Japanese Sencha

Hello friends!

So usually when Brooke and I review teas, we do so in the warmth of our cozy apartment. Especially with -39C weather. Today… we made an exception. We ventured out on a freezing cold day in Ottawa to drink and review our tea elsewhere. Why? As soon as we smelled our Organic Japanese Sencha steeping, we could only think one thing. SUSHI.

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Tea: Organic Japanese Sencha

DAVIDsTEA Description: Light and Brisk

Japanese monks were writing about tea in the 9th century, but the world had to wait until 1740 for Sencha, when a tea merchant named Nagatani perfected a new process of steaming, rolling and heat-drying green tea. The result? An emerald-green tea that’s refreshing, smooth and high in antioxidants. No wonder it’s Japan’s most popular drink.

Ingredients: Fine organic steamed Japanese green tea from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

To get started we put 2 tsp of tea into a tea pot and let our leaves steep in 74°C for 3 minutes. With one whiff, our stomachs were in the mood for a full on sushi lunch, so we poured our tea into travel thermoses and were off!

Stacey: Want to have a quick sip before we head out?
Brooke: Yeah, let’s do it!

*Sip*

Stacey: Oh yes, definitely a sushi green tea.
Brooke: Sushi!!!

On our way to our favourite sushi joint, Sushi Zone in the Byward market, Brooke dropped her thermos (of course). Luckily she had a Contigo thermos from Costco and not a drop of tea was spilled. (Shout out to Brooke’s Mom for that wonderful buy!)

Our walk to the market was not a long one but we were very  happy to be sheltered from the elements after being exposed to wickedly cold wind. Once we began to thaw, we took our order and we were ready for an all-Japanese experience.

Adorable Woman Behind the Counter: Would you like a drink with that?
Brooke: Oh no, thank you. We’ve got that covered.

*omnomnom* …*sip*

Brooke: Mmm, this tea has a bit a more flavour than the tea you would typically get at a sushi place. I think they steep their tea for less time, so it’s usually a bit more watered down. With ours you can really taste the  difference in the sencha preparation.
Stacey: Yeah, I wish we had it in little cups like sushi places though, it would complete the experience.
Brooke: It’s a great strong flavour, perfect with our salmon and tuna rolls. Wow. Best tea review ever. I wish every tea made us have the urge to go eat out!
Stacey: The question is, would we be drink this without sushi?
Brooke: …I would. Totally. A small amount, though. Not a whole cup.
Stacey: I think it would depend on the day for me. I wouldn’t take it to work but I would enjoy this at home.
*pause to eat more sushi*
Stacey: This is way too big; I mean, how do they expect you to put ALL that in your mouth? Really?!
Brooke: LOL…. Hey, you know, it’s been 40 minutes since we steeped the teas and the flavour is still just as strong. I say we try putting our brews in a thermos for the next teas that we review. Spencer, an avid reader of ours, suggested we try this to maintain the flavour and temperature of the tea. After this experience, it seems like it does wonders for both!

Brooke went on to say how happy she was that we were out eating sushi together and she was grinning from ear to ear. While I was also pretty happy, I was less…uh…expressive with my emotions.

Stacey: Brooke, I don’t know how you do it, being so animated when you’re happy. I would get so exhausted.
Brooke: Well Stacey, I say if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!

Tea Vibes:

Brooke: Great green tea. It’s got a wonderful aroma that fits perfectly with you. I’d love to have some of this in our cupboard as long as we’re not constantly rushing out to get sushi. Bam. Also, shout out to Contigo thermoses, you kept my tea hot and safe when battling Ottawa weather. Win! 9/10

Stacey: I have to agree with Brooke on this one, this was one tasty green tea. It was the perfect match for sushi but don’t worry if you find yourself without this tasty dish; this tea stands on its own. Its toasty flavour will have you feeling good and ready to conquer the day (even if involves cold Ottawa weather). I would be interested in having more of this tea more often. 9/10

Mmm, looks like Brooke and I are back on track. Tune in next time, when we hopefully review another tea that prompts us to dine out. Yum! Yum!

Until next tea,
Stacey and Brooke

Snorlax
I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese…I really think so!

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Green & Fruity

Tea lovers!

Welcome back to our regular programming. Stacey and I are sitting at our dining room table grinning at each other over our steaming mugs after a lovely evening together. Ohh it feels good. We’re back!

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Tea: Green & Fruity

DAVIDsTEA description: Now that’s fresh.

When it comes to rooibos, some say green is the new red. Because while red rooibos tastes great, some say the new wave of unoxidized green rooibos is even better. What’s so special? The production process, which is similar to that of green tea, gives it a smooth, fresh taste. Here we’ve topped it up with the tropical flavours of papaya, apple, mango and peach.

Ingredients: South African green and red rooibos, apple, mango, papaya.

We steeped our mugs for 7 minutes at 98C with 1.25tsp of loose leaf per mug before taking out our infusers and BAM- what a smell and what a beautiful colour. We were dazzled!

Brooke: Ooooh it smells wonderful! Wait. I’m nervous.
Stacey: Why?
Brooke: It might be TOO fruity! It smells like fruit punch. I’m scared.
Stacey: Oooh but I love the colour, it’s a beautiful orange! Kind of like a sunset. Let’s go!

*sip*

Brooke: Oooh! Lovely!
Stacey: Hmm… It’s not sweet at all. It’s like a dull dirty tea.
Brooke: DULL DIRTY?
Stacey: NO, Brooke. FRUITY. Dull fruity! I said it tastes fruity but without the sweetness. I don’t know. It doesn’t punch you in the face with sweetness like Goji Pop.
Brooke: Oh, okay. Well, I love it. I really appreciate how soft the flavour is, it’s almost floral. No bitterness, no tartness. Yum.
Stacey: I agree! I like this one.
Brooke: Is there green tea in this or just green rooibos? I definitely TASTE green tea.
Stacey: Hopefully just rooibos, it’s 9PM and we know what caffeine does to me.
Brooke: Hehe, yes. Well wow, the green rooibos is definitely a neat addition- not your regular rooibos tisane! Whew!

Did you know that only brews made with the plant  Camellia sinensis are considered teas? Green, black, white, oolong- they’re all from the same plant, just prepared and processed differently. Any herbals like rooibos or chamomile are called tisanes and are made with different herbs. The more you drink…!

Stacey: You know what, I’m going to go back to my dull statement… I’m slightly bored now. It does have that hint of sweetness at the end but I’m kind of over it at this point. Now it seems to lack flavour.
Brooke: What?? YOU lack flavour! Don’t let the tea hear you. I like it!

Tea Vibes:

Stacey: Hm, I feel bad, but I think I’m kind of disappointed with this one. This tea started off exciting with the colour and smell, but it pittered off at the end. I wanted more out of this one. It’s a different kind of fruity, it lacks what the others had with tartness and sweetness. I think overall I could do without it. It’s not my kind of tea. Smelled good… but in the end, it didn’t hold my attention and I got bored. 6/10

Brooke: No no no, I disagree completely! It reminds me of peaches. More like the candy but without the sour sugar, Mmm. That’s what I smelled at the beginning, not fruit punch. I really like how subtle it is, I like how soft the flavour is and how with every sip you get a little wave of fruit while still being weighted with the taste of green rooibos. I like it. Stacey, YOU’RE dull dirty. This tea is fabulous. 8/10

Oh my. I think this may be the first time we’ve differed so much on our tea preferences. Have you tried this one yet? What did you think?

I think Stacey’s a nut. :- )

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

C. sinensis, lookin’ good.

Detox

Hiya!

Oh readers, we’ve missed you. We apologize dearly for the delay in our posts of 2013.  Since returning to Ottawa, Brooke and I have both been quite busy, so much so that we barely even see each other, let alone have a tea together. I started a new job as a research assistant and have been enjoying the freedom of post-student life while Brooke has jumped back into her Master’s, improv practices, and Girl Guide meetings full-force. Thank goodness we both drank a tea while we were at home and I finally had the time to put it all together. Rest assured our next post will be back to the norm of the two of us goofs having a tea and a laugh together. For now- onward to Detox!

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 Tea: Detox

DAVIDsTEA Description:  Restart and restore

Need a reboot? Try this traditional formula. The rooibos will restore your equilibrium with iron, potassium, zinc and manganese. The sencha will pump you full of antioxidants. The ginger’ll zap lethargy and headaches. The ginkgo will clear your mind. The lemongrass will detoxify your liver. And the juniper berries will flush out toxins and any lingering regrets. Not working? Just go back to bed.

Ingredients: Rooibos, sencha green tea, ginger, lemongrass, ginkgo, juniper berries. With natural lemon flavouring.

I drank my Detox on New Year’s Day with my Mom (seemed fitting, given the lack of sleep and consumption of other liquids) and Brooke gave Detox a try when she woke up one morning not feeling so hot back in December. We swapped notes afterward.

Given that this was a mixture of a green and rooibos tea, I was a little shocked when the DAVIDsTEA instructions called for 98° water to be poured over 1.5 tsp of tea leaves, but it seemed to work just fine. I steeped my leaves for a good 5 minutes and Brooke went for 6.

I’m not going to lie, I was kind of  dreading this tea. The description and ingredients just weren’t doing it for me…seemed like a lot of strong flavors in one tea, and the smell…phew, it cleared my nose alright! I felt a little apprehensive when I finally took the plunge.

*Sip*

Stacey: Hmm, this tea actually not that bad. No, it’s not bad at all! The taste reminds me of a ginger tea I really like.
Lorie: Tastes like cough syrup to me…but with a fruity taste afterwards.
Stacey: It has a lighter taste than I thought it would, not overpowering at all. You can definitely taste the ginger and the lemon grass though.
Lorie: It would be good if you had a cold I think.
Stacey: Or after a night of ringing in the New Year!

Meanwhile, back in Halifax, Brooke let her tea settle for a good 10 minutes before taking her first sip. She said that Detox had the overwhelming smell of olives, which is ridiculous.

Brooke: Mmm, It tastes like chamomile; soft and soothing. There is a slight spice that lingers at the tip of your lips and tongue. The reviews made it sound scary, but it’s just another night time tea. The flavour of Detox tea definitely doesn’t bite you or even comfort you… it just sits with you. One thing I will say is this tea is doing wonders for my sore throat.  And it has a strong olive taste too!  [Not gonna lie, no idea what she’s on about with the olives.] After letting it sit for 10 minutes, the flavour dulled a bit but was still lovely. Yummy!

Tea Vibes

Stacey: I found this tea to be a lot less harsh than I thought it would be, which is a good thing. I’ve had a few “sore throat” teas that have been really strong and had an overpowering lemon flavor to them but Detox is not like that at all. I think the ingredients really worked well together and left me with a nice, pleasant aftertaste. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a staple tea, but I wouldn’t turn it down if it was offered. I give this one a 7/10.

Brooke: Oh I liked this one. It was neat- after I had this tea and went for a walk along the ocean with my parents and we went to a little tea shop down the road. There I tried their version of Detox and had fun considering the flavours. The other tea still had a heavy sense of Chamomile, seemed a little stronger but I may have felt that way because I was cold from our winter walk. No olive taste though [But seriously? Olive? I don’t even know where she is getting that]. Overall, this tea is calm and soothing. I liked it better than a regular chamomile; it made me smile. 7.5/10

Hooray, after a bit of a break ,the two tea roomies are back! We’ll be much more frequent in our posts from now on, we promise. As a nice plus, we finally got our tea together and even had a brew this evening! Brooke is looking forward to sharing our experience with you, so look for that in the next couple of days. Hope you all are having a lovely, mild January. Happy tea drinking!

Until next tea,
Stacey and Brooke

ocean

Brooke wanted me to show you all her lovely ocean walk that she mentioned, so here it is. 

Organic Breakfast

Hi readers,

Happy New Year!! Hope you all had a great time with friends and are looking forward to the new year ahead. Let’s celebrate with tea!

I got a text from Stacey the other day saying that she and her mum were going to try Organic Breakfast. When I suggested it to my mom, she answered with “oh sure! We just got those sausages from the market and our eggs are local, too, so …” I had to interrupt with “oh, sorry! It’s a tea, Mom! Just the name of the next tea”. Pause. “Pah! Well then. Get the kettle!” It’s going to be a good post, people. I can feel it.

David's Organic Breakfast from DAVIDsTEA

Tea: Organic Breakfast

 DAVIDsTEA description: It’ll change your life

This is the kind of tea that puts you in a great mood, inspires harmonious relationships and makes you outrageously productive. How did we do it? First we selected our favourite organic and biodynamic black teas from Yunnan, Assam and Darjeeling. And then we sipped different variations until we’d created the ultimate balance. Could there be a better way to start your day?

 Ingredients: Organic black tea from India (Darjeeling), China (Yunnan) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

Mom and I each made a big mug and poured steaming hot water onto about 1.5tsp of loose leaf. We let it steep for 6 minutes before removing the infusers.

In Bolton, Stacey and Lorie did the same and basked in the memories of teas past.

Lorie: It reminds me of Twinings English Breakfast Tea. I should have had this in a tea cup rather than a mug!
Stacey: Oh yes, it’s the type of tea you would have at a tea party.
Lorie: Or one you would drink at a bridal shower. I picture little tea cups with saucers, finger sandwiches, and petits fours.
Stacey: Petits fours?
Lorie: Yes and we’d have something like this at my Granny’s house.
Stacey: Mmm, yes sipping on this tea reminds me of an afternoon with Grandma.
Lorie: The tea is mellow, it has a nice aroma. It’s a nice blend of all three—it’s a not overpowering. Yum!

Back in Halifax, Mom and I were surprised with how “normal” the tea turned out to be.

Cathy: Hmm… I don’t know if it’s going to do all those things it claims…
Brooke: Why not?
Cathy: Because it’s just a black tea. It is what it is! What do you think about it?
Brooke: I find it heavier than Glitter and Gold and because of that I like it more. Nice and strong.
Cathy: It doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that black teas do, though, no need for milk and sugar.
Brooke: Sorry mum, I wanted to do a fun flavour with you but this is kind of … simple!
Cathy: Well wow, I just love it anyway! Mm!
Stewart: Hmm… are you going to finish that mug, Cathy?

Tea vibes:

Stewart: That’s a right tasty tea! My Cape Breton roots fully approve. I don’t know about the claims for exuberant productivity but I could drink this any time. It’s certainly more refined that Red Rose but no less tasty. This suits those people who do not enjoy the perfumed and flavoured teas but want a genuine black tea experience. This brew certainly delivers. 8/10

Lorie: I would definitely buy this tea, because its flavour is very mild and enjoyable. The tea brings back happy memories of my Granny and Nana. The teas they would offer me were often too strong for me with almost an iron taste but this tea is not like that at all! I feel like I’m energized for the day now—time to do some cleaning! 9/10.

Cathy: I frequently find that teas smell better than they taste but this one tastes just like it smells. I don’t want to say it’s not as exciting as the others, there’s not much to explore with it, but I like it. If someone served it to me I’d say “thank you very much!”  7.5/10

Brooke: What a wonderful change of pace. I feel like I’m at home. Not physically, (though I am, heh) but just… this fits. Suits me very nicely, yes! I don’t even have to think about it, it doesn’t stress me out, I like it. 8.5/10

 Stacey: It’s a good staple tea to have; I would give this tea to our guests. I can’t quite pick out the three teas, but I feel very worldly for having sipped on tea from China, India, and Sri Lanka. It’s a very nice blend. Well done, David! 9/10.

Well, this tea sure was a hit with both parties- Dad even got some in his stocking because of how much he enjoyed it!

Only one more tea until Stacey and I reunite back in Ottawa. Up next- Detox!

Cathy: And may I just say thank you for inviting me into tea land and thanks to Stacey and her mum, too. How fun!

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

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