Thursday, 30 January 2014

Organic Japanese Sencha

Japanese Sencha from DavidsTea
Fine organic steamed Japanese green tea from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

(tea, please! apparently...)
"Japan's most popular tea"! And for good reason. This is a lovely light green tea.
The directions said to steep for 2-3 minutes, but three minutes was just too watered down for me, so I gave it another two in what was technically a second steep!

Is this tea ever smooth. The flavour lingers on your tongue, but not like your average green. It's very vegetal, almost grassy... in a good way. (Saying something tastes like grass doesn't really make it sound delicious, does it?) It's really nice, and I hope the other sencha that I have a lot of (and not just a sample size) is just as good. I could drink this ALL the time.

Aaaaand I just spilled a bunch on myself trying to take a drink. Because I'm about as graceful as a brick in the wind... yeah.

Yoshi likes it as well. Unfortunately, he is too afraid of the cup to take a drink so I can capture it on camera. Last time he attacked my tea a little too soon after being steeped and burned his little toes, poor baby. He wants it from my mouth, birds are gross.

It is also just as nice cold! Yum

This is the corner of my desk, where I write my blogs. This is not staged (besides the picture of me as a child with my dad that I moved out of frame). This is actually my desk with a -working- 115+ year old typewriter and that lump in the back is a chunk of fossilised dinosaur jaw. The rest of my desk is no less nerdy. The other corner has a ton of crystals, a crystal lamp and candle holder, and an ammonite. I will take a picture some time of my whole office when it isn't so bloody messy. (I'm such a slob!) And when I get better lighting, I had to point a lamp at my tea because the light fixtures in our bedrooms are on one side of the room, and my desk is on the opposite side.

WELL! Enough rambling about myself.

Go take a cheap trip to Japan (ie: in your mind, for us poor folk) with a cup -or several- of sencha!

Happy Steepping!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Tea on a Budget

Here's our FIRST EVER GUEST POST. Informative, and fun!


One of the best things about the world of tea is that there are hundreds of tasty teas, from “true teas” like whites, oolongs and pu-erhs, to tea blends and even herbal teas, to explore. The fact that there are so many different types to try is one of the things that make tea fun, as it is likely you will find at least one that you enjoy. The downside is that purchasing all those teas can get quite expensive. However, if you are willing to put a little more time and consideration into your search and seek out samples and tea swaps, you can alleviate some of the cost.

Read Reviews

Besides tasting teas yourself, one of the easiest ways to learn about new teas is by reading the reviews of others. The tea community has a huge online presence, so there are a variety of sites (such as this one, as well as Rate Tea and Teaviews) that are frequently updated with reviews of different teas. After you have tried some teas based on the reviews you have read, you may even be able to narrow down what bloggers seem to have similar tastes as you so you can rely on their recommendations.

Another option is to read the reviews of a particular tea on the retailer’s site, and see what other people who have bought the tea thought of it. However, it is important to keep in mind that customer reviews can be slightly biased, since they are most likely to review a tea if they either really enjoyed it or completely disliked it. On the other hand, tea bloggers generally will share their opinion on any tea they try, even if it was only mediocre, making them a more reliable source.

Watch for Sales

One way to get tea at a cheaper price is to wait for a sale to purchase them. If there is a certain brand you like or are interested in trying, keep an on their site for sales or promotions. You can also try following the company’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or joining their mailing list to find out about special offers, promotional codes or flash sales.

Seek out Samples

The nice thing about samples is they are a great way to try various teas with little or no monetary investment on your end. Better yet, there are a variety of ways to get samples of tea to try.

One way is to attend tea related events, like local tea festivals, where not only can you get samples of both loose leaf and prepared tea, but can also attend classes taught by industry experts and suppliers.

Retail stores will often hold regular tastings where you can sample tea in the shop or even take some home and brew it yourself. However, when you are sampling teas that are already brewed (whether at a festival or in a store), make sure to ask a lot of questions about how the tea was prepared. Some vendors flavor their teas with sweeteners, like sugars and syrups, or brew it with a higher concentration of leaves to make the tea have a stronger or sweeter flavor. Although this is a bit misleading, it is a practice quite a few stores participate in, which (as I have learned from experience) can cause your tea to taste very different when you brew it at home. While some retailers can be tricky with how they flavor their tea, other sellers will sometimes include a sweet surprise when you purchase tea from them. These gifts are usually samples of teas or a discount on your next purchase. Both of which are great ways to try something new!

You can also utilize the online tea community for samples. Many bloggers wind up getting more tea samples than they can drink, so they often have contests or drawings to give away their extras. In addition, there are several tea review sites that are always interested in finding new people to review teas to in order to gain another perspective. If you enjoy writing or blogging, this is a great way to receive free samples since many of the sites will send you the tea they want you to review. Finally, there are some bloggers that are just kind-hearted and excited to meet fellow aficionados who will happily send you samples they come across once they get to know you. 

Swap/Share with Friends

Again, this is a good time to explore the online tea community, and check out sites like Steepster, to see if there are any people who participate in tea swaps in your area. If you aren't familiar with tea swaps, they are prearranged get-togethers (it’s best to do these in a public place until you feel comfortable with the people in your group) where people swap, and sometimes even taste, teas. Usually people swap teas that have discovered since the last time the group met, extra samples they may have lying around or teas that they tried and didn't like.

If there isn't an in-person tea swap in your area, there are also tea groups that swap samples through the mail and “meet” online via Skype to chat and review teas. Another option is to start a tea-swapping group yourself. If you love tea, it’s likely you know at least a few other people (such as friends, family members or co-workers) who enjoy it as well. If your friends aren't as into tea as you are, this is a great time to introduce them to it! Start by sharing a couple of teas you like, and even ones you don’t, since you never know what will appeal to other people. As your friends get more comfortable with tea, they'll likely return the favor and share their finds, or be willing to swap teas they dislike, with you. If they end up having similar tastes, your friends may even be willing to split a large package of tea so you don't need to shoulder hefty costs alone or worry about getting through a ton of tea. Besides, tea is always more fun when you have someone to share it with you so can compare notes.

Brenna Ciummo is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee and tea. An avid tea drinker, she is always on the hunt for new teas to try. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Ceylon Star

I'm going to preface this review by saying I hate licorice flavored things.
Star anise is licorice flavored.
Star anise is the main flavor in this black tea.

I'm sure you guys can see where this is going.

I steeped the 1.25 tsp to 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes. Just as the directions told me to do. Because I AIN'T GOT TIME TO BE WILD.

It smelled exactly like star anise. No surprise there! I mean, that is it's main feature. It tasted okay; much better than I expected, but too much like licorice for me to even really enjoy it. Even though I could taste the black tea, it wasn't enough to overpower or cover up the star anise at all. And I wouldn't WANT it to. My personal tastes should not dictate every single tea that has ever been made.

I don't like licorice flavored things. But some people do. And for those people who do, you will love this tea. In fact, you would probably sell your soul, or the soul of your children, for this tea if you like licorice flavored things.

So carry on my licorice loving readers, enjoy Ceylon Star for the licorice-y tea that it is.

This tea, as pretty as it is, is just not my cup of tea!  Haha. Ha. Get it? IT'S A SAYING AND I WANTED TO USE IT SHUT UP DON'T JUDGE ME.



Thursday, 23 January 2014

Quangzhou Milk Oolong

Quangzhou Milk Oolong from DavidsTea
Chinese Oolong tea from the Wuyi Mountains

This tea can smell a little odd at first, but it grows on you, and quickly!
(Yoshi just got to it before me because I'm busy typing this, the fiend!!)

Milk and honey. So creamy and pleasant. Wow! This tea is amazing... Pardon me as I melt into my chair and fall into a state of serenity. (that's right, with a Y. I don't do tea puns)
Enjoy this as I collect my thoughts.
Because Julie London is (was) the shit!

Much like Julie, this tea is sultry, smooth and certainly seductive to any oolong fan. My heart is a flutter! I am in love!

The flavour sticks with you in the most pleasant way possible. My tongue had a flavour party and found it's soul mate. A most delicious oolong, indeed. I find myself hesitating to swallow every sip (or gulp. What? It's delicious!)

And it looks beautiful too.

This tea is amazing. Buy! Buy now! 

Time to wrap up, I'm losing myself in this tea and oodles of awesome old music.
FEVER.... in the mornin'. Fever all through the night...!
Mm, this tea will give you the fever, if you know what I'm sayin'. Mm-mmm!

Happy Steeping,

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Oh Gods.
This fucking tea.

I brewed a cup to taste test it and REALLY didn't like it.
But I have to brew another cup for the review, so I can be more specific than "YUCK" and take pictures.


Well, on to fucking Bravissimo, by DavidsTea.

So, since I was only making a glass, I used 1.5 tsp, and steeped for about 5 minutes.

When it's steeping, you can pretty much only smell the chamomile. DECEPTION AT IT'S FINEST.
For me, as soon as I swallowed my first sip, I hated it.  I got this horrible sickly sweet licorice-y taste at the back of my throat. It honestly was almost medicinal in flavor.

BUT, if there was no licorice root, which ended up causing such a horrible flavor, it would be a nice tea.

AND it does what it says it does. It does help a throat feel BETTER.

So, if you're WILLING to put up with that for an entire cup, more power to you. I'd rather have Cold 911.


Monday, 20 January 2014

New Tea Purchases

Hey all!

Right now I'm putting myself on a strict "only desperate refills only" or "this tea will be gone by X date AND it looks awesome" tea budget.

Sad? Yes. (More for me than for you, dear readers. Unless you are as invested in my tea horde as I am - then I thank you)
In danger of stopping reviews? GODS NO.

I have enough teas to keep me reviewing for probably 3/4 of 2014 without buying anything.

Right now I'm in the process of saving for a house, hopefully to be moving out by October 2014 (keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!). As a result of this time being the final push, I'm putting more cash away per month than ever before. As a result, personal spending money is a little tighter than normal.

By making this defined, and out in the open, decision, will not only help me stick to it, but help with any guilt I have over it.

Don't worry, you guys will still be kept in the loop and kept surprised by all of my reviews!



Friday, 17 January 2014

Deconstruct the Yuck

So, this is sorta kinda unrelated to tea, but it looks like it will be a really good read! That, and I simply felt like sharing. I DO WHAT I WANT, and this counts as "extra stuff".

Deconstruct the Yuck is a blog being run by two ladies, one a full time mom, the other a mom who also works outside of the home.

I was shown the blog by Meagan when she came into the clinic. Listening to her talk about it made me really, really want to read it!

After quickly looking over the site, and their Monthly Challenges Menu, I thought that, 1) if I was as interested as I am, then you guys would probably want to take a gander (with a cuppa of course!) and 2) lots of the topics on there could end up involving tea in some way.
Have too much tea, and reluctant to get rid of the ones you KNOW you won't drink any more of (guilty!), then I have a feeling, reading Deconstruct the Yuck could help.

Also, we know that running a blog can be hard work, and nothing feels better than reaching people and knowing you made even a TINY difference in their lives! (Hey, I know I personally feel amazing when someone leaves a comment saying they tried the Pumpkin Chai Milkshake or the Pumpkin Chai French Toast and they loved it! I made someones day a little bit happier in a way. That makes me happy.)

So read the blog, I know I will. I may even go through my tea horde and get rid of stuff I have reviewed and don't want. Maybe.

Keep on steeping!


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Organic Mother's Little Helper

"Mother's Little Helper" from DavidsTea

Ingredients: Organic: peppermint, lemongrass, rosehips, hibiscus (Fair Trade), chamomile flowers, valerian root, cornflowers. With natural peppermint flavouring

This delicious peppermint tasting tea with hints of chamomile, rosehips and lemongrass prides itself as a relaxation tea... If tea had some kind of sentient powers, which it does not. Ooor does it? No, definitely not. I obviously meant, DavidsTea really pumps up the volume on RELAXATION.

And they should. 
Before I elaborate, a little back story: I do not sleep well. Meaning, I have this strange need to constantly know what time it is, and it even interferes with my sleep schedule! I wake up on average of ever hour to see what the time is. Mother's Little Helper actually helps me with this. I can go almost the ENTIRE night without waking up whenever I have myself a nice large cup of the stuff before bed. AND (for the ladies), it can help with cramps!

I'm drinking it right now so I can get to sleep early and sleep off some seriously nasty muscle pain. I love this stuff. It's got amazing qualities, and just tastes like a lovely cup of peppermint tea. Mmmm

This tea needs to be in EVERYONE's cupboard, or drawer, or on the counter - wherever the hell you store your tea! Get this, tout de suite!

Happy Steepi-zzzzzzzzz


Oh yeah, and Yoshi LOVES it

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Mountain Organic Indonesian Green Tea

Yes, I tape the label on.
Finally! A Tea at Sea review! This time it's their Indonesian Green Tea!

My first tea from Tea at Sea was their Oolong which Kayla reviewed.

I love this company. Their packaging is awesome, they give great samples and of course, the cork boat.

I brewed it at the directed temperature, and steeped it for about 4 minutes. Per 4 cups I used one Davids Perfect Spoon.
It is a perfect day for this review to be done, considering how gross the weather is.

This tea is very light, and almost a creamy-sweet flavor. It's a very hard to describe taste. It's a fantastic green and I really do enjoy it. It smells nice, it tastes nice, it's not at all bitter.
I do wish it was stronger, but, light isn't bad at all.

If you love greens, you will love this. Because I love this even though it's a very typical, very amazing and high quality, green.

Sorry this review is short, but I'm not sure how much more I can elaborate on "BUY THIS TEA"


Thursday, 9 January 2014

A farewell to eggnog... Oh, and Tazo's chai mix

a match made in heaven

I will admit that I am a sucker for chai lattes from Starbucks, and I was always sad that I had to pay four dollars every time I was craving one because I had no clue how to make one. Then, my mum and I spotted this on Christmas Eve while popping in to Starbucks for eggnog chai lattes before work...
Needless to say I got two.

This stuff is PERFECT.
Half milk (or eggnog) and half Tazo, heat on the stove - don't nuke it, microwaves ruin the flavour of milk products. That's all there is to it for a perfect chai latte.

And the mix has a much better spice to it than what you get from the baristas (they totally rip you off by adding water instead of using just milk or eggnog (THE SCANDAL!) So it is even more delicious than what you may be used to!!

And the ingredients are surprisingly simple, I am impressed. (Yeah, I expected it to be chalk-full of disgusting additives and shit, but it really isn't)

I'm going to miss having eggnog SO much.

But at least I know how I can enjoy a regular chai latte at home now. FOR SIX DOLLARS!!
So, it is a waaaaaaaay better deal than just going to the store for a cup. Amazing

yay, goofy pictures
Happy... mixing!


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Organic Detox

*If you can't handle talk of bodily functions, do not read past this. You have been warned.

So, we all know the winter months are basically time to eat nothing but desserts and rich yummy food.

Fancy kettle
But, with that rich food, extra sugar, extra yummy-ness comes some unfortunate side-effects for many of us. I get canker sores and break out something horrible. Also, sometimes my digestion doesn't agree with extra fatty or rich foods.
Being held up with a shoulder injury, keeping me from having my fun gym time/steam room time, hasn't helped at all. So I am breaking out and have a painful canker sore inside my left cheek. Also, some diarrhea this past week hasn't made me feel super great. So, starting December 30th (yes, I pre-typed this on the 31st), I've been enjoying my detox tea from DavidsTea.

Before I got my fancy tea kettle from my wonderful MIL-to-be, I wasn't too fond of this tea. It tasted bitter and kinda gross. But after...oh man. AFTER, this tea is beautiful. Being steeped for the right amount of time AND the right temperature made all the difference for me.

I use one of DavidsTea perfect spoon, which I got from my lovely tea sister, Kayla for Christmas!) I steep it for about 3 minutes, over a minute less than what the tin says, and on the 'green tea' setting on my tea kettle (175 F). Then, I let it sit under Stanley (my tea cozy, which I got for Christmas from here) for a few minutes, until I want a cup.

It tastes smooth and earthy, and you can taste a hint of juniper berry popping through. The smoothness of the rooibos and the green tea just sing for me. I can't really taste the ginger, which is nice since honestly, if I wanted to taste ginger I'd have a ginger tea.

I drink about 3 to 4 cups of the stuff a night. After one night my facial acne is clearing up, the acne between my boobs is a little better, but my shoulders are about the same. My digestion is working on it.

Warning, you will pee and probably have a bowel movement within 12 hours of drinking it. Not diarrhea though.

Much love and digestion congestion corrections!


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Choconut Oolong

Choconut Oolong from DavidsTea
Ingredients: Cocoa husks, cocoa beans, oolong tea, black tea, liquorice, natural hazelnut flavouring, artificial cream, chocolate and caramel flavoring.

I haven't much to say about this tea.... It tastes exactly the way that it smells, which -to me- was awful. But I think that is because it reminds me far too much of coffee. Which was disappointing because DT got me all excited when they claimed it tastes like a certain hazel nut spread, without naming any names, but you get my drift (hint hint nudge nutella)

The mild flavour of chocolate and the not-so-mild flavour of hazelnut was not missed... but the nutty-ness made it so bitter that I found it more reminiscent of coffee than tea. And unless it is mixed at least 50:50 with hot chocolate, coffee and I have never gotten along; not for a lack of trying, either.

However, if you are a fan of both, I definitely suggest giving it a go. It could be your thing.

That wraps up the Winter/Holiday collections for this year (if I missed something I'm going to feel so stupid).
Over-all, besides White Chocolate Frost blowing my mind, I was a little under-whelmed. But not every new tea can be a success.

Happy New Year and Happy Steeping,


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Picture borrowed from here

Love Kayla and Laura, your resident tea enthusiasts!