• 02Dec

    I mention Star Trek in one of my posts and what doth the tea-drinking universe bequeath upon my little nerdy heart? A mug from Wil Wheaton with the (in)famous Captain Picard quote on it in big bold lettering: “Tea, Earl Grey. Hot.

    See? See!?


    (There’s even a Flickr Group Pool for photos of the mug in the wild.)

    Who is Wil Wheaton? Peasant! Wheaton is a writer with a talent for heartwarming stories of daily life that we can all relate to, an engaging Twtiterficiando, and an actor well known for – among other roles – his part as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. For those not familiar with Wheaton’s current success as writer I recommend reading Just a Geek – a memoir that will illuminate his trajectory from actor to writer and child to adult – as well as Sunken Treasure, a collection of gems from his almost decade-long stint of blogging. The mug is part of Wheaton’s promotion of his newest book, Memories of the Future.

    Yes, yes, I know – I’ve said before that I prefer teacups to mugs.

    And I do, if truth be told. It’s not just that I associate mugs with coffee, it’s also that teacups do seem to have a perfect balance between the amount of tea in the cup and the amount of said tea that is exposed to the atmosphere. Whether this really makes any difference at all to the tea drinking expereince or, more importantly, to the taste, is probably a matter for scientists. Or Mythbusters. Or somebody other than me. Regardless of actual facts, I’ve always felt that tea just tastes better in a tea cup. Besides which, the volume in a mug is usually off for estimating the cuppage (snicker) from my teapots. And yes, I just made that word up.

    But never mind all that! This blog is about sexy tea things and the irrational desire to possess all things tea by a cat loving lady with too many teapots. So I eat my teacup words and declare that this mug is freakin’ hot, baby, and I must get my grubby little paws on one. Seriously! This mug looks like it could beat the pants off of Royal Albert in a cage match. (Don’t tell my mother that because I’m hoping to inherit her entire Royal Albert Old Country Roses collection someday.)

    Ooh. I can even brew a cup of Serenitea: Kaylee for the mug and be in AU teanerdvana. Or is that going too far?

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  • 25Jan

    I recently tried another Darjeeling that I bought from SpecialTeas. This time it was No. 108, aka “Namring FTGFOP1 First Flush”, and from the amount that I have, considerably less expensive than the Puttabong I had the other day:

    SpecialTeas describes it as such:

    Slightly darker in cup color than both our No.105 Puttabong and No.114 Tukdah, this Namring first flush is deliciously complex. Primarily floral in both liquor and aroma, one can also discern a soft fruity-nutty undertone. A wonderful even plucking of bright green and dark brown leaves with some silvery tips.

    I used 2 level teaspoons for my teapot, heated the water to a roaring boil and steeped for the recommended 3 minutes. The brewed tea was indeed a slightly darker color than the Puttabong:

    The taste however, was completely different. Again, the taste was definitely a Darjeeling, and still had a medium-bodied feel. However, my first steeping was definitely a nutty, almost oaky taste, with just a touch of bitter tannins.

    The second steeping proved to be much better. In fact, it was quite lovely, and considerably more fruity.The third steeping (at almost 4 minutes) was almost still as dark and full of the flavor of the second steeping. I may try this again, but opt for a slighltly shorter steeping time at first, and gradually increasing until it loses its flavor.

    Again, very nice.

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  • 21Jan

    Allergies and a sore back conspired with some ibuprofen to give me a late start to my day. So naturally I turned to some tea to perk me up a bit and get me moving. I chose a single estate Darjeeling that I’d aquired from SpecialTeas, but hadn’t tried yet:

    Special Teas no longer lists this tea as #105. (Listing 105 as “Darjeeling Yashodhara FTGFOP1 1st Flush” instead. I’m not sure if this is from the same estate or not.) I seem to recall that this was a particularly expensive tea. (Which would explain why I only have a 1/2 oz of it.)

    I used 2 level teaspoons for my teapot, heated the water to a roaring boil and steeped for the recommended 3 minutes. The brewed tea came out a lovely golden color:

    The taste was definitely a Darjeeling, musky and floral with an incredibly smooth and medium-bodied feel. Though I brewed for a full three minutes, there was absolutely no hint of bitter tannins at all. It’s too bad this tea is no longer listed, because it was absolutely lovely and I’m going to run out of it quickly. After a quick search I found that Holy Mountain Trading Company and Dragonwater Tea Company both list this tea. I was right, it’s pretty expensive, but I think I can agree with the one site that listed this as the “champagne of teas”. I haven’t tried a second steeping yet, but given the price, I will!

    All in all, a lovely way to start the day.

    Postscript: I did try a second and a third steeping. The second was as lovely as the first. Still fairly full-bodied and smooth, and the taste still came through. The third steeping was a noticably paler color and it had lost much of its body and flavor, though there were still no bitter tannins to be had.

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