Green Tea Review: Fleur De Geisha from Le Palais Des Thes

Fleur De Geisha

Company/Brand Name: Le Palais Des Thés 

Name: Fleur De Geisha

Category: Delicately Flavored Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Japan

The Leaves: Fragrant, dark green leaves

Additions: Aroma

Flavor: A high-quality green tea with a touch of sweetness and loaded with flavor

Overall: This tea is perfect for those quiet, spring and summer time moments. I found myself quite taken by the flowery, cherry blossom aroma. It was subtle, yet fragrant enough to captivate my senses.

Tea Review:

Upon opening the Fleur De Geisha tea canister, I was met with a delicate and exotic cherry blossom fragrance that was simply intoxicating. When I finally got around to brewing a cup, I once again took a moment to inhale the aroma of the green tea before taking my first sip.

Upon taking my first taste, I was taken aback momentarily because the flavor was much more powerful than I had anticipated. I had been expecting a more subtle taste experience. Yet, there was a delightful grassiness that was complimented by a touch of tanginess on the tongue that I rather enjoyed. It certainly made me take notice.

At this point I really could not comprehend the sweet-floweriness of the Fleur De Geisha, so I experimented with a simple method that I had learned from watching a tea master.

I deeply inhaled the steamy, lush fragrance and then took a sip of hot brew. Voila! There is the sweet, cherry blossom taste I was looking for!

Overall, I discovered that you’ve got to really relax into this tea to enjoy the complexity of it. If you try to rush the experience, you’ll be disappointed.

Take it slow and remember to deeply inhale often for a luxurious experience.

Packaging:

Fleur De Geisha Packaging (Colorful Tea Tin)

You’ll find that if you explore the Le Palais Des Thés web page, that you have several options when ordering any one selection of tea.

For instance, if ordering the Fleur De Geisha green tea, you have the option of a large silver pouch, slim silver tin, gourmet tea bags, the colorful tea canister I had received or, a stunning cherry blossom designed washi (Japanese paper) tea canister.

I don’t know about you, but I love having choices!

Preparation Tips:

The tea canister I received recommended an infusion time of 4-5 minutes. The Le Palais Des Thés website recommended a steep time of 3-4 minutes at 167F.

However, I found that a steep time of 2 minutes at a water temp of 160F led to the most enjoyable cup for my personal tastes. This tea can easily get bitter, so a lower steeping time and water temperature really does the trick.

I used my mini-glass teapot to for brewing the leaves. And, as with all the teas I review, I used filtered water, which is simply a must for the best flavor.

Additional Notes:

Iced Tea – This green tea is also brilliant as an iced tea. In fact, it became my preferred beverage as the days got longer and hotter!

Plus, this tea encourages you to slow down and savor all the nuances. You could drink this tea on the go, but why? Take a great novel out to the deck, or even poolside, and give this delicious green tea a try. It will tantalize your taste buds while also soothing your need for a bit of dramatic flair.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this green tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to Fleur De Geisha web page. Enjoy!

Le Palais Des Thés : Fleur De Geisha

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Tea Collection Review: Art of Tea Holiday Sampler

Holiday Tea Sampler Pillow Box

Company/Brand Name: Art of Tea

Collection Name: Holiday Sampler includes Cran Marnier, Butterscotch, Santa’s Little Helper and Pumpkin Pie

Category: Various Organic Blends – White, Black, Puerh and Rooibos/Honeybush

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Various

The Leaves: Various

Overall: At first I was a bit disappointed with the four Holiday Sampler teas, because the flavors were quite different than what I was used to, being the black tea lover that I am. So, I had to remind myself that I had purchased the sampler set to step outside the box and try something new.

To fully enjoy the experience, I had to let go of my preconceived taste preferences and allow each tea to speak to me in its own distinctive way. That is when I really started to enjoy each sample and appreciate the nuances of the four unique blends.

As the Art of Tea website states, “This is a great way to expand and engage your palate on teas and beyond. I have to say that I whole-heartily agree.

Tea Review:

Sample 1

Name: Cran Marnier {Available Year-Round}

Category: Tisane; Organic South African Honeybush and Organic South African Rooibos

Cran Marnier

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with visible chunks of dried apple and cranberry, plus various spices

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Cranberries, Organic Cloves, Organic Nutmeg, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I first opened the sample pouch, I noticed that the leaves smelled like orange and spice; I just had to brew up a cup right away.

This caffeine-free rooibos blend had a subtle spiciness that was reminiscent of chai tea, but with a smooth-creaminess that was a bit of a welcomed surprise. Speaking of surprises, if the creamy-spiciness wasn’t enough there was also refreshing, citrusy finish that made for a brilliant cup.

The overall flavor reminded me a bit of Tang Spice Tea Mix that my mom made for us as kids. This mixture had Tang and instant tea in it, plus cinnamon and cloves (if I am remembering correctly). Anyway, it was a tasty treat. But, the Cran Marnier is a much healthier option!

I have to say that out of the four holiday samples, I most enjoyed the Cran Marnier. My cup had plenty of character and each sip was a new delight. Luckily, this tisane blend is available year-round as a dessert tea.

Preparation Tips: As recommended by the Art of Tea website, I used nearly boiling water and let the leaves steep for a full 5-7 minutes. For best flavor, be sure to use one full tablespoon (not teaspoon) of rooibos per cup of water. Also, I Finum Brewing Basket will come in handy to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds separated from your brew.

Sample 2

Name: Pumpkin Pie {Seasonal Only}

Category: Tisane; Organic & Fair Trade South African Rooibos and Organic South African Honeybush

Pumpkin Pie

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with bright yellow marigold petals and noticeable chunks of spices

Additions: Organic Cloves, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Marigolds, Natural and Artificial Flavors

Flavor: This caffeine-free blend is quite delicate tasting, so much so that I could barely detect any flavor at all at first, except for the rooibos itself.

Once I quieted my mind and focused on my cup of tea, that is when I tasted real pumpkin pie. However, the flavor was quite elusive. Each cup seemed to reveal just one brilliant sip and then the brew became just a gentle swirl of sweet-spiciness with a hint of creaminess.

Overall, I liked this rooibos blend because it made me concentrate on the taste and nothing else. I will often drink a cup of brew will working, only stopping to take a sip, experience the flavor and move onward. But this tisane, demanded my full attention and for that I am grateful.

Preparation Tips: I used one heaping tablespoon (three teaspoons of rooibos) per eight ounces of boiling water and let steep for 5-7 minutes. Due to the elusive tastes in this tea, filtered water is a must. In addition, to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds from sneaking into your cup, consider using a Finum Brewing Basket. I really love mine!

Sample 3

Name: Santa’s Little Helper {Seasonal Only}

Category: Organic Puerh, Organic Black Tea

Santa's Little Helper

The Leaves: Dark chocolate colored leaves punctuated with tiny candy cane and pine tree sugar confections

Additions: Sugar Confections, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I opened the sample pouch the leaves smelled of mint and dark chocolate, so I was pretty excited to brew up a cup. But, when I took my first sip, there was a musty taste that caught me off guard. If I hadn’t been willing to investigate further, I would have poured the rest of the concoction down the sink because I found the initial flavor to be quite displeasing to my untrained palate.

During my second attempt, the musty taste became more of an earthy flavor, which I assumed was the puerh talking to me. Not entirely dissuaded, I took a third sip and that is when I noticed the bittersweet dark chocolate note, the subtle sweetness and the cool minty finish.

After several more sips, I began to enjoy myself and started to notice the complexity in my cup. Each taste experience was slightly different and as the tea cooled the cocoa note became quite pronounced.

However, the musty-earthy taste continued to linger to the very last drop. This key taste is what will keep me from purchasing the Santa’s Little Helper in the future. But, I’m glad to have given it a try for something different.

Overall, this is a high quality blend, but for my personal tastes it wasn’t a winner.

Preparation Tips: As recommended on the Art of Tea website, I used water at 206F (just under boiling) and stepped the leaves for about 3-5 minutes. In addition, I found one-teaspoon per eight-ounces of water sufficient for a quality cup.

Sample 4

Name: Butterscotch  {Available Year-Round}

Category: Organic White Tea

Butterscotch

The Leaves: Beautiful green leaves with bits of yellow marigold petals, punctuated with round, pink peppercorns

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Pink Peppercorn, Organic Marigolds, Natural Flavors

Flavor: The leaves have an intriguing aroma, quite similar to butterscotch. I was expectant of a fascinating cup. But, I just never found it. Instead, I got a slightly sweet, light tasting tea that was satisfying, but not extraordinary.

The butterscotch flavor did play the leading role in each cup, but I could find little depth. I have to admit that I am not a connoisseur of white tea and perhaps someone with a better trained palate may find the complexity I was missing.

Although, there were moments when I had steeped the leaves just right and a nuance of creaminess was present. This added some character to the infusion.

I also discovered that if the leaves are steeped too long or in water that is too hot, this resulted in a bitter tasting brew. While it wasn’t displeasing, it was a tad bit annoying because I was trying to find that perfect cup that kept eluding me.

I’m not sure I would purchase this tea again, only because I would want to try other white teas first. But, for a white tea lover this may be a wonderful treat.

As with the other teas in this holiday sampler set, I am glad I stepped outside my comfort zone I gave something new a try, especially since I’ve tried so few white teas this past year.

Preparation Tips: Since there were no directions on the sample pouch other than a steep time of 3-5 minutes, I went to the Art of Tea website for more thorough instructions.

The website recommended a water temperature of 175-185F and a steep time of 1-3 minutes. I followed these instructions, playing around with variations. As suggested, I also used one heaping tablespoon per eight ounces of water; you’ll need this much Butterscotch for maximum flavor.

Art of Tea Sample Packaging

Due to the delicate tastes in this blend, filtered water is a must.

Packaging:

Each blend is packed in a resealable, foil-lined pouch. The four pouches come together in a kraft pillow box with decorative label and brown ribbon.

I love this packaging because not only does it make for a stunning presentation, but it also makes it perfect for gift giving any time of year.

Each sample contains around 1-2 ounces or 15-20 servings.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this holiday sample pack, or any of the other unique tea blends from Art of Tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Art of Tea main web page. Enjoy!

Art of Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Green Tea Review: Thé Du Hammam from Le Palais des Thés

The Du Hamman

Company/Brand Name: Le Palais Des Thés

Name: Thé Du Hammam

Category: Flavored Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: China

The Leaves: Long, flat green leaves sprinkled with large flower petals

Additions: Flower Petals (Rose, Sunflower, Mallow), Aromas

Flavor: A light, floral green tea with sweet notes of exotic fruit

Overall: A scrumptious, flavored green tea that inspires the imagination and tantalizes the taste buds. I think we’re going to be long-time friends!

Tea Review:

When I first opened Thé Du Hammam I was briefly mesmerized by the glorious perfume of the leaves. The smell reminded me of luscious strawberries with a touch of vanilla, wrapped in a flowery bouquet.

It’s the kind of fragrance that lifts the spirits and excites the senses.

Because I was so fascinated by the smell of the leaves, I brewed up a cup straight away!

As the leaves and petals blossomed in the hot water, I detected a faint aroma of berries and vanilla in the air. My anticipation was nearly unbearable.

Then, to fully enjoy the moment, I settled into a comfy chair and took my first sip and it was simply divine.

On the nose there was a sweet, almost sensuous scent with hints of vanilla bean, exotic flowers and berries. Then as the green tea cascaded into my mouth, the intoxicating fragrance lingered.

At first, I detected a flavor that prompted a memory of marshmallows; fluffy, light and sweet. Then notes of orange blossoms and exotic fruits engaged my senses before the underlying vegetal note made a subtle and refreshing appearance.

Next, a slight tanginess on my tongue left the final impression before the last bit was swallowed.

The finish was graceful and soft like a delicate flower.

One of the key pleasures of this green tea was the fragrance, so inhale deeply and slowly before each sip for maximum enjoyment!

Packaging:

The Du Hammam Packaging (Silver Pouch)

Thé Du Hammam tea came in a foil-lined, silver pouch with label that was printed in both French and English.

Upon exploring the Le Palais Des Thés web page, I discovered that there are several packaging options for the “Les Créations” collection.

For instance, if ordering Thé Du Hammam you have the option of a large silver pouch (like the one I received), a slim silver tin, gourmet tea bags, or a colorful tea canister.

I just love having options!

Preparation Tips:

The directions on the bag where straightforward, just use a water temperature of 170F and a steep time of three minutes.

However, I found that I preferred the taste of Thé Du Hammam when infused for about two-three minutes in water that was about 163F. By reducing the water temperature, there was less bitterness and I was able to enjoy all the subtle flavors more fully.

Lastly, I only used filtered water to sample this lovely, flavored green tea. The flavors are too fine and elusive for tap water.

Additional Notes:

Iced Tea: I really enjoyed this green tea iced; the sweet-berry-fruitiness really stood out when the tea was chilled. There was also a slight creaminess to the overall taste, that made Thé Du Hammam a delightful and uplifting chilled drink.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to Thé Du Hammam web page. Enjoy!

Le Palais Des Thés: Thé Du Hammam

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Oolong Tea Review: Thé Des Songes from Le Palais des Thés

The Des Songes

Company/Brand Name: Le Palais Des Thés

Name: Thé Des Songes

Category: Flavored Oolong Tea (Wu Long)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Twisted black tea leaves with noticeable pieces of lemon peel and flower petals

Additions: Flower Petals (Safflower, Lavender, Mallow), Lemon Peels, Aromas

Flavor: A medium-bodied, calming tea blend that has notes of dark chocolate, citrus and lavender

Overall: I was simply captivated by this tea. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. Overall, I unique blend that is perfect for quiet, contemplative moments.

Tea Review:

When I opened Thé Des Songes tea canister and inhaled the aroma of the dried leaves, I was met with an enchanting fragrance that was both lovely and exotic. My senses detected a delicate floral scent with notes of citrus and lavender.

Although, I have to admit that before I even opened the tea canister I had been feeling a bit wary of what I might find inside. For when I saw lavender on the list of ingredients, I feared that I would not enjoy this tea at all. I’ve sampled other teas that included lavender, all of which were entirely undrinkable.

But, no worries with this tea blend; the lavender was subtle and didn’t overpower. Rather, it complemented the other aromas, which made this blend absolutely splendid.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what I actually thought of the taste and I have to say that it didn’t disappoint.

The fragrance of the leaves was a good indicator of the flavor of this oolong tea, except for one intriguing taste that I wasn’t expecting: dark chocolate.

My first impression of Thé Des Songes was an enticing note of cocoa. Then hints of lemon and lavender made their way to my awareness, giving my brew a rich and satisfying taste. But that was only the beginning!

As my tea cooled, I discovered even more depth in my cup. Not only did a slightly creamy texture evolve, but I also noticed a touch of spice and even a slight minty-ness, making the whole experience feel rather decadent.

Before I swallowed the last drop, I let the tea wash over my tongue and there I found a slightly bitter, grassy taste. This added yet another level of depth to this flavored tea that I wasn’t expecting.

Lastly, the finish was smooth and slow with notes of lavender. Before it was all said and done a final note of minty-coolness lingered on my tongue teasing me to take another mouthful of goodness.

This is one of those teas that you want to drink unhurried to savor each and every sip; otherwise you may miss some small nuance. It is all the little sensations that make this oolong tea so entrancing. It’s definitely worth exploring!

Packaging:

The Des Songes Tea Canister

Thé Des Songes tea came in a beautiful and striking red canister decorated with a delicate flower print.

I appreciated that the tea canister had been encased in tear-away plastic wrap to keep the tea secured inside the tin during shipping. Plus, it kept the canister from getting nicked and scrapped, so it looked divine upon arrival.

This is the kind of tea tin that you don’t want to tuck away in the cupboard; instead, you want to have it on display for all to see.

As I explored the Le Palais Des Thés web page, I realized that many of the teas in the “Les Créations” collection came in their own uniquely decorated colored canister.

However, you do have a choice of how you would like to have your tea packaged. For instance, if ordering Thé Des Songes you have the option of a large silver pouch, a slim silver tin, gourmet tea bags, or the colorful tea canister.

I love having these packaging options; this tells me that Le Palais Des Thés puts their customer’s preferences first.

Preparation Tips:

The directions on the tea canister were quite helpful. A recommended brewing temperature, amount of tea to use and infusion time were all written in English, as well as in French, on the bottom of the tea tin.

I experimented with different brewing times within the range suggested (5-7 minutes). I really didn’t detect much variance in taste with the longer or shorter steeping times.

In fact, this oolong tea seemed to be quite forgiving; there were several instances when I wasn’t watching the time at all and I still had a very drinkable cup.

I tried a variety of filter methods for brewing, such as my mini-glass teapot, a tasting cup and a Finum brewing basket; all of them resulted in an exceptional cup of tea.

Lastly, I only used filtered water to sample this oolong tea.

Additional Notes:

Evening Time Tea – This oolong tea is perfect for after a late supper or as an evening indulgence. Not to mention that the soothing fragrance and flavor of this tea invites the mind and body to relax. A true comfort tea. Plus, it has a low caffeine-level according to Le Palais Des Thés website.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to Thé Des Songes web page. Enjoy!

Le Palais Des Thés : Thé Des Songes

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea 

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Tea Collection Review: Adagio Holiday Cheer

Adagio Holiday Cheer Sampler Collection

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Collection Name: Holiday Cheer

Category: Flavored Black Teas

Form: Loose Leaf in Pyramid Tea Bags

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Midnight black tea leaves that are chopped into half-inch pieces

Overall: I really enjoyed Adagio’s Holiday Cheer tea collection. In fact, I went through all the individually wrapped teas from my original order so quickly that I have already ordered another box!

It was fun to try all the different flavors. I definitely found a couple of new favorites for the holiday season!

Each tea is highly flavorful. However, if you don’t like flavored teas, then this sampler set probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you’re a bit adventuresome and like to try new tea flavors, then this holiday tea collection may be just perfect for your inquiring tastes!

Tea Review:

I’ve listed the following six holiday teas in order. My favorites are listed first.

Tea Name: Cranberry

Cranberry Pyramid Tea Bag

Additions: Cranberries, Raspberry Leaves, Cranberry Flavor

Flavor: Initially, while the tea was steeping, there was a faint fragrance of cranberry that floated through the air. The first sip had a note of cocoa and then the fruity-sweetness shined through. I have to say that I really didn’t taste cranberry much at all; it was very subtle, if it was there at all. The overall experience reminded me of Cella’s Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries for some reason. It was love at first sip.

Tea Name: Gingerbread

Additions: Ginger, Cinnamon, Orange Pieces, Gingerbread Flavor

Flavor: There was a warm-spicy fragrance to this Gingerbread tea. When I took the first sip I noticed the spiciness, but it wasn’t chai-like. Rather, it reminded me of the subtle spice you would find in a spice bread. There was even a subtle hint of rum flavor, which added a little extra something to this holiday tea. Lastly, a tangy, almost tart taste rounded out my cup giving this tea plenty of depth and character.

Tea Name: Chestnut

Additions: Sunflower Petals, Chestnut Flavor

Flavor: I’ll admit that I have never eaten a chestnut, so I can’t say how close this comes to the real thing. For some reason, the taste did remind me of amaretto liqueur, which I haven’t had for years, so I can’t vouch for accuracy. The overall taste was sweet and nutty. There was just a touch of creaminess that brought all the flavors together harmoniously.

Tea Name: Pumpkin Spice

Additions: Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Pumpkin Flavor

Flavor: The Pumpkin Spice tea was quite flavorful with a touch of spice and a hint of sweetness. The saying, “Sugar and spice and everything nice,” came to mind when sipping this blend. The pumpkin flavor can be a bit “fakey” tasting, as if it was trying too hard to be pumpkin. Nonetheless, I was captivated and wanted more. I even discovered an ever so faint dark chocolate note that added some extra character to this holiday tea.

Tea Name: Candy Apple

Additions: Apples, Cinnamon, Caramel Flavor

Flavor: There was just an ever so slight touch of apple and cinnamon flavor in the Candy Apple tea. I really didn’t get a caramel flavor at all. Rather, my first impression was an almost too sweet, candi-like taste. It wasn’t overpowering by any means, rather it nestled in the background to add a flavorful touch. Overall, a sweet tasting tea that somehow grows on you.

Tea Name: Candy Cane

Additions: Candy Cane Pieces, Peppermint Flavor

Flavor: I have to admit, that I am not a big peppermint fan, so this was not my favorite tea of the bunch. Although, I did find that the Candy Cane tea had a nice warm-vanilla flavor that was punctuated by a touch of peppermint. Overall, a sweet tasting, peppermint tea that reminded me of the holidays.

Holiday Cheer Package

Packaging:

The presentation of this Holiday Cheer tea collection is simple yet elegant. The box is well-constructed and once you open the lid you are rewarded with a beautiful display of individually packed teas. Each tea flavor is gathered together in its own little, perfectly sized, compartment! This would make a wonderful gift for that special someone who loves seasonal, flavored teas.

Each individually wrapped tea comes in a foil pouch and the tea itself is encased in a silk pyramid bag, which gives the leaves plenty of room to unfurl. Not to mention the convenience! All you have to do is pour boiling water in a cup and plop in a tea bag for a delicious holiday treat!

Preparation Tips:

On the back of each individually wrapped tea package are the steeping recommendations. I found these instructions to be quite accurate in producing the best tasting tea. Although, I do suggest using filtered water for a premium experience.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – I especially enjoyed drinking all these  scrumptious teas after a meal because the flavors where interesting enough to keep me from raiding the holiday cookie stash! In fact, I found myself enjoying a lovely cup of Holiday Cheer tea even more than a high-calorie treat. Win for me! Especially since I’ve been trying to cut back on desserts and other goodies!

Holiday Cheer – Why not spread some joy around to co-workers, family and friends! The individually packaged teas (one pyramid tea bag per pouch) are perfect for the office, holiday parties, tucking into a holiday card, or handing out randomly to people who might need a little holiday cheer!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Please note that the Holiday Cheer collection is a seasonal item.

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Types of Tea: An Introduction (Video)

Enjoy this lively, quick video that will walk you through the six types of tea. Plus, a few tisanes too!

Watch it in full-screen mode to get the total, awesomeness effect from the types of tea video. Have fun!

Photo Credits:
Flickr.com/Creative Commons Attribution License ~
Camellia Sinensis: Gwydion Williams
Puer Tea: Teajournaling
Rooibos: Akuppa
Yerba Mate: Juan Pablo Olmo
Fruit Tea: Moonlightbulb

Fotolia.com/Standard License ~
White Tea: Esolheim
Yellow Tea: Delphimages
Herbal Tea: KateP

Wikipedia/Free Art License ~ Guayusa: Anna Premo
Wikipedia/GNU Free Documentation License ~ Oolong Tea: Lateasquirrel

A Girl With Tea ~
Green and Black Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Black Tea Review: The NecessiTeas Cafe Latte

Cafe Latte

Company/Brand Name: The NecessiTeas

Name: Cafe Latte

Category: Black Tea/Coffee Blend

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Twisted black tea leaves with noticeable whole coffee beans and chunks of cocoa beans

Additions: Barley, Coffee Beans, Chicory, Cocoa Beans and Natural Flavors

Flavor: A medium-bodied tea that tastes like java with a hint of sweetness and cocoa flavor

Overall: I love the smell and taste of coffee, but coffee and I don’t get along. As a result, I’ve avoided coffee for years. Until now.

This interesting blend of black loose tea and coffee beans allowed me to enjoy the robust taste of java without the jittery side effects. Plus, the touch of cocoa really rounds out the cup nicely. I would definitely purchase this tea and coffee blend again.

Tea Review:

When I opened the sample package, the first fragrance to hit my senses was the uplifting smell of coffee. Then, I took another whiff and I noticed a sweet aroma, similar to fine tobacco leaves with notes of chocolate. I was definitely intrigued!

As the tea steeped, a sweet-smelling, java-like aroma encircled my teapot tantalizing me to take that first sip.

When I finally poured my steamy brew into a cup and took a drink of the Cafe Latte, I was surprised to find that my tea tasted like coffee. The coffee beans seemed to add just the right amount of java flavor to give my teacup an extra-special zing.

I also discovered a sweet, cocoa note that was malty tasting like Whopper’s Malted Milk Ball candy or instant malted chocolate milk. To bring it all together, there is a slight creamy mouth-feel that makes this tea blend live up to its name.

As I was mindfully drinking my tea in solitude and trying to grasp all the taste sensations I was experiencing, something interesting happened. I had a ghost taste memory. All of a sudden Bailey’s Irish Cream came to mind. But, I wasn’t sure why.

I couldn’t seem to remember ever having consumed Bailey’s Irish Cream. Perhaps, I had smelled Bailey’s in coffee at some point, or had a sip of an “adult drink” during my formative years. Wherever that recognition memory came from, it stuck with me for the rest of my tea session, which made for an intoxicating experience!

Once I reached the last drop of Cafe Latte, I found a lingering aftertaste that was a mixture of java and cocoa with just a touch of tanginess. This final moment reminded me of my premium coffee drinking days.

After my first cup, I indulged in several more before depleting my Cafe Latte sample. I was disappointed it was gone, yet comforted by the fact that I could always order more.

The NecessiTeas Cafe Latte Packaging

Packaging:

I had ordered a sample size of the Cafe Latte from The NecessiTeas, which came in a thick, silver bag with foil-lining and a clear-plastic cover.

The front of the sample package included a sticker that listed the name of the tea, content ingredients, tea preparation instructions and the vendor’s web address.

Preparation Tips:

On The NecessiTeas loose tea sample package it recommended using one and a half teaspoons of tea with eight-ounces of boiling water. The suggested steeping time was 4 minutes. I followed these guidelines, except that I used my mini-glass teapot, which only holds about six-ounces of water.

In addition, I only used filtered water to brew the Cafe Latte because I didn’t want to run the risk of ruining the taste. I only had a small sample to experiment with, so I repeated the instructions above and didn’t vary from them. Although, I did allow my tea to steep to almost 5 minutes a couple of times.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – I enjoyed drinking this tea after a meal to satiate my craving for some sugary treat. I think this tea and coffee blend would be delicious chilled and mixed with milk, but I didn’t have any milk in the house to give it a try. Maybe next time!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to The NecessiTeas web page. Enjoy!

The NecessiTeas

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Week Three and Four of Yoga Month: The End and a New Beginning

© Kati Molin – Fotolia.com

These last two weeks of Yoga Month have flown by as if life were merely a good fiction novel that I didn’t want to end.

As I continued to explore the world of yoga on physical level, I found my body feeling leaner, stronger and more flexible.

On an emotional level, I felt more relaxed and focused during the day. And on an intellectual level, my desire to learn more about yoga was deepened.

But, let me step-back for a moment and share with you what I did that allowed me to have such notable results.

Two Weeks in Review: Finding My Flow

First, I discovered in Week Three that I was able to do most of the poses from the Yoga Workout for Dummies YouTube videos on my own. I no longer needed the videos to help guide me.

In fact, I developed my own series of yoga poses that I enjoyed doing several times per week while listening to relaxing music. Needless to say, my confidence really started to soar once I was able to start doing the asanas (just another term for yoga postures) without additional direction.

Although, I have to admit, that I still struggled with Child Pose and the Lunge due to having sensitive knees. Ugh!

Yoga for a Healthy Body

I also dived into the Yoga for a Healthy Body book I had purchased during Week One and added some poses from the book to my routine. Plus, it was fun to mix things up a bit!

Lastly, during Week Four I gave the Crunch: Candlelight Yoga video a try (currently streaming on Netflix).

The instructor is Sara Ivanhoe, who also did the Basic Yoga for Dummies videos. I really like her teaching style; it is down-to-earth and encouraging. No judgments here! She encourages her viewers not to be too hard on themselves. Rather, she recommends focusing on the moment.

Overall, I enjoyed the Candlelight Yoga video; it is definitely relaxing. But, don’t be fooled by the name; this is a solid yoga workout!

Sara starts by concentrating on breathing exercises while sitting on the mat. Then she moves gently into the yoga postures. Before you know it, you’re standing-up and doing some challenging poses, including the dreaded Lunge! Yet, this is all done in a tranquil, peaceful way that makes the whole experience seem more like a retreat than an exercise class.

This 45-minute video also has someone doing the poses with modifications, making the instruction fairly easy to follow for even the inflexible. I would recommend this video for someone who wants a relaxing yoga experience with a touch of physical effort.

Discovering Types of Yoga

As the end of Yoga Month approached, I found myself wanting to know more about this thing called yoga.

After a little research, I discovered that the two types of yoga I had been practicing this past month were Hatha and Vinyasa.

I seriously, I had no idea that there were different types of yoga when I first started this journey a month ago. Of course, I guess I really didn’t care at that time because I had just wanted to jump into action.

Anyway, here is a little of what I learned about Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga.

Hatha yoga, according to my Yoga for a Healthy Body book, should be practiced slowly and mindfully, focusing on each breath. The aim of Hatha Yoga is to stop the inner chitter chatter of our mind so that we may see our true selves more clearly.

I also discovered that Hatha Yoga is considered the building block to all other forms of yoga because of its focus on the breath.

After learning about this, I felt grateful that I had somehow started my yoga practice on the right path without even knowing it. I had blindly approached yoga with a beginner’s mind and was miraculously led in the right direction.

As for Vinyasa Yoga, it is a combination of Hatha Yoga (breathing) and flowing, dance-like movements that can provide a solid aerobic and toning workout. This type of yoga focuses on breath-synchronized movement. The emphasis is on concentration and attitude (like laughing at yourself when you topple over from Tree Pose!).

Next Steps: Continuing the Journey

Yoga Anatomy

There are a variety of types of yoga to explore, from Bikram (hot yoga) to Raja Yoga, but I am pleased with where I am right now. I plan to continue to practice a combination of both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga.

In addition, I hope to explore and study Hatha Yoga more thoroughly to feed my intellectual and spiritual curiosity.

I also want to become more familiar with the muscles that are used for each pose. I’ve already begun to study my new Yoga Anatomy book and learned that there is a lot more to breathing than I had originally thought!

Plus, I am already considering yoga training. I can totally see myself teaching others yoga. But, I am jumping ahead by at least a few years!

Yoga Month Wrap-Up:

Originally, I had started Yoga Month with the simple wish of learning a few yoga poses that would help me to become a little more flexible and toned. But, as my body began to ease into each pose a little more gracefully and my monkey mind started to relax, I discovered the awesomeness of yoga.

I don’t think anyone could have explained the benefits of yoga to me a month ago, I would have been quite skeptical.

Yoga Girl Mug

Now that I have explored yoga for myself these past four weeks, I can see the power yoga can have to transform lives.

It is quite fascinating how taking time to do a few soothing and dynamic poses each day can open up a different world. In other words, yoga gave me the ability to see life from a different perspective. Not only can I see new possibilities, but I also feel focused enough to make positive changes.

I can’t wait to see what occurs in my life in the next few months by continuing to practice yoga most days of the week. I’ll be sure to let you know!

Well, I am off to sip some tea in my new Yoga Girl Mug and quietly celebrate all that I’ve learned and achieved this month.

Namaste.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Additional Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea (Yoga Books and Mug)

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

 

Week Two of Yoga Month: Recovering from Failure

Week One of Yoga Month: Starting from the Beginning

Introduction: Yoga Month: Getting Started with Yoga

Week Two of Yoga Month: Recovering from Failure (and Mildred)

© Scott Griessel – Fotolia.com

The second week of Yoga Month flew by really quickly, too fast in fact, because I only got in two days of my beginner yoga practice. My original plan was to do five days.

I find myself sitting down to write this update and wishing I had made some different decisions over the last seven days, but I can’t go back in time.

Since I don’t have a time machine, I guess all I can do at this point is look back over the last seven days, reflect on what went wrong, learn from my mistakes, and update my yoga plan.

A Week in Review: Mildred Takes Over

During Week One I had completed six days of yoga and ended the week on a high note. I was feeling pretty proud of myself!

Then as Week Two started, a voice in my head told me that I should be doing more yoga. I’ll call this voice Mildred.

Mildred, the perfectionist side of me, started whispering in my ear that I wasn’t doing good enough. She told me that I really should be doing at least twenty minutes of yoga every day because I had been so successful my first week.

The more I listened to Mildred, the more I procrastinated. I found lots of excuses to not practice yoga.

Before I knew it, four days had past and I started feeling really deflated. I knew I had failed to achieve my goal of doing ten minutes of yoga five times per week.

I felt like a big loser.

Looking Deeper and Giving Mildred the Boot:

One thing I’ve known about myself, but seem to keep repeating, is that I always start off strong. Then, I falter once a little success is achieved.

However, I’ve never really explored why I do this…

I’m thinking that it’s all about fear, fear of leaving my comfort zone—that small little world I’ve built for myself to protect me from hurt and pain. And that’s what the perfectionistic Mildred is there for, to keep me from venturing outside the glass box.

Luckily, on day five, after some self-reflection, I was able to give Mildred the boot. Of course, she did drop-in unexpectedly once in a while during the rest of the week, but I swiftly told her that she wasn’t welcome any longer.

Renewed Energy for My Updated Yoga Plan:

After having two successful days of beginner yoga practice, my energy and determination were renewed.

I’m glad I took the time to examine what went wrong, so I could move forward again.

In fact, by re-focusing on my original goal—to practice yoga for just ten minutes—I found myself exceeding my own expectations. Not because Mildred was there to berate me, but because I was having fun.

My plan is to re-commit to my original goal of doing yoga five times per week for ten minutes. And if Mildred rings my doorbell again, I’ll tell her I don’t accept solicitations!

Here’s to another week of yoga!

Oh, and my apologies if your name is Mildred!

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

 

Week One of Yoga Month: Starting from the Beginning

Introduction: Yoga Month: Getting Started with Yoga

Week One of Yoga Month: Starting from the Beginning

© Maksim Šmeljov – Fotolia.com

I’ve completed my first week of yoga!

Right now I am feeling pretty empowered and ready to take on week two, but first I thought I would reflect on what I accomplished and learned this past week.

Also, I thought I’d share with you what I thought of the Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies videos I’ve been following on YouTube.

Day One:

I have to admit that it was a bit challenging getting started. I waited until late in the evening to accomplish my goal of watching the first video in the Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies series.

The first video is only 10 minutes in length, so I was able to talk myself into completing the initial exercises.

Introduction:

Video One starts off with a 5-minute introduction that includes the recognizable icons from the “Dummies” book series like Tips, Jargon and Myth Busters.

These icons, with accompanying sound effects, could have been quite annoying. But Sara, the instructor and moderator, makes it work somehow. Perhaps it is her calm demeanor and amiable approach that keeps me from clicking away and seeking a different yoga video.

During the introduction Sara explains that she will be covering 12 postures that she has coined The Daily Dozen. But, before getting started with the workout, she offers a few tips to ensure a safe, effective and relaxing experience:

1. Wear comfortable clothes: I was wearing comfy shorts and a t-shirt; maybe I’ll dish out the money for the requisite yoga pants when I am feeling a bit more yogi-ish.

2. Don’t eat beforehand: I had eaten dinner a couple hours beforehand, so I was good to go.

3. Use a non-slip surface: Luckily, I had a yoga mat on hand from a previous, yet unsuccessful attempt to start practicing yoga.

4. Practice in your bare feet: Check! I love being in my bare feet!

5. Use a chair in case you need to modify any of the poses or need to balance yourself: I had a chair handy, just in case.

6. Use a pillow or towel to cushion your “sit bones” (I love that phrase!) or knees: Yep, I had these on hand too.

7. Use a men’s tie or bathrobe belt as a strap: Okay, I didn’t have either of those, but I did have resistance bands.

One thing I really liked about this comprehensive introduction is that the instructor, Sara, suggested using everyday household items for yoga practice. It was good to know that I didn’t have to run out and buy any fancy, high-priced yoga equipment or paraphernalia to get the job done.

Lastly, before getting started with the workout, Sara encourages her viewers to create a relaxing environment, highlighting that this is the viewer’s “private time.” I liked this emphasis on taking time for myself and it definitely set a positive tone.

Starting the Yoga Workout:

The yoga workout began with a quick breathing lesson and after six relaxing breaths in and out I was feeling pretty grounded.

Next Sara eases me into the first of The Daily Dozen: the Cat Pose. I loved this pose because it was so relaxing and easy for a beginner like me to do fairly effortlessly.

Then the Mountain Pose is introduced; another simple and basic yoga position that I really enjoyed.

The first video ends abruptly in the middle of Mountain Pose, but because I had set-up a playlist in YouTube I was immediately directed to Video Two to complete the lesson. Nice!

After wrapping up Day One, I was feeling pretty confident that I could do this thing called yoga.

Day Two:

Once again, I waited until the late evening to complete Video Two of the Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies series. It’s not that I was dreading it. I think I was simply waiting until late in the day because it’s a time when I feel I can take time to relax. Plus, it was a new habit and I hadn’t quite figured out how to add it to my daily routine yet.

Before heading into the third yoga stance, I spent a few minutes revisiting Mountain Pose. Once I was feeling grounded again, I followed the instructions for the Standing Forward Bend.

At first, I was a little confused on how to properly move my body to achieve the pose, but Sara carefully and with some repetition explained what I should be doing. In addition, a modification was offered.

However, I did have to go back and re-listen to her instruction to make sure I was doing it right. I guess this is one perk of practicing at home with a video; I could rewind!

Once I achieved some level of success with the Standing Forward Bend, I was ready to move on to the following position.

Next in line is the Lunge. I knew, just by the name alone, I was really going to hate this pose.

I tried to gracefully sashay into position. But, I ended up feeling rather awkward and within seconds I found that my knees were screaming at me. Trying not to give up too quickly, I gave the pose another try before deciding to sit it out.

Even though, I failed at the Lunge, I was not deterred and headed into Tree Pose with determination.

This is another position that I rather enjoyed even though I kept tipping over! Here again, Sara offered a modification and even encouraged her viewers to not be too hard on themselves if they couldn’t get it just right.

I ended Day Two of my yoga experience laughing at myself.

Day Three:

My Yoga Mat

The end of the day approached before I rolled out my yoga mat for the third day of practice.

Starting off the day’s session, I decided to give Tree Pose another try. It was quite empowering to see a slight improvement from the day before; I was able to find my balance just a tad bit easier.

Moving into Video Three, I was presented with a complex yoga pose, the Standing Side Stretch. Sara did caution that this is one of the more challenging yoga poses, but encouraged me to do what I could.

I easily lost my balance trying to maintain this stance and got in and out of it several times, but I was not discouraged. I knew I would get better, eventually.

Next was the Downward Facing Dog, which I found to be a fairly easy pose, especially when compared to the Standing Side Stretch.

I ended today’s practice with a sense of accomplishment.

Day Four:

I was a bit more eager to start my practice on this day, so instead of waiting until late in the evening, I began my practice at twilight.

Since the Downward Facing Dog pose was split between Video Three and Video Four, I decided to start my workout by revisiting this posture. Then I moved into pose number eight of The Daily Dozen: the Cobra.

I found myself really enjoying the Cobra, not just because it was a fairly easy posture to master, but because it would help to strengthen my back. I tend to slouch from too much time in front of a computer screen, so I was hoping this pose would help me to sit-up a little straighter over time. No hunch back for this yoga girl!

Then Child Pose is introduced, which seemed super easy, but here again, like the Lunge pose, my knees do not like it. So, I sat this one out as well.

Because I didn’t feel like I accomplished much, I jumped into Video Five and followed along with the Seated Spinal Twist instructions. After the Cobra, I really felt the muscles in my back start to talk to me, so I took it easy on this pose and wrapped-up for the day.

I found that by doing my yoga practice a bit earlier in the evening, I had more energy to tackle some big projects. I was able to get a lot done the rest of the evening. Sweet!

Day Five:

After yesterday’s practice, I was motivated to start my workout a bit earlier in the evening once again on this day.

I gave the Seated Spinal Twist another go and found the pose a little easier to manage.

Then, I moved into the Seated Forward Bend; this went quite smoothly. I was rewarded with the final pose in The Daily Dozen: the Relaxation Pose. And I finished with Video Six, which was just a quick 2-minute wrap-up.

Out of all the poses, this was the only one I remember from the couple yoga classes I had taken many years ago. It’s kind of funny that I can recollect the one position that requires no effort whatsoever!

Day Five wrapped-up with a feeling of excitment for achieving my goal to complete all six videos. Mission accomolished!

Day Six:

A day of rest; no yoga on this day.

Day Seven (Wrap-Up):

At the end of the week, I decided to go through the whole video series at the same time, just to see if I could do it. I was able to complete ten out of the twelve poses in one workout. It felt really good to see this improvement.

Day Seven ended with a mini-celebration; I purchased myself a cool Yoga Girl mug and a Yoga Anatomy book from Amazon.com. I can’t wait to get them in the mail!

Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies Video Review:

Overall, I really enjoyed this video series available on YouTube for free. Not only did I complete the full, 50-minute sequence, but I felt empowered to continue my yoga practice.

One thing that really made this video standout for me is Sara’s teaching style. She is down-to-earth, non-judgmental and encouraging. She advocates having fun and not being too hard on yourself if you can’t get a pose just right.

As a yoga newbie this warm and friendly atmosphere kept me going even when I didn’t feel I was doing well.

Because I had so much fun with this video, I decided to do a little research to learn more about the instructor. I discovered that the video is actually from the 2001 edition of Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies book by Sara Ivanhoe.

Plans for Week Two of Yoga Month:

For Week Two of Yoga Month, I am planning to continue with the Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies videos on YouTube until I can do the poses on my own without guidance.

I also purchased a book at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore the other day called: Yoga for a Healthy Body. It covers a lot of basic poses in great detail, so I am looking forward to diving into it and learning more yoga postures.

In addition, I so enjoyed Sara Ivanhoe’s presentation style that I went online and looked for other yoga videos she had done. Her Crunch: Candlelight Yoga video is currently available via live stream on Netflix. I plan to take full advantage.

Well, that’s it for Week One of my yoga experiment for Yoga Month. I’m looking forward to Week Two!

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Additional Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea (My Yoga Mat)

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

 

Introduction: Yoga Month: Getting Started with Yoga