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I am amazed by the number of tea contests that are going on for the holidays! Not only are they fun and easy to enter… the prizes are amazing! Especially, the prize pack for The Ultimate Holiday Tea Contest sponsored by Steepster. There are two ways to enter: 1. Follow Steepster on Twitter and tweet the verbiage below; or 2. Post a reply to the Ultimate Holiday Tea Contest Discussion on Steepster.

Everyone who enters the The Ultimate Holiday Tea Contest has a chance to win.  The contest winner, selected by random drawing, will receive the complete prize bundle, which includes the Sorapot designed by Joey Roth along with other fantastic accoutrements to the modern tea experience.

Contest Rules & Eligibility

  • The contest is open to residents of U.S. or Canada, 18 years of age or older (sorry international friends, shipping costs and restrictions are a bummer).
  • The contest ends at 8PM EST on 12/18/09, after which we’ll select one winner at random and contact them through Twitter or email, depending on how they entered.
  • The winner must respond with their full name and a valid mailing address (no P.O. boxes) within 72 hours of notification in order to receive their prize, otherwise he/she will no longer be eligible and a new winner will be chosen.

Visit The Ultimate Holiday Tea Contest on Steepster to enter and win!

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Today in Ohio it is a cloudy cold day with the threat of rain. While sitting snug as a bug at home in my cozy sweats, I can’t help thinking about comfort food. Which for me usually equates to something hot and sweet in the winter and cold and sweet in the summer. If you are not familiar with the term “comfort food”, I define it as food that a person is instantly drawn to when feeling strong emotions – positive or negative. Wikipedia defines “comfort food” as familiar, simple foods that are usually home-cooked or eaten at informal restaurants. They are foods that are often emotionally significant to a person or group of people and are sometimes related to pleasant associations of childhood. Either way, I think you get the picture.

Never a stranger to multi-tasking, I find myself engrossed in blogging, tweeting, watching the Bengals’ game while simultaneously thinking about and searching allrecipes.com for comfort food.  I was excited to discover the following recipe for Indian Chai Hot Chocolate, as it appeals to my winter comfort food craving – hot and sweet to taste while easy to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • chai tea**
  • 1 (.55 ounce) package instant hot chocolate mix

Directions

  1. Mix water and milk together
  2. Bring to a boil (either microwave or stove top)
  3. Pour liquid over chai tea and steep according to tea directions and strain
  4. Stir in the hot chocolate mix

** There are many chai options. Some of my favorite chai teas that I would use in this recipe are: Black Vanilla Chai from Dragonwater Tea, Original Masala Chai from Yogic Chai, or Indian Spice from Harney and Sons Fine Teas.  If you are not a loose tea drinker or prefer the convenience of a tea bag, feel free to substitute for this recipe.

I hope you enjoy creating and drinking this winter treat. Please return to share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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I admit it… I Twitter… A LOT! Isn’t it amazing how you can become “friends” with people you’ve met online, but have never seen in real life? Someone that you have never even chatted with on the phone? Someone whose name you don’t even know?

Technology has made the impossible possible. That you can meet people that otherwise you never would have had the opportunity to meet simply because you answered the question, “What are you doing?” on Twitter. Even more is that you feel compelled to lend a helping hand to an otherwise complete stranger. Thus taking us to the purpose of this post. 

My newly acquired Twitter friend @DjWhoBTR is not a tea lover like most of my Twitter friends. Gasp!!! I know, I cannot fathom the concept. Of course, I have made it my personal mission to introduce him to some wonderful tea recommended not only by me, but my other tea loving Twitter comrades. 

So here’s the first installment of Twitter’s Tea Best…

Tisanes – Rooibush(-bos) – Goji Berry, Applement Sage, Chamomile Blossom, Peach Green Rooibush

Yellow Tea (basically green tea processed somewhat differently to remove vegetal taste many dislike) – Peach Yellow Tea

Black Tea - East Frisian, “bold” breakfast blend, Blood Orange and Captain’s Blend Earl Grey.

  • @
LeafSpa recommended tea in two categories:

Tea Blends (with a direct link) – Organic Honey Vanilla White Tea http://www.leafspa.com/prod…

Competition Quality (with direct links) – Organic Blink Bonnie Tea http://www.leafspa.com/prod… And Organic Oolong Superior Tea http://www.leafspa.com/prod…

  • 
@JINGTea recommended their new Dragon Well, Anji Bai Cha, and Jiande Bao Cha. Visit their website for more information about all of these teas http://jingtea.com/

Obviously, this list is merely the tip of the iceberg as there are hundreds of amazing teas out there. If you would like to share your favorites DM me on twitter or post a comment here. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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earl greenAs my statistics class ended and I start anew with Managerial Economics, I find myself seeking a moment of reprieve. Mentally, I am exhausted, but must push on. With only five (5) classes left to finish my MBA - I am determined to stay focused. Which is increasingly difficult to do amidst the myriad of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, etc. Therefore,  I am resigned to find solace in a hot, soothing cup of tea. Today’s choice… Organic Earl Green

Composition:  Organic Darjeeling green tea and bergamot oil.

Dry Visual: Dark brown thinly twisted leaves with hints of dark and light green leaves – some stems are present.  Thank you Mighty Leaf Tea for the photograph.

Dry Aroma: The pungent, lemony smell of bergamot dominates.

Flavor:  First things first, I was quite surprised by this blend.  I have never had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Earl Green Tea before now. Perhaps this blend is not new to you, but I was quite intrigued. As with most Earl Grey’s and as the dry aroma would suggest, the taste of bergamot is the dominate flavor throughout the entire cup.  A lover of bergamot, I found this to be extremely pleasing. What I found different, yet actually enjoyed was the distinct difference between Organic Earl Green and the traditional Earl Grey made with black tea – the more subtle tea taste.  I found this blend to be free of the vegetal flavor commonly found in green tea AND free of the astringency typically found in black tea. I have discovered, it seems, the best of both worlds.

There was no need for the addition of a sweetener and thus none was added.  However, Organic Earl Green is robust and definitely could stand its ground against any sweetener you may desire to add. The flavor was consistent from start to finish.

Liquor: An amber hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Organic Earl Green is 2 – 3 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 3 minutes as recommended for the first infusion, however, I prefer water temperature at pre-boil. The second infusion I steeped for 4 minutes. One world of caution, stay true to the steeping instructions – steeping for too long does not produce a good cup of tea. I speak from experience.

Manufacturer: Mighty Leaf Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

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tea-swap-avatar-1As some of you may know, our Co-Op Tea Swap is now on Twitter (http://twitter.com/coopteaswap). For the month of December, we held an avatar contest for the swap. As you know, Twitter’s avatars (the small icons unique to each profile) are 50 x 50 and we asked YOU, our Co-Op Tea Swap members to design one for us!

The only guideline, other than the 50 x 50 size requirement, was that the avatar had to be an original.  With that in mind, submissions could include photos found online with a caveat — it had to be modified in some way to make it original. The winner will receive a “special” sample tea package, straight from us – Tea Escapade and Authori+ea.

With all the formalities aside, the winner of the 2008 Co-Op Tea Swap Twitter Avatar Contest is… Mary Sicelof of Savannah, Georgia.  Congratulations Mary!!!  Mary submitted the picture located in the upper left hand corner of this post. Now the next time you visit the Co-Op Tea Swap Twitter page you will be greeted by this warm cup of tea.  We are thrilled to actually have a “face” on Twitter!
Until we chat again… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Perhaps I am addicted to twittering. The jury is still out on that topic. The problem is that I have met so many nice tea people that I keep returning to chat with them. Add to the fact that I love to learn and my twitter tea peeps (love the twitter slang) always post tidbits of information that I would have never found without them, heightens the experience.

I’m sure you are wondering, “what does twitter have to do with hot toddys?” Well, I’ll tell you. A few days ago, we began discussing the therapeutic power of the fabled hot toddy. One of my twitter tea peeps wasn’t feeling well and someone recommended a hot toddy. That discussion moved into how to make an “authentic” hot toddy – to add tea or not to add tea was one of the questions. Which led to someone sending me a recipe.

The infamous recipe:

  • 3/4 cup of tea
  • 2 shots of bourbon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 slice of lemon

Instructions: Steep tea then add honey and stir. Combine bourbon and lemon slice, stir and enjoy.

Last night, I prepared a hot toddy for my husband using the recipe above using Zhi’s Ginger Peach Oolong, Gentleman’s Jack and 1/4 tsp lemon. In addition, I prepared a hot toddy for myself using a modified version of the recipe above. For lightweight drinkers like myself here is a modified hot toddy recipe:

  • 3/4 cup tea 
  • 1 shot of bourbon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp lemon

Again, I used Zhi’s Ginger Peach Oolong and Gentleman’s Jack. The end result… both the hubby and I were out like a light never to wake until this morning. Oh yeah… my husband is expecting another hot toddy tonight. I’ll just have a cup of tea.

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blog_headerAs you know, Authori+ea and Tea Escapade teamed up to establish the Co-Op Tea Swap. The purpose of the swap is to allow tea lovers to connect, get to know one another and of course, swap tea.

Over the last few months we have had fun doing just that. However, one thing that seemed to be missing was a common mode of communication where we could all come together and chat… take a load off… relax… and share our love for tea. Well not anymore…

The Co-Op Tea Swap is now Twittering! What is Twitter? Twitter is a real-time short messaging service. It enables people in countries all around the world, to connect with and follow the people/sources most relevant to them. Where? All via one common website called Twitter as soon as it happens—from breaking world news to updates from friends. Oh yeah… did I mention… it’s free!!!!

Calling all Swap Members!  Join or login to Twitter, then connect with us at the Co-Op Tea Swap’s official Twitter site. If you are not a part of the Co-Op Tea Swap, click here to learn more. Can’t wait to Twitter with you!

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I couldn’t help “Twittering” about this tea last night before, I finished writing my review. While I don’t drink many black teas, when and if I decide to do so, it has to be a good black tea. Yes,  I recognize “good” is subjective, so for the purpose of this review, I am the official authority when I say Mountain Malt is a good black tea. :-)

Composition: Black tea from the Gingia tea estate in Assam Valley, India.

Dry Visual: A combination of charcoal and black colored tightly rolled tea leaves. In India, leaves rolled in this way are called BPS – Broken Pekoe Souchong. Thanks to The Simple Leaf for the picture.

Dry Aroma: An earthy yet soothing aroma.

Flavor: Mountain Malt is a vey robust and full-bodied tea which I like. I was amazed by the strength of the flavor. My initial tasting did not include sweetener. Because Mountain Malt is somewhat bitter, I found that drinking with sweetener is a must, to wit Sugar-In-The-Raw was my choice. The addition of sweetener rounded out Mountain Malt. In my next cup, I plan to add milk or cream as I believe the bitterness would be completely eliminated. 

Liquor: Very dark red liquor tinted with brown.

Brewing Time: Recommended brewing time is 3 minutes. I brewed for the recommended 3 minutes.

Manufacturer: The Simple Leaf

Caffeine: Yes.

I agree with The Simple Leaf website when they say Mountain Malt is the type of tea that would entice coffee lovers. While summer has left us behind, I still wouldn’t mind making a picture of iced tea using Mountain Malt. The robust nature of the tea would stand-up well to ice. If you have enjoyed a cup of Mountain Malt, stop by and share your experience.  Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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