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Nahorhabi Assam TGFOP1 CL 2nd Flush Black Tea from Lochan Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:00
This is a delicious straight black with notes of plum, raisin, and bread. It tastes like a fruitcake, a good, fresh one. (Not the stereotypical one that wanders around Christmas, getting regifted into eternity.) It’s not bitter or astringent or difficult in any way. If you had someone you wanted to introduce to non-flavored teas, this would be a great way to get them started. I, for one, am a huge fan of flavored teas. I always feel a heart-flutter of trepidation when I try a new straight black. Will I like it? What if I don’t? Will people judge Read More

Strawberry Shake from DAVIDsTea. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 23:00
  I have been (im)patiently waiting for DAVIDsTEA to come out with some new “summery” teas. It has finally happened! Yay! So their new collection they’re calling “Malt Shop” and all the teas are based off of ice cream. They not only have ice cream themed teas, but new tea tins and mugs with ice cream print on them. Talk about cute! I definitely went all out during my DAVIDsTEA shopping spree, and I am happy I did because I am loving the teas! The first one I tried was Strawberry Shake. It is described as a green tea with Read More

Darjeeling Red Thunder Black – Gopaldhara Estate from Conundrum Tea. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 19:00
Darjeeling Red Thunder Black – Gopaldhara Estate from Conundrum Tea is the first tea I have tried from this company! And I sure hope it isn’t my last! Darjeeling Red Thunder Black – Gopaldhara Estate no longer appears on the company website or shop but it certainly was a GOODY! It was an autumn flush, black tea, from Darjeeling, India. It’s been said that Autumns in Darjeeling tend to be cold and the temperatures can reach freezing levels. This causes the leaves to wither and ferment before they are even picked. Having the tea leaves processed by nature produces some Read More

Meadow Brook Downton Days: Photo Album (Part II)

Barb's Tea Shop - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 15:51

As part of Meadow Brook Hall's "Downton Days", Barb's Tea Service presented "A History of Tea and Cora's Story" during afternoon tea on February 23. "Cora's Story" is what we refer to as the Downton Abbey Prequel, an era where  Gilded Age Americans and British aristocracy came together for mutually beneficial unions. In the spirit of such a sumptuous lifestyle, we donned our  best Victorian dresses and, against the elegant backdrop of Meadow Brook Hall filled with handsome guests, our professional photographer, Karri Brantley, captured the event beautifully. Here are just a few of the photos from that special afternoon.

Barb's Tea Service (Barb and Rachel Gulley) present in the Christopher Wren dining room at Meadow Brook Hall
Presenting "History of Tea/Cora's Story" in Christopher Wren Dining Room

 Lynn Anderson, Doreen Raynak, Rachel, Barb, Shirley Moon Koebbe, Donna Kenske, Connie Sonnenberg, Gail Raynak
Having a cup of tea in the Sun Porch

In the Living Room of Meadow Brook Hall

Meadow Brook Hall Sun Porch

Sharing a cup of tea in the Sun Porch 
A wonderful afternoon shared with delightful guests at the beautiful Meadow Brook Hall - amazingly captured by Karri Brantley, of Karri Brantley Photography.

All rights reserved.  No part of this blog, including photographs, may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission of  Barbara Gulley/Barb's Tea Service.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel from Tea & Tins. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 15:00
Although the holiday season has (sadly) passed, this tea still caught my eye. Mostly because it included mini marshmallows and gold ball sprinkles. I am a sucker for anything that includes marshmallow. Upon inspection of the dry leaf, I could smell the caramel and marshmallow notes. The dry leaf itself was very pleasing to the eye, as it contained “Star of David” shaped sprinkles, gold balls, mini marshmallows, and caramel squares. I liked that it contained actual marshmallow and caramel pieces because I hoped that that would add extra flavor and creaminess to the cup. While I don’t mind when Read More

TARDIS Eleven – Geronimo! from Tea and Absinthe. . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 11:00
“TARDIS Eleven – Geronimo!” is a classic black with a sweet vanilla kick. I drank this “vanilla cream custard” flavored tea iced, which totally hyped up its sweetness. It’s got a gentle tastiness that I can readily identify with the Matt Smith Doctor Who. Classic black tea = the formality of the bow tie. Vanilla = the charm of the fez. Is that what they were going for? I’m not sure. But I’m going to go ahead and make those associations. I took notes on this, because I was drinking it away from the computer. Though this IS a Dr Read More

Peeps Genmaicha from A Quarter To Tea. . . Take That Tea Name In. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 23:00
  That is right. Someone has combined Peeps with tea-or at least the flavor of Peeps with tea. Peeps seem to split people into two groups, those that love them and those that despise them. I belong to the group that love them. I’ve yet to met a marshmallow product that I don’t adore. Peeps Genmaicha consists of sprinkles, sencha green tea, popped rice, marshmallow root and a few other natural flavorings.  You just have to love the sight of this tea.  All of the lovely sprinkles adding a wonderful touch of spring to the blend. As I steeped (170F Read More

Atman Tea Co. . . . .A Unique Green Tea. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 19:00
This tea comes in little sachets that are 100% biodegradable and compostable which I really like. At first glance it didn’t look so much like tea as it did spices or herbs. That is probably the Ashwagandha. This tea’s flavor kind of reminds me of quinoa in a weird way. The smell too. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, or that I don’t like it, but I wouldn’t say that this would be my first choice either. I would say it’s interesting, and maybe it will grow on me. I remember the first time I ate quinoa i wasn’t a fan, Read More

Turmeric Blend from Storehouse Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 15:00
You may have already done the math and came to the conclusion that there are at least a few of us who are CRAZY for Turmeric here at the SororiTea Sisters and I for one can be found in that mix of CRAZIES! And I’m darn proud of it! If you are looking to incorporate more Turmeric into your daily routine or if you are just looking for herbal tisanes – overall – this Turmeric Blend from Storehouse Teas – is for you! Organic Turmeric, Organic cinnamon, Organic orange peel, Organic ginger, Organic black pepper are the only ingredients and Read More

Blast from the past: Teabags – the gateway brew

T Ching - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:00

This article was originally posted to T Ching in March of 2015.

Whole leaf enthusiasts know the exquisite difference between a cup of carefully steeped whole leaf – part ritual, part alchemy, part spirituality – and half careful attention to detail. We also know how convenient tea bags are.  In desperate circumstances, we will buy a cup of hot water and whatever bagged tea is available and . . . be grateful for it.

Tea bags.  We love them and we loathe them. Not all tea bags are equal.  At the top of the quality pyramid is Steven Smith, Teamaker.  Not too far behind is Mighty Leaf.  In descending order, you will find Tazo, Stash, and Good Earth. At the bottom of this caste system dwell the likes of Red Rose, Tetley’s Tiny Tips, and Lipton. These last three share the distinction of being grown in an area where tea isn’t plucked: it is mowed and baled like hay.  The dust on the floor is swept up, measured into tea bags, and sold to Americans.

I have found myself in the dusty midwest, waiting at an airport in the middle of the prairie, stressed out by travel (travail), and anxious. Knowing that I need hydration, I peruse the offerings at a canteen beyond the security checkpoint.  Sugary soda?  Not.  Coffee would add to my anxiety.  The tea offerings include sugar-laden iced tea or a teabag from the dungeon of fannings mentioned above.  If you had photographed my face as I plucked the tea bag from the water and closed my eyes for the first sip, you would have seen bliss.

If tea were a drug, teabags would be the gateway.  Rather than disparage those who enjoy the convenience of teabags, let’s embrace them.  It is easy to indulge our inner snob.  The way of tea, however, has no place for the egoism expressed by many recent converts to whole leaf.  Like those newly converted to evangelism, fervent certainty can be quite exclusive in its fundamentalism.  Stop it already.

Let the leaf do the talking.  Make a cup of the real deal and share with the gratefulness that is the spirit of tea.  To paraphrase my dear mum, “you will catch more tea drinkers with a real cuppa than you will with your nose turned up.”

Image courtesy of the contributor. 

The post Blast from the past: Teabags – the gateway brew appeared first on T Ching.

Super Starling’s Top Ten Wanna-Try Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 11:00
I have a long list of to-try teas, but these ten take the top! The Bees Teas, S’mores If you click on the tea, you will notice the ingredient list: “Black Tea, Green Tea, Cocoa Beans, Barley, Chocolate Flakes, Apple, Vanilla, Yogurt Bits, Sea Salt, Cocoa Powder, Dried Marshmallows, Graham Cracker Cookie Bits, Citric Acid” I love teas with a ton of ingredients. What the heck is that going to taste like? Put it in my mouth post-haste. 52Teas, Patridgeberry In A Pear Tea Speaking of ingredients… What’s a partridgeberry?! Have I tried one before and not noticed? I need Read More

Lavenderose Chamomint from Old Barrel Tea Co. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 23:00
You know that saying– too much of a good thing is a good thing? It applies here. I was a little worried when I cracked this tea bag open that it would be TOO MUCH. Allll the herbs, am I right? But upon first sniff, I was intrigued. As with others I’ve tried form Old Barrel, this tea was a perfect, equal blend– all flavors present and accounted for, with nothing overpowering or shying away in the flavor. My first sip confirmed what I sniffed to be true– this tea is GOOD, you guys. Really, really good. It’s light and a Read More

Basil Lemonade Oolong from Pekoe Sip House. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 19:00
Words cannot express my LOVE for this incredible wonder of a flavored Oolong. The tea I’m referring to is Basil Lemonade Oolong from Pekeo Sip House and it’s absolutely AMAZING! It’s rare that I find a flavored Oolong that I adore so much I LONG for my next cup but Basil Lemonade Oolong is that Oolong! It’s composed of half-fermented Chinese oolong tea, basil, lemon granules, natural lemon oil, marigold blossoms. Sure I find ALL of those ingredients but the secret weapon is the lemon granules! For some reason these lemon granules were like crack to me. They were SO Read More

Favorite Tea Ware - Gabie of Tea End Blog

Notes on Tea - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:01
As a tea drinker, and I am sure this is true for you, I adore teaware, from the chasen to the yixing teapot. Everyone has their favorites! This series showcases the favorite teaware of folks in the tea blogging community. I am kicking off this FTW 2017 with tea objects from Gabie of Tea End Blog. Gabie is a self described tea sipping bookworm who enjoys tea in her cup and the written word. She is the blogger behind Tea End Blog, a blog of tea and book reviews, alluring imagery and informative articles about the tea plant and literature. Sipping happily ever after is her forté and she asks any and all who have a love for tea and books to join in!

Rose Confetti Vintage Royal Albert Tea Cup

When I decided to start sipping tea and reading books again, it was a decision made to regain a part of myself that I had lost. I am sure all giving and loving women can relate! I wanted to give myself a special gift for having decided to be true to myself and I thought an authentic bone tea cup like the ones I owned before, when I had the habit of showing my love for tea, would do the trick. I searched high and low until I found an adorable bone tea cup in the most quintessential feminine color and laden with roses. The history and charm of the company drew me in and I had to have a cup of tea in Rose Confetti Vintage Royal Albert Tea Cup. I purchased my cup from Amazon and I have been sipping happily from it ever since.

Robin-egg Blue Teakettle

This exquisitely blue teakettle also found its way to be in the early stages of teaendblog.com. It had been years since I had owned a teakettle and I wanted one that was functional but also pleasant to look at. While browsing on my favorite online store (Amazon) I found the Robin-egg Blue Teakettle that you see above. Isn’t it so rustic and lovely? Although the whistling of a teakettle can be enchanting, I enjoy that this particular teakettle does not sound the alarm considering that I am an early riser and my husband is not. I use this teakettle every morning and don’t see myself ever being able to live without it.

Hario Chacha Kyusu Maru Tea Pot and Infuser

Tea cups and teakettles are fine and dandy but without a proper infuser I wouldn’t get past the tea bags. Delving into tea again required that I open myself up to all that tea had to offer, including and definitely not limited to loose-leaf. I vacillated between a simple ball to the most intricately designed infusers and decided upon the Hario Chachu Kyusu Maru Tea Pot and Infuser purchased from Amazon.com. I love this infuser and use it every single day to prepare loose-leaf. It serves as, not just an infuser, but also a personal tea pot. I also use it as my staple image for “The Sip” when performing Tea Reviews. It’s been with me from the beginning of Tea End Blog and I don’t see it going anywhere else besides my tea tray anytime soon.

Traditional Bone Inlay Serving Tray

I don’t think tea and reading time would be truly complete without a tray. How else would you get your teacup, tea pot, tea snacks and books all in one comfy place at the same time? You see the dilemma…(smiling). I almost never shop in stores since online shopping is my thing, but there was one store in Dallas, TX that drew me into its charm named Wisteria. I walked in and delightfully browsed until my eyes stumbled on a tray fit for a tea sipping and book reading queen! I looked at the price: $700! Oh, no… I can’t afford this…I looked again: Sale: $250…still not something I am willing to pay and then I looked up to see another tag: 90% off! Yes! To the counter I went! I paid approximately $25 for a perfectly pink Bone Inlay Serving Tray that I use often in my photos for Tea End Blog but also in my daily tea and reading time.

Inspirational Elephant Tea Mug

Last but not least: My Favorite Tea Mug. I certainly saved the best for last because the story behind this mug may leave you wondering if the tea fairies wish us happy tea sipping (lol). One day while shopping for various tea wares in an eclectic market in Dallas, TX I started to feel a little down. I am a perfectionist and if things aren’t going perfect (which they never do because nothing is perfect) then I feel as if all my hard work is for nothing and all the hard work in the future will be for nothing. Dramatic I know…I’m working on it. Well, I kept looking and found an elephant shaped mug that portrayed the elephant’s trunk as the handle. No…not for me…I respect the elephant too much to hold his trunk as I sip (like I said, I’m dramatic, lol). Then I found the mug you see above; simple, elegant and the elephant portrayed is in all of her elephant-y glory. I turned the mug around to see what was on the other side and it read: “One Step At A Time”. Perhaps the tea fairies really do watch over us…

Thank you participating in the series, Gabie. Your enthusiasm for tea and her tea objects is infectious.I have been steeping my teas western style lately and like how low the infuser sits in the Hario glass teapot. 

Buyer Beware – Investigate your teas!

T Ching - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:00

Leaves of the aconite plant, a.k.a. wolfsbane, a.k.a. monkshood, a.k.a. helmet flower

A former contributor sent me an email today with a link to a most disturbing event. It appears that a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown sold some herbal tea that sent two people to the hospital.

According to officials at the Department of Health “The tea leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company contained the plant-based toxin Aconite.”  It appears that this is not an unusual blend in Asia, however correct processing is key to avoid adverse health consequences. Both people affected were treated for critical cardiac responses which could have been fatal.

As I have said many times before, herbs are medicine and need to be respected and treated as such. You need to know where your herbs are coming from and what is the correct dose for consumption. Herbs can heal on a profound level but they can also do great harm when used improperly. Once we understand the powerful medicine they contain, we can use them responsibly and effectively.

Whenever we are buying natural products, which of course include our favorite tea leaves, we need to know where they come from and who is responsible for bringing healthy leaves into our country and homes. Talk with your favorite tea vendors and ask questions that will inform you about the origins and processing of your favorite teas. Please consider going organic, as it’s so unnecessary to be consuming pesticides along with the healthiest beverage on the planet.


The post Buyer Beware – Investigate your teas! appeared first on T Ching.

Creamy Honey Oolong from Embrew

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:00
  Creamy Honey Oolong.  The name alone makes me drool.  This is another unique offering from Embrew, a company that has taken sweetening tea to a different level. Embrew offers an all in one solution to tea drinkers who enjoy adding a touch of sugar or honey to their tea.  I tried their Steamed Honey Green not too long ago and did enjoy the experience.  So I thought I’d give another one of their offerings a go. Smooth, sweet silky, and absolutely delicious.  That was my first impression of this tea.  Creamy Honey Oolong is a simple yet so satisfying Read More

The Malt Shop Collection from DAVIDsTEA. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:00
Each season DAVIDsTEA premieres a new collection of about five teas. Sometimes there may be a returning favorite but most of the blends are new and exciting. Lately though, DAVIDs has been treating their customers to mini collections, released almost monthly to keep their selection fresh and intriguing. This month, in addition to the Valentine’s teas, they brought us The Malt Shop Collection, featuring three ice-cream inspired teas and ice cream teaware. Now I am a sucker for all things ice cream and cupcakes and milkshakes and the like so you can bet your a$$ I was in the shop Read More

The 2017 Dutch Tea Champion Is…

World of Tea - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 06:08
The 2017 Dutch Tea Championship has concluded. As detailed in my last post, 14 contestants entered the preliminary rounds which included a submission video, written test, live tea preparation, and 20...

The 2017 Dutch Tea Championship, An Introduction

World of Tea - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 06:02
I’m new to the world of Tea Competitions. Conceptually, I wasn’t even sure how one would work, but I knew that there were many out there to chose from, in...

Satemwa, an Orthodox Tea Producing Estate in Malawi

World of Tea - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 01:39
Satemwa is a family-run tea and coffee estate located in the southern portion of Malawi in East Africa. The estate was founded in 1923 by a Scotsman named Maclean Kay. The garden...
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