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When you are on the North Shore and desperate for tea, who do you turn to? My solution was Starbucks.  I had read reviews of the Tazo Calm Tea, so I thought I would try it. And like with most Tazo teas, I was left disappointed.

This herbal infusion is said to not have any tea in it. Ingredients include chamomile flowers, hibiscus flowers, spearmint leaves, lemongrass, rose petals, blackberry leaves, safflowers, peppermint leaves, sarsaparilla root, lemon balm leaf, and licorice root.

The information card at Starbucks claimed it had an apple flavor, which I found out later stems from the chamomile, but that was not very pronounced. Perhaps there was a little too much going on in this cuppa to have any one thing stand out. Tomorrow I will be trying Tealuxe’s serene blend, and I am concerned that this might be the case with this tea as well. Return tomorrow for a full report.

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Today found me purchasing tea and tea accessories. Jason and I first headed to Tealuxe on Newbury Street and picked up some dragon pearl jasmine (DPJ) tea and genmaicha for me and my mom; while there, I also bought a mesh two-inch infuser for work and two measuring spoons. We then ventured to Teavana, and sampled their medleys. We both were taken by the dragon pearl jasmine/rooibos tropica mix, so we purchased four ounces of the rooibos tropica to pair with the DPJ I bought from Tealuxe. I also picked up Jane Pettigrew’s book The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide while at Teavana.

Breakfast tea:  

jasmine pearls from Kookoo Cafe (7 Station Street, Brookline)

Similar to Tealuxe’s dragon pearl jasmine, but not as strong a jasmine flavor. I really like jasmine, so the stronger the better in my opinion. But this was a nice, relaxing cup of tea right before gentle Kripalu yoga.

Kookoo also offers the following teas:
Black: English Breakfast, Russian Caravan, Blue Flower Earl Grey, Rose, Ginseng
Green: China Green, Moroccan Organic Mint
Herbal: Ginger Lemon, Lemon Chamomile, Decorated Rooibos, Yerba Mate

All from MEM Teas, which I discovered is carried by Cardullo’s in Harvard Square. I will have to pay them a visit. Now it’s time to boil some water.  

It came today! A blend of Tibetan and Chinese fruit and flowers. Steeping time: five minutes. Purchased from The Cultured Cup in Dallas, TX. I consumed one cup (a little weak, I used too much water) this evening after dinner.

Lunch tea: 

pumpkin spice chai from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)
Made with one-third steamed whole milk

Description:
An enticing new chai flavored with pumpkin, vanilla and spicey herbs with a black tea base. The pumpkin is perfectly suited for steamed milk and honey.

Delicious! I am a chai fan, so it is no surprise that I like this combination. Very different flavor than what you get from Starbucks. I didn’t let my tea steep for the full five minutes: I was in a bit of a hurry. So it could have been a bolder taste. You really taste the tea in this version versus the creamy variety offered by the Seattle company.

Breakfast Tea: 

Twinings English Breakfast Tea (bag)

I was given this tea bag by a co-worker. The tea lacks any distinct flavor. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill black tea. I didn’t add anything to it. It could have used some milk, but I am trying to drink tea without any alterations.

Lunch tea:

darjeeling silvertips white tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Description:
Love tea? Try the most wonderful white tea we’ve found. White teas are even less processed than green teas, and this one is delicate, sweet and balanced.

Blah!! Tastes like boiled water. Perhaps white teas are not for this unrefined palate.

Dinner tea:

darjeeling from Dado Tea (50 Church Street, Cambridge)

Description from Wikipedia:
Darjeeling tea, tea from the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India, has traditionally been prized above all other black teas, especially in the United Kingdom and the countries comprising the former British Empire. When properly brewed it yields a thin-bodied, light-colored liquor with a floral aroma. The flavor also displays a tinge of astringent tannic characteristics, and a musky spiciness often referred to by tea connoisseurs as “muscatel.” A sweet cooling aftertaste should be felt in the mouth.

Most Darjeeling teas are made into black teas; however, Darjeeling oolong and green teas are becoming more commonly produced and easier to find.

 

Lunch tea: 

strawberry sencha from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Description:
Rich Sencha leaf flavored with bits of strawberry and other red fruits. A delicious way to get to know green teas, but be careful, it’s habit forming.

This is not my cup of tea. I am resigned to the fact that I do not like strong fruity flavored teas, and this tea definitely has a strong strawberry flavor.

Lunch tea:

dragon pearl jasmine from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Description:
An extraordinary jasmine tea. Two leaves and a bud scented with the finest jasmine flowers and then tightly rolled into pearl sized balls.