Review: Yogi Lemon Ginger

Yogi - Lemon Ginger

Overall Rating:

Taste: 3.5 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves — this tea is easy to make!

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @Boiling
Steeped: 6 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Lotta ginger, not much lemon! Because I let this tea steep as long as I did the ginger was strong. Thankfully it wasn’t too spicy, just the right amount of bite. The scent of lemon is there, but I didn’t taste it. Maybe if it steeped for five minutes or less the lemon might come through a bit more. Though I didn’t get lemon, I still enjoyed this tea. For me it makes just the right cuppa for cuddling up with a good book or movie after a long day. Flavorful and comforting. Also note that it’s made with organic ginger though it is not a certified organic tea like some of other Yogi teas.

Ginger is known to settle the stomach, so it’s nice to have a stash of ginger tea in the box just in case. I prefer loose ginger tea, but this works well in a pinch. Especially if you don’t feel well, and don’t feel like preparing loose tea.

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves — this tea is easy to make!

Yogi - Lemon Ginger

Katie says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @Boiling
Steeped: 6 minutes
Served: with honey

If you are looking for a tummy-taming tea this is really fantastic. I may not choose this spicy for my daily morning cuppa but its a medicinal tea that still tastes yummy. I really like the spicy flavor of real ginger that I got from this tea. With the addition of honey it has a similar flavor to ginger candies. Nice flavor and it makes indigestion oh so much better. I’ve tired other teas with blends of chamomile but for me, the predominately ginger tea with a touch of lemon has much nicer taste than more blends of more ingredients. I particularly recommend it to anyone suffering from the many unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, but (of course) check with your doctor or midwife first!

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa.
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves — this tea is easy to make!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

If you’re anything like me, you are planning already looking ahead to planting a spring garden, though there may still be three feet of snow covering it at the moment. I’m currently trying to use up the frozen zucchini in my fridge to make room for the bounty of my sure-to-be amazing (read: weeds growing in every square inch) garden. The best way to do that is a double batch of chocolate chip zucchini bread, one for me and one to share!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

3 Cups – all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 Cups canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Cups grated zucchini

3/4 Cups (generous) chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 5-9in. bread-loaf pans with butter.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and spices.

3. In large bowl beat eggs until fluffy, while continuing to blend add sugar until combined. Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir in dry ingredients and pour into pans.

4. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes two loafs of bread, so keep that in mind prior to whipping this up. It make a great gift, or surely your office mates will love it!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Our Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread goes very well with tea. Obviously! We love pairing our recipes with tea. There are a few that we will think work well:

Marks and Spencer Everyday

Joseph Wesley Black Tea )6 Bai Lin Congfu

Tega Masala Chai Roobios

Steven Smith Teamaker Fez

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

 

Review: Golden Tips India’s Original Masala Chai and Okayti Silver Needle (White Tea) Darjeeling

Please note that while we were sent free samples of this tea to review we are just as critical of free tea. If we receive something we don’t like we give an honest review or skip it all together!

Golden Tips India’s Original Masala Chai Overall rating: 

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves: Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ boiling
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: Nothing added, then as a latte

Chai is one of my favorites. I just love spicy and warming it is. I like to drink it black with nothing added (unusual, I know) and of course, I love a good chai latte. Because of my chai love affair, I was especially excited to try this tea. We reviewed another Golden Tips tea recently and really liked it. This gave me high hopes for their chai.

This tea smells amazing while it steeps. It gives off a spicy and inviting aroma that fills the room with the ginger and clover really standing out. The taste is just how you imagine, strong tea black tea flavors mixed with bold spices. For me it tasted great without anything added, but for fun I decided to make a latte for my second cup. Using frothed skim milk and a touch of honey, the chai latte was just as good. The milk toned down the spices somewhat, but it was still very flavorful. I would certainly recommend this chai to any chai-lover such as myself.

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves: Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ boiling
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: With milk & honey

Real chai has a very different texture than other loose leaf teas with tiny little bits of tea and cardamom pods. As soon as I opened this tea I could tell it was the real deal. This is a delicious and authentic chai. In India it is poured back and fourth or from a kettle hight up to a cup on the ground to create a nice frothy drink. I love most black teas with cream and sugar but chai is extra delicious this way. If you like a traditional chai I highly recommend this one!

Taste: 5 of 5 leaves: Outstanding! A MUST try.
Steepability: 4 of 5 — this tea requires very little effort.

 

 

Golden Tips Okayti Silver Needle Darjeeling White Tea Overall rating: 

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3.5 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 175-180 below boiling
Steeped: 3 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Maybe it’s all the snow we have piling up around here, but I have a serious thing for white tea right now. I’ve always loved white tea, but it has become my go-to style these days. This means that I was super pumped when Golden Tips sent us a white tea for review. I’ve never tried a white tea darjeeling tea before. In fact, I’m not sure I knew it was really a thing. It is!

This tea is beautiful with long thin green leaves and it steeps to a pretty light yellow. It has a light floral and slightly grassy flavor that makes it very easy to drink. It tastes great on its own and because it’s mild it will also pairs well with many foods. I first had this tea in the morning with a breakfast of chocolate-chip zucchini bread (recipe to come shortly) and I thought it was a perfect match for a cold winter morning. White tea is lower in caffeine, so give this tea a try if you are caffeine sensitive or if you a looking for a nice light tea to drink anytime of day. Be careful not to steep it for too long! Like green tea, white tea can become bitter quickly if steeped for too long.

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

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 175-180 below boiling
Steeped: 3 minutes
Served: with honey

Some white teas are so light in flavor that they have almost no flavor at all. That isn’t the case with this white tea. I really love the rich floral notes in this tea! The only difficult part for me is that it is so easy to over steep both from leaving the leaves in the cup too long or from a temperature that is too hot. Be careful with this delicate tea and it will be well worth the trouble!

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

Peek-A-Boo Tea Review: Sanctuary T Lunch Ching

Hey kids!  I just me, Abby, posting today. Sanctuary T sent us a bunch of samples and I just wanted to get one up here for you all ASAP. Katie doesn’t have these teas yet, so you will just have to trust my review for this one. Hopefully soon we will get together for a tea party to try some of the other samples they sent so you can get input from both of us!  Please note that while we were sent free samples of this tea to review we are just as critical of free tea. If we receive something we don’t like we give an honest review or skip it all together!

On to the quick sneak-peek review…

Lunch Ching

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 180 below boiling
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

This Lunch Ching tea sample didn’t come with any information about it aside from the name, but looking at it you can see that it is a beautiful green tea. It tastes like one too! This tea has a strong grassy flavor with a satisfying umami taste. On this (well below zero) winter day it brings hope of summertime with bright green leaves and flavors!

Great for green or white tea lovers!  This tea has big flavor. Beware of steeping times and water temperature when making this tea.

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

Lunch ching

 

Look for more Sanctuary T reviews soon!

Review: Golden Tips Gopaldhara Gold Darjeeling

Happy Valentines Day! You know what pairs well with chocolate? Tea! Please note that while we were sent free samples of this tea to review we are just as critical of free tea. If we receive something we don’t like we give an honest review or skip it all together!

20150214-115121-42681100.jpg
Overall rating: 

Taste: 4.5 of 5 tea leaves — quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 — this tea requires very little effort.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 200+
Steeped: 3.5 minutes
Served: Nothing added

First things first, I was impressed with how this tea is packaged. It arrived from India in air-tight black packages with all of the tea information readily available on the label.  Not only does the label provide the expected information about the tea, like tea type and steeping times and temps, but it also has much more detailed information as well such as the date of picking, the estate and the tea grade. For the average tea drinker this information isn’t necessary, but I think it’s pretty cool anyway and it provides a lot of insight about the tea.

Secondly a note about Darjeeling tea. You haven’t seen much from us about this type of tea, so I thought I’d give you a quick rundown before moving into the review. Darjeeling tea is known as the “Champagne of tea” not only for its flavor, but also because Darjeeling tea only comes from the Darjeeling district in Northern India just as champagne only comes from Champagne France. Darjeeling is typically a lighter black tea with terrific flavor that you can drink all day long.

OK, review time.  Golden Tips Gopaldhara Gold Darjeeling tea steeping to a pretty light brown with a roasted coffee or cocoa aroma. The taste was earthy and flavorful with a slight sweetness. There were hints of fruit and flowers in each sip. Though it is a black tea, it isn’t strong or robust. Instead it’s lighter and easier to drink. I found the flowery notes to be very interesting and kept me sipping.  I did steep this tea for a second time for five minutes. The second steep tasted different from the first, as expected. I note more black tea flavor and less sweetness, but it was still a tasty cuppa!

Taste: 4 of 5 tea leaves — quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 — this tea requires very little effort.
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Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 200+
Steeped: 3.5 minutes
Served: with a touch of honey

First off, ditto everything Abby said about the packaging. It arrived wrapped in cloth looking very mysterious and exciting to open.

Darjeeling tea is not your typical black tea. These teas are intended to be light-bodied and are popular as “afternoon teas” for this reason. If you’re looking for a rich dark tea that holds up to milk and sugar keep looking! However, if you are in search of a nice light yet flavorful tea try this! I like my tea sweet and this tea holds up well with a touch of honey. Don’t let the light coloring fool you, this tea has an earthy almost bittersweet chocolate richness to it. It’s good for a 2nd steep. Another nice thing about this tea is that it’s good hot or iced. If you find your nearly-full cup of tea abandoned and cold (as I often do with a toddler at home) just pour over ice and it’s just as nice! (Couldn’t resist the rhyme)

Head on over to Golden Tip’s website to order some for yourself! A quick note about our ratings. Taste is pretty self-explanatory, but Steepability tells you how easy the tea is to make. This tea isn’t tricky, but we’re giving it a 4 instead of 5 because loose-leaf teas require the extra step of an infuser but are SO worth it! Just look at those big beautiful tea leaves!

Taste: 4.5 of 5 tea leaves — quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 — this tea requires very little effort.

More Golden Tips reviews coming soon!

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Snow Day Review: Numi Winter Spice

numi

It’s another snowy day here in New England! We’re beginning to wonder if it will ever stop! Do you think it will be July before we can see our lawns again?

Overall Rating:

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

Katie says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2.5 minutes
Served: Nothing added then enjoyed with a touch of honey.

This a a great fall & winter tea. It has all of the same flavors as mulling spices. If you like a nice mulled wine or cider try this as a lighter version. The light clean taste of white tea pairs well with this traditional cold-weather spices giving them a chance to shine through.

This a great tea for anyone cutting back on caffeine. It would also be a good choice for late afternoon if you are sensitive to caffeine later in the day. Many decaf teas are a but lackluster so try this low caffeine option instead!

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

 

photo

 

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @180 (well below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Numi’s Winter Spice is a blend of delicate white tea, cinnamon, clove and orange peel. Dry in it’s bag and while it steeps this tea gives on a wonderful spicy and herbaceous aroma that makes you want to try it immediately. Although light, you are able to taste all of the ingredients in each sip. The cinnamon and clove come out at the front and the sweet orange lingers after. I wasn’t able to pull out the taste of the white tea in my first few sips, but then realized that the flavor of the tea is simply adding an earthiness or herb flavor to the traditionally sweet spices.

White tea is lowest in caffeine, so this tea makes the prefect afternoon cuppa! It  would also be a great way to warm up all day if you have made a resolution to cut the caffeine. BTW, are we still talking about resolutions now that is February? :) Remember that white tea isn’t as forgiving as other teas, so don’t oversteep and make sure your water isn’t too hot!

Let’s not to forget to talk about some of the other reasons I love this tea: Organic – yay!, Fair-trade – double yay!, Non-GMO – hooray for food labeling! The more you know about where your food and tea come from the easier it is to make decisions about what you consume.

Pro tip: Resteep this tea! For the second steep I let it sit for 3.5 minutes. The second time around the cinnamon and clover were strong, but the orange peel faded. It was still tasty and worth the second cup!

 

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

Chai Spice Creme Brulee at Fuel Restaurant

Chai Spice Creme Brulee

For my birthday a couple of weeks ago my husband took me out to dinner at Fuel in Lewiston, Maine. It was our first time there, but we had been hearing great things about this spot for a while now. Our dinner was amazing from the start, but what really got me was the dessert! Chai spice creme brulee served with a snickerdoodle cookie. I love chai spices. I love creme brulee. I love snickerdoodle cookies. Obviously I was excited to try this dish.

Believe it or not, it was better than I anticipated. The top was perfectly crunchy and needed a good smack from the spoon to crack. Oh, how I love to do that! Under the sugar was a perfectly decadent creamy and spice custard. Every bite was incredible. Even the snickerdoodle cookie was wonderfully snickerdoodly!

Fuel Dessert Menu

If you find yourself in the area of Lewiston, Maine, do yourself the favor of checking out Fuel. You will love it! In addition to the beautiful dessert we also had the fondue for two and the coq au vin. Both dishes were delicious, and over the top. The fondue was creamy, salty, garlicy and fun!  The coq au vin was rich and savory, with wonderful complex flavors of chicken, wine, butter, mushrooms and bacon.  Hungry yet?!  I can’t wait to get back to Fuel for another meal (and dessert) and hope you make it there soon.

Review: The Spice and Tea Exchange Decaf Earl Grey

Earl Gret Decaf

Overall rating: 

Taste: 2.5 of 5 leaves –  This tea is just ok.
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 200+
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: Nothing at first, then a tiny bit of honey

This tea, The Spice and Tea Exchange Decaf Earl Grey started out on a high note, but fell from there. Before steeping this tea, I noticed how pretty it was with dark black tea leaves mixed with orange peels and cornflowers and as a dry tea it smells great with a strong bergamot aroma. It steeped to a deep brown and still had that nice citrus aroma you want from earl grey. Then I tasted the tea and was let down. It was just OK.

With decaf tea, I have come to expect a weaker tea, so I was prepared for that. The black tea flavor was there, but not as strong as a caffeinated tea. That’s OK though, we expect that and I could still taste the tea. What I didn’t anticipate was the vanishing bergamot! I can smell it, but I can’t taste it.

Taste: 2 of 5 leaves –  This tea is just ok.
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

 

Usually we really like teas from the Spice and Tea Exchange. Check out some of their other teas that we love:

Mystic Dragon

Hazelnut Cookie Tea

 

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @ 200+
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: With milk & honey (Only use a little or you’ll overpower this mild tea)

As Abby commented, and as is true with most decaf teas, this one had a pretty weak flavor. If anyone out there finds a nice, strong, decaf black tea please let us know! The trick to this one is to put in a LOT of tea. I use double the amount of loose tea that I would normally use for another variety. It is only with this double strength trick that I really like this tea. Double strength brewed & it’s got some nice hints of black tea and bergamot that will stand up to a little milk & honey. If you use a normal amount of tea, it’s really not that great. The flavors get lost, especially if you like milk & honey in your back tea as I do. I don’t hold it against the spice and tea exchange that this tea is mild, since most decaf teas tend to be. Do be sure the click the links above to see some teas from them that we’ve loved!

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea. (When brewed at double strength)
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

Spiral Zucchini Noodles

Did anyone else get a Williams-Sonoma Spiralizer for Christmas? I did – and I’m really excited about it. Really. This first thing I made were zucchini noodles with and olive oil and garlic. Take a look at the recipe below.  Since then I have been interested in what else this contraption can be used for and I’ve found the answer. A lot of things! Apple chips, shoe-string fries (sweet or white potato), caramelized onions. So stayed-tuned – I’ll be posting more throughout the year about my experimentation with the spiralizer. Watch out CSA veggies, I’ve got three different spiral blades and I’m not afraid to use ‘em! BTW, is it spring yet?

Anyway, let’s get back on track. Zucchini noodles. Delish!

Zuchinni

Ingriedients:

2 medium zucchini

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 pinches of salt, separated

1 pinch black pepper

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

grated Parmesan

3-4 chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

1. Prep the zucchini. The Spiralizer has good step by step directions for this in the cookbook. I’ll briefly describe it here as well. Once the Spiralizer is put together and stuck to the counter-top, attach a zucchini and spin the handle while pushing the veg toward the blades. This is a bit awkward at first, but you get used to it quickly. Repeat for the next zucchini. Then place your “noodles” in a colander and sprinkle with salt and set aside. This will help drain the excess water from the zucchini.

2. Heat a skillet on the stove-top using medium-high heat. Add Olive oil. Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium, add garlic, remaining salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Saute for five minutes. Add zucchini “noodles” toss until coated and heated through. Do not cook the zucchini.

3. Serve topped with parmesan and basil

That’s it,  meal complete! Enjoy.

Zuchini noodles

 

Review: Dobra Tea Moli Hua Cha (Little Bird Tongue)


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: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Dobra Tea is one of my favorite places in Portland. I love going there for a pot of tea because there is always something interesting to try and the setting is welcoming and relaxing. I wish I could stop in everyday for tea, but being the busy girl I am I don’t get there nearly often enough.  Whenever I get the chance to stop in I try to stock up on tea to have at home. Last time I was in I got this beautiful tea. A green tea scented with jasmine.

This tea is delicate, so make sure to take the time to steep it correctly because if not you will end up with bitter tea. When done the right way this tea steeps to a beautiful light yellow and has wonderful grassy flavors mixed with the fragrant jasmine. A light flavorful tea. This tea also re-steeps very well. for this review I re-steeped it twice, letting it steep a hair longer each time.

Taste: 4.5 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: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: First try 3 minutes (too long!) then 2 minutes (just right) with a 3 min second steep.
Served: With a touch of honey.

I love love love Dobra too and wish I could have tasted this tea there! They carefully time each cup of tea for you which is the best! When steeping my first cup of this tea I totally over steeped it and it was super bitter – yuck!

On my second try I steeped it for only 2 minutes. It wasn’t bitter, but, for me there the jasmine taste somewhat overwhelmed the tea. I liked this one much better on a second steep! In fact, it I were to make this tea again for myself I might give it a 10-15 second rinse in hot water. This rinse method is often used to lessen the caffeine content. However, in this case I’d do it to mellow out the jasmine flavors.

Taste:  3.5 of 5 leaves: A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 3 of 5 tea leaves – This tea is a bit delicate.