tea (n.) \ˈtē\ 1. shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) cultivated especially in China, Japan, and the East Indies 2. an aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by infusion with boiling water.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lemon Grass, Coarse Cut

Upon first opening this package, I noticed that dried grass blades smelled very sweet and fresh.  I've been on the hunt for a strong lemon grass brew for years now, since growing the plant in New England is much harder than when I lived in South Florida.  My mother really enjoyed this brew as a Christmas present, since it reminded her of freshly brewed tea using the live plant.  I was very impressed with the natural honey notes in this herbal blend. Upton Tea describes this infusion well, "This Golden-yellow liquor with brisk lemon flavor and aroma. A caffeine-free beverage."

BH65: Lemon Grass, Coarse Cut
Origin: Thailand
Steeping Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 212° (boiling)
Steep Time: 8 min.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Egyptian Chamomile

I was impressed by the flower quality and strength of the cup. Not the typical chamomile dust you find in teabags!  Upton describes this blend as, "Whole dried flowers, with a high concentration of flavor oils. Yields a rich, deep-yellow cup. A caffeine-free beverage."  Take this at bedtime for a calm, restful sleep.

 BH50: Egyptian Chamomile
Origin: Egypt
Steeping Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 1 g/cup
Water Temp: 212° (boiling)
Steep Time: 8 min.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brushed Steel Tin

I'm kind of a neat freak when it comes to storing and organizing my teas. These tins are the perfect solution for the serious tea drinker.  However I will note that the lids dent easily, so don't drop  them!  "This brushed steel tin weighs approximately 110 grams and has a capacity of approximately 150 grams, but may hold more or less depending on the leaf size of the tea. The tin measures 4 ¼" tall and the lid measures ¾" tall. The diameter is 3 ¼". Made in China. Also available as case of 6 or master carton of 72."

 AT40: Brushed Steel Tin (150g)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Upton Small Black Plug-Top Tin

Classy and simple. Doesn't dent unless you abuse it.  I will note that it was difficult to open.  I often had to use a spoon or plastic credit card to pry the lid off.  I'm sure that means it was airtight.  The Upton Tea description on the website goes as follows, "This standard tea tin is black enamel with a gold top and bottom. A matching gold plug-top lid creates an airtight seal. This tin will hold up to 125g of tea depending on leaf size. Also available in a case of 24. 2 3/4" wide, 3 1/2" tall."

AT10: Small Black Plug Top Tin with Lid

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Ode to Chun Mee

Oh Chun Mee how I love thee, let me count the ways!  I have found green tea nirvana.  I found this minx in a local supermarket, and was supposedly purchased from SpecialTeas as # 522.  This tea is smoky and sweet, yet reminiscent of ripe plums.  Not like any other grassy, vegetal, and weak green tea I have ever had.  A lifetime friend for certain.

Update: Due to Special Teas going out of business I have been searching for an alternative Chun Mee.  Upton Tea appears to have a 'Moon Palace' Chun Mee, but I have yet to review it.

Assam Rembeng TGFOP Organic

I am weary of Assam teas because they usually pack the punch of coffee.  But with careful preparation and the right does of milk and sugar, it makes an excellent morning tea.  As the colder weather has come and the sun is rising later in the day, I find it harder and harder to pay attention in class without dosing off.  This black tea is the kick in the pants I needed!  It has a distinct malty flavor and hearty feel to it.  A yummy treat in these cold months.  Brew for 3-5min in freshly boiled water.  Add milk and sugar to enhance flavors.

Special Teas #247

Update: Sadly, Special Teas has gone out of business.  Luckily the Rembeng estate sells to other vendors.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

White Lavender

I substituted Chamomile for Elderflower in my White Lavender blend and the result is an incredible cup!  I might fall asleep while typing this because this tea is so relaxing.  Recap of the new recipe is below:

  • 1.5 tsp White Peony
  • 1/2 tsp Lavender
  • 1/2 tsp Chamomile
Steep for 5 mins @ 180 degrees F

Review: Making a Good Thing Even Better!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finum Medium Filter Bags

I just received in the mail from Amazon.com my order of Fill-your-own tea bags.  They are much larger than I anticipated, but they do allow a lot of room for full leaves to expand.  I packaged up some of the Moroccan Mint I made the other day and the Gunpowder Green happily expanded to its rightful size.  They look absolutely silly, and I'm not sure they would make good gifts.  I think if I packaged up loose Lemon Grass in these as a Christmas present, my mother would die laughing at the giant proportions.

I think the Red Rose Tea Bag is afraid of being eaten...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Floral White

I found myself looking for a way to make plain white tea more exciting because let's face it, White Peony on its own is quite bland.  I originally thought of adding dried peaches to the mix or even blueberries, but that will have to be another day.  I managed to come across some bulk lavender at the store and thought this would be worth a try.  If you are like me, I usually start my day off with a powerful black tea blend and then coast through the rest of the day on lighter greens and whites.  This combo makes a nice post-dinner tea.

  • 1.5 tsp China White Peony 'Pai Mu Tan' (SpecialTeas #557)
  • 1/4 tsp Lavender (Frontier)
  • 1/4 tsp Elderflower (Frontier)
Steep for 3 mins @ 180 degrees F

Review: The delicate floral notes of this 'Pai Mu Tan' are enhanced by the addition of Lavender and Elderflower.  To be enjoyed without sugar or honey for experiencing this blend's nuances.

Moroccan Mint

There is something about the combination of a smoky green and mint that wakes me up from any slump.  After stealing several cups worth of peppermint from my neighbor, I finally broke down an ordered a 100g tin from Upton Teas (suggested to me by my partner in crime).  I must say, I am pleased with the herb.  It is more powerful than any other mint blend I have had at the school dining hall.

  • 3/4 tsp China Gunpowder Green Organic (Special Teas #520)
  • 1/2 tsp Domestic Peppermint (Upton Teas #389A)
  • 1/2 tsp Spearmint (Frontier)
Steep 3 mins @ 180 degrees F

Review: A Moroccan mint that will knock your socks off.  The smoky gunpowder taste is noticeable with the first sip, followed with cooling mint tones that linger.  No need for sugar here.

Sweet Dreams

Okay, so after my very successful trip to Morning Glory I was a little excited to start mixing things.  I've been on the lookout for a new bed-time brew and plain old Chamomile just isn't doing it for me anymore.  I went for the tried and true sleep/relaxation aides.  We will see what happens from there!
  • 1/4 tsp Elderflower (Frontier)
  • 1/4 tsp Lavender (Frontier)
  • 1/2 tsp Chamomile (Frontier)
  • 1/2 tsp Raspberry Leaves (Frontier)
Steep 10 min @ 212 degrees F

Review: After adding a touch of honey to this herbal infusion, the flavors balanced out wonderfully.  The Raspberry Leaves are the first taste to hit the pallet, followed by the sweet and calming flavors of the Lavender.  The Chamomile and Elderflower add their own sweetness to the brew, making this the perfect blend to drink before bedtime.  Elderflower is known for its ability to maintain a healthy immune system as well, so drink up!

Future Apothecary

Just today I discovered that Morning Glory has a wall full of every flower, herb, or spice you could imagine. Perfect for the budding tea blender! Expect a slew of new blends to try, since I just bought several herbs to start experimenting with.  The best part is that if you find a recipe you like, it will cost pennies to make since Morning Glory sells its herbs in loose bulk.  If you lucky, maybe I'll blend a batch up for you anyways.  I am a tea snob by definition, but more importantly a bargain-hunter.  I believe in quality at an appropriate price.  So stay tuned, I have a feeling my dorm room with become an apothecary.
My Current Inventory for Mixology

An Introduction

A little summary about myself before I get too into detail.  I'm a liberal arts college student who started drinking loose leaf tea about 3 years ago.  Since then I've become a fanatic.  I've tried several different loose leaf tea companies and recently I've thought about blending my own for a change.  I've noticed a complete lack of information available on the web about tea blending recipes, except for a few rare videos and how-to's here and there.  So for posterity's sake, I will be documenting my blending attempts in hopes of finding 'The Perfect Blend'.  Hilarity may ensue.

The Sexiest Tea Pot Alive