Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teatulia Earl Grey

Welp, gotta do it.  Gotta bully the good guys.  Sometimes, the good guys just leave you know choice.  Just think of me as Khan or Loki.  You can't hate me because I'm not that bad.  My intentions are good, but just for me.  These good guys may not like it, but they had it coming to them.

They really brought it on themselves.

Look at this canister of tea.  They make sure to talk about the canister on the label that's on the canister.  Teatulia felt the need to explain themselves.  Like how Superman explained the "S" on his costume in Man of Steel.  "Due to the handcrafted nature of our packaging, no two eco-canisters are alike.  Please recycle."  Oh, you do-gooders.

They don't stop there, though.  No siree.  They delve much deeper in their do-gooder nature.

Here are some points they make sure to emphasize about themselves on said eco-canister:

Organic: "Grown naturally.  We partner with like-minded single gardens to ensure each cup is perfectly balanced."

Goody two shoes.

Eco:  "Compostable, from the canister to our stringless, tagless bags."

You already tooted your own horn about your canister, you saps.

Doing Good:  "The Teatulia Cooperative continues to improve the lives of thousands of women, men & children."

They then continue on to their superhero catchphrase.... "It's time to do things better."

This is the part that really grates my cheese:

Taste the Goodness:  "Smooth & rich with no bitterness.  We brag about the flavor of our teas."

You haven't earned those bragging rights.  Not.  One.  Bit.

So you're USDA certified organic.  And you're Rainforest Alliance certified.  And you cost about $6 for 30 tea bags because of all these certified, do-gooder, 'I'm better than you' claims.  Too bad you're the blandest Earl Grey I've ever had.  Is there even any bergamot oil in this!?

Your ingredients list, still not letting up on all the 'look at me and how much better I am than you' says it's made of "organic black tea and natural bergamot oil", but I can't taste the bergamot that much if at all.

I like my Earl Grey balanced, and this is yet another one of those companies that thinks organic teas shouldn't have the same bold flavors as the average joes.  

If you solely care about organics, then by all means, pick this up at Target where I found it.  However, if you don't want to punish your taste-buds, then pick up my favorite Earl Grey which is also at Target.  Harney & Sons Supreme Earl Grey.  You'll be thanking me later for bashing this cape-wearer.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Traditional Medicinals organic Chamomile with Lavender

Let me start off by saying this:

     I did it for the blog.

This is yet another tea that my husband traded for at work with the poor chap that raids his mothers teas and brings them to work.  My husband has been working on introducing this poor sap to teas that leave your taste buds with some dignity to them.  I feel as though his complete lack of knowledge on teas may be affecting his work since I would not recommend a relaxing herbal tea such as this as a replacement to the caffeinated glory of more respectable teas such as the blacks and greens.

Herbal teas.  My relationship with them is weaker than any other relationship I have with other teas but probably on par with my feelings towards white tea.  I usually take my chamomile mixed with spearmint or some other variant of mint to help add a little something to the taste - like Sleepy Time tea.  Some puritans don't even include herbal teas among the teas at all.  Especially those from countries that have been doing tea longer than us Americans.

But, for the sake of my blog.  I sadly put aside my delectable black teas in order to do a proper review of this one.

You can see the chamomile with bits of lavender flowers in the bag, and as you pour the hot water over the bag, you can smell a mixture of the both.  It smells almost like an aromatherapy candle.  And it tastes pretty much like it smells.  I would liken the smell to a Yardley soap I used recently.

When you first sip it, you taste the blandness of the chamomile flowers.  After that washes from your palette, you get a flowery aftertaste of lavender.  It doesn't smell or taste like something you should be ingesting.  It brings to mind lavender butter which I remember a friend telling me about.  I couldn't really fathom how that would taste but now I think I would have a better clue.  It probably tastes like you shouldn't be ingesting it.  (I think that will be my new slogan.)

I'm really regretting not having an earl grey right now.

I'm also noticing that my tongue feels cool even though I'm drinking something hot.  What sort of poison is this?

I would not recommend this to anyone unless you're one of those people that end your night with plain chamomile tea and want to spruce it up.  Of course, then I would just recommend Sleepy Time tea by Celestial Seasonings.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Lipton Hypocrisy

If there is one tea that I bash more than any others, it would obviously have to be Lipton.

But there may be a slight confusion as to what I am truly bashing.  I do have one product in mind.  The one that most uncultured establishment offer.  You know the situation between you and your waiter, too.  The one where they ask if you would like coffee or tea after your meal and you excitedly inquire as to what teas they offer and their response is simply "hot tea".  

There is no greater disappointment than that response to a tea lover.

This is the typical offered choice:

The hotdog of the tea world.  You know, because it's made of all other teas left over bits.  Or at least that's the only reasonable explanation.  They don't really specify much other than stating that it's black tea so it keeps you guessing at to what actually fills the bag.  Hence another reason for the hotdog comparison.

Lipton does have a grouping of redeeming teas, though.  Their special pyramid bagged teas.  These are the ones currently in my tea cupboard:

The first one I ever tried was the Island Mango & Peach (not pictured).  A friend gave me a bag to try and I really enjoyed it so I got my own box.  Then, sadly, after a couple of cups I grew tired of it and gave it away to another friend that used to drink it everyday.

Then I moved on to Vanilla Caramel Truffle.  I have gone through a few boxes of that one.  Even my most snobbish of tea friends enjoy this one.  To me, it's a perfect tea for after dinner to be enjoyed either with a dessert or by itself as a dessert.  It has these little white vanilla pieces that melt when you brew it.  It's not overly sweet but it's as sweet as I'll go with teas - and this is the only sweetish one I enjoy.

After than, I bought their Chai Tea, and while it's not my favorite chai, it's not all that bad.  It's the only one I know of in my collection that adds black pepper and you can really taste that once you start getting to the bottom of the cup.  You wouldn't think that would work but somehow it does.

The newest one I bought yesterday is the Black Pearl tea.  I read the words Sri Lanka on it and knew what to expect.  It's a ceylon tea.  Not as strong as the loose Ceylon by Ahmad Tea of London which I prefer, but the leaves seem to be very similar in quality.  Maybe I just usually add more to my tea strainer than what they stuff into a bag.  It's good for when you just want just a quick, no-fuss cuppa.

While I do recommend passing over the regular Lipton, I would say don't turn these down just because of the logo.  You might be surprised.  I know I was.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Royal by Newman's Own

When it comes to teas that are sold in boxes of 100 - it's never very promising.  (Looking at you Lipton!)  But this tea, which originally sells for $4 and change, was on sale for $2 and change at a health food store by my husbands office that we had dinner at on his break.  The sale price was what left me considering giving it a whirl.

I debated for about 10 minutes on whether or not to buy it.  Part of me was worried it was going to be as horrendous as Lipton while the other part of me was arguing that their is no possible way for anything to be that horrendous.  (Unless of course you read my last post in which my taste buds were assaulted with uninvited Stevia leaves.)

I finally gave in and made the purchase - after my husband got annoyed with just standing there watching me pick-up the box, put down the box, and repeat this process on loop during the entire length of my inner-dialogue debate.

I gave him a handful of them to take back to his office while I went to enjoy mine at my parents house.  We shared similar opinions on this tea.  It's nothing special, but it's not complete crap.  I might have photographed it with my most royal of mugs, but it is no where near worthy enough to corrupt the chastity of my Princess Diana & Prince Charles mug, no matter how many times you find the word "royal" written on the box.

I'm pretty sure this tea doesn't take itself too seriously, either.  The back of the box contains directions on properly steeping the tea that are written in a way very similarly to the directions for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.  Which are pretty basic.  It's the type of tea that needs the water to be boiling and the bag left in it the entire time you're drinking it in order for it to be strong enough.  It's packaged in those sketchy little paper bags where you have to tear the handle off from perforated parts on the bag itself, which I always find annoying since I don't want to participate in arts and crafts whenever I want a cuppa.  What I do like about it is that it is a no-fuss black tea that tastes like a black tea.  Not how Lipton just tastes like garbage that has no semblance to a black tea other than it's darker color.  And what's more is that you really can't beat that price even if it isn't on sale.

So I'll end this on a very bland cheers!