Slimming Tea by Honey & Tea Culture | Day 30 of 100 Days of Tea

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, green tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea

Honey & Tea Culture’s Slimming Tea is like your favourite striped shirt. Both slimming, flattering, and shows better taste – whether from the jeweled purple tones in the shirt, or the sweetness of the fruity tea blend.

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Its a green tea based blend, with oolong wu yi, organic green tea, organic rooibos, ginger, pomegranate, , guarana, senna, birch, corn, stevia, natural flavours.

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When brewed, the tea is quite fragrant with fruity, and honeyed notes from the pomegranate, rooibos, and stevia. I don’t taste the oolong as much in this, but more of the green and rooibos.

Granted, with this tea being a sample size, I didn’t get to try this in terms of its ‘slimming’ capabilities but with the 3 kinds of tea in this there’s definitely a good amount of health benefits here from the oolong, and green teas themselves. The rooibos and stevia, having that sweet note definitely helped keep my sweet tooth at bay, as it was satisfying enough drinking it rather than trying to find unhealthy, sweet snacks.

Worth a try as an afternoon tea or nighttime to fight the dessert cravings!

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Curious Tea’s Liu An Gua Pian Green Tea | Day 29 of 100 Days of Tea

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, green tea

With the spring weather I’ve been bringing out green teas more due to their light, fresh, clean flavours. One of my favourite green tea discoveries has been Curious Tea‘s Liu An Gua Pian (Chinese: 六安瓜片; pinyin: Lù’ānguāpiàn), which roughly translates to Liu An Melon Seed.

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Before I dive into the tea, here’s a look at what Curious Tea offers in their subscription boxes. Each month you receive 2 varieties of tea, in generous 50g sizes. The company offers a ‘light’ tea subscription, and ‘dark’ tea subscription which is nice if you lean towards one side of the spectrum. You can also ask for a mixed type – 1 light and 1 dark, which is the one I received here. The package labels helpfully provide information on the origin of each tea, as well as brewing instructions. There are also separate cards for each tea that you can write your tea tasting notes on, especially helpful if you have a lot of tea and like to remember how each differs from the other.

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This is one of China’s well-known teas  – not as famous as say, Dragonwell (Long Jing), but still widely popular. The leaves are plucked from the second leaf, so they tend to be larger, vs. many other teas that get plucked from the bud and first leaf.

The name Liu An Melon Seed was coined because the leaves have a flat-ish shape that resembles melon seeds. The colour is a nice rich dark green colour, a bit more green in real life than this picture shows.

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Once brewed, the liquor is a light yellow colour similar to other Chinese green teas, with a light toasted aroma but mostly dominated by the taste and flavour of steamed vegetables – if my senses aren’t deceiving me, the tea actually smells quite like Chinese greens (‘yu choy’ to be specific). Its a great tea that I wouldn’t mind pairing with noodles or fried rice because of that freshness that would help offset a greasy meal. The fresh yet savoury taste of the vegetables taste is why I’d prefer it for savoury, Asian-style meals rather than a greasy brunch of eggs/bacon which would likely overwhelm the lightness of the tea.

I also cold brewed this one overnight – 1 tsp of leaves, in a mug of room temperature water that was then refrigerated overnight. It turned out quite refreshing and light, not unlike the bottled unsweetened green teas you get in Japan.

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Overall, a light refreshing tea that brews up nicely whether cold or hot.

Cooking with Tea | Matcha Fruit Salad Dressing

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in cooking with tea, green tea, matcha, tea & food pairing

One of the best parts of warmer weather is being able to make salads with fresh fruit and vegetables. My failproof salad consists of 3 basics: a vegetable base, a handful of complex carbs, and fresh fruit. Bonus points for adding avocado, as it adds creaminess and gives you satiety (feeling of fullness) from the meal.

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Fruit Salad ingredients

vegetable base optionps: spinach / kale / romaine
carb options: chickpeas / quinoa / pasta / sweet potato slices – steamed or baked
fruit options : strawberries / blueberries / mandarin slices / blackberries
bonus: avocado for extra creaminess / sunflower seeds for crunch

Matcha Dressing recipe

1 tsp of matcha (cooking grade)
olive oil
lemon juice
rice wine vinegar (optional)

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The fruit goes remarkably well with the matcha dressing, as the sweetness of some fruit like strawberries and blueberries is tempered by the chlorophyll greenness of the matcha. Some other fruit like raspberries and mandarin orange slices have a tanginess that matches well with matcha’s slight bitterness (at least in the cooking grades)

This salad is a great way to use up leftovers as well – if you’re short of time, just take the pasta or rice or potatoes from last night’s dinner as the carb base. In my case, I often make chickpeas + quinoa in bulk on weekends for the week’s lunches. I soak them overnight before boiling for 1 hr or so, but you can also resort to canned, well rinsed chickpeas to cut down on time. Sweet potatoes also cook up quickly with tons of flavour and vitamins, if you peel, slice, and drop them in a steamer for about 10 mins.

If you bring this to work, make sure to keep the sunflower seeds and avocado separate, as the seeds tend to soak up moisture and lose their crunch if added too early. The avocado ideally should be sliced at the time of serving as well.

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Tea & Food Pairing | Rice Noodles & Huangshan Mao Feng Green Tea by Tao Tea Leaf

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in green tea, tea & food pairing

Saturday lunches are a always a good opportunity for lighter fare, so this rice noodle dish was on the menu today. Chicken breast strips stir fried with garlic, green onions, beansprouts, then mixed with fresh rice noodles from the grocery store. I couldn’t resist adding some hot sauce to spice up the simplicity of the ingredients.

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The flavours in the dish were mild, which called for a light tea to accompany it. Being stir-fried, I thought a green tea would be appropriate to balance out and ‘wash down’ any grease, which narrowed it down to this green tea in my cupboard, Huangshan Mao Feng (黄山毛峰).

It is a tea produced from the region of Anhui, and is one of China’s most famous green teas. The name literally translates to “yellow mountain fur peak” as it is harvested near Yellow Mountain, known for producing many popular green teas, while the ‘fur’ refers to the downy hairs on  the young buds and leaves that are picked to produce this tea.

The dry leaves were quite green and somewhat curled lengthwise. Some leaves were rather large yet still unbroken, which is rather amazing considering the rolling processes in making the tea.

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When brewed, this tea is very light tasting, with a toasted, sweet grass flavour. The taste and smell reminded me of steamed leafy vegetables. Even the brewed leaves were a medium green that looked like steamed/boiled vegetable leaves. The brewed tea liquor is a light yellow-green that looks and tastes very clean.

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Overall, the lightness of the tea helped complemented the mild flavours of the green onions, rice noodles and chicken. It also helped wash down the little bit of grease in the fried noodles. The mild sweetness in the tea also helped neutralized spiciness of the hot sauce.

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Day 23 of 100 Days of Tea | Hydrate Tea by Honey & Tea Culture

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, green tea

I first encountered Honey & Tea at the Toronto Tea Festival, and was intrigued by their tea blends. The owner, Natalie was friendly and great to talk to, as was her staff at the Festival. Among the samples that they suggested, the Hydrate tea was one of the first that caught my attention.

The Hydrate tea, according to the ingredients on the package, is a blend of green tea, white tea, lemon myrtle, orange peel, goji berries, papaya, natural flavours, pomegranate, lime, oolong tea, stevia, osmanthus petals, minerals, cornflowers.

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The first thing you will notice about this tea is the wonderful smell. Even when dry, the minute I opened the package the aroma filled the room. My first impressions when opening the package was the intensely juicy, fruity aromas. Part of it is due to the natural stevia, but some of the fruity notes were definitely of the fruit in the blend.

Top notes to me were a fresh floral honey sweetness, while underlying it I could detect some candied citrus-tropical sweetness, and some lighter floral notes at the end.

Although their directions said to steep 1.5 oz in 8 oz boiling water, I suspected that cooler water may yield better results so went ahead with a few degrees lower since the base tea is the more delicate green and white teas.

The tea brewed up into a nice golden colour, and was just as strong in the second infusion, only starting to lose some strength in the 3rd infusion.

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For a sunny yet chilly weekend, it was the perfect tea to drink, while staying indoors wrapped up in a warm cashmere scarf. If all of their teas smell like this, I’m looking forward to trying the other 3 that I have.

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This tea, the Hydrate Tea is part of their Honey & Tea Cleanse program, which offers mini lifestyle changes that you make gradually over 3 weeks, all toward a goal of adopting a healthier lifestyle. I was impressed by the program they have which has been designed by a Fitness Trainer / Kinesiologist, with consultation from a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Naturopathic Doctor.

Having a background in food and nutrition myself, I found the program steps to be quite helpful and achievable. This is not the food-less cleanse that most people envision when the word comes up. Instead, this is a program that helps you manage your food and water intake so you’re meeting your body’s energy and hydration needs right when your system needs them. If you work in an office like I do, we often are guilty of skipping breakfast or not leaving our desk for a glass of water, so a program like this designed with baby steps that you can implement (e.g. drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning), is extremely helpful.

Overall, the Hydrate tea was quite delicious and with its ability to withstand multiple infusions, makes a great tea to last the whole work day.