Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fruit-flavored Teas by George Carlin

A couple of days ago I was reading George Carlin’s book, “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops.” I stumbled upon this bit and just had to share it. Here, Carlin expresses his opinion about fruit-flavored teas… an opinion that he and I share.

Fruit-flavored Teas:

I would like to talk to you about fruit-flavored teas. These would be teas that are flavored like fruit. Fruit-flavored teas. You need to understand that. These are not fruits. They’re teas.

But they taste like fruit. All right? They have names like strawberry kiwi, lemon berry, orange mango, wild cherry, blackberry and cranberry. They taste like fruit. And they sound like fruits, too, don’t they? They’re not. They’re teas. Fruit-flavored teas. And frankly, I don’t understand this.

Personally, I’ve always been of a mind that if you’re looking for fruit flavor, if you’re genuinely interested in something that tastes like fruit, and you find yourself in the tea section, you’re probably in the wrong aisle.

My advice is, if it’s fruit flavor you’re after, play if safe, go ahead and get some fruit. I have found in my experience that fruit almost always turns out to be reliable source of fruit flavor.

Another good place you may wish to look for fruit flavor would be in fruit juice. Fruit juice is made by squeezing the juice out of the fruit. Apparently, the juice that runs out of the fruit has fruit flavor. Perhaps that’s why they call if fruit juice. It doesn’t taste like tea. For tea taste, you would need to get some tea.

So let’s sum this up: If it’s fruit flavor you want, you can’t go wrong with fruit. Or, as I’ve pointed out, fruit juice. Don’t be ordering tea. Tea has tea flavor. It’s not like fruit. It’s more like tea. If you want tea, I say order tea. That’s a different experience. It’s known as “having tea.”

Have you noticed, by the way, there are no tea-flavored fruits? Take a clue from nature.”

Ok, one difference is that I will actually DRINK fruit-flavored teas. They are not my favorite kind of teas but every once in a while they can cure a sweet tooth craving. However, when I have my choice, I will still reach for the stuff that has not been fooled around with.

George Carlin rocks! Period. Rest in peace… your ability to speak your mind, no matter what the consequences, has led the way for the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Choice Organic Tea’s Chamomile Citrus Review

Type: Herbal
Origin: Egypt
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-210°F, steeped for 4-5 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.1 out of 5

Chamomile Citrus is what it says it is – chamomile and orange peel, but with some hibiscus thrown in, as well. The leaves definitely smell very flowery and fruity. I saw a lot of white, yellow, and orange colors in this pyramid of whole leaves. I could actually see the long stems on the whole chamomile and hibiscus flowers.

I could smell more of the chamomile than the citrus while the leaves were steeping. The liquor was a very deep yellow, almost tan, color.

The taste was so sweet and floral. The citrus provided a nice, fruity aftertaste. The brew had that “apple” flavor that I have heard described with chamomile. It was not astringent or bitter at all. It was actually very sweet. If you want to add sugar to this, then I think you are crazy! The taste was also very crisp and clean. It was mellow and the aftertaste didn’t last very long.

The Choice Organic Tea reviews stop here… for now. I am not particularly into bagged tea, but there were a lot of whole leaves in the pyramids of each of the teas that I reviewed. Also, I love how these teas were organic and fair traded. Their website has loads information, plus all kinds of teas to choose from so check it out when you get the chance!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sweet Liquorice Mint Review

Type: Herbal
Origin: Not Stated
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-210°F, steeped for 4-5 minutes.
Overall Score: 2.5 out of 5

Sweet Liquorice Mint is an herbal blend of liquorice, peppermint, and spearmint. The peppermint was what I smelled first when I opened the package. That aroma was followed by spearmint. The leaves are really colorful with green, white, and brown pieces in the pyramid.

I could smell more of the liquorice as the leaves were steeping. The mints were still in the background, though. The liquor is a vibrant yellow color.

I personally do not like liquorice so I knew this review was going to be interesting. When I took a sip, I instantly knew this tea was not for me, but for those of you who like liquorice, I will try to write an unbiased review.

The sweet liquorice was what I could taste at first – and it really is sweet. The mint no longer had a strong presence after the leaves were steeped. It seemed to be all about the liquorice. There was a little bit of a cooling effect in my mouth in the aftertaste, but not as much as I thought there would be considering there are two kinds of mints in it (but I am not sure what the ratio of liquorice to mint is in this blend).

The reason this tea received a low score is because of my personal preference only. I did not enjoy this tea because I just don’t like the anise flavor. If you like these flavors then you might want to try it out for yourself to see what you think instead of just going by what I say. If you would like to know more check out the descriptions and reviews on Choice Organic Tea’s website.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Year of MySI!

If you check the blog archive, you will notice the first blog entry I made was on October 15th, 2007. Thus, today marks the 1 year anniversary of My Steeped IdentiTEA!!

During the year:

There have been major changes throughout the year. This is my first (and only) blog, so when I started it, I had very little knowledge about blogging and very little knowledge about the subject I was blogging about - tea. When I set up the blog I simply used my two favorite colors, black and green.

I became busy with work and college classes so I didn’t do much to the cosmetics of the blog; I just concentrated on taking pictures and writing posts. I loved my teaware so much that I felt like they needed to have posts of their own, so I wrote about that at first. Then, I used the blog to keep notes on teas that I’ve tasted.

I found out later about doing “reviews” of the teas that I had obtained. It was great because these reviews let me keep notes about what teas that I’ve tried and it provided an honest customer opinion for people looking to buy tea.

I was shaky about how to do a review at first. I wasn’t sure what all information was needed to provide a descent review (which is why my reviews were freakishly long). However, hopefully I’m starting to get the hang of it.

During the summer of 2008, I was not working and taking only one college course so I had loads of time on my hands. Because of that, I started playing around with the color scheme and layout of the blog.

As you can see, I finally decided on the colors of black, orange, yellow, red, and brown. I felt like these colors enhanced the pictures of tea that I was taking. It took several weeks, but I taught myself HTML so I could edit the blog layout to have three columns with the color scheme and layout that I had picked out.

This last year with this blog has definitely been a huge learning experience with blogging and with tea. I have learned so much about both. My only problem has just been finding time to post.

What is to come:

I am still making changes to the layout of the blog to see what works best. Because of that, I welcome any and all feedback to anything about my blog (seriously! I love comments!).

More reviews are on the way! Several teas have been sent to me and I am eager to try them and post about them. While school is in session, the only time I have to do reviews is on the weekends… hence the long periods of time between posts.

I am hoping to fix that by not just posting reviews. I would like to start posting about other tea related events, whether it is news, useful information, my observations, comments, and/or findings concerning tea, etc.

Another new thing that will, hopefully, come up in a few months is me obtaining a better camera. The camera that I use now is my parent’s cheap digital camera. It’s a great camera for pictures of people or objects three feet away with a lot of natural light that only needs an auto focus. However, I need a camera that can take excellent close up shots of tea leaves, the liquor of the tea, and all of the other details. More than likely I will need something with a manual focus and zooming capabilities, among other things, but I know nothing about cameras and photography as of this moment.

So, in the next couple of months I will be looking up everything I can about getting the right camera for me with the right features at the right price. If you any photography advice to offer, I would greatly appreciate it!

Therefore, that is what is to come in the following months. I hope to have another great year of learning new things and sharing new ideas. Thanks for staying with me for this long! I hope to not disappoint in the years to come… because I’m just getting started!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Caffeine + Free Time = Me Being A Dork

This weekend homework was extremely light and the boyfriend was away in Chicago, so that allowed me to get a lot of tea reviews done (among other things). Once I finished my reviews and chores, I still had a boat load of free time.

My creativity got the best of me and the following video is the result. It is a video that I made for my boyfriend while he was away. I am posting it on here because it does mention tea in it. My friends and family who have seen it said it is funny and cute. Let me know what you think.

This is what happens when I have had way too much caffeine and free time.


There is no inside joke between us about my thumbs – that was just me being random.

I know “ear things” could be called something different like, “head set, ear piece, head phones, etc.” but I like saying “ear things.”

Actually, I did make the video so I could use my new eye toy that I got for $9 (and because I missed him, of course)! The eye toy has great quality for being a cheap webcam, even though it was made to be used with a PS2. I bought it at one of those “used games” stores. Hurray for deals!

For those of you who do not know, Psychological Egoism is a theory that says every action that one does is done to only benefit one’s self… if it benefits others, that is just a bonus.

The “Rock Band/Bastard” is an inside joke. My boyfriend is visiting his brother in Chicago and his brother owns Rock Band. Sometimes I go with him to Chicago and we all play it together, but this time I didn’t go… so I was jealous that he got to play it.

“All 6 kitties, I mean 7” – His parents have 5 cats and he has 2 which makes 7 cats total. I took care of them all while they were gone.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Earl Grey Review

Type: Black
Origin: India
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-210°F, steeped for 4-5 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.3 out of 5

Earl Grey is a blend of Indian black tea and bergamot oil. Pieces of orange peel and safflower petals have been added to this blend, as well. Holy citrus batman! When I opened the package I had to hold it away from me because the citrus smell was really intense.

The aroma of citrus is one of those scents that are easily detected so I’m sure the intensity of the citrus aroma in this tea is not necessarily a negative (at least that is what I think so far). When it comes to appearance, the blend in this pyramid is really pretty. The dark tea leaves make the bright orange peel and safflower petals really stand out.

I could really smell the bergamot while the leaves were steeping. I could smell the black tea, also, so that meant that the citrus aroma was not overpowering everything else in the tea. The liquor was a deep orange color.

I have been turned off to Earl Grey’s in the past because the ratio of black tea to bergamot oil was way off. There was always way too much citrus flavor. I was worried that this tea was going to be the same way, from the amount of citrus aroma that came out of the package.

However, I liked this one. I could taste the hearty, full bodied black tea and the bergamot oil was left in the aftertaste. It was a little astringent but not bitter. I will stress the heartiness of this brew. This blend was really intense. It is a nice pick-me-up kind of tea and would probably make a great companion to those early mornings.