• 14Feb

    This is just … so wrong: Tea’s Ready!

  • 20Jan

    So I received a few tea-related gifties at the end of 2010. Why, it’s almost as if the people I love knew I liked the stuff! I wonder what gave them that idea?

    Of course, just in case they hadn’t gotten the message, I happily treated myself to a few shipments of tea from the various online merchants who were offering sales as well as a few shiny tins that caught my eye in the store. So, like, now I’m having to puzzle out where to put it all. Yes, the top of that large cabinet on my about page is FULL. I guess that means I’ll just have to drink the stuff. Ah well. Such is life.

    My best friend got me a gift tower:

    Tazo Tea Tower

    It almost stayed like that because whatever glue they use to hold the thing together was mocking me. NO tea for YOU. But I won! And right now there’s a cuppa brewing in one of the lovely green mugs.

    Tea tins also figured into the booty, loot, haul, stash, thoughtful gifts. From the plain and empty:

    Tea tins

    … to the decorative and collectable:

    Collectable tins

    And I’m gonna need them, because I’ve got enough Pur-eh (2.5 pounds!) here to last until the next decade. Though I must admit, I’m most intriguied about this Jade Oolong:

    Jade Oolong

    Filed under: my stash
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  • 19Oct

    You people just don’t stop, do you? First it was cute kitties in teapots then oversized teacups and now tea mugs?

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  • 18Oct

    Oooh. As if having a cloche for your meal wasn’t enough, this cleverly designed little two cup teapot comes with it’s own adorable little cloche:

    This just begs for the fine Bed & Breakfast treatment. You know, a tray with tiny spring flowers in a vase and a covered gourmet breakfast to be eaten outside, in the rose garden.

    Made by Old Amsterdam Porcelain Works, the stainless steel cover over the white porcelain teapot is meant as a hip and modern alternative to fabric tea cozies for keeping your tea warm. While it apparently comes in two sizes, I think the small, two cup, personal size really has panache — and both come with a stainless steel tea infuser for loose leaf tea. It’s available all over the web but I first saw it on this site. As usual, it’s not cheap so I guess I’ll be waiting a while before I can test drive one.

    Filed under: accessories, teapots
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  • 17Oct

    More nerdy sexy coffee TEA paraphernalia, this time from Think Geek (the nerdy sexy geek paraphernalia store) for your favorite graphic designer. Or, you know, ME: Pantone mugs

    Are those web safe colors?

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  • 16Oct

    My sister recently went on a trip to Turkey and brought back some tea stuff for me: fruity tea bags and some exquisite traditional Turkish tea glasses.

    The tea itself is a blend of black tea and fruit flavors (possibly including a little food coloring). Plain black tea is more popular among the Turks themselves, and it’s typically drunk with a couple of lumps of beet sugar as opposed to cane sugar that’s so ubiquitous in North America. Turkish tea, or çay, is produced on the Black Sea coast rather than a blend of Asian or South Asian black teas.

    The tea my sister brought – shown above, a little battered from its trip across the Atlantic while squished in a suitcase – came in four flavors: apple, blackberry, orange and pomegranate. I decided to try the pomegranate flavored tea first:

    Without an English instructions for preparation I just treated it the same as I do any other black tea in a tea bag; I brought a kettle of water to a roiling boil and steeped the tea for a single cup for 3 minutes.

    The resulting brew was a pleasure to look at with an oh-so-heavenly scent. The taste was similar to other flavored tea bag teas I’ve had – mild, no bitter after taste and with a sweetness already before even adding any sugar.

    It was especially pretty in the ornate teacups, which required a little different handling to drink from. You have to hold the rim of the cup, rather than the slender portion of the body or else you’ll burn your fingers. In fact, it’s best not to fill the cup up entirely to minimize the heat at the top of the glass where you’ll hold it.

    Though I brewed my tea directly in the glass, traditionally a stacked teapot is used like the one in the back ground here:

    Called a çaydanlık, this is part kettle, part teapot. Water is boiled in the lowermost part of the çaydanlık and then some of it is poured over tea leaves in the upper portion, in the much smaller “tea pot”. The resulting brew is very strong, and can be drunk with milk or, more typically, diluted with the remaining water in the kettle portion according to individual tastes for tea strength. Here’s a cool video on how to use a çaydanlık.

  • 18Jul

    The full name of this tea is actually “Arya Estate Early F1 (EX-1) Darjeeling FTGFOP1 (Organic)” imported by Upton Tea. I don’t know whether I should either curtsy or wait for the judge to award “Best in Breed”.

    A sample of this lovely tea was a gift from a friend I met through my spinning wheel group. We’d talk tea, science fiction, wool fibers, writing, acting, farming, podcasting and anything else you can think of. She and her herd of goats, many artisanal cheeses and entirely too much raw wool recently moved to Arizona to be with her new husband, a rancher and farmer.

    I treated this tea like a typical darjeeling, bringing my water to a full rolling boil, then steeping it for about three and a half minutes.

    The brewed tea was a beautiful golden color with a wonderfully mild and smooth, slightly sweet (even without any sweetener) taste. There was nothing too over powering and no aftertaste to speak of. The taste might be a little too mild for some darjeeling lovers but I found this tea went well with everything I had for my afternoon lunch, including a spicy deli meat, crispy raw vegetables and sweet bing cherries and artisanal goat cheese.

    Not bad, and definitely a tea to recommend.

    Filed under: darjeeling, tasting
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  • 30Mar

    It’s been so long since I acquired this tea, I don’t even remember where I found it anymore. Although, to be honest, I know I bought it just for the lovely printed wooden box it came in.

    The pamphlet inside reads, “Himalayan Highland Tea Company” … out of Lewisville Texas. Regardless of the packaging and unconfirmed origins, it turns out to be a lovely tea.

    Paleswan is a hearty black tea grown in far eastern Nepal. The included pamphlet describes it as “spicy, aromatic and full bodied without a bitter taste”. Interestingly enough, I thought the dried leaves looked a little “paler” than the darjeelings and assams I’ve been drinking lately and there was an abundance of golden color in the mix.

    The box suggests steeping four teaspoons in seven cups of boiling water for five minutes, but I decided to go with my preference for most black teas and steeped only three teaspoons for three minutes in water I’d brought to a roiling boil.

    It brewed up with a lovely cherry wood color, a deep reddish-brown that I makes me want to use it dye some wool for a sweater. The taste is as lovely as the color: smooth and medium-to-full bodied, with a sort of caramel-chocolate taste that I’m having a hard time really putting my finger on. It’s not really as spicy as I would have expected. (Bearing in mind that this tea has sat in my cabinet for probably ten years now, I was expecting clove or cardamom-type spicy.) The after-taste does remind me a bit of nutmeg. There’s a touch of bitter in that after-taste but nothing unpleasant. Malai chiya dinuhos. (Nepali for “Please give me tea”.)

    A bit of Google research turned up one possibility for purchasing a similar tea: Highland Tea. Even the box looks similar. (My little pamphlet says the artwork on my tiny wooden tea chest  is an illustration from The Complete Guide to Ayurveda by Gopi Warrier & Deepika Gunawan, M.D. copyright Element Books Limited 1997.) Unfortunately I could find little else on “paleswan” type teas other than the distinct impression that teas from Nepal are increasingly grown through sustainable agriculture, via cooperative farms and without pesticides. It’s definitely worth investigating a little more.
    नमस्ते (Namaste.)

    Filed under: black tea, tasting
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  • 29Mar

    I. Want. This!

    It would go SO WELL with my dinosaur  creamer!

    There are more space-themed teapots here, my favorite being Take Me To Your Leader.

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  • 29Mar

    Hopefully someone out there in Tea Land can help me with this one.

    While browsing the web, I stumbled across one of the sexiest single serving tea/teapot combination I’ve seen in a long while. Unfortunately, I’ve only a picture of it:

    Does anyone know who the maker/artist is of this lovely design? Has anybody tried this set? (I’m wondering if the seal works well when turning it over and removing the top after steeping.)

    Filed under: tea art, teapots