I Do Love a Good Mystery

As mentioned before, I greatly enjoy reading mysteries. It has something to do with the need to have my brain in constant motion in order to keep myself from becoming bored. Yes, I do read the occasional romance novel, but they’re almost always so hokey and unrealistic that slogging through a whole one is quite an effort. No, give me a good who-dun-it, and I’m happy. What has this to do with tea, you’re wondering? Well, on one of my orders to Plum Deluxe I decided to add their Blender’s Choice option to my cart. I paid just $5 for a tea blend of their choosing, thereby saving $2 and giving myself a surprise to which I could look forward.A4690D4B-A2BA-451A-8778-9D9EBB97A824

Was the surprise worth waiting for? Yes! I received Soul Warmer Herbal Tea. What a perfect tea to drink in the winter when your soul, as well as the rest of you, needs warming up. To the all organic rooibos base they add apple pieces, cocoa nibs, orange peel, calendula, blue cornflowers, hazelnut and chestnut essences, and caramel extract. Is that not a lovely tea?
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The aroma that comes from the packet is enticing. You know immediately that you’re in for a treat. The resulting tea is sweet, especially with a teaspoon of honey added to it. It reminded me of something from the moment I took a sip. It took a while to decide just what though. I finally decided it was kettle corn. I love kettle corn! I try to buy a bag, or two, every year when we go to Gatlinburg. Now I don’t have to wait a whole year between bags of popcorn, I can just indulge in a cup of this tea. Best of all, it’s caffeine free, so I can indulge both day and night. What a win-win that is!

Am I reading a good mystery right now? The answer to that question is also, yes! I’m reading Death of an Honest Man by M. C. Beaton. The main character in this series is Hamish Macbeth, and he always has a couple of murders, usually connected to one another, to solve. The location is one that I’d love to visit one day, the Scottish Highlands. If I ever got to go I’d probably run into relatives there, or at least somewhere in Scotland. Drinking this tea while reading my mystery book has been a great way to spend the weekend. Oh, yes, one more thing. I’m doing all of this while sitting at the beach. Can you say, “Ahhhhhh…”

How to Go 500 Miles

As the weekend nears we sometimes need a bit of a boost to make it through Friday or WP-500 Mile Chaiaccomplish all that’s had to wait on getting done until Saturday. If you find yourself in that position, allow me to recommend 500 Mile Chai by The Tao of Tea. It is a wonderful Chai tea, high in caffeine and full of flavour. It’s one of the teas that I try to keep on hand at all times. When I run out, I buy more.

The story behind this tea is interesting. It is said to have come about because late night truck drivers in India would ask for a cup of Chai strong enough to get WP-500 Mile Chai Loosethem another 500 miles. The variety of tea most often used for Chai is cut, tear, and curl (CTC). This particular offering contains 100% organic ingredients including black tea leaves, cinnamon, dried ginger, cloves, and cardamom. The addition of milk and sugar, or in my case honey, makes this a perfect tea choice when your energy flags and you still have many miles to go before you sleep.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Photo Credit: The Tao of Tea

A Magical Night

Can you believe that we’re already halfway through the month of January?! Have you been enjoying lots of hot tea, preferably varying varieties thereof? I must admit that it’s been somewhat of a challenge to carve out time each evening to make posts, but it’s also been nice to have an excuse to make a pot, or in tonight’s case a cup, of tea with the objective of it being different than the day before. You see, for all the varieties I have at my disposal, I tend to be a bit of a predictable drinker, drinking the same varieties over and over again. Not necessarily because they’re the best of the lot, but more because they’re comfortable. I know what to expect from a specific selection with no surprises, and no adjustments are required to the expectations of my taste buds.

Tonight I decided to try not only a new tea but a new-to-me tea brand whose tea I bought for the tin design alone. I mentioned my weakness for tins in previous posts I’m sure, and it kicked in full force when I ran across this tin. I’d never heard of the brand and had it not been for the unusually shaped tin I might not have bought it. The tin is, in my opinion, beautiful. I wouldn’t mind finding the tin’s design printed on fabric. It’d be one of those WOW! pieces that we quilters tend to buy just because they scream our names and force us to take them home with us. Those pieces tend to end up being for petting purposes only. They never actually get used in a quilt. Needless to say, I have a lot of those as well.

The brand is Basilur. The blend is Magic Nights. The packaging is impressive, and I’m not just 347ECFAA-A8CA-4814-B661-F1F6F6FE5E79talking about the tin now. My tin contains the Pyramid Collection. The teabags are pyramid shaped and contained in a sealed foil pouch which is resealable. E71D6CD5-0EF0-4DA5-9726-05FF955E3E55The lid has a plastic flange around the edge to help seal in freshness. My pyramid teabags have a string and paper tab which makes brewing up a cup quick and easy. This is a pure WP-MAGIC NIGHTSCeylon black tea with natural cranberry fruits, natural cornflower and blue malva, and flavours strawberry, pineapple, papaya, and apricot. The option in their online store is for loose leaf tea.

I’m very familiar with all of the flavours in this blend except one, blue malva. After looking it up, I was delighted to see that it helps with inflammation, which is a large part of why I’m trying to eat a Ketogenic diet. It’s also been used in traditional Austrian medicine internally in the form of tea or externally as baths for treatment of disorders of the skin. Other benefits are to the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and heart. But the most intriguing use of blue malva was as a blue rinse for gray hair before chemical dyes came along. I think I might have to find some of this and give it a try.

I can honestly say that even though this tea was way past its “best by” date, by almost two years to be more precise, I greatly enjoyed my cup of tea this evening. The aroma that came from the tin even before I opened the sealed bag was lovely. The aroma of the opened bag was even better. It has a very sweet fragrance, and although I could have had my tea without sweetener I went ahead and added honey. It tasted even better with the addition of honey. I will definitely have to buy more of this blend once my supply runs out. That shouldn’t take long because the sealed bag is pretty light, so I think there’s probably only 20 teabags, definitely not more than 40, in this large, beautiful tin. I’ve purchased other blends by Basilur in the past couple of months which I’ve not had a chance to try yet. Once I do, I’ll let you know what I think about those. I can already tell you that one of the purchases was because of the tin that the teas came in. It looks like a book! In addition to making a wonderful blend in Magic Nights, these folks have presentation down pat.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Photo credit: Basilur Teas

Spicy Chocolate Tea – Yum!

Many years ago I decided to take two years of French in high school. I would have taken a third year but my mom, who was a teacher, wanted me to graduate a year early, so I did. My choice to take French rather than Spanish or Latin was cut and dry as far as I was concerned back then. I had no desire to go to Mexico, and I wasn’t going to be in the medical profession, therefore neither Spanish nor Latin would do me any good (ah, the ignorance of youth). However, I had a great desire to go to France. Amazingly enough I took to the language and found it quite easy to learn with very little studying.

Although I didn’t get to take that third year I learned a bit more than just the two years worth because the third year students were in class with us. They got to sample French cuisine in class in the form of crepes and fondue, so we second year students were allowed to join in. That day in class has lived on in my memory for decades now, so you can see what a profound impact it had on me. In fact, that Christmas I asked for and received an electric crepe maker which I still have to this day.

What has all that got to do with tea? Well, interestingly enough, one of my favourite chocolate teas is from Paris. I am referring specifically to Spicy Chocolate by Kusmi Tea. Of the half dozen chocolate varieties that I have on hand, this blend beats the others hands down. That’s not to say that the others aren’t good, it’s just that this particular blend, said to be inspired by the original way of enjoying hot chocolate as introduced into Europe in the 16th century, is very appealing to my taste buds. It is said to be a blend of black China tea with scents of chocolate and spices. The spices, based on their website page, are probably cinnamon, pepper, clove buds, cardamom, ginger, and flavourings.

The tea comes in a muslin bag with a chained string and paper tab. Being a quilter you can bet that I take those little bags apart, put the tea leaves in a plastic bag to add to my flowers in the summer, and then use the little piece of tea-dyed muslin for small quilty projects. Waste not, want not. Right!?

The history of this tea goes back 150 years and covers much territory from its beginning in Russia to its move to Paris and other countries as well. Be sure to take a little time to visit their website and take the journey through time with this tea company.

Originally, I purchased this tea on a couple of occasions from teadog, but they no longer carry it. As best I can tell, you can order it directly from the Kusmi website. And oh, by the way, they’re having a 50% off sale on some of their teas and offer free shipping for orders over $45. Unfortunately, this particular blend is out of stock at the moment. Hopefully, it will be replenished soon. I’ve held off using up my little sachets until they’re way past their “best by” date, so acquiring more is on my list of to-dos for this year. And yes, amazingly enough, I can make out much of what is written in French on the box as well as on their French website. It seems the language stuck with me as much as the food. Why do you think we go to Emil’s so often…

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Serengetea – A Love Story

As a loving and oh-so-helpful wife, I go the extra mile and buy my own Christmas presents. The really big plus to doing this is that I’m never disappointed in what I get for Christmas . I do this thoughtful act so Rick doesn’t have to trouble himself with going into stores, which he hates, dealing with crowds of people, he’s been known to “mooo” standing in the middle of a crowd, and wondering what on earth to get his wife who has everything she could ever need, and then some. He was at such a loss as to what to get me this year that he actually offered to take me to Replacements after Christmas to buy china. Me!!! The person with enough full sets of china to serve an army, and he’s offering to add to my collection. He said I was to focus on missing pieces or replacing damaged ones, but I knew from the moment he offered that I’d end up bringing home more than either of us bargained for. We didn’t go by the way. I know when to resist temptation.
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One of the “gifts” I bought for myself was a tin of Harney & Sons Serengetea tea. I’d not tried this loose leaf blend before and their description sounded interesting enough to make me want to give it a whirl. The story behind the blend is equally intriguing as it’s connected to a show on the Discovery Channel. It’s worth your time to read about the background of this blend on their website. And don’t you just love the graphics on the label?

Since tonight was going to be 55BA59D9-CE78-44FA-8E01-BEA67E2A9247a late tea night, I was very glad that this blend is caffeine-free. To the Rooibos base they’ve added mango flavor, mango pieces, pineapple flavor, and marigold petals. The aroma is enticing, the fruity flavours appealing, and the tea is so smooth it slips right down. Yes, I did add honey to mine. Verdict: I think I’ve found a new nighttime option here.

If you hurry, you can take advantage of their sitewide sale and save 20% on everything. Everything includes teas, brewing tools, and teatime treats. But you do need to hurry. The sale ends tomorrow, January 14. Use code KEEPITHOT20 at checkout. According to my e-mail, they also offer free domestic ground shipping. You can’t beat free shipping. Be sure to sign up for their notifications so you won’t miss any of their new offerings or sales. It’s a great way to beef up your stash and add some variety and spice to your life.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

A Peach of a Tea with a Bit of Ginger

We southerners love our peaches in every possible configuration be it in cobblers, preserves, ice cream, fried pies, regular pies, with cream or sliced up straight off the tree. Of course the best time for peaches is in the summer, which it isn’t right now. So, what’s a body to do when you have a hankerin’ for juicy peaches in the middle of winter? Why, pull out the peach tea of course. In my case it’s peach tea that has been paired with ginger. Talk about a match made in heaven… This combination definitely is just that, a bit of heaven to get you through the cold dreary days of winter.

Ginger Peach tea from The Tao of Tea is a loose leaf black tea to which has been added 2FB9DA89-BABF-43BA-A45C-BB7FA1F23E19organic dried ginger, calendula flower petals, and natural peach essence. Even if there weren’t a label on the front of the packaging you’d know with one whiff what kind of tea you’d be enjoying once the steeping was done. The peach taste is there along with a bit of spiciness that’s imparted to it by the ginger. And yes, I do add honey. While I’ve only ever indulged in the hot version, you can also enjoy this tea iced. No wonder this blend is one of their most popular.

As I’ve mentioned before, I almost always make three cups of tea when drinking a black tea. I also mentioned that I’m a very slow drinker. I can nurse a little pot of tea until it’s tepid, even though it’s been covered, and has to be warmed up in the microwave. I know, not good. However, I learned after the first couple of times brewing up this particular tea not to leave the leaves in the pot for an excessively long time else that last cup of tea would be quite bitter, as in it would set my teeth on edge.

Then one day while shopping at HomeGoods, I ran across an interesting tea pot that I’d never seen before (I don’t get out much you see). It caught my attention not only because it was on sale but also because my husband had just started using a French press for his coffee and loved the difference it made in the flavour. This little teapot looked to be essentially the same thing as a French press but D372932D-C2D0-4452-87D6-8A66BF724F97definitely meant to be used with tea based on the shape. It’s made by Bodum and is the Assam style. Although I’ve only ever used it when making Ginger Peach tea, I absolutely love this little teapot! Of course, I was a bit intimidated by it at first because I didn’t want to ruin a pot of tea. Thankfully, I worried for nothing because the tea that came out of that little pot was perfect, absolutely perfect. Best of all, even after leaving the leaves in the infuser for the duration of my longer-than-normal tea time there was no bitter taste from this Ginger Peach blend. Hallelujah! To say I was a happy camper would be an understatement.

Why does this teapot make such a big difference? It’s because the steeping of the leaves ends once the plunger is pushed down and traps the leaves in the bottom of the infuser where the walls are solid. This keeps the tea from getting stronger because the leaves are no longer in contact with the water/tea. Another plus is that you can resteep the tea later if you like. I’ve never done that, so I can’t tell you how well the tea retains its flavour, but according to The Tao of Tea’s website, this particular blend can be steeped up to three times.

As for caffeine, it’s a bit more than moderate, so I tend to drink it no later than 3492448A-9DDB-4A24-81B0-6D51555919003:00. While I do also have their Peach blend, without the added ginger, I much prefer the Ginger Peach. There’s just something about the addition of ginger that takes a nice peach tea to an amazing peach tea. In my humble opinion, this tea is absolutely peachy keen.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are provided for reference and ease of use only.

Rainy Days Get Me Down

Today was a very wet, cloudy, and windy day. The weather was absolutely awful until late afternoon when it turned to just yucky and uninspiring. I’ve decided that the reason why gray has never been a colour I liked is because of days like this.

Between thunderstorms, tornado watches and warnings, and an excess of rain, which 998F330D-0EF9-4B99-82D7-95489BCF9508caused flooding in many low-lying areas, my nerves were a bit on the frayed side. Thankfully, I had the perfect tea blend from Plum Deluxe in my stash – Rainy Day Puerh. What better way to correct the gloomies than with a hot cup of tea that was made for, or at least named after, a rainy day?

This organic, fair-trade tea blend lets you know the moment you open the pouch that you’re in for a treat as the aroma is wonderful – very spicy, very warming, very reassuring. Once you read the ingredients list you’ll better understand why. Puerh 82C2725B-2D7C-49BE-ABF2-31935FF0DD7Cis used as the base to which cinnamon bark, orange peel, ginger root, anise, safflower, and sweet cinnamon extract are added. The resulting tea is one that gives you a lift and almost makes you glad it’s raining outside so that this lovely tea can be enjoyed inside all snug and warm. Even though it is a sweet tea, I still add honey to my cup. It may just be me, but I think the addition of honey just helps to smooth everything out so that no one spice sticks out above the rest nor does the earthiness of the Puerh dominate the whole. While I’ve not tried it, the notes on their website say this tea blend, “Whips up into a beautiful chai latte or even a cocktail.”

Since I’m almost out of this tea I think I just might take advantage of their special offer. Between now and January 31 you can enjoy 12% off of three or more of the same tea, no coupon needed. If you still feel the need to de-stress after all the holiday festivities, they’re offering Coconut Ginger Soother for $5 this month. And you can’t beat the free sample that you get with every order. I love these little freebies because they’re the perfect size to include in a card to a friend or someone who needs a bit of a boost, assuming I don’t keep it for myself in the event that it’s a blend I’ve not purchased before.

When you go to the Plum Deluxe website, be sure to sign up for their newsletter. They’re pretty short and sweet, and there’s almost always a recipe or two that sounds tempting. Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss word of their new offerings or specials.

Speaking of specials, I’m going to have to try their Chinese New Year Herbal blend since it’s the year of the rat and I’m a rat according to the Chinese Zodiac. I’ll have to get on the stick and get my order in though because this blend is a limited edition only for the month of January. I feel a shopping spree coming on for tomorrow!

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea

An e-mail from the English Tea Store yesterday reminded me of their Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea. Being a chocoholic from childhood, this tea caught my eye last year around Christmas time. When I say “last year” I’m really referring to the end of 2018. Not only do I love chocolate, but I also love hot chocolate. By the way, I make mine with half-and-half. It’s delicious!

The English Tea Store has managed to combine two loves into one drink. How awesome is that?! This blend comes in a loose leaf format, so you can adjust the strength WP-ETStore-Swiss Chocolate Teato your preference. Just opening the bag gives you a hint of pleasure to come when the smell of chocolate sets your olfactory receptors to tingling. Paired with honey, this tea is dessert in a cup for those who aren’t supposed to be consuming a lot of calories that tend to go along with chocolate. I especially enjoy combining this tea with the chocolate cookies from Maria Emmerich’s Comfort Foods book. Put those two treats together and you’d never know you’ve embarked on a lifestyle change. Keep in mind as I’ve pointed out before, honey is not allowed on a Keto diet. I cheat!

The only negative that I’ve found with this tea came from steeping it too long. I’m a slow drinker. By the time I’d gotten to the third cup, it had a somewhat bitter taste because I’d left the tea in the pot instead of removing it after it had initially steeped.

If this blend sounds like something you’d enjoy, visit the English Tea Store’s website now to save 15% on this and other selections. That e-mail I mentioned at the beginning of this post said you could save 15% on ETS brand teas, including January’s featured teas, of which this is one, through January 21st. Use code DEAL15 at checkout.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use.

Photo Credit: English Tea Store

Afternoon Tea with Wittard

After a nine hour plus day of taking care of a two year old, sweetheart though she is, it’s nice to come home and have a good cup of tea. Such was the case this afternoon when I came home and made a pot of Afternoon Tea by Wittard. They gave this particular blend the number four (04) designation since 4:00 is the perfect time to enjoy this blend. And enjoy it I did.

This blend of black tea (70%), jasmine-scented green tea (29%), and bergamot flavouring was just what I needed to make the shift from silly-acting caregiver to sensible, if not somewhat boring, adult. By the time I’d finished the third cup I was refreshed, ready to fix supper and visit with you through this post. The soothing aroma of this blend went a long way in aiding with the shift. Add to that the smoothness and lack of astringency, I was one relaxed granny.

It’s been quite a while since I had this selection which means I’d forgotten that it was a blend of black and green tea. It was after I’d added milk to the first cup that I read the ingredients and the note to only add milk to black tea. Add to that faux pas the fact that the best-by date passed more than three months ago. No matter. It still tasted great!

The only thing that would have made this tea a better choice this afternoon would have been for it to be caffeine free. Even though this isn’t a decaf blend, I’ll not forget that I have it in my stash to enjoy in the future when my day seems a bit longer than usual.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Red Bush Chai

Back in 2005, a fellow quilter told me that she loved Chai tea. I’d not heard of it before then and doubted that I’d like it. I just wasn’t as adventuresome then as I am now. So, I never bothered pursuing her suggestion to get myself a cup at the local coffee shop which, by the way, is no longer in business.

About four or five years ago another quilting friend made a cup of tea for me at a Christmas party. I loved it but thought it was a very spicy hot chocolate to begin with, so when I found out that it was actually Chai tea I was shocked to say the least. I couldn’t believe that I’d not followed through all those years ago on the first quilting friend’s suggestion which would have meant that I could have been enjoying Chai tea for many more years than I have. Needless to say, I’ve made up for lost time ever since that Christmas party and have several Chai selections in my tea stash.

The one I’d like to share with you today was purchased at HomeGoods. It’s a Red Bush Chai which is 100% organic and hails from The Tao of Tea. The description on the label says that it is, “A non-traditional blend of Chai. Made with caffeine-free South African Rooibos and uplifting spices.” The spices include cinnamon, spearmint, cloves, and cardamom, all of which are organic. This blend is very warming and one that I tend to have in the evening, especially when the weather is cold. Having said that though, I don’t limit my Chai drinking only to cold weather. I’ve been known to indulge in mid-summer when it’s both hot and humid outside just because I needed the comfort that comes from this spiced tea. I do add milk and honey to my Chai regardless of which variety from my stash I choose to make.

In addition to enjoying tea, I also love to read. I’m pretty picky about what I read though and tend to stick with a handful of authors. I’m not sure how I came to start reading the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, although I’m sure it was probably because the one genre I read the most is mysteries and these are mystery type books without lots of dead bodies. The first book I read was while we were vacationing in Ft. Morgan a couple of years ago. The book I had on hand started somewhere in the middle of the series, but I absolutely fell in love with the main character, Precious Ramotswe. While I’ve never been to Botswana, I was struck by just how similar her upbringing and mindset was to my own. Who’d of thought that a fictional character from Africa could have so much in common with a girl raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The fact that I could so easily relate to her character is probably what hooked me on this series and has caused me to collect almost all of the books that have been published to date, in hardback no less. Of course, it didn’t hurt any when I read that she loves Red Bush tea. How could you not like a character who loves Red Bush tea? She drinks it at a regular time each day but also when she needs to do some thinking. The relaxing effect of this tea is definitely conducive to reflection which is why I sometimes turn to it myself when lots of thinking on an issue is needed. Sadly, the pot I had tonight finished off my bag of tea. Were it not for the fact that I have a couple of bags of Rooibos in my stash already that I could doctor up I’d go buy another bag of this exact tea. Yes, it’s that good and has been one of my favourites ever since the first cup.

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