Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Posts tagged ‘Tea Love’

Much of Matcha Goin’ Around!

First, I want to let all of you know about an upcoming Tea Love talk!   On Saturday, November 8th, I will be returning to the Camden County Library, Voorhees Branch, in order to have a special talk on Asian tea culture.   Come learn more about Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean tea culture, taste some matcha and Marsala tea tarik.   Not only that, we will have author Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials, come in to talk about her latest book, which will be available for purchase that day.

The talk will start at 1:00 PM at 203 Laurel Road, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043.   Call the library at (856) 772-1636 to RSVP.   Space is limited!

Second, I feel that, in order for you to understand me for Tea Love, you must understand that I am most definitely a Jill of All Trades, mostly trades that make me come off as a 90-year-old grandma instead of a rockin’ 26-year-old woman.   When people talk about getting so drunk last night, my evenings consist of baking with friends, maybe watching Pokemon or Dr. Who, and just being overall nerds.

Me Being My Dorky Self

Me Being My Dorky Self

One of my passions?   Baking.   I adore the holidays when I can bake eight batches of different cookies as well as fudge and not be judged for it.   Tell me it’s too hard to make fondant?   Watch me go!   And fail!   And have fun failing!   But that’s besides the point.

Combined this love of baking with Pinterest, my nerdy self, and you better believe I am going to come up with awesomely unique recipes, a lot involving matcha tea!

For those that do not know, matcha tea is green tea that has been ground up into a very fine powder.   You then put it in your tea mug, whisk it up, and drink up, tea leaves and all.   This produces a slightly sweet tea and is often used in desserts due to the consistency, tender sweet undertones, and very vibrant green color.   For those who love Starbucks, you can find matcha in green tea lattes.   For those who love bubble tea?   There’s a green tea version.   For those that love the color green… well, you get the picture.

Below, find some awesome links to some fantastic matcha tea recipes.

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake (From Thirsty For Tea):

One-cup recipes in of themselves are gifts from the gods.   When you are looking for something sweet but do not want to spend the hours making a whole batch of cookies to enjoy just one, throwing a mug in a microwave with a few ingredients is a life-saver (and a waist-expander).   This chocolate chip matcha mug cake appears simple and sweet.   I plan on making this baby ASAP!   Looks delicious!

Click on the picture for the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

Matcha Meringues (From Bitter Sweet):

If there is one recipe I can never make right, it is meringues.   For some reason, I can never get everything come together just right, so it ends up being a puddle of white goo spread out at the bottom of my baking sheet rather than those fluffy clouds of goodness.

Bitter Sweet managed to find a vegan box recipe, which I never knew existed!   She simply added some matcha to the recipe in order to make her matcha meringues.

Click on the picture for more information:

Fluffy Green Clouds of Meringue

Fluffy Green Clouds of Meringue

Matcha Goma Entremet (From Vintage Trinkets):

So, an entremet, I found out, is a small course served between fancy-schmancy meals, or it can be simply a small dessert.   This particular one consists of black sesame cake, matcha cake, black sesame mousse, matcha mousse, and topped off with a sesame nougatine.   Pretty AND delicious!   What’s also beneficial?   This blogger also posts about her mistakes and how she corrected them so that you can make sure that YOUR dessert comes out being the best that it can be.

I would definitely say that anyone present at your dinner parties would be impressed with this recipe.

Click on the picture for the recipe:

 

Matcha Goma Entremet

Matcha Goma Entremet

Matcha Green Tea Donuts (From A Beautiful Mess):

Everyone likes donuts.   I can be adverse to most of them, but there is usually some sort of variety that people are just prone to go running to, whether glazed, chocolate, plain, whatever!   But how about one glazed with matcha tea?   Um, yes, please?   The sweetness of the donut can ONLY be complemented by the strong, slightly bitter yet sweet taste of the matcha!   And this must make for a nice breakfast when you are on the go and want something with a slight caffeine boost.

Click on the picture for the recipe:

Matcha Green Tea Donuts

Matcha Green Tea Donuts

The Last Of My Inca Teas – Tawantin Black Tea

So, I have reached the final review of my Inca Teas that I have been shoring up for the past month.   Not going to lie, it’s kid of sad to write about the final tea in this four-part series.   All the teas were something new, unique, and I give Tea-EO Ryan Florio A LOT of credit for quitting his job and going into an industry he knew nothing about and yet coming out with this fantastic blend for the public.

The tea that I saved for last?   A full-bodied Tawantin black tea.

Tawantin Black Tea

Tawantin Black Tea

As has been the norm with this tea, Ryan ensured that we were able to see each bit of the tea within the drink, including his famous purple corn.   The drink consists of three different types of black tea (two of which are organic) and some purple corn.   The website explains, “The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, “four parts together.” In Quechua, the term Tawantin is a group of four things (tawa, meaning “four”, with the suffix -ntin which names a group).”   Very simple compared to the other teas which had blends of fruits all over, but don’t be fooled!   This does not lessen the tea one bit.

Instead of the typical purple look I have been getting from all the teas, I have the deep, rich brown shade similar to coffee, which is typical of black teas.   I also got the black tea smell, a strong earthy scent with slightly sweet undertones that is unmistakable for tea.

I brewed it in my cup and have been sipping on it since dinner time, around 7:00 PM (it’s 9:30 now).   Though the tea has gone cold, that is not a bad thing!   Hot or cold, this tea has proven to be a pleasure to drink.   I can see it being better for a morning time drink rather than an evening drink like I am having it right now, since I can promise you that the caffeine jolt is going to keep me up all night.   What I also like about this tea is that sometimes, when I let my black tea go cold, I see this film that develops on the side of my mug (not exactly the most appealing thing to witness as you sip away).   That, by the way, is due to the calcium carbonate found in the water and the tea.   However, with this tea, not so!   Definitely a plus, since the scum that forms is not exactly the most appetizing view.

So, all in all, now that we are done with the Inca Teas, I can confidently say to give it a try!   Ryan assured me that other types will be coming out, so keep your eyes open for new ones.   Prior to working with Ryan, I had never heard of purple corn.   Now, I am glad I had the opportunity to try it, love it, and search for more.

Mountain of Mango Madness!!!!

Before starting, I would like to write an apology.   I have not written the past two weeks due to an unfortunate illness within my family.   This Saturday, October 4th, my grandfather, William Roeben, passed away at the age of 87.   Needless to say, this is a hard time filled with a lot of tears, painful planning, but at the same time, also filled with wondrous laughter and joyous memories as we celebrate and remember his fruitful life.   Please join me as you read this in praying that my Opa goes back home to be with his wife who we lost two years ago, as they enjoy bowling up in Heaven with all their friends.   Thank you.

My Cousin Emily, My Opa, and Me Two Christmases Ago

My Cousin Emily, My Opa, and Me Two Christmases Ago

And now, on to tea…

***

So, yesterday for dinner, I had the Inca Tea Mountain of Mango.   For those that don’t know me, I LOVE mango.   I remember the first time I had a fresh mango was in college.   Sitting in my dorm room, no clue how to eat it, I just went to town, burying my face deep into the green skin and pulling at the sweet yellow flesh underneath, smiling my fiber-filled grin with each bite I took.   I was completely hooked.

By the way, since then, I have learned to eat mango in a more refined manner by simply slicing off some mango and eating that way, but admittedly, the other way is still a lot more fun.

Mountain of Mango is one of the herbal blends that Inca Tea sells.   Upon opening the package, I noticed that there was a slightly acidic smell to it.   Not what I was expecting!   When I hear mango, I hear sweet, sometimes overbearingly so.   However, there was something in this one, probably the hibiscus petals, that made the sweet dull down a little bit, which is a plus for those that want to drink tea and not drink a fruit juice.

The tea looked lovely, to say the least.   A unique blend of mango, purple corn, hibiscus petals, rose hip peel, and apple, as well as some natural flavors.   You could actually see each component, which, if you have been to my Tea Love talks, you know is a big deal to me:

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty

When the tea was brewed, it created a red-ish orange hue, kind of like a sun set.   This tea is definitely worth brewing in a clear mug, if you have any.   The acidic smell went down a bit and the tea became more of a soothing smell, matching the taste.   I would not mind waking up to a relaxing morning and brewing myself a cup of Mountain of Mango.   It was sweet, relaxing, and felt like one of those teas that you would wake up early to see the sun rise with.   It is not meant to wake you – it is meant to calm you.

This would also be a good tea to have as an introductory tea for children, should you wish.   Being that it is an herbal blend, there is no caffeine in the tea.   It is sweet enough where kids would like it, but not so sweet that you are going to think there is loads of added sugar in the drink.   It will also be easier to introduce them to more tea-based drinks after using this as a primer.

So sit back, drink up, and enjoy some Mountain of Mango, courtesy of Inca Tea.

Sadly, I will be doing my last tea for Inca Tea this Sunday!   Join in next week as I review Tawantin Black Tea :-)

Happy Birthday To Me…

Hello Tea Lovers!

 
So, my birthday is today!!!!   Of course, leading up to today, I got asked the usual question – “Whadaya want?”
 
And I was thinking – I have enough tea to last me for quite a few years now (and I might be driving my family slightly up the wall with the pile that’s climbing… well… up the wall), I am building a bookcase (and I mean a BIG bookcase, about 7 feet tall) with my dad to accommodate all the books I’ve collected while still downloading new books onto my Nook, I can build a house out of the candles and lotions that I have, there are drawers stuffed with notebooks (quite literally stuffed.   My dad had to pry them open one time because one of the books caused the drawer to get stuck), and in general, I am pretty happy with what I do have.
 
So, I thought this year, why not change it up a bit?   There are quite a few charities that I have close to my heart, and a donation to these worthy causes would mean more to me than a thousand gallons of yellow tea (and if you don’t know what yellow tea is, that’s kind of a big deal).
 
So what would be completely, totally awesome of all of you, is if you can donate an amount, any amount, to one of the charities below.   I’ve included links to their websites, links to my fundraising pages if I am doing something currently with them, a mini blurb about them, a mini blurb as to why they are important to me, and any handy-dandy information you might need.   Remember, some of these organizations might be tax-deductible!   You might also want to look at your company’s donation matching program to see if you can get your donation matched at all.
 
If you really want, send me a card with where you donated to my email, Catherine.Felegi@gmail.com :-)   I’d love to decorate my room with those!
 
So thank you so much!   I hope you will consider donating to some of these organizations.
 
***
Out of the Darkness Walk (please click here for my participant link) – On Sunday, October 5th, I will be walking with Team Orpheus in the Out of the Darkness Walk, a walk meant to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
 
The AFSP strives to raise awareness about suicide and aims for a suicide-free world.   In order to do this, the organization seeks to educate, support research, advocate, and offers a community for both those who have attempted suicide and those who have unfortunately lost someone.
 
I participated in this walk a while back with an old friend and have not for a bit.   When one of my Facebook friends happened to mention she was walking, I figured why not join her?   The experience was really eye-opening as people went to see the quilt made to commemorate those who have passed, wore beads proudly saying they were survivors, and just in general celebrating life while fighting to stop others from feeling like there’s no hope.
 
The organization, based out of New York, is a Better Business Bureau-certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.   All donations are tax-deductible. 
 
A photo of the quilts from this event, taken in October 2012:

***
 
Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen – This one is near and dear to my heart.   Since 2005, I have been going to the soup kitchen with my church, helping set up and take down tables, serve meals, and talking to the patrons.   The soup kitchen has been around for 25 years, making efforts to serve the financially distressed of the Elizabeth, New Jersey area with a hot, nutritious meal.   On average, the soup kitchen serves about 100 people per Sunday with various denominations coming to help.   This is a close one, being that not only do I volunteer there heavily, I also do the PR work for them.   Jean Wands, the current coordinator, is a complete sweetheart and makes sure to follow up with a thank you card for each donation she gets.
 
The soup kitchen can use items such as full-sized bars of soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, wash cloths, face towels, other basic essentials, as well as funding.   My church, the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford (11 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, New Jersey 07016; 908-276-8440) acts as the drop-off for all items.
 
However, if you would prefer to just make a donation, then send a check to the Cranford/Elmora Soup Kitchen and mail it to James Brown Agency 429 Chestnut Street, Roselle Park, New Jersey 07204.   Make sure to mark “Soup Kitchen” in the memo section.
 
***
 
World Vision – Much like the soup kitchen, I have participated in the 30-Hour Famine for as long as I can remember, this year even acting as the event coordinator for my church’s Youth Group.   The parent organization, World Vision, is a Christian humanitarian group that aims to tackle poverty and injustice to help families and the poor around the world, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or gender.   As you can see by their website, their reach is far and they have made very concentrated efforts to help.
 
You can also give in a variety of different ways, sponsoring a child, gifting chickens and goats, even women empowerment through education and assisting sexually exploited women (more ways can be found here).   However, if you prefer to just give a regular donation, you can do so here.   World Vision is also a Better Business Bureau-certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.   All donations are tax-deductible.
 
A Photo From The 30-Hour Famine This Year.   The Kids Raised Over $1,300 For The Fundraiser And Won A Prize – Giving My Boyfriend Camilo And Me A Make-Over:
 
***
 
The Elizabeth Coalition (the parent organization of Operation Warm Heart) – So, in case you haven’t already heard, I am trying to bring a program to my church known as Operation Warm Heart, where the homeless will stay at my church every other week for one night, be provided housing, a warm meal, and good company.
 
The Elizabeth Coalition is the parent company of Operation Warm Heart.   Their mission is to serve the immediate needs of the homeless and near homeless.   Linda and Richard have been wonderful to work with!   And by December, we will be having guests stay at my church.
 
You can either give a good ol’ fashion donation to this organization, a 501(c)(3) charity and tax-deductible, or you can look at their wish list and donate a specific item to the cause.
 
Or, if you care to do something fun for you and good for the organization, consider attending their Taste of Operation Warm Heart Dinner to be held on Saturday, October 25th at 111 West 5th Avenue, Roselle, New Jersey 07203!   PS – I’ll be there :-)
 
***
 
Community FoodBank of New Jersey – I’ve volunteered at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey a few times at their Hillside, New Jersey location and let me tell you, the place is HUGE!   They have a thrift shop you can shop at, they have their huge warehouse stocked with food, they have cooking classes for people looking to break into the working world… Let me just say WOW!   It would take me the rest of this email to detail all that they do.
 
The organization started in 1975 when founder, President, and CEO Kathleen DiChaiara started distributing groceries out of the trunk of her car.   Now, there are multiple branches that distribute 40 million pounds of food per year to more than 1,000 non-profit programs, as well as more than 400 programs served by their Partner Distribution Organizations!.   They feed 900,000 people in 18 New Jersey counties!
 
You can buy actual food items to donate to them through their virtual shopping cart, donate funds, or even donate food!   The organization is a 501(c)(3) organization, a member of Feeding America (the nation’s largest network of food banks), and a member of the New Jersey federation of Food Banks.   Donations are tax-deductible.
 
***
 
The Rotary FoundationMy dad has been a part of the Rotary Club in Cranford for as long as I can remember.   Every Thursday, he gets up early and heads over to the Cranford Rec Center to hash out with the group what causes to help out in the community, what good work can be done, and of course, drink lots of coffee and eat a good breakfast.   I’ve attended a few meetings but this was prior to being gainfully employed.   Now, the meetings happen at a time where I cannot attend and make it to work on time.
 
That being said, I did get a first-hand look at some of the organizations that they help, such as the Salvation Army, and the Rotary Scholarship.   The organization has been established for over 100 years with 1.2 million members.   Their goal?   Solve their communities’ toughest problems through grants and volunteering.   Out of all their funds received, 89% goes into the programs that people benefit from, such as fighting polio, improve literacy skills in impoverish countries, and promote sustainable farming practices.   
 
On their website, you can choose to give to a specific program, or you can choose to give to the Rotary so that they can use the money as they see fit.   The Rotary is a 501(c)(4) organization (meaning that it is a social welfare organization).
 
***
 
Companion CrittersI remember the first day that we got my puppy, Ashley.   I was at a Bat Mitzvah for my friend Sara.   After a day full of good food, good friends, and lots of dancing, I came into the house to tell my parents all about the fun that I had just had.   I walked into the kitchen to throw out something and laying on the ground in front of the sink was a puppy with soft blonde fur and a tail that looked like it was spray painted black.   Well, let me tell you, I’m surprised Ashley didn’t have a heart attack when I screamed, “WE GOT A PUPPY?!”
 
Sadly, early last year around Mother’s Day, Ashley developed cancer and passed away, but not before touching so many lives.   Currently, I am in the midst of writing a children’s book and hopefully will be getting it published in Ashley’s honor.
 
My parents adopted Ashley through Companion Critters after my mom kept passing by a local store that had Ashley our for show and adoption.   Companion Critters is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps animals on death row in shelters and pounds.   Since it was founded September 17, 2000, 540 pets have been saved!
 
You can donate through their website here.   Donations are tax-deductible.   Maybe you will even find a little friend there as you do your donation!
 
Lovely Picture Of My Lovely Puppy, Ashley:


***
 
All Fur Animal RescueRecently, in March, my family celebrated a new addition to our family!   We got a little munchkin fur ball that we decided to name Shadow.   Shadow is now 7 months old and is a smart, smart puppy (probably too smart for her own good.   She’s already figured out where the light for her toy, a laser pointer, comes from and I am 99% sure that she figured out how to open the baby gate blocking her from going up our stairs).
 
The way I came home to this one is that I was at church running around the world (it happened to be a VERY busy Sunday).   While I was doing my running back and forth, I received a phone call from my parents.   “We got a puppy!”
 
And she’s been a big ol’ fur ball full of love ever since.   She adores laps and giving a copious amount of kisses, especially if it happens to be at 6:00 in the morning.
 
The Animal Rescue 501(c)(3) organization was created in 2011 as a no-kill, all volunteer rescue.   Eventually, they hope to develop an animal sanctuary but for now, they are relying on foster houses.
 
Consider donating by buying an item off of their wish list, or you can always go the route of a traditional donation.
 
And with all those cute pictures of puppies and kittens, who wouldn’t want to donate something?
 
Lovely Picture Of My Lovely Puppy, Shadow:

***
 
LIVESTRONG Foundation – (participant link for my cousin, Emily, who is participating in the New York Marathon, can be found here) We all know those famous yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets.   Some of us might even sport a few.   LIVESTRONG works towards trying to help those affected by cancer by looking at the problems in the cancer community and trying to solve them.   81% of their total profits go to benefit various programs that they run in order to help those affected by cancer.
 
Sadly, I have known my fair share of people, especially as of late, who have been battling cancer.   Some have lived.   Some have moved on.   Whatever the situation, it is not an easy one.   My cousin Emily has decided to run in the LIVESTRONG New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014.   So far, this very strong individual, who has beaten cancer herself (which you can read about both on her participant page and her Facebook page, My Journey 2 The Fit Life), has lost over 100 pounds, runs continuously, AND works at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – New Jersey Metro Chapter, has raised $2,380 for this 501(c)(3) organization.   So consider giving Emily a donation for this event.
 
So, can you help make my birthday awesome and make a donation to one of these organizations?

Getting a Pick-Me-Up From Inca Tea™ Pick Me Up Peach

Right now, as I write this, it is almost 9:00 PM on a Monday. I just got home from waking up at 6:30 AM, driving to work by 8:30 AM, working about nine hours, driving home, went to WalMart to do shopping, fought a HUGE crowd, came home, cleaned my car from a busy weekend abroad, ate dinner, wrote a press release for my church and now, I sit at the computer writing this article.  Shouldn’t I be tired?  Exhausted?  Saying that I will leave my writing for another night?

Thanks to Inca Tea™, I don’t need to.

For those who haven’t read my last blog post, you might have seen some gorgeous brown boxes stacked neatly in your local stores.  A new brand of tea called Inca Tea started popping up in stores and it is quickly growing.  The Earth-oriented company is based out of Cleveland, OH.  Founder and owner Ryan Florio first discovered the majesty of purple corn tea when he and his friends traveled to a Peruvian mountain trail for a whole ten days, led through the dangers by their guide, Edgar.

Prior to the hike, Florio had multiple health issues and was advised not to go.  However, the trip was too enticing and soon, he found himself on a trek through the mountains.  The first day out, Edgar decided to brew a cup of tea.  “Is an old Incan tea.  Very good.  You must try,” Edgar said, brewing enough for the entire group.

Florio was struck by the deep red-purple color that the brew created and asked Edgar to brew a cuppa for each day of the hike.  “I felt physically awesome,” he said.  He eventually came back to the States, quit his job despite never having had coffee nor tea in his entire life prior to that trip, and started researching the tea, especially purple corn.

A Look At The Peruvian Spiced Berry Tea, Which Started It All

A Look At The Peruvian Spiced Berry Tea, Which Started It All

Look At That Awesome Biodegradable Packaging!

Look At That Awesome Biodegradable Packaging!

The tea, Florio explains is “based off of a thousand-year-old recipe.”  By September, loose teas should be served up along with the current four teas that are offered.

All teas are made with 100% biodegradable sachets and packaged in 100% recycled boxes.  The corn is also ground by hand, blended in Cleveland, bagged in Philly, and then Florio’s parents box it every night for sale.

Right now, Tea Love has four tea bags from Inca Teas.  Last blog post, we reviewed the reason for Inca Tea – Peruvian Spiced Berry.  Tonight, after a highly hectic day, I review Pick Me Up Peach.

Opening up the orange package, the scent is the first thing to hit you.  Wow, is it strong!  This is a pleasant surprise, given that it is a white tea.  Typically, I often receive comments at my Tea Love talks that the white teas are too weak for my sippers.  However, in conjunction with the purple corn, apples, oranges, natural flavors, rose hip peel, and hibiscus petals, the tea is simply bursting to come forth.

Yummmmm, Peaches...

Yummmmm, Peaches…

I brewed the tea and instantly, the beverage turned its shade of purple, a trait of the purple corn.  The scent diluted slightly, but not to the point where it was diminished.  Imagine a strong Cabernet going down to a Zinfandel.  So most definitely still pleasant.

The peach, the rose hip peel, and hibiscus petals were all the flavors that immediately got me.  It was sweet, but sour and sharp at the same time due to the hibiscus.  Most importantly, even after the type of day I had where I was considering going to bed around 8:30 PM, I woke up immediately.  Given that white tea has the least amount of caffeine, that was a bit of a surprise.  The other plus?  I don’t need to worry as much about going to sleep later because I know that the caffeine content is so minimal (mind you, this is coming from a girl who can drink seven cups of coffee with no adverse effect and yes, this fact has been tested).

I would recommend this for a nice afternoon cuppa, since it doesn’t have a lot of caffeine and won’t keep you up all night but it is enough where you will perk up enough for an afternoon meeting.  Be careful not to overbrew though, as this does have the potential to get bitter!

Next stop on the tea list?  Mountain Of Mango!

Exploring Purple Corn, Getting Lost in Peru, and Sampling Inca Tea™

Tea Love has two exciting announcements to make!  First, on Saturday, November 8th, I will be traveling down to Voorhees, NJ to the Camden County Library, 203 Laurel Rd, Voorhees, 08043, to explain the process behind a Japanese tea ceremony!  Of course, traditional matcha tea will be served.  And we have a special treat – author Ovidia Yu will be attending as well to talk about her book Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials.  Full of scandal, murder, and delicious traditional Singapore treats, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials is a must-read for those mystery lovers.  The event will start at 1:00 PM.  For more information, make sure to visit the Tea Love blog or check the Facebook page.

Second, a bit closer to home, you will start seeing a new brand of tea popping up in some stores near you.  Inca Tea is a privately owned company just starting to sprout up out of their home base in Cleveland, OH.  Founder and owner Ryan Florio first discovered the majesty of purple corn tea when he and his friends traveled to a Peruvian mountain trail for a whole ten days, led through the dangers by their guide, Edgar.

Prior to the hike, Florio had multiple health issues and was advised not to go.  “Of course, I went above and beyond my doctor’s wishes,” he said.  The first day out, Edgar decided to brew a cup of tea.  “is an old Incan tea.  Very good.  You must try,” Edgar said, brewing enough for the entire group.

Florio was struck by the deep red-purple color that the brew created and asked Edgar to brew a cuppa for each day of the hike.  “I felt physically awesome,” he said.  He eventually came back to the States, quit his job despite never having had coffee nor tea in his entire life prior to that trip, and started researching the tea, especially purple corn.

Purple corn has been studied extensively in the past 22 years and has shown great benefits.  It is chocked full of antioxidants, even more than blueberries and açai berries combined.  It is an anti-inflammatory, improves circulation, reduces cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, and even aids in weight loss.  Florio trusted this drink so much, that he created an advisory board with a purple corn researcher on the team.

The tea, Florio explains is “based off of a thousand-year-old recipe.”  By September, loose teas should be served up along with the current four teas that are offered.

All teas are made with 100% biodegradable sachets and packaged in 100% recycled boxes.  Needless to say, this company is most certainly Mother Earth friendly.  The corn is also ground by hand, blended in Cleveland, bagged in Philly, and then Florio’s parents box it every night for sale.

Right now, Tea Love has four tea bags from Inca Teas, so I will be reviewing one bag of tea each month.

Yum!!!

Yum!!!

First, the Peruvian Spiced Berry.  Their main brew, it is based off of that ancient Inca recipe.  When you open the bag, the smell of the spices waft towards you, enticing you to take a sip.  The blend consists of hibiscus petals, elderberries, currants, purple corn, apple pieces, pineapple pieces, cinnamon, cloves and natural flavors.  It does not have a string on the bag, so you cannot really regulate the time as easily as pulling the bag out of your drink.  I just threw my bag into the water and sipped away.

The spices give a small bite to the drink, negating the sweetness of the fruit but in a positive way.  You can smell the cloves in particular when you smell the tea and the purple that is created is almost regal in appearance.  It is a nice, smooth tea, good for a late night of writing or just to drink to keep relaxed.

Interested in getting a box for yourself?  Order some at http://www.incatea.com/ or, if you live in the north New Jersey area, you can visit Bed, Bath, and Beyond in East Hanover or Woodbridge, where the drinks will be sold.

Next week?  Stay tuned for some Pick Me Up Peach.

Until next time!

A Day Of Free Tea

So, the other day, I was at the mall with my boyfriend and two friends.   As we wandered around the mall, I got a craving for (guess what) tea.

While I would not have minded some Harney’s and Sons from Starbucks or anything, I was craving for something a little different.   Loose tea.   Sweeten slightly, but not by much.   I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but i knew that it was a good cup of tea.

Thankfully, DavidsTea recently opened up at Menlo Park Mall and I am what is known as a frequent steeper.   As a member of the frequent steepers, I get a free cup of tea each month (so sweet!!!).   The staff is knowledgeable (one of them writes for the blog Teaviews), they promote sustainability with their products, and they are playful with their teas.   The recent theme is carnival themed.   Personally, I still need to purchase some cotton candy tea…

But, moving on.

I bought a cup of Main Squeeze from them.   The tea consists of green yerba maté, candied papaya, pineapple, safflower, and natural flavoring.   So sweet, no sugar needed!   Walking around the mall, I think I finished it off in twenty minutes and that was more because it was too hot to drink at first.

After my free Godiva chocolate piece, we wandered into Teavana.   Thanks to my church, I had two gift cards of an unknown amount.   Why not use them?   The workers scanned the two gift cards and found out that they totalled *drum roll please* $40!   On top of that, select teas were reduced price as a result of preparing for the next season of tea!

I bought $20 each of Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls green tea, which consists of a light sweet taste when the pearls unfold, as well as a Dragonfruit Devotional herbal tea (which, by the way, my boyfriend and I are drinking now while watching Phantom of the Opera).   Talk about another delectable tea :-)   Needless to say, I am quite please with my purchases.

And all for free :-)

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