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Matcha from Chiang Rai Tea House

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Matcha -green tea powder- is an antioxidant powerhouse (ORAC rating of 1,300 units/gram compared to 105 units/gram for pomegranates) and its list of health benefits goes on and on -fights viruses and bacteria, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, L-Theanine relaxes and supports concentration, boosts metabolism and burns calories, contains the unique and powerful antioxidant catechin EGCg.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Matcha.  And even though it’s been a little while since I’ve written about Matcha, that doesn’t mean that it’s been a while since I’ve consumed it.  I try to drink a bowl of Matcha (or do a cold-water shake-up of Matcha in my water bottle) at least every other day.  Occasionally, I might skip a day or two, but, I do try to drink it regularly – the stuff is magical!  It’s not only tasty but it also makes me feel so good after I’ve had it.  It’s one of the most revitalizing, energizing and spiritually uplifting teas I know of.

So, I was really intrigued when Chiang Rai Tea House sent me some of their Matcha to try.  Traditionally, Matcha is a Japanese tea, but the tea that was ground into this powdered green tea is from Thailand.  So, I was interested to find out if it would be different from the traditional Matcha.

The color in this photo is brighter than the color of the tea in the package I received.

The dry powder is not the vivid Apple Green that you’d find with most top quality Matcha teas from Japan.  This tea was more like an Army Green color.  Kind of drab and dull.  This worried me because it’s been my experience that when it comes to Matcha, the color is very telling of what I’ll be tasting.

But, I’m going to try it and see how it goes.  I measured out some of the Matcha into my sifter and sifted into my Chawan and added hot water (160°F) and whisked the Matcha with my Chasen.  The Matcha incorporated quickly.  There was some froth to the prepared Matcha but it disappeared as quickly as it formed.

On their webpage, Chiang Rai Tea House says this about their Matcha:

We are particularly proud of our matcha, which we honestly believe can rival any Japanese matcha. This is a high-grade, 100% pure green tea powder made following strict guidelines. It has a smooth texture, a sweet aftertaste and an intense flavor, without the bitterness characteristic of lesser matchas.

I don’t know if this can rival any Japanese Matcha, but I will say that it’s better than some of the lower quality Japanese Matcha that I’ve tried.  It is smooth and sweet.  I’m not getting any of the bitterness or even the bitter-sweet notes that I’d taste from a lesser quality Matcha from Japan.  I’m actually quite surprised by that – because I expected this to taste a lot like that!  I expected this to taste like some of those average or even less-than-average Matcha teas that I’ve tried over the years.

This has a strong flavor that is a lightly buttery and there are pleasant notes of cacao.  It’s smooth and even though there were a couple of chalky moments, overall, I find this to be a very tasty Matcha.  The powder remained suspended in the liquid and didn’t settle to the bottom which was a big bonus as far as I’m concerned.  I liked that the consistency of the tea remained the same from the first sip to the last.

Overall, this was a pleasant Matcha experience.  This isn’t the best Matcha that I’ve ever tried, but it certainly wasn’t the worst.  If you’re someone who drinks Matcha daily and is looking for a good alternative to the average Matcha, try this.  This has a very pleasant flavor that I don’t always find in the average Matcha.

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Everlasting Teas Mr. Su's Experimental Black

Tea For Me Please - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 16:00
Country of Origin: Taiwan Leaf Appearance: dark, long and twisted Ingredients: black tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: reddish amber I couldn't resist picking up some of this tea at the New York Coffee and Tea Festival. It turns out that it's experimental because a farmer who usually makes oolong tried his hand at making a Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

The specialty tea manifesto

T Ching - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:05

The tea industry is a fifty billion dollar a year business whose fastest growing sector is called ‘Specialty Tea.’ ‘Specialty Tea.’ must be defined to establish value and give meaning to the term.

There are no set standards for excellence in the global tea industry. Merchants, both in the past and now, have been able to get away with defining quality through marketing.  This interpretive and loose value system has not benefitted producers, consumers, or small tea businesses.

The International Specialty Tea Association will strive to establish quality standards in tea making. The Specialty Tea Association will create an unbiased process for judging tea quality. This will result in the best teas setting the bar for standards of excellence, which will thereby define ‘Specialty Tea.’ The evaluating system will be easily understandable and learnable industry-wide and will be made available to the public.

Standards must be established to preserve the art of making tea and will guarantee a stabilized market whose focus and intent is on providing quality products to the consumer. The value of tea will then be determined by its production rather than how it is marketed. This will increase profits to producers and the people they employ. Standards will provide the platform on which small businesses can compete with the corporate tea companies that dominate the global market, and consumers will be able to recognize product value independent of marketing claims. Standards will cause getter transparency in the supply chain, and a better educated industry.

Learn more at Seven Cups. 

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Dragon Lychee Pearls Black Tea from Tealyra

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tealyra

Tea Description:

Well rounded, sweet, mellow and flavorsome, our Lychee tea is an exotic and enticing taste sensation! Ripe, fruity and aromatic, Lychee is delicious either served hot, or chilled and served over ice with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have some fond memories of lychee throughout my childhood, and these Dragon Lychee Pearls from Tealyra (known to my Canadian friends as Tealux) intrigued me, and for the price, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I decided to take this to work with me, but conveniently forgot to bring any type of brewing vessel along with it. No problem! This type of tea is perfect for Grandpa Style brewing. Any kind of tea rolled into balls, cones or compressed into coins, bird nests, or squares make excellent lazy brew teas. It’s these types of visually entertaining teas that I like to show off to my coworkers. sure most of them think that there is some kind of sea urchin living at the bottom of my cup, but hey, it gets them talking about tea! I threw in 6 little pellets of deliciously scented black tea into a pint glass and poured hot water over it. It didn’t look like that much tea in the glass, but the flavor was not lacking in that department.

The fruit flavoring is pretty true to a fresh, juicy lychee. It’s exactly like any lychee jelly candy you can pick up at your local Asian market. The black tea base is lighter than I was expecting, but I still get that nice, fresh baked bread and cocoa powder notes I was hoping for. The leaves popped open almost immediately after I doused them in water, revealing long and sturdy brown leaves. I was able to refill my glass three times before the leaves gave up the ghost.

This was a great tea that takes to any method of preparation really well. I liked how the tart perfume of the lychee notes persist through many steepings, and the base black tea is mellow but defined. I’m hard pressed to find a better lychee tea, and this is the most unique one yet. This tea is like entertainment for your mouth!

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Summer Solstice Herbal Tea from Tealux

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Tealux

Tea Description:

Summer solstice is the name for the mythical night of the 21st of June ‘ the shortest night of the year. Midsummer is often described as a pause in-between a change in nature and provides us with the opportunity to pause for a moment in order to align ourselves with the energy changes of the natural forces. We have united the taste of ripe sun fruits and fresh herbs with the Swedish midsummer tradition of blossoms, in order to keep the rays of sun a little while longer in your cup.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s not quite the Summer Solstice yet, but the weather is definitely getting warmer! Perhaps that’s why this particular blend really spoke to me today. It’s hard to tell from the description exactly what you’re going to get, so I jumped right in and brewed up a cup. The first thing of note is the size of the fruit pieces contained in this blend. There are whole raspberries, generous slices of freeze-dried strawberry, and large pieces of apple, pineapple and papaya (about 1 inch square.) There are smaller pieces of hibiscus, small flakes of nettle leaves, and a scattering of sunflower blossoms. The blend as a whole is bright and colourful – very summery-looking. It smells quite rich and fruity, rather in the manner of fruit cake.

I used approximately 2 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It’s by no means easy to measure, due to the large leaf size, but I did my best! The resulting liquor is golden brown, and the scent is mildly fruity – I’m picking up blackberry and coconut primarily.

To taste, the raspberry and strawberry are a lot more prominent than I thought they might be. They’re juicy and natural-tasting, sweet initially and then a little tart. The more “tropical” flavours develop in the mid-sip; a lot of coconut, a hint of pineapple, and a slight pepperiness from the papaya. It’s a slightly odd combination, like two halves of two different teas have been unexpectedly brought together. It’s not unpleasant, but the transition from summer berries to tropical fruit is a little jarring. The fruit flavours linger well into the aftertaste, and I can detect a splash of blackberry at this point. It’s tart and a little sour, but again incredibly juicy, and I could see this working well with the initial strawberry/raspberry combination. Somehow, though, it’s not quite what I wanted after the tropical explosion that preceded it.

I quite like this one, purely for it’s accurate fruit flavours and sheer juciness. It’s a great thirst quencher on a warm day. I would have preferred it to be either berry or tropical, though, rather than both. The two flavour sets aren’t a brilliant match to begin with, and nothing is gained when they have to compete with each other for dominance. Still, it’s a pleasing cup on the whole, and I can imagine it working well iced in the warmer months to come.

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Dragon’s Dream Tea (Signature Blend) by Adagio Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green, Black

Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Tea Description:

In the lair, a dragon dreams sweet, sweet dreams of glittering treasure, ponies, and those who lurk. And destruction. This warm and spicy brew is full of musical depth and fire.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The other day I walked in my living room to see my boyfriend had the second Hobbit on TV. . .again. . for the 10th time. . and I of course had to watch right along with him.  My 9 year old son came in a little after and he was also drawn in to the movie.  He had never seen it before so it was fun to enlighten him on all things Hobbit related.  His eyes lit up when Smaug came on the screen and was rooting for the dragon to destroy the merry band of traveling warriors.   Yep. . he is totally my kid.

While we were watching the movie, I remembered that I had this blend and hadn’t tried it yet.  This one was created as a Fandom blend for the Hobbit.  Honestly, I am not a fan of the Adagio teas on their own, but I do really enjoy them when they are in the Signature Blends.

This one is a interesting and different blend.  Green Chai, Assam Melody, and  Cinnamon (black favored tea).  Not flavors I would have paired together.   It smells very much like a cinnamon cake.  When brewed up, it tastes like a buttered up sweet potato with cinnamon on it and a tart like finish. Maybe even some sort of sweet potato pie.

It is a unique flavor. That is for sure.   I did overleaf it after I checked out some other reviews about this blend on Steepster.  A lot of the other reviews said it was bland and “meh”.  If I hadn’t dumped in about 1 1/2 tsps more I can see that being the case.  I did brew this up at work with my coffee pot water spout and then dumped the tea into ice for a iced green chai.  Maybe if I messed with the steeping parameters more I could bring more flavors out.  As it is,  the cinnamon and spices don’t over take the tea like some chai blends I have had before.  It is a very subtle and enjoyable chai blend with a rich buttery sweet potato finish.

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Wymm Tea Mangnuo Tengtiao "Cane Tea" 2014

Tea For Me Please - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 16:00
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: formerly compressed, sample arrived loose Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 5 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: pale gold My personal puerh collection mostly consists of young, dry stored, fairly easy going cakes. What that means is that I can do anything to them and they'll still be drinkable for the Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Bowl Four: Cleanliness and Purity

T Ching - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 12:03

Reverence and purity facilitate a life of tea, and the communication of peace and wisdom through tea. Purity functions on all levels, from the body to the tea room, the spirit and the mind. We must respect the space and being-ness all around us, keeping our homes, and especially our tea spaces, clean and bright so that all who come within them—including the many aspects of ourselves—will find stillness here. Even a confused or cluttered mind will find peace and cleanliness here, especially if that cluttered mind is my own. There is a profound peace in the practice of carefully laying out all your utensils for tea, and looking them over in a few minutes of meditation before you even begin. And like all truths, the tea session should leave no trace of itself— all should be cleaned thoroughly after the tea has been served and the guests departed. This applies equally to the inner level, as one should not carry around the dregs of previous sessions which only give rise to the comparative mind and prevent you from connecting to this moment. Wash away all traces of a tea when it is done. Clean thoroughly—internally and externally—so that your guests will know that there is but one encounter, one chance. In that way, true presence and connection have room to grow in your life and tea.

Bowl Five: Physical wellbeing; Diet and Movement April 29
Bowl Six: Healing and Community; Work and Service May 6
Bowl Seven: Connection to the Great Nature; Bowl tea May 13
Bowl Eight: Grace and Beauty; Gong fu tea May 20

Click to read Bowl OneBowl Two, Bowl Three.

“Eight Bowls of Life” was written by Wu De and first published by Global Tea Hut in February, 2013. Post image courtesy of Global Tea Hut. Loading image from T Ching archives.

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Canton Chocolate Tea from Canton Tea Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Specially created for the Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair, this luxurious blend of Indian Assam, Chinese Yunnan black, Madagascan vanilla pod and Peruvian cocoa nibs is served daily with their famous Afternoon Tea., It is deep, rich and moreish with a velvety mouthfeel. Extremely satisfying with smooth, malty Assam and a hint of plum from the Yunnan black adding an additional layer of dark fruit. The cocoa nibs and vanilla pod provide the depth and sweetness which complements the heady flavours.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Chocolate Tea from Canton Tea Co. is one that I’ve been wanting to try for a while!  Let’s face it, whenever I see a new-to-me chocolate tea from just about any tea company, my interest is piqued, but when it comes from a company that I associate with high quality, top-notch teas like Canton Tea Company, then let’s just say that my interest sizzles into very lusty desire.

Yes, I lust for chocolate.

And this tea lived up to my crazy high expectations that I put on it.  This is deliciously chocolate.  Even with the hint of Madagascar vanilla in this, the flavor is still delightfully dark chocolate-y.  Rich and decadent and sweet.  Mmm!

The black tea base is rich and satisfying.  The combination of Assam and Yunnan is a thoughtful one.  The rich, malty notes of the Assam add to the sweetness of the tea.  The fruit notes of both teas play to the deep berry notes of the cacao nibs.  The slightly spiced notes of the Yunnan enhance the overall experience.  The black tea base tastes robust and it’s a solid background of flavor, allowing the flavor of the key ingredient (the chocolate!) to really come out and express itself in a sumptuous, seductive, chocolate-y way.

So good!

The chocolate is a rich, dark chocolate-y flavor as I mentioned before.  It has a luscious, creamy taste that Canton describes as velvety and I find myself in complete agreement with that assessment.  The vanilla is not overly done, there is just enough vanilla here to add that velvety texture and taste.  There is just enough to give the cup some dimension and depth without diminishing that deep, dark chocolate flavor.

If you’re a fan of chocolate teas – put this at the top of your must try list!

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Apricot Meadow Herbal Tea from Plum Deluxe Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Plum Deluxe

Tea Description:

One of the best parts of a monthly tea experience is to try unique blends; this month, see what happens when unexpected ingredients come together. Apricot + lemongrass? Who knew! Spicy, sweet, yet gentle.

Lemongrass is a very interesting herb – it really transforms flavor when it is paired with other flavors. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with – you can actually make it into a tea all on its own, but we think this combination is perfect excuse to slow down and laze on a sunny spring day. You’ve earned it!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Plum Deluxe’s subscription plan here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been wanting to do a tea subscription for a very long time but with not really digging red rooibos I was always leery of committing.  Plus with some of the subscription plans you get a lot of tea and I am really the only one that drinks it in my house, so I wasn’t sure if my cupboard could handle the overflow.  But I finally took a chance and decided I would check one out.  I emailed a few companies with a few questions and Andy from Plum Deluxe was the first one to reply.  I have asked him so many questions at this point, I bet he thinks I’m crazy.

I received my first package and it is adorable.  Along with my 1 oz of the tea of the month, I also received a sample of another of their blends and a cute little reusable bag with the companies logo on it. I love tea mail days.  I dug in right away.

The dry leaves definitely smell like a fresh apricot.   Threw 2 tsps into my Breville, set it up to 212F and steep for 5 minutes.

This really is a beautifully and well done herbal tea.  I highly recommend it.  The sweetness is there and you can really taste the apricot.  The honeybush really provides a great sweet addition.  There is almost a spicy tang to it as well.  But its gentle and warming.  The package says its great iced so I tried the herbal that way as well.  Same steeping parameters but added some ice.  Wow.  I can see this as being a great summer tea.  The apricot and honey flavors are really pronounced maybe even more so than when I enjoyed this hot.  I might have to hold off one drinking anymore and save it for later in the summer months.  I’m excited to see what next month’s tea will be.

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Rohini Emerald Green Tea from Udyan Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Rohini has been planted with special green tea clones which have very less *tannin content in them. The teas made from these bushes taste smooth and sweet, with pronounced vegetable flavour. They aren’t bitter unlike their counterparts from the district. Rohini Emerald Green Tea is made from single leaf and a bud.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Rohini Emerald Green Tea from Udyan Tea tastes a little different.  When I took my first few sips of the tea, I thought maybe I didn’t steep it long enough or maybe the water wasn’t hot enough, but then I took a moment to read the above description.  This tea is grown from clone plants that have less tannin content.  

Still a green tea, of course, and still a really lovely tasting tea!

It’s really smooth and pleasantly sweet.  The flavor is more delicate than the average green tea and since the tannin content is lower, you can go ahead and steep it a little longer to enhance the flavor if you’d like to.  I went ahead and steeped the tea for 2 1/2 minutes in 180°F water and I’m quite satisfied with the result.  It’s still delicate, but not quite as delicate as my first cup of this tea, which I steeped at 1 1/2 minutes which is my usual go-to for a pure green.  The extra minute intensified the flavor a little, but the tea is still not bitter or astringent.

There is a pleasant vegetative taste to this that reminds me a bit of corn with just a hint of a grassy note.  There is a very light creamy/buttery taste to it and a soft, silky texture.  It’s quite refreshing to drink, even as a hot beverage.  I found that I preferred this one hot, because as the tea cooled some of the flavor softened and because this tea is on the delicate side anyway, you’re going to get the most flavor out of it if you drink it hot.

This is one I’d recommend checking out.  And while you’re perusing the Udyan Tea website, keep in mind that the default setting for the pricing is in Indian Rupees.  You can adjust the currency setting at the top of the screen in the center.

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Pekoe Sip House Sessa Estate Black Tea

Tea For Me Please - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:00
Country of Origin: India Leaf Appearance: small, dark with golden tips Ingredients: black tea Steep time: 3 minutes Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: ceramic teacup and mesh infuser Liquor: reddish brown This tea was a fairly run of the mill Assam. There were quite a lot of golden tips, which is purely cosmetic but still something that I like to see. The taste was earthy and Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

US League of tea growers membership drive

T Ching - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 12:05

Brookhaven, MS – The US League of Tea Growers (USLTG) is excited to announce we will begin accepting members in April 2015! There are a number of levels to meet membership needs, and by becoming a member you are providing the much needed funds to assist in the mission of the league:

  • We actively encourage the growing and production of high value specialty teas within the USA, promote farmer collaboration, and encourage new growers.
  • We represent tea farmers and their views with the US Tea Council and the International Tea Committee.
  • We stimulate machinery and systems development by academia or commercial companies to enable high technology agronomy and harvesting and to produce best-method handbooks of proven practical advice on growing, harvesting and processing of tea.

There will be four (4) membership levels available. The Founder’s level of membership ($1000) is available until March 31, 2017. A Small Grower is a Full member, growing 25 plants or more, with voice and vote within the league, and is board eligible. The annual membership fee is $100.00 and the grower must reside and grow tea in the United States. Once a member grows one acre or more of tea plants, they will be considered a Large Grower. Large Growers are Full members, with voice and vote within the league, and is board eligible. The annual membership fee is $250.00 and the grower must reside and grow tea in the United States. In recognition of the many retailers, international growers, hobbyists, and supporters that have cheered us along on this journey, a Supplier is an Associate member, with a voice, but no vote within the league. The annual membership fee is $25.00 and these members can reside outside the United States.

For more information about the USLTG membership drive, please visit teagrowers.com and click on the “Become a Member” badge OR contact Josephie Dean Jackson at jdj@easttexastea.com.

About USLTG:

The US League of Tea Growers (“USLTG”), formed in 2013 by Nigel Melican, of Teacraft, Ltd., and Jason McDonald, of The Great Mississippi Tea Company, is a professional group promoting and educating tea growers (only 25 plants needed for a small grower) in the United States.

Naomi Rosen is an advocate for US Grown Tea; you can find her at Joy’s Teaspoon.

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Sri Lankan Pumpkin Chai from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

So I’m really enjoying this Pettaiagala Extra Long Leaf OP we got in from Sri Lanka, and I know the pumpkin chai blends go over better in the fall, but I couldn’t help thinking that this would make an awesome pumpkin chai. So we blended it with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black peppercorns and organic pumpkin and other flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first saw the announcement for this Sri Lankan Pumpkin Chai from 52Teas I double checked my calendar.  Yep, it’s March.  (Well, it was at the time of this tea’s announcement!)  Pumpkin Chai isn’t exactly a tea that you expect to find in March.  In September, sure.  Maybe even as early as August.  OK.  From August through January, but when February arrives, we’ve pretty much had it up to here with pumpkin.  By that point, we’ve had pumpkin pies, pancakes, cookies, soup, cupcakes and tea.  By February, it’s time to break out the Valentines and extinguish the jack-o-lantern.

So I entered into this tea experience with a certain amount of “meh.”

But I’m really enjoying this chai.  It’s heavy on the nutmeg and I’m liking that.  (Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices.)  Usually when nutmeg is promised as one of the ingredients in a chai, I taste hints of the nutmeg but this is a well pronounced flavor.

I’m also getting a strong dose of cinnamon.  The cardamom is a background note.  The ginger and pepper hit the palate at about mid-sip.  They aren’t overly aggressive, but they do offer a pleasant spicy zing to the cup.  I find myself missing clove here – I think a little clove might help round out the flavors just a little bit better.

Last year (at a more appropriate pumpkin time – September 22) 52Teas offered a Pumpkin Chai that I reviewed in October and I seem to recall that having a nicely defined pumpkin-y flavor to it, but I’m not tasting as much pumpkin with this blend as with the previous chai.  The pumpkin does emerge somewhat as the tea cools a little.

But the lack of clove and pumpkin-y flavor might hide the nutmeg and really, for me, this chai is about the NUTMEG!  I could smell it when I opened the pouch.  Before I smelled the cinnamon or ginger or cardamom or pepper, I smelled nutmeg.  And as I hinted at before, this made me a very happy sipper, indeed.

And because this is the one of the best celebrations of nutmeg in a tea that I’ve had in quite some time, I will let the fact that it’s mid-April and I’m sipping on a pumpkin chai slide.  Just this once.

The post Sri Lankan Pumpkin Chai from 52Teas appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Maple Apple Cider Herbal from Stash

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Rooibos

Where to Buy: Stash

Tea Description:

This herbal tea combines the sweetness of maple with the tartness of apple for a lively, delicious cup. Fruity hibiscus and rooibos have been blended with sweet cinnamon, maple, apple and caramel flavors for this tasty tea cider. A touch of sugar brings out the flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This had a fancier box than other Stash teas I’ve seen so I’m wondering if, based on the flavour, this was a seasonal/Christmas blend? Upon opening up the box, the wrapper itself has a different design too. There’s definitely something different about this blend!

There’s really no smell to the dry teabag; if I concentrate maybe a little apple. It’s very weak though; I hoped the tea itself has more flavour. Steeped up, I could smell the cider part of the tea quite strongly, but no maple. I really hope I pick the maple up in the taste; it’s what intrigued me about this tea in the first place! It made this something a little bit different. And as a Canadian, I can never really resist anything maple anyway.

Sipping on it now though; and there definitely is more flavour than what the dry leaf led me to believe. It really does taste like apple cider; good apple cider too! Just the right balance of sweet, tart, and spice. And speaking of that spice, there’s obviously cinnamon but the nutmeg in here is a really nice touch too. Nutmeg has really grown on me, I never used to be a fan but now when a tea includes it I get so excited! That’s the first wave of flavour but then it eases a little into the maple; it’s a little raw and unrefined tasting with a sappy quality. I like it! It makes the cup sweet and layered, and I like that this one doesn’t feel completely put together, with the ’T’s crossed and ’I’s dotted. Sometimes a little reliable inconsistency makes a tea good. If that makes any sense at all.

There are also a few other interesting notes here; I’m picking woody-cedar like notes too! Maybe it’s a trick of the mind because of the raw, sappy maple or maybe part of it is from the rooibos – but it’s very enjoyable regardless. Actually, now that I think of it the more I’m sure it’s from the rooibos. I love how natural and earthy this tea tastes though; for once the wood like quality is contributing something that enhances the tea flavourings!

There’s surprisingly a lot going on with this tea bag. Colour me quite impressed!

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Yamane-en: Sugabou, Gyokuro Karigane Houjicha Green Tea from Yunomi

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

Stems of high grade tea is called karigane 雁音. By roasting these stems in an iron pot, it becomes Karigane Houjicha. This particular product uses gyokuro tea stems from Uji, Kyoto.

This karigane houjicha is roasted in an iron pot over strong heat. Only the surface of the stems are roasted, retaining the flavor of the tea itself, because the inner part of the stem is not roasted. Both the strong aroma and taste of tea can be enjoyed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first read the name on the package of tea, I was overwhelmed by the name alone. What did any of that mean? The only word I understood was gyokuro and houjicha. I am always into trying a houjicha green tea from Yunomi.

By doing a little deciphering and careful read through the insightful description was I able to discern with little effort what all it meant. Karigane is a form of kukicha, which is stick tea, basically. But the thing about Karigane is that it is a cut above your average run of the mill kukicha because it is made from high grade teas, such as gyokuro. leave it to the Japanese to make the most out of everything they are given! After a good and strong roasting in an iron pot, the core of the tea is still intact, and the delicate nuanced sticks blending together with the roasted flavor I know and love.

The dry leaves (or should I say sticks?) looks quite unlike any other houjicha that I have ever seen. The leaves are a light straw gold. The roasted and slightly smoky aroma reached my nose and I was hooked. Steeping the leaves in my favorite kyusu revealed a comforting toasted cup of roasty goodness. There were some nice coffee notes hidden there somewhere, and it complimented everything in a way that was unsurprisingly lovely.

I have had plenty of houjicha in my time, everything from yama moto yama teabags and flavored kit kats to freshly fired bancha from a cousin on their latest trip and this really is the best I’ve ever had. I sense that this could be that it is from karigane, and I don’t think I’ve had karigane in roasted form in the past. The aftertaste this leaves is amazing. A mix of refreshing roasted sweetness with a slight smoke note at the end. As it cooled, it became sweeter.

I took this tea in a thermos for my most recent hike, and it was the perfect end note to a nice, quiet hike. I was lucky enough to miss the snowstorm during the hike, and sitting in the car and warming up to a big steaming mug of this tea really just hit the spot.

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Adagio Teas Kai Hua Crescendo

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 16:00
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: jade green, needle-like Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 2 minutes Water Temperature: 180 degrees Preparation Method: Teavana Perfect Tea Maker Liquor: deep gold +Adagio Teas  is well known for their fandom blends but every once in a while, they offer a straight tea that really makes me sit up and take notice. I ordered a sample pack this tea becauseNicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

ITCC at WTE in LB . . . and other acronyms

T Ching - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 12:01

For tea lovers attending the World Tea Expo in Long Beach May 6-8, ITCC (International Tea Cuppers Club) will host their 6th Annual Cup Warming event. This year, the tea tasting social will be conducted on the main events stage on Friday, May 8, from 1:00 – 2:00. As in the past, several producers and experts will be presenting teas from their countries and offer a taste of their special teas. As always, the event is open to everyone, as well as ITCC members, and is free of charge. So we will have enough cups and tea, an RSVP to itcc@teacuppers is appreciated – but not required. According to one of last year’s attendees, it is “A great way to learn more about great teas directly from the experts and connect with fellow tea professionals and aficionados. Can’t wait for the next one.” The event is listed on the WTExpo website under the Special Events section under the Events tab. Here is the direct link. ITCC will also have a booth on the show floor this year. Come by and enjoy some tea with fellow Cuppers! Booth 1121, across from the N.A. Tea Champion Winners tasting area.

Last year’s event was held the night before the Expo. Nonetheless, nearly 100 people attended! Experts from India, China, Japan and Sri Lanka introduced several teas, some brought in especially for the event. One amazing tea, an SFTGFOP from Darjeeling, subsequently made the headlines in international news and was valued at nearly $2,000 per kilo, wholesale price!

The ITCC Cup Warming at the Xiamen (China) International Tea Fair this past October was  attended by well over 150 people with presenters from China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Argentina. ITCC will be returning to Xiamen this October and is hosting a 3-5 day tea tour in advance of the Tea Fair. For those attending the Hong Kong International Tea Fair in August, look for ITCC there too.

For those new to ITCC, it is an international community of tea lovers of all levels who are interested in learning more about good teas, their origins, and related issues. The hallmark Cupping Events, held several times a year, focus on tasting and evaluating specific teas and regions. The next Cupping Event will investigate the prized spring-picked Japanese Shin Cha. Cupping Events are open to all members  and membership is open to all who have a passion for learning and appreciating tea. For more information on ITCC or to request a copy of the most recent newsletter Cupping Notes, please visit www.teacuppers.com or call (630) 961-0877.

Loading image courtesy of Dan Robertson.  Image 1:     Image 2:

   

  

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Blood Orange Tea from Mountain Witch Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mountain Witch Tea Company

Tea Description:

This unusual tea blend combines the sweet flavor of blood orange with black tea, roses, a dash of sweet vanilla and other delicious fruit flavors. It’s a real taste delight similar to an orange creamsicle. It is made with our best black tea, orange peel, rose hips, rose petals, safflowers, natural & artificial flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I was a kid, I loved orange creamsicles.  I asked my mom for them all of the time.  Those and those Fred Flinstone “Push-Ups”.  My whole family loved them.  We made a huge mess with them.  They always seemed to melt before we were able to finish them.  I remember one night my dad almost taking down an entire box himself.  This tea tastes just like one of those!!

I have had several teas in the past that say they taste like an orange creamsicle but those always seemed to fall short.  Usually the black tea base was always stronger than it should be or the orange flavoring tasted fake.  So when I was on Steepster and checking out everybody’s reviews I noticed a new company I had never heard of.  Mountain Tea Witch Company.  I checked them out and they had several different flavored blacks, greens, whites, and herbals.  I was excited about the different ones that they offered.  Blueberry Pancake, Bavarian Vanilla Cream, and Blood Orange Tea just to name a few.  There were so many to choose from.

First sip, I was expecting that artificial orange taste to hit me, but that wasn’t the case at all.  This tasted like a real orange with a creamy vanilla side.  I am even having trouble typing up this review because I keep stopping to drink more. This may very well be the best orange tea I have ever had.  The vanilla is so perfectly done.  It provides that natural sweetness and soft creaminess that blends so very well with the blood orange. All of the flavors taste very fresh and not artificial at all.   There is a black tea base but its hardly noticeable.  I am even drinking this iced and usually you instantly taste the black tea.  Not so here.    Just a very well balanced tea.  I am extremely pleased with this offering and am looking forward to checking out the rest of the teas they have to offer.  Well done!

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Sant Superfruit Beverage from Sant

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 22:00

Keep reading to find out how to win your own package of Sant Superfruit!

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  Sant

Tea Description:

The fruit, Garcinia indica, is super.  Its been used in Ayuervedic medicine for 1000’s of years to balance the mind & body. It has Garcinol, HCA, xanthones; vitamins B1, B3, B9, B12, C; maganese, magnesium, and potassium and 5x more antioxidants than Kale.

Learn more about Sant here.

Taster’s Review:

I learned about Sant Superfruit Beverage from Kickstarter, because they were running their campaign about the same time that I ran my first campaign.  I was curious about the beverage and I do like to support people on Kickstarter since I’ve been pretty active on Kickstarter over the last three months or so.

Kokum Fruit or Garcinia Indica before it’s dried and becomes Sant Superfruit!

But as I read about the beverage that results from infusing Sant the Superfruit, I realized that this is probably going to taste a lot like hibiscus.  As some of you are probably well aware, I’m not particularly fond of hibiscus.  However, my curiosity and desire to support a fellow Kickstarter seemed to over-ride my dislike for hibiscus, so I decided, let’s try it!  Why not go ahead and give it a try.

It was another of those, “hey, what have I got to lose” moments.  Of course, I did have a certain risk element that is attached to Kickstarter.  So there is that.  But, as long as the people at Sant weren’t going to abscond with my cash, I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose.  And, I didn’t think they were going to send me poisonous fruit.  I mean, the lady in the picture looks nothing like the evil queen that poisoned Snow White.  So, I asked myself, other than the cash risk element and the risk that Sant could possibly be owned by the evil queen impersonating a real person that can do a headstand (impressive!), what else did I have to lose?  Nothing, really.  I mean, what was the worst that could happen?  I guess I could find out that I’m allergic to Sant.  There is that.  OK, but what else did I have to lose?

At this point, I was starting to think that I didn’t think this out as clearly as I thought I did.  But, I still decided to try it and toss caution to the wind.  So, instead of a what have I got to lose moment, this became a “what the heck, if I don’t end up dead, then I’ll write a review about it” moment.

I decided to try this a couple of different ways.  The first sampling, I hot steeped it.  Bringing the kettle to 195°F, I got out my infuser mug.  This is a 12 ounce mug with a ceramic infuser insert.  I don’t use this mug often because the ceramic infuser has really big holes in it (it’s made of ceramic) and so tea can just sort of cruise in and out of those holes and leave floaters in my tea.  I’m not fond of floaters.

But these pieces of dried pieces of Kokum fruit are fairly large.  There are different sizes, with some being about the size of a slivered almond and others being closer to the size of a dried apricot.  On average, the pieces are about the size of a shelled, halved walnut.

So I dropped four pieces of fruit into the infuser of my infuser mug and poured the hot water over the fruit.  I let it steep for a minute.  The liquid was a very pale pink.  It looked nothing like the rich ruby color that I saw in the picture (above).  So I let it steep for another five minutes.  At this point, even though the desired color had not been achieved, my fear of tarty hibiscus taste dictated to me that I must cease the steeping process.

The fruit is now soft to the touch.  It’s been somewhat re-hydrated, but not completely.  The liquid is more of a blush color.

The flavor is TART!  Adding some honey makes this a much nicer tasting beverage, so I highly recommend doing so.  It has a hibiscus-y like quality to it, but there’s more of a fruity element to it.  While hibiscus has more of a berry-tartness to it. this is more like a plum tartness.

For my second experiment/tasting with Sant, I decided to try cold-brewing some of it.  I used my glass iced tea pitcher and added 1/2 gallon of freshly filtered water to the pitcher.  After I saw how pale my hot brewed infusion became, I decided that I’d try a little more fruit to this infusion, and I added about 2 palmfuls of the tea (This would amount to approximately 20 pieces of fruit of varying sizes).

This is pretty close to the color of the liquid in my fridge right now.

Then I put the lid on the pitcher and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours.  By a few hours, I mean 6 hours.  After six hours, I fished out the re-hydrated fruit from the now bright maroon-colored liquid.

I took a few sips of the infusion and TART!

Keep in mind that the longer you keep the fruit in there, more potent (and tart) the beverage becomes.  So you can keep it in there for a little less time for a lighter flavor and less tartness or you can keep it in there for longer than I did for a deeper color and more likely a stronger tart flavor.

I made a simple syrup of raw sugar and water and I added it to the cold liquid.  With the sugar (not too much, I would say about 1/8 a cup of sugar for 1/2 gallon of the drink), the Sant Superfruit Beverage is an enjoyable, refreshing drink.  It has a really tasty, fruity flavor to it that reminds me of plums and berries – but interestingly enough, not in a hibiscus-y way.  I’d take a glass of Sant over a glass of chilled hibiscus tea ANY day!

I doubt it will ever take the place of iced tea in my fridge, but I am enjoying this and I’m finding myself curious about some of their recipes.

Now, you’re probably wondering about that giveaway, right?

When I got my reward for backing Sant’s Kickstarter, I actually got TWO packages of Sant instead of one.  I guess two labels addressed to me printed out so by a lucky chance, I got a surprise in the mail from Sant.  Actually, I got two surprises in the mail from them because I was STUNNED at how quickly we got the reward from this project!  I certainly wasn’t expecting to go out to the mailbox and pull out one package from Sant, but I got TWO!

So, I talked to Kim at Sant and she gave her blessing to let my lucky surprise be a lucky surprise for one of our readers!  If you’d like to try Sant, I’ve got a full 50 gram package to send to one of you!

To enter, just comment on this review below!  Tell us why you’d like to try Sant and while you’re at it, don’t forget to include a way to get in touch with you should you be the lucky winner of the random draw on Friday, April 24.

Want a way to earn extra entries?  Of course you do!  Here are a few ways to earn extra entries, you get one bonus entry for each one you complete!

1.  Go to facebook and “Like” Sant’s page.

2.  While you’re there, go ahead and like the SororiTea Sisters too!

3.  And since you’re still on Facebook, go to your page and write about this giveaway on your timeline!  Be sure to add a link to this review so that your friends can come by and read about Sant too!

Wa-La!  Three bonus entries!

Now it’s time for some fine print type of stuff, but instead of making it smaller, I’ll just make it italicized:  This contest is open to US & Canadian residents only.  You can enter to win now through April 24.  On April 25, a winner will be drawn via Random.org and contacted, and once contact is established, the winner’s name will be announced.  If we are unable to reach the winner within 3 days, that winner will forfeit and a new winning name will be drawn until contact is established.  To ensure that we get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner, please be sure to include the best way to contact you in your entry.  

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