But as of right now I am sitting on the sofa, with the gray rainy day outside sipping peppermint tea because I have a tummy ache and trying to be productive.
I’m not going to review a particular tea for you today (sorry!). Rather, consider this an introduction to what you can expect over the next three months.
First off, Lyon’s Tea, an Irish Black Tea brand, has some of the best commercials. And it’s a solid plain black tea.
Secondly, Limerick has a lot of cafes. I plan on getting to all of them. So far I’ve had a cappucino at Aroma’s and Rose Hip tea at French’s. (Which by the way, I’d forgotten how refreshing and smooth rose hip tea can be! If you have a favorite brand of it in the States, let me know in the comments…I need to find some when I get back!)
So, over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing not just a tea, but a cafe as well! So, you know, the next time you’re in Limerick you’ll know where to go! Also so I can figure out what draws me to particular places.
This post is less about an actual tea and more about the process of ordering at a caffè or bar in Roma. It’s quite a bit different than in the States. But first, some backstory.
So I’ve already talked about how Roma is really a coffee kind of town. But yesterday, while wandering around downtown, I saw a sign that said “Tea Room Inside”! Naturally, I got excited. Upon entrance though I discovered it was really just a regular old bar (which means they sell coffee, drinks, pastries, even food). It was a nice bar though – I asked for tea and was given a solid cup of black tea. And this is what I mean by cup:
In Italia, you actually first pay and then take your receipt to the bar and tell them what you want. (I didn’t do this because I didn’t know what they had). It’s normal to leave about a 5 euro cent tip. Proportions here (at least in terms of coffee) are a lot smaller. You don’t get a Venti White Chocolate Mocha with three shots of espresso…you get a shot of espresso. Straight up. There are some variations (like Caffè con Nocciola) but it’s still really strong.
The tea, labeled “Finest Quality,” was really very good for a bagged tea. I kind of think that such limited selection (i.e. none) is normal for a regular bar. I was in a different one earlier in the day to get a sandwich and I noticed some tea – black and green I think, nothing special. I’m still on the hunt for a good tea place, both to buy it loose and to have a cup!
Something can feel warm, it can be warm when you drink it, but have you ever smelled something warm? That’s really one of the few ways I can describe this tea. It smells warm – in the best kind of delicious soothing Christmas kind of way. But this isn’t a holiday drink. It’s an anytime-you-want-comfort kind of drink. It’s a cup of hazelnut black tea.
This tea, available at Coffee Tree and Tea Leaves on Halstead in Chicago, is beautiful in the bag and out. It’s a loose leaf tea and the leaves are wonderful – they aren’t fragments. You can actually see the whole leaves. This means that the quality is high. You’ll get more health benefits, and since it’s bagless you won’t get that papery taste. The leaves expand to fill a tea ball or spoon. And when brewed in very hot water, they produce a wonderful amber colored beverage.
I prefer this tea when I’m reading or doing some other activity I associate with coziness, such as watching a romantic comedy. This is due to the before mentioned comfort invoking sensation caused by this tea. And even though it feels warm and is a hot tea, I enjoy it in any season. Even when the weather is hot outside, it’s a great tea to drink to relax before bed. It does have caffeine in it – for some reason the caffeine in this tea doesn’t keep me up. I think it might be because it is so relaxing and soothing. I’m not kidding.
So if you’re in the area (or anywhere near) pick up a bag of this tea. For the quality and amount you get, I find it’s very reasonably priced. For $3.99 you get two ounces of high quality tea. It only takes a teaspoon a cup – this small bag of tea has lasted me a lot longer than I expected. And since it’s one of my go-to comfort teas, that’s saying something.
Steeping Directions: Black Tea, Hot Water, about 3 minutes
Today we have a black tea by Lupicia Called Champagne Rosé. This tea has strawberry on the nose, but there’s a clean crisp kick of champagne on the back end. Of course, you don’t get the bubbles like champagne! But, you do get that white grape champagne taste.
If you’re looking for a tea with a lot of flavor for an ice tea, this could be a good one for you. I think this would make a really nice ice tea. The champagne and the strawberry nicely meld together, pop in a sprig of mint and you’ve got yourself a light and crisp afternoon tea!
There is one thing to note when making this tea. Usually I can get 2-3 good steeps out of a Lupicia tea bag. But, with this tea, I found that the tea lost the champagne flavor after the second steep. I could still taste the strawberry, and the tea was still nice, but that refreshing kick of the rosé champagne on the back end was lost by the third steep. Still good, but I wanted you to know.
Because of this, if you’re using the tea bags to make a pitcher of this tea as iced tea, you might want to throw in an extra bag more than you normally would.
By the way, the ingredients list sugar, but if there is any in the tea it’s minimal.
I bought this tea loose and used a tea strainer, letting the tea steep for about 3 minutes. Now, I like a stronger steep for this particular tea, so you might go with only a 2 minute steep. I discovered Lady Londonderry (bin #209) about 3 years ago, if I remember correctly, and I loved it from the first wiff when I opened the envelope. The only real criticism I have for this tea is the same criticism I have for all the Tealuxe teas I’ve bought in small amounts: I wish they would send me 2-10 grams of tea in a nicer looking bag that is sealed as opposed to just stapled shut. Tealuxe has great teas, but if you buy in small amounts, I highly suggest transferring the tea to a sealed container, or at least a sealed baggie.
Have you ever been on a diet? If you’re like me, you’ve tried dozens. Now, I’m NOT saying this is a diet tea, but I am saying that this could be a good tea to have around to get you past that dessert craving and into the cute bikini
Some notes I forgot to mention in the video:
-I don’t personally think this would make a good iced tea. But, let me know if you think otherwise!
-I have this tea as a tea bag tea, but I would think that the loose version of this tea probably has larger bits of dried strawberry.
Earl Grey Creme by Teavana. This is a lusciously creamy black tea, tons of vanilla notes. Honestly, it tastes soooo creamy I was SURE there had to be non-dairy creamer or something in the tea, but according the Teavana website, there isn’t.
1 teaspoon at 195 degrees for 2-3 minutes.
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