Monday, January 23, 2012

Sometimes a sample is necessary... decide whether or not you should buy the big bag of tea.  And thankfully, I won't have to spend a dime on this sample bag.  Thanks Raul for the taste, but I'm not going to buy this tea.

Sunday brunch at 3 Brothers in Rockville Centre, followed by a trip to Home Goods always puts me in a great mood.  I enjoy brunch with Raul.  It's the only time we get to sit & really chat about our tea addiction.  He works crazy pastry chef hours & I have a normal day job, so seeing my BFF is sometimes a challenge.  I love when the stars align & give us some time to get together.  And brunch at 3 Brothers is always a great place to catch up.

For the record, I love their pancakes.  Fresh fruit on top of light & fluffy pancakes!!  OMG!  So yummy!!!  And I highly recommend the cappaccino!  It's delicious. 

During the meal we are talking about the new teas we've tried.  We're talking about our reviews on Steepster...seriously, I love that site!  And we are talking about all the tea companies out there that we have to try.  The list is long!  Just thinking about all the blog material I'm going to have makes me happy!

Raul was kind enough to share a little taste of a tea he loves.  He knows I am hooked on the Lime in the Coconut, seriously it's my #1 tea these days.  So he offers me a taste of a Pistachio Lime Yerba Mate from the Fusion Tea Room. 

I've read the reviews on Steepster for Pistachio Lime & they were pretty good, so I had high hopes for this tea....

...boy was I seriously let down!

I made the tea in my favorite teapot.  Seriously, I love this set!  Definitely glad I bought it.  I brewed it according to the directions....boiling water, steep for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve. 

I liked the smell of the tea dry in the bag.  It smelled a lot like lime, while no pistachio scent was detected, I could see pieces of pistachios in the tea.  I figured the taste would come out in the brewing... didn't.

The first cup smelled good.  I got the lime scent.  It was faint, but it was there.  And I had a scent of something herbal & strong.  Almost medicinal.  No pistachio.

As for the taste?
Slight lime citrus, something medicinal & then the aftertaste like someone had added Splenda when I wasn't looking.  It was harsh.  Very strong & very unenjoyable.

I decided to try a piece of cake with the tea to maybe make it more enjoyable.  So I served myself a slice of this lemon lime poke cake I had made.

For the record, the cake came out delicious!

So what did I really think of the tea?
A bit harsh, not too much of a lime flavor, some funky aftertaste & a medicinal taste that made me cringe.
For my first venture into a yerba mate tea it was a bad experience.  I didn't like this tea at all.  It was way too harsh & there was nothing positive about my opinion.

Definitely glad I got a free sample from Raul.  I was tempted to buy at all.

Oh well.
You don't know how it tastes till you try it.

There are plenty of more teas out there to be tried & I'm looking forward to my next cup....

Friday, January 13, 2012

For those times you want to share....

Tonight's pot of tea is from California Tea House.  It's a lovely white tea called White Peony.  It is a simple, yet delicious flavor.  There is a sweet almost fruity scent about it.  And it's delightful in taste!  Definitely adding it to the favorites list. 

Hmmm...maybe I need to start keeping a list of my favorites?  There's a thought.....

So tonight I get home from work & receive a phone call from an old friend.  Someone I used to work with a few years ago.  She is back in town for a few days & wants to stop over to talk to me.  Of course I say sure, no problem.

I have two hours before her arrival so I start making some cupcakes.  If there's one thing you are guaranteed when you get to my home, it's good conversation, lots of laughs, something to drink & of course cupcakes!

Ahh...the might cupcake!  Just the promise of one brings people to my door.  And throwing a pot of tea into the offer lately, seems to help.

While the cupcakes are baking, I now have to decide what tea to make. 

Hmmm...what tea will work with a strawberry cupcake? 

It needs to be something white or maybe a light fruit flavor? 

Definitely a white tea. 

And it's then I realize I need to make the White Peony sample I have. 

And of course there is no need to stress over which teapot is being used.  I am going straight for my favorite....

I love smelling any tea before brewing it.  It helps me get a feel for the tea. 

The tea smells delightful!

White teas are normally very light in color.  Their leaves are often fuzzy & this can make for some unusually great flavors.  I tend to like white teas because they are light.  Their flavors are more Earthy...almost like a green tea, but sometimes more sweet.

White teas often come in citrus flavors, but they can also come with floral tones.

This is what an amazing White Peony loose leaf tea will look like....

The smell of this tea is typical of a white tea.  It's both pleasant & promising.  It's sweet with a hint of Earth.  Yup, I like white tea.

The cupcakes are done & cooling.  I'll wait till it's time to frost them before the tea gets started.  Luckily I have time before my guest arrives.

After I finish frosting a few cupcakes, I put my mind towards making the tea. 

I take out my favorite teapot & put in five teaspoons of the White Peony tea.  I love the smell of these leaves dry.  I just know it's going to be a great pot of tea.

I add the water, not boiling, but just before boiling.  The tea leaves come alive.  They let off an inviting aroma that is still promising a great flavor.

And now it's time to pour a cup....

My friend was nervous about trying this tea.  She claimed to not be a fan of white tea.  After my first sip, I'm sure she is going to change her mind!

After a few sips, she is looking to take some of this tea home with her!


It's a success!!

Also a success are the strawberry cupcakes. 

I love sharing my home with my friends.  Everyone is always welcomed here.  Cupcakes will be made & tea will be shared.

I enjoy my tea addiction.  I love sharing my notes on the teas I have tried.  I don't care whether it's good or bad, as long as I'm honest about it.  And I love sharing my tea addition here in this blog.

I'm learning a lot about tea on  It's a great site for tea addicts or people looking to learn about tea.  I recommend it to anyone looking for some great teas to try.  The people are very friendly & quite helpful.  And while I've only been on the site for a short time, I've made several friends.  And I'm already swapping tea! 

I'll never run out of blog material until I have tried every tea ever made....oh come on...not even this tea addict is ever going to drink that much tea!  Although I'm sure I'll come close in my lifetime!

So stay tuned.  You never know when the next great pot of tea is going to be served at my home.....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I put the Lime in the Coconut in the teapot...

...but I didn't drink it all up!

Thank you to the wonderful people at California Tea House for making what is currently my #1 favorite tea....Lime in the Coconut.

I love the flavor of lime.
I love the flavor of coconut.
And I love green tea.
Mix them all together & you have Lime in the Coconut.  And the making of a new favorite tea!

I stumbled upon several reviews of this flavor on Steepster (check out their website  I can't recommend that site highly enough!  It's for tea addicts like myself.

So the reviews on Lime in the Coconut were good.  Everyone was saying how strong the lime flavor is in this tea.  That made me check out the California Tea House site.  A great place for tea! 
Check them out -->

For $5 I ordered a sample bag of the tea.  I figured I'd try it without making a serious commitment to having to buy the big bag.

After my first cup, I not only commited to owning more of this tea, I bought the biggest bag available!

This tea works hot or iced.  And I'm seriously going to pick up a bottle of rum to make this a potent iced tea!  I'm already looking forward to having this in the fridge during the hot NY summer.

Now let me backtrack a little...
I started becoming a tea addict a little over a year ago.  It started when I was planning my 40 celebrations (see my other blog).  I put a tea party on my list of things to do.  I was really looking forward to it, so I made it happen.

It started with finding loose leaf tea.
I searched the web & ended up on Adagio Teas.  After reading the reviews on the site, I decided to try their teas.  Sample bags start at $2, so it was time to try as many as possible. 

Then I ended up looking at teapots.  Hey, for loose leaf tea you're going to need a good teapot.  So I treated myself a glass teapot.

That's when the shopping frenzy for teaware started.

I was looking on Amazon, ebay, & every site I could find for teapots, teacups & saucers, tea sets, strainers, tea & all things needed for a tea party.

But this tea set had caught my eye on Amazon....

I had bought the teapot in Home Goods sometime last year.  They didn't have the complete set, but I thought the pattern was pretty.  Plus I had plain white cups, so it would match okay.  After doing some research on the brand I found it on Amazon.  However, the set had been out of stock since sometime before my birthday.  Oh well.  I waited....

The waiting paid off!
Just last week the set became available again & I went for it!  I ordered it early on Friday morning & by Monday night, it was waiting for me when I came home from work.  I love Amazon!

I was anxious to use this set.  But Monday night would be too busy for me.  I washed the set & left it to dry on the drainboard.  I wanted to really break it in properly & make myself a great tea worthy of my new favorite tea set.

Yes, I'm a dork like that!  :)

So Lime in the Coconut would be used to break in this new beautiful tea set.  My favorite tea in my favorite tea set.

The set includes a four cup teapot, a creamer, a sugar bowl & four teacups & saucers.  Even with all the teapots & teacups & saucers I own, this is the only complete matching set I have.  And I love it!

I used five teaspoons of the tea & a slice of lime in the pot.

I love the smell of this tea from the time you open the bag, to the brewing & steeping & then as I drink it.  It definitely has a strong lime scent.  I love that.  And the flavor is strong as is the coconut.  Mixed with green tea, this is a wonderful cuppa tea.

I enjoyed the first three cups warm & relaxed after a long day at work.  Then I let the candle in the teapot warmer go out.  I left the tea leaves in the pot & waited a little while for the tea to cool down.  Once it did, I poured a glass over some ice.  OMG!  This tea rocks iced or hot!

Before going to bed, I strained the rest of the tea & put it into a water bottle to let it cool overnight in the fridge.  I was glad I did.

This morning I added a slice of fresh lime to the bottle & it was wonderful!  It was perfect.

I'm definitely going to keep this tea on hand at all times.  It was amazing hot or iced.  The flavor was delightful!

I'm looking forward to sharing this flavor & my new tea set with others!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride...

Tonight I am drinking Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride from Celestial Seasonings.  It's one of their Holiday Teas.  After having tried two other Holiday Teas based on reviews on Steepster, I am once again shaking my head.

When you open the box, there is a wonderful aroma of sugar cookies.  You will almost expect sugar cookies to actually be in the box.  Don't be let down when you see there are in fact none in the box.

I make myelf a cup & while the tea is steeping, I cut myself a piece of this amazing blueberry crumb cake that I had made.  I tweaked my recipe again & I'm looking forward to seeing if it's an improvement.  Plus I'm testing out a new cake pan.

The tea left a wonderfully sweet smell in my kitchen.  And bringing the cup to my nose for a quick inhale, I am still craving sugar cookies.

And now for the first sip...
Not bad...not great, but not bad.  But it needs a little something.  A little agave perhaps...

I add a little light amber agave & try another sip.  Not too bad.  Nothing overly impressive, but not bad.

I'm still on the fence about this tea with only a few sips taken.  I am guessing a second cup is going to have to be made to really make up my mind.

The cake turned out delicous which made me happy.  The tea however, still needed to convince me I had to like it.

So on to the second cup....

I read a few reviews of this tea on Steepster & I saw that someone mentioned they sweetened the tea with light brown sugar.  Luckily I have some light brown sugar available since I just used some earlier in the blueberry crumb cake.

It darkened the tea a little, but didn't do much for the flavor.

Overall, I wanted to like this tea because of the initial smell when I opened the box.  I had a craving for sugar cookies, but the taste of the tea didn't deliver.  I got a funky aftertaste that maybe is supposed to be a sugar cookie.  Too hard to tell.  I just know I won't buy this tea again.

Oh well.
C'est la vie!
There are plenty of other teas yet to be tried & blogged about.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The calm before the storm...

Tomorrow I return to work after being off for 12 days.  While I enjoyed my time off, it's time to get back to work & dealing with reality.

Today however I still have time to relax & enjoy the silence that fills my home.  And to increase the relaxation plan I will brew up a pot of tea & enjoy lunch.

This morning I found myself in my local supermarket picking up some essentials.  While in the produce section I spotted my favorite jar of Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.  That's when I decided to have lunch.  I picked up a huge beefstake tomato & a loaf of Oatmeal bread & as I finished shopping, I was planning which tea to make. 

I knew I had to go with a simple tea.  Something without a fruit flavor.  Something that will brew dark & work iced in case I get tired of the hot tea.

And so I picked London Cuppa.

I received this big bag...440 teabags, from a friend for Christmas.  My friends know my tea you do too, well, you do if you are reading this blog!

So I get home, make a sandwich & put the kettle on the stove.  I am ready to spend my last day off having a great cuppa tea & a sandwich.

Today I used my cow themed teapot.  A gift from my friend Robin.  I love this little teapot!  It's four cups worth of tea any time I want it.  And today I want it.

I still have my Christmas tree up.  I'm starting to think I might leave it up all year.  I love the dim lighting in my living room from this tree.  With all the other lights off, the tree makes me feel at ease. 

I'm relaxed on the couch & the tea is ready for drinking.

London Cuppa is a simple plain black tea.  Nothing overly special about it, other than it brews really well & doesn't get bitter.  It's forgiving in that you can't oversteep it.  You can leave the teabag in the pot & the pot on the warmer & it won't get too overbearing. 

I love this tea.  It's fast & easy to make when you don't want the mess of cleaning up tea leaves.  It's easy to have on hand & make in a pinch when you want that plain simple black tea flavor.

I love this tea.  It never comes out bad.  It always has this lovely shade of brown color about it.  With just a little Sugar in the Raw added to it, I'm off to enjoy an afternoon cuppa tea.

I end up drinking three cups hot.  I love sipping it slowly to let the relaxation last just a little while longer.....

I will even have a few tea bisuits just for the fun of it.

I wish I could do this every day for lunch.  Maybe I should see if I could do this ritual at work somehow....Hmm...I'll have to work that into my things to do for 2012.

I will end up drinking one cup iced.  It works pretty good iced, but I do appreciate this tea hot more than iced.

I wish every day could be this relaxed & peaceful.  I feel so at ease...even now as I find these words. 

I am ready for whatever awaits me tomorrow at work.  I'm feeling so peaceful that I want to keep this feeling going.  I wish I could bottle it up & drink it back down when I need it.  Oh well...maybe it's just a matter of drinking really good tea more?  Hmm...there's a thought.

So two days into the New Year & two blog entries about my tea addiction.  Not sure I'm going to be able to do this daily...we'll see.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jan 1, 2012....Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I figured it was time to start keeping a blog about my tea drinking addiction.  I post on Steepster under the name feel free to follow me there as well.  It's a great board for learning about tea & reading what others think of various teas.  I have to admit since I joined that site that I started giving more thought to starting this blog.  I guess my love of tea & writing are finally coming together!

So today is the first day of 2012.  A New Year with a fresh new start.  What better way to start off the New Year than with a spot of tea?

Today I am opting to start off with a tea I haven't tried yet.  This New Year should start off with something...well, new!

I stumbled onto Adagio Teas a little over a year ago.  I was getting more into drinking tea & during a web search I found their site.  I read the reviews of their teas & decided to give them a try.  I found that buying sample bags worked best for allowing myself to taste several flavors without buying too much of something I might not like.  And being in a one day delivery zone, there is no need to cry over having to wait for more tea if I did like a flavor.

I have several bags of Adagio samples to try & today I finally opened the Blackberry tea.

Adagio's Blackberry tea is a black tea, with natural blackberry flavor & blackberry leaves.  Whenever I open a bag of tea I like to smell it.  This tea smells good.  Very sweet & fruity.  It promises to deliver a good cuppa tea, as all Adagio Teas do.

Today I am feeling good.  Had a great night to bring in the New Year & I've decided this morning to enjoy a good pot of tea.  It is a great way to start a New Year.

So I start with making scones.
I love shopping at Home Goods.  If you are lucky to have this store near you, I cannot stress how lucky you are!  I live in Home Goods.  I always find the best things for my home.  Teapots, teacups, mugs & even food.  Home Goods always carries this brand of scone mix that I love.  It's from Sticky Fingers bakeries.  It's a simple mix.  Just add water to the mix & bake.  You can't ask for easier when you are craving a scone.  I would make them from scratch, but today I wasn't in the mood for that.  So I'm taking the quick way out.  And it works.

I will make the raspberry white chocolate scones.
The scones turn out delicious!  I love them fresh out of the oven.  They melt in your mouth.

So I put on the kettle & boil up some water.  I bring out my favorite teapot & fill it with a few teaspoons of the Blackberry tea.

The smell of the tea leaves is wonderful!  It's sweet & fruity.  And I'm looking forward to drinking a cuppa of this tea.

This is my favorite teapot.  I found it by chance in Home Goods.  Again, I love that store!  They always have a great selection of things.

I set the teapot on one of my cast iron teapot warmers.  I love them!  Found them on Amazon for a steal of a price.  $11 to be exact.  I ended up buying two of them.  And yes, I use them all the time.

Of course I now have to pick a cup.  I have several to choose from.  I have been collecting teapots & cups & saucers during my tea learning journey.  I have several teapots that I love as well as cups & saucers.  I find them on-line or at Home Goods or wherever I happen to spot them.  I even found a gorgeous teacup & saucer in my local dollar store! 

But today, I will use my favorite cup & saucer.  A gift to Alice in Wonderland cup & saucer set...

I love this cup!  It's definitely the most used by me, in my collection.

I take the scones out of the oven as the tea continues to steep.  The smell of the tea mixed with the smell of the baked scones awakens my senses this morning.  This is just what I needed to start off my New Year.

Let me set the mood...I'm snuggled up on my couch, still in my pajamas, the blackberry tea is ready & the scones are hot out the oven.  I decide to light up my Christmas tree which puts me in a good holiday mood....even on New Year's Day!

And now the tea is ready for pouring.  I admit this shot is odd, but hey, what do you want?  I was pouring the tea, trying not to pour too much & take a picture at the same time. 

I like my tea strong.  I always try a tea in it's bare sugar or milk.  I like trying it naked to see how good it is or isn't. 

This is a loose leaf tea, so of course there is some straining involved.  The strainer was found in a local Asian market. 

The first sip for me is just to test the temperature of the tea.  It's not so much about flavor.  That will be for the second sip. 

I ended up adding some light amber agave to this cup.  It needed something.  The flavor was weak.  If this was a plain black tea it would have been great & I'd be raving about it.  However knowing it's supposed to be a blackberry flavored tea it's disappointing.

I wanted more blackberry, but there is only a mild aftertaste of it & seriously, it's mild...almost non-existant.


I left the teapot on the warmer & left the leaves in.  I figured maybe it needed more time to steep.  So then I tried a second cup, which looked a little darker, but it did nothing to add to the flavor.

After awhile, I let it cool down.  It started to actually taste a little better.  Or was it maybe just my taste buds messing with my mind?  So I figured I'd add some ice & try it as an iced tea.  It wasn't so bad.  It was okay. 

Overall, it was a good way to start the New Year & this blog. 

But would I buy this tea again? 


It's not worth keeping on hand.  It was good to try, which is why I love sample bags from Adagio.

Oh one new tea down & there are plenty of others yet to be brewed.