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Tag Archives: Tea

Silk Road Tea – Victoria, BC

Selection of teas at Silk Road in Victoria, BC

Selection of teas at Silk Road in Victoria, BC

I’m going to take a little break from my Iceland posts to head back to Canada again – this time for my trip to Victoria, BC, and a must-visit Silk Road Tea shop.

Located in the Chinatown area of downtown, Silk Road is spa on one side, and tea on the other, and a young woman greeted all of the guests with a free sample of a freshly made iced tea to take off some of the heat of the August day when we visited.

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Vata Ayurvedic

Vata Ayurvedic Tea

Vata Ayurvedic Tea

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much in Happy Sushi Belly over the past few weeks… well I was really sick, and really sick means no new sushi adventures!

(Or energy to write up posts for that matter either…)

Now that I’m starting to feel a little better, I do have a new mini-post for you though, about a very pretty tea from David’s Tea called Vata Ayurvedic. It’s an herbal tea that I had in a multi-pack of other herbal teas, but right now it’s not available on David’s website – check back later though, it might be back…

According to ayurvedateas.com, Ayurvedic teas are caffeine-free herbal teas “that help to balance one’s doshas”. The site goes on to state that Ayurvedic teas “help to regulate and balance vata, pitta, and kapha doshas, and thus keep the body in balance and harmony” and are “an effective and economical way to bring back one’s doshas into balance”.

So…. there’s that.

On Wikipedia, I read that a “dosha” is “one of three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution according to Ayurveda. These teachings are also known as the Tridosha theory”. This is starting to sound pretty circular. Maybe I should have waited until I was totally healthy before starting this…

So, let’s just talk tea.

Since the tea is no longer on the David’s Tea website, I can’t say for certain what is in the tea, but visually it looks like peppermint, chamomile, rose buds, and lemongrass. Reading one of the Steepster reviews, it looks like the tea also contains fennel, licorice, and orange.

The David’s Tea write up for this tea is:

“Relax, help is here
5000-year-old Ayurvedic medicine says that we all consist of three doshas in differing proportions. Vata is the most delicate one, and an imbalance can cause anxiety or nervousness. Regain your equilibrium with this soothing blend of organic chamomile, saffron, licorice, ginger, fennel seeds, rose buds, spearmint, organic rosehips, lemongrass, organic holy basil and orange.”

The taste is almost exactly like the custom-blend a friend made up for me with peppermint and chamomile as the predominant ingredients. It’s pleasant, but not anything really special. I don’t think that I’d look for it again if David’s Tea brought it back, but I’ll make up a few more cups of it while I’m trying to drink lots of fluids during this cold….

Feeling under the weather?

Since I’m still not feeling well – leave a comment below with your favourite ‘feel better’ teas!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Vancouver: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Looking at Downtown Vancouver from on Granville Island

Looking at Downtown Vancouver from on Granville Island

While in Vancouver I had to grab a quick lunch, so stopped at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’s bakery and cafe, Bistro 101 near Granville Island. They advertised a $7.95 soup and sandwich deal. Although they were all out of sandwiches when I went in, so instead I got a couple of bacon and onion (which weren’t very onion-y, thank goodness) mini quiches instead.

Mini quiche, coffee and soup for lunch

Mini quiche, coffee and soup for lunch

The soup was minestrone, and I got a cup of coffee (oh Vancouver, you do love your coffee!) as well. All in all, a good lunch for under $10.00!

Bistro 101 on Urbanspoon

Tea shop in Vancouver

Tea shop in Vancouver

Before heading down to Granville Island I also stopped into a tea shop to meet up with a friend for a cup of tea. I didn’t have a chance to make any notes or take any photos though I’m afraid – my company was just too charming & distracted me!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Red Velvet Latte

For quite some time I have been hearing people rave about the Red Velvet Latte from Teaopia (mostly on Twitter).  I had thought it was a loose leaf tea flavour, so had to wait until a while ago when I had some extra time downtown, not too far from the Teaopia shop in the Eaton Centre (or The Core…as I think it is now known…)

Red Velvet Latte

I had expected that Red Velvet tea would be made from a chocolate-flavoured tea – but instead it is actually made with their Amazing Vanilla tea, steamed milk, raspberry syrup and vanilla syrup.  Although it is wonderfully tasty – I did not really taste  it as Red Velvet, but rather as a sweet, vanilla-raspberry latte.

So, I wont be one of the raving fans on Twitter, but it definitely will join the list of things to have when I am also picking up some loose leaf next time!  Right now on Twitter though, they are raving about the S’mores tea… Which is currently sold out – but it is coming back…

Love S`Mores? We love them so much that we made it into a tea! A delectable combination of Black Tea, Oolong Tea, Pai Mu Tan White Tea, Mini Marshmallows, Cocoa Peel, Chocolate Drops, Hazelnut Brittle, Pomegranate Flower Blossoms and Marigold Flower Petals.

Have you tried the Red Velvet Latte yet? What did you think?

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Potty Tea Drinkers Pour in Fear

Beautiful blooming tea

Ok… that’s not the real headline, the headline actually is “Potty tea drinkers launch Save Our Cuppa campaign” but either way it’s a pretty funny headline. Ok, now that we get past the British versus Canadian slang, what the story is REALLY about is the declining use of teapots to make tea (versus dunking a bagged tea in a mug and calling it a day).

The Campaign for Civilized Tea Drinking (yeah, apparently that’s a thing…) thinks that the best way to drink tea is when the loose leaves are steeped in a tea pot, and then strained as they are poured into teacups.  No paper filters, no bags, no mugs… but rather a pre-heated tea pot, boiled water, milk and sugar.

How did I find out about this?  From Twinings Tea UK and the #SaveTheTeapot campaign on twitter…   The Sun also did an article on the topic, claiming that the method is central to British culture.  (Yep.  pots from Portugal, tea from India, lemons from southern Asia, sugar from India… utterly British. ahaha  Least the milk would be local!)

While I’m a fan of loose leaf myself (generally it has way more flavour!) I’m thinking that this campaign has more to do with teapot makers loosing a part of their industry rather than tea drinkers getting upset about how other people drink their tea.  As long as you can still get loose leaf tea (and guessing by the number of loose leaf tea shops that have popped up in the last while, I’m guessing the chances are good) then does it really matter?

With that in mind though, I do realize that I don’t really own a NICE, useable teapot!  I have one very small glass teapot for my flowering teas (no, not the one pictured above) and a very boring old china teapot that we have for normal use… (though it doesn’t actually get used all that much, since instead I usually just make tea for myself and use a strainer... ).

On the other hand, I definitely prefer a mug to a teacup… maybe just because I keep thinking I’ll spill my tea when I drink out of those tiny-handle, huge mouthed cups!

As much as I have my OWN preferred ways…. it kind of just makes me chuckle that anyone could really get all that upset because their favorite restaurant is going the easy route and offering bagged teas instead of loose leaf in pots.  (What about solo drinkers who only want one cup?)

Though, it does remind me of a funny story…

My great-grandmother was flying over from Cardiff, Wales to Calgary a while back (I’m guessing 15 years….) and on the plane they offered her a cup of tea, which of course she accepted.  When they brought her the tiny tea pot (you know, the one-and-a-half cup sizes) and the bag of tea, she had very little idea what the little pouch was for.  She proceeded to open the paper wrapper, and realized that was her tea.  First wrapped in paper, and then wrapped in some little bag.  She ripped open the bag, poured the (now loose) tea into the tea pot, and while it steeped, wondered where the strainer was.  Apparently she had never seen a tea bag before!

Needless to say she wasn’t impressed that they hadn’t given her a strainer, and kept spitting out the tea leaves as she drank her tea.  Haha!

I thought you might get a chuckle out of this… so weigh in in the comments below – traditional teapot? French press? Bagged tea? Strainers? Which works better… for you?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Steeps Urban Teahouse

Tea. Photo by Modomatic

Despite generally great reviews on Yelp.ca and UrbanSpoon, I actually would NOT recommend Steeps Urban Teahouse on 17th Avenue SW to tea drinkers based on several experiences.  With that being said, if you’re looking for a relaxing place to go and have a drink alone with your laptop or with a friend – it might be a more soothing alternative than some of the (many) other beverage shops in the neighborhood. (Such as an independent and very busy coffee house a block or two away, or a large chain coffee shop across the street and down the block.)

Steeps has a wide variety of tea in jars at the front of the store – it was one of my first tea shops, and I’ll admit, when I first entered, I had no idea what to do with all of the selection.  After a few sniffs of ones you think you might like, you take the larger container of your chosen tea to the counter and place your order (either steeped tea to drink in their teahouse, or a tin of the tea to take home).

My major complaint is that while the teas smell divine – generally the flavor of the steeped tea doesn’t really measure up. This holds true for teas that I’ve taken home (or been given as a gift) and for teas I’ve consumed in the teahouse, so it’s not just a matter of me using too small a quantity to get the full effect of the tea’s flavor.

I’ve tried a few different teas as well – Orange Honeybush, a Rooibos Chai, Bourbon Vanilla, Earl Grey, Kyoto Rose (I think that was it’s name) – and all (with the exception of Bourbon Vanilla) suffered from the same lackluster result.  Only the Bourbon Vanilla (which is now my go-to tea when I visit Steeps) seems to transition well from dry to steeped.

So, if I wouldn’t recommend the tea at Steeps – why do I go?  For starters, it’s a pleasant place to spend some time with a friend – and I have a number of friends who quite like Steeps.  For me it’s much more agreeable than the mass-market chain coffee shop, or the super-busy independent coffee shop nearby, and a pot of tea is an affordable way to visit for an hour or two. The food is simple but good, and they have a central location which is on several bus routes; easy for friends from various parts of the city to gather. Steeps is also close to a number of other businesses and areas that I like to visit.  Really, I’m not buying tea – I’m spending my time and money on the location and atmosphere.

Want to read a the point of view from a blogger who enjoys Steeps a bit more than I do?  Check out the Cowtown Epicurean’s post. 
Steeps the Urban Teahouse
880 16 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1J9
(403) 209-0076

Steeps the Urban Teahouse on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Southern Belle

The third tea I picked up from David’s Tea’s fall collection is Southern Belle.  It was the flavour they were sampling in-store when we visited the Southcentre location earlier this month, though that wasn’t the only reason I picked this up.

Before I get into the review… I recommend either hopping on the bus, opening another browser window, or starting up your car now to get some of this amazing tea… it is absolutely fantastic.  So much so, that if it weren`t for the BAGS of tea I have in the kitchen right now, I`d be heading out myself to meet you there and snag some more of my own.

Ok… so enough of that, onto the review.

Southern Belle

Southern Belle contains Chinese black tea, peach pieces, stevia leaf (a natural sweetener), yoghurt drops and other ingredients. The label suggests that it is fantastic served cold and sweet, and since I`ve been loving iced teas lately I thought this would be a great one to make up for iced tea.  I hot-steep my teas for iced tea, and then put them in the fridge (rather than sun-steeping or cold-steeping), which meant I still had hot tea to sample before I let the tea cool off and pop it in the fridge.

First up, dry the scent of the tea is fantastic – it smells a little bit like a green tea (although it isn`t) and very peachy – like peaches and cream.  Made up, the fruity, peachy scent continues, and the colour of the tea really reminds me of a green or oolong tea still – it`s still really green.  There is also a slight cloudiness to the tea – very likely due to the yoghurt drops.  I first tried the tea hot and black, and honestly I wasn`t especially impressed.  There is definitly a peach flavor, a smoky tea flavor, but it`s a bit lackluster.  However, then i added a little bit of sweetener, and the whole thing totally came alive!  The peach flavour became a juicy, fresh peach – the kind where when you bite into it the juices run down your chin and your mouth explodes with peachy, fruity goodness.  With sweetener the tea develops a rich, robust complexity – the smoky tea mixed with the peaches-and-cream flavor is fantastic.  With a bit of sweetener it`s sweet but not overly sweet.  I could see this being a fantastic warm-weather tea (for summer evenings) or a great tea during cold weather too.  It`s flavorful but also relaxing.

Oh-so-good southern belle tea

I saved up the second, and third infusions for the iced tea, and added sweetener instead of sugar.  The iced tea was gorgeous – cold, crisp, juicy, and wonderful!  I ended up drinking it so quickly that I didn’t even get a chance to remember to photograph it.  It’s really delightful!  If I had to pick two words to describe it; juicy & robust.

After reserving some of the tea for iced tea, I made up a fourth infusion for hot tea again, and would say that taking the tea to a fourth infusion is stretching it a bit thin.  The flavor is still very nice – it reminds me of a simple English Breakfast tea – something that isn`t especially special in any way, but is still really pleasant.  There is a lot more clarity in the tea itself in the fourth infusion – likely because all of the yoghurt drops have melted off.  The tea is still fruity, but not in that juicy peach kind of way, and it lacks that robust complexity.  I tried adding a bit of milk to the tea to see if that would bring back some of the flavor, but no luck on that one.  I guess that means I`ll just need to make another pot of tea!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in South-East Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Free tea! (For US mail boxes….)

Tea. Photo by Modomatic

There’s nothing better than freebies, right?  Free tea caught my attention, however it’s only open to US customers.  Since it’s a UK company, you would think that Twinings would have some love for fellow members of the dominion.. but *le sigh* they aren’t the only company that overlooks us beaver-keeping, maple-syrup-swilling, igloo-dwellers.

If however, you are in the USA – or if you have a US post box – you can order three samples of Twinings tea from their online selection. Before I realized that it was for US customers only, I was going for the Vanilla Chai, Pumpkin Spice Chai, and the Lady Grey Cold Blend.. *second le sigh* I suppose I’ll just have to stick with one of the (ahem, many) bags of loose leaf tea I have in the kitchen instead…

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea gifting

Casablana tea & crabapple flowers

There have been a few teas in the last little while that I have found… ‘eh’.  You know the ones – where the flavor is fine, but it’s just not what I expected, or not what I really like.  There’s a green tea that I find just ~too~ green for my liking, a caramel tea that is just a bit too sweet, and a ginger tea that is a little too spicy for me to really enjoy it.

Of course, I also know a lot of other people who might really love that green, caramel, or ginger tea…

So, do you think it’s cheap/tacky to give away a tea that you don’t really like to someone who might enjoy it, or a good way of keeping your stash enjoyable and enabling the stash-building of someone else?  Do you think you should keep it in the same tin/bag, or re-tin/bag the tea?

There’s a poll up on TeaChoice asking about re-gifting horrid tea-related gifts (I can only imagine hippo-shaped tea pots and boxes of no-name brand Orange Pekoe), which is similar to the question at hand – though I’m thinking of things that would hopefully really be enjoyed by the recipients.

P.S. please don’t ever give me a hippo-shaped tea pot.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Cocomama Lime

More tea goodness from David’s Tea – the tea we tried in-store (iced mind you) and the one we bought a big tin of to bring home was Cocomama Lime.  Check out how beautiful it looks!

Cocomama Lime tea from David's Tea

Subsequently, interestingly enough, I found a coconut oolong at my favorite Banff Tea Company that looked almost exactly the same, but was missing that bite of lime flavor.

Frustrating – the tea is not listed on the David’s Tea website – though Steepster had a review with this description:  (which is written the same way David’s Tea writes their descriptions, so it must be right!) “Spread the wealth!  Looking for some Inca gold? Try Cocomama’s tea. She was the Incan goddess of pleasure and health, and would have loved this sensual spring blend of lime, coconut, gotu kola and organic black tea. The tea leaves come from Bolivia, part of her vast empire, where a new initiative is helping some of Latin America’s poorest farmers plant tea instead of coca. Try it; it’s satisfying on so many levels.” http://steepster.com/teas/davidstea/18252-cocomama-lime

My guess is that this is a summer-only tea, and that it’s not available anymore… too bad, since it’s only mid-summer here in the prairies…

Cocomama Lime tea from David's Tea

Steeped up, the tea is light and pleasant, with nicely mingled flavors of lime and coconut, however there is a bit of a strangeness, drinking these two flavors hot. I really preferred the tea iced, where the flavors seemed to make more sense. Overall, while the tea is nice, it’s nothing all that special really; apart from the fact that the citrus taste is pleasant for an iced tea, and there aren’t too many teas (at least not in my tea-basket) that have these citrus tastes.

Emily started with Cocomama cold, and has a blog post about it at What Emily Makes, while Aisling of Tea made up a cocomama lime-fantasy island cream pie with hers (nom! nom! nom!).

Have you tried Cocomama Lime yet (if you had the chance!)?  Do you prefer it hot or cold?  Let us know in the comments below!

DAVIDs TEA on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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