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Archive for the ‘tea review’ Category

Back in November of last year (2009) I began a new Sunday morning routine.  Hot Vinyasa Yoga followed by a Starbuck’s Orange Mango Vivanno Smoothie with matcha.  If you have never taken a hot yoga class, picture this… an enclosed yoga studio filled with 25 plus yogis and the heat cranked up anywhere between 95 to 100 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Only one word appropriately describes the experience – INTENSE! Upon completion, I have had the workout of my life, not to mention I am incredibly hot, dripping with sweat, and invigorated.  A few hours later, I love to sit and enjoy a hot cup of tea. Today’s choice Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement.

Composition: Green tea, white tea (Bai Mu Dan), eleuthero root, alfalfa leaf, stevia leaf, natural lemon and orange flavors with other natural flavors (contains soy lecithin), rosehips, and roasted chicory.

Dry Visual: It is difficult to tell as the tea is contained in tea bags.  From what I can tell, the leaves appear to be fannings. Thanks to Celestial Seasonings for the photo.

Dry Aroma: The tea bag inhibited my ability to develop an impression of the dry aroma.  However, after steeping the leaves had a strong citrus aroma with orange and lemon dominating.

Flavor: Consistent with the wet aroma Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a definite citrus flavor followed by the distinct floral tastes of roses.  As the cup begins to cool, the chicory presents itself in the middle – significantly, yet not overpowering. With the various flavors of citrus, chicory, and floral I was unable to easily discern the green and white tea flavors.  Green tea is the predominant tea ingredient; however, Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement is not vegetal.

Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup. I drank the first cup without sugar – the stevia leaf provided a delicate sweetness.  In the second cup I added Sugar-In-The-Raw to see the impact of the sweetener on the slightly tart citrus flavors.  Interestingly, I found the chicory came alive with the addition of sweetener. I prefer drinking Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement without a sweetener.  As a side note, many say ground roasted chicory can be used as a coffee substitute. I say it tastes like black licorice. You tell me…

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow liquid with a reddish hue.

Brewing Time: Celestial Seasonings recommends steeping Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement in boiling water for 2 minutes.  I steeped both cups for the requisite 2 minutes.

Manufacturer: Celestial Seasonings

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

What is Eleuthero?

Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly Acanthopanax senticosus) is a species of small, woody shrub in the family Araliaceae native to Northeastern Asia. It is commonly called eleuthero, and was previously marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng as it has similar herbal properties to those of Panax ginseng. However, it belongs to a different genus in the family Araliaceae.

Reference: Eleutherococcus senticosus. (2010, April 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:19, April 18, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eleutherococcus_senticosus&oldid=354779930

**Tea was provided by Celestial Seasonings as a sample.

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Somehow, I have found myself watching Nature on PBS.  Today’s episode “Moment of Impact: Hunters and Herds” focuses on how animals both hunt and protect themselves.  I am quite amazed as I have just learned in a matter of 20 minutes that eagles have eyes that are larger than their brains. Queen ants reproduce constantly – laying over 3 million eggs per day. Jack rabbits have the ability to run at speeds of 40 miles per/hour.  And more than half of all giraffe calfs fall prey to tigers and hyenas. It is amazing how little I know about nature as I sat transfixed before the television enjoying a cup of Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong.

Composition: Oolong tea grown primarily in the foggy and wet mountain regions of China.  There is no milk or milk products contained in this tea.

Dry Visual: Dark green and yellow tightly rolled leaves with brown stems present.  Thanks to Stash Tea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: A blend of nutty, toasty, creamy almost milky with a mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor: Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong is mild yet flavorful. A lover of oolong tea, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a distinctly different feel in the mouth. It has a thick heavy texture that coats the mouth and tongue. Naturally sweet, I found this tea to delicious and thoroughly enjoyed every sip.  Unlike the dry aroma, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong did not have a vegetal quality, typical of some oolongs.  Instead it was a unique mixture of toasted creaminess.  However, I was amazed by the changes in flavor as the cup cooled – this oolong became sweeter, slightly vegetal with a floral finish floral.

Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion. However, I would never add a sweetener for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile. There is something quite amazing about the nuances found in an unsweetened cup of tea.

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: Stash recommends steeping Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.  I opted for 4 minutes for the first infusion.

Manufacturer: Stash Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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I don’t think anyone is more excited than I that today is March 1st.  This winter, especially February, has been filled with record-breaking snow days, snow drifts, freezing rain, and below-freezing temperatures. While there is always the possibility of more snow, the likelihood has significantly decreased.  Not to mention, the promise of warmer days with more sun is highly motivating.  The countdown to Spring has begun with only 19 more days to go.  I am drinking Yanagi Bancha to celebrate!

Composition: Japanese green tea harvested in June.

Dry Visual: Rich green and yellow coarsely twisted and broken leaves with stems present.  Thanks to Obubu Tea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: A very fresh green aroma.  I am reminded of the smell of trees after a refreshing Spring rain.

Flavor: Yanagi Bancha is quite delicious.  A lover of Japanese green teas, I found Yanagi Bancha to be mild yet flavorful. Naturally sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed its refreshing taste.  A full-bodied tea, Yanagi Bancha has a hint of a vegetal quality throughout the cup with a floral finish.  I was amazed by the changes in flavor as the cup cooled.

Yanagi Bancha has a moderate astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion. However, I would never add a sweetener for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile.

Liquor: A greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Yanagi Bancha in boiling water for 30 seconds during the first infusion, 20 seconds during the second infusion and 30 seconds during the third infusion.

Manufacturer: Obubu Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Obubu Tea as a sample.

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The last two weeks I have felt physically crappy – some days better than other – but today is the worst.  I am in need of some sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine!  It’s funny how, when feeling under the weather, we seek to surround ourselves with things that bring us comfort.  For some that means comfort food, for others comfy pajamas, a favorite blanket, or a childhood pillow.  Depending upon the ailment, there are times when hearing the voice of a spouse, loved-one, or best friend provide the needed level of comfort.  Sometimes it’s a hot steaming cup of tea.  The subject of today’s tea review and comfort of choice – Lavender Oolong.

Composition: Alishan oolong infused with natural lavender

Dry Visual: Light and dark green leaves tightly rolled with stems present.  Thanks to Naivetea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: Delicately floral – the smell of lavender is unmistakable with a hint of oolong.

Flavor: Lavender Oolong is a lovely floral infused oolong.  The oolong is mild with a distinct floral quality – I’m sure you are not surprised – that is present in the cup from the first sip to the last.  Full-bodied, Lavender Oolong creates a heavy feel in the mouth.

There is no astringency, therefore Lavender Oolong can be enjoyed without sweetener.  There is, however, a mild dryness that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion.  Nevertheless, I prefer to drink Lavender Oolong without sweetener.

Liquor: A yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Lavender Oolong in 190 degree water for  one minute during the first infusion and two minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Naivetea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Naivetea as a sample.

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“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of pausing,
And I’ve bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight,
All the way home I’ll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we’re still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

~ Sammy Cahn

It may not be Christmas time, but this song is apropos for the amount of snow we’ve seen in the Midwest during the last two weeks!  The first snowstorm brought with it about eight inches of snow. The second snowstorm showered us with eight inches of snow and this last one dumped yet another eight or nine inches of snow.  While many of you along the east coast had 30 inches, 15 inches, and who knows how many inches during this last storm may think us Midwesterners are rookies, I’ve had enough!  Call us what you will – I’m officially tired of the snow!  The only highlight of the snowstorms… the enormous amount of tea that continue to fill my cup each day.  In particular, Moroccan Mint, with whom I’ve communed with daily – multiple times per day. Even more surprising,  my non-tea loving husband has sipped  a cup with me every night.  Although I must admit, several of his cups included two shots of Jack Daniels.  Hot Toddy’s just in time for Mardi Gras!

Composition: Organic gunpowder green tea and organic peppermint

Dry Visual: Characteristic of gunpowder, the green tea resembles very dark green almost black tightly rolled musket pellets.  The mint consists of broken lighter green leaves with brown stems present.

Dry Aroma: Delightfully minty.

Flavor: Moroccan Mint is a great blend of green tea and mint.  One flavor does not overpower the other in this cup of tea. It would be interesting to know the type of green tea used as the tea does not contain any vegetal, sappy, or grassy qualities. After conducting a little research, I discovered that many varieties of tea have been used to make Moroccan Mint. It is smooth and flavorful. If you are a lover of mint tea, you will definitely enjoy this brew.

There is no astringency, therefore Moroccan Mint tea can be enjoyed without sweetener.  However, I chose to drink Moroccan Mint with plenty of sweetener as is customary in Morocco with one caveat… I did not follow the Atai method of preparation. Having steeped multiple cups this week, I have alternated between Sugar-In-The-Raw and honey as my sweeteners of choice.

Liquor: A dark yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Moroccan Mint tea in water that ranged from 175 degrees to 185 degrees for four minutes during the first infusion and five minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Sage Moon Herb Shop

Caffeine: Yes.

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

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While not a stranger to the concept of tea cozies, I never actually owned one.  That is until recently when I became the proud owner of two HOBs from  Thistledown.  Of course, I understood the concept of the tea cozy coined the HOB by Thistledown, but must admit I was curious about whether they actually worked. So when, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend Dee came over for dinner I was excited to try them out for the first time.  Armed with two steaming pots of tea – lavender oolong and strawberry oolong, I prepared to settle the debate once and for all.

After pouring cups of tea, I dressed the strawberry oolong with the smaller of the two Thistledown HOBs. The lavender oolong went naked or commando as others would say while Dee and I sipped and talked.  Sated and ready for a second cup, it was time to test my theory…

The actual pot of strawberry oolong felt distinctly warmer than the lavender oolong.  When poured into a teacup, the strawberry oolong liquor had remained warm and ready to drink while the lavender oolong required microwave subjection to reheat.  It was official, my Thistledown Tea Cozy definitely kept the pot of tea warm for a longer period of time. The test duration was 15 minutes, but the HOB is capable of keeping a pot of tea warm much longer.  (Check out the Heat Retention Experiment found on the Thistledown website.) I was pleasantly surprised! Now convinced of the HOBs utility, I’m compelled to share a bit more about this great product.

The HOB is the latest in Thistledown’s line of tea warmers and is available in two sizes 20 ounce and 40 ounce. As described by Thistledown, the HOB is constructed with two layers of high-tech mylar batting.  This batting insulates with both a layer of mylar reflecting heat back into the teapot and layers of polyester preventing heat conduction away from the teapot.  Perhaps you are familiar with mylar batting, but I however, am not.  So I took a trip to Fabric.com for help.

According to Fabric.com, mylar batting is the material that makes pot holders, oven mitts, and casserole covers safe. The material is breathable and won’t break down with washing. It contains hollow fibers that resist conduction while the reflective mylar resists radiant energy. The energy, hot or cold, is reflected back to its source. This is key to how the HOB is able to keep your pot of tea warm for an extended period of time.

Now you know the “why” and “how” the HOB works, let’s talk about its construction. The bottom of the HOB  also has two layers of mylar batting, acting like a built-in trivet.  As you can see from the picture, the HOB completely encases the body of your teapot. It is extremely easy to use: simply sit the teapot between the two “clam shells”, flip over the top and clip together with the buckle. Yes, there is a buckle – simple yet practical construction. But the greatest thing of all… the fabric is washable.

For years I have always called products like the HOB a tea cozy.  Thistledown has chosen to call this new product a HOB for two key reasons – 1) “tea cozy” was too feminine and 2) HOB defined means a shelf in the back of a fireplace used to keep things hot.  The name HOB is a perfect fit!

My HOB is pictured in the beginning of this review, while my other is two-tone red and brown.  Be sure to keep your eyes open for many new colors and patterns available from Thistledown this spring.  The photo on the right depicts a few.

To purchase the HOB visit Thistledown’s website where they retail for $35 for the 20 ounce and $40 for the 40 ounce.  If you have used this product, please share your experience.  Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**The HOB was provided by Thistledown as a sample.

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Most people have a favorite program or two they watch every week.  Two of my favorites include Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Dressed in comfy clothes and armed with a cup of Green Tea Soothing Mint tea, it was with eager anticipation that I flicked on the television. Imagine my disappointment tonight at the realization that both shows were repeats.  After watching repeats from mid-December to mid-January, it was great to finally, finally watch new episodes.  Instead of laughing and/or crying with my favorite characters, I’m surfing the net and working on a new pet project.

Composition: Green tea and spearmint

Dry Visual: The leaves are broken and resemble fannings. Other details are not easily discernable – the tea is contained in tea bags.

Dry Aroma: Very minty.

Flavor: Green Tea Soothing Mint is flavorful, but mild.  The green tea is not easily discernible – I was unable to detect any of the characteristic green tea flavors. For example, Green Tea Soothing mint does not contain any vegetal, sappy, or grassy qualities.  However, the spearmint contained in the ingredients dominates this cup of tea.  If you are a lover of mint tea, you will enjoy this brew.

There is no astringency, therefore Green Tea Soothing Mint can be enjoyed without sweetener.  After allowing the cup to cool, I am convinced that tea lovers can drink Green Tea Soothing Mint hot or cold.

Liquor: A rich golden yellow hue. The cup is clear.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 2 – 3 minutes.  No water temperature was designated so I opted for 185 degrees for 3 minutes.

Manufacturer: Salada Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Salada Tea as a sample.

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