Tea Spoon

March 29, 2010

All time favorites

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Rooibos @ 4:40 am

Here is finally my top 5 list of the teas that Janine has shared with me :) I was drinking lovely Yogi tea: Mexican Sweet Chili just before starting to write this. Janine sent it months ago, but somehow I had managed to save one bag. The tea has really strong flavors, maybe the strongest spicy flavor that I have had in tea, and I really like it. It is good to start my list with that. However, the list is not in a specific order.

  • Mexican Sweet Chili – Yogi tea – spicy and hot
  • Vata tea – Tea Gschwendner – Auyrvedic tea, very spicy but not hot
  • Chili-chocolate black tea - Tea Gschwendner – Yummy!
  • Blueberry Rooibos tea - Teavana – This one is really gentle (unlike the previous ones which are full of flavor and spicy) Rooibos tea,
  • Tulsi: Sweet Rose and Chamomille honey – Organic India – Can’t decide which one I like better but these both are really really nice.

I would have actually liked to add the Pitta tea to my list as well, however, as it is quite similar in style with the Vata tea, I ended up choosing that one in the list. The Pitta is definitely one of my all time favs as well!

February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year

This is a special weekend – it is the birthday of Teaspoon – and Valentine’s Day too, the birthday of Okakura Kakuzo, author of The Book of Tea, and this year, it is Chinese New Year. In celebration, here are a few favorites that we have exchanged with each other – but really, they are all favorites to me ; ) Thank you Elina!

Croco Rooibos
Punainen Bambu
Spicy Rooibos
Lucid Dream
Sweet Rose Tulsi

Pictured here is Wei Chi Cha from Samovar Tea Lounge – which is one of the few teas I am able to refill that Elina has sent me, as it is available in the U.S. from San Francisco. In a word, it is mercurial, with a super boost of energy that has a calm underlying feeling to it. The ingredients are organic orange peel, organic, fair trade hibiscus, organic lemongrass, organic licorice root, organic clove, organic lavender and organic stevia (sweetleaf) from the U.S. Steeping times depend on how deep you like the flavors, and the same with the water temperature. I prefer this one steeped for 4 minutes and to drink at room temperature. I have refilled my order and recommend other blends by Samovar, including Nocturnal Bliss which is really beautiful when swirled with a spoonful of cherries at the bottom of the cup and Ocean of Wisdom, a chai rooibos tea, “custom blended for His Holiness The Dalai Lama.” The ingredients are Rooibos and Honey Bush from South Africa blended with Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon, and Licorice from United States. It is very smooth and mindful:

“When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness. That’s why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

February 7, 2010

Stabili-tea (Ayurvedic) – SereneTeaz

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Rooibos @ 4:34 pm

If you like Ayurvedic teas, this is one of the best ones I have tasted! Quite similar actually to the Vata tea that is also one of my definite all time favorites. This tea does not have quite as much coriander in it as the Vata tea and, does not have anise seeds, and has rose petals in it instead of mallow petals. So the taste is slightly different, but very similar in style, with strong licorice taste making it sweet and tasty.

The tea is also beautiful to watch when you open the package, with the whole cardamom pods in it, and other ingredients in such large chunks as well that they are easy to recognize. Sometimes I have had problems with this kind of teas with some heavier parts sinking in the bottom. In that case, the package really needs to be stirred before making the tea so that you get an even distribution of everything in your tea. Does not seem to be a problem with this tea, though, which is great because all this extra stirring causes some extra work for tea cooking (and sometimes, as a mother of three, I tend to be rather busy : ).

The brewing time is not that long, even if the ingredients are in large chunks, according to the package eight + minutes. It does get tastier and tastier though the longer you brew it and I could easily give this one half an hour of brewing time and drink it warm but not hot. I think the flavour comes out even more nicely when the tea is not too hot. I drink this tea without milk, but it could go nicely with milk too. Sweeteners are definitely not needed, this one is naturally sweet and lovely : ) Thank you for sending this one to me Janine!!

Ingredients: cardamom, licorice, coriander, fennel, ginger roots, rose petals.
My rating: * * * * * (easily!)

December 30, 2009

Punainen Bambu (Red Bamboo) – The Ounce

Filed under: Tea Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Rooibos @ 9:55 pm

redbamboo

Punainen Bambu is a beautiful infusion of unusual flavours Elina sent for the holidays. This blend has the most amazing taste that is like almonds, but comes from a mix of dried bamboo leaves, carrot pieces, bella flowers (which resemble prairie wildflowers) with notes of tumeric, ginger and licorice. It is exotic, calming and inspiring. I have never tasted anything quite like it before and hope The Ounce continues to carry it and make others like it.

I give this blend unlimited stars, and it makes me think that the best teas are being made in Finland. Thank you Elina for sharing something special!

Happy New Year!

Ingredients: Turmeric, ginger, carrot, bamboo leaves, licorice and bella

My Rating * * * * * * * *

December 7, 2009

Tea Gschwendner: Chili-Chocolate Black Tea

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Tags: , , , , — elina @ 5:55 pm

Chili-Chocolate Black Tea
I’m not such a big drinker of black teas but this is definitely one of my all time favorites. The tea has a deep dark flavor, especially when overbrewed for a minute or two (the brewing time says 2minutes in the bag)  and the tea used generously. The chili taste is strong, especially when using the bottom part of the tea package; the chili pieces seem to fall down in the tea mixture. I feel very refreshed after drinking this one, even more so than with regular black tea. Either it is the chili, the tea variety has a lot of caffeine, it is the caffeine from chocolate, or I just brew it very dark. I don’t know but anyhow it is yummy and makes me feel good : )

The tea label writing is about Aztecs and how chocolate used to be more as a drink than a food in their culture. I have had a few other drinks with chili, including the Chili flavored Rooibos, but this is my favorite one. Thanks Janine for introducing this to me! My rating * * * * *

November 9, 2009

Chai Red – Yumchaa

Chai Red - Yumchaa

Chai Red is an exceptional chai rooibos blend Elina shared with me from her trip to the Yumchaa shop in London. It has a sweet, full-bodied, fruity taste that is unlike any of the other chai blends we have tried.

I highly recommend it and would get more of it if I could. The sweetness may come from the cinnamon pieces or from the aniseed. It’s truly remarkable and almost has a flowery scent in the background, though there are no flowers among the listed ingredients.

I prefer this blend warm, though it could also work well chilled.

Thank you Elina . . . who may have more comments to add, as it is another favorite of hers from Yumchaa.

My rating *****

October 27, 2009

Honeybush Almond – Théhuone / www.teekauppa.fi

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — elina @ 9:27 pm

Honeybush Almond

Here is a review for a new Finnish online tea shop teekauppa.fi. I was happy to notice that they deliver the great Théhuone teas right to your door. I like visiting the The Huone shop, however, I seem to be most of the time too busy to do that. Online ordering is a good alternative, and the teas seem to be around the same price if you order it or buy it in the shop.

The tea tastes like almond and chocolate. It also has a mild sweet taste that could be because of the Osmanthus flowers. I can’t be sure, though, since I have not tasted before teas with this ingredient. The tea is particularly good with milk, although it is good without milk as well. However, the milk brings the chocolaty taste in the foreground and gives it almost a creamy taste (even with low fat milk).

The brewing time for this tea is not that exact, which is always great for a person with bad memory like me. The tea may even benefit of overbrewing.

My general review of this tea is that it is an excellent tea and it is easy to give it five stars. I also tasted it with the kids (half milk/half tea) and they liked it a lot. My daughter even said that it she is so lucky to have such a mother like me when talking about the tea, could a tea get a better review? : ) * * * * *

October 8, 2009

Tulsi – Red Chai Masala – Organic India

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Tags: , , — elina @ 6:53 pm

Red Chai Masala - Tulsi Tea
I’m sipping another amazing Tulsi tea by Organic India that Janine sent over to me. The taste is rich and very spicy. The tea was probably at its best after about five minutes of brewing. For some reason, this tea makes me think of pumpkins, maybe it is the pumpkin cake spices, Halloween that is nearing, or the Autumn.

I like to drink this tea with milk but it goes well without as well. It makes me feel sleepy and dreamy. The tea is perfect for cool Autumn evenings when you want just to cuddle in a warm bed and fall asleep, listening to the wind blow and rain hit the roof of the house. It is easy to give this tea full five stars * * * * *

Red Chai Masala Tulsi Tea

September 1, 2009

Tasting blueberry Rooibos teas – Teavana and Rishi Tea

Filed under: Index,Tea Reviews — Tags: , , — elina @ 6:58 pm

Organic Blueberry Rooibos - Rishi TeaTonight I brew two kinds of Blueberry Rooibos tea. Janine had sent me earlier a bag of Teavana blueberry Rooibos and for my birthday I got some great tea samples from her (thank you!!:), including the Rishi Tea Blueberry Rooibos. I wanted to compare the Rishi and Teavana Blueberry Rooibos but the end result was that I could not decide which one I liked more. The Teavana version was definitely more fruity and the blueberry taste was strong. In the Rishi Tea the blueberry taste was more in the background. I liked the Teavana tea maybe slightly better when I tried the teas without milk, but with milk I preferred the Rishi Tea. Both teas were great and they deserve full five stars!  * * * * *

August 20, 2009

Dragonfly Tea – Organic Rooibos and Organic Cape Malay Rooibos Chai

Organic Cape Malay Rooibos Chai - Dragonfly

Elina sent me a beautiful surprise assortment of bagged teas – for tea on the go when at work, on errands or even for an outdoor hike. These are really fabulous and have a smooth taste too. The organic ingredients make such a difference to me in taste. It is not easy to find purely organic teas, and in a variety of flavours.

The two flavours Elina sent me to try by Dragonfly Tea in the UK are Organic Cape Rooibos Tea, which is a pure Rooibos, low tannin and caffeine free. The other is called Organic Cape Malay Rooibos Chai. The ingredients are organically grown Rooibos tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, chicory, cloves, black pepper and citrus peel. Steep time is only 2-3 minutes, though I generally do 4-5 for any Rooibos leaves. Both of these teas are pleasing to the senses and I will look for them in my area; they can also be ordered online. I highly recommend Dragonfly – the company is fair trade and offers a rather large selection of appealing choices. Elina has a unique talent for finding new things, which I admire of her.

It is interesting to note that Cape Malay Rooibos Chai has a similar taste to the Spicy Rooibos tea by Indiska that I liked so much (though it is missing the sweetness from the licorice) and the Auyrveda Knockout Tea by théhuone that has chicory – but is more convenient to steep. Some people really like loose teas, and some will only use tea bags. If you are looking for a quality tea bag to try, this is a great one that may be similar to having loose tea – because the ingredients are organic and wonderful.

My rating: ****

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