Tea Escapade Press Release>>

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Tea Escapade Tea Blog provides the tea community with exciting tea and product reviews, tea news, promotions and contests.

We are excited to share with you, our readers, product contributors, and fellow bloggers, that the new Tea Escapade – Tea Blog has been launched.  Look closely… not only does Tea Escapade have a new look we have a new URL. That means if you link to Tea Escapade using the original blog URL, you must change your links to reflect the new URL – http://TeaEscapade.com – otherwise your links will be broken, because the original blog site will only remain active for a limited time.

Now that we have launched, Tea Escapade will resume publishing new posts on a more frequent basis.  Be sure to visit the new site at http://TeaEscapade.com.  The face may have changed, but the content you’ve come to know and love will remain the same. Tea Escapade continues to seek contributing writers for either one article or a series of articles.  We strive to bring interesting and informative content to tea lovers world-wide.

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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.

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!

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.

A couple months ago, I found myself drooling over a tea mug owned by a fellow tea blogger and aficionado.  Chris Giddings also known as the Tea-Guy could not stop singing the praises about his new Libre Glass. I knew then that I needed to try one!

Is it possible to steep and enjoy quality loose leaf tea while on the go?  Or should I say, is it possible to easily steep and enjoy quality loose leaf tea while on the go mess free?  The Libre Glass makes that promise.  After making numerous cups of tea using the Libre Glass, I was convinced.

Using the Libre Glass is simple.  The first option is to place loose leaf tea leaves in the body of the glass, add water, twist on the double lids and steep.  The first inner lid contains a removable stainless steel filter, the second outer lid is beautifully adorned and holds in steam during the steeping process.  When the tea is ready to sip, simply remove the second lid and drink directly from the Libre Glass or pour its contents into your tea-cup or mug of choice.  Either way, the stainless steel filter does a great job containing the tea leaves within the mug. If using the second option, pour water into the body of the glass and twist on the inner lid.  Place loose leaf tea leaves in the stainless steel filter, twist on the second outer lid and invert to begin the steeping process.  When the tea is ready to sip simply turn the Libre Glass right-side-up, remove the double lids and enjoy either directly from the Glass or pour the liquor into your tea-cup or mug of choice.

So what do I like about this product? First the Libre Glass is produced in two versions – glass’n glass or glass’n poly.  I own the glass’n poly version which has a durable polycarbonate exterior and glass interior.  No matter how hot the water, the exterior of the glass remains comfortable to the touch. The glass’n poly model is 7.5 inches in height and 2.5 inches in diameter and holds approximately 9oz. or 260 mL. The size is perfect for transporting tea wherever I go and is easily placed in my purse, computer bag or gym bag. What do I love the most? The ability to easily steep my loose leaf tea no matter where I go without the hassle of carrying around tea, a mug, and separate infuser.  Of all the things I love about the Libre Glass, there is one problem.  My preferred steeping method is the inversion process, however, I found that the lid has a slow leak.  Even though I twist the lid on tightly, it is difficult to ascertain if the lid is on tight enough.  I get it right about 50% of the time.

Overall, the Libre Glass is a great product for the price. For $24 I have a tea mug and infuser all in one – considering I have paid $15 for an infuser alone. I love the portability of the product and the ease of use.  When at home, I use the inversion process, but when out, I place the tea leaves directly in the body of the glass – I’d rather not take a chance with the lid possibly leaking.

If you own a Libre Glass, please stop by and share your experience.  Until then… Happy tea drinking!

Libre Glass Demonstration (compliments of Libre):

I do not know what it is like to go from middle class to below poverty level in less than 30 seconds.  I have never had to sleep on the street, because there was no place to call home.  I cannot fathom the depths of sorrow and pain that would accompany the loss of my entire family. I have never experienced the devastation of a natural disaster and lived to tell about it.  I have never walked for miles begging for water.  There has never been a time in my life when I needed medical attention, but none was available. I have never felt the hunger pains of starvation.  Never have I contemplated giving away my children as their only chance of survival. I have never needed to have the strength to dig someone I love out of rubble because they were buried alive.

You probably have not either.

Yet this is reality for the men, women, and children of Haiti.

Below is an article about tea companies dedicated to help the citizens of Haiti.  Rishi Tea, Teavana, The Tea Set, Tea 4 U, and Tavalon Tea – I applaud your efforts.  The earthquake has ended and the aftershocks may have passed, but Haiti remains a country in devastation.  As lovers of tea, we are a community.  Today, I plea for my community to continue to give and/or give to Haiti for the first time.  If you are not a tea company, but avid drinker and lover such as myself – let’s support those tea companies that continue to give to Haiti with our buying power and become part of the solution.

Below is an article in its entirety first published by World Tea News describing the efforts of tea companies to provide aid to Haiti:

Tea Company Responses to Haiti Earthquake Continue
Tuesday, 09 March 2010
by Heidi Kyser

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the island nation of Haiti happened nearly two months ago, on Jan. 12. But various businesses in the tea industry have responded – and continue to respond – by donating portions of their sales to relief efforts.

Last week, Joshua Kaiser, founder and president of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Rishi Tea, sent an e-mail to customers and contacts describing his experience during an earthquake in Nantou, Taiwan, where he has been going for twelve years to select the company’s Tae Guan Yin (“Iron Goddess of Mercy”) tea. During a tasting, Kaiser wrote, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck.

“I had never felt anything like it,” he said. “I felt so scared, vulnerable and lucky to be alive.”

Inspired, Kaiser wrote more about the experience on Food Thinkers, and through the month of March, Rishi Tea is donating 20 percent of all sales of Iron Goddess of Mercy tea to CARE, a private humanitarian organization that has been helping victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Atlanta, Ga.-based national tea store chain Teavana also partnered with CARE to contribute to the organization’s Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Beginning shortly after the temblor and lasting through March 1, Teavana solicited donations on its Web site and matched all donations made by both customers and employees dollar-for-dollar.

According to a statement, Teavana has been working with CARE since 2006 to help people in countries where Teavana’s teas are grown.

Several other companies leaped to action following the earthquake. The Tea Set, based in New York City, donated 100 percent of the proceeds from all sales of its teas from Jan. 18 through Jan. 22 to Haitian relief via Rotary International. Starting Jan. 19,Tavalon Tea, based in New Jersey, donated 40 percent of the sales of its Serenity blend to UNICEF’s Haiti Relief Fund.

Tavalon’s UNICEF campaign ended in late February, but because the company wanted do more, it combined that donation with an event, Healing for Haiti, said Tavalon Tea Sommelier Chris Cason. He added, “I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I can tell you that the event culminated in a total fundraising of $40,000 in one night between all of us.”

Individual entrepreneurs got in on the giving as well. Kirsten Kristensen, a tea coach with Tea 4 U, matched donations made to the Red Cross for Haiti by the Shore Women Business Network of New Jersey.

“The network of business entrepreneurs are collecting cash donations, and I guarantee to match the donations 100 percent,” Kristensen commented in a LinkedIn discussion on the topic of relief efforts.

Yanagi Bancha Tea

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.

Blueberry Tea Shortbread CookiesMy girlfriend Chara, owner and founder of WanderingLotus – a mobile yoga studio, came over in preparation for our upcoming yoga and tea event. As always, we began our meeting with the usual ritual… I put on a pot of tea and Chara procures a yummy sweet treat. I am a complete sucker for sweets – not candy – but cake, pie, cobbler, ice cream, pastries, decadent cookies you name it, I love it!

This time, Chara brought a box of BISCOTTEA, gluten-free, blueberry, tea, shortbread cookies.  We were a little nervous, because of the gluten-free tag, but thought we would try them out anyway. Initially we were a little surprised, because the cookies in the box looked distinctly different from the picture on the package.  We sort of looked at each other as if to say, “Are these the right cookies?”.  Then we conducted the smell test… blueberry tea shortbread cookies smell delightful – just like blueberries. Not surprising, but definitely a plus considering the visual inspection.

The tentative first bite proved to be tasty.  Traditionally, I do not eat gluten-free products so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Blueberry tea shortbread cookies were not as dense as some shortbread cookies I have enjoyed in the past.  This is not a bad thing, just different.  The cookies were crumbly and slightly dry, similar to the crisper portion of a scone.  The taste of tea was definitely evident as was a mild blueberry flavor.  The cookies were not overly sweet and paired well with our tea – sweetened Moroccan Mint and later with an unsweetened oolong.  The only drawback – the cookies left a slighty gritty feel in the mouth – which really isn’t that big of a deal.

BISCOTTEA, blueberry tea shortbread cookies are manufactured in Issaquah, WA.  With a desire to make cookies that taste homemade, founder Laurance Milner uses the following ingredients: gluten-free all-purpose flour, sorghum flour, butter, sugar, cornstarch, xanthan gum, organic white tea from China’s Fujian Province, organic natural blueberry flavor, baking soda, and salt.  Additionally, according to the website, BISCOTTEA™ is more than just a cute play on words; it’s the result of a four-year search that started in 2003 when Laurance Milner, a Specialty Food entrepreneur and tea drinker, determined to create BISCOTTEA to pair perfectly with tea. You can now purchase BISCOTTEA,™ in four additional tea flavors:

  • African Honeybush: Made with sweet herbal tea leaves grown on the same unique South African mountains as the Rooibos (Red Tea) plant.
  • Mint: A mixture of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves farmed in Oregon.
  • Chai: A blend of organic chai spices, including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, and pepper.
  • Earl Grey: A combination of organic Darjeeling tea, estate-grown in India, with natural Bergamot Citrus flavor.

To purchase BISCOTTEA, visit their website www.biscottea.net to locate a retailer near you.  Or you can make a stop at your local TJ Maxx, where Chara purchased our box of BISCOTTEA.  Until then… Happy tea drinking!

A toast to the grace of the pot,
ready at all time
To give up its emptiness
for the tea

~The Minister of Leaves

Lavender Oolong Tea

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, stuffyhead, 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.