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Tea Time

I have always like tea. For many years I was perfectly happy drinking all the different brands you can buy at Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble’s etc. They came in cool flavours in little cans or boxes with 20 to 40 tea bags inside. Then I had a very evil lady that works for one of my clients bring in some tea for me to try. This stuff was messy.. it didn’t come in its own bag. Instead she had little linen bags that you reused. You poured a little tea in it and then put it in the tea cup to brew.  It tasted beyond great, and there were many flavours, many many flavours. So down the road of tea snobbery I tripped and fell. She actually is a very nice lady :) but I doulbt she would object to me saying she took a certain evil glee in overseeing my tea downfall :) I then proceeded to corrupt my wife down the slippery tea slope :)

Over the last few years since I fell into the way of drinking loose leaf teas I have tried three online vendors that I have purchased teas from.

TeaVana

The first actually had a physical branch store open about 100 miles from me for a while before the branch store went under. There was nothing like walking in there and sniffing at all the wonderful teas. This was TeaVana. I currently order from their online website. http://www.teavana.com In general they seem to have high quality products. Their pricing is a little steeper than the other two sites I have purchased at but they have some to die for teas.

From Teavana there are a few standout teas that rate our highest rating. They are teas that we come back to time after time and drink more often than other teas.

  1. Cacao Mint Black Tea this tea is like comfort food. It is rich and mellow with a strong smooth minty black tea flavor. I know that the cacao has to add to it but I can’t tell exactly what it is doing. I just know that when in doubt as to what flavor we wan’t that this almost always ends up being the default morning or evening. Store Description. Childhood delights are echoed in this dessert-inspired concotion of minty chocolate wonder. Refreshing peppermint compliments whole hazlenut and cocoa pieces creating naturally creamy flavors mixed with tingling goodness in everyone’s favorite chocolate minty confection. CONTAINS NUTS Full-bodied nutty and cocoa infusion with minty undertones
  2. MatéVana Herbal Tea This tea is amazing. It has a dark almost earthy taste that is rich and smooth. Here is the store’s description. It’s not coffee, is it tea? Taste this coffee-like, caffeine-infused mate and red rooibos blend. Sweetened with cocoa, chocolate chips, almond bits and enhanced with hazelnut, this mochachino wonder lends a Teavana favorite smooth, dark rich sips of that are soft and robust. CONTAINS NUTS  Roasted infusion with rich chocolaty overtones
  3. JavaVana Mate Tea This is also an exceptional tea. It is reminiscent of coffee or a breakfast tea with a much stronger flavour than the MateVana yet still retaining every bit of the dark smoothness. Store Description Start off every morning treating yourself to a healthier version of a cup of Joe. Bold black Assam tea, and multi-fired mate merge with chocolate and cappuccino then are mellowed out with a luxurious creamy vanilla and blended into a caffeinated confection of mocha coffee-like wonder. Rich coffee-like infusion with creamy cocoa vanilla overtones
  4. Almond Biscotti Black Tea This a black tea that tastes exactly how it sounds. Be carefull brewing it, or it will turn bitter on you. 1 to 1.5 minutes is all the brewing time you need. Store Description A black tea with the scrumptious “cookie-like” flavor of almonds and cinnamon bits, especially tempting sweetened with rock cane sugar and a splash of milk.
  5. Earl Grey Creme Black Tea I love a good Earl Grey tea. This version of it simply blew me away when I first had it. The second time we ordered it I was not as impressed. I think it was mixed a little differently. We have ordered it a third time hoping it will be as good as the first time. all the other teas from here have had a pretty good consistency from one batch to another. Store Description. High tea is further elevated with tart bergamot orange tastefully tempered by creamy Madagascar vanilla then blended with the classic pomp of an Earl Grey black tea. A majestically smooth confection that is now available any time the senses desire. Sprinkled with sunny blue cornflowers, this full leaf wonder is divinely delicious with a silky sweet finish. Dairy Free. Smooth infusion with bergamot overtones
  6. Azteca Fire Herbal Tea This is a spicy herbal tea that my evil lady friend introduced me to. Though we don’t drink it all the time, when you want it you want it :) so we keep a little in the tea cuboard for those times. Here is the stores’ description. Gorgeous feather headdresses, exquisite turquoise jewels and the famed Latin cocoa and spicy chilies were all used as money to satisfy Aztecan nobility. This tea is a drink worthy of the gods with the taste of hand-dipped chocolate- covered strawberries emboldened with a kick of chilies that summon the Aztecs’ favorite luxuries. Each sip is as decadent as the last in this tasty chocolaty treat.SUPERFRUIT ENHANCED Chocolate and strawberry infusion with a peppery kick

For the most part those are the teas we like the most from Teavana.com.. there are a bunch of highly rated ones we have not tried because of the prices though. These teas average in the 6 to 8 dollars per 2 ounces range. Some of their teas jump as high as 20 dollars per 2 ounces and we tend to be a bit cheaper in the pocket book than that.

Mighty Leaf

We just started ordering from Mighty Leaf Tea

  1. Chocolate Chip Truffle I very much liked this tea from the first time I tasted it a few days ago. It’s in the 4.50 dollar per 2 ounce range.  Store Description. A signature black tea blend, Chocolate Chip Truffle black tea, is a decadent mix of deep dark chocolate chunks mingled with rich black tea leaves.
  2. Vanilla Bean This was the second of three teas I ordered from here and it was also very nice. Vanilla Bean, a deep blend of black tea leaves with Madagascar vanilla, conjures up images of inhaling the heady aroma of wild vanilla as you hike the tropics near Mt. Maromakotro. A full-bodied and fruity cup, Vanilla Bean, a blend of Ceylon and China black teas, makes a deeply satisfying impression.
  3. Chocolate Mint Truffle Roobios This was another very nice tea. Blended with Rooibos tea, an herbal plant also known as Red Tea from South Africa, Chocolate Mint Truffle rooibos tea is an intoxicating blend of chocolate cacao nibs, mint and rooibos leaves. Rooibos and chocolate are both known to be good sources of antioxidants. Enjoy this guilt-free indulgence, great for kids and adults alike.

These are the only teas I have ordered from here but they all were of a very decent quality. I am impressed that of the first three teas I ordered I like all three as much as I have.

The Tea Table

http://www.theteatable.com

I recently ordered a bunch of teas from this website. They were very inexpensive compared to the other sites so I went wild and ordered a bunch of them. My results have been mixed. Some of the teas just don’t taste good at all. However some of them were very good. As I go through them and find which ones I like I will post comments and links here.

  1. Orange Cream Roobios Tea We really like this tea.  Reminiscent of an orange cream-sicle, Orange Cream Rooibos Tea doesn’t need any sweetening to make you smile. Superior grade rooibos with orange peels, freeze-dried yogurt pieces, and flavoring. Caffeine-free. Use 1 tsp. per cup and steep 5-10 minutes in freshly boiled water.
  2. Monk’s Blend Tea I ordered a free sample of this with my order and it has gone to the top of the order list.. Very nice.  Originally, it is believed that Monk’s Blend was developed by monks to support their life’s desires as tea is an item that these monks considered good for the soul. The monks would drink this tea to help keep them awake during long periods of meditation. It is fair to say that this is an ancient and harmonious blend that we can still enjoy today. Our Monk’s Blend is a perfect all-day treat; sweet and toasty with a subtle bouquet. The high-grown Ceylon used in this blend goes well with the smooth flavors of vanilla and grenadine. Enhanced with sunflower and calendula petals. Use one teaspoon per cup and steep 3-5 minutes in freshly boiled water.
  3. Cafe Latte Tea This sounded interesting and has lived up to that expectation. It is a cross between a black tea and coffee with a twist of chocolate. Even if you’re not a coffee fan, you’ll enjoy this blend first thing in the morning. Cafe Latte Tea contains black tea, broken cocoa bits, almond brittle bits, coffee beans, flavoring, and freeze-dried yogurt pieces (contains dairy). Great with milk and sugar! Use one teaspoon per cup and steep for 3-5 minutes in freshly boiled water. A great coffee alternative. 

 

Finum Tea Brewing Filters.

We have found these to be the most used tea brewing accessory that we have. They are simple and work over and over, unlike the tea brewing bags we started with. They are just one of those simple but totally useful products you run across sometimes. We typically put the correct amount of loose tea in the filter and set it into a mug, then we add sugar if your so inclined and add hot water and brew for your preferred time. While brewing the lid/cap that you can see under the filter in this picture goes on top and helps hold the heat in as the tea brews. Then you turn  the cap upside down and set it on  the table and when you pull the tea basket out it sits in the cap as shown in the below pictures.  No muss no fuss, any excess water and tea that drains out of the filter stays in the lid.

The filters are also very easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. If you clean them before the tea dries in them, as in leaving them overnight, then a simple rinse under the fawcet after you dump the majority of the used tea leaves out in the trash is sufficient. If you do let the tea dry out in the filter then dump what you can out and run hot water over it for a minute or so to soften the dried leaves. Then just gently rub the side of the filter with your fingers while running water over it to dislodge and clean the rest of the leaves out. We have purchased several sets of these so that we have them at the house and on our boat. We have also given some as gifts. Everyone loves them.

With the high quality stainless basket they leave no taste other than the tea itself in your tea.

We have been using these now for a couple years and are still using the original ones. The have held up to daily use very well.

The link below to Amazon will take you to where we ordered ours and you can see other peoples reviews as well.