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Author Topic: Michi's Tea House  (Read 29263 times)

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2011, 01:32:17 PM »
That vanilla one sounds interesting ~makes notes to find it~

Tazo Tea Herbal Infusion, Full-Leaf Sachets, Vanilla Rooibos
Caffeine Free South African Rooibos Loose Leaf Herbal Tea with Vanilla & Almond Bits
The Republic of Tea, Good Hope Vanilla Red Tea (Rooibus = Red Tea)


^__^ I'm sure you can find it cheaper in other places, but those are some brands to look for.

Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2011, 01:37:21 PM »
You are like the Tea Fairy <3

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2011, 01:39:48 PM »
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 01:29:44 PM by Michi No Sora »

Offline Ryven

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2011, 02:20:30 PM »
I would say she is the tea fairy.

Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2011, 02:21:35 PM »
~agrees~ And that's so much better then the Tooth Fairy

Offline crystaltears

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2011, 02:26:09 PM »
~agrees~ And that's so much better then the Tooth Fairy

*Nods agreement.*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2011, 07:28:08 PM »
So, first few sips of the Chocolate Butterscotch Rooibus and I must say it is FANTASTIC! I think I'm in love.

Anyway...I'm going to give it a cup or two before I give it a write up, but it's very promising. It's so light and smells amazing. You can really smell the butterscotch, but the flavor isn't over powering at all. Nor is the chocolate flavor. The chocolate and butterscotch chips melt so slowly though, I fear over steeping. Maybe next time I'll just dig the chips out of the tea and plop them in the hot water and let them melt on their own and the tea in it's ball.

*makes note for choco/butter chip experiment with the next cup*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2011, 08:33:24 PM »
Oooh it has actual chips in it?

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2011, 08:34:37 PM »
Yup. Little chocolate and butterscotch chips. ^^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2011, 08:47:05 PM »
~wants even more~

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2011, 08:27:02 AM »
What is Tea?

Most people don't know the difference between white, green, black, and oolong tea. Rooibos is even stranger on it's own! Other than taste and color, most people probably couldn't tell you very much about these teas. Strangely enough, all these teas (except rooibos) are harvested from the same plant. The Camellia sinensis. The difference between these teas have to do with how much oxidation the leaf in question goes through. Not to go into too much detail about oxidation, but the simplest terms are: Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.

On a small side note, we also have 'Kukicha' which is twig tea and made from the stems and twigs of the camellia rather than the leaves.

For those that have never seen a 'tea plant', here is a nice picture:


It's a beautiful plant and if you ever get the chance to actually handle one, I highly recommend it. To get an idea of how big one plant is...the flower is usually about 2-4 centimeters with about 7-8 petals. The leaves are about 4-5 centimeters long and about 2-5 centimeters wide, and contain about 4% caffeine. As for height, they can grow higher than six feet and are considered a tree or a shrub.

White tea is taken from the buds and younger leaves. It's allowed to wither naturally in the sun light before placed through production to prevent further oxidation. White tea also tends to contain more of the natural 'goodness' that is in tea. White tea also contains less caffeine than other teas (with the exception of rooibos).

Green tea leaves a just barely more developed than white tea and put through the bare minimum of oxidation. This gives it that 'bitter' taste people associate it with. Unless specifically stated on the packaging, green tea contains caffeine. The amount varies per cup and how many leaves you use and such, but a good way to judge is the average serving of brewed coffee contains 145 mg of caffeine, the same serving size of green tea provides 25 mg. That isn't perfectly right, but it's about as close as you can get. The average serving would be an 8oz cup.

Black tea is a very highly oxidized tea. More so than white, green, and oolong. It also contains the most caffeine. Despite it being called a 'black' tea, the color is actually a rich reddish color. Strange since rooibos is the 'red tea'. Where green tea tends to lose it's flavor after sitting on the shelf for a year or so, black tea travels and sits much better. It can hold it's flavor for several years of shelf life. This makes it one of the most widely traveled teas (in the past and before better shipping methods emerged). Some of the most well known tea blends are made from black tea. Such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast. If green tea provides about 25 mg of caffeine per average serving, black tea provides about 45-60 mg; so this is not the tea for people trying to avoid caffeine.

Oolong tea is withered under a strong sun and then highly oxidized to get it's flavor and 'curled' look. It is one of the only teas that you can use the same leaves more than once. Most teas lose much of their flavor after the first brew, but oolong can be used 2-4 times and still maintain much of the flavor. While it's hard to pin point how much caffeine is in oolong, it is less than black and green tea.

Another, strange, tea is Pu-erh tea. I've never tasted this tea before, but I've seen it and plan on tasting it sometime in the future. The strange thing about this tea is that it's compacted very tightly into a ball. It's sometimes called 'dark tea'. While with other teas you just want to heat the water, not boil it, with Pu-erh you have to boil the water. Since many forms of Pu-erh are sold in brick or large ball form, you'll need a knife/letter opener/pu'er knife to pry chunks off.  Or you can steam it and flake pieces off for brewing.

Rooibos is one of the only teas not made from the Camellia plant. It is grown in South Africa and considered the 'red bush' or 'red tea'. It is also considered an herbal tea. Rooibos comes in two specific types. Red and Green. Red is more easily produced and oxidized, while the Green is unoxidized and much harder to produce (it's produced much like green tea is and is more expensive than the 'red'). It is commonly drank with a slice of lemon  and sugar or honey to sweeten. Though many do drink it naturally because it is said to have a sweet, nutty flavor on it's own. The color of natural rooibos tea is a beautiful, deep amber color. This is also one of the only teas I've had to fight with. The fine, needle like leaves slip through even my mesh tea ball. I had to wrap it in cheese cloth and stuff it into my tea ball. Rooibos is also naturally caffeine free!

Rooibos Plant:


Well...I've rambled on long enough. I hope some people found this informative.

Offline darkangel76

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2011, 09:15:19 AM »
Oh my goodness! I can't believe I'm only just seeing this today! Michi! I <3 you for this like you wouldn't believe! As a fellow tea drinker, I applaud you. So far, you're doing a fantastic job! And was bouncing when I saw that your first highlighted tea was pomegranate green tea (my favorite!). Excellent job so far, keep it up! I'll be reading for sure!!! :)

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2011, 10:41:41 AM »
Thank you, darkangel! I'm glad someone else like Pom Green Tea. It is one of my favorites. ^^

Anyway...here is a little teaser picture for the next review of that wonderful rooibos tea:



Isn't it pretty?! After the rooibos, I'm going to review and go into a few bagged teas.

Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2011, 11:29:13 AM »
That was wonderfully informative Michi, I adored it :) You are doing such a wonderful job with this.

Offline Caeli

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2011, 01:04:34 PM »
This is very informative and interesting. :) I love learning about tea (I've done a lot of reading on my own) and drinking tea, so this should be fun reading material. ^_^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2011, 01:54:21 PM »
That was wonderfully informative Michi, I adored it :) You are doing such a wonderful job with this.

Thank you, Wistful. ^^ Once the weather warms up a bit and more fruits come in season I'm going to go over Fruit Teas (Fruit Tisanes) and how you can make them yourself. Fruit Teas are usually caffeine free since they usually don't contain any real tea leaves.

This is very informative and interesting. :) I love learning about tea (I've done a lot of reading on my own) and drinking tea, so this should be fun reading material. ^_^

Yay, more readers. ^^ *hugs Caeli*

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2011, 01:57:58 PM »
That sounds promising :) I had the strawberry pom tea last night and it was really yummy.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #42 on: March 29, 2011, 02:35:26 PM »
Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on a few good pomegranates again this year and get to experiment with them. I only have one fruit tea on hand and it's Wild Strawberry. Strawberry bits, rose hip, and hibiscus. It smells so good. ^^ Making your own fruit tea can be a pain if you are like me and don't own a dehydrator (spending hours staring at the oven while it slowly dries fruit is bothersome)...but I hate buying dried fruit in bags. Most of them are so packed with sugar, it's really not worth it.

I'll have to try juicing some pomegranates and soaking some fruit in it. Hmmm...that does sound good. ^^

Offline darkangel76

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #43 on: March 29, 2011, 10:23:30 PM »
That sounds absolutely delicious!

Another fave of mine that I've only tried relatively recently is Bigelow's Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea. It's just so very delicious and has a nice little sour zip to the flavor. When I saw it I just had to get it though. I love both pomegranates as well as cranberries. And though the idea of putting them together had never crossed my mind, I figured I had to at least try it. OH! I'm so glad I did!

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2011, 07:01:12 AM »
Found this wonderful little article on how to make your own tea bags (cause it is simple to do). Also, if you're like me, you get a little frustrated and OCD when there are tea leaves floating in your cup. They aren't harmful to you, but it's annoying and eye twitching.



How To Make A Tea Bag
By: H.P. Mandrake

If you are a hardcore tea junkie with a cabinet full of tins, bottles and bags of assorted teas, you will someday have to know how to make a tea bag. You never know when you will break your strainer, smash your teapot or completely lose your mind and burn down your house. These things happen in life. The only part you can be 100% sure of is you will not have a way to make any tea when you need it the most. A tea junkie probably wonít have any Lipton lying around, so you will have to improvise.

To make a tea bag, you might need:

    * Material such as muslin, cheesecloth, cotton, hemp or even a paper towel
    * String
    * Needle, thread or sewing machine

   1. Gather materials. To make a tea bag, you will need some sort of material to hold the tea. Muslin or cheesecloth will work the best. In a pinch, you can use anything from an old cotton t-shirt rag to a plain old white paper towel. Make sure you thoroughly rinse any of these items before using.
   2. Construct the tea bag.  To actually make a tea bag that you can reuse, cut a four inch piece of material. Poke two holes near the corners about a quarter of an inch below the top of the material and thread your string through. Leave some string hanging out. Fold the top over and sew the edge to create a tunnel for the string. Now, sew the sides and bottom shut with tight stitches but leave the top open for tea.
   3. Emergency tea bagging. To make a tea bag for an emergency situation, cut a four inch square of your material. Dump in some tea and fold all the corners up. Twist the ends of the material to help hold in the tea and tie off the top. Make sure you leave a little extra string so you donít have to burn your fingers fishing the bag out of hot water. -Source



Another thing you can do in a pinch is drag out one of those tea bags you bought forever ago and found out the tea tasted horrible and so stuffed away in your cabinet. Pull one out, pry the little staple free, empty out the contents, re-fill with your loose leaf of choice, and then use the string to twist the top up and tie it together. You can either leave the string long enough so that you are not digging into hot tea to get the bag out or stick it inside your mesh tea ball and plop it in.

Also, making a reusable tea bag out of woven muslin is a money saver for people that get tired of spending money on tea bags and just tossing them out. You can use it over and over and over again and it's washable. Granted, it will likely get tea stained, but a good washing should take out any former tea taste (just don't bleach it). Here is a nice tutorial on how to make a hand sewn, reusable tea bag.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2011, 10:38:27 AM »
Chocolate Butterscotch Rooibos

Quote
"TeaCo's Rooibos Tea is made from the leaves of the Red Bush plant which is grown in South Africa. It is not derived from the traditional Camillia sinensis plant like most other teas, therefore it is considered as an herbal drink. It is traditionally drank with sugar and milk, though many drinkers today prefer it plain or with a bit of honey.

Rooibos tea is high in anti-oxidants and many minerals. It is also caffeine free. Studies have shown Rooibos tea to help prevent cancer, increase immune functions, and reduces headaches, insomnia, and irritability.

Ingredients: Rooibos tea, Chocolate chips, Butterscotch chips, and Natural flavorings." -TeaCo

Once again, I would like to point out that while I believe in the health benefits of tea, most of the studies done are not 'proven' or done in a controlled setting/environment. The health benefits of teas are things that I prefer to think of as 'home remedies'. Yes, it is high in anti-oxidants, but depending on your diet, activity, and life style...drinking a cup of tea a day while sitting around eating nothing but pizza and candy, the tea isn't going to help. For me, tea is a light feeling drink. It makes you feel warm and happy and makes it easy to jump up and move around or sit back and relax.

Now, while tea may be good for you and better for you than most drinks...don't force yourself to drink it. It's not medicine. Don't chug it down while holding your nose like you would for nasty tasting cough syrup just to get the good benefits of it. All, natural, teas have anti-oxidants. So if you're going to drink it for that, find a flavor and type you like.

Remember, Rooibos is naturally caffeine free! The next step up from this tea type for caffeine is white tea.

Anyway, today I have brewed myself a cup of TeaCo's Choco-Butterscotch Rooibos. Since I've already discussed the importance of using a tea ball for loose leaf tea, let's discuss when a tea ball fails. I posted how to make your own tea bag for a reason. Rooibos is a 'broom' like plant. This basically means that the 'leafs' are thin and almost needle like. When dried out and made to be used for tea they became like tiny, little splinters that seep through every little opening...even that of a mesh tea ball. They slip through the crease of the two ball parts and even through the mesh itself. I'm sure not all Rooibos does this, but this one sure does.

After a few little experiments, I find the best thing to do is to make a tea bag or empty one and fill it up with the tea, the stuff that into the tea ball. That should prevent any tea leaves from seeping out. On the other hand, you can forgo the tea ball and bag all together and use a French Press or Infuser. Both of which would work wonderfully for this kind of fine leaf tea.

Unlike green tea, Rooibos takes a 5-7 minute seeping. The longer it seeps, the darker the color and richer the taste. Over seeping (more than 10 minutes) will leave you with bitter, cold tea. So watch the clock or set a timer. This specific blend has chocolate and butterscotch chips in it. I recommend either using very hot water or just putting the chips in the bottom of your cup. I put them in the bottom of my cup and just stirred till they melted. Doing as I do tends to leave the water looking a little cloudy rather than that clear, red color that Rooibos gives, but it doesn't hurt the flavor one bit.

As for the color, when not putting the chips in the bottom of the cup, it should be a rich, deep rusty color or a beautiful, dark amber color. It really is one of the most beautiful colored teas I've ever seen. The chocolate/butterscotch chips even give it a 'shine' and makes it almost glitter. It's really amazing. I took a picture of it yesterday for you all and posted it. Just like the Pom-Green Tea from before, you may need to bob the tea ball or bag a little to get the color to mix with the water.

The taste is almost as wonderful as it looks. It's rich and smooth. Naturally sweet and warm. Not a bit of bitterness in it at all. It's almost creamy and buttery. I don't know how it would taste iced, but I wouldn't dare put ice in it. It really does taste perfect at a lukewarm temperature. Even the smell is nice. Before putting the chocolate/butterscotch chips in, you should dunk just the tea in with the hot water and take a good smell. It's hard to describe, but it smells warm, buttery, and just made me smile. While you can really smell the butterscotch just from opening the canister, you can't really smell it once it's mixed in the water. The Rooibos itself smells fantastic. It's dusty and deep.

As I've said before, I don't really add anything to my teas other than what is in the bag/canister...but yes, traditionally it is drank with milk, honey, and lemon. I don't like adding milk to tea, I think it tastes funny and sour. But I do like honey with plain green tea and lemon in nearly anything. While I don't think this blend needs anything added, I can see lemon giving it a nice tang to balance out the sweetness.

Overall, this is a wonderful tea experience. The flavor is deep without being over powering. It doesn't leave any kind of 'weird' after taste. While I still think green tea is a good starter for people just starting to drink tea, this would not be a bad start either.

Now, while the Loose Leaf Chocolate Butterscotch Rooibos  is wonderful and I do prefer it...there are Bagged Tea options that are just as good (though none that add butterscotch that I could find):

Belgian Chocolate Rooibos Sample
White Chocolate Rooibos
Aztec Chocolate Rooibos

If you don't live near a TeaCo store, you can purchase this tea from their site: TeaCo Chocolate Butterscotch Rooibos Tea


Offline Wistful Dream

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2011, 12:37:01 PM »
I really really hope I can get my hands on that tea, it does sound divine. Thanks for all the little tips in the last two posts as well.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2011, 12:42:30 PM »
I'm glad you liked it Wisti. TeaCo is the only place I found Chocolate-Butterscotch, but I only looked on Amazon. I know TeaCo is trying to get together 'sample packs' so people can get small versions to test out before buying the big canister.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2011, 12:43:30 PM »
Another great post, Michi.  I do have a quick question.  Do you plan on doing any posting with iced variations of the teas you post about?  I imagine it might depend on the tea.  Some are better hot than cold and vice versa.  I am curious as, at least for me, hot tea in the summer time (which is just around the corner) isn't something that is drank as regularly as in the colder months.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2011, 12:48:00 PM »
Considering it's still rather cold where I am, I'm sticking to hot teas for now...but yes. I do plan on going into iced teas as spring and summer set in more. ^^ Almost any tea can become iced, but a lot of people think of iced sweet tea when it comes to cold teas. While I can make Sweet Tea, I can't drink it. Too sugary for me. So yeah, there will be iced teas. ^^

We have a Disney store in the same mall as the tea store that has the cutest little water/iced tea pitchers that come with jelly Mickey heads that you freeze and keep the drink cold. I am very tempted to get it. >.>