" Come sit by my side and over a cup of tea, speak to me of the goodness of life."
Lady Evelyn Fitzgerald Dodson

Friday, November 9, 2012


Choice teas are organic, fair trade blends that are available at local grocery stores. As mentioned before, we in the parlor like the fair trade aspect and are very fond of the English Breakfast. Alas, they were out of the English Breakfast last week, so we tried the Classic Black. This unblended black tea comes from the Oothu Tea Garden in southern India. It's a strong, black tea, perfect for breakfast or afternoon, with or without a little milk. This week we've been serving it with pan de huevo, a Mexican egg bread. For those whose tastes are not adventurous, but who want to try a single tea rather than the more common blended teas drunk in America, Choice Classic Black is the perfect selection.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revolution English Breakfast Tea

It's no secret that we are quite fond of English breakfast tea here in the parlor, and we'll sample every new brand we can find. New to our neighborhood is Revolution English Breakfast Tea , a blend of Assam and Ceylon teas. While it hasn't the full-bodied taste of Assam or the intense flavor of Ceylon, it is a smooth tea without a single sour note that non-tea drinkers may appreciate. There are no sharp notes nor tannin aftertaste. This week, we served it with a caramelized onion and broccoli casserole from a recent Better Homes and Garden magazine and the local grocery store's English muffin bread. We're delighted that autumn has finally arrived and we can breakfast on the patio.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dilmah English Afternoon Tea

Dilmah English Afternoon Tea is a very mild, very smooth Ceylon tea. It's the perfect accompaniment to the zucchini quiche we've been serving for breakfast here in the parlor. While we prefer a bit more bracing tea for the morning, this quietly smooth tea would be a perfect tea to wind down after a hectic afternoon. With autumn's crisp afternoons finally arriving, it would be delicious served with an apple cake or pumpkin bread.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Silver Needle White Tea

Silver needle white tea, baihao yinzhen, has been called the rarest and most spectacular of teas. The leaf shoots (the buds before they open) are picked only in the early morning on a sunny day, and harvesting usually takes place within a 48-hour-period. Curious, we decided to try some bulk silver needle white tea that was for sale at our local co-op. Unfortunately, no information was available on which plantation or even region this tea originated.

The color was gorgeous, as can be seen in the poor quality photo below, although it might be slightly off since we may have overboiled the water (it should be below the boiling point, and while we grabbed the tea kettle when steam began to appear, we're afraid we may have boiled it slightly). The flavor is supposed to be light and sweet, and it certainly was that. Perhaps it was a little too delicate for our personal tastes. Or perhaps we shouldn't have had it for breakfast, when we prefer a bracing, strong cup, and instead tried it in the afternoon. But it was a very light, very delicate tea, very unlike our usual fair.

We shall serve it again, making sure we don't boil the water, and in the afternoon, to make sure our taste buds are awake and at attention.

My apologies-Blogger is reformatting this photo and changing it orientation, for some unknown reason. It wasn't taken this way. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Archer Farms Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend

Breakfast blend in the afternoon? Of course! This week, we're drinking Archer Farms Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend in the parlor. It's a very smooth blend, but fairly nondescript with no tannin aftertaste or strong flavors. We loved the Archer Farms Organic Golden Breakfast loose leaf tea, which is no longer available, and had high hopes for this one. While it fails to live up to the Golden Breakfast taste, we love the fair trade aspect of this tea and will likely keep it in stock for those afternoons when all you want is a nice, smooth, hot cup of tea.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Cool Brew Iced Green Tea

This week, we are serving Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Cool Brew Iced Green Tea on the parlor's patio as autumn finally starts to sneak into the desert. While we enjoy green tea in a Japanese restaurant, we've yet to find a commercial green tea we like to drink warm at home. As the benefits of green tea are well known, we're hoping that drinking it iced will provide those same impacts.

Blueberry Cool Brew is a very light, sweet tea that is a nice beverage to accompany a salad or sandwich or enjoy on its own. The flavor is rather thin, but the natural sweetness makes it unnecessary to add any sweeteners. This tea will not make one sit up and take notice, but if you're not a fan of green tea but would still like to try and reap some of its benefits, this is an easy way to sneak a palatable green tea into your diet. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dilmah Emglish Breakfast

The sky is overcast for a few hours, giving some much-needed relief from the blinding sun we have for 330 days a year. We can feel the start of the oh-so-subtle shift in the early morning air that means fall is finally coming. To celebrate, we served Trader Joe's delicious cheese blintzes and turkey bacon for breakfast, accompanied by Dilmah English Breakfast tea. This tea is so smooth and subtle I would think it was a blend, if not for the statement on every packet that Dilmah teas are single source. The tea made a lovely, reddish liquid before we added our milk and agave nectar, promising a smooth and deep flavor. We are fast becoming fans of all the Dilmah teas.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boston Tea Party English Breakfast Tea

The past few weeks we have been serving Boston Tea Party English Breakfast Tea. Apparently we found the old cardboard container, as the tea is now sold in a sleek black tin, but no matter; the tea wasn't stale (although we secretly like the round tea bags in this old presentation). The tea is a mild, blended black tea. It's smooth (no lingering tannin aftertaste), mellow, but not vibrant or exciting. With its mild taste, this would be a good tea for a first time tea taster or child. However, it was a pleasant tea to pair with homemade blueberry coffee cake.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lipton Blueberry and Pomegranate White Tea

As the unrelenting summer heat rolls on, we continue to try different options for iced tea. Last week we sipped Lipton Blueberry and Pomegranate White Tea. This blend of blueberry and pomegranate also includes other fruits such as raspberry, black currant, and and blackberry. No blueberry or pomegranate flavor was detectable, although an overall fruity, sweet flavor was present. We preferred this tea iced rather than hot, but are awaiting the results of a taste test from a friend who regularly drinks hot herbal teas. This has a very mild, unassuming, slightly sweet and fruity taste, with a slight fruit aroma.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dilmah Irish Breakfast Tea

Today in the parlor we served Dilmah Irish Breakfast tea, a nice, strong, unblended, strong-to-help-you-face-the-day tea. Although not a blend, this was a smooth tea, strong, with no pronounced tannin aftertaste that stands up well to milk and agave nectar. It paired well with an egg and bean burrito and tofu bacon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Celestial Seasonings Peach Cool Brew

Summertime is iced tea time.Celestial Seasonings has jumped into the cold brew market with several flavors, including Peach Cool Brew. Peach iced tea is a favorite in the parlor, and this tea is delightful. A blend of black tea for a little caffeine zing when the summer heat wears you down, and peach for enough natural sweetness that no sugar is needed. Best of all, this drink is ready to cool you off in just minutes. We're not great fans of herbal hot teas, but we lile herbal cold teas, and we love this one. This refreshing drink would be perfect swinging on the porch, lazing in a hammock, or even camped out on the couch with a stack of books. We've been enjoying it with snacks as well zingy pineapple salads, grilled chicken, and burgers. This is a great, readily available iced tea made with Celestial Seasonings quality; we just wish it had one of the cuter boxes for which the company is famous. Ah, well, better a superior content than a cutesy box, eh?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Impra Royal Elixir Tea

This Independence Day, the parlor is serving IMPRA Royal Elixir Knight Tea's Pure Ceylon Tea (big leaf). This a a nice ceylon with a strong, crisp, citrus aroma. One online review complained that this is too reminiscent of bergamot and must, therefore be infused with other teas or oils. However, ceylon tea should have a strong citrus aroma; we here in the US are used to milder ceylon or blends that incorporate ceylon.

IMPRA is a pure ceylon, however (note the Lion Logo from the Sri Lanka Tea Board), with nice, big leaves carefully packed in a foil bag inside a tin, which keeps the leaves from crushing. Those tea drinkers used to a more mellow ceylon may not enjoy the stronger flavor of the IMPRA, but we found it very enjoyable, a smooth, bracing cup. This morning, we served it with an apple strudel. As summer storm clouds scudded across the sky, we felt emboldened to tackle the wind-blown debris clean-up after a few cups. An excellent cup to start or finish the day.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Typhoo Tea

A nice, strong cup of tea that stands up to milk and sugar--that's what we like in the parlor. And this week, we are serving Typhoo Tea, that stalwart British tea. This is the tea to warm your toes after a cold day spent snowshoeing or fishing, the comfort tea you reach for when you just need a good cup of tea to brace yourself to face the world. Because it's blended, there's no individual elements that jump out to a sipper. It's robust and smooth and as good with a sandwich or soup as it is alone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 Iced Tea Winners

The North American Tea Championship has concluded, and just in time for today, the first day of summer. Their website has the winners posted online. So let's all grab a glass of one of the winners or our own home-brewed sun tea or cold tea, and convene on the patio to enjoy these lazy, summer days. Happy tea drinking!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tea Quote

"Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors." Alice Walker

It's still strawberry season, so we've been drinking our strawberry-and-chocolate infused Adagio Valentine's Tea this weekend, whilst sitting on the patio and enjoying the slightly cooler (and mosquito-free) mornings. They won't last, so we must get in as many al fresco breakfasts as we can. This morning, we served a zucchini and onion quiche with the delicious strawberries.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dilmah Supreme Ceylon

We've been wanting to try Dilmah teas for quite some time, having read its praises in online reviews. We were delighted to find some in a local shop last weekend, and have been serving Dilmah Supreme Ceylon this week in the parlor. We're quite partial to Indian teas, as we like our teas strong, and the Supreme Ceylon is that. It's very smooth, with no tannin detectable. It's not as bright and lacks the slight citrus undertones in the Adagio Ceylon Sonata that we are particularly fond of, but we are enjoying the robust heartiness of this ceylon, which no doubt owes its taste and aroma to being a single origin tea. It's the perfect breakfast tea to accompany McCann's Irish oatmeal, or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Those who prefer a malty Assam tea may find this too thin or bland for their tastebuds, but this is an easy transition tea for someone wanting to try a slightly familiar taste that is not a mixed blend.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prickly Pear Cactus Lemonade

We've never written about a non-tea product here in the parlor before, but I thought readers would enjoy a photo of  homemade prickly pear cactus lemonade. Yes, it really is a bright magenta color, and this photo doesn't do it justice at all.

Friday, May 11, 2012

London Cuppa

We're drinking London Cuppa this week in the parlor, a tea we found in a most unusual place (but which, of course, we had to buy to try). It's a blend of Kenya and Assam teas that is very strong and yet mild, a smooth tea without a sharp tannin taste. It's a great way to start the day, strong but not too bold. We approve of that in a tea. And we really like the graphics on the box (nice layout, nice scene, makes us feel we're in England and not the wild west).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hawaiian Islands Tea Company, third flavor

Over the weekend, we grilled a flank steak and made a zucchini casserole and Italian potato salad, with which we served Hawaiian Islands Tea Company Mango Maui iced tea. It's a thin, slightly mango-y flavored tea, requiring no additional sweeteners. We would rate this second of the three teas from this company that we've tried. Our favorite, however, remains the passionfruit, which had a distinct flavor and taste all its own, while mango and pineapple were largely just slightly fruity, sweet teas. But it was a lovely souvenir, and we think any tea lover would enjoy souvenir tea, as well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hawaiian Islands Tea Company

The Hawaiian Islands Tea Company Pineapple Waikiki is the second of three tropical fruit tea blends being sampled this hot spring season as an iced tea. The pineapple was sweet as described on the company website, requiring no additional sweetening, but not zesty in our opinion. The flavor was thin rather than robust, and seemed fleeting to the palate. We do not think we'd like this as hot tea. We prefer the passionfruit to the pineapple as an iced drink thus far, and will be sampling mango next.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tucson's Seven Cups One of Top Six Tea Rooms

Seven Cups of Tucson is considered one of the six best tea rooms in Tucson by  Bruce Schoenfeld of Travel and Leisure magazine. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hawaiian Islands Tea Company

With temperatures hovering in the 90s and low 100s degrees Farenheit, we've been serving iced tea in the parlor this week. We have just finished the Hawaiian Islands Tea Company passionafruit na pali black tea, and enjoyed it very much. It has a very mild, fruity taste, just sweet enough that no added sugar is needed. This is probably too weak a tea to drink hot, but it makes an excellent and refreshing iced tea. With the added bonus we can pretend we're sitting on a lanai in Hawaii whilst sipping it, rather than in our windowless cubicle. Our thanks to Lori and Jim, who brought this tea back with them from a recent vacation in Hawaii. Next up--the pineapple tea from the same company.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

For Tea-Loving Gardeners

Look at this adorable, little, plastic watering can. This would make watering the houseplants a delight. (Available at Lowe's)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tea Lover's Easter Basket

My friend T's brother M made this Easter basket for her--perfect for a tea lover!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Teaberry's Lady Jayne

We recently tried a loose leaf Lady Jayne sample from the Teaberry's Tea Room in New Jersey. This Earl Grey-based tea has lemon as well as bergamot, and is lighter and cleaner than an Earl Grey. Those who don't care for the bergamot of Earl Grey may still enjoy this tea, since the bergamot is much reduced. This loose leaf was superior to the bagged Twining's Lady Grey, with a cleaner, crisper taste and smoother feel.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Noble Fleming, R.I. P.

Noble Fleming, retired head of Royal Estates Tea, which bought tea for Lipton, and master tea taster, has died. May he enjoy a never-ending tea cup of delight on the other side.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tea Quote

"Apart from the soul, the brewing of tea is the only thing that sets us apart from the great apes..."

Flavia de Luce reporting what the Vicar told her sister Ophelia, who told her other sister Daphne, who told her. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, Location 3794 (Kindle version).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Twining's Cold Brewed Iced Tea Earl Gray

It may not be officially spring, but it's 76 degrees Farenheit on the parlor's patio today--perfect iced tea weather. Today we served Twining's Cold Brewed Iced Tea Early Gray. Delicious! The bergamot and citrus that is an earl gray makes a very refreshing iced tea, with enough citrus sweetness that no sugar is needed. Those who enjoy the Earl hot may find they enjoy it as much, if not more, in a glass full of tinkling ice cubes. We can assure our visitors that this iced tea will definitely be appearing regularly in the parlor this summer.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tejava Iced Tea

Several coworkers absolutely love Tejava iced tea, and as our warm winter is rapidly giving way to a very early spring, it's iced tea time in the parlor.

Tejava was strong and brisk, just the way we like our tea, and unsweetened, which we prefer. In all honesty, the taste is very similar to the cold brew we make from tea bags 9and for much cheaper). We drank more than half the liter at one meal, and polished off the rest over the afternoon. Yes, we drink gallons of iced tea in the parlor. For convenience reasons, Tejava would be an excellent choice for iced tea on the run, but budgeted tea drinkers would do well to make their own cold brew iced tea from large quart-sized bags provided by several companies.

The delicious Tejava iced tea accompanied a half-homemade spinach and mushroom pizza--light, tasty, and refreshing. Iced tea is a wonderful drink for just about any meal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier

The parlor is so well-stocked with tea that we made an unofficial resolution last month not to purchase any more until the caddy was nearing empty. We have been enjoying our Adagio Valentine's tea this week, the Yorkshire loose leaf on weekends, Bigelow English afternoon tea for breakfast, and this afternoon, Ausperitea Silk Road Bazaar Kandy Mid-grown Organic Ceylon.So while we have no new tea reviews to offer, we can mention a book we read recently which title caught our eye.

The English Tea Murder is a later entry in the Lucy Stone mystery series by Leslie Meier, and while a full review will be posted later this month at our sister site, BookTeaCatDog, here we'll note that tea lovers may enjoy this book. The protagonist and her friends are touring England, determined to have a real English cream tea, and are beset every afternoon when they try to find a tea room by circumstances beyond their control, some of which are quite amusing. Tea is consumed at several points through the story, and lovely descriptions of strawberries and clotted cream are provided. The ladies do eventually get their cream tea, a long-awaited delight that we tea lovers can sympathize with and which brought up lovely memories of our own cream teas in England, many years ago.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tea Sweeteners

We prefer our tea black, strong, with milk and sweetener, here in the parlor. Several years ago we switched from using sugar to honey, and then a year after that, to agave nectar. We were delighted to see portable packets of agave nectar in our local grocery store this weekend. Only one tea room we've visited has provided agave nectar, so we still often use honey when dining out, but perhaps in the future we'll start to see agave nectar offered.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month, so pour a cuppa and enjoy.

Recently we enjoyed Harney and Sons Earl Grey tea here in the parlor. Earl Grey tea can be a little off if the bergamot is too strong, but this was a nice, smooth blend, as would be expected from such a famous tea house. It's a perfect tea for the afternoon. The heady aroma promotes a blissful moment of relaxation in an otherwise hectic day. The perfect pick-me-up.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tea Forte Mug

We must have been good in the parlor this year, because Santa (via one of his merriest elves) brought us this beautiful Tea Forte Kati Brewing System in tree top. It's a lovely, mossy green ceramic mug with off-white leaves, a fitted infuser, and a lid to keep the tea warm. And yes, we had our Christmas day loose-leaf Adagio Valentine's tea, a lovely blend of black tea with chocolate and strawberry essences that we love in our beautiful new mug.