Sunday, November 17, 2013

Harney & Sons Pumpkin Spice

Last month, I noticed that the local Target store got in a few Autumn/Winter teas from Harney & Sons.  Harney & Sons is one of those brands that you can’t go wrong with (or so I thought).  They’re always so delicious and well balanced.  Two teas instantly got my attention and promptly made their way into my shopping buggy.  This is one of them.  It’s described as being “Herbal Red Bush with Pumpkin and Spices”.  This sounded like the perfect autumn tea to be enjoyed with cool weather, pumpkin candles burning, and your typical pumpkin cakes and sweets. 

Upon opening it, you smell this lovely cinnamon and pumpkin aroma.  Boy was I excited.  That excitement dwindled once I steeped it and took my first sip.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.  You can barely taste any of the pumpkin.  It tastes like rooibos with some spices added.  But the rooibos is the most prominent note in this tea.  Now, I do enjoy rooibos, but I didn’t buy Pumpkin Spice just to receive rooibos.  It’s like that moment when you bite into a chocolate chip cookie only to find that it is oatmeal raisin.  You may not hate oatmeal raisin, but you were biting into what you thought was something completely different.  And I really feel that pumpkin goes better with chai than rooibos, but that may just be my preference. 

I would definitely not recommend this.  What I would recommend is Twining Pumpkin Spice Chai.  It’s a delicious blend that you can actually taste pumpkin in and it’s a staple for me during these autumn months.  Plus, it’s cheaper!

Trust issues… I now have them with Harney & Sons.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Spice

To celebrate the coming of autumn, my mother made delectable apple turnovers with a delicious sugary glaze.  It was like a hand-held apple pie but somehow even better.  I decided that when I gobbled it down, I would do so properly.  That involved brewing up one of my autumn/winter teas.  You see, there are certain teas that you just can't have year round.  They have to be enjoyed with proper autumn/winter foods and cool weather.  I didn't have the cool weather, but I did have cimmamon-apple-baked-heaven.  Celestial Seasonings is one of those hearbal tea no-brainers.  They're inexpensive, sold in most grocery stores, and delicious!  Especially this one.  They make non-herbal teas as well, but I prefer them for herbals.  Upon opening it, your nose feels like you just entered a bakery on a cold winters day.  It smells warm and inviting like a blanket by a fire.  If you're not a tea drinker but do love apple cinnamon, then this is your new winter drink.  A slight bitterness like a fresh Granny Smith Apple accompanied by a heaping taste of cinnamon, what's not to love.  Similarly to my last review, I do wish that the weather had been cold while I indulged myself, but sadly my freshly baked turnover had a short lifespan so I had to enjoy in the AC while the Florida heat knocked at my front door.  Either way, I did enjoy this quite splendidly.  Here's to cooler night!  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Constant Comment

Most proper tea cupboards have them.  Those little random tea bags that you've picked up along your lifes journey or that have been gifted to you, patiently waiting hidden between your boxes of tea for you to remember they exist so you can give them a try.  This one was from my last place of employment before the company closed down and I embraced my life as a housewife.  I have sampled many new teas that they supplied and the ones I didn't get a chance to try, I stashed.  It's almost been a year since I became a full time housewife, and my last employers switched hands about a year prior bringing these new teas with them so it's been nearly two years that I've had this one hidden in my tea cupboard.  I finally decided to budge and give it a try.  

It's a blend of orange rind and sweet spices so I thought perhaps it would taste a bit like Earl Grey.  I was very wrong.  The smell and taste are like a warm blend of orange and chai.  This is such a great tea to drink when it's cold out and you want to warm up while pumpkin candles are burning and the smell of pine from the tree is wafting through the house.  Makes me a little upset that I didn't wait until it got colder out.  I do live in Florida, so who knows when and if that will actually ever happen.  I would compare it to Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai, which is one of my winter wonderland favorites.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one, since it is a Bigelow tea.  I've had very few experiences with Bigelow, but I do know of their reputation.  Some have even gone to such lengths as to say "Bigelow is for people who know nothing about tea", which is a pretty harsh statement.  I would say that Lipton is for people that know nothing about tea, but that's a given.  That being said, while I did enjoy this, and it does taste like my Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai, I wouldn't be purchasing this since I have my Twinings.  Now if Twinings stops making Pumpkin Spice Chai, then I know where to go for my substitute. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There's always one... (a Teavana rant blog.)

A trip to the Boca Raton Town Center Mall in West Palm Beach has a lot of treats for the upper class shoppers.  It seems that every indulgence needs a brand name that says you've made it when you treat yourself.  For a while, this mall only offered two main options for these people: Godiva for the chocolate lovers, and Starbucks for the coffee drinkers.  But what of tea drinkers?

Tea is a tradition.  It's a piece of history.  Something connecting us to a Feudal Japan and Queen Elizabeth I and many others before those points in history.  Tea leaves have been grown over a span of generations all over the world, bringing us a variety of tea leaves and completely different tea experiences.  Starbucks sold a tea, and still do, while they wait for a transition to occur.  A transition to serve their newest company buyout: Teavana.  The company that Starbucks currently sells is Tazo, a company that was founded in 1994 and sold to Starbucks in 1999.  They make an acceptable Earl Grey... and that's about it.  But this newer tea company (founded in just 1997) has been creating quite a buzz lately in a country that prided itself in throwing tea overboard as a middle-finger protest to the Brits back in our revolting days against the motherland.  I've just noticed a few issues with this company and its patrons.

At the entry way of the store are two sampling opportunities.  Sometimes one hot and one iced, sometimes both hot.  And for me - always disappointing.  I'm a purist of sorts when it comes to tea.  I don't like a whole lot of flimflam.  Just give me a proper cuppa and I'm a happy bunny.  I like my black tea black, my green tea green, and so on, with slight variants allowed to spice things up every now and then.  Teavana, though, insists on adding fruits to some of my favorite brews.  I'm not a huge fruit tea fan.  Something about it just seems amiss.  Which leads me to my first observation.  A large majority of the patrons I've talked to didn't like tea prior to Teavana and seem to not like any proper cuppas that can't be found outside of this little tea boutique.  Their target market are people who are not only new to tea, but alien to loose tea and it's preparation.  These people enter this store that seems like an initiation into the steadily growing sea of tea drinkers and come out $100+ poorer with their new tea prepping gear and teas.

And yes, tea drinking is steadily growing.  In an America where people are realizing the things that they are putting into their mouths - especially where drinks like soda are concerned - and the highly caffeinated coffees keeping them from resembling zombies throughout the day, Americans have been steadily turning on to drinking tea.  With a wide variety of caffeine free teas and the health benefits flooding day time shows where Doctors tell you what to do/eat/drink every morning it's no wonder why Starbucks saw this opportunity and took it.  Even they know that their expensive coffees are going to be met with a challenge as coffee declines and tea inclines.  I'm not saying the tea sales are going to ever even come close to matching coffee sales in America, just that people will be demanding the healthier option of tea and passing up on that cup-a-joe.  So they picked the priciest tea that has been their competition.

Teavana, as you'd expect, isn't without their faults outside of fruiting up most of their teas.  They've been judged for doubling the amount of tea they recommend you brewing for their in-store samples.  They don't tell you this in the store though which is why some angry customers have gone home to steep their new tea only for it to taste much weaker than what they just had in the store.  The employees argue that this doubling for samples is to ensure that the customer really gets a taste of the tea.  Some customers have also complained how when they purchase a tea and request one amount, the clerk over-pours past the weight they've ordered.  This is a matter of up-selling.  Much like when you order cold cuts and it goes over a little bit - only this tea is much pricier than most meats and cheeses found in even the Boar's Head part of the deli counter.  Among their pricey teas are equally pricey merchandise; like tumblers, tea sets, and kettles.  There was a recall on a particular tumbler whose glass will shatter and send scalding tea all over you.  Fun!

So things may seem fine-and-dandy for the future of Teavana, but they still have their challenges.  When broken down, the stats for tea in America are as follows:

Iced tea makes up 85% of tea consumed in America.
Of the tea brewed in America, 65% is bagged, 25% are pre-brewed (like canned iced teas), and only 10% are loose leaf.

The reason is that while Americans want to enjoy tea and all the benefits of it, we are still living in a fast paced country and they find loose leaf teas to be too time consuming when you can just throw a tea bag in a mug with some boiling water and be on your way without having to measure things out.  This Starbucks venture will presumably do all the measuring for you when you order so this will increase the client-base for Teavana by exposing their product to the Starbucks customers who will give it a go.  If I can order a basic Earl Grey by them at Starbucks, I may change my views.  But for now, I'll just stick with my Prince Vlad by Kusmi, Earl Grey Supreme by Harney & Sons, and my trusty old Twinings.  Because when it comes to a good brew, you don't always have to drain your bank account.  Cheers!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lapsang Souchong

If you have ever wanted to know what a punch in the face feels like, then this is the tea for you!  The key word in the flavor description is "smokey" and that is the very reason why I was compelled to venture into this tea.  Usually, I can smell a tea through the box and I know what to expect.  Somehow, this tea was undetected by my nose... until I opened it.  That, my dear readers, is when the Kraken was unleashed.  It smelled of burning wood.  It smelled STRONGLY of burning wood.  That's where the punch in the face comes in - minus all the pesky blood and secret Fight Club lifestyle.  The usual beautiful aromas that you associate with a nice cuppa like the comforting and mouth-watering aroma of the bergamot in Earl Grey are replaced by Smokey the Bear's nightmares.  It gains this when the tea leaves are smoked in a bamboo basket above burning wood.  I really didn't know what to expect at this point and was certain that I was about to meet the elusive "tea I don't like" that I never thought actually existed.  I brewed it, and dove in.  Hand to Goddess, this tea wasn't nearly as strong and smokey as it smelled, which was a huge relief.  It does have a very distinct smokiness but it isn't nearly as strong as the smell is.  I also find that the taste and the smell are actually very different.  It smells like burning wood but tastes just slightly smokey and woodsy.  You can only find this one at specialty stores and online.  This was another one of my local British shoppe finds.  When I purchased it, the shoppe owner asked if I heard about it on Oprah because apparently she mentioned it and then he sold out in a week.  Being a former Barnes & Noble employee and seeing how books she mentioned flew off the shelves, I understood exactly what he was talking about.

A little warning about this tea:  It makes things in it's surrounding smell like it does.  I put one in my handbag and everything smelled like it.  I put it in my tea cupboard, and the teas near it started tasting like it.  I have since placed the little tea bags in a ziploc and put them back in the box they came in.  You can still smell it when you handle the box, but it doesn't spread like the plague anymore.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who has never had a smokey tea before.  I can actually say that I do enjoy this tea... as scary as it may smell.  Cheers!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bentley's Oriental Treasure Green

Last Winter, I received a large variety of teas from the Holly King (aka my parents).  Among the bulk, was a sizable collection of Bentley's teas.  I know I'm always tooting Twinings horn, but this tea is a step above...usually.  They make my second favorite Earl Grey - my first being Harney & Sons Earl Grey Supreme which I could really go for about now.  Green teas are slightly harder to rank.  Every company  puts one out now but that doesn't necessarily mean that they should.  Most of the Britain based tea companies make very bland green teas, which is probably why they are so quick to flavor them with fruit.  My guess is that when everybody got on the "Green tea is healthier than having a beating heart" train they felt the need to jump on but didn't have the proper tea gardens and plantations to produce the same quality as their black teas that brought their names to the esteemed level they are at now.  This isn't a terrible green tea, but you'd think with a name like 'Oriental Treasure', they would attempt to up the ante a bit.  After trying a nice warm cup of this, I came to the conclusion that the name is meant to really sell you.  The other companies will call their green tea just that... green tea.  But not Bentley's.  They want to put into your mind that you are about to embark on the same cat-faced treasure cave as Aladdin.  They didn't really think this through though.  They forgot that you are actually going to be running it by your taste buds.  And those taste buds are going to be met by a treasure chest of disappointment.  The taste bud equivalent to a kid getting socks as a present instead of Hot Wheels.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Earl Grey Decaf

This Twinings tea is my absolute go to in my tea cupboard.  I drink a lot of tea so I try to have a variety of decaffeinated teas just so I don't have a crazy amount of caffeine everyday.  I especially try to stay away from caffeinated teas when it starts getting too late in the afternoon since I already have issues with going to sleep.  And I'd rather not be bouncing around the house like a crack head at 4 in the morning because I over did it in the caffeine department the day before.  I probably have this tea every single day if not more than once.  My husband and I have tea time together at least once a day, usually before dinner or shortly after dinner, to just relax us after everything that the day brings.  And this is the tea that usually fills my mug.  

While it does lack caffeine, it does not lack the flavor of my favorite tea type.  You really can't tell the difference between this and the caffeinated one by Twinings.  It just tastes like the ever so lovely Earl Grey that I admire so much.  If you haven't tried a decaffeinated tea yet, I'd recommend looking for a version of one of your favorite teas, just so that you can see that there really isn't much difference.  Most Publix grocery stores offer a good selection of decaffeinated teas sitting on the shelf next to their caffeinated counterparts - at least where Twinings is concerned.  If you're on a mission to build up a proper tea collection, try to have a good amount of decaffeinated/caffeine free teas in your collection to give yourself more nighttime options.  If you drink as much tea as me, it's also very wise to have a these options available for your tea times.  Now go brew up a cuppa, grab a good book, and enjoy!  Cheers!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Irish Afternoon

A lover of Irish Breakfast and English Afternoon, it was a no brainer that I would purchase this when I found it - very surprisingly - at a Walmart.  It was such a rare finding for a place like that since their tea selection is usually just all about the purge of society: Lipton.  It was pricier than Lipton, but it's also an imported tea, and those are usually pricier at any grocery/specialty stores.  You do get 80 tea bags int his box, so it evens things out a bit.

I'm a firm believer that the more North you go in the UK, the stronger the black teas get.  And this is no different.  English Breakfast is the weakest of all the UK teas in my opinion.  Irish Breakfast is stronger, and Scottish Breakfast is even stronger than that.  Afternoon teas are typically weaker than their Breakfast counterparts.  English Afternoon is weaker than English Breakfast, and Irish Afternoon is weaker than Irish Breakfast.  That being said, Irish Afternoon is much stronger than English Breakfast.  I'm not sure if the Irish teas are so much stronger because you're expected to add whiskey to them or if it just balances well with potatoes.*

It is an excellent cuppa, and if you find it too strong, just steep it less the next time around.  I have one tea that is so strong, that I just hold the bag near the rim of the mug with my tea tongs, poor the hot water directly on the bag, and then throw the tea bag away and it's STILL strong as hell.  As long as it suits your taste then that's all the matters.  Cheers!

*I'm allowed to make these jokes, I'm Irish/English decent and as pale as snow just as my Anglo-Saxon ancestors.

Ceylon Black

One of my favorite loose teas in my tea cupboard is my lovely bulk of Ahmad Tea of London's Ceylon black tea.  I found this a couple of years ago at a local Jordan market that makes delicious falafel's and hummus. It was a decent sized box for just $7, so I couldn't pass it up.  This thing must have been shrink wrapped in some sort of government testing facility, because when I broke the seal it expanded about 10 fold.  I had to keep it in two tupperwares and it was only just recently that I got it down to one manageable tupperware.  Where Ceylon was concerned, I was suddenly a well prepared squirrel with a surplus of acorns when the first snow appeared.  I was bringing it to work and offering it to people, just trying to make a dent in it.  Too bad only a handful of people actually enjoyed this specific tea and those that did were always trying to take it easy on the caffeine.  I was really concerned, still am, that I'm not going to finish it by the time the expiration date rolls around in 2015.

As with all loose teas, the strength really depends on how much you use.  I use a pretty generous amount and it ends up looking like a cup of coffee once steeped fully.  That little monkey relaxing in my tea is filled completely with this delectable tea (I think that's why he seems so happy). It is a very rich tea and is perfect for mornings since the caffeine content packs quite a punch.  It has a very woodsy taste for a black tea.  And just to make it confusing, there is also a green and white Ceylon.  So far I've only ever had the black one.  You can find a Twinings version of this tea in most supermarkets that I've yet to try because I have enough of this one to last me years in an apocolypse bunker.  Health foods contain other more pricey brands of this beauty, too.

If you like strong teas and black teas, then this is definitely worth a try.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

China Green

My favorite Thai food restaurant can be found in Miami, which is an inconvenient 40 minute drive. Because of this my husband and myself usually make a day out of it by visiting shopping centers and other locations in Miami before finally stopping here for lunch or dinner.  I always order the green tea with my dinner and finish my dining experience with green tea ice cream (most Asian buffets have this ice cream so if you want to try it I would recommend doing so at a buffet where you can always just get something else if you don't like it).  The label on the tea bag doesn't have a name on it - at least not in English, but it has this green butterfly.  I decided that I would hunt for this butterfly the next time I was at an Asian supermarket.  So hunt I did, up and down the long island of tea, my eyes glancing at all the boxes, in search of this illusive butterfly.  Upon my 3rd voyage down the aisle my frustration got the best of me and I just grabbed the first green tea box I could find, no longer wanting to be bothered looking for the stupid butterfly, before I got too annoyed.  When I got home and placed the box on my kitchen counter, I saw the butterfly emblem right smack-dab on the side of the box.  I immediately face palmed myself .  After all the searching I did, I accidentally picked the one I had been looking for.

Not only is it economically just - 100 bags for about $2 - it is also delicious.  There's something more honest about the taste of this tea.  Something that a lot of the other more expensive and posh brands usually mask with jasmine or fruity flavors.  You know that this is as authentic as bagged green tea can get upon first sip.  Ever since I first laid eyes on this butterfly, I have been noticing it at more and more Asian restaurants.  I would prefer to be naive and say that it's not because it's so cheap, but because they're on to something.  Something that I now have in my tea cupboard.  

If you wanted to try this, it shouldn't be as hard for you.  I recently saw that the Asian supermarket right by the Thai restaurant also sells this tea.  Just look for the big green box.  Cheers!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Prince Vlad

It’s not a secret that I love tea.  I’m really not too picky either.  I have yet to meet a tea that I didn't like.  To quote the nice gentleman that owns the British shop with a Tea Room in the back, “it doesn't matter the type, I just like a good cuppa.”  I don’t add sugar or milk.  I take it “black”.  I’m a member of where I update my cupboard regularly and add tasting notes to some of the teas I have tried. 

Kusmi’s ‘Prince Wladimir’ (pronounced like Vladimir). 
I wish I could say that I read some amazing reviews for this one which compelled me to try it myself. While it did have many great reviews, that’s not what did it for me. As superficial and odd it may sound… it was the name. Make a tea and give it a name that instantly brings Vlad the Impaler to mind, and you won yourself a customer in me. The official description of it states that it is a “Russian blend of China teas with scents of bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, vanilla and spices”. The bergamot REALLY comes through, as do the citrus tastes. That flavor variety really only means one thing…it tastes like Earl Grey. I don’t think these French people know what Earl Grey tastes like or else they would have named this one Earl Grey. I’ve tried their version Earl Grey. It doesn’t taste like Earl Grey. This is still one of my favorite teas, but I’m an Earl Grey fan and that’s what my tasted buds think they’re drinking. This company gets a lot of points in presentation, though. Their tea bags have the label sewn on with thread connecting it to the gauze-like pouch. It’s a pricey tea to buy a whole box of it just to try, so it’s best to request this as a gift – just as I did. Thanks dear husband! Or should I thank Santa? o_O


Darjeeling is one of those teas that you can sometimes hear whispered about in things such as anime.  It's the perfect desert tea.  Which can also make it a tea party favorite!  Whether you're a 5 year old girl in over-sized frilly dresses drinking with your favorite stuffed animals or a Gothic Lolita extraordinaire, this is the perfect companion to your adorable mini-desert cakes.  I'm not ashamed to admit that me and my 20-something year old girlfriends have recently partaken in a tea party.  We all wore kimono's since it was easier than putting together a gaudy Victorian-era look.  And this tea was the hit of the party.  It's light so it's easy for people who aren't tea-lovers to enjoy this one.  I always have the Twinings darjeeling in my tea cupboard.  I even bought a separate box to keep at my in-laws house so that after dinner I can brew a cup of this for my husband and myself.  But then my father-in-law tried it one night when we weren't there and ended up drinking it all before the next family fathering.  It is THAT good.  A lot of people will try to sweeten this one since it's more of a desert tea, but as I've stated before, I absolutely hate sweet tea.  I would rather drink cyanide.  No, seriously, I would.  Why mask something that tastes so perfect?  That goes for all teas.  So many teas are carefully balanced to create the perfect flavor that you then purchase.  Why cover that up with sugar or worse - artificial sweeteners?  Next time, after a nice dinner, brew a cup of this while you enjoy desert or just by itself.  You'll thank me later.  Cheers!

The luck arches the closing ozone.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


(I love the fact that it has the price in pounds on it.)

I was emailed last night by a friend who stated that they were waiting for me to become a full transformed Brit. The most ironic thing about what the email said about me turning British, is that I was at an English pub last night. A menu filled with bangers and mash, fish and chips, meat pies, curry, UK brews, and an atmosphere surrounding me with Union Jacks as far as the eye can see. I enjoyed a proper cuppa made by a woman from the UK herself. Games of cricket (the dart game) went on nearby played by men speaking German. I was completely swept away from America and dropped off in Europe. And I loved it. The added bonus of this establishment? They have a mini-shop where you can by British goods. Amongst the Quavers and candy bars I purchased, was a box of tea. Typhoo. Much similar to PG Tips and Yorkshire (the 2 main teas that duke it out for the #1 tea in the UK), the only difference is this one is slightly lighter. This is a proper cuppa. That cup of brown joy that is excellent at any time of the day. Relaxingly dark, and delectably strong. I believe if you live in the states you may only be able to find this one in specialty British stores. I have purchased PG Tips and Yorkshire from Publix and Walmart, but I have never seen this one NOT in a British shop. Googling a British shop near you may be the best thing for a tea lover. I've found so many teas that you don't find everyday at the local British shop. It saves you from having to order online and if you're a picky tea drinker, then you can get some guidance as to which ones are right for you. The one by me (picture below) is run by a sweet British couple and the husband has the same view on tea as me - that being that they love all hot tea.

Monday, June 17, 2013

English Afternoon

Where English breakfast is a body builder, this tea would be it's cousin that does the elegant equestrian competition of show hacking.  You know they do hard work, but they're not in your face about it like the flexing English breakfast.  It's subtlety is not to be mistaken with weakness.  And just as the name implies, it's best for winding down in the afternoon.  A perfect tea for your Afternoon Tea layout... not to be mistaken for High Tea.  Originally, the only place besides the internet I was able to find this tea was Walt Disney's Epcot in Orlando.  You see, within Epcot's World Showcase, tucked away in the United Kingdom is a quaint little shop that tea lovers will notice straight away.  This little Tea Caddy (pictured below) is a Twinings shop.  And the last time I was at Epcot I spent about $60 here.  I'll pass on the Mickey ears, I already have two pair at home.  What I don't have is a selection of Twining this vast.  Say what you will about Twinings, to me they never disappoint in a decent cuppa at a very reasonable price.  An added bonus of this little shop is that during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival they offer a Tea Garden tour.  How mouth watering does that sound?  Cheers!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Earl Grey Supreme

My go-to tea is Earl Grey.  Most places that serve hot tea have it and it is my favorite type.  Captain Picard isn't a fool for loving this so much.  I've been told by my husband that this tea is gross because of the "citrus" taste (which is actually the bergamont) but he doesn't captain the USS Enterprise so I just ignore his insults of this beautiful drink.  The first time I ever had this particular tea was at a movie theater called iPic.  You sit in reclining seats and press a button to order food and drinks.  When I ordered an Earl Grey tea, this is what they brought me.  I order it every time I go to that theater.  When I stumbled upon it at the local Fresh Market I was extremely excited.  I have it every day now in one of my huge mugs that hold 3 cups of water.

So far, this is my favorite Earl Grey I have ever tried.  The bergamot is really well balanced.  I've come across some Earl Grey teas that have a very over powering bergamot taste and others that barely have any.  You should be able to taste both the black tea and the bergamot equally in my opinion.  I know there are some bergamot lovers out there which is why there's a tea out there with double bergamot added.  You wild tea drinkers.  If you want to sample different black teas including Earl Grey, Twinings makes a great little sampler box for cheap that they sell at most grocery stores like Publix.  It includes English breakfast, Irish breakfast, Earl Grey, and Lady Grey (which is like a more subtle Earl Grey).

 Star Trek even made a tea to pay homage to Captain Picard always ordering it.  You can purchase it on their website.  I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on putting it on my list for Santa. :)

Safari Breakfast

I recently went into a Fresh Market that stopped carrying the tea I went there for and started carrying this.  I had to get it.  Safari Breakfast?  So many thoughts came to mind just from reading that name.  Am I going to need this before facing any lions I may happen to come across throughout the day?  Or is it recommended to drink this before and perhaps even during a game a Jamanji?  It's part of the Harney & Sons brand which I found promising.  I usually love everything they have and I've yet to meet a breakfast tea I didn't enjoy, so I purchased it.  Since my tea cupboard overflows, I keep the more decorative tins out on display.  Usually not many people ever ask me about the displayed teas because they have names like "earl grey" or "cherry blossom green tea" or even "English breakfast" which are all pretty basic sounding names and people can imagine what they taste like on their own without my help.  This tea, however, and its unique and adventurous name never ceases to get an inquiry.  I can't blame them, the name was what first drew me in, too.

The smell of this one is nice and rich.  Promises of a comforting tea fill your nose and you know that you're going to love this one -  that is if you love breakfast teas.  And the beautiful gold color that splashes into your glass as you pour your hot water over it make your mouth water.  With boiling water, this one isn't to be steeped for too long.  After about 5 minutes, it starts to get that thick feeling that black teas can get when they are very rich.  So be sure to take that bag out after a few minutes.  Then just simply sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for the adventure of a safari.  (Or just read a good book while listening to "Afrika" by Toto.)

Forever Tea Time

I'm pretty new to the world of tea.  I always thought it tasted absolutely terrible and couldn't for the life of me find the reason why people drank it.  Then about 2 years ago at my old office job, my fellow co-workers started letting me try different teas.  I couldn't get over the bitter taste.  Frustrated with myself for not being able to drink any caffeinated "adult" beverages (because I also despise coffee - still do), I decided that I would work on acquiring the taste for tea.

I started with something I had in the kitchen.  It will sound very odd, but I started with fennel seeds.  I didn't have a strainer so I would put about a teaspoon full of the seeds into a small mug of hot water and then scrape them off the top (never fully succeeding on getting them all) and then drink away.  I did this every night for about a week.  Then, timely enough, we got new bosses at work that provided us with a kettle and a larger variety of teas - the old bosses only supplied Lipton - and every morning I would force myself to drink a new tea whether I found it bitter or not.

It took a couple weeks, perhaps even a month, but I stopped tasting the bitterness and for once started enjoying the flavors of the tea.  Soon the fennel seeds of my nightly routine were replaced by proper teas.  The strainers starting coming into the house.  A tea kettle.  Tea pots, cups, and saucers.  And for the past year, there have never been less than 60 different teas in this house.  I decided to start blogging about my teas.  I've trained myself so well in tea, that I don't dislike any teas.  I take all my tea plain and with a big grin plastered to my face.  I'm not a fan of Teavana for several reasons, so you'll never see any of those teas on this blog.  The teas posted will mainly be brands you can find at your local grocery store.  You can find me on Steepster with a list of the teas currently in my cupboard and a few tasting notes of some of them.

I hope those who come across this blog that are tea drinkers will discover a new tea to try, and those who don't like tea will be inspired to start training their taste buds just as I did.  So sit back with a nice cuppa, and enjoy. :)