Tag Archives: iced tea

Tea Tips

St. Louis’ local food magazine, Sauce, has an interesting article about brewing and enjoying iced tea (http://www.saucemagazine.com/section/1). The London Tea Room (http://thelondontearoom.com/) is featured in the article, and I must say, it’s a fun place. If you live in St. Louis, or you’re ever passing through, it’s a must-visit shop for any tea drinker.

Browse through their second list of tips and products (http://www.saucemagazine.com/slide/iced-tea#slide=1). Personally, the William-Sonoma 2-inch ice cube trays are going on my Christmas list.

 
Have any iced tea tips of your own? Or any hot tea brewing tips? We’re coming up on fall. Feel free to share.
 
(I apologize that my link function isn’t working right now, hence the long URLs.)

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Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter VIII

Chapter the Eighth

In which the author takes time to reflect on the busyness of life, the blessings of life, and the preoccupations of life…

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed the lack of tea reviews lately. The truth is I haven’t been drinking a lot of tea. (Gasp!)

Honestly, most of my days are spent at work, driving to and from work, going to the grocery store (300 extra calories/day translates to extra grocery runs), carrying grocery bags up our unfortunate flight of concrete steps out front, plopping myself down in front of the tube, spending time with my husband, researching baby registry lists, practicing my mothering instincts on the cat (giving him milk from my hand at breakfast–so spoiled), etc., etc.

6 months!

I have been drinking a LOT of water and lemonade. Water is being guzzled per my doctor’s instructions. My thirst has increased, so that helps me maintain my fluid intake. I’ve also noticed that certain things I’ve never cared for before have become completely delicious to me during pregnancy. Lemonade is one of these things.

If we’re eating out, I’ll order lemonade. If we’re staying in, I’ll buy lemonade at the store. When we were in Portland this Spring, we went to an outdoor market and tried the best orange lemonade I’ve ever had. Ever since then, Mike and I have been trying to recreate this delicacy with various mixtures of orange juice and lemonade. It never tasted like our rare find from the Portland market. Oh well. (If you have a nice orange lemonade recipe, please share it in the comments.)

Even though I’ve been telling myself not to indulge in expensive brands that ultimately increase the expectations of my standard of living, I am in love with Oberweis’ lemonade. At first, I thought this was an expensive, on-a-whim purchase that required a $1.50 deposit for the glass bottle. Now, on my second bottle, the extra charge has zeroed out and the price for good lemonade is more reasonable. Will I have the inclination (or the funds) to keep up this habit after Oliver is born? Maybe not. But right now, it’s deliciously fun.

There’s also the added environmental advantage of a glass, reusable bottle. It feels good to return the bottle and take home a “new” one that’s a little worn from use.

I’ve been tempted to sign up for their dairy delivery service (how amazing would that be!), but at $3 extra charge for delivery, I might as well drive to our very conveniently located grocery store for my milk and future (cheap) lemonade purchases with baby in tow.

Speaking of which, Mike and I recently tried on different types of baby carriers at a local store. And by “tried on” I mean fashion show. It was hilarious. I was surprised by how not silly Mike looked in these baby carriers. “Baby wearing” agrees with him.

Back to more focused ramblings…

When I’m not worrying about stuff that needs to get done, I’m too busy worrying about myself to write a tea review. Back pain has been creeping into this whole wonderful pregnancy experience. It hasn’t been too bad yet. Usually I just get a little pain in the evenings, so I take Tylenol and turn on the heating pad. This seems to help. However, some days (dark days), the pain starts early. Sunday, I started feeling back pain as soon as we got to church. This throws off the mood of the entire day. (Feel free to leave any back pain remedies in the comments as well.)

When days like this hit, it’s definitely important to remember that I have an excellent husband who is trying very hard to take care of his pregnant, sometimes irrational, wife. We had a lazy Saturday (by lazy I mean he slept in, I lounged around, and he ended up doing yard work outside–my increasing lack of bending ability and the uncomfortable heat kept me inside). It was the follow-up to a date night Friday, in which we looked around for a restaurant we hadn’t been to since we were dating, but couldn’t remember the name. When we found it, we realized the food wasn’t that great and the bill was expensive, but it was fun to get out, regardless. Spending time with my husband makes me appreciate the struggles of our ever-changing life for what they are: opportunities to grow our marriage, and preparation for this bundle of joy I can’t wait to meet.

A fun tidbit I’ve noticed in Mike through the pregnancy so far: My extra calories is throwing him off. He recently informed me that he usually eats about 20% more than I do, but now that I’m eating for two, an extra 20% on top of that is overeating for him. It could be the calorie confusion, or it could be seeing his wife blow up like a balloon, but he’s decided he needs to cut back and exercise more. I’m right there with him on that one! I even ordered a pregnancy workout video with my Amazon points. Maybe I’ll blog about this later…

I planned to post an iced tea blind taste test with several volunteers, perfect for summer. I also have some nice herbal tea on the shelf that I haven’t had a chance to blog about. With September upon us, hopefully you’ll see one or both of those in the coming weeks, but don’t hold your breath. As my circumference expands, I find myself more inclined to dream up blog posts than actually write them.

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Hibiscus Sangria Recipe

Recently, I posted a review of Hibiscus Sangria by The Republic of Tea. It was a little difficult to get all the flavors just right in this iced tea, but I found that marinating the strawberries in the tea for a while in the fridge gave it that extra fruity sweetness.

I received an e-mail today from the Republic with a recipe for making Hibiscus Sangria with additional fruit flavors. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would be really good. I figured I’d post the recipe now, so you have a chance to try it yourself.

Ingredients

• 3 ¼ cups ( 26 fl. oz) The Republic of Tea Sangria Hibiscus Tea
• 4 tablespoon The Republic of Tea Simple Syrup.
• Juice of 1 large orange
• Juice of 1 large orange
• Juice of 1 large lemon
• 1 large orange, sliced thin crosswise
• 1 large lemon, sliced thin crosswise
• 2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
• 1 cup (8 fl. oz) club soda

Preparation

• Combine all the ingredients except for the club soda in a large heat resistant punch bowl or serving pitcher
• Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
• Immediately before serving, mix in the club soda.
• Ladle into cups with ice cubes.
(Recipe taken from their Web site here. It also has a link to buy the iced tea bags, if you haven’t tried them yet.)

They used their own brand of simple syrup, but I think you can make your own or use any kind of sweetner you want.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think. I’ll update when I’ve had a chance to try it.

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Honestly Sold, Still Honest

Image from treehugger.com

An article from E Magazine caught my attention, “The Big Green Buyout.” Featured in the article, along with other organic brands, was Honest Tea. I’ve posted reviews of their amazing Peach Oo-la-long and Lori’s Lemon.

Summarizing the sale of Honest Tea to Coke in 2008 and trying to form an opinion of whether it has affected the integrity of Honest Tea and other small organic companies (sold to different corporate leaders, including Kashi, Odwalla, Ben & Jerry’s, Silk), the article gave me some food for thought. The thing I like about Honest Tea is that it is “honest.” The ingredients are listed on the label, and preservatives are not tolerated. Real sugar is used for the slightly sweetened flavors, and the company provides an alternative drink to those loaded with empty calories. Since selling to Coke, that hasn’t changed.

I think it’s commendable that Honest Tea’s CEO Seth Goldman has stood up to Coke about key principles in his small business and won. If a huge company like Coke is paying your salary, would you have the guts to stand up for what you believe? It’s risky, but I think it paid off in the end (and I’m sure he’s still fighting). So it’s like he “sold out,” but he’s simultaneously fighting the big bad corporate world.

You can read the article for yourself, but I think it provided a way in which small companies can expand their outreach–I know I love being able to pick up an occasional bottle of Honest Tea at the grocery store–and keep their ideals too. The way Goldman describes it, Coke needs his little company to give it some integrity (some integrity), so he can afford to stand up for his principles and keep his customers coming back.

Honest Tea also continues to manufacture glass bottles, so Coke hasn’t entirely switched it over to plastic (although, some flavors are available in plastic bottles–they probably ship easier). Glass is more environmentally friendly and you can reuse the bottles. (I really have to start my repurposed glass bottle flower vase project and post about it!)

Even after refusing to remove “no high fructose corn syrup” from his labels (and Coke backed down!), Goldman still says “I can’t imagine any situation in which I wouldn’t speak what I believe.” As a customer who seeks alternatives, I found this reassuring.

Is it possible to change the corporate food world from the inside out? What do you think?

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Cool, Minty Goodness Awaits You…

…at The Cooking Life! Michelle made an awesome black and mint iced tea that looks like it would cool the summer scorch. I know I’ll be trying it soon (but maybe with decaf). Check it out!

Mint leaves (image from en.wikipedia.com)

Wouldn’t you love to pick a bunch of this from your very own herb garden? I know, my expectations for a garden are fighting with my laziness, but someday… I have fond childhood memories of smelling (and trying to chew) mint leaves from our backyard. With our baby on the way, it might be worth looking into a serious garden project when he/she is old enough to walk barefoot through it with me. I’d like for our child to have the same memories and a value for homegrown food.

 
Speaking of growing your own food, Danielle Meitiv has a lot of garden ideas at her “barefoot blog.” If you’re interested, check it out. I subscribe and kick myself for not getting out there and starting my own! Maybe when I’ve got better balance and heat tolerance. Right now, I get a little dizzy standing in a line.
 
FYI, we find out this Friday if we’re having a boy or girl. I’ll be sure to post a special edition of Life of a Tea Drinker. Stay tuned!

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Summertime Fruit Tea

Hibiscus Sangria Tea
by Republic of Tea
(Available at the Republic’s site or in stores)

Missouri’s temperatures have been holding steady at 90+. Of course, we were sweltering in May too. Nothing like starting summer in what feels like mid-August. Sometimes hot tea, no matter how tasty the flavor, is just not an option (especially the more uncomfortable I feel in the heat—see my pregnancy announcement).

When we decided to honor our fathers on Sunday with a cookout, iced tea was a must. The Republic of Tea has quenched our early summer thirst with a satisfying fruity, floral blend. Hibiscus Sangria is an iced tea inspired by the tangy flavor of hibiscus and the seasonal juicy fun of the Sangria drink. Fruit bits and petals are roughly chopped in this eco-friendly tea bag, and you get 1 quart of refreshing flavor with each.

Because I’m obsessed with getting the most flavor out of every cup, I used two tea bags for my pitcher.

For ease of brewing, I used my Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker. It beats having to watch the water boil and steep the bags, especially when you’re busy preparing the cookout side items.

The fabulous ruby red color makes it eye-catching and you know it’s strong enough.

Paired with a chicken burger, coleslaw, watermelon slices, and potato casserole, this fruity tea hits the spot out on the patio. It’s refreshing but not super fruity. Adding chopped berries enhances the fruit flavors and gives your glass a touch of class.

What are your favorite iced tea flavors?

Summer is here! Sip iced tea!

*Update 6/24/11* Definitely leave the chopped fruit in the pitcher for a while, so all the flavors can mingle. The fruit will enhance the fruity taste in the tea. Otherwise, it’s just tangy, not really fruity. However, once you’ve done this, you have tasty tea but lousy fruit. Don’t try to eat the leftover fruit in the empty pitcher. The taste has been sucked right out of them. All you have is mush!

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Another Honest Winner

Lori’s Lemon Tea
by Honest Tea
(Pick up a bottle at your local store, or order a case here.)

What goes better with an early Spring warm-up than a refreshing splash of iced tea? St. Louis enjoyed a sunny 70 degrees this afternoon, and my taste buds shouted for iced tea. A little lemon and a smooth finish, this bottled beverage hit the spot.

This is my second experience with Honest Tea. If you’re interested, check out my review of their Peach Oo-la-long. Tasty. In keeping with my apparent fruity tea attraction, I chose Lori’s Lemon Tea on my way out of the grocery store. This tea is “Just a Tad Sweet,” and it’s just enough for the flavor combo. It’s a nice balance of black tea and lemon flavor, giving it a soft taste that perfect by itself or with a meal.

OK. This may be getting a little too personal for a tea review. Now you know that I like Ranch dressing and croutons on my salad!

The quality that delighted me first was the amazing lemon scent wafting up from the freshly open bottle cap. If that’s not inviting, you must hate citrus.  It’s just a sniff of what’s waiting for you under the cap. USDA Organic, like all their teas, there are only 5 ingredients. Five! And 3 of them are tea and lemon. Nothing unpronounceable or ending in the word acid appears in the list. You know what that means? No aftertaste! And, oh yeah, cane sugar. That’s always a good sign, especially for those of us who are easily irritated by the pro–high fructose corn syrup commercials. They live up to their slogan: “Nature got it right. We put it in a bottle.”

The label features artwork from “Fill-the-T” contest-winner Lori Andrews from Ohio; hence, “Lori’s Lemon Tea.”

Check out the lemon artwork on the label by contest-winner Lori Andrews.

We’re also reminded in the back panel blurb that iced tea originated at the 1904 World’s Fair in—that’s right!—St. Louis. I knew God sent me here for a reason, and it wasn’t the humidity. Great heritage. If you’re ever in St. Louis, check out Forest Park, site of the 1904 Fair with many still existing structures and buildings. Also in the park, the Missouri History Museum offers a free exhibit on the Fair, along with a myriad of interesting artifacts.

Honest Tea is full of great ideas and flavors. Check out their mission statement and sustainability policy here. Not only do they love their environment, they love their customers. Don’t take my word for it that Honest Tea is honestly good. Browse their Customer of the Month archive at the Honest Desk of Fame. How many ways can you make a great tea even better?

Just something I thought I’d add: my second bottle cap had the same quote as my last bottle. Hmm… If you’re an Honest Tea fan, share your bottle cap quotes!

For more on Honest Tea and their history, see my previous review, “Honestly Good.”

Update 3/18/11: I finished 3/4 of my bottle last night and decided to take the rest to work this morning. The bottle slipped from my hands while I was fumbling for my keys and hit the pavement of the parking garage…hard. To my delight, it bounced! So, not only is it a tasty beverage, it’s made out of very hardy glass. This one is going in the collection of glass waiting to be painted as flower vases (cat proof!). Happy Friday!

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