Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sencha Gojiberry

My Tea Thoughts:
December 29, 2009

Look. I am blown away. Sencha Gojiberry has huge, long green tea leaves (wonderful!), plus all sorts of other stuff -- according to the package, it's "Pomegranate, Blueberry, Lemongrass, Cornflower, and GojiBerries." The tea is a clear reddish hue, a beautiful tint rarely seen in green teas!
Smell. The scent of Sencha Gojiberry is a strong, sweet berry note.
Drink the steam. This tea's steam is intricate and complex, best described as a meadowy flavor.
Sip. The basenote is a normal green tea with one difference: the lemony hint.
Slurp. Berries! Berries! Berries! That's all I can say about this exotically fascinating tea.
Gulp. Sencha Gojiberry's texture is smooth and silky. I'm impressed.
Think. This tea might be good iced, since it's fresh and flavorful. This tea was a gift from my uncle and my soon-to-be-aunt, his fiancee, so thank y'all so much! It's terrific!

Happy Sipping,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish all my readers Merry Christmas, and God's blessings! Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
Happy Sipping,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Almond Biscotti Black Tea

My Tea Thoughts:
December 19, 2009

Almond Biscotti Black Tea leaves look like normal black tea, with one important difference: the almond slivers. After brewing, it's a clear auburn color, with minimal sediment compared to some teas.
Smell. The smell of Almond Biscotti is almost unbelievably sweet, nutty, and luscious.
Drink the steam. This tea's steam is not very flavorful; I could hardly taste the tea quality of it. (Fortunately, steam drinking is not a very important step.)
Sip. WOW! What an incredible basenote. It's sweet but not too sweet, with a really good black tea as the main event.
Slurp. Slurping highlights the 'biscotti' notes. Almond and honey are a couple I can pick out.
Gulp. This tea's texture is smooth yet strong. I am in love.
Think. Almond Biscotti Black Tea could go well with real almond biscotti! I'll have to pick some up. This tea was a Christmas present, so thank you -- you know who you are.

Happy Sipping,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow Geisha

My Tea Thoughts:
December 8, 2009
  1. Look. Before brewing, Snow Geisha is your average whole-leaf white tea, with one addition: dried cherries. This made me a bit nervous, since I don't usually like cherries. After brewing (probably thanks to those same cherries) it's a lovely clear pinkish-orange, with its only marring factor a large amount of sediment in the bottom. Does anyone know what this sediment is? I don't.
  2. Smell. To me, Snow Geisha smelled like cherries, or worse, like artificial cherry flavorings. I could not smell the tea at all.
  3. Drink the steam. Strangely, when drinking the steam, I detected hardly any cherry -- just a sweet white tea.
  4. Sip. The basenote proved to be a sort of lemon-sour, fruity-sweet note, with little tea in the mix.
  5. Slurp. Perfect! Strong cherries first, then strong tea. Will the two ever get combined?
  6. Gulp. The texture is weak, non-assertive, and watery. Not necessarily bad, though, for a fruity white tea like Snow Geisha.
  7. Think. Snow Geisha was fairly good, but a little too weak and wishy-washy. (Look at me, accusing a liquid of being too wishy-washy.) Perhaps if it was brewed longer than the 3:30 timing we went by, it would improve. Or it could be a good base for adding lemon, sugar, or cream -- perhaps a fine tea for a little girl's tea party, since it's sweet, not very tea-tasting, and would be good with the requisite "stuff" in it. Today was another Testaments and Tea day, so we read from Psalm 2. "Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain?" We are looking for Messianic OT prophesies quoted in the NT.
Happy Sipping,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lavender Dreams

My Tea Thoughts:
December 4, 2009
  1. Look. Lavender Dreams is a beautiful tea dry, with not only varied herbs but also dried fruit and even complete dried flowerbuds. Once brewed, it is a light and lovely yellow-brown, very clear, not at all cloudy.
  2. Smell. It has a comparatively sweet smell, with many different floral, herbal, and savory notes.
  3. Drink the steam. The steam is mainly sweet, but has a floral overtone.
  4. Sip.The main note of Lavender Dreams is a fruity sweetness, but bright and clear. If you could taste the color orange, it would taste like this.
  5. Slurp. I detect overtones of flowery notes, savory herbals (rosemary? chamomile?) and perhaps even the faintest hint of real green tea.
  6. Gulp. The tea is smooth-flowing, but not very powerful.
  7. Think. This tea would be best suited for brunch or lunch, in my opinion. While drinking it, I read some passages from the Bible as part of a new Advent tradition. My favorite verses from these segments: "Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." ~Isaiah 49:13 "[to the serpent, Satan] And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your ofspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." ~ Genesis 3:15

Happy Sipping,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Tea

Today is Thanksgiving, so my family and I celebrated the traditional way with a big meal (but not too big) of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and more! I was in charge of picking out the tea, so I designed a blend of slightly more than half Earl Grey and slightly less than half lavender. This blend was specially chosen to be strong enough to go well with a big meal, but gentle enough to sit well on the stomach. I just wanted to share this yummy mix with my readers!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Seven Steps of Tea Drinking

  1. Look. What color is the tea? What do the leaves look like -- are they plain leaves or do they include flowers, spices, or fruit pieces?
  2. Smell. Put your nose right next to the tea. What flavor notes can you detect? Write them down or remember them, so you can compare them with the ones you taste.
  3. Drink the steam. Pull a large amount of the steam through your mouth, and compare these flavor notes with the ones detected with your nose.
  4. Sip. Only let a small amount of tea enter your mouth (even if it wants to flow heavily, don't let it!) and by no means allow any air in at this stage. This should help you establish the base note.
  5. Slurp. About an equal amount of tea and air should come in now. This is the step that gets you funny looks in restaurants, but it strongly accentuates the overtones of the tea. After slurping, swish the tea over all areas of your tongue, which detect different flavors.
  6. Gulp. Drinking a large amount of tea with no air determines the timbre, or texture, of the tea. This can be affected by water quality. If you have a small teacup, which is often best for tastings, you have probably drunk the last of it now.
  7. Think. Compare the different notes tasted at each stage. Which one is the basenote, and which are overtones? Are there any 'undertones,' flavors percieved as darker or deeper than the basenote? What foods would complement this tea -- pastries or cakes? Or is it a more savory tea, one that would go with bread or cheese? Maybe it would be perfect with fruit. Did anything else stand out about the tea?
Happy Sipping,
P.S. I've decided to switch to the seven-step model for my tea reviews. Keep your eyes open for more posts!

On the Go Tea

When you're on the road or in a hotel room, it can be hard to get any tea at all, let alone the perfect cup a connoisseur craves. So here are my tips for good on-the-go tea:
  • Bring your own tea along with you. Don't risk having to stoop to Lipton, even while traveling. (I've just made a cup of Chocolate Mint tea, and I'm out of town.)
  • If you're taking a long car ride, try a thermos full of hot water so you can brew whenever it's convenient. Also, pure water stays hotter for longer in a thermos than a beverage containing a bag or leaves. (It's been shown scientifically, in the book How to Fossilize your Hamster.)
  • While in a hotel, run the coffeepot with no coffee in it, then make a cup of tea with the hot water. If you use looseleaf tea, strain it into another cup through a towel.
  • Above all, do not put tea in the coffee-grounds holder of a coffeepot. Tea needs time to sit in the same water, time to release its full flavoring, so don't attempt to brew tea by trickling water through it the way a coffeepot does.
Now you can enjoy your tea anywhere, no matter where.

Happy Sipping,

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Want YOU...

... to help me improve CoolCatTeas! All you need to do is take my poll, right under the CoolCat picture to the right, and tell me how I could best improve CoolCatTeas.

Thanks for helping,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saving $$$

I know you're wondering what this has to do with tea. The answer is... A LOT! Even if you're starting to feel the pinch and try to save money more than you ever imagined, you don't have to give up your favorite hot drink! (Tea, of course.) Here's how:

You can reuse tea leaves!

I've never tried to save them for long periods of time, but I know from personal experience that you can make many cups of tea from one scoop of leaves. They can sit for several hours between brews, and would probably be fine overnight. Another fun thing to do is to drink the different brewings right in a row. Each cup will taste different, and it's a great way to explore the possibilities of a tea.

Happy Sipping,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Iced Tea -- the Tea Lover's Way

I know, I know, this blog is about HOT tea. But it's so hot out, and Southern gal that I am, it was impossible for me not to explain how to make real iced tea, with real tea leaves, and really impress your friends! So here goes...

Really Good Iced Tea

Take 2 quarts of hot water to 7-10 teaspoons of loose Earl Grey leaves; steep for 8 minutes, then strain into another pitcher and add 4 cups of ice.

You probably know this, but mint and lemon both make great garnishes for Really Good Iced Tea.

If you prefer a mint tea, just take regular black tea leaves and mix them with dried mint.

Happy Sipping,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Earl Grey Creme

My Tea Thoughts
April 15, 2009
*W*O*W*! This is a totally amazing tea. Earl Grey Creme is based on the familiar favorite, with all its charms of note and body, but takes it in a new direction with a striking yet subtle combination of a sweet, creamy taste and a mysterious flavor that resembles hazelnut and anise. It's got a smooth mouthfeel and bitterness is completely absent. Possibly the most interesting feature of all is the dry tea leaves: in addition to (extra)ordinary black tea leaves and the classic lavender buds, a few small white flowers a heavy sprinkling of bright blue ones adorn the mix!
Thank you for this great gift -- you know who you are.

Happy Sipping,


Name: Earl Grey Creme.
Type: Flavored Black.
Package: Looseleaf.
Source: Gift.
Group: Dark.
Key Word: Mellow yet varied.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I don't have time to make a proper tea-related post before church, but I just wanted to wish everyone Happy Easter! Enjoy this blessed day of celebrating Jesus' Resurrection!

Happy Sipping,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Haiku Day

Summer's peeking out
Like a moth from a cocoon:
Its first flight is now!

In celebration of my first watermelon of the season, I remembered to post! With this poem, try some Lemon Ginger tea, a delicious tea available in our church's new building (hooray)!

Happy Sipping,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Tea and Herb Blend

My Tea Thoughts:
February 27, 2009

Mmmm! This tea is well named! Though it has such diverse ingredients as rosehips, cinnamon, papaya, and anise seed building on a strong, sweet base of black tea, the delicious spiciness stands out the most. It's an active tea, not a passive one, and has a rough swallow, but this only enhances its pleasant piquancy. All in all, a delicious tea, especially for times when you're ready to get moving! Thanks for the great gift -- you know who you are!

Happy Sipping,


Name: Sweet and Spicy Tea and Herb Blend.
Type: Black tea plus herbs.
Package: Paper teabag.
Source: Good Earth Teas.
Group: Dark.
Key Word: Cinnamon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Haiku Day

Maybe I will just switch to "Haiku Whatever-day-I-remember". Or maybe not.

Each day slipping by
Like the wind that blows so swift --
Seek it and it's gone.

Feel like your days go just too fast? Try some MateVana Rooibos Chai for an energizing boost to keep up with the calendar.

Happy Sipping,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Tea and Valentine's is not the most traditional combination. But if you want to warm your loved one's heart with a last-minute tea-related gift, there are some great options:
  • Tea-infused chocolates. Yes there is such a thing! Try looking in gourmet shops, as well as tea shops. (I have even spotted something of the sort in a local HomeGoods store!)
  • Rooibos. This yummy tea is a delicious and healthy Valentine's gift. It's great for those of us who like creating neat gift packages. Try enclosing it in a clear bag: it matches all the colors of the season!
  • Tea in a tin. Lots of tea stores sell their products in beautiful tins, and if you can't find one pre-filled with tea, just pick one up anywhere and fill it with looseleaf tea. Note that you may have to line some tins.
  • A tea starter kit. This is always a great gift! Check Adagio Teas for kits with black, green, or herbal tea.

No matter what you choose to do to celebrate, enjoy today!

Happy Sipping,


Monday, February 9, 2009

Haiku Monday

After taking a break from Haiku Friday, I have decided to begin it again on Monday. Enjoy!

Trees are brown and thin.
Will the tree of your heart be
Parched or fully live?

As this poem offers us an option between just working through our schedule or fully living, try the rich, full, blended flavor of MateVana Rooibos Chai.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Haiku Friday ~ No. 9

Busyness is here!
Little birds all rush about.
Everyone hurries.

If your normal life has started up in full force after Christmas break, try a cup of Chamomile -- a light, refreshing, caffeine-free brew that's perfect for relaxing.