Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wegmans: Apple Pie Chai, A Tea Review

This will most likely be my last post until the weekend since I will be heading home. I am not looking forward to my 22 hour bus trip tomorrow, but I have movies, Dune, and Oolong Tea to keep my company. Who knows, maybe I will blog on the bus?

Today I am reviewing a tea by Wegmans, one of my grocery stores that sadly is not in the Midwest, so I have to get my friends to send me the teas I love so much. This tea is a new one to me, Apple Pie Chai Rooibos Herb Tea. It is made from Rooibos, Apple Pieces, Hibiscus Flowers, Rosehips, Orange Peel, Orange Lemongrass, Cinnamon Chips, Alfalfa Leaves, and Natural flavors of some sort. I have to admit other than the Rooibos, Apple, and Cinnamon those ingredients do not immediately bring pie to mind, and why do people insist on putting Lemongrass with Rooibos? I never enjoy that combination, but I am always willing to try a new tea!
I am going to miss my mom's fancy tea basket

The aroma of the dried leaves is pretty potent! One of those teas that on first sniff it feels similar to a smack in the face (I swear that is not a bad thing) The first thing you notice is the earthy and slightly alien aroma of the Rooibos. I say slightly alien because I have never run into anything that I can compare it to, Rooibos smells like Rooibos! I love it too, I find myself frequently just sniffing the Rooibos for a while before I get around to drinking it. The next thing you notice is the green, tartness of the Lemongrass. I almost want to use this tea as an air freshener or some sort of Victorian fainting remedy, it is very refreshing.

The aroma of the tea is much more mellow, the Lemongrass and Rooibos calm down and you get to smell some of the other ingredients. Rosehips, oranges, and cinnamon are the main smells that accompany the Rooibos/Lemongrass blend. The aroma is very tart and earthy.
Sunset colored tea!

The flavor took a little getting used to! I was expecting apples and spice with earthy notes from the name, but the taste is nothing like apples, spice, or chai. Instead it is very tart, slightly bitter, and not exactly pleasant. It was at this moment my mom (who got the 2nd brew of this tea) came in the room announcing how much she loves it. I gave her a look and tasted her cup and was amazed. It is a completely different tasting tea!! Now don't get me wrong, I have had plenty of teas that taste different on the 2nd or 3rd brewing (greens taste more vegetal or oolongs taste more floral) but never have I had a tea taste like a completely different tea.
Less sunset, more sediment

So let's go for take two on the flavor of this tea! So there is where the apples and cinnamon were hiding!! On the second brew the flavor is much more mellow and quite delicious. First you get the subtle earthiness and sweetness of the Rooibos, then the flavor of apples and cinnamon, and lastly the tartness of the rosehips and green of the lemongrass.

I am not really sure I can recommend this tea. On the one hand the second and third brews are delicious, but the first brew is probably only good if you like really tart teas. So I leave that up to your discretion. I personally wish that it had less lemongrass, but I really don't like lemongrass (or lemons for that matter) in my tea. Will I be drinking this again, sure...though I might just dump the first brew down the drain.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stash Tea, Holiday Chai Tea Review

I am truly surprised I am getting anything accomplished since the new Minecraft TU12 has reached Xbox, but I always make time for tea and since I am already here drinking it, why not blog about it?

Today I am blogging about Stash Tea's Holiday Chai which is probably one of my favorite of their special holiday teas. I can smell it and instantly be transported to winter...which is why I am drinking it at the end of August, because I don't actually like this time of year very much.
There is no 'right' time of year for this goodness

This version of Chai takes a blend of Indian Black Teas and mixes it with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Clove, Ginger, Gingerbread and Jamaican Rum Flavoring, and Nutmeg Oil. Yum! The aroma is very sweet, the bag smells mainly of the Nutmeg and Clove with just a hint of the Cinnamon.

The aroma of the brewed tea is also very sweet, but now you get to sample all the olfactory pleasures in this blend. The spices swirl together with just a hint of the Jamaican Rum to bring in the nostalgia of the holidays (especially if that nostalgia involves spiced cookies and clove pomanders.) Stash's website describes the tea as exotic, but to me it is old fashioned nostalgic goodness! The winter holidays always meant spiced potpourris simmering on the stove, making clove pomanders and Victorian Kissing balls, and drinking spiced...well...everything.
Switched cups for a better view! Also pre-cream :)

The taste is fairly mild for all the spicy aroma, which is both good and bad. I want a stronger Chai when I drink it, but at the same time I don't want to be overwhelmed by the Cinnamon and Clove because then I cannot taste the minutia of the tea itself. At first the tea is mellow, a nice Black blend with an idea of spiciness. Next is the slightly tingly and also slight sweetness of the Cloves and Cinnamon, then we have the burn of the Ginger as hits the back of your mouth, lastly finishing with the slight bitterness of the Nutmeg as an aftertaste. Nothing overpowers each other which means it is a spectacular blend, so why am I complaining about it not being strong enough? The base tea, it is there as an idea but not really a flavor, to me the mark of perfect Chai is an exquisite blend of spices in a rich base tea (preferably Assam, but I enjoy blends as well) I want to be able to taste both very clearly.

So honestly me being picky is my only complaint. This tea is delightful and I am excited for the Holidays so I can get more of Stash's teas, and especially the Chai. As with most Chai it is best with a bit of sugar and cream, though luckily this tea is already slightly sweet so it doesn't need a ton of sugar in it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adagio Tea, Birthday Tea. A Tea Review.

I have been quite bloggy lately. What can I say? Tea inspired me to write. Today I am writing a review for Adagio Tea's Birthday Tea Signature Blend that they were kind enough to send me a sample of when I ordered close to my birthday (which conveniently arrived on my birthday...it was awesome).

The first thing you notice is....there are sprinkles in my tea leaves!! I do not care how bad of a mood you are in, if you see sprinkles it is a smile inducer. Unless those sprinkles are casually replacing sesame seeds on your hamburger's bun, then that might be annoying. The description of the tea's ingredients list a blend of Vanilla, Cream, and Caramel teas, have tried two of those three and really enjoyed them I was excited. These teas use a base of Ceylon and blend with natural flavorings and usually I really like their blends, sadly there have been one or two that did not make me go WOW! but most of them are delicious.

SPRINKLES!!!

The aroma of the dry leaves is strong, it doesn't really smell like birthday. With a lot of Adagio's flavored teas, you really cannot judge them from the leaf aroma (which I do find really frustrating) because it is usually really strong. This tea smells like you open up a bottle of vanilla extract and snort it. I do not smell any of the caramel or cream...or sprinkles, but they don't really have a smell.
Aww, the sprinkles are all gone.

The aroma of the brewed tea though is YUM!! It smells so much like a freshly baked, butter-cream frosted, cupcake that I legitimately wondered 'is this tea a portal to an alternate reality cupcake?' I really think in a blindfolded test I would have thought that this tea was a cupcake. Which, I want to point out, is really convenient since I have been hard core craving some cake lately.
Still need to buy cream!!!

The taste reminded me of a tea soaked cake. The flavors are predominantly cream and vanilla with notes of caramelized sugar (not actual caramel candy, which is good since I am not a huge fan) as the initial sweetness fades you get to taste the base tea which is rich and mellow, no bitterness like you get with lower quality Ceylon. Everything about this tea is sweet, it is a dessert tea through and through. I recommend a splash of cream and no sugar unless you really need a sugar fix. Definitely best for after a meal when you don't want to eat any more but want something sweet or for breakfast.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Life!

So I did it, I finally decided what to do with myself. It was exceptionally hard because I have too many interests but no idea what I wanted to do with them. I dabbled in the medical field with dreams of Pathology when I was in high school, paralegal while I was in college (all the while dreaming about Astronomy) and then settled on owning a jewelry business because I had to do something!!

Ok not entirely true, I loved making jewelry and sharing it with the world, I just kinda hated the promoting and business aspect of it, so much that I cannot even look at jewelry without cringing a little bit anymore.

I debated Mycology but decided that was not the best idea...too much schooling and not a big enough job market (plus I would probably have to take my graduate studies in Europe, not cool) which is odd since mushrooms will take over the world.

There is always the love of Meteorology, but again lots of school and no one would take me seriously...I am looking  at you half the people I know that laugh at/ ignore me when I am talking about the weather, you all suck.

Tea Sommelier? I am not sure my taste buds function correctly because of my Sjrogren's Syndrome...same with Computer Tech, I don't want to rely on my hands being functioning because that has proved to be rather dumb.
Because my purse's teaspoon needs its own whimsical pouch

So what then? I have decided I am going to be a super productive, self sufficient housewife....err....house-girlfriend for now I guess. Last night I sewed something for the first time and it felt like everything clicked, one of those delightful epiphany moments. And it was not just overcoming my fear of the sewing machine eating me! I want to be one of those women that cooks all the yummy meals, can and dry fruits and veggies, make jams and pickles, make all my own clothes and stuff. Maybe even do some gardening...but probably nothing more than a small porch garden for herbs because....I hate gardening with a passion.

Does this mean I give up on all my other dreams? Hell no! I will still go to parks and lead mushroom hikes and maybe even put out my field guide! I still plan on getting certified as a tea taster and write blogs about my love of tea...maybe I will write a book on that too! One day I will go storm chasing and I will always obsess over weather...and I am going to learn the basics on computer repair so I can fix/build my own machines. I think this will work best with my health and whimsical temperament.

Now I just need to buy my own sewing machine! Also this puff for my cats now exists...so they know I have not forgotten them ^_^

Monday, August 19, 2013

Twining's Lady Grey, A Tea Review

Before I really get into this review I have to make a generalized apology to my English ancestors. I was out of cream, please do not curse me with a scalded mouth or bad tasting tea!! It just feels so wrong to drink an English tea without cream, it is like going to the South and drinking iced tea without it being sweet or eating sushi without a nice Japanese green to keep me company. There are just certain traditions one must keep.

Why yes, I do already have this tea steeping

Lady Grey is a black tea blend by the prestigious Twining's of London (they have been around since 1706, I think they earn the prestigious title!) who not only lays claim to this original blend, but also the original Earl Grey. Lady Grey is not just Earl Grey for ladies (as the title would have us believe) it is Early Grey for ladies who really like citrus, made from the usual Black Tea, it also has Lemon peel, Orange Peel, and  Citrus Flavourings.

And it certainly smells like citrus, which may or may not be a good thing since usually I am not a fan of the taste of citrus. I always find it too tart! The aroma is mostly orange with hints of lemon, sadly I cannot really smell the tea so I have no idea what kind of Black it is just from the smell, hopefully the taste will give me more of an idea. It also vaguely reminds me of air freshener, but mainly because my mom used a lot of citrus based cleansers when I was growing up, so it is impossible for me to not think of cleaning when I smell oranges, maybe that is why they make me so happy?
My mom's tea spoon is cooler than mine

The taste is...well...I think I might have just drank cleaning chemicals. There is so much citrus, but it tastes like fake citrus, I think those 'Citrus Flavourings' might be more artificial than natural which is a shame. I have had plenty of teas that have had orange or lemon peel in the blend that manage to not taste like this.You know when you walk into a freshly cleaned bathroom and you can taste the chemicals in the air? They taste vaguely citrusy but also really wrong...now imagine that overlaying a fairly bland tea and you get Lady Grey. The tea used for the blend is unimpressive, I am assuming it is a Ceylon since it would match the citrus theme and I cannot taste any of the other tell-tale markers of other Black teas.
Looks like clouds in my teacup 

Long story short, I do not like this tea...at all...in fact this is the first tea since my Pu-erh migraine incident (tragedy struck that day) that I have disliked. Oh sure there have been teas that didn't wow me, but none that actually made me wonder if someone stored my tea near perfume. At least this tea was not overwhelmingly tart, which is a good point in its favor, I think. Tssk, I expected better of you, Twining's!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Proposition!

I have not been updating lately, but it has been because I have been busy with visiting my mom in Pennsylvania. I ended up staying much longer than intended!

I have tried lots of teas, made lots of perler bead creations, bought some amazing things, and just had a grand time reconnecting with friends and family. I could have written more, but I don't like making updates without photos...and I have been SLACK on the photo front!

My plan is to return home before the end of this month where I am thinking of 'reinvinting' this blog to my current passion. (Ok, it is far from current...but my way of appreciating it has upgraded) who would be interested in seeing this blog turn into tea review...like the Creeper Tea and the Cameron's Green Passion posts. I plan on also reviewing my various tea pots and other tea tools.

And don't worry followers who read my stuff for crafts and nerdy stuff, I will still write about that because this blog is about things I am passionate about!

And now I leave you with this Ghast