TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

November 7, 2013

Ramblings: Shopping at home … for tea!

Filed under: food,men drinking tea,shopping,tea,Tea sites — by JanisB @ 2:22 pm
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This is not an article about online shopping … that’s coming up in a week or two with TeaGuide‘s suggestions for Christmas and Chanukah tea-gift-giving.

No, this is about shopping completely inside your home. Most of us have done this at some point. For example, you’re cleaning out a drawer and discover a shirt or scarf you completely forgot you owned. Maybe you got it as a gift, or you might have bought it yourself — and then tucked it away because you didn’t have anything to wear it with at the time. Fortunately you do now, and you’ve got a “new” shirt or scarf by “shopping” at home!

Unless you are far more organized than most people, you’ve occasionally come across a forgotten box of pasta in the pantry, a piece of jewelry inexplicably stuffed into your “stuff” drawer, a nifty pair of boots hidden at the back of the closet, or perhaps a pretty teacup obscured by several other pieces of china in your breakfront.

Shopping-in-your-own-houseJust to be clear: I’m not talking about things you know you lost and have been looking for, like your keys or the coupon for 20% off at your favourite shop. This is about things you’ve forgotten about that become “new” again when you find them!

A couple of years ago I came across several sealed, never-opened packages of tea that a long-defunct tea company called Junglesque had sent to me years before. They were all China teas and as I no longer consume anything sourced from China I’m going to leave them where I found them for now, tho’ will probably give them away eventually.

Recently, and more serendipitously, I did some more “tea shopping” at home.

As I’ve mentioned, when we moved from the New York City area to the Southlands, we bought some land and had a house built on part of it. The layout of the house included a room that we designated as our library and tea room. We built bookshelves around the walls; decorations included a set of wooden storage boxes. Several shelves, and one of the boxes, are dedicated to storing tea, tea ware, and tea books. Whenever I buy tea, it is stored in a seagrass bin on one of the shelves, or in the wooden box.

Before we built the house we were living in apartments, and teas were stored in the drawers of a rolling kitchen cart. The cart now holds our bread-making machine. I thought I had removed all of the tea packages from the drawers, but apparently not. When I opened one of them the other day, I found several packages of tea that I had forgotten about.

tea in cup top viewWe used this cart for storing tea until we moved into our house in March of 2006, which means that the teas in it pre-date that date. I really wasn’t expecting any of the teas to still be drinkable given their age, and some of them weren’t. I tossed the “Russian Georgian” tea that I used to adore, along with a couple of others, all of which had been packaged in non-airtight sacks. A few other teas, however, were still sealed in their original airtight sacks, unopened.

Several of these teas were full-size or sample-size from Capital Tea in Toronto. Knowing that Capital’s teas are very fresh and of a consistently high quality, and that their packaging is strong and airtight, I opened a couple of them up. Sure enough, they were still good to drink! I was particularly impressed with the Pothotuwa Estate Ceylon tea that I had marked as being purchased in 2004. I cut the sack open and was rewarded with a very clear aroma of dried fruit — mostly plum with a hint of apricot. Amazing! So I fixed a pot of the tea; the aroma continued through the steeping, and produced an extremely flavourful cup of plummy-nectary delight. The husband and I have enjoyed several potsful — this tea is particularly nice with something rich and chocolate-y. And we have enough left for several more potsful until we need to re-order.

Yes indeed, it’s very nice to shop without leaving home — and you never know what goodies you will find!

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All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.

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February 11, 2010

Tea review: A plum good Ceylon

Filed under: exotic tea,food,tea,Tea sites — by JanisB @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , ,

Menikkanda Estate FBOPF (EX-SP) – Ceylon Ruhuna Dist.
Source: Capital Tea, Toronto

Retail and wholesale
Tea photo courtesy of Capital Tea; additional stock photos.

This was one of several teas ordered from Capital Tea in late 2009. I hadn’t opened the sealed package until yesterday, when I found myself having an inexplicable craving for a Ceylon tea. It was the first one I found in the “tea basket” so I opened it up.

Long thin leaves with plenty of silver tips, and some gold tips sprinkled in. Pretty!

First whiff of the dry leaves in the sack was very promising: light cocoa followed by rich and fruity dried plum. It reminded me of a favourite candy I occasionally buy — an individually wrapped Russian-style chocolate from Brooklyn, NY’s “little Odessa.” It’s a dried plum (what we used to call prunes until the name was deemed unmarketable) covered in dark chocolate. The tea’s description describes it as rasberries, but I’m sticking with plums. Okay, maybe dried raspberries. Too fruity to be fresh berries.

The aroma intensified when I poured boiling water over the leaves in the six-cup Chatsford teapot. Following the steeping suggestion of three to four minutes, I let it steep for just under four minutes.

Flavour was very much on the plum/berry side, only a hint of the cocoa, and that more or less disipated by the third cupful. All in all a rich and fruity cup, with fuller body and texture than most Ceylons I’ve sampled.

Although I drink most of my teas unaltered, the description does say that it can handle “a splash of milk.”

Quite nice, and I’m thinking it would also be good chilled. If we ever actually do get some global warming I’ll give it a go ;-).

Available at Capital Tea’s online retail shop. Contact them direct for wholesale information.

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