Homemade Bubble Tea

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I love bubble tea. We have a coffee/tea cart at work and I’m sort of an addict. When I get to the front of the line the owner, Yen Chen, says: “Hi Katie, bubble tea?” Um…yeah. Me again. Another bubble tea please. Which lead me to look into making it at home. And, I was happy to discover that it was easier than I thought!

You start with these, that you can get on Amazon:

They get boiled kind of like pasta (simple directions on the back of the package) and then mix with a little honey and set aside. (shown below)

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 I used Joseph Wesley Tea for the iced tea portion. I love this tea so much that I always do a second steep, let is sit for a while, and then stick it in the fridge to use for iced tea.

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To properly enjoy Bubble Tea, you’ll need Fat Straws! (shown above) Enjoy & have fun! While traditional tea & teacups are proper there is not really much that is lady-like about chewing your tea. And, well, sometimes you want to have a silly, fun, un-lady like teatime!

Review: Green Terrace Teas Ali Shan Oolong

Green Terrace Teas

Overall Rating:

Taste: 3.75 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves — this tea is easy to make

Abby says:

Temperature: @200 (just below boiling point)
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Ali Shan Oolong from Green Terrace Teas is light with a fresh earthy smell.  Dry, this tea is just so pretty with the full-leaf leaves rolled tiny little pieces.  The flavor is traditional oolong with hints of flowers and a slight sweetness. The light sweetness and flowery touches made this tea fun to drink.

I later resteeped this tea for another 6 minutes. I think it tasted even better that second time around. On third steep (for 7 minutes) the tea still had nice flavor and held up well.

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

Green Terrace

Katie says:

Temperature: @200 (just below boiling point)
Steeped: 5 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Tea parties are awesome. Sometimes Abby and I get together to taste new tea samples. Of the three Green Terrace Oolong teas Ali Shan was by far our favorite. This tea had a jasmine scent. It was light in color and had slightly earthy notes. There is a slight bitterness which made me prefer it with touch of sugar.

What stood out to me the most was how after steeping our tea we looked at the leaves and uncurled FULL leaves! Check it out :)

 

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

 

Strawbery Iced Tea

Attending a 4th of July party? Bring iced tea! You can brew hot and pour over ice or refrigerator brew your tea. When it’s cooled add sliced strawberries. The berries will make the tea sweet so you may not want to add any extra sugar. Try adding strawberries AND blueberries for an extra festive pitcher of tea!

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I used half TeBella Key Lime Sublime Tea and half Republic of Tea English Breakfast for a strawberry-lime tea that was to die for!

Review: Tebella Tea Company Key Lime Sublime Iced Tea

Overall rating:

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

Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: Cold, over ice
Steeped: 3mins at about 200 degrees, then poured over ice
Served: Honey added while still hot after steeping

Tebella Tea Company Key Lime Sublime is a unique take on a citrus blend tea. This blend is very different from what I’m used to with black tea blends, that at first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but after a few sips I was hooked! Instead of the traditional lemon or orange added to black tea, this tea has key limes and pineapple. Switching up the citrus gives this tea a margarita flavor that I love!  It works so well for an iced tea because it’s both festive and refreshing. Typically, I don’t add much sweetener to my tea, but some honey balances the sourness of the limes.

Our friends over at Tebella also recommend using this tea mixed with vodka for a tasty summer cocktail.  Sounds good to me!

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

TeBella Key Lime SublimeIced

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: Cold, over ice
Steeped: 3mins at about 200 degrees, then poured over ice
Served: Honey added while still hot after steeping

I really enjoyed this quirky little iced tea! As Abby said, at first glance & sip it seemed a bit odd but it really grew on me! Thus is a great alternative to pricier bottled iced teas. Plus, it’s nice to be able to control the sweetness to my own taste. Which is, ahem, considerably sweeter than Abby likes her teas! ;) Our different tastes, however, are what makes us a great reviewing pair!

I didn’t see the tea cocktail recommendation until I read Abby’s part of the review. You BET I’ll be trying that this weekend!

 

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

*Iced tea hint. If you like sweetened iced tea but are cold brewing add honey or agave nectar as a sweetener. They dissolve much better in the cold tea than granulated sugar.

David’s Tea – Quebec, Canada

Davids tea

Recently while on an adventure checking out the old city of Quebec I found a David’s Tea shop! It couldn’t have been more prefect because it was cold and rainy outside, and David’s Tea was warm and bright inside. The place was decked out in iced teas with tropical flavors, but that day everyone was interested something hot.

Davids teaThe staff was so helpful and were very gracious to put up with me wanting to smell almost all of their teas. The tea tins are color-coded to make it easy to find what you like. When I finally narrowed my favorite smelling teas down to three (this was not easy for me, BTW) I ended up with Chocolate Chili Chai black tea, Cream of Earl Grey (organic) black tea and Pink Lemonade rooibos tea. I also got a rewards card that I can use for online orders, so I’m sure I’ll be getting more David’s Tea soon!  And don’t worry, we’ll get you a review of these great sounding teas soon too.

David's Tea

Review: Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea

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Overall Rating:

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bottled
Temperature:  Cold/iced
Steeped: N/A
Served: Over ice, then in a smoothie

Iced chai tea is a must for the summer, right? Who doesn’t love that creamy, spicy flavor? I can’t get enough of it when it is hot out.  However, I can’t be bothered with making it from scratch. For me summer is go, go, go – so I need something quick to take with me.  This typically means stopping at the coffee shop to my iced chai.  That is, until now. Because with Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai I can keep ready-made, pre-mixed chai in my fridge.  I can just grab some ice for my to-go cup, dump in the chai and off I go!

All sounds good, right? It tastes good too! The spice level is certainly mild and I wish it had more of a kick.  Maybe that’s because it has green tea instead of black? The hint of vanilla is nice though. I found this premix to be very creamy, which was somewhat surprising because it has soy milk instead of dairy milk. Overall it has good flavor and is quite satisfying over ice.

But, wait – I didn’t stop there! It turns out that this cold chai makes a great substitute for almond milk in my morning smoothies!  Recently I made a super tasty strawberry and blackberry smoothie using Bolthouse Farms instead of my usual almond milk.  I found that it worked well! I blended a cup of ice, just over a cup of strawberries, a cup of blackberries and 3/4 cup of the Vanilla Chai. It came out creamy a delicious. The chai flavor was lost in the bright fruit flavors, but that’s OK, my smoothie tastes like fresh strawberries and blackberries in cream! No one is complaining about that – it was very good. For smoothies to compare it to the unsweetened almond milk: the Bolthouse Vanilla chai has more calories, fat and sugar and protein.  So, of course, it depends on what you are looking for, but it worked well for me.

 

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

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Katie says:

Tea Type: Bottled
Temperature:  Cold/iced
Steeped: N/A
Served: straight from the bottle then1/2 boathouse and 1/2 black tea

Bolthouse Chai is a tasty bottled drink. I liked it but I thought it was more of a chai flavored soy milk than a tea. I mixed the boithouse 1/2 and 1/2 with a chilled strong black tea and it was delicious! I really preferred it this way, and mixed thought it made a delicious iced chai! I give the bolthouse drink as is a 3 of 5 but if there was more tea and less milk in the bottle I’d rate it even higher. I do recommend buying this to mix with your own iced tea. The chai spices are great!

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves – A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

Review: Tega Masala Chai Roobios

Overall Rating:

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

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: Boiling
Steeped: Left in mug
Served: Nothing added, then with unsweetened almond milk

I’m always looking for a good decaf tea. Caffeine takes its tole on me if I drink it too late in the day or evening, but I often want a cup of tea at the end of the day. Typically roobios isn’t my favorite decaf option, but in this case, the Tega roobios blends well with the chai spices. For a chai, the spice level is mild  – I also like this for an evening tea. The addition of almond milk helped to make this tea creamy and relaxing.  The toasty almond flavor paired well with the spicy cinnamon and cardamom in the tea. As Katie, points out below, this tea was initially appealing because it is certified organic and fair trade! We love that and it tastes good too!

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

Katie says:

Tea Type: bagged
Temperature: boiling
Steeped: left in cup
Served: milk & honey

This is a great tea for when you’re craving the taste of chai but want to skip the caffeine. The chai spices are very present but not overwhelming. My favorite way to have tea is with milk & honey and this was delicious served this way! This tea is also Fair trade and organic, double win! Good tea that is also good for the earth? How can you not love that?

Fun fact: Tega is a 10 year old family owned company. All of their teas are fair trade and most are organic too.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves. Quite a good cuppa.
Steepability: 5 of 5 This tea is easy to make.

Tiny Tea Party Flowers

Having a tea party, for one or twenty-one, is all about the little details. Pretty cups with real saucers are a must-have. Cookies, cakes or other treats really take it from teatime to a party. If you’re feeling extra fancy, special linens or flowers are a fun touch to the decor. This brings me to today’s post: Tiny Tea Party Flowers.

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All this started when my sister, Anne, and I were admiring the pretty little violets growing in my lawn. Then my husband, Anthony, announced that he was going to go out and do yard work. This included, gasp, mowing the lawn! Immediately Anne & I were on a mission to save the violets.

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Brady helped.

After spending longer than we should admit we had a piles and piles of violets to use as party decorations. We needed containers for vases teeny tiny things for vases. Here’s what we come up with:

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We used bistro salt & pepper shakers for the small square vases and baby food jars for the small round vases.

Aren’t they cute?

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We also used some of Anthony’s scotch glasses and some antique bottles to add a variety of heights. While we gathered mostly violets we also found some of these little flowers below to add to the mix. (Can anyone tell me what they are?)

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Side note: don’t be tempted to pick dandelions. We thought the pop of yellow color would be pretty but they don’t last! Dandelions immediately start to shrivel and wilt making them unattractive cut flowers. I always wondered how they got labeled a weed since they are kind of pretty. Well if they’re not pickable than what fun are they! If you make your own tiny tea decor please share photos with us!

Eat Tea – The Book

Check out this sweet book about cooking with tea!  I found it at a yard sale and scored it for $1.00. Total awesomeness! It’s written by Joanna Pruess, a cookbook author and John Harney, of Harney and Sons Teas.

Eat Tea - Book

Though I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, there are a few that I am really looking forward to testing.  Don’t these look great?

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So, go ahead – keep your eye out at the yards sales for this beauty – or you can find it at Amazon. Happy reading and cooking :)

 

 

Review: The Spice & Tea Exchange Mango Green

Overall Rating:

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Taste: 3.75 of 5 leaves. A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate. (be careful not to oversteep or use water that is too hot)

Abby says:

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

 Words that come to mind to describe this tea are tropical and summertime. I sampled this tea hot, but I think it would make a great iced tea. In fact, I recently made some ice cubes with frozen mango pieces in them for white sangria and I think they could work well added to this as an iced tea too!

The flavors in this tea are simple, but refreshing: grassy green tea and fresh mango. The combination works well to give just a little sweetness to the green tea.  I don’t like teas that are too sweet, so this tea gives just enough of it to make me happy.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate. (be careful not to oversteep or use water that is too hot)

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Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf tea
Temperature: @ 180 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Honey

When steeped this tea has a lovely golden-orange color. First I made it in a ceramic mug but I really loves the look of this tea in my clear travel
Mug. Very pretty! Speaking of travel mugs, if you make this tea “to-go” be sure to use a mug that allows you to remove the leaves from the water. Most green teas have a tendency to become bitter. This was one of the less forgiving green teas I’ve had.

This tea has a grassy Green mango flavor, with no real sweetness. This tea smells wonderful. However, I wish the strong notes of mango that I could smell came across more in the steeped cuppa. This is a good standby. Know that this is not a light & mild green; instead it is a full bodied gassy green taste.  

Taste: 3.5 of 5 leaves. A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate. (be careful not to oversteep or use water that is too hot)