Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tea and Comfort, A Tea Review

I have been having a bad week, like a really bad health week. My mood has been good except the annoyance at the fact that my body is a wreck. Usually no matter how ill I am, tea is a great comfort to me. Sadly not this time!! Due to a nasty 'silent/sensory' Migraine (because of course I cannot have normal migraines) most smells or tastes that I usually enjoy seem warped and just make me queasy. I tried three new teas from my Adagio order and all of them tasted just weird and certainly not the way I would expect them to taste. Then in search for a tea to help me not feel nasty I went around sniffing about 6 different teas till I found one that did not make me have vertigo, and that is the tea I am reviewing today!

Cameron's Green Passion Tea

Discovered last Christmas when searching for awesome teas to add to the three different Tea Advent Calendars I made for my dear friends. The local grocery store HyVee (that I lovingly call Hive) has a very small organic and bulk food section and in that section is an even tinier bulk tea selection. Cameron's is mostly a fancy whole bean coffee company, but they also have a small selection of teas like a decent Gunpowder Green, a decent Chai and the tea I am reviewing today. The other teas are decent...I know not a very inspiring compliment, but they are not at all bad and quite tasty, just not OUTSTANDING!!! 

Green Passion Tea is outstanding, and I was so pleasantly surprised. A mix of Chinese Green (no desire to tell me what kind and I am not that skilled yet at telling the difference) Passion Fruit, Egyptian Calendula, and Siberian Ginseng makes for a delicious and pretty pile of tea. 
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The leaves are really quite beautiful, they are bright green and appear to be pressed giving you large, flat, leaves...mix their bright green color with the delicate, gold flower petals and this tea just looks like spring time. The aroma is one of Passion Fruit and freshly mown grass with a slight herbaceous zing

The liquid is a beautiful green reflecting the spring color of the leaves, very bright and clear! The aroma is still mostly passion fruit, but the mown grass of the tea fades into a clean, leafy smell...like being in a field that is growing rather than having just been cut. The taste is very fruity and at the same time very mild. The tea taste is very clean and it almost feels sparkly in my mouth. Luckily the passion fruit does not overwhelm the tea itself, and the ginseng is a slight note of tanginess that is more of an after thought than an actual taste. 

This tea is wonderfully comforting as a hot tea and refreshing as an iced tea. 

I certainly recommend this tea and want to try more of their teas. But of course you cannot order them online unless you want to buy 2 lbs of the stuff...which, to be fair, I do not, especially of teas I have never tried. I suppose you can always bribe someone who lives near one of the stores that sell the teas but other than that I have no idea how to get it in smaller quantities.  Cameron's Tea

Friday, April 19, 2013

Minecraft Creeper Tea, A Review

I swear this blog entry is not just me tooting my own horn on blending skills, I would review this tea and blog about it happily even if I didn't come up with the blend because...you guessed it...it is a tea devoted to one of my favorite Minecraft Mob. The Creeper
Ssssure is a nice tea you've got there
Presented by one of my favorite tea companies Adagio Tea and their great 'design your own blend' ability, the Creeper tea is my dedication to two beloved things, Minecraft and tea. It is a blend of Gunpowder Green for the explosive quality of the Creeper and the unfurling leaves (plus it drops Gunpowder!) Hojicha for the 'dry leaf' texture that Notch said a Creeper would have it touched, and lastly Kukicha for the glorious bright green of the Creep. The colors look great together and the dry leaves smell delightful.
Who wants to pet the Creeper?
It smells like a blend of smokey, roasted, floral leaves. Perhaps this is what the air smells like after a Creeper goes boom, though I imagine that there is more of a sulfur smell which I do not want in a tea! The most prominent aroma would have to be the Gunpowder, which smells like a spring field with a slightly smokey undertone. After the leaves have been steeped they still retain their beautiful green color and the aroma mellows out to an almost honey like orchid.
And the leaves are so pretty!
Have you ever tasted a tea that seemed to have layers of flavor, not a typical Green that tastes floral then vegetal, but that you can actually taste the different teas in a blend? Usually when drinking blends like English Breakfast it tastes almost like you are drinking a whole different tea rather than a blend. With the Creeper tea you taste all the different teas separately. First you get a delicate slightly floral slightly vegetal taste, like drinking spring time. Next you get the taste of the roasted Hojicha that always reminds me of laying on the ground in a summer sun-warmed pine forest. I know it is an odd way to describe roasted tea, especially since it does not taste like pine it is just what the taste evokes to me. Lastly is the raw honey-esque smokiness you get from the Gunpowder.

The straw colored tea tastes slightly sweetened, but not enough so to be called a dessert tea. No bitterness to speak of, just flowers, smokiness, and springtime all the way though. It also is good for many infusions, I am on my third and it seems to be ready for more.

On an amusing note, Ben who is not a fan of Greens (or Oolongs, or Whites...he prefers his teas very Black and to be honest with enough Bergamot to kill a normal person) actually liked this tea and said it was perfect for Creepers.

Now if I can just find a Creeper teapot I will be set to sit while gaming.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Creative Woes

I have been in a creative slump lately that I find very frustrating. A lot of you know that I used to make jewelry and gave it up for many reasons (which I won't bore you with) and decided to switch to mostly origami and then perler bead creations.

Well, there are problems that arose that I did not foresee. The thing is I used my jewelry as a form of creation and expression, I used to to weave stories and paint ideas.
This one tells the story of me.
I used beads and charms, clasps and wires, to evoke dreams, capture myths, ride thunderstorms, and dance in moonlight. It was pure creative power! I remember going into what I called 'jewelry trances' where the creative fire would hit me most and I would make things till I could no longer see straight. At the end of my trance I would be surrounded by jewelry that I didn't remember making...ok, not entirely true...I remember pulling inspiration and ideas from my mind and making them tangible...the process of beading was just fuzzy.

Origami has a very different niche in my mind, it is therapeutic and meditative, the repetitive folds and vibrant colors relax me and help my arthritic hands (sometimes) but it does not have the same creative fire that the jewelry did for me.
I can weave stories with patterns and colors, for example that kusudama reminded me of Victorian wallpaper and tea parties. But it is not the same. The stars, the kusudamas and all the other creations are not really mine...some are recent (like Tomoko Fuze's beloved spirals that I enjoy making) and some are ancient (like cranes) The only real originality I bring to the table is what I do with colors and accents (jars, beads, tassels and such) It is one of the many reasons that in my shop I only charge for supplies because I did not design these things from scratch. It is still artistry and crafting but it is not raw creation.

Then there are the perler beads. Mostly I make nerdy game sprites because that is a pure celebration of my exceptional Geeky Pride.
Or my love of all things Chinese
It too goes into the same meditative category as the origami. This means I have a gaping void in my life that is driving me a bit crazy.

I have no desire at all to go back into beading, the idea feels me with great sadness. I am not the best at other artistic mediums, or really enjoy them for that matter. 
you say bad painting skills, I say 'primitive'
I dabble in writing once in a while, but prefer to write non-fiction. What can I say, when I want to tell a story I want to do it visually. I am honestly at a loss on what to do about this problem. Most my life my extremely talented mother
That woman has some MAD SKILLS
introduced me to every creative medium she could think of and it took until I was 15 to find one that I actually felt creative fire for. True I loved origami since I was young and obsessively folded things quite often, but it was more of a geometric hobby for me than artistic expression. I enjoyed sculpting but that is out of the question now that my hands are become more and more arthritic. So I don't know, maybe when I visit her this May she can find some new thing to inspire me.