Category Archives: My Search for the Perfect Tea

Jade Citrus Mint Tea Review

Hellooo friends!

Hailey here with another slice of her life! I just tasted some tasty tea and am to tell you to try the tasty tea too! Alliteration station apparently.

Teavana is a pretty amazing place if you love the taste of hot dead leaf water, such as I do. Hopefully, if you all like this, there will be more of them in future!

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Tattoo’s, Tea and Woody Allen

Hello and happy Tuesday everyone. 

I was planning on enlightening you all by writing about Woody Allen’s movies (one a year! That guy’s intense!)  or why the woman down the hall never leaves her apartment, but I’m getting a bit tired of my social commentary. Particularly because it’s growing more uninformed and taking on a sort of narrow scope.

It’s a huge giant world we live in, with an endless bucket of possibilities, I don’t need to be writing about an old woman who’s given up on life, or the thematic genius of Allen’s European phase. The first just depresses me, while the second should inspire me to get out and have an adventure, but instead prompts me to spend more time looking into things on the internet. 

So with all of that behind me,  in the spur of the moment in a high after a brief depression, I booked myself an appointment to be permanently drawn on with needles. Hooray! This is not my first time, nor my second, but I am both excited and nervous at the same time and am not particularly looking forward to waiting a month. I kind of want it now. But such is life. 

More details and photo’s on that later, I promise. 

Here’s a hint, it’s going on my foot, and it’s not what’s up there in the photo at all. It’s very congruent with a theme that I write about often. Feel free to guess away, I may or may not tell you if you’re right. 😉

But what I would like to talk about today, is how fucking wonderful a hot cup of tea is. 

While there is not nearly enough Leonard Cohen in the world to cheer up a brooding twenty-something, my god there’ll always be tea there to save the day. Today’s instalment of hot caffeinated goodness involved a floating whimsical duck, and who doesn’t love whimsical ducks! I mean really?

 

Its’ whimsy knows no bounds!

That coupled with the hot refreshment of Teaopia’s *(Before Starbucks bought them out and called them Teavana) Creamed Earl Grey Tea, thoughtfully gifted from a brother I haven’t seen in an alarmingly long time, the day may well be recovered.  

Now all I need to do is look at cheap vacations online and dream about the magic that the world has to offer.  Apparently one can fly to Cuba for a week and it’s only 19.00 plus tax, that is if you leave in two days….tempting.  This is certainly the land of opportunity. 

Thanks everyone for hanging in there!  

I’ll be back with something a bit more useful soon!

-Miss Hailey Jane

 


An Announcement: The good news is I’m no longer ‘Tea Racist’!

I’ve done it.  I’ve become one of THOSE people. All of the years I was militantly against it, have turned around in my face and left me a big shiny hypocrite. I’ve been doing it in secret for a long time, but I have to admit it now, there is no more hiding the fact that I, Miss Hailey Jane…

…put milk in my tea.

Yes, that is correct. Milk, people….Milk! The creamy substance that exists for the sole purpose of nourishing baby cows, and I have the audacity to dump it in my tea!

I’m sorry Grandma, that my tea is no longer lightly steeped, and served in fragile china teacups. I’m sorry there is no longer the opportunity to scoop the ‘money’ or tiny cluster of bubbles off the top of a perfectly poured cup. And I’m so sorry to have to admit that yes, I caught myself….squeezing the teabag of all things! *GASP!* It’s a horror of horrors, I know…I know.  And I don’t have a good enough excuse for you. It just happened.

I can try to blame England all I like for just throwing the milk in there like that’s the way a tea is supposed to be, but I can’t do that. This one is all on me.

What Mom likes to call ‘dishwater’ just doesn’t cut it for me anymore in the breakfast beverage department, and I have gotten into the habit of steeping the teabag beyond an inch of its’ life. I use one bag for a big honking mug, and a spoon will nearly stand up in the stuff by the time I’m through with it. So when I would pour the dash of milk into the blackness of the cup, the soft brown colour seems to erupt from below like a beautiful blossom of caffeinated goodness, and what could possibly be so bad about that? (Other than the abject betrayal of everything the family has ever stood for of course)

"Well...I never!"

“Well…I never!”

So there is where I stand right now on the ‘milk in tea’ debate. It’s no longer just black for me, it’s white, brown, black, green, yellow, blue, anything the world of tea can throw at me! I am an equal opportunity tea consumer!

I understand if I need to be disowned on account of the treachery, and I silently hate myself with every sip. But will take the long walk, milky tea in hand, and share the goodness that is tea with the willing of the world. And in this world of freedom of choice and equality, it will be for them to decide the colour of their tea.

This has been an announcement.

-Miss Hailey Jane


PG Tips: A Tea Review

My local grocer recently began stocking PG Tips tea. When I discovered this small fact I was far more excited than I should have been. it may or may not have made that particular day. The recent ‘London’ phenomenon around here since the whole Olympics thing has been kind of silly in my regard, and I think that may be one of the reasons for this new addition to their shelves. Nevertheless, I jumped at the chance to try it.

I hadn’t tried it while I was actually in England, oddly enough. I might have without knowing, come to think of it, but I’m not going to count that. While I was there I was far too busy trying other exciting things like Yorkshire Gold, RAF (Royal Air Force) Tea and more coffee than I’m normally used to.

So here I am, trying good old PG Tips for the first time!

A bit of history, PG Tips was first sold in the 1930’s out of Manchester UK, as Pre-Gest Tea, hinting that it aided digestion if consumed before a meal. Turns out that labeling restrictions after the war ruled that they were no longer able to say that, and the name was shortened to PG Tips, tips referring to the use of the tips of the tea leaves.

I also heard somewhere that I can’t quite recall (maybe it was an add on TV while I was over there, or I could have been dreaming it) that this was the kind of tea the Queen drinks. It’s rather economical in the tea department, so I don’t see why she would, but either way I had to try some.

What I have here is a box of 72, two cup bags. They’re not the famous pyramid bags, they’re square, but I’ll take what I can. The box is also telling me that the refreshment is to be savoured, so I’ll try my best to savour it properly. It also says that

“Like a deep breath of fresh air, a cup of PG Tips refreshes the body and lightens the spirit. No wonder tea is second only to water as the world’s most popular beverage.”

There’s also the same blurb is french, so I can imagine it was packaged in Canada. Aaaand according to the box it was. Aren’t I a clever girl.

So here goes. I’ve made myself a cup of this ‘refreshing beverage’ and we’re all about to learn what it’s like. The instructions said to warm my favourite mug with hot water first. I was going to use my second favourite mug, but I guess I better wash out the other one just to make sure I follow the instructions so the tea tastes right. It is also quite clear about pouring that hot water out first before pouring more in. What do they think I am? American?

I let the tea bag steep for less than the suggested four minutes because I didn’t want a spoon to be able to stand up in it. And as you can see it is pretty black already. Step 5 in the instructions also demand you ‘Enjoy’ and ‘be refreshed’, so I guess it’s part of the rules.

I tried it black like I enjoy most tea, but I feel it would/could be complimented by milk. It has a bit more ‘tang’ than my regular orange pekoe which is Tetley, which also happens to be PG Tips leading competitor in the UK. It also is a bit more ‘crisp’, as crisp as a liquid could be describe as anyway. I guess their advertising and demanding instructions have it right. It is indeed refreshing. Compared to other standard orange pekoe teas, I would rank it relatively high. Way above Red Rose that’s for sure (Who drinks that stuff? and why do restaurants insist on only having it to chose from…bleh), Lipton and Salada. Yorkshire gold still might win though.

PG Tips is a very nice morning tea, and this type appears to steep rather quickly, allowing for a very dark tea if desired.

So in all, I would highly recommend PG Tips if you’re after something different and are not a fan of fancy herbal concoctions like myself.  Also, 72 bags was less than 4 dollars. So you can’t lose. Also, if any of my English friends are reading this, and find me horribly incorrect…. I’m deeply sorry. I blame cultural contexts.

Excellent job England, making us all think you’re the tea capital of the world. I’m sure India and China are very pleased about that. 😛

Thanks for reading everyone, it’s always sincerely appreciated. If you want to receive regular-ish emails of posts you can enter your address and follow me easily using the widget to the right. It’s up there somewhere.

xx

Miss Hailey Jane


The Wall of Tea

As a University student I witnessed a lot of different ways to live life. Coming to terms with plain fashioned old chaos was part of the whole experience for everyone. Being wretched from our homes for the first time and left alone to live in a strange new world full of people we had never met before was the feeling most of us felt at least once that first week, but more likely several more times throughout that first year.

What we didn’t know was that this common sense of abandonment and the general aura of loneliness on campus was the driving force cooking up the friendships that would keep us alive over the next four years. Not to mention the convenient grouping by relative age and interests that our classes provided. It was a virtual garden of growing social relationships, which real life in turn would deprive us of later on.

Photo courtesy of Trentu.ca

In this state, a lot of us came into our own, discovering who we really were, or who we wanted to be. But there were always moments or lapses or phases, of unsurity, confusion, pain, frustration, failure and a feeling we didn’t belong in this fabricated and temporary world.  In all of these cases it was customary to cling to habits, routine, hobbies and other activities to help forget.

Some students take to the bottle with ferocity, and some do it socially but with more enthusiasm than the typical adult. Some fall into the world of narcotics, hallucinogens, stimulants and depressants to care for their budding fears and anxieties. Others I’ve seen try the professional approach; talking out their qualms about the system and about their life with a certified medical professional, or more likely a Masters’ student looking to get credit. Some students form stone solid relationships with a single other person, seeking and receiving comfort in that personal sense, isolating themselves from others for a time to cope with what they think is real life. Some devote their time to sport and physical fitness, some fall too far and develop disorder. Some stay up all night, alone in the physical regard, but surrounded by the vast and unending universe that is the internet. Others opt for the more social route and spend every waking moment with people, out on the town, around campus, expanding their real life social network by friendly converse or the collection of venereal diseases. And finally some take to their studies with meticulous and devoted fervor, spending days in the library or lab, fighting the battle of knowing all there is to know.

Most have discovered a healthy mix of all of the above and I imagine this is how the stereotype of student life was formed. All of it though, began as a way to hide the feeling that was fear of the world and being left alone in it.

But we weren’t alone at all, were we. My personal groups of friends were fantastic. Always drama filled but it’s what kept life interesting, and I’m not going to claim I wasn’t responsible for a considerable amount of said drama. By second year, out of residence, we were generally comfortable with what we thought were ‘ourselves’, and stepped one step farther into independence. Out of the swaddling clothes that was residence, into a home of our own in this new town. We had rent to remember, we had internet companies to deal with, we also had a dishwasher schedule to contend with, which fell apart far too quickly might I add. There was also money to keep track of, textbooks to try not to buy and shoes to splurge on every so often. We had to remember to eat, trek across town to get groceries, and learn to cook. There were endless “Hailey get off the phone”s, and echo’s of “Who left the kitchen cupboards open?!”, “Why is there toothpaste in the sink?”, “Why are there numbers on the microwave?!?” or “Why is there a dead squirrel in the freezer??!!?” We had to catch the bus, go to class, do our homework, do the readings, write the papers, do the statistics and every three months someone would say something about how the house should be cleaned.

It was fantastic, and I miss every moment of it.

To keep from proper insanity our friends living across town kept a collection of empty liquor bottles in their kitchen, as a commemoration of the enjoyable times they had had. A very traditional thing for students to do which in a way doubles as decoration. Our house though, by happenstance, did not partake in this particular tradition. By accident and a mutual admiration for a certain heated beverage, we acquired a rather impressive collection of Tea. This we kept on a spice rack sitting in the kitchen window. It was beautiful. It was epic. It was absolutely ridiculous. There were hundreds of bags of any flavour you could possibly want, or even not want.

There was Orange Pekoe, Green, White, Earl Grey, Hampton Court Palace Tea mailed from England, the despised Blueberry, Maple, Peppermint, Peppermint Green, Chai, Pomegranate Green, Camomile, Canadian Breakfast, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast (You could have breakfast anywhere apparently), Lemon Zinger, Mango-somethingrather, Rooibos, Vanilla, Vanilla Rooibos and Dreamland Tea. I imagine I missed some as well. But you get the point. At the height of our collection we had 34 different flavours gracing our shelf, and we were damn proud of them.

Looked a lot like this, only MORE!

After a time though, housemates began to get restless. There was a toiletpaper war going on in the background, it was ruthless and its’ raw and unpleasant emotion seeped into the peaceful world of our tea shelf. Bags of one flavour would be exchanged for bags in another box, prompting hateful responses and a series of very grumpy mornings. Lives were lost, cups of tea wasted like yesterday’s newspaper, but in the end there was peace. I personally blame the vile revolting person who invented Blueberry Tea. It’s all his fault.

But there was peace in our house, there was peace in our lives, and University was survived thanks to the help of many cups of joy from that wall of tea. Whether it was there for us first thing on any average morning, next to us in the middle of the night with a bazillion-page paper to do, or even just between our hands while chatting with good people over a table, Tea was there warming our insides for us, filling us with the caffeine we needed to get through another day.

I will always remember those days with a painful fondness, likely prompting another cup all the while evoking memories of a simpler time.

-Miss Hailey Jane


A Tea Review: Assam ‘Budla Beta’

For the past week I’ve bee test driving a new tea in my collection from India.  It’s called Assam SF ‘Budla Beta’. A rather fancy name for, what seems to be, a rather simple black tea. That being said, I still find it delicious and wonderful, but I just think I was expecting something with a more distinct flavour.

Here’s what the *Official Synopsis* says:

“This Black Tea originates in the Assam region of India and has a well worked leaf with golden glowing tips. This second flush picking is a strong, aromatic Black Tea that provides a wonderful burgundy-red cup that is great as a morning tea, but can be enjoyed any time of day. ”   -Taken from Teaopia.ca

I agree that it’s a great morning tea, as that’s usually when I drink it, but I don’t agree that it’s particularly strong, or burgundy coloured.  When made according to the instructions, it comes out a light orange-ie brown colour even after it steeps too long, not something I particularly associate with strong tea. Maybe compared to green or white teas, but not regular black teas.

The flavour is well rounded for sure, and is rather pleasant with a slight sharpness and tang to it. It also carries with it a rather smooth soft after-taste which I think is the most distinctive part of the tea. For example, the smell of the brewed tea is very faint, quite different from the taste, and nothing to write home about. They lied when they said it was aromatic, of by some off chance the water here in Windsor killed all of the smell in the brewing process, but I doubt it.

I’m sorry I’m a bit of a killjoy today, it really is a lovely tea, with a fun and exciting name, and it does come all the way from India….but at $7.00 for 50 grams, I might try something else next time. Suggestions?

-Miss Hailey Jane