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Pumpkin Chai Blend from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

This week’s tea is a new blend of Indian, Ceylon and Chinese whole leaf teas with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, and organic pumpkin flavors. If this doesn’t get you in the mood for fall, nothing will.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I know that 52Teas was planning on working on a new black tea base to use with their black tea blends – I wonder if this is the blend?  It’s a little difficult to judge a black tea blend when it’s in a chai because the spices tend to be the star of the show, so it will be difficult to give you a clear idea of what I think of this “new blend,” but I’ll do my best!

This is actually a really tasty cup.  The black tea base is strong, smooth and robust.  There is some astringency to it, but I’m not finding it to be overly astringent.  It’s got a rich, full flavor.

But as I said in the first paragraph, the spices tend to be the star of the show when it comes to a chai and that’s certainly true here.  I like the way the spices come through here – it’s spicy and warm.  There’s a good balance of spice flavors:  I taste all the components.  I guess if I could change anything about the spices that have been used in this blend, I’d want just a tad more pepper.  Maybe instead of using “whole peppercorns” – crack them so that more of the peppery aspect comes through.  But, I like that there isn’t too much cinnamon or ginger.  I like that I can taste the cardamom and cloves.  Overall, I’m enjoying the way the spices present themselves in this blend.

And I like that I’m tasting pumpkin too!  The pumpkin tastes sweet and has a certain savory element to it too, and I like the way the pumpkin and spices taste together.

This is good served straight but even better when served with a dollop of honey to bring out the flavor of the spices.  If you want to go for a serious yum factor:  go latte – the creaminess of the dairy adds something to the pumpkin to make it more pumpkin pie-ish.

Secret Garden’s Secret Black Tea from The Secret Garden Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Secret Garden Tea Co.

Tea Description:

One of our bestsellers! Vanilla and a secret sweet ingredient. Fruity and dessert-like, it pairs wonderfully with raspberry cheesecake, almond trifle, chocolate mousse, and other sweet treats.

Ingredients: Black tea, natural flavors.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf smells delicious with soft notes of vanilla and a fruity, berry essence.  The brewed tea smells more like black tea.  I can pick up on faint notes of vanilla, but none of the fruity notes that I could smell in the aroma of the dry tea.

I brewed this secret tea in my Breville One-Touch.  I added 2 bamboo scoops of the tea into the basket and poured 500ml of water into the jug and set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature to boil (212°F).

Mmm!  This is tasty.  I taste strawberry!  I also taste a very subtle chocolate note along with the touch of vanilla.  The strawberry is sweet but has that tart berry note toward the end of the sip.  The vanilla softens the cup, giving it a smooth and delicately creamy taste and texture.  The chocolate is very subtle.  There’s just enough chocolate in there to make your taste buds perk up and say, “whoa, what was that?  Was that chocolate?”

The black tea has some lovely notes of malt to it.  It’s a rich black tea with a medium-to-full-bodied taste.  There are hints of flower within the layers of flavor from the tea and it has a certain robustness to it – I think that I could reach for this as my first cup of the day and be quite satisfied with it.

I love the way this tea teases and tempts the palate.  I taste strawberry and then it hides from me because the next sip is where I pick up on chocolate.  It’s a fun tea to sip.  And there is another note in this … almost nutty.  I’m not sure if it’s a nuance from the tea or if it’s another secret flavor, but every once in a while, I pick up on a slight “nutty” tone.

After the tea cooled slightly, I could pick up on more of the rich chocolate-y notes and the nutty notes.  It’s really quite a delicious and a fun tea to drink.  I’m really glad I tried this one!

Ippodo Tea Co. Unro Sencha - Take Two

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:00
Country of Origin: Japan Leaf Appearance: small, deep green Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: kyusu Liquor: bright green When I'm craving a really good Japanese green tea, Ippodo's NY shop is always my go to place. I was super psyched when they recently sent me samples of two of their senchas. I reviewed this tea previously back inNicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Trekking for tea

T Ching - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:02

Think of trekking in the mountains and sipping tea whilst you get lost in the surrounding mountain peaks and you won’t be wrong for thinking that the following piece is set in the Himalayas. Worlds away from tea plantations and miles away from the “roof top” of the world, I spent my summer vacation in the Canadian Rockies.

By default, the location for my summer travels was determined when I learned my cousin was getting married – and the Canadian Rocky Mountains are conveniently on his doorstep. While surfing the guidebook I came across the “Tea House Trek” as one of the top 20 things to do in Lake Louise.  The “Tea House Trek” is found in Lake Louise within a part of Banff National Park that is located in Alberta, Canada.

The Rocky Mountains are a majestic mountain range, the third longest in the world and the longest range in North America. The mountains stretch 3000 miles starting in Canada and running the length of the American west all the way through to New Mexico.

The trek is a combination of two separate hikes that can be completed separately but if you’re looking for a challenge and set out early enough one can certainly combine both into the day, visiting two teahouses offering stunning views and quality tea.

We started our trek at Lake Louise. Chateau lake Louise forms the major landmark that has views over this most magnificent piece of nature.  Starting out, you follow the lake and the incline increases as you pass through the forest. The alpine air and the crisp smell of the alpine trees is abundant, as is a distinctive scent of citrus.

After two hours and 5.5 km of walking amongst breath-taking scenery, you reach Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse in need of a strong cup of tea and hot food. The teahouse is set at an elevation of 2100m and was originally built by two Swiss guides for the Canadian pacific railway company.

The teahouse is designed as a Swiss chalet and reflects the early influence of the Swiss guides who pioneered the hiking and climbing in the area. The house was purchased by Joy Kimball in1959 and has been operated by the family since.

The structure has two levels and space is at a premium – you will be lucky if you can find a table. Thankfully, there was a table going spare as we arrived, offering us a wonderful view of Victoria Glacier.

The menu is well stocked with hearty fare: soup of the day, freshly made bread, home made pies and desserts – are just some of the foods that weary hikers can choose from. I ordered the soup of the day, which was a mix of kidney beans, potatoes and carrots; some warm homemade bread; and a quinoa salad for good measure – to help fuel the final push from the teahouse to glacier.

The tea available came from Banff Tea Co., presented in pyramid tea bags. A good selection was offered, from which I chose a Chai.  A strong cup of Chai in the mountain air while overlooking Victoria glacier is an amazing experience.

Although some may be disappointed to note that no loose-leaf tea is served, understand that the teahouse is quite remote; no road accesses for cars to service it. The house relies on an annual airdrop of propane and other dry stores. The staff makes regular weekly trips using the same trail we hiked up to restock other supplies.

After refueling, we pushed another 1.6km to view the glaciers. The maintained trail ends half-way to the pass. A pair of good walking boots is necessary to navigate the moraine slopes. No sign marks the end of the trail but hikers are aware when they reach the grandstand view of Abbott’s pass and Death Valley below.

Our journey is only half complete as we head back down the same path. We push on to Lake Agnes to complete the trek. Heading down, hikers are treated to the breathtaking views of Lake Louise and Chateau Lake Louise where we started our trek. To reach the Lake Agnes Tea House one must take the Highland Trail branch partway down.  Hikers walk above the glacier trail from the first leg of the journey. Again, the views of lakes and the surrounding scenery is amazing. The air is crisp and the smell of fresh pine is wonderful.

The final push to the Lake Agnes Teahouse is up a very steep 400m climb. I found this to be the most energy-sapping part of the hike. A flight of stairs marks the final route to the teahouse – we were all glad to see these anticipated final steps! Hikers climb the final flight of steps to the teahouse visible in front of you, with Lake Agnes on your left and the sound of a waterfall in the background. The elevation here is 7000 feet.  The teahouse has been here since 1905; today it is a family run business, staffed by college students from all over the world.

We arrived half an hour before closing, and thankfully it was not as crowded as the Six Glaciers. Lake Agnes offers loose leaf teas with a very impressive list of 100 loose-leaf teas for hikers to choose from.  I was delighted to see “Rare Adams Peak white tea” being served and had to try a taste of home!  I started with a strong robust English breakfast tea. We also took the waiter’s recommendation and grabbed the final piece of homemade apple crumble.

The views from the tea house are breath taking, on one side Lake Agnes sits reflecting the sun light with a 360 degree view of Lake Louise. The sound of waterfall crashing in the distance was appropriate sound track for the scenery.

I was eager to try the Adams peak silver tips and found the taste to be excellent. It is clear that the teahouse places a real emphasis on serving great tea – and both the silver tips and the English breakfast were fantastic teas, living up to the house standard.

The staff at the tea house make the experience so much more memorable, and they where kind enough to show us the kitchen which reminded me a lot of the tea house kitchens that one finds at the foot hills of Adams peak in Sri Lanka.

With Lake Agnes Teahouse staff: Freddy, Fredrick, Jessica and Serena

After sipping and savouring one of my favourite teas we headed back down to the trail to Lake Louise. A great day of hiking and seeing some excellent views was made complete by sipping excellent tea in a most unlikely locations. I would thoroughly recommend this hike to any one visiting Banff National Park and Lake Louise.

Happy Sipping.

Images courtesy of Dananjaya Silva.

The post Trekking for tea appeared first on T Ching.

Product Review: Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix from Trader Joe’s

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 03:59

Product Information:

Based on the traditional Indian drink masala chai (mixed-spice tea), Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai starts with a chai tea blend that’s a combination of honey, vanilla, and black tea, heightened by a mélange of spices like cinnamon, anise, clove, cardamom, and ginger. In honor of Pumpkin Season, in addition to the traditional chai spices, Pumpkin Spice Chai is accentuated by pumpkin pie spices and real pumpkin. Like pumpkin pie, you can enjoy Pumpkin Spice Chai hot or cold.  Unlike pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Spice Chai is drinkable, and ready in moments—you just add (hot) water and enjoy! 

Where to Buy:  your local Trader Joe’s

Taster’s Review:  

You’ll be seeing a few different reviews for a few different pumpkin flavored chai blends on this blog over the next week or so … what can I say?  It’s that time of year!

I just returned home from Trader Joe’s and I think that they had a pumpkin explosion in their kitchens (or wherever it is that they make all their food) because there is pumpkin EVERYTHING in the place.  They had pumpkin waffles, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin macarons, pumpkin bars and pumpkin soup just to name a few things.  They even had pumpkin ravioli.  Yep, I bought some of that too.

They also had a few pumpkin tea selections including a pumpkin rooibos blend and this product:  Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte Mix.  And it is mmmmm!

I don’t usually go all crazy for chai tea latte mixes like this because they tend to be more sugar than they are tea and I like to decide how much milk and sugar I’ll be putting in a tea (if I decide to put any in it at all).  But, something about this tin of Pumpkin Spice Chai called to me and before I could say no and walk away, the tin was in my basket.

And I am really happy to say that while this is a sweet drink, the sweetness in this works.  It doesn’t taste too sweet (then again, I do admittedly have a sweet tooth).  This is on the sweeter side – I rarely sweeten my teas although I do usually sweeten my chai just a little bit because I think that a little bit of sweetener enhances the spices.  But even though it is on the sweeter side, the spices offset some of the sweet notes and there is a nice balance between spices and sweet.

Best of all, though, is that I can taste PUMPKIN in this.  It seems that all too often when I see a tea with the words “Pumpkin Spice” it turns out to be just the spices (as in pumpkin pie spice) and no pumpkin flavor.  This has pumpkin!

Hooray for Trader Joe’s pumpkin harvest!

The spices are robust but not what I’d call “spicy.”  It’s a well-rounded taste of warm spices.  I can taste the ginger but not so much that it’s “biting” me.  I can taste the cinnamon, clove and cardamom.  They’re warm and comforting.  I taste just a hint of licorice-y sweetness from the anise.  If there is a scale on “spiciness” of a chai, this would rate maybe one measurement below medium.  It’s spicier than “mild” but it’s not quite medium.

Kind of like a pumpkin pie.

The black tea is almost hidden here, though, and that’s my one big complaint about this.  I think that the next time I make some of this, I might brew up some black tea (perhaps an Assam) and mix that with this so that it amplifies the black tea.

It’s tasty as it is, of course, but, I would like more tea flavor.  Hey, I’m a tea freak, remember?

And one thing that really stands out to me with this product is that the “latte” part isn’t overwhelming the rest of the flavors.  This doesn’t taste like too heavy a latte.  I find that to be true with a lot of the chai concentrates that you can find on the grocery store shelves.  Those tend to be all sugar and milk and very little actual chai.  I appreciate that this has some flavor and the sweetener and milk are accentuating those flavors rather than hiding them.

Rhubarb + Custard Rooibos Blend from Bluebird Tea Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 16:00

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tisane Description:

Hardy British super fruit, much loved vintage cartoon characters, top boiled sweet and crumble of the gods… Rhubarb + Custard really is a pairing made in heaven. This naturally caffeine free, antioxidant rich rooibos tea blend will satisfy your sweet tooth with less than 1 calorie p/cup! Sounds like a super sweet deal to us!

Ingredients: Rooibos, Rhubarb pieces, Calendula, Stevia.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I am sure I’ve probably mentioned this before with previous “rhubarb” teas, but I have never actually eaten rhubarb.  At least, not that I can remember.  But I’ve had rhubarb flavor in a couple of different teas and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve tasted.

To brew this tisane, I put 1 bamboo scoop of tisane into the basket of my Kati Tumbler and then filled it (12 ounces) with water heated to 195°.  Then, because it’s a rooibos tisane (with no hibiscus in it, yay!) I steeped it for 10 minutes.

The aroma:  I definitely smell the custard!  As I’m not very familiar with rhubarb, I don’t know if I smell it or not.  I do smell vague notes of rooibos, but mostly what I smell is custard!

The taste:  I definitely taste rooibos.  I am tasting that honeyed, nutty flavor from the rooibos.  The stevia adds a little bit of sweetness and I’m finding that I am not minding the presence of the stevia as much as I normally do in teas/tisanes where stevia is an ingredient.  For those of you who read my reviews regularly, you’re probably aware that I don’t like it when tea companies add stevia or other sweetener to the tea because I like to decide how much – if any! – sweetener I’m going to add to my tea.  But here, I don’t taste a distinct stevia taste and the sweetness is gentle and seems to be curbing some of the rhubarb’s tartness so I’m not minding that the stevia is there.

I can taste the rhubarb here.  My first few sips, I didn’t really recognize the tartness of the rhubarb, but as I continued to sip, the flavor of the rhubarb developed.  It is especially noteworthy in the aftertaste where I’m experiencing that tingly, tarty sensation on my tongue.

And I can taste the custard!  It is sweet and creamy and it (together with the stevia) softens the rhubarb’s tart.

This is actually quite a tasty treat.  At first, (about my first 1/3 of the cup, really), I wasn’t really sure what I was tasting but I was enjoying it.  Now that the tartness of the rhubarb has become identifiable and the custard notes have become more noticeable, I’m really enjoying this custard-y, rhubarb-y tisane.

Another winner from Bluebird!

AliShan Milky Oolong Tea from Teasenz

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teasenz

Tea Description:

Intense creamy taste with floral undertone. A one-of-a-kind tea from Taiwan with a fantastically creamy flavor resulting from its unique roasting process. Our Ali Shan Milky Oolong offers you great depth of flavor that lasts into even the fifth brew.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  AliShan!  Seriously … is there anything better?

Yeah, I’m sure there are.  And I have other favorite teas that I like at least as well as an AliShan Oolong.  But when I’m indulging in an AliShan, it’s as if I’m drinking pure liquid gold and everything is right with the world.  AliShan is definitely my favorite Oolong tea.

And this AliShan Milky Oolong from Teasenz is absolutely divine.

It’s so sweet and creamy.  And take note:  this isn’t going to taste as creamy as some Milk Oolong teas you may have tried.  That’s because these creamy notes have been derived naturally, not by adding flavoring to the tea.  I have tried both types of Milk Oolong and I’ve enjoyed both natural Milk Oolong teas and Milk Oolong teas that have been flavored to get their creaminess.  So, I’m not here to try to tell you which you should like better or why you should prefer one over another.  It’s all subjective because no two palates are the same.  I’m just offering an explanation to you as to why this isn’t going to be quite as milky-creamy as a Milk Oolong that has been enhanced with flavoring.

That said, this is amazing.  I love the soft creamy notes of this tea.  It’s warm and comforting – like warm milk.  Sweet and floral.  There is a hint of nutty flavor in the distance that melds beautifully with the warm milk notes.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and my YiXing mug that is designated for AliShan Oolong tea!  My mug fit five infusions in it, so my first cup was infusions 1 – 5 (after discarding the rinse!)  I heat the water to 180°F and infused the rinse for 15 seconds, discarded the liquid, and then started brewing!  The first infusion was 45 seconds and I added 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.

And this mug is filled with tea that is a little bit like perfection.  And since this is an Oolong, I decided to go for a second mug (infusions 6 – 10).  That’s one great thing about Oolong teas – they keep going and going!

My second mug tasted even creamier than the first.  The floral notes began to emerge a little bit.  It was smooth and sweet.  Very little vegetal taste, mostly this cup was all about the milky/creamy flowery taste!  I think I liked the second mug even better than the first so get all that flavor out of these leaves and keep on infusing!

A really wonderful tea!  Teasenz is a great company, I highly recommend them!

Tea Business Spotlight 16 - Tea Vue

Tea Guy Speaks - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 17:25
Welcome to the sixteenth of our Tea Business Spotlights, in which we allow tea people to share insights on running their business. If you're a tea business owner and you'd like to take part in an upcoming spotlight, please contact us.

Tea Vue
Maryland, USA

How long have you been in business?
Since 2013.

What is the size/scope of your business?
We are a startup, online loose leaf tea and tea ware retailer with Amazon as an additional distribution channel.

Why tea?
Our love for tea is multifaceted – the expansive and diverse taste, character, and health properties along with the rich history and ceremonial tradition have been most intoxicating for us.

How did you get the ball rolling on your venture?
While conducting research for a consulting engagement, we became aware of the untapped potential of the tea market in the US and globally. Through the compelling business opportunity, we found an even greater appreciation for the complexities of tea.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your business?
Our mission is to personally curate only the finest quality teas for our customers. We strive to create an experience through not only the tea itself but with our branding and personalized service. Every Tea Vue tea is presented to the customer in packaging that is worthy of with the tea it holds.

What were/are the biggest challenges of getting into/being in the tea business?
Although the market potential is significant, it is a challenge to educate consumers on how to discern widely-available, low grade, bag and loose leaf tea from loose leaf tea of the highest quality.

What would you do differently, if anything?
We would have commenced pursuing Tea Vue years ago.

How's business?
Repeat business is strong – everyone that has tried Tea Vue’s tea extols praise and becomes an ongoing customer. Reaching those that are not yet aware of Tea Vue is the challenge.

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be in the tea business?
Life is precious and too short – pursue your passion whether tea or otherwise.

The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker

Hojicha Green Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Green tea from Japan that is rendered brown by roasting Bancha (a summer crop tea, harvested after Sencha) tea leaves. Comes with a toasty nutty flavor and slightly mesquite note. Earthy and warm quality, soothing, clean finish. 

Ingredients:  Roasted Bancha Tea

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op program here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!  I think that Hojicha is one tea type that I don’t offer enough praise to but I should!  I love that roasty-toasty flavor of Hojicha, it’s so warm and cozy and it’s the perfect drink for autumn evenings.  It’s not quite as caffeinated as some other teas – well, actually, I don’t know if that’s true or not.  I’m not an expert when it comes to how much caffeine is (or isn’t) in a tea.  What I do know is that after I’ve consumed Hojicha, I don’t feel as stimulated as I do after consuming an Assam black tea, for example.

So, what I’m driving at is that because I don’t feel as “charged with caffeine” after drinking Hojicha as I do after I’ve had black tea, I am of the opinion that Hojicha is a ‘safe’ evening tea.

Anyway, the warm, toasty flavor of a Hojicha has a very autumnal feel to it.  The texture of the tea is smooth and light.  And while Hojicha is a “green tea” it tastes quite different from just about any other green tea that’s out there because the roasting process of the bancha tea changes the characteristics of the tea.

So, instead of tasting “vegetal” … it tastes nutty and sweet.  Like freshly roasted nuts.  There is a delicate creaminess to it.  It’s “comfort” tea much the same way that mashed potatoes or homemade macaroni and cheese (not that stuff from the box) is comfort food.  It’s something that I turn to when I want a “hug”.  This tea gives me a great big hug and makes me feel better about the world.

So – THANK YOU to Simple Loose Leaf for this hug!

Kiwi Cheesecake Flavored Oolong Tea from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:  

Here’s a special treat–Fujian oolong blended with real freeze-dried kiwi, marigold petals and organic kiwi- and cheesecake flavors. A little tart, a little tangy, a little sweet, and all delicious!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a kiwi cheesecake.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a kiwi cheesecake except for the photo on the label.  But I love kiwi (and it’s a fruit flavor that is not often used in a tea!) and I love cheesecake … and I love Oolong so I felt fairly confident that I’d enjoy the tea created for the week of August 25.

The aroma that filled the kitchen when I opened the pouch was a sweet, fruity scent.  I could smell the kiwi and I could smell the sweet, creamy notes.  To brew this, I didn’t grab my gaiwan as I normally would with an Oolong because I figured I didn’t really need it with a flavored Oolong.  Instead, I used my Kati tumbler.  I measured out 1 bamboo scoop of tea into the basket and heated the water to 180°F.  I debated with myself on whether or not I should do a rinse, ultimately, I decided to go ahead and try rinsing the tea for 15 seconds and then discarded the liquid.  Then I steeped the tea for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea has a much softer scent than the dry leaf.  I barely smell the kiwi and I worried for a moment that maybe the rinse rinsed the flavor right off the leaves!  Fortunately, it didn’t!  I may not be able to pick up on a strong kiwi fragrance but I can definitely taste the kiwi.

I can also taste the cheesecake!  There is a creaminess to it which is probably not just because of the flavor but because of the natural creamy notes of the Oolong tea.  I get a light, tangy cream cheese flavor.  The only thing I find myself missing here is a note of pastry or graham cracker crust.  There is a light buttery tone but I attribute that to the Oolong and not so much to the flavor of the pastry.  I find myself searching – in vain – for the crust of the cheesecake.  Normally, when I am trying one of 52Teas’ cheesecake blends, I can pick up on that crust taste.  This one, I’m not.

Perhaps it’s because I did the rinse.  Next time I brew this, I think I’ll try it without the rinse and find out if that improves the overall cheesecake-y-ness of this tea.

But really, the flavors of creamy, sweet, tangy cheesecake and sweet-tart kiwi are both represented very well here, and I like that while I do taste these flavors, the flavor of the Oolong is not lost.  It’s a sweet and smooth Oolong.  I am picking up on light floral notes from the Oolong and I like the way these delicate flowery tones play in the cup.  The Oolong seems to add depth to the kiwi notes and it was the right choice for the base for this blend.

This is a really unusual but very enjoyable cup of tea.

Product Review: Unsweetened MatchaBooster from Maeda-en

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:00

Product Information:

MatchaBooster is a ready-to-use matcha-based powder. It mixes easily in your favorite drink and can used as a cooking ingredient.

Boost up your lifestyle with Maeda-en MatchaBooster♪

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en

Description:

Green tea’s smooth and fresh green flavor. Enjoy traditional Japanese green tea!

Learn more about this MatchaBooster here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to receive my shipment of MatchaBooster products from Maeda-en.  I have all four “flavors” – Sweetened, Yuzu, GenMai and this Unsweetened – and I figured that I’d start off with the basic Unsweetened variety and go from there.

This is a very versatile product!  Unlike traditional Matcha, it requires no sifting.  Just add it to whatever you want to boost with Matcha!

For the purposes of this review, I started out simply.  I made it in my favorite water bottle that holds 16.9 ounces of water.

It was very easy to prepare.  To promote your humble bottle of water to a bottle of Matcha on-the-go, just add 1/2 teaspoon to each 8 ounces of water.  So, for the typical 16.9 ounce bottle of water, I took a swig of the water – it leaves enough “mixing” room that way – and then I add 1 teaspoon of this unsweetened MatchaBooster to the bottle and gave it a vigorous shake.  It mixes quickly and easily.  Instantly even!  There are no lumps and no sediment at the bottom.

It tastes a lot like I added Matcha to my water bottle.  Only I didn’t have to sift it, and when I add Matcha to my water bottle, inevitably … there are lumps.  Little ones, but still, there are lumps and/or sediment at the bottom of the bottle.  (Exception:  when I’m using a Matcha product like this that’s intended for cold water bottle mixing – no lumps!  That’s what makes this product great!)

It’s a little “lighter” in flavor than a traditional bowl of Matcha.  It doesn’t have quite as much of that thick, creamy texture that you’d experience with a chawan of Matcha.  It isn’t as dense or rich as that traditional Matcha would be.  Instead, this is light and very pleasantly sweet.  It’s a natural sweetness and unlike some Matcha, this isn’t “bittersweet”.  There is no bitterness at all.  It has a pleasant smoothness.  It has a light vegetal flavor.  It … well, it tastes like Matcha, except that it tastes and feels a little lighter, an extra thin Matcha.

It certainly makes that boring bottle of water taste a lot better!

So I decided to try this product in something else.  I grabbed a bottle of pomegranate juice and I took a drink of the juice (again, to make room for the powder and the shake) and then I added 1/2 teaspoon of MatchaBooster to the bottle and shook vigorously.  My thoughts:  I could taste the Matcha but it wasn’t a strong presence.  The flavor of the juice was strong and I could taste hints of the vegetal quality of the MatchaBooster.  If you want more Matcha flavor, you would want to add a little more than 1/2 teaspoon.

That said, I certainly felt the energizing quality of the Matcha in the juice!  I really felt invigorated after drinking the juice.

And from there, you can let your imagination be your guide.  Want to give your orange juice a boost?  Add 1/2 teaspoon or more of MatchaBooster powder to eight ounces of juice and stir.  Or add some to your coconut water.  Or your almond milk.  Or your breakfast smoothie.

There are some intriguing recipes on the Maeda-en website.  Already, I’m thinking that this would be really good in my tomato soup!  Or try stirring a scoop of it into your favorite hummus!  This is a great way to add the goodness of Matcha to your favorite foods.

Friday Round Up - October 19th through October 25th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:00
Steeped in History: A surprise in every box! The Teapothead posted about a blast from the past, those little Wade figurines that came inside of boxes of Red Rose teabags. That was how I started my tea journey. My mother and I avidly collected the animals series. Tea Travels: United States Tea Explorer recently visited New York and stopped into a few of my favorite places. I think his Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Back Seven: Tea Drunk!

T Ching - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:03

drunking tea
until its me
how can I ever stop

drunking tea
until I pee
oh god I thought I’d drop

drunking tea
until I see
everythings a prop

drinking tea
until I’m drunk
I’m liquid, get the mop.

This poem was written by Paul Rosenberg and first published on the blog November 2, 2007.

MAIN:             IMAGE 1:

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Balancing Ayurvedic Tea from TeaVeda

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Veda Company

Tea Description:

Organic decaffeinated black tea lovingly mixed with delicate flavors of jasmine and bergamot blissfully soothe and stimulate with our “Balancing” tea.  

Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.

Taster’s Review:

Of the different teas that I received from The Veda Company, this was the one I was timid to try.  I mean, you know that I love bergamot and jasmine, however, I can recall a couple of bergamot/jasmine blends that have been less than successful as far as I’m concerned.  And this blend has a decaffeinated black tea base and I’ve had a few decaffeinated black teas that I’ve not been crazy about.  So, a few of my ‘red flags’ popped up when I read the description for this tea.

But it’s actually alright.  Maybe even a little better than alright.  Yeah, this is definitely better than alright.  It isn’t the best tea that I’ve ever tried but I am enjoying it.

The bergamot here is on the subtle side.  It’s a little citrus-y, but not really a distinctly crisp, tangy bergamot note that I’d usually expect from a typical Earl Grey.  Perhaps the presence of jasmine softens it a little.  The jasmine offers a delicate floral note to the cup.

I am noticing a slightly ‘thinner’ flavor from the black tea which is a typical “side effect” from the process that decaffeinates the tea.  It doesn’t taste as rich or robust as a typical black tea would.  But I don’t taste that “chemical” aftertaste from the decaffeinated tea and that earns this tea big points.

It’s not my favorite from TeaVeda/The Veda Company, but I enjoyed it.  It’s a tea that I’d drink again if it were offered to me.  It’s pleasant and has a nice balance of flavors.  It tastes good served hot and it’s also nice as it cools.

Orange Spice Flavored Green Tea from Tea of Life

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had quite a few orange spice flavored black teas, but not quite so many orange spice green teas.  At least, I’m not able to immediately recall very many.  But as I sip this Orange Spice flavored Green Tea from Tea of Life, I find myself wondering why, because this is quite nice!

Sure, it’s a bagged tea and yeah, I’d rather have loose leaf teas as opposed to bagged teas.  But many of the bagged teas that I’ve tried from Tea of Life have been enjoyable and this Orange Spice is one of my favorites that I’ve had thus far.

To brew it, I started with freshly filtered water and I heated it to 175°F in my Breville One-Touch.  (It doubles as a variable temperature tea kettle!  Bonus!)  I grabbed my favorite tea cup and let the teabag steep for 2 minutes.  Say what you will about bagged teas – they are convenient, and sometimes that convenience is important.  Taste is equally as important, so it’s good to find a bagged tea that is also tasty.  That’s what I’ve found with this tea from Tea of Life!

The green tea is sweet and buttery.  It has a nice, soft texture.  It isn’t bitter or astringent.  It isn’t overly “grassy” or vegetal either.  Just smooth and sweet.  It’s a great base for the flavors of orange and spice.

The orange is bright!  Sweet and juicy tasting!  The spices are gently warm.  I taste subtle notes of cinnamon and a hint of clove.  It’s not an overly spicy tasting tea – if you’re one who doesn’t like a spicy tea, you’ll find the level of spices in this tea to be to your liking.

I like that this isn’t overly sweet the way some orange spice teas can be.  Usually they’re all about the cinnamon and you get that “red-hot” cinnamon taste.  And hey, I like those teas too, but something like that would overpower the green tea and the flavoring here doesn’t do that.  It lets the green tea come through nicely, and offers a warm, cozy spice and sunny citrus flavor.  It’s something that works nicely as an afternoon tea when you want something to perk you up and would work equally as well as something that you curl up to in the early evening, especially on a cold autumn day like this!

Yeah, this’ll do!

Podcast Episode 10: Teacrafting with Boston Teawrights

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:00
Boston Teawrights is an awesome company who imports fresh tea leaves so that tea drinkers can try their hand at teacrafting. Most of my episodes are interviews but for this one I wanted to show a bit of the process that goes into making your own tea at home. It's fun and relatively easy to do using equipment you already have in your kitchen. http://www.bostonteawrights.com If you're Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Shangri La’s chocolates: paradise in your mouth

T Ching - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:01

Of all the foods and drinks in this world, there aren’t many (or perhaps any) that can top tea and chocolate. In fact, the two have been featured together in at least a dozen posts here on T Ching. This post highlights a new twist on the theme – chocolates not just infused with tea, but with actual tea leaves in them, giving the chocolates a unique, delicious, and decidedly crunchy character.

Just this past September, Shangri La Tea, a nearly 30-year-old Southern California-based tea company, launched Shangri La Chocolate. Its initial offering includes three milk chocolate options and one dark chocolate one, as follows:

  • Black Currant – combines dark chocolate with black tea and black currants.
  • Earl Grey – combines milk chocolate with black tea and bergamot.
  • Masala Chai – combines milk chocolate with black tea, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
  • Chamomile Mint – combines milk chocolate with chamomile, licorice, spearmint, orange peel, and peppermint.

My approach to sampling these chocolates was to start with the Black Currant one. Why? Because I love dark chocolate and the combination with black tea and black currants sounded yummy – a bit like a Black Forest cake. I was not disappointed. As the dark chocolate began to melt in my mouth, I found myself chewing on bits of black tea leaves and currants. This one was my favorite, but the milk chocolate options were also delightful.

I am a pushover for a good cup of Earl Grey, so the Earl Grey chocolate was next up on my sampling list. I like this one because it presents a subtle balance among the chocolate, the tea, and the Bergamot. Some of the less-favorable Earl Greys are heavy on the Bergamot, likely to cover up some low-quality tea. Not so with this product!

The third chocolate on my plate was the Masala Chai. It is hard to come by a good chai, but when you find one you know it. This would have to be my second favorite among Shangri La’s chocolates. All three of the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom spices are present – and, best of all, you can see them!

Last, but not least, was the Chamomile Mint. I am not normally a big fan of chamomile, but this mixture deserves a second taste, and a third. For those of you looking for a little less caffeine, this is a great alternative.

Of course, all these chocolates taste especially delicious when paired with a tea of your choosing!

With the holidays just around the corner, you may want to pick up a few of these chocolates as gifts.

The post Shangri La’s chocolates: paradise in your mouth appeared first on T Ching.

Wedding Tea Blend from Harney & Sons

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

This elegant tea is a special tea for that special event. Mutan White tea with a touch of lemon-vanilla to taste, nicely offset with pink rose petals.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

A really nice blend from Harney & Sons.  The delicate white tea is flavored with just a hint of lemon and vanilla and rose, creating a soft, sweet, and brightly flavored cup.

The white tea is a sweet and smooth tasting tea and these characteristics are enhanced by the addition of vanilla.  The light touch of vanilla makes the tea taste just a little sweeter, a little smoother and a little softer.  It adds a pleasant creaminess to the cup.

And I like the way the creaminess plays with the notes of lemon.  The lemon is bright and tart, but not pucker-y tart.  The sweetness of the vanilla curbs the lemon so that it doesn’t come off as sour.  Instead, it tastes a little bit like someone may have dissolved a little bit of lemon curd into my tea!  YUM!

To brew this, I used a lower temperature (as is usually the case when it comes to white teas.  I almost always go with a temperature that is 170°F or lower, this time, I used the 170°F) and steeped the sachet for 3 1/2 minutes.

Something else that’s kind of neat about this blend is that because it is the “Wedding Blend,” it can also serve as a wedding favor!  You can even special order it with the name of the bride and groom and the wedding date imprinted on the lid of the little “tagalong tins” (these tins really are adorable).  How awesome is that?  Can you think of a cooler wedding favor to give to your guests on your special day?

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