Welcome to Teatime Tuesday, a new section of this site where I will review tea, show off my coloring projects, talking about Life, the Universe, and Everything… but mostly gush about tea.
I was so excited for this new little project that with my holiday Amazon money from my Dad I finally got myself an electric tea kettle! And not just any electric tea kettle, but one of those schmancy ones with a temperature toggle on it so you can boil the water at different settings for different kinds of tea! It just arrived today and you can’t believe how excited I am to try it out! I got a Chefman Electric Kettle, and if you are curious, you can view the exact one I bought from Amazon here.
Here is the little beauty making his first pot of tea…
Hmm, I wonder what I should name him? (Because yes, naming inanimate objects is a thing I do.) Perhaps “Bork” after the Swedish Chef, since it’s a Chefman. …It makes sense in my twisted head, at least.
For my first teatime, I decided to go with an old favorite… mainly because I only had enough left for one more cup and I need to clean some space out of my kitchen for a shipment of new tea samples I recently purchased (oh em gee, $50 worth of tea samplers!), and also because my friend requested it.
This tea is Rooibos Chai Herbal Tea that came from The Spice and Tea Exchange, which is the first looseleaf tea shop I’ve ever been to (there actually aren’t any in my local town!) I ran into this particular one in Port Townsend, Washington, a gorgeous little port town, when I was on vacation last Labor Day Weekend to visit my Dad and Stepmom, who live in the area, up in Kingston, Washington (it was a great trip… we rode the ferry over to Seattle three times that weekend to watch the Mariners, and they won two of the three games!) Since then, I’ve also been to this particular chain one other time, on the pier in San Francisco!
I actually decided to pick this one up when I was in that shop because when I was reading Chapter 3 of The Chains of Lyra, a sci-fi Sims 4 story by InfraGreen/Trip, there was discussion in that chapter of several types of tea, and I had never heard of “rooibos;” Trip and CathyTea were quick to school me in the comments, and it sounded fantastic! I knew then if I ever ran into it I had to try it, and this was the first variety I ran across, and liking other chai teas, I picked it up. It is described by the vendor as “the best aspects of rooibos and all the flavors of chai tea are blended together to make a refreshing brew with an exceptionally strong and sweet flavor.” It contains: organic red rooibos, organic cinnamon, organic ginger root, organic cardamom, organic ramon nut, organic star anise, organic licorice root, organic fennel seed, organic black pepper, organic cloves, and organic peppermint, and is caffeine-free.
Having now sampled quite a bit of rooibos, you won’t really taste it at all in this particular tea blend. You can tell it is in there, because when it starts to steep, you’ll see that traditional red color:
But, once it has finished steeping for the recommended five minutes, it will have darkened considerably, looking more like a black tea!
Also, it doesn’t really taste like most chai I’ve had either, which is typically pretty sweet and really cinnamony; this has a very unique taste that is hard to describe, but that I absolutely love (hense why I had so little of this tea left)! It tastes very husky, and I most strongly make out the ginger, licorice, and clove accents (if you are one of those people that hates licorice, then this definitely isn’t a tea for you… you’d definitely notice it!) It’s a very spicy, full tea, and I haven’t really found anything comparable to it yet.
It’s definitely not a very cost-effective tea… a small bag is only 1 ounce and costs $5.89, and if you want the largest bag, which is 4 ounces, it’s $22.39. Unfortunately The Spice and Tea Exchange has some of the most expensive teas I’ve found… but it’s really good. I’d definitely recommend at least trying out the one ounce sample bag if it sounds like something you might like. The worst that can happen is you’ll end up like me, go through that one ounce bag really quickly, and then have to try to convince yourself that spending over $20 on a single bag of tea can’t really be too much if you love it that much…
The one nice thing about it, which does help make it slightly more cost effective, is that the flavor of this tea is so strong that it re-steeps fairly well. I usually get a good three cups of tea out of a single infusion. I absolutely live for the Apace Living Loose Leaf Stainless Steel Strainer as my infuser of choice; they come in a set of two, I have never once had a single floater in my cup using these things, and it is so easy to just pull them up out of the cup, set them on the little included drip coaster, and then reuse the same infusion of leaves again. It also comes with a handy spoon for filling the infusers with dry leaves, and I also find that spoon is the perfect size for my sugar serving (I like two spoonfuls!) I really can’t talk them up enough.
And my adorable mug? It features Mo Willem’s Pigeon from the popular children books. The library where I work held an election a few months ago in Youth Services between Pigeon and Fancy Nancy and let the kids vote, and being a huge fan of the Pigeon books, I was one of his biggest supporters (and one of the only members on staff supporting Pigeon). However, the kids spoke, and Pigeon won, and he is now president of the library! At our staff Holiday Party, we had a White Elephant gift game where each department had to create a gift that represented their department, and that mug was part of Youth Service’s gift. It has Pigeon on one side, and the other side says “President Pigeon approves this beverage.” I absolutely loved it, and knew if I got drawn, I was going to steal it since the game allowed that! I was the only person in the game to get drawn and steal a gift from someone! (I’m so House Slytherin, aren’t I?) But… I have the swankest mug around, don’t I?