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Archive for the ‘black tea’ Category

Picture 3Although not the subject of today’s review, I’ve been drinking Hojicha, a deliciously roasted bancha.  In actuality, I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, just not writing about it. Sometimes, it is wonderful to sip a cup of tea simply for pleasure. To allow the warmth of the cup to warm my hands. The steam of the brew to tickle my nose. The smoothness of the liquor to soothe my throat, while being stimulated by the amazing flavor.

Nevertheless, today’s review will focus on Euphoric… 

Composition: 2nd Flush, single-estate black tea from Darjeeling, India.

Dry Visual: Dark brown almost black broken tea leaves with bits of red and green leaves. Stems and some tips are present.  Thanks Earthbound Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: An earthy, somewhat woodsy aroma.

Flavor:  I found Euphoric to be a very flavorful tea from beginning to end.  The flavor profile combined a maltiness in the middle with a fruity finish.  The first thing that came to mind was berries – blueberries, blackberries, etc.

Initially, I began my tasting of Euphoric pure – with no sweetener added. As typical of Darjeeling teas, I found Euphoric to be astringent. During a later tasting,  I added just a little sweetener to round the flavor, however one could easily add milk as well. Euphoric is robust enough to stand up to milk.  Finally, I drank Euphoric again cold and decided, I would love it as an iced tea.

Liquor: A dark amber hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Euphoric is 3 – 4 minutes in 212 degree water.  I steeped for 4 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Earthbound Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Euphoric, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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strip_closeup3060

Perhaps this may be seen as overkill, but I have another last night I enjoyed another tea by Strip Teas. Usually I try to mix tea reviews so that I share my adventures with various different retailers and flavors, but not this week. Almost every day this week I have sipped a cup of tea containing a Strip Teas tea. The convenience of the packaging makes Strip Teas a easy choice. So far, I share Pushkar Rose and Kashmiri Kahwah – today I’ll share Mint.

Composition:  Nilgiri loose leaf tea blended with dried sprigs of mint.

Dry Visual: I am unable to ascertain as the tea comes prepackaged in an aluminum infuser. Thanks Strip Teas for the picture of the actual loose leaf tea.

Dry Aroma: Mildly minty.

Flavor:  First things first, I love mint tea. Peppermint, Spearmint, Moroccan Mint… I cannot think of a time when I have turned down mint tea. Thus I was highly anticipating drinking a cup of Mint by Strip Teas. The first flavor that greeted me was the taste of Nilgiri. I was surprised and intrigued by the combination of black tea and mint. minttealeavesYet, if ever a black tea was to be blended with mint, I couldn’t think of a better choice than Nilgiri. A black tea both flavorful and mild without a hint of bitterness.  Of course, I was looking next for the power packed punch of mint because I prefer my mint tea extra minty. As the dry aroma suggests, the mint within this blend was very mild, leaving me somewhat disappointed. Overall, Mint is flavorful yet smooth. No sweetener was required nor added to this cup of tea as I was in a purist mood. 

Liquor: A rich brown.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Mint is 1 Strip Tea for 2 – 4 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 4 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Strip Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Mint by Strip Teas, stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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strip_closeup3060  There never seems to be enough time in the day.  By the time one goes to work, schedule and attend all of the kids appointments – from football practice to parent/teacher conferences, spends quality time with the family, and make some mediocre attempt to manage household duties, it is time to go to bed and start the insanity all over again the next day. Whatever your responsibilities call for, it is always nice to steal a little time out of the day to spend doing the things you enjoy doing.  Like … a phone conversation with friends,  reading a good book, a walk in the sunshine (unless you live in the midwest where the weather resembles rainy London or Seattle) or savor a cup of tea.

So this afternoon, I took a few minutes to make a cup of tea and simply enjoy it. In the midst of meetings, performance reviews, and following up on past due invoices, I inhaled deeply the aroma of  Kashmiri Kahwa.

Composition:  Pure Nilgiri loose leaf tea blended with almonds, cardamon, cinnamon and a hint of saffron.

Dry Visual: I am unable to ascertain as the tea comes prepackaged in an aluminum infuser. Thanks Strip Teas for the picture of the actual loose leaf tea.

 Dry Aroma: Spicy – particularly cardamom, which I initially mistook for black licorice and cinnamon.kahwatealeavesclose

Flavor:  The first taste exuded the mild characteristic traits of Nilgiri – I new it immediately when it hit my tastebuds. Whenever I taste a tea for the first time, I do so without reading the ingredients to develop an unbiased opinion of the flavors that present themselves. Immediately following the Nilgiri, I was greeted by the spiciness of the cardamom. The sweet taste of cinnamon formed the middle and Kashmiri Kahwa finished with the combined flavors of cinnamon and almond. The nutty flavor of the almond was difficult to ascertain initially yet presented itself later in the cup as Kashmiri Kahwa began to cool.

Kashmiri Kahwa reminds me of a smooth chai tea – a popular Indian way of drinking tea. Interestingly, where I would normlly add milk and honey to a chai tea blended with assam, I found that I preferred the smooth taste of the nigilri without the addition of either. Perhaps in my next cup.

Liquor: A rich brown.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Kashmiri Kahwa is 1 Strip Tea for 2 – 4 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 4 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Strip Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

What’s In A Name?

Kashmir, the first part of Kashmiri Kahwa, is located within the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Kahwah (also spelled qehwa, kehwa or kahwa) is a traditional green tea recipe that originates from Kashmir. It is made in parts of Kashmir administered by Pakistan and India, as well as throughout various regions of the countries.

If you have had the opportunity to try Kashmiri Kahwa, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

References:

1. Kahwah. (2009, February 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:08, April 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kahwah&oldid=268620973

2. Kashmir. (2009, April 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:09, April 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kashmir&oldid=284003085

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strip_closeup3060Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a new tea company called Strip Teas. Quite an exotic twist on the second most popular beverage in the world – second only to water. As you can see from the photo – loose tea is packaged in disposable aluminum infusers in the shape of a strip. Hence the name… Strip Teas.  Last night, I had the first opportunity to try this new product.  Strip Teas have several original tea blends to choose from – last night’s choice – Pushkar Rose.

Composition:  Whole Nilgiri tea leaves blended with roses indigenous to Pushkar, India.

Dry Visual: I am unable to ascertain as the tea comes prepackaged in an aluminum infuser. Thanks Strip Teas for the picture of the actual loose leaf tea.

rosetealeaves

Dry Aroma: The gentle scent of a rose. Definitely floral.

Flavor:  How does one describe the taste of a rose? Pushkar Rose is unique in that it is not purely composed of rose petals and other non-tea ingredients also known as herbal tea. What I truly enjoyed about Pushkar Rose is the combination of Nilgiri and rose petals. Nilgiri provides the girth of a black tea, however, I was impressed by its mild nature.  The only downside is that it was a little dry.

The flavor provided by the rose petals was dominant, but not overpowering.  Pushkar Rose is well blended-both ingredients created a delightful floral brew. I was surprised to be able to obtain two infusion from one strip tea. The first cup was enjoyed without sweetener whereas a teaspoon of Sugar-In-The-Raw was added to the second infusion. I cannot say which I enjoyed the most. While the sweetener eliminated the dryness, it also changed the flavor profile – the floral quality was slightly masked.

Liquor: A rich golden brown.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time is 1 Strip Tea for 2 – 4 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 3 minutes as recommended for the first infusion and 5 minutes for the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Strip Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had an opportunity to try Pushkar Rose, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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t8081

Just a couple of hours before the dawn of a new day. Yet, I am thankful for these last few hours to enjoy Easter Sunday. Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to remember the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. While simultaneously spending time with family – eating, laughing, and immensely enjoying the company of one another. It is now 10:46 p.m. and I am winding down with a wonderful cup of Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme.

Composition: Whole leaf black tea from Southeast China. Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme one of many teas, originating in the Wuyi Mountains. The Wuyi Mountain range is located between Wuyishan City, at Nanping prefecture of Fujian province and Wuyishan Town, at Shangrao city of Jiangxi province.

Dry Visual: Dark brown, almost black, twisted leaves. No broken bits. Thanks Jing Tea for the photo.

Dry Aroma: A wonderful smoky aroma.

Flavor:  Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme also known as Wuyi Ji Ping Bohea hong Cha is delicious. A lover of lapsang souchong, I eagerly anticipated my first cup. To my surprise, I found Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme to be full-bodied, yet extraordinarily smooth. Typical of other lapsang souchong’s, Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme is characteristically smokey, but not overpowering. I was extremely pleased by the complexity of this tea. While Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme may have started off smokey, its middle is spicy, yet the finish is incredibly sweet.

The use of a sweetener is an absolute no-no. Not only did I not use sweetener, it was never an option. I believe the very nature of Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme’s flavor profile would be unnaturally altered. 300px-wuyishan_fujian_china

Liquor: The color of bourbon – a rich golden brown with hints of red.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time is 1 to 2 tsp for 4 – 5 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 4 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Jing Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had an opportunity to try Organic Bohea Lapsang Supreme, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

 

References:

Wuyi Mountains. (2009, March 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:46, April 13, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wuyi_Mountains&oldid=280083300

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mim-estate1

What does the phrase, “life happens” mean to you?  I usually apply the phrase when it feels as though life is moving by non-stop at about 75 miles per hour. So fast at times that I don’t have time to stop and breathe. Time to stop and not just drink, but enjoy a cup of tea. Time to enjoy the nuances of tea and write about it.

This week, I get to enjoy a week with no school. I’m looking forward to the joy of reading a book. Inviting friends over for dinner. Blogging more frequently than twice a week. Enough rambling, it’s time to talk about tea. Today’s choice… MIM Estate.

Composition: This is a 2nd flush Darjeeling, from the Mim Estate in northern India. Second flush Darjeeling’s are harvested in June and are more fully developed. 

Dry Visual: A mixture of dark brown leaves with hints of creamy edges. Many thanks to Tropical Tea Company for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Somewhat earthy.

Flavor:  MIM Estate is an extremely flavorful and  full-bodied tea. The flavor reminds me of a strong black tea. It has a rich fruity start that I associated with berries followed by a significantly muscatel flavor. I continue to struggle with an accurate description of muscatel – MIM Estate is quite earthy.

MIM Estate would definitely make a great breakfast tea. The strength of the tea would blend quite wonderfully with bergamot as well as stand up well to milk. Somewhat bitter, I definitely prefer MIM Estate with sweetener.

Liquor: A rich amber hue, leaning toward brown.

Brewing Time: The actual steeping time was not provided,  so I relied upon prior Darjeeling steeping recommendations for an average time of  3 – 5 minutes.  I steeped for 4 minutes.

Manufacturer: Tropical Tea Company

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to taste a cup of MIM Estate Tea stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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teaescapadespumpkinspicechai-52teas

Twitter has become my new place for meeting and connecting on a regular basis with other tea lovers. While our only place to meet and chat is the Online, I feel like my life is enriched a little bit everyday by the tidbits of knowledge, tea tips, and random postings about current events, personal achievements, and life in general.

While on Twitter, I learned about 52 Teas, a project of Zoomdweebie’s Tea.  52 Teas is committed to bringing you a new small batch custom blended hand-crafted tea EVERY WEEK.  This is achieved by asking customers to help decide what to blend.  If you have an idea for a tea blend, simply sign in to their forums and post your request there. 52 Teas will make it happen. I did – and the results manifested in Tea Escapade’s Pumpkin Spiced Chai, which was featured during the week ending January 3, 2009. Tea Escapade’s Pumpkin Spiced Chai was featured once again, “due to popular demand”, during the week ending January 23, 2009. 

Composition: Assam tea, ginger root pieces, cinnamon, green cardamom, and natural and/or artificial flavors.

Dry Visual: A colorful blend of dark brown, almost black, tea mixed with large chunky pieces of yellow (ginger), light green (cardamom), and brick red (cinnamon).

Dry Aroma: A pungent, almost overpowering, spicy mix – what I assume to be the pumpkin flavor is dominant followed by the cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.

Flavor: Tea Escapade’s Pumpkin Spiced Chai has a robust, spicy flavor as the dry aroma suggests. A typical characteristic of chai tea that I love. The black tea is blended well with the other flavors, creating a complex cup of tea – starting with cinnamon and finishing with ginger. I steeped several cups before writing this review in an attempt to gain further insight into the flavor profile. While the pumpkin aroma is quite powerful in the dry blend, I was unable to decipher its presence in the liquor.

As with most black teas, especially assam, Pumpkin Spiced Chai Tea requires the addition of sweetener. I tasted one cup with milk and honey; another with milk and sugar; and yet another with sugar alone. My preference is with sugar alone as it curbs the astringency nicely.

Liquor: A rich reddish-brown  hue.

Brewing Time: It is recommended that black teas are brewed for an average of 3 – 5 minutes at a temperature of approximately 212 degrees. I steeped for both 4 and 5 minutes finding a mild dryness at both temperatures.

Manufacturer: 52 Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you love chai, which I do, you may find Tea Escapade’s Pumpkin Spiced Chai to be the tea for you. If you have experienced this chai tea, stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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southern_belleYes… it is cold, snowy, slippery, and dreary. Oh yeah, how could I forget? It’s winter and I’m already anticipating the transformation of winter into Summer. In an effort to make the dreary days of winter (as opposed to the dog days of summer) more palatable, I attempted to bring the warmth of summer indoors. Armed with a hot fruity cup of Organic Southern Belle, I managed to enjoy a slice of Summer in the middle of January.

Composition: Organic Black Tea, Natural Flavoring (What exactly comprises natural flavoring?), Peaches.

Dry Visual: Dark brown/black twisted tea leaves with chunky bits of dried peaches. Thanks Tantalizing Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Scrumptious! A cross between peach juice and peach cobbler.

Flavor: I steeped several cups of Organic Southern Belle before writing this review.  The first cup I steeped for 5 minutes – this created a robust cup of tea, somewhat dry with a hint of bitterness. To truly enjoy required the addition of sweetener. The black tea was dominant followed by a peach finish. After allowing to cool, I was quite impressed – Organic Southern Belle would be an awesome sweet iced tea. “Southern Belle” style as the name suggests. 

My second cup of tea was steeped for 4 minutes. I found this to be Organic Southern Belle’s “sweet spot”. While robust, Organic Southern Belle was extraordinarily smooth without a hint of dryness or bitterness. The tea was delicious with a wonderful peach flavor from start to finish. Naturally sweet, I was able to enjoy without sweetener. Steeped for 4 minutes, Organic Southern Belle is a delicious flavored black tea. I was left with a fruity aftertaste in the mouth.

Liquor: A rich, reddish brown with a golden hue.

Brewing Time: It is recommended that Organic Southern Belle is steeped for 3 – 5 minutes. Initially, I steeped for 5 minutes then 4 minutes.

Manufacturer: Tantalizing Tea

Caffeine: Yes

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Organic Southern Belle, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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d_1002There is no better way to spend the end of a hectic week than to enjoy a whole day void of  distractions, noise – including radio and television, and drama – the kids are out doing their own thing. As we speak, I am looking out my kitchen window into the backyard watching the leaves skip across the hard cold grass. While periodically peering around the island at the dogs sleeping peacefully on the floor. I chatted  with my husband on the phone as he drove to to my stepson’s basketball game and later laughed with my sister who called from her home in Mississippi. What an awesome moment in time to enjoy a hot, soothing, cup of tea. Today’s choice… Organic Earl Grey Supreme.

Composition: Organic Fair Trade Certified™ black tea leaves (Keemun and Yunnan blend) and 100% natural essential bergamot oil. Keemun and Yunnan (also known as Dian hong) are Chinese Black Teas. Yunnan’s key distinction from other black teas comes from its fine leaf buds or “golden tips”. Though blended with bergamot, I truly appreciate a tea with no artificial flavors. 

Dry Visual: Very dark almost black and twisted tea leaves. The tea appears to be a mix of broken leaves, a few stems, and even a few buds (characteristic Yunnan).  Thanks Rishi Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: A robust citrus aroma reminiscent of lemon or lime zest.

Flavor: Let me start by saying that Organic Earl Grey Supreme is the best Earl Grey I think I have tasted. The black tea is very smooth without a hint of bitterness. Immediately, I was reminded of Dawn, an unflavored black tea I recently discovered and fell in tea love.  Organic Earl Grey Supreme is blended extremely well – the bergamot adds wonderful complexity. While its natural citrus flavor is dominant, it is followed by the subtle, slightly malty taste of black tea. The finish is slightly floral.

Organic Earl Grey Supreme is surprisingly full-bodied. Though robust, it is easily enjoyed without sweetener. I believe the bergamot in conjunction with the natural character of the black tea adds a definite sweetness. However, if you decide on sweetener, only a little is required and I personally would never add milk or cream. Organic Earl Grey Supreme is delicious!

Liquor: A cross between a rich golden and reddish brown hue.

Brewing: It is recommended that 1 teaspoon of Organic Earl Grey Supreme is steeped for 4 minutes in boiling water. I steeped for the recommended time.

Manufacturer: Rishi Tea

Caffeine: Yes

Bergamot has a splendid way of transforming black tea from ordinary to extraordinary. And when paired with a quality black tea you end up with Organic Earl Grey Supreme. If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Not a tea drinker, I conned my husband into drinking a cup with me. :-) I asked him while he was asleep if he would like a cup of tea. Of course he answered yes. I decided on a cup of Original Masala Chai, brewed according to Yogic Chai’s instructions, albeit with minor modifications. When complete and ready to drink, I woke my darling husband up for his afternoon cup of tea. Of course he says, “I don’t want any tea.” And of course I responded, “well you said you did when I asked.”  With great restraint, I handed my husband his cup of tea. It was obvious he felt obligated to drink the cup of tea I so graciously made for him. Even now, I’m laughing as I recount the story.

Composition: Black Assam tea grown in the lowlands of Assam, India, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

Dry Visual: Very dark brown Indian pellet tea with bits of cream, tan and green.

Dry Aroma: Incredibly spicy! Original Masala Chai smells delicious and reminds me of time spent with family during the holidays.

Flavor: Original Masala Chai was delicious! After brewing, the tea was very robust and bitter. However, according to Yogic Chai’s instructions (although somewhat deviated) I added 2 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. The Assam stood up superbly to the cream and both the honey and cream eliminated the bitterness. Even in the midst of the cream and honey the Assam was quite bold and maintained its malty character.

Each of the spices – ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom, added a wonderful complexity to Original Masala Chai. The tea was creamy from the first sip to the last with a spicy finish.

Liquor: A rich dark brown color.

Brewing Time: It is recommended that Original Masala Chai plus water should be combined in a pot and brought to boil, then simmered for an additional 2 – 3 minutes. I followed the recommended brewing instructions.

Manufacturer: Yogic Chai

Caffeine: Yes.

Original Masala Chai was a wonderful afternoon treat. Even my husband admitted, albeit grudgingly, that he enjoyed his cup of tea. If you have had an opportunity to enjoy a cup of Original Masala Chai, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking.

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