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!