A steep in time

By Ann
A while back my son and I were watching “Gulliver’s Travels” on DVD. I know it’s been out for ages, but if you ever saw the trailer that ran for it, you may recall the scene where Jack Black’s character is a doll to a (giant) little girl and she sets him down at a table to play tea party and he protests. She pulls off her teddy bear’s head and looks pointedly at him, and he has an immediate attitude adjustment. He holds up the tea cup and says in an unnaturally bright voice “Time for tea!”
Well, dear Posse readers, it’s that time. My first appearance on this blog was via a tea post I did way back in December 2010, so I think we’re long overdue to revisit this delicious topic again.
I’ve done quite a bit of tasting since then, and have added a few new favorites:

Tea Forte’s Lychee Coconut: Here I go again with the coconut. This white tea is part of their Skin Smart line, but I think all tea is good for you. I adore this one’s smooth, mellow vibe, without any of the “Hello, look at me, I’m a tropical drink!” fuss.

Mariage Freres’ Wedding Imperiale: It had me at chocolate, caramel and vanilla. I’ve also found that this luscious black tea, delicious plain or with milk, is a good substitute for the line’s wonderful butterscotch tea, which seems can only be had from their Paris flagship store or their online site, based in France.

Mariage Freres’ The a l’Opera: Several of you mentioned this one in comments in my inaugural tea post and so I made haste to sample it. It is divine-tasting to be sure, but oh, that aroma! I’ve had people walk past my desk and ask what smells so wonderful. I think this one would make a green tea lover out of just about anyone with its subtle notes of raspberry, strawberry and vanilla.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Hazelnut Chai: This is in a similar vein as their lovely Coconut Chai, but with a hint of hazelnut. On many a cold morning this winter and spring, I had a cup or two of this, paired with a dab of DH’s hazelnut creamer and it absolutely hit the spot — instant warmth.

Also, a very generous Posse pal sent me several that I’m enjoying, including Mariage Freres’ Eros, a wonderfully classic black tea, as well as a great red tea that I’ve finished off but cannot recall the name.

So I’d love to hear what you’re drinking these days, or looking to try. And since warm weather has come calling, what are you brewing for iced tea?

  • Patricia Hall Borow says:

    I’ve been experimenting with making tea that is perfume-like. I start with about half a cup of Earl Grey black tea, bought in bulk from the farmers market, which contains bergamot. Then roughly grind (I use a stone mortar/pestle grinder but any grinder will do) 5 or 6 green cardamom pods, then allspice berries and some cloves. Add that to the tea (I use an old Melitta coffee filter, placed over the iced tea jug with is filled about half-way with ice, but any drip/filtration would work.) Then about half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a few drops of concentrated orange oil added to the water as it goes through. I use a kettle full of hot water, which makes a little less than a half-gallon — fill the jug the rest of the way with water. This is delicious and is also a good way to use up all those cloves and allspice berries in the pantry! –Olfacta

    • Ann says:

      I love it — leave it to you to custom-blend your own tea, you clever girl! I know it’s wonderful.

  • Patty says:

    I adore tea smells! And especially marriage freres. All I want is my own MF shop in Denver, and then I could happily sniff everything in their shop forever and be quite content with my life!

  • Lisa D says:

    Hi Ann! I think the red tea you’re referring to is the Rooibos Pretoria, from Upton Tea.

    Right now, I’m drinking lots of Youthberry, from Teavana. A friend of mine went mall shopping a few weeks back, and brought me back some of this, and also Wild Orange Blossom. The Youthberry is a white tea, and the Wild Orange Blossom is an herbal. Both are good – the smell is outrageously intense – I like smelling them just as much as drinking a cup.

    Tea swap! I’m in.

  • Poodle says:

    I am another tea fan. Year round, hot or iced, love it. The odd thing is for the longest time I was a tea hater. My mom used to try to give me a cup of tea when I was little and feeling sick. It tasted awful and never made me feel better so for years I hated the stuff. I always associated it with being sick. Somehow I tried some herbal teas and liked them and now I love a lot of different ones. I have far more tea than I will ever drink and I keep buying more. Just like my perfumes. There are worse addictions though. I’ve recently found some tasty green teas and some chais at Wegmans that I am enjoying.

    • Ann says:

      That’s too funny! I, too, got the tea (with milk) treatment when I was sick. I hear you on having too much tea — two of our small pantry’s shelves are packed with it. And DH gives me the evil eye if he sees me walk in the door with any more. But you’re so right — there are far worse addictions to have, and it’s healthful, too!

  • Austenfan says:

    I love tea more than I love perfume and have been drinking loose leaf teas for decades.
    I ordered from Mariage Frères last autumn. My order included the Wedding Impérial, and Black Orchid. I have a feeling I need to order some Thé à l’Opéra, it sounds gorgeous.
    In winter I drink more black teas flavoured or not. Summer is the time for green and white tea; Jasmin, Earl Grey, green tea with mint etcetera. I never drink iced tea. I have also been drinking a lot of high quality Yunnan and Oolong lately. I go through 2-3 pots of tea a day.
    Nice post!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks so much. Wow! Two or three pots — you ARE a diehard fan. I only do a couple of cups a day. I have not tried the Black Orchid but it sounds quite nice. We need to do a tea swap or something.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    My tea education has gone a bit by the wayside- partially because paying for my daughters’ private education is so darn expensive that it doesn’t leave as much room for my expensive indulgences of perfume and tea! Anyway, thanks to you, Ann, I am further along than I was.
    Your tea list sounds gorgeous- I’m making notes. Currently, I have been drinking the bit of Mariage Freres Butterscotch that I pilfered from my mother-in-law and a lot of peppermint tea in an (no doubt futile) effort to settle my Crohn’s. Also, a homeblend from a friend: white jasmine, green tea, sweetmint and raspberry. Lovely!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweet M! I’m sorry to hear your Crohn’s is bothering you. Have you tried any of the red (rooibos) teas from South Africa? I’ve heard they are good for settling/soothing the system, and in that country they use it to help colicky babies. Couldn’t hurt to try it. I have some you might like. My MF butterscotch tea is all gone now boo-hoo : ( but a friend is going to Paris this summer so might have to see if she’ll “mule” me some back. That custom blend sounds lovely, BTW!

      • FragrantWitch says:

        I have tried several roobis teas- they taste wonderful but don’t do anything for my digestion. My current fave roobis has pear and cinnamon, yum. When I finally place a MF order I’ll send some your way!

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I’ve been drinking a lot of the Tazo Chai tea concentrate. You pour how ever much concentrate you want in a glass and add milk. You can drink it either hot or cold. Normally, I can’t stand milk in my tea but this is the exception.

    • Ann says:

      Yum — that sounds delicious! I have seen the containers of it but just never got around to getting any. I don’t drink a whole lot of milk, but bet it would be good with my vanilla rice milk or soy milk. Thanks!

  • Angela says:

    Ooooh that Wedding Imperiale sounds fab! We have some local tea-makers that set up at our farmer’s market. I just bought their “Wonder Woman’s Brew”: raspberry leaf, nettle, lemon peel, vitex, lemon verbena, linden flower, cinnamon, rose petals, and stevia. Yum!

    • Ann says:

      I like the sound of that “Wonder Woman” brew, Angela! You are so lucky to have a farmer’s market (with tea merchants) nearby — I’m so envious!!

  • Sam says:

    As others have said, I continue to drink hot tea throughout the warmer months. I can’t wake up in the a.m. without a big mug of strong black tea. Used to ADORE Mt Everest Breakfast Blend by SpecialTeas–a really strong, unusual, and lively black tea blend–but they went out of business. Sigh. Mornings haven’t been the same since. I drink lots of Harney & Sons black teas, and they are great (especially Supreme Breakfast). If you like flavored teas, their Paris blend is lovely: black tea, vanilla, caramel, I think, and bergamot. Just tried their new Soho tea–coconut and chocolate, might be right up your alley.

    Thanks for your list of teas you’ve tried recently, by the way. I’ve never tasted a Mariage Freres tea, despite having read great reviews for years–I think it’s time!

    • Ann says:

      Sam, so glad you’re a tea lover, too! Thanks for your great suggestions as well. I’ve had several Harney teas and liked them. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I was in a Williams-Sonoma and saw their Paris tea but wasn’t sure of its flavoring, so I’m glad to know now. It sounds yummy as does the Soho, but will have to look for that. Maybe we need some sort of Posse tea exchange so we can all try these great blends –whatcha think? Sort of like the Posse Swapmania, except we can call it Swapteamania … And so sorry your fave went out of business 🙁 I hate that for you.

  • Musette says:

    Since that stupid oral surgery (and resultant infection) I am having difficulty with cold drinks so I’m drinking way more hot tea than normal – I have a think for Tazo’s Passion but that l’Opera sounds divine. I really need to get in the habit of drinking more tea – especially green!

    xo :Devil:

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweetie. A nice warm cuppa soothes the soul (and the sore gums). Hope you’re doing better and starting to feel at least somewhat back to normal. I’ve read so many studies and articles on tea, and I get the impression that you can’t go wrong drinking at least two cups of it a day.

    • Poodle says:

      You poor thing! You’re still not doing good? I feel so bad for you. I hope you’re on the upswing. Keep drinking your tea.

  • pam says:

    Good Morning, dear Ann!
    I’m still brewing that hot tea (they do that all the time in hot countries like India and China) and my old standby for lunch is mamri tea from the Indian grocery. I really should head to Whole Foods to check out their more varied selection. Love tea!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Pam! I hear you on the hot tea — I, too, am loath to give it up yet. A pal at work chuckles at me as I sip my tea and have to turn on my little desk fan to cool off. That mamri tea sounds good; glad you found a winner, but have fun experimenting too!