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Adopt of a Tea Plant and Support U.S. Grown Tea!

Tea For Me Please - 8 hours 14 min ago
My friends at +The Great Mississippi Tea Company have launched an exciting new "adopt a tea plant" program. For as little as $12.95 you'll receive a personalized certificate, one lifetime pass to the farm, 1oz of tea once it is available and a coupon for 25% off at +Boston Teawrights. Higher level donations will receive even more tea and more passes to the farm. I definitely hope to visit them Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Hot pot by any other name

T Ching - 12 hours 13 min ago

Hopefully the set theory symbols are correctly specified below . . .

Hot Pot = Nabe

Shabu Shabu ⊂ Hot Pot

Sukiyaki ⊂ Hot Pot

Fondue ⊂ Hot Pot

Fondue Bourguignonne ∈ Fondue

[“⊂“  denotes a “is a subset of” relationship, and “∈“ the “is a member of” relationship.]

The last time I had hot pot, or was it shabu shabu, was a few months ago in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley.  I prefer not to have any kind of hot pot during summertime, personally, but this particular region’s residents and business operators – maybe tourists, too – seem to feel and think otherwise.  Like pearl milk tea shops, new hot pot eateries are holding grand openings practically every other week.

According to the eatery’s website, the hot pot I had this past summer is actually a fusion shabu, which I have had countless times, and I might have tried all of the flavored stocks – creamy milk, Thai lemon & lemongrass, kimchi, miso, French onion, creamed corn, curry . . .   Interestingly the broth choices almost always include Chinese herbal, and this particular establishment’s menu listed “herbal and floral tea,” which I ordered with hesitation.   As predicated, the server brought out a pot filled with plain water and one big tea bag.   He then reminded me not to steep the tea bag in boiling water for too long.  The tea’s mediocre aroma amplified my disappointment, as did the first few pieces of meat and vegetables cooked in this so-called tea broth.  I ended up adding so much sauce that the end product could no longer be called a “herbal and floral tea hot pot.”

In Southern California, there is even a restaurant serving chanko nabe – sumo wrestlers’ hot pot.  What I really would like to try are some of Japan’s seafood-based hot pots, for example, Hokkaido Prefecture’s ishikari nabe (salmon), Akita Prefecture’s shottsuru nabe (hatahata), and especially, especially the traditional ishiyaki nabe! The broths of Chinese hot pots, on the other hand, seem much more heavily flavored.

Once I asked my mom why shabu shabu is called “shabu shabu.”  Mom said it was the sound of dipping and rinsing a thin slice of meat in boiling water – a cute answer.   Later I read in an article that the very first shabu shabu chef was inspired by the sound and motion of his employee washing cleaning cloths in the kitchen sink, thus the onomatopoeia!

Images courtesy of the contributor.

The post Hot pot by any other name appeared first on T Ching.

Kenya Hand Rolled Purple Varietal Oolong Tea from What-Cha Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - 14 hours 14 min ago

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong (Purple)

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A unique oolong unlike any other we have tasted before, made from the purple varietal tea plant which gives the tea a unique plum taste and purple tint. A rare and unusual tea which is not to be missed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  What a delightful purple Oolong!

I steeped this the way I would usually steep an Oolong tea, using my gaiwan.  I “eyeballed” a measurement of leaves.  These leaves are so long and wiry that it would be difficult to measure them using my bamboo scoop.  So I poured out an amount that looked like it would be a bamboo scoop into the palm of my hand and then I put it into the bowl of my gaiwan.  Then I heated water to 180°F.  I poured in just enough of the heated water to cover the leaves and I let this sit for 15 seconds – to awaken the leaves – and then I strained off the liquid and discarded it.  Then I steeped the leaves for 45 seconds for the first infusion and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion. I combine two infusions in my teacup – so my first cup is infusions 1 and 2, and the second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … and so on!

The brewed tea takes on a purple-ish color and has a sweet, floral aroma with notes of fruit.  There is a strong flavor to this tea:  tasting primarily of stone fruit and flower.  Just as the above description suggests, there is a strong and distinct plum note.  It is sweet with notes of tart.

The texture is lighter than a typical Oolong.  It doesn’t have that buttery mouthfeel like you might experience from a greener Oolong.  This doesn’t taste or feel “creamy.”  It tastes strongly of fruit.  The fruit notes bring a lot of sweetness to the cup and there is a slight “sugary” sweetness to the cup as well.  There is a moderate astringency to this tea – I can feel the insides of my cheeks pucker a bit at the finish.  But don’t let that dissuade you, because I find that the sensation enhances the fruit notes.

The plum notes were even more focused in the second cup.  Still sweet with notes of sugar cane.  The astringency is about the same in this cup as it was in the first.

The third cup turned out to be a bit different than the first and second cups.  This cup is not as astringent as the first cup – this is much smoother from start to finish.  The plum notes are softening somewhat now.  Still lots of fruit flavor, I’m noticing the flavors starting to become unified.  This is slightly less sweet and a little lighter.  I’m picking up on a slight creamy note now and an ever so slight vegetative note.  Neither of these new flavors are very strong – they’re off in the distance.  Floral notes are slightly more noticeable this time too.

This is a really delightfully different Oolong – one I’d recommend to those who are looking for something just a little off the beaten path!

Mother Nature’s Medley Herbal Tisane from Tealee

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 23:00

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Tealee

Tisane Description:

The tastiest detox tea around, this all natural herbal blend is jam packed with ingredients that are loaded with Vitamin C, and are known to aid digestion and reduce bloating. Stimulating ginger opens your palate, fruit and citrus notes follow and finishes with minty freshness. Delicious!  

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

I love it when I discover a tisane blend like this and there is NO hibiscus in it!  Yay!  See there, tea companies?  It can be done!  You can make tasty tisanes WITHOUT hibiscus!

Here are the ingredients:

Ginger, Apple, Rosehip, Lemongrass, Organic Spearmint, Rose Petals

This is one of the tastiest “detox” teas that I’ve tried thus far.  There is a very pleasing balance of flavors.

My experience with this tasting is much like the above description suggests, only the first flavor that I noticed is a faint fruit-like sweetness – for just a moment! – and then I pick up on the zesty ginger note.  I enjoyed that immediate contrast.

After my taste buds recognizes the ginger, they’re allowed to further explore the fruit notes:  I can taste apple, which surprises me!  I didn’t expect to taste much apple here because generally speaking, when apple is used in a blend like this, it’s more about appearance and maybe just a hint of sweetness but not for a strong flavor.  But I’m tasting apple!  And I’m tasting notes of citrus from the lemongrass.

Just after mid-sip, I start to taste that vibrant flavor of spearmint.  It tastes very fresh and exhilarating.  Throughout the sip, I also get a hint of rose.  Of all the ingredients, the rose offers the least flavor in the cup.  It’s a really thoughtfully crafted medley of fruit and herbal flavors that I find very enjoyable.

The spearmint and ginger are really nicely matched.  I get that invigorating kick of peppery ginger that is countered by the crisp, cooling mint notes of the spearmint.  These two ingredients seem to keep each other “in check” – so that I’m not tasting too much ginger or too much mint.

Overall, a really tasty beverage that I would be happy to drink on a regular basis.  Many detox teas are something that I would drink because I felt the need to detox but not because I’m really enjoying what I’m drinking.  This is something that I am actually enjoying!  I’m impressed with this!

Assam Orthodox Black Tea (FOP) from Starglory

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Starglory on Amazon

Tea Description:

Black Tea is consumed because of its natural flavour and for refreshment. Excellent cup of black tea helps a person to start a day positively with full of energy. At the end of a hectic, tiresome and busy day if a perfect black tea is taken , it will re energize and refresh oneself. This is one best Orthodox Black Tea sourced from Upper Assam Gardens.

Learn more about Starglory Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love Assam black teas, so when I was asked by Starglory Tea to try their FOP Assam Black, I was only too happy to oblige!

Immediately upon looking at the dry leaf, I can see something distinctly different with this tea versus other Assam black teas.  Most Assam teas that I’ve encountered tend to be a smaller cut or broken leaf.  But these beautiful, long, wiry leaves of chocolate brown appear to be whole!  When Starglory says “FOP” (which stands for Flowery Orange Pekoe – which basically means that the tea consists of large, wiry, and mostly unbroken leaves), they mean it!

To brew this beautiful Assam, I measured out 2 1/2 bamboo scoops of tea (I added an extra half a scoop because the leaves are so large and bulky) into the basket of my Breville tea maker and poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the vessel.  I set the parameters for 2 1/2 minutes steep time at 205°F.  I used a slightly lower temperature because it’s been my experience that Assam teas can be somewhat temperamental and a slightly lower temperature can mean the difference between a perfect tasting cup of tea and a bitter brew.

And this tastes perfect!

It is rich, delicious and malty, just like I want from an Assam.  But this tastes much smoother – no bitterness whatsoever!  Not even a hint in the background.  Just sweet, caramel-y notes that meld deliciously with notes of malt to create a thick, luscious flavor that not only entices me with its delicious flavor but also invigorates me.

The sip begins with a sweet note that becomes very caramel-esque as the sip progresses.  I begin to pick up on the malty notes almost right away.  There are notes of fruit and floral notes in the background.  It’s got that “chewy” sort of flavor to it, thick and delicious like the crust from a freshly baked loaf of bread.  Mmm!  It’s a very satisfying tea.

This tea doesn’t require any additions – it tastes great as is.  But, if you prefer a bit of honey or milk in your tea, this tea would take those additions well.  It would be great with a thin slice of lemon too.  Another great idea is to drop a piece or two of crystallized ginger into your tea.  This adds a little sweetness to the cup as well as a hint of ginger’s peppery flavor.  (Plus you get a tasty treat at the end of the cup!)

If you’re looking for an Assam that delivers the flavor of the Assam without so much of the harshness that is often associated with it – this is the Assam you’re looking for!

Maple Leaf White Tea from Lemon Lily

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Lemon Lily

Tea Description:  

Loaded with blossoms, and scented with star anise and maple syrup, this white tea is show-stoppingly beautiful as well as a treat to sip. Again, we can’t stress enough that you need to let these delicate little cuppas need some time to cool. Once you do the grassy white tea blooms into the warm, smooth anise flavour, accented with a touch of maple.

Learn more about this month’s Postal Teas shipment here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Yay!  My Postal Teas box arrived!  It’s a happy day when I open the mailbox to find tea!  I just love receiving parcels from Postal Teas and I was very excited that this month the teas featured are from yet another new-to-me company:  Lemon Lily.  A cute company name that brings a smile to my face because it makes me think of my youngest daughter.  Her name is Lilith and we often call her Lili.

So the first tea I decided to try from this month’s box is Maple Leaf.  All three of this month’s teas sound delightful, but Maple is what captured my attention immediately.  I love maple!

I decided to brew this in my Breville One-Touch.  I don’t usually steep white teas in my Breville because the leaves tend to be bulkier and need more room to expand so I usually steep a white tea in a teapot or in a Smart Tea Maker like this to give those leaves the room they need.  However, upon examination of this tea, I saw that it was mostly flowers.  I thought that the tea would have plenty of room to expand as it needed to in my Breville given the flower to tea leaf ratio of this blend.

As an added bonus, because this tea needs time after steeping to develop its flavor, I was able to set the Breville to steep – 4 bamboo scoops of leaf to 500ml of freshly filtered water (remember, there’s a lot of flowers in this, so I used extra leaf to compensate); 170°F; 3 1/2 minutes – and go take my shower.  When I returned, the tea was brewed and it had been sitting for about 13 minutes.  That seemed to me to be adequate “development” time.

LOVELY!  I had my doubts about this after seeing all the flowers in this.  It was hard to find tea leaves among all the flowers.  But they’re there – because I can taste the tea.

I can also taste the flowers.  This is a beautifully floral tea, but I’m glad to say that it doesn’t taste perfume-y.  It has a wonderfully flowery aroma, it’s beautiful to smell as well as sip.

I can taste the notes of anise.  I like the way the licorice-y flavor of anise melds with the flowers.  They seem to play very nicely together.  The anise adds just a hint of spice to the sweetness of the flowers.  It’s quite pleasant.

And most importantly, I can taste the maple!  OK, OK, I guess you could argue that it’s most important to taste the tea.  And yeah, I’m with you on that.  But, when I drink a maple tea, I want maple baby!  And this blend has got the maple going on.

The sip starts off immediately with notes of flower.  I taste the lavender and chrysanthemum.  I like that while these floral notes are strong, they aren’t overdone.  Even though it looks like they might be overdone when you take a look at the blend – there is a really well-crafted balance between tea, flower and maple notes here.

Maple and lavender are not necessarily two flavors that I ever thought of combining.  But they work.  Somehow … they work very well together.   The maple seems to soften the sharpness of the floral notes just enough so that this doesn’t come off tasting like soap.  The anise adds just the right amount of warmth to the cup while adding a touch of sweet licorice that tastes right at home with the sweet maple notes.  The flowers add dimension to the sweetness while keeping everything balanced “just so” – to keep this from becoming too cloying or dessert-like.

And then there is the tea.  The tea is a softer flavor here, not just because white tea tends to be a delicate tasting tea anyway, but also because there IS a lot going on in this blend.  But I can still taste the subtle notes of sweet, hay-like flavor from the white tea.

A very enjoyable blend.  Quite a wonderful start to this month’s Postal Teas box!

Oops. You Did It Again.

The Devotea - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 22:00
I remember watching an episode of Man About The House as a kid in the 1970s. If you’ve never heard of this show, it possibly means you are either young or American, neither of which are probably your fault. (There was an American version of the show called “Three’s Company” that starred the late actor John […]

A tea plant grows in Detroit

Barb's Tea Shop - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 19:36
New "flush" of growth this week, while snow falls outside
This week my tea plant greeted us with a bounty of pretty white blossoms, right in the thick of an early November snow shower.  Like a tree growing in Brooklyn, this tea plant has continued to flourish despite being outside its native comfort growing zone.  Some of its impressive progress is due to its heartiness, but most of the credit goes to the great care my husband, Chris has provided.


Our new tea plant in 2010
We started with a small tea plant back in the summer of 2010. (Camellia Sinensis: Tea Garden takes off in Michigan).  Inspired by Angela Macke, of Light of Dayteas, who grows tea at her farm in Traverse City, we planted our small sampling four years ago. We keep it in a planter for easy moving indoors when the temperatures start to dip. Usually, we house it up at Pemberly Pines, our up north cabin, but this fall we brought it to our home in southeast Michigan – and I’m so glad we did. We can see its progress daily instead of occasional weekends. It’s thriving in our living room window sill, in a location that gets full sun throughout the day – that is, when it’s not snowing.
According to Wikipedia, tea plants, if left alone can grow as tall as 52 feet, although most are trimmed waist-high for easier plucking.  Not only is the plant cut back for convenience of harvesting, but the trimmed bushes produce an increase in new growth which results in more tender leaves and better quality teas. Only the top one to two inches of the plant are picked and the buds and leaves are called “flushes”.  A plant can grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season.

It may be a few more years before I get a yield big enough for a pot of tea, but in the meantime, it’s nice to have something tropical blossoming inside, as the snow piles up outside, while sipping a hot cup Earl Grey. 




So about those choices

A Tea Addict's Journal - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 18:54

Well, when buying things there’s never a real “correct” answer. There is always someone who’s willing to buy a beachfront property in Kansas. The first thing you might notice about those choices is that they are largely anonymous – the stuff on the left side are mostly cooked puerh, and the right side are raw. The cooked pu are mostly CNNP wrappers, which doesn’t tell you much of anything. The stuff on the right are named, but only just – they are anonymous named tea cakes, in the sense that nobody would’ve heard of them anyhow. The green big tree you see half of is not the real deal, so it’s more or less the same as a CNNP wrapper.

The prices seem good – quoted in HKD, they are from about 180 to 500, with the 500 actually a cooked cake. The thing is, while these are sort of cheap (for this day and age), they are terrible value. The tea is likely to be bad – of the “this is awful” category. I tried a few of these while looking over these, just for the fun of it, and wouldn’t choose any of them, at any price. The rest – well, if the samples I tried are no good, chances are the others aren’t gems either.

To be honest though, I didn’t need to try to know that these were going to be bad. A few friends have commented to me privately after I posted this photo, basically saying “uh, these are all terrible”. If there’s anything like a general rule, it is that anonymous CNNP wrapper teas are going to be bad – you may find one out of a hundred that’s decent. The rest are just, well, horrible teas that were made in the dog days of the puerh industry, and ever since.

No-name brands like the ones on the right are no better. They are, 99% of the time, bad teas that are no good for aging. Some may be ok for current consumption, if it’s cheap enough and you’re not picky enough. The days of when no-name brand could be decent tea is behind us now – in the early to mid 2000s that may have been possible, because there were so many new outfits that were making tea. Now, however, it is most likely just trash tea that will age into nothingness.

Vendor choices, or lackthereof, is really a problem with buying tea. It is possible to choose a “best” tea within a given selection, yes, so even in this heap of what is basically no good tea, there will be one that seems better than others. It does not, however, mean it is a good idea to buy it – best among a bunch of junk is still junk. Within the online world, it is harder to make that judgement. I think a good way to try though, is to compare across vendors as much as possible. Even then, as I’ve said before, what’s available online is only a small fraction of total teas available in the real world, and much of the best teas never even leave the confines of China simply because the market demand for them is the highest there. The prices that online buyers will be willing to bear is simply not high enough for vendors to realistically bring the best goods to them. So, the pool of available choices are already poisoned, so to speak. Sometimes saying no is the best choice.

Free Classic Tea eBooks II

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 15:00


Here's part two of the list of old tea books that I've reviewed at The English Tea Blog. Most of them are available in free online or ebook editions. Check out part one of the list here.

Tea-Blending as a Fine Art
by Joseph M. Walsh link

An Essay on Tea
By Jonas Hanway link

Tea; Its Effects, Medicinal and Moral
by George Gabriel Sigmond link

Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea
by John Wesley link

A Popular Treatise on Tea
by John Sumner link

The Book of Tea
by Kakuzo Okakura link

Tea and Tea Drinking
By Arthur Reade link

The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker

Free Classic Tea eBooks I

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 14:00


In addition to writing about tea at this site, I contribute frequently to The English Tea Store Blog. One of my favorite topics there is old books about tea. Now that every bit of text in the known universe is being (or soon will be) digitized, it means that quite a few of these dusty old tomes are readily available in free electronic editions. Here are links to some of the reviews I've written about them and here's part two of the list.

Tsiology; A Discourse on Tea
By A Tea Dealer link

Tea, Its Mystery and History
by Samuel Phillips Day link

A Journey to the Tea Countries of China
By Robert Fortune link

Tea and Coffee
By William Andrus Alcott link

Panacea: A Poem Upon Tea in Two Cantos
By Nehum Tate link

The Natural History of the Tea-Tree
By John Coakley Lettsom link

The Tea Cyclopaedia link

Cuisinart TEA-100 PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper

Morningtime Black Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

We don’t have a catchy intro for this tea. But it’s smooth, jolting, and flavorful. We consider this tea to be our flagship blend, perfect for the morning. Extra-strong Ceylon tea, Chinese Dianhong Gong Fu and Keemun tea, and Indian Assam tea: three continents in your cup! This blend is part of the Original 20 M&K’s Blends.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  The above description suggests that this is a jolting blend, and let me tell you, they got that right!

I was happy to find that the sample from M&K’s of this tea is just the right amount to brew 500ml of tea in my Breville One Touch!  I poured the sample into the basket of the tea maker and added the water and then set the parameters for 212°F and 2 1/2 minutes.

The result delighted my taste buds!  This Morningtime Blend is a great wake-me-up tea.  It’s a bold, rich tasting black tea.  Full-flavored and well-rounded.  The sip starts out sweet yet bold.  I notice notes of caramel and molasses mingling with malty tones, earthy notes and flavors of stone fruit and flower.  There’s a lot of complexity beneath that robust, jarring flavor of WAKE UP!

Toward the tail, I pick up on light citrus tones and there is some dry astringency at the finish.  The tea isn’t bitter, however, I suspect that it could very well become bitter if the tea were oversteeped, so don’t do that.  I recommend no longer than 3 minutes brew time for this tea and from there, experiment a bit and find that right time for you and your particular tastes.

Another thing that I’m appreciating about the blend is that it really is a blend.  A culmination of the four teas used to create the blend:  I can taste notes of malt from the Assam, a wine-like flavor and hints of smoke from the Keemun, citrus-like flavors from the Ceylon and a rich Chinese DianHong rounds everything out with its rich, satisfying flavor.  I can taste each of the components but they unite in this blend so well that it becomes almost seamless.

A really lovely breakfast blend type tea.  It would take the additions of milk and honey well, but I like it straight up!  It’s got just a little bit of edge to it that I like, but it isn’t too aggressive.  It gives me the alertness I need and the smooth, rich, roundness I love from a well-crafted tea.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve tried from this new-to-me company.  They have excellent customer service – they promptly reply to questions and my order arrived very quickly.  And I love these samplers!

Adopt-A-Tea-Plant

Joy's Teaspoon - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 02:14

by Naomi Rosen

In June, my family and I traveled to New Orleans for a much anticipated vacation. One of the highlights of said trip was our adventure 2 hours north to Brookhaven, MS, and the home of The Great Mississippi Tea Company (yes, I sang the song in my head to spell that right!). Jason and Timmy were unbelievable hosts and answered every question my little tea growing noob brain could think of. For proof that I broke a sweat, you can visit the album on our Facebook Page. Our project that day was to assist with the digging/installation of the posts creating the framework for their new tea plant nursery. It was muggy, dirty work and I was ecstatic!

Now, here we are 5 months later. I am so proud of these guys! They’ve put thousands of tea plants in the ground and launched an incredible “Adopt-A-Tea-Plant” program today…just in time for the holidays! This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest gift ideas for the tea drinker in your life!

*A note to the adopters: Once you’ve completed the PayPal process, be sure to click on the “Take me back to the GMSTC page” option and enter your email address! 

Stay tuned for a multi-part series about the work being done down at The Great Mississippi Tea Company. They’ll roll out over the next month or two.

AND…since Joy’s Teaspoon is a very proud sponsor/adoptee of the MS tea plants, we’ll be giving away a couple of adoptable plants over the next few weeks. Pick your poison (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and we’ll get the details up in the next few days!

Pina Colada Flavored Honeybush Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Premium organic caffeine-free honeybush with organic flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not big on alcoholic drinks.  In fact, I can’t tell you when the last time was that I last had a drink but if I were to guess, I’d say it’s been several months and that would have been one drink and I probably didn’t even finish it.  I’m just not big on alcohol, I much prefer tea.  I’m drunk on tea.

But I do like this Pina Colada Flavored Honeybush Iced Tea from SBT!  It’s really tasty.  The honeybush base is ideal because it adds a pleasant honeyed sweetness and the nutty notes of the herb add a nice dimension of flavor to the tea.

The pineapple is sweet and balanced with the flavor of coconut.  I like that these two flavor profiles are so well matched.  They aren’t competing with one another and one doesn’t overpower the other.  They are content partners in this tropical tea-tail.  I’m picking up on light notes of rum too.  A light touch of rum that allows the tropical flavors to shine through.

And I love how easy it is to brew these teas from Southern Boy Teas.  I hot brewed this pitcher of tea, bringing 1 quart of water to 195°F and steeping the large sachet of tea for 9 minutes.  Then I poured the hot tea into my favorite glass iced tea pitcher and brought a second quart of water to 195°F and resteeped the pouch for 11 minutes.  Because honeybush is a tisane with low tannins, you can steep it for longer periods of time without bitterness.  This is the best way to get a full flavor from the tisane.

This is a really refreshing tisane.  I almost wish I had tried it a couple of months ago when we were in the middle of one of the hottest summers I can remember.  It would have made a great summertime “escape” for the taste buds.  Then again, it’s kind of a nice getaway for the taste buds now that we’re experiencing a rather wet autumn.  Hey, I still need some cold refreshment on days like this, don’t you?

on drinking tea alone: reprise

T Ching - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:03

“In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea;

I see all of nature represented in its green color.

Closing my eyes I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart.

Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become part of me.”

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

This lovely poem was first published by T Ching on December 14, 2007.

LOADING IMAGE:

The post on drinking tea alone: reprise appeared first on T Ching.

Apple Spice Tea from Culinary Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Tea Description:  

Our Apple Spice Tea takes our apple tea and add a dollop of cinnamon – excellent fireside tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What a lovely autumnal tea, this Apple Spice tea from Culinary Teas.  It’s got a rich and flavorful black tea base, deliciously sweet apple notes and warm cinnamon tones.  Culinary Teas has captured the essence of autumn in a teacup!

To brew this tea, I used 1 bamboo scoop to 12 ounces of boiling water and I let it steep for 3 minutes.  This produced a coppery colored liquid that smells as good as it tastes.  The aroma of cinnamon is so cozy and delicious and just beneath the cinnamon I can pick up on notes of apple.  Mmm!

The sip starts out sweet and immediately I start picking up on the cinnamon notes.  It’s a warm cinnamon.  This tastes like the kind of cinnamon that’s in your spice cabinet, not the kind of cinnamon that you’ll find in the candy aisle.  You know, those spicy cinnamon gummy bears?  Yeah, this doesn’t taste like that kind of cinnamon.

This cinnamon warmly accents the apple, bringing the sweet, juicy flavors of the fruit forward.  There are hints of tart to the apple too.  It’s more sweet than tart, but there is just enough tartness to offer contrast.

The black Ceylon base is bright and brisk.  It’s got a smooth, crisp character.  It’s moderately astringent.  The aftertaste is clean with mere traces of the cinnamon that had been there during the sip.

This is delicious served hot – it’s a comforting, soothing drink.  I drank it straight up, but I think it would take the additions of honey well, and it might be quite delightful with a splash of milk.  (A La Mode!)  But, I found this tea to be quite nice served iced as well.  It would make a refreshing alternative for your holiday beverage.

Friday Round Up: November 16th to November 22nd

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 05:00
Quality of Matcha +Oca Ocani shared some tips on choosing a quality matcha. The pictures showing different grades are especially helpful. How To: Store Loose Leaf Tea I recently discovered an excellent blog called Steep Inclined. Holly shared a helpful post on how to properly store tea, complete with a video. A Hong Kong love story: Chinese Tea meets European Chocolate Pairing tea and Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Caramel Chai Pu-Erh Tea from Inspired Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

Bold spices and aged tea are mellowed to perfection with smooth caramel.

Inspiration#79 “Age is a state of mind. What’s yours?”

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yummy!  I like this way better than I expected to.

I mean … let’s look at the name of the tea, shall we:  Caramel – yep, love the stuff.  Chai?  Oh yeah, one of my favorite teas.  Pu-erh?  Um … not so much.

OK, so, I will be the first to admit that over the past few years, I’ve discovered that I actually like Pu-erh.  Most Pu-erh, that is.  But there is always still that lingering doubt.  My first few experiences with Pu-erh really tainted my brain and turned me against Pu-erh, even though most (I’d say at least 96%!) of my Pu-erh experiences since those first few have been positive experiences.  But those first few have set some sort of unbreakable alarm that sounds off every time I see the word Pu-erh (or any variation on the spelling).

So, I’m always just a wee bit hesitant when it comes to trying Pu-erh.

So, I didn’t expect to love this Caramel Chai Pu-erh the way that I’m loving it.

Since this is a blend rather than a pure leaf Pu-erh, I used my Kati Tumbler to brew it.  I added about 1 ½ bamboo scoops of leaf to the basket of the tumbler and filled the tumbler with water heated to 190°F.  I then waited 20 seconds and tossed out the liquid (a rinse!) and then I filled the tumbler with another 12 ounces of 190°F water and steeped it for 1 minute.  The result is a lovely caramel-y chai!

The base tea is a Pu-erh, but I’m not getting any brine-y, fishy or overly earthy notes from it.  I taste lovely spice notes from the ‘chai’ – notes of cinnamon and clove and ginger!  The nutmeg is a little less obvious but I don’t think this blend would taste the same without it.  The spices aren’t “spicy” but warm and comforting.  The earthiness of these spices melds with the earthy notes of the Pu-erh and the result is a very smooth flavor that you’ll want to curl up to.

The Pu-erh is very rich and mellow.  The sweet caramel tones of the Pu-erh accent the caramel flavoring to make a really lusciously sweet, dessert-y kind of flavor.

This is a very autumnal taste:  cozy, rich, warm and decadent.

I’d recommend this to anyone who doesn’t like pu-erh because of the strong earthy tones or that fishy-briny taste.  This tea doesn’t taste like that at all!  I believe you’ll be very pleased with the flavors!

Tea Journeyman Amba Estate Hand-Rolled GF OP1 Ceylon Black Tea

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:00
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka Leaf Appearance: long and wiry, dark brown Ingredients: black tea Steep time: 3 minutes Water Temperature: 195 degrees Preparation Method: Teavana Perfect Steeper Liquor: reddish amber Amba Estate has become one of my favorite sources for Ceylon tea. You might remember that I previously reviewed and enjoyed their OP1 with Tea Flowers from Tealet. The leaves were Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0
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