Tag Archives: Tea Leaves

Steaz Green Tea Review

I used to drink a ton of soda pop when I was in high school and college.  Then sometime in my twenties I made a complete switch to water when I realized how much sugar was in them.  And of course with all the concerns about high fructose corn syrup, well it just isn't something I drink much these days.  Every once in awhile though, I love to drink something sweet and carbonated though.  I decided to give Steaz Sparkling Green Tea a try.

It is billed as a being organic and fair trade and made with decaffeinatedCeylon green tea leaves.  I'm a huge fan of fair trade, as there is some assurance that workers are treated fairly and paid a good wage for their work.  I tried the orange flavored version last night and I really loved it.  There is also a root beer and a lemon version readily available too.  According to the package it has sparkling filtered water, organic evaporated cane juice, citric acid, natural orange flavor, sodium citrate, organic Ceylon green tea, beta carotene (Vitamin A), vegetable juice for color and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).  Compare that to your favorite soda pop.

The flavors are nice and light and not too overpowering.  It is also not oversweet.  Definitely a bonus for me as I usually drink my tea unsweetened.  I will definitely be keeping this in my fridge on a regular basis.  How about you?  Have you tried Steaz?  What do you think of it? What are your favorite flavors?  Is there anything else like it that you recommend?

Teapot Strainers & Tea Infusers

Today I would like to discuss teapot strainers and tea infusers in a bit more depth.  Specifically how they should have some depth to them in order to allow the tea leaves to unfurl, expand and impart all of their goodness to hot water. Let's discuss the different types of loose leaf tea strainers out there.

  • Tea Infuser BallTea Infuser Ball - This type of infuser is good for brewing a single cup of tea.  It keeps the tea leaves contained, but not allow them to expand and unfurl much.  I find them a bit tricky to fill, so that takes some practice. Once you have it mastered though, this is a great way to steep tea.
  • Teapot StrainerTeapot Strainer - We love this option for its versatility.  It can sit inside the rim of our teapot or on the rim of a teacup.  All you have to do is put it in place, fill with tea leaves, and then pour water into it.  The tea leaves have a lot of room to expand and unfurl, plus the mesh is small enough that even rooibos tea is contained.  Cleanup is a breeze too.  Just rinse it out to remove the tea leaves and pop it in the dishwasher.

Whatever type of teapot strainer or tea infuser that you prefer, they are both great ways to enjoy loose leaf tea.  Right now they are 20% off at American Tea Room, along with their teapots, matcha, and accessories.  What is your favorite kind? Let us know in the comments below.

Christmas Teas

I've had a couple of people ask me recently what would be a perfect Christmas tea.  With the Holidays fast approaching, now is the time to be thinking of this.  Just think of those long, cold winter nights, the gifts to wrap and cards that you need to address.  Plus Christmas dinner!  Lots of occasions to have a hot pot of tea to sip. Here are some of my suggestions.

Art of Tea Holiday Berry Green TeaFirst up is Art of Tea's Holiday Berry Green Tea.  It has a base of organic Sencha & pan fired tea leaves and it is paired with strawberries, raspberries, cornflowers, rosehips, pink peppercorn, and safflower.  Most of the ingredients are organic.  This is a very colorful tea.  It is described to have a sweet and slightly spicy finish.

Toasted Nut Brulee OolongTeavana has a whole selection of teas that they recommend for Christmas and the Holidays.  I love their Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong tea.  This blend contains oolong and rooibos tea with apple, pineapple, papaya, cinnamon, chicory root, ginger, coconut, hazelnut, almonds, and cardamom.  Toasting nuts in the oven is such a Christmas tradition, so this tea is the perfect complement.

Masala Chai NoirThe American Tea Room does not list anything as a Christmas tea but you can not go wrong with a classic chai.  A blend of black tea and spices is the perfect pairing to Christmas dinner.  Their Masala Tea Noir is a wonderful blend of black tea leaves with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and green cardamom.

All of these teas come in either sample sizes or 2 to 4 ounce increments.  Which is a great way to try out any of these Christmas teas.  What is your favorite tea for drinking during the Holidays? Share in the comments below.

What is Wrong With Tea Bags?

tea bagIf you are new to tea drinking or are a long time tea drinker, than chances are you are used to making tea with a tea bag.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you are missing out on having a really great cup of tea.  Loose leaf tea makes a superior cup of tea for a number of reasons.

The tea leaves inside of a tea bag are usually the leftover little pieces of tea that are too small to be used in a loose leaf tea.  These bits of leaves, or fannings, do not have the same quantity of essential oils that a whole tea leaf does.  These oils are what gives a cup of tea their flavor.

A typical tea bag does not allow the tea leaves the chance to unfurl and expand in the water either.  Tea leaves need to be able to do that to impart flavor to the water.  A tea bag just compresses the leaves together and doesn't allow for that.

It is however possible to get a great cup of tea while using a tea bag.  Look for a tea bag that contains whole tea leaves.  There are several companies that offer tea bags that unfold into a pyramid shape.  This allows the tea leaves to unfurl and expand so that the water can swirl around them.  One of my favorites is Mighty Leaf Tea. Right now Mighty Leaf is on Sale Today! Check it out.  I especially love their Green Tea Tropical and Chamomile Citrus.

If you have a favorite whole tea leaf tea bag tea, please share in the comments below.  We would love to check them out and add them to our tea cabinet.

Top 5 Tea Essentials

If you are just starting out or are a long time tea drinker, it is always a great idea to have all of the right tools for brewing the perfect pot of tea.  Here is our list of the Top 5 Tea Essentials that you should have in your kitchen.

  1. Tea KettleTea Kettle.  You need hot water when making and having an appliance that is devoted to this task makes it very easy.  We currently use this Chef's Choice Tea Kettle.  I like that it is stainless steel, shuts off automatically, and will not operate if there is no water in it.  It holds 1 3/4 quarts of water, which is perfect for making a pot of tea.  It boils water in minutes and is much faster than trying to do so on the stove top and safer than using the microwave.   Someday I would love to have the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle, as it brings water to 5 different temperatures no thermometer required. This is a great feature for tea making as different types of teas need different temperatures of water for the perfect steep.  For now the Chef's Choice is a great tea kettle though.
  2. Teapot.  When brewing loose leaf tea, it is necessary to have place for the tea to brew.  Tea leaves that have a chance to open, infuse the water with more flavor than your standard teabag tea.  There are many different ones to choose from, made from a variety of materials.  The standard teapot is ceramic, but there are also glass, stainless steel, and cast iron ones.
  3. Infuser/Strainer.  Many people that brew loose leaf tea prefer to steep their tea inside of an infuser basket. These generally sit within the lip of the teapot and then can be pulled out when the tea is done steeping.  We prefer brewing the tea loose inside of the pot and then pouring the tea through a stainer into a tea cup.  We are currently using the Rösle Tea Strainer and absolutely love it.  It is a very fine mesh, so even the smallest of tea leaves do not get through.
  4. Tea cups.  It is always nice to have an assortment of teacup to choose from.  Sometimes you want a large cup of tea and other times it is nice to have some smaller cups to share a pot of tea with friends.  It is all up to you to have all matching cups or an oddball assortment of cups to choose from. Our tea cabinet has a collection of tea cups and mugs that we have gathered over the years.
  5. Tea.  This is definitely the most important component of all to making a great cup of tea.  All teas are definitely not created equal.  Personal preference is also a very important part of deciding just what kind of tea you are going to keep in your tea cabinet.  Some of our favorite teas come from Teavana and the American Tea Room.  We will be giving reviews of them in future posts.

We hope that gives you a little peak into what we keep in our tea cabinet.  These are definitely the tea essentials that you need in order to brew a great cup of tea.

Welcome to the Tea Cabinet

Growing up, I was never really a tea drinker.  My parents were more into coffee, so it wasn't really something we had around the house.  About 10 years ago, my husband's aunt gifted us a teapot and some loose leaf tea for Christmas.  It all got placed on a shelf somewhere and we forgot about it.  Fast forward about 4 years ago, we were again given some loose leaf tea.  The teapot was remembered and we used it to brew the tea.  It was wonderful.

I had tried many different types of tea, in their teabag form before that, but this was something else entirely different.  The flavors were so much stronger.  Plus I loved the ritual of setting the tea leaves to steep, pouring through a tea stainer and into a teacup.  Whether it is a enjoyed alone or with a group of family and friends, there is something very comforting and appealing about tea.

My husband and I have a whole cabinet in our kitchen devoted to our love of tea.  Now we would like to share that love with you.  Welcome to the Tea Cabinet.  Brew up a fresh pot and enjoy this journey with us.  We can't wait to get to know you better and explore the world of tea.