So, I can’t keep myself from posting a second review today, and, since it’s getting late, I decided to go with a white-tea since I’ve already had some black and I need to cut back on the caffeine (white tea has the lowest caffeine content of all the true teas [tea made from the camellia sinensis plant]). So, this review is for The Republic of Tea’s Orange Blossom tea (which can be found here).
First off, let me just say as I usually do, that generally speaking, loose tea is of a much higher quality than bagged tea, and this tea is bagged, however, the Republic of Tea company uses the puck-shaped, unbleached bags, which, in my opinion, are the highest quality bags, and are almost necessary to keep from interfering with the flavor of very delicate teas, such as this one. 
One other quick aside, shame on The Republic of Tea company for their steeping instructions they provided with this tea, which were 30-60 seconds in near boiling water. I’m going to go ahead and call shenanigans on this. Do NOT use water over 180F for this (or any scented white teas), and you may steep for up to two minutes without risking making the tea bitter (I prefer about a minute and half).
Now, onto the matter at hand. This is definitely one of my favorite white teas, and is always on my shelf. It is white tea leaves (these from the Fujian province of China) with orange blossoms (which contain many of the same essential oils that you would find in an actual orange, and provide a similar, but more delicate flavor) The quality of the white tea itself is pretty good, and the orange blossoms are very well dried, and the blend ratio is superb. I sweetened my cup with a small whisk-dip of Savannah Bee Company’s tupelo honey (which you can find here[pricey but worth it]). Those of you who follow my reviews are probably thinking to yourself, “But, Mr. Tea Guy, you use orange blossom honey a lot, so why wouldn’t you use it for orange blossom tea?!” Because it’s too strong, that’s why.This tea has a lovely aroma, and smells of lemongrass and orange rind. The taste, as to be expected from a white tea, is very gentle, and the orange essential oils add just the slightest hint of fruitiness, and it is just…just wonderful. If you aren’t a fan of strong teas, this is a great blend for you.
Overall: 8.5/10 crisp, delicate, and has a wonderful aroma
Flavor: 9/10 easily one of my all-time favorite white-tea blends
Richness: 4/10 pretty standard for a white-tea
Price: $15 / 50 bags
Cheers,
D.

So, I can’t keep myself from posting a second review today, and, since it’s getting late, I decided to go with a white-tea since I’ve already had some black and I need to cut back on the caffeine (white tea has the lowest caffeine content of all the true teas [tea made from the camellia sinensis plant]). So, this review is for The Republic of Tea’s Orange Blossom tea (which can be found here).

First off, let me just say as I usually do, that generally speaking, loose tea is of a much higher quality than bagged tea, and this tea is bagged, however, the Republic of Tea company uses the puck-shaped, unbleached bags, which, in my opinion, are the highest quality bags, and are almost necessary to keep from interfering with the flavor of very delicate teas, such as this one. 

One other quick aside, shame on The Republic of Tea company for their steeping instructions they provided with this tea, which were 30-60 seconds in near boiling water. I’m going to go ahead and call shenanigans on this. Do NOT use water over 180F for this (or any scented white teas), and you may steep for up to two minutes without risking making the tea bitter (I prefer about a minute and half).

Now, onto the matter at hand. This is definitely one of my favorite white teas, and is always on my shelf. It is white tea leaves (these from the Fujian province of China) with orange blossoms (which contain many of the same essential oils that you would find in an actual orange, and provide a similar, but more delicate flavor) The quality of the white tea itself is pretty good, and the orange blossoms are very well dried, and the blend ratio is superb. I sweetened my cup with a small whisk-dip of Savannah Bee Company’s tupelo honey (which you can find here[pricey but worth it]). Those of you who follow my reviews are probably thinking to yourself, “But, Mr. Tea Guy, you use orange blossom honey a lot, so why wouldn’t you use it for orange blossom tea?!” Because it’s too strong, that’s why.

This tea has a lovely aroma, and smells of lemongrass and orange rind. The taste, as to be expected from a white tea, is very gentle, and the orange essential oils add just the slightest hint of fruitiness, and it is just…just wonderful. If you aren’t a fan of strong teas, this is a great blend for you.

Overall: 8.5/10 crisp, delicate, and has a wonderful aroma

Flavor: 9/10 easily one of my all-time favorite white-tea blends

Richness: 4/10 pretty standard for a white-tea

Price: $15 / 50 bags

Cheers,

D.

Today’s review is on Argo Tea’s ChariTea blend, the proceeds from which go to many different fair-trade funds and global charities. The picture above is of Argo Tea’s pre-made ChariTea, as I was unable to find a decent picture of the loose tea, which comes in the same container. A quick aside, I purchased a container of this very unique tea in Chicago, during Lollapalooza 2012. A severe rain storm caused the park to evacuate, and my two friends and I had to take shelter in a little Argo Tea cafe to let the torrential downpour pass. Fun times!So, the tea (which can be found at this link). This is a tisane (herbal tea) blend of hibiscus petals and pollen, dried cherries, and crushed vanilla bean. The aroma of this tea, both dry and when steeping, is absolutely incredible, and is extremely pungent, evoking a strong, tart wine aroma. The teas a very beautiful crimson red, and tends to leave a good bit of sediment at the bottom of the glass from the hibiscus pollen. I was under the assumption that this would be a very flavorful, stand-alone blend, which turned out to be an understatement. This is hands-down the strongest flavored tea/tisane I have ever made. In fact, it’s almost too strong. The flavor is heavy with the tartness of the dried cherries, but the vanilla is smooth and tapers-off very nicely. I think hibiscus petals were an obvious choice as abase for this tea, as they handle strong flavors well (have any of you guys ever eaten candied hibiscus flowers? so delicious.. <3).
Overall, I don’t think that this is something I would ever make straight again. However, I have found that is is an excellent add-in (in small doses) to a fruitier black tea or rooibos blend. Also, I am eager to try steeping this straight and adding a splash to some fresh-made lemonade. Finally, I would be remiss without giving credit to the artisans at Argo Tea for such an incredibly unique blend.Overall (as a stand-alone): 4/10 absolutely too pungent
Overall (as an add-in): 9/10 such unique tartness, and the vanilla is wonderful
Flavor: 7/10 extra points for uniqueness of flavor
Richness: 10/10 Holy crap…
Price (for the loose tea, not the pre-made drink): $12.95 / 4.9 oz 
Cheers,
D.

Today’s review is on Argo Tea’s ChariTea blend, the proceeds from which go to many different fair-trade funds and global charities. The picture above is of Argo Tea’s pre-made ChariTea, as I was unable to find a decent picture of the loose tea, which comes in the same container. A quick aside, I purchased a container of this very unique tea in Chicago, during Lollapalooza 2012. A severe rain storm caused the park to evacuate, and my two friends and I had to take shelter in a little Argo Tea cafe to let the torrential downpour pass. Fun times!

So, the tea (which can be found at this link). This is a tisane (herbal tea) blend of hibiscus petals and pollen, dried cherries, and crushed vanilla bean. The aroma of this tea, both dry and when steeping, is absolutely incredible, and is extremely pungent, evoking a strong, tart wine aroma. The teas a very beautiful crimson red, and tends to leave a good bit of sediment at the bottom of the glass from the hibiscus pollen. I was under the assumption that this would be a very flavorful, stand-alone blend, which turned out to be an understatement. This is hands-down the strongest flavored tea/tisane I have ever made. In fact, it’s almost too strong. The flavor is heavy with the tartness of the dried cherries, but the vanilla is smooth and tapers-off very nicely. I think hibiscus petals were an obvious choice as abase for this tea, as they handle strong flavors well (have any of you guys ever eaten candied hibiscus flowers? so delicious.. <3).

Overall, I don’t think that this is something I would ever make straight again. However, I have found that is is an excellent add-in (in small doses) to a fruitier black tea or rooibos blend. Also, I am eager to try steeping this straight and adding a splash to some fresh-made lemonade. Finally, I would be remiss without giving credit to the artisans at Argo Tea for such an incredibly unique blend.

Overall (as a stand-alone): 4/10 absolutely too pungent

Overall (as an add-in): 9/10 such unique tartness, and the vanilla is wonderful

Flavor: 7/10 extra points for uniqueness of flavor

Richness: 10/10 Holy crap…

Price (for the loose tea, not the pre-made drink): $12.95 / 4.9 oz 

Cheers,

D.

   Life as a Tea Addict is back from the Summer hiatus! Hoorah! But now, down to business. I&#8217;ve purchased a ton of new and exotic teas to review soon, and have set up several interviews that are going to be great for the tea community. First off, I want to review T Leaf T&#8217;s Kawakawa Fire herbal tisane. This tea is made from the Macropiper Excelsum plant, which is native to New Zealand, and has long been used by the Maori people as a mild sedative. There are other reputed health benefits, but no large studies have either confirmed or denied this (as far as I can find). This plant is also used to make Titoki Liqueur in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.
Before I review the tea itself, let me quickly state that despite most herbal tisanes being best steeped for 5 minutes, at near boiling temperatures, this tea will require 7-8 minutes of steeping in near boiling water.
    So then, to the tea! This tea is hand blended in New Zealand with lemongrass and ginger, both of which are also local to the region where the kawakawa (Macropiper Excelsum) plant is native. The ginger definitely comes through in the aroma, giving this tea a pungent, peppery smell. There is a noticeable peppery taste after the sweetness fades (I sweetened my tea by steeping a few pieces of German rock sugar with the tea, as I usually do). The tea handles the sweetness well, as the kawakawa plant has a very gentle taste on its own. The lemongrass is a welcome addition and complements the ginger well, but in my opinion, the blend could definitely use more. Definitely a flavorful but light tea that is suitable for everyday drinking, and would be great iced. In fact, that&#8217;s how I plan on taking this tea from here on out. 
   Finally, I would be remiss without thanking my good friend Josh for bringing me this back from his study abroad to Australia and New Zealand this past summer. My friends always know what to get me. &lt;3
Overall: 7/10 Would be great iced.
Flavor: 8/10 The ginger is the most prominent flavor. Takes well to sweetening. 
Richness:6/10 Fairly light.
Price: $16.90 per 50g loose
Cheers,
    D.

   Life as a Tea Addict is back from the Summer hiatus! Hoorah! But now, down to business. I’ve purchased a ton of new and exotic teas to review soon, and have set up several interviews that are going to be great for the tea community. First off, I want to review T Leaf T’s Kawakawa Fire herbal tisane. This tea is made from the Macropiper Excelsum plant, which is native to New Zealand, and has long been used by the Maori people as a mild sedative. There are other reputed health benefits, but no large studies have either confirmed or denied this (as far as I can find). This plant is also used to make Titoki Liqueur in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

Before I review the tea itself, let me quickly state that despite most herbal tisanes being best steeped for 5 minutes, at near boiling temperatures, this tea will require 7-8 minutes of steeping in near boiling water.

    So then, to the tea! This tea is hand blended in New Zealand with lemongrass and ginger, both of which are also local to the region where the kawakawa (Macropiper Excelsum) plant is native. The ginger definitely comes through in the aroma, giving this tea a pungent, peppery smell. There is a noticeable peppery taste after the sweetness fades (I sweetened my tea by steeping a few pieces of German rock sugar with the tea, as I usually do). The tea handles the sweetness well, as the kawakawa plant has a very gentle taste on its own. The lemongrass is a welcome addition and complements the ginger well, but in my opinion, the blend could definitely use more. Definitely a flavorful but light tea that is suitable for everyday drinking, and would be great iced. In fact, that’s how I plan on taking this tea from here on out. 

   Finally, I would be remiss without thanking my good friend Josh for bringing me this back from his study abroad to Australia and New Zealand this past summer. My friends always know what to get me. <3

Overall: 7/10 Would be great iced.

Flavor: 8/10 The ginger is the most prominent flavor. Takes well to sweetening. 

Richness:6/10 Fairly light.

Price: $16.90 per 50g loose

Cheers,

    D.

Excellent Article for all you Tea-junkies, if only to feel really good about yourself.

(Source: , via iunia-kallistrate)

An Interesting Article Done by CNN

[Article Here] Hey everyone! Sorry for the summer hiatus, I got busy with work. Now that Fall is rolling around and I’m back to school for my junior year of college, the posts will be starting up again. Bunches of things are on the schedule for review (I’ve been busy!) so stay tuned! For now, here’s a link to a neat article that ran on CNN a couple years ago about tea (in many Chinese restaurants).

The Gold Standard of Honey

As far as I’m concerned, what is (most) tea without honey? Eventually, I’m going to show you guys how to choose a honey based on your taste and the type of tea you are brewing. However, for right now, I want to focus on what is widely considered the finest grade honey on the plant: white tupelo honey. The white tupelo (Nyssa Ogeche) tree grows in the swampy areas in the southeastern portion of the united states, but certified fine tupelo honey comes almost exclusively from the northern edge of Florida and the southern edge of Georgia. It blooms for approximately two weeks in April each year, and so beekeepers who wish to produce certified tupelo honey (which, according to Florida laws only needs to be 51% tupelo pollen, but will often be upwards of 95% tupelo pollen because of the short blooming window) must be careful to clean the hives just before the white tupelo trees bloom, to avoid pollen crossing in the honeycombs with other flowering plants that bloom just before or after the white tupelo trees, such as the black tupelo or ti-ti. Tupelo honey has a very high fructose content, which resist crystallization for years on end, and tupelo honey is widely considered to really never fully crystallize. It has a delicate, buttery flavor, and is wonderful for lighter, delicate green or white teas. Due to the extreme difficult for producing the honey, plus the high demand for such a high quality specialty honey, tupelo honey is premium-priced, and it often seasonal, depending upon how good the crop was for any given year. I buy the vast majority of my honeys from the Savannah Bee Company, and tupelo honey is no exception. Their prices are competitive, at $6/3oz, and their honey is gathered from the white tupelo tree only, not the black tupelo, which only produces bakery quality honey. All that having been said, you really haven’t had honey until you’ve had tupelo honey. It just doesn’t get any better.

The White Tupelo (Nyssa Ogeche) Tree

Cheers, 

  D.

Today I&#8217;m trying The Herbal Sage Tea Company's Zesty Green Tea. I bought this tea when picking up groceries at my local Whole Foods Market. Normally, as I have said, I stay away from tea-bags, but couldn't keep myself from grabbing this tea because it is blended in my wonderful home state of Ohio (I later found out the this tea is also packaged as loose-leaf tea, but was not stocked by Whole Foods). The Herbal Sage Tea Company is located in Athens, Ohio, and is owned and operated by Maureen Burns-Hooker, a member of the American Herbalists Guild (who I am hoping to interview for the blog soon). And now, onto the review: I was pleasantly surprised to find the tea was in a silken bag and not a paper envelope. I brewed for 1 minute at 175F (the recommended brewing conditions for green tea). I was shocked at how delicate of the green tea was considering how dark it steeped. The &#8220;Zesty Green Tea" blend is a mix of organic sencha leaf green tea and organic spear-mint leaf. I often put spearmint that I grow in the yard into my teas, but am usually not a fan of dried mint leaves blended into tea, as they can easily take on a bitter aftertaste when steeped, and are often overpowering. However, the mint in this tea was refreshing and noticeable but by no means overwhelming. I (and this is just personal preference) would have like to see a little bit more palate presence by the tea leaves, or some earthy-toned herb thrown in to give the tea a fuller body. Overall, I was impressed with the nuanced blending of the tea, and decided to whisk in just a touch of the Savannah Bee Company&#8217;s Tupelo Honey, which is a wonderful honey for lighter teas as it is buttery and delicate in taste. If you aren&#8217;t lucky enough to live in Ohio ;], then you can order Maureen&#8217;s teas straight off of her website. She even does commission-based custom tea-blending!
Overall: 7.75/10
Flavor: 8.5/10 the mint is expertly blended
Richness: 6/10 definitely could stand for a bit more of a deep, earthy bite.
Price: $6.00/2oz
Cheers, 
 D.

Today I’m trying The Herbal Sage Tea Company's Zesty Green Tea. I bought this tea when picking up groceries at my local Whole Foods Market. Normally, as I have said, I stay away from tea-bags, but couldn't keep myself from grabbing this tea because it is blended in my wonderful home state of Ohio (I later found out the this tea is also packaged as loose-leaf tea, but was not stocked by Whole Foods). The Herbal Sage Tea Company is located in Athens, Ohio, and is owned and operated by Maureen Burns-Hooker, a member of the American Herbalists Guild (who I am hoping to interview for the blog soon). And now, onto the review: I was pleasantly surprised to find the tea was in a silken bag and not a paper envelope. I brewed for 1 minute at 175F (the recommended brewing conditions for green tea). I was shocked at how delicate of the green tea was considering how dark it steeped. The “Zesty Green Tea" blend is a mix of organic sencha leaf green tea and organic spear-mint leaf. I often put spearmint that I grow in the yard into my teas, but am usually not a fan of dried mint leaves blended into tea, as they can easily take on a bitter aftertaste when steeped, and are often overpowering. However, the mint in this tea was refreshing and noticeable but by no means overwhelming. I (and this is just personal preference) would have like to see a little bit more palate presence by the tea leaves, or some earthy-toned herb thrown in to give the tea a fuller body. Overall, I was impressed with the nuanced blending of the tea, and decided to whisk in just a touch of the Savannah Bee Company’s Tupelo Honey, which is a wonderful honey for lighter teas as it is buttery and delicate in taste. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in Ohio ;], then you can order Maureen’s teas straight off of her website. She even does commission-based custom tea-blending!

Overall: 7.75/10

Flavor: 8.5/10 the mint is expertly blended

Richness: 6/10 definitely could stand for a bit more of a deep, earthy bite.

Price: $6.00/2oz

Cheers, 

 D.

stashteacompany:

Iced Tea Pops! With the official kick-off of summer just around the corner, we’ve begun to round-up our favorite homemade iced tea popsicle recipes. Fun and simple to make, plus so many flavor combinations. The hardest part…deciding which one to make first!
Give our peppermint pops a try and be sure to check out our Tea Pops Pinterest board for more delicious ideas!

stashteacompany:

Iced Tea Pops!
With the official kick-off of summer just around the corner, we’ve begun to round-up our favorite homemade iced tea popsicle recipes. Fun and simple to make, plus so many flavor combinations. The hardest part…deciding which one to make first!

Give our peppermint pops a try and be sure to check out our Tea Pops Pinterest board for more delicious ideas!

This is the &#8220;Teastick&#8221; Tea Infuser that is available on thinkgeek.com for $22. I want this. Although, I&#8217;ll admit that I&#8217;m not sure about using this for stronger teas. I&#8217;m afraid there won&#8217;t be enough water flow through the infuser. Looks super for white teas and light green teas though. If any of you get this, you should let me know how it does. :3
Cheers,
 D.

This is the “Teastick” Tea Infuser that is available on thinkgeek.com for $22. I want this. Although, I’ll admit that I’m not sure about using this for stronger teas. I’m afraid there won’t be enough water flow through the infuser. Looks super for white teas and light green teas though. If any of you get this, you should let me know how it does. :3

Cheers,

 D.

Got Tea Questions?

If you have any questions about types of tea, tea preparation, tea accessories, tea history, or anything else about tea, don’t hesitate to click that link under the blog title that says “Ask The Tea Hotline” [It’s right up there ^^^]. I’ll be happy to answer questions, and if I’m not sure about anything, I’d be happy to research it for you. Knowledge is for sharing. :] 

  Cheers,

      D.

Teavana, Your Next Favorite Place

So, in this big, wide world of teas, there are plenty of stores, lots of suppliers, and an overwhelming choice of teas. I’ll be reviewing many of these larger stores, but today I want to focus on Teavana, because they are one of the few that have a chain of stores. There are several Teavana locations in the Columbus, Ohio area where I live, and I’ve been to all but one. The stores are small, but stocked with great tea accessories, and artisan tea blends. The staff are generally knowledgeable, and their teas are all marked for where they were grown. They always give you info on the correct temperature and time for brewing each of their many teas, which is invaluable for a beginner. Their tea selection is great, and many of their hand-crafted tea blends are great stand-alone teas. They can be a bit pricey on some of their stuff, but their prices are not crazy considering the quality of products that they supply. Many of the stores also have freshly made tea for tasting, and they are happy to open any tea blend for you to smell and mull over (no pun intended). Overall, Teavana is a great place to find many great loose teas, tea accessories, and a wealth of tea information. A must try shop for tea-lovers.