Mlesna Ginger Peach and Canadian Ice Wine Tea

October 28, 2008

I’m almost over my cold but not quite to the point where I’d be doing any justice to some really great tea so I bought some small packs of Mlesna (Metropolitan Tea Co.) brand tea in their Canadian Icewine and Ginger Peach flavors. Mlesna uses Ceylon tea as the basis for their teabags and it is generally passable and at least uses natural flavorings. I used to enjoy the Icewine tea but now it just seems far too harsh and perfumy for me, I’m not sure if something changed with their flavoring or just my taste but it isn’t doing it for me. The ginger peach was a new one for me from them and one of the few flavored teas I do enjoy is Numi or Republic of Tea’s black ginger peach loose tea… this one is very different. I don’t really get ginger or peach as identifiable flavors and the ceylon in the background doesn’t hold up like the sturdier black tea in the other offerings. Overall none of it is really good and I think I’m going to finally do away with the notion of drinking a lesser tea just because I’m sick and can’t get the subtle nuances.

Ricola Schweizer Krautertee Instant Tea

October 23, 2008

I’ve been graced with the presence of yet another wonderful cold… so although anecdotal I think I prove that even 10+ cups of tea a day can’t keep the doctor away. I refuse to use any cough drop other than Ricola and a while back I noticed a little coffee shop near work sold tins of Ricola instant tea. The problem is that there were three or four kinds and they are only printed in German and at around $10 I didn’t want to guess. After some research I found that the green tin that said “Schweizer Krautertee” which from my rudimentary understanding of German I believe means “Swiss Instant Tea” was the original. Unfortunately again there were no directions discernible to me so Google produced a few results claiming 2tsp per cup was right. I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised and completely hooked!

Ricola Instant Tea

Ricola Instant Tea

It is light and sweet and while close to the flavor of the cough drops due to I’m guessing the same herbs it is much milder and the added warmth is pure heaven. It isn’t a powder as I thought but instant granules that dissolve immediately with little stirring. I guess it could be considered a tisane since it is all herbal (but I’m guessing a fair bit of sugar) but regardless if you have access to some and any hint of a cold or sore throat I couldn’t recommend it higher for some relief. The shop I went to specializes in European and German imports so I’m not sure of it’s availability in the States but Amazon and a few other Internet retailers have it.

Red Bamboo, Thistle, and Mead

October 1, 2008

Maybe it is just because the weather is turning colder or possibly because I’ve been a bit sick for a while but honey has been my vice for th epast few weeks. Shamelessly I brew about 6-8oz. of a regular black tea (often Luzianne teabags which I like hot) to a very low strength and then add in a judicious amount of honey. Basically it is warm honey water with a splash of tea flavoring, hey I like it what can I say.

I also had just run out of my favorite honey, Red Bamboo, that I purchased last year at a Rennaisance Festival and out of the blue got an invitation to go to the last day of this years’. Jousting and medieval crafts and weaponry are right in my wheelhouse but the main draw was my honey guy. J & M Honey from PA. He also sells mead making kits which I passed over last year. I instantly snapped up a pound of the Red Bamboo, and his thistle honey to replenish my supply as well as a 2lb. mead kit. The red bamboo is a nice medium dark honey with a distinct taste that I find absolutely captivating and if you can find it none come higher recommended. The thistle is a nice break from the standard clover honey or the more sweet Tupelo.

As for the mead, I have zero idea what I am doing but I have full instructions and a lot of desire to make it happen so a year from now we shall see how it goes. The suggestion is to make a “cyser” which includes apple cider, but I really just want to make a straight honey mead. As long as I don’t go blind I’ll call it a success… and yes, I did just admit to enjoying Luzianne teabags hot.