Did you know that bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s? Bubble tea comes generally in two types: milk tea and fruit-flavored tea. While I have not had a bubble tea that I enjoyed, I surfed over to Lollicup’s website to see what they offered, and stumbled upon something that interested me.

“Lollicup has launched two delightful new flavors of milk teas and slush – Caramel and Hazelnut Milk Tea and Caramel and Hazelnut Milk Tea Slush. These fresh and tasty flavors, before only offered in Asia, are now available at participating Lollicup Coffee and Tea locations nationwide.

The Caramel Milk Tea infuses Lollicup’s signature iced milk tea with creamy caramel into a smooth concoction, which is then topped with an exquisite layer of frothy milk foam and swirls of caramel sauce. If one prefers a blended drink, this is also offered as slush by simply blending the same ingredients with ice.

Hazelnut Milk Tea merges Lollicup’s signature iced milk tea and scrumptious hazelnut flavor into a velvety drink, which is then covered with a creamy layer of milk foam and accented with chocolate powder. This is also available in slush form.”

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Photo courtesy of Lollicup’s website.

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This evening I am sipping on a soothing Moroccan Mint green tea from Upton Tea Imports. The vegetal flavors normally associated with a green tea are absent, but instead are replaced with peppermint.

For a background on Moroccan tea culture, please read Wikipedia’s entry here. According to this entry, “tea occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an art form.” We, at BookofTea, can get behind that.

The mint flavor, while not subtle, can be brought out even more by adding sweetener. My selection this evening was pure cane sugar. It was absolutely wonderful.

As previously mentioned, this tea was made with peppermint, but it can often be found with spearmint. The peppermint is blended with a gunpowder green tea. Make sure you pay attention especially if you dislike either type of mint. I would have enjoyed this tea even more had I some fresh mint sprigs.

Moroccan Mint green tea is good both served hot and on ice.

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Today I received a box from Upton Tea Imports of tea tins and samples I had purchased over the weekend. As the picture above shows, it is a beautiful thing.

From Upton I received the following:

125g tin: Bond Street English Breakfast
Sample: Original Blend Russian Caravan
125g tin: Moroccan Green Mint tea
Sample: Orange Spice Imperial
Sample: Creme Caramel
Sample: Christmas Tea
Sample: Jasmine Pi Lo Chun
Sample: Chinese Oolong Bai Hao Imperial Organic
Sample: Tie-Guan-Yin (Top Competition)

I look forward to digging in and telling you all about it!

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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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While in theory the Wild Berry Plum green tea from the Republic of Tea seems like a good idea, in execution, it falls flat. To be fair, I did oversteep this delicate green tea, so it was rather bitter near its conclusion. It is hard to correctly brew tea when you are working, but one must live in the present and enjoy the time spent anticipating what one is about to experience in drinking any fine tea.

You must not do too many things at once while steeping green and white teas. Black teas, on the other hand, are very forgiving. While I am not one for tisanes, I have been told that they can be left to steep for hours.

I am finding myself less enthusiastic by blended, fruity teas lately. Perhaps I will have to revisit this subject on a later post. For now, I conclude by saying that the Republic of Tea selections are hit or miss. I do enjoy their Vanilla Almond and English Breakfast black teas, but I would say stay away from the Pink Grapefruit and Wild Berry Plum green teas.

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With much homework to contend for my time, I decided to continue my procrastination by heading to Whole Foods Market for a box of tea. I initially had my mind set on purchasing a selection of Mighty Leaf assorted teas, but for the sake of writing about a new tea, made the decision to spend my tea allowance on Taylors of Harrogate’s English Breakfast Tea.

I had been looking for a good morning tea that I could supplant my soda habit with. An English Breakfast tea is a pretty good, all-purpose tea. I prefer mine taken with milk and sugar. English Breakfast teas are a blend, and the Taylors of Harrogate’s version comes from black teas from India and Africa.

When drinking tea with milk and sugar, it is often hard to make out the natural flavor of the tea, but in this case, I was able to distinguish an ever-so-slight taste that was unmasked by my additions. This black tea has a bolder flavor than what I recall other English Breakfasts having. It reminded me more of an Irish Breakfast. The taste, while bold, was quite enjoyable, and was assuaged as the temperature of the tea cooled.

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Today I am enjoying Mighty Leaf tea’s Orange Dulce.

From the package:
“Like a lusciously rich dessert, Orange Dulce is a dark brew teeming with notes of orange, vanilla and jasmine blossoms.”

Orange Dulce is a black tea that requires four minutes of brewing time. While drinking the liquid very hot from my brew mug (see yesterday’s post), I could really taste the vanilla notes, but the cooler the tea became the more the orange flavor was pronounced. The orange and vanilla combination is fantastic. They really pair well with one another. The jasmine accents were extremely subtle, and almost indistinguishable.

This tea would be great paired with any dessert. I may need to bring a tea bag or two with me when I visit Disney next month. Although I must admit, the offerings of tea at the Disney resorts are quite extensive and – despite being tea bags – are of good quality. Look out for my Disney posts in the coming months.

I have been on hiatus from this lovely place for several months, and I am happy to say that I have decided to return. My love for tea has been re-inspired by a visit to my favorite tea cafe in Harvard Square with a friend a couple of weeks ago.

While visiting the aforementioned cafe, I enjoyed a personal favorite oolong tea Ti Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy). My tea-drinking companion had a pot of darjeeling, which I can attest is quite delightful from this establishment.

In other news, the nice people at Mighty Leaf have continued to send me tea to review – despite my failings as a blogger of tea. Below you will find a picture of a thermos – or brew mug as they call it – and some samples I received from them. As I sip my tea, I can say that the thermos keeps the tea extremely hot. Today I am enjoying their Green Tea Tropical tea, which as the name suggests is a green tea blended with tropical fruits. Mighty Leaf recommends this tea as a good introduction to the world of green tea to those of you who are a little hesitant to try this type of tea. I highly recommend this tea.

For those of you reluctant to try loose tea, Mighty Leaf’s biodegradable tea pouches are the perfect solution. They provide a convenient, no-hassle way to enjoy tea, and many of their tea pouches can now be found at your local grocery store.

Here is a video showcasing how to use the brew mug. While I found it is very intuitive, I must admit that the video really does an adequate job of explaining the product.

If you have a brew mug or have tried Mighty Leaf’s tea, please let me know your thoughts.

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Jason and I enjoyed a nice lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts this afternoon. I was impressed to find several offerings of Harney & Sons teas at the Galleria, a Parisian style sidewalk–think indoor sidewalk–cafe. Had I not decided to look at the dessert menu, I never would have known that they had a selection of tea, but luckily I brought my appetite with me to the museum.

For the final course, I decided on a Vanilla Bean cheesecake with berry marmalade, which I thought would pair well with the black tea blend English Breakfast. This blend was an organic tea made of Chinese keemun tea leaves.

According to The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea, the body of an English Breakfast is full and the flavors vary with the blend, but in general a good one has “hints of orange, clove, smoke, and a little honey.”

I had my tea with milk and sugar, and it was delightful. This is my first foray into the world of Harney & Sons, and I most certainly will be back for another visit.

If you are new to the world of tea, an English Breakfast tea is a great place to start.

After dinner tea:

Wuyi Oolong from Mighty Leaf

As my regular readers might recall, I reviewed a wuyi oolong not too long ago–one from Rishi Tea. Oolongs are very complex and varied in flavor, and, for that, I truly appreciate this category of the camellia sinensis plant.

Oolongs are between a black and green tea in oxidation: somewhere between 10 to 75 percent.

According to Mighty Leaf’s web site, this “Wuyi Oolong made in China’s Northern Fujian Wuyi mountains is well known for its smooth and rich body and taste. Long, beautiful twisted leaves impart a roasty aroma and produce a sweet, nuanced cup.”

Nuanced is the perfect word to describe this tea. You definitely get the roasted, smoky flavor found in most oolongs, but there are hints of the sweet “caramelization” of this tea that might be even more rewarding had I added sweetner.

This tea holds up well to multiple steepings, and gets better with every sip. You don’t want this cuppa to end.