Tag Archives: decaf tea

Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter V

Chapter, the Fifth
*Special Edition*

In which the author divulges her secret and makes excuses for her lack of blog material…

If there are any readers out there, you may or may not have been disappointed by my recent lapse in posting. (Can I call a 3-month gap a lapse?) OK, it’s more of a hiatus.

I’m pregnant!

Now you know the reason I’ve been cutting back on caffeine and not feeling up to writing new blog posts. Whether you deem this a good enough reason for a hiatus¬†or decide to stop following a blog author this flaky is entirely up to you. However, if you’d like to continue on this tea journey with me, I’d love to start blogging again!

I’m due December 13th, so I’m offically in my second trimester.

I don't care what your baby looks like, this is the cutest profile I've ever seen!

When we discovered our pregnancy, Mike and I were already planning our trip to the Oregon coast, so we decided to keep our reservations, despite the nausea. We considered it an early babymoon.

Oregon is beautiful, and hotels love their Stash tea. Our hotel in Portland (not technically on the coast, that was in the days following) had complimentary continental breakfasts and afternoon tea and cookies. I knew this was the place for me.

I tried to cut out as much caffeine as possible during my first trimester, just to be safe, so I stuck to herbal teas during the trip. Stash, of course, has some delightful herbals, including Lemon Ginger, Peppermint, Orange Spice, and Wild Raspberry. Stash is famous for their variety packs, so check them out if you’re interested in a flavor extravaganza!

We spent the rest of our trip exploring the Oregon coast, spending a few nights each in Newport and Cannon Beach. Our stay in Newport took us to the Sylvia Beach Hotel (seriously recommended for book lovers!), which offered Stash tea at breakfast every morning as well.

Overall, I felt really good during our trip, so I’m thankful I didn’t spend the whole time curled up with nausea. The excercise was also helpful. We walked everywhere in Portland, so it was a nice change from driving half an hour to and from work every morning, as per our usual St. Louis routine.

So I’m back in the blogosphere and I have some great teas lined up: summer iced tea, an iced tea blind tasting test, hot tea that’s good for the tummy, and some great decaf. Look for my next review soon, and keep brewing!

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Esenchal Green Tea

Decaf Sencha
by Harney & Sons
(Available in decaf or regular on their site.)

Sencha is a type of green tea traditionally from Japan. The decaf variety from Harney & Sons is from China (go figure). I know, you’re thinking, “She got decaf…again.” Perpetually trying to cut back (you try having a tea blog and consuming large amounts of caffeine…for the sake of the public). For those of you who are still on a first name basis with your daily dose of caffeine, Harney & Sons does offer the caffeinated version, which is the most common. (You may want to note that the caffeinated Japanese Sencha is more expensive than the decaf, even for the 1 oz more in package size. You may want to check out their Sencha varieties; however prices do increase further: Organic, Matsuda’s, Ichiban, Sent of Mountain.) They do have a bagged Sencha, but you sacrifice that loose-leaf effect. You can also try a sample for $2, which isn’t bad at all.

OK, enough money talk.

Decaf Sencha, like most green teas, has a light, relaxing, grassy flavor. Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation (when the tea leaves are allowed to darken after they are picked), so it’s a lighter taste than black tea (maximum oxidation time; oolong is in between). Sencha is made from more whole leaves. It’s not ground or heavily chopped. You can see in the photo below that the loose leaves consist of rolled leaf pieces. It makes for a nice, whole, round flavor.

For Sencha, the tea plants are allowed direct sunlight exposure. It is also steamed longer in processing, giving it a bright green color and full green flavor.

When boiling water for green tea, it’s important to stop the heat just before it boils completely. This is really for loose-leaf green tea, in particular. Green tea is more delicate than black, so you don’t want to scorch the leaves.¬† Instead, allow them to gently unfurl and the heat from the water can coax the flavor out of each leaf. You want some right now, don’t you?

I’m glad I decided to go with the decaf too. Not just because I’m cutting back. It’s such a relaxing drink, I can have it before bed and still get enough sleep. It’s also nice for the afternoon, if you just need a break from a busy day.

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