Thursday, April 2, 2009

Miscellaneous tea samplings

Although I write about my "formal" tea samplings each Saturday, I've actually tried a number of new teas lately I thought I'd quickly review. Some were teabags, some were RTD (ready to drink) teas, but all were interesting. First, this Vanilla Chai Tea from Bolthouse Farms was something I'd seen at the grocery store and been meaning to try. It was OK, but I learned I really prefer my chai hot. I did, however, make a mental note that this RTD vanilla chai might work as an ingredient in chai ice cream!

Thanks to pay-at-the-pump I almost never go in a convenience store any more unless I'm on vacation, but recently I stopped at a corner store and had to go inside. This Earl Grey Snapple they had was new to me (I have no idea how long it's been out), and it was quite tasty. I wasn't sure I'd like cold Earl Grey, but somehow this worked for me.

A tea friend recently shared some of her stash with me, and one of the teas I enjoyed most was this Premium Sencha Green Tea from Tea Co. After tasting so many loose leaf greens lately, I was pleased with the crisp, fresh taste of this silken teabag. May have to order some of this for the office.

This Golden Monkey tea from Adagio, in a nice, fat silk sachet, was just delicious. It kept me awake through the latest episode of "24" on Monday night, which is saying something. The tea was far more interesting than the show!

The friend had warned me, with a gleam in her eye, that this teabag from Japan would be "different." Since neither of us knows what this really says, I decided, in honor of its unique and distinctive flavor, to name it "Japanese Landfill Blend." (Don't think I'm being ugly here; she didn't care for it either!)

My recent orders from Harney & Sons have included free sample tea bags, and I enjoyed both the taste and the elegant packaging of the two I've tried lately: Organic Green Tea with Citrus and Gingko is my favorite ...

but the Harney & Sons Organic Green Tea with Mint was also quite good. It has the prettiest packaging and even matches the dining room walls!


  1. I love your blog each morning. I have learned so much about tea from you. Thanks for sharing.
    fyi: the Japanese tea bag is upside down. (Sorry I can't read it.) Jan

  2. Thanks so much for the kind comments, Jan! And also thanks for pointing out about the direction of the teabag. I reflexively put it with the strip at the top, but now that you mention it I see the characters have what I think of as the "housetops" on bottom, not on top. I don't know what they say but I have observed they often look like little tea huts!

  3. It is fun to try new teas. One of my daughters drinks the Bolthouse Vanilla Chai and I used to purchase a lot of their carrot juice before I had my Omega Juicer. Now that they have an Earl Grey flavor, I might buy some Snapple to try on my next roadtrip.

    I thought the Sencha was quite good also and the Golden Monkey is a real favorite now. You came up with a perfect name for that Japanese tea, since the landfill is where mine will end up (minus the wrappers, of course).

    I'll need to try the Harney & Sons bagged teas you mentioned. Thanks for the reviews.

  4. Angela,

    Regarding that Japanese tea bag. . .if you can't read it, and someone knows it's topsey turvey. . .how did the person know that it is actually tea?

    I know it is absolutely horrible to repeat, however, I have heard of cow patty tea ( which is made, I'm told by steeping pure cow manure )

    I hope this is a late April Fools' Day joke, since this has all been pre-tested by you!

    Do you happen to know a good Japanese reader?

    I don't know whether to say "Choto mate kudosai," or "Sayanora" to that one!

  5. I don't think I'd like the cold chai, either. It's amazing where we can find tea RTD's these days! Practically everywhere! I have two I've been waiting to try.

  6. Gwendol, I DO know some good Japanese readers! I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but I just sent a picture of the teabag (with the correct direction this time) to my missionary friends in Japan. I'm not sure if they've returned from their recent trip here, but I'm hoping to hear from them about what I actually drank!

  7. The Japanese tea is genmaicha. Genmaicha is green tea mixed with toasted rice. I really like the taste of good genmaicha, but I'm usually disappointed by teabags.

  8. Sandy is right! I also heard back from my Japanese missionary friend, whom I had asked to interpret, and here's what he says:

    "The tea you drank is called "Genmai-cha", or brown rice (unpolished rice) tea. The brand (O~i Ocha) makes mainly green tea, but apparently they make other kinds, too. In Japan they drink a variety of teas (green, barley, rice, oolong, jasmine, etc.) in addition to the kinds we normally drink in the States. But, the flavors of some may take a little getting used to, this being one of them."

  9. Angela,
    Whew! What a relief! Now for the first time ever I think I understand the movie "Mary Poppins" better...remember the line about the nanny smelling like "barley-water?" In reading about these different types of tea, you have the rice tea (in a bag) and the poor little kids who needed Mary Poppins were having to deal with barley water...I wonder how much getting used to that one must take?

    (Me personally, I happen to like boiled I guess it [with a teaspoon of sugar] could add some nutrition to the tea. . .)


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