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Only in Canada, you say? Pity.

T Ching - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:02

Growing up in Canada, Red Rose Tea was definitely the tea of choice from the time I was a child. A series of television commercials from the 1970′s made the above phrase a household saying. The advertisements usually featured staunch British folks having Red Rose Tea. After they sipped and learned it was available only in Canada, they would say, “Only in Canada, you say? Pity!”

What also made Red Rose Tea exciting and memorable while I was growing up were all the small, collectible, figurines that were featured prizes in each package. We could hardly wait to tear open the box of tea bags to retrieve the miniature ceramic figurine tucked inside; nestled in the tea bags. There was seldom a household visited that did not have window sills, shelves, and china cabinets lined with these tiny figurines. A brief history of the ceramic company is featured below. It was sheer marketing genius because every age group looked forward to the next box of Red Rose Tea!

Who, and what, was the Red Rose Tea Company? I never thought to ask that question until a recent trip home to Canada.

Red Rose Tea History

“The story of Red Rose Tea began way back in 1890 in Canada. Theodore Harding Estabrooks was born in Wicklow, Carleton County, New Brunswick, in 1861. He attended Kerrís Business College in Saint John, New Brunswick, and went into business himself in 1894 on Dock Street in downtown Saint John. He was a local business leader who came up with a great idea: produce and pack a quality blended tea which was consistent from cup to cup. Before, tea was sold loose from tea chests by local merchants and quality varied a great deal. Mr. Estabrooks’ innovation meant that tea lovers could count on the quality of tea in every Red Rose package — a tradition that continues to this day.

Red Rose was primarily sold in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada, but soon distribution expanded into other parts of Canada and into the United States, beginning in the 1920′s. Initially, distribution was limited to cities near the Canadian border such as Portland, Buffalo, and Detroit. In 1929, Red Rose introduced tea bags for the first time. 

The business continued to expand and in 1932, a new chapter in the history of Red Rose began. Mr. Estabrooks sold Red Rose to Brooke Bond & Company of England. Arthur Brooke had founded Brooke Bond and Company in 1869, starting with a single tea shop. There was no Mr. Bond, but Arthur Brooke thought it sounded better. What would become one of the world’s leading tea companies was born!

During the 1890′s, Arthur Brooke expanded beyond tea shops and into the wholesale tea market, using vans to deliver his tea all over England. The Brooke Bond name became synonymous with tea throughout the United Kingdom. Brooke’s company introduced a second brand — PG Tips in 1930. Brooke Bond also became a major brand in the large tea market of India. With the sale to Brooke Bond, Red Rose became part of a global tea company and flourished under the guidance of the parent company. Arthur Brooke’s son, Gerald, became chairman in 1910. 

Following the Second World War, Brooke Bond established their Canadian branch in Montreal, Quebec, continuing to grow the Red Rose Tea brand. By the 1970′s, Red Rose was sold in most of the United States and Canada.

In 1985, Unilever NV acquired Brooke Bond Foods, Inc. Shortly thereafter, Unilever sold the rights to the Red Rose brand in the United States to Redco Foods, Inc. retaining the rights in Canada and other parts of the world. Production of Red Rose Tea for the United States market moved to Little Falls, N.Y., in 1988.

Today, Red Rose is blended with the same care that Theodore Harding Estabrooks established more than a century ago. Red Rose contains high-grown black teas from Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Kenya, India and Indonesia. The result is a blend that produces a full-flavored cup of tea for the tea lover. We think Mr. Estabrooks would be proud.” * 

Figurine History

“Red Rose began to give away Wade miniatures 42 years ago, in 1967. At first, the promotion was very restricted in terms of geographical area. Figurines were given away in Quebec, Canada, as part of a short-term promotion. The results were so successful that the promotion was gradually extended until it covered all of Canada. In 1983, the promotion was finally launched “full scale” in the United States. To date, it is estimated that more than 300 million Wade figurines have been given away in packages of tea in America.

Although figurines had been offered to American collectors via mail and had been test marketed in two regions in the 1970′s (Pittsburgh and Pacific North West), it was not until 1983 that they became widely available in the United States. While the molds were the same as those used for Canadian series, coloring and glazes were different.

At the end of each series, a closeout option is given to consumers to purchase a complete set of figurines from the current series while inventory supplies last. After a series has closed out, availability will be limited to trading among other collectors. Look for closeout options in specially marked boxes of Red Rose Tea at the end of each series promotion. We at Red Rose adhere to a very strict “no sale” policy during in-pack promotions. Our figurines are for promotional purposes only.” *

Wade Ceramics

Whisper “Wade Whimsies” into many people’s ears and it will mean only one thing: small animal figurines from the George Wade Pottery of Burslem, England. Wade began in 1810 in Burslem, England, with a small workshop and a single pottery oven making mostly bottles and pottery items. He soon turned his attention to the more profitable ceramics’ needs of textile mills, which supported the company into the late 1920′s. As well as industrial ceramics, Wade produced a line of beautiful figurines, many Art Deco. These were so popular that animal figures were added. The line ran into a snag when it was found that the Cellulose finish turned yellow and peeled off with age. In the late 1930′s some models were reissued with a high-gloss underglaze finish.

The outbreak of the second World War in 1939 led to the cessation of all non-essential ceramic items.  Domestic ceramic production was limited to plain, undecorated dinnerware and teapots.

Intended for children, the figurines also appeal to adults who have not lost their sense of imagination. Rumor has it that these figurines were often used in English pubs for striking matches to light pipes. Also for use in kitchens, these “strikers” were used to light the match to heat the stove. That is why the base of each is graded — for striking a match.

The Wade figurines have become collectors’ items and are very much in demand. Today, Wade figurines are still offered as a premium with the purchase of select boxes of Red Rose Tea.

Many Whimsies, often those apparently in the same range, are different from each other. This is due to the length of time they were made and the volume of output. Molds became worn and were retooled for fresh use. Nearly all Red Rose Figurines, with the exception of the very first, have one significant feature: fine molded parallel ridges on the underside of the base. It now seems to have become a “trademark” for all Wade “Whimsies” to follow, making them remarkable Red Rose collectibles.

Only in Canada? Not anymore!! But you still see the grocery store shelves very well stocked with Red Rose Tea, and most places that give you a pot of water for tea, seem to always offer Red Rose Tea as part of their tea selections. 

*Research for this post came from Red Rose Tea.

Images courtesy of the contributor, snapped just a few weeks ago during a visit to Canada.

The post Only in Canada, you say? Pity. appeared first on T Ching.

Virtual Tea Tasting – Dragonwell

Joy's Teaspoon - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:54

by Naomi Rosen

The second time around and we are getting the chance to be a part of history! Teaity is breaking ground again, on Wednesday April 30th, with the first ever-online guided tea tasting! If you’ve never experienced a tea tasting, it is similar to a wine tasting. This virtual event will help participants discover the unique nuances of Dragonwell (Lung Ching or Longjing) — a Chinese Green tea.

Participants will steep the selected tea immediately preceding the tasting with instructions shared by Teaity and the co-hosts, Stash Tea and Joy’s Teaspoon.

Together, with the guidance of our hosts, we will:

  • Evaluate the leaf quality (dry and steeped) by visual inspection and smell.
  • Assess the liquor for color and clarity of the steeped tea.
  • Sample the liquors’ mouthfeel, astringency, taste, and finish.

You can brew your perfect cup of Dragonwell, from Stash Tea, with the help of Teaity!

Be ready for the Virtual Tea Tasting by ordering Dragonwell from our Co-Host and Sponsor, Stash Tea!

To be entered to win one of our 4 prize packs, RSVP and follow @teaity@stashtea and @joysteaspoon.

#TEAityChat: A Virtual Tea Tasting 
Hashtag: #TEAityChat
Date: April 30, 2014
Time: 8 PM – 9 PM ET
Prizes: 4 Prize Packs
Co-Hosts: @teaity, @stashtea, @joysteaspoon
RSVP Link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/teaitychat-a-virtual-tea-tasting-tickets-11204293343

We look forward to tweeting with all of you that night! Prepare yourselves for green tea frivolity!

Lilac Blend Black Tea from Strand Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Strand Tea

Tea Description:

Premium Black Teas from highland China blended with lilac flowers. This tea looks, smells, and tastes great.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I must agree with that last line in the description above:  this Lilac Blend Black Tea from Strand Tea DOES look, smell, and taste great!  I love the beautiful purple blossoms, the tea is lightly fragrant with the flower, and the flavor is a rich, full-flavored black tea with a delicate floral tone.

I really like the texture of this tea.  It has a delightfully round taste, and the texture is almost creamy when it glides over the palate.  The flavor is lightly floral and sweet with notes of caramel and honey.

I can’t say that the flower that I taste is distinctly “lilac” because I can’t say for certain that I’ve actually tried a tea with lilac flower in it before.  But I will say that the delicate flower notes are very pleasant.  The flowery notes don’t taste sharp, they are soft and sweet tasting.  It doesn’t taste off-putting or perfume-ish.  It’s just really … nice!

I have been a fan of Strand Tea for a while.  I love that they’re a local company, and I love that they embrace that with their Portland Blend.  I also like that they include cookies with every order.  I love it when a company adds special little touches like that … it makes me feel special as a customer, and it makes me want to order from that company again, and the next time I order from them, I’m going to be getting more of this Lilac Blend because it’s really good!

The post Lilac Blend Black Tea from Strand Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Slow Motion Tea Time With Alan Rickman

Tea Guy Speaks - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 16:00
Here's a clip of actor Alan Rickman taking his time over a cup of tea and then doing some actorish type grimaces and gestures and whatnot. If he seems to be moving slowly do not adjust your dials. It's part of the Portraits in Dramatic Time series, by David Michalek. More at his Web site.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online

Whisper of the Woods Green Tea Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea Description:

The most beautifully soothing mint green tea. Imagine a crisp beautiful sunrise in a densely wooded pine-oak forest with sheets of trilliums and wild currant berries. You wake up, step out of your tent and breathe the last sliver of fog before the shattered sunlight wisps it away. Whisper of the Woods is an ideal green tea reminiscent of that crisp and floral serenity with just the perfect amount of heart-warming energy to induce prana and exploration. Enjoy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!  I don’t know why, but something about this Whisper of the Woods Green Tea Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company made me think that there’d be smoke notes to it.

I don’t know if it’s just the name of it:  Whisper of the Woods.  It makes me think of a walk through the woods and the smell of the air that would surround me as I’m walking, and in that image that is playing in my head, the smell of the air would include a touch of smoke from a far off log cabin with a fire blazing in the fireplace.  Or perhaps it’s just the name of the company:  Whispering Pines Tea Company.  Something about this company makes me think of that aforementioned blazing, crackling fire in the fireplace.

But this isn’t a smoky tea.  And I don’t know that I’d want it to be smoky.  I like the notes of mint – a combination of peppermint and spearmint – and I like the hint of jasmine.  I like the way these flavors play together with the sweet, lightly grassy notes of the green tea.

And what I like best is that this isn’t overwhelmingly minty.  Sure, the mint flavor is there and it’s strong and there’s no mistaking it.  But, it isn’t a “toothpaste-y” mint.  I don’t feel like I just took a sip of mouthwash.  This was masterfully blended, and the result is a mint tea that isn’t too minty.

The jasmine essence builds as I sip.  I barely noticed it in the first couple of sips, but, now that I’m nearly finished with the cup, the jasmine comes through really well.  It’s not perfume-y, but it brings a beautiful floral note to the cup.  I like the way the jasmine and mint notes come together.

It really is a bit like a whisper in the woods.  Imagine a gentle breeze filtering through the woods, picking up notes of wildflowers and mint growing in the wild along with hints of grass.  A beautiful scent.  A delicious flavor.  That’s what this tea delivers.

The post Whisper of the Woods Green Tea Blend from Whispering Pines Tea Company appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Tea Steeping Factors – Altitude, Temps and Times

Walker Tea Review - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 14:30
A traditional teabag is designed to remove the magic of making tea. Blenders work to mix the right ratio of leaves so that the taste profile is the same in every bag, year after year. Once you know what you brew from this bag, you can use the same parameters and get the same results. […]

Chamomile Citrus Herbal Tisane from Mighty Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 03:59

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Mighty Leaf

Tisane Description:

Chamomile Citrus herbal tea is a refreshing infusion perfected to curl up with and savor by the sip. Made with Soothing Egyptian chamomile flowers and subtle slices of citrus fruit, this vibrant blend will rejuvenate the spirit. From intoxicating aroma to sweet flavor, this signature herbal tea infusion in our silken tea pouch, our gourmet teabag twist, with chamomile, fruits and herbs reflects our vision of the artisan tea experience.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

I have made mention in the past of my dislike of chamomile.  OK, so I don’t hate chamomile.  But I just don’t love it.  I don’t think that I’ve ever thought:  ”You know, I’d really like a cup of chamomile tea.”  That just has never really happened, because there are so many other things I’d rather be drinking.  That said, sometimes, I need to chill out and relax, and chamomile does a good job of instilling that sense of calm that I want.

Much of my dislike of chamomile stems from past experiences of drinking teas made of crushed chamomile blossoms in a tea bag.  Yuck.  Fortunately, a lot of tea companies realize that when the chamomile blossom is whole and not crushed into dust, the brewed liquid tastes better.  Mighty Leaf figured this out, and I can see through their silky pouches that the chamomile used in this Chamomile Citrus Herbal Tisane is beautiful, big blossoms combined with citrus peel, lemongrass, lemon myrtle and other herbs.

The citrus flavors combined with the naturally sweet, apple-like flavor of the chamomile offers a pleasant taste that’s easy to sip.  The primary flavor here is the citrus flavors, followed by chamomile.  I am happy to say that I don’t taste a lot of hibiscus here, although I do find myself wishing that I tasted more of the spearmint.  I only taste very faint hints of mint in this cup.

Overall, this is a pleasant cup of tea.  Not something I’d drink everyday, but I can see myself turning to it when I needed something to help relax.  It’s very soothing and it’s tastier than plain chamomile.

The post Chamomile Citrus Herbal Tisane from Mighty Leaf appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

The last bit of 2013 green tea

Life in Teacup - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 23:29
I'm sitting in a room full of 2014 new green teas, while drinking this last bit of a 2013 green tea called "wild orchid bud". By the way this is a very unimpressive green tea name, as there are so many "orchid this", "orchid that" tea in China! This is one of my favorites in recent years. Amazingly, this tea still tastes very good. Sometime ago, when I wrote this blog post about shelf life of green tea, I was thinking that among all green teas well made and well stored, some teas simply last longer than others. For example, quite a few Anhui green teas (such as huang shan mao feng and this "wild orchid bud") seem to have much longer shelf life than teas like bi luo chun.

I tasted a few samples of this tea in 2012 and immediately fell in love with it. In recent years, I've decided to introduce at least one or two "new" (I mean new to American market) green teas to America. For example, in 2011, it was Orchid Fairy Twig. In 2012, it was Bai Mei Hua Jian. Up till today, not many people have heard of this latter tea (but the knowledgeable barbel carp tea lexicon has included this tea, impressive!), either in China or else where. But it's not less tasty than many very famous green teas. Last year, my "new" tea to bring up was supposed to be this "wild orchid bud". But unfortunately, a whole shipment with this tea and a few others were lost in transition, and eventually I only got a little bit of this tea as a gift in an order of other teas. But this year, it will come again!

Why would I drink old tea while the new tea is already here? There are a few reasons.

First, I'm very thrifty. Got to finish the old tea, no waste of tea!

Secondly, no matter how good the old tea remains, once you start the new tea, under the comparison, you will immediately switch to new tea and won't want any of the old tea anymore. You all know it.

Thirdly, it's ok to wait for a while. Traditionally, it was recommended that the new green tea should rest for 2-4 weeks before usage. It was for several combined reasons, including the flavor development of the tea and the traditional Chinese medicine theories. Whether or not the tea is healthier after a couple of weeks' resting, there isn't any evidence-based conclusion yet. But I do believe it and wouldn't mind waiting for a big longer. In the old days, one wouldn't even think about whether the green tea needs to be rested for 2-4 weeks, because nobody could get it any time sooner anyway. It used to take weeks for a green tea to be transported from its hometown to the province next to it. Nowadays, it takes several days for a tea to be transported from its mountain to another side of the earth, and it is possible to drink a new tea very soon. But it wouldn't be too much pain to wait for a bit longer. So, try to finish your 2013 tea first! ;-)

Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha from DōMatcha

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  DōMatcha

Tea Description:

Certified organic by JONA (Japan Organic and Natural Foods Association), this premium, organic ceremonial Matcha is the purest and most sustainable way to enjoy the ancient Matcha tradition. Our DoMatcha™ Ceremonial Organic Matcha is produced in Kagoshima, Japan.

Learn more about this Matcha here.

Taster’s Review:

One question I’m asked often by tea drinkers is:  What is the best Matcha available?  When I first started out as a tea reviewer, my answer to that question was always, immediately, unequivocally:  DōMatcha.

Since that time, I have sampled MANY different Matcha teas, and I’ve enjoyed many of Matcha teas that I’ve tried.  Like other products, I can say that I liked some more than others.  And now, the aforementioned question regarding what Matcha is the best is a bit more difficult to answer because my experience has allowed me the unique opportunity to sample many amazing Matcha teas.  But, DōMatcha remains right up there close to the top of the list.  And this Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha from DōMatcha is one of the best that you’ll ever taste.

It has a bright, fresh, and lively flavor to it.  It tastes remarkably fresh.  When prepared traditionally – scooped, sifted and then whisked with a chasen until completely incorporated – it becomes a frothy, bright green liquid that keeps its froth until you finish the bowl.  (Not that finishing the bowl takes long with this stuff – it tastes so good that it’s difficult to stop sipping!)

I love that the powdered green tea stays sustained in the liquid until I take that last sip.  I don’t get a gritty or chalky sort of texture from any sip.  It stays smooth and sweet and delicious until I’ve finished the bowl.

It tastes sweet and vegetal.  I experience a “bittersweet” sort of taste from it, similar to what I’d experience if I had bitten into a bar of high quality dark chocolate.  It’s not “bitter” but there is contrast to the sweetness of the leaf.  The palate feels enlivened as I sip it, and I can feel the liquid go to work and begin to invigorate me.  This is the stuff!

I love that this is organic.  I love that it’s a ceremonial grade Matcha so it works with a koicha preparation (thick soup) or usucha preparation (thin soup).  I prefer somewhere in between, and I don’t usually do precise measurement when I prepare Matcha.  I scoop some out, sift it, and then pour in hot water, whisking the mixture into a thick paste, and then add water until I’ve reached my desired  consistency.

A really superb Matcha – this is one that I’d continue to recommend to those who are looking for a top-notch Matcha.  It’s the good stuff!

The post Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha from DōMatcha appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Tea Review 519: Teamania’s Oolong #12 Jin Xuan

Walker Tea Review - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 14:30
  Origin: Doi Mae Salong, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand Harvest: 2012 Score: 88 Price (as of post): 200 g = $13.48  to Walker Tea Review. Get complete access to Member Content.   Sign Up For The Newsletter. Sample provided by Teamania. Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings. Want to see […]

Happy tea cup art

Tea Squared - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 13:00

Just a bit of merchandise spotted at Disneyland recently —

Iced Black Tea from Tazo

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 03:59

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Tazo on their website.

Tea Description:

Certain feats, like executing a reverse swan dive into a shimmering pool while wearing a pair of Euro-cut trunks and a captain’s hat, out only be attempted by a select few.  This blend of black teas has the kind of cool, smooth sophistication to pull off a move like that, should it choose to do so.

Taster’s Review:

I received a box of this Iced Black Tea from Tazo from a friend, and while I certainly appreciated her generosity and thoughtfulness, I also appreciated that I didn’t actually buy this tea myself.  I would have been sorely disappointed had I done so.

That’s because this is one of the most mediocre teas I’ve tasted in a long time.  The thing that I appreciated most about this tea is that it helped me realize just how good the other iced teas that I’ve been drinking lately really are.

I tried brewing this many different ways.  I first tried cold brewing the tea, and this produced a rather flat and boring tasting tea.  Then I tried resteeping those tea bags – hot brewing the tea this time – and the results were much the same:  boring tea.  Not much flavor to them at all.  And I wasn’t even looking for “flavoring” type of flavor, I was just looking for a good, brisk, refreshing black tea flavor.  But I didn’t get that.

Then I tried hot brewing new (previously unsteeped) teabags.  Again … just sort of lackluster.  This is the kind of flavor I’d expect from the tea in the yellow, white and red box, but not from a tea that is supposed to be at least one notch above that brand.   But after trying to brew this tea several different ways, there was nothing I could do to make this tea taste good.  The problem wasn’t with the brewing method, but the tea itself.

A really sad tea.  It’s tea like this that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those that claim not to like tea.  I wouldn’t like tea either if this is all that I had to drink.

The post Iced Black Tea from Tazo appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Who Knew It Could Happen Twice?

Joy's Teaspoon - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 00:45

by Naomi Rosen

When I first launched JoysTeaspoon.com, I made a Tea Business Bucket List (Crytpic name, I know). It looked like this:

  1. Offer great tea.
  2. Educate tea drinkers on palate and nuances.
  3. Educate tea drinkers of environmental and social impacts of tea.
  4. Meet Leonardo DiCaprio. (What?)
  5. Be a part of the educational offerings presented by World Tea EXPO.

I do offer great tea, I do educate, and last yeath-r I was a part of a World Tea EXPO panel session discussing blogging within your business. Damn you security guards for thwarting my 100% completion on that list!

That said, World Tea EXPO has asked me to come back. And not just for one session…but two! Firstly, I will be moderating the Bloggers Tea Roundtable (5/30). I admire every single one of the bloggers on this panel and am super excited to hear what is said! The line-up includes:

For my next trick…I was also asked to represent small tea businesses as a panelist in the “New Face of Retail” panel discussion being offered on Saturday (5/31) morning. It’s being moderated by Elyse Peterson of Tealet, who happens to be one of my favorite tea people! Here’s a snippet of the description for this class:

“Join some of the brightest up and coming stars of tea retail in the United States as they come together to discuss the current and upcoming trends in tea retail. This panel will include experts in the area of tea education, in-store blending, popup retail, bitcoin payments, and true tea sales. You do not want to miss this session!”

They called me “brightest”! That almost never happens.

As you can clearly see, between these two sessions, the countless cups of tea I will be ingesting, the US League of Tea Growers meeting I will be attending, and the reconnecting with tea friends, it is shaping up to be an epic three days for me!

I always have a “Lookout List” with me of products, teas, and items I am trying to track down. Is there something you think we should start carrying? Shoot a note over to naomi@joysteaspoon.com and fire off your suggestions!

A New Name?

The Devotea - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:39

This is a scene from Yes Minister that I have always loved. The second bit, not the first bit. http://youtu.be/OzeDZtx3wUw If you didn’t get around to watching it, there’s a suggestion that legislation is to be enacted in the European Parliament to cause the British sausage to cease being referred to as a ‘sausage’, but […]

The post A New Name? appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Cranberry Breeze Herbal Tisane from Simple Loose Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:00

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

This perfectly balanced blend of subtly sweet cherry and rose hips with tart cranberry and hibiscus make this herbal tea refreshingly delicious and reminiscent of a fun fruit punch drink. Perfect for children and others watching sugar and caffeine; Cranberry Breeze is wonderful hot or iced and is the perfect alternative to sweet caffeinated drinks.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

This Cranberry Breeze Herbal Tisane is not one I would have selected for myself.  I am sipping on it only because it was one of the five teas in this month’s Simple Loose Leaf Selection Club and I opted for the five samplers instead of choosing an ounce or two of two of the teas.  But you know what?  I’m glad that I received this because I am enjoying it.

Yeah, normally, I’m not a big fan of hibiscus, and this is hibiscus-y!  Really hibiscus-y.  When I drink a hibiscus-based tisane, I want it to either be light on the hibiscus, or have ingredients that work well with the hibiscus.  Well, this tisane isn’t light on the hibiscus, but the cranberry and hibiscus work very well together.

Yes, it’s tart.  There are times when I’d even go so far as to say it’s sour!  But, cranberries are like that, and as I said, the hibiscus and cranberry work really well together in this tisane.

I taste notes of sour cherry too, and the cherry and cranberry together give this a very juicy, fruity, party punch flavor only healthier, because even though I am not a fan of hibiscus, it is does bring a lot of health benefits to this party in a teacup.

I like this better iced than hot because the fruity punch flavor just tastes better iced.  Not my favorite tisane, but it is something that I’d drink now and then when I want something a little bit different to give my taste buds a jump start.  Try brewing up a pitcher of this, chilling it, and then serving it to the kids the next time they want something to drink – it’s a great naturally caffeine free alternative to those sugary sodas!

Oh, and don’t forget about Simple Loose Leaf’s special April promotion!  You can get your first month of the Selection Club for just one dollar!  Yes, you read that correctly!  Use this code:  1DOLLARMONTH and enjoy up to five different teas next month for just one dollar!  Wow!  That’s amazing!  Be sure to check it out and tell ‘em that I sent you!

The post Cranberry Breeze Herbal Tisane from Simple Loose Leaf appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Seven Cups Dian Hong Gong Fu 2012

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:00
Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with scattered golden tips
Ingredients: black tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep reddish brown

I couldn't resist picking up a bag of this tea when I ordered my annual indulgence of Huang Xi Zhang from Seven Cups. Chinese red tea is an interesting category because there are so many different kinds. At +Tea Drunk we have a fairly large leafed Dian Hong. They look giant compared to these tiny "gong fu" type leaves. The taste was bold and sweet with fruity notes and an almost brown sugar-like finish. On a cold and rainy day, this exactly what I needed! It wasn't as yammy or raisiny as other Dian Hongs that I have tried but that wasn't a bad thing in the least. There was a just a touch of astringency but I did not find it bitter or unpleasant. If you really must, it was full bodied enough for milk or sweeteners but please try it on its own first. You won't be sorry!

Dian Hong Gong Fu 2012 purchased from Seven Cups.
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39 Steeps - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:24
{ That's some jade there, all right. }  Jade Oolong, (Premium) by Green Hill Tea.
My students wanted to know what "jaded" meant. Of course, I knew the basic meaning: to be tired, cynical, unenthusiastic. But going to the more obvious meaning, it means a faded green, a pale echo of the bright color we see in our mind when we imagine that color.
Green Hill does not identify the source of their Jade Oolong, other than to say it's a high-mountain (2200 feet) crop from China. Generally speaking, I like to know where a tea is from, because I'm still learning and want to educate my palette as I taste. 
So in this case, I rely entirely upon my observations. I infuse with water just below boiling. Unfortunately,  here at work, I rely upon an electric kettle of filtered water, rather than my Japanese white charcoal setup I have at home. 
Dry, the leaves are tight and richly green, and quite fragrant. Wet, they take on a seaweed aroma, not unpleasant, which reminds me of the scent of the seashore. I depend on my sense of smell for my first introduction to a tea, and this is . . . okay, but not an unadorned delight. So this tea is not all about the aroma of the wet leaves, then. Good to know.
The wet leaves are a characteristic Chinese oolong: large leaves, which have readily opened up in the first steeping. So not very tightly twisted. Quite a bit of complete leaf, some broken, very little stem.
FIRST STEEPING. The liquor is -- wait for it -- a pale, jade green. You didn't see that coming at all, did you. The tea is good, quite good. It's a straight shooter, with a moderate vegetal quality, a flowery high range, and very little at the bottom of the register. Smooth, but with a hint of drying, a touch of an edge, which sharpens the senses. This tea wants you to stop and pay attention to it, rather than sitting good-naturedly and minding its own business. I enjoy its smoothness, and the huigan, or aftertaste (one of the few Chinese words I easily remember, so I use it often) holds in the mouth for minutes. Again, quite a straight shooter. The flavor of the tea and the huigan are closely linked, and I do not get a wide variety of flavors that develop in my mouth and nose over time. Though the tea liquor itself is green, it doesn't taste green, if you catch my meaning. It tastes golden-orange: mellow, a hint of brightness, burnished, open, not overpowering.
SECOND STEEPING. On the second steeping, I went rather long, with a moderate amount of leaf. The appearance of the cup is still a clean, pale green, as transparent as you would hope it would be. The cutting edge of the tea has arrived, and the vegetal note is more pronounced. This is not an especially assertive tea, so if you want a tea so strong you can stand a spoon up in it, you'd be better off with a meaty assam or an opinionated Ceylon mix. But even here, the smoothness and laid-back quality of the first steeping is long gone. This oolong is balanced between the acidic brightness, the slight dryness, and the overarching floral smoothness. Nicely done.
SO WHAT ARE THESE OBSERVATIONS ALL ABOUT? you may ask. I want to remember what I drink. I want to remember what I think when I'm cupping tea. Flavor and aroma are tightly bound to memory and place, and I want to capture some of my life I pass through it. This moment is green oolong, lightly sharp flavor, blue sky, end of winter, bare trees, deadlines I need to meet, anxiety I'm holding down, beloved by family, enjoying my teaching job, quiet moment in the midst of some familiar struggles, needing more sleep, wishing I were traveling, enjoying Shakespeare's "As You Like It," and trying to get back to work captioning. In other words, pretty much a normal morning, with a lovely cup of tea worthy of attention, rather than just let slip by unnoticed and unmarked.Please click over to visit my blog to get to know me better. And if you would be so kind, join the site with Google Friend Connect and share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for your patronage!

First tea set

T Ching - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:00

Five miles of hiking uphill would land you at the cabin I was raised in. Water came from a hand pump, light from a kerosene lantern, heat from a wood cook stove, milk from a series of goats – always inexplicably named “Billie” – and fresh greens from our garden. My father hunted ducks, pheasants, and venison. My mother made bread, tofu, and wild berry preserves. We all fished for trout! In the spring, we gathered mushrooms, miner’s lettuce, and in summer, wild onions. In the fall we gathered berries, and more mushrooms. One day a week, we would rest, read, take a stroll, play Dominoes or Scrabble, sing with Mom while she played the guitar. For a child who had never known of television or the shopping mall, it was the ideal life.

Three or four times a year, my grandparents would come to visit. They would park their car at the end of the road, shoulder huge packs, and trudge their way to our cabin. While our high Sierra lifestyle was rewarding, there were many things we could not grow, gather, or shoot, and some of these things had to be brought in. My grandfather would always carry a twenty pound bag of brown rice and a few gallons of kerosene. Grandma would carry several pounds of fresh and dried fruit, a pound or two of loose leaf tea, new jeans for one of us, and sometimes a simple toy for me – a yo-yo, jump rope or top. All of these items were hugely anticipated and appreciated . . . but the thing my parents would hug to their chests when the packs were opened was tea.

Although I had those few simple toys, working with my parents on our five acres was my life. From the time I could tell the difference between a”pretty rock?” and a vegetable seedling, I was put to work picking up the former and weeding around the latter. When my mother made tofu, I was given a little bowl and cheesecloth. When my father split shingles for our cabin, I picked up and stacked the shingles. I learned to add by playing dominoes and to read from playing Scrabble or listening to my father read aloud from one of the ten books we owned. When I thought of things I wanted, they were mostly practical items . . . a rake and a shovel that were just my size; or a pair of scissors of my own.

So it was perfect that during one of my grandparents’ visits, Grandma brought me my own Child’s Tea Set. It was packed in a pressed paper box, and contained a teapot, sugar and creamer dishes; four saucers and four cups. It was beautiful, and I loved it! I was, at five years old, a seasoned tea drinker. I had made tea for my parents on many a work day. When I was nine years old, we moved back to the world of traffic and institutions. My only regret is that we never took any photographs of those nine years in the country, but I can still see my father and mother, sunburned and windblown, standing in the goat pen, each cradling a child’s tiny teacup and saucer. To this day I have the tea set, although one saucer was broken during a raucous tea party with imaginary guests.

This post was originally published January 28, 2008.  Written by the mysterious contributor, Rosie Pussytoes, she no longer appears on the contributor page for T Ching.

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Tea pot and cup rings

Tea Squared - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:00

This photo of these adorable rings has been kudzu-ing along Twitter and Pinterest in recent weeks, but without any source information (like where to buy). If you know, do tell.

Valley Green Tea from Shan Valley

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Shan Valley

Tea Description:

Valley Green Tea is our premium tea harvested year round. It has a subtle, fresh and well-rounded taste. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Valley Green Tea is the last of the four teas from Shan Valley that I’m tasting, and I’m very happy to say that I found enjoyment from all four teas.  These teas from tea farms in Myanmar are really quite good, I’m glad I had the opportunity to try all four!  I don’t know that I could select a favorite of the four because I found something in each that I liked.  These teas from Shan Valley are really good, and I recommend them highly.

I really like this Valley Green Tea.  It’s one I’d call a “daily go-to” type green tea – it has a very pleasing flavor:  not too overpowering, just a fresh and calm sort of taste that I like to sip when I just want a good cup of green tea.  Not something that I need to sit and think about … just something that’s easy to enjoy.

The flavor is very uplifting and it has more of a classic green tea taste:  fresh, leafy and vegetative.  The vegetal notes are somewhere between grassy and very lightly buttered beans, leaning just a little more toward the grassy flavor.  I like that even though this has more of a vegetal taste than a “toasted nut” type flavor that I noticed in the Mountain Roasted Green Tea, the “green” flavor isn’t overwhelming.

It’s just a soothing, enjoyable cuppa.  Great to drink with meals because it doesn’t have any strong, detracting flavors.  It has a nice, smooth texture and a refreshing taste.  I especially like this one iced with a thin slice of lemon.  Or try brewing up a pitcher of it and squeezing in some fresh grapefruit juice – delicious!

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