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Poll #17540 Testing the poll creator
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


What is the best type of tea? (Check all that apply)

View Answers

White Tea
2 (16.7%)

Green Tea
5 (41.7%)

Oolong
2 (16.7%)

Black Tea
10 (83.3%)

Red Tea
2 (16.7%)

Herbal Tisanes
2 (16.7%)

I don't much care for tea
0 (0.0%)

Hot or iced?

View Answers

Hot
2 (15.4%)

Iced
1 (7.7%)

Both
8 (61.5%)

Depends on the weather/season
2 (15.4%)

omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is bizarro cold here (for Houston, I mean; anywhere north of I-40 this would be normal, but there are reasons I don't live there and this is one of them) and I need some tea recommendations.

First, let me offer one: I picked up a canister of Cuida Té's Sueño de Sena and am enjoying the hell out of it. It's black tea with orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and almonds, and while it brews up a little weak (I'm using a heaping tea scoop and brewing for five minutes, and it's still a bit weaker than I'd like) and I'm a bit suspicious of the almonds, it's remarkably tasty. The cup in front of me has been adulterated with a wedge of Meyer lemon and a bit of turbinado sugar, and the overall experience is very, very pleasant.

I like plain black teas, especially the ones with malty or leafy notes. I'm not a huge fan of the simple greens, although I will entertain suggestions on those. I love blends of greens and fruit or berries, I generally like black tea and spice or black tea and fruit blends, and I haven't tried much oolong but I'm willing to experiment. Lapsang souchong tastes like creosote; YKINMKBYKIOK.

Hit me up, y'all.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is bizarro cold here (for Houston, I mean; anywhere north of I-40 this would be normal, but there are reasons I don't live there and this is one of them) and I need some tea recommendations.

First, let me offer one: I picked up a canister of Cuida Té's Sueño de Sena and am enjoying the hell out of it. It's black tea with orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and almonds, and while it brews up a little weak (I'm using a heaping tea scoop and brewing for five minutes, and it's still a bit weaker than I'd like) and I'm a bit suspicious of the almonds, it's remarkably tasty. The cup in front of me has been adulterated with a wedge of Meyer lemon and a bit of turbinado sugar, and the overall experience is very, very pleasant.

I like plain black teas, especially the ones with malty or leafy notes. I'm not a huge fan of the simple greens, although I will entertain suggestions on those. I love blends of greens and fruit or berries, I generally like black tea and spice or black tea and fruit blends, and I haven't tried much oolong but I'm willing to experiment. Lapsang souchong tastes like creosote; YKINMKBYKIOK.

Hit me up, y'all.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
So I got up at about 12:30, did the usual getting-dressed stuff, unloaded last nights load of dishes and loaded the dishwasher for the next one, and thought to myself, "Self, this is the definition of luxury - rising after noon, surveying the aftermath of a damn good if low-key party with great food, breaking one's fast on a big slice of leftover apple pie* and a cup of cranberry-blood orange tea."

Okay, yes, I can see you tea snobs out there sneering at me for that last one. Yes, I buy the flavored froufrou teas from Republic of Tea and SeredipiTea and all the rest. I like flavored froufrou teas. Those of you who drink pu-erh unadulterated from a 300-year-old teapot can go ahead and laugh; I'm tough, I can take it. (Oh, gods, if you feel like you need to defriend me over something so embarrassing as that, I totally understand . . . .)

Anyway, I had something in one hand and was reaching for the flavored tea with the other and the stack of tea cannisters started sliding. I managed to catch two of them, but the others managed to not only fall onto the floor, they took another stack with them - and when that stack hit the floor, the lid popped off my British Breakfast and the loose tea went all over the floor.

*facepalm*

So I had to clean the mess up before I made my tea, and now I need to check to see if either Middle Market or Partial Edibles has that one loose. I'd rather just refill the canister than buy a new one.


*Shut up, it's better than a pop-tart.

---

In other news, the minor evidence for my needing to watch Glee continues to mount; apparently Stephen Tobolowsky has a recurring role.


Edited for HTML!fail
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
So I got up at about 12:30, did the usual getting-dressed stuff, unloaded last nights load of dishes and loaded the dishwasher for the next one, and thought to myself, "Self, this is the definition of luxury - rising after noon, surveying the aftermath of a damn good if low-key party with great food, breaking one's fast on a big slice of leftover apple pie* and a cup of cranberry-blood orange tea."

Okay, yes, I can see you tea snobs out there sneering at me for that last one. Yes, I buy the flavored froufrou teas from Republic of Tea and SeredipiTea and all the rest. I like flavored froufrou teas. Those of you who drink pu-erh unadulterated from a 300-year-old teapot can go ahead and laugh; I'm tough, I can take it. (Oh, gods, if you feel like you need to defriend me over something so embarrassing as that, I totally understand . . . .)

Anyway, I had something in one hand and was reaching for the flavored tea with the other and the stack of tea cannisters started sliding. I managed to catch two of them, but the others managed to not only fall onto the floor, they took another stack with them - and when that stack hit the floor, the lid popped off my British Breakfast and the loose tea went all over the floor.

*facepalm*

So I had to clean the mess up before I made my tea, and now I need to check to see if either Middle Market or Partial Edibles has that one loose. I'd rather just refill the canister than buy a new one.


*Shut up, it's better than a pop-tart.

---

In other news, the minor evidence for my needing to watch Glee continues to mount; apparently Stephen Tobolowsky has a recurring role.


Edited for HTML!fail

Tea Note

Jul. 7th, 2008 12:58 pm
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
The blackberry-jasmine green iced tea mentioned in an earlier post is a little bit sweet, but otherwise absolutely fabulous. It has none of the weird astringency I usually associate with greens and which I was worried would be bitter and unpleasant in an iced tea blend. It also appears to be lower in caffeine than the peach tea from the same manufacturer was (not surprising, as greens usually have less caffeine than black teas). Some of the floral overtone dissipated when it was chilled, but the blackberry note comes through loud and clear.

I made a pint of Morning Thunder in the Sunbeam this morning to get me through the 8:30 work meeting. It was functional - again, a little weak for the Thunder, but then I don't need my stomach complaining at me all day, so that's probably okay. So the Sunbeam does what I originally got it for, which is good.

Tea Note

Jul. 7th, 2008 12:58 pm
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
The blackberry-jasmine green iced tea mentioned in an earlier post is a little bit sweet, but otherwise absolutely fabulous. It has none of the weird astringency I usually associate with greens and which I was worried would be bitter and unpleasant in an iced tea blend. It also appears to be lower in caffeine than the peach tea from the same manufacturer was (not surprising, as greens usually have less caffeine than black teas). Some of the floral overtone dissipated when it was chilled, but the blackberry note comes through loud and clear.

I made a pint of Morning Thunder in the Sunbeam this morning to get me through the 8:30 work meeting. It was functional - again, a little weak for the Thunder, but then I don't need my stomach complaining at me all day, so that's probably okay. So the Sunbeam does what I originally got it for, which is good.

Tea Tasting

Jul. 5th, 2008 12:25 am
omorka: (Lesbian Tea)
The utter craziness of this week* can be perhaps measured by one fact: all week I have had five new teas from my birthday party, plus two new ones I bought the last time we went grocery shopping, and I haven't had the time to steep a proper cup of any of them until tonight. In fact, the only hot tea I've had all week was on Sunday night, when I made a pot of cheap jumpjuice (Twinings' English Breakfast, brewed flog-you-out-of-bed strong) in the electric teamaker to keep me awake until the Spouse got home.

I finally made up a cup of the Teavana Mrs Earl Grey tonight. I was right - I still can't see it, but there are definitely bits of vanilla bean in here along with the bergamot, orange peel, and spice. The spices are pretty light; the citrus note is still predominant, and rather strong. It's definitely an afternoon brew - not really as sweet as an evening/dessert tea, but complex enough to not be morning jumpjuice, either. Very tasty. Also went well with the leftover lemon pound cake from Movie Night.

I also brewed a pitcher of one of the ones I bought, a blackberry jasmine iced green tea, which smells delicious but very floral. I haven't had any yet, because I've been too lazy to cut up another lemon, or make extra ice, and the tea was still warm. It's chilling in the fridge for tomorrow.


*For the couple of you who read this LJ but don't see my friendslocked posts, the mother-in-law has been in the hospital all this week, plus I was back at work for administrative stuff Tuesday through Thursday. Thus the crazy.

Tea Tasting

Jul. 5th, 2008 12:25 am
omorka: (Lesbian Tea)
The utter craziness of this week* can be perhaps measured by one fact: all week I have had five new teas from my birthday party, plus two new ones I bought the last time we went grocery shopping, and I haven't had the time to steep a proper cup of any of them until tonight. In fact, the only hot tea I've had all week was on Sunday night, when I made a pot of cheap jumpjuice (Twinings' English Breakfast, brewed flog-you-out-of-bed strong) in the electric teamaker to keep me awake until the Spouse got home.

I finally made up a cup of the Teavana Mrs Earl Grey tonight. I was right - I still can't see it, but there are definitely bits of vanilla bean in here along with the bergamot, orange peel, and spice. The spices are pretty light; the citrus note is still predominant, and rather strong. It's definitely an afternoon brew - not really as sweet as an evening/dessert tea, but complex enough to not be morning jumpjuice, either. Very tasty. Also went well with the leftover lemon pound cake from Movie Night.

I also brewed a pitcher of one of the ones I bought, a blackberry jasmine iced green tea, which smells delicious but very floral. I haven't had any yet, because I've been too lazy to cut up another lemon, or make extra ice, and the tea was still warm. It's chilling in the fridge for tomorrow.


*For the couple of you who read this LJ but don't see my friendslocked posts, the mother-in-law has been in the hospital all this week, plus I was back at work for administrative stuff Tuesday through Thursday. Thus the crazy.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Bleah . . .

Am weirdly headachy. Not the tight-band of a tension headache, nor the piercing behind-the-eye of a migraine. The pressure point in the web of the hand doesn't help.

Maybe I'm just dehydrated. I've polished off both the container of iced tea and the jug of herbal tea I had in the fridge. I just made another pitcher of iced tea; I'll have some more as soon as it cools, and some lemon water in the meantime. I can't make another pitcher of iced tisane until the dishwasher is done - I only had one clean pitcher, and I wanted cold caffeine made up just in case this turns out to be a migraine with an odd start.

--

Speaking of iced tisanes, I've been experimenting with some of Rishi's organic iced tea/iced herbal tea blends. Their plain tea - they call it Pure - has an odd grassy note, which I'm not so very fond of. And the blend they call Classic is an Earl Grey Lite sort of blend, with bergamot. As I've noted before, I can't stand iced Earl Grey; I haven't tried a Lady Grey/Empress Grey sort of blend iced, but I suspect it wouldn't be very high on my list either. So I haven't bought any of that yet. But I very much enjoyed their Honey Plum blend - it's a combination of rooibos, hibiscus, honeybush, and a few other things. The one complaint I had with it was that after a couple of days in the fridge, the last few cups had a faint smell of fruit just starting to turn bad. I'm going to try their Peach Rooibos next. I note, with some amusement, that it also has hibiscus in it, so the first two ingerdients are the same in both blends, just in reverse order. Fortunately, I like the combination of rooibos, honeybush, and hibiscus, so I don't mind too much.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Bleah . . .

Am weirdly headachy. Not the tight-band of a tension headache, nor the piercing behind-the-eye of a migraine. The pressure point in the web of the hand doesn't help.

Maybe I'm just dehydrated. I've polished off both the container of iced tea and the jug of herbal tea I had in the fridge. I just made another pitcher of iced tea; I'll have some more as soon as it cools, and some lemon water in the meantime. I can't make another pitcher of iced tisane until the dishwasher is done - I only had one clean pitcher, and I wanted cold caffeine made up just in case this turns out to be a migraine with an odd start.

--

Speaking of iced tisanes, I've been experimenting with some of Rishi's organic iced tea/iced herbal tea blends. Their plain tea - they call it Pure - has an odd grassy note, which I'm not so very fond of. And the blend they call Classic is an Earl Grey Lite sort of blend, with bergamot. As I've noted before, I can't stand iced Earl Grey; I haven't tried a Lady Grey/Empress Grey sort of blend iced, but I suspect it wouldn't be very high on my list either. So I haven't bought any of that yet. But I very much enjoyed their Honey Plum blend - it's a combination of rooibos, hibiscus, honeybush, and a few other things. The one complaint I had with it was that after a couple of days in the fridge, the last few cups had a faint smell of fruit just starting to turn bad. I'm going to try their Peach Rooibos next. I note, with some amusement, that it also has hibiscus in it, so the first two ingerdients are the same in both blends, just in reverse order. Fortunately, I like the combination of rooibos, honeybush, and hibiscus, so I don't mind too much.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Tried Republic of Tea's Orange Spice Green Tea, two teabags with 20 oz. water, in the teamaker. It's indistinguishable from a three-minute steep. I think we have a winner here!
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Tried Republic of Tea's Orange Spice Green Tea, two teabags with 20 oz. water, in the teamaker. It's indistinguishable from a three-minute steep. I think we have a winner here!
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Second experiment with the new teamaker Behind the cut for those of you who find this all quite boring )
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
Second experiment with the new teamaker Behind the cut for those of you who find this all quite boring )
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
So, after grumbling about it, I went ahead and ordered the cheapest of the tea-makers from this post, the Sunbeam HTM3 Tea Drop. It arrived today, so I've been playing with it.

Obvious drawback: it doesn't have a real steeping system; it drops almost-but-not-quite boiling water on the tea fast enough that it doesn't immediately drain away, so the tea is immersed in the hot water, but not for long enough to really steep, since the water is slowly draining away and being replenished throughout the process. This means it's not really suited for whole-leaf teas at all. And, as noted, the water isn't quite boiling, so it's not going to extract all the flavor from black tea, although it's hot enough for green.

Still, I'm not a big-time tea snob; I'm more an indiscriminate collector of teas. (Hey, it works for the Spouse and Transformers.) An awful lot of what I have and like is flavored crap rather than serious whole-leaf teas. So I was thinking that perhaps this will work out anyway, at least for said flavored crap - obviously I'll continue to steep a first-flush Darjeeling or a Ti Kuan Yin oolong properly, with boiling water just off the stove.

So, after running it once with plain water to clean the system from any dust accumulated in shipping, I tried it with a very strongly flavored black tea, Celestial Seasonings' Nutcracker Sweet (seeing as how I still have some from last holiday season, and it's not my favorite, so if it's awful, I won't care that much.)

Water: 24 oz., to make two 12 oz. mugs
Tea: 2 teabags Nutcracker Sweet (one on each side of the brewing basket)
Setting: as far on the "strong" side as the knob goes

Observations: the lack of steeping didn't change the characteristic cinnamon-candy scent of the flavored tea at all; it was highly aromatic all through the brewing process. The tea started very light, almost clear; darkened over the brewing time; and ended up light again. In the carafe, it had good, deep color and smelled like I expect this tea to smell. The brew cycle was over in about 5 minutes.

Flavor: Somewhat weak compared to my usual 5-minute steep, but still had decent tea flavor as well as the cinammon-candy flavor - probably the equivalent of a 3 1/2-minute steep, without some of the darkest notes. The machine kept the carafe quite warm; the second cup was not noticeably cooler than the first one, despite being 30 minutes later. (Also, apparently the teacup I was using holds closer to 10 oz. than 12, as I ended up with two and a half cups.)

Conclusion: a partial success. With some tinkering, probably involving adding more tea leaves, this gadget can probably be coaxed into making perfectly drinkable tea, and before 11 am, I'm unlikely to be drinking something nuanced enough for this thing's flaws to be terribly glaring. It won't make high tea, but it'll make serviceable jumpjuice.

Next experiments: (1) Republic of Tea's bagged (i.e., not whole-leaf) flavored green tea, and (2) Twinings English and/or Irish Breakfast loose tea.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
So, after grumbling about it, I went ahead and ordered the cheapest of the tea-makers from this post, the Sunbeam HTM3 Tea Drop. It arrived today, so I've been playing with it.

Obvious drawback: it doesn't have a real steeping system; it drops almost-but-not-quite boiling water on the tea fast enough that it doesn't immediately drain away, so the tea is immersed in the hot water, but not for long enough to really steep, since the water is slowly draining away and being replenished throughout the process. This means it's not really suited for whole-leaf teas at all. And, as noted, the water isn't quite boiling, so it's not going to extract all the flavor from black tea, although it's hot enough for green.

Still, I'm not a big-time tea snob; I'm more an indiscriminate collector of teas. (Hey, it works for the Spouse and Transformers.) An awful lot of what I have and like is flavored crap rather than serious whole-leaf teas. So I was thinking that perhaps this will work out anyway, at least for said flavored crap - obviously I'll continue to steep a first-flush Darjeeling or a Ti Kuan Yin oolong properly, with boiling water just off the stove.

So, after running it once with plain water to clean the system from any dust accumulated in shipping, I tried it with a very strongly flavored black tea, Celestial Seasonings' Nutcracker Sweet (seeing as how I still have some from last holiday season, and it's not my favorite, so if it's awful, I won't care that much.)

Water: 24 oz., to make two 12 oz. mugs
Tea: 2 teabags Nutcracker Sweet (one on each side of the brewing basket)
Setting: as far on the "strong" side as the knob goes

Observations: the lack of steeping didn't change the characteristic cinnamon-candy scent of the flavored tea at all; it was highly aromatic all through the brewing process. The tea started very light, almost clear; darkened over the brewing time; and ended up light again. In the carafe, it had good, deep color and smelled like I expect this tea to smell. The brew cycle was over in about 5 minutes.

Flavor: Somewhat weak compared to my usual 5-minute steep, but still had decent tea flavor as well as the cinammon-candy flavor - probably the equivalent of a 3 1/2-minute steep, without some of the darkest notes. The machine kept the carafe quite warm; the second cup was not noticeably cooler than the first one, despite being 30 minutes later. (Also, apparently the teacup I was using holds closer to 10 oz. than 12, as I ended up with two and a half cups.)

Conclusion: a partial success. With some tinkering, probably involving adding more tea leaves, this gadget can probably be coaxed into making perfectly drinkable tea, and before 11 am, I'm unlikely to be drinking something nuanced enough for this thing's flaws to be terribly glaring. It won't make high tea, but it'll make serviceable jumpjuice.

Next experiments: (1) Republic of Tea's bagged (i.e., not whole-leaf) flavored green tea, and (2) Twinings English and/or Irish Breakfast loose tea.
omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
I have complained a bit recently about the lack of a readily available automatic teamaker. Those whose jumpjuice of choice is coffee have a vast assortment of gadgets that they can use to conveniently brew and dispense their steaming beverage early in the morning, without worrying about dropping a kettle of boiling water on their foot or otherwise interrupting their morning routine. Those of us who prefer tea (or hot chocolate, for that matter) can't just pick up a box with automatic timer and extra carafe at Target.

Now, some of the fancified cup-at-a-time pod brewers will do tea as well as coffee - after all, they're essentially just putting coffeebags in it, albeit proprietary ones so you can't roast and grind your choice of beans as you like them. (A few of them have reusable pod-filters so you can, but this seems to be the exception for the ones I've seen; part of the point appears to be to lock the user into buying not just the brewer but the coffee itself from a particular manufacturer.) But they're freaking expensive, and you can't do a whole pot of tea in them. So, what might be available out there, if I expand my search to the web?

  • The Zarafina Tea Maker Suite - $100 and no timer, so I can't load it in the evening and magically find a hot pot waiting for me at 7:30 am. You'd think for that much they'd at least put at timer on it.


  • The TriniTEA Electric Tea Maker - again, a full Benjamin and no timer. Several parts are made of plastic, and I've seen more than one review complaining that they break easily.


  • The Sunbeam HTM3 Tea Maker - Can't tell if this has a timer or not, but it doesn't look like it has an actual steeping area - just runs hot water through the tea leaves like a drip coffeemaker. That won't work well for non-iced tea unless there's a lot of tea in there. Possibly cheap enough to try anyway. Has a larger sibling called the HTM5.


  • The Kalorik Tea Maker - More Expensive than the Sunbeam. Can't tell how it works, or even where the water reservoir is. Rather pricy for that much guesswork.


  • There was a Chef's Choice model that got good reviews, but it appears to no longer be made. Grr.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
    omorka: (Morning ChibBeatles John)
    I have complained a bit recently about the lack of a readily available automatic teamaker. Those whose jumpjuice of choice is coffee have a vast assortment of gadgets that they can use to conveniently brew and dispense their steaming beverage early in the morning, without worrying about dropping a kettle of boiling water on their foot or otherwise interrupting their morning routine. Those of us who prefer tea (or hot chocolate, for that matter) can't just pick up a box with automatic timer and extra carafe at Target.

    Now, some of the fancified cup-at-a-time pod brewers will do tea as well as coffee - after all, they're essentially just putting coffeebags in it, albeit proprietary ones so you can't roast and grind your choice of beans as you like them. (A few of them have reusable pod-filters so you can, but this seems to be the exception for the ones I've seen; part of the point appears to be to lock the user into buying not just the brewer but the coffee itself from a particular manufacturer.) But they're freaking expensive, and you can't do a whole pot of tea in them. So, what might be available out there, if I expand my search to the web?

  • The Zarafina Tea Maker Suite - $100 and no timer, so I can't load it in the evening and magically find a hot pot waiting for me at 7:30 am. You'd think for that much they'd at least put at timer on it.


  • The TriniTEA Electric Tea Maker - again, a full Benjamin and no timer. Several parts are made of plastic, and I've seen more than one review complaining that they break easily.


  • The Sunbeam HTM3 Tea Maker - Can't tell if this has a timer or not, but it doesn't look like it has an actual steeping area - just runs hot water through the tea leaves like a drip coffeemaker. That won't work well for non-iced tea unless there's a lot of tea in there. Possibly cheap enough to try anyway. Has a larger sibling called the HTM5.


  • The Kalorik Tea Maker - More Expensive than the Sunbeam. Can't tell how it works, or even where the water reservoir is. Rather pricy for that much guesswork.


  • There was a Chef's Choice model that got good reviews, but it appears to no longer be made. Grr.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
    omorka: (Lesbian Tea)
    Gaah. Bread's not done yet. Fortunately, I did finish one stack of grading (terribly depressing, that), and I know I won't have time to finish a second one before the bread's done, so I'm taking a break and listing all the teas I currently have.

    A rather long list behind the cut )

    And now the bread is at least out of the machine, so I'm off to catch what little sleep I can.

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