I hope you all had a Merry / Happy whatever winter festivity you celebrate. Perhaps you are enjoying some paid time off of work like I am, score! As promised in my last post today's discussion will focus on where to buy tea. A subject I am we'll versed on, this is the "tea shelf" in my pantry:
Ok, technically it's coffee, tea, cider, and drink mix shelf but whatever. If you missed the status update on Facebook you should know I'm starting a raw food cleanse on January 6th - you can look forward to hungry , caffeine and carb deprived , cranky MandySue to have a few snarky posts that week, but those post get the most reads anyway so it will be a high view week. Lord help the person wearing leggings as pants in my presence. This is relevant to this post because seeing how much non carbonated beverage materials I had on hand was a strong factor in attempting to give up coke (the beverage, although you could say I'm hooked on it like a drug) in 2014. Allegidley going raw makes you crave healthy foods, we'll see. I don't plan on going to a raw lifestyle but basically using this as a rehab so to speak to get unhooked from coke, fried foods and sugar.
So back to tea, tea is good and I will be drinking lots in 2014! During my recent Nashvie trip I found a great tea and spice shop where I got some goodies.
I found them on groupon and for $25 I got $50 worth of stuff. Which looks like this:
Minus the basket, which I got at target for $8. Stardust had quite the variety, in here are 8 different types. I also got a few tea accessories. I'm a terrible tea enthusiast and can't remember their names.
This dish is for placing tea bags once they have steeped. Removing from the pot / cup will a. Keep the flavor consistent once the desired result has been reached and b. allow the bag to be reused. A typical serving of tea can be steeped 3 times. But not all tea comes pre baged, in fact most fancy flavored tea is sold loose, so there's tea infusers. I got these:
Most tea infusers are a boring metal ball, I NEEDED these for their cleverness y'all. They function just like a tea bag only must be filled with loose tea - but they're washable. All of the accessories were very affordable.
The going rate for tea seems to be $4 to $5 per ounce for flavored blends. All except one at stardust were $4.25 and the other $3.75. They also gave me a card with serving sizes and brew times; in all my tea buying years this is the first time I was given this useful information so snaps to Stardust.
Harney and Sons is a very popular brand and severed at high end tea rooms - such as The Peabody. I actually found out about them while having tea at a delightful Victorian hotel on a Delaware beach. Harney has a tasting room in NYC I'd love to visit. Truth be told I could do an entire trip to NYC just focused on tea but I have a feeling no one would care to join me. Of course, I hope the Gamma Phis know I'm now going to push for a NYC day on our 2014 trip with an afternoon tea on the agenda. Also, Harney and Sons offers several royal teas for big occasions across the pond but The Queen actually drinks Darvilles of Windsor tea. I do enjoy the Harney Royal Wedding tea. A plus to Harney is that they offer both loose and sacheted (fancy word for a tea bag) tea so if infusers aren't your thing this is the way to go.
If you like to sniff your tea before buying then head to you local Tevana. Just a warning, 8 ounces doesn't sound like a lot but it is so just be careful with the ordering or else you'll wind up with a surprise $100 tab. The staff here is very salesey - which I do not like and hence why I prefer local owned shops like stardust. Some of their simpler blends are less than $4 an ounce but they also sell containers for loose tea which are expensive. I'm not sure if you can go in and just buy an ounce of tea with no additional expense.
I read online that Tevana actually uses three times the recommended serving of tea leaves per cup when brewing in store so you can taste the flavor. I think this is important to note regardless where you buy your tea. In my experience three spoons of leaves is too strong but two is quite good. But remember to remove after steeping and reuse! In my personal experience doubling the tea leaves and brewing twice is the way to go and uses no more leaves than you would have the traditional way.
I've been an at home tea drinker for years as I really enjoy the variety of flavor. In the summer I love making green tea lemonade or other flavored iced tea - despite generic sweet tea being the "house wine of the south" it's never been my thing. For me tea is about staying hydrated in a flavorful manner but there are many health benefits. I used to get mouth ulcers and tea is just about the only soothing beverage to them, it helps with sinus pressure and sore throats; some would say a whole list of health issues. I post pictures on this blog so I think we all know I'm not a model of health and won't go dishing out advice on that topic.
Although I have a small collection of tea pots at home I tend to brew directly in my kettle. I'm slowly switching out my pots and pans from stainless to cooper - dont be fooled just because we only make pennies out of it, it's very expensive! But anyway. . . This cooper kettle was on groupon for $50 over the summer so I had to snap it up:
It's such a pretty way to brew tea! It's also very functional with a strainer built into the spout, so it's designed for brewing beverages directly and not just boiling the water.
With the kettle is some Marie Antoinette tea my sister brought me back from Versailles, I'll admit I like the container way more than the tea in it on this one but fruity teas aren't really my thing. This tea can be purchased on amazon and there's other flavors from the brand , Nina's of Paris.
With all the tea I have around the house I'm thinking I might need to host a tea tasting party in the spring. Ok, off to Pinterest I go.