It rained yesterday, and it's icy everywhere, the whole town is like a skating rink. I ventured outside only to pop over to the pharmacy, and since I work from home I can spend the rest of the day bundled up inside.
Once I came back in and got ready to settle into my afternoon in front of the computer working, I decided to brew up some of the Seven Sisters loose-leaf tea I have been given.
The first I tried is the Cream of Avalon, which Seven Sisters sent along to fit my creamy earl grey request.
The Cream of Avalon is a, "high grown Ceylon delightfully blended with creamy caramel, oil of bergamot and grapefruit notes," and it's lovely, creamy as the name suggests, and has a hint of sweetness hidden in the delightful tartness typical of a black tea.
The oil of bergamot is the flavour typical in earl grey teas and ads a mysterious floral taste that is just perfect.
One reason I love this tea is it tastes great hot or cold. I love an iced tea (unsweetened please!) and I think part of that love grew from a habit of making a giant cup and only drinking half of it before it got cold on my desk...but I still drink the rest. I regularly make unsweetened ice tea and keep it in the fridge, it's a perfect pick-me-up in the hot summer months, or even in the winter when you wake up feeling dry (especially if you have electric heat like me).
I also love my Ikea Vagrat tea strainer. So cute and functional!
I mentioned earlier that I also requested a peppermint tea to try. Peppermint is my favourite variety of herbal tea. A proper peppermint tea is made with peppermint leaves only (no artificial flavours please!)
Peppermint tea is cooling and uplifting, a great refreshing tea. It's helpful for digestion, so if you've had a heavy lunch and are feeling drowsy, this is the tea for you.
I mentioned that I asked to be surprised with the other two teas and wow, the third tea I opened definitely surprised me! It's not something I would smell and pick up for myself, so it was nice to be given it to try. The Lapsang Souchong black tea is a, "unique black tea from the Fujian province in China [which] is dried over pine embers and oxidized in wooden barrels creating a smooth crisp character with the remarkable and heady aroma of a pine and oak wood fire."
The scent of smoke is the first thing you notice when you open the tin of this brew. Smoke isn't generally a flavour I find appealing, though in small amounts I can appreciate it.
The story goes that this tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi Mountain. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines.(source).
I'm surprised to say I really enjoyed this tea. Though the smoky aroma of the tea in the tin was too much for me, once it was brewed, the smoke flavour becomes more subtle as the citrus, clove, and vanilla flavours come forward, in this earthy tea that is perfect on this chilly winter day.
Click here to see a recipe video for a cocktail using smoked tea and mezcal, an agave spirit similar to tequila, that also has a smoky flavour. I'll admit I haven't actually tried it, but my instinct is to mix an iced Lapsang Souchong tea with rum and orange flavours. I found a similar recipe to that instinct here in the form of a smoky Manhattan. I'm putting that cocktail on the to-try list!
The Yogitea is a calming tea that I think would also be really lovely as an iced tea. It has strong citrus scent and the spearmint flavour is also quite pronounced. This tea contains citrus peel, chamomile, orange blossoms, lemongrass, spearmint, hibiscus and rosehips.
It would make a lovely tea for after a yoga class, is that where the name comes from? Who knows, but I can imagine the calm meditative mindset would pair well with this tea which is rich in flavour but still subtle and soothing.
The Seven Sisters website lets you order their wide range of loose leaf teas, tea infusers, and other accessories online, and also has a great blog with all sorts of recipes from tea-infused beer (um...that sounds like a yes to me) to tea-infused salad dressing! The Seven Sisters company is run by Markcol, a small independent Canadian coffee and tea company based in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Read more about the health benefits tea on Canadian Living.com.
Read more about the health benefits of various herbal teas.
Suffering from winter skin? Read about how chamomile tea can help.