Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poll #2: How Many Brewing Vessels?

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the first poll on MySI! This gave me a lot of insight to several things...

First, it let me know more about my readers. Thanks to all who took the time to comment on the poll post. I did not get an answer directly to my "Do you like polls?" questions, but the number of votes and comments alone let me know that people are okay with sharing their opinions. Again, thank you! I loved reading all of your responses and finding out more about fellow tea-lovers.

Second, I think I may have been a little preemptive about the "weekly" portion of the polls. I thought I wanted a weekly feature on this blog, even though it all works in theory, it would just not work for this particular blog. However, I am glad that I tested it out and saw it for myself. The reason I don't think it would work is because I try to post thorough articles less frequently rather than small, asinine posts frequently. Because of that, I am afraid that this blog would house more surveys than informative articles. Thus, I am removing the "weekly" part of the poll and doing it more at random.

Third, all of the comments to the first poll came from the Tea Trade mirrored blog. I both like and dislike that at the same time. I like that because that means Tea Trade is a good source to link blogs with other tea-peeps, but I don't like that because that means more people are going to the crappy-looking mirrored blog than my original blog... the one I have worked so hard to create. This leaves me with issues to ponder...

Anyways, the tallied results of last week's poll was that a good 50% of the voters said that either a handle or no handle was fine because it was more about the design of the tea cup. Very interesting.

On to the second poll question! There is no set time limit to answer this question... it is just whenever I decide to put up a new question.

How many brewing vessels (teapots, gaiwans, yixing, kyusuu, etc.) do you currently have?

I have a total of 20 brewing vessels. Three matcha bowls, four ceramic gaiwans, one glass gaiwan, one cast iron teapot, two ceramic teapots, two glass teapots, two yixing, four kyusuu, and one gourd. Wow, I didn't realize I had so many. As for one ultimate favorite brewing vessel, I am not sure I can pick. However, I have favorites in each category. For example, my red cast iron teapot and glass gaiwan are two vessels that I reach for more than most.

So, how many do you have? What are some of your favorites? Why?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

White August's Camellia Sin (My Happy Place) Review

Type: Herbal
Origin: Not Stated
Price: Free sample (regular price – 16.95 for 50g)
Vendor: White August Tea Company
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 206°F, steeped for 5-7 minutes
Overall Score: 3.2 out of 5

Based on the description of the tea on the package and on White August's website, this herbal tisane is a blend of chamomile and bananas... at least that is the only ingredients that they mention. However, looking at the dry leaf blend there appears to be more to this tisane than just chamomile and bananas.

The dry blend smells sweet and fruity - kind of a mix of apple and banana aromas. I can find the chamomile flowers and banana pieces, but as for the other stuff... hmm... maybe some lemon grass and rooibos? The chamomile definitely gives the floral aroma, but there is a hint of spice somewhere in there.

The aroma of the steeped tisane is very apple-like. It reminds me of hot apple pie between the sweet fruitiness and the background spice aroma. The liquor is a deep orange color.

The tisane is really hot! I got excited and didn't let it cool enough before I took a sip. Let's try this again. The tisane tastes just like it smells... there is a sweet apple flavor but the banana is hard to find. It tastes very similar to apple cider. It has the flavor profile of rooibos, woody and fruity, so I believe my suspicion of the little red flecks in the dry blend being rooibos is correct. I can see this being a dessert tisane as it is super sweet and the flavor is straight to the point.

Just like with the previous reviews of White August’s teas, I would really appreciate more information. What little is given is nowhere near enough for me. It would at least be nice to know all of the ingredients that are in this herbal blend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your Opinion on Polls | Weekly Poll #1: Handles?

I have wanted to have a weekly feature on my blog for quite some time, but couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I wanted to do… until now.

Every Sunday night I will post a new poll that will be located at the top of the right hand column of my blog (See it?). I will also make a blog post giving a back story as to why I chose the question while talking about the results of last week’s poll, as well.

All of this sounds great in theory, but it is not going to work unless you are willing to give your opinion. Are you? I personally like answering polls that interest me. However, I am not sure what everyone else thinks about them. Do you like polls? Do you think they are fun and interesting or does that depend on the question and/or source? Would you like to see that kind of interaction on this blog?

What I have in mind so far is that the polls will be mostly related to tea, but I may go off on a tangent and get a little random. Why not? I am also going to try to stay away from questions like “What kind of tea do you like? Green, White… blah blah blah” and “If you were stuck on an island and could only have one type of tea what would it be? Green, White… blarg blarg blarg” because it seems like tea companies have beaten those poll questions mercilessly into the ground via social media.

Now for the first poll question…

Which do you prefer: tea cups with handles or tea cups without handles?

I personally don’t care if the cup has a handle or not. I pick the tea cup that fancies me at the time. I think if I had to choose between the two I would pick a cup without handles just because I think holding a cup by its handle is uncomfortable. Plus, I get to feel the warmth of the freshly made tea when I wrap my fingers around the cup.

My two favorite cups are in each category. The cup I bought from the World Market a long time ago has a small asymmetrical handle near the rim. I usually stick my index finger through the handle while wrapping the rest of my fingers around the cup. Although, when the tea is really hot, the handle comes in, well, handy. The other favorite of mine is a cup my boyfriend bought me several Christmases ago. It does not sport a handle, but it is the perfect size for when I make tea with a gaiwan.

Tell me what you think! After submitting your answer, you can leave a comment on the poll feature itself or on this blog post.

The poll closes Sunday, July 31st, at 7pm EST.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Intact and Complete

Most of the moving and settling in the new place is done. Moving is always a lot of work, but I found this particular experience to be a lot of fun amongst the blood (damn cardboard cuts!), sweat (90 degrees outside!), and tears (so happy!).

Another note that I am happy to report is that there was no broken teaware during the packing, transporting, and unpacking – thank you news paper and bubble wrap! I put the boxes of teaware in my car instead of the moving truck because I was so worried about my precious pieces.

Anyways, my office/tea room is now set up and complete so the blog posts can resume. Lately, I have been so busy with the new place to be on the computer that some people think I have fallen off the face of the online world. Well… I am back, and yes, I have missed you, too.