Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yet another internet addiction

I need another Internet addiction like I need a hole in the head but this site is very cool nonetheless. They even have a tool where you can find twitter friends who also use Steepster. Check out this snippet from their "About Us" page. Click on the title of this blog entry to get to my Steepster page. I haven't added anything to my tealog yet but I will soon.

Steepster is the embodiment of the ultimate web-based tea drinking experience! But seriously, Steepster is a site that helps you keep an online log of the teas you drink. Using our super-simple interface, you can easily fill your tealog with tasting notes and tales of your tea drinking adventures. You can also follow other tea drinkers to see what’s in their cup, discovering brand new teas from people you know and trust.

Whether you’re a seasoned tea connoisseur drinking the finest aged pu-erh or fairly new to the game and just brew whatever happens to be in the office pantry, Steepster can help you be more mindful of your tea drinking habits and discover something new and exciting while you’re at it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tavalon NYC Breakfast

I drink many different kinds of tea but tend to heavily favor oolong and green teas. Every once in a while a black tea comes along that changes all that, at least for one cup. Tavalon’s NYC Breakfast is one of those teas. My sample was a funky, do –it–yourself tea bag with a fair amount of dry leaves in it. They had a pleasant sweet and nutty aroma. It’s funny but after writing so many reviews, I can usually tell if I will like a tea by the way the leaves smell. I steeped it using 212 degree water for five minutes.

The resulting tea was robust without being overpowering. Their website describes it as energizing and it definitely is. It had a nice aftertaste and did not need any milk or sweeteners. Quite frankly I think to do so would ruin it. That says a lot for a black tea. This tea was a morning staple of mine when I was working in of all places, NYC. I would definitely recommend it. In fact, I will probably order some the next time I win one of their fun Twitter contests. I will definitely have to try this tea iced as well.

Boulder Tea Jeong Seon

I’ve tried several selections from Boulder Tea, some I have loved and some I haven’t. I love that they offer some Korean teas, which are not common with most tea makers we get here in the US. This one was a bit of a toss up. The leaves looked mostly whole and fairly fresh. There wasn’t much of a detectable fragrance though. It was packaged in a silky satchet, very typical of higher end tea bags. I steeped this tea using 170 degree water. On finding the taste to be very mellow, I decided to keep the bag in the cup to see if it would strengthen the brew a bit.

This tea vaguely reminded me of Gyokuro but it was not quite as strong or sweet. I love a delicate green tea, as this one seems to be. Unfortunately, its downfall was that tea bags are not really the best way to prepare it. I was surprised at what a small amount of leaves was put in the tea sachet. Even after the leaves were fully expanded, there was plenty of empty space. I feel this really hurt the flavor because there wasn’t quite enough for even a modest cup of tea. It was an fairly decent tea, especially for a tea bag, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teacarina, the Musical Tea Cup

Every once in a while, I allow myself to splurge on something tea related that isn't practical but just simply fun and I've been coveting one of these for quite some time. It's a Teacarina, part tea cup and part ocarina. It is surprisingly functional and pretty to look at but with the added benefit of being able to annoy everyone within hearing range. It is double walled and features four variably sized holes on one side and a single large hole on the other. Even though I don't own one, it is nice to know that they are dishwasher safe. It's nice to not have to worry about ruining some sensitive piece of teaware for once. As someone possessing very little musical ability, I definitely do not sound like the person in the video below. The included fingering chart was relatively easy to follow, I just don't quite have the coordination or lung capacity to make it happen. Maybe with enough tea and practice I can some day.