Saturday Morning Tea

Hello again, my dear tea friends! This week I’ve stepped off the first flush Darjeeling path for just a bit, in fact, completely off the caffeine path, and am enjoying an herbal infusion in my cup this morning. I’ve recently noted that it’s been awhile since I’ve shared an herbal with you and wanted to do that. This particular selection is an herbal which I have shared with you before, however, in iced tea form. Today I’m enjoying it prepared hot.

Hello again South African Green Rooibos Superior Organic.

South African Rooibos is a bush grown in the Cedarberg mountain region of South Africa. The leaves are harvested and processed much like the tea plant, creating both “green” and “red” Rooibos. The Afrikaans word Rooibos means “red bush”. When the leaves are allowed to oxidize (similar to black tea), they turn a beautiful reddish brown. Left in an unoxidized state, the leaves are variegated flecks of light olive, yellow and brown.

Even though it is “green”, you can steep it in boiling point water (212F). I steeped the leaves for 8 minutes. It’s very forgiving and doesn’t become bitter if left to steep too long. The wet leaf looks much like the dry leaf – small, chopped up needle-like pieces.

The infusion steeps up to a beautiful amber. The aroma and flavor remind me of a very mild Ceylon black tea. Very smooth and sweet yet brisk and flavorful with hints of toast. This is a fabulous choice for those tea lovers looking for a caffeine-free infusion that tastes like tea. It’s not exact but the similarities are definitely there.

This Rooibos is my current favorite for the evening and, just between you and I, it’s perfect for dunking cookies. 😉

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

“What you love is a sign from your higher self of what you are to do.”

~Sanaya Roman, Writer

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Saturday Morning Tea

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It’s that time of year again when my company shuts down and we all get 9 glorious days off from our regular work schedule. I’m leaving for the airport shortly to go visit my family in Michigan so I’ll leave you with my favorite method for making iced tea.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, dear tea friends!

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I make iced tea with the “cold brew” method. It’s so easy to make iced tea this way. Gather up your supplies either in the morning before work or in the evening before bedtime. This will give the leaves sufficient time to steep either all day or all night.

You’ll need a container, a tablespoon and some tea leaves. For my iced tea, I use a glass pitcher I purchased at Target and some organic green South African Rooibos. I’ve written about this herbal before here and here.

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Spoon your tea leaves into your pitcher, using one tablespoon for every 6-8 ounces of water. Next, pour your water into your pitcher. I recommend either bottled spring water or filtered tap water. Hard water can definitely affect the taste of your tea.

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Now all you have to do is place your container in the fridge. That night or the next day, strain the tea into another container to remove the leaves. I use a large Pyrex measuring cup to strain my tea into. Then I clean the leaves out of my pitcher and pour the tea back into it. You can also use an infuser or tea filter papers to put your loose leaves into, making cleanup easier.

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There are so many variations with iced tea creation. You can put lemon or orange slices in either while the tea is steeping or after you strain it. Or, you can fill your glass halfway with iced tea and then pour some flavored seltzer water in for a fizzy iced tea. The possibilities are endless!

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I’m enjoying my iced tea plain with ice and a bowl of fresh blueberries on plain yogurt. Mmmmm…. I’ve been exploring ways in which I can remove sugar from my diet because I believe there is just way too much of it in the food we buy. Even my Stonyfield Farm yogurt cup, while it’s very delicious and organic, has sugar added to it. So, I’m now buying plain yogurt and mixing it with fresh fruit, depending on what’s in season.

Saturday Morning Tea

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This weekend is what we have been waiting for throughout the cold, icy New England winter. Sunny skies and temps in the 80s with everything blooming and filling our environment with color. I feel joy swelling in my heart. I’m starting to think about iced tea and for me and my caffeine sensitivity, that means herbal.

My favorite herbal is South African Rooibos. I’ve written a little about it here and here. This morning’s tea is called Poire Creme, a green Rooibos decorated with sunflower petals and  flavored with pear and creme.

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I steeped it for 8 minutes in slightly less than boiling temp water. As the Rooibos and flower petals steeped, they seemed to be floating in an ethereal dance together.

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We had a truckload of bark mulch delivered this morning. The threads of reddish Rooibos remind me a little of the big pile in the driveway. Guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend?

The red amber liquor greets me with a fruity aroma which carries on into the taste. I love the blend of tart fruitiness and creamy richness in the flavor. This tea would make an excellent iced tea. I prefer the “cold brew” method of making iced tea. Fill a large container with cold filtered water and add a tablespoon of herbal tea leaves for every 6-8 ounces of water. Let this mixture sit overnight in the fridge and then strain into another container the next morning. As these measurements will make a concentrate, you can add water and ice to taste. I prefer drinking the Rooibos concentrate just as is with some lemon or orange slices.

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I’m enjoying my hot herbal cuppa with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Simply substitute chocolate chips for the raisins in your favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  Mmmm…

A thoughtful reader wrote to me this past week regarding my steeping times for Assam tea. I like to brew my whole leaf Assams for 5 minutes and he thinks that a 5 minute steeping time is too long and yields a bitter brew for him. That brings up a good point that it is important to experiment with steeping times to see what works best for you as everyone has different taste preferences. If a tea ever tastes bitter, that is a very good indication that it’s been steeped too long for you. Thanks, Bruce!

This morning I am off to look at more properties and then home to shovel bark mulch in the garden. Enjoy the weekend!

“Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

~May Sarton

Saturday Morning Tea

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

It is a sweet day, perfect for a tea party. Won’t you join me?

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Today I’m sipping a different kind of tea. Well, actually it is not a tea at all. It is an herbal called South African Rooibos, rooibos meaning “red bush” in Afrikaans and pronounced roy-boss. The rooibos bush is grown in South Africa and harvested and processed similarly to the tea leaf. The leaves are picked and then bruised to release their volatile oils and flavor.

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As you can see, there are small pink candy hearts in my rooibos, a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. This is called Rooibos Candied Almond because there are also small pieces of almond in the blend.

The liquor is an amber color with a candy sweet fragrance and taste. However, the sweetness has not covered up the natural citrus, vanilla taste of the  rooibos. This is a wonderful “tea” for a children’s tea party as it doesn’t contain any caffeine.

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We’ve experienced some warmer temps this past week. Along with a day of rain and high winds, our snow piles have shrunk down to reveal patches of grass here and there.

I can’t wait to see peeks of green emerging from the soil.

Enjoy sweetness this day.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. ~His Holiness the Dalia Lama