Monthly Archives: January 2014
I’m going to start with a tin of tea I actually bought a few months before starting this whole project. In October of last year, I was involved in an online swap through Ravelry, a social network site for knitters. The swap was themed around one of my favorite podcasts, Welcome to Nightvale.
In one of the forums there, someone mentioned the The Town We Do Not Speak Of signatures tea collection at Adagio Teas. As I understand it, Adagio allows users to create their own signature blends of tea. Some users also decide to create artwork to go with their teas and then make them available to other users as well. In this case one user created 10 teas as part of her signature collection. For the adventurous, Adagio offers the collection of 10 as a sampler set, including the mini tins for $39.
I read through the ingredients in each of the teas and decided to order just one that sounded appealing, Glow Cloud. The selection was offered in either a 3oz pouch for $10 or a 6oz tin for $24. What can I say? I really wanted that tin.
Per the Adagio website the signature blend contains green tea, white tea, pu erh dante, orange peels, marigold flowers, apricots, natural mandarin flavor, natural peach flavor and is accented with cranberry and hibiscus.
The first thing I smelled when I opened this tin was the delicate scent of peach. I could see bits of orange peel, cranberry and hibiscus leaves. I let the tea steep about 2 minutes before drinking and when it was done I was very pleased.
Overall, it tasted tangy and sweet. I could taste the green tea, but it was subtle, and the citrus and peach flavors definitely came through. I have now drunk this one several times. It is great as an afternoon pick-me-up and I can see this being a favorite I keep in the collection.
The first thing I needed when I decided to begin this journey was a good way to brew tea. Since I mostly drink my tea at work, I was looking for something that was convenient, easy to use and easy to clean up. I was also looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank.
One quick way to get started with loose leaf tea is with paper tea filters. They’re not my preferred way to brew because you have to make sure that the bag itself doesn’t come open and fill your cup with leaves (unless of course you’re going to try reading your tea leaves when you’re done), but they work in a pinch. If you want to have some on hand in an emergency you can find them in some grocery stores or at online tea shops relatively inexpensively. It looks like you can purchase a box of 100 from Adagio for $3.
I opted instead to look for an infuser mug. My parents had told me about all the neat mugs they had discovered at Teavana, so I started there. I ended up ordering the Green Essential Infuser Tumbler for $19.99.
When it arrived I was really impressed with how it was constructed. The little mesh tea pod is connected to the lid. You fill it with tea and fill the bottom mug portion with hot water to the fill line. Then screw on the top. Flick the lever down to lower the mesh pod into the water and let it sit there for as long as you want to brew your tea. Then flick it back up and the pod retracts into the lid. Then you can sip your tea. After the you’ve finished your tea, you can open the lid and dump the contents of the little pod into the trash. A quick wash and you’re ready to go again. I also think it would work great for multiple steepings, although I haven’t tried that yet.
Now there was one big negative – the ordering. I ordered the tumbler on January 16 and it was delivered on January 27. During that time there was no communication from Teavana regarding shipping. Because I had checked out as a guest, there was no way to track my order online. And when I called to try and find out the status, I lingered on hold for 60 minutes and had to give up before talking to a representative. Honestly, the other experience I had at the same time (see below) was SO MUCH BETTER that I’m not sure I’ll purchase from Teavana again.
Once I had the tumbler on the way it was time to select some delicious tea!
I chose to start at Adagio Teas. I know that there are many local and online sources for tea and I plan to shop at many of them over the course of this blog. However, I had ordered from Adagio once before and I find their website easy to navigate, and I enjoy how they organize their selection of teas. I also found that their sample sizes, most of which they say brew 5-10 cups of tea, were very economical at $3-5 a pop. Since I don’t know exactly what I’m going to like, and I certainly don’t want to be stuck with a large container of tea that I don’t care for, I found this a super easy way to select a bunch of different kinds of things to try. All told I spent about $20 at Adagio. The package shipped within 24 hours of my order, and within a few days the box had arrived at my door (and as soon as the tracking information showed delivery, Adagio sent me an email telling me that my order was at my door).
Now the only thing to do is to get brewing!
Welcome to my little corner of the world, the intersection of knitting and tea.
As I mentioned on my About Me page, I learned to knit at the tender age of 7 under the wing of my Grandma Ruthie. I knitted on and off throughout my childhood and teenage years, and took it up again in college. Post-graduation I had an epiphany. Although my Grandma was an invaluable teacher, she had recently passed away. Suddenly I realized that I could learn to knit by reading books, visiting the local yarn store, talking with other knitters and watching helpful You Tube videos. A whole world opened before me. These days I have a room in my house overflowing in yarn, at least three projects going at all times and I get a little twitchy if a day goes by that I don’t get at least a few more rows knitted! I have also found a wonderful knitting community both in my real life knitting group and online through various social networks.
But that’s not why you’re here. Or at least not entirely. You’re here for the tea too.
I live in what is quite a cold climate currently (I’m looking at you Polar Vortex). I also happen to work in an office that is kept to precise icebox temperatures. While I enjoy coffee, it often upsets my stomach. I am, however, an avid tea drinker.
About two weeks ago I got fed up with the same 6 Bigelow teas offered in the break room, and decided I needed a change. I let my fingers do the walking and found a few sites that sold all kinds of delicious sounding teas, but many of them were loose leaf and I find that kind of hard to brew at work. A few more Google searches and I was buying an infuser tumbler. As I waited for everything to arrive it occurred to me that there was a lot to learn, and that I could record and share this journey in blog format.
So here’s the deal. I’m going to buy tea, brew it and review it. I’m going to find cool accessories – mugs, teapots, spoons, what have you, and share them for inspiration. I’m going to document what I learn. Along they way I’ll show you what I’m knitting and, since knitting is such a big part of my life, I’m sure it’s going to show up in other ways.
We’re starting at the beginning. This won’t be fancy snobby tea. I won’t be boiling the water and then steeping for exactly the right number of seconds. Confession: I don’t even own a tea kettle. Sometimes I’ll be heating the water at home in my microwave; sometimes I’ll be a full heretic and use the extra hot tap installed in the break room sink.
So let’s get this tea party started.
(Actual tea party, Mad Hatter included. No political parties were harmed in the making of this blog)
“A journey of ten thousand teas begins with a single cup.”