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Posts Tagged ‘Strip Teas’

When destiny meets innovation and passion you get Strip Teas by Kamelia:Luxe – a tea company with a sexy, flirty, bent on tea. Just ask Emily Koteff-Moreano, co-founder and owner, I did.

In 2007 Emily’s fiancé Keir Moreano (now husband), a documentary filmmaker, was hired to film “The Meaning of Tea”. Filming of the documentary required extensive travel outside of the United States – India, Taiwan, Morocco, and across Europe. While in India, the documentary crew hired Mridul Tiwari as their host and guide. Thanks to her keen eyes, Mridul recognized that Keir was sick and obtained life-saving medical attention on his behalf. Brought together by crisis, Mridul and Emily developed a long-lasting friendship. This may seem like an episode from Survivor, but in actuality, it was the point where destiny connected with passion.

Mridul, born and raised in the Darjeeling region of India, comes from a family of tea plantation owners. Tea is her heritage and passion.  It was Mridul who introduced Emily to the high quality tea grown on her family’s plantation.  Within months, the pair formed Strip Teas the now flagship brand of Kamelia:Luxe. This is where destiny and passion connect with creativity. Emily, a graphic designer and marketing professional by trade, used her creative flair to brainstorm the name, design the packaging, and brand the product.  She never imagined being the owner of a tea company, yet 2010 marked the second year Strip Teas has been retailing its ingenious brand of teas online.

During the interview I asked, “How long have you been in love with tea?”  and was surprised to discover that growing up Emily did not drink or like tea. Today she realizes this was due to a lack of exposure to quality tea. Emily credits the documentary experience for exposing her to new varieties of tea, the opportunity to drink high quality tea, and learning about tea ceremonies that are not commonly observed in the U.S.  Emily reminisced about the five months she lived in England as a foreign exchange student while in college.  She remembers being teased because tea was not an integral part of her culture as it was with the British students with whom she lived.

When asked, “what do you love most about being a teapreneur?”  Emily stated, “Giving people an experience, not just selling a product. When people sit down and have a cup of tea they are taking a moment for themselves – even in the midst of multitasking. Tea is not just another widget but a moment in time and by selling my tea products I am able to be present in that moment.” But with all the glory of being a business owner, there comes many fears. “The worry of customs – I fear that the tea shipments will be sent back to India. Selling is hard. The uncertainties that impact success, like the economy. But overall, the fear of allowing the product to grow on its own with the hope that everyone will like the products as much as I do.”

Both the company and it’s products represent everything the founders, Emily and Mridul, believe in within a small package: the camaraderie that comes with tea, culture, design, earth friendly – recyclable, and supports the very notion of a woman in business which is not typical for women in India.  Strip Teas offers seven tea varieties: Darjeeling, Kashmiri Kahawa, Sweet Khus, Maristar, Masala Chai, Pushkar Rose, and Mint. To learn more or to purchase, visit Strip Teas by Kamelia:Luxe website or read Tea Escapade’s review of Pushkar Rose or Kashmiri Kahawa.

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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.

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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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