February 1, 2011

Taking Tea (On A Tuesday)

Good afternoon, all you lovely people. Following in my recent (obsessive) tradition, I've found a way to make today's post all about the alliteration: Welcome to Tea Tuesday.

Working in a tea room has both its pros and cons, with all the pros admittedly far outweighing their competition. First and foremost, I get to sample and brew some of the most delightful teas and tisanes on the market, and occasionally pair them with the perfect food (I'm not talking just scones and crumpets here, either- I prefer to think outside the box). Of course, toiling alongside some of the greatest coworkers and with a wonderful boss isn't horrible either.

Of the cons, I can only think of two things, both of them seemingly monstrous in their own standing but both of no stature on a larger scale. Dealing mostly in loose teas means that it's hard for me to recommend them to people with little access to such things, those who can't make it to the shop, and those who won't. It also tends to be more expensive to purchase tea by the ounce, and loose, when you can just as easily go to the supermarket and pick up the brand name, already measured-out bagged teas. However, on this front you have to consider the fact that bagged teas are generally poorer in quality, and it is better to sacrifice a little money when the superior taste compensates for it (at least I like to think so).

So, on that note, let me present you with some of my favorite, easy(er) to find teas in bag form!

Dragon Pearl Jasmine (Harney & Sons)

Ahhh, Harney & Sons, or, as I like to call them The Saviour of Bagged Tea. They take high quality tea leaves, and stick them in beautiful muslin tea sachets, readily available- although not something you can procure at your local WinCo or Albertson's- to the general populace. I have a particular soft spot for them because they've made a tea bag for my favorite tea in the entire world: Jasmine Phoenix Pearl Oolong. It's the most beautiful, simple, and aromatic teas I've ever had the good fortune to drink, and theirs is more affordable than the loose pearls I buy (which go for about six and a half dollars and ounce). The only con of the sachet is that you can't see the pearls bloom, and there may be too many for your taste. However, you can remedy this by simply removing the pearls from the sachet and dropping as many as you'd like into your mug.

Moroccan Mint Green Tea (Stash)

I've never been a huge fan of the Stash brand's teas, but they do have a few that I believe are rather nice. This one is on that list, and mostly because it's much like Celestial Seasoning's Candy Cane Lane (see next on list), which is only available during the Holiday season. Although it's not quite the same, it's still tasty in its own rights, and is the perfect after-dinner (or any meal) tea.

Candy Cane Lane (Celestial Seasonings)

It took me quite awhile to try this with an open mind (I mean, Celestial Seasonings is so common! Their tea is probably more like dust than actual leaves! Or so my reasoning was.) but once I did, I was hooked. It's a heavenly blend of green tea, orange peel, spices, and mint. I always have a miniature breakdown when I go through my last tea bag, and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to be able to find and stock up on the supermarket's last boxes before they run out completely. However, I quite recently discovered that you can continue to buy this on their website, maybe even year round.

Sleepytime Throat Tamer (Celestial Seasonings)

This is the tea I turn to whenever I've got the flu/a fever/allergy problems. with just a bit of honey, it can work wonders, and when paired with a couple of Benedryl tablets, I'm out like a light for the rest of the day.

White Chocolate Kisses (Bigelow)

This is my latest discovery. It's almost as good as the Red Velvet Chocolate (see last on this list) from Republic of Tea, but in a different way. This is white chocolate decadence, and the perfect, beneficial, low-calorie alternative to that bar of chocolate you've been craving. It's 100% guilt free and delicious by itself, but if you prefer your tea to be sweet you can add some honey (I personally go for brown sugar) and a splash of milk- yum!

Vanilla Chai (Good Earth)

I've always loved Good Earth tea for their excellent taste and environmentally (not to mention economically- they are not a licensed  fair trade participator, but they work towards the same goals) friendly stance. Their teas are good, and this one in particular is a favorite.

Chocolate Chai (Zhena's Gypsy Tea)

Anyone who knows my taste in teas knows how much I love this brand. Their teas may be bagged, but they have all the body and flavor of a loose blend, and their choices are so varied and spectacular, it's hard to work your way through them all and nearly impossible to choose a favorite. These organic teas are also fair trade, and come in the coolest tins- I like to save mine and re-purpose them when I've finished the tea. This chocolate chai is the perfect pairing of some of my favorite things: chocolate, chai, and tea. Whoever invented this one deserves a big, shiny award.

Coconut Chai (Zhena's Gypsy Tea)

This tea is amazing. It's a fantastic, fruity take on the favorite spiced tea. I go through this tea like it's becoming extinct. It's particularly good as an iced chai latte during those long summer months, but feel free to enjoy it either way.

Raspberry Earl Grey (Zhena's Gypsy Tea)

When I have this tea on hand, it automatically becomes a morning staple for me. I drink it before and during breakfast, and occasionally break it out during the afternoon for my tea-time treat. It's perfect with a shortbread cookie or fruit scone, and a dash of heavy cream compliments it perfectly.

Red Lavender (Zhena's Gypsy Tea

This tea answered all of my prayers when I was searching for what I refer to as my "wind-down tea". This demands to be drunk in the evenings, preferably right before bed, as you wind down. The red tea is naturally decaffeinated, and lavender, known for its calming effects, is blended for the perfect taste- not too much of either herb, just enough to make every taste bud sigh in happiness.
Red Velvet Chocolate (The Republic Of Tea)

Have your cake and drink it too! That is exactly what I think when I have a cup of this tea. It's red velvet chocolate cake when taken by itself, but adding some sugar and milk makes it an absolute indulgent treat.

Well, I'm off to bake madelienes in my new pan, something I'm extremely excited about. I've wanted one of these pans forever, and I finally scored one at Bed Bath and Beyond this afternoon. Happy tea drinking and a merry Tuesday (and Wednesday) to you all!


Cinnamon Wren said...

Hi Grace!
Thank you so much for stopping to say hi on my blog!
I have to say, you and your blog are teh adorabls!!
Its so cool that you work in a tea room!
I'm definitely more curious to try something other than my old boring honey and lemon black tea...
I also especially loved your post on cupcakes!!!
...I really want to have a tea party now...
I will be following your lovely blog for more alliterated posts!
<3 ^_^

Debby said...

Hi Grace, cute blog. Have you ever tried Teavana teas? Really expensive but totally worth it if you are a big tea drinker. I love the fruit bomba tea by them. I am now following!

p.s. I am having a Ruche giveaway if it interests you! xo

Grace said...

Cinnamon: Thanks so much for the follow (and the compliments!) I think having two new followers in the past day may have set my happy blogger meter at 1,000! I highly suggest you try to branch out- there's an entire world of teas out there just waiting for you to sample and discover.

Debby: I've had a Teavana tea ONCE (it was a chocolate rooibos, I think) but it was at the kindness of a friend who was willing to share. We have no where to get them where I live, so I've been thinking about ordering them online.

Might I mention how fabulous your blog is, as well: truly tres chic. Thank you both for the follow! :D

Bri said...

Zhena's are the best. :) And Moroccan Mint used to be our regular! Good choices. :D

koralee said...

Some of your choices of tea look amazingly yummy...I am such a tea grannie and I am not even a grannie yet! Thanks for sharing. xoxo