Pink Flamingo Iced Tea

Quick! Stock up on the summer teas because it won’t be much longer until fruity iced teas go into hiding!  Well you can always seek them out of course, but fall is coming and those pumpkin-inspired toasty teas are reading to fall into your lap.  Ha-ha did you get my pun there?

Iced teas are easier to make from loose leaf tea than you may think and they taste delicious.  I find that most people think iced tea can be really watery, but in fact most people are probably used to high sugar drinks that are super sweet and have loads of sugar in them.  So do not expect a sweet sweet drink when you make an iced tea from loose leaf tea and anyway you’re probably already sweet enough if you’re reading this blog;)  However, if you do want that extra sweetness you can always add some honey or agave.

One of my favourite iced teas in the summertime is Pink Flamingo tea!

I must say Pink Flamingos are pretty awesome especially because they can stand on their one leg for so long.  They definitely have those yoga skills I’m working towards…downward dog, swan dive and pink flamingo!  Okay I made the pink flamingo pose up, but you totally want to try that pose now don’t you?  It would probably look something like this guy…

and breathe, and hold for two more breaths…

Anyway, this pink flamingo tea is, I hope you’ve already guessed…PINK!  And what makes tea pink?  In this case it is the hibiscus flower and beetroot in the tea that creates this lovely pink colour when you steep it.  You can drink this tea iced or hot, but on a nice summers day this tea is perfect when it is iced in a tall glass with a little umbrella in it.  Apple, carrot, eucalyptus and orange peel are just a few more of the other ingredients that make up this delicious tea.  For the longest time I was convinced I tasted grapefruit, the combination of these different ingredients creates a unique taste that keeps you wanting more.  The citrus flavour balances out the other ingredients and gives you the right amount of zing you’ll need when sitting under that hot hot sun!  Or make yourself a little drink after yoga, get creative and add a little splash of white wine!
How to make Iced Tea:

First, Use double the amount you would normally use for any loose leaf tea and either (a) use a magic steeper to steep your tea or (b) a stainless steel mesh ball/cup.  After the tea has steeped for a few minutes, in Pink Flamingo’s case 4-7 minutes, you can add some ice and VOILA you have iced tea! In the magic steeper’s case, there is more room for flavours to swim around and you can just pour over a glass full of ice.  Make sure you add a hearty handful of ice because the tea has to go from being super hot to cold quickly.  Since you need to add ice when the tea has been steeped, it is important that you add double the amount of tea so you can get optimal flavour in your cup.  Too watery? Add more tea when steeping next time and if you need that extra little bit of sweetness pour some of that honey/agave in your cup and you’re good to go!

Also, check out my Tea Time board on Pinterest, just click the picture and it will bring you to my board.

Inspired by Pink Flamingo tea, which you can purchase at DavidsTea.

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Infusing

Looking for a way to steep your loose leaf tea?  Have you tried using a paper towel or coffee filter yet?

KIDDING! Please do not use a paper towel or coffee filter…they don’t work!  To be honest, if this is your last resort they do kind of work…a little bit, but not really.  You have to use twice the amount of tea to get the same flavour and if you don’t mind getting chunks of tea stuck in your teeth then be my guest!  Use that coffee filter!

OR instead, head on over to your local tea store, IKEA or a kitchen/home store and pick yourself up an INFUSER if you haven’t already.  And I’m going to tell you WHY you should do so.

If you’re wondering if I’ve used a paper towel or coffee filter to steep my loose leaf tea than yes your assumptions are correct!  I was at the cottage and brought along my tea, but forgot my infuser at home!  So as a hard-core tea addict, I used spare household products that were lying around as a substitution.  It worked a little bit, but my tea was weak and I had little floaty bits of tea all over the place.  If you don’t already have one, or even know about what an infuser is, stay on the line and listen up!

Infuser #1: The Mesh Ball

Hello! I’m a small little mesh ball a little bigger than the size of the circle you can make with your thumb and index finger.  I keep your teaspoons of tea inside me so they don’t float around the hot water in your cup.  My little chain can wrap around the handle of your mug so I don’t fall to the bottom.  I’m one of the classic infusers, but make sure you get the right one.  Don’t get the mesh balls that are too small because there won’t be enough room for your tea to expand.  Your loose leaf tea needs room to move around and fill that cup with lots of flavour!   Also, make sure the ends of the ball close together properly before you buy it in order to keep all the tea inside me.  My purpose is to make sure you’re not sipping on tea leaves so make sure you purchase one that seals up all the way.

Infuser #2: The Stainless Steel Cup

I’m one of the best infusers to use when drinking tea.  Why?  Because I provide the most flavour to your cup of tea!  Like the mesh ball I’m all about giving you optimal flavouring in your cup and I do this the best way because of all the room I provide for the tea.  You can just plop me right into your cup and make sure you hook my little handle on the rim to keep me in place.  I let the tea breathe.  Without enclosing it in a ball, I let the tea leaves expand all over the place giving them room to seep out all their flavour.  I’m easier to clean and I come in a plastic-like version as well as the stainless steal version above.  Sometimes I also come with a little saucer that you can place me on when finished steeping!

Infuser #3: The Magic Tea Steeper

I am calling myself The Magic Tea Steeper because that’s just what I do…magic!  Fill me up with lots of tea, if you plan on drinking a lot the better, and pour some hot water in me and watch what happens!  I’m the best to use when sharing tea with a friend or you want some extra tea without having to re-steep it several times.  I’m a two-cup kind of infuser, I love sharing.  Once the tea has steeped to its appropriate time you’ll be ready to fill up your cups.  Just place the bottom of me on top of your mug and push down slightly.  Lift me up and viola! your cup is full!  If you’re worried about spilling or over-filling, you can put your finger on the bottom and feel for the ring that sticks out slightly.  Push up on that and watch the tea shoot out the bottom…sort of like I’m peeing! Tee-hee:)

These are just a few of the infusers that I use.  Infusers come in all shapes and sizes and are meant to help contain those tea leaves so they don’t go escaping everywhere.  The Magic Tea Steeper is an example of some of the other infusers that you can get so you can share with friends.  You can also get a larger version of the mesh ball for tea pots and share even more!

I also came across this website while I was surfing the web.  It’s just a list of all the cool infusers that people have created to make drinking tea more fun than it already is! Click here and check it out!

Happy Infusing!

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Green Tea….Beer!

This past Saturday, August 11th, my boyfriend and I attended the 2012 Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival downtown Toronto at the Steam Whistle Brewery. It was POURING rain, but we were well equipped with rain boots and a giant golf umbrella. You know you like beer when you mission downtown in the rain to taste an unlimited amount of beer. Well maybe not unlimited, but when the samples of beer are only $1 it feels as though you are getting an unlimited amount.

We paid $10-$15 each for admission which included our little sample glasses that we re-filled at the different tents.

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This is what you get for ONE DOLLAR…!!!!!

There were about ten different Ontario craft brewery tents set up for us to taste from and each tent had a list of different flavours. One of my favourite tents ended up being the Great Lakes Brewery because of their Crazy Canuck Pale Ale and their Green Tea Ale.

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The Green Tea Ale was delicious! You could taste a hint of the green tea and it was light enough to drink on a hot sunny day, but didn’t have a watery taste like a lot of light beers tend to have. Mind you, we didn’t get quite the sunny day we were hoping for, but drinking beer in the rain warmed us up and when the sun started peeking out I definitely got another glass of the Green Tea Ale. When I got home, I went on the Great Lakes website and found little blurbs about their different beers. The Green Tea Ale is brewed with Organic Gunpowder Green Tea, fresh Ontario grown ginseng and when I spoke to one of the girls serving the samples at the festival she said there was also black tea mixed in the brewing process! Try this Green Tea Ale and it will definitely tickle those tea buds!

Ladies, I know drinking beer is a “guy thing”, but don’t let it be! Try this Green Tea Ale, with its herbal green tea flavouring you won’t feel like you’re drinking a regular average joe beer. You can sip on it on the patio, pair it with a nice summer meal or drink it in the rain to warm you up instead of a cup of tea. It makes drinking beer a different experience, especially when there is something as awesome as tea included in the ingredients. All that needs to happen now is another craft brewery collaboration with a summer fruity tea! Strawberry Tea Beer anyone?

Great Lakes also has an Orange Peel Ale that I’m looking to try. It’s supposed to be fruity with lots of hops! MM MM MMM!

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