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Author Topic: Michi's Tea House  (Read 29248 times)

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Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #75 on: April 02, 2011, 11:22:27 AM »
You inspired me to expand my palette - I got Twinings Rose Garden and Lapsang Souchong. *griiins*

Offline JagerinTopic starter

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #76 on: April 02, 2011, 11:39:49 AM »
Yay!

*hugs and snuggles Eden*

<3 Eden...and the Lapsand Souchong sounds interesting, though it is a black tea (still not a fan of black tea). We have a lot of Twinings brand at the store here. I'll have to check them out.

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #77 on: April 02, 2011, 11:59:16 AM »
^_^

Rose Garden is also black, fused with herbal. Its quite pleasant, very light and lacking the tang tannin usually leaves. I've not tried the Lapsang yet but it smells lovely!

Offline Ramster

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #78 on: April 02, 2011, 04:20:23 PM »
I'm quite a fan of Lapsang. I really like this blog Michi, but I hope you can get someone to review some black teas for you! Some of us are all about the tannin. ;)

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #79 on: April 02, 2011, 05:59:50 PM »
I do plan on doing some Black Tea reviews (I have a Vanilla Hazelnut one). I'm just extremely picky about my black tea. :P

And I'm glad you're liking the blog, Ramster. ^^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #80 on: April 03, 2011, 08:12:46 AM »
Tea Grades

Have you ever been at the store and picked up a box of black tea tea that says 'Orange Pekoe', bought it, brewed it, and tasted it to realize that there is nothing 'orange' about it or it's taste?

Well, there is a good reason for this. That reason is that 'Orange Pekoe' is not a flavor.

Much like most other foods and beverages, tea (mainly black tea) is graded. Most of these grades vary depending on area and region, but for the most part they are fairly standard. Orange Pekoe is a fairly good grade, but not the best. It's the kind that you're most likely to find at the grocery store. Most of these grades tend to lean towards the types of teas served in India, but they have slowly made their way around the world.

These grades usually describe the type of tea leaf used in the making of the tea.

Pekoe - The leaves of this grade are shorter and not as wiry as an orange pekoe. In Europe this type of leaf is often referred to as curly.

Orange Pekoe (OP) - A good quality tea, consisting of large leaf pieces. Long, thin, wiry leaves which sometimes contain yellow tip or leaf buds. The liquors are light and pale in color.

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) - A leafwhich is as long or longer than on OP but is not as tightly rolled. The cup tends to be lighter than the broken grades.

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP) - A higher quality tea, that includes the golden tips of the young buds leaves.

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP) - Similar to GFOP, but with an even higher proportion of golden tips. This grade tends to be one of the most sought after, even if it isn't the highest grade.

Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) - Extremely high quality TGFOP.

Souchong - A bold, flat leaf, often light in liquor. Formosa and China are the most common producers of this grade.

Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) - The smallest of leaf grades. The liquor usually has a good color with strength in the cup and is very useful in many blends.

Broken Pekoe (BP) - A very short, even, curly leaf. It develops a dark, heavy cup and is very popular in the Middle East.

Fannings / Dust - The tiny bits and pieces, usually leftovers from processing. Commonly found in low quality tea bags.

Most of the time, you'll never see anything other than 'Orange Pekoe'. It is the most common and is good quality. Most small tea companies don't even use these labeling on their packages (TeaCo doesn't), but that doesn't mean that their product is low quality. It's simply not a widely used grading scale, but it does tend to be useful when you can find it. After all, if a box of tea says 'Fannings' or 'Dust' on it, you're likely to want to put that back on the shelf.

Also, these grades primarily apply only to Black Tea. So it's really not an effective scale for all teas, still it's always good to remember that 'Orange Pekoe' is not a flavor! It means that it's a black tea of decent grading. ^^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #81 on: April 03, 2011, 11:54:23 AM »
~laughs~ How tricky of them, another very useful article.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #82 on: April 03, 2011, 01:48:26 PM »
Lapsang Souchong is very much a "love it or hate it" kind of deal from my experience. It's like having a campfire in your teacup, as far as I'm concerned. It's my Christmas tea. :)

Offline Caeli

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #83 on: April 03, 2011, 11:08:35 PM »
I had a cup of genmaicha the other day and was reminded of how much I love the smell and flavor. :) If you haven't tried it, Michi, I recommend it. I've never had it loose-leaf, only bagged, by Yamamotoyama.

Offline darkangel76

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #84 on: April 04, 2011, 08:52:59 AM »
More wonderful stuff, Michi!!! I'm finding all of this rather informative. Thanks for that, hon!

Some herbal teas I'll drink in the winter time are of the Yogi Tea brand. Being asthmatic and prone to upper respiratory tract infections, I find drinking their Breathe Right tea very soothing. Though the flavor might be one most tea drinkers have to get used to.

Offline JagerinTopic starter

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #85 on: April 04, 2011, 09:42:29 AM »
I had a cup of genmaicha the other day and was reminded of how much I love the smell and flavor. :) If you haven't tried it, Michi, I recommend it. I've never had it loose-leaf, only bagged, by Yamamotoyama.

I will look into that, Caeli. Thanks! ^^

More wonderful stuff, Michi!!! I'm finding all of this rather informative. Thanks for that, hon!

Some herbal teas I'll drink in the winter time are of the Yogi Tea brand. Being asthmatic and prone to upper respiratory tract infections, I find drinking their Breathe Right tea very soothing. Though the flavor might be one most tea drinkers have to get used to.

Yogi brand is pretty good. ^^

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #86 on: April 04, 2011, 10:19:22 AM »
Viola Odorata

Since the weather has decided to start warming up a little (still windy out, but a very nice wind). It's like clockwork. The moment we get nice weather our yard is filled with those tiny, little purple flowers. They usually have five little petals with a white bit in the center and a yellow stigma in the center.

Most people think these, like the wild chamomile, are weeds. These little darlings are most certainly not 'weeds'. While a dandelion can be considered a weed, despite it's many uses...this little purple darling is not a weed in any sense of the word. It is, in fact, a violet! A little flower that is native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to North America and Australia.

This little flower's Binomial name name is Viola Odorata, but is commonly referred to as 'Sweet Violet', 'English Violet', 'Common Violet', or 'Garden Violet'. In Victorian times this flower was very popular for it's remarkably sweet scent and was used to produce many perfumes and cosmetics. But over time it has been deemed a 'weed' and something to be ripped out of your yard. I say no! I love seeing the little dots of purple in my yard. Not only that, but it's a very useful plant! That sweet smell is not it's only good quality.

It's very easy to grow these darlings, but the problem people have with them is that they grow anywhere. Wet or dry soil, shade or no shade, sunny or cloudy...they will take over your yard if you don't control them. They need nearly weekly attention. You have to keep them to one area or let them take over. They are very invasive. Once it takes over your yard, it'll take over your neighbor's and they won't appreciate you for that. If you want to keep these darlings, then you're going to need to police them. Rabbits do not eat them enough to control them and most garden stoppers (chemicals or fences to make around a garden) will not stop them as their roots will spread under it and sprout up anyway. So if you don't have the time to control them, then go out there and yank them up and toss them (or mow them down). If you do want some, you're in for a lot of work to keep it from taking over.

Other than the scent, most don't see a use for these violets, but they do have some. They are not hazardous to our health. They can be candied. They can be used to scent your house. They can be used in salad. The root can be used as a laxative and in large doses induce vomiting (though I'm not going over those ones). And, most importantly, they can be used for syrup and TEA!

As a tea, it can be used as a way to fight headaches. Research into using it as a tea has turned up that it naturally produces a small bit of glycoside of salicylic acid (a natural aspirin). It was once recommended that a garland of them be worn about the head to ward off headaches and dizzy spells. Now, like most tea, this is a hit or miss thing. I tend to believe that the more you believe in it, the better it will work.

The syrup can be used for sore throats and coughing. It can be added to iced tea for a sweetener.

Syrup: Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 cup packed, of fresh crushed flowers and leaves cover and let stand for 12 hours. Strain and squeeze through cloth, add 2 lb. of sugar and boil for 1 hour or until syrupy. Store in glass jar. Give 1 tbs. -1 tsp. for children 2 or 3 times a day.

Tea: Steep ¼ cup dried or fresh herb in 1 cup of water for 10 min. stain, flavor to taste. Take in ½ cup doses twice a day.

Another use for it, that does not involve ingestion, is to crush up the fresh flowers and add them to your hot bath water. The scent is relaxing and the oil from the crush petals is very soothing to the skin.

And while the leaves are edible, they are very tough and hard to eat...so eat them at your discretion in salads. Also watch out for pesticides when picking these flowers or any flower from a garden. Know what sprays and water you use on a plant before deciding to eat them. Also, check your allergies. You don't want to get sick or hurt after all.

For those that have no idea what flower I'm talking about:


*Info comes from Wikipedia, The Herb Book, Dave's Garden, and my own experiments.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 06:20:56 PM by Michi No Sora »

Offline JagerinTopic starter

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #87 on: April 05, 2011, 08:52:05 AM »
Tea Tannins

Tannin(s) is a word I'm sure some of you have seen in this thread once or twice or heard it else where. But what exactly are these 'tannins'? Many beginner tea drinkers probably don't know and I'm sure there are some long time tea drinkers that don't know. Most people say 'I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is'.

Tannin is an astringent bitter plant compound that binds to and precipitates proteins and various other organic compounds including amino acids and alkaloids. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry and puckery feeling in the mouth following the consumption of unripened fruit or red wine. It is usually confused with Tannic Acide, but tannin in tea does not contain any tannic acid (which can be used to tan animal hides). Most confuse the two because they look and sound alike...but no one would recommend drinking straight tannic acid or trying to tan animal hide with tea tannin.

Tannins are found in many other foods and drink. For example the seeds of grapes, chocolate that contains cocoa, cranberries, red wine, and some beers contain naturally occurring tannins.

Tannin is found in any tea that contains leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which means most herbal and rooibos teas don't have it. Tannin is responsible for that puckery, bitter taste many associate with green tea. The longer the tea is steeped or brewed, the more tannin that is released. Also, the more oxidized the tea leaves are the more tannin that is released during the brewing. This is why black tea is so 'strong'. The less you steep your tea, the less tannin that is released. Though it should be noted that most tannin is released in the first two minutes of loose leaf steeping and in the first forty seconds of bagged steeping. Keep that in mind. The less steeping time, the less bitter and less strong the tea will taste.

Now, there are good and bad health side affects of tannin. Tannins are said to keep bad bacteria out of your mouth, and tannins help to prevent cavities. So even if stronger teas may stain your teeth with too much drinking, it will also help with bad breath (though your mouth is not the only place for bad breath to be caused) and help with over all dental care.

The bad side effect of too much tannin consumption is that too much of it can interfere with your body absorbing iron. This can cause other health problems with your body. If your iron is low, you may want to talk to your doctor about your tannin intake if you're a big tea drinker. The iron level maybe caused by something else, but the tannin isn't helping it. Tea is one of the biggest sources of tannin, so watch your intake!

On an ending note, if you happen to like that bitter, puckery taste of tannin...squeeze your tea bag after steeping. This will release that last little bit and make your tea stronger.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #88 on: April 06, 2011, 09:08:34 AM »
How to Dry Out Herbs/Flowers for Tea

First off an herb is a plant that is valued for flavor, scent, medicinal or other qualities. Herbs are used in cooking, as medicines, and for spiritual purposes. There are some really remarkable herbs out there in the world. Not only are there a world of flavors and scents, but some herbs are even 'smart' in the non-traditional sense. When I say 'smart', I just mean rapid plant movement. The Mimosa pudica is most known for this. If you touch it's leaves it will react very quickly and retract it's leaves for protection. It's rather amazing. Watch:


Anyway...I'm not going to go into details about the mimosa pudica or why and how it does that when touched. Basically, plants are awesome. They can be as complex and complicated as the human body. Nature has made them perfect. Some grow year after year and some need to be replanted every year. Either way, they know what to do with themselves and there is no such thing as an herb that doesn't grow in the wild. These are not man made things. It's only through years and years of studying them and using them that we have now began to be able to use them to their full potential.

Herbal remedies and drinks have been around a lot longer than vaccines. That doesn't mean they are better or you should give up on modern medicine. Honestly, I'd be dead now if it weren't for modern medicine, but that doesn't mean I can't believe in the power of herbal remedies.

In my opinion, the best way to drink herbals is in tea form.

The best way to start this is by locating your herb of choice. If you're not familiar or well versed in which herbs are dangerous and not to be ingested and which ones are safe, the best way to go is to go for the well known, safe herbs: Chamomile, Catnip, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Rose Hips, Sassafras. There are hundreds of other plants to choose from, but I suggest extensive reading and research before just picking up some random plant off the ground and brewing it in a tea ball. This blog will contain plenty of herbs and flowers that are safe to ingest, such as the Viola from the other day, but that doesn't mean everything in your yard is safe.

Using a very sharp knife or garden scissors cut your stems.  Do not pick them as it will cause bruising on the stem and a place for decomposition to start.   Leave an extra inch or two at the bottom of your herbs for bundling. Harvest your herbs in the late morning when all the dew has had a chance to dry.  This helps to prevent mildew.  Gently shake herbs to remove any bugs. Visually inspect herbs.  Remove any damaged leaves or flowers with your sharp knife before drying.

Once you have your herb/flower/plant, the first thing you have to do to it is wash it. Just find a strainer and rise it with cold water. I said cold water, not warm or hot. Warm and hot water can damage the plant and cause it to lose some of it's natural goodness by starting a slow 'cooking' process. After rinsing them, I would suggest pat drying them. You don't have to make them perfectly dry, just get some of the excess water off. Again, pat dry. Don't put them in a towel and start rubbing. Just a nice, easy, gentle patting over the herbs.

Next step is to bundle them for drying. While you can use the herbs right away, just drop them in the hot water and let them steep (or crush them just a little to help them release better), I find the best herbal teas are the ones with dried herbs and flowers. Why? They are more concentrated and they last longer. For drying, you need to bundle them and there are two ways you can do that. One is to just bunch them together and put a string or rubber band around the cut end. You want it tight enough that they won't wiggle loose during drying, but loose enough so that air can flow through. The other way, and the way I don't usually use, is to paper bag it. Using paper lunch sacks that you have prepared by cutting a couple dozen half inch holes in on the sides of the bag, not the bottom or within 1 inch of the bottom, place your herbs in the sack. You will want the 1 to 2 inch of your stalks to be outside of the opening of your bag.  Then using your rubber band or a piece of string secure the open end of bag to the stalks. 

Do not bundle different herbs together as their flavors and fragrances will transfer to each other during the drying process.

For drying, you just hang your bundles either on a drying rack or you can add an extra bit of string to the tie and hang them from those little hooks on plastic clothes hangers. Just make sure the bundles are not laying against a wall or anything. You want them to have air flow. They need to hang somewhere open. Honestly, I've used my closet. I clear out a side of it and put a towel on the floor to catch and falling pieces and space out the hangers. You want them out of direct sunlight with good air flow. You can even dry them outside in a shady area so long as you bring them in every night. No matter where you place your herbs for drying, try to put something under them. Cause when they start drying out, they are likely to release seeds. You can collect them and use them for growing next year or for adding to food for flavor or just feed the birds.

You'll know your herbs/flowers are dried enough when the leaves crumble easily.

At this point, you'll want to store them. See my Tea Storage entry. It needs to be air tight, keep away from heat and light, and don't put it in your fridge.

To make tea with it, just take a good pinch (about a teaspoon) of your herb/flower and put it into a tea ball and brew to your desired strength.

Warning: As I said before, some herbs are not to be ingested. Also, if you get your herbs from a store, they were likely sprayed with pesticides (unless the tags state that they weren't). Do not brew these. Even washing doesn't get it all off. You're better off growing your own or picking them from a place that you know there is no pesticide spraying. Most herbs are not difficult to grow and can be easily grown in a window sill if you don't want or have the space outside. The benefit to home growing is that you'll always know what it was grown with.

Also, always check with your doctor before starting home made remedies for your illnesses. Sure, it's alright for a simple sore throat or cough to try these first, but if you have a serious problem that needs medication, talk to your doctor first! These are not medical facts, these are wives tales and home brewed. Never replace a medicine with a home brew before talking to your doctor.

Plants can be very dangerous, but there are plenty of books out there that can help you study to know which ones are not and are good for tea. I suggest The Herb Book by Dr. John Lust. It can be difficult to find, but if you can find it, it's wonderful and informative. Of course, that's not the only herb book out there. The larger bookstores usually have a nature or gardening section, or even check the New Age sections.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #89 on: April 07, 2011, 10:35:54 AM »
Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Black Tea

Quote
"Sweet and indulgent, Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Tea tantalizes the senses with its vibrant flavor and tobust aroma. Our long-cut tea is handpicked from only the top two leaves and a bud and packaged in our unique pyramid-shaped bags that allow the tea to flow freely with real pieces of fruit for a truly authentic tea infusion. Savor the flavor of 100 years' tea expertise in every cup.

Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Tea contains 90mg per serving of naturally protective antioxidants (flavonoid antioxidants). Antioxidants help to neutralize free-radicals." -Lipton

Ingredients: Black Tea, Dried Fruit Pieces (Apple, Blackberry, Black Currant, Blueberry), Rosehips, Roasted Chicory Root, Cinnamon Bark, Licorice Root, Orange and Ginger Peels, and Natural Flavors.

First off, Lipton nor Black Tea are my teas of choice normally. Lipton tends to taste...cheap and weak. Normally the only thing 'Lipton' that enters this tea lover's cup is overly sweeted Iced Tea (and only because that's how the hubby likes his tea). I also tend to dislike most black tea blends. It's just too strong for me. Not to mention the caffeine. Black Tea does have the most caffeine amount of all the tea leaves.

In some countries, black tea is known as 'red' tea because of the color it turns the water. While not obviously red as rooibos, it is a pretty shade of red. The term 'black tea' is because of the color of the leaves, not the color it turns the water, where as rooibos is red tea because of the color of the leaves and the water. Also, because of how long it is oxidized, it is the most well traveled tea. Some say it still accounts for 90% of all tea drank around the world because it can be stored for several years in brick form without losing it's flavor. Some of the most well known teas are black teas: Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast are all black teas.

And even though I tend not to like Lipton, it is the largest producer of black tea in the world. Black tea is probably the only tea I recommend from Lipton.

The only reason I even have this tea being steeped in my cup is because it's surprisingly good and it was one sale at the local grocery store. Also, because it's a pyramid bag. Most companies that take the time to put a tea in a pyramid bag tend to be trying to redeem themselves and since it does cost more to make the pyramid bags, the tea is usually slightly better quality.

I've already posted about pyramid bags, but basically, the shape of the bag allows better flow for the tea. The old, flat bags keep the tea stuck at the bottom and it's hard to get the water to flow through the leaves. Pyramid bags allow the leaves and pieces to float around and flavor the tea better.

Anyway...this tea is surprisingly good. Not great and I've certainly tasted better berry teas, but not bad for the price and brand. The smell is probably the best thing about it. The cinnamon bark scent is not overpowering at all, nor is the licorice root. It's a very strong scented tea, even after taking the tea bag out it lingers in the cup. The thing I seem to smell the most is the blackberry. It really smells fresh, which is a very good sign. Because of the berries and the orange (which is a citrus fruit) peel, it's not nearly as bitter as most non-blended black tea. I find that adding any kind of citrus to black tea helps to cut that puckery taste.

If you follow the directions on the box, which is add hot water to tea bag and cup, steep for 3 minutes...you'll have a nice cup of tea. It's warm and very nice to smell. A properly brewed cup will have a clear, red-orange color. You should be able to see the bottom of your cup (unless it's a black cup or big mug). It's not shiny or glossy like the rooibos blend that I have.

The taste is...meh. It's not great, but it's not bad. It doesn't have much of a taste when you first drink it, but it leaves a nice after taste on your tongue. Again, all I can really taste is the berries, mainly the blackberry. It's a nice soft tasting tea without much of a bite. I'd use this as more of a pick me up in the mornings because of the caffeine content and light flavor since I can't stand overly bitter black tea in the morning. The very light taste really just leaves me wanting for more while sipping it so close to noon. I'm tempted to dump it and get a glass of soda or brew a more flavorful tea.

Overall, not bad and not great. Kind of a middle ground tea. Probably something I would keep in the cabinet for when you have last minute company who like tea. It's simple, not fancy, and won't overpower any little snacks or treats you leave out for your guests. Not something I would brew everyday or even on a special occasion. More of something I would brew when I have a lack or time to mess with loose leaf and the tea ball. I also think it would taste better iced, so I might revisit it when I get around to iced teas.

Since it is Lipton, it's likely sitting on your grocery store shelf right now. If not, Amazon is always a good place:

Lipton Black Tea, Bavarian Wild Berry, 20-Count Boxes (Pack of 6) (six boxes for $13.28, not bad since black tea can store for 3+ years).


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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #90 on: April 07, 2011, 11:06:45 AM »
I've noticed that most teas that use licorice (with the exception of Stash Licorice) have it in there very sparingly and more as a sweetener to balance the taste of the tea than for the 'licorice' taste.  (Fun fact:  Licorice root contains glycyrrhyzin, which is 30-50 times sweeter than sugar.)

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #91 on: April 08, 2011, 10:45:19 AM »
Sunshine Iced Tea

It's finally spring! Huzzah! Not only is it nice and sunny out, but it's nearly 80 out there. It's fantastic. I'm wearing shorts and a tank top, doing some spring cleaning, playing with the baby...and making my first batch of iced tea of the year!

As Oniya pointed out in an earlier post, the best way to sweeten is to make unsweet tea and a simple syrup for people to sweeten it to their taste. To make this syrup, you just pour 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and melt them together in a pan and put into the fridge. Then you can just serve that with the tea and people can spoon in how ever much they like and not have to worry about trying to dissolve sugar into cold tea.

Iced Tea is not a science. It's actually very simple, but some forms can be time consuming. First a little history.

In the early 1900s, people mostly drank green tea from China and some were introducing black tea to America. The story is that Englishman Richard Blechynden was at the St. Louis World's Fair with his Black Tea and trying to serve it up to the masses. As it happens, there was a heat wave going on and not many people were lining up for hot tea drinks. Frustrated, Richard and his team brewed the tea, filled several large bottles, and placed them on stands upside down - thus allowing the tea to flow through iced lead pipes. This free iced tea was very much welcomed by the thirsty fair goers. After the fair, Blechynden took his lead pipe apparatus to New York City, offering free iced tea to shoppers at Bloomingdale Brothers Department Store, demonstrating iced tea is a desirable summertime drink.

It was an instant hit. Though that's hardly the creation of Iced Tea. Blechynden simply modernized and advanced iced tea's popularity. English and American cookbooks have had Iced Tea recipes in them since the 1800s, so Blechynden simple made it popular as a summer time drink.

Also, there are two main types of Iced Tea. In the South most swear by the sweet tea and if you order tea in the South, you're likely to get a tall glass of very sweet, iced tea and maybe a wedge of lemon. When I was in Alabama, I actually met a waitress that looked confused when I asked for unsweet tea. She'd never heard of it and was a little frustrated to make it.

They take their sweet tea so seriously that the state of Georgia played an April Fool's joke in 2003 about it:

Quote
Georgia State Representative, John Noel, and four co-sponsors, apparently as an April Fools' Day joke, introduced House Bill 819, proposing to require all Georgia restaurants that serve tea to serve sweet tea. Representative John Noel, one of the sponsors, is said to have acknowledged that the bill was an attempt to bring humor to the Legislature, but wouldn't mind if it became law. The text of the bill proposes:

    (a)  As used in this Code section, the term 'sweet tea' means iced tea which is sweetened with sugar at the time that it is brewed.

    (b)  Any food service establishment which served iced tea must serve sweet tea. Such an establishment may serve unsweetened tea but in such case must also serve sweet tea.

    (c)  Any person who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

I know many people that probably took that seriously and were angry to find out that it wasn't a real law. That's how serious Iced Tea is. My hubby is one of those people that believes tea means Sweet Iced Tea.

There are several ways to make Iced Tea. I do it one of two ways. Either the fridge method or the sun brewed way. Both take several hours. Right now I have a jar sitting outside in the sunshine brewing. To do this you will need 1 tight lidded jar (a mason jar, these keep the buggies out), 5 tea bags of the tea of your choice (or 5 tsp of loose leaf), and cold water. For today I'm simply using five tea bags of Luzianne brand. It's a good brand for iced tea because it's cheap, good, and because you're going to be making a pitcher. Iced Tea is rarely made per glass, so sometimes it's okay to skimp on using your expensive loose leaf to make it. >.>

Fill a container with 4 cups of cold water, preferably filtered. Place 5-6 bags or 5-6 teaspoons of tea and cover or cap lightly. Place in direct sunlight for 2 to 4 hours (depending on desired strength). Remove bags or strain and serve over ice.

Ta-Da! You're done! Of course if you want it to be sweetened while brewing, you can melt some sugar in just 1/2 a cup of hot water and then add your cold water and tea bags. Or if you want it unsweetened and let people sweeten it on their own either make the simple syrup or have artificial sweeteners.

Good iced tea should be (depending if you use black tea, white tea, oolong, rooibos, or green tea) a rich amber color when it's done brewing. White tea is likely going to be a lighter color and green tea might even be a little yellowish-green. It should also be clear, not cloudy. While the cloudiness doesn't affect the taste, it does affect the appearance. Pretty tea is happy tea. >.>

Loose leaf tends to be cloudy more so than bagged teas because it's tannins that cause the cloudiness and loose leaf has more tannin. If you added sugar or hot water to it, it's going to be cloudy. Let it cool before trying to fix it, sometimes the cloudiness will disappear. If it's still cloudy, sometimes a little lemon juice helps. Go a head and add lemon juice or slice up a lemon and dunk it in the pitcher.

What looks better than this on a nice sunny day?


Yes, that is sitting on my back porch right now brewing and will be ready for drinking in just a few hours. I can't wait! You can see right through it and just barely see the flowers from that tree on the other side. Perfect for a nice spring day.

EDIT:

I put the tea out to brew at about 10am and that picture I took was at about 11am. It is now 2:15pm. 4 hours to brew, brought it in, put it in the large pitcher, added just a little sweetener...and here is the finished product:


My glass fogged up a little, but the tea is actually clear. So what do you all think? And how do you like your iced tea? Sweet or unsweet? Lemon or no lemon? Orange or no orange? ^^

For the most part it tastes like very lightly brewed black tea with lemon. It's very cold and very refreshing.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 01:18:15 PM by Michi No Sora »

Offline Caeli

Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #92 on: April 09, 2011, 04:40:25 AM »
Wonderful article on iced tea, Michi. ;D I actually could never figure out the secret to good iced tea, so I'll have to try out some of the suggestions!

Me, I actually like unsweetened. I've grown up on hot and/or cold black teas and green teas and barley teas, and I've never felt the need to add sugar, milk, or any other kind of sweetener. I absolutely love the taste of all tea, even its bitterness - it makes me appreciate its sweetness that much more.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #93 on: April 15, 2011, 10:35:42 AM »
Strawberry Kiwi Tisane (Fruit Tea)

Quote
"TeaCo's Fruit 'Teas' are a rich and flavorful fruit drink that is made from a blend of dried fruit pieces, rosehips, hibiscus, and natural flavorings.

These 'Teas' do not contain any actual tea leaves, therefor they are cafeeine-free and provide a delicious and healthy alternative to our regular tea base. These blends contain no added sugar, so they are a low calorie alternative to regular fruit drinks. They are also a good source of Vitamin C and low in carbohydrates." -TeaCo

Ingredients: Dried Strawberry and Kiwi pieces, Rosehips, Hibiscus, and Natural Flavorings.

For those that don't know, a tisane tea is just a fancy word for a herbal tea. Basically, it just means that there is no rooibos (which is sometimes considered a herbal tea too) or camellia sinensis in the blend. Herbal Teas are the ones that are dated back the furthest in history. Many plants and flowers have medicinal properties and for centuries people have been boiling these plants into teas to reap their benefits.

This specific tea contains rosehip and hibiscus. You will often see these two together in tea. Rosehip, or rose haw, is the fruit of a rose plant (not all rose plants make rosehip) that is usually a red-orange color, but can also range from dark purple to black in some species. It is a vitamin-C rich fruit and is often fed to chinchillas and guinea pigs as a way for them to get their vitamin-C. It's also given to horses to improve coat condition and hoof growth. It's vitamin-C content is so high that it's labeled as one of the most vitamin-C rich plants on the planet. Along with tea and a vitamin-C producer, it's also used to make Pálinka (a Hungarian brandy), the hairs inside rosehip are used in anti-itching powders (some, not all), and as a potpourri.

Hibiscus is rosehip's little partner in crime when it comes to tea. As I said before, they are often used together. Their flavors are mellow and blend well with nearly everything. Hibiscus is a flowering plant and it's the flower that is used in most tea blends. These flowers come in many colors; ranging from light pink and white to bright yellows and red-oranges. They also attract butterflies, but also bees. It too is rather high in vitamin-C. Due to it's beautiful coloring and myths surrounding the plant, a red hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian women. A single flower is tucked behind the ear. It is used to indicate the wearer's availability for marriage. Some countries crush them up into a sticky juice and use them for making bubbles, this is mostly done by children. A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 point in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 point drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage. Study participants with higher blood pressures readings (129 or above) had a greater response to hibiscus tea: their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 points. These data support the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure, although more research is required.

While rosehip and hibiscus is wonderful, it is not the star of this tea. The stars of this tea are the strawberry and kiwi. Personally, I would never put a real kiwi in my mouth. I dislike the texture very much, but I do love the taste. The strawberry even takes a backseat to the flavor of the kiwi in this tea. It's tart and yet very sweet. It even takes over most of the scent. That doesn't mean I can't taste the strawberry in it. When you drink it, the strawberry is most certainly the first thing you taste. It's sweet and smooth. But once it washes over your tongue the kiwi takes over and hits you with that strong tart flavor.

The color is very nice. It's a pretty, rose pink color. The longer it steeps, the darker the color. After a seven minute steep time, mine is bordering on a dark pink-red color. Since there is no tea leaves in it, you can steep it for longer periods of time without it becoming bitter. Also, since it's fruit drink, it does well cold or iced. I think it would be nice bottled up with some ice to take with you around town or to the beach. I can just imagine sitting on a beach chair with the sound of the waves and people splashing in the water nearby with my hand wrapped around a bottle of beautiful pink tea with ice cubes floating around in it. It being just sweet enough to wash over your tongue without feeling sickly-sweet with the heat of the beach sun. That would be wonderful.

Overall, a good summertime tea to turn into iced tea (which I'll probably do when it warms up more). Not something I would drink everyday or make for a party or house guests, but just something to sit outside with.

This is not likely to be a tea blend you're going to find sitting on your grocery store shelf, but there is always Amazon. When looking for a fruit tea, always look for brands that have fruit pieces in it. I'd also always recommend loose leaf for these teas, because then you can see the fruit pieces.

Harney & Sons Strawberry-Kiwi Fruit Loose Tea
Strawberry Kiwi Herbal Tea
Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Strawberry Kiwi

If you want this exact tea, you can always purchase it from TeaCo: TeaCo Strawberry Kiwi.


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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #94 on: April 15, 2011, 10:57:34 AM »
Didn't know that about hibiscus - I'll have to add that to Mr. Oniya's HBP regimen (along with the garlic to help his cholesterol).

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #95 on: April 15, 2011, 11:07:16 AM »
And you can find it in many teas, so it's not like he'll be stuck with one flavor. ^^ TeaCo alone has 9 fruit tea flavors with hibiscus, but many of their teas do contain it. Just a quick search on Amazon yields many varieties and flavors:

Amazon Hibiscus Tea Search

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #96 on: April 15, 2011, 11:14:16 AM »
I've seen it in just about any non-caffeinated fruit tea I've come across - probably mostly for color reasons, as you pointed out.  I'd always figured that was its major purpose, in fact.

Seriously, though, he goes through a lot of iced tea on a daily basis, so getting him to drink three cups a day should be easy.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #97 on: April 15, 2011, 06:24:38 PM »
I'm sure the color and light flavor were a big factor before people started doing studies on it's health benefits.

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #98 on: May 07, 2011, 06:27:17 AM »
I've been too tired and busy lately to review teas and write up herbs. I will be getting back into it as soon as I can. In the meantime, Cecilia sent me this and I couldn't help but giggle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eELH0ivexKA&feature=player_embedded#at=146

Enjoy!

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Re: Michi's Tea House
« Reply #99 on: May 07, 2011, 02:50:02 PM »
Hehe, that's hilarious Michi :) And I look forward to your next write up :)