A Year’s Supply of Pukka Tea – Part 4

More Pukka tea reviews to kick start the up and coming New Year:

Cool Mint Green, Clean Green, Supreme Matcha Green

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Cool Mint Green

This had a fabulous smooth minty taste – a very nice tea with a good balance of flavour between the mint and the green tea. It was brewed for 3 minutes using freshly boiled filtered water.

It contained: Egyptian spearmint (30%), sencha green tea (70%).

Clean Green

This tea sounded great and it tasted great. A nice green tea with a hint of lemon which gave it the clean taste.

Ingredients: sencha (40%), sweet fennel seed, dandelion root, liquorice root, nettle leaf, lemon essential oil flavour (6%), turmeric root, lemon whole (4%), lemon myrtle leaf.

The tea was brewed for 3 minutes using freshly boiled filtered water.

Supreme Matcha Green

This tea used whole leaf greens to make up this matcha: Chinese sencha (34%), Indian Oothu (32%), Vietnamese Suoi Gang (32%), and pure emerald matcha powder (Jejo do Garacha) 2%.

This had a lovely clean sweet gentle taste with no grassiness whatsoever. Ideally this should be brewed for around 3 minutes. I went a bit over time and it was still very smooth and pleasant. I liked the gentle sweet taste a lot.

Detox, Detox with Lemon, Refresh

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Detox

There was no wow factor with this tea, but then again I don’t think I’ve ever had a detox tea where this was the case. After all, anything that is supposed to do one good does not  always taste great. This was just a soothing cup of tea that would be expected with the kinds of ingredients listed which were: aniseed (40%), fennel seed (20%), cardamom pod (15%), liquorice root coriander seed, celery seed.

Detox with Lemon

This turned out to be one of the better detox teas I’ve tasted because it had a nice short sharp burst of lemon which livened things up considerably. Detox teas tend to be somewhat bland in general but this one was not boring.

Ingrediens: aniseed (16%), sweet fennel seed (16%), lemon whole (14%), coriander seed, liquorice root, cardamom pod (8%), lemon myrtle leaf, lemongrass, lemon essential oil flavour (6%).

Refresh

This contained: peppermint leaf (50%), liquorice root, sweet fennel seed (10%), hibiscus flower, rose flower (5%), coriander seed.

This tea was subtly minty. I could taste the fennel and liquorice and a faint rose taste. It was quite a nice tea that was not overpowering. It was in fact quite refreshing as the name would suggest.

These teas are perfect for cleansing the system after all the festive food that’s been eaten. They’re also a great way to start off the New Year, with hopefully better or continued good eating habits.

Chocolate Mint Flavoured Black Tea – Trader Joe’s

So after raving about the Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea I braved yet another bout of snow and went to Trader Joe’s to try and get hold of the tea. Too late!! It was all gone, and not surprisingly so. It is a seasonal tea and it sold out fast, and I mean fast. So I had a browse to see what other teas were on offer and came across the chocolate mint black tea. Apparently this is seasonal as well but there were plenty of boxes stocked in the tea aisle. When I checked out I asked the cashier if he’d tried it and he said it was good.

Well, guess what? He wasn’t wrong. This turned out to be another exceptionally good tea. I have to say I’m extremely impressed thus far with the teas from Trader Joe’s. I’ve been very busy lately with work and the festive season and I haven’t really had time to do my usual tea rituals with loose leaf tea. I can just throw the teabag in the cup and add hot water, and right now this is appealing to the slightly lazy side of my nature. When I get indoors out of the cold, and often wet weather, all I want to do is throw my coat off and make a nice hot drink with quickness.

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Better still, I was given a tin of treats from a very dear colleague of mine – some slices of a very tasty pumpkin roll, and an assortment of other biscuits and pastries. She’s an excellent cook who does a lot of baking. I was very touched by her kindness towards me, and other colleagues who she also thought of.

I enjoyed the treats with several cups of the chocolate mint black tea over the festive period. The tea itself contained these ingredients: peppermint leaves, cut cocoa bean shells, black tea leaves, carob pods, natural chocolate with other natural flavours, spearmint leaves, licorice root, roasted chicory (chicory root, sunflower oil), natural peppermint and other natural flavours, natural flavours.

What I got from this tea was a very authentic chocolate taste with a frisson of mint. The chocolate taste came through right at the end followed by a rather subtle taste of the fusion of peppermint leaves and spearmint leaves. It tasted really chocolatey and it had a very full, rounded flavour. Again, I couldn’t believe how good this tea tasted. Trader Joe’s have got it absolutely right once more, the blend of ingredients is so good.

The tea is inexpensive and comes in a box of twenty teabags. I got three brews from the teabag. The first two brews were great, the third was good but slightly on the weak side. I was very happy to get two really good brews from it.

I think the next time I go to Trader Joe’s I want to get their Ginger Pear White Tea. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. If it’s anything as good as the last two teas I’m in for yet another treat.

New Year Thoughts

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Take your place at the table

There is always a space

What is your purpose

to bestow with your grace?

 

Each of us matter

and true gifts cost nothing

Value your worth

Your life does have meaning

 

Dont hold any grudges

Let all be forgiven

Open your heart

and truly listen

 

Don’t waste a moment

Time is so precious

Spread your light around

and let it embrace us

 

Each of us matter

here on this earth

New Year is a time

for your rebirth

 

Take your place at the table

You are here for a purpose

Through your grace and your gifts

you can be of great service

RIP George Michael

I was very upset to learn about the passing of singer and musician George Michael. He’s another in a very long list of stars we have lost this year. He was my favourite British male singer – for me it wasn’t even close. Of course I like other singers, it’s just that he had such a beautiful soulful voice which I felt was unrivalled. Not only could he sing, but he wrote beautiful songs and he could produce – a very multi-talented man all round.

This was like the last straw to hear of the news. Rod Temperton, my favourite songwriter, also passed this year, as did countless others – David Bowie, Prince, Maurice White from Earth, Wind and Fire, Natalie Cole and so many more. Other famous people from Britain who I liked a lot also passed such as Victoria Wood and Terry Wogan.

George Michael’s music was very much a part of my early adulthood, first with Wham, and then as a solo artist. His voice was incredible and a lot of his music sounded very spiritual to me. When I listen to him now, the music means even more. I often wonder why we treasure our music artists more in death than we do when they are alive.

The beautiful voice and songs will live on though. I feel that music is entirely in its own league. I find it to be a very spiritual experience whilst listening to much of it, the way it connects to pieces of oneself that cannot be expressed. It also connects to our memories of where we were at a certain time, and what was going on in our lives. Music triggers all of these things, and this means it can be associated with good memories. The downside is, however, that it can bring pain to the surface which may have been buried deep inside.

I was bringing up my children when George Michael’s music was big. There are a lot of happy memories associated with it, but they are twinged with sadness, because these are times that I cannot ever get back again – such a juxtaposition of emotions. I also remember sitting in the hairdressers having my highlights done with ‘Spinning The Wheel’ playing in the background.  Funny how all this random stuff pops up out of nowhere when you hear certain songs.

George Michael had such a big catalogue of songs. The two that stick in my mind the most lately are ‘Jesus To A Child’ and ‘You Have Been Loved’. There is so much depth and emotion in those songs that they just move me to tears. I love his funkier, upbeat songs as well.

This was a man who could do it all – slow songs, mid-tempo, uptempo. It’s very tragic that we have lost him so soon, at only 53 years old, and on Christmas Day. But for some of us, the fact he was taken on Christmas Day takes on a spiritual significance – that’s what I would like to think in any case.

George Michael was battling many demons within himself, but it’s all coming out now what a kind, generous person he was with a huge heart. There are many stories on the web how he gave away a lot of money to charities and individuals, mostly anonymously. I love hearing stories like this because it warms the heart.

We are so lucky to have his beautiful songs now he is no longer with us. That is something that will never die.

Christmas Tree

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Tree of life

In a quiet corner of the room

there is peace and solitude to be found

as you stare into the lights of the Christmas tree

 

Lost in dreams and reflections

Echoes of childhood swirl gently in the mind

The warm glow, the gathering, the feasting

and excitement of a memorable day

 

A special day and the feeling of unity

A oneness with the creator of all things

Silence and stillness reign

in that quiet corner of the room

 

Reflections and connections to the past

shift to a wondering of what is yet to become

trying to reach further and further

into that which is unknowable

 

For a moment or two

The lights of the tree

connect to your own inner glow

and the magic and beauty is revealed

 

Compassion floods in

and a prayer is said

Miracles do happen

when the message is heard

 

Like a burning candle

there is joy in the light of the Christmas tree

A small window of time passes each year

with much food for the spirit

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Coconut Chai – Tea India

I would class this as a very suitable festive kind of tea for the simple reason it looks and sounds quite special. The packaging alone is very eye-catching, and it looks luxurious.

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I was very fortunate to win a box of this tea a few months ago. I’ve tried the other teas in the Tea India range before, and have found them to be decent and inexpensive. I remember trying the Masala Chai on one occasion without hardly any milk added, and then my daughter made a wonderfully milky chai with it, which quite frankly transformed it into something exceptionally tasty and moreish. The Vanilla Chai was also smooth and tasty when I tried that (in fact that was the very first Tea India tea I tried).

I was really looking forward to trying out the Coconut Chai. I love a good chai and I love coconut, so I didn’t think for one minute that this tea would disappoint.

There were forty teabags in a foil pouch. They comprised: black tea (75%), coconut flavouring (7%), ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, clove, anise.

The instructions said to infuse the bag for 3 – 5 minutes – which I did, though I can’t remember exactly how long it was for. I just know it wasn’t brewed for over five minutes. The result of this wonderfully smelling coconut, spicy, creamy chai was just that – creamy, nicely spiced, and with a good dose of coconut. It was delicious, smooth and satisfying.

The first time I made the tea I used mainly water, but with a very good dose of milk added, and it was so good. The second time  it was made with all milk which was nourishing and comforting. It was a coconut chai dream in a cup.

This is another excellent, non expensive tea which is particularly appealing over the autumn and winter months. Great with milk, and refreshing without milk. You really cannot go wrong with this.

Candy Cane Green Tea – Trader Joe’s

With the holiday season now upon us it’s time to look at a few of the Christmassy types of tea that are available.

I acquired a box of this candy cane green tea a few months ago, which is a decaffeinated green tea flavoured with peppermint leaf.

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The tea comes in a box of twenty bags. It has a lovely fresh minty, candy cane smell and a lot of the aromas one associates with christmas.

The ingredients are: peppermint leaf, decaffeinated green tea, orange peel, natural vanilla and mint flavours, cinnamon, milk thistle, blackberry leaves, roasted carob, roasted chicory, vanilla bean, 2% or less of sugar, gum acacia.

For once this was a quick and easy tea to make because it came in bags that one can just dunk in a cup of boiling water. Sometimes this is just what one needs, especially after coming in from the cold.

I used filtered freshly boiled water and let it cool slightly. I let the tea brew somewhere between three and a half minutes to four minutes.

The first flavours to come through were the mint and vanilla, with other gentle, subtle flavours coming out against the green tea base, which was also very subtle and not at all overpowering. The tea was creamy and smooth and scrumptious! It is seriously so tasty that I think I shall have to go and and get another box.

The balance of flavours was just perfect. For a store brand it was really very good. Apparently it only comes out once a year for the festive holiday season. I wish it was available all year round. I’m thinking with the peppermint it would actually make a nice thirst quenching summertime tea.

It’s also a tea that has hardly any sugar, so this makes it the ideal creamy dessert treat kind of tea. Apparently, there is an almost identical candy cane tea made by Celestial Seasonings, so if the Trader Joe’s one is hard to get hold of, there is also the one by Celestial Seasonings. I’ve heard the two teas are pretty much identical.

December can be a lovely month with all the festive cheer, the atmosphere, the lights, and hopefully a lot of goodwill. This tea by Trader Joe’s is definitely a good tea that will put you in the mood. There’s nothing like curling up on the sofa after a long day at work, drinking a nice seasonal cup of tea.