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First I was like, whoa.

November 29, 2010

Today’s Tea: Earl Grey with Lavender by The Pacific Place Tea Garden Cafe Hawaii
Liberally Whoa!ed by: sakurae

Then I was like WHOA!

Then I was like …whoa.

Welcome to my review of The Pacific Place Hawaii Tea’s Earl Grey with Maui Lavender.

And yes, I was watching Finding Nemo before I wrote this review. Crush the Sea Turtle just seemed like the perfect voice to channel for this smooth Earl Grey with some rigtheous Lavender from a beautiful island. I received this tea a while back as a birthday gift from wonderful friends Kitsy and KimonoStereo of Nemu-Nemu webcomic purveyors of cute and natives of the tropical islands. As fellow Cute Stuff™ connoisseurs, we share of a love of many things which includes good beverages!

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Fantastic Fennel

November 23, 2010

Today’s Tea: Organic Fennel Tea by Tea Gschwendner
Imbibed by: goodtea

As chilly winter weather takes over much of the Northern Hemisphere, the time has come to fight off the cold with a hot cup of tea. If you want a hot cuppa on a cold evening–but without the caffeine–a nice herbal infusion will do the trick.

Today I made a cup of fennel tea. Fennel tea is traditionally used in some parts of the world to help improve eyesight, though who knows if that’s true. (Always take health claims for teas with a grain of salt!) Fennel tea is also (supposedly) good for freshening your breath and preventing bloating, which would make it the perfect after-dinner drink, too.

The light-colored fennel seeds (which, apparently, are actually whole fennel “fruits”) smell like sweet, dry hay–most appropriate, since the word “fennel” derives from the Latin word for “hay.” I let the fennel seeds steep for about six minutes in boiling water and got a lovely, light yellow-green infusion out of it. A faint hay smell remains, but sweeter, with a biting note of anise, too.

The flavor is remarkable. It is light on the tongue, but with a very potent flavor. It’s fairly sweet with hints of anise and a sort of peppery, tingling feeling on the tongue–rather invigorating! The infusion takes honey very well if you’d like it even sweeter.

Sadly, I don’t see this tea available in Tea Gschwendner’s USA online shop, and the new design of the German website prevents me from linking to the tea directly. It’s tea number 1236 at Tea Gschwendners, if you’re interested. You can surely find other fennel teas elsewhere, or just brew it yourself with culinary grade fennel from your spice rack.

Conclusion: A sweet-and-spicy, caffeine-free treat for a cold winter day.

It’s a Thai Oolong…but not really

November 15, 2010

Today’s Tea: Ruan Zhi Oolong from Upton Teas

Sipped by: caclob

Most oolongs in the world are from Fujian or Taiwan.  This tea from Upton is actually from Thailand.  Why would I be drinking a Thai Oolong?  Since the Formosa (Taiwanese) tea style  is very popular, the demand is so high that teas have to come from other areas as well.  This Thai grown tea is made and grown in a traditional Formosa style, so despite its unique location, it has a well established pedigree.

This oolong is pressed in the less common of the two oolong shapes.  It’s rolled into a ball, rather than the curly dragon-like shape often seen.  When steeped at 190˚F for 3 minutes, the leaves unfurl to show a lovely whole tea leaf,  green and gorgeous.  The tea has a very vegetal taste, which I find unusual for oolongs.  Oolongs tend to have a more roasted flavor generally, but this one tastes very much like a strong green tea.  But before someone claims that it is just a weird green tea, it does have the strong, slightly better taste that oolongs require.  It’s just grassier than normal.

The tea is a dark greeny-brown color and steeps quickly.  The tea leaves can also be resteeped at least once more, which I always like for economical reasons.  It doesn’t need milk or sugar, and honestly, it might taste a bit weird with milk and sugar.

Overall, I like this tea quite a bit.  The grassy flavor is refreshing, but not too delicate either.  Great tea for drinking during the work day.

Autumn Spice: Is it already the season?

October 4, 2010

Today’s Tea: Autumn Spice by TeaGschwendner

Seasonally sipped by: caclob

September and October have the highest number of birthdays in the year, which makes sense when you see what happens 9 months before.  This convergence of birthdays means a large number of birthday celebrations–and apparently 1980 had a massive number of extra people born.  Many of my friends were celebrating their 30th birthday this September, and I had to get them an appropriate birthday present.  Since I often lug around my precious teas and happily convince my friends to start drinking the teas, I’ve gotten quite a few addicted.  This means a good present is a couple of loose leaf teas, which means a stop by the tea shop.  As I was paying for my purchases, the lovely lady behind the counter gave me a free sample of the Autumn Spice tea (sometimes called Karl Heinz, for some reason I haven’t figured out yet).

The tea is a black tea mix spiced like a chai with cinnamon, orange peel, lemon peel, star anise, anise, cloves, and some additional flavoring.  It smells pleasant and spicy, but not in the peppery way like the Bombay Chai.

While TG recommends only steeping the tea for two minutes, since it’s an aromatic black, but I steeped it for 5 minutes for a stronger flavor.  The tea isn’t as spicy as its chai-like spicing would suggest.  It’s just a smooth tea, with almost a creamy like flavor.

Overall, it’s a lovely autumn tea (it’s only available to January), but I’m not sure that I would recommend this as a must have.  Nice enough tea though.

Perfect for Fall: A Smashing Pumpkin Tea

October 1, 2010

Today’s Tea: Pumpkin Spice by the Boston Tea Company
Indulged in by: goodtea

Pumpkin Pie!It’s autumn, which means it’s also pumpkin and squash season here (a fact which my office is celebrating with an arrangement of colorful and strangely shaped gourds on the conference room table).  The weather lately has been cold and damp, too, but  that means it is now the perfect season to enjoy hot, rich teas again!

Today I decided to taste the Pumpkin Spice tea kindly provided to me by the Boston Tea Company.  I love pumpkin pie, so just the thought of having a tea to remind me of my favorite pie makes my mouth water.  Read more…

Journey with Jasmine

September 25, 2010

Today’s Tea: Jasmine by Boston Tea Co.

Enjoyed by: caclob
Jasmine, a flower meaning “a gift from God,” is combined with tea to form a flowery, fragrant, but still full-bodied tea known as Jasmine Tea.  The tea used is either green tea or oolong, and both having their fans and nay-sayers.

Today’s tea from the Boston Tea Co. is a green tea jasmine, placing the two ingredients side-by-side.  Smelling of flowers and grass and steeping to perfection, this tea is a necessary staple in everyone’s tea collection.  Read more…

Sencha: Tea and Sushi

September 10, 2010

Today’s Shop: Sencha Tee & Sushi in Berlin, Germany

Devoured by: caclob

Goodtea and I were recently in Berlin, as a mix of business and pleasure, so we had some time to go and relax in the great streets of Berlin.  For those who don’t know Berlin, there are a number of large and dramatic streets around the city.  Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm, is one of those large dramatic shopping streets, starting off with the obligatory H&M and increasing in price up through Tommy Hilfiger to Dior.  A shopping avenue with a bit of something for everyone, it’s a great place to people watch.  Since goodtea and I were staying at a little hotel off the main road, we had a great opportunity to wander down the road.  In Germany, in any city essentially, you can find a TeeGschwendner.  The spotting of the shops has become somewhat of a game for the two of us.  Almost immediately after leaving our hotel, we spotted the first shop of the day, and it had a unique addition.  This was a tea shop that also served sushi.  Since it was a bit after lunch time, and goodtea and I hadn’t eaten properly yet, we decided to stop in and have lunch.

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