Friday, July 8, 2011

And Now For Something Slightly Different...

I bring you a review on TEA!  I'm kind of a tea snob, I'll admit (although would you believe that it hadn't occurred to me until now that there might be tea blogs out there, and I should be following them?).  I enjoy green and oolong and white teas more than black - I do drink black teas on occasion, but I'm not a big fan of rich chai or other teas usually served with milk - and I usually drink them piping hot, without milk or anything else in it.
A tea tin.  Keeps your tea fresh and all, though any air-tight container will do just as well.  These are pretty, though, and good for gifts :D
I buy all of my tea from Lupicia; they have a store in HI that I used to frequent before I moved.  I believe they also have a store in San Francisco, but there isn't one close to me, so now I order online.  Online, free shipping is offered on orders $45 or more, and they always include samples, which is really nice.  I have converted quite a few people, too - even the fiancé, who I think really only started drinking green tea when we started dating, is a huge fan of Lupicia's flavored teas.
50 gram bags of loose leaf tea, and a tin.  Lupicia also sells tea bags, but I don't usually buy those.
I typically only buy loose leaf teas, which I either brew in a glass teapot with a removable infuser, or in a mug with a mini mesh tea ball or a filter bag if I'm just making an individual serving (filters can be purchased easily on Lupicia or on other tea sites, and even on Amazon, though I actually find Lupicia is cheaper than Amazon).  There are all kinds of rules about the best way to brew your tea; I just use an electric kettle, pour hot water into my teapot/mug, let steep for ~3 minutes (this depends on the type of tea), and enjoy!  The whole tea process is only as complicated as you want to make it - if you just want good tea, with a nice aroma and a comforting warmth, it's as easy as heating up water, and waiting three minutes.
You can use paper filters in teapots, too.
We recently just ordered some new teas (and combined an order with a newly converted friend, haha) so I thought I'd do a mini-review on them.  I picked up Chestnut, Tokio, Kamairicha "Takachiho", and Peach Melba.  The first three are greens, and the last is a rooibos tea; I'm not a huge fan of rooibos, but I figured I'd give it a shot, since I need more caffeine-free teas for nighttime.  I have some other favorites, too, so if you're interested in trying some and want more advice, let me know!  In general, I just buy the 50 gram pouches, and store all of my teas in an airtight container.  The tins are really pretty, though (I have a few), and make great gifts!
All of the specific tea-brewing instructions are printed on the label.  Handy, right?
Chestnut: I love the flavor of chestnuts, so this was a no brainer. This one is mellow, sweet, and savory in the way of sweet potatoes and other such foods.  Not a favorite with S., but he prefers fruity teas.
Tokio: The aroma is delicate but sweet, and I get mostly strawberry from it.  The tea itself is subtly sweet and still very delicate, with a light green tea flavor and just the hint of berry sweetness.  Perfect for summer, and I think it would be great iced, too.
Kamairicha "Takachiho:" A heavier flavored tea - it has substance to it, an a more earthy flavor.  I often get in the mood for a traditional green tea like this, so I make sure I always have one on hand.
Peach Melba: I'm not a fan of the rooibos flavor, but this is a mellow and caffeine-free tea, so it's nice for night time.
This newsletter gives instructions on cold-brewed tea, and features the summer flavors.  They're all pretty interesting; a lot of them feature recipes, or brief histories of tea.  Love!  The tea sample is great, too.
Also, if you spend more than $30, you are automatically subscribed to Lupicia's monthly newsletter; it's actually pretty interesting, not just junk mail.  And the best part is: they send you a free tea sample (one tea bag) every month, so you can try all kinds of teas.  It's really fun!  Any other purchase over $30 throughout the year will resubscribe you for the following year, which is nice.

Hopefully I haven't bored you too much :D  I like tea.  What kinds of foodie things do you indulge in?