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#TeaTuesday Soda Pop Substitute

September 12, 2017 3 Comments

regional names for the stuff

regional names for the stuff

One of my colleagues at work announced her intention to give up diet soda for her health. She has cut down from an amazing eight daily, but still has a steady habit. I suggested she might be able to switch to tea if she found flavors that satisfy her taste buds.  She agreed to try a “tour of tea” I provided in the form of several tea samples from my major stash at home.  She accepted the gift and with encouragement from her daughter she is trying the flavors in the starter pack.  I gave her some black flavored tea, chocolate chai, lemongrass, and more to pique her interest in this broad field.

I have thought about how much money is spent in the United States on soda pop and similar sugarcoated drinks (usually made with corn syrup).  It is shocking when you think about it. Half of us drink soda every day, but the popularity is waining.  People are aware of the health risks associated with soda consumption and are making the switch to other beverages.  Bottling companies are shifting production to meet the demand for calorie free seltzers and other beverages.  The bottler still makes a giant profit on shipping and selling what is mostly water, or in many cases, only water, to the world.  Brewing tea at home, especially in the sun which provides free energy and perfect brewing conditions, is a wonderful way to drink very well at low cost. You just provide the water and the jar, then strain it and keep it in the fridge.  The range of flavor and health benefits available from tea is wide and deep.  The expiration of tea can last a lifetime and constantly be inspirational.  I can’t say that for soda.

I drink tea because I love it, but I am proud of all the money I save by brewing my own. Math alone should convince you to switch, but I know the pull can be very strong for the old habits. I hope my colleague will be able to happily switch her preferences.  If you have a soda addiction you want to kick, I highly recommend tea tasting to all my gentle readers. It is a bargain.

white blueberry tea

white blueberry tea

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#TeaTuesday White Blueberry

August 29, 2017 1 Comment

white blueberry tea

white blueberry tea

I am saying good bye to summer by enjoying berries, plums, nectarines, and all the seasonal fruit that is about to be out of season. To bring the flavors together I am drinking a delightful white blueberry tea from Adagio. I like all the fruit flavored white teas, but this one is a big favorite. The white tea is a natural unprocessed tea, and the blueberries are a perfect compliment to the high notes of the tea.  I brew it in the sun, summer or winter, and drink it cold.  The caffeine is low, and the flavor intoxicating, but not overwhelming.  The ingredients are pure and simple: white tea, blueberries, natural blueberry flavor.  It is superior as a thirst quencher and refresher.

We drink tea every day all day, so variety as well as quality and freshness count in our household.  I order form Adagio because they offer a wide variety, including sample packs to introduce new teas.  I first bought the white blueberry in a white sampler pack, and it is now the one I like best.  White strawberry is a close second in my iced tea book.  I recommend the company to anyone who already loves to drink tea, or to those looking to expand knowledge of tea.  One of the fun aspects of this company is the option for tea fans to create fan blends, which then become available to all the customers.  Try your hand at blending, and taste the mixtures your fellow tea fans lay down.  They do a good job of serving the customer community.

Join me in a glass of white blueberry tea and start building your knowledge of tea.

white blueberry tea

white blueberry tea

#TeaTuesday Variety- Spice Of Life

July 18, 2017 1 Comment

 

White Strawberry Tea

White Strawberry Tea

Not so long ago I was very limited in the teas I consumed. I was a big fan of herbal, and fruit tea but had no love for green, white, or black teas. I had tried some but probably was brewing them incorrectly for maximum results. I probably became intrigued to expand my tea selection by tasting the samples that came with my regular Adagio orders. Reaching beyond my previous boundaries turned out to be a very good idea.  Now I am into almost every variety and flavor.  There is a place and time for each tea.  They offer different benefits as well as flavors. If you want to expand your appreciation of tea, here are the kinds of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant:

  • Black tea includes the common English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Dragon Pearls. Brew according to directions to avoid any bitter aftertaste.
  • Oolong tea is available in a range of flavors due to a roasting process that brings out flavors in the product.  By choosing a method of roasting that will take between 12 and 36 hours, the processor can create anything from green to floral to dark notes. Formosa, Ti Kuan Yin, Wuyi are Oolong teas
  • Chai is a blend of tea and spices very popular in India.  It is commonly served with milk.  The tea can be of any variety and the spices are blended to taste.  I love the honey bush and rooibos chais without caffeine.
  • Pu-Erh tea is fermented then dried for a full bodied taste with no astringent aftertaste.  This tea is smooth and nutty, available in several different flavors.  It can be purchased in pearls, which look really beautiful when the unfold in your cup.
  • Green tea’s superior antioxidant health benefits are a result of the processing of the leaves. Gunpowder is one of the most well known green teas.  My favorite greens are the fruit flavored ones, which I enjoy over ice.
  • White tea is the least processed of all the teas. Silver Needle and White Peony are well known examples of this delicate beverage that contains even more antioxidants than green tea.  All the white teas make me very happy, especially in the summer.  The light, refreshing taste is perfect for hot days.  I am crazy for the White Strawberry and White Eternal Spring blends.

The herbal blends, rooibos, honey bush and fruit tisanes make up a group of caffeine free beverages I enjoy liberally.  However, I am very pleased to have made the acquaintance of all of the teas on this list because it expands my possible choices.  Life is discovery, and tea makes an excellent vehicle to learn more about the places tea is grown and the cultures created around this important beverage.  Adagio offers sampler packs, which helped me find new excitement.  I have also been very happy to buy some of the other customers’ signature blends.  This is an option I have not used yet myself.  It is yet another way to taste  and share tea.  If you like the way your custom blend tastes, you can ship it to your friends with your name and label on it as a gift. I hope you will explore the world of tea with me.  It is a satisfying journey.

 

#TeaTuesday Dewey Cherry

July 4, 2017 1 Comment

Brewing Dewey Cherry

Brewing Dewey Cherry

Nothing says summer more than the taste of ripe cherries.  I get excited when the various kinds of cherries show up in the grocery store every year. They all make me happy, from the tart to the white Mt. Ranier.  The fun of sucking them off the pit never fails to please me.  I keep the pits in my mouth for a while because they have their own flavor. All the cherries we eat are imported from other places, so they are pricey by the time we buy them. There is one cherry I can count on all year to deliver that tangy special taste.  That is my Dewey Cherry tea from Adagio.  I am drinking it this week to accompany all the fruit we are enjoying.

I think it is a pretty good symbolic 4th of July drink because many Americans associate the holiday with George Washington.  We may know little about his life, but we have all heard the story of his cherry tree.  It is also red in color, so it brightens up the look of the party table.  A dessert in itself, it naturally aligns with all fruit flavored sweets such as pie.  The slight sharpness of the tart cherry cleanses the palette between samples of sticky sweet samples. It would be the perfect drink for a pie eating contest.

Serving this as a cocktail base leaves the options open. It would be delicious combined with whipped or black cherry vodka, or some rum.  I like to make tea cocktails very weak in alcohol so they are drinkable and tasty, but not too psychoactive.  I like to micro dose.  You could add a splash of this tea to a Pimm’s Cup, designed to be consumed all day while watching tennis matches. The color and taste match well with this legendary beverage.

So, if you are watching Wimbledon today, or celebrating the American Independence (from those fabulous Brits) I can recommend the fantastic fruity flavor of Dewey Cherry to enhance your festivities.  Enjoy it straight up or with a little shot of your favorite alcohol. Drink it in good health, gentle readers.  Cheers!

Pimm's Cup

Pimm’s Cup

#TeaTuesday Rooibos Jasmine

June 27, 2017 5 Comments

I am drinking some iced rooibos tea lightly laced with natural jasmine flavor.  Rooibos Jasmine tea is a floral tea for special occasions.  I love it, but find it is a taste for which I have to be in the mood.  The taste of jasmine is slightly lighter than the typical black jasmine tea. The caffeine free rooibos herb from South Africa has a toasty, nutty finish that also distinguishes it from the typical jasmine tea.  I am enjoying it today because I am also enjoying the last of three jasmine varieties that bloom in my front yard over a period of about 2 months.  This Asian Jasmine plant is close to the front door and the walkway, so visitors are wafted with the strong scent when they approach the entrance to our home. Come on in and try the jasmine tea.

The thirst quenching qualities of this delightful beverage are awesome.  The lingering floral taste is refreshing and invigorating.  I normally drink this tea hot because the aroma from the cup is a major part of the experience.  The heat releases the smell for the drinker as well as anyone in the room at the time.  It is never cloying or overbearing on the floral notes.  The perfect amount of flavor picks up, but does not cover, the taste of the herb. Over ice the floral notes come across as much more muted, with less of an aroma.  The jasmine hits you after you swallow the cold version of the drink.

I like almost every rooibos and honeybush tea blend based on the fact that the herbs themselves are healthy and delicious.  This floral version is great for any time I feel particularly floral.  It goes with sweets in my mind, but I suppose I could imagine it with savory foods like goat cheese.  I drink it solo for the good feeling of the floral aromatherapy.  Try it if you like a caffeine free flower shower in your tea time.  It perks me up and makes me feel a little decadent when I taste it because the jasmine flavor is so rich and exotic.

Jasmine

Jasmine

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#TeaTuesday White Strawberry

June 20, 2017 2 Comments

White Strawberry Tea

White Strawberry Tea

This week I want to tell you all about a tea to which I have become very attached. I have been brewing up iced white strawberry tea this summer to beat the band…and the heat. The combination of teas, flowers, fruits and vanilla creates a lovely flavor profile that is complex and delightful in summer. White tea from China is mixed with roiboos tea, apple pieces, blueberries, hibiscus, natural strawberry flavor, strawberries, blue cornflowers, rose petals, and natural vanilla flavor is amazing on the taste buds.  If you close your eyes and concentrate you can pick out some of the individual ingredients. The white tea itself has a natural mild melon taste.  It is the most subtle of teas, and the least processed.  It contains more antioxidants than black or green tea.  I adore the flavor of it.

We are suffering in the great southwest from a severe heat wave.  We have to drink copiously and frequently to avoid severe health problems.  It is the most serious heat streak we have experienced in decades.  One must continue to drink water along with the tea of choice to stay in balance.  The choice of tea is also important, since caffeine has the effect of dehydrating the system.  The white strawberry is an excellent choice since most of the ingredients contain no caffeine.  The resulting mix is a beverage very low in caffeine and high in antioxidants and minerals.  Roiboos tea is rich in minerals, and contains antiviral and anti inflammatory agents.  The berries also provide antioxidants as well as color and flavor.  This is a lovely tea to both smell and see before it is brewed.  The scent is heavenly, and the flecks of blue cornflower and red rose petals add beautiful accent colors.

I have not tried this tea as a cocktail base, but can imagine a strawberry daiquiri style drink made with it.  It would also be great with the addition of a whipped vodka shot, but then what isn’t?  I just drink it all day as my go to chiller.  I find myself brewing this favorite at least twice a week since the heat became so oppressive.  It lifts my spirits, even without any additional spirits.  I recommend it.  I toast your good health on this first day of summer, gentle reader.  Cheers!  Stay hydrated, my friends.

white strawberry

white strawberry

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#TeaTuesday Insanitea

June 13, 2017 1 Comment

Insanitea

Insanitea

Insanitea service

Insanitea service

Insanitea in strawberry teabag

Insanitea in strawberry teabag

I received a sampler box of tea from my Australian friend. She had previously brought me seasonings from the Outback which were a big hit here at our house. The Clean Tea Company is located in New South Wales, Australia.  They produce local organic tea blends, and chocolate-tea blends, as well as chocolate candy.  My tea sampler came with a very cute reusable teabag in the shape of a strawberry that makes the whole service fancy with easy clean up.  The ingredients are combined to make a wide variety of special beverages:

Clean Tea menu

Clean Tea menu

I am brewing up some extra energy in my teapot today because I have many physical chores to do.  Insanitea claims to be “like Red Bull but without the nasties”.  I am not a Red But fan, but I could really use some wings today to help me finish all I have to do.  The blend contains green tea, yerba mate, peppermint, ginger, licorice, guarana, goji berry, and stevia.  I dislike licorice intensely, but the overall taste of the blend is not very heavy on that flavor. I am enjoying drinking it.  There is enough peppermint to mask the other strong tastes.  The tea is designed to be high in caffeine and natural stimulants. I feel a little lift after a couple of small cups.  I will let you know, gentle readers, if I acquire wings after a few more.

cuppa insanitea

cuppa insanitea

I think sampling tea from other places is a wonderful way to visit with your senses.  I think fondly of my friend Christine with each sip.  Thank you for such a thoughtful and mind expanding gift.

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#TeaTuesday Peppermint Butler

June 6, 2017 2 Comments

I have rediscovered Peppermint Butler tea this summer. I ordered it in the winter, enjoying it immensely as a cup of hot tea. It is mildly caffeinated, so I sometimes drank it instead of morning coffee for a change.  It contains vanilla flavored Ceylon tea, vanilla flavored oolong tea , peppermint, and candy canes.  Even though it has been in the tin for a long time, the mint flavor is still strong, probably because of the candy canes crushed in the mix.  It is not overly sweet or too minty, but has a unique taste.  It is my current favorite iced tea.  Summer is intense in Arizona, so we need cool and refreshing beverages. This tea lifts my spirits as well as my taste buds.

I had no idea this tea had been named for a cartoon character until I started to write this review.  This is one of Adagio’s signature blends, which I like to sample from time to time.  They are more complex and exotic combinations, more expensive ingredients, with a slightly higher price point.  I have never been disappointed with the quality of the signature blends.  They pack a punch that makes them worth a few extra cents per cup.  Peppermint Butler is an excellent example of that value for dollar.  The 5 oz tin, which I purchased, is priced at about 38 cents a cup, very reasonable, especially in comparison to tea you purchase in a bottle, already brewed and shipped across the country. Adagio lets customers create their own custom signature blends.  This lets you become a tea blend expert with the highest quality ingredients.

If you are looking for some new iced tea excitement this summer I highly recommend this blend. The creamy minty taste goes down well all day long.  It compliments salad, chilled soup, and sandwiches very well.  Today I will pair it will chilled corn vichyssoise for lunch.  The crisp tea will be a nice contrast to the rich cool soup.  Both have a richness that make them a good couple on a hot day.

Peppermint Butler Tea

Peppermint Butler Tea

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Tea Tuesday Roiboos Lemon Cloud

May 30, 2017 3 Comments

rooibos lemon cloud

rooibos lemon cloud

Roiboos Lemon Cloud

Roiboos Lemon Cloud

Today I am enjoying the lilting lemon flavor of Roiboos Lemon Cloud tea from Adagio. The weather is hot and my day will be busy. I don’t need any extra caffeine.   This delightful tea has zero to put me on edge as a breeze through the afternoon. I will probably consume half a gallon of this on ice to stay cool and hydrated. The natural lemon flavor is highlighted with vanilla and lemon grass.  This blend reminds me of  lemon merengue pie, but has no fat or calories. I think the creamy vanilla adds the dessert touch to this tea without adding any sweetener.

I will drink it for lunch with a big salad. Roiboos tea has no bitter aftertaste, and therefore combines well with any meal.  The fresh light taste combines perfectly with fresh raw vegetables and fruits.  Hot or cold with dessert of any kind Lemon Cloud provides a sweet yet tangy contrast.  We have some blueberry cheesecake ice cream in the freezer that will be superb with the vanilla/lemony tea.  I have some rhubarb to stew that will also taste great with this tea. My flavor profile for the day promises to be healthy and delicious.

I like gin and tea cocktails, but think that fruit flavored rum would be a fun way to create a Lemon Cloud tea cocktail.  A coconut rum shot would compliment the flavors nicely.  You can use your imagination and discretion.  I use a little alcohol to tea, but you can use the ratio you prefer during your cocktail hour.  Experiment.  There is a world beyond Long Island Iced Tea waiting for you to discover.

I recommend this tea to everyone.  It is a good calorie and caffeine free choice for kids as well as adults.  The sophisticated flavor blend might convert some soda pop drinkers to iced tea.  It could be served at high tea with milk and sugar for a twist.  I buy it in the 16 ounce pouch, which prices out to about 10 cents a cup.  It is a thrifty and delightful alternative to bottled drinks.  The high mineral content and antioxidants contained in roiboos give the body a healthy boost while delivering sweet, slightly nutty flavor. Santé!

Roiboos Lemon Cloud

Roiboos Lemon Cloud

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