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US League of tea growers membership drive

T Ching - 2 hours 32 min ago

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

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

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

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

About USLTG:

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

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

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Sri Lankan Pumpkin Chai from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - 4 hours 37 min ago
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

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

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Maple Apple Cider Herbal from Stash

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

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Rooibos

Where to Buy: Stash

Tea Description:

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

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

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

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

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

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

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

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

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

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

The post Yamane-en: Sugabou, Gyokuro Karigane Houjicha Green Tea from Yunomi appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

Adagio Teas Kai Hua Crescendo

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

ITCC at WTE in LB . . . and other acronyms

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

  

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Blood Orange Tea from Mountain Witch Tea Company

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

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mountain Tea Witch Tea Company

Tea Description:

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

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

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

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

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

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Sant Superfruit Beverage from Sant

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

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

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  Sant

Tea Description:

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

Learn more about Sant here.

Taster’s Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I took a few sips of the infusion and TART!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wa-La!  Three bonus entries!

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

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Dark Roast Gunpowder from M&K’s Tea Co.

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: M&K’s Tea Co.

Tea Description:

An M&K’s exclusive! Simply made, we take the famous gunpowder tea of China and roast it in our own quarters, creating a truly unique green tea that is very nutty and reminiscent of a lighter cup of coffee if brewed correctly. This is a great tea if you want something stronger or if you enjoy roasted oolong teas, smokey teas, dark teas (pu-erh tea), or even roasted yerba mate!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I had never had anything like this Dark Roast Gunpowder so I thought I’d give it a shot.  I really like the teas that I have had previously from M&K’s Tea Co.  They are one of my favorite companies to order from.  They have even added honey to their site that are flavored.  They sound fantastic.  One or two bottles might find their way into my next order.

On to the tea. . . I am glad I took a chance on this one.  Nutty, rich, smooth, malty with a side note of honey and smoke?  This is a very  unique tasting tea! I’m digging this one.  This reminds me of a dark roasted coffee without that bitter after taste you sometimes get.  I can see this one replacing my daily cup of joe I do enjoy each morning.  The roasted nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness really works.  The more I drink it, the more I am reminded of a sweet and salty snack where  you get the best of both worlds so to speak.  Dark roasted sweet goodness.

Highly recommend this one if you enjoy coffee or roasted teas.

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Black Silk Chocolate Milk Qui Hao from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Mount Wuyi, in Fujian China is primarily known for oolongs, but this rare black tea is harvested only a short time each year. It is naturally low in tannins, giving it an exquisitely smooth finish which, combined with its natural chocolate notes, earned it the nickname “Black Silk”. We’ve upped the ante by adding some organic chocolate and marshmallow flavors, cacao nibs and marshmallow root.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m always hoping to find a nice chocolate tea, but haven’t really found one that is the most delicious yet! Sometimes the chocolate is too faint or fake… sometimes the tea base is too bold. When I saw this black silk chocolate milk blend pop up for sale, I knew that I had to give it a try.  It seemed like it would have a great combination of chocolate and a smooth black tea base. Plus, I love the addition of marshmallow root as I think it adds a creamy element to the blend.

After the tea has been steeped, I smell a rather strong black tea with a tiny bit of chocolate in the background. The first part of the sip is of the black tea base. It’s a little more astringent than I expected, but I do pick up on notes of hay and earth. The chocolate, for me, comes toward the end of the sip. It’s not a strong chocolate flavor, but is faint and dark like cocoa. Happily, I can taste a bit of the marshmallow root in the form of a quick creamy finish. The cup is very drinkable, but I really want the silky smooth black tea and that strong chocolate! They’re just not there for me, unfortunately.

I’m happy that I tried this blend, but it hasn’t filled my needs for a chocolate blend.  That being said, it’s not a bad blend and if you’re looking for an average black tea with a hint of chocolate, this is a good choice.

The post Black Silk Chocolate Milk Qui Hao from 52Teas appeared first on SororiTea Sisters.

When Sick, Herbal Tea is Acceptable…Maybe.

Joy's Teaspoon - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 22:14

by Audrea Fink (@earlsteeper)

I have a confession to make. I have been drinking herbal tea lately, bagged no less. I realize I’ve been pretty anti-herbal in the past and it’s still not my favorite drink, but the past few days, it’s really been helpful.

I should also admit this all began because I got the flu. I had an upset stomach, fever and body aches. I wanted something comforting, but mellow.

I happened to have some fresh ginger in the house and decided to steep it in hot water for about 10 minutes. (Let’s be honest, I was sick so I made my boyfriend do the heavy ginger lifting.) I was surprised how helpful it was. It was warm and soothing and it mellowed out my stomach.

I stepped up my herbal game by adding some fresh squeezed lemon to the ginger concoction. Fresh ginger and lemon acted as the gateway drug to herbal tea. Lock up your kids and your wives. Fresh ginger will turn anyone!

Once I was back at the office, a coworker gave me a bag of ginger tea. It was a lot easier than cutting up ginger (obviously this is a sign of my laziness now that I was short a man servant) and it was pretty effective. The ginger tea wasn’t as tasty as the fresh ginger though so I added a bag of lemon mint tea. All together, I could handle that flavor and I’ve been drinking it all week. It was warm and soothing, but no caffeine to whack out my already confused body.

Now that I’m over the last of the flu I’m definitely back to my old ways – loose leaf, oolong, earl grey, etc. I never tire of a good cuppa. It warms you up on a cold, rainy day. It picks you up in the afternoon after lunch.

Overall, Cup of Brown Joy still encompasses how I feel about about tea in my life. However, it was nice to get a couple of tisanes I can stand to drink for when I need more comfort and less caffeine.

Because if you’re tired of tea, then you’re tired of life!

 

Saskatoon Berry Tisane from Parenteau’s Gourmet Foods

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy: Parenteau’s Gourmet Foods

Tea Description:

Ingredients: Red and black currents, raisins, hibiscus, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, seneka root, natural flavours.

Learn more about this tea on Steepster.

Taster’s Review:

So this tisane is locally made and sold, and it features the Saskatoon Berry which isn’t as well known as it ought to be. I happen to live in Saskatoon Saskatchewan – and the berry is so popular around here that the city is named after the berry, and not the other way around. As such, any tea that features Saskatoons (of which there aren’t enough) very easily get my attention.

I decided to do a cold brew for my first try; sadly there’s a lot of hibiscus in the blend so a cold brew seemed like the best way to hold back some of the expected tartness I’ll likely be experiencing. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of berries in the blend as well but even still, not thirty seconds after I’d poured the water over the leaves the water was already the colour of McDonald’s mascot Grimace. The hibiscus in the blend was working quickly.

By the time the brew was done, it was a deep, dark almost maroon colour – but just slightly more purple. It reminded me of the colour of red wine. The smell is mostly hibiscus. That’s not very promising, but I’m still holding out that this’ll deliver the Saskatoon berry flavour I know and love anyway.

And the moment of truth; taste test!

The initial flavour here is a tart hibiscus flavour as anticipated; however, thankfully this isn’t all hibiscus. Similar to other berry/hibiscus teas I’ve had before like Rum Cream, from another local company (McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants), this starts tart and softens into a more mellow berry drink; it’s quite juice-like. I can definitely taste Saskatoon berries myself, but I also really taste the blueberries and black currants in the blend. Thankfully, I don’t get much flavour from the raisins – I’m not a raisin person, so it’s no loss for me.

For people unfamiliar with Saskatoon Berries picture something sort of like a blueberry and cranberry cross. They’re great straight, in pies, in jam or jelly, and as syrup. Really, they’re just great in general. It’s that simple.

I am enjoying this cold brew a lot though I’m craving a richer, more full Saskatoon berry flavour. If they used more Saskatoons and cut down a little on the amount of other berries in the tea, I think this could be amazing without having a more monotone and flat flavour. As is, I’m concerned people not familiar with Saskatoons are mainly going to focus in on the other berries in the blend and the hibiscus and miss out on the great flavour.

And what a loss that’d be.

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Shannon’s Kitchen Has Balls

The Devotea - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 21:00

Today I’m going to share with you my favourite food blogger. Shannon blogs about healthy food…theoretically. Let’s back up and talk about me. Of course. When I started this blog, I knew I was going to give myself permission to discuss anything I damn well wanted. Sure, I had to work tea into every post, […]

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Houjicha Gold (Roasted Bancha) from Den’s Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Den’s Tea

Tea Description:

Houjicha-Gold delivers a delightful and calming cup. Highly aromatic but gentle to your stomach with a low amount of caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been wet and cooler over the last couple of days and something like this Houjicha Gold (also known as Roasted Bancha) from Den’s Tea is perfect for a day like this.  It’s warm and cozy!

It has a delightful toasty, caramel-y flavor that I’m really enjoying.  The sip starts out sweet and stays sweet all the way through to the finish and it’s a sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste.  After that first sweet note, I start to pick up on some slightly savory notes.  Flavors that remind me of freshly roasted corn and and a warm, nutty flavor that immediately brings warm hazelnuts to mind.  My grandmother used to make cookies with hazelnuts in them and that’s what I’m thinking of as I sip this tea.

There are some vegetal notes to this but I find that with a roasted green tea like this, most of those strong vegetative flavors have been ‘toasted’ out – most of the grassy/vegetable flavors taste more nutty and toasted now.  So now, rather than tasting a freshly steamed spinach flavor, for example, I taste more of a freshly toasted hazelnut flavor with notes of roasted corn.

So if you’re someone who is fairly new to green teas and have yet to get your palate to become acquired to the flavor of green tea, I think that a Houjicha like this is a good place to start.  It’s such a warm and inviting flavor that you don’t really realize that you’re drinking green tea!

And if you’re new to Japanese Green teas, may I suggest Den’s Tea’s Green Tea Sampler for Novices?  This sampler offers a nice selection of different teas from Den’s so that you can learn about Japanese teas as well as train your palate to understand the different flavors of Japanese teas.  I purchased one of these collections several years ago and it was a really rewarding experience – and you get a whole lot of tea for $3!

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Nurture #4 Black Tea from Verdant Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

Intelligent Nutrients’ Nurture #4 is warm, cozy and balancing. We are using the Li Family’s lightly smoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong black tea from the Wuyi Mountains as the base for a smoldering base to pair with certified organic Nature #4, and draw out the natural sweetness of the tea with elderberry and coriander. Like sitting by a crackling fire, this comforting blend brings warmth and balance.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

From the time that I first opened the package to the last drops dripping from my gaiwan into my cha hair, I was practically seduced by the flavor. I love the smell of this tea! To put it bluntly, it smells like musky hippie perfume that all those Tibetan souvenir shops always sell in one form or another. I know, not the most glowing description ever written, but I freaking love that hippie perfume. It’s slightly sweet and smoky, with perfume notes that evoke ancient biblical spices. Frankincense? Myrrh perhaps? I cannot for the life of me put my finger on it, but I am so intoxicated by the smell.

The large, long and lightly twisted leaves are dotted with coriander, and if you can look hard enough, you can see tiny dried elderberries hiding out, same color as the leaves. I gongfu’ed this tea and was delighted by the changes in flavor profile each infusion brought to the table. The new copper penny colored brew presented different combinations each time I steeped it. The first steeping I smelled a scrumptiously peppery aroma. I tasted the peppered aroma on my tongue, as well as that hippie perfumery.

The woody notes transitioned me into the next infusion, where I got a slight lavender essence, and upon smelling the top notes, I found a warm welcome of bread and malt notes. The smoke was an afterthought, until the third time around. I half wondered if there would be any smoke to it at all. But it came out to shine in the third round. It was as if someone had just blown out a match. Not so sting to turn you off anything smoked for the rest of your life, but just a hint so that I could taste the other fascinating notes. This time I got a vanilla orange spice to compliment the hint of smoke.

Sipping and enjoying this tea sent me on a sensory overload trip. I was transported to a different time and place. I know that most people upon hearing the word ‘perfume’ being used to describe tea will most definitely run for the hills. But there is so much more to this brew than the hippie cologne. Each time I took the kettle and dowsed the tea, it showed me a different card hidden in it’s sleeves. If I had brewed it any longer, it may have tried to pull a rabbit our of my cup. This is truly a strange brew.

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DigestTea from Raizana Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 22:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Raizana Tea Company

Tea Description:

You shouldn’t have eaten that monster burrito or third slice of pizza, and you’re paying for it now. Get relief from gas, bloating and sensation of fullness with DigestTea, our natural remedy for digestive problems.
DigestTea is gentle enough to soothe stomach problems in children. Raizana uses natural herbs sourced in California to provide all-natural support for gas and other digestive problems.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have issues with eating certain kinds of food and then feeling disgusting, heavy, and bloated.  This especially happens when I have any kind of carbs.  So lately I have been doing a lot of research to see if there was some herb or tea that I could drink that would help.  That is how  I stumbled upon this company, Raizana.  They have several different kinds of herbal remedies for what “ails you”.  I don’t necessarily believe that there is a skinny tea out there but I do believe that some herbs can make you feel better.  So I decided to take a chance and pick up their sampler.

Now to be honest, I am a huge fan of herbal teas.  I love chamomile and adore lemongrass in teas.  I’m also a huge mint fan and tend to like most mint teas I come across.  The biggest reason I picked this tea up was because it had cilantro in it.  I had never even heard of a cilantro tea before.  I have a love affair with cilantro and sneak it into as many foods as I can.  The ingredients also list dill weed and passionflower.  I just had to try it!

When I popped open the bag, holy sweetness is all I can say! This definitely has a very sweet bakery smell to it which I think comes from the papaya flavoring and stevia.  I steeped this one up per their parameters and was pleasantly surprised.  This is one of the sweetest herbal teas I have ever had.  And it isn’t that artificial sweet taste.  This has an almost dessert quality to it.  Like a freshly baked treat. I don’t taste the cilantro at all but definitely pick up the minty notes and chamomile.  The lemongrass is also prevalent and letting itself be known but not in an obnoxious way.  I even tried this one iced and still had the same outcome.  A lemony baked treat. Yum!

Now to whether or not it helps with my digestion, that I really can’t say.  I have completely overhauled my diet as of late and am cutting junk food out all together, which was a major cause for a lot of my discomfort.  All I can say that this is great for when I have that sweet tooth craving and am looking forward to having this one again.

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Green Passion Fruit from Tea & All It’s Splendor

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 16:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tea & All It’s Splendor

Tea Description:

If there could be one fruit that best represents a bright summer day it would be passionfruit! So naturally this green tea and passionfruit blend was the perfect fit for this edition.

The light grassy green tea is perfect for carrying the sweet and sour passionfruit floral flavours in a cup. If you’re the type that needs a sweetened cuppa, we recommend a drizzle of agave in this one. The agave flavour is gentle and pairs well with this tea.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Green Passion Fruit from Tea & All It’s Splendor is the third and final tea that I received as part of edition 11 from Postal Teas.  And it’s a good one!

The tea leaves appeared to me to be a Chinese Sencha – long, dark green spears that looked almost like blades of grass – and there were some yellow flower petals in the blend.  Probably marigold petals.  I didn’t see any dried passion fruit pieces but I could definitely smell the passion fruit!

I brewed this in my Breville One-Touch.  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of the tea maker and added 500ml of freshly filtered water to the jug.  Then I set the parameters:  180°F for 2 minutes.

The tea is sweet and fruity.  The Passion Fruit flavor is well-defined without hitting me over the head.  I like the way the flavor is represented here.  It’s a strong, distinct flavor of passion fruit but the green tea flavor is the star of the show.  I am enjoying a nice balance between sweet, slightly vegetative green tea and juicy passion fruit flavors.  Delicious!

I also like that this is a very tropical tasting tea without tasting like every other tropical tea out there.  It’s got that tropical flair without tasting like a muddled recipe of mixed fruit.

The tea tasted great served hot but I liked it even better as it cooled – this would be a great refresher for the summer months ahead!  If you’re a fan of passion fruit, try this tea!

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Friday Round Up: April 12th - April 18th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 16:00
Time for the Tea Buyer Tutorial One blog that I look forward to reading every spring is Tea Adventures, written by Winnie of Teance. I live the harvest in each region vicariously through her frequent and refreshingly candid posts. This one in particular made me giggle a bit this week. Amazing Tea Race Speaking of living vicariously, the team at +Tealet is off on this year's amazing tea race. Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Flashback: the ritual of tea on holiday

T Ching - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 12:01

I must confess that I often make my tea in a rush. Life is very busy and I imagine that I’m like a lot of people in that regard . . . rushing from one task to another. I spent the last few days at the coast of Oregon and had an opportunity to slow down a bit. I came to learn something very interesting about my tea ritual during that time.

It is my habit to brew tea in small pots; be they glass, tetsubin – cast iron – or clay. I’m often frustrated by the leaking liquor as I pour it into its awaiting cup. What I discovered, when I wasn’t rushing, was that the tea pours perfectly into the cup, without spilling a drop. I was the one responsible for the leaks by pouring the tea too quickly! It seems the ancient makers of classic tea pots understood the dynamics of the pour. Whether it was a pot maker in China, Japan, or America: the key is the speed of the pour. By rushing the process, too much tea was forced to leave the pot, causing the liquor to spill out prematurely. Patience has never been my strong suit. Even with my beloved tea, my impatience compromised the experience.

I am delighted by the beauty of this simple process. It forces the drinker to s-l-o-w down. We have written about the ritual of tea and the impact it has on our health and wellness. I believe that we need to embrace the slower pace that tea encourages. Whether we utilize the humble tea bag or the small tea pot, we need to slow down and savor the pleasure that tea affords us. Each element provides an opportunity for beauty; visually, gustatorily and as an olfactory pleasure. I have come to value the pleasure that each cup brings to me. Of course I brought my tea selections and my brewing pots to the condo on the coast – assuming that of course there would be many cups and mugs that I could use during my brief stay. There was another lesson learned. The mediocre tea cups that were available were just not as lovely as what I drink from each day. The feel of the cups in my hand and the experience of my lips on the rim of the cup somehow negatively affected my experience of the tea. I had clearly undervalued the impact of the cup in my ritual of tea. Intellectually I knew the importance of a beautiful artisan cup, as I’ve grown a considerable collection over the years. I just didn’t realize the impact it would have for me, as I sipped my favorite teas watching pelicans and seals playing in the pacific ocean. Next time I’ll be sure to bring along a favorite cup to complete the experience of savoring tea while on vacation.

This post first published on the blog 25 June 2008.

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TangYang GongFu Black Tea from Tao Tea Leaf

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 10:00
Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tao Tea Leaf

Tea Description:

Well known throughout the world, TangYang GongFu is a fully oxidized black tea from the Fujian province of China. The tea was created in the year 1371 during the dawn of the Ming Dynasty. This tea has a thick and heavy body and tastes bold and slightly sweet.  The brew is a perfect balance between the bitterness,  sweet, honey and fruit like flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I may be ruffling some feathers of you Chinese black tea lovers out there, but I just want to put my honest opinions out in the open. Fujian Province makes the best black teas. Hands down. My favorite black tea of all time is Jin Jun Mei, (also known as Beautiful Golden Eyebrow) which is also from Fujian. Must be something in the water. Or the dirt. Or the air. Yup. It’s gotta be the dirt. Just looking at this dark chocolaty brown leaf of this tea is making me thirsty. I love seeing the little golden fuzzy twirls hiding out within, that coy, delicate bud just waiting to hit me over the head with its rich deliciousness.

Of course, I whipped out my trusty porcelain gaiwan and got down to it. I just had to gongfu brew this tea. I mean, it even has the word in it’s name!  I used 3g of slender, lightly twisted,  leaf in my 100ml gaiwan. I gave it a quick rinse for about 3 seconds before beginning. Even the rinse had already become a deep, rustic brown. I knew I was in for a treat.

The tea was gracious enough to brew up all of it’s goodness slowly, letting me enjoy every last drop to it’s fullest. The soup was thick and broth, and a brilliant red. The taste was heavy in my mouth, and the flavors lasted long after each sip. I got no astringency whatsoever, it was so even and smooth. The aroma is similar to fresh baked whole wheat bread, with perhaps some dried fruit snuck inside. Upon further inspection, I detect creamed honey and thick malt coating my throat. It still retains that bread quality without becoming toast. This would make for an excellent breakfast tea!

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