Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas: Giveaway Winner

       The day has come! Tonight we announce the winner of the Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Giveaway. We hope everyone enjoyed reading about our favorite Christmas tea gifts as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. The Darjeeling would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year. We can't wait to see what 2013 brings!

     This afternoon, everyone who entered the contest by liking our page on Facebook had their name placed in a hat. After a thorough shaking of said hat, Jim Lipscomb's name was drawn as the winner. Jim will now receive a package of 100 T-Sac loose leaf tea filters as the prize from the Darjeeling Darlings. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do, Jim!

     See you in the next year!

   ~The Darjeeling Darlings


Monday, December 24, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 12: Christmas Cozy

         The day has finally come-the last day of Darjeeling Christmas! Christmas Eve is upon us and the Darjeeling Darlings can't wait to announce a winner for the giveaway tomorrow. But first, we have one more item to throw into the mix of potential gifts for the lucky reader.
          What better way to end the Twelve Days than by following up Day 11's gift in a lovely holiday fashion? Regardless of whether you already have a favorite tea pot at home or might receive one for Christmas a tea cozy is a necessity. But not only does a tea pot need an accompanying cozy to keep it warm, it needs a festive one to help celebrate the holiday cheer at tea time. So consider the Christmas Patchwork Tea Cozy, a handmade padded and lined quilt cozy that features an assortment of poinsettias, tartan plaid, holly, gold accents, and a cream satin ribbon to tie the cozy shut. It measures 8 inches high and 7 inches wide making it ideal for a 4 cup tea pot. Nothing sweetens the deal like free shipping though. Although the cozy may not arrive in time for this Christmas, you can store it away for next year's celebration...especially knowing that the world isn't supposed to end on December 21, 2013!

     There's only a few more hours to like us on Facebook to enter the giveaway so be sure follow the link to that like button. Stay tuned for the winner to be announced tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 11: Teapots All Around

      As we wrap up our Christmas shopping and get ready to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, there maybe one or two more people you still need to shop for. In the past holiday post, Pippa and I have listed several different products that maybe excellent gift choices for that tea lover in your life. One thing that we really have not touched on are teapots. A teapot can be a fantastic gift for any tea lover. They are so great because of all the different varieties available. Below I have listed a few of the most unusual ones I could find.

       The first one that I thought was pretty cool was one that combined the love of tea with the love of literature. The Books-and-Tea- Teapot is perfect for the book lover in your life!

      Another pot that I thought was pretty unusual is the Cosmetic Table Teapot! It brings makeup and tea together! 

        The last teapot I thought was very cool is the Watercolorist Landscape Teapot. It is perfect for any artist or art appreciator!   

    Remember that there are only two days left to enter our holiday give away! All you have to do is like our Facebook page! The winner will win one of the items from Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas! Check back tomorrow for Day 12!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 10: Tea Filters

     The Darjeeling Darlings are always looking for ways to make tea easier on the go and in a hurry. If there's a way to a way to avoid wet counter tops, burnt fingers, and inconvenient tea bag disposal we want to know about it. In previous posts we've discussed the Tuffy Steeper, the Tea Bag Buddy, and the Tea Stick-still all great options for tea bags and loose leaf teas. However, I would like to add one more to the list, that combined with the other options, will certainly cover all the tea preparation bases.

    The "T-Sac" tea filters are boxes of 100 disposable unbleached paper filters for loose leaf tea. Originally designed in Germany, these tea bag pouches allow you to pour in tea leaves, seal it, place into water for steeping, and then throw away. No more soppy tea leaves to do away with! What's more, unlike some steepers that allow for small tea leaves to slip through into your water, the T-Sac filter completely eliminates leaf escapees. My favorite part is that they also come in five different sizes depending on the volume of tea being steeped-that way you don't have to waste multiple filters on one pot of tea. For example, if you're only steeping enough tea each morning to fill your tumbler or to-go mug, Size 1 would be your best fit, whereas a Size 2 is for a 2-3 serving pot of tea. Just know that regardless of how many tea leaves you're steeping, there's a T-Sac size for it!

  As Christmas Day draws closer and we wrap up the Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas, remember to like our Facebook page to be entered in our give-away contest. Stay tuned for Day 11!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 9: Christmas Tea Caddy

As we begin to wind down the holiday pre-season, you may be wishing you had a few more weeks to prepare for Christmas. I know that I sure do. I look back every year and wish I had just one more week to attend holiday parties, where I can wear that amazing Christmas sweater, or another week just to gather a few more gifts. I also shamefully admit that I hope for a few more viewings of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Well just because Christmas is a few days away does not mean you cannot enjoy the Christmas cheer everyday. Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas Tea Caddy is sure to keep the holiday spirit going for a few more weeks. This specialty blend of black tea is perfect for anytime of year and the limited edition tin is sure to remind you of all the special memories you made during the past season. So heres hoping that you have an excellent Christmas filled with memories and friends and that your holiday season ends up a little better than Clark Griswold’s.

Remember to join our Facebook page to be entered into our holiday give away. Only a few days left! Stay tune for Day 10!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 8: Marrakech Tea Tins

    Sometimes it is possible to have too much tea. Boxes of Bigelow accumulate, bags of loose leaf lie scattered in a drawer, and single bags of different flavors get mixed up in the cabinet. Tea organization is clearly needed. But even for those who don't have trouble organizing their tea, it's still nice to have a place to put bags while adding a little decoration to the kitchen. Given either situation, consider a Marrakech Tea Tin from Teavana. These colorful tea tins hold up to five ounces of tea in an air-tight container that will be sure to keep your tea fresh until enjoyed. I admit that it is unfortunate that a specific pattern can't be specified upon ordering, however I personally wouldn't mind having any of them on my shelf. And for the price, why not order two? One for you and one for a friend-especially since they aren't limited to holding only tea in the kitchen. They could be used in a variety of ways. I personally keep my favorite morning tea (Irish Breakfast) in my tea tin, that way there's no mistaking when it's time to buy more!

    As Christmas Day draws nearer, be sure to like our Facebook page to be entered to win our Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas giveaway. Stay tuned for Day 9!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 7: Tea Bag Buddy

        One thing that I hate about using tea bags is when they fall into the tea. Well I have found a solution to this problem. Introducing the Color Changing Tea Bag Buddy from the Container Store. This neat tea gadget also changes colors while your tea is steeping making for a cool color show. When your tea is done brewing, the Tea Bag Buddy will squeeze out the extra water so you don't have any spills on your counter. Another great thing about the Tea Bag Buddy is that it is microwave and dishwasher safe. The Color Changing Tea Bag Buddy makes for a great stocking stuffer!

Stay tune for day 8 and remember to like our Facebook page to be entered into our holiday giveaway! 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 6: Better Late Than Never

     It's a few minutes before midnight, but Day 6 is not completely over yet! Unfortunately, my pre-Christmas activities have detained me longer today than expected and I have not had the chance to introduce today's Christmas item. So without further adieu....
      I think it's important that a list of Christmas tea gift recommendations include both men and women as potential gift receivers. While tea flavors are meant to be enjoyed by everyone and the Bubba tumbler doesn't discriminate (even against coffee drinkers!), I think today's tonight's gift is especially sleek for the male Tea Lover. Introducing the Tea Stick Infuser: a portable, fit-in-your-pocket, stainless steel, loose leaf tea infuser for that person who could use an office tea accessory. It's perfect for the car, brief case or hand bag, desk drawer, or even that "world's best boss" mug on your desk that holds all your writing utensils. It's easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store without having to worry about whether it fits your/his/her tumbler or everyday mug. Just click open the chamber, fill it with tea leaves, close it back up, and place it in your hot water. And the best part is you can throw it in the dishwasher after a few uses without worrying about it coming apart. So if you have a husband, father, brother, uncle, nephew who loves tea or just have someone on your list who could use a handy tea infuser to simplify their life, consider the Tea Stick Infuser as a great stocking stuffer or present.

Be sure to like out Facebook page and stay tuned for Day 7 shortly!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 5:RoyalTea Tea Bags

There is no doubt that the past year has been one for the royals! It seems that Kate Middleton graces the cover of People magazine every few weeks. And now that there is a royal baby on the way, I am sure the royal madness will continue well into the new year. So why not get into the royal spirit and give the tea lover in your life Royal Family Tea Bags. These tea bags would also make an entertaining hostess gift. This fun gift includes all of your favorite members of the Wales family. Any tea or fan of the royals would love to enjoy a delicious cup of black tea with a famous friend.

This tea is Lizzie approved! 

Remember to like our Facebook page and join our event to enter our holiday give away! 

- Jules

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 4: Harney Jolly Christmas

           You didn't really think we'd get too far into the Darjeeling Twelve Days of Christmas without a mention of Harney & Sons, did you? Of course not! That's because we all agree on how wonderful Harney is. And we also all know that Harney isn't just for Tea Lovers, but non tea drinkers too. So spread the holiday tea cheer to everyone this year by giving the gift of a Harney holiday tea. Favorites include White Christmas, a white tea of vanilla and almond flavors, or Holiday Tea, a citrus and cinnamon filled black tea. Sometimes it's hard to choose between two favorites though. If you find yourself in such a situation have no fear, Harney offers a Holiday Duo gift set for you or even that person you have no clue what to get. Or you can take things a step further by selecting one of the tea and cookie gifts sets for either seasonal tea. Each set includes a tin of tea, a few delicious cookies from Tate's, and a bag of Christmas candy to be enjoyed by all. 

Hurry though! The Darjeeling Darlings aren't the only ones recommending Harney & Sons for tea gifts. Tea gift sets are limited in supply and express holiday shipping won't be available much longer. 

Be sure to stay tuned for Day 5!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 3: Bubba Thermos for Everyone

Giving gifts and (receiving) are all part of the Holiday season. Secret Santa can be a fantastic activity at any Christmas party. Yesterday, my group of college friends and I did our gift exchange before departing for winter break. A close friend really surprised me with a Bubba thermos. It is the perfect for any tea and coffee lover on your list this season.

A Bubba thermos is great for a tea lover because it keeps hot beverages hot for up to 6 hours. When I say hot, I truly mean hot. Three hours into my study session, my tea was still at the same temperature that it was this morning. It will also keep iced tea, or any other cold beverage, cold for 12 hours, making it a perfect year round thermos. So on those hot summer days, you can always have cold ice tea at your finger tips. Another feature to the thermos is that it is BPA free. The thermos also fits into most cup holders making it extremely convent for people on the go. Bubba offers a wide range of thermos in many different colors, so you are sure to find the perfect one for everyone on your list.

Remember to like the Darjeeling Darlings on Facebook and join our holiday event for a chance to win our favorite item from the Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas list. Stay tuned for Day 4!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 2: Holiday Cookies Galore

      Many of us take on the job of hosting parties and get-togethers during the holidays. Those who have taken on that job know all about the various food and drink items to put together for guest's enjoyment. But what's a Christmas party or New Years get-together without a tray of delicious cookies? Most people seem to go one of either two ways. The first is the store bought route that allows cookies to be easily checked off the list. Nothing wrong with that. The second is baking your own cookies in the kitchen; an option that seems to only be taken by those who love baking or those with children who love baking. So what if you could have both options in one batch of cookies for your party this year? 

     Introducing the Flour Pot cookie company as the selected item for the second day of Darjeeling Christmas. The Flour Pot is a mother/daughter owned and operated bakery based out of Ambler, Pennsylvania.

 They have previously been featured in Health, Glamour, and House Beautiful magazines as well as Oprah's "O List," for their delicious, made from scratch, made to order, and hand decorated cookies. They design colorful cookies for all occasions-birthdays, weddings, party favors, and of course the holidays. Speaking of party favors, why not give out a few at your annual Christmas office party? The Flour Pot offers custom business logo cookie tins that will put your company's name and logo right on the cookie for clients, friends, and business partners in attendance to take home with them. Smart idea on your part. Or what if you don't want to give up the tradition of decorating holiday cookies with your kids? The Flour Pot also offers a cookie decorating kit for just that reason. Or maybe you just want to skip the hassle of baking batches of cookies but still want to serve something tasty and festive for dessert. The Flour Pot lets you have your cake and eat it too. And with customers like Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue you know they've got to be good!    

Remember to like the Darjeeling Darlings on Facebook and join our holiday event for a chance to win our favorite item from the Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas list. Stay tuned for Day 3!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas Day 1: Sugar Plum Spice

Christmas traditions such as tree trimming, decorating sugar cookies, and building gingerbread houses all make the season bright. One of the many Christmas traditions in my family is excellent tea in our stockings. My mom started putting in a holiday box of tea in my stocking several years ago and now I can't imagine Christmas morning without it. Out of all the boxes I have received over the years,Sugar Plum Spice from Celestial Seasonings is by far my favorite. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed all the other holiday favorites such Candy Cane Lane, Gingerbread Spice, and Nutcracker Spice but for some reason Sugar Plum Spice has a special place in my Holiday Season. So this Christmas when you can’t figure out what to get the that last person on your list, head to Target and pick up a box!

Remember to like our Facebook page and join the Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas event to be enter into our holiday giveaway! We will announce the winner on December 25th!  

- Jules

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Art of Tea: Joseph Walsh, Candy Stores, and Brandy

When Food and Wine magazine lists your tea in their top holiday gift guide you know you have a product that is a cut above the rest. That is exactly what Art of Tea has, a fantastic selection of teas. Art of Tea is located in Los Angeles, California and was founded in 1996. Steven Schwartz, the CEO and founder, wanted to create an organic tea company that was a leader in Fair Trade Tea and has successfully done so with Art of Tea. All of the teas are carefully blended specially by the company so the consumer can enjoy the highest quality tea. One of the best aspects of the company is the wide and varied selection they have to offer. Art of Tea carries so many unique blends that even the Darjeeling Darlings couldn’t pick a favorite, but we certainly enjoyed the tasting process in search of one! 

            “I am a huge fan of black tea and the “1896” blend was just up my alley. “1896” was created in honor of author Joseph Walsh. Walsh was one of the first people to publish a book on tea blending in 1896. I loved this tea so much that I ended up drinking the whole bag’s worth of leaves in 2 days! It was bold and rich, so it gave me just the kick that I needed while writing an English paper (the paper was on Jane Austen, so it seemed fitting). My first impression of “1896” was how flavorful it was. I could really taste the apple cinnamon coming through as the dominant flavor, which was then smoothed by the taste of white peach. I would definitely recommend “1896” for any avid black tea lover.

            Secondly, I have to admit I was a little skeptical of trying the blend “Chocolate Monkey.” For some reason the taste of hot bananas just does not appeal to me. Well, I should not have judged a tea packet by its cover. I was shocked by just how much I enjoyed it. The chocolate and banana worked so well together with the pink peppercorn to surprisingly create a delightful dessert tea. It had the perfect amount of sweetness, which left my cup without the need of supplemental sugar. This tea would be sure to prove as a dessert favorite among guests at your next dinner party!”


            “Browsing and sampling teas from the Art of Tea was an absolute field day. I felt like a kid in the candy store. You remember what it was like, right? You walk in with eyes as big as saucers and gaze from wall to wall at all the possibilities. You’re greeted by your old favorites and intrigued by the unknown. Gummy bears wave hello while full cylinders of European chocolate welcome you to a new frontier. And then there’s everything in between. Hard candy, soft candy, the sours, the sweets, pre-packaged Mars bars, yogurt-covered pretzels, licorice, sea-salted this, caramel-filled that, lemon drops, cola bottles, peppermints, malt balls, and jelly beans. Where do you begin? 

Much like the candy store, it’s hard to pass up the teas that jump out with color. In this case that would be the “Halo” and “Birds of Paradise” blends. Much like their name implies, these aren’t your average earthly loose-leaf teas. Instead they are quarter-sized tea “bombs” of green and pink leaves rolled into a heavenly little ball.  “Halo” is a white tea of amaranth and jasmine ingredients followed by a fun surprise of blueberry and peach taste. “Birds of Paradise” is a gentle blend of white and green tea with a delightful floral aroma. The flavor is a simple plum that is neither fruity nor bland, but rather mellow. However, even my best attempts at descriptions won’t do these teas justice. All I can say is that if I were a dyeing woman, I would drink one of these as my last taste of tea. 

The fun continues with the “Amoré” blend of white tea, peppermint, spearmint, rose, and lavender. It is described as an “late night elixir or after meal pick up to refresh mind and enhance mood.” They had me at ‘elixir’… I mean, the whole thing sounds like a much-needed helping hand to the midnight oil burning college student. “Yes, please” for me!  And as you can imagine, there are lots of things to be tasted within this concoction, the most dominant being lavender and rose. It’s tasty, it’s refreshing, and I think it’s safe to give it some credit for the ‘A’ I received on my Social Psychology paper that was written at an inhumane hour of the wee morning. 

A couple other honorable mentions were “Caramelized Pear” and “Earl Grey Cremé.” “Pear” is a straightforward, herbal, caffeine-free, loose-leaf tea that would make an excellent desert drink.  I like it because there are no surprises; just a simple caramel and pear flavor much like the gummy bears in the candy store we talked about earlier. The same is true of “Earl Grey,” it’s the classic Early Grey you love with a touch of French Vanilla. However, this tea makes me extra happy because it’s identical in taste to one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks, the “London Fog.” The “London Fog” is simply an Early Grey tea latté with a couple shots of vanilla syrup. With Art of Tea’s Early Grey in my tea repertoire, I can have the “London Fog” taste without being filled up by a latté and at a much more cost efficient price! 

London Fog: Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and a touch of Vanilla syrup. Nectar of the gods in a cup!

The last tea I must speak my mind on is the “1896” blend because it truly is a notch above most black tea/rooibos hybrids. Just by looking at the black and red leaves, you can determine that it’s a mix of black and African bush teas. But you can’t tell that it also is composed of honeybush, safflower, hibiscus, and rose ingredients that blend all too well for an incredible tea. I’ve talked before of my admiration of rooibos and honeybush teas, but that isn’t necessarily saying much. What I think makes “1896” special is it’s aroma that I can only describe as being kin to a glass of brandy-but subtler of course. Its taste is strong from black leaves and sweetened by rooibos. If Rhett Butler drank tea, this would be his go-to. In fact, I would imagine “1896” to be a favorite among men in general because of it’s bold and prominent flavor that opposes faint and subtle herbal teas.”

Maybe Rhett Butler didn't drink morning tea, but Clark Gable did!


  The Art of Tea could not be more appropriately named. They truly have made an art out of blending teas of the finest flavors and tastes. It's no wonder so many of their teas have won awards. The Darjeeling Darlings only scratched the surface though. Pop on over to the Art of Tea store and have a look around at their wonderful selection. Whether you prefer floral herbal teas or strong black teas, there is something for everyone. Better yet, if you do find something you like, take 15% off your purchase total* with the coupon code DD15. Regardless of your tastes, you’ll be sure to love what Art of Tea has to offer-they’re Darjeeling Darling approved and recommended! 


~The Darjeeling Darlings  

*Discount excludes Tea of the Month, gift cards, wholesale orders, and cannot be combined with any other coupon. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas

Ho! Ho! Ho! The holidays are here! And what better way to celebrate than with tea? 

Join the Darjeeling Darlings this Christmas season by counting down twelve days until Christmas Eve. Starting December 13th, we'll write about a new tea-related item each day that we think would be a lovely addition to everyone's festivities or even make the perfect gift for a Tea Lover you know. No, gold rings and partridges in pear trees won't be covered or discussed. But we do have twelve fantastic items lined up you'll be sure to love. And the best part is you can enter for a chance to win our favorite one of the twelve items as part of the Darjeeling Darling Christmas. All you have to do is click the like button on the Darjeeling Darling Facebook page (link provided below), join the "Twelve Days of Darjeeling Christmas" event underneath, and answer the question "What is your favorite seasonal tea?" on the event wall between now and Christmas Eve for a chance to win. We'll be sure to take a break from our festivities Christmas Day to pick a winner and contact them with the good news.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all from Pippa, Jules, and Lizzie!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Tea Spot: Healthy Tea, Handy Steepers, and a Holiday Sweepstakes

There’s nothing the Darjeeling Darlings love more than a tea company that gives tea enthusiasts the opportunity to buy quality tea while supporting good causes. If you’re like us, the holidays mean prime tea season. The cold winter weather is in full swing, family and friends are visiting, finals are just around the corner, and shopping needs to be done-now is not the time to be short on tea! And how about those last couple of people you still need to buy a Christmas gift for? Do you know of stockings that need more stuffing? If so, we encourage you to check out The Tea Spot based out of Boulder, Colorado. 

Maria Uspenski founded the company after she battled cancer and found tea to be a great aide to her health. Now, The Tea Spot guarantees that 10% of all profits are made into donations for cancer wellness. Here are a couple of other reasons to check them out though. If you happen to see any tea or Steepware product that you like, you can enter the promo code darlindarjeeling to receive 15% off your order from now until December 1st. Furthermore, The Tea Spot has an ongoing holiday sweepstakes for two people to win free tea for all of 2013! All you have to do is like their Facebook page, click on the “Holiday Contest Enter To Win ” box under the like button, and fill out the short entry form. Be sure to check your email afterwards for more details too! If you want to double your chances, scroll down The Tea Spot’s News Feed and look for the November 1st post about the contest. There you can answer the question “What inspires you this holiday season?” and see what other tea lovers had to say.  

Still not convinced The Tea Spot is worth checking out? See what the Darlings have to say about their Tea Spot experience and Steepware! 

“I really like to go outside of the box with tea flavors. Don't get me wrong, I love my Earl Grey but sometimes I want something different. Anytime that I run into a unique flavor, I make sure to purchase it. That is why I was so excited to try Pink Rose Lemonade blended by Tea Spot. It seemed like it would do the trick to brighten up a long day of studying. The need to drink a cup of Pink Rose Lemonade came during a Big Bang Theory marathon, um I mean during a serious study session. I decided to make a pot of the tea for a friend and myself. We both were pleasantly surprised when we first tried it. It had a natural bitterness to it so I did stir in a little sugar. The mint flavor added a nice touch to prevent the overpowering of lemon and lavender. The tea is naturally caffeine free so it is great for a late night treat. A tin of Pink Rose Lemonade can be purchased for $12. Overall, Ariel and I really enjoyed the tea and can't wait to make it again for a study break!

The Tea Spot also manufactures a line called Steepware. One of their best selling products is the Tuffy Tea Steeper. I was so excited when I received my green Tuffy. I have never had the best luck with steepers in the past so the Tuffy was an answer to my prayers. The Tuffy is made of silicone so it's heat resistant and shaped to fit most cups and travel mugs. Being an extremely busy college student, I do not always (never) have time to sit down an enjoy a cup of tea. The Tuffy allows me to brew loose leaf tea while I am getting ready to go to class and I do not have to worry about the tea leaves leaking into my mug. Cleaning it could not be more easy. I just dump out the leaves and rinse it. I think one of the best things about the steepers is that when you’re on the go you can collapse it and throw it in your bag when finished. The Tuffy comes is many different colors and retailed for about $9. It is the perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift for this holiday season. Now that I have started using this product, I do not know what I would do without it!”


“I have my favorite types of black tea that will always be go-tos for me. But I love finding new ones to branch out to just as much. The Tea Spot’s “Climber's High” and “Shagadelic English Breakfast” are two new favorites for me. “Climber's High” is a serious black tea that produces a dark liquor and a strong, sweet aroma. It’s made up of ginger root, cinnamon, licorice, clove, and peppermint. The first sips produce an enjoyable ginger and cinnamon taste with a slightly minty finish. This tea isn’t just for taste though. Many people drink it to help with major altitude changes and the negative effects it can have on the respiratory and circulatory system. I can’t wait to try it myself when I hit the slopes this ski season. “Shag English Breakfast” is an appropriate name for the fun spin put on English Breakfast tea. It’s composed of four different black tea leaf types to create a mellower English Breakfast. Don’t let the taste fool you though! A cup of this over breakfast will surely kick start your day. What’s even better is that you can let this tea steep for five or six minutes to create a more robust flavor without making it bitter. It’s still just as gentle to your delicate taste buds. My favorite thing about it though is it’s aroma that smells of sweet hay. Every first sip reminds me of early mornings at the stables. The last tea I tried was “Lady Lavender.” I’m not a fan of lavender flavors, but I did enjoy this one because of it’s balanced and soft flavor. The overpowering seasoning of straight lavender is a taste I have yet to acquire. That’s why I was pleased to experience a first sip of lavender tea reined in by the goodness of bergamot. Add a bit of cream and sugar and you’ve got a lovely afternoon tea! 

The Tuffy Tea Steeper is basically a small gift from heaven. Some of my favorite teas aren’t sold in steeping bags and consequently require a steeper. But being on the go all the time as a full time college student doesn’t allow me the time, or patience for that matter, to brew loose leaf tea. That’s where the Tuffy steeper comes in as the genius necessity it is for any tea enthusiast. It’s handy, it cuts out the mess, and fits all of my mugs and tumblers. Every morning I choose my poison, put it in my Tuffy steeper, pour hot water into my tumbler, and rush out the door. By the time I get where I’m going, my tea’s ready and I only have to dump the steeper’s contents. Every tea drinker needs one for Christmas! “


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tea and Sympathy: The Sick List

            It’s November and we are well underway with autumn followed by winter knocking at the back door. For many of us that means changing leaves, chilly weather, and warm sweaters. For others it just means flu season, tissues, and tea. Well, for the Darjeeling Darlings tea is year-round regardless of the season or our state of health, but in this and many other under-the-weather cases, tea has become a best friend for us Sickly. When you’re sick with the flu that’s going around the office or you’ve finally caught that respiratory bug that’s taken down family members, tea is now on the list of things to grab from the drug store as you trudge home. You’ve sneezed 50 billions times in the last few hours, your throat hurt every time you swallow, you head is feeling foggier by the minute, and all you want to do is sleep. So you need tea…and a box of decongestants, but also tea. You may not know it, but tea is going to become a good friend of yours during this time of suffering. It’s going to soothe your scratchy throat, it’s going to help you fall asleep a little easier, or it’s going to lend a helping hand to your immunity. Or maybe it’s just going to keep you warm and alert while you finish a paper in your damp dorm room that’s probably at least partially responsible for this yucky cold you picked up. So which kind do you select?

            Fear not Friends, because I have a few answers for this question that will help you out the next time you are under the weather. I present the “Tea and Sympathy Sick List” which is made up of medicinal and tasty teas to hold your hand and help you feel better during sickness and the lack of health. Mind you, this list isn’t about the highest quality, out of this world tasting tea. If that were what I was going for I would recommend anything from Harney & Sons and in all likelihood one would have to wait a few days for it to be shipped. So this is a list of conveniently located teas that will get the job done when you’re sick. They can be found at your corner drug or grocery store and aren’t outrageously priced. But first, let’s take a moment to point out a few “sick tea” basics.
            Green and white teas are some of the best teas you can drink for your health because of their antioxidants. We touched on antioxidants last time but didn’t discuss exactly what it is about them that are good for us. It starts with how green and white tea leaves are processed. Unlike black tea leaves that are fermented, green tea leaves aren’t which leaves them with a higher concentration of catechin and polyphenol antioxidants…30-40% to be exact. You see, our bodies have these things called “free radicals” that develop from exposure to toxins and pollutants that break down the structure of the proteins that make up ourcells. Free radicals destroy DNA, alter our cells, and even kill them. One result? Wrinkles. If I remember correctly from Chem 101, free radical proteins can’t actually be repaired but they can be prevented and even “patched-up” by chemical substitutes like collagen. So drinking green tea more so helps your immunity by preventing damage to it. Don’t let that stop you from drinking green and white teas while you’re sick though! More often than not, green teas are infused with other beneficial vitamins you need, which is nice.
Microscopic image of a free radical

Then there are the other ingredients that are helpful for sickness like ginger, honey, peppermint, and chamomile. Ginger, peppermint, and chamomile are good for the stomach. Keep this is mind if you take a round of antibiotics that might alter the good bacteria in your intestines. Until it returns to normal, ginger and chamomile will help calm stomach pains. Lemon and honey are great for soothing sore throats, whether it’s in the tea or you add it as a fixin yourself. Lastly, it's important to decide whether or not you want caffeine in your tea, and I suppose that depends on whether or not you're taking a true sick day. Just know that green, white, rooibos, and most herbal teas aren't going to contain caffeine unless they're paired with something like Early Grey. However, that's still going to be low on the caffeine scale. So below, you’ll find the list of teas that contains all of these great ingredients that will hopefully get you back on your feet in good time and taste.


Until next time, cheers to good health!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Boston Tea Party and Revolution Tea

History quiz time! Who here can name a historical event in eighteenth century American colonial history that lead up to that pesky American Revolution? If you guessed the Boston Massacre you are correct. If you guessed the Boston Tea Party you are more correct. (Sorry, just a bit of multiple choice, standardized testing humor. We've all had those tricky test questions that ask which answer is "the most correct.") Here’s a little lesson/recap on what exactly went down.

The year is 1765 and the British colonies along the upper American East Coast are hustling and bustling with  uphill development. However, there’s growing tension between the Colonists and Great Britain’s Parliament as King George tries to continue to heavily tax the still growing, Baby Colonists. The Colonists, who later define themselves as Patriots, argue against what they consider “taxation without representation” a.k.a. “paying for the benefits of government without receiving said benefits because they’re living on the other side of the Atlantic.” Whether or not that’s completely true is a discussion for another day, but the point is that England implemented this law called the Stamp Act in one of several efforts to remain in control of the colonies. The Stamp Act taxed the Colonists on every paper good imaginable. Newspapers, cards, stationary, stamps for sending letters, and even playing cards all had a sizable tax on it. And that irked the Colonists…a lot. Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, Britain’s “East India Company” is going broke with debt up to their whigs. So Britain decides to monopolize on tea imports in the colonies in order to save face and make money. Good idea for England, bad news for those unfortunate Colonists. A year later in 1766 and after much grumbling, the Stamp Act is repealed and The Declaratory Act is implemented. While this act didn’t implement another tax it did state that Parliament had the authority to do whatever was best for the colonies and the Great Britain Empire, but mostly the colonies. Just when the Colonists thought ol’ George was starting to lighten up.

Things simmer for a few years while England begins to put their tea monopoly in effect with the colonies. In an effort to dodge it the Colonists, sly insubordinate subjects that they were, smuggled in tea from Holland other sources. Well England couldn't have that, East India Company was still struggling to stay afloat (pun intended)! So in comes the Tea Act of 1773 that stated that the Colonists will not only buy England’s tea and England’s tea only, they will be charged a 25% tax on it. As you can imagine that didn’t go over so well with the Colonists who finally said enough was enough. They were going to do something about it and show those Brits what they thought of their rotten tea!

On December 16, 116 Patriots (one of which was Mr. Paul Revere) dressed up as Mohawk Indians and stormed the harbored ships under the cover of the night. What was their goal? To dump over board 340 chests of tea. That’s 92,000 pounds of tea leaves gone. 18.5 million cups of tea wasted. £10,000 (about $1,000,000 in today’s money) down the drain. Take that Parliament! What I find interesting about the whole thing is that it was actually done quite peacefully. No one got shot or bayoneted. No English sailor got thrown overboard by a pseudo Indian. In fact, legend has it that some of the sailors helped and afterwards everyone swept the docks and gathered aboard the Eleanor for a campfire Kumbaya moment. Okay, okay, the campfire part I made up because it makes for an interesting mental picture, but it is true that the Colonists-gone-mad cleaned up after themselves and then booked it out of Boston before sun up. They also say that the harbor water, being only a few feet deep, was brown for days. That’s possible I suppose. But that wouldn’t make any sense if it’s true that the East India Company sailors who reported for duty the next morning didn’t notice anything amiss with the tea chests until a lock was reported as needing to be repaired a few days later.  Wouldn’t the sailors first notice that the harbor was brown and wreaked of their precious Chinese Bohea tea? Either way I suppose they just weren’t very observant.

Colonists tomahawking away at tea chests
This portrait is actually inaccurate because the raid was said to take place between 7-10p.m.,
not during broad daylight. 

I bring the Boston Tea Party up for three reasons. One, it involved tea and lots of it. Two, I think the American Revolution is pretty fascinating. Three, I recently tried two types of Revolution Tea. I highly doubt that Revolution Tea named their tea after the America Revolution and all its glory, but it still got me thinking about it as I sat drinking a cup of Honeybush Caramel tea one night.  That was one of the great things about both teas I tried; they didn’t contain caffeine. Don’t get me wrong; I love my caffeinated teas and their boosts of energy. But sometimes on those rare occasions that I don’t have to stay up burning the midnight oil, it’s great to have something tasty to sip on that won’t keep me up extra hours researching things that have nothing to do with my college classes. Like the American Revolution. But hey, you won’t find the above facts about the Boston Tea Party in your average 6th grade American History textbook.

Anyway, back to Revolution Tea. The Honeybush Caramel was a delightful decaf surprise. Honeybush is a type of African Rooibos herb, which means you’re ingesting antioxidants with every sip. And judging by the bright red tea leaves in the tea bag, your cup will be loaded with them. This tea makes for a delicious dessert tea after just about any dinner because of its sweetness. What’s even better is that it’s not too sweet.  In fact, when you take the first sip you’re only going to taste the unmistakable flavor of the Rooibos. Personally, I love it because it’s strong without being bitter like black tea. Only after the Rooibos fades does the sweet Caramel kick in to finish off the sip without giving your taste buds flavor whiplash. That being said, the tea doesn’t require hardly any added sugar and maybe only a touch of cream. Therefore, if you come across a Honeybush Caramel tea or maybe even Revolution’s Honeybush Caramel tea, give it a try for dessert or even something to sip before bed.

The second tea I tried was an herbal Citrus Spice sample. I’m actually not a fan of citrusy teas because I don’t think cream pairs well with them and I like a splash of cream with a Rooibos tea. Yes, Revolution’s Citrus Spice is also an African Rooibos bush tea that has lemon and orange peels in the mix as well.  The spice is the result of cinnamon and cloves, which is the dominant flavor over the citrus. For what I would imagine is most people, that’s a bit too much spice for a tea palate to handle if the citrus doesn’t come through. However, some people might like a strong-spiced tea during the colder months. In that case, I still wouldn’t necessarily try this one because I just don’t agree with the citrus spice pairing. Instead, try Revolution’s Bombay Chai tea. It too contains cinnamon and cloves along with ginger, nutmeg, and general chai goodness. It’s sure to keep you warm in the winter!

Until next time!