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Lavender Earl Grey tea

It seems like ages ago now, but .. well.. ages ago, Connie and I checked out Market Collective at the Mewata Armories.  Of course, we had to check out Gluten-Free Foodgasm who had a booth there (and have a delicious mini-cupcake) and a number of great artisans selling everything from paintings and  jewelry to plants and clothing, but we also were drawn to the Leaf Ninjas and a booth selling loose leaf teas.

The vendor was Tian Teas, and you can find them on Facebook.  They also have a website – http://tianteas.ca however the link was broken when I tried to visit.  Additionally their Facebook page was really out of date and not used a lot – the most recent post when I visited was in November 2012 – nearly a year out of date when I visited.  The Facebook page doesn’t currently (at the time of writing) list any of their tea varieties, prices, or where to get them either…

Organic Elixirs Lavender Earl Grey tea

Organic Elixirs Lavender Earl Grey tea

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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Treats: Earl Grey Ice Cream

If you follow my personal account (@SadinaDawn) on Twitter, you might have already had a sneak peek of the Earl Grey Ice Cream from Village Ice Cream that I had the chance to try in September.

Earl Grey ice cream from Village Ice Cream

Earl Grey ice cream from Village Ice Cream

I had originally seen just a tweet from someone I follow on Twitter (@gostlund) mentioning Earl Grey ice cream, and since I was in the neighbourhood (attending the Creative Stitches show) I’d drop on by and grab a scoop… The other featured flavour at the time was Country Pumpkin, so I had a scoop of that two.  The Country Pumpkin was fantastic – a mellow “pumpkin pie filling” flavour with pumpkin and spices – but not  so intense of a flavour that I got tired of it.

The Earl Grey on the other hand was amazing – I highly recommend it the next time they have it in the freezer! It has the bergamot flavour that really makes Earl Grey tea stand out, and a bit of the smoky black tea flavour too.    It’s also super-creamy, which makes it feel really decadent 🙂 After having a scoop, I really wanted to bring back home a pint! (And, if I hadn’t been bussing home, I might have!)

Village Ice Cream
431 10 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0W3
(403) 261-7950

Of course you’re welcome to follow me personally on Twitter, but if you want to get regular Happy Sushi Belly updates in your stream, consider following @HappySushiBelly too!

Village Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in South-East Calgary, Treats

 

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Tea: The taste of lemon

Not too long ago, a family member mentioned that she just loved lemon, and had just started drinking loose leaf tea – so of course, when it came time for some gift-giving happiness, I had to pop into two different tea shops and try out what they had to offer in the way of lemon teas.

I was up in Edmonton, at the West Edmonton Mall (on constant look out for members of Apocalyptica, who I had seen shopping earlier..) and since I wouldn’t have time to shop at home, I figured I would do my tea-shopping there.  Already the Teaopia shop has been replaced (if it was even there to begin with) with Teavana, which I had never been in before, so it was my first stop.

I won’t comment too much on the shop itself (I’m sure that will come in a later post) but the clerk was friendly and helpful, though I was a bit disappointed in their selection.

From Teavana I picked up Lemon Youkou – a herbal tea with huge chunks of dried lemon.  It looks delicious!

Lemon tea from Teavana

Next up, I visited David’s Tea.  This is the first David’s I’d ever been in (last summer) which was kind of cute in a sentimental kind of way.  The store clerk helping me was very enthusiastic and helpful – we started bonding over adventures in Vancouver and other fun topics, all while I sniffed away at a wide variety of teas with a strong lemon or lemongrass flavour/scent.

From David’s Tea I picked up Organic La La Lemon – a black tea with lemon and orange oils.

Lemon tea from David’s Tea

Also from David’s Tea, I picked up the Earl of Lemon tea as well – a white tea with Earl Grey flavour and lemon.

Lemon tea from David’s Tea

Of course, since I was getting tea to give away, I also needed to get just a little sample of each for myself as well!

How they measure up….

Lemon Youkou

Lemon Youkou

The first tea of the lemony set I tried was the Lemon Youkou from Teavana.  I`ll start by saying that lemon teas are not my first choice (I like them fine, but there are others that I would pick first) so perhaps someone who really loves lemon might give it a better review…

Frankly, I was significantly disappointed.  The tea steeped up an extremely pale, weak yellow – as though the tea had barely influenced the hot water at all.  The equally weak flavour was only slightly more complex than a bit of lemon juice added to hot water.  Unfortunately, the tea isn`t included on the Teavana website, so I am not really able to say what is in the tea to give it the very slight additional complexity (something fruity though…) but, from this first impression, I can`t say that I`m terribly impressed.

I thought that perhaps steeping it a lot longer might work to improve the intensity of the flavour – I re-used the same tea and let it sit in hot water (which cooled off fast of course) for quite some time (I didn’t actually time it) and then re-heated the water. The result was instead much less lemony, and quite bitter.  Undrinkable.

Organic La La Lemon

Organic La La Lemon

This tea is far superior to the first one I tried – and exactly as described – a very smooth black tea with lemon/citrus flavour.  Not just black tea with a squeeze of lemon, but very mellow, fruity lemon flavour.  The tea steeps up dark, and I had it with sweetener and milk (yeah, I know milk doesn’t belong with lemon, but I like it…). Definitely worth picking up if you want a ‘normal’ tea (rather than something with lots of unusual flavouring).

Earl of Lemon

Earl of Lemon

Oddly enough, although this is supposed to be a white tea with Earl Grey and lemon flavours, it actually steeps up much more like a green tea, and tastes a lot more like a green tea too for that matter.  There is a slight bitterness that I usually find with green teas, and just the faintest taste of lemon.  I can taste the ‘Earl Grey’ flavour (I usually think of a black tea with oil of bergamot) but it isn’t immediately noticeable.  I tried this sweetened, both hot and cool, and I found more flavour and less bitterness with the cool variety.  I don’t think I’d pick this up again; not that it isn’t good, it’s just not ‘different’ enough for me.

So, Lemon-lovers…

What teas would you recommend for my lemon-loving family member? Leave me a note in the comments below!

 
 

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Tea – A great way to start the day

Good Earth Cafe Earl Grey Latte

Sometimes Mondays just start TOO early.  My treat – an organic Earl Grey Latte and a pumpkin spice muffin from Good Earth Cafe (located very close to where I work, and on my way).  A tasty solution to those mornings where even the thought of breakfast is too ambitious.

I get mine with skim milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup (I swear the regular vanilla syrup is addictive…) which makes it a LITTLE bit healthier.  I figure the skim milk cancels out all of the oil in the muffin.  Right?

Oh, and I also TRY to use my own travel mug… like the time in the photo.  I’m not always successful though.  Mondays. Grrrrr

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Good Earth Cafe Pumpkin Spice muffin

Normally I ask for your comments.  This time, please DON’T tell me how much oil is in these muffins…. sooo tasty!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Tea & Beverages, Treats

 

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Tea: Earl Grey Latte & other Good Earth Goodies

I am quickly becoming a fan of Mighty Leaf teas, due in large part to my regular Earl Grey Latte made with Organic Earl Grey from Good Earth Cafe.

I normally have it made up with 2% milk and they sweeten it with vanilla syrup.  The syrup really is what helps this be a stand-out, delicious drink, because I’ve also tried it with skim milk and Splenda… and it’s still fantastic (but I still miss that vanilla syrup!)

Also delicious – their carrot cake, which has creamy (sweet!!!!) icing and no raisins.  (I like raisins, but apparently some people don’t like them in their carrot cake!) The cake is nice and moist without falling apart – but the icing is a BIT too sweet for a full piece.  Split it in half and make a friend!

Carrot Cake from Good Earth

Also amazing – the pumpkin spice muffins – full of nuts and grains and other delicious things.  I don’t even want to think of how bad they must be for me though – I love them too much for breakfasts when I’ve run short on time!

Good Earth Cafe on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages, Treats

 

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Tea: Jazz Cats Meow

Every time I have this tea, I can’t help think of the Cure’s Love Cats song.  That ultimately makes me think of a friend (who passed away a few years ago) fondly, and a host of other lovely charming things.  Who doesn’t love a tea that reminds you of wonderful friends, upright bass, and Robert Smith?

Such a pretty tea

The tea is  a classic cream of Earl Grey with chocolate chips.  The Banff Tea Co. website describes it as “Truly a cool and groovy taste!”  The black tea is from Sri Lanka, and the tea also includes cornflower petals (pretty!) along with ‘natural flavors’.

I’ve found that a few of the Sri Lankan black teas I’ve tried have been very ‘delicate’ – which means oversteeping leads to bitterness.  This is true with Jazz Cats Meow – I need to remember to not make it up in my travel Bodum because of this.

I asked the woman working in the shop this time around for as much bergamont as possible (one of the flavors usually found in Earl Grey tea) and her first suggestion was their classic Earl Grey – but I went for this one instead, since I’ve tried it before and loved it.

Ready to go! I think I might need some not-so-wintery clear tall mugs!

The scent of the tea dry is exactly what you would expect – Earl Grey and chocolate.  Delicious!  The taste is the same – a creamy, smooth, delightful Earl Grey with slight floral notes and pleasing chocolate flavors.  My only complaint – I find myself picking out the little pieces of chocolate constantly and making them before I brew my tea… chocolate infused with the taste of black tea is amazing!  I would put this up near the top of my list of always reliably good, and always reliably enjoyed teas.

Have you tried Jazz Cats Meow? What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below!

On a more personal note – in the building where I work, they are renovating the pub, and it’s transitioning from a pub/lounge into a pub/restaurant.  I was talking with the Bar Manager yesterday, and the Kitchen Manager today – and they both told me that getting REALLY GOOD coffee and TEA on the menu is a priority, and they’re really excited about what the suppliers are offering.  Yippee!  So, in a few months, I’ll hopefully have a whole new bunch of teas to review!  (They’ll be bagged teas though, not loose leaf.)

Banff Tea Co. on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Earl Grey Rooibos

Earl Grey with milk

I really like the idea behind small, independently owned tea shops, but it’s also exciting to see tea go ‘mainstream’ (I’m not sure how that’s possible when tea is the drink of choice all over the world, but in a country full of Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Second Cups, Good Earth Cafes & others, let’s just run with it….) and finding tea shops in major shopping centers alongside other national and international chains.

Teaopia is one of these chains – here in Calgary there are 5 locations, and they have other locations in BC, Ontario, and Manitoba, along with an online presence which sells in both Canadian and US dollars.  Not long ago I was at the Chinook Centre Teaopia, and picked up some Earl Grey Rooibos tea.

I adore the delicious flowery taste of bergamot found in Earl Grey teas, and mixing this with rooibos, which is naturally decaffeinated makes a tea that I can enjoy any time of the day, without worrying about the caffeine making for very weird dreams or a restless sleep.  Bergamot oil is also reported to be an anti-depressant, and helps with digestion – probably one of the reasons I always feel so calm and content when drinking it (or maybe just because it tastes so good)!  Also – rooibos tea is reported to be excellent for digestion as well.  Good to know if you don’t feel like eating a cup of belly-dancing yoghurt. 😉

Teaopia’s Earl Grey Rooibos is good – there’s a slight smoky taste that I find with most rooibos teas, but it’s not as strong as I’ve tasted (and smelled) with other teas.  Similarly, the bergamot flavor isn’t particularly strong either.  I likely would like this tea even more if the bergamot flavor was stronger.  There is a nice creamy taste however, and I enjoy it best with milk and sugar (like most of my black teas).  It steeps very dark and intense, but being a rooibos tea, I’ve found I don’t have to worry as much about over-steeping as I have with some of my black teas and most of my greens.

Steepster has a review of this tea as well, if you’re interested in another opinion!  If rooibos tea isn’t your thing, then check out this blog post from Tea for Two featuring Teaopia’s classic Earl Grey tea.

Have you tried Teaopia’s Earl Grey Rooibos? What did you think?  Comment below and let us know!

Teaopia on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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