The Ultimate Tea App

It’s amazing what you find when you’re growing the App store. Here’s a handy Tea app for all of us tea connoisseurs out there who happen to own an iPhone (I don’t!). Tea. That’s the name of the app. Easy to remember and to search. Tea is a very handy little app that allows you to keep an inventory, make tasting notes about your favourite teas, check your brew settings, it even has a timer! And you can share and share-alike with Facebook friends, twitter and other social media sites, all at the click of a button.  For all the tea geeks out there its a very fun and functional app, clearly made by Tea geeks for tea geeks. It’s available in the app store for only $1.99. Clearly, a small price to pay for the usefulness of this little app. enjoy!

For those coffee lovers, like me there are apps out there. But I wasn’t really impressed enough to mention any. If you know of any, or even if you find any other handy Tea apps out there, post a comment. I’d love to find more!

I love coming home to a smooth Italian

Italian Almond= 4/5 Zing rating

And that’s what it was like today. Coming home to a new flavour of tea. Italian Almond. It has a very subtle almond flavour, that goes nicely with chocolate. The fact that I’ve had 3 cups of this tea shows how much I enjoyed the smooth flavour. There was no Zing particularly, but I’d give it 4 stars as the almondy taste really makes it irresistible. Or maybe it was just the Italian that was irresistible. Either way, win win. 🙂

Thai Chi

That is basically a tongue twister of Chai Tea. And at the moment its my favourite tea for creative pursuits and chilly evenings sitting on the verandah. Initially, I was a Chai Tea sceptic. My first few cups really weren’t that exciting. I remember tasting it with friends and not really being that impressed it was too…cinnamony….or something. Of course you really have to have a taste for it. And be someone who loves two tablespoons of cinnamon in your tea. No wonder people would sweeten it with sugar.

Anyway, I guess I was a Chai Tea cynic. Until now.

I have had an Chai Tea epiphany. In an orange box.

And it’s easy to see why Pukka Vanilla Chai is the Taste gold medal winner of 2010. Pukka as an organisation is known for its organic herbs and its proud Fairtrade stance. You’ll even see the fair-trade logo on its box.

I have had many a chai tea cup. Pukka Vanilla Chai though has a very smooth warming taste, with a zingy bite of ginger, cinnamon and fennel, just to keep you wanting more. Sweetening it gives it even more smoothness and it makes for a very satisfying and warming cuppa on a chilly day. Even better with a dessert like cheese cake or berry tart for a lovely afternoon tea. I’ll certainly be checking out more of the Pukka range in future. Pukka Vanilla Chai has a 5 star zing rating. 🙂

Vanilla Chai= 5/5 Zing rating

Tea cups and pretty saucers

When I was young we visited my grandmother every weekend. I loved it. And I loved how after dessert the family would put on the kettle and make a cup of tea as though no meal was complete without a cuppa, frequently it was served with a biscuit or sweet treat.

I remember my mum having a nifty tea dispenser from the 60s or 70s that allowed you to push the red button and a portion of leaf tea would be dispensed into your cup. I loved it, or rather I loved playing with it. I saw lots of these at an antique store a little while ago, they came in all sizes and comic interpretations- one of the you pushed in the moustache of the chef and the tea came out. Why do they have such tempting and touchable things at antique stores?

My family was from farming origins, several generations of them. But even though, things like fancy dresses and new shoes were a luxury they still had some amazing things. And one of them was tea cups and those popular country canisters- you know those cream coloured ones with TEA, COFFEE, FLOUR, SUGAR etc written on them. I was recently given a set of these that belonged to my grandmother. Inside the tea canister I found original leaf tea and the old chipped tea cup she used to scoop it out. It was left exactly as she’d had it on the farm. I was stoked. but also disposed of the tea. I love anything old, but this tea cup was special because of the sentimentality behind it. And it was quite beautiful in its own way, no colours or markings, but a small chain pattern around the top and a sculpted body and handle. Why do people get so sentimental about tea cups but not as sentimental about coffee mugs?

It reminded me of when I was little. I always loved tea cups. Coffee mugs were fine, but there was something about beautiful tea cups that made me think of tea parties and pretty dresses and the glamour of putting on play jewellery and ‘going to tea’ with my sisters. I’m not sure what it was, but for some reason I always associated drinking tea with elegance and flowers and fancy deserts and beauty. So I always thought that tea cups were one way you could have class and refinement. I used to admire beautiful tea cups in home stores, floral ones, gold rimmed ones, filigree ones, japanese inspired ones, ornately sculpted ones and the saucers that went with them all. I used to imagine the women and men from yesteryear gathered around a table in the fine clothing, feathered hats, high cravats, table laden with biscuits and slices, sipping tea and sharing with each other. For me, tea deserved to be served in beautiful cups on equally beautiful saucers and a with a lovely silver spoon to stir it.

I decided that when I was old enough I would serve my own tea in beautiful cups with saucers and silver spoons. Unfortunately, practicality won out when I did get my own place.

But I have a beautiful cup and a little silver spoon (with sentimental value) that I use occasionally if I want to feel refined and cultured.

So anyway, back to actually drinking tea. I came across an awesome idea for mother’s day- which I’ll tell you about in another blog post, but it involves leaf tea. So since I didn’t have leaf tea and needed some I went to the shop. Its overwhelming sometimes to be in the Tea and Coffee aisle. I sometimes find myself wishing I knew which teas tasted the nicest because then I could just save some time by grabbing what I need and going on my way. but still being a tea newbie I have no idea what some of these teas taste like. So aside from buying some leaf tea, I also noticed a new flavour that made me laugh. Peppermint and English Toffee.  For some reason I thought of fair grounds and lollipops. I guess you could drink it at the fair while sucking on a lollipop, who knows.

So anyway, back to tea. The scent was lovely, very sweet and minty. And the flavour had a hint of toffee smoothness in it.  Adding sweetener really enhances the flavour and it goes really well with some sweet biscuits. Oh, and even after adding milk it had a decidedly toffee colour to it. The mint adds a bit of zing to your mouthful.

So I’d give it a zing rating of 3.5 out of 5. Nice smooth fun-filled cup for an afternoon with friends and family.

Peppermint & English Toffee= 3.5/5 zing rating

Finding the zing

Why drink tea and blog about it? Well, people have blogged about more random things and I love tea. And coffee and occasional sweet treats. So I figured I’d share this with the world. So here goes…

*cough* Um, so yeah, tea. I bought a Celestial seasonings fruit tea sampler, filled with fruity names like Raspberry Zinger and Country peach passion. The names made me laugh. I’m not usually an impulse shopper, but these fun names made their way into my shopping basket in the form of a samplers box. Horticulturalists that I know, tell me they are really infusions, rather than teas. But hey, you put hot water into it, stir it, put it in a pretty cup and sip it on the verandah just like regular tea, so there. For the purposes of this blog I’ll call them teas. I know its not Camellia sinensis, but it’s easier just to say tea, than infusion. 🙂 Infusion sounds like some kind of disease.

So anyway, I had my first sample today. I started with Raspberry Zinger. I really wanted to know whether the tea would actually live up to its name. Would there really be a zing in it? So I got out my favourite pretty tea cup, poured in some hot water and let it brew.

I occupied myself by getting out some shortbread. In my opinion, shortbread and gingerbread are the quintessential tea biscuits. Lots of bickies go nicely, but to me shortbread or gingerbread is the best. Maybe its my Scottish and swedish heritage, who knows, I just always loved shortbread and gingerbread. The Swedes call them Peppakakor, so if I use the word you’ll know I’m talking about gingerbread.

Anyway, tea brewed and shortbread placed on the saucer, I sat on the couch to enjoy a rainy morning. The first two mouthfuls were a little watery, however the colour was spectacular and there was a nice scent. There was a raspberry flavour, but it wasn’t really very strong. A nice accompaniment to the shortbread if you just want a tasty warm beverage on a cool day. I wouldn’t say there was a Zing, til I got the bottom of the cup. Shame about that as I was looking forward to the Zing.

Hence, I would give it a Zing rating (that’s our own taste rating) of about 2 out of 5. Tasty, but I was disappointed by its lack of zing.

Raspberry Zinger= 2/5 zing rating

Just so I can say I have actually had real tea today. I had some Russian Caravan Tea (the real Camellia sinensis variety!), people I know make a fuss over it. Maybe it was my coffee-sensitised taste buds, but it just tasted like regular tea to me. Though it was a nice smooth bodied tea, so I did enjoy it. Highly recommended if your Zinger tea fails you.