Fresh Vanilla Mint Iced Tea

Why hello there tea friends. I have an iced tea recipe for you today.

First, I want to stress how easy it is to make iced tea at home and what a great alternative it is to Slurpies, soda pops and Arizonas.  Any of your teas at home can be made into an iced tea.  Whatever flavour you’re in the mood for, simply double steep the tea you want to drink and pour it over ice and voila! Iced tea!

However, there are many other ways to infuse iced tea at home. I like to get a little creative every time and try something different.  Recently I have been brewing chaga mushroom tea and chilling it in the refrigerator.  After some chill time, a couple of hours or so, the chaga will be cool enough to pour over a glass of ice and enjoyed as a refreshingly earthy beverage on a hot summer day.  The chilled chaga can also be added to any of your iced tea blends, adding an earthy, full-bodied, almost vanilla-y taste to your tea.

I am still discovering places in Toronto to purchase chaga, but I found a small little shop where I can get chaga finely ground or in chunks by the pound.  House of Energy is located in Kensington Market and has everything from loose tea, crystals, handmade jewellery to mushrooms.  If you’re curious to know more about this magical mushroom, stop by House of Energy and the ladies there will let you in on the secrets of chaga.

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And finally, here is an iced tea recipe I created on the fly one afternoon while cooling down from a mid-day cooking extravaganza.

1 cup of steeped Vanilla Orchid and Spearmint tea (use about a teaspoon of tea to steep each)

a few fresh mint leaves from the garden

1 cup of chilled steeped chaga mushroom

1/2 teaspoon of agave (optional for those sweet teeth out there)

So I steeped the Vanilla Orchid with Spearmint, poured it over iced and added the mint and chilled chaga altogether in a glass.  Cool down with this fresh vanilla chaga mint iced tea (that was a mouthful), it will be the healthiest thing you do that day!

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Minty Fresh

Recently, my roommate and I have been blending our own teas in the evening to create the best soothing teas before bed.  Relaxing, yet lively, this particular blend stood out to me the most.

Spearmint

Peppermint

Chamomile

Ginger

Lemon Myrtle

Delicious. 

These are the ingredients I chose one evening after enjoying a nice day off in the sun.  A great evening tea packed with many immune system boosters and contrasting yet complimenting flavors.  I hope you’re focusing on the mint here and how refreshing it tastes when you make yourself a cup of this splendid combination.  It hits my palate on the best spots!  It creates more excitement in the tea when you have that splash of mint in there.   I definitely get into some flavors more than others, especially because of where they hit my palate.

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The flavors of spearmint versus peppermint are very different.  I find most people are used to the peppermint smell and taste, which is why working at DavidsTea I always try to bring both tins down for customers to smell because they each have a distinctive minty-ness to them.  Peppermint is sweeter and very soothing, blending well with other ingredients smoothly.  On the other hand, spearmint has a sharper taste that excites other teas when blended together.  It has a mint gum taste going on that pops in your mouth giving it a livelier feel.  I have been adding spearmint to a lot of my iced teas for the summer because it adds a refreshing taste that invigorates my senses!

Mint can simply be added to any of your teas.  I love adding it to greens, herbals and am currently experimenting with the black teas.  There is also a white tea from DavidsTea called Coco-lemon Thai‘ that is even better with a scoop of spearmint leaves added.  Tastes like a Mojito…minus the rum.

Lastly, everyone wants to know what each specific tea is “good for”.  Generally people know that peppermint soothes the stomach and is relaxing, can relieve headaches and has cooling properties when applied topically.  However, I wanted to contribute to a new fun fact about spearmint, so I hopped on Google and typed in “what is spearmint good for?” and this is what the Googlers came up with…

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This made me laugh.  Do people actually believe this? So I googled further… “Spearmint hair” and found this…

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In conclusion, I’ve learned that if I drink two cups of spearmint tea a day I can combat all that extra body hair, which is EXACTLY what I was hoping spearmint would do.

Thanks Google! 🙂

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Rainbow Raspberries

Remember Tealish?

Last week on a rainy Monday I walked into Tealish for the second time to check out some of their fruitier blends. Oh man this place is great, I love again the cozy atmosphere that wraps you up in a blanket.  It is also cool to be a customer in a tea store as most often I am usually behind the counter making tea for people at Davids.  Smelling all the teas does not get old. I love it.

I picked out a delicious coconut oolong to drink and bough two packets of tea as follows;

1. Razmintazz: a herbal tea with peppermint, giant raspberries, chamomile, apple and hibiscus.  The Tealish girl sold it to me by saying it tastes like pop rocks. Yum! Even though I don’t get that pop rocks taste when I drink it, it still satisfies my palate completely.  It’s so refreshingly fruity with a pop! of mint.

2. Rainbow Rooibos: what a great fruity rooibos with pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple and rosebuds.  Not overly fruity as you would expect with so many flavours and that’s what I love about it.

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I need to have a tea party soon so I can share all these great teas with my friends. Look at these dinosaurs just enjoying their tea.  The little guy being the hostess:)

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Top 5 Caffeine Facts

  1. Determining the levels of caffeine in a tea can be very difficult because there are so many variables that need to be considered.  Such variables include, soil, vegetation, water temperature, steeping time etc.
  2. The steeping time can change the amount of caffeine that is released into your cup of tea.  A black tea doesn’t necessarily have more caffeine than a green tea, but it tends to have that stereotype because you generally steep it longer than a green or white tea.
  3. Adding herbs and spices changes the level of caffeine because there is less of the actual Camillia Sinensis plant in the brew.
  4. Studies of caffeine levels in tea are all different; the scientific conditions in which the study takes places are also different then how each and every one of us brews tea at home.
  5. The caffeine in coffee is not the same in tea, it enters your blood system a lot slower and gives you a nice gradual increase of energy rather than that jolt you get from coffee.

tumblr_m93393bubH1r06jpwo1_500If the tea you’re drinking makes you feel good as much as it tastes good than don’t worry about the caffeine levels and just drink it!:)

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The Toronto Tea Festival

Last Saturday February 2nd, I attended The Toronto Tea Festival.  Held at The Toronto Reference Library, the festival brought local tea lovers together to meet new tea companies, try new tea and learn about the innovative ways people use to share tea with other people.  I was a little disappointed at first on the small venue because it meant there were not as many exhibitors sharing and talking about tea.  However, if you took it for what it was, there was a great mix of different tea companies who were all individually passionate about tea in their own way.

I do wish more of the exhibitors sampled their teas because I loved the fact that there were so many elements of the festival that tickled my senses.  I was able to smell, touch and drink so many different teas.   It was a great experience especially because I could share it with people who were just as passionate about tea as I am.

Here is a list of the exhibitors that stood out to me the most:

Steeped: This particular tea company based is out of Minden, Ontario and they host tea parties in your own home!

Cha: A brand new online subscription company that sends you tea based on your personality type.  Take their quiz online and find out what tea you are!

T by Daniel: An online tea company that gives tea a modern twist, using friendly tea names and crazy infusions to make tea fun!

Bare English & Co: They created an all organic, vegan, tea-infused lip balm. The Coco-Mint flavor was amazing!

The King Edward Hotel: These guys were here because they serve afternoon tea in the hotel restaurant.

Majesteas: I really liked the presentation of this company, it was fresh, welcoming and they had a stamp card for regulars.

Another place was giving out free plastic travel mugs, there was a tea ceremony going on while we browsed through the tables and tea presentations were held throughout the day in an adjoining room. The above exhibitors seemed to stand out to me the most… it could have something to do with the delicious mini cream filled treats from The King Edward.  Also, I purchased a GREAT coconut oolong from Majesteas that I have been drinking almost every day since the festival.  MMMMM!

That is all, I will be writing my next post about the presentation I sat in on.  I wish there was more to write about, but we didn’t stay very long, maybe two hours max.  I’m not sure if it is something I would go to again.  If there were more exhibitors/tea companies, tea tasting and maybe a bigger venue I think it would have been more enjoyable.  I also wish I could have sat in on more of the presentations as I enjoyed learning new things about tea.  I did humbly enjoy my experience at the festival though and recommend going next year if you want to explore a little more about tea!

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Top 5 Tea Resolutions 2013

There are so many things that I want to accomplish in my life that a single New Years resolution cannot wrap around my aspirations for 2013.  I want to embrace opportunities in my current and future job, empower my body through yoga and healthy recipes while expressing and accepting the love around me fearlessly.  I also want to progress in my tea-ventures and I hope those of you reading become a part of this tea journey as I make a list of Top 5 Tea Resolutions for 2013!

Top 5 Tea Resolutions 2013:

  1. Try a new tea or tea shop every month
  2. Find a good tea documentary to watch, any recommendations?
  3. Go to the Toronto Tea Festival February 2nd
  4. Have many tea experiences with new and old friends
  5. Explore different tea infused recipes in the kitchen

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Christmas Eve Tea Time

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone! Whose drinking a warm beverage today? Whether it is hot cocoa, coffee, or a bit of rum in your cup, you can all be a part of Christmas Eve Tea Time.

Today is the day everyone is getting ready for the last few days of Christmas.  Last minute shopping, baking cookies, wrapping and then finally when the malls close, the Christmas lights come on and the snow starts to fall we can all relax with our warm beverages and enjoy the wait….Ahhh…the wait for what you may ask?  Well Christmas of course!  Don’t act like you are not excited! Everyone gets a little bit excited about Christmas, even if you do not celebrate it.  I don’t usually have this much spirit at this time of year, but the Grinch in me has been left in his cave and the Cindy Loo-Who is dancing about.

I have had some great Christmas experiences the past few weeks at work and I’d like to share with you these moments that have warmed my heart.  I’m currently employed at David’s Tea and have been working like crazy during the holiday season.

A few weeks ago a girl come in to the store with her dad and they both ordered a cup of tea, ones that I had recommended.  Because she had mentioned she worked for another David’s Tea and I wanted her to feel welcome in a store that she was familiar with even if not her own I gave her the teas for free.  As I was making their teas, she asked me what tea I’ve been wanting to purchase for myself but haven’t had the chance to yet.  I thought hard about this and said it was always great to have a plain peppermint tea in the house when you feel like something soothing.  She agreed and ended up buying 30g of the Peppermint Amour.  A moment after her purchase, she borrowed a marker and scribbled something on the bag of tea.

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Story #2

The other day, a little closer to Christmas madness now, a young girl walks in to David’s Tea.  She instantly lit up the store with her big smile and red vintage Christmas sweater.  As I was showing her our Christmas teas she told me that she was a don at her university and was always making tea for her students.  She even had a BYOM (bring your own mug) rule and faithfully brews teas from Davids.  As I was packaging teas for her, taking away and ringing her through the cash I also gave her cup of tea for free.  However, I did not tell her I had done so until the transaction was over and she was so thankful.  Merry Christmas, I said.

About an hour goes by and she walks in again to order another cup of tea.  She also left money to pay for the next two people’s tea.  I told her she was a wonderful person and her students were lucky to have her as their don.  I took the money and paid for the next two teas, explaining they were from the previous woman who was looking to pass on her Christmas joy!  And did she ever!  Not only did she make my day special but two other complete strangers.  And it all started with a cup of tea…

Merry Christmas!

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