Rooibos Tea Review: Teavana Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Zingiber Ginger Coconut

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown, but rooibos is native to South Africa

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Coconut Chips, Ginger Bits, Cinnamon, Apples, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Almonds

Flavor: A spicy, slightly sweet, aromatic tea that also has a touch of creaminess

Overall: Ginger and spice and everything nice, describes this rooibos tea blend perfectly. I really enjoyed the overall experience, which was entertaining and unique. Yet, this is not a tea I would gravitate to daily. Although, it does provide a nice departure from the mundane.

Tea Review:

First off, I have to say that the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos leaves have a complex bouquet that has a fruity-spiciness that makes the smell both energizing and mesmerizing.

Quite frankly, the smell is addictive. I would find myself opening the tea canister several times per day just to take a whiff of paradise. Not only does this tea pack a punch with its sweet, exotic fragrance, it is also beautiful to admire.

It’s not the kind of tea that you look at and say, “Yeah, that’s tea.” It’s a blend that has you standing there for several inquisitive minutes trying to comprehend what you see in front of you.

Like a fine painting, where each individual brush stroke creates the resulting masterpiece, this tea cannot be understood by studying each ingredient. It needs to be appreciated for the elegant combination that creates the final product.

When I finally get around to steeping a cup, the room fills with a wonderfully warm and enchanting aroma that heightens my anticipation for the first sip.

When I finally took my first sip, I was quite disappointed. The tea seemed quite weak tasting compared to the almost overpowering fragrance of the tea blend. But then, the fieriness kicks in and I taste a hint of ginger mingling with other spices.

Way in the background, a subtle hint of fruitiness reveals itself. The coconut makes an appearance too, as an ever so slight texture of creaminess.

Based on the intriguing aroma of the tea, I was quite expecting a sweet-fruity flavor to be playing the leading role, instead it was the understudy. It was the spice that truly stole the show and became the star.

As it turns out, the flavor profile is just as interesting and intricate as the aroma; it’s just much more delicate and elusive. The taste doesn’t provide the “Wow!” factor I was anticipating. Yet, still an interesting tea that is worth a try.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos from the Teavana store at the Mall of America, where I was swept off my feet by its visual appeal and intoxicating fragrance. I decided to purchase a Washi tin to house this tea to keep it fresh.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the label given to me when I had purchased the tea, but the Teavana website also provides excellent directions: Use 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of water. Heat water to just boiling (208F) and steep for 5-6 minutes.

This tea blend can be a little tricky to brew because the rooibos is tiny, especially compared to the huge curls of coconut. Therefore, I highly recommend using a Finum Brewing Basket to contain all the rooibos shreds.

Additional Notes:

Iced tea – As the tea cools, it becomes less spicy and a bit more fruity and creamy. I’ve found that I much prefer this tea when it is mixed with a basic black tea and then chilled.

Dessert Tea – A delightful spicy blend, that reminded me a bit of spice cake.

Other – This tea blend is caffeine-free, making it a perfect evening treat.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea or shop for over 100 types of other healthy, gourmet teas, as well as teapots and other  accessories, then click the link below. Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Teavana

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

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

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

 

A Trip to Teavana at the Mall of America

Mark Gstohl via Flickr CC Attribution License

It was a beautiful fall day to take a trip to Bloomington, Minnesota for a little shopping adventure at the Mall of America (MOA).

Finding Teavana at the Mall of America

Upon arriving at MOA it was quite the feat to find Teavana, after consulting several kiosks and walking for what seemed like forever, I finally found my way to the west side of the mall. As I got closer to my destination, I saw an inviting, warm-glow emanating from the Teavana store front that quickened my pace in anticipation. Just before reaching Teavana a wonderful scent captivated my senses and enticed me to come inside.

Entering Teavana is like taking a step into tea heaven. The décor is natural-chic with warm-earth tones. And a soft, sweet fragrance of tea fills the air, perhaps from the variety of brewed teas lying about ready to sample, and did I sample! Yum!

Turning my attention to the stylish and Asian inspired teaware, I made a mental-note on what I liked and planned to purchase at a later date. Today, I was here to buy tea.

Tea Tins or Sampler Bags?

As I approached the counter, I saw a wall filled with huge round tea canisters that were all color coded. Upon closer inspection, each canister was marked with the tea name and cost per two ounces.

After assisting other customers, the friendly Teavana guy came over and I inquired about purchasing some sample sizes.

Tea Tins from Teavana

He said that he could certainly hook me up with some sampler bags of tea, but encouraged me to buy tea tins instead, stating that the tea canisters would help the tea stay fresh for up to a year.

He also shared with me that the sampler tea bags tended to not keep the tea fresh for very long, about two weeks to be exact.

This wouldn’t have been a concern, except that I had just purchased about thirty sampler bags of tea online the previous week.

Plus, I had been admiring the exquisite tea tins located throughout the store just moments ago. I thought to myself that this could be the perfect opportunity to indulge a wee bit.

Once I had chosen my favorite four Washi Tea Tins, the fun really began. I got to decide which tea would fill each of them.

Picking the Perfect Tea

The Teavana guy asked me a few questions, then swiftly went and picked out a large tea tin labeled Gyokuro Imperial. I saw the cost per two ounces was $15.00. Yowza! But, once he opened the lid and I saw that bright, fresh green color and took a deep breath, I knew it was worth every penny.

Next, I decided I wanted a black tea. He first introduced me to Golden Monkey which looked amazing with all the golden tips. It also smelled like chocolate when he fanned the tin lid over the tea towards me. But, for $18.50 per two ounces, I decided to try a less expensive black tea, especially since I had just splurged on the green tea.

Next, he pulled a black tea from the shelf called Copper Knot Hongcha. This tea didn’t smell as chocolaty as the Golden Monkey; actually, the smell was quite subtle overall. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the dark and light brown leaves that were rolled into tight little balls. For only $9.80 per two ounces, we had a winner.

Then I decided to go for a dessert tea. The Teavana guy pulled down something called Zingiber Ginger Coconut. He took off the tin lid and swooshed it over the tea, so we could both get a good whiff. Between the sweet, intoxicating smell and exquisite display of curled coconut and red rooibos, I was spellbound. I had to try some and for $6.00 per 2 ounces I thought it was a no-brainer.

Finally, I thought I would go for one more dessert tea. Without a moment of hesitation the Teavana guy pulled down two tea canisters: White Ayurvedic Chai and My Morning Mate.

The smell was amazing as he waved the two canister lids, back and forth over both tea blends. It was like stepping into some exotic candy store; where sweet and spicy intermingle creating a scent that tickles the soul.

The Mate tea was $6.80 per two ounces and the Chai was $10.00 per two ounces. I didn’t even have to think about it, before deciding on my final purchase.

The total came to a whopping $114.00 bucks, but I felt like I had gotten my money’s worth. Not only was I leaving with four beautiful tea tins, I also had some amazing tea to sip all winter.

As I left the store I thought to myself, “Wow, that was a lot of fun!”

Buy Teavana Tea Online

Just in case you don’t have access to a nearby Teavana store, you can always purchase their tea online. If you’re interested to see Teavana’s online tea selection just click on the link below. Enjoy!

Teavana

Note: Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Additional 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.

Have you ever visited a Teavana store? What was your experience like?

Black Tea Review: Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Company/Brand Name: Celestial Seasonings

Name: Nutcracker Sweet

Category: Black Tea Blend (Seasonal)

Form: Tea Bag (Paper)

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not applicable because the leaves are finely ground and hidden inside the typical tea bag exterior

Additions: Vanilla, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon

Flavor: A sweet, aromatic tea with an enchanting vanilla taste and just a hint of cinnamon spice

Overall: I always look forward to this time of year, because I know it is holiday tea season! Nutcracker Sweet has been one of my favorite holiday teas for many years now. Every time I open a box, my senses are captivated by the sweet vanilla scent. I can feel myself drift away momentarily to some magical place where anything is possible.

Tea Review:

As this tea steeps, it fills the surrounding area with a wonderful aroma, like something yummy is baking in the oven.

Once the tea is ready, the first sip never disappoints. The brew has a warm vanilla note that is delightfully creamy and rich tasting.

What makes this tea particularly interesting is the touch of cinnamon spice that lingers in the background. The spiciness is just right, not too harsh and not too subtle as to be overlooked.

I’ve found that sometimes vanilla flavored tea can taste a bit off, but I didn’t find that to be the case with this particular combination.

In fact, the vanilla is the star of this black tea blend, making it a holiday favorite.

Packaging:

Inside the colorful cardboard box is a wax-lined paper seal where all the tea bags are held. The square, flat tea bags are layered in twos and each tea bag is connected to another. To separate the two tea bags, you’ve got to tear them apart at the perforated center.

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Preparation Tips:

I simply followed the directions printed on the box: “Pour freshly boiled water over one tea bag. Steep 3 to 5 minutes and remove tea bag.” Because there were no notes about how much water to use, I went with the general guideline of one cup. Then, I used a holiday mug to make things extra special!

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – The Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker box states that this is a “decadent-yet-healthy treat.” With zero calories, this tea is perfect when craving a little something sweet.

Iced Tea – This tea blend is also quite tasty when iced. Drinking it cooled seems to bring out the cinnamon flavor; it actually ends up tasting a bit spicier when chilled.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea from Amazon.com just click the link below. Enjoy!

Nutcracker Sweet

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: Honest Tea Jasmine Green Energy

Honest Jasmine Green Energy

Company/Brand Name: Honest Tea

Name: Jasmine Green Energy

Category: Green and White Tea Blend, USDA Organic

Form: Bottled in a glass container

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Agave syrup, which adds 17 calories per serving, or 34 calories per 16 oz. bottle

Flavor: Sweet and flowery at first, then slightly grassy with a bitter aftertaste

Overall: A strongly flavored bottled tea that will surprise those who are used to a mellower tea concoction and amuse those who enjoy a little bite to their tea.

Tea Review:

I’ve had this bottle of Honest Tea hanging out in the fridge for a while; I was waiting for the right time to give it a try. Today, I wasn’t able to get to my tea kettle because the kitchen was going through a little remodeling, so it seemed like a good day to sample this particular brew.

I found this bottled tea to be quite tart tasting. Yet, I wasn’t turned off by the bitterness at all because the combination of flavors was quite interesting.

When I first take a sip, the flavor is sweet. Then the jasmine expresses itself alongside a hint of grassiness. Finally, as the brew makes its way to the back of my throat, the taste becomes bitter.  Yet, the sweetness still lingers, so a bitter-sweet flavor is my final impression.

Preparation Tips:

Twist the top off and drink!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea from Honest Tea just click the link below. Enjoy!

Honest Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: 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: English Tea Store Jasmine with Flowers

Jasmine With Flowers

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Name: Jasmine with Flowers

Category: Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: The cut, dark green leaves are splashed with pieces of dried yellow petals. The aroma of the leaves is simply intoxicating; a bouquet of sweet and fragrant jasmine flowers.

Additions: Jasmine Petals

Flavor: A sweet and flowery tasting tea

Overall: The Jasmine with Flowers is a delightful green tea that captivates the senses and brings beauty to everyday life.

Tea Review:

The flavor of the Jasmine with Flowers is representative of the exotic scent the dried leaves and petals revealed when I first opened the tea package.

A sweet-flowery taste stands-out, yet it is delicate enough to allow the green tea to reveal its refreshing essence.

Interestingly, as the liquor travels down my throat a sense of creaminess occurs leaving me feeling as if I’ve just sipped something quite remarkable.

This green tea takes me away to some exotic Asian flower garden where blossoms fill the air with a delightful perfume. The enchanting sweetness begs me to linger and enjoy the moment.

Overall, I found the jasmine in this tea both calming and uplifting; a perfect combination for meditation or simply taking a few moments in the day to relax.

Packaging:

I had ordered the Chinese Teas sampler pack and my 1-ounce samples were shipped in plain, black bags that appeared to be thick-plastic.

On the label was just the name of the tea, no steeping instructions were included. I had to go to the website for brewing tips. On the plus side, the bags are re-sealable.

As a side note: In the sampler pack I had received, the Jasmine Dragon Tears Lychee, Congou China Black and Shanghai Lychee Jasmine where all missing. Instead, I was shipped three packages of the Lapsang Souchong and a duplicate of the Jasmine with Flowers. In all fairness, the sampler pack webpage does indicate that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Preparation Tips:

For the best flavor, the English Tea Store website recommends that the Jasmine with Flowers green tea be steeped for 1 to 4 minutes in steaming water (150-180F). I found these instructions useful, although, I did use filtered water becasue the taste of this delicate tea can be bungled by chlorinated water.

Since there were no instructions regarding the amount of tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

I tried a stainless steel, mesh ball infuser and T-Sac paper tea filter; I found that they both worked quite fine for keeping the leaves separate from the drinkable brew. However, I much preferred using my little mini-teapot to allow the leaves plenty of room to unfurl.

Additional Notes:

Iced Tea – The Jasmine with Flowers makes a delicious and energizing iced-tea drink that is sure to please.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea straight away, just click the link below, it will take you directly to the English Tea Store web page. Enjoy!

English Tea Store

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

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

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

 

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Keemun Panda

ETS Keemun Panda

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Keemun Panda

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: China

The Leaves: The broken, thin leaves are dark brown, almost black in color

Additions: None

Flavor: A smooth, full-bodied tea with a touch of fruitiness that is rounded out by a woodsy-earthy note

Overall: 4.0/5

An interesting black tea, that seemed to keep changing flavor with each cup. But one constant was its smooth taste that was always satisfying.

Packaging:

The Keemun Panda is one of the selections that came in my Chinese Teas sampler pack.

Each one-ounce sample came in a thick-plastic, black bag with the tea name on the label. Unfortunately, as there were no steeping instructions included on the label, I had to go to the English Tea Store’s website for more information. However, the tea pouches are re-sealable, making them easy to use cup after cup.

As a side note, when I ordered this particular sampler package, I didn’t receive all the teas advertised. Three of the teas were not shipped, duplicates were sent instead. However, the webpage does specify that substitutions may happen.

Tea Review:

I found this tea to be difficult to pin down; each cup I brewed seemed to be somewhat different.  However, the hint of sweet-fruitiness was consistent along with the deep-woodsy flavor.

It was the other flavors that kept eluding me. For instance, at times this tea seemed malty and then at other times there was a tease of smokiness. And sometimes, it didn’t say much at all.

When drinking this tea, I am taken away to some wooded area with towering trees. Sitting in the middle of it all, there is a table covered with some lightweight, colorful fabric that is stirring in the breeze. The only thing keeping the delicate table cover from floating up towards the tree limbs is a hodge-podge of teaware.

It seems the woodsy-earthy note reminds me of a forest and the sweet-fruitiness brings colorful images to mind. Yet, the changing character of this tea brings to mind visions of chaos, much like the mélange of teapots and teacups holding the tablecloth in place.

When it comes right down to it, however, I see before me an interesting display that puts a smile on my face.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store website recommends steeping this black tea in water that has been brought to a rolling boil for 2 to 5 minutes.

However, no instructions on how much tea or water to use were provided so, I went with the general recommendation of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

For this particular tea, I used a T-Sac paper tea filter.

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.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

[button link=”http://agirlwithtea.com/english-tea-store” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] English Tea Store[/button]

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Lapsang Souchong

ETS Lapsang Souchong

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Lapsang Souchong

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: The leaves are nearly black in color and have an intense smoky smell

Additions: None

Flavor: A strong and distinctive tasting brew with an intense smokiness and just a touch of pine

Overall: 3.5/5

An interesting taste experience; it’s like drinking a campfire. I am not a huge fan of this smoky flavored black tea, but it is definitely a taste experience worth exploring.

Packaging:

I purchased this tea from the English Tea Store as part of a Chinese Teas sampler pack. My one-ounce sample of this tea was sent in a thick-plastic, black pouch that had the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the Lapsang Souchong sampler bag, so I had to visit the website for more information. On the plus side, the pouch is re-sealable.

As a side note, when ordering the sampler packs, be aware that not all the advertised selections may be sent.

For instance, three of the teas shown on the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three packages of the Lapsang Souchong and a duplicate of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, it does state on the website that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew is just as powerful as the dried tea leaves. In fact, I could smell the brew from several feet away.

The first sip was a little overwhelming. The smokiness is intense and certainly the primary flavor. However, I did detect just a hint of pine before my allergies started to kick into high gear.

Did I mention that I am allergic to pine trees? Burning wood isn’t exactly my friend either. Although, I do love the smell of pine as well as campfires but, they just don’t like me.

Even though I found this tea intriguing in the taste department, it caused me to feel as if I was experiencing a bit of an allergic reaction. I sensed my chest and throat tighten. Then, a wave of dizziness swept over me and lingered for a while even after the last sip.

The image that comes to mind when drinking the Lapsang Souchong is that of a huge campfire burning in the middle of a pine forest. I can see the flames rise up and lick the stars in the midnight-blue sky. Huge billows of smoke encircle me and I feel trapped within the warmth of the fire.

Needless to say, after my first cup I really didn’t desire any more.

I ended up giving the remaining Lapsang Souchong to my mom. She finds this tea to be quite comforting because of the campfire like flavor. As for me, I don’t think Lapsang Souchong will be my personal tea of choice going forward, but it was fun to try this tea for the first time.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store recommends steeping the leaves in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Since there were no instructions on how much tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

However, I wish I had started off with a shorter steep or less tea, because the flavor of the Lapsang Souchong was super intense.

To keep the leaves separate from the brew, I once again used a T-Sac paper filter. As I move away from tea bags to loose leaf tea, I’ve found these bags to be quite helpful in my transition!

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.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

[button link=”http://agirlwithtea.com/english-tea-store” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] English Tea Store[/button]

Green Tea Review: English Tea Store Pinhead Gunpowder

ETS Pinhead Gunpowder

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Pinhead Gunpowder

Tea Category: Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: China

The Leaves: The leaves are rolled into small, shiny circular shapes

Additions: None 

Flavor: A highly-flavorful, slightly vegetal green tea that has a smooth and sweet smokiness

Overall: 4.4/5

I found the Pinhead Gunpowder to be a nice introduction to the world of green tea because it isn’t too “green tea” tasting. In fact, it has an enjoyable combination of flavors that come together to create a tasty cup.  

Packaging:

I had ordered the Chinese Teas sampler pack and Pinhead Gunpowder was one of the selections.

Each of the one-ounce samples I received in the sampler package came in a thick-plastic, black bag with the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the tea pouch, so I had to visit the English Tea Store’s website for more information. But, the bag is re-sealable which makes it quite convenient.

As a side note, when my samples arrived I discovered that three of the selections advertised on the webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three duplicate packages, two of the Lapsang Souchong and one of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

I really enjoyed watching the leaves unfurl as they steeped, especially since I am used to only drinking tea from tea bags and not seeing the tea leaves at all.

Once the leaves were fully infused they took on an ever so slight smoky aroma, the smokiness isn’t harsh, but almost sweet smelling. Perhaps a little like fine tobacco.

The first sip is somewhat vegetal tasting, but not so much as to be a turn-off. Even this lover-of–black-tea found the flavor stimulating and pleasing.

Then there is the sweet-smokiness, which doesn’t sound that appetizing, yet it works. It actually gives my brew some complexity and robustness that I wasn’t expecting.

Lastly, there is a touch of astringency that is refreshing and left me wanting another cup of Pinhead Gunpowder.

On the whole, I liked it especially becuase it reminded me of faraway places where I have never been. It’s like getting a taste of the orient without having to leave my comfy chair! 

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states that green teas should be brewed in steaming water (150-180F) for 1 to 4 minutes.

I fiddled around with different water temperatures and steeping times, but found little difference in taste. I even poured boiling water over the leaves accidently a couple times and still had a drinkable brew. The only difference was the level of astringency, which increased along with the water temperature and/or brewing time. This tea is quite forgiving.

Because there were no recommendations on how much tea and water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water. However, as the leaves unfurl they tend to take up a lot of space, so depending upon the filter method, the amount of leaves used may need to be adjusted.

I tried both a large paper filter as well as my new mini-glass teapot (with a spring like filter in the spout) to steep the leaves. Both methods worked great. But, I do prefer using the glass teapot; especially for this tea because it allowed me to watch the leaves unfold as they steeped.

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.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Darjeeling Mim

ETS Dargeeling Mim

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Darjeeling Mim (second flush)

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf:  Northern India

The Leaves: The coloring of the leaves remind me of camouflage clothing because of the variety of natural colors. Juxtaposed to this rugged-outdoorsy look the leaves smell sweet, somewhat floral and fruity.

Additions: None 

Flavor: A unique tasting black tea that has notes of sweet fruit and flower petals, with just a touch of dry-bitterness 

Overall: 3.8/5

This was my very first experience with sampling a Darjeeling tea. I’ll be honest; I was expecting something quite extraordinary because I had read that Darjeeling is considered the champagne of teas.

Even though my socks weren’t knocked off during that first cup, it was still a pleasant and interesting experience that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Packaging:

I had ordered the Estate Teas sampler pack and one of the samples was the Darjeeling Mim.

Each one-ounce sample was shipped in a plain, black bag that appeared to be thick-plastic. All the bags had a white label with the name of the tea. However, no brewing tips where included, so I had to go the English Tea Store’s website for more information.

The tea pouches are re-sealable.

As a side note: When I received my Estate Teas sampler pack order, I discovered that two of the advertised teas were missing, both the Lover’s Leap and Margaret’s Hope. To compensate for the difference, I did receive duplicates of the Formosa Oolong and Nonsuch samples.

In all fairness, the sampler webpage does state that substitutions may occur, due to availability. Here again, I can’t complain because of the great value I received; about 8 ounces of tea for 8 bucks.

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew is slightly sweet and flowery, similar to the fragrance of the dried leaves.

I found the taste to be rather distinctive, especially when compared to other black teas I’ve tried. The taste is a tad sweet and fruity, with just a hint of a fragrant flower like jasmine.

To counterbalance the almost perfume life quality is a touch of dry-bitterness. The tartness rounds out the cup nicely and keeps the tea from becoming too in love with itself.

The overall body is lighter than most black teas, more refined even. Nonetheless, a taste experience not to be missed.

Compared to other black teas, which can be strong and robust like prize-fighters, the Darjeeling Mim is delicate and sweet-tempered. For some reason the image of a girl dancing to classical music in a vineyard comes to mind when sipping this tea.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store recommends that this tea be steeped for 2 to 5 minutes in water that has been brought to a rolling boil.

However, based on the reading I had done about Darjeeling tea, I decided to try a lower water temperature, just to see if it would make a difference.

I found that when using water at the boiling point (212F), the brew became slightly more bitter and the leaves smelled as if they were scalded. So, I stuck with using water just under the boiling point, between 190 and 200F.

No instructions where given on the English Tea Store’s website about how much tea or water to use  so, I went with the general recommendation of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

For my filter method, I used a T-Sac in the smallest size (Size 1).

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.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

[button link=”http://agirlwithtea.com/english-tea-store” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] English Tea Store[/button]

Taking Time for Tea and Meditation: A Retrospect

Boat House

DAY 24 of Tea and Meditation:

Yesterday was an amazing day on my tea lifestyle journey and wonderful way to wrap-up my Alert Peacefulness series!

I had heard about a place in Winona, Minnesota that sold some pretty spectacular tea from China, so I definitely wanted to visit their tea shop. But the weather hadn’t been cooperating— rain, rain and more rain. Then the rain stopped.

However, there was still the threat of the Mississippi cresting, which would put Winona in jeopardy of flooding, so I waited patiently and hoped for the best.

Then, thankfully, the danger had passed.

With the all clear, my mom and I took advantage of the beautiful fall day yesterday and drove over to the great river valley for a little tea adventure.

I really had no idea what to expect when we finally found the Mandala Center for Wellness on Fourth and Main, but as soon as we walked in, I knew I had found a little slice of tea paradise.

We were greeted by the owner, Garret, who was extremely generous with his time. When he learned that I had just started the tea lifestyle journey myself, he shared with me that he had started his journey nearly fifteen years earlier.

We talked for nearly an hour all about tea and the tea lifestyle. Needless to say, I walked out with a bag full of high-quality tea and a new mini-teapot to use for multiple infusions (which I had never done before).

What I’ve Learned Over the Last 24 Days:

My experience yesterday really got me thinking about my own tea lifestyle journey—where I am and where do I want to go.

I started my journey by simply making the commitment to take five minutes each day for tea and meditation. I had some days that didn’t go as planned and some days that really inspired me to keep moving forward.

I’ve learned quite a bit about myself as well as meditation over the last twenty-four days.

Here are just a few of the things that I’ll take away from this experience:

1. Once I really set my mind to do something and let go of trying to be perfect, I can accomplish amazing things.

2. When I allow my passion to be my compass, I can keep moving forward even when it seems like the forces of the Universe are working against me.

3. The key to meditation is to find the space between my thoughts, to find the gap, and to allow myself to fall into it.

4. Alert peacefulness can be experienced in many ways, from sipping tea to creating art.

It All Started with One Small Step:

I’m feeling ready for something bigger, for the next step on my tea lifestyle journey.

For many years, I had wanted to live a more natural and holistic life, which I touched on briefly in my first post in this series, but I could never seem to find my groove. I’d start down the path of transformation, only to find myself back-peddling towards old habits.

By beginning with the small step of taking five minutes each day for tea and meditation, I feel like I’ve conquered some invisible foe; that thing that kept me from moving towards the lifestyle that I truly desired.

Now, I am feeling energized to take the next step. However, that next step is a little fuzzy because there is so much I want to change. I know that I need to chunk it down and make it doable.

I think my mission for the next few days will be to simply spend time contemplating and meditating about where I want to go from here.

Trying to Avoid Cliff Jumping:

I’m going to avoid leaping into just anything that “feels right” in the moment. I’ve found that this strategy can work, but more often than not, I’ve found myself back to square one because I didn’t take the time to set the intention and create a plan.

Imagine jumping off a cliff and hoping for the best, then half-way down realizing that it might have been a good idea to pack a parachute!

Perhaps, this is a bit dramatic, but I think it illustrates what happens when I fail to plan before leaping.

Although, I have to admit, that I can go to the other extreme and think about something forever, and fail to take action.

Knowing this about myself, I am limiting the amount of time I spend considering my options. I am going to take the next couple days to mull things over, make a decision and then take action.

The End and A New Beginning:

It has certainly been a wonderful experience doing this twenty-four day series on alert peacefulness as part of my tea lifestyle journey. I hope you’ve found a nugget or two of good information.

I know my journey has really just begun, but I am excited for what lies ahead. I have no doubt, it will be truly amazing.

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

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

Amy

Photo Credit: © Lance Davis – Fotolia.com

[box] Do you feel ready to make a change in your life? If so, what are you thinking about changing? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Day 20: Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Day 21: Meditating to Sounds of the Jungle

DAY 22: Short Guided Meditations

Day 23: Experimenting with Guided Meditations