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. :)