Collecting teabag envelopes

Working on my teabag collection...

This week is going to be a full week of projects. For starters, I have put off filing our taxes and am only just now working on that. After dreading the process for months (mostly due to the time involved!), I know I will feel greatly relieved when it's over. I am generally not a procrastinator so I'm not sure why I've waited so long on this!

One project I recently did was organizing my teabag collection. It was already organized, but over the past year, I had collected many more empty teabag wrappers and needed to put them in my albums. I took a photo of the kitchen counter where I was working.

For those of you who have never heard of collecting teabags, my collection is basically one of each "design" of any and every teabag wrapper/envelope, including the little tags. I drink the tea and save the wrapper.

I started my collection when I was 13 or 14 (I really can't remember now!) and eventually found other collectors (mostly in other countries) and have traded tea with several ladies over the years. My collection has several thousand different teabag envelopes, but it's tiny compared to some collectors who have ten times as many!

When I was younger, I had much more time and money to devote to buying and trading tea. At this point in my life, I can't really afford to buy every new tea in the stores, or to do a lot of trading; nor do I have the time.

Since I still love drinking tea, I save all of my wrappers, and some of my friends save wrappers for me, also. My pile of "empties" grows, and once a year or so, I sort them all out. One of each kind goes into my collection, and the rest get sent to my collector-friends.

I think teabags are my only real collection of anything. I love collecting something that's "free", and I think they're fascinating! And my entire collection only fills part of a shelf on our bookshelves. For a practical tightwad like myself, it's the perfect thing to collect. ;)

Tea Review: Long Life Organic Ginger Tea

Long Life Organic Ginger Blend

Yesterday and today, while battling a sore throat, I have really been enjoying Long Life's Organic Ginger Blend. My friend Lin S. sent me a box of this tea as a gift. :)

This is one of the best ginger teas I've ever had! Normally, ginger tea just isn't my favorite.  And although this ginger blend isn't marketed as a medicinal infusion, it is helping my sore throat immensely.

This herbal tea has a natural sweetness (but is spicy-sweet rather than sugary-sweet) and a light, smooth ginger flavor. It isn't hot or biting, like so many ginger infusions.

Long Life's Organic Ginger Blend is delicious hot or cold. I think I must have drank 10 or 12 cups of this tea in the past couple days. I love it!

Tea Review: Snapple flavored and herbal teas

Snapple tea

My friend Lin sent me some Snapple tea to enjoy! I'm excited to be reviewing five of Snapple's hot tea bag flavors -- Strawberry, Le-MMM-on, Mangoooooo, Orange-Inality, and Wild 'Bout Berries.

If you frequent your local grocery store's tea section, you may have noticed these brightly colored boxes of tea bags. Perhaps created to perform as a "bridge" between cold, sweetened, flavored juice beverages and regular hot teas, these Snapple tea bags boast "real fruit juice" and have the reminder message "unsweetened" printed on the front of each box and individually wrapped teabag.

As someone who has been drinking tea for years, I will admit to rolling my eyes a little at the "unsweetened" part. Of course! What kind of tea would come pre-sweetened? After all, there are people like me who always drink their tea plain, with no added sweetener.

On the other hand, as a teabag (empty envelope) collector, a part of me did wish I could add some of those bright gingham tea bag wrappers to my collection... And thanks to my friend Lin, I got to try five of the Snapple teas and add them to my collection! Here are my brief reviews.

Snapple teas

Wild 'Bout Berries (Herbal)

This box of tea smells like a box of candy! Seriously. These teabags are very aromatic, and the brewed tea is a bright pink color.

The taste actually did represent the advertizing, in my opinion: Herbal tea with fruit juice. Juicy and fruity, Wild 'Bout Berries is like a great herbal fruit infusion. Each sip leaves some tang in your mouth, but if you like herbal fruit teas, this is a good one. I recommend it! :)

Le-MMM-on (Black Tea)

This Le-MMM-on tea is supposed to be a black tea with lemon flavor. The off-beat spelling of "lemon" is probably the first clue that this isn't your usual lemon flavored black tea.

For one thing, I really couldn't taste the "black tea" part. This is great... for people who don't care much for black tea. Instead, the flavor is like an instant lemon tea drink mix -- very fakey, in my opinion. Joshua tried this one, as well, and said it tasted like lemonade powder.

If you like the flavor of "instant tea", you might like this one. If you're accustomed to real lemon-flavored black teas, this Le-MMM-on tea doesn't even come close. Don't bother.

Maybe it would be better iced.

Mangoooooo (Green Tea)

I like green tea. I like high-quality green tea. After all, if I wanted a cup of bitter, grassy, cloudy green liquid, I could get some for free from the neighbor's pond.

This Mangoooooo flavored green tea is awful. I can't enjoy it in the least, and for me to not enjoy a tea, even a lower-quality tea, AT ALL is very unusual. I've made several cups, on several ocasions, and the warm, bitter, green mangoooooo flavor is practically unbrearable.

Joshua, who doesn't really like tea very well, tasted this and said it wasn't that bad. My sister Bonnie says she likes this flavor. (I gave most of the rest of the box to her!)

So maybe it's just me, but I would NOT recommend this tea. If you want the benefits of drinking green tea, drink a different kind. Not Snapple Mangoooooo.

Strawberry (White Tea)

Snapple's Strawberry white tea is a perfectly beautiful light pink color when brewed, and smells amazingly great!

Unfortunately, when I tasted the tea, it had a weak flavor, and a slightly bitter after-taste, even though I brewed it properly. The tea tasted okay; again, weak in the "tea" aspect and strong on the "fruit".

I've had better, and I've had worse. The lovely color and scent almost make up for the lack of substance in body. :)

Orange-Inality (Herbal)

If you like herbal tea, this Orange-Inality tea might suit you. It's a mild infustion with a slightly sweet tease. It actually tastes like it has orange oil or something in it. This is, in my opinion, one of the better-tasting orange herbal infusions I've tried!

My conclusion:

What's not too surprising, I suppose, is that I liked the Snapple herbal teas much, MUCH better than the Snapple (real) teas. In general, I like true teas better than herbal infusions. Snapple should stick to making fruit juice products rather than ruining tea.

Golden Monkey Tea Chef Recipe

Golden Veggie Fried Rice recipe

I thoroughly enjoy Adagio.com's tea chef contest. This month's tea was Golden Monkey, a Chinese black tea that is beautiful, smooth, and looks exactly like the photo on their website -- perfectly delightful! I love sampling new teas, and I love cooking. Somehow, the tea chef contest sparks creativity (Okay, I'll admit, I like the free tea! Who wouldn't?! Wink), and I usually really like the results! :)

Since I had never had Golden Monkey tea before, I made myself a glass of it, to help me decide what sort of recipe to create. The results were today's lunch: Golden Veggie Fried Rice. I thought it was delicious, and am looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow. ;)

Tea Review: Revolution teas (3 flavors)

Revolution Teas

I'm excited to be reviewing three different flavors of Revolution Tea: English Breakfast Tea, Sweet Ginger Peach Tea, and Earl Grey Lavendar Tea! My friend Lin sent these teas to me as a gift, and, having already tried the Golden Flowers Herbal Tea, I was expecting to really enjoy these three teas, as well!

Revolution Tea comes in individual teabags (Revolution calls them "Infuser Bags"), which are a fine mesh plastic teabag with string and tag attached. The teabags allow great water-flow, and provide a beautiful view of the tea inside. The tea in these bags, by the way, is high-quality tea and contains sizeable tea leaves and/or herbs.

As you can see in the photo above, inside the box of tea, there is a clear plastic container holding the teabags, with a hinged snap-lid. This container helps keep the teabags fresh, and easy to access.

However, don't like the fact that the container is clear, letting in light, which means that in order to preserve the tea, the container must also be stored in the original box. This means that getting out a teabag involves opening a box, taking out a container, opening a container, and taking out a teabag. I'd much rather be able to just store the containers, without worrying about keeping them in a very dark place or in the box.

This small issue aside, Revolution Tea is the next-best thing to brewing loose leaf tea in your cup: convenient, high-quality, and delicious!

Revolution English Breakfast Tea

Revolution's English Breakfast Tea is a tasteful combination of Ceylon and Assam teas. I don't drink a lot of English Breakfast teas, in general, but I did enjoy this one. It makes a good morning tea, and it's great cold/iced, too!

Revolution Sweet Ginger Peach Tea

Now, I was very excited about trying this Sweet Ginger Peach Tea. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed. Along with Ceylon and Assam teas, ginger root and peach flavor are the only other ingredients. I'm not sure what, exactly, the peach flavor is. I suppose it smells and tastes remotely like peach. Or maybe it's just the combination of ginger and peach. Although I generally love both, and I believe I've had them together before.

At any rate, I really really wanted to like this tea. I've had at least 5 cups of it. I just don't like it. I know, I know... I usually like everything. But not this. So, the rest of the box will be passed on to my tea-loving cousin, in the hopes that she may enjoy it.

Revolution Earl Grey Lavendar Tea

This Earl Grey Lavendar Tea is fabulous! I don't know if companies have only recently started producing lavendar-flavored teas, or if I just never happened across any, but I'm really liking the twist that lavendar gives an otherwise-ordinary tea.

This Earl Grey Lavendar seems perfectly balanced, with a definite, smooth lavendar flavor. The bergamot is more of a background flavor, which I like, since I am not the world's biggest Earl Grey fan. This tea contains Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Foromosa Oolong teas in addition to the French lavendar flowers and bergamot oil.

Tea Chef Contest Update!

Click here for the video review of Adagio.com's ingenuiTEA! (8 MB, WMV file, 2 minutes)

Some of you may recall my recent excitement over the discovery of adagio.com's monthly online Tea Chef contest! A free sample of their tea, and the opportunity to create a new recipe? Count me in! My two tea recipes so far have been Double Cranberry Crumb Cake and Almond Chestnut Biscotti.

My ingenuiTEA tea pot

Last Thursday, I was surprised with a FedEx package from Adagio.com. I was unaware that the most recent tea chef winner had been announced -- and that it was ME! Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted! 

The prize included adagio.com's ingenuiTEA tea pot, a beautiful, fun clear glass mug, and a tin of delicious Chestnut flavored black tea. You can bet I'm having a blast with this handy little tea pot that brews my loose leaf tea easily and conveniently! I am debating whether to ever buy bagged tea again -- which is monumental considering my addiction to collecting empty tea envelopes/bags!

My ingenuiTEA tea pot

And, if you're wondering how many cups of tea I drank the first day I used the ingenuiTEA tea pot, well, I'm not telling! ;) Let's just say my loose-leaf tea supply isn't going to last another year as was previously predicted. ;) The ingenuiTEA tea pot is just too easy to use. If you love high-quality tea, you're doomed. :D

I am also thoroughly enjoying the glass mug, since I normally brewed my tea in just any old mug. The glass mug they sent is light, holds a lot of tea (13.5 ounces), and shows off the beauty of the tea in a really great way!

So thank you, whoever took the time to vote for my little recipe. I love tea, and receiving a special prize just make my week!

We wanted to thank Adagio.com by making a short video review of their ingenuiTEA tea pot. The video is about 2 minutes long (8MB, WMV file), and shows how the tea pot works. I had never done a video review before this, so it was an interesting experience! :) You can right-click on the graphic below and save the video to your computer to view. Enjoy!


Tea Review: Trader Joe's Honey Lemon Herbal Tea

Trader Joe's sells an excellent Honey Lemon Herbal Tea. I can't seem to locate this tea online, so hopefully you live near a Trader Joe's store! We don't have one here where we live, but last year we were in the Seattle area visiting some family and I was able to go to a Trader Joe's and get some tea.

Trader Joe's Honey Lemon herbal tea is the BEST of its kind. I love honey lemon teas, and I've tried many brands. This is my absolute favorite for herbal (not flavored) honey lemon tea. It just tastes so REAL! The lemon is tangy but not powerful enough to make your face scrunch up. The honey flavor is a perfect complement.

Yehoshua and I drank my last bag of this tea last week when we all had colds. Trader Joe's Honey Lemon herbal tea is soothing and comforting. If you're a fan of honey lemon teas, this one is a must-try! :)

Tea Chef: Almond Chestnut Biscotti recipe

Almond Chestnut Biscotti

My Tea Chef entry for this month has been posted on the Adagio Tea Chef website! This time, I created a biscotti with almonds, vanilla, and chestnut tea.

When I envisioned this biscotti, I wanted a classic biscotti texture, nuts sprinkled throughout, and a highly fragrant aroma.

I couldn't be more pleased with the results of my experimentation! This tastes exactly as I had hoped, and the flavors of almond, vanilla, and chestnut combine for a soft, flavorful biscotti.

In short, this is really, really tasty! Joshua was very impressed and said it tasted like gourmet biscotti. I'm just delighted that I was actually able to create the biscotti I wanted. It's not too sweet, but perfect for serving with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

You can go here to view my recipe (and cast your vote for it, if you want!) or go here to view all the recipes submitted to the contest this month.

I also put the recipe here on my website, now that it's public. :) And for the record, I think any nutty black tea, or maybe even vanilla flavored black tea, would work in this recipe. :)

Tea Review: Celestial Seasonings Golden Honey Darjeeling Tea

Celestial Seasonings Golden Honey Darjeeling tea This afternoon, I was lying on the couch in the living room, nursing Eliyahu before his afternoon nap. Yehoshua was wandering around the house.

I couldn't see him from my position on the couch, but somehow since having children I've developed a great sense of hearing and some stellar detective skills. If I listen real hard, and think long enough, I can usually figure out what's going on.*

From the kitchen, I heard him exclaim, "Bear's talkin' on the telephone and drinkin' tea!"

I said, "Yehoshua! Put that box of tea back!"

"But Mama, Bear's talkin' on the telephone and drinkin' tea! That's goofy, Mama!"

Yehoshua likes to look at the pretty pictures on the Celestial Seasonings boxes of tea. I like to drink the tea! Here's my review of Celestial Seasonings Golden Honey Darjeeling tea!

Celestial Seasonings Golden Honey Darjeeling tea

I tend to favor honey-flavored teas, and this Golden Honey Darjeeling tea by Celestial Seasonings is no exception!

Rich in color but light in flavor, this tea begs to be enjoyed again and again! This is one of my all-time favorite black teas, and spring or autumn are the perfect seasons in which to enjoy it.

Celestial Seasonings Golden Honey Darjeeling tea

Here's what Golden Honey Darjeeling tea looks like in my teacup! If you love black teas with mild flavors and smooth taste, this is a great tea to try!

*Unfortunately, my skillz didn't prevent an iodine spill on the bathroom floor. Oh, fun! Did you know that iodine stains floors? That incident is what provoked my intense cleaning and organizing streak, which included the bathroom.

Tea Review: Miss Rona's Lavender Tea with Jasmine

Lavender tea with jasmine

My friend Lin sent me a box of Miss Rona's Lavender Tea with Jasmine. I had never tried lavender flavored tea before, and my initial reaction was that the box of tea smelled too much like something I would use in the shower or for perfume than like something I would drink!

But I will always give tea a chance. I may not like every kind of tea I taste, but there's a part of me that wants to really enjoy tea in every shape and form... and scent. ;)

So try it I did, and, while it took a little brain manipulation, I convinced myself that I could drink this inedible-smelling beverage called Miss Rona's Lavender Tea with Jasmine... and want a second cup!

Miss Rona's Lavender Tea with Jasmine has a strong aroma, though it is a very light-bodied tea. It's an instinctively feminine brew, suitable for the evening, summer or winter, when a woman wants to relax and pamper herself just a little. Drinking this tea makes me feel calm, happy, and motivated.

Miss Rona's Lavender Tea with Jasmine. It's not your normal cup of tea. It's special, it's a woman's tea, and I like it. Thanks, Lin! :)


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