Day 26 of 100 Days of Tea | Samdayeon Jeju Tangerine Oolong Tea by Osulloc

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

A friend surprised me with a sample of this one day. Its been a while since I had oolong, so it was a nice surprise, especially because most oolong teas are rather floral but this was unique in having pieces of tangerine peel that added a candied, citrus aroma.

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This tea is produced by Osulloc, which is one of the major tea companies in South Korea, and this particular tea is from Jeju Island, the major tea-growing region in the country.

At first glance, the tea leaves of this blend are so black, you’d think they were a black tea. However this is because the tea maker let the oolong oxidize longer than is typical of other oolongs. (Side note if this isn’t familiar to you: black tea is processed to be fully oxidized, oolong is partially oxidized, and green is not at all oxidized)

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When brewed up, the resulting liquid is a golden orange, not unlike a tangerine. It has a sweet orange aroma, almost candied type of citrus flavour. Because its so flavourful, I wouldn’t recommend this to go with food or even snacks, but just on its own – either a refreshment in the afternoon or an after dinner dessert tea.

This strikes me as a fall tea due to the more oxidized flavours of the oolong, but I think it could be a great candidate to brew cold, for hot summer afternoons.

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Lemon Meringue Tea Infused Lipbalm by Bare English

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in Uncategorized

I can’t get enough of citrus in beauty products, especially lemon. It could be lemon face masks, bath and body care products…

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This Bare English lipbalm goes above and beyond in the choice of not just lemon, but lemon meringue. A lemon flavour that when I sniff it, reminds me of delicious lemon meringue pie dessert…tangy and citrus-y.

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For the record, Bare English’s lipbalms have a great texture! I’ve had lipbalms that are really waxy and hard, and others that are moisturizing but overly sticky. These, however feel just right. The texture of this lipbalm is not at all waxy. Instead, the balm glides on smoothly, much like a stick of butter, but way less gross :P and feels extremely moisturizing.

As a bonus these balms contain tea – I heard from Bare English themselves at the Toronto Tea Festival that depending on the flavour it is either white or green tea. I’m quite curious to find out how much tea these contain, out of curiosity, but if you’re worried about tasting tea, its not noticeable due to the flavour in the balms. If you didn’t read the fine print on the label you wouldn’t be able to know that these have tea infused in them.

I wholeheartedly recommend these balms if you can find them at a retailer near you.

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Tea Cocktail | Marco Polo Spiced Berry

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

I had tried Capital Tea’s Marco Polo tea brewed hot, and quite liked it. Recently, being challenged to come up with a cold tea beverage, I decided Marco Polo was fair game for this experiment.

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First I brewed 2 tsp of tea leaves in room temperature, leaving it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to chill.

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Next, I went through what few bottles of spirits I have…because the Marco Polo flavour is more reminiscent of berries and earthy chocolate, I didn’t want to pick something that would clash (eg. the orange flavour of Grand Marnier, nor something that may overwhelm eg. a full bodied red wine).

Then I came across a small sample of Revel Stoke spiced whiskey, took a sniff of its caramel – vanilla notes and realised I had a winner here. Its actually described as having a “clear amber colour; caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and spice aromas; matching caramel and rich spice flavours and a long finish”. This sounded perfectly complementary in terms of colour, aroma, flavour, and not overwhelming or having anything that would clash with the Marco Polo flavours!

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I also picked out a pack of frozen berries I keep in the refrigerator for smoothies, and realised it was perfect as a garnish and to add a hint of flavour when muddled.

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Final recipe:

2 tsp Marco Polo black tea
1/3 cup water
Spiced whiskey (Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky – LCBO#: 254995)
Fresh or frozen berries

1. Infuse tea in the 1/3 cup of room temperature water
2. After 12-24 hours, strain away the tea leaves
3. Add about 1 shot of spiced whiskey (approximate; adjust to your preferred strength of cocktail as this is 45% alc)
4. Add about 1-2 tbsp of frozen berries; muddle
5. Leave in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour for the flavours to settle
6. Serve, and enjoy!

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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Drinking Tea at Aroma Espresso Bar

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in herbal tea

You may think that it seems quite strange for me to be ordering tea from an establishment that terms itself an ‘espresso bar’. Although Aroma’s business is primarily coffee-based, like many other coffee places, they likely realise the competition they will have (are having) from the increase in tea consumption, particularly among the Millennial generation, and thus are stepping up their leafy offerings.

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Aroma is a particularly interesting place because although it initially was known for its espresso and hot chocolate, it quickly widened its offerings to be quite popular for healthy meal options such as quinoa salads, soups, kale smoothies, and all day power breakfasts. Once a place picks up on the health and wellness crowd, its only a matter of time before they start offering loose leaf teas as well.

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(photo credits to blogto)

Aroma’s signature coffee + croissant combo is usually my poison here but having come down with a bad case of the familiar cold, I was desperate for some warm comforting relief that still had comfortable seating and free wifi. On their back-lit menu above the counter, their tea options are:

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The milk-based options sound amazing, but my poor sinuses needed something dairy-free, so loose leaf tea it was.

When I asked what kinds of loose leaf tea there was, I was offered a separate tea menu to peruse. This allowed me to see the descriptions of each tea, however since I was already at the counter ordering, if it had been lunchtime  I would have been under a lot of pressure to pick one quickly else risk the wrath of the lineup.

I picked their Lemon-Ginger detox tea, since it sounded like the most soothing for a cold. There was a peach flavoured black tea that sounded awfully tempting if I hadn’t been under the weather already.

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The tea came in a unbleached tea bag, to which they had used a spoon to hold down the tea bag rather than just putting it on the saucer. I was a little less impressed with the presentation but would give brownie points for the effort to use the unbleached type of tea bags.

Because the drink was mentioned as ‘loose leaf tea’, I wasn’t too thrilled that the tea was put into a tea bag to steep. I think the fun part about loose leaf is to watch the leaves unfurl and expand in the tea, especially since the tea was offered in a clear glass mug. Unfortunately putting the tea into the tea bag is less visually appealing, and also seemed to take a lot longer to get the flavours to diffuse into the water.

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Aroma’s signature is to include a chocolate bar with your drink, and this was no exception. They’ve only ever offered milk chocolate, but as they grow in size, its possible they might consider other flavours that pair better with whatever drink you are consuming. For a herbal tea like this I felt a white chocolate would have gone better than milk chocolate.

Overall, Aroma is fundamentally a coffee joint but have made a moderate attempt to cater to the tea consumer as well. Definite opportunities for improvement exist should they find the need to serve more tea in the future.