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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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.

spearmint mint

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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Tea and Health 101

During the Toronto Tea Festival last month I sat in on a 45-minute tea talk about the wonders of tea and its health benefits.  I thought it would be a good time to share what I have learned and let you guys know that the health benefits of tea should not be the only reason why you drink tea.  People are so concerned with what tea does what and how beneficial it is to your body when ALL tea is good for you.  That’s the main thing I want you to take away from this is that every tea is good for your body, so don’t worry about the next weight loss tea because you’re already doing a good job if you drink any tea.

As someone who works at Davids Tea I get a lot of questions about the health benefits of tea.  “Which one will make me loose weight?”…”How much caffeine is in this one?” and one of my personal favourites, “What does this tea DO?”  What does it do?  Well it… ummm tastes good?  That is not a sufficient enough answer for some.  Instead, people want to hear that tea is a magical remedy for everything health related from loosing weight to having clear skin.  And sometimes I believe that tea is a magical drink because I feel great drinking it.  That should be enough shouldn’t it?
Michelle Pierce Hamilton was the speaker that led the tea and health discussion at the Toronto Tea Festival this past February.  She was excellent!  I love that she didn’t make any concrete claims such as “this particular tea will make you loose 20 pounds!” but instead educated us about how all tea is beneficial to your body.  One of the first things she explained was how tea works together with your body.  Synergy is the word she used to explain how tea works within your body.  Tea should not be consumed as a supplement or an extract, but as a beverage.  It should be a part of your healthy lifestyle, not the only part of it.

On the other hand, tea does have a lot of health benefits.  Michelle talked about tea supporting your central nervous system allowing you to concentrate better, meditate and how it does not increase stress levels much like other caffeinated drinks.  Tea is also a good digestive aid, especially pu’erh because it is fermented and fermented foods contain probiotics which can improve your digestive system.

Now let’s talk about weight loss.  Is tea the new weight loss cure?  Maybe.  If you are replacing coca-cola with green tea than it can contribute to weight loss.  Consuming green tea can also increase energy expenditure, which means you burn energy faster and prevent the accumulation of fat in your cells.  But if you do not like the taste of green tea then why drink it?  Experiment with different green teas and find one that you actually enjoy drinking as a beverage and you will enjoy your healthy lifestyle a lot more.  If you are still eating McDonalds everyday but drinking your green instead of your coca-cola, I’m not sure you will be seeing the results you hope for.

I really enjoyed Michelle’s concept of tea working together with the rest of your body and well being.  She said something that really stood out to me at the end of her speech. If you drink tea, eat a plant based diet, exercise and have love in your life than everything will work together in your body to make you a happier and healthier person.  I am paraphrasing here but I appreciated that she included love as a part of a healthy diet because it shouldn’t be just about one aspect of healthy living but everything working in sync together.

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Check out Michelle’s website and read more about the benefits of tea in my upcoming blog posts!

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Tea makes everything better (Milk Oolong part 1)

It has been a while since I have written a blog post.  The truth is I haven’t really felt like writing, my creative-writing-passionate-tea-loving side of me has been resting.  Instead I have been putting my energy elsewhere and focusing on other things in my life and there hasn’t been any positive energy left over for my blogging.  A lot has happened in the past month and as much as I haven’t felt like writing about tea, I have been drinking A LOT of it.  Tea is so beneficial to your body, not just physically but mentally as well, sometimes I can only have a certain tea when I am in the mood for it.  When I’ve been feeling upset, not just tired or sick, I make myself a cup of tea and it makes things, if only a little bit, better.  One tea in particular (which quite possibly could be the elixir of life) has recently been a prominent tea in my daily routine.  Milk Ooolong everybody.  If you haven’t tried it, please do so.  It will change your perspective on tea or just make your day a little bit happier:)

IMG_1397 Milk Oolong being shared with my sister and then re-steeped four times.  Yes FOUR times, you can even steep it another two or three times on top of that and you get a great, maybe slightly different, taste every time.

teanobleMilk Oolong being enjoyed in my new travel mug from Davids Tea! I am not only in love with this tea but my favourite way to drink it is out of my noble travel mug.  Look at those leaves expanding!

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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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