Friday, May 20, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Feeling Peachy Keen

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Love the colors of the box!

Governor's Estate Calming Peach Herbal Infusion is another find which will be added to the list.
Check out all their different blends.  (Soursop?!)  I especially want to look for Cinnamint - they even have a French Crepe recipe with a chocolate sauce using that tea!

Calming Peach has Lemongrass (soothing citrus flavor, renowned for its detoxifying properties and ability to lower blood pressure), Lavender flowers (an amazing -I read as amusing without my glasses! - little bud used to relax the senses and calm the body), Fennel seeds (highly aromatic they soothe the stomach), Valerian root (known to calm the nerves and improve rest and reduce anxiety).  Well, this is definitely a tea to drink as I prepare a return trip, yes?  The remaining ingredients listed are Peach essence, licorice and sencha.

It has a very mature peach fragrance - meaning it doesn't hit you like a syrupy sweet artificial peach flavor.   And the scent definitely gets more peachy after brewing.  First sip plain is a bit more savory, but the Italian Cream brings out the peach even more and makes the tea seem more floral.

And yes, this mug came back with me to the table as I typed the review.
Rating:  4.75

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Any Time is Tea Time - Chai, ya'll

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Madura Seven Spice Chai

Seven spices from the seven seas.  Absolutely a stunning chai tea.

100g loose leaf tea, you use two teaspoonfuls, which practically explodes in both size and flavor.
I got lost in the tea blogs and tea chat websites trying to find out what the seven spices are and more details.

Fragrance:  Clove, ginger

Opinion:  Six minutes to brew to a reddish-brown color, it has a good heat, with a nice bite drinking and finish from the ginger and cloves.  Rating - 5

Nature's Cuppa Organic Chai Spice Tea

Box of 50 tea bags

Fragrance:  Clove

Ingredients:  Black tea, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper, pure vanilla bean in unbleached paper tea bags.

Opinion:  On its own, this is great, but compared to the Madura Seven Spice, you may want to use two tea bags.  The vanilla bean is a great touch and addition to the usual chai teas.  While not quite as intense as the Madura Seven Spice, it has a very nice finishing taste.  I thought the tea bag/box design and colors had a retro 70's feel.  I will give this a 4.5 and look for it again, along with seeing what other flavors are available.  This company seems to give off a good vibe that I like.

I will definitely be restocking both of these my next trip to Australia.  You know it's a great chai tea when your face begins to heat and sweat.  Lovely image, but you chai tea drinkers know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - "Madame Lefoux accepted a cup of tea and sat on another little settee, next to the relocated calico cat. The cat clearly believed Madame Lefoux was there to provide chin scratches. Madame Lefoux provided." ~ Gail Carriger

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

And I'm sure she would have been drinking Mint Choc Rooibos from Madame Flavour
Oh my goodness, this is the closest thing to drinking a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie!
I brewed a HydroFlask to take to art class yesterday, directly in so I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of it brewed...and I didn't want to use up another one of the precious (only 10 in a box!?)  sachets.  Absent the photo, trust me on this one.  Here's the quote on the box - "For me this treat of mint and dark chocolate is a story of perfect partners.  It brings together wonderful memories one of a particular after dinner treat..."

Ingredients:  Rooibos leaf, organic peppermint leaf, cocoa bean pieces, cocoa shells, natural chocolate flavor, dark chocolate drops.

I am making a beeline for this flavor.  Rating:  5+

Not so much the Caramel Oolong.
I was disappointed.  Look, there's even a tiny caramel square in the bag!

And it smelled just like those Goetze caramels with the white cream center we used to poke out and eat first.

Ingredients:  First flush oolong leaf tea, caramel pieces, natural caramel flavor, sunflowers.

It brewed to a very light color - and the teabag tore a little bit, perhaps demonstrating its biodegradability.   Plain it had a definite buttery caramel finish, but once to tried to recreate the Goetze caramel by adding the Italian Cream Coffee Mate, while it made it seem more creamy the caramel taste weakened.

I would give it a 3.5.  Perhaps if you used two teabags, but given the fact there are only 10 in a are going to drink through it quickly.  However, if you are seeking the health benefits of oolong tea, this would be a tasty albeit not strongly flavored way to get it.

And kudos to the unique box design - The cube didn't crush in my suitcase!  It's always fun nd interesting to find a tea company company with real people and real stories - check out her beautiful website.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Stop and smell the roses

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Look at the color!
Dilmah Exceptional Rose with French Vanilla

Now this is one is exceptional in flavor and fragrance, in fact you could smell the rose even before inhaling from the mug.  As you sip, the flavor starts with rose and finishes with vanilla. leaving a nice rose aftertaste to linger on for a bit.  What an elegant way to begin your day or to enjoy and thwart an afternoon sweet tooth attack.  This made my shopping list.  Rating:  5

Monday, May 16, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Jazzed

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Evidently my little collector's tin was a bargain and collectible as I do not find it on their website anymore.  It was the most fragrant jasmine tea I had ever smelled  and I liked inhaling the scent as I sipped - definitely a delicate tea to enjoy, comfort, recenter and refocus.  Would I buy this again?  No, because there are so many other jasmine teas out there, but this tin concept would make a great gift.  I'm hoping to find and try more of their tin'd teas.

Dilmah Exceptional Fragrant Jasmine Green Tea

(Note this is a link to the USA website)

This one didn't seem quite as flowery and more tea-y with the green tea instead of straight jasmine blooms.  It also had a shorter brewing time - 2 minutes compared to the 10 minutes for the buds.  While it has a nice fragrance, the flavor is not as strong and pretty weak.  Rather unexceptional.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Red, Green, Blue - Vanilla!

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

T2 Red Green Vanilla and Blue Mountain

Red Green Vanilla

Ingredients:  Green rooibos, artificial flavor

Fragrance:  True earthy vanilla

Brewing time:  5 minutes

Opinion:  Quite possibility the best rooibos tea I have ever had!  Seriously.  Beautiful golden color, with a delicious vanilla flavor without that annoying rooibos taste.  Tastes better plain, but also good with the Italian Cream coffee mate, too. You can detect the flavor better without it, however.   A great way to get your antioxidants.

Rating:  5+  Once I enter the store, I am heading right towards this!  In fact I even started an iPhone Note T2 shopping list and Red Vanilla is right at the top.  Might even buy this 250g collector's container tin!

Blue Mountain

Ingredients:  Black tea, cornflower petals, natural and artificial flavor

Fragrance:  Fruity sweet vanilla

Brewing time:  3 minutes

Opinion:  I was told this is one of their classic, best seller and customer favorite teas, and I can see why.  Literally, the blue cornflower petals against the velvet black tea made me want to break out my watercolors.  Once brewed, it has a vanilla tea fragrance with a subtle vanilla aftertaste.  Adding a little bit of the Italian Cream made it more sweeter and more vanilla-y.

T2 really does vanilla well without it being cloying and artificial.

Rating:  4.75  Just because I can't keep giving out perfect scores all the time and in this case and match-up, the Red Green Vanilla swept the game.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Chai Down

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

T2 - Creamy Choc Chai and Spi Chai
(the outcome may surprise you)

First, the Creamy Choc Chai 

Ingredients:  Green tea, cocoa husk, ginger, cardamon seed, white chocolate pieces (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, lecithin), chocolate pieces (sugar, cocoa, soy lecithin), black pepper, cocoa beans, cloves, natural and artificial flavor

Looks delicious!
Fragrance:  Chocolate cinnamon brownie

Flavor:  I was surprised.  It did have a nice spice aftertaste, but not that chocolatey.  I even brewed it longer than five minutes.  Not that strong of a tea or flavor.  I don't know how it had a creamy added to the title other than the odd bits of oil shimmer floating on top. Bit disconcerting.

Opinion:   The idea and the scent was better than the tea.  It did not taste better with the Coffeemate Sugar-Free Italian Cream, which you'd think would bring anything up to game.  Actually made it worse.  I was shooting for brownie a la mode.  #Fail

Rating:  1 for the concept...0 - not on my to buy again list.

The Spi Chai


Ingredients:  Cardamon, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, liquorice root, jasmine blossoms, rose petals.  (Note:  People suffering from hypertension could have issues with consumption of licorice)

Lots of huge whole star anise
Fragrance:  Wonderful!  Very complex, I couldn't stop from sniffing it.

Flavor:  Not that strong, but more on the subtle, "what is this" leaning and keeping drinking.

Opinion:  What a beautiful looking tea, with huge whole star anise!  Does Spi stand for Spice?  The rose petals give it additional sweetness.  It tastes good plain or with the coffeemate.  Because it is an herbal tisane, it is caffeine free so you can enjoy it all day.  However, if you are prone to high blood pressure, do not over drink.  Licorice can increase your blood pressure.  I am still drinking it after it has cooled so you may want to try it as iced or as an iced latte.  Seriously, it is tasting much better cool.  I may have to switch this back on my grab it list.

Rating:  3.75 ...I would consider purchasing again if needed to bump up to a certain $ amount.  But there are so many T2 teas, it will probably get pushed aside to try new ones.  What bumped it to a high 3?  It wasn't that strong, despite the sizes and amount of spices.     I will add this to the middle of my to buy list, because it did taste better as it cooled, and I like the idea of it as a spicy herbal iced latte as summer approaches.

Didn't help/Helped

Friday, May 13, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Good Afternoon!

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Twinings of London Traditional Afternoon

"Lively and satisfying" A nice "tea" flavor.   It's more mellow than the breakfast version with the slightest astringent taste.  I'm thinking my earlier review could be the American version.  Other than the Australian box is purple, I think I will not be purchasing this on return visit.
I still would give it a 4.

Twinings of London Australian Afternoon

"Brisk and full bodied" It is slightly stronger with a brighter fragrance.  Brews a little more yellow than Traditional Afternoon.  It tastes little bit sweeter and has a clean finish with no aftertaste.
I actually bought two boxes previously, and with so many other teas to try and while this was good, I think I will leave more room in my luggage to try and get other teas.  Rating:  4

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Any Day is Tea Time - Good Night

With all my traveling, my tea pots and posts have gotten behind.  So set the kettle on, drink up and read my latest finds!

Surprise inside the Dilmah tea packet!

Higher Living - Evening

Again, imported from San Antonio - however I cannot find a US version or name repackaging of this Evening Tea flavor.  Bonus points it is an herbal, non-caffeinated infusion of Lemon Balm (35%), Fennel, Chamomile (10%), Lime tree, Peppermint and Lavender (10%) - Making an unusual blend and flavor.  I neither love nor dislike it.  Yet it was not the one I brought back to the couch as I type this review.  I will send it to a friend who needs a nighttime tea to calm and relax.  I think the lavender and chamomile will help do just that.

Dilmah Evening Tea

Another one I could not find on any websites.  The surprise was the tea was loose inside the packet!  Very large tea leaves more than doubled in size in my paper tea bag.  This tasted OK plain, but much better with a little Italian Cream Sugar Free Coffee Mate.  It has a delicate tea flavor but doesn't taste understeeped.   Not caffeine free - it is Ceylon FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe grade Tea) from the Nuwara Ellya region grown around 1.750m.  The label says it has notes of eucalyptus, mint and citrus in a beautiful bouquet of flavor.  Hmmm.  It does!  It's definitely growing on me, I think I will look for this one again.  I'm adding it to my Notes list right now.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Hooray!  I completed my third Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
(Click for 2016, 2015 and 2014)

What did I learn from this particular one?

You still need to get a little creative with some of the letters and sometimes find your clue from within the word.

I really liked that 5 1/4" x 8 1/4" watercolor Travelogue Handbook sketchbook!  A little bit expensive, but worth it.  Some of the pages really took a beating with some of the layers and lots of water, yet no tearing nor show through.  Other than a little warping directly under the design sometimes.  But no biggie. It was also my first time also using the landscape format.  Though I kept wishing it was maybe just a little bit taller - maybe 6  to 6 1/2".   I felt a little crammed in.

Finally it was fun to play with my watercolors, trying new paints (Hello Daniel Smith Undersea Green and Quin Gold!), and the freedom to just slap on the paint and go for it.  Little watercolors are less intimidating than taping a quarter sheet of Arches to the board and then hesitating to pick up the brush.  None of my pages were a do-over.  If I thought I goofed up, I figured out a way to make it work - learned to think it through and solve.  They even turned out to be some of my favorites.

So thank you all for visiting and I hope you keep checking back.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - Z is for Zircon

Welcome back to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016!  This will be interesting and fun trying to interpret healing crystals and gemstones from Amethyst to Zircon with watercolors and create a neat sketchbook. 

Z is for Zircon

Zircon is found in many colors - the most popular color is blue - and has a wide range of healing properties from calming the liver and gall bladder, allergies, asthma and colds.  Emotionally it can help in dealing with losses.  Zircon is a peaceful, calming and self-centering stone.

Every Day in May 2016

Once again I will be participating in the Every Day in May challenge.  Here is the 2016 list of days and themes -

Check back each day, or better yet, subscribe by email to see what I watercolor each day.  Some will be challenging...and interesting!  (Especially as the month progresses)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - Y is for Pyrite

Welcome back to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016!  This will be interesting and fun trying to interpret healing crystals and gemstones from Amethyst to Zircon with watercolors and create a neat sketchbook. 

Y is for Pyrite

Pyrite can create sparks when it is hit against metal or stone, hence its name from the Greek word, pyros.  It 's also known as "Fool's Gold" because of its metallic shine and pale yellow color.  Pyrite is considered a "yang" stone and with it, masculine energy and enhances personal power - creativity, energy, and strength.  It is also good for lung health - helping asthmatics and healing bronchitis.  Enjoy its sparkle in the sun and don't let it get wet.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday Tea Time - Breakfast in Australia

Slightly banged up from my suitcase
50 tea bags!

Another polite tea box!
Love the design of the teabag wrapper

Good use for leftover Easter Seals
(Please tell me you don't see my pink PJ's reflected)

Two neat rows - no wonder the box wasn't that big

Another gorgeously-colored tea
Whoops - started drinking and couldn't stop
until I remembered to take a picture

I love my English Breakfast teas and this is my latest addition to the tea-m.   The pretty opened wrapper had a slight smokey scent. I split the difference in the suggested brewing time (3-5) and did 4 minutes, turning my mug into a pretty reddish gold.  A little on the astringent side without adding the Coffee Mate Sugar Free Italian Cream, but afterwards - very yummy.  It has a clean finish at the end, without an aftertaste.  And a nice wakeup call shot of caffeine.  I would definitely give this a solid 4 and will probably grab another box, despite the generous amount of 50 (!) teabags (49).  Stocking up on a good everyday tea is a good thing.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - X is for Onyx

Welcome back to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016!  This will be interesting and fun trying to interpret healing crystals and gemstones from Amethyst to Zircon with watercolors and create a neat sketchbook.

X is for Onyx

Onyx builds its power slowly and works quite well with skin disorders, increases stamina, confidence and inner harmony.  Combined with other healing stones for different chakras, it will power up the other stone's impact. Capricorns will find a positive influence from onyx.

Palette Paints:  Alizarin, Viridian, Payne's Gray

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday - Texting Texture

Added (and finding) value
Another sum of the parts is greater than the whole example.   One of those days watercoloring and different parts were working and not.  On a big sheet of paper, yet.  Go big or go home.  It was still a fun class and good time once you reach that point of no return/no rescue - just play and slap paint.  And some areas looked really nice.  So I turned them into cards!

The April Paper Pumpkin had a variety of stamps and a pretty stamping ink pad - Very Vanilla.  It looked so yummy, I actually sniffed it (sorry, non-scented).   Two areas I stamped with the "Happy Birthday" looked pretty good against the watercolor.  I will just trace around using one of my extra envelopes from all those "donation" based cards, and write a message on the back.

I must say, the Paper Pumpkin's #allabouteverything special stamp set in the April box to celebrate their shipping of the one millionth kit  is a nice surprise and will be put to good use with my watercolors and Gelli-ing.

If you are interested in subscribing to the Paper Pumpkin, you can use this link.  There may be a special for new subscribers, if there is, I will find out and post the promo code.  My sister is a Stampin Up representative - Paper Pumpkin is part of Stampin' Up - and she has a great blog with ideas and special promotions.  Click here to see.

I love getting boxes in the mail!  I get this one and also Scribe Delivery.  If you enter your email address, you can get 10% off.  I've been very pleased with Scribe, too.  A fun way to get stationery supplies - pens, pencils, paper, journals, inks...  which you normally wouldn't be able to find.  In fact, some of the companies only produced limited quantities specifically for Scribe.  And they are a Texas-based company.   If you have found other interesting ones, please post in the comment section.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - P is for Petrified Wood

Welcome back to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016!  This will be interesting and fun trying to interpret healing crystals and gemstones from Amethyst to Zircon with watercolors and create a neat sketchbook.

P is for Petrified Wood

Formed from sequoia trees, petrified wood preserves your healthy roots and reminds you of your connection with nature.  It stabilizes your health and strengthens your defenses, helping to keep you calm.

Palette Paints:  Burnt Umber, Sepia, Naples Yellow