Headache Relief from Virginia Tea Co (with help from Mary Poppins). . . .

Once upon a time, I had sad news to give, and I was up all night thinking of how to break it. The next morning came with a pretty rough headache, but also the right words to say. Good thing this headache curing tea was in to ease some of my mental turmoil!

It’s got lots of pulverized leaves, I can recognize lavender and chamomile and there’s definitely spearmint in there too, though there are lots of fragrant flowers I can’t ID.

Virginia Tea Co is a Kickstarter crowd-funded company, whose done all the herbal medicine research so we don’t have to. They also source fair trade ingredients, and that’s a relief too.

When I tasted this, it seemed bitter to me, almost tasted like aspirin. Was it my conscience affecting my taste buds or was this just not my cuppa?

A few weeks later, I served some to a friend who’d been having a lot of headaches and thought he might benefit from it. He often describes himself as having “the palate of an eight-year-old”, but he liked it!…. After adding Paula Deen amounts of simple syrup…. in about 15 minutes, he noted his head felt less tense,  and later that night it hadn’t come back.

Well now we know Mary Poppins had it right, a (few) spoonful(s) of sugar helps the medicine go down! I know that some folks are sensitive to OTC pain relief options, or prefer not to use pharmaceuticals and this is a great option for them.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.

Lavender, feverfew, chamomile, skullcap, and spearmint are blended together to help fight those awful headaches. They do this by relaxing your mind and allowing for better thoughts to enter.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Sage Superherb by Republic of Tea. . . .

I steeped this tea five minutes with one tea bag in about one cup of 190 degree water. Although I do normally use loose leaf tea, the convenience of pre-bagged tea is tempting too! Especially when it’s high-quality tea.

After steeping, it’s become a yellowish color and smells a bit pineapple-ish with an undertone of sage. The sage isn’t too overpowering, at least judging by the fragrance.

First sip: Yes, the pineapple may actually be stronger than the sage here. It’s also quite sweet. It has a bit of a stevia flavor, almost. The pineapple flavor blends with the flavor of the sage leaves and, according to the ingredients list, orange leaves as well to create a pleasantly fruity drink. It’s much more palatable than drinking an infusion of straight sage, which is important if you’re going to be drinking this on a regular basis. Yet the woodsy, flowery flavor of the sage does come through as well.

This is listed as an herbal tea for hot flashes, although I wouldn’t know anything about how effective it would be for such a complaint. It’s probably good for colds/sore throats as well; it’s comforting, soothing, and relaxing. Or if you’re looking for a more culinary use it would probably go well with cookies for a snack, although I’m not a tea pairing expert either.

It’s definitely sweet and seems well-balanced in flavor, and whether you end up drinking it on a daily basis or just as an occasional novelty, I hope you’ll be glad you tried it too!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

As women, we have the power to create and nurture life, all while juggling hormonal changes and external stresses. For centuries, women have relied upon the same powerful herbs found in our organic SuperHerb Teas to keep them balanced, and now they can easily be part of your daily life as well.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Blueberry Custard customized from BlendBee.com

Confession: I’m completely fine with drinking alone…. Tea, of course 😉 But drinking with friends offers some undeniable benefits – laughter and memories made, more importantly a spread of tastebuds that offers better insight than just one picky tongue.*

There are so so many beautiful ingredients in this custom Blueberry Custard from Blendbee, I needed all the help I could get to do it justice! First off, I highly recommend using a clear brewing system (gravity steeper or mason jar) to be able to fully enjoy the making of this majestic Purple infusion. (Fortunately I had just cleaned the hard-earned tea patina off mine with baking soda and vinegar, so it was even more beautiful than my usual cuppa!)

Between the three of us sipping, only one added sugar and it really took away from the innate sweetness of this mix, hmmm better off just trusting the blend maker on this one. Some of us were crazy about this tea, but others found the herbals to be unpalatable. So we looked into what exactly were imbibing…

With Blendbee, you can create your own mix weighing anywhere from 1 oz to ½ pound. You start with a choice from 15 tea bases, and here they chose the China Green tea.

Next there are over 90 categorized ingredients to choose from (though it’s recommended to stick below 8). Must be a tough decision from all those options!  This blender chose 7:
Earthy and pungent category: yarrow flower;
Mild and fruity category: elder berries;
Herbaceous herb category: strawberry leaves;
Mild and nutty category: ashwaganda root;
Mild and herbal category: agrimony herb, and coriander seed;
And one uncategorized, marshmallow root.

Next the website offers additional extracts and flavors (up to 3 per blend). Here the blueberry and custard flavor extracts were used. (It was argued at one point that this put the ingredient count to 9, above the recommended 8, but that person is a stickler for semantics and didn’t like the tea anyway, so read that with a grain of salt).

Some of these herbs strike me as acquired tastes, beyond that, I would’ve preferred having actual blueberries instead of the extract, though I didn’t see it as an option (yet) and the extract probably consistently offers more flavor in a smaller space.

This organic blend featured so many different flavor profiles, it was a… memorable… experience for well-developed sippers, and newbies alike.

*The best part of sharing with friends is finding a loving home for leaves that aren’t your favorite (yet). Thanks H.R.!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: BlendBee
Description:

Create custom teas, with more than a hundred quality and organic ingredients to choose from.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo. . . .

My sample of Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo looked so unusual in the bag I had to give it a try.  It looks a bit like sage or a white tea, grey-green in color and fuzzy to the touch, with a chain of full, yellow blossoms.  I needed my big infuser to handle all the lush stems, leaves, and blossoms of this tea.

I followed my usual pattern for lightly flavored herbal teas and steeped these leaves with boiling water, lots of leaves, and waited a good ten minutes.

Brewed the tea is very fragrant, vegetal but sweet, almost like brown sugar and okra.  There’s a hint of something in the scent that reminds me of savory dishes in the kitchen, like black pepper or oregano: herbal but spicy.

The taste of this tea has some of the familiar lemon and chamomile notes, gently floral, sweet and bright.  But this tea goes behind the chamomile flavors and has a more fermented great tea base beneath all that sweet lemon.  The sweetness is worth noting, there is a very forward, almost-caramel note in the scent and aftertaste.

This was a unique blend in looks, smell, and taste, not to mention it is an herbal tea packed with good things to help you live a long and healthy life.  Unless you go into the mountains to pick some more tea and encounter the gods of Mount Olympus, that is.  Safe travels and happy brewing!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Kilo
Description:

This variety, Sideritis Scardica, comes from the legendary Mount Olympus, in the Balkans, situated between Thessaly and Macedonia. It has been tested for antioxidants by Brunswick Labs, (www.brunswicklabs.com) the leader in bio-analtyical testing. It has a mild and very pleasant taste and aroma.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Woodland Trek by Beach House Tea Company. . . . .

I steeped this tea for 8 minutes at 212 degrees with 1.5 teaspoons of leaf in about 6-8 ounces of water.

After steeping, the tea is an interesting peachy color-pinkish-orangeish-amber. It smells mostly of honeybush and a little of hops. The flavor combinations available here are quite intriguing!

First sip: SUPER sweet. It has a light, airy quality to the flavor. It’s not as “earthy” as I’d expect with so much honeybush in it (honeybush and rooibos usually ground a flavor pretty well in my estimation).

The flavor is also much more complex than the fragrance, rather than being dominated by the honeybush and hops flavors. It has the sweetness and woodiness of honeybush, but also a touch of lemony/citrus flavor (which brightens it considerably), just a hint of minty or piney freshness maybe, and some other difficult-to-describe notes.

After consulting the list of ingredients (it’s a relatively long one for a tea blend, although not super-long like a processed food or something) I’ve worked out that the sweetness is probably boosted by the marshmallow leaf (although honeybush is sweet on its own too) and the licorice; the bee pollen is probably what I see dancing in the tea liquid, giving it this peachy color; and the cedar is probably what I was mistaking for minty/piney freshness. All taken together, these notes make a fascinating flavor that’s worth exploring!

I’m really glad I got to try this tea–the dried leaf didn’t smell nearly as appetizing as the tea liquid turned out to be, and I’m glad I gave it the chance to bloom (figuratively speaking, that is–this wasn’t what they call a “blooming tea”).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Honeybush/Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Beach House Tea Company
Description

Woodland Trek 100% organic loose leaf tea is crafted with honeybush tea with a rich undertone of licorice and sage and snap of organic Oregon hops and a hint of sweetness from bee pollen. This outdoor-rich blend with organic cedar tips invites you to reminisce memories of evenings spent camping or hiking the cascades.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!