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Tonight I came home to a surprise: my boyfriend had purchased two white Minami teacups and two bamboo sushi boards for me to showcase the liquor of the tea I cover on this blog. I am still feeling my way around the design of this site, and have recently decided to go with photos of the liquor and pictures of the steeped tea leaves – he also bought me white soy sauce saucers.

I enjoyed my first cup of tea this evening from the Minami teacup. The cup is very thin, and consequently, gets extremely hot. The bamboo sushi boards are the perfect cooling spot for the teacup.

This evening I enjoyed Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus, which is an herbal infusion made of soothing Egyptian chamomile with a citrus finish of lemon and orange.

Chamomile is considered by some to be a medicinal herb that can help soothe the nerves and alleviate stomach aches. Chamomile tastes like apple, which makes sense why it matched so well with the applesauce I was eating. Thanks to the boyfriend’s keen gastronomical sense for pointing this out!

I found the chamomile in this tea to be the underlining flavor that was most apparent upon drinking, while the citrus notes developed later. This tea is a great late night tea insofar as it has no caffeine – it’s a herbal tea after all – and calms the mind before bed.

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I am drinking a cup of Mighty Leaf’s Chocolate Mint Truffle for the second time tonight. My first cup was ruined, in my opinion, by adding honey. This rooibos’ flavor already has a hint of honey without adding any to it.

Upon second tasting, I can clearly state the complicated, yet well-blended flavors of mint and chocolate. The cocoa nibs are not overpowering, while the mint leaves a very refreshing, yet subtle taste to the tongue. The rooibos complements these ingredients well: I think more so than the green tea I tried from Adagio that used similar ingredients.

This herbal tea makes for a nice nightcap.

If you have tried this “tea” with milk, please let me know your thoughts.

So as planned, I did have Passion iced tea by Starbucks this morning for breakfast along with an apple fritter donut, but I must admit there is not much to talk about with this tea.  It tastes a little of watered down Kool-aid for lack of a better thing to compare it to. After consulting the ingredients, I realize why I didn’t like it: hibiscus!

From Starbucks’ web site:
Tazo® Passion™ is blended with exotic hibiscus flowers, natural flavors of mango and passion fruit, lemongrass and tart rose hips. The result is bold and flavorful.

Ingredients: Hibiscus flowers, natural tropical flavors, citric acid, licorice root, orange peel, cinnamon bark, rosehips, lemongrass, and fruit juice extract (color).

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.

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!

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.

Afternoon tea on 4.24.08:

Numi Tea Simply Mint, Moroccan Mint Herbal Tea

A gift from a coworker. I did not tell her my love for the moroccan mint green tea from Kookoo Cafe, so I was pleasantly surprised. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive, however, to try this tea insofar as I am not one for herbal, or tisane, teas. But I gave it a shot anyway. And my instinct did not let me down. The mint is this was too powerful and artificial tasting. It reminded me a little of mouthwash, and made me feel like I was rinsing my teeth in sugar water. There was no artistry or aesthetics in this cuppa. It was very crude in my opinion, albeit a strong one.

Lunch tea:  

serene blend from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

I smelled this tea, and it reminded me of something very familiar. I drank the tea, and it came to me: fruit loops! Definitely not my cuppa. It is a caffeine-free tisane with chamomile, jasmine, and rose petals among other things. I think I am pretty satisfied that I have given chamomile a fair chance, and it is not to my tastes.

To balance out my taste buds, I had a cup of Bigelow earl grey for my afternoon treat. This was much more pleasurable. I tried it without milk, but I could go either way with this one, I think. I could tell that the oil of bergamot would teeter on the edge of excessive pungency if steeped too long.

Edit: According to Jane Pettigrew, if there is too much oil of bergamot, it would taste soapy. I can see that, indeed.