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

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Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING Season Is Back!

October has just started and yes, I have already had a pumpkin-inspired tea.   Around this time, my friends and I stalk the haunted houses, indulge in pumpkin-flavored products, and gorge enough candy where we regret ever committing to a diet in the first place.   We always hear about PSL (thank you, Starbucks), but did you know that there are plenty of healthy teas that are also pumpkin-themed?   Take a look below!

It’s Pumpkin Time! – Family Food Blog

Pumpkin Pie – Made by Premium Steap – A Lifestyle of Tea

I first found out about Pumpkin Pie from a coworker, who was kind enough to bring me a cuppa while we worked endlessly on a project (yay for that project finally being completed!).   It was my first day meeting her, and the topic of tea came up (of course it did).   She told me about this magical Pumpkin Pie and I tried it.   It warmed every sense within, and the taste was divine.   Seriously, I know I rave about tea, but I often sort of shy away from some of the more specialty flavors since sometimes, they just overdo the hype.   But the blend contains pumpkin, cinnamon, and other spices without leaving a gritty or powdery taste in it.   And the best part?   You actually taste the pumpkin!

Pumpkin Chai – Made by DavidsTEA

One of the things that I love about DavidsTEA is that it is environmentally conscious.   Bring in a reusable container, they will fill it up with tea.   You don’t need to drain your pocketbooks buying their air-tight containers (spoiler alert, they are quite awesome and you should keep your tea in an air-tight container regardless, but that’s another story) and their tea is mighty tasty.   One thing to keep in mind though, I tell everyone that their tea is not “pure” in the sense of it ONLY being tea.   They usually have add-ins, and Pumpkin Chai is no exception.   Doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but it does mean you might be getting some sugars that you would not otherwise get in your cuppa.   This tea is spiced with caramel, pumpkin candies, cinnamon, and cloves and advertises as being great as a latte.   Move over, Starbucks!

Sweet Harvest Pumpkin – Made by Celestial Seasonings

My heart is always torn with Celestial Seasonings.   On the one hand, I ADORE their herbal fruity teas.   On the other hand, they sometimes fall short.   This tea is a black tea, automatically making it a bit stronger, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, roasted chicory, natural pumpkin flavor, and more.   So the good news is, the strength is there, not like their peach blend.   Plus, it is also a bit different from the others which streamline to be pumpkin spice thrown into a tin of black tea and then calling it a day.

Bad news about all of these?   All of them are black teas, so all contain caffeine.   If you are looking to watch your intake for whatever reason, stick to a nice cinnamon apple.

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Tea Review – Red Rose English Breakfast Tea

Hi all!

So, life has been busy, busy, busy!   First off, GREAT news regarding my recent health issues.   I finally got everything resolved.   Cysts have disappeared, kidney is non-existent but not a bad thing, and my low iron has been resolved.   Even better?   Ever since taking my iron pills, I have had more energy, I feel less depressed, and I have even started going to the gym again, this time with my mommy in tow and soon, my boyfriend will be joining on Saturday!

Very excited about all of that 🙂

I also got word that I will be doing another Tea Love talk!   This one will be in February, details to follow.

Now, as some of you might already know, I received a package from Red Rose Tea again, this time asking to review their Keurig cups.   Though I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of K-cups, I decided to give it a whirl.   Last time, I reviewed the original K-cup.   Now, I moved on to…

English Breakfast From Red Rose Tea!

English Breakfast From Red Rose Tea!

English Breakfast!

So, I brewed it and, as you can see here, it has its signature red flavor to the tea, almost like burnt cinnamon.   Truly, if I could, I would put some of this tea in resin and wear that as a necklace or ring, it looks so pretty.

Unfortunately though, in terms of taste and scent, it doesn’t quite meet standards.   I do not taste any outstanding flavors to it, nor do I smell any.   To smell anything, I have to quite literally stick my nose deep into my cup and even then, I get a slight smell of black tea.   As for taste, it is a good black tea, mind you, but I would not want to use it to wash down a hearty breakfast of eggs and sausage.   It is more mild, better for some light sandwiches.

I know that my aunt likes to dress up her Red Rose Tea with a little bit of orange juice, so I might give that a shot, but this is more of just a pleasant tea, nothing too outstanding about it.

Sorry, Red Rose!   I do like your products, but this one, I would recommend an improvement on.

Next week, I will review the final one, the naturally decaffeinated tea.

 

Mystery Package – Revealed!

Hi all!

So, in case you didn’t read last week’s blog post, I did have a bit of a health scare which is getting better.   I am not completely out of the woods yet, but it looks like kidney cancer is very low on the possibility list.   I might either just have some other issue, or I might only have one kidney (kinda cool!).   I will keep everyone posted.   In the meantime, prayers, well wishes, what have you, are all welcomed.

Now, onto tea…

I got a wonderful little Christmas gift in the mail the other day!   Not one, not two, but THREE Keurig cup packages from Red Rose Tea!

Yay!   Lots Of Tea!

Yay! Lots Of Tea!

That’s right – Red Rose Tea contacted Tea Love again for another round of reviews, and this time, they are having me test out their new Keurig cups.   Admittedly, one thing I love about Red Rose Tea is the little figurines they include with all their teas.   Sadly, the K-cups do not come with the nautical theme that they have this year, but I did manage to score a cute little scuba diver head the last time I did a review for them.

As you know, I am not entirely sold on K-cups.   The Keurig delivers a flash brew from a bunch of tea dustings.   While it’s good for what it is, I can’t say I am wild, over-the-top, crazy about them.   However, when I am looking for something faster than even a tea bag, I know I can also grab a K-cup.

Now, to dissect these little guys.   Each one has a tin foil lid, just like most K-cups.   Let’s take a peek inside:

 

Never Too Thrilled With Tea Dustings...

Never Too Thrilled With Tea Dustings…

As I thought, the tea is a bit of a powder.   This will help promote quick brewing, but does lack the quality of a loose leaf tea.   However, when you are on the go, this is pretty helpful.

As established in my blog Undressing The K-Cup, I explored how a Keurig brews the tea.   There’s no temperature control, so everything brews at 192 degrees, which is a bit colder than the 200 degrees needed for black teas, but should do here because the tea is a powder.

Now, what about the taste?   Find out next week how it is, how it looks, and if you should go running to your grocery stores!

 

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 🙂

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!

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