Mister Earl

Why are you so popular? classic? and smooth?  You know just how to woo the ladies…and gentlemen.  Oozing with bergamot flavour.  Floral with a citrus kick.  A dash of milk, a spoon of honey.  Don’t forget to let him cool down before you decide to kiss his lips!

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I was never a huge fan of earl grey tea.  As a young girl I grew up drinking orange pekoe out of small floral painted tea cups.  In University I drank Love Tea #7, a dark chocolate strawberry flavoured black tea.  Those are only a few of my (almost possibly earl grey) black tea experiences.  Earl grey was something I ordered from Starbucks as a latte, otherwise known as a London Fog.  Earl was too typical, too regular.  I was working at Davidstea where I could drink any flavour I wanted.  I was cool without Earl.

Can you guess what I love to drink every morning now?  With a dash of milk and a spoon of honey?

You got it.  2014 was the year Mister Earl Grey and I started a love affair.

Here are my two favourite earl grey blends to drink on the regular.

1. Earl Green Cream from Tealish.  A green tea blend with bergamot and vanilla.  I am definitely a vanilla girl.  Not too sweet, a bit on the creamy side with a warm but light flavour. Yum.

2. Earl Grey Rooibos from Davidstea.  This one is awesome because it is caffeine free!  I tend to go on caffeine free detoxes every now and then when I feel as though I’ve been buzzing around a bit too much.  Earl Grey Rooibos lets me have that floral earl grey taste without the caffeine and that makes a girl real happy when she just wants a cup of sweet tea in the morning minus the buzz.  Yes you can have this one at night too, but I tend to wake up with earl grey syndrome rather than night cap it.

How do you like your Earl Grey?

 

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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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El Almacen Escapade

So I’ve always wondered, what is the proper way to drink maté tea?  What is so great about this South American tea? You drink it from this little gourd and with a straw…who drinks tea from a straw??? Well now I do.

El Almacen is a cozy, welcoming cafe on Queen West in Toronto.  Definitely passed by it several times while I have been shopping in that area and missed the part of the sign that read “Yerba Maté Cafe”.  When I heard about it from a coworker I just had to make a special tea-venture downtown Toronto and discover what this yerba maté cafe was all about.

Three of us ventured down to El Almacen on a surprisingly warm winters day and it was as if the cafe was waiting for us with open arms.  The woman working at the time recommended we share the serving of maté if we wanted to drink it the traditional way from the gourd so we ordered one maté serving and three delicious little treats on the side called Alfajores. These coconut caramel little treats were delectable!  I would go back to El Almacen just for those pastries.

mateAs she brought our order over I asked the server if she could show us how to properly enjoy the tea.  She was happy to show us the maté ways and explained we would need about 8 teaspoons of tea in the small gourd and suggested adding a few teaspoons of cane sugar to sweeten the taste of the maté.  Traditionally, yerba maté can be sipped through a bombilla – a stainless steel straw capable of filtering the tea without consuming the leaves.  After she filled the gourd with maté, cane sugar and about 74ºC water (as to not burn the leaves), she placed the bombilla in the center of the gourd and reminded us not to move it about or stir the straw as it will become clogged with the tea leaves.

matedrinkerWhat an experience!  We passed the gourd around between the three of us, taking turns drinking through the bombilla and refilling the gourd with water before passing it along.  I loved the bonding experience involved with drinking yerba maté and it seemed to fit right in with the the welcoming relaxed atmosphere of the cafe.  The artwork was beautiful along the walls and on the tables, the staff was very friendly and I felt as if I had been there before even though I seemed to only pass by this enchanting cafe.

Not only did the server show us how to drink the yerba maté, but she explained to us that it is very energizing in a different way that coffee is.  I like that she mentioned we will be more mentally alert after drinking the tea and not crazy infused with a jolt of caffeine.  We were very energized afterwards, ready to take on the streets of Toronto!  And I would definitely come back here with friends and enjoy the traditional ways of the maté world.  The welcoming atmosphere brought people together and left you with a calming energy to last the rest of the day.

tabletealadyThanks El Almacen for the great tea experience!

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