Recent Roundup

September 22, 2009

Things have been a bit quiet here lately mainly due to a lovely sickness that latched on and left me pretty miserable for far too long. So much for all that tea = health business. With dulled taste buds and little interest in anything but getting better, tea has taken a bit of a back seat as of late. Well not tea in general, just quality teas. Subtlety and nuance don’t quite jibe with antibiotics and a constant metallic taste. However, there has been tea, so this is a roundup of what’s been in the cup.

Ginger Dragon. This tisane was prepared at a Moroccan coffee shop where I went to hear some great music a few nights ago. It was essentially just pure ginger root steeped strongly with honey. It was a fiery, peppery, yellow brew which did wonders for my sore throat but wreaked havoc on my easily nauseated stomach. Just near the end of the generous glass the strength and flavor became a bit too much and too harsh, but I did finish it and it is always my mother’s go-to cure for sore throats so I couldn’t have passed it up.

Turkish Coffee. Not tea at all, but that same coffee shop offered great Turkish coffee hand prepared properly with the little copper Ibrik. It’s a sweet little coffee treat. A real coffee treat not the watered-down variety of national chains and syrups. Super-finely ground coffee is repeatedly boiled with sugar and water in the little vessel, allowed to settle, and then poured into a small demitasse cup for sheer joy. I’m not much of a coffee drinker and it is just sublime. My own Ibrik will be coming soon and I plan on enjoying more of this in the comfort of my own home.

Red Bamboo honey and Luzianne Tea. My personal sick-day standby. The tea is merely a vehicle for transporting the amazingly deep and complex red bamboo honey. I get this tea from a local beekeeper so I don’t know about the availability outside of PA/WV area, but if you can find some, try it. As for the Luzianne, I know it is meant for iced tea and I don’t care. I think it has the most flavor and character of all American teabags and pairs really well with honey of all types.

Matcha Kit-Kats. A Japanese friend recently brought back a box of these little delights. It could just be my dead palate but there isn’t much green tea present, it’s more like a green colored white chocolate kit-kat, which there’s nothing wrong with in my book. I had been hoping for a more bitter and vegetal experience but they are good enough that I went back for more and would probably devour the whole lot if it weren’t in bad taste.

So that’s the roundup, there will be some more coverage of my recent black/red tea foray soon.

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.