Tuesday, April 8, 2008

We've Moved!!!

Don't panic! Tea Escapade has moved to a new location. Visit us and save the new link:


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Indian Spice - Assam Black Tea

Of course after researching black teas, I was curious as to the origin of the Indian Spice (flavored black tea) I had the pleasure of drinking and reviewing yesterday. A cursory review of the Harney and Sons website revealed that my favorite tea is an Indian Assam tea.

Assam, is tea grown at sea level and is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color. Assam teas, or blends containing Assam, are often sold as "breakfast" teas. English Breakfast tea, Irish Breakfast tea, and Scottish Breakfast Tea are common generic names. Assam may not be a common word in your vocabulary, however English Breakfast tea and Irish Breakfast tea part my lips often. A point of reference when learning something new is always nice.

Historically, Assam is the second commercial tea production region after southern China. Southern China and Assam are the only two regions in the world with native tea plants. Assam tea revolutionized tea drinking habits in the 19th century since the tea, produced from a different variety of the tea plant, yielded a different kind of tea. My love for strong tea certainly makes me an Assam tea fan. I cannot wait until my next cup!
Happy tea drinking!

Black Tea?

I figured I cannot consider myself a tea aficionado without taking the time to learn about and understand what I drink. After I enjoyed my delicious cup of Indian Spice I took some time to do additional research on black tea as it is tea found in Indian Spice.

For those of you who did not know as well as those who want to refresh their memories, black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the green, oolong and white varieties. Amazingly, all four varieties are made from the same plant - or should I say leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea is known for its stronger flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas - green, oolong, or white.

Generally, unblended black teas are named after the region in which they are produced. Often, different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors. The first region of teas listed below are Chinese black teas.

I have not purchased black teas in a while, therefore the next time I do, I will refer back to this list to determine which I am drinking. The next region of teas listed come from India and Sri Lanka:

Rest assured, I plan to research my Indian Spice tea to determine which category it falls into. As always, I will keep you posted as soon as I find out. To finalize my list of teas from around the world, I discovered that several other regions offer distinctive, well known black teas.

The next time you prepare to brew a soothing cup of black tea, check the label to determine from where the leaves originated and the category of black tea to which it belongs. Then return and share your experience. Happy tea drinking!

Reference: Black tea. (2008, April 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:33, April 5, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black_tea&oldid=202475951

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Indian Spice

This morning I am drinking Indian Spice, a flavored black tea. When I need a strong drink I reach for Indian Spice - it is both striking and soothing.
Composition: Indian (pellet tea) blended with cardamom seeds, cinnamon and cardamom flavor
Visual: Dark brown with hints of red pellets. Dry mix resembles coffee grounds.
Dry Aroma: Very pungent robust scent - this tea has a spicy yet soapy (cardamom) smell
Flavor: Full bodied and slightly bitter - probably attributed to the cardamon. I prefer to drink with honey and milk or cream. However, depending on my mood, I may drink without milk/cream.
Liquor: Dark brown
Brewing Time: 5 minutes - I love a strong cup of tea.
Manufacturer: Harney & Sons Fine Teas
Caffeine: Yes
Special Note: When brewed with milk this delicious tea is known as the popular Chai Tea.

What is cardamom?

Cardamom is the dried, unripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Enclosed in the fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds which are slightly pungent to taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form. It is available both in the whole pod and as decorticated seeds with the outer hull removed.

The next time you are looking for a new tea try Indian Spice, then return to Tea Escapade and comment about your experience. Until then...Happy Tea Drinking!

Reference: McCormick Spice Encyclopedia located at http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?id=8214

Friday, April 4, 2008


To appropriately enjoy my new art teas, I purchased a clear glass teapot. Initially, I found clear glass teapots available for purchase on both the Bed Bath and Beyond and Harney and Sons websites. While each company sold these teapots in a variety of sizes, I opted for the smaller 24 ounce teapot. Typically, I drink tea alone and anticipate doing so in the future.

At the time of purchase, Harney and Sons were out of the small sized clear glass teapots they normally carry. This is what prompted me to check Bed Bath and Beyond. FYI, if ordering from Bed Bath and Beyond the teaposy can only be purchased online. The brand carried there is "teaposy" designed specifically for their blooming tea carrying the same namesake. Blooming tea is synonymous with art tea. A special feature of the teaposy is the strainer that fits perfectly within the spout. I found this to be beneficial as the bulb lost several petals when water was added to the teapot to activate steeping.

Other retailers that carry clear glass teapots:

  • TeaGschwendner
  • Stash Tea
  • Amazon.com
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Adagio Teas
  • Target
There are a numerous sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from. Search the Internet and brick and mortar buildings for the teapot that is perfect for you.

Happy Tea Drinking!

Seven Sons Congratulating

Recently, my family and I drank Seven Sons Congratulating for the first time. This tea is one of the four "Art Teas" sold by Harney and Son Fine Teas. Of course, I had to purchase a special clear glass tea pot for the occasion. Not being able to watch the tea "bloom" would have spoiled the fun. The tasting would not have been complete without a review.
Composition: Green and White Tea buds
Dry Visual: Looks like a flower bulb planted in one's flower bed
Dry Aroma: Very little smell
Flavor: I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful this tea was. My first love leans towards a stronger tea so I typically do not drink green tea. Seven Sons Congratulating has changed my mind.
Liquor: Yellow with a slightly pink hue
Brewing Time: Typically 3 to 5 minutes. However, to obtain the full effect of the Art Tea, the bulb remains in the clear glass teapot thus causing the tea to increase in strength.
Manufacturer: Harney & Sons Fine Teas
Caffeine: Yes

Special Note:

The green and white tea buds are pressed into a bulb with a red flower. When placed into hot water, the bulb blossoms revealing the red flower surrounded by a white crown. One bulb brews two to three cups of tea.

If there are any other Seven Sons Congratulating drinkers out there I'd love to hear from you. Until then...happy tea drinking!

Reference: Harney and Sons website - http://harney.com

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mutan White Tea?

After checking out the packaging on my Winter White Earl Grey, I discovered that my tea of choice is a Mutan White Tea. What is Mutan White Tea? I don't know, so I started conducted a little research.

So far, I have not found a lot of information on Mutan White Tea. However, I was able to find out a significant am out of information on White Tea. My findings are as follows:

Chinese white teas:

  • Bai Hao Yinzhen (Silver needle): The highest grade of the Bai Hao Yinzhen should be fleshy, bright colored and covered with tiny white hairs. Fujian Province, China.

  • Bai Mu Dan (White Peony): A grade down from Bai Hao Yinzhen tea, incorporating the bud and two leaves which should be covered with a fine, silvery-white down. From Fujian Province, China. (Sometimes spelled Pai Mu Tan.)

  • Gong Mei (Tribute Eyebrow): The third grade of white tea, the production uses leaves from the Xiao Bai or "small white" tea trees.

  • Shou Mei (Noble, Long Life Eyebrow): A fruity, furry white tea that is a chaotic mix of tips and upper leaf, it has a stronger flavor than other white teas, similar to Oolong. It is the fourth grade of white tea and is plucked later than Bai Mu Dan hence the tea may be darker in color. From Fujian Province and Guangxi Province in China
Other white teas:
  • Ceylon White: A highly prized tea grown in Sri Lanka. The tea has a very light liquoring with notes of pine and honey and a golden coppery infusion.

  • Darjeeling White: It has a delicate aroma and brews to a pale golden cup with a mellow taste and a hint of sweetness. A tea from Darjeeling, India.

  • Assam White: White tea production in the Assam region is rare. A white Assam yields a refined infusion that is naturally sweet with a distinct malty character.

  • White Puerh Tea: Harvested from plantations found high on remote mountain peaks of Yunnan Province, China. Incredibly labor intensive with each step processed by hand, these luxury whites are wonderfully rich in fragrance, and possess an alluring, sweet nectar-like quality.
Thus far, I am unable to determine what category Mutan White falls into. If you know, please share - I would love to be enlightened further.
Reference:White tea. (2008, February 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:46, April 2, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=White_tea&oldid=194705669