Hello all! Today’s guest on What’s in My Cup is my beloved Eldest Son!
The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.
He’s my red-headed, hairy lumberjack, and often my partner in adventure. We’ve battled to save the world together and geek out as much as possible. And my I could write a series of books describing how wonderful and sweet he is, and how very much I love, but you’re hear to read about tea instead! So please give a warm welcome to J!
Years ago, a longtime friend sent me a care package with a ton of goodies, including a collection of loose leaf tea.
Mom had just started getting into the obsession hobby, and being a coffee drinker, I didn’t even own an infuser.
So it sat.
We’ve cracked a few vials since then, on vacation and an occasional cup at home. Judging from what’s left, the “berry fruit tea” flavour is a favourite, though there’s a hibiscus & lemon vial that’s been tried too.
So what have I picked for this review? Computer…
Famous words from an idyllic future?
Full confession, I meant to do a review months ago and forgot, and my second go ’round was less flavourful than I remember, but we’re not sure if maybe I skimped on the tea leaves, or if it just aged on me.
So after a third and fourth attempt, we abandoned my batch of tea leaves and opened Mom’s packet. Mom’s tea was called Cream of Earl Grey by Puck.
The first sips reminded me of every other tea, but after a second, I noticed it is very flowery…so orange pekoe and flowers?
All told, it’s not bad, but probably not a “go-to”, but as Mom said, maybe ‘you’ve just never had a proper cup of Earl Grey tea’ before.
Happiness [is] only real when shared.
John Krakauer, Into the Wild
BTW: If you would like to share your favourite tea and tea mug on the last Monday of the month, please pass it on!
Baby squirrels were chasing each other in the yard yesterday afternoon and enjoying the first of the apples to fall off the tree. I suspect a couple of recent strong wind storms prompted their premature departure from the branches. The apples, not the squirrels.
I watched them playing while sipping David’s Bumbleberry Burst tea.
A bumbleberry is a perfect mixture of burple and binkle berries, which grow on a giggle bush. Giggle bushes are extremely rare, as they only grow in special places. As the bush begins to shake, the burple and binkle will begin to ripen from green to a deep purple. At the exact moment that the berries are perfectly ripen, they will giggle. This transformation may last for hours as the bushes quiver, and if you are quiet enough, you may hear them.
If you can’t find an elusive giggle bush, you can re-create bumbleberry flavour using a compilation of fresh berries in your pies, jams and other delicious baked goods.
Fresh berries are slowly coming into season, so instead of ice, I used fresh, frozen blackberries to keep it cool.
At first, I felt about disappointed with this tea. The name had “burst” in it! As well, there was a pungent aroma wafting from the sleeve, so I expected a sweet, bright, mouthwatering berry flavour. Instead, it seemed flat, missing that punch of flavour. What it does deliver is a subtle fruitiness with floral notes, that as an iced tea, totally work! I think in North America we’ve become developed cravings for highly sugared, “dessert-y” treats. Because this tea isn’t highly sugared, it could easily be dismissed, but it was very refreshing on this warm, sunny afternoon.
David’s Blackberry Burst tea is rosy brown in colour, and the loose leaf tea itself was a warm mixture of creams and browns, with a vibrant splash of indigo petals. It is a pu’erh based tea, so caffeinated. It also includes apple, raisin, ginger, hibiscus, elderberry, strawberry and currant flavouring, beetroot, candied ginger, carrot, blueberry, garcinia, raspberry, cornflower, nutmeg, and stevia extract.
The sun is shining, it’s not too hot, and while not everything isn’t “peachy” in my world, I’m choosing to join with the birds and sing!
This morning I fixed myself a cup of T-Kettle’s Peaches & Cream tea, after I hung out the clothes to dry on the line.
Of all the peach teas I’ve reviewed, this tea boasts the fewest ingredients and it’s the only one that is not an herbal infusion. Peaches & Cream is a black tea base, so it’s is high in caffeine. It also includes mango, peach, amaranth petals and camomile petals. Amaranth is a plant long used for medical purposes, boasting a purple-coloured flower. It should not be consumed by dogs, cows, or people with kidney issues. Strange list, but apparently true. Some studies suggest it may help lower chloresterol, but no study has conclusive evidence that this is the case in people, at least.
It has a delicate colour despite being a black tea base (but you can’t, which didn’t show up in this vintage tea cup so you’ll have to trust me). I also appreciated the depth the black tea gave to the peach flavour. Often I find peach teas taste as though they are artificially sweetened (some actually list peach juice granules as an ingredient, so it’s not wonder!) and like they’re missing something! Overall, it was tasty, but I think I prefer peach teas as an iced tea on a hot day.
Other peach teas I have reviewed include Tetley’s Peach Bellini and Ginger Peach with Dandelion, both of which are caffeine-free and contain hibiscus and blackberry leaves. Another summer favourite was David’s Tea “Just Peachy“. I used Peach Bellini to make sorbet last year, and T-Kettle’s Peaches & Cream would work just as well! Yum!
Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.
June has arrived and with it, strawberry season! Luscious, sweet, juicy red berries that pop in your mouth. Even sweeter when plucked by hand and eaten still warm from the sun.
T.Kettle’s Strawberry & Kiwi looseleaf tea smells like fresh strawberries. It is a fruit infusion blend of apple, hibiscus, rosehip, papaya, strawberry leaves, strawberry, kiwi, and red plum petals is caffeine-free and vegan.
I really thought the colours of the looseleaf tea was inviting…soft purples and pinks. The tea itself was a soft and delicate rosy pink, which promised sweetness.
I once described strawberry tea as “elusive as a great summer blockbuster. Both have their are high points, but in the end, they just don’t deliver”. This delivered. Even though it had some of the all-too familiar “fruity punch” flavour found in fruit infusions, it also had sweet and slightly tart notes, and a strong strawberry aftertaste. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about kiwi fruit in tea. It’s a very tart, citrus-y berry from New Zealand, and not loved by everyone, but it was a successful pairing. While I didn’t particuarly taste the kiwi fruit, I still think it provided some sourness which only served to enhance the sweetness of the strawberry.
I think this would be a delight as an iced tea as well. I’m definitely adding this to my summer repertoire!
It’s the last Monday of the month and time for a guest post…except that I seem to have run out of friends. And I dropped the ball harrassing my associates because I was sick. So in the interest of doing something creative on this final Monday in May, I took on a chai challenge.
Chai in Hindi means “tea”, and it’s traditionally a blend of black tea with spices, usually combined with milk and sweetened to enhance the spices. It’s become very popular in North America, and many tea sommeliers have created chai blends and flavoured chai blends. For example, I’m currently a big fan of David’s S’mores Chai blend or Baked Apple Chai.
I pulled out every brand of chai in my cupboard, 7 in total, boiled the kettle and made some tasting notes. I’m listing them alphabetically and to keep it short (because all that tea makes one need desperately to pee), I’m giving you the brand, ingredients, and my quick notes.
Brand: David’s Tea
Ingredients: organic, black, ginger, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, clove buds, star anise, black pepper
Tasting Notes: Similar to a traditional chai. There was heat, particularly strong bitter/floral from cardamom and star anise, but felt it lacked depth as a black tea. I may not have used enough. It probably reminded me the most of the chai blend I made at home. This loose leaf was comprised of whole spices (i.e., cardamom pods, star anise) and rolled organic tea leaves. Cost is $9/50g. All the ingredients are listed as organic and the caffeine level is marked “low”.
Brand: President’s Choice
Ingredients: black tea leaves, ginger root, cinnamon bark, star anise fruit, cloves, cardamom seeds
Tasting Notes: More subtle flavour but still very pleasant, with warmth from ginger and cinnamon. Also more cost-effective and available in grocery stores. Sold in individual sachets.
Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns
Tasting Notes: More expensive. Individual triangualar-shaped fabric tea came in a metal tin. I think it is also sold in sachets in a cardboard box.
This tea has a real kick! Very strong, bold spices, but flavour is overpowered by pepper. My tongue went numb very quickly. Perhaps a bit too “zingy” for me. Also more expensive.
Ingredients: black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, clover and ginger
Tasting Notes: Aromatic. Makes the tastebuds tingle deliciously. Warmth from ginger and cinnamon. Pleasant blend of the other spices. can be brewed for quite strong cuppa. Reminded me a bit of mild ginger snap cookies. More cost effective and available in most grocery/pharmacies.
Brand: Tim Horton’s
Ingredients: black tea, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, ground peppercorn, cardamom
Tasting Notes: Moderately priced individual satchets sold in Tim Horton’s chains and some grocery stores. Lots of pepper and ginger. Faint mustiness (but it might have been an older bag). I find there is a difference between the sachets sold in stores vs. sold prepared, but I may be a biased because Tim’s stores uses very hot water, and if I’m ordering it prepared, I’ve been out and I “need” a drink! 🙂
Brand: T’Kettle Chai Kick
Ingredients: rooibos, tumeric, cinnamon, ginger, carob, strawberry leaves, coconut, clove, chili pepper, cardamom, black pepper
Tasting Notes: Rosy amber colour, likely because the base is rooibos, which also makes it caffeine-free. A nice option! Spices were evident but I found it quite fruity and sweet, with a predominate flavour of coconut. It is a loose leaf tea, but such a fine grind that it escaped my infuser, leaving a lot of bits floating in the tea cup, which can be off-putting. Cost is comparable to David’s Tea @10/50g.
Ingredients: black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, clover and ginger
Tasting Notes: sweeter than others while retaining warmth from the cinnamon and ginger. A good strong cup of tea. Sold as sachets and harder to find in stores.
Not eveyone is a fan of spicy black teas, but T’Kettle did have a caffeine-free chai, and David’s Tea also provides caffeine-free forms of chai, like Cinnamon Rooibos Chai.
One of my favourite things to do is to steep a regular pot of tea but add an infuser with Chai. Lately my top 2 for this process have been David’s S’Mores Chai and President’s Choice Chocolate Chai. I have also done this after brewing a chai tea as many of those spices retain flavour for more than just one cup.
One reviewer on David’s site recommended steeping some chai with hot chocolate to “lessen the zip”.
Everyone’s taste buds are a little different, but don’t be afraid to get spicy, and try some chai.
No problem on Earth can’t be ameliorated by a hot bath and a cup of tea.
I’m still recovering from the Death Flu (not covid, thank goodness), and it kinda stole my taste for tea. I’m sure it will come back, and it’s not all bad because it has cut my caffeine consumption considerably. I’m replacing it with plain old water, and the occasional cup of orange juice for the vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a natural diuretic, and is known for its cleansing properties. It’s vital to healing and as an antioxidant, protects cells against heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin C helps your body absorb and store iron, and is a necessity for the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones.
Citrus Burst, from T.Kettle, may not be high in Vitamin C, but it is lower in caffeine. It contains oolong tea, apple, grapefruit, hibiscus, pineapple, rose petals, papaya, and cornflower petals.
The colour was a bright yellow and the strongest aroma was grapefruit. I found it bright and invigorating, with the tart and slightly bitterness of citrus fruit, and in this particular case, grapefruit! I don’t like teas that taste like soap or perfume, but this had a lovel, light floral note that enhanced the citrus flavours. The second cup I made was steeped for a very long time (I got busy and forgot about it), so it was quite bitter, so maybe don’t do that unless you like your grapefruit strong and sour.
This tea was enjoyable both as hot and an iced tea (and I tried it as an iced tea, not just as the cold tea I left on the counter)! I think it will be quite refreshing in the summer months.
This tea was gifted to me by a sweet friend (actually, her Hubby shopped for it and he has excellent taste in tea…and women)! It reminds me of Tetley’s Citrus Kiss, which was lemon and grapefuit with a green tea base. Both were delicious but I think I prefer the unique pairing of grapefruit and floral with an oolong base because it had more depth to the tea overall. Plus none of the grassy notes that can come through in green tea, or the bitterness from oversteeping green tea.
Spring arrived while I was sleeping, but I’m wide awake now and soaking in the sunshine. At least I did this weekend. It’s raining today. Citrus Burst is definitely going in my summer favs list as my tastebuds turn to all-things fruity and fun! Happy Monday!
I’m gonna soak up the sun I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up
If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t control your life.
Eldest Son introduced me to the videos (and recipes) of B. Dylan Hollis. He’s a social media star who began his “career” just having a little fun posting humourous, monologue-driven cooking vidoes on Tik-Tok. What made him stand out from all the rest is that:
a) he is not a chef or a cook, but rather a jazz musician
b) he uses only vintage recipes.
On Good Friday, Eldest Son and his girlfriend followed Dylan’s recipe and made peanut butter bread – the 1932 version!
This Great Depression recipe is a simple recipe that doesn’t use any eggs or butter. Butter was a prized staple and needed to prepare dinner, not to be used on something as frivilous as dessert. In the city especially, dairy and fresh produce were extremely coveted. However, peanut butter was often a pantry staple because of its long shelf life. It provided the fat needed in baked goods, as well as flavour.
“I tell you, a door hinge could make this recipe”
B. Dylan Hollis
This peanut butter bread looked like a dense loaf, but it was surprisingly light with a subtle peanut butter flavour. It was delicious warmed with butter and honey and paired with hot tea, for an indulgent bedtime snack.
Dylan also tried a 1945 recipe, which used less milk but more salt, sugar and peanut butter. The cooking time was almost cut in half, but that’s because the temperature was much higher. And instead of mixing it all together, this recipe required hands on work, as in working the peanut butter into the flour mixture with your hands.
A week later, back in my kitchen, Eldest Son and I attemped peanut butter bread using Dylan’s recipe (after all of his failed experiments…6 to be exact). His recipe employed a slighty different method to incorporate all the ingredients. He also used less baking powder (to reduce the bitter flavour from too much), and added a room-temperature egg and sweetened applesauce. He noted that this recipe doesn’t work with natural or organic peanut butter because they don’t contain emulsifiers.
I let Eldest Son do most of the work…
But, since the peanut butter had to be mixed in using fingertips much like scones, just like with every jack-o-lantern we ever carved together, I had to get involved because Eldest Son didn’t want to get all sticky. Come to think of it, Youngest Son was the same way. No guts – no glory! Or in October, no jack-o-lantern!
I explained that we had to shag the dough, which led to all kinds of sensual sounds and slightly naughty jokes…
I couldn’t help myself…
We didn’t have any plain sweetened applesauce, so we used unsweetened pear applesauce, and we added chocolate chips. Dylan advised avoiding vanilla extract or spices like cinnamon because they tend to steal some of the peanut butter flavour. And quite frankly, when you’re baking peanut butter bread, you want to taste peanut butter!
We’ve become very spoiled in terms of sweetness. Dylan says this recipe created more of a “dessert bread” than the 1932 recipe. In 1932, the bread was meant to be buttered or jammed, and could be included as part of the meal rather than a sweet at the end. I’d have to agree. The texture of his bread was more cake-like than the 1932 version, and a little heavier and more “roasty”. Of course, the addition of chocolate chips also made it more “dessert-like”.
But who’s complaining?
Both recipes were easy and didn’t require unusual ingredients. I hate reading recipes that require something exotic and expensive, especially when I have to buy a jar, for like 1/4 tsp. And honestly, both loaves tasted great with a cup of tea.
I’m posting the link to the tik tok video on youtube below, for your amusement…or to get the recipes. It’s about 15 minutes, and not as quirky as some of his other videos, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, why not look to the past? Not everything new is “golden”.
I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.
I don’t have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without it.
Breakfast teas are a blend of assam, and ceylon tea, black teas with higher caffeine levels to help you start your day. And some days, we need that extra that kick to get going!
Irish Breakfast tea has a high concentration of Assam tea leaves in its blend, which gives it a vibrant, reddish colour and is known as a full bodied, malty and strong tea. The maltiness is a result of being grown in a very rainy, hot and humid climate in the Assam region of Northeastern India.
It’s believed that Assam tea, was discovered growing wild in 1823 by Scottish adventurer, British Army Major Robert Bruce. The first packaged Assam tea was made available for purchase in England.
Though it has less caffeine than coffee, assam tea has a higher caffeine level than other black teas, making it the perfect type of tea in a breakfast blend. Some studies also suggest it boosts the immune system, and may provide stress relieving benefits.
Give me enough tea and I can change the world dress myself and use my adult manners.
There’s nothing quite like getting together with a fun group of ladies for some crafting and chatting to help you relax. Add tea, and it’s a perfect morning.
I recently shared a cup of Pukka’s “Relax”with a friend at a Ladies’ Craft ‘n Chat.
Relax is an organic, herbal infusion made with ethically sourced ingredients. Chamomile is one of the top 5 best teas for anxiety and stress. Relax also contains Sweet fennel seeds, licorice root, oat flowering tops, cardamom pods, ginger root, and marshmallow root. Pregnant and nursing women, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure should avoid licorice root completely. Everyone else should consume it in small quantities.
Marshmallow root was a new ingredient for us, but has been used for centuries to treat infections and improve digestion. It’s a hebal remedy with natural mucilage, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Mmmm…mucilage. Mucilage is the sap-like component in the plant that behaves like a soft fiber; it swells up when combined with wate to create a helpful coating, particular for mucous membranes. THe root, leaves and flowers of the marshmallow plant are all edible, and yes, marshmallow root can be used to make marshmallows. The good kind you eat around the campfire.
My friend and I agreed that this tea had a strong grassy note from the chamomile, a subtle licorice flavour, a bit of heat as if it contained ginger (which it does not), and overall a pleasant sweetness. It was a deeper golden colour than fennel tea, and was best consumed hot. Would either of us run out to buy some? Probably not. But if you like the flavours listed above and are looking for an ethically sourced, caffeine free tea for those tense times (or to slip into sleepiness), this might just be your cup of tea.
I’m thrilled to introduce my third guest “What’s in my Cup” from my sassy friend, Nicole. Nicole has a great sense of humour, a big heart, and a boisterous laugh! She is an amazing singer, a great guitar player, and super cool aunt!! For years, Nicole and her sister have led rowdy opening and closing sessions at Vacation Bible Camp, with silly songs and skits. I have been in some of those skits and I definitely had more fun than the kids! We share many of the same passions, including music, worship, and tea!
(Are you excited? Because I’m excited!!)
I’m not a coffee drinker and have always been jealous of the look coffee drinkers have on their face while they drink their first cup in the morning. I didn’t think tea could be a substitute, but I was so wrong!
There are so many different teas that I love but my go to is a concentrate Tazo Chai Tea. It might be cheating, in a way, compared to steeping, just adding milk and heating, but it’s quick to make on those early mornings before work or worship practice (isn’t the weekend for sleeping in?). It gives me something to look forward to getting up in the morning, especially since I’m not a morning person!
After a long day of work, I will sit in my favourite spot on the couch, curl up and have my cup of tea and feel the stress of the day leave me. It has become almost ritualistic!
Sharing a cup of tea with my mom while visiting makes me feel like a real grown up! At almost 51, maybe one day I actually will become one!!
The cup is as important as well! A tiny tea cup will not do! I love a large cup of tea, one that might mean I’m sipping it over a couple of hours (I’m not afraid of it cooling off a bit). My favourite is one I made myself, matching one my sister made as well.
My cup of tea is a comfort to sip on a cold afternoon. It’s awesome cold in the summer! It somehow makes me feel better when needed. Life is just better with any tea really!