Thursday, February 23, 2012

#4 Buttered Rum

Number: 4 0f 175
Date: Tuesday February 21th, 2012
Tea Name: Buttered Rum
Tea Brand: DavidsTeas
Tea Type: Black
Steep Time: 4 minutes ( then 3 minutes the second round)
Steep Temperature: boiling (then a little under for the second round)

This was one of the teas that I got in my big box of samples from LiberTEAs. I was very excited, because it is one I have wanted to try for a bit now. One of my fondest memories of community theater was the Hot Buttered Rum we served during out Holiday Burlesque show, so I was hoping this might echo that flavor.
This tea was the first one to be brewed in my IngenuiTea pot. Separate review on that soon.
It smelled sooooooo good. Took a sip. I could tell it was a little over steeped. I should have been patient and let the water cool a little, but instead just poured the boiling water right onto the tea. I blame the sickness I was suffering from at the time. The brew time was also a little long. The first cup was slightly bitter. I could tell under the bitterness is a very tasty tea. A little spicy, a little coconut, a little sweet.
Since this is based on rum, I added brown sugar and since when I think of buttered rum I think of the worlds most tasty creamy fattening beverage…..I added some milk. I could not fully trust my flavor judgement, as my nose was stuffed up and my taste buds seemed wonky. I enjoyed it as a mediocre cup with a lot of potential.
I had intended to not try the cup again until I was better, but I went ahead and brewed this up again later the same day. I accidentally dropped in a bunch of brown sugar, so I went with it. Added milk. I felt like I am actually drinking hot buttered rum. This is a fine substitute, with just a fraction of the calories. After tasting it, I cannot wait to put in a big order at DavidsTeas. It was amaze-balls. I didn’t think I would ever find a tea I liked more than pancake breakfast by 52teas…..but I found one. So now I have a tea for breakfast and a tea for dessert!
So going to order a huge amount of this tea.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's raining tea.....

....Well, not literally, but that would be cool too, and delicious. The past week has been very tea heavy, but not so post heavy. I have a bunch of reviews stacking up, and will dedicate some time to those in the coming days. I have been working on job applications, packing to move and finishing my thank you cards that I should have wrapped up several months ago (according to wedding etiquette, I am now douchebag).
At the end of the week, my Koala Tea arrived. Then over the weekend I had a tea party with friends and my 52teas order arrived that day. Hooray Strawberry Orange Scone and Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. Monday my giant box of samples from LiberTEAs arrived, and OMG, 56 different teas to try, including a milk oolong (my secret tea obsession since I first read about them on steepster). I also baked a batch of Earl Grey cupcakes, which I will do a full post on later.
Today, my samples from Teavivre arrived. The do not mess around, big ol' box, between two to five individual samples of each type of tea, 5 teas in total including Jasmine “Dragon Pearls” Green Tea, Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) Tea, Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip, Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong Tea, and Organic Tie Guan Yin "Iron Goddess" Oolong Tea with Honey. I'm really excited to try all of the teas. Thinking I might start with the Iron Goddess one. Also today, my Earl Grey lip gloss arrived from an etsy shop based out of San Francisco.
I also ordered an IngenuiTEA from Adagio today, a cute steeper with saucer that looks like an acorn on a branch, and a Claddagh teapot and cup. My textbook trade-ins got approved and amazon happened to have a bunch of items I found on pinterest for my tea wishlist, so I picked some up.
So anyways, lots of awesome tea reviews to come on tea, neat products, books, and recipes I try that are tea based.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tea #2 and #3: A Creamy Earl Grey Face-off

Earl Grey is my go to tea. Lady Grey by Twinings is what made me first like tea, and Teavana's Earl Grey Creme brewed in milk with a little vanilla syrup is one of the most tasty things on the planet. I found The Tea Tables Earl Grey Cream and thought they looked pretty similar. I ordered 8oz (paying only $1.91 an ounce) hoping that it would be the same as Teavana's. Below are the results. Let's start with the competitors!
Number: 2 0f 175
Date: Tuesday February 7th, 2012
Tea Name: Earl Grey Creme
Tea Brand: Teavana
Tea Type: Black
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 192* F


Number: 3 0f 175
Date: Tuesday February 7th, 2012
Tea Name: Earl Grey Cream
Tea Brand: The Tea Table
Tea Type: Black
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 192* F

For each of the teas I steeped 1 tsp in 8oz of water for three minutes. I did it at the same time so I could truly compare. Teavana's Creme had a very overpowering dry leaf. It does not smell like vanilla or citrus or really much of anything, but whatever it is, it is strong. The Tea Table's (TTT) Cream was not as strong, but had a similar scent, although it was a little bit earthy.
Teavana's brewed up a cloudy light brown with a hint of red and had a very pleasant light vanilla scent. TTT was a clear red brown and had a nice smell, but it was more fruity than vanilla.
I tried each tea three ways. Plain, with milk added, and then with honey added on top of the milk.
Teavana's was very nice on its own. You could taste that it was an earl grey and the vanilla was just barely there. Once milk was added, the creaminess really started to shine through. I like my tea sweet, and if there was no sweetener available, I could easily drink this tea with just milk and really enjoy it. Once the honey was added, what I had before me was a cup of creamy earl grey deliciousness. Yum.
TTT was not drinkable by itself. It tasted a little bitter, as if the tea had been steeped to long. I will have to retry with a shorted steep time later. I did not get any hint of vanilla in the steeped tea. Once the milk was added, the bitterness mostly disappeared, and the creamyness began to surface. Add honey, and you have a decent cup of tea, but with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Verdict: At about $2.80 an ounce, Tevana's earl grey is better, by far. Although I may have saved $8 buying the Earl Grey Cream from TTT, I don't see myself going through my stock as fast. Hopefully when used to make London Fogs, I won't be able to tell the difference.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A List of Teas to Come....

Here is a list of some of the teas I will be trying in the upcoming weeks and months. All of these are already in my cupboard or on order.
  • Red Velvet Chocolate by The Republic of Tea
  • Chocolate Malt by
  • Coconut Cheesecake Honeybush by
  • Good Hope Vanilla by The Republic of Tea
  • Lady Grey by Twinings
  • Acai Matetini by Teavana
  • Coconut Chai by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
  • Strawberry Lemonade Herbal by Teavana
  • Passion by Tazo
  • Wholeberry by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
  • Amandine Rose by Teavana
  • Organic Apricot Ginger Black Tea by Good Earth Teas
  • Blueberry Bliss by Teavana
  • Zen by Tazo
  • Thousand Mountain Jasmine by Teavana
  • Cocoa Chai Tea by Good Earth Teas
  • Honeybush Vanilla by Teavana
  • Irish Breakfast Tea by Twinings
  • Pomegrante Superfruit by Good Earth Teas
  • Peachberry Jasmine Sutra by Teavana
  • Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
  • Herbal Revive Tea by Twinings
  • English Breakfast by Twinings
  • Earl Grey by Twinings
  • Bedtime by Yogi
  • Frutto Bianco Pearls by Teavana
  • Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha by 52Teas
  • Darjeeling by Twinings
  • Lavender Dreams by Teavana
  • Strawberry Orange Scone by 52 Teas
  • Authentic Thai Iced Tea by Wangderm Brand
  • 5 differnt teabags from Stash
  • Pancake Breakfast Tea by 52teas
  • Maple Bacon Black Tea by ManTeas
  • Rainbow Rooibos by The Tea Table
  • Antony and Cleopatra by The Tea Table
  • Earl Grey Cream by The Tea Table
  • Champagne Formosa Oolong by The Tea Table
  • Caramel Cherry Cheesecake by The Tea Table
  • Peaches and Cream by The Tea Table
  • Darjeeling from Zucchini and Vine

So that is the list of what I have. Below is a list of what I want:

  • Darjeeling First Flush by Jeeves and Jericho
  • Earl of Grey by Jeeves and Jericho
  • Girlie Grey by Jeeves and Jericho
  • Winter Brew by Jeeves and Jericho
  • China Jasmine by Jeeves and Jericho
  • Japanese Gen Mai Cha by Jeeves and Jericho
  • Vanilla Apple Blackberry by Twinings
  • Blossom Earl Grey by Twinings
  • Jasmine Earl Grey by Twinings
  • Lavender Earl Grey by Twinings
  • Royal Wedding Blend by Twinings
  • Dreamtime Insant Tea by Whittard of Chelsea
  • White Tiger by DAVIDsTEA
  • Creme Brulee by DAVIDsTEA
  • Honeybee by DAVIDsTEA
  • Love Tea #7 by DAVIDsTEA
  • Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
  • Cream of Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA
  • Creamsicle by Joy's Teaspoon
  • Plum Crazy by Joy's Teaspoon
  • Mahalo by Joy's Teaspoon

I love earl grey's and am very interested in trying as many different milk oolongs as I can, so you will most likely see a lot of those throughout the year. I also think my friend is headed to England this year, so maybe I can give her a bunch of cash and she can bring me back most of my wishlist....without me having to spend over 200 dollars in shipping.

Tea #1 Jasmine Phoenix Pearls by Adagio

Number: 1 0f 175
Date: Monday February 6th, 2012
Tea Name: Jasmine Phoenix Pearls
Tea Brand: Adagio
Tea Type: Green
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Steep Temperature: boiling, 3 ice cubes

My husband brought a small container of this home today from work. A coworker of his had purchased it, tried it, and decided it was not for her. I was super excited to start off this journey with a fancy tea. I looked it up on Adagio's website. Super cool. The tea that I sit here sipping was grown by a farmer named Lin Chui Feng who has been growing tea for 62 years. In our modern world of everything made my machines, it is interesting to think that this gentleman and his family grow, pick, process and roll all this tea into little balls that I pop into a pot and steep thousands and thousands of miles away.
Speaking of steeping, this one made a lovely pot. While waiting for the water to boil, I could not stop inhaling the delicious scent of the Jasmine. It was a much lighter and not as fake smelling as the Thousand Mountain Jasmine I have from Teavana.
The little pearls unfurled in the water and it turned a beautiful clear golden yellow color with just a hint of green. The smell coming out of the pot was just as delicious as the smell from the pearls themselves.
The flavor was very light, very pleasant. I added just about a teaspoon of sugar as I like my teas sweetened. The little bit of sugar really brought out the sweet flower taste. It tasted natural, and not artificial. I really enjoyed this one and am thinking that the girl that gave it to my husband may have brewed it to hot or to long, because this tea was much better than the Teavana Jasmine tea.

175 teas in 366 days

I know about as much about tea as a koala bear. Until about 6 months ago, I didn't really like tea. Then I found one tea that changed my mind. Twining's Lady Grey.
I have decided that I want to know more about tea than "mmmm this is tasty. "
Enter my 175 Teas in 366 day challenge. Inspired by that Julie and Julia movie and thought up when trying to fill in my list for the year, it is just like it sounds. Try 175 or more teas in one year, document them all, and hopefully go from a tea zero to a tea hero.
Join me on my journey on here and on steepster!