mega matcha & beastly leaves: the try-all-the-teas project take 2

I’m writing this try-all-the-teas write-up with my other great love keeping me company – Jamie Oliver. He’s currently talking about filthy, gorgeous pork burgers on his latest show “Quick & Easy Food.“. Oh Jamie, I do love you so!

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Hmmm. I wonder how Jamie feels about tea… *ponders*

OK, get with the try-all-the-teas program Melanie!

Today, you lucky folks get a try-all-the-teas twofer.

Number 1: a T2 Vanilla Matcha. Which, on perusing their websites matcha page, it looks like they maybe don’t do anymore? It *has* been on my tea shelf for a while… anyway, shame, as I rather enjoyed it. They do seem to still do a chocolate and a cinnamon matcha though.

As one of my previous green tea posts explained, I 100% know how good green tea is for me (which matcha is a powdered form of) but I 150% do not love the taste of green tea all that much. I am partial to green tea flavoured with other things, hence vanilla matcha. I know, theres a tea purist clutching their tea leaves in horror at this abomination, but … *shrugs*

This one was delicately flavoured with vanilla, and was still that glorious, vivid green when you brewed it. It tasted just like a vivid green tea, but with a gentle, sweet edge.

I brewed it using T2’s matcha flask.  Again, not winning any favours with that tea purist I’m sure, but it was a whole lot easier to make – pop the matcha powder in the flask, pour the 80 degree hot water into the flask, screw in the lid that has a handy little whisk built in, and then shake, shake, shake! Open said flask gently, pour in a little warm almond or soy milk in my case, one more little shake – DRINK! You can even drink your amazing, good-for-you, tasty matcha on the go, given the handy, transportable little flask thing you got going on.

 

Tea Number 2: First Edition Tea Co’s Beauty & The Beast blend. Which I think maybe isn’t available anymore either! Oops!

Let’s start at the beginning. The First Edition Tea Co. is a one-woman company, out of Toronto. Stephanie, the one-woman in question, creates wonderful loose leaf tea blends based on famous pieces of literature (like Sherlock Holmes – which is black tea, nettle, honeybush, or “Pride and Prejudice” – which is apple, rosehips, roasted mate, orange pieces, hibiscus, calendula petals.), and sells them on etsy.

I think this B&tB one was also a gift, sometime back. I finally tried it last weekend.

The ingredients? Black tea, cinnamon, rose petals, orange pieces, ground vanilla bean.

It was beautifully fragrant while it brewed, and equally as tasty to drink. You know how sometimes wonderfully smelling teas don’t really taste as amazing as they smell? This wasn’t one of those teas.

The rose petals – which to be honest, I was originally a little dubious of, as I like looking at flowers, but I don’t love ingesting them generally – really gave it that little extra something-something.

Maybe the First Edition Tea Co. will revive this flavour. If they do, give it a whirl!

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the try-all-the-teas project: tea number 1

As the blog name may indicate, I am a full-on, 100% freak for tea.

I love all kinds – chai, green, black, herbal, fruit tisanes – and have been known to get very excited about new flavours and blends and brands and want to BUY THEM ALL.

I usually do. Buy them all, that is.

Very often however, I mostly stick to my old favourites for every day tea drinking, and end up with piles and piles of new tea flavours that I just don’t get around to trying, let alone drinking regularly.

See, exhibit A: my tea stash at home. Each of those drawers has multiple types of teas, some bags, some loose leaf, and then theres all those piled on top, and those stacked behind the others at the back there.

It’s a lot of tea. Even a freak like me can acknowledge that.

tea stash

So. This is why I’m kicking off the “Try-All-The-Teas Project” – where I will try all the teas I’ve accumulated lately. Every single one. And report back on each one to you here.

First cab of the rank? The Chai Room: Original Masala Blend, made in the T2 Teamaker (which I’ll also do a lil review of soon too, promise).

The Chai Room  is made locally, very locally to me, in Leichardt. This particular chai was gifted to me on my birthday, and is my first taste of The Chai Room’s wares.

The Original Masala Blend tastes like a delicious, very traditional recipe chai – it’s peppery, full of cloves, star anise and a milder cinnamon flavour. The instructions on the site recommend a dash of your choice of milk and honey for sweetness, but as with most of my teas, I drink it black, quite strong, and I don’t feel like it needs sweetening.

It felt particularly appropriate and warming on this rainy, Spring Sunday afternoon, and if you’re after an authentic chai experience, this is definitely a good one to try.

You can buy a one-off pack here at The Chai Room, or you could sign up for a chai subscription, where you can get different chai teas delivered at the beginning of each month. Which sounds like a marvellous idea. Once I’ve made it through my current tea stash maybe…

 

tea with a little holiday “spirit”

I love tea. (yeah, I know you know, it’s kinda right there in the blog name.)

I also love a little of the sparkling vino. Bubbles, champers, sparklie, whatever you want to call it, I’m on board.

The big question I never thought I would ever pose is: would I love “prosecco infused tea“?

I may only ever know if I get to an ALDI store in the UK this Christmas, but conceptually? I’m not 100% sure about piping hot prosecco. If I could get my hands on some, I’d have to give it a go of course.

ALDI also has a lovely sounding spiced chai and mulled wine varieties in this festive tea range, which seem like more tea appropriate infusions to me.

Allegedly, the prosecco tea tipple is alcohol free, and sold out in 24hours.

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pic from ALDI.ie

Sunday at the salon: Tea Salon High Tea review

Q: What does a proper tea freak do when they get home from a delicious, decadent, afternoon of high tea?

A: This tea freak makes a cuppa (of course), and gets on with a review post!

after high tea

I didn’t choose the Blog life the Blog life chose me.

As far as I’m concerned, Sunday afternoons are made for pink sparkling wine, fancy finger sandwiches, divine sugary treats and giant pots of tea.

Luckily for me, thats exactly what I got this afternoon, joining a friend for high tea at the Tea Salon: a sweetly lilac and pink festooned chain of tea joints in major shopping precincts in Melbourne and Sydney.

Pretty squarely aimed at the fierce shopper, looking for an afternoon pick-me-up after a big day of retail therapy, or mid-shopping binge lunch, the Westfield Sydney one is right in the middle of the centre, on the 4th floor with all the designer stores I usually just peek in the window of.

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The Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney

We rock up at 1pm, and the place is already packed. Plenty of Mom’s and their little girls, tourists and luxury shoppers around us, chatting excitedly over silver tiered trays piled high with food, and taking the requisite social media snaps on their phones.

We’re seated pretty quickly and are told our bubbly will be over soon, we just have to decide on the scones we’d like to order, and the kind of tea we want. We both pick the white chocolate and cranberry scone.

And now, for the big TEA DECISION! My high-tea companion isn’t a big tea drinker (I know, but look, the world would be dull if we all liked the same things right?), so she chooses an amazing sounding chocolate chai iced tea. I pick the Sweetheart Tea, which is a black ceylon tea, “sweetened with a sprinkling of tiny, pink, heart-shaped sugar candies.” I simply had to.

Our sparkly arrives – delicious – and we giggle over the Wills, Kate and Prince George commemorative plates set in front of us.

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Kate, Wills and George. And a cucumber sandwich.

Then, the tiered tray of sandwiches, cake, tarts, mousse AND scones is placed in front of us and the real work begins – demolishing this food.

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mel the tea freak (i.e. me) and the world’s biggest scones.

Highlights for me? The basil pesto, spinach & creme fraiche ribbon sandwich, the very rich chocolate mousse, with a layer of soft, sticky merengue on the top, and the gigantic white chocolate & cranberry scone, which came with triple berry conserve and cream.

As for my love-heart tea? It was hot, and strong, and delicious. But either the pink hearts melted, or I just got plain tea. I thought I’d open the teapot lid and be tickled at the sight of those tiny little pink hearts, but I didn’t see any. My tea didn’t taste sweet either, but perhaps my taste buds were a little distracted by all the sweet stuff I’d already eaten! Anyway, I didn’t ask, but I didn’t feel too hard done by in the end, because the pot of tea I got was probably just what I needed, as I said, after all those sweet treats.

I believe the chocolate chai iced tea was tasty too, although there is a case to be made for choosing a more refreshing iced tea, to balance the sweetness of everything else.

All in all, it was a perfectly lovely afternoon tea. It feels a little strange at first, out there in the middle of designer store central, shoppers wandering past, muzak playing overhead, but with tasty food and delicious company, its quite a lovely way to spend the afternoon. I can see how it would be a nice resting place for the weary shopper, requiring sustenance, but it was equally fun for an afternoon gossip and catch up, with the added bonus of all the sweet treats you can handle.

My friend had a Red Balloon voucher for this high tea, but if you’re interested, the Winter High Tea with sparkling wine is usually $49.

Tea Tales: all the tea news you can handle 25/05

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HOLD THE PHONES: The Brits aren’t the tea-drinking champs we all think they are. – poor old poms, lost out to Uzbekistan in the We Drink the Most Tea competition.

In cos’ why not news: PG Tips sent a giant green tea monkey down the Thames. – he’s actually pretty cute. does he entice me to drink more green tea? Hmmmm…

The oldest tea in the world on display in a Chinese museum. – found in the 2100-year-old tomb of a Chinese emperor. I bet its still delicious.

Kim Kardashian West used Twinings Earl Grey tea bags to dye her Cannes frock in the hotel bathroom sink. – I 100% never thought I would never, ever find cause to include KKW in a tea blog post… and yet, BOOM! 101 uses for earl grey (that don’t involve drinking it) #1 – dying your nude mesh slip under your posh as Cannes frock.

Well there you go, I learned something today folks.

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guess who’s back, back again…

what's your favorite traveldestination?-2

Handsome men drinking tea

Because why not.