Tag Archives: white tea

A Bunco Tea Moment

How does one describe Bunco? I may venture to say it’s the new “Bridge” club for this generation of women. It’s dice rolling, snacking and drinking while catching up on a month’s worth of news with 11 girlfriends. No skill is involved, except perhaps multi-tasking. Can you roll and talk at the same time? Perfect!

This month was my month to host, so I decided to have a California Tea Party, Bunco-Style. Sweet, savory and chocolate-y treats were accompanied by a choice of lemonade, iced Tangier Tea from American Tea Room, iced Strawberry White from DAVIDsTEA and two kinds of Mar-Tea-Ni’s. Who says you can’t have a tea party at night? Not me! Here are my not-at-all secret recipes for Tea-Ni’s:

Mint Tea-Ni

Adapted from Kerry Saretsky of French Revolution.

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
2 mint tea bags (this time, I used Tazo Refresh)
3 Tablespoons loose leaf Ceylon (I used TeaSource’s Ceylon Vithanakanda, FOP)
8 mint leaves, plus 16 mint leaves
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold (I used Ketel One – how could I not? Their headquarters is in my town!!!)

1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water, 2 mint tea bags, 3 Tbsp Ceylon tea (contained in infuser for easy leaf removal), and 8 fresh mint leaves. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pull out the tea bags and infuser (leave the mint leaves). Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.

2. Make the mint syrup by put 16 mint leaves, lightly chopped, into a sauce pot with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is translucent. Set aside to cool, and then drain.

3.  Add the cooled, strained mint syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with fresh mint leaves. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

White Tiger-Tea-Ni

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
% Tablespoons loose leaf White Tiger tea from DAVIDsTEA 
1/3 cup blueberries, plus handful for garnish
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold (Yep –  Ketel One)

1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water and 5 Tbsp White Tiger Tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pull out  infuser. Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.

2. Make the blueberry syrup by putting 1/3 cup blueberries into a sauce pot with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high, smash berries and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is a deep purple Set aside to cool, and then drain.

3.  Add the cooled, strained syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with several blueberries skewered on a toothpick. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

Cheers!

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A New Tea Cupboard Moment

A Cupboard Full of Tea. Happy Thought.

It’s a New Year. All right, it’s a few weeks into a New Year, and my tea cupboard was calling. As new and exciting teas have been introduced to me, I had found myself lining them all up on the kitchen counter top to have them all within easy reach each morning. I found myself looking less and less often into my actual designated tea cupboard, and it was time to evaluate why.

I’ve preferred loose leaf tea to bagged tea for quite a number of years now, but laziness and ease had allowed for several boxes of bagged tea to sit amongst ‘the good stuff.’ What was lounging in the cupboard were those old tea bags – forlorn, forgotten and ultimately snubbed. And so, out with the old, in with the new. I purged, sorted, and reconfigured. I am tickled to no end to see how far I’ve come since beginning this tea blog last April, and also to see the myriad choices my tea cupboard now has to offer. I confess, I did keep a few stray bags of lemon infusion – something my husband and I both tend toward at night, during bad colds, but they have been relegated to an ‘other’ shelf.

So, what is your pleasure? A strong breakfast blend? A fabulous Darjeeling? A premium white blend? Milk oolong, perhaps, or an exotic blend with floral or subtle fruit notes? I can even find some interesting greens in there (yes, plural). Whatever strikes your fancy, or mine, I certainly have options. And not one stinker (my opinion) in the lot! I’m ready for this year. Bring it on!

Add your comment to any of my blog entries & Win Gift Package of 2009 Award Winning Tea from An International Tea Moment! See details at http://wp.me/pv8CX-3x

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A Moment to Define Favorites

It’s been such a fun year of exploring teas, reflecting on past tea moments, creating and experiencing new ones. Discovering the tea ‘underworld’ has been a thrilling surprise, and I’ve been blown away at the generosity, humor, and knowledge I’ve found there.

As a result of this sharing and community-building, I’m proud to announce that on January 22nd, I will be unveiling An International Tea Moment’s “Best Of” 2009 winners for black tea, black flavored tea, white tea, oolong tea, and green tea blends.

And, for those of you who have been joining me on this journey, I’ve got a gift for you! Anyone submitting comments between January 1, 2010 and January 22, 2010 to any of my blog entries will be eligible to receive a sampler of all the award winners – so please take a read down memory lane and comment on your favorite post or on as many posts as you like. There’s no limit to your number of entries into this drawing.

Thank you, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the 22nd!

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A Strawberry Fields Forever Moment

I love the fall. So many lovely things have always happened to me in the fall. For me, it is a time of new beginnings, adventure, discovery… and sweaters.  (Who doesn’t love a nice, new cozy sweater on a chilly morning?) And although this fall is bursting at the seams already with all of the above, I can’t help but think back wistfully on the summer that feels as though it is finally fading into oblivion.  To have a final taste of summer – is that request so wrong?

My guilty pleasure is being enabled by DAVIDsTEA’s Strawberry Bai Mu Dan – yes another white tea. Bai Mu Dan is a Chinese white tea made from the new leaves and centre needle sprout of the tea plant. It is often considered a separate category of white tea, and many prefer it for its fuller flavour and greater potency. DAVIDsTEA is determined to change my bent against whites and greens, and of course I welcome their tutelage!

strawberryOpening this tea, the nostalgic scent of strawberry fields kissed by morning dew washed over me. Here comes the sun!  I was a little uncertain of my choice when the final brew presented a light, golden liquid.  The steeped aroma was an even bolder strawberry, reminding me of the occasional summer when my Mom would make strawberry jam. All those baskets of strawberries would go into the giant cooking pot, simmering as we mashed them into a hot, delicious, pulpy mess. With those happy memories dancing through my head, and with a boldness that only a summer morning can inspire, I took that always anticipated, always lovely first sip. Once again, I found this white tea pleasantly surprising with its even, velvety smoothness, enough body to satisfy,  the lightest reference to strawberry,  and avoidance of any overly sweet berry aftertaste that curses too many fruit flavored teas.

Kari - it's true. You can have strawberry fields forever!

Kari - it's true. You can have strawberry fields forever!

A summer morning in my tea cup – just what I was hoping for. Now I can properly bid that season adieu and embrace this fall of mine that beckons me into places, relationships and avenues never before encountered.

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A White Tiger Tea Moment

I admit it. I’ve been in a tea rut. For the past several months, I’ve been mindlessly boiling the water, pouring it over a very mediocre Irish Breakfast tea bag in my favorite red rooster coffee mug. Thankfully, the greater tea community staged an intervention and I received the help I so desperately needed.

On Tuesday I received a package of 3 teas from the lovely gentlemen of DAVIDsTEA. You’ll understand my tiniest twinge of apprehension when I looked inside and found 2 white tea blends and 1 green. If you’ve read my previous tea moments, you’ll remember that I abandoned my foray into white teas last year and have been largely unsuccessful in finding a green tea to write home about, but I trusted my mentor and did my best to keep an open mind.

Oh Happy Day! I started with White Tiger (the tea, not the animal), and I have to say, “I believe!”  My previous complaint about white tea is the lack of body, its overall thinness. But this white peony tea was different. 1.5 teaspoons of tea steeped for 3 minutes, and the lovely, light amber liquid awaited me.  As I was jotting down notes of the color, the clarity, the lack of dust particles, I was trying to figure out how to describe the incredible aroma – and that’s when Gene wandered by and said, “Hey! What smells like blueberry muffins?”  I couldn’t have described it better myself. 

I am White Tiger. Hear me roar!

I am White Tiger. Hear me roar!

The first sip – always my favorite – surprised me with just enough body to keep my palate interested. The blueberry and pomegranate were just noticeable enough to make me aware of their presence but without the overly sweet aftertaste that turns me off of most berry or fruity teas and infusions. And not only did it taste heavenly, it’s good for me too – antioxidants on top of antioxidants!
One cup, frankly, was not enough. I put the kettle back on, brewed an entire pot, and that kept me company throughout the morning. It even inspired me enough to go out back for a few minutes to stop and smell the roses.
Jen in full recovery. Notice she has already progressed to using a real tea cup

Jen in full recovery. Notice she has already progressed to using a real tea cup

To David and Jeremy at DAVIDsTEA, I say, “Merci beaucoup! Je l’aime bien!” I greatly anticipate tasting the 2 other blends my new mentors have sent me.  Intervention: Successful! I am on the road to tea recovery!

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A Tea Cupboard Moment

Doesn’t everyone have a tea cupboard?  The question occurred to me whilst reading my friend, Deanna’s, blog. She posted a photo of her tea cupboard that looked remarkably like my own, which looks remarkably like this one:

tea-cupboard

Though, this one is noticeably neater than my own…  In any case, it made me wonder how many such cupboards exist across the U.S.  Now, Britain, I can guess you will find one in every home. Here, I just don’t know. 

There is a responsibility with having a tea cupboard, however, and that is the annual task of clearing it out. I’ve learned both personally (and at the tea conferences (yes, you read that correctly) I have attended over the years) that the shelf life of tea is no more than one year, and even less if exposed to sunlight. Thus the critical importance of the tea cupboard!

So now it is that time of year when it’s time to clear out the old and stock up on the new. An exciting time, really. This year, I seem to have a backlog of white teas. An entire yellow and green box full of pyramid-shaped white-tea bags; a tin of loose white with jasmine; samples of white with apricot.  I thought I would enjoy their lightness – plus they’ve got the most anti-oxidents – but I keep coming back to my comfortable black teas. Irish Breakfast is my current standby. And what is this long forgotten Chinese brick tea? Too intimidating to break apart. A mostly full box of plain chamomile (Tazo), that’s entirely too weedy-tasting. (Weeds like in the garden, not weed as found in the cafes of Amsterdam). Some failed attempts of my own blends; some Stash double Earl Grey (there IS such a thing as too much Earl Grey- tastes like a mouth full of soap!); samples of some kind of green (too grassy) and some generic lemon tea bags used occasionally during a bout of sore throats.

I look forward to some new tea discoveries in my soon-to-be-restocked tea cupboard.  I’ll let you know what I find…

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