Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Tea Lovers!

Ho, ho, ho!!!
You know what?  I just came back from my local tea shop to purchase a butt-load of teas to give away to family and friends.  The gift of tea!  How perfect is that?!  I'm even more excited to give it away than I am to get it for myself (although I did have to get some for me too, because, well, because.)

For some people I got the tried and true with a boost, Cream Earl Grey.  It's a great standard, but with an added hint of sweetness not unlike a Campino candy.  Not for everybody, and it's not my very favorite either. But it's good for those who don't drink a lot of tea, and who would enjoy something a bit different from the usual Tetley tea bag.

For others, I got some Chocolate Mint (a black tea flavored with real mint, and the smell of the dry tea leaves reminds me a lot of those Girl Guide minty-chocolaty cookies) - it's a nice treat when you want to indulge in sweetness without the guilt.  Some Cochin Masala Chai, and a new flavour to this tea shop, Almond Black, round off the list.

For myself (I only got myself 2 samplers because I couldn't seriously justify getting any more tea with such a big stash at home already) a Coconut Black - a flavour that seems to be extremely popular these days, although usually in a coconut pouchong (somewhere between a green and an oolong), which I need to find.  But you know, now that I've figured out the art of tea flavoring (my god, I feel so dumb), I probably could get the exact same effect by adding dried coconut shreds to my cup.  I also got a Chocolate Cream, because I can't get enough of that chocolaty goodness!  I plan on sipping some while wrapping presents tonight.  Actually maybe I should have some right now, because my sweet daughter is having a meltdown (I'm blaming the candy canes), and I want to remain in my Christmassy, happy frame of mind!

To further the topic of chocolate and Christmas and tea, I thought I'd share this link which was sent to me by my good friend April (bless her socks!) - it's a thing of beauty:

Merry Christmas, Everyone!  *Mwah*  *Mwah*

photo courtesy of tripp-e on

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Ultimate Tea Diet - The Book

The book arrived a couple of days ago (thanks, Chapters!) and I've read it.  It didn't take me long, because I skipped over a lot of it.  It's not the worst book I've read.  For $5.99, I'm happy.

Basically, the book can be summed up like this:

1.  Drink tea that you love, and lots of it, all day.
2.  Believe in yourself.
3.  Engage in a healthy lifestyle and diet.
4.  Drink more tea.  And if you can't drink any more, cook with it.  Recipes included.

So that's fine.  All good stuff.  Not necessarily life-altering or anything, but a good, basic outline for how one should live their life.  Hey, I can't argue with the drinking tea stuff.

I was a little put off at how the author, Mark "Dr.Tea" Ukra (not an actual doctor), considers himself a pioneer in the booming tea industry,

Although tea has been around for thousands of years, there has never been a face and voice of tea until tea found me and I found dr.tea's.

Also, he didn't exactly conduct any scientific experiments himself...he surveyed 18 TEAmmates and gets "hundreds of tesTEAmonials" (how annoying is that?), although he does cite many sources at the end of the book to support the majority of his claims.

Also, he writes that white tea has the least amount of caffeine.  I read the opposite in Harney & Sons Guide.  Who to believe?  (Actually, I really don't know who to believe.  I've heard both elsewhere, and need to get to the bottom of this.  More later.)

Also, a lot of it seems to be geared toward reforming coffee addicts.  I've never been addicted to coffee my whole life, so that doesn't interest me in the least.

I can't say that this is all bad.  After all, The Ultimate Tea Diet is renewing my interest in drinking tea for health's sake.  It has given me some new ideas - such as mixing my teas with different ingredients, or different teas for that matter.  And, it has made me steep my leaves many times over (so that you still get the "good stuff" without too much caffeine with the added benefit of getting more bang for your buck. There is also a decent section of recipes which use tea as an important ingredient.  I plan on trying low-fat yogurt with green matcha, and perhaps an oolong chicken and steak rub.  These are fun and healthy meals to try, so if you wouldn't be losing out on much money if you bought the book just for that section.

You'd think, with all the not-so-good stuff I've written about The Ultimate Tea Diet, that I wasn't recommending it.  Not true.  Go get the book if you are actively trying to lose weight and want another tool by your side.  Certainly no harm can come of it, and maybe it will help you.  For such a low price, I'm glad to have this book on my shelf.  I want to lose weight, and I'll be overjoyed if tea plays a part of that.

Good night!  I'm off to brew another pot (re-steeped) for the evening.