Always 1895

My winnings.
[image of a tea towel, umbrella infuser, tea and mug in a basket]

Only I would go to a Sherlock Holmes symposium and win tea. Yep that’s right…I threw in a handful (or less) of raffle tickets and won. I was pretty excited to dig into the tea for sure. Color me a little disappointed when I realized it was bagged tea and not loose leaf. But such is life right?

The nicer thing is I won a mug. Why you ask? Because I’m not allowed to buy more mugs…ever. So the only way I can get them is as gifts or winning them. Muahahaha! The game, as Sherlock would say, is on! Seriously, please send me mugs of the geeky variety. Please and thank you!

As for the tea, I’ve had it maybe twice now and it’s ok…but it’s also been super hot so I haven’t really been enjoying my teas. I’ll give it another run through when it cools off later this week. More posts coming soon as I just received a huge sample from Lochan Tea and a tea buddy sent me a LOT of puerh!

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Lazy Saturday Morning Tea


[image from above of a small tea table. Clockwise from the top left of the table is a clear fairness pitcher, brown pot, white trivet with oolong tea on it, a white cup, and little frog tea pet.]

I’ve had my gongfu set for years…and I do mean years. But I just never used it. Probably because I didn’t know how, even though I’d been taught at a WTE East event. I was still terrified to do it wrong. Until a week or two ago. One of my tea pals said JUST DO IT. So I’ve slowly been using it. Mostly on the weekends when I have a little more help from the hubs being home.

It’s a lot of fun to use and also messy. Well, not totally true…I’m the messy one. But I understand I’ll get better with practice. I just ya know, need to practice. But with a toddler running around I do not have the luxury of time to sit quietly with my tea and tea ware. But when I do I make the most out of it. Like this morning.

I chose to sip on some Jin xuan (milk oolong) from Unytea.  This is one of my favorite types of oolong. It’s so buttery and creamy and practically melts in your mouth. Yeah, you should go order some…I’ll wait.

[image of a frog tea pet that has had tea poured on him. The table under him is also wet from tea.]

Assuming that you’ve now ordered some delicious tea…we’ll continue. This was also the christening of my new tea pet, Neville. It’s funny because he’s a frog or toad and well, just go read or watch Harry Potter and you’ll get it. Anyway he’s super tiny. So giving him some of the good stuff made a hot mess of tea all over my tea tray/table.

But he’s super cute and I’m glad I’ve finally added a tea pet to my table. I kept giving him a little throughout the session so it’ll be neat to watch what happens as he gets more and more tea. The idea is he (or she) also brings good luck to their owner…so we’ll see. Either way he’s adorable and I’m glad to have him.

Back to the tea. I managed to get close to 6 steeps out of the leaves. I was sad to finish it and begin the clean up process. It’s not as bad as washing baby bottles, but it takes a little time for sure. As most of the items are delicate and could break if you aren’t gently with them. But the best part of the session (aside from the tea) was the 16 month old coming over and asking for tea. Way to make momma melt buddy. To see more pictures and some video from this mornings session check out my instagram account – @illbemother221b

Hello old friend…

And it’s all mine!

So as some of you might know I used to be VERY into tea. I sold it for a time and I even went to the eastern World Tea Expo a time or two. That’s how into tea I was. But then life happened, and work, and now a baby toddler. However, recently I realized I needed to get back to the things I loved. That I was more than just a mom. Here I am kicking the blog back off. Getting samples to try and buying my own teas to try and review too.

That’s what this tea it. It’s one I had close to five years ago, when times were simpler, and less of my attention was demanded in eight different directions at once. I first picked up the Ancient Phoenix Fermented puerh when I first attended the World Tea Expo East in 2011. It’s also where I met many tea friends I still have today. I think I stopped at the Wild Tea Qi booth on the last day of the event and they were serving up this one. Well, I fell in love and instantly bought a package.

Ready and waiting!

I tried not to drink ALL of it too quickly, but it was good. I also recall sending some off to various tea friends who could not attend the expo so needless to say the tea went quickly. Flash forward to now. Now that I was jumping back into blogging and drinking ALL the tea I was immediately on the hunt for this tea again. Yes, it was that good! I found it easy enough on their website and ordered it. I expected it to turn up in at least two weeks, maybe more. Color me surprise when it turned up in under a week! (It was coming from overseas)

The minute I heard the tell tale sound of the USPS scanner I jumped the baby gate and scared the hell out of the mailman. But I didn’t get to try the tea until now (aka nap time). I used one brick as instructed. Which was really hard to break off. Looks like I need a pure knife, oh darn. Anyway, I warmed up my pot and then popped the brick inside. It took a few steeps of the hot water to break up the brick and actually make the tea. Which I was expecting. Boy was it worth the wait!

So dark and so delicious!

My first cup was earthy and simply awesome. It was better than I remembered it. With each infusion the liquid got darker and the taste smoother. To the point where I imagine this is what silk would taste like if you could drink it. I also picked up hints of chocolate in this tea, which was interesting and not unwelcome. I saved the leaves to try them again tomorrow morning (it was suggested in a tea vlog I watched to try this out so we’ll see).

It’s interesting to me that puerh teas have become a favorite of mine. I mean they aren’t for everyone. I have tea friends who have tried it and tell me it tastes like dirt and how can I drink dirt. Well, yeah it does have a really earthy taste to it. But I wouldn’t call it dirt. To me they typically taste very rich and super smooth. I think it might be because I also enjoy coffee. Though the tide is turning there. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in over a week now!

Tea is just better! That’s not to say I won’t have coffee every again. I will, but now that I’m making time for tea again, the coffee is going to be taking a back seat. Especially now that I have this puerh again. Which I consider the perfect substitute for coffee.

Korean Jeju Island Second Flush {Review}

Teas and chocolate!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Teas Unique to see if I wanted to try out some Korean teas. At first I wasn’t going to. I honestly thought I was out of the tea game for good. Little ones take up a lot of time! But then I thought it would be cool to try as the only Korean tea I’d ever had was buckwheat tea I’d had at a local Korean eatery. Long story short I received the teas last week and finally had time today to try one.

First up is a Korean Jeju Island Second Flush Organic Single Estate Whole Leaf Black Tea with Mandarin Orange…bit of a mouthful…

So I tried it out this morning instead of my usual cup of coffee delivered quickly from the Keurig. Sp while the little was busy stuffing his face with cereal I cracked into the sample. I went with the suggested temperature (195 degrees) and got about my business. I did think a head to snap some pictures of the leaves before I tossed them into my cup. These were some huge leaves let me tell you. Plus little bits of the mandarin orange.

Nice right?

Like I said the leaves were long and huge! The dry leaf smelled pretty earthy, more like what I would expect from a puer. It smelled really earthy with a hint of orange. Once the water was ready I poured the water and waited the suggested 2 minute steep time.

As the tea was steeping I smelled more of a malty smell to it. But it was also still earthy. But there was very little smell of the orange that I noted in the dry leaves. Bit of a bummer there. But two minutes later and a few cheerios picked up off the floor and my tea was ready for the tasting. I took my first tentative sip, careful not to burn my mouth. The taste of the tea was smooth, but not bitter. Bonus there was the mandarin orange flavor on the finish! There was also a little bit of a bite on the end too.

Over all it was a good cup of tea. One I would add to my cabinet? No, I have a similar puer that I’ve got that has more of the orange flavor I was looking for. But it’s a nice cup of tea. You can find it on their website or on Amazon.

Hey…did you miss me?

Yeah I missed me too. Not that I lost me or anything. But I seriously lost my love of tea for a while. Why? Well, I love my tea. But I like taking my time with it, which is something I had little of with a kid under one. Honestly it got a little difficult after he turned one. But Then I started getting more asks for reviews and finding new companies to try.

So it was time to dust off the the blog, twitter, etc. and just back in. So here I am! The goal is to get at least 3-4 posts up a week. But there will be a lot of posts on Instagram so go on and give that a follow too.

Really Root Beer & Glass Slipper Rooibos {@NelsonsTea Review}

Finally!

Finally!

It’s only taken me two months to finish up these reviews. My apologies, but boy is it easier to pop a K-Cup in the machine than to make a proper cuppa with a little in the house. So when hubs got home tonight I told him it was tea time and headed off to taste these last two from Nelson’s.

First up is their Really Root Beer. First impression on opening the packet? I half expected to hear a can opening because the smell of root beer had me expecting A & W and not tea. It really smells like root beer! Good news is it doesn’t just smell like root beer. That’s right it actually tastes like root beer too!! Then again with these ingredients how can it not: sassafras bark, sarsaparilla root, birch bark, burdock root, dandelion root, licorice root, fennel seed, anise star pods, ginger root, cinnamon and flavoring. The good thing is that the licorice root and anise star pods don’t take over this herbal. As neither is my favorite. But they plays so nice in this herbal I kind of forgot they were there. I only wish I had some club soda or plain seltzer to make my own iced “root beer”, but we don’t. Hands down this has been my favorite of the samples from Nelson’s.

Next up is Glass Slipper Rooibos. This one had a lot of promise when I opened the package. The vanilla and almond flavors were so strong. However, once steeped they all but vanished. They were there on the finish, but I tasted more of the cherry flavor, which I admit is not my favorite. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t try it out for yourself. Sometimes a tea just isn’t for me and this was one such tea.

My thanks again to the folks at Nelson’s for sending all of these teas my way to try. If you want to try any of them they are available on their website or at Amazon.com.

The return of PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!

I interrupt your usual tea talk to speak of the other delicious caffeinated beverage – coffee. Hey the tag line does say…and sometimes coffee. Why you ask? It’s simple really, it’s September! Which I feel is a respectable time to start talking about pumpkin anything. For example I have had my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte which was ok, not great, but ok.

But I figured that Green Mountain Coffee or some other Keurig cup producing company would have their pumpkin spice beverage out soon. Well, Target did not disappoint! There was a whole end cap thing full of 18 cup/pod boxes and yes I grabbed one. I will grab more as the Fall weather returns to the Northeast. Hey it’s cheaper than going to Starbucks for a latte.

It's like pumpkin-ception up in here!

It’s like pumpkin-ception up in here!

So this morning the little woke at quarter of 7 and thankfully went back to bed until 10! Which meant momma and daddy also got to sleep in….good baby! But once we were all up for the day I remembered I had some pumpkin spice deliciousness to get to. So I pawned cereal feeding of smalls off on daddy and got down to business. Which also reminded me that I had Pumpkin Spiced (and gluten free) Cheerios to try. Yup those are a thing and they are delicious!

 

Nom, nom, nom!

Nom, nom, nom!

As for the coffee I opted to make a latte out of it. So while the Keurig was doing it’s thing I got to work on the frothy awesomeness. I used SO Delicious dairy-free creamer which I popped in the microwave for 15 seconds and then frothed with my handy dandy frother for another 15 seconds and oooh was it tasty!

This is totally a new Fall favorite in my house. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be delicious Fall teas either! Oh no, I plan to get my hands on some Pumpkin Chai as soon as possible as well as any other Fall fun teas that I can get my hot little hands on. Stay tuned….Fall is coming!