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1856

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 24 from Teanzo 1856

Here we are, folks!  This is the last day of my countdown with tea from Teanzo 1856!  It’s been fun counting down the days to Christmas with this Advent Calendar and trying some pretty tasty teas along the way!  I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to try a new Advent Calendar!

AlteredFoundObjectFor today’s artistic inspiration, I chose another piece that I created for a swap that I hosted one year.  It was the first year in a long time that I had what I call a “full size” tree – before that, money was really tight and we had a very small artificial tree.  When we finally could afford a larger tree, I needed ornaments to fill it!  And as I may have mentioned previously, I find the “boxed” ornaments to be just a little too ordinary.  I like to think outside the box.

So, I hosted an altered art ornament swap that year.  Basically, each participant was assigned an object to alter, and they needed to make six of those altered objects and send all six to me, and then after all participant’s ornaments were received, I would swap out the ornaments and everyone got one of each of the ornaments returned to them.   They would send in six ornaments and they would receive six ornaments back, receiving six original and unique works of art for their tree.

This is one of the ornaments I made that year.  My assigned altered object was “found object” and I used hot cup sleeves that I found at my local coffee shop.  The town I lived in at the time was a small town, and at least once a week, I went into town and had a chai latte at the coffee shop.  They had those cardboard sleeves to protect the hands from the heat of the beverage that made the paper cups difficult to handle otherwise.  I liked the “tea cup and saucer” design on the sleeves, so I took a few of them one day, thinking that there was something I could do with them.

I rolled one of them up into a cone shape and turned it into Victorian-esque cone and filled it with little artificial flowers.  I painted the sleeve with shimmering paint to give it some sparkle and added eyelets on either side to loop a ribbon for hanging.  It was a cute little ornie, I thought.

Cherry Tea

Tea Information:Cherry-Tea

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Cherry Tea is a deliciously fruity black tea.   It has black cherries which lends a certain natural sweetness to the tea. This tea goes both ways just like most of our teas – iced or hot. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I said before, this is the last tea from my Teanzo Advent Calendar.  I’ve really enjoyed this tea journey with Teanzo.  If I could have “dictated” what teas would have been in the Advent Calendar, there would have been some changes made, but, for the most part, I’m really happy with the teas that I’ve tasted!  And since there were some teas that I might not have chosen for a “custom” Advent Calendar in this year’s box, I’m actually glad that I didn’t choose the teas because this gave me the opportunity to try some teas that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

To brew this Cherry Tea, I used my Kati Tumbler (yet again!) and poured the contents of the sampler package into the basket of the tumbler.  I then poured 12 ounces of boiling water into the tumbler and let it steep for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea has a very distinct cherry scent to it.  It smells a little like a jar of maraschino cherries.  There are some that might say that it smells a little like cherry cough syrup.  I happen to like cherry cough syrup so that smell isn’t a bad thing for me, personally.

The flavor is very cherry.  It tastes a little like a cross between maraschino cherry, bing cherry and a tart cherry.  Maybe a ratio of 2 parts maraschino, 2 parts bing, and 1 part tart cherry.  Now, imagine these cherries being macerated in brandy and then strained.  Liquefy the cherries and add a splash of the liquid to black tea.  Yeah, that’s what I’m tasting.

It’s a little sweet and a little tart.  My aforementioned comparison to cherry cough syrup is appropriate for the flavor too, because I do get a hint of that kind of flavor (which is why I made the macerated in brandy reference in the previous paragraph.  Cough syrup tends to have a slight boozy taste to me.)

The black tea is a pleasant tasting black tea – smooth and nicely round.  It isn’t bitter and it isn’t overly astringent.  There is a slight “pucker” of the inside of the cheeks toward the finish, but it’s slight and not unpleasant.  It’s not what I’d call an aggressive tea but it is a strong tea, strong enough to stand its own with the strong cherry notes.

As the tea cools, I notice more of the tart notes emerging.  Some of the sweeter notes of the tea start to come forward because of the tarter cherry notes.  I’m noticing more contrast with the cooled tea.

It’s an interesting tea.  Not my favorite from Teanzo – but I’m glad I got to try it.

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 23 from Teanzo 1856

It’s day 23 … are you finished with your shopping yet?  (Please don’t ask.)

GwynnOrnieFor today’s artistic inspiration, I am featuring this rustic heart ornament from Gwynn Thoma.  I’m not entirely sure, but it looks as though the panels were felted and then stuffed and hand sewn together.  It’s really lovely and I love the way it looks on my tree.  Since about 95% of the ornaments on my tree are all handmade, I love the way this ornament really seems to define that idea.  It looks simple and rustic, but I love the charm that it brings to my tree.

Mint Detox Tulsi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Tulsi

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

With rosehips and mint, this loose leaf detox tea supports hydration and detoxification.  You can sip this detox tea hot or gulp it down as an iced tea  guilt-free since it has virtually no calories!  Makes a fantastic and unique gift.  This is a herbal tea that you can take with you in your water bottle and sip all day long to stay refreshed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:MintTulsi

There have been quite a few caffeine free tisanes in this Advent Calendar box from Teanzo.  Some have been hits and others misses.  Fortunately, this one is a hit!

I really like the combination of spearmint and tulsi.  The warmth of the tulsi and the cool, crisp notes of the spearmint offers a nice contrast.  The spearmint is refreshing without tasting toothpaste-y as the spicier notes of the tulsi help to reduce the impact of the mint.

Also nice is the light, lemony note from the lemon myrtle.  It’s a really uplifting flavor that brightens the whole cup.

It’s a pleasant combination of flavors that I found very enjoyable.  I don’t know if it works as a “detox” or not, but, I will say that this is one of the tastier “detox” teas I’ve tried.  It’s thirst-quenching and tastes good served hot or cold and it has a nice, natural sweetness to it that requires no additional sweetener.  Another bonus for the detox!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 22 from Teanzo 1856

The big day is almost here.  Just two days left to shop for it!

Day8Today’s artistic inspiration comes from another 12 Days of Christmas swap.  This ornament was created by Autumn.  (Sorry, Autumn, I didn’t take note of your last name!)  This is really a cool ornament.  It’s difficult to tell from the photo (and the photo isn’t the greatest anyway!) but the base of the ornament is a juice concentrate lid.  You know, the stuff you get in the freezer section of the grocery store in the cardboard cylinders with metal ends?  Autumn took the metal ends and made ornaments!  Really cool!

It’s not only a beautiful ornament that adds a lot of sparkle to my tree, but I love that it was made out of something upcycled – something that was otherwise destined for the landfill!  Day8-1

Here is an up close view of the ornament…

Like I said, very cool.

I love doing the 12 days of Christmas mail art swaps for things like this – I find it very inspiring to see what other artists are doing with everyday “throwaway” items like juice can lids!  Pieces like this really get the creative juices flowing!

Today’s teas is one of my favorites thus far.  This is one tea I’m likely to buy again from Teanzo, because I suspect I’ll be wanting more of it soon!

Earl Grey Green Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

If you love Earl Grey Tea, then try our Earl Grey Green Tea.  You get all the health benefits of green tea, with that familiar Earl Grey flavor that you already love.  A perfect gift for Earl Grey lovers!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve reviewed quite a few Earl Grey black teas (an understatement!) but significantly less Earl Grey green teas.  There are a couple of reasons for this:  the first is that there are far fewer Earl Grey green teas available out there.  With just about any tea company out there, you’re likely to find an Earl Grey black.  Most tea companies has at least one black variety of Earl Grey.  But, only a fraction of those actually carry an Earl Grey green tea.

Earl-Grey-GreenThe second reason is that as much as I love an Earl Grey black tea, I’ve not found a lot of Earl Grey green teas that I’ve enjoyed as much.  I’ve enjoyed a few, but if it came down to a choice between an Earl Grey black and an Earl Grey green, I’d choose the black version every time.  Bergamot just seems to meld better with the flavor of black tea better than the green tea.

BUT!

I think I may have found an Earl Grey green tea that I enjoy as much as I enjoy some of my favorite Earl Grey blacks.  Maybe not as much as those Earl Grey black teas that are at the very top of my list, but, this Earl Grey green even when placed among the black teas would be somewhere in the top ten.  Yep.  I said it.  This is a GOOD Earl Grey green.  Really good!

I’m not sure what makes this one so much better than the other Earl Grey green teas that I’ve tried.  The bergamot?  Perhaps.  This is a flavorful bergamot, tangy with just a little contrasting sweetness, it’s bright and invigorating.  A nice, sunny citrus note that isn’t overly floral or perfume-y, but still very distinctly bergamot.

Perhaps it’s the tea itself?  The green tea here looks like large gunpowder pellets and it has a pleasantly sweet flavor.  It’s not overly vegetative.  It’s a little earthy, it has hints of buttery notes.  It’s a mild tasting green tea and it blends in a very agreeable way with the notes of bergamot.  It has a slight creaminess to it that softens some of the sharper notes of the bergamot.

Together, this is a delightful match.  The tea resteeps nicely too, I find that the bergamot notes soften somewhat in the second infusion but the softer notes are quite pleasant too.

This tea was one of the most pleasant of surprises discovered in this Advent Calender from Teanzo!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 21 from Teanzo 1856

We’re getting there!  This 24 days has gone by so quickly – it’s already day 21!  Can you believe it?  This year is almost gone – a new one about to begin!

dominoornieFor today’s artistic inspiration, I sorted through some of my old photos online and I came across some altered dominoes that I created.  I altered a bunch of dominoes (the back of the domino is a really neat surface to use as a canvas for artwork) and I turned them into little ornaments and sold them one year at the Christmas Bazaar in Ridgefield, WA.  That was more years than I care to count at this point!  Wow!  I can’t believe how long ago that was.

Anyway, here is one of the dominoes that I altered.  I drilled a hole in the domino to be able to add a jump ring and a loop to the domino, then I added the star and swirl design, painted it, and then I added some rhinestones to the piece for some extra sparkle.  Then I protected the surface with a resin that adds a glass-like surface to it.  The final piece was bright, sparkly and shiny – just the kind of thing you want for your holiday tree!

I sold a bunch of these things – back then, I was also selling tea and that was my primary purpose at the bazaar, I wanted to sell my teas but I decided that since I was paying for the booth, that I’d take full advantage of it and sell some other stuff too.  I did pretty well, I managed to sell enough to pay for the cost of the booth plus buy a few holiday gifts for some of the more expensive people on my list.  It was a day well spent.

Tranquil Spa Blend

Tranquil-Spa-BlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos (Green)

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Tranquil Spa Blend is a relaxing ginger mint orange herbal blend.  Rejuvenation at its tastiest.  We wanted to take you away to a spa with our teas, so we put together a brand new Spa Trio:  Dream Spa Blend, Tranquil Spa Blend, and Bliss Spa Blend.  Each of these is caffeine free and blended to perfection to give you a spa feeling and taste.  Each of our spa blends comes in a green latch tin with 2 oz of tea.  You can also purchase them as a Spa Trio.  Add a little spa to your day!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Having already tried the Dream Spa Blend and the Bliss Spa Blend from the “Spa Trio” and really enjoying them, I was hopeful that I’d have a similar experience with this Tranquil Spa Blend.  Then I read the ingredients and saw that eucalyptus was in the blend and I’m hopeful that the eucalyptus wouldn’t ruin this blend for me.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and go into it with an open mind!

To steep this tisane, I used my Kati tumbler.  12 ounces of water heated to 195°F, I poured the contents of the sampler pouch into the basket of the tumbler and then added the water.  I steeped this for 6 minutes.  Usually I would steep a tisane for a little longer but I was a little cautious this time with the eucalyptus.

Now it’s time for a sip!

OK, this isn’t bad!  It’s actually quite tasty.  Yes, I taste the eucalyptus, but, I am getting stronger notes of orange and ginger and the eucalyptus seems to enhance the ginger notes a little bit here.  Rather than causing the whole cup to turn to a bitter, medicinal mess, it is actually enhancing the blend.  That certainly is an unexpected turn of events!

The eucalyptus seems to soften the ginger a little bit.  Ginger usually has a lot of peppery bite to it, but the eucalyptus has soften the blow of the ginger bite here.  It’s still warm and ginger-y pleasant, but the ginger has a smoother flavor now.

I don’t taste a lot from the mint, but there is a background minty taste.  I like the way that peeks through.  The green rooibos is the perfect base because it adds a light, fruity sweetness to the cup.

Everything is balanced here.  The orange is bright and juicy.  The ginger is warm without being too spicy.  The eucalyptus isn’t overpowering (yay!) and the mint is a soft, subtle flavor.  It’s soothing without tasting medicinal.  It all works with the ‘tranquil’ vibe that the name of this tea suggests.

A SURPRISINGLY good tisane.  I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I am.

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 20 from Teanzo 1856

Day10Wow – it’s Day 20.  I can’t believe it.  You know what that means, don’t you?  There are only 5 days until the day we’ve all been waiting for gets here, and there are only 4 days left to actually shop to prepare for that day!

Today’s artistic inspiration comes from Regina Zyry.  It’s one of the coolest paper ornaments for the tree that I have!  The backing is crafted out of “fan folded” paper.  It’s really lovely and I love the way it looks on the tree.  The sparkly glitter in the center of the ornament shimmers when the lights on the tree blink.  And the buttons dangle and keep the eye interested.  This is another of those ornaments that I get a burst of “joy” when I unwrap it to decorate the tree.

Today’s tea gave me a “burst of joy” too!  It’s been one of my favorites that I’ve tried from this Advent Calendar – it’s a good thing that Teanzo offers this tea year round.

Orange Crème Dessert Tea

Orange_Creme_Black_TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Orange crème dessert tea is a smooth loose leaf orange black tea with a hint of vanilla. A real treat.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yum!  When I knew that I’d be featuring the Advent Calendar from Teanzo 1856 this year, I took a few minutes to peruse the Teanzo website to see what different types of teas they offer.  As I was “window shopping” with Teanzo, I came across this tea and this was one I was hoping would be in the Advent Calendar this year.  It sounded so yummy!

So, I was happy to grab the pouch for day 20 and turn it over to see that Orange Crème would be today’s tea!

The dry leaf smells amazing – bright notes of orange with sweet, creamy notes and a background of black tea.  Very aromatic!  The brewed tea keeps that fragrance – this smells a bit like someone may have melted an orange cream ice pop in my black tea!  It smells sweet and delicious and it’s got my mouth watering!

After allowing it to cool for a few minutes, I took my first sip!  Yum!

The black tea base isn’t an overly aggressive tea.  It adds a nice “black tea” flavor to the background but it doesn’t attempt to interfere with the flavors of orange and vanilla which are playing in the foreground.  It’s a strong, solid backdrop of flavor.  It’s pleasant and flavorful, smooth and not overly astringent.

The orange flavor is sweet and juicy with just enough tangy flavor to add some interest to the cup.  It’s a sunny, energetic flavor that melds beautifully with the sweet, indulgent notes of vanilla.

It’s a really pleasant, dessert-y type of tea that still tastes like tea.  It’s not overly flavored so that the tea notes are overwhelmed.  It’s not quite as strong as I’d like a morning tea to be, but this would make a really nice afternoon pick-me-up.  It would also be an excellent choice to serve to your guests – they’ll really enjoy this one!