baniszew: (Default)
Canadian Ice Wine black tea, from Culinary Teas:
I got this one on a whim. I don't think it's what I'm looking for as a regular tea experience, but it really smells like ice wine, and it has a pleasant, light, honey-sweet quality. It's hard to think of it as really tasting like ice wine since it's hot. I wonder what it would be like as iced tea.

Blue Eyes herbal tea, from Culinary Teas:
From the ingredient list I was expecting that this tea would be somewhere in between the juicy fruitiness of the Casablanca and the citrusy floweriness of the Angel Falls. Instead it just sort of falls flat. Its flavor is very mild (though pleasant), and no flavor note really stands out. A decent but forgettable blend.
baniszew: (Default)
I opened the Monk's Blend this morning and was filled with nostalgia at the dusky aroma and the bright yellow flower petals among the ceylon leaves. Brewed up, this tea is not quite as strongly flavored as the stuff I used to get from Tea Zone, but it still the same lovely and familiar warmth of pomegranite and black tea mixed with soothing vanilla.

I also tried the Casablanca herbal blend. With blue cornflower, yellow calendula, and pink hibiscus petals, this is one of the prettiest teas you'll ever look at. The currants, rosehips, and strawberries combine to make it a lively, juicy tea. So very tasty.

Two more samples from Culinary Teas left for tomorrow!

Also, while at the eastern European food store in Allston, I picked up some Malinowa (raspberry) herbal tea, from a Polish company called Malwa. It's pretty good, though it lacks a certain complexity. It says, "I am made of berries, lots of berries, would you like some more raspberries with that?" But it's a real berry taste, not a cloying fake berry taste.

Tea Time

Feb. 19th, 2013 04:40 pm
baniszew: (Default)
For the past several months I've been drinking mostly bagged tea from the grocery store. I've found a few things worthy of repeat buys (Tazo Passion, Tazo Focus, Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond), but for the most part, anything "flavored" or "herbal" translates to "horribly cloying". Republic of Tea, why did you ruin your Hibiscus product line by using so much stevia?

However, I just ordered half a dozen samples from a new-to-me online store, Culinary Teas. The Rooibos Chai was great -- a good balance of spices that didn't obscure the rooibos flavor. It's a dead ringer for the rooibos chai I used to buy from Tea Zone. Right now I'm drinking the Angel Falls Mist herbal tea. It's bright, citrusy, and floral without being cloying. I am very excited to try more of my samples from Culinary Teas tomorrow. Will their Monk's Blend fill the hole in my heart left by Tea Zone's Monk's Blend? Stay tuned.
baniszew: (Default)
I just started the last packet from of my big batch of Upton samplers. After this, I think the plan is to order a tin of their Cinnamon Plum and then go shopping for a wide-mouth thermos that will accomodate a tea ball so I can explore things-with-lemongrass. Or else I'll just explore the world of bagged tea.

Upton's Rooibos Chai: rooibos, cardamom, citrus peels, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, star-anise, cloves. I was a little concerned from the aroma of the loose tea that this would be too heavy on the star-anise, but it isn't. The dominant flavors are the cardamom and pepper, and it's a nice invigorating tea. I think it will join whatever rooibos/honeybush rotation I adopt.
baniszew: (Default)
This one's a multi-tea edition:

Upton's Honeybush Vanilla: Nicely aromatic. Slightly sweet, slightly herbal. Particularly nice if you have a cold and need something soothing. It's not what I'd want all the time, but I will probably end up buying more and putting it in a rotation with Upton's Poire Creme green rooibos and their Rooibos Pretoria.

The Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond Black Tea: Buying tea in bags rather than loose seems so anti-cost-effective, but I figured I should explore some more bagged tea. This one was worth it. The vanilla, almond, and tea flavors are all fully present but well balanced. I'd been hoping to discover something to replace Tea Zone's Monk's Blend (vanilla pomegranite black tea). This isn't it, but I'd still be willing to buy it again.

The Republic of Tea's Pineapple Lychee Hibiscus: I bought this as part of my continuing search for something to replace Tea Zone's Mango Melange as my primary go-to herbal tea. I expected the lychee to get overpowered (which it did), but I was surprised to find that the pineapple comes through much more than the hibiscus. This tea tastes almost entirely like pineapple -- which is pretty delicious, and I expect I'll buy more, but I'm really looking for something more tart than sweet for my go-to tea. So the search continues.

Tazo Passion Tea: I've actually been buying bags of this for a while. It's so good. It's like crack. It appeals to the part of me gives myself acid burns by eating too many Shock Tarts or Warheads at once. Just sniffing a tea bag makes me cringe with delight at the sourness. Unfortunately, it's really too intense to be my main go-to tea. I don't think I can handle more than a cup or two a day of it. If it came loose I would try cutting it half and half with something else, but I'm not quite ready to unbag, mix, and rebag my own tea.

I think part of my problem with finding a loose herbal tea that I like is that so many of them include lemongrass. I'm fine with the taste of lemongrass, but I find it really irritating to clean out of reusable tea bags. There's a whole slew of herbal teas over at Stash that sound tasty, but they all contain lemongrass, so I don't feel like buying them loose. And buying them bagged seems wrong when loose is an option. Maybe I will just have to suck it up and give up on my hipster desire to primarily drink loose tea.

Also, I have to say I'm very disappointed with the genmaicha I bought at the Japanese Tea Garden in SF. (I forget the brand.) No loose tea should have leaves that fragmented and powdery. Maybe I'll see if Upton has a respectable genmaicha.

More tea

Feb. 16th, 2012 09:42 am
baniszew: (Default)
Upton's New England Harvest black tea (with cinnamon, apple bits, almonds, vanilla bean, and artificial flavors):

Oh, Upton, why do you persist in using artificial flavors in your flavored tea? Remember that lovely Cinnamon Plum tea? Remember the giant pieces of real cinnamon sticks and how delicious it was? You know how I plan to buy more of that? I don't plan to buy more of this. You should have left out the artificial cinnamon flavor and added more of the real stuff. The fake stuff overpowers everything else, which is really too bad, because I can tell that the other flavors lurking behind the fake cinnamon are really nice.

Tea Time

Feb. 7th, 2012 05:51 pm
baniszew: (Default)
Upton's Rooibos Rote Grutze: green rooibos, black currants, blueberries, strawberry bits, sour cherries, flavoring.

Ignore all but those last two ingredients; those are the only ones which actually contribute any flavor. Cherry is a tricky flavor. Sometimes it's delicious, e.g. the dried sour cherries in the trail mix I'm eating right now. Sometime's it's just okay, e.g. cherry flavored Starbursts. And sometimes it's terrible, e.g. cough syrup. This tea walks the knife edge between cheery Starburst and cherry cough syrup, and you need to steep it for at least 15 minutes for the flavor to be anything other than watery. Will not buy again. Might cut the rest of my sample packet with some other, better tea, or else try to pawn it off on someone else.
baniszew: (Default)
Upton's Summer Tea Blend:
Black tea with heather flowers, nettles, junipers berries, bilberries, flavoring.

The loose tea has a sharp smell, both peppery and tangy, and very nice. The steeped tea is unfortunately not as complex. It mostly just tastes like lemongrass. A perfectly serviceable tea, but nothing special.
baniszew: (Default)
I just found out via facebook that someone I went to school with from K through 12 died in September 2006. Today would have been her 29th birthday. I don't think we really talked much after middle school, since we stopped being in the same classes. But she was in my brownie girl scout troop, and we played together sometimes in elementary school. She was always the tallest person in the class, but quiet and kind in a way that made her seem like she was trying to be smaller. It's hard to believe she's been dead for more than 5 years and I had no idea. It's strange to randomly find out via the internet. I wonder how many other classmates who I haven't heard from are dead. Rest in peace, Tanae.

Tea Time

Jan. 11th, 2012 10:48 am
baniszew: (Default)
Upton's Rooibos Pretoria: Rooibos with hibicus, rose petals, marigold petals, and sunflower petals.

Quite delicious, although at first you can't really taste anything different from plain (rich, flavorful) rooibus. If you let it steep a bit longer than recommended, the hibiscus flavor comes out and adds a nice refreshing quality. (All the other flower bits seem to only be there to make the loose tea look nice, but they are very pretty.) I need to go through the rest of my pile of rooibos samples before I decide if I'll want more of this, but I'm certainly considering it.
baniszew: (Default)
It's about a world where Ben & Jerry's flavors are superheroes/villains. Go read!
baniszew: (Default)
Upton Cinnamon Plum

Mmm. Dark, rich, and warming. Teavera had a blend that I liked (winter
blend?) that was a lot like this, but that had anise in it. I don't like
anise, and I always had to oversteep that blend to make the cinnamon
overpower the anise. I don't have to do that here. This is just tasty.
The cinnamon chunks are a little big and could actually stand to be crushed
more. I think this is something that I'll order in a larger size.


Dec. 30th, 2011 09:25 am
baniszew: (Default)
Hi, dreamwidth. I got an account here on the premise that one day I might want it. This post is to test if I have cross-posting set up correctly. (If any of you have a dreamwidth account that I should friend that I may not know about, let me know.)
baniszew: (Default)
My access to lj is blocked from work. This is probably good for my productivity and my career, but it also means I won't be reading other people's entries as diligently as I have been. :)

Also, new post:
baniszew: (Default)
Upton's strawberry rhubarb: Contains no actual strawberry or rhubarb, which is kind of disappointing. However, due to the artificial flavorings, the bag of tea does smell like strawberry, and something else inexplicable. It does taste like strawberry and rhubarb, but mostly strawberry, and once again it is less tart than I was going for.


Nov. 17th, 2011 05:46 pm
baniszew: (miki)
Reading the eligible fandoms list is a cross between a walk down memory lane and an exercise in saying, "You can write fanfic about that?"

I need to narrow my lists down, but here's the odd assortment of things that caught my eye:

Things to ask for:
my little pony 1984
magic knight rayearth
planet ladder
99 red balloons (song)
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
Charlie the Unicorn (web cartoon)

Things to offer:
my little pony 1984
pinky and the brain
the plant that ate dirty socks
the sandman
sweeney todd
sweeney todd 2007
texts from last night
99 red balloons (song)
american revolution rpf
sign no more (album)
Barrett's Privateers (Song)
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
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