‘T was very, very long ago, in days no longer snug When giant stood about so high and pixies all were young The Queen of Fairies said one day, ‘I’m tired of honey-dew, So hasten now, and mix for me a cup of something new’.
‘It must lift the drooping spirit, it must heal the wounded heart; It must bring the smile of happiness, and bid the tear depart; It must make the young grow younger, and the old no longer old; It must make the poor contented, and the rich forget their gold’. …
… When it boiled, they cooled and poured it, so the ancient story goes; And to the Queen they brought it in the chalice of a rose. She sipped, delighted; then she cried: ‘I issue this decree; The cup you have so deftly brewed, I christen “Fairy Tea”!’.
So when you see the fairy folk “at home” in Dingle Dell, All sipping something dainty from their cups of heather-bell, You will notice they are happy, as good as fairies ought to be, And that’s because they always use their famous Fairy Tea.
Fairy Tea by D.K.S., Old Wives Tales, St. Nicholas: an illustrated Magazine for Young Folks, Volume 40, 1914
You may have noticed that I use a white tea cup in a lot of my tea photographs. It’s because my “good china” is all white. We thought it was the best way to never get sick of our good dishes or see them become dated. They work in every season. We’ve been married 26 years and I’m still in love with them.
Peaches are coming into season soon, and I love the sweetness, tartness…and juiciness of a fresh, sun-ripened peach. Peach pairs well with ginger, so this morning as I prepared to put the finishing touches on my Dad’s wood-working project for my kitchen, I poured myself a cup of President’s Choice Ginger Peach tea.
Don’t let the brand fool you. Not all less expensive teas are “ less than”. This little sachet was flavourful – sweet and a little spicy (like yours truly)! The colour is an inviting rosy shade and the fragrance made my mouth water. The ginger was tempered so it provided heat without overwhelming the palate. True, it has a slight acidic and artificial flavour to it, but most peach teas do, and this was not obnoxiously so.
Peach is one of those fruits that don’t dehydrate well and the leaves aren’t peach flavoured. This tea is an herbal infusion, so no caffeine. It’s comprised of apple, blackberry leaves, citric acid, ginger root, hibiscus petals, rose hips, roasted chicory root, and natural flavours. It is definitely higher on the list of other peach teas I’ve tried, and like many others, I think it would make a fantastic iced tea for hot summer afternoons.
So, the heat advisors continue, which means a lot of people have been hanging out indoors to beat the heat, and they’re starting to get squirrely. I’m not quite one of those people…I prefer to stay in to avoid people, but I’m quite a nut, so this morning’s tea was David’s Pistachio Ice Cream.
I actually bought this awhile ago, tried it…and discovered: I’m don’t really like pistachios. I remember eating it as a kid…this bright green creamy dome on top of my cone…and I don’t remember ever saying “no”.
But there you have it!
This tea supports their Ethical Tea Partnership program, and contains a moderate amount of caffeine. It’s comprised of apple, black tea, almonds, pistachios, sweet blackberry leaves, natural cream flavouring and artificial pistachio flavouring. Aside from not being a fan of it’s nuttiness, it is both delicate in colour and flavour. As with any tea or infusions that include nuts, you will notice a slight oiliness on the surface of your beverage, but the texture is not oily. It is…kind of creamy.
David’s retired this tea recently, but has brought it back for another summer round, so if you like pistachios, better get it quick and squirrel it away.
I’m not sure ice-cream is the best way to beat the heat…but it’s worth a shot!
When I see your perfect body, I literally see all is the ice cream you’re not eating.
It’s one of my favourite smells in the world: vanilla.
It is one of the most widely used (and most easily recognizable) spice in the world, but it is only grown in 5 countries: Mexico, Madagascar, Tahiti, Indonesia and Uganda. Flowers on the vines of vanilla orchids, which originated in Mexico, are pollinated by hummingbirds or melipona bees. These flowers become pods, which when harvested and cured, become “vanilla beans”. It takes 3 years for the vine to grow, and flowers are only open for 1 day and must be pollinated within this time frame. Flowers can be hand-pollinated. Pods take up to 9 months to mature. They are about 10 cm long, and can contain thousands of black vanilla seeds.
The curing process may vary from region to region, but typically there are 3 steps:
1. Blanching in hot water to stop the maturing process and activate fragrant compounds.
2. Sweating, a months long process of wrapping and storing them in a warm, dark place and drying them in the sun.
3. Conditioning them by packaging them in wax paper and dark boxes for up to 4 weeks.
Just like tea leaves, the different climates, soils, curing methods and species of vanilla affects its flavor profile and characteristics.
Vanilla first made a recorded appearance in cookbooks in the early 1800’s. And thank goodness it did. It’s richly aromatic spice adds so much to desserts…and this morning in my cup in David’s Tea Vanilla Bean Black!
This tea combines the warmth and comfort of vanilla with the robustness of black tea. Other ingredients include coconut rasps, apple, bean peel, white hibiscus blossoms, and stevia extract. It reminds me a lot of Tetley’s Red Vanilla Rooibos, which is caffeine-free and also a very satifying vanilla treat! But unlike Rooibos, it is a rich, dark colour.
Like spending time in a garden, vanilla tea can help reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, Stanford researchers have said the chemical compounds in vanilla tea boost the brain’s production of a relaxant. Just inhaling the scent can relieve stress and anxiety in 90% of people…in less than 3 minutes.
It’s Monday! I’m inhaling…and tasting…and savouring my vanilla tea this morning…with caffeine…in the garden.
What’s in your cup today?
If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.
Happy belated Canada Day, or if you’re a friend in the USA, Happy Independence Day!
Usually I savour a cup of Canadian Breakfast tea to start the holidays on the first of July, and I did savour one later, but this year I turned to an old favourite: Cardamom French Toast. It disappeared from David’s Tea menu awhile back, but it’s back!
This tea is a black tea which includes cinnamon, lemon peel, coriander seeds, green cardamom pods, coconut sugar, and cane sugar. It’s a moderate caffeine so not a bad starter in the morning. Just like its name suggests, it is sweet, aromatic, and decadent…like French Toast.
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 I could write a series of books describing how wonderful and sweet he is, and how very much I love him, but you’re here 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!
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