Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mighty Leaf’s Tea To Go Mug

I. Am. Busy. I am a full time college student with a recently acquired part time job, so I am hardly ever home during the week days. Thus, I love it when I can take my tea with me to work and school. My current method of tea travel is to steep the leaves in a teapot, then transfer the tea into a lidded mug and head out the door. However, Mighty Leaf has something better.

They have come up with a brilliant way of brewing tea while on the go, without over-steeping the leaves. Their mug is a stainless steel body with a plastic lid that has very genius design. On this lid, there is a place to sip the tea, but there is also a slit on top of the “dome” part of the lid.

How this lid works is the tea drinker threads the tea bag tag through the slit and then submerges the tea bag in the hot water that they pour in the mug body as the lid is placed on the mug. The purpose of the slit and the “dome” is revealed when the steep time is up because then the tea drinker pulls on the tea bag string until the bag can go no further, thus pulling the tea bag into the “dome” and keeping the leaves out of the water. Tah-dah… no more over-steeping!

This method works best with Mighty Leaf tea bags (duh, those are what this mug is designed to work with) because of the cloth-type material of their tea bags. It was a little difficult to use with pyramid bags because the string is attached to the side of the pyramid and not the corner. I ended up just pinching the excess string in between the lid and body of the mug to hold the pyramid tea bag in place inside the “dome.” Tea bags that use staples do not work as well, because the staples will not go through the slit in the lid. Tea bags that use staples may work if you use the string pinching method above.

My only complaint is how prone this mug is to spillage. What I mean is that you have to make sure you keep this mug upright because the spout and the slit for the tea bag are always open – so be careful with the frantic juggling of keys, briefcase/purse, mug, etc. as you head out the door.

Although, even with the open-mouth design, this mug keeps the contents hot for several hours… but who can stand not drinking perfectly steeped tea for that long?

Special thanks to Mighty Leaf for sending me this awesome mug to review!

Visit Mighty Leaf’s website to get one for yourself!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pearl Tea’s Counting Sheep Review

Type: Herbal
Origin: Egypt
Price: Sample (regular price - $16.50 for 3oz.)
Vendor: Pearl Teas
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 194°F-203°F, steeped for 2 - 3 minutes
Overall Score: 4.3 out of 5

Counting Sheep is a blend of orange, chamomile, citrus peels, rose-hip peels, orange blossoms, lemon grass, nana-mint, and hibiscus. I will have to say that this is one of the prettiest blends I have tried yet. The mix of yellow and green chamomile, green lemon grass, yellow and orange citrus peels, and the beautiful rose-hip and hibiscus makes this blend an amazingly appealing. I just hope it tastes as good as it looks. I can smell the orange aroma immediately. Upon a closer inspection I can smell the floral scents of chamomile and hibiscus mixing with the citrus aromas.

I can smell the apple-like aroma of the chamomile as the blend is steeping. The citrus aromas float around in the background. I wasn’t exactly sure what color this was going to turn out, so the yellowish-green color was a nice, beautiful surprise.

The taste is very floral and fruity. I can taste the chamomile first. The aftertaste holds the orange and lemon flavors. The apple-like taste of the chamomile with the citrus flavors makes this a rather sweet and refreshing blend.

The blend is not bitter or astringent. The tea is very sweet on its own so I don’t think there is any reason to add sugar (plus, this blend is meant to relax you and sugar would only contradict that). I believe this tea would be nice to have in the evening while winding down – just as it is recommended. It is sweet enough to act like a no-calorie dessert and it is caffeine free so you can rest easy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pearl Tea’s Rooibos Lemon Creme Review

Type: Rooibos
Origin: South Africa
Price: Sample (regular price - $12.50 for 3oz.)
Vendor: Pearl Teas
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 194°F-203°F, steeped for 2 - 3 minutes
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5

Rooibos Lemon Crème is a mix of rooibos, lemongrass, and marigold petals. I smell the fruity rooibos right away, followed by the lemony flavors. The blend mostly consists of reddish-brown bits of rooibos. Strips of green lemongrass and marigold petals can be seen throughout the blend.

The freshly brewed tea smells of pungent rooibos with a hint of lemon in the background. The fruity aroma from the rooibos is what I smell if I get my nose anywhere near the cup. The liquor is a reddish-orange color.

The taste is sweet and more subtle than I thought it was going to be. I can taste the rooibos in the first sip and in the aftertaste, but the lemon is a little hard to find. I notice the lemon flavor if I actively search for it, but it is so subtle I may not have known it was in the blend unless I was told.

Overall the taste is sweet, fruity, and smooth. There is no bitterness or astringency. I found the taste very mild for being a rooibos. I think maybe a slightly longer steep time would pack a heartier punch and may bring out the flavor of the lemon some more – I can smell the lemon, but I just can’t taste it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pearl Tea’s Assam Review

Type: Black
Origin: India
Price: Sample (regular price - $12.50 for 3oz.)
Vendor: Pearl Teas
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-203°F, steeped for 0.5 - 3 minutes
Overall Score: 4.4 out of 5

Assam is a black tea from India. The tea smells fresh, woody, and smoky. However, I really have to hold the tea close to my nose to obtain the aroma. The leaves are small twisted pieces which are rather dark brown in color.

The liquor is a nice copper color. The freshly brewed tea smells woody and smoky. Again, I have to put my nose to the cup to gather the aroma.

The taste is bold, brisk, and invigorating. It is slightly bitter and quite astringent – I start to feel my mouth becoming dry after only the second sip. Just like in the aroma, the taste is slightly smoky with woody characteristics, as well. In the aftertaste I also pick up a slight fruity-like taste along with the smoky flavor.

I brewed this tea closer to the 3 minute mark of their suggested steep time. Although, I normally brew my black teas around 4-5 minutes, this tea still has a nice bold flavor that would stand up well to milk and sugar – but who needs those?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pearl Tea’s Dragon Well (Long Jing) Review

Type: Green
Origin: China
Price: Sample (regular price - $25.50 for 3oz.)
Vendor: Pearl Teas
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 167°F-185°F, steeped for 0.5 - 2 minutes
Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5

Dragon Well (Long Jing) is a hand-pressed, roasted green tea from China. This particular tea smells slightly sweet and vegetal, but not too grassy. I can smell the wonderful roasted characteristics in this tea. The leaves are long, skinny, and flat. A mix of light and dark green color comes from a spoonful of the leaves.

The liquor is a light green color. The aroma of the brewed tea smells like roasted green vegetables. It is a nice clean, fresh smell.

The taste is more subtle than I imagined. The tea is mellow, sweet, buttery, and vegetal. The aftertaste holds the roasted, nutty flavor. The tea is not bitter, but a tiny bit astringent. This tea is rather refreshing. I love the sweet buttery taste up front followed by the nuttiness.

This is a tea that gets better as you drink it. Since the roasted flavor is in the aftertaste, once you sip the tea a second (third, fourth, etc.) time, you get a well rounded buttery, nutty flavor that is mighty tasty.