Friday, January 16, 2009

Rooibos Tropica

While we're on the subject of Teavana's divine teas, I must review my family's favorite: Rooibos Tropica. I don't like plain Rooibos (aka the African Red Tea to many), but this concoction is perfection!

It's got a floral, fruity aroma and taste--sweet without any added sugar. It makes a wonderful iced tea as well, especially if you're trying to cut back on sugar. It doesn't have a "sweet tea" flavor when iced, but it does have a faint sweetness that precludes the need for added sugar. It's a favorite of both mine and my husband's, hot or iced. Since Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, we can enjoy this tea any time, day or night.

I also enjoy rose tea (similar to rose hip or hibiscus); Teavana carries a Rooibos Rose tea that is quite similar to the Tropica and just as delightful.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What Smaug would drink?

I’m catching up on describing some of the interesting teas I have tried lately. My next Revolution tea sample is Dragon Eye Oolong, a very unusual and distinctively flavored tea. It tasted green, flowery, fruity, smoky and dignified, just what I can imagine Smaug drinking while he hoarded his treasure. I don’t have much experience with Oolong yet so I’m not sure how this compares to others (I’ll let you know). It’s a bold, wild tea, not quite calming for evening or meditative for Scripture reading and prayer, but worth experiencing if you’re ready for something really different.

Tea review: Teavana Almond Biscotti

We’ve been considering books for a while here on LiterariTea, but I don’t want to overlook the teas we love to enjoy with our reading!

Since Betsy introduced me to Teavana, one of the first teas I ordered was Almond Biscotti. Now, it’s definitely more expensive with shipping (unless you happen to be walking down the street in Charleston and see a Teavana store right there!), but a wonderful treat if you’re looking for one. Now for flavored teas, I’m a fan of Celestial Seasonings’ herbal Dessert teas after dinner when I don’t want the caffeine. I especially like Almond Sunset because my Grandma served me “cambric” Almond Sunset tea with milk and sugar when I was growing up, but Almond Biscotti is a unique choice for the beverage connoisseur who divides their choice of pleasure between good coffee or good tea, preferably in a choice location, while reading a good book.

Almond Biscotti tea is just different. It has a nutty taste (probably because of the chopped almonds mixed in with the leaves), and with a little sugar, definitely reminiscent of a good cookie (without the chocolate). But it’s still an excellent tea, and you can’t miss that, and shouldn’t.

Definitely one to try.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In Defense of Food

Do you ever ask someone for his or her opinion merely to hear your own opinion reinforced? This is especially gratifying if you're asking someone who's more knowledgeable, respected, or interesting than you are....

Guilty as charged! That's exactly what I felt like when I finished this book. Ah ha! I told you so! Well, Michael Pollan told us so, but I knew it already....

In Defense of Food is an engagingly written critique of processed foods (and the accompanying industry), the "science" of nutrition, the obsession Americans have with food/nutrition/etc., and the way America eats (both what and how). Pollan is a whole foods advocate, but doesn't sound as edgy as some whole foods advocates do. He comes across as a man of common sense who is troubled by the inconsistencies and discrepancies he's learned of in relation to food and how we consume it in America. I found his comments on the necessary, but lamentable, reductionism in nutritional science very interesting and thought-provoking.

At the end of the book, he develops his opening 7 words in more detail: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. His approach strikes the reader as both doable and sensible. Even more refreshing, it sounds tasty and enjoyable. I've been mulling over some other thoughts related to Pollan's ideas that I hope to flesh out more eventually on Tarnished Teapot, but for now, I'll end with the encouragement to everyone to think more about what you eat and how you eat it! Read those nutrition labels, eat your veggies, and slow down....

A final note: Pollan is most definitely coming at this issue from an evolutionary/non-religious standpoint. As one who believes adamantly that God created the world (from nothing) and created humans as the pinnacle of that creation, I must disagree with Pollan's comments about humans and their diet evolving over time, almost magically. Nonetheless, I do think we, as Christians, have some responsibility to evaluate our lifestyles, including our diets, and make sure we are being good stewards of the earth and ourselves as we seek to glorify our Creator.

Recipes for an English Tea

(Oh, poor, neglected little blog of ours.... )

My aunt picked up a delightful little book for me when she was in England with my cousin this past year. It's a tiny book with the alluring title: Recipes for an English Tea. Perfect! I'll be trying out some of these little recipes hopefully and posting any that seem worthy, but for now, I'll leave you with the wonderful opening quotation:

"Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities...will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual."

~Thomas de Quincy 1785-1859

p.s. I've now looked through my little book... I won't be making these recipes, but they are charming examples of a Victorian tea! We don't even use measurements/ingredients like this anymore, so I'll have to find some modern interpretations.