Posts Tagged ‘Boiled Water’

Category: Black
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Fairtrade black tea, natural oil of bergamot
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use one sachet or level teaspoon of tea leaves per person. Brew with freshly boiled water and infuse for up to three minutes

Hampstead Tea Biodynamic, Organic and Fairtrade Earl Grey

This tea has possibly one of the most well-described packages I have ever seen. The single teabag package reads: “Hamstead Tea, London. Organic Fairtrade Earl Grey with aromatic bergamot. 1 staple-free teabag.”

Wow, that is quite a mouthful. I personally do not know anyone who buys teabags who is also concerned about saving some metal, but by the look of the string attached to the teabag, it makes me wonder why more teabag-producers do not follow this. It seems that Hamstead has implemented an easy way to do away with stables entirely. But how about the tea itself?!

The packaging recommends 3-5 minutes for steeping. The last earl grey that I tried oversteeped even with low steep times, so I boil some water and decide to go for the lower end here with 3 minutes of infusion. While I will admit that I am not big on bagged tea, this tea smells quite good, dry in the bag. A hint of orange provides a nice aroma. The steeping tea gives off a pleasant bergamot aroma. The first sip confirms that 3 minutes was a perfect amount of steeping, unless you prefer your tea stronger. For a bagged tea, this is pretty smooth, but it lacks a bit in the flavor profile. This is definitely a quality bagged tea. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 65/100.

You can purchase the Biodynamic, Organic and Fairtrade Earl Grey directly from the Hampstead Tea website.

Category: Herbal
Tea Company: Shanti Tea (website)
Ingredients: Rooibos, Tulsi, Fennel, Sage, Licorice, Orange Peel, Black Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Leaf Per Cup: 1 tsp. Water Temperature: 90-100 deg C Steep Time: 4-5 minutes

Shanti Tea Kapha Balance

There is some merit to it, as far as I’m concerned. People – in general – can be placed into three body categories or “doshas” – Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. I happen to fall into the Kapha category…er…with Pitta tendencies. In Ayurvedic practices people can be split doshas. Kaphas , according to the Shanti Tea description, tend to be characterized by, “loyalty, a strong and large physique, a strong appetite, oily skin, easy-going nature, and discomfort in damp environments”. A Kapha in the throws of imbalance are prone to weight-gain, lethargy, oily hair, congestion and lack of motivation.

Um…I guess I’m imbalanced then.

Shanti Tea presents a blend specifically targeted for the Kapha dosha, a blend of rooibos, tulsi (holy basil), fennel, ginger, cardamom, orange peel, sage, pepper, and licorice. Wow, what a combo. Upon opening the bag, the spicy “chai”-ish punch greeted my nostrils. However, it was a softer spicy scent than a normal masala chai. The primary contributor to the aroma was markedly the tulsi. I know tulsi quite well; we go way back. As for visual appeal, I could see the rooibos base – it was the most prevalent ingredient – followed closely behind by beige-ish ginger. The rest was just a vibrant and zesty mix of colors.

Brewing instructions on the tea profile called for 1 tsp. of leaves per cup of 90C-100C water with a steep of four-to-five minutes. I guess – in Americanese – that translated to boiled water…so that’s what I went with. One of these days I’ll learn the Metric System. Well, when I’m more balanced.

The liquor brewed to a foggy crimson – the foggy part likely because of the ginger/cardamom combo, the crimson thanks to the rooibos. The aroma was sweet yet spicy with an odd tang of some sort, probably owed to the licorice. Taste-wise, tulsi took point, followed by rooibos, and in fourth place it was a umpteenth-way tie between the last of the ingredients. I don’t think orange peel remembered to even show up for the race; I couldn’t make it out anywhere, no citrus presence whatsoever. Not sure I felt balanced after drinking it, but I did feel cozy. Wasn’t it the job of a tisane called “Kapha Balance” to take AWAY lethargy? Eh, whatever, I liked it…and now I’m sleepy.

You can purchase the Kapha Balance directly from the Shanti Tea website.

Category: Herbal
Tea Company: Tula Teas (website)
Ingredients: Mulberry Leaf
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 3-4 grams of tea per 6oz, 96 degC, steep for 1-3 min, 1-3 infusions

Tula Teas Green Mulberry Leaf

“All around the mulberry bush the monkey…”

Okay, I’ll stop.

According to Tula Teas, a tisane made of steeped mulberry leaves (from genus Morus alba) is popular for those seeking green tea grassiness without the caffeine kick. Health properties associated with mulberry leaf infusions are alleviation of hyperuricemia, gout, as well as a treatment for leukemia. It also happened to be a personal favorite tisane of Tula’s founder for its apparent calming effects.

I can see where one could make a case for it being a green tea alternative. The mid-green, reedy pieces looked like Chinese-style sencha or Japanese aracha on first glance. Light brown, twiggy roots amidst the batch, though, dispelled that comparison, so did the smell. This had a very grassy, wildernessy smell – but much more wild than that of green tea. I likened it to dried nettle leaf, only nuttier.

On a cursory glance, I couldn’t find any brewing instructions for this. I figured the best approach was one I typically used for herbals – 1 rounded teaspoon in 8oz. of boiled water steeped for three minutes. It looked hearty enough.

This is the first time I’ve ever said this…but the liquor brewed up brass. Seriously, brass. Not gold, not pyrite, not bronze, not amber – brass. Color-wise, it appeared to be hedging up to oolong territory. However, the aroma reminded me very strongly of kukicha by way of guayusa. There was a sweetness at the tail-end of the scent. Taste-wise, it delivered a nutty punch on intro, followed by creamy, buttery texture in the middle. The finish tapered off nicely to a sweet echo. Would I be weird if I said it reminded me of steeped peanut butter?

Point being, I can see where some people draw the comparison to green tea. The nuttiness is very similar to a lower-grade, pan-fried sencha or bancha. As luck would have it, I kinda like those teas. This wouldn’t be my first choice for an alterna-green tea – that honor still belongs to green rooibos – but I can see how some would bee-line to it. What’s really odd is my body was thinking I was having a caffeinated green tea…bizarre…

You can purchase the Green Mulberry Leaf directly from the Tula Teas website.

Category: Rooibos
Tea Company: Shanti Tea (website)
Ingredients: Rooibos Blend
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Leaf Per Cup: 1 tsp. Water Temperature: 90-100 degC Steep Time: 4-5 minute

Shanti Tea African Carnival

Ah, this tea smells tasty. The aroma of the dried leaf is very fruity, if also a bit floral. There are some spicy tones as well. It would appear the mixture is composed of rooibos, rose petals, and perhaps some dried citrus, among other things.

For my first infusions, I steeped a teaspoon and a half of this for five minutes in a cup of just-boiled water. The Shanti Tea website does not give many details regarding this tea, but judging by the fact that it has rooibos, I decided on the tea measurement and steep times. The steeped cup smells of sweet fruit, with big hints of apricot and citrus of some sort. The impression of the first sip is…subdued. Quite a bit of lemon and orange flavours, but not a lot else that stands out. More sips bring out the rooibos and mixed fruit flavours. They blend quite well, and the tea makes for a pleasant evening cuppa.

On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 68/100.

You can purchase the African Carnival directly from the Shanti Tea website.

Category: Herbal
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Camomile, valerian root and lemonbalm
Vendor Suggested Preparation: The clear lively flavours of our herbal infusions are best brought out by brewing with freshly boiled, good quality water. Steep one sachet of tea per person for 3-5 minutes and enjoy.

Hampstead Tea Lemon Valerian

Valerian root is the one thing I recommend to people that complain about insomnia. Perhaps I’m sensitive to herbal effects, but relaxants knock me the “eff” out. Valerian, especially. The stuff is like NyQuil in leaf form. Kiss the next twelve hours of your life good-bye. Too bad it smells wretched. Other herbs are needed to dial back the skunky, weed-like odor it emits. Usual suspects for this task are of the lemony variety; verbena- for instance – works wonders.

Hampstead Teas does something similar by employing strong lemon balm to counteract the pungent Valerian. Funny thing, though. I didn’t smell it when I put nose to tea bag. Chamomile came to mind. No surprise since the Roman-borne relaxant was the third ingredient rounding out the pass-out pastiche.

The HT site recommended a steep of three-to-five minutes in boiled water. No mention of cup size. I went with a 10oz. glass and a six-minute steep. It was knock-out juice. As such, I felt obligated to brew it strong.

The liquor color was…well…herbal-looking. Everyone knows what that looks like – kind of off-yellow with a tinge of green, like pond water only shinier. The mouthpiece aroma screamed herbaceous as well with a mixed message of citral, flowers, and sleepy wilderness. I somehow pictured myself falling asleep on first sip. Luckily, I didn’t. This was a damn smooth ride to relaxation. Lemon balm took point, followed by fluttery/creamy chamomile, all wrapped in a grassy, Valerian-coated blanket wrought with pillow-whispers. I eyed my bed after finishing this, I’ll confess. It was a mighty splendid sleepy-time capper.

You can purchase the Lemon Valerian directly from the Hampstead Tea website.

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