Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tea Time, Please!

Sometimes things just make too much sense, right? I had free time tonight and knew for sure I wanted to make a wonderful post for the site, but .. what about? Trying to stay calm, but focus up, I brewed myself a nice hot cup of tea. Duh! Tea ♥ Let's ignore the fact that it was actually 90 degrees in Minnesota today and talk about the coziest cool-weather drink: Hot Tea.

Antique Japanese Tea Set from Mark's Mom

I've always loved tea, but it seemed like last winter I became obsessed again. I had a commute to work that was an hour both ways -- I'll admit, I was too lazy to brew coffee before I left in the morning, (I give myself the smallest amount of time to get ready and out the door), so tea was a perfect solution. It was equally as hot, easier on my tummy, and I could microwave a cup, pour it into my travel mug, throw in a tea bag, and scoot! And then I started to buy more and more and more types of tea! I wanted to find my favorite!

Herbal Tea Sampler, Tazo Green Ginger, Tuscan Lemon, Echinacea Complete Care, Sleepytime Extra.

Here's my secret: I guess I don't really care for green tea? I always think I do, but whenever I drink it, I'm bored. So I will go ahead and say that I won't get the Green Ginger again. To be honest, I think I picked it up just for the ginger part. The Echinacea Complete Care lends itself to my minor addiction of ingesting echinacea when I think I'm getting sick? I love to load that up with honey, honey, honey, and throw about 4 bags in one cup. Yum! Sleepytime Extra made me sick, so buyer beware. Also, it's full of stuff that is like catnip times 100, so I wasn't so sleepytime with Chester running laps around the living room. The Herbal Tea sampler is what you'd expect; my favorite was the Honey Vanilla Chamomile.


Hot Cinnamon Spice, Green Tea, Chai Rooibos, Gypsy Cold Care, Mint Medley Herbal Tea, KOMBUCHA

Ok, ignore that Green Tea. I liked the dragon but I had like one of the teas. I have no idea why I bought it. Honestly, I think because of the dragon. The Yogi Chai Rooibos is alright .. I suggest making it with milk, not water! And use two bags, instead. The Gypsy Cold Care is full of echinacea, which is sweet, but it tastes like drinking grass. That's where the honey comes back in! It does have some lemongrass, though, and that helps with the grassiness of it all. The Target brand Mint Medley Herbal was very mild, not strong enough for my mint tastes. Caribou's Hot Cinnamon Spice is probably in my top 5 favorite teas. It's like big red in a cup; it's so strong, that if it's been steeping too long, it burns my mouth. Yum! Like honestly, my favorite. That tin is empty and that is NOT my favorite. Ignore that green thing in the middle, Kombucha is gross no matter what form.

Teavana Golden Monkey and Teavana Cacao Mint Black

Yay, my fancy tea! These are loose teas. The Cacao Mint Black, another top five favorite tea, was very affordable, but I can't say the same for the Golden Monkey. If you have never been shopping at Teavana, it is pretty intimidating. At least at the Mall of America one, there isn't really any way to "browse" the tea; all the tins are behind the counter, and you have to ask the workers for help. It's always busy at the Mall of America, so I never want to ask to smell or look at more than one or two teas and go with the first one they offer. And such was Golden Monkey. It IS really nice, (I think it is the tea served at the White House? IDK.), but it is very mild, and I like my tea a little more .. noticeable? Does that make sense? ANYWAY, the chocolate mint one is like beyond amazing, and you can steep it more than once. I need to buy some more!

NOT PICTURED BECAUSE I NEED TO RESTOCK: some of my more favorite teas! Tazo Focus, Archer Farms Chocolate Berry Earl Grey, and Yogi Refreshing Mint "Revitalize."

My three favorite mugs! From Target, Japan and the Ren Fest!

CUTE! It really is a tea cup! It flips upside, but I've never used it.

Tea Infuser from Teavana. Awesome! Works super fast & tastes delicious.

What are your favorite teas? Do you drink a lot of it? I haven't for a while, but am getting back into the swing of it now that I'm in a chilly office all day long! I just bought some Vanilla Caramel Truffle, Lipton brand, but I'm still on the fence about it. Too sweet, maybe. I like the vanilla parts, not so much the caramel. Do you prefer loose tea? Black or herbal, (my favorites!), or white and green. I want to see your favorite mugs, too! That Hello Kitty one from Japan is pretty sweet - I got it from the Sengakuji temple in the Shinagawa temple, where 47 ronin are buried. The mug has kitty dressed up as each of the 47, which is pretty silly, especially since there was a pretty ugly battle that those ronin participated in. The green mug from the Renaissance is cool, too; the shop that sold it was from another state, but the decal on the front is of a building in my home town! It was meant to be..

Let me know in the comments all your favorite things about tea! Happy drinking. Toodles!


  1. This is such a great post! Tea is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things in the world. Hope you don't mind if I indulge myself and type up a big ol' reply ^^;

    I normally buy loose-leaf tea rather bagged. One of my favorite brands is Oi Ocha by Ito En - they also make prebrewed bottled tea.
    I must admit, I am a sucker for green tea. Sencha has been my one and only love in past years, but when I was living in Japan I made some lovely discoveries.
    I really like genmai-cha, which means "brown rice tea". According to Wikipedia, genmai-cha was originally drunk only by the poor - tea was expensive so they cut it with the popped brown rice. Interesting! Sometimes it tastes almost like popcorn.
    Another kind that I really like is "soba-tea". Soba like soba noodles; the grains are roasted and boiled and ta-da! Delicious tea. It doesn't have caffeine and the roasted flavor is very tasty.
    Here's a pic of my jars of genmai and soba teas:

    Another tea I discovered is called "konbucha" - but it's not the fermented stuff! It's made with konbu seaweed, and the kind I have has little pieces of umeboshi. It's technically called "tea", but the flavor is really savory and it kind of resembles a really light soup. mmm!

    And finally, my favorite teacups!
    I bought the cute owl teacup on my first real day in Japan, and I used it every day after that!
    The two blue ones are from a chain izakaya called Wara-Wara. Somehow I managed to acquire them during a night of heavy carousing... I felt kind of bad when I realized what I did, but they really do make nice souvenirs.
    And then there's my big green Target mug for heavy-duty tea drinking (because my teapot broke!)

    Love your blog MaDonna!
    - Laura

  2. All I ever drink is passion tea from Tazo and vanilla chai (with milk and sugar). My absolute favorite mugs in the world are these ( which are by Tom's Diner, which is actually a real brand and not just a song by Suzanne Vega. They are HUGE and hold so much more than any other mug I have, PLUS they are stackable. I have some Pantone mugs ( that I found at Tuesday Morning that I love just for how pretty they are, though!

  3. @Laura - How sweet of you!! I do admit, I did love the green tea I had in Japan. Especially the green iced tea bottles from the conbini. Where do you buy that loose tea? I like Ito En iced, too. I want to try that Soba tea, toooooooooo!! ALSO: Wara-Wara!! I've been there! That's where we met a lot of our friends the first trip I took to Japan. Very nice <3 I went to the one in Shinagawa. Please tell me where you find all your tea-goodies <3

    @Sophi - yumm, vanilla chai. Sounds so good. That mug looks wonderful, too. The Pantone ones are awesome; perfect for display, too. Let's drink tea together!

  4. I get my loose tea from Asian markets, like United Noodles in Minneapolis. Seriously its like 1000000000 million times better than just tea bags. And lol@ Wara-Wara, I love that place way more than is probably appropriate. But how did you manage to make friends there?!?! Izakaya are so... non-mingley haha

  5. My favorites are all kinds of Yogi Teas for the most part! I share your secret though - not a huge fan of green tea. ;)

    Alsooo love the tea set from Mark's mom, your Ren Fest mug (and the first photo), and the Maneki Neko mug! <3

  6. Hi MaDonna! :) I love this blog, k. Well, my favorite tea is usually one that has ginger in it. Tea soothes my tummy! I am on the fence about green tea, also, because sometimes I feel as though it gives me heartburn for no apparent reason. The Blood Orange infused Green Tea from Celestial Seasonings is really good, though. I'm drinkin' some Peach Ginger from Yogi lately and because of this post, I picked up some Tazo Focus on sale at Targetttt. Yum!

    Weird question to make me look dumb: How does that tea infuser work?? :)

  7. @laura - i want to go to united noodles!! we walked into wara wara (or walla walla as my bank statement read) and the group of boys yelled "AMERICANS!" and the rest is history.

    @anika - yay thank you! i looove yogi

    @maria - i love ginger <3 that blood orange one sounds sooooo good, i'll try it. usually green tea is not flavorful enough for me. the infuser: you put the loose tea in it with hot water and let it steep for as long as you are supposed to. then, you put the infuser on top of a cup & the bottom part pushes up, so it can stain the tea and drain out the bottom!!

  8. My faves are: Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice and Candy Cane Lane! They are ~seasonal~ but w/e I buy extra in winter and drink it whenever I feel like it.

    I really like the blueberry tea they have at the coffeeshop across from my school but IDK who makes it. I just get it there.

    Also I really like Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chai.

    I drink out of a Hello Kitty-shaped mug my friend brought me from Japan :D

  9. @renata: i got the gingerbread spice, too! i think i mixed it with another tea, not that i think of it, but i don't remember anymore :( i love that celestial seasonings bear so much. i want him tattooed on me


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