A Year’s Supply of Pukka Tea – Part 3

Continuing on with my tea tasting from the range of Pukka Teas.

Lemongrass & Ginger, Lemon & Mandarin, Elderberry & Echinacea

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Lemongrass & Ginger

A pleasant, refreshing balance of lemon and ginger in this tea containing lemongrass (48%), ginger root (28%), liquorice root, lemon verbena leaf, lemongrass essential oil flavour (4%).

I love this type of tea in general, and it was most enjoyable – a nice lemon tang followed by the ginger. A good balance of ingredients.

Lemon & Mandarin

I was expecting quite a fruity taste to this tea but it was surprisingly very mild and gentle. This is good for people who need a more subdued fruit flavour, but I thought it lacked any oomph to it. There was the initial taste of lemon and mandarin, but overall the sweetness from the liquorice and sweet fennel seed were the dominant features of this tea. There was  just a hint of lemon and mandarin but nothing leapt out. I do like balance to a tea which I thought this one lacked. It needed more fruitiness to give it a more refreshing taste.

Ingredients: licorice root, sweet fennel seed, orange peel, reshape, hibiscus flower, lemon balm leaf, lemongrass, lemon verbena leaf (8%), lemon myrtle leaf, lemon whole (4%), mandarin essential oil flavour (4%).

Looking at the list of ingredients it was surprising that I felt the way I did about the tea. However, the tea would be ideal for many people who need a gentler type of infusion.

Elderberry & Echinacea

I loved this. I could taste a moderate amount of elderflower and elderberry, two of my favourite ingredients for blending with tea or other ingredients.

It contained: licorice root, ginger root, echinacea root and leaf (10%), beetroot, aniseed, elderflower (8%), peppermint leaf, orange peel, elderberry (6%), rosehip, acerola juice flavour, orange essential oil flavour, natural blackcurrant flavour.

This was another favourite from the range. Very refreshing and full of juicy fruit flavours which balanced beautifully with the main ingredients.

Night Time,  After Dinner, Relax

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Night Time

A good night time infusion to help you wind down containing chamomile, lavender, lime flower, liquorice, tulsi, oat straw flowering tops, valerian.

This was very calming and soothing. I thought it tasted very much of oats and overall it was a bit on the bland side. When I brewed the tea longer than five minutes though I thought the overall flavour improved a lot, especially when it was brewed in a teapot. It had a nice, clear taste and a good meld of flavours came through. I think this tea would do its job and help prepare one for a good night’s sleep.

After Dinner

This tea really hit the spot. It contained roasted chicory root (24%), aniseed, sweet fennel seed (20%), liquorice root, cardamom pod (8%), orange peel, ginger root.

The combination of these ingredients really worked well together. Usually one would associate an after dinner tea with having some kind of mint in it (which this one did not). However, it felt like this was an after dinner blend and the blend of ingredients was tasty  and effective. I think it was the aniseed that livened up the taste.

This was another favourite.

Relax

I’m afraid this one was a bit bland for my taste buds. It tasted quite oaty with not a lot else going on. I’m sure this would have the desired effect of making one relax though.

Ingredients: organic chamomile flower (18%), sweet fennel seed (12%), marshmallow root (10%), oat flowering tops, liquorice root, bitter fennel seed (12%).

I think I need to try this again, maybe in a teapot and see what results I get. I do like to give a tea several chances before making my mind up. The list of ingredients doesn’t inspire me though.

Silver Jasmine Green Tea – Teavivre

Silver Jasmine Tea (Mo Li Yin Hao) is a very popular tea in China and I was fortunate to receive a sample of it from Teavivre. This one is a green tea from Fuding in Fujian, China which comes from premium Da Bai and Da Hao trees grown in Mt Taimu, and it is processed with jasmine flowers.

The tea comprises pure tea buds and new leaves which are dark green and quite wiry. Interspersed with these leaves are pretty little jasmine flowers.

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I’m not the biggest fan of jasmine tea or tea scented with jasmine but the aroma was quite intoxicating. It was fresh and lively, and the jasmine, though distinctive, was not overpowering. It was rather lovely and made me feel as if I was in a spring flower garden. There was a mellowness to the aroma and it was actually quite calming.

I made the tea gong fu style using filtered water that had been boiled and then allowed to cool (the optimal temperature is 194℉ or 90℃, but I try and guess). The brews were fairly short in the gaiwan, somewhere between 20 and 25 seconds initially. To brew it in a teapot 1 – 5 minutes are recommended with a water temperature of 203℉ and 95℃.

The tea liquor was a very pale yellow colour. It had a refreshingly mild taste which was delicate and light. There was more jasmine taste than green tea taste, but just like the aroma, it was not overpowering. It tasted clean and clear, and it had a gentle sweet taste.

I found this tea to be very relaxing and it was nice to sit outside on an early autumn day, as it was today, and reflect on the past year whilst sipping it. The gentle green taste of the tea with the jasmine conjured up images of spring and summer, and it was a nice little escape from the sometimes humdrum routine that is integral to life.

I’ve had some good teas this year flavoured with jasmine, a Ceylon green jasmine tea I had this summer comes to mind which was spectacular. The few jasmine teas or teas blended with jasmine that I’ve had from Teavivre have been consistently good, and of the highest quality. I can honestly say since having the opportunity to taste good quality teas/tea blends with jasmine, I’m really beginning to enjoy the taste of jasmine, and not just the aroma.

If anyone were to offer me a jasmine green tea that tasted like this one or the one I had in the summer I wouldn’t say no! With tea buds and new leaves – I’ll take it!

Thank you so much to Alison from Teavivre for allowing me to sample this tea.

Here is the link to the range of teas on the website:

http://www.teavivre.com/green-tea/

Raising My Glass To You

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Thirty years have gone by

since the day you were born

The sun dazzled that day

in the September sky

 

Yesterday’s dreams

turn to hope for the future

How will it all play out?

and what is the theme?

 

Find who you are

Search for your answers

Find your way

Follow that star

 

Whatever the day

And wherever you are

Loving thoughts are with you

Just a heartbeat away

Coconut Almond Black Tea – Paromi Tea

I came across this tea whilst visiting the local Whole Foods in Bellingham. I initially went in there to get some dates to add to an apple crumble to make that night, and also just to have a nice quiet browse on my own. I’d been to Whole Foods a couple of times to eat some of their delicious stone baked pizza, but when in company it’s hard to get the chance to really see what there is in the store. So on a beautiful sunny Tuesday afternoon I decided to go there alone.

Whilst in the tea aisle I noticed there were some different tea brands that I hadn’t come across before. I had a really nice conversation with Jo, the sales assistant, who had just finished doing a demo for some jasmine tea. It was clear we both shared a love of tea and we were both curious to know what Paromi tea tasted like. Imagine my surprise when Jo very kindly offered to let me take a tin home to sample! Paromi tea is not the cheapest tea you can buy so I was very grateful to have the opportunity to try one of the flavours before buying. I wanted to see if the tea was actually worth the price tag of $10.99. I chose the Coconut Almond black tea.

The tea was in an opaque glass jar which is different to how tea is usually presented or packaged and there were fifteen silky looking pyramid sachets inside. The next thing I noticed was the full leaf tea inside the bags with visible slithers of almond and coconut shreds.

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Often flavoured black teas have a really bad artificial taste and aroma, but not this one. It smelled very natural like there was an opened bags of almonds in front of me, and there was also a fresh aroma from the shreds of coconut. It was very pungent and definitely woke up my senses. I’m sure the glass jar ensured that the tea stayed fresh and fragrant. I noted that the tea was an assam tea, handpicked from the Nahorhabi tea estate in North India. The almonds were from California and the coconut from Indonesia. Natural coconut and almond essence were also listed in the ingredients. I’d had a few savoury teas lately so this blend was going to be interesting.

According to the instructions on the jar the tea should be brewed in 10 – 12 oz of boiling water. I used filtered water and used less than the stated amount, around 8 oz (I wanted a more condensed taste). In my haste to taste the tea I just let the teabag brew in a cup for four minutes rather than make it in a teapot. The tea liquor was a reddish brown colour and the aroma emanating from the cup was delectable.

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The taste was striking because it was so fresh and natural, and quite unique. The base black tea tasted full but not too strong even though assam is quite a strong type of tea. Maybe this was because the sachets weren’t overly filled and there was plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl. So often I’ve had flavoured tea blends where the black tea has pretty much overpowered the other flavours and effectively killed off the taste and enjoyment of the blend. The almond in this blend was the strongest or most distinctive of the two nut flavours – it was exquisite and the coconut taste was as if someone had cracked open a shell of fresh coconut. The blend was lively and flavourful with a sweet taste which was satisfying and such a treat. The balance and fusion of flavours was very clever and I got two good brews from the sachet.

I drank the tea without milk the first time to savour the fullness of the flavours. I also tried it on another occasion with milk which made it more of a dessert tea – just the job when you want to satisfy a sweet craving without the calories. I would like to have tried the tea with almond milk or coconut milk but I didn’t have any around at the time. The tea was equally delicious with or without regular milk added, but I have a feeling the addition of almond milk in particular would take the tea to yet another level.

I can honestly say that this tea is amongst the best I’ve ever tried when it comes to sachet/teabag teas. I wouldn’t say it would be a main, everyday tea to drink because  it has a very different taste than is usual, and I’d consider it as more of a luxury. Some of the other flavours in the range may lend themselves to the respective teas being drunk more frequently though such as the camomile and lavender, but it is all down to individual tastes and preferences. I can say this tea would be great for giving oneself a special treat once in a while, or for giving it as a gift to a tea lover. So, in a nutshell (pun intended!), I think the quality of this tea blend does justify the price tag.

To view the range of Paromi tea here is the link:

http://paromitea.com/all-teas/

I’m very grateful to Whole Foods, and especially to Jo, for allowing me to try the tea. In fact, the customer service was excellent throughout the whole store and there was a nice vibe. Thank you Whole Foods! I can thoroughly recommend this store to anyone and I shall definitely be back!

Ceylon Uva Tea – Northern Tea Merchants, and Lemon & Pepper White Chocolate – Forte Chocolates

This is the first of a tea and chocolate pairing which I had been contemplating doing for some time. On this occasion I made a delicious pot of Ceylon Uva black tea which comes from the wonderful Northern Tea Merchants in the UK, and paired it with some good quality chocolate from Forte Chocolates in Washington USA – in this case a lemon and pepper white chocolate. Now I know white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate but that isn’t the point of this post. The point of it is to show how the combination of tastes pair together which results in a lovely decadent treat.

When I saw the lemon and pepper chocolate I immediately thought of Ceylon tea as a good pairing for it, and it just so happened that I had a packet of Northern Tea’s Ceylon Uva, a high quality tea that I’d previously sampled on a recent tea tasting trip.

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The lemon and pepper white chocolate is an artisan chocolate from the Gusto range from Forte Chocolates. I’d sampled the chocolate in a local Forte Chocolate shop (along with some other delicious chocolates) and it is one of my favourites from the range. The ingredients listed are: White Chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, milkfat, GMO free soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural vanilla), lemon essence, pepper. Who would have thought of combining lemon and pepper in a chocolate? – sweet meets savoury.

I felt that the tea would complement the chocolate very well because Ceylon tea has a bold, brisk taste to cut through the sweetness. The tea comes from St James’ estate in the Uva tea district in Sri Lanka, and is grown at high altitude (between 4,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level). According to Northern Tea’s blog, an airy quality is imparted to the leaves by hot Cachan winds that blow over the mountains in the Uva district. The airy quality is described by Northern Tea as ‘wintergreen’.

When I opened the packet of tea I could detect an airy, fresh kind of smell, and the overall aroma was quite robust with a hint of fruitiness. The tea was quite fine and richly coloured.

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I used filtered water and near boiled it before adding it to a glass teapot. The tea was brewed for about four minutes and the liquor became a beautiful coppery colour.

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Then came the really fun part! I tasted a couple of squares of the creamy lemony chocolate. The pepper came through at the end and it complemented the lemon so well. Afterwards I took some sips of tea and enjoyed the brisk, clean taste, together with a hint of fruit and a mild astringent taste. The astringency and clear, bold, slightly fruity taste cut so well into the sweet lemony pepper flavour. I thought it was definitely a match made in heaven! The more I tasted the combination of chocolate and tea, the more I enjoyed it. I drank the tea without milk and the astringency and hearty flavour was really enjoyable after the overall sweetness of the chocolate. The tea also tastes good with a drizzle of milk which is how I like to take this tea occasionally.

I could just imagine having tea and chocolate parties with a few close friends for fun, or perhaps as a fundraiser. Who knows?, there are so many ideas running through my head, but I’m really looking forward to trying out some more combinations. Although I have another white chocolate to try out with some tea, a good dark chocolate would be interesting. It makes a change from tea and cake, and of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Who doesn’t enjoy a nice slice of cake with their tea?

Stay tuned, and in the meantime check out Northern Tea’s website where you can buy so many different kinds of tea, it’s a tea lover’s paradise:

http://www.northern-tea.com

Also, here is the link to the mouth watering display of Forte Chocolates:

https://www.fortechocolates.com

Simple Pleasures

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Something is bigger than we are

Look around and marvel at the beauty of nature

It is all there

Stop, look, and breathe in the elements

The rain that freshens you,

the wind to carry you,

and the sun to shine on you

In the winter of your life

there is warmth and belonging

in familiar company

A meal shared amongst friends

with a view to the lake

Take what you can

of the simple pleasures to be gained

Frail, but very much alive

A mind that is aware,

a soul who still cares

Precious moments

and just being there

A Year’s Supply of Pukka Tea – Part 2

Winning so much tea is a lot of fun when there are so many different varieties to choose from. Now on to the second batch for review!

Love, Womankind, Herbal Collection

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Love

One would think this tea should be saved for Valentine’s Day. It contained camomile flower (25%), lime flower, elderflower, marigold flower, liquorice root, rose flower (5%), and lavender flower (5%).

On drinking it though I was a tad disappointed. Nothing really stood out and it was just another nice mellow, relaxing kind of tea. The familiar liquorice taste was amongst the ingredients, but unfortunately with liquorice being added to so many of the teas it began to taste a bit samey. I didn’t find anything that special about this tea.

Womankind

Now this unusual sounding tea was really quite pleasant. It contained camomile flower, shalavari root, liquorice root, hibiscus flower, marigold flower, beetroot, orange peel, orange essential oil flavour, vanilla pod (4%), rose flower (4%), cranberry (4%).

The tea was kind of misleading as on the outside of the box the description was “a delicate dance of organic cranberry, rose and sweet vanilla. The cranberry was really subtle and delicate – not very detectable for the most part. I thought there would be much more of this flavour. However, it was an extremely nice tea with the sweetness of the vanilla and rose, combined with with the merest hint of cranberry,

Very delicate and soothing and one of my favourites from the range.

Herbal Collection

Three Mint:

This comprised peppermint leaf (34%), spearmint leaf (34%), fieldmint leaf (32%).

This had a fresh but mild and minty taste. It was very refreshing and it was a nice change to have a combination of different mints.

Lemon, Ginger & Manuka Honey:

This tasted very much as it sounded, but on the mellow side, very mellow in fact. I would have preferred a little more oomph to this tea.

The ingredients certainly sounded very invigorating so the overall taste wasn’t quite as expected. Anyway, the ingredients were: elderflower, fennel, ginger, lemon myrtle, manuka, turmeric, lemon, lemon verbena.

Maybe if the lemon had been one of the main ingredients it would have delivered a bit more. I mean, the lemon was sun ripened sicilian lemon which made my mouth water.

Three Ginger, Three Fennel, Three Camomile

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Three Ginger

Now this had some bite to it. I really enjoyed this. The ingredients were: ginger root (51%), galangal root (28%), liquorice root, turmeric root (4%), ginger essential oil flavour (1%).

Another one of my favourite teas, I enjoyed this a lot as it had a nice, brisk ginger taste without being too harsh.

Three Fennel

Another enjoyable drink containing: sweet fennel seed (50%), wild bitter fennel seed (45%), fennel leaf (5%).

This did have a sweetish taste due to the sweet fennel seed. I’ve always enjoyed fennel tea even though it reminds me of the fennel drink I used to give to my children when they were babies.

Fennel is very soothing and good for the digestion. This is a handy tea to have in the cupboard and not just for the pleasant taste.

Three Camomile

This contained: Egyptian camomile flower (90%), Croatian camomile flower (5%), Hungarian camomile flower (5%).

Nice, soothing, mellow and relaxing, just as one would associate with camomile flower. It was very interesting to taste camomile from three different countries.

There is certainly a lot of ingredients sourced from other countries with Pukka. It gives the teas an interesting twist each time. I’m impressed with that aspect of their teas thus far.