping this phenomenon out to a larger scale, you also begin to grasp the importance of events like the educational conference of our sister businesses, World Tea Expo and World Tea East, and of the Specialty Tea Institute.  While the potential for spreading information is invaluable, the risk of spreading misinformation is also present.

If the consumer is hungry for knowledge that will ultimately drive the growth of the industry, it behooves the organizations that provide industry education to make sure the retailers putting information in the hands of consumers are themselves well-informed.

In other words, the interest is definitely there.  The question is: What are we doing with it?


This article was originally posted in August of 2009.

The post Blast from the Past: Experiencing the Interest Firsthand appeared first on T Ching.

Darjeeling Black from Teapigs

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Teapigs

Tea Description:

Pinkies out, bone china cups and saucers, silk neck scarf and snorty laugh at the ready – this is the poshest tea around. Darjeeling tea without milk has a unique, clean, refreshing taste. Traditionally drunk in the afternoon it tastes equally good early morning from a chipped mug.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Thanks to one of our sisters, Scheherazade, I got a chance to try a few sachets of this tea! Teapigs is a company I’ve been kind of curious about for a while; the Sobeys I work at carries a small selection of their teas (though not this one) and I’ve always found the packaging cute. I just simply haven’t known enough about the company or seen enough reviews to be interested in trying one of their teas.

I steeped up one of the pyramid style sachets I received from Scheherazade this morning during a heavy downpour and sat on the steps outside of our house, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, while drinking it. It was definitely the perfect atmosphere to enjoy and appreciate the warmth of the mug and the clean, well rounded flavour. I thought in particular it tasted rather floral, with a slight bit of malt and a sort of autumnal vibe – probably from the very slight spice notes throughout the cup. The mouthfeel is very, very smooth and silky. It’s not the best Darjeeling I’ve ever had but it’s far from the worst.

Very pleasant, comforting and unobtrusive flavour overall. I don’t know if I’ve been sold enough on this tea to want to purchase more of it, but I might finally pick up one of the different blends we carry at the Sobeys I work at as my curiosity has definitely been heightened.

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Earl Grey Green from Three Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Three Teas

Tea Description:

This is one of the most popular of Three Teas blends.  This Green Tea version has the classic flavor of a traditional Earl Grey, but is made with Indian & Ceylon Green Teas and scented with Bergamot Oil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is one of the more popular blends according to Kathy @Three Teas.  I couldn’t wait to try it.  I do love my green teas and even tho Earl Grey flavoring sometimes is overwhelming to me, I was excited to try this one.

I prepped this one up per the instructions on the package- 2 tsps-185F-3 minutes.  The result was a very pleasant yellowish green liquid in my teacup.  The fragrance emitting from the cup was very bergamot oil like.  Almost overwhelmingly so.

Took my first sip and yes this is definitely a tea for the Earl Grey fans out there.  They bergamot is alive and well in this tea.  The green tea creates a very nice smooth buttery base (but very subtle) and the bergamot oil flavor is quite strong.

Unfortunately the bergamot was just too strong for me.  I think if there was some straight orange flavoring added in or maybe even some vanilla bean, this tea would take on a completely different profile making it pop.  I just picked up some vanilla bean so I might try that later.

Regardless, I’m really enjoying this green tea base.  I almost wish I could try that by itself without the bergamot oil.  This may just be one of those teas that need a little help to boost the flavor or maybe I should find it a new home.  I’m still glad I was able to try it!

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Global Tea Hut: June 2015 - White Cockscomb

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 16:00
Seeing an envelope from +Global Tea Hut sticking out of the mail box always puts a smile on my face. I always enjoy the tea and "gift" immensely but as time has gone by I've come to appreciate Tea & Tao Magazine more and more. So much hard work is put into sharing knowledge in a beautiful full color magazine. The depth of information that I find in its pages each month is invaluable. I really Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Artisan Glass Teaware from Rochester Glassworks – Part 2

T Ching - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:00

I began the development of my custom teacup with tremendous excitement and minor trepidation if I’m being completely honest.  Here’s where my artistic abilities would surely come into play. No more excuses about being a frustrated artist who was limited by her lack of inherent talent. 

I thought about all of my favorite tea cups, all handcrafted and tried to consider what elements made them special to me. The underlying theme was actually one of art.  Holding a piece of art in my hand while I sipped my favorite tea brought tremendous pleasure into the ritual for me. Looking closer, however, I knew that I liked to hold the cup directly in my hand, eliminating handles of any sort.  The mouth feel on my lips was also important which for my taste was a thin rim.  The majority of my favorite teacups were made of ceramic or porcelain. Although I enjoyed drinking from my Bodum double walled tea cup, it just didn’t feel handmade.  For me, handmade is not perfect. There are imperfections inherent in handmade pieces making each one different from another.

I soon discovered that this was a learning process for Rochester Glass as well.  I was the first tea lover to design a custom tea cup.  Robin reports that they are working on a “’basic design options intake questionnaire’ right now that has a variety of basic cup, handle, body and saucer design silhouettes from which Patrons can then choose along with some other options such as colors and embellishments. That should simplify the initial choices and considerations a great deal for everyone to allow for a faster turnaround on the sketches/drawings for consideration.”

Once I identified that I wanted an “Asian” style cup, we started with silhouette designs which would establish the basic shape without clouding the issue with color and other design elements.  The first one that was presented to me was interesting, but I wasn’t happy with the dish.  It felt too modern for me.

That led to the second silhouette design which seemed to come closer to the imagine in my mind.

The next phase further detailed the concept and shape.  Should the cup have straighter sides or be more flared from the base?  Should it be taller?  How many ounces should it hold?  I must admit that it wasn’t easy for me to make a commitment.  I just didn’t know for sure which would end up being most desirable for me in the end.  At some point, I realized that I would allow the artist to use his judgment and help make some decisions, having had a good sense of what I thought I might like.

The last aspect related to color and design elements. As one who gets nervous having to choose paint colors for my walls, this felt a bit scary to me. It was suggested that perhaps using a lotus leaf as inspiration might lend it itself to an interesting element within the cup. I took a deep breath and we forged ahead.  A week later, my cup was completed.

The cup arrived extremely well packed – they do not mess around.  No way this was going to suffer any damage.  When I carefully unpacked the cup, I was clearly looking at a piece of art.  The truth is, it wasn’t exactly what I had expected.  The petals stood out further than I had envisioned. How was I going to hold this comfortably in my hands?  I carefully washed it and dried it and began my preparation of tea.  I poured it into the cup and again, marveled at the beauty.  I could hardly stop smiling.  I had to play around a bit with the orientation but once I found the sweet spot, we were good to go.  I needed to orient myself to the extended petal so that my hands could be comfortable as I brought the tea to my lips.  Hum…….heaven. Somehow, holding a piece of art in your hand and getting to actually use it every day is a pleasure that never ceases to delight me. 

I asked Robin to share a bit more about Rochester Glassworks, to help give you a better feel for who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish.

“Our motto at Exquisiteaware by Rochester Glassworks is, ‘Your tea never looked so good!’ Unlike many organizations, we truly believe in and follow our core company values in every contact we have with anyone.

“They are:

Quality – Quality trumps all production considerations.

Empathy – For patrons, their needs and desires.

Relationships – Patrons are family – treat them like a good family should be treated.

Advocacy – Create work and relationships people WANT to tell others about.

“We’re an American start-up and not afraid to tell people. There’s never been a better time to not only purchase a unique piece of American art but also to potentially buy the first pieces of what may be future Master glass artists in the field.

“We’re artists helping other artists concentrate on doing what they do best, create beautiful work without having to spend time and effort doing what they don’t do best, marketing and selling their work… Plus, we really love tea and teaware.”

The cost to create a custom tea cup like mine is $194.00.  When you consider the amount of time it takes to develop a piece according to your unique wishes and end up with a beautiful, custom, usable piece of art it’s very reasonable. Factor in the potential for appreciation as an art piece, which for me, pales in comparison to the daily pleasure of use, and it sounds like a bargain to me.

If you’re ever looking for a truly inspirational gift for your favorite tea drinker, I can’t imagine anything better.  Unless you decide to make one for yourself first, however, I think you’ll be very envious of them each time you watch them enjoying your gift.

Images provided by the author.

View Part 1 of this post here.

The post Artisan Glass Teaware from Rochester Glassworks – Part 2 appeared first on T Ching.

Front Porch Peach Iced Black Tea from Teakoe

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teakoe

Tea Description:

Enjoy blissful moments and gather inspiration by drinking this juicy blend of peach, ginger and licorice root. Take time to sit back, reminisce and envision what the future will bring.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

To say this tea was a hit was an understatement for yesterday’s fam get together.

Yesterday my parents came over for dinner.  We rarely seem to have them over for dinner and find ourselves mostly going to their house for any kind of gathering, so I was excited to finally return the favor.

Knowing that my dad was coming, I thought I would make up some iced tea to enjoy with dinner.  I was digging thru my tea and saw this package from Teakoe.  So far  I have enjoyed their Craft Iced Tea line and was excited to sample some of this with my dad and Jason.

This time around, I adhered to the directions on the back of the package instead of just cold brewing the tea overnight like I have before, but I did leave the tea bag in the pitcher and put it in the fridge.

My parents arrived and as I have been taught, I offered them a beverage as soon as they showed up.  I asked Dad if he wanted to some tea and he said, “Well Yah!” I gave him his glass and continued getting mom something to drink.  Before I had finished getting my mom a glass of sparkling water, my dad is already asking me for seconds on the tea.  I couldn’t believe it.  I gave him a pretty full cup. So I refilled his cup and gave him and Jason a cup.  Before I could finish getting my kids their drinks for dinner, Jason and my dad both are asking for refills.  So like I said. . . to say this was a hit would be an understatement.

Jason was out grilling when I handed him his glass and he came in to the kitchen and asked me what I had given him to drink and where would he need to go online to order more.  My dad was too busy downing another glass to really add anything more in.  Before I was even able to try this tea, the two of them had drained the pitcher and I was hoping the tea bag would hold up to a second steeping.  It did.

I was able to try this (I stole a few sips out of Jason’s glass), but I swear this tea tasted like a tea blend with rooibos in it.  It didn’t.  I looked over the ingredients several times over.

After dinner, Jason and I were talking about the tea and he asked me what was in it.  I listed the ingredients on the back of the pouch-peach, ginger, and licorice.  He said that he could taste each and every flavor and that it was the perfect iced  sweet peach tea with a hint of a wow factor in each sip.  I asked him what the wow factor was and he said a hint of a zing with a sweet background.  That made me laugh.  He couldn’t tell me what he thought of the tea base itself, just that all the flavors worked together and it was pretty darn close to being perfect.

Even tho I may not have cared for the tea, the guys certainly did.  To each his own tea I guess and this tea has already been requested as a re-order.   I’m happy to oblige! From what I’m hearing from the cheers and praise for this tea, this tea would be perfect to sit on the front porch and enjoy.

The post Front Porch Peach Iced Black Tea from Teakoe appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Tea Review - Wymm Tea Sheng Pu-erhs - 2013 1st Spring Jingmai and 2010 Spring Kunlu Moutain

Notes on Tea - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 09:00

Pu-erh is an acquired taste, at least, so I thought until I learned that there is sheng (raw) and shou (cooked) puerhs. My first experience with puerh was with a not every well made sho puerh. I think it was a shou; it tasted like a barnyard. My second experience with puerh was with the guidance of Thesera of T Shop. I drank a white and puerh blend as well as a Banuo raw puerh. Both were very good.

One day I saw on Wymm Tea's Instagram a photo of the company's Mangnuo Tengtiao "Cane" Sheng Pu-Erh. When I read "cane" I thought of sugarcane (my Caribbean roots showing up). I asked the company for more information about the origin of the Mangnuo Tengtiao "Cane" tea which they provided as well as samples of four raw puerhs. The Mangnuo Tengtiao "Cane" Sheng Pu-Erh from Ancient Tea Tree 2014 First Spring is one. Another is Bingdao Laozhai Huangpian Sheng Ancient Tea Tree Pu-erh 2014. The third and fourth are the 2013 1st Spring Jingmai and 2010 Spring Kunlu Mountain which are the subject of this review.

My intent was to steep both teas until their end but in the heat I quickly became lightheaded. I infused the Kunlu three times (and prepared the leaves for a cold brew overnight) and infused the Jingmai seven times (and also prepared its leaves for an overnight cold brew). [Editor's note: the cold brews were fantastic!]

The aroma of the Kunlu after a 25 second steep was woodsy and caramel-like. It had an earthy (baby portobello mushrooms cooked in a cast iron skillet) taste and a long finish.  At the 30 second steep, a bark-like flavor emerged. The liquor was dry and smelled of dried fruit. The third infusion for 35 seconds yielded umami notes and stained my cheeks.

The Jingmai grabbed my attention almost immediately. After a rinse, the wet leaves released an aroma of apricots. There was also the sweetness of dried fruit like cherries and plums. This very pleasing aroma disappeared with the first infusion but the liquor had a lingering sweetness. I steeped the leaves for a second time for 30 seconds then a third time for 35 seconds. At the latter, there was a crescendo of flavors including a floral note (it's supposed to be orchid). The liquor was dry and had a long finish. At the 40 second mark, the liquor was still dry but a nutty note emerged, similar to marzipan. The fifth infusion at 50 seconds was fruit heavy. The array of flavors tapered off at 50 seconds and were mostly gone by 60 seconds. I think this was due primarily to the fact that I was experiencing tea drunkenness.

The Jingmai was my favorite of the two raw puerhs reviewed here. I look forward to preparing the other two puerhs.

Puerhs courtesy of Wymm Tea. Thank you.

Australia Houjicha Green from What-Cha

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

Two Rivers Green Tea started producing tea in 2001 with the aid and encouragement of Japanese tea experts who were seeking to encourage Japanese style tea production for the domestic Japanese market. The Two Rivers farm was selected as it has the same latitude of southern Japanese tea farms, idea temperatures, rainfall and great quality topsoil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I placed a What-Cha order for myself, and one of the things I was looking for was a Houjicha to stock up since it’s one of my favourite kinds of green tea and while I currently have a Genmaicha stocked that I really like there’s a hole in my cupboard where a good Houjicha should be. This one comes from Australia, and personally I’ve never tried an Australian grown tea before though I was aware that they were produced. Australia is one of those regions that isn’t typically thought of as a tea growing region among people who aren’t more learned tea drinkers the same way people don’t realize tea is grown in places like Kenya or Hawaii and I’m very excited to get my first taste of an Australian tea, especially considering how affordable this blend was. It was an easy thing to gamble on.

I do think this was worth the gamble. While it’s not as straightforwardly roasty as I tend to prefer from a good Houjicha there are some very, very nice subtle nuanced flavour notes that more than makes up the different. For starters, there’s an interesting nutty notes that seems to make itself known in each part of the sip in a different way. With that first initial taste it’s light lightly toasted nuts, and then in the body it weaves in and out between the other flavours. In the aftertaste, you’re tasting the shadow of the nut flavour which once was.

There’s also some really nice sweeter notes like caramel and cocoa which gently stretch out across the surface of your tongue, creating this really nice, smooth body flavour. The finish is lightly smokey, and leaves you wanting to go back in for another sip so you can experience the flavour dynamics all over again. Overall it’s a very warming and welcoming cuppa.

I definitely think I’ll clear my purchase of this easily, and will probably go back for more after that. More than that, this only gets me even more excited to try more of what Australia has to offer!

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