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Pomegranate Dragon Fruit Green/White Tea from ESP Emporium

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green/White

Where to Buy: ESP Emporium

Tea Description:

Was the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden a pomegranate tree? Until this day, the pomegranate is considered a symbol of immortality and sensibility. Combined with the exotic dragonfruit and a touch of vanilla a paradisaical taste experience is formed. The unique blend of strong Sencha, select Kukicha and finest Pai Mu Tan ensures that this truly is a premium quality. Let yourself be seduced.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Pomegranate and green tea seem to be a fairly common pairing, and I have to admit it’s not one I’ve explored often enough given how much I actually like pomegranate – but the dragonfruit in this blend? That was the nail in the coffin, and the aspect that got me really truly excited for this blend. I absolutely adore the subtle pear/kiwi like flavour of dragonfruit and I used to buy quite a lot of it, but it’s really expensive ($3 a fruit) so I had to cut down.

This cold brew definitely puts more emphasis on the pomegranate though; it’s very sweet and juicy, with a really round and robust fruity flavour that just dominates over the entire drink. There is a little ‘extra’ fruit flavour that creeps into the end of the sip and aftertaste though. It reminds me quite a bit of a mild or more tame kiwi flavour which is definitely the dragonfruit. I didn’t really taste the vanilla for most of the drink. It wasn’t until the last few swigs that I thought it stood out as more than just additional sweetness.

As for the base, I struggled to taste the white tea, but the green was slightly present as a crisp, clear vegetal background note. It did a good job of being subtly present without cutting into the flavourings, which are definitely meant to be the focus of the blend.

This is definitely an enjoyable blend, well suited for summer.

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Da Hong Pao from Cha Ceremony

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Cha Ceremony

Tea Description:

This tea is medium roasted with a subtle earthy, mineral taste, it possesses fruity notes along with a distinct crispness that is unique to rock grown tea such as this offering.

Depending on how you prepare it the tea will take on different notes, we urge you to experiment and take your time enjoying each infusion.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Cha Ceremony is a new company founded by one of our Steepster friends, Marcus Reed.  Cha Ceremony specializes in rock grown oolong, also known as yancha.  Marcus’s vision for Cha Ceremony is full what he calls a niche market by providing quality tea with great customer service.  I think he is on the right track. .

My first tea I am trying from Cha Ceremony is a Da Hong Pao.  This tea is beautiful to look at.  The long leaves really give this tea a gorgeous presentation.  I steeped this up in my teapot and sat down at the table to get to “business”.

This tea was fabulous and so giving.  My first infusion was sweet with a mineral like finish.  Very smooth and slightly roasted.  Very rich and full bodied.  I could have drank this tea all night if the flavors would have stayed in this vein.  I really really liked it.  The different flavor profiles contrasted with each other providing this gorgeous balanced flavor that I just can’t get over.  I haven’t had a tea like this in a long time.

My second infusion so still just as gorgeous but there was more of an earthly flavor and -the roasted flavor a bit less.  The contrasting flavors still there, all just a bit more subtle.

Third infusion, so fantastic.  Earthly roasted goodness.  Just heaven.  Hints of sweetness creeping back in and this time there are more fruity notes instead of just being sweet.

After the third infusion, I decided to try this as a cold brew so we will see what I am greeted with in the morning.  I’m sure this tea would have given more, but it was bedtime and I had my herbal tea still to drink for the night to help relax me.

For my first foray into the world of Cha Ceremony, I’m a happy camper.  I want to dive more into what Marcus has to offer and really spend time with his teas.

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Wild Tea Qi Moonlight Buds

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 16:00
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: large, jade green Ingredients: white tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 200 degrees Preparation Method: glass gaiwan Liquor: very pale I'm a huge fan of +Wildteaqi's "moonlight" white teas so it surprised me when I found that I hadn't drank this sample yet. Their Ancient Moonlight White and Ancient White Bud Bar are among some of my all timeNicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Tea Pairings, Chiki Style!

T Ching - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 12:00

I was inspired to write this after reading Robert Wemischner’s “Marriages Made in Tea and Dessert Heaven” where he talks about pairing a honey and salt-encrusted shortbread with matcha. That sounds so YUMMY!

My tea shop, Chiki Tea in Japan, is American-Japanese fusion for a reason. We LOVE Japanese green tea. But we’re not exactly enamored with all those bean paste cakes, concentrated sugary candies, and bland sesame seed cookies that the Japanese pair with these amazing beverages. That’s just not us. Having grown up in Japan, I’ve been pairing brownies with matcha for years! So I figured: why not take the best from both worlds? In one hand the perennial Western desserts (muffins, cheesecake, brownies, scones) and in the other the sweetest sip of kabusecha or the deepest, smoothest gulp of matcha! When it comes to tea, for me, Western desserts pair SO much better than Japanese ones.

This slightly unconventional pairing is at the heart of the Chiki Tea concept. I can’t tell you how perfectly a kabusecha goes with New York cheesecake! And you won’t be surprised to hear how well ceremonial matcha, whisked to perfection using the traditional sado method, then served in an espresso demitasse, goes down with a triple chocolate brownie! Chocolate and matcha…the Japanese have been combining these two flavors in desserts for ages but not drinking one while eating the other. Our modern Japanese customers love it and are Instagramming like crazy!

One of my favourite pairings is houjicha and a muffin. As you probably know, houjicha is considered the “builder’s brew” of Japan. It used to be the stuff the commoners drank while the Japanese aristocracy sipped matcha and gyokuro. Houjicha is one of the most-ordered loose leaf teas at Chiki Tea. I think people love it for its lack of caffeine but also its toffee, fruity depth. Anyway, pair this with one of our Dream muffins loaded with coconut, carrots, dates and raisins, and you’ll be pushing your laptop or book away in order to focus solely on the symphony playing on your taste buds!

I think what strikes a deeper chord with us, and our passionate customers, is that we’re making previously inaccessible drinks (even to the Japanese) more readily available by serving them in a less formal environment than a tea ceremony. Our customers agree that it’s simply more fun this way… trying different flavour combinations, served in a Western way, in a café rather than on the hard surface of a tatami mat. They even go further by saying they are relieved to not worry about the right etiquette when sipping their matcha shot, which makes it taste even better because they can relax.

We can always spot a newbie too. They’ve heard we are a Japanese green tea café and so expect bean paste sweets and matcha roll cakes. These are the customers that tend to order one of everything and multiple beverages with which to taste it all… in disbelief!

A visit to Chiki Tea becomes a game for people when they come in and about thinking a bit more laterally about what they’re going to eat with their tea. The only tricky question remaining is what to have with the s’mores!

 

Photos provided by the author.

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English Breakfast Tea from Canton Tea Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea Blend

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Company

Tea Description:

The UK’s favourite – a classic English tea with New York roots.  

The first English Breakfast Tea was created in New York in the 1800s by our namesake, the original Canton Tea Co. Their black tea was a runaway success, replicated by all other tea companies. Our superior house blend has now been reformulated by Rare Tea Hunter Phil Mumby and is full of complex flavours. The neat, wiry leaves of two Assams from the Nokhroy and Siajuli estates provide the backbone of this tea, with richness from our own Feng Qing Yunnan black, a smooth creamy character from Ceylon black from the Doomgastawala estate, and a crisp, brisk, toasty bite from Rwandan black from the Rukeri estate. A very versatile tea, a quick brew is delicious without milk, but it can happily carry milk if steeped a little longer and stronger.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not one to shy away from CTC-based teas. Anyone that’s read my reviews for any length of time knows that Butiki’s Crimson Horizon and the now extinct Grandpa’s Anytime Tea were 2 that I thought highly of because of their baked biscuit note and lovely round mouthfeel. The trick with CTCs is the steep time. Don’t leave the cup for ANY reason during the short steep (1-2 minutes) or you’ll get hair on your chest…..

Well, here’s another to add to the “hairy chest” list. Canton Tea Co makes a lovely alternative Breakfast tea (Canton Breakfast Tea) so I included this “traditional blend” in my most recent order to the company….curious. When I opened the packet I was surprised to see a CTC blend…not all CTC mind you, but definitely CTC and broken leaves.  OK, then….we’ll do a short steep. Canton recommended 2-4 minutes, so I went with 2 and I’m glad I did.

Holy Macanoley is this tea strong! Robust is the PERFECT word to describe this tea. It is straight up English Breakfast. There is a ton of malt, biscuit and a touch of citrus. It is bold, kick your butt and if steeped for 4 minutes would probably stain your teeth in a week! The Yunnan is completely lost to me in this blend. It is the Kenya, Assam and Rwanda that fill my mouth with all the flavors you expect from a traditional English breakfast tea. Notes of baked bread, malt and a touch of citrus are boldly apparent in this blend.  There is astringency here, but not puckerville…just enough for your mouth to want the next sip, which it’s easy to do.

This is a tea that English breakfast blend lovers should not miss. Bold, robust and strong, it is Builders in a business suit. It will stand up to breakfast, lunch or dinner with loads of flavor to spare. This won’t be my only cup of this today. Guaranteed.

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Pomegranate Burst™ Green Tea from Good Earth

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Good Earth

Tea Description:

Sure we all have responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle into a routine. Break things up with the tingling intensity of Pomegranate Burst™. Blended with the goodness of green tea and the unexpected tart flavors of pomegranate and cherry, one sip will be enough to shake up an ordinary day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have always been curious about Good Earth teas.  My brother used to drink these like they were going out of style and would never share.  Well, this time around its my turn not to share.

This is a unique sounding tea.  I find that pomegranate flavors and cherry flavors are often blended together in those throw in water bottle powders like Crystal Light.

This tea could be compared to Crystal Light’s Cherry Pomegranate in just about every way actually. .  I cold brewed this tea hoping that the sweet smell I was getting from the tea bag may tone down a bit while the green tea would step its game up and show its true colors.  That unfortunately didn’t happen.

Cold brew this tea has a lovely light purple color with a kool-aid like flavor.  There are very strong notes of a cherry  and pomegranate flavor that really resonate and take over the tea.  Unfortunately, the green tea flavor seemed masked and after even taking another tea bag and trying to hot brew it, it seemed I had the same results.

For what an on the go kind of tea, this would be nice to change things up.  I could also see this being great for kids with its remarkable close taste to juice.  Overall, I was glad I was able to try it.  Gave me something different to drink this afternoon.

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Tea Business Spotlight 18 - Tealated

Tea Guy Speaks - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 17:09

Welcome to the eighteenth of our Tea Business Spotlights, in which we allow tea people to share insights on running their business. If you're a tea business owner and you'd like to take part in an upcoming spotlight, please contact us.

Tealated
Wyoming, USA

How long have you been in business?
I have been in the tea business for a year, but I have enjoyed tea all my life.

What is the size/scope of your business?
We are a small, family run business that sells online, on Amazon, and at our local Food for Thought market.

Why tea?
I fell in love with tea as a little girl living in Morocco for several years with my family. I love to share tea with others and introduce new people to the joy of tea. I especially try to encourage people to drink tea instead of drinking soda, energy drinks, or other toxic beverages. Tea is a wonderful replacement and much healthier.

I also am very passionate about helping others. When I lived in Morocco I was shocked at the level of poverty in the families that lived in the countryside, and the fact that they did not have access to clean and safe water. So, for every purchase at Tealated, we donate 3% to Water.org.

How did you get the ball rolling on your venture?
Our family previously owned an organic, handcrafted soap company that we closed in early 2014. We used the profit from that business to start our tea business. However, I didn't know where to begin, so I happened to mention to a former classmate from high school about my interest in selling tea and he told me he had a friend that was in the tea business. I contacted his friend who then assisted me in developing our company. We are starting out small and growing slowly. In the future we would like to offer more single source and rare teas.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your business?
As a mom of nine children, I have a desire to love everyone, to serve others, and to help people be as healthy and happy as possible. I believe that tea is the best way to do this. Sharing tea is sharing love! Our family has a huge organic garden that we grow every year not only for our own use, but also to share good, local produce with others. I am always encouraging my friends and family to grow their own food, to make their own natural soaps and cleaners, and to drink tea. Organically produced food is important to us, so all of our tea is organic. Our society is so full of toxins and our bodies need good, organic foods and beverages instead of loading up on soda and junk food. If we love others we want them to be healthy. In loving our customers and giving them the best customer service, we can help to make a difference with tea.

What were/are the biggest challenges of getting into/being in the tea business?
Our focus is on getting non-tea drinkers to love tea, and many new tea drinkers are more inclined to want the flavored teas. There is nothing wrong with this, especially if it gets more people to try tea, but in the future I would like to offer a wide variety of the more rare and single source teas. Since we are a debt-free company, it will take longer to build the profits and expand. However, if you are in the tea business you are always surrounded by tea, and what could possibly be better than that?

How's business?
We are growing slowly but steadily. We get most of our customers by word of mouth which is great because it means people love our tea and are spreading the word.

Adagio Teas - Best Tea Online

Yunnan Dragon Pearl from What-cha

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

A unique black tea rolled into huge marble sized balls. With a sweet aroma and taste, and an incredibly thick texture.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I saw this tea was in my last package I squealed.  What-Cha teas are all the rage on Steepster.  I have been wanting to try their teas for a while because of how people ooohh and awe over them.  And now it is my turn.

While I was formatting this review, I was sad to find out this tea is no longer available from What-Cha.  It seems I am late to this party.  But alas, I was able in the end to try this phenomenal tea.

This tea gave me everything I was looking for in a black tea.  Ease of preparation.  Versatility. Sweet Flavor.  Caramel notes.  Touches of honey.  Slight roasted tone.  Everything.

The first sip you are greeted with a nice malty like hint.  Then you get that luscious caramel and honey sweetness finished with a hint of a lovely roasted profile.  Each sip I find myself closing my eyes and heaving a sigh afterwards, indulging fully in the flavor.  This tea is impressive.  Really really impressive.  I don’t think I can use enough adjectives to really describe this tea and the marvelous flavors it delivers.  It makes me sad that the little pearls I have left, which I think are about 3 at this point, is it for this beauty.  I wonder if there is any company that sells a comparable tea?

There will be tears when this tea is gone.  Big ol alligator tears and lots and lots of wailing.

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The 9-Sentence Guide To Hosting an Afternoon Tea

The Devotea - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 01:02

When deciding on your guest list, the only two criteria are people you like, and people who will like each other, which often reduces the number of family members getting an invitation. Unless you are holding out because you will receive a knighthood or Nobel prize, NOW is the occasion to use the best china, either your own or borrowed. Your day will be perfect because you have a  checklist...

The post The 9-Sentence Guide To Hosting an Afternoon Tea appeared first on Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts.

Rose de Mai Oolong from Dammann Freres

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Dammann Freres (However it’s not currently listed)

Tea Description:

“Rose de Mai” is a subtle blend of the vegetal notes of a spring oolong tea, to those fresh, bright and dazzling of a 1st press rose essential oil extracted from a rose of exception. A well-balanced tea for lovers of resolutely flowery notes.

Learn more about this tea on Steepster.

Taster’s Review:

Since I haven’t done one in a while, I decided that I’d do a blind tasting with this blend! Obviously it’s got rose in it, but I wanted to see what I noticed by drinking my cold brew prior to do any reading on it. I actually had some interesting results this time around:

My immediate observation was that this was a highly floral from the rose but also from the natural floral notes of the greener oolong base; specifically I thought I picked up notes of both orchid and sweet jasmine. There were a few sips where the intensity of all the floral elements felt a little overwhelming and I definitely think those wary of floral teas in general will find this too much, but overall I think they were all pretty well balanced/in check.

The big surprised was that throughout the entire cold brew I kept tasting the same juicy fruit note that I thought tasted pretty obviously of lychee. I was quite surprised when I finally did look up the tea ingredients only to see that there’s no added lychee flavouring. For me, that flavour was unmistakably present. I suppose, since lychee is quite a floral fruit, all of the other floral components of this tea could have contributed to the flavour, though.

Regardless, I thought this was a really pleasant cold brew; quite refreshing and thankfully with flavours other than a flat, monotone rose note. I’d definitely revisit this one, perhaps trying it hot instead of cold brewed.

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Black King 2015 from Harney & Sons

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

The name says it all.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not going to lie.  I was very excited to try this tea.  My adventures into straight teas has been a blast this far and have tried some pretty amazing teas in the last few weeks and had some pretty big expectations with a name like Black King 2015 for this tea.

This tea has a beautiful dry leaf appearance.  The leaves have a nice curl to them and the coloring is gorgeous.  Dark curls with light brown tips.

I steeped this up per H&S’s recommendations with my Breville One Touch-212F for 5 minutes.

Unfortunately after one sip of this tea, I knew this tea wasn’t for me.  The flavor was nice enough.  A nice malty tea with a bit of astringency.  This is a solid tea but there really wasn’t anything popping out at me or any flavors that I really noted that made me think wow.  There were slight subtle notes of a dark cocoa flavor but they were very subtle. I just wish those notes popped a bit more.

I think maybe a bit of parameter experimenting and possibly add in another scoop-maybe this tea will give me that wow factor I was striving for.  Back to the drawing board with this one.

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Daughter’s Ring from Teasenz

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teasenz

Tea Description:

A farmer needs to work seven days, just to produce about 1.5 kg of this artisan tea, picking only the most-tender leaves from large-leaf tea trees in Simao, Yunnan. Afterwards, each ring is carefully hand-rolled piece by piece, requiring patience and mastery of advanced tea processing skills. A pure organic and luxury green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to try this one.  Very excited.  The beautiful rings were something to behold.  Just gorgeous.  I’ve never tried a tea like this before.  I steeped this in my Breville One Touch so I would have the right temp for water.

Not having this tea or any teas from this company, I was a little intimidated so I did a bit of research about this tea on Steepster and what reviews this tea has already received.  The more I read about the tea the more excited I seemed to get.  Sweet, delicate, not grassy, buttery, and nutty.  How lovely does that sound?

When I heard the beep of the Breville announcing the tea was ready, I basically ran to the tea pot to pour myself a cup.  Poured myself a cup and let the brew cooled off for a minute.

Took a nice big sip and wow that was not the taste I thought I would be greeted with.  From the reviews I had read, I was thinking this was going to be a more delicate floral green tea.  What I got was a tea that reminded me of a savory Slim Jim based tea. Not bad, just not what I had expected so I was taken by surprised.  This is a very very savory green tea with hints of smokey flavors popping through each sip.  I’m curious if further steepings will create a different flavor, but I doubt it would be that much of a difference.  I’ll have to just experiment some more.  That is one of the aspects of tea that is just so much fun! All the different tastes and textures you can get out of steeping the tea differently!

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Palais des Thes Grand Cru Tasting

Notes on Tea - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:49

A bit of background about Palais des Thes before the review of four Grand Cru teas. The original Palais des Thes boutique is located in the Marais, described by PdT's marketing manager, Ines Bejot, as the "most charming place of Paris." There are 35 shops worldwide with half in France and five of these located in Paris. The shops outside of France are located in tea producing or tea drinking countries. PdT founder Francois-Xavier Delmas travels to the growers that supply tea to the company and blogs about his trips at Discovering Tea.

I had the pleasure of taking a Grand Cru tea class with tea master Cynthia Chovet. The Grand Cru Tasting is one of four classes offered at the Palais des Thes Tea School. Cynthia has many years of experience in the food and beverage industry. I was surprised to learn that she has only been with Pdt for one year; she spoke knowledgeably and passionately about the company. Cynthia's approach to the class was great! She spoke about the company, tea-ware, and the tea types and their regions, but waited for Ines and I to talk about what we tasted in each tea before offering her observations.

Four teas were prepared during the class: Silver Needle, Tawaramine Shincha Ichibancha 2015, Bao Zhong Antique 1999 (!), and Jukro.You read the year 1999 correctly. This oolong was aged for over 15 years, but I will provide more detail later on the post.


Silver Needle

Also known as Yinzhen, this Fujian white tea is made only of buds. Look at all those silvery white hairs! Even after steeping, many of the leaves remained in their original state with prominent hairs. The liquor tasted of woodsmoke and chestnuts with a sweet finish. As the tea cooled, I detected notes of green like conifer needles, specifically juniper and pine.



Tawaramine Shincha Ichibancha 2015

I felt fortunate to be able to taste a Spring 2015 Shincha! The dried leaves smelled heavenly with a deep sweet and cream aroma. The leaves appeared to leave a sort of resin on the interior of the canister. The liquor tasted like steamed spinach and mussels as well as fresh seaweed. The shincha had a long finish; the liquor stained my cheeks.



Bao Zhong Antique 1999

The antique version of Baozhong, a Taiwanese oolong, is created through a yearly refiring. The non-aged version of this tea is Bao Zhong Imperial. The steeped leaves of the Antique smelled of charred wood with a cherry aroma at the end. It was an astringent tea. Its taste is also big and bold like a California red wine.



Jukro

Coincidentally, we had the best tea at the end of the tasting. Korean black teas are unusual. This tea tastes heavily of chocolate! The dried leaves smell of chocolate and the liquor tastes of chocolate cake (Cynthia) and molten brownie (Ines). Cynthia detected a nutty flavor. I detected a floral note. The PdT website offers rose geranium as a possibility. With its berry undertone, the tea reminded of a single origin 72-80% chocolate bar.

Thinking about tea and cheese pairings, I asked Cynthia for a cheese recommendation for the Jukro, and teas in general. She suggested identifying the note you want to highlight and finding a cheese with a similar flavor profile to make a match. Here's a pairing she recommends: Challerhocker, a nutty Swiss cheese, with Longjing. Cynthia's husband is a cheesemonger in Darien, Connecticut!



Grand Cru Tasting Class courtesy of Palais des Thes. Thank you.

P.S. Tea and cheese pairings at French Cheese Board and at In Pursuit of Tea.

Friday Round Up: July 19th - July 25th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:00
Something funny happened to last week's round up. A Blogger glitch caused it to revert to an empty template. Thank you to everyone who tweeted, emailed and messaged to let me know about it! In my attempts to fix the issue with my phone on my lunch break, I accidentally deleted the previous week's round up. Gah! I really wish that they had a "trash bin" so that deleted posts could be restored. Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Blast from the Past: Late Summer Mint Drinks

T Ching - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:00

As summer draws on, I find myself relaxing into a slower pace, quitting work earlier and waking up later, all perks of my free-lance existence.  Mid-afternoons find me lying on my deck with a beverage in hand, as I watch sailboats afar and hummingbirds nearby.

Which brings me to today’s subject: I will share with you a couple of my favorite concoctions, and I hope they delight you too.

Iced Moroccan Mint Tea

One of my fondest recollections of Morocco is their fabulous mint tea. I tried many times to reproduce it – in vain, until I recently fell upon a combination that satisfied me.

Jane Terjung, a contributor on this site, gave me some of her mint to plant at my house.  Mint, by the way, grows like a weed in most places.  I particularly loved hers because of its sweetness, which I found much more pleasing than the harsher spearmint I had.

Once her plant had taken hold, I collected about thirty leaves, rinsed them in cool water, bruised them gently between my hands, and dropped them to the bottom of a jug, which I filled with a cup or two of freshly boiled water.  I mixed it well and let it rest, covered, for about ten minutes.

I then prepared a cup of green tea (I used a Matcha variety), which I only allowed to infuse for a minute or two. I wanted the flavor without any bitterness.  I sweetened it to satisfaction (white sugar, usually) and mixed it with the mint concoction.  I then poured the whole thing, mint leaves and all, into a fresh, clear glass jug filled with ice cubes, and added some ice water to top it off.  A long cocktail spoon reached far enough into the jug to blend it all together, I procured a long straw to sip with, and there I had it.  Not the “official” version of Moroccan Mint Tea, which you will find some information about on Wikipedia, but one that made me very happy and transported me back to leisurely times in Morocco.

Mint Julep, Virgin or Not

A Southern-born friend of mine used to say, at the least rise of temperature and in an accent straight from the grandest Louisiana plantations: ”Aah declahre, it is unseasonably wahm.  Mint joolep, anyone?”

This phrase remained etched in my mind, but I never had a mint julep until recently.  My experiment with Moroccan mint tea encouraged me to give it a shot, so to speak.  Not one of the many cookbooks I own even listed mint julep, so I resorted to my old friend, the web.

The first video I fell upon satisfied me enough to recommend it.  New Orleans’ Chris McMillan is full of interesting tidbits about the history of this drink.  We discover that the name “julep” takes root in ancient Persia, where the word “golab” described rose water.  From there it became the flavored syrup, or julep, that we now use to make this drink.

Most people associate mint julep with the Kentucky Derby, but that version is alas manufactured “en masse” from a premixed solution, which does no justice to the true mint julep.

This is how my version turned out. I collected, again, a whole bunch of leaves from Jane’s vigorous plant, rinsed them, bruised them slightly, and dropped most of them at the bottom of a chilled cocktail shaker.  I poured an ounce or two of Bourbon over them (Maker’s Mark is a favorite, but I imagine Jim Beam would be just fine) and let them get acquainted for a while.  In the meantime, I prepared a syrup on the stove, with a cup of water and a cup of sugar; at the last minute, I added the rest of the bruised mint leaves to flavor the syrup.  I then filled the shaker with ice cubes (on top of the Bourbon and mint leaves), and poured the warm syrup over them.  I affixed the top, shook five or six times, took the top off, and poured through the shaker’s strain filter into a tall, frozen glass – et voilà!  Stick a sprig of mint or two in it and imagine yourself on that plantation porch.  Aaaaaaahhhh…..

Now for the Virgin Version: simply replace the Bourbon with Ginger Ale.  It is stunningly delicious in its own right.  Just add the Ginger Ale last, as you don’t want the hot syrup to kill the bubbles…  To substitute for the Bourbon/Mint interaction, just pour an ounce of hot water on the mint leaves instead of the Bourbon, then proceed with the recipe.

Many of you are no doubt shaking your heads and thinking: ”Uh huh, Missy, that is NOT how it’s done”.  I am happy to send you once more to Wikipedia, which will tell you that there are as many ways to make mint juleps as there are bartenders/mixologists.

Enjoy!

Written by Murielle Hamilton.
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This article was posted on T Ching in August of 2009.

The post Blast from the Past: Late Summer Mint Drinks appeared first on T Ching.

Doke Black Fusion from Lochan Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 10:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Lochan Tea

Tea Description:

Doke Black Fusion

Invoice Number: DB 001

Season: 1st Flush 2015

Grade: Hand made Black Tea

Cultivar: TV22 plucked from the 4A section

Location: Bihar, India

Size: 6 kilos

This tea comes from a small producer in Bihar, south of Darjeeling. The flat tea garden, next to a river (a power plant outlet), is everything else than the almost eponymous “Darjeeling Himalayan vales” – and yet it can already rival with some of the finest Darjeelings. What is unique however, is that the leaf material is Assamese and indeed embodies their virtues without their climate. Not without reason, the Lochan family have baptized some of their teas with the “Fusion” moniker.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It is with thanks to the Lochan Tea family that I have been sent this sample to review. I did not know that the Lochan Tea founder Rajiv Lochan was responsible for starting up Doke Farm, one of my favourite sources for Indian Tea. It was Butiki Teas that got me into Doke through the likes of Doke Rolling Thunder and Doke Silver Needle. Needless to say that makes me rather excited and honoured to be sent this directly from source to review.

In-front of me is a 10g sample which is factory sealed and clearly labelled with tea company name, tea type/name, flush info and growing region and also the date it was packed. A nice little touch and easy to read/see what the packets are. Also the packets are black and non see through which I like as it protects the tea from the sun/light.

In raw form the leaves are: long, thinly rolled and curly. Dark brown colour in appearance. They hare a dry wood and sweet cocoa scent.

Steeping Info: 
Method: Gongfu glass teapot – 200ml
Water: Boiling
Infusions: Three – 1m, 2m,3m.

First Steep – 1 minute

Tea is  light golden brown with a red/orange hue and bares sweet wood and sour malt scent, albeit of a subtle and pure nature.

In flavour this starts with light and soft, sweet wood notes before increasing in strength and becoming sour with malt and cocoa, put together with a sweet fruit after taste of dried fig with honey. A combination that worked very well together and each sip was as good as the first.

Second Steep – 2 minutes 

This steep remains mild and pure in flavour but there is a definite increase in the dried fig flavour. Also the difference between the sweet wood and sour malt has now combined as one. Some dryness in the after taste which put together with dried fig and honey has a rather nutty finish. No bitterness at all.

Third Steep – 3 minutes 

Wonderful balance of flavours remain despite this being the third steep. It is less sweet and there is some astringency now but still mild on the scale. Thicker malt tones and less wood but the dried fig after taste remains.

Fourth Steep – 4 minutes (A surprise steep) 

There is enough flavour left in my opinion for another steep, this doesn’t happen many times which is why this wasn’t planned.

The final steep is lighter than the first but was worth going that bit extra for. All that remains is a dry and delicate wooden flavour.

Overall: 

Mentioning I was a Doke fan from what I had previously tried I’m happy to say this lives up to my expectations. This has such beautiful flavours that were very clean tasting and pure, and it had a wonderful array of different notes that combined together very well. On the mild side for a black tea in strength to begin with which plays with the traditional Indian black tea vibe and makes this rather ‘different’ and ‘special’. I particularly liked the honey and fruit notes in the after taste.

Thank you very much Lochan Tea for this beautiful tea sample, I know I will be keeping an eye on this tea for when my cupboard runs low.

Until next time, Happy Steeping!

The post Doke Black Fusion from Lochan Tea appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Sticks or tea?

A Tea Addict's Journal - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 03:35

If you think this is just a pile of sticks, you’re not wrong. It is, mostly, just a pile of sticks, with a few really broken leaves. It is, however, a bancha.

Specifically, it’s called the three year bancha. I’ve seen bancha before, but most of them just look like lower grade green tea. This is quite something else. This is one of the many teas I got from the tea fair I attended in Kyoto. I’ve been slowly going through them one by one, and some are definitely more interesting than others. It seems as though Yuuki-cha used to sell this tea.

This particular one is from a farm not in the normal tea producing regions of Shizuoka or Kagoshima, where most Japanese green teas are grown these days, but in Miyazaki, next to Kagoshima on the southern side of Kyushu. The farm does a bunch of interesting things – growing black tea, a pan fried (as opposed to steamed) green tea, and this. The farm is located in a mountainous area, and as they tell you, looking up to Mount Aso, an occasionally active volcano in the middle of Kyushu.

The instructions on the back of the package says you should add the desired amount of the tea into a kettle, and boil and then turn to low heat for 20 minutes. Then you can drink as you please. What you get then is not so much tea in the normal sense of the word, where we brew leaves, but rather a bit of a soup using the sticks from the tea plant that’s been cut down and then roasted.

The package opens with obvious charcoal smell, and the tea itself is not very strong and quite mild. It’s the sort of thing you might just sip all day, and in this way not too different from cheap roasted oolongs in purpose, except in this case it’s even milder and softer, without much of the bitterness or sourness that can sometimes accompany roasted oolongs.

If you ignore the instructions and just brew this, what you’d get is just a cup full of roast and not much else – did I say it’s mild? What is funny to me is that this tea is still classified as “green tea,” even though it’s about as far from green tea as you can get while still calling it that. When we say Japanese green tea, I’m pretty sure nobody’s thinking of this.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge christening followed by tea and cake

The Hour For Tea - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 01:42
The christening photos of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge are out, and they are adorable mementos of a happy day of tradition and faith, followed, appropriately, by a tea reception. The little princess was christened on Sunday, July 5th, and officially … Continue reading →

Making jam for the tea party pantry

The Hour For Tea - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 00:34
Now that summer is here and those delicious summer fruits are in season, it’s time to stock up on homemade jam for the tea party pantry!  San Jose’s history as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” is no longer visible in … Continue reading →

Go With Passion

The Sip Tip - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 20:08
It was a fall evening in 2008 that I decided to start a tea blog.  In retrospect I knew very little (still do in fact.) However I did have one thing, passion, passion to learn, passion to know, and passion to try. Honestly I had no clue then what the next 7 years would entail, and what I would learn, but knowledge about tea aside, the thing I have learned is what passion can do for life, and
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