Review: Tebella Tea Company White Coconut Dulce

  

 Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.

Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: Below boiling
Steeped: 3mins
Served: Nothing added

I’ve only tried this tea hot, but I bet it would make a great iced tea too! When you open the container you are instantly brought to a tropical place. The smell of the big pieces of coconut give the aroma an unmistakably tropical scent. I love how well the delicate white tea blends together with the coconut to give this tea both sweet and savory notes. Though the coconut pieces are big and the flavor is prominent, it doesn’t over power the subtle white tea. The two elements blend together for something even better. This tea has just the right amount of both to make each sip interesting. That makes for a fast cup of tea! Don’t worry, this tea can be steeped more than once. Just keep in mind, the balance of coconut to white tea flavor will change with each steep. I found that the coconut became more mild with each steep, therefore the earthy tea flavor was more noticeable.

This tea is a great choice for any white tea lover and anyone looking for a lighter tea with hints of sweetness. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

 

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf

Temperature: Below boiling & also tried iced.

Steeped: 3mins

Served: With a touch of honey 

I agree with Abby, this tea is amazing! The tropical coconut flavor is delicious mixed with the delicate whit tea. Maybe it’s the hot weather, but I thought it was even better iced! I love green and white teas iced because the light flavor and low caffiene content seems to make them extra refreshing. Steep a strong pot in the morning & drink the rest iced!

Iced tea tip: when brewing iced tea you’ll want twice as much loose tea as you’d use hot. Don’t steep longer! Longer steeping will just result in bitter tea not stronger tea! Also, if you like a bit of sweetener, add it while the tea is still hot so it will dissolve easily.

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.

Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

Be More Tea Festival #bemoreteasweeps

  
So I’m walking through the mall and obviously this caught my eye. Tea? Festival? I’m in! Where do I sign up?

Easy, enter here:

http://bemoreteafestival.com

Or post a selfie with your Lipton and the hashtag #bemoreteasweeps for more chances to win.

It’s a real music festival; Billboard is even talking about it. It’s taking place 10-24 in Charleston and now I want in! The Roots remind me of college. A college party is the only public place you can sing those lyrics at the top of your lungs! And, Walk the Moon, they’re the ones who sing “Shut up and dance with me” — it’s newer and catchy, I like it. Take me with you if you win? Pretty please? ;)

Happy 125 years Lipton!

Review: Steven Smith Teamaker White Petal

  

 

Overall Rating:

Taste: 4.5 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa!

Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate

Katie says:

Temperature: @190 (below boiling)

Steeped: 2.5 minutes

Served: with a touch of honey.

 This is a tasty tea indeed. I like white teas since they are light like green teas but less likely to taste bitter. Be careful not to over steep or bitterness cannot be avoided! With a short first steep this tea holds up nicely for a 2nd steep. It has a nice light flavor with floral and herbal notes. If it gets cold don’t toss it, this makes an excellent iced tea. Add St Germain or elderflower cordial for a delicious cocktail/mocktail. (I’ve been obsessed with elderflower lately) This tea is a bit pricey but comes beautifully packaged. It’s obvious they take the same care in packaging as in selecting tea as you can see the nice big leaves inside the bag.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa!

Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate

  
Abby says:

Temperature: @190 (below boiling)
Steeped: 3 minutes
Served:  Nothing added

White Petal tea from Steven Smith Teamaker is a blend of Chinese white tea, Osmanthus flower and chamomile petal. Even though this is bagged tea, you can see the beautiful bring green tea leaves and colorful flower petals through the mesh. Steeped, the tea becomes a pretty light yellow. But, of course, the best part is how it tastes. The flavors are very subtle and delicate and though I didn’t add anything after steeping, it is creamy tasting. The overall taste is flowery and light without any sweetness or perfume qualities. It is easy to drink and delicious.

This tea is a great choice for people who enjoy lighter teas that still have lots of flavor. If you haven’t tried it yet, go for it.

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.\. (just watch water temperature and don’t oversteep

Simple Matcha Parfait

Matcha parfait

Want a healthy breakfast and caffeine all int he same bite? Me too! Yogurt, fresh fruit and matcha make the prefect combination for a tasty breakfast parfait. The best is that this simple recipe can be thrown together for a quick weekday breakfast, or beautifully layered for a brunch. It is hard to tell from the photos, but the yogurt takes on a pretty mint green color when the matcha is mixed in.

Ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon Matcha (I used Kiss Me Organics)

1 Cup Yogurt (I used Vanilla Greek-style, but go with what you like)

1 Cup Fresh fruit (cut into small pieces), strawberries and pineapple are delicious, but again, go with what you like

Directions:

Quick version: See photo: Mix matcha with yogurt then top with fresh fruit. Eat.

For the fancy version: Double matcha and yogurt. Use a tall glass. Layer yogurt, match mixture and fruit, then repeat two more times.

This recipe is so easy and quick. For me those are two requirements for summertime food! Not only do you end up with the healthy breakfast, but you also get a kick of caffeine in the process. Win Win.

Matcha Parfait

If you decide to make this at home, let us know which fruit you decided to try.

Review: Rishi Masala Chai Iced Tea

Overall Rating

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!


Katie says:

Tea Type: Masala chai
Temperature: iced
Steeped: pre-steeped
Served: over ice, equal parts whole milk & Rishi chai

I was in whole foods one morning and wanted some iced chai. I noticed that at their coffee bar they made the chai with this carton of pre-steeped chai from Rishi.

It was so delicious that I had to find it in the store so I could make it at home. I also called Abby and told her we had to review it. Abby was skeptical, rightly so, I’m usually not a huge fan of pre made chai in a carton. This is different! It’s not the over sweetened syrup chai that you usually see sold. This is real tea and tastes like it! It’s sweetened but not overly sugary. I also like that by adding the milk youself you can make it stronger or weaker depending on your mood.

Rishi has done what I thought was impossible. They’ve made an easy, ready-to-drink chai that is real tea with simple ingredients.

Ingredients: An infusion of (filtered water, organic black tea, organic cinnamon, organic cardamom, organic black pepper, organic cloves, organic ginger), organic dried cane syrup, organic blackstrap molasses, organic vanilla extract, organic lemon juice.

I highly reccomend this chai for summer sipping. Also, save a few bucks and make this at home rather than paying $4 at a coffee shop!

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

 This tea is USDA Organic certified! Woo.

Abby says:

Temperature: Cold, over ice
Steeped: N/A
Served: Equal parts 1% milk and Rishi Masala Tea Concentrate

Okay, I’ll admit that when Katie told me she wanted to review a chai tea concentrate I wasn’t all that excited out it. Yes, Rishi has awesome dry teas. But, how good can a concentrate tea really be. Right? I went along with it because I’m a iced chai junkie when the weather warms up. Turns out that she was right on about this stuff. It is AWESOME! The best chai concentrate I’ve had! It has just the right level of sweetness and spice.

Prep is so easy. Just remember equal parts of the tea concentrate with whatever you are mixing it with. Add ice. Done. I used cow’s milk, but I bet it would be just as good with almond milk or soy milk. Do yourself a favor and stock up on this stuff for the summer. It’s well worth it. So far, I’ve found that Whole Foods has the best price at just under $8.00 for 320z. rishi-tea.com has it for 9.00 and I found it on Amazon for a whopping $50. Pro tip: Don’t buy it from Amazon for $50!

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves – Outstanding! A MUST try.

Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves — This tea is easy to make!

Black Tea, decaf tea, and herbal tea while pregnant and nursing

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*Please note this post is purely for entertainment and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult your doctor.

So you’re a tea drinker and are thinking about or have become pregnant. Congrats! If you’re like me you’ll google “tea and pregnancy” and then get hit with a lot of conflicting information. Like all pregnancy advice, you need to take it all with a grain of salt and see what will work for you. I’m a middle of the road kind of girl when it comes to pregnancy guidelines. I’m not ultra conservative but I also didn’t disregard many rules. I hope this helps you decide how much salt you personally should add to my advice.

Black caffeinated tea

Black tea (along with other caffeinated beverages) is generally regarded as safe in limited quantities while pregnant and nursing. I’ve met plenty of women who gave up caffeine entirely while pregnant. If that works for you, cool. Me? I was tired and wanted a little pick me up here and there. My midwife said that up to 200 milligrams of caffeine/day was safe in pregnancy. To give you an example: a can of soda is about 50mg, a small regular coffee 100-140 mg, and black tea is between 50-100mg depending on type & length of time steeped. (Don’t forget to count any chocolate you eat in your daily caffeine total — about 50mg for a bar of chocolate)

If you want to cut the caffeine content of tea I had a doula recommend a quick rinse. Pour boiling water to juts cover the tea. Swirl for 10 seconds. Dump that water and then steep as usual. This can cut as much as 90% of the caffeine and for me still resulted in a much more flavorful tea than most decaffeinated black teas.

As far as nursing goes, I’m told that every baby is different. I haven’t seen any affect of caffeine on either of my infants but if you notice that baby has trouble sleeping or is spitting up more after you caffeinate, you may want to cut back.

Decaffeinated black tea

For me these were a huge disappointment. With every decaf black tea I tried I noticed a lack of flavor. If you do try decaf, you should check to see how it is decaffeinated. Many decaf teas use a chemical process to remove caffeine, yuck! For this reason I only recommend organic decaf teas.

Herbal Tea

Most safe herbal teas are safe in small quantities. I was told I would have to drink a gallon or two to ingest enough herbs to see and effect.  However there are some teas that are important to avoid such as diet/detox teas. Marigold and Rose Hips are also listed as to be avoided, but again, from when I’ve been told you’d need to drink a whole lot to ingest enough of the herb to be a problem. Some herbal teas are good for pregnancy side effects. Try ginger or mint for morning sickness and acid reflux.

One herbal tea in particular, Raspberry leaf tea, is often talked about in regards to pregnancy. There is varied advice on the consumption of this tea. I’ve read to drink it for the entire final trimester for an easier labor as it ‘tones’ the uterus. I’ve also heard that since it can cause contractions in late pregnancy to only drink it after 37/38 weeks. Honestly, it tastes like twigs. Drink it at the end of pregnancy to try and move things along but in my opinion it’s not worth drinking a lot of! Also, I steeped it mixed with black tea to hide the taste.

When it comes to nursing, too much mint can negatively affect your milk supply so avoid mint teas if you’re trying to build or maintain your milk supply.

Review: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

Zhena's Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

 

Abby says:

Tea Type:
Temperature: @ 195 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Here’s a twist on one of our favorite bagged teas! You may remember that we have reviewed and even hosted a giveaway for Zhena’s Coconut Chai (black tea). We love that tea for its bold flavors and interesting blend of coconut and chai flavors. Well, now there’s even more to talk about in this version. It’s green tea folks! Green tea with chai spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves) and coconut flavors. Switching from black tea to green tea means the flavor is lightened up a lot and the coconut is able to shine. It also mean less caffeine and more other good stuff that people are always spouting off about: antioxidants, anti-aging, super food etc, etc.

Though certainly a non-traditional chai, this tea still tastes really good! I didn’t taste much of the chai flavors, but the coconut flavor is pretty strong. If you like the taste of coconut, you’ll like this tea. If you are looking for a chai tea, you many want to try the black tea version. Personally, I think coconut is the bee’s knees, so I loved this tea. It is really easy to drink because the slight sweetness from the coconut blends with the grassy green tea and is more forgiving if the tea is over-steeped.

Other good news about this tea is that it is both USDA certified organic AND fair trade! You have to love that, a tea that tastes good and feels good to drink!

Zhena's Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

Taste: 4 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 tea leaves – this tea requires very little effort.

*Pro tip: This also makes a great iced tea!

 

Shoppe – gifts for arty crafty people and tea lovers!

Have you seen Shoppe by Scoutmob yet? It’s what I image would happen if Etsy and Anthropologie had a baby. Lots of high end homemade items described as being from independent makers. Here are a few of my favorite tea things from their site but do go have a look for yourself! 

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Review: Bao Zhong (Taiwanese Oolong) from Dobra Tea

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A close up view of the opened up tea leaves. I think it makes them look delish, but what do you think? Yum or yuck?


Overall Rating:

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 tea leaves –  This tea is a bit delicate.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose Leaf
Temperature: @95 (below boiling)
Steeped: 1.5 minutes
Served: Nothing added

We’ve written about Dobra Tea before so you may already know how much we love it there. It’s such a happy tea house right smack in the middle of Portland at their new location on Exchange Street. If you find yourself in the area, get to Dobra for sure!

Bao Zhong is the lasted tea we’ve tried from Dobra. It’s a beautiful full-leaf oolong that steeps to a light, yet flavorful tea. The recommended steeping time is 1.5 mins with an additional 30 seconds for each additional steep. For this tea, I found that sticking to those times is important, otherwise it gets bitter. However, when steeped correctly this tea has a beautiful grassy and buttery taste!

For me this tea is perfect for the spring  and summer time because it reminds me of new growth and the tea itself is light and pretty. Give this one a try if you are looking for a tea to bring the gap between the strong black teas of winter and the fruity green tea blends of summer.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 tea leaves –  This tea is a bit delicate.

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose Leaf
Temperature: @95 (below boiling)
Steeped: 1.5 minutes
Served: With a touch of honey

More often than not Abby and I have similar tastes when it comes to tea and here is shows! What a delicious tea. Normally I like a darker tea but I really enjoyed this light Oolong. Even though it was light in color it had a very nice earthy nutty flavor. For me adding a light touch of honey brought out these flavors more. I enjoyed it hot, but this tea would be nice hot or iced. Unfortunately it didn’t stand up to a 2nd steep. (It was so yummy that I tired) I agree with Abby, this is a great summer tea. My suggestion? Make a nice big pot in the morning and enjoy it later iced!

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 tea leaves –  This tea is a bit delicate.

Tea and Cake Happy Hour at MAPS, Portland, Maine

MAPS tea

Believe it or not, one of the newer local bars here in Portland, hosts a daily tea and cake happy hour. From 4-6PM at MAPS you can get a pot of tea for one and a generous piece of house-made cake for $5. It sounds good, because it is good!

MAPS doesn’t have an an abundant selection of teas to choose from, but they’ve got their bases covered: traditional black tea, jasmine green tea and an herbal tea. I didn’t get a photo of the tea menu, but I recall about four tea options. Also the tea is served with all the accompaniments tea lovers need, all on a super cute tea tray.

The cake is really where it’s at! MAPS cakes are made by one of the owners. She typically has two options to choose from. The photo below shows a sponge cake with salted caramel frosting. She also has a chocolate cake with peanut-butter frosting and last week there was a chocolate-cherry cake up for grabs.

MAPS cake

MAPS hosts a more traditional happy hour as well with discounted draught beers and wines daily. If you find yourself in Portland, Maine make time to stop in to MAPS for some tea and cake, or a beer if you prefer. It will be well worth it.