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Nature’s Candy – Coconut Chamomile from Petali Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 19:00
Fruit is nature’s candy– a phrase I heard said by many health-nut, earth-loving parents.  But it might just be true in the case of Coconut Chamomile from Petali Teas.  I got a taste of this blend from my Amoda Tea subscription. With rainbow colors and fun shapes, this tea almost feels like a handful of candies.  It includes green kiwi pieces, pink hibiscus, red rose hips, yellow apple pieces, almost-purple cherry slices, and bright white coconut. The fragrance of this tea blew me away as soon as I opened the bag, giving me a strong whiff of the fruity, sugary, Read More

Banana Milk Tea from Chatime. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 15:00
Being sick as a kid was awesome. I don’t mean those times you were stuck in bed and full of aches, but those times you were too sick to go to school but not sick enough to have to be confined to your room. When you got to hang out, watch cartoons and of course, The Price is Right, and your food was hand delivered while you played. Plus, no pills to swallow. Instead you got Banana Medicine. You know what I am talking about. The bright yellow candy-like treat that you either loved or hated. I think it’s clear Read More

Macchiato Dream from Steeped Tea. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 12:30
IIf you’re trying to kick the coffee habit, this tea might be a middle-ground in your transition to tea. It’s a low-key woodsy rooibos with coffee grounds inside it. You’re still getting those coffee notes, but also some wood notes, and a teensy bit of caramel. But not a lot of caramel — if that was your selling point, I’m not getting a lot of it here. The description of the tea is “bold caramel flavor with coffee beans”, but I’m getting a much mellower cup. The woodiness reminds me of clarinet reeds. My clarinet career was a spectacular failure, Read More

Blueberry Green Kukicha from Frontier Organic. . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 23:00
When I smelled this tea, I knew right away I needed to make it into iced tea. I prefer fruitier teas cold for some reason. It smells like blueberries right away, and when you pour hot water over the tea, it really smells like blueberries! Kukicha tea is also known as twig tea. It’s prepared from the stems and stalks of the tea shrub. That’s exactly what this tea looks like, twigs with some dried blueberries in the mix. Twig tea, or Kukicha tea is a nutritional powerhouse. It has six times more calcium than cow’s milk, and more vitamin Read More

Pretty In Pink from Paper Box Goodies. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 19:00
WELCOME TO THE UNIVERSE OF FEMININITY! This tea is — to start off — super-pink. It’s got that awesome magenta that only shows up when hibiscus is in play. Then, when you sip, it’s extremely sweet. It’s loaded with strawberries, hibiscus, and delicious Darjeeling. Which — as you know — means caffeine. My favorite vice. I drank the first half hot, which was like being embraced in dark pink satin sheets. A smoldering, you-go-girl type of experience. Then I decided to try it iced, so I threw ice cubes in the remaining half of the tea to give it a Read More

Almond Cookie from Tea & Tins. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 17:00
Lately I have had a serious obsession with pistachio ice cream. Like, I have eaten almost 3 quarts of it in the past 2 weeks. Well, pistachios themselves have a very mild flavor. Subsequently, the ice cream itself is actually flavored with almond. Have you ever noticed that pistachio ice cream kind of smells like biscottis? Well, that’s because of the almond flavoring. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many pistachio ice cream teas circulating around in our little “tea-world” as of late. So, when I saw Almond Cookie by Tea & Tins I figured that it may help curb my craving Read More

Mana Organics Assam

Notes on Tea - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:01

Another day, another Assam! Did you read yesterday's post about cupping Assam (and Uva) for tea school? I don't recall drinking lots of black tea as a child - children were given various herbs to drink - but there was a strong practice of drinking black tea with milk and sometimes sugar among adults. I wonder if exposure to the delightful fragrance of malty, milky black tea has influenced my black tea palate. I'm joking, a bit. I enjoy the Assam we have been drinking courtesy of Mana Organics. It's honestly good even if I did not favor this type of black tea.

The Mana Organics Assam is certified organic. The tea is graded FOP1 for flowery orange pekoe indicating presence of buds. The number 1 was assigned by the tea taster and this usually indicates that the tea taster found this particular batch to be special. This Assam is picked from the Chota Tingrai estate which began producing tea in 1943.

I partially followed the instructions on the foil lined pouch. I used 1 teaspoon and infused the leaves for 4 minutes. I have used both boiling water (specified) and 200F water. Boiling water is the better option. No volume was specified so I used 8 ounces. I did not add milk or sugar. I don't think you should.

The dark dry leaves with silver and golden tips smelled sweet and malty with notes of dark fruit and chocolate. The infused leaves had a brisk fragrance. The pretty coppery liquor did not offer up any discernible smell. But it was very flavorful. The tea was sweet, malty, brisk, and tart with chocolate and fruit notes. Perhaps the fruit flavor was date. I have been eating a lot of Medjool dates. The dry and infused leaves look like two different teas, don't they?

Tea provided by Mana Organics.

P.S. For more information about Mana Organics operations, read Sara's interview with co-founder Avantika Jalan at the Tea Happiness blog.

Pomegranate Black from 52Teas. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:00
Let me start by saying I love flavored black teas. Fruity, chocolately, spicy, you name it. So, I was stoked to try this one. It’s certainly not anything that will blow your socks off, but is more of a solid contender for a daily spring or summer tea. Flavored teas are really only as good as the base upon which they’re built, so I was glad that this black tea base had a mild flavor. The pomegranate is a light, clean berry-ish flavor that’s more of a scent of the tea rather than a full-blown flavor. I also added just Read More

Blast from the past: what to know about matcha and caffeine levels

T Ching - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 12:00

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

Whether you ask for matcha tea, matcha green tea, or matcha powder, you are essentially asking for the same thing; matcha tea is powdered tea most often made from Japanese green tea, but can be made from Chinese tea, or any other tea for that matter.

Being that matcha is typically green tea, and green tea is caffeinated, there is some caffeine in matcha teas.  The amount of caffeine will have some slight variances depending on the tea used, but it will be there.

The Caffeine Chemical

Green tea caffeine levels are relatively low, especially when compared to black tea, coffee, or energy drinks.  Your average steeped green tea will have around 25-45 milligrams of caffeine in it per serving.  This makes green tea a bit lower in caffeine than black tea, which averages around 70 milligrams per serving, and substantially lower than the caffeine levels in coffee, which are around 95 milligrams at the low end but is often closer to 200 milligrams a cup.

Matcha tea does have more caffeine than regular green tea, but still less than both black tea and coffee.  Matcha powder, due to the fact that the powdered leaves are dissolved into the water, does not have anything “stay behind” in the leaf after brewing, leaving your average 8 oz cup of matcha tea with 45-60 milligrams of caffeine.

However, just because there is more caffeine in a cup of matcha than in a cup of your normal green tea does not make this an unhealthy option.  The caffeine that is in tea is much more astringent than that found in coffee, and since the body processes all pure teas like water, you get the pure hydration effects along with the slower release of caffeine through the body.  This avoids the common jolt and crash that you might experience with the caffeine associated with coffee while offering a calm alertness that will stay with you, keeping you at an even energy level for a longer period of time.

Matcha Selection

Matcha tea, much like standard Japanese green tea, comes in a variety of different flavors and qualities.  These range from plain to strongly flavored, or from a low quality up to a ceremonial grade quality.  The selections that are offered here at the Whistling Kettle offer matcha powders that will appeal to any taste. Here are a few you may haven’t heard of before.

Matcha Jasmine

Jasmine is a popular addition to a number of different tea types.  When the jasmine is added to matcha teas, the result is a tea that has the flavor of Jasmine coupled with the grassier taste and typical caffeine content that is associated with Japanese green tea.

Matcha Chai

Matcha Chai is a unique blend of Indian Spices and matcha green tea.  The taste of this tea is a strong sample of a mix of cultures, with a strong matcha made as a base with the chai spice added in.  This is a potent tea that we actually do recommend for blending with milk or cream and sugar to taste.  The caffeine content of this tea is average for matcha tea.

Matcha White Rhino

Mention was made earlier that “most” matcha teas are Japanese green tea.  Well, our Matcha White Rhino is derived from Kenyan White Teas.  The result is a light matcha that is lower in caffeine than most matcha teas while having a higher level of anti-oxidants.

Matcha Pearl Drop

Grown on the Pearl River, this is a matcha that is actually derived from the Jianxi Province in China.  The fact that this tea is grown and processed in China offers a different flavor quality since it originates from higher altitudes and isn’t shaded like it’s Japanese counterpart.  The flavor is pure, lightly astringent, and at a relatively low cost for matcha tea, this has the flavor of a true luxury tea couple with slightly higher than average matcha caffeine content.

The Conclusion…

Matcha green tea (or matcha white tea) is not excessive in caffeine content, and since it is not acidic, but astringent in nature you avoid the potential crash that is associated with coffee.  In addition to the healthier taste and feeling from the healthier caffeine levels, you can actually improve your health through the presence of polyphenols, anti-oxidants, and flavonoids.  In fact, in matcha teas since the lead is being consumed, you get the highest count of these phyto-chemicals out of any tea, making matcha tea an excellent beverage choice for everyone.


The post Blast from the past: what to know about matcha and caffeine levels appeared first on T Ching.

Friday Round Up: March 19th - March 26th

Tea For Me Please - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 04:38
Trek to Brooklyn 2017
I was a bit bummed to miss the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival for the first time in many years. Thankfully I was able to live vicariously through +Jo J's blog post.

Meet my tea pet
Regular readers will know about my obsession with tea pets. +Anna Mariani introduced us to her squirrel tea pet and the adorable story that goes along with it.

Notes from the Tea Underground
I've said it before and I'll say it again, +Geoffrey Norman gets to go to the coolest tea events! Portland definitely has one of the most unique tea communities.

What I Like About Japanese Green Tea
+Ricardo Caicedo answers a question that I've often wondered, what made a guy from Colombia become so interested in Japanese green tea?

Cupping an Assam and an Uva
I've been avidly following the adventures of +Georgia SS as she takes an ITEI tea course. Comparing black teas from different regions can be so interesting.

Winter Cabin Chai from 52Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 23:00
Ahhhhh! A Black Tea/Honeybush Blend from 52 Teas? HECK YEAH – I’m excited! I’m excited for Winter Cabin Chai from 52 Tea for many reasons…one…because I was getting low on spicy black teas…two…because it’s a blended black tea and honeybush base…three…it’s a flavored chai…and four…it contains marshmallow root! The marshmallow root is GLORIOUS! It’s a natural, vegan ingredient that gives it the delicious marshmallow aroma and taste without the gelatin based junk food that you buy in stores! It’s spicy because of the traditional chai-like spices but it also has a sweetness to it, too! The vanilla provides a creamy-smooth Read More

“Tea Master” No Longer an Accredited Job in China

World of Tea - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 22:44
As reported on their official website last December, the Chinese government has voted to abolish 114 state-certified professions from its registry of nearly 1,800. These newly un-permitted jobs include vocations...

Tahitian Vanilla from The Tea Can Company . . . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 19:00
Steeping this tea was the first time I steeped tea in a tea bag in like years! I always use loose leaf and I definitely contemplated pouring the leaves from the bag into my steeper but there wasn’t much to the sample so I decided against it. However, I was intrigued by the ingredient list: Oolong, rose petals, natural flavors (assuming vanilla flavor). I absolutely love anything with rose petals and pretty much anything that says vanilla! The dry leaf of this smelled very yummy. I could smell the vanilla and rose mingling together with the oolong and it was Read More

Cupping an Assam and an Uva

Notes on Tea - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:39

An Uva and an Assam mark the last in-class tastings for my ITEI tea course. The next time I formally prepare teas for the course will be during my blind test! Both Uva and Assam are black teas; the former from Sri Lanka and the latter from India. Assam is made from the large leaves of Camellia sinensis var. assamica which was discovered in the region. (Puer is also made from C. s. var. assamica but from the Da Ye cultivar.) Uva is one of the three "major quality growing areas in Sri Lanka" (Gascoyne et al., 2014). Gardens in this province produce either mid-grown or high-grown tea depending on their location on the slope. In this way, Sri Lankans are like the Taiwanese in distinguishing their teas by elevation.

Both the Uva and the Assam I drank were orthodox teas. The Uva was uniform in leaf size and color without any detectable fluff or stems. I did not observe any buds so I would think this tea's grade is OP for orange pekoe. The Assam leaves were broken and not of a uniform size. Buds were present but not in a high amount. I was asked to assign a grade to this tea and I offered BFOP for broken flowery orange pekoe.

I dominant smell, taste, and aroma of the Assam was sweet. The dry leaf smelled malty and sweet. The specific forms of sweetness one should detect in an Assam are honey, spicy, and blond tobacco. In the liquor I detected a spicy/vanilla tail note and the infused leaves smelled like chocolate in addition to malt. But I did not discern blond tobacco. The Assam was a fairly complex tea. The liquor look full bodied and that was reflected in the taste. The liquor was malty, brisk, acidic (not like a lemon), fruity sweet, woody, and the aforementioned vanilla spicy. I infused 2 grams in boiling water for 3 minutes using a professional tasting cup.

I used the same steeping parameter for this Uva. This tea was more elegant in appearance than the Assam and the liquor looked like it would taste flavorful. The liquor was not as sweet as it looked or smelled. The fragrance of the dry leaves was fruity sweet as well as smelling quite similar to a horse barn which is not the same as other types of barns. The liquor was not full-bodied and the flavors dissipated quickly. The dominant flavor of this tea was herbaceous. I detected a spicy tail note, though, once the liquor cooled. This is not a black tea for milk. I would recommend milk and sugar for the Assam but it's quite fine served plain. Do you drink you black tea with milk?

P.S. I was asked to describe my experience with the Uva today and I described it this way: the dry and infused leaves and the liquor look like a black tea. However, if I had tasted this tea sight unseen I would have guessed it was a green tea because of the herbaceous quality. What kind of green tea? I don't know yet. I'll have to drink more of this tea.

Lola from Sicilian Tea Co. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:00
*steps up to the mic* Ahem. Her name was Lola… she was an herbal tea… (Wait. Those are totally the wrong lyrics.) Okay, so we’re not in the Copacabana. But I definitely get that song stuck in my head every time I brew up a pot of this tisane. And why not? It’s sweet, a little sassy, a little spicy– just like any good Lola should be. The licorice in this one plays my favorite trick, eliminating any need for sweeteners, and it balances beautifully with the cinnamon and rooibos. I wish I could taste the lavender more in this Read More

Tea and citrus

T Ching - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 12:00

If you are like me, you have had this experience. You have just brewed a favorite tea and then taken one sip. Inopportunely but invariably, the phone rings or someone’s at the door and you are derailed from that relaxing cup, distracted for just long enough that the perfectly brewed tea has cooled in the cup. Are you disappointed or angered about a potential waste of perfection? For me, quite the contrary.  Often, I’m pleasantly surprised by just how different and satisfying the tea tastes when it has cooled to room temperature.  All of its flavor notes are intact, the blooming in the cup to be appreciated. It’s as if the tea is saying, “I’m good from the first hot sip to the last cooled-down one. I cannot be devalued.”

And then I think about the hard work of so many people who toil in the tea business all along the supply chain–from planter to plucker, from factory processor to packager, and finally from exporter to vendor–before it reaches my cup.  I feel guilty wasting a leaf or a drop of the liquor in my cup. So in fact, at this citrus-abundant time of year, I often brew more tea than I intend to drink and pour the surplus over a colorful medley of supremed citrus for a simple seasonal dessert (“supreme” refers to perfectly intact segments of fruits obtained by peeling them down to the flesh removing all of the bitter pith and then separating the flesh from the membrane that connects them).  Here’s how it’s done.

Tea-drenched citrus with a drizzle of honey

To serve 4

4 c. of a combination of the best citrus fruits you can find: navel oranges, pink or white grapefruit, Oroblanco low-acid grapefruit, cocktail grapefruit (mandelo), blood oranges, tangerines, and clementines, among others

4 c. just brewed and cooled-down tea of your choice

¼ to ½ cup of orange blossom honey (or other local variety of your choice)

Pinch of sea salt to garnish each serving

Using a small sharp serrated knife, cut a thin slice from the stem or blossom end of each fruit to steady the fruit on your cutting surface. Now carefully remove and discard the peel and pith from each citrus fruit, following the contour of the fruit. You can go back with the same knife to remove any errant remaining pith that you find. To make the process easier, cut each peeled fruit in half, inserting the knife on either side of the segments, taking care not to cut through any of the segments. Now you should have two roughly demispherical pieces of the fruit. Place the halves flat side down on a cutting surface. Again insert the knife between the membranes to extract each of the segments, moving around the fruit until all segments have been removed. (The goal is to remove each segment keeping it intact as possible; some fruits will be softer and therefore more challenging to process in this way.) Divide any juice that has collected on the cutting surface among the four individual serving bowls. Place an assortment of citrus supremes into each of the bowls. Pour the brewed tea over them and drizzle the honey over all. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately with a thin ginger molasses cookie.

The post Tea and citrus appeared first on T Ching.

Myteabox.ca March Teas. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:00
My birthday is in March and this year it felt like gifts were showered upon me. And I guess a lot of people are picking up on my tea obsession because 90% of those gifts were tea-related, with a fair amount of them being sent or organized by the wonderful CuppaGeek. In fact, the day before my birthday, four tea packages arrived, among them a flat box with a colorful label and my name largely displayed in the center – the March myteabox.ca monthly subcription box had arrived. It was a gift I didn’t even know I wanted but I Read More

Persian Plum Rose Black from Blossom. . . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 23:00
I’m TOTALLY LOVING THIS TEA! So much so that I slapped it on one of my personal TOP TEN LISTS even before I gave it a proper review! The tea I’m referring to is Persian Plum Rose Black from Blossom! It smells AMAZING as soon as you open the bag! I ALMOST didn’t want to infuse it – it was THAT amazingly-scented! But I did – and I’m glad I did! It was incredible! Persian Plum Rose Black from Blossom is an exotic black tea blend with sultry notes of plum and rose petals, and a pleasant finish of cardamom Read More

Lemon Chiffon from The Love Tea Company. . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 19:00
I decided to make this tea into iced tea. The weather is warming up, and I’m dreaming of spring. A nice cold glass of lemon chiffon tea just screams spring to me. This tea has rooibos, honeybush, lemon myrtle, lavender flowers, marigold petals, and lemon and pomegranate flavors. Doesn’t it just sound beautiful? The tea is beautiful, and the smell is amazing. Nice and fruity, you just want to drink it! It’s a beautiful golden color, it kind of reminds me of a marigold to be honest. It has a very sweet and lemony flavor. It’s extremely refreshing. I don’t Read More

Genmai-Matcha Matsujirushi from Steepster. . . .

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 15:00
Steepster is a website for tea lovers. If you are not on the website and you love tea, I recommend joining immediately because ultimately it is what fueled my love of all things tea and introduced me to the world beyond DAVIDsTEA and Teavana. It is essentially a forum to connect with other tea lovers, write tea reviews, and discuss all things tea. It is through this site that I met wonderful friends, experienced tea swaps, and discovered traveling teaboxes, which is how I came across this tea. For those who don’t know what a traveling teabox is, it is Read More
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