Friday, February 27, 2009

Tea Guys Ginger Peach Black Tea

The dry leaves of this tea were a feast for the eyes. The different shades of black and brown reminded me of autumn leaves. Tea Guys lists the ingredients of this as including black tea, organic black tea, organic rooibos, ginger, cinnamon, organic honeybush, natural flavors and cloves. This is the first tea I’ve tried that had actually pieces of crystallized ginger in it. I brewed this tea using my Zarafina tea maker set on strong black. The liquor was a deep red, similar to a typical rooibos. The cinnamon and cloves dominated the aroma of both the dry leaves and the brewed tea.

This tea was mild but certainly had the sweet and spicy elements that one would expect from these ingredients. I love the kick that the ginger provides. I managed to get two full flavored steepings from a single 0.3 oz sample. This would make an excellent iced tea as well. I am consistently impressed by Tea Guys’ offerings and always look forward to trying their samples. It seems that this blend has been replaced by a similar version that uses Darjeeling instead of regular black tea.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rishi Osmanthus Silver Needle

Rishi explains that this tea is scented with fresh osthmanthus flowers in a process similar to jasmine scenting and they describe the flavor as having notes of apricot and honey. The dry leaves had the distinctive peach fuzz of a silver needle. The osmanthus was there but not in large quantity. I brewed this tea using both my Zarafina tea maker, set on strong white, and in a regular tea pot using an infuser basket. In the infuser basket I let the leaves steep for 5 minutes, as per the manufacturer’s directions.

I love white tea and I love osmanthus, but apparently not in the same tea. This blend just didn’t do much for me but was by no means a bad tea. It is just that I’ve had better silver needle and I’ve had better osmanthus scented tea. My feeling is that this has more to do with how the tea was scented than the bloom content of the dry leaves themselves. I think this sweet smelling flower makes a much better pairing with green tea.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I think I have developed a serious Twitter addiction. In a very short period of time I've managed to connect with a ton of great people. There is quite the tea drinking community on there. I have 37 followers and am following 73 people right now but the numbers are always changing. Here are some of my favorites:

-Teaviews: OK, so I'm a little biased since I am on the Teaviews staff. But they'd still be awesome even if I wasn't.
-sevencups: One of my favorite vendors, podcasters and just good all around tea folks.
-geoffk: great writer and tea enthusiast
-OrganicTea: fellow tea blogger
-aliasgirl18: a lover of tea, tv and books. We have similar taste in american idol contestants :)
-lainiep: another fellow tea blogger

I've also had a bunch of offers for free samples from vendors, can't go wrong there :).

P.S. You can get to my twitter page by clicking on the title of this post.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My New York Tea Wishlist

Since I am now working in New York City, I plan on taking full advantage of the bevy of tea houses that have sprung up.

*edit I'm going to put a strike through the places I have been to

I'm sure I'll be adding more to this list as I discover more places but its certainly a start.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scouting for Tea

I'm a Girl Scout leader and at our last meeting I taught the girls all about tea. I was pretty nervous about how it would go and if they would interested at all. To my delight, they were enthralled. I explained a bit on the history of tea and then showed them all of my teaware. I brewed some of each major type of tea so that they could try them. They absolutely loved watching me make matcha but hated how it tastes. Oolong was the crowd favorite by far and they thought my yixing and aroma cups were very cool. Cleanup was a pain but it was worth it to have a whole troop of teenagers get excited about tea :).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Adagio Teas Signature Blends - My First Attempt

Since my boyfriend has recently discovered his love of tea, I decided to attempt to make an Adagio signature blend for him as a Valentine's day gift (don't worry, he never reads this blog so my cover isn't blown). He's a big fan of flavored teas and adulterating them with stevia so my blend was a combo of vanilla oolong, mango and chocolate. I ordered some for myself too just to make sure it doesn't taste like poop. This is so not a "me" tea but it actually wasn't that bad. It got better as it cooled off, which is perfect since he prefers his tea luke warm. I also got him their tasting set so he'd having something manly to brew in :). I'll be sure to post his reaction. I'm excited because his present to me is a trip to Cha Ma Gu Dao before going to a Jersey Rockhoppers hockey game.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tea Places: Teavana - Bridgewater Commons

There has been a lot of discussion on Tea Chat as of late on the ethics of Teavana. I had never been to one of their stores so I really wasn't sure what to expect. I wound up wandering this very small store for half an hour, mostly oggling the teaware. The staff was friendly and helpful, not the rude and pushy types that I have heard about.

Unfortunately, while I was distracted a very convincing salesperson did manage to corner my boyfriend. He loved one of the mixed blends so she easily talked him into buying an infuser mug, two different teas and a too large tin to store his new tea in. I feel bad for not having rescued him in time but atleast this means that his tea conversion is progressing nicely :). I was in search of cups to match the kyusu that will be on its way soon but I didn't have much luck. I did manage to pick up a copy of Liquid Jade by Beatrice Hohenegger for 50% off though. It is my new commute read and there will be a review of it as soon as I am done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tea Places: Amai Tea & Bake House

I've been working in Gramercy Park for a few months now and never knew that Amai Tea & Bake House existed until my manager pointed it out. The space is very small but they make the most of it. I LOVE that they store their teas in an old library card catalog. So far I have tried the dong ding and goddess of mercy oolongs and both were wonderful. Their loose leaf is expensive but that is to be expected in this neighborhood. A cup to go is slightly cheaper than starbucks and certainly much more tasty. One of these days I will find the time to get a pot to stay so that I can enjoy one of their delicious sounding tea infused baked goods. I do wish they had more teaware but it is probably better for the health of my wallet that they don't.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tea Places: Ana Beall's Tea Room

I've been visiting my boyfriend in a nearby town for years and never knew that this gem existed in Westfield, New Jersey. The staff was so courteous, even taking our jackets when we came in. The decor was inviting and it felt more like sitting in a friend's living room than a restaurant. The food was simply done but tasted amazing. I highly recommend the lemon chicken sandwich. My boyfriend really enjoyed the pull pork sandwich.

The tea wasn't stupendous but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that they use filter bags instead of leaving the tea leaves loose in the pot. We had the formosa oolong, which was a little bland. I mentioned this in my review on TeaMap and the owner quickly replied saying that in the future I can ask for loose leaves and a strainer instead. I will definately be going back soon. Their brunch menu sounds even better than what was offered for lunch.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Renaissance of Tea

In keeping with the tea movie theme from yesterday, I came across this gem on Teance's website. Looks like another must watch.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

All In This Tea

All In This Tea is exactly the type of documentary that a tea enthusiast would ask for. It gives an inside look at the history and culture of tea, how it is made and how it makes its way to our cups here in the United States. This film is beautifully done and many of the shots of the Chinese countryside and mountains are simply breathtaking. It is factual without being overly dry or serious. While most of the film follows David Lee Hoffman, it also features interviews and lectures from several other renowned tea experts. I could listen to James Norwood Pratt pontificate on tea all day.

There are so many aspects of the tea industry that the buying public has no conception of. It gave me a new appreciation of the tea farmers that truly are masters of their craft. David struggles to show the tea factory executives the advantages that handmade, organic teas have over those produced in factories. I sincerely hope that his prediction that the art of making such high quality tea will soon be lost never comes to pass. I felt the sudden urge to take a tea tour of China after watching this film. It had the same effect on my occasionally tea drinking boyfriend. For that feat alone, I am eternally grateful. I am also now very jealous of David’s Puerh cave.