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Author Topic: Michi's Tea House  (Read 29279 times)

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Offline JagerinTopic starter

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Michi's Tea House
« on: March 26, 2011, 12:17:27 PM »

Okay...so with a little encouragement and a lot of embarrassment to get over, I've decided to fall in Paradox's wonderful footsteps with his Beer Blog and write about tea. I love tea. I've been drinking it since I was a child. Whether it be bag, loose leaf, store bought, or home made...tea is amazing!

Now, to start off, I just want to say that I am not an expert. My opinion of tea and such is in no way to be take as factual. I will do my best to provide truthful and honest information, but when it comes to the taste of the tea and what I prefer is all my opinion. I do like to think that I know a lot about tea, but there is a world of tea that I've never delved into. I do hope, one day, to sample at least a little bit of everything.

You might be wondering what exactly I'm going to put in this blog, well, I'll tell you. Not just my opinion on the teas I sample, but pictures of them before and after brewing. Also, I hope to do my best to describe the taste and smell of the teas. I would also like to delve into the health benefits of tea. The differences between bagged and loose leaf. Tea balls and infusers. And even try to answer any questions people may have. I'd also like to teach people how to make their own teas (it's not that hard) and what types of herbs and such that you can find right in your yard to make them with.

Tea has a long history, after all, what's easier than finding some plants and tossing them into warm water? I don't wish to go into great detail about it's history, but it's been around for a very long time. There are dozens and dozens types of tea and I couldn't possibly give the exact, historical details of everyone of them...but I will try my best to provide accurate information.

Anyway...most of my tea comes from TeaCo. They are a wonderful, little tea company that is still getting to it's feet and nestled in the hills of West Virgina. The company was founded by a mother and daughter team that worked painstakingly in their kitchen to create tea blends, mostly specialty dessert and cocktail blends. They are, currently, still expanding and are one of the largest specialty tea companies in the United States. They are currently working on making their first bottles of bottled tea for market. Most of this information can be found on their web page as well as their Facebook page. They hope that by the end of 2011 that they will have 20 stores open nationwide. You can find a list of their currently opened stores and soon to be open stores here.

Now, as much as I love TeaCo, they can be expensive. Good, quality tea is usually a little pricey, but they are not the only options. Grocery stores can offer a wide selection of good, bagged and loose leaf tea...you just have to look hard enough. Always check the ingredient listings on the box. If it has artificial or chemicals in it...put it back!

Also, you should have the right tools for making tea. It's not complicated. A tea kettle, either a simple metal one, glass one, cast iron one (be aware that cast iron does season and develop a taste), or an eletric one. All of them are good and have their own benefits, but they all do the same thing...boil water. If you're going to use loose leaf tea, you're going to need a tea ball, these come in many shapes and sizes. I prefer the ones with mesh because there is less chance of any small bits floating out. You can also use a French Press, but the longer the tea stays in the water the stronger the flavor becomes and eventually becomes bitter. I don't like using them, but whatever floats your boat. I'll go into more detail about infusers and frech presses later on. Last, but not least, you will need a cup! Any cup will do, but I prefer a nice, big coffee mug. Save the fancy tea sets for parties or after dinner when you have a lot of people. The other option is the tea for one sets. They are cute and useful. I prefer the stack-able ones. Most come with the tea pot, cup, and saucer (though I never use a saucer).

If you're going to make homemade tea, there are a few more 'tools', but I'll get into that later when the weather warms up some more and I can actually find some stuff to make tea out of outside (other than the dandelions, which do make good tea!).

That is all I have to say for right now. I think I've rambled on enough for one post. I will, hopefully, not embarrass myself doing this. If you have any tea related questions, please ask them here or PM me. I will have my first 'review' up soon. As I said before, I am not an expert and I will never claim to be.

~Michi

Tea Index:

Pomegranate Green Tea
Chocolate Butterscotch Rooibos Tea
Celestial Sleepytime Tea
Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Black Tea
Sunshine Iced Tea
Strawberry Kiwi Tisane
Blueberry Cheesecake Green Tea
Strawberry Daiquiri Green Tea

Articles, Instructionals, Tips:

Men's Health: Benefits of Tea article
What is Tea?
How to make a Tea Bag
Redefining the Tea Bag - The New Shape
Tea Storage
Tea Grades
Tea Tannins
How to Dry Herbs/Flowers for Tea

Herbs & Flowers:

Viola Odorata
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 08:05:43 PM by Michi No Sora »

Offline crystaltears

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 12:36:12 PM »
Ooh, Michi. I'll look forward to reading this blog. I only started drinking tea for my voice back when I was taking voice lessons and as such I've only tried a few different types. Chamomile with Lemon, Oolong Tea, and Cinnamon Apple come to mind.. But maybe I'll be able to pick out a few new ones to try from reading about the ones you enjoy. :-)

Thanks for starting this! I'm gonna have fun following it.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 03:08:20 PM »
Great blog idea, Michi and I look forward to reading your reviews.

When I use loose leaf tea, I prefer to let it brew without a tea ball in the pot and then pour through a tea strainer.  I find the greater freedom of movement for the tea gives it more flavour in a shorter time.  Admittedly, I do follow the whole warming the pot and bringing the pot to the kettle routine too, so it's possible I'm a bit OCD over my tea drinking.

I was interested to see you mention dandelion tea.  I've never tried the tea but I have found that roasted dandelion roots make a pretty good coffee alternative.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 03:39:48 PM »
Ooh, Michi. I'll look forward to reading this blog. I only started drinking tea for my voice back when I was taking voice lessons and as such I've only tried a few different types. Chamomile with Lemon, Oolong Tea, and Cinnamon Apple come to mind.. But maybe I'll be able to pick out a few new ones to try from reading about the ones you enjoy. :-)

Thanks for starting this! I'm gonna have fun following it.

Thank you for your support. ^^

Great blog idea, Michi and I look forward to reading your reviews.

When I use loose leaf tea, I prefer to let it brew without a tea ball in the pot and then pour through a tea strainer.  I find the greater freedom of movement for the tea gives it more flavour in a shorter time.  Admittedly, I do follow the whole warming the pot and bringing the pot to the kettle routine too, so it's possible I'm a bit OCD over my tea drinking.

I was interested to see you mention dandelion tea.  I've never tried the tea but I have found that roasted dandelion roots make a pretty good coffee alternative.

Dandelions have many uses. Tea, coffee, salads, etc...it might be a weed, but it's a damn useful one! I love dandelions. My high school couldn't get their mower close enough to the teaching trailers, so the dandelions got huge. I would go over and yank them up, roots and all, and take them home with me. Got a few strange looks from the gym teacher, but at least I got what I wanted. ^^

And I will be going over ways to use loose leaf without a tea ball/infuser. My tea ball has too many little holes in it that let leafs through, so I've come up with a few ways to get around having leafs in your tea. ^^

Offline Paradox

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 04:19:15 PM »
Strong start! I'm glad to see you made this a reality. I had no idea that making tea was so complex. For me, tea has always been a matter of "insert bag of dubiously-colored plant matter into water, move it up and down for two minutes, let it sit for a second, then drink" (that sounded like a terrible sexual metaphor, sorry), so I'm interested in seeing all the fancy tools you mentioned in action.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 06:53:19 PM »
Strong start! I'm glad to see you made this a reality. I had no idea that making tea was so complex. For me, tea has always been a matter of "insert bag of dubiously-colored plant matter into water, move it up and down for two minutes, let it sit for a second, then drink" (that sounded like a terrible sexual metaphor, sorry), so I'm interested in seeing all the fancy tools you mentioned in action.

Did sound just a little sexual there. But that's okay. :P And a lot of teas are just 'dunk the bag in the water'. Most aren't very complicated.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 09:58:00 PM »
>_>

<_<

*marks up Michi's blog so shi is alerted when new posts are made*

*blows a kiss*

*vanishes*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 12:34:31 AM »
What a lovely idea <3

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 01:07:58 AM »
If you need any tea's to try yourself for your blogging Michi, let me know. I've been a tea addict for many a year and my selection of delicious brews is very extensive.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 09:08:32 AM »
Loose Leaf Pomegranate Green Tea

Quote
"TeaCo's Green Tea is a 'True' tea with leaves coming from the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is created by the leaves going through very little oxidation while being processed. There are many health benefits to drinking green tea. Green tea is anti-oxidant rich and has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that green tea is healpful in preventing or reducing cancer, arthritis, infection, and cardiovascular disease.

TeaCo's Pomegranate Green Tea is made from the finest ingredients possible. This freshness is unmatched in the tea industry and provides the consumer with one of the most unique drinks imaginable.

Ingredients: Green Tea, Pomegranate Peel, Hibiscus Flower, and Natural Pomegranate Flavoring." -TeaCo

Now, while Green Tea does have health benefits, it does not mean that drinking a cup a day is going to keep you healthy forever. The health aspects of Green Tea are widely debated. Over a decade of studies to determine all the health aspects of tea and yet there are very few real-world evidence. Most of the facts are coming out of labs and not from word of mouth reports. There are very few studies actually done on humans to determine the exact effects of Green Tea.

Despite that, it does have important antioxidants and compounds that help in maintaining good health. The antioxidants in Green Tea are similar to the ones found in grapes and berries, red wine, and dark chocolate. It is also unknown just how much Green Tea would need to be consumed in order to reap the full benefits of the leaves.

Still...it's good to drink.

Today I've brewed myself a cup of TeaCo's Pom-Green Tea. For Loose Leaf Tea you're going to want some way to get the leaves and pieces out of the cup (though they are not harmful to digest). You can use a tea ball, French Press, tea strainer, cheese cloth, or even make your own tea bag. I use a combination of tea ball packed with a homemade tea bag. To make the tea bag you can either purchase empty bags and fill them yourself or pay $1 for those boxes of 100 Iced Tea bags at the store and empty them yourself. I empty them myself and save the Iced Tea leaves for use in the summer when I need to make pitchers of Sweet Ice Tea for parties and what not.

Measure out your leaves 1tsp per 8oz of water. My cup holds 10 oz and I like my tea a little stronger, so I put 2tsp. Heat your water and dunk your bag or press into your infuser. Let steep for 2-5 minutes depending on how strong you like it. The longer is steeps, the stronger the flavor. Be aware that the longer your tea steeps, the more bitter it can become too. For a first time taster, I would say about 3 minutes steeping should do to get you a nice, light flavor.

The color should be a light, tannish color. You may need to bob the tea ball or bag a little to get the coloring and flavor to disperse. If you look in the cup before that, you can see the tea water settling at the bottom of the cup. But don't worry, once mixed up it won't separate again. The longer you let it steep, the darker the color will be.

As for the taste, since I like mine a little stronger, tastes a bit like biting into a Pomegranate seed. It's a light flavor (even after 5 minutes of steeping) and you just barely get them smell of the fruit after steeping. While steeping the scent is a little stronger. Those with not-so-good sense of smell may not smell anything at all. The taste washes all over your tongue, getting more bitter as it reaches the back and down your throat. Strangely enough, if you have ever bitten your cheek or lip while chewing or anything like that...it kind of leaves that irony taste in your mouth for a few minutes after drinking.

While I don't add anything to my teas, this is a tea that can have honey easily added to it without damaging the flavor. The honey may make it easier for some people to drink it since most people are more used to sugary flavors. Again, I don't do this, but I have in the past and I don't enjoy it. Still, many people do and it doesn't hurt the flavor. It will get rid of that irony after taste and does cut some of the bitterness if you over steep. I would say that about 1/2 to 1tsp of honey is more than enough for a 8-10oz cup.

Personally, I think it's a nice starter tea. Like most Green Teas, it can sit and cool without losing it's taste. Personally, I like dropping a few cubes of ice into it.

Now, while the Loose Leaf Pomegranate Green Tea is wonderful and I do prefer it...there are Bagged Tea options that are just as good:

Bigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate
Bigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate For Keurig Brewers
The Republic of Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea
Yoga Teas Golden Temple Tea Co Green Tea

Bigelow, Republic of Tea, and Yoga Teas are the brands that I find to be equal in quality to most Loose Leaf teas. Bigelow is one that you can usually find in your grocery store.

If you don't live near a TeaCo store, you can purchase this tea from their site: TeaCo Pomegranate Green Tea.


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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 11:20:49 AM »
That does sound like a lovely tea, though does it have caffeine in it?

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2011, 11:22:23 AM »
That does sound like a lovely tea, though does it have caffeine in it?

I should have mentioned that. :P But no. No caffeine or added sugar.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2011, 11:24:18 AM »
I was under the impression that green tea has less caffeine than black tea, but it still has some.   ???


*tags thread so she can keep up with it ;)*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2011, 11:32:05 AM »
I should have mentioned that. :P But no. No caffeine or added sugar.

Ah, yay! I loved the first entry, it was so informative and I am really enjoying tea since I went to England; but I have to be careful because I can't have caffeine. Seriously. Soda I can only drink sprite or sierra mist, though I tend to go with Ginger Ale. I love tea but finding good un caffeinated ones can be a pain sometimes, outside of chamomile and as much as I love it it makes me sooo drowsy.

~makes notes to find this Green Tea~ Green Tea is suppose to boost your energy as well right?

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2011, 11:53:03 AM »
I was under the impression that green tea has less caffeine than black tea, but it still has some.   ???


*tags thread so she can keep up with it ;)*

Ah, yay! I loved the first entry, it was so informative and I am really enjoying tea since I went to England; but I have to be careful because I can't have caffeine. Seriously. Soda I can only drink sprite or sierra mist, though I tend to go with Ginger Ale. I love tea but finding good un caffeinated ones can be a pain sometimes, outside of chamomile and as much as I love it it makes me sooo drowsy.

~makes notes to find this Green Tea~ Green Tea is suppose to boost your energy as well right?

I'm sure it has some caffeine in it naturally, but it is considerably less than black tea and soda.

There is, approximately,    23.0 miligrams of caffeine in Lipton Diet Green Tea with Citrus. Bagged tea has more caffeine in it than loose leaf. The more you can see of the leaf, the less caffeine it tends to have (partly because it's less processed). The stems and lower leaves also have less caffeine than the larger, top leaves of the plant.

A good way to lower the caffeine in tea is to brew it twice. Brew a cup, dump it, then re-steep with the same bag/leaves. There is such thing as caffeine free green tea, you just have to search for it.

As for boosting your energy, it's kind of hit or miss. Since most data on how good tea is for your metabolism and energy is lab based and not really tested, it's hard to say. I do find that drinking a full cup before a meal does help fill me up and does help keep me from feeling too-full or sluggish after eating. Also, drinking it in the mornings is better because of that little bit of caffeine to help give you that morning boost.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2011, 11:57:43 AM »
~nods~ Thanks for answering all the questions hun :)

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2011, 12:09:00 PM »
Wisti, for you, I'd recommend any screen style tea ball and a whole lot of Rooibus. It's naturally caffeine free and as far as I'm concerned it's some of the most delicious tea on the market.

I'll also suggest Mate, as it is caffeine free, using an alternate stimulant.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 12:15:57 PM by Saffron »

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »
How lovely! ;D  I will definitely be following this, and I will also be stealing the index idea you use for my own blog.

TeaCo has a store in my city! Yay!  I will go check them out and buy some teas. :D

Awesome work, Michi!  I look forward to more posts. *hugs*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2011, 07:21:26 PM »
Thank you for all the kind words everyone! We were just in town and I got myself a new, fully mesh tea ball (yay!) and a new canister of tea. It's Rooibus Chocolate Butterscotch (got it just for you Wisti since it's caffeine free). So that will probably be my next 'review'. ^^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2011, 10:44:05 PM »
That sounds wonderful! After you review it, if its good I'll have to look into getting some. I bought a few teas when we went to this amazing store locally with lots of imported stuffs. A strawberry Pomegranate one, and 'get relaxed' by The Republic of Tea. Both sans caffeine of course.

Offline Lilias

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2011, 02:55:56 AM »
I find that detox blends work well for energy levels, and considering I'm one of those people who normally can't function without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, that says a lot. My favourites are Birt & Tang's Detox, which does have green tea in the mix, and Twinings' Morning Detox, which doesn't (and unfortunately isn't available in the US Twinings range).

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2011, 08:10:40 AM »
Which Tea is for You?

With a world of teas out there, it would be impossible for me to pin down every single one of them. While I feel that people should give any tea offered to them a try, that doesn't mean people will. Some people are looking for something specific and it can be hard to find.

Sencha
Best for: Green Tea beginners. It's sweet and mellow, without the bitter bite that some other green teas have. Great with sushi or dessert.

Genmaicha
Best for: And afternoon pick-me-up. This Japanese green tea is mixed with roasted rice kernels. It has a savory smell, almost like popcorn.

Sur le Nil
Best for: After-dinner relaxing. Its flavor is more delicate than that of many green teas. Think of it as chamomile-plus, with hints of lemon and spice.

High Mountain Oolong
Best for: Relaxing after work. It's made with thick tea leaves, which gives it a full floral flavor with an earthy finish. A good balance for before dinner.

Wood Dragon Oolong
Best for: Guys who've quit coffee. Because it contains more stem than leaf, this strong, woodsy brew has significantly less caffeine than other oolong teas.

Honey Phoenix Oolong
Best for: Wintertime defrosting. It's a robust tea, with a flavor almost like a cherry pit. That makes it sweet, with a tinge of bitterness.

Vanilla Rooibos
Best for: Dessert, and not just because it's free of caffeine. You'll taste a light sweetness followed by a creamy finish.

Cassis
Best for: Snapping awake on a cold morning. This black tea is rich and powerful. You'll taste black currants, with a sweet, dry finish.

Pu-erh Tuocha
Best for: Coffee drinkers. It's strong and earthy, and has a kick of caffeine. The black tea comes pressed into nuggets, which break apart when you boil them.

This info comes straight from Men's Health Magazine: Health Benefits of Tea (yes, I read Men's Health sometimes).

I read this article in the magazine and thought it would be nice to share. ^^ So enjoy!

Offline Ryven

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2011, 09:26:56 AM »
I, honestly, have never liked straight green tea.  I love blends with other flavors, but any green tea I've ever had has had too much of an astringent flavor to it.  I love black tea and Oolong.  Rooibus I've only had once, and I really didn't like the flavor either.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2011, 09:36:33 AM »
I've always enjoyed the bitter-bite that green tea seems to have. Though when it's not blended with anything else I will admit to sometimes putting a little honey in it just to cut the bitterness.

As for Rooibus, I like it. It's not my favorite, but I like the flavor of blended rooibus compared to straight rooibus.

One tea that I do have a hard time with is black teas. I drink it, but again, it's not my favorite. I can usually only handle about a half a cup of it. Oolong and green teas are my favorites. ^^

Last night when we went to the mall the hubby tried TeaCo's Tropical Green Tea. He got it iced, but they messed up the order and gave it to him hot. So when he got it iced there was about half a cup of hot tea still left in the original cup...I must say, I didn't really like it. It smelled amazing, but it really just tasted like plain, green tea and it tasted a bit over steeped.

By the way, they have this nifty little infuser that they use to brew their teas. You put the leaves in the top and let it steep and then you place the infuser over the cup and press down just a little and it dispenses the tea! I was fascinated with it. :P No bag, tea ball, or anything. It was their Genie Infuser and they make them in larger than 1 cup sizes too for parties and what not. I need to get my hands on one. I bet I could make coffee in it too. >.>

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2011, 12:49:57 PM »
That vanilla one sounds interesting ~makes notes to find it~