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As you might have gathered from recent posts, I am hitting the iced tea lately. I have always been partial to iced drinks, and really had to adapt to hot beverages in Massachusetts’ capricious weather that was unthinkable in my former home, Florida. I think it is important to drink what your own personal whims dictate, and mine have been enjoying the four offerings of iced tea each day at Tealuxe. Over the past four days I have enjoyed four teas, which all are available hot, so I will be able to enjoy them even when they cannot be found cold.

kir royale iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)
Tealuxe description:
A warm and sweet mixture of various red berries and fruits. Set apart by the tangy flavor of black currant. Give yourself the royal treatment, Kir Royale treatment.

Tastes a little of blackberry juices. This is an herbal tea, and I am really not one to compliment an herbal tea.

vanilla jasmine iced tea from Tealuxe (108 Newbury Street, Boston)
Tealuxe description:
A “must have”. Start with the tastiness of good Ceylon vanilla tea and add sweet jasmine. The result: two flavors that were meant for each other.

Neither jasmine nor vanilla was very strong in this black tea blend. I have recently grown tired of jasmine tea, but decided to try this one insofar as none of the other offerings interested me and I had a hankering for tea. This was a nice surprise, and my first experience with jasmine in a black tea.

pear & green tea (iced) from Tealuxe (108 Newbury Street, Boston)

Wonderful combination of green tea and pear flavor. I just love the pleasing yellow/green color of a green tea especially when it is iced and in a transparent cup.

white blueberry iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Tealuxe description:
Rare White Tea from the Fujian region flavored with sweet blueberries. A wonderfully smooth and subtle treat. Try it hot or iced.

This is my third chance to try white tea, and each time I have come away with the feeling that white tea does not have a very strong flavor. This was also true of this tasting, but this time it was suited to the subtle blueberry flavor.

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I spent the last three days at the Yoga Journal Conference here in Boston. I learned a lot about yoga and meditation, and even had time to try out new teas. My portion of the conference did not actually start until Saturday, but I went to the vendors’ marketplace on Friday. Here I tried two types of Organic India’s Tulsi Tea. According to my yoga instructor, tulsi tea is good for your doshas. For those of you new to the world of Ayurvedic medicine, doshas are the three bodily humours that one hopes are in balance for absolute health. I tried and purchased pomegranate green tea, a green tea with organic tulsi (holy basil) blend, rama tulsi, krishna tulsi, vana tulsi, organic green tea, organic hibiscus, organic elderberries, and pomegranate. I also sampled and purchased the original blend of tulsi tea, an herbal tea of krishna tulsi, vana tulsi, and rama tulsi.

According to the back of the box of the Tulsi Tea:
Throughout India, Tulsi is considered “The Queen of Herbs” and is revered as a sacred plant infused with healing power. Traditionally grown in an earthen pot in every family home or garden, Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) makes a delicious and refreshing tea that possesses wonderful health benefits that support the body’s negative reaction to stress.

Three sacred varieties of Tulsi with potent restorative powers are blended to create this delicous, calming, yet energizing tea with hints of lemon and citrus from Vana, the slightly spicy tones of Krishna, and the calm depth of Rama.

It was a long, information-full weekend, so I am sorry to report that my descriptive language at this present moment is failing me. But I promise to report back if I have something addition to contribute.

I hope you had a nice weekend. Tomorrow brings three other teas I tried over the weekend. It’s getting late, so I am signing off. Namaste!

Post-lunch and bus ride to yoga (post-dinner) tea:

royal coconut iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Description from Tealuxe:
Like a sojourn in the South Pacific. Bold pouchong tea flavored with fresh coconut.

I have been meaning to try this tea for some time, but teaescapade got me thinking about coconut pouchong and happenstance brought it to my doorstep. Yes, I had two glasses of it today; it was that good. There was definitely a strong coconut flavor to the first batch I had, but the second round was a bit more temperate. Both were pleasant tea drinking experiences. I think I will try this tea hot next time I am in the mood for a pouchong, but I hope tomorrow brings exposure to a new iced tea, so long as the weather is warm here in Massachusetts.

Bus ride home tea:

Moroccan mint iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Tealuxe description:
Gunpowder green tea blended with a generous amount of Moroccan spearmint.

I am in pursuit of the perfect Moroccan mint tea. This one was pretty good, and I liked the fact that it came iced, but I think I prefer Kookoo Cafe’s offering from MEM Tea. The green tea was overpowered by the spearmint flavor in Tealuxe’s.

Please let me know if you have any recipes for iced tea. I would love to hear from you.

Meeting or Late Afternoon Tea:

Constant Comment (tea bag) from Bigelow

This black tea is “flavored with rinds of oranges and sweet spice,” and is a perfect afternoon pick me up. I can only imagine the delightful pastry accompaniments that would go well with this tea. No milk or sugar required, this tea is perfect as is, but according to a description on Amazon.com, sugar brings out the flavor of oranges.

Soothing tea while watching the Celtics in the playoffs(Game 2 vs. Cavaliers):

Bond Street english breakfast blend from Upton Tea Imports (Hopkinton, MA)

Description from Upton:
A hearty blend of Ceylon and Assam teas, developed by a famous London company. Rich and flavorful even with extra milk.

This is my third black tea in a week. I am really enjoying the heartiness of black tea that is complemented with milk and honey. I used a little too much honey in this cuppa: there was left over honey along with some dust in the bottom of my cup that I, regretfully, decided to drink. The steeping time on this tea was three minutes, and the leaves were finely ground. (Sorry, could not tell you the leaf grade.) I only used a tablespoon of tea, but easily could have added an additional quarter tablespoon for a stronger brew.

Tea for the bus ride home:

raspberry green iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

On a 76 degree day it is nice to have a glass of iced tea. I stopped at Tealuxe on my way to the bus hoping to find something different from my daily tea offerings. The tea chain were serving three kinds of iced tea: spicy chai, a medicinal herbal tea, and the one I selected, raspberry green. It was exactly what I was looking for: strong fruit flavor with a hint of tea. When I say strong, I should not mislead you because as green teas go, the fruit flavor was not overpowering but a perfect balance. The tea came unsweetened, but I added sugar. I think I could have easily done without the sugar, but thought the sweetener enhanced the raspberry flavor. I don’t know how often Tealuxe carries this tea, but I will definitely be on the lookout for it the next time I am in need of a refreshing glass of iced tea.

Tea for my evening bus ride:

gingerbread tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Description from Tealuxe:
Ceylon Black tea flavored with bits of ginger, cinnamon, and orange.

This tea, while good, was not anything I have not tasted before. It reminded me of different masala chai I have tried. Perhaps it was the bits of ginger and cinnamon that gave me this sense. This is my first experience with Ceylon, or Sri Lankan, black tea, and I can say that I could not make out any distinguishing characteristics; I will have to try different varieties of Ceylon tea, perhaps one that has not been flavored. Steeping time on this blend was a scant two minutes. I added whole milk and honey. Next time I am craving chai I will reach for this cuppa, because it tastes similar and it’s cheaper.

Late afternoon tea on 5.5.08:

hibiscus herbal tea (tea bag) from Dado Tea (50 Church Street, Cambridge)

This tea bag came in a sampler (along with keemun and a jasmine green tea) from Dado Tea. I enjoyed the pomegranate wu wei herbal iced tea from Kookoo Cafe so much that I figured hibiscus, which was one of the ingredients in the pomegranate tea, would be a nice afternoon treat, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. I guess I was expecting the complex flavor of the iced tea, but met with a watered down Kool-aid version; even Punchy’s mix would have been more desirable.

Breakfast and after morning yoga tea:

pomegranate wu wei herbal iced tea from Kookoo Cafe (7 Station Street, Brookline)

DELICIOUS! I am hooked. Not only does this tea have an excellent flavor, but also it feels good to drink it. This tea is made with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, hibiscus, lemon grass, lavender, cloves, stevia, and other ingredients that I cannot remember. The staff at Kookoo throw in a fresh mint leaf and a slice of lemon, which adds to the drinking experience. Before drinking this, I was not sure I liked pomegranate juice, but I am a convert. Stopping at Kookoo for a cup of this iced tea will be a weekly ritual for me this summer, for sure.