Teatime Tuesday #60: Li Shan High Mountain Oolong

Hello teaple! Today is the sixtieth installment of Teatime Tuesday, and I have decided that today’s installment will mark the final regular weekly installment for this blog. I have moved tea reviewing over to Steepster, where the more laid-back environment and tea-centric community is just working out better for me for this style of content. So if you really want to keep up with my tea adventures, they are still going on there! But today marks our final teatime here.

I may post some occassional Brewsletters on tea topics I want to talk about on a random and irregular schedule, when I get the time (I’ve had a rant about company sites that pick and chose customer reviews they allow onto their sites, and a post about “tea hacks” I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but you know, finding the time in my current health situation has kept me from both). I’ll also be doing a program on tea for National Library Week at my library in April, and will probably report on how that goes here, so there will be posts here, from time to time, and none of the old postings will be removed (that was always a pet peeve of mine in the Simlit community… why do people have an obsession with deleting their content?) But if you want to continue to keep up on what I think about various teas, I now do that over on Steepster, on a fairly frequent schedule. There is usually a new posting every few days, if not daily. They are designed to be very short and sweet. You do not need an account there to read any reviews on the site; I believe accounts are only necessary if you would like to Like or Comment on a tea review.

So for our final teatime, I’ve picked a personal favorite oolong to share. It is Li Shan High Mountain Oolong from Rishi Tea. I remember the name of the oolong got recommended to me by a fellow tealover in my Twitch.tv communities, so even though it was a bit expensive for the leaf, I was very curious to try it… he spoke very highly of it, and we are both fans of Tawainese oolongs! I decided to buckle and get it. My first time trying gongfu style brewing was with this oolong, and when my friend Todd came to visit, we had a gongfu session together and I prepared this for him to see what he thought, and it was a very enjoyable experience for both of us. The owner of Strand Tea, Jack Strand, once sent me a very nice e-mail that tea isn’t about being a “tea snob,” it isn’t about having the “best tea” but about creating a “special moment” with your tea, and that was definitely a moment I will remember. I had been sick with a migraine for days when my friend had come up to visit, and thus hadn’t been able to really see him, the pain had finally subsided enough for me to leave my bed, we had a little time before he had to go to the airport, and we just had this quiet, relaxing session in my little, cramped living room going through each infusion of this Li Shan oolong, trying to pick out the flavor notes together. “This is damn good tea,” Todd had remarked. “I feel like we are back at that Chinese garden in full bloom last spring right now.”

Rishi Tea‘s “Garden Direct” teas are a bit expensive, but come packaged quite emmaculately. This 100 gram bag of tea (bag no. 81/180) was vacuum-sealed for freshness with a packet to prevent moistness sealed in with the tea in the inner bag, which was then placed inside the larger, foil-lined zip-top bag! Most of Rishi’s teas are USDA organic, but since this was a spring 2017 harvest, it is no longer available, so I have no way of verifying that this particular tea fell under those guidelines. If you look at their current line-up of oolongs, most, however, are considered organic under the USDA, and all are directly sourced.

The information provided by Rishi in the packaging about this particular tea states, “In Taiwan, tea gardens situated above 1,000m in elevation are considered to be high mountain growing regions. In spring, Taiwan’s High Mountain Oolongs have thicker, sweeter body and heady hydrosol-based aromatics. Our Li Shan this season has an elegant astringency on the palate, with notes of early spring lilac and sweet cream.”

This tea from Li Shan (Pear Mountain) in Taiwan is from the Qingxin cultivar. The leaf has a very fresh, leafy green vegetal scent. What I find particularly fascinating about pure oolongs is not only how different subtle flavor notes can emerge from each infusion, but how the same tea leaf can have subtle flavor differences depending on the harvest year and season… this spring harvest was described as tasting of “spring lilac and sweet cream,” while the same tea harvested the previous season, during winter of 2016, was described as having a “lush fruity aroma with notes of lychee, grilled pineapple, and hints of orchids.”

Since I prefer to brew my pure oolongs gongfu style, a higher leaf-to-water ratio is used than in the more common western style of brewing. In western style, a teaspoon (which is about 3 grams of tea) is typically used for one cup of tea. I’ll be using a gaiwan that holds 150ml of water, but since I’m preparing tea for only one person, I’ll only be filling it approximately halfway (75ml). I use this handy application, OCTea, to help me figure out how many grams of tea I need when I’m using gongfu, since I’m still very new to the process! It suggested five grams of rolled oolong for 75ml of water, so that’s what I measured out on my handy tea scale.

I bought this beginner’s gaiwan from Dazzle Deer, a Chinese tea site that has really great customer service! This isn’t like a typical gaiwan, which is usually porcelain and the lid is used to filter the tea from the leaf. This one is more “beginner friendly” which is exactly what I wanted, since I’m very new to the process of gongfu and still have trouble holding the lid in place and pouring. It has a small spout and rivets for the tea rather than using the lid as the filter, and is also made out of thicker clay. It came with two tea cups, but since this session is just for myself, I only needed one. When I feel I’ve gotten better at gongfu, I plan to get a more traditional style set, but I have to say I really love this little clay gaiwan!

I heated my teapot to 200 F, and first gave my oolong a quick rinse to help the leaf start to open. This session ended up being ten infusions long. The first infusion was 10 seconds, the second and third infusion were 15 seconds each, the third infusion was 20 seconds, the fourth infusion was 25 seconds, the fifth infusion was 25 seconds, the sixth infusion was 30 seconds, the seventh infusion was 40 seconds, the eighth infusion was 50 seconds, the ninth infusion was a minute, and the final infusion was a minute and 30 seconds long. While gongfu brewing uses more leaf initially, over the course of so many small, short infusions, you actually end up having a lot of tea! I was very tea-full by the end of my session, and got to experience a much wider variety of flavors than making a cup western-style!

The tea looks a bit green because of the dark clay of the cup, but it actually brews up a very bright, clear, golden yellow color!

The first infusion of the tea had a very strong, astringent vegetal note, tasting of spinach and brocolli, with a slight, floral note lingering beneath the surface. The second infusion brought out the vegetal notes even more strongly, with that astringent, bitter spinach bite really filling the mouth, and the lingering floral notes becoming even more subdued.

By the third infusion, the leaves were really starting to open up, and a pleasant perfumey aroma was making itself present in the tea. The flavor of the tea was starting to sweeten out a bit, and taste more of orchids. The next infusion is when it really started to mellow out, becoming very sweet, creamy, and floral, tasting very much of orchids and lilacs! The next few infusions were probably the best, tasting extremely sweet, and entirely of floral notes… any lingering presense of the vegetal notes had disappeared! There was a slightly buttery mouthfeel, the tea was very smooth, it was filled with lovely floral notes, and it was hard to believe that it had such an astringent start. Subsequent infusions continued to have a very sweet taste of orchids and lilacs, though a slight vegetal aftertaste reappeared on my tongue. I got ten infusions from the tea, and on the eleventh infusion, could tell the tea was losing its flavor. The tea had very good staying power, and I felt very tea-full, satisfied, and had that nice aware-and-relaxed feeling from the session. I think fans of green teas or light floral notes would find this a very satisfying oolong.

As far as a western brew, this tea actually isn’t too bad; the more subtle notes aren’t present, but you do get a good mix of both the vegetal and floral flavors, and I have had some oolongs that I brewed western style where some of their key flavor notes completely disappeared, so I was pleased with that. I would say that the vegetal notes become a bit more dominant in the western-brewed cup, while the delicate floral notes are much stronger when brewed gongfu style, and I personally prefer the orchid and lilac notes the best. It isn’t a bad tea for a quick western brew, but it is a divine tea when brewed in a gaiwan!

Thanks so much for everyone who has taken the time to join me for teatime for the last year and these two months of 2018! Your support has meant the world! I hope that all of your days are filled with beautiful tea moments! Keep the kettle on!

-Mastress Alita

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Teatime Tuesday #59: Lemon Ginger Cookie Oolong

Hello teaple! Tomorrow is a certain love-inspired holiday, so for “I Love You Oolong Time” today I decided to dig through the ol’ tea collection and try to find one with a bit of a dessert tea appeal, since sweets and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand! (Especially if you are an aromantic asexual like me, that is the main reason to get excited about Valentine’s Day! Wooo, discount chocolates! There is simply no hiding my love of sweets!)

I’ve found oolong blends can be a bit hit-or-miss for me (I absolutely love the creamy, citrus-vanilla decadence that is the Mandarin Silk Oolong, but there are few teas I’ve loathed quite as much as the Almond Oolong I tried). Lately I’ve been more into collecting different varietals of pure oolongs, but I do still have a few interesting blends in my stash. Ultimately it was down to Peppermint Cream, a chocolate mint Milk oolong by British tea company Bluebird Tea Co., and Lemon Ginger Cookie by 52Teas.

Since I’ve been fighting a cold all week, ultimately the Lemon Ginger Cookie Oolong won out, as I’ve been craving a lot of hibiscus and rosehip teas for the Vitamin C, and citrus and ginger teas for my throat. Be sure to check out my Steepster account tomorrow for Valentine’s Day if you are interested in seeing a bonus review of the Peppermint Cream tea! Lots of other oolongs, such as Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Dancong by Zen Tea Life and Ginger Orange Green Oolong by International Tea Importers (as well as other teas!) are up there as well! There are usually new updates every day on Steepster, so you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to get a tea fix!

I actually got introducted to 52Teas on Steepster; Anne, the Mad Tea Mixologist for the company, is pretty active over there! 52Teas is a small but ambitious company that creates fifty-two unique Vegan-friendly tea blends a year — a new tea blend every single week! They are produced in limited batches, and once they are gone, they are gone, unless they happen to be lucky enough to get a reblend by popular demand at a later date. So every time you visit the site, you are bound to find a different assortment of unique flavors available! They are available in two sizes, 15 gram “taster” pouches, and a larger 50 gram pouch. Larger bulk sizes aren’t available. They are the kind of tea company that are perfect for people like me, who love ordering tea in small sizes to taste and sample lots of different flavors, and don’t have the room to store lots of tea and don’t like being forced into buying big 4 oz. bags of a single flavor. The downside is if you fall in love with a particular flavor, it can be hard to “stock up” on it, and once it’s gone, it’s pretty much “gone for good,” which can lead to some tea heartbreak situations! (Oh, Foggy Coconut, how I miss thee! Let me count the ways…)

I can say I’ve received some excellent customer service from this company! The first time I ordered, they ran out of one of their “permanent collection” blends, and I said I didn’t mind waiting until it got reblended, so Anne shipped along the rest of my order so it wouldn’t be held up. There was a special going on to get three mystery teas at the time, and they have a lot of banana-flavored blends (and we know how I feel about bananas!), so I listed I had a banana allergy and she sent me a very nice note thanking me for letting her know and she didn’t include any banana blends as the mystery teas, for which I’m very grateful! On my second order, she remembered I still needed my reblend and included it, I didn’t even need to send a reminder. It’s so much fun seeing the creative blends that come out each week!

This particular tea is Lemon Ginger Cookie Oolong. I received a sampler of it in the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox organized by tea-sipper on Steepster, so thank you so much to tea-sipper and whomever included this tea so I could try it! This is the original blend of the tea, and it has since been reblended (and updated) by 52Teas once, in 2016. This original sampler came in a half-ounce sealed foil pouch, and was described by 52Teas as “Fujian oolong, ginger and lemon myrtle combined with organic flavors make this a treat you won’t want to miss out on. It will warm your bones and please your palate.”

The tea includes Fujian oolong, ginger, lemon myrtle, and organic flavors. It has a scent very reminescent of the Lemon Ginger Tulsi tea that Lisabee gifted me (and I’ve been drinking a lot of that lately!), but there is something a little sweeter smelling about it… It has a very lemony scent, but there is something floral about it, too. It makes me think of citrus blossoms and lemon peel zest!

With pure oolongs, I tend to prefer Asian-style gongfu brewing, which really allows all the intricate flavors of the leaf to emerge, but with flavored oolong blends, I usually just brew western-style, as in my experience, the added flavorings tend to dominate over the flavors of the base, while the base is typically used to create a specific mouthfeel. The suggested brewing directions for this tea was one teaspoon in 160-180 degree water, steeped for one to three minutes. I usually prepare my oolongs with water just a bit warmer than that, but I decided to try to keep things as close to the recommendations as possible, at least for my first cup, and adjust if needed. I went with the 185 degree F setting on my kettle, and steeped for three minutes. The leaf opened up quite beautifully!

The tea steeped such a rich, lemon yellow color! The Fujian oolong base had produced a very silky, smooth, and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. It has a very nice, sweet lemony flavor, with some subtle ginger notes that hit the back of the tongue right on the finish. The spice note is quite soft and mellow, and since I am a very spice-sensitive person, I actually prefer that the ginger is downplayed a lot more than I’m used to in most lemon ginger teas, which tend to go really heavy on the ginger and leave a lot of heat on the tongue. This tea has a more gentle spice note and is overall more naturally sweet. What I find most unique about the flavor of this lemon ginger tea is there is a subtle soft floral note lingering just beneath the citrus, which gives the lemon a sort of lemon zest flavor or flowery layer. I feel that floral note from the oolong base contributes a lot to the sweetness of the tea, and mellowing out the heat from the touch of ginger.

This is a very nice lemon ginger tea, much sweeter and creamier than any of the other lemon ginger teas I’ve been drinking recently during “ward off the plague” mode. But I’m not sure if it really connects in my brain as a “dessert” tea or anything like a “cookie”, despite being a bit sweeter, and a bit creamier compared to other lemon ginger teas. It doesn’t really taste like cream or cookie-like, rather it is just a very unique entry into lemon ginger teas. I don’t normally add sweetener to my teas anymore, but I remember what a difference a little sugar made to the Gingerbread Black tea, so I decided to add a dash of sugar and try it that way, and it did make it a little more like a cookie, but not enough to really make the tea register as a guilty-pleasure dessert blend to me. In any event, I certainly enjoyed it for what it was!

Thanks for joining me for another teatime! Is there a certain oolong you’d like to see from the ol’ tea inventory next week? If so, let me know!

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Teatime Tuesday #58: 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong

Hello teaple! It’s the first Tuesday of February, and you know what that means… it is time to get “I Love You Oolong Time” into full swing! I personally love oolongs, so I’m excited to get to try some new oolongs and revisit some old favorites!

The oolong I’ve selected for teatime today is 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong, and it comes from Tealyra, an online tea vendor that services both the US and Canada. I’ve never tried this tea before, and am very curious about this one, as I have had very little experience thus far with more darkly oxidized oolongs; most of the oolongs I drink are lightly oxidized oolongs that are more characteristic of green teas. I’ve definitely wanted to sample more oolongs closer to the “black tea” range; part of what I love about oolongs is how incredibly diverse they are!

This oolong comes from Sumatra, Indonesia. It is described by Tealyra as producing “solid flavors of cinnamon, coffee, musk and amber, with undertones of rich earthiness. While the leaves are a deep purple, the brew produced is a caramel liquid that is thick and rich. This particular oolong is perfect for multiple infusions, because as is the case with any good tea, the flavors develop and become more complex with each steeping.” Pictured above is a 50 gram bag.

I don’t really get a purple tone from the tea leaf; to me they appear a deep brown, almost black color, like coffee beans. The smell is certainly a sort of musky, earthy scent.

The recommended preparation for this tea is to use one to one and a half teaspoons of tea in 195 degree F water, and steep for two to three minutes. Now, if I were at home while preparing this particular tea, I would’ve prepared this eastern style, and used my “beginner” gaiwan, and had a little gongfu session, to see how the flavors changed and progressed from steep to steep; it is my favorite way to brew oolong and truly changes the experience! Unfortunately I was pressed for time today (you know, sometimes you have those days) and needed to brew this oolong up western style while I was at work, so I used one heaping teaspoon of leaf, 190 degree F water, and steeped for three minutes.

The resulting brew was a caramel color (and my teacup loves to reflect the horrid office lighting at the library right off the liquid… apologies!). The tea continued to have that musty, earthy scent, but also a sort of warm, toasty, roasted aroma. The flavor of the brew reminded me of roasted nuts (I was reminded a lot of TeaSouce’s Roasted Chestnut tea, which I reviewed in my Nutty Teas Pt. 2 review), and the liquor was very smooth with a sort of sweetness that left a somewhat honey-like aftertaste on my tongue. The tea had subtle notes of deep, rich, earthy minerals beneath the sweeter, toasty, roasted nutty flavors.

This was a very enjoyable oolong! It is smooth and doesn’t have the astringencies or bite of a black tea, but still has many of the appeals of a darker tea. It also has many flavor qualities that are reminescent of coffee while being sweet, light, and gentle, rather than so bitter and acidic. It has a nice nutty quality to it with no artificial flavors, and would be a good choice for someone who likes nutty teas but isn’t into flavored blends. I’m certainly interested in exploring the “dark side” of oolongs more!

Thanks for stopping by for teatime! Since next Tuesday is right before Valentine’s Day, I think I’ll take a look at a sweet oolong blend… dessert oolong, anyone?

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Steepster Saturday #1

As I’ve mentioned before, this year I’ve been upping my game over on Steepster, a community designed for tea lovers, from casual drinkers to hardcore afficionados and everyone in-between. Since the start of 2018, all teas reviewed here have been cross-posted to Steepster as well, in a more “Steepster-friendly” micro-review version, and I’ve been placing a lot of emphasis on trying to get all my content from 2017 moved over to Steepster as well (right now I have 26 teas from my 2017 Teatime Tuesday Reviews up; those teas still in my collection I’ve actually brewed up and revisited, and those Steepster reviews are “updated” reflections, several even with changed opinions, while those teas I no longer have are being rewritten into micro-review format from the long-form blogs and being reposted).

In addition, there are a lot of new, additional tea reviews that go up only on my Steepster account. Since I know cross-traffic between the sites is pretty much nil, here is a link listing of the tea reviews that are on Steepster, if any of them interest you:

Autumn Mist Green by Adagio Teas
Detox by T2
Detox Tea by AmberFreda
Green Tea with Mandarin Orange
Japanese Gen Mai Cha Sencha by T2
Organic Raspberry Leaf by Traditional Medicinals
Rooibos Chai by AmberFreda
Sexy Tea by AmberFreda
Tension Tamer by Celestial Seasonings
Treacle Sponge by Bluebird Tea Co.
Tummy Tea by T2
Velvet Tea by Art of Tea

The first Saturday of the month I’ll round-up all the original Steepster reviews (at least until my “import wave” of 2017 content from this blog is finished being moved over) in link-format here on WordPress, but you can also find the links on the Table of Contents page at any time.

My initial impressions after using both sites to release content for a month? Honestly, it’s looking like Steepster is going to be the long-term future for my tea reviewing, and I will likely end Teatime Tuesday in blog-format at some point (I’m not sure when that point will be yet, as I want to at least give it a few months of looking at the data before making a solid decision). Right now I’m basically “doubling up” the weekly content workload (by creating the WordPress review and then the Steepster micro-reviews), and overall I’m getting more growth — surprising to no one — on the place dedicated to tea, while I continue to only have two or three views each week on WordPress. Most bloggers focused on food just can’t “break out” unless they have magazine-quality food photography photoshoot skills, and in my tiny apartment, that is just not something possible for me, so a site where photography isn’t necessary kind of works to my advantage. Not wanting to have double-workload longterm the logical choice seems to be the site where I’m getting more average new followers and more average likes per review… in general, more folks reading the content being produced. It isn’t that I’m one of those people that is “number crazy,” but if writing tea reviews makes me happy (my main objective), and between two choices that both let me do that, one is sharing those reviews to just a few more people, I guess it just seems the better option. I know I would lose a few very dedicated readers who have been with Teatime Tuesday since the beginning with this decision, and I am very sorry for that, but some rivers just end up flowing in different directions than we originally plan. Just a heads up this is probably the way things are headed, but again, I don’t like to be hasty with my decisions, so I still plan to give it a few months to watch the waters flow before I jump on one boat or the other.

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Teatime Tuesday #57: Teas for the Winter Blechs

Hey, teaple! For teatime this week I thought I would feature some herbal brews meant to help with common ailments around this time of the year: sore throats, coughs, upset tummys from flus, and that overall winter cold malaise. If you are suffering from headaches during your winter blechs, now might be a great time to revisit my old Headache Tea review; it’s handy for more than just chronic migraineurs!

First up is a tea that has become my most gifted tea out of my entire collection, because I personally swear by its usefulness: Margaret’s Soother by TeaSource. This simple herbal blend is described by TeaSource as “comforting, relaxing, and delicious, this herbal blend of peppermint, clove, and licorice is an antidote for stressful times.” What they don’t tell you is those three herbs are a powerhouse for a swollen, painful, mucusy throat, and I have yet to find a tea that has served me better when my throat is rawer than the way my Dad’s dog likes his steak.

This is a simple caffeine-free herbal blend that is only comprised of peppermint leaf, whole clove, and licorice root. The leaf has a strong minty aroma, with an underlying licorice sweetness, and hints of clove.

So why is this tea so effective for a sore throat? Because those three herbs serve triple-duty as a natural elixer for such an ailment. Menthol, the active ingredient in peppermint, is great at soothing, numbing, and calming sore throats. Peppermint may also have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, making that hot peppermint on the throat ideal for the nasties causing that sore throat. The main active component in licorice root is glycyrrhizic acid, an anti-viral. Licorice root is great at coating the throat to sooth and protect damaged and inflamed tissue, and assists in expelling mucus from the throat. It is a great cough relief with anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, clove contains eugenol, which acts as a pain killer. This helps numb the throat and reduce pain. It also contains anti-bacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties.

Last year, I had a nasty case of a sore throat that wouldn’t clear up, and was scared I had a repeat of the Strep Throat I had the year before. A trip to the doctor confirmed it wasn’t Strep, but Viral Pharyngitis, and there was nothing I could do but ride it out for about two weeks. And those were a very miserable two weeks. I discovered this was one of the teas my lunch haunt Twin Beans had in stock, and I became hooked! Until my order of it from TeaSource arrived, I went there for lunch every single day to get my fix, because it was such a soothing balm against my tortured throat! Now, it is a necessary staple in my house, and whenever someone starts to get the winter coughs, they end up with a packet of this tea and my well-wishes!

TeaSource recommends one rounded teaspoon of this tisane steeped in boiling water for 4-6 minutes. I like to give it a nice, full steep, and the tea will brew up a lovely dark goldenrod color!

This tea has a brisk, minty flavor, but the mint has this wonderful, refreshing burst of sweet licorice in the finish that actually keeps the mint flavor feeling a bit more balanced and not so overwhelming to me, which is my impression with a lot of mint teas. I also can pick up just a hint of clove on the back of my tongue — it isn’t enough to make the tea taste spicy, because the licorice root adds so much natural sweetness, so instead you just pick up on the flavor of the clove, and it compliments the mint in such a fascinating way. It is such a simple tea, with so few ingredients, but the three ingredients blend together in just a perfect fusion where everything feels that it is just right. Everything feels that it is balanced and meant to be there. So many blends have ingredients that seem superfluous and half of the time I can’t even taste that they are there, but here I can distinctly make out all of the flavor notes.

Now, I know a significant portion of you out there are going, “Ewwwwwww, licorice, I’m not going to drink that!” Please note that while black licorice candy does contain extracts of licorice root for sweetening in it, this…

…Does not equal this.

Licorice root does not taste “just like black licorice,” and whether you like or dislike black licorice does not necessarily mean you are going to like or dislike licorice root. Personally, I think you are going to have to judge their flavors independantly. (Some people like cucumbers and hate pickles or vice versa, you know? I’m one of those people that picks cucumbers off all my salads but gets all the abandoned side pickles from my friends’ plates!) Licorice root has a very sweet flavor, and in teas especially, is used as a natural sweetener. To me it is sort of a “sticky” sweetness since it comes strongly right in the finish of the sip. Certainly there will be folks out there that don’t like that, but I know far too many that simply look at the word and avoid the tea, because they immediately think of the black candy, and they aren’t a proper comparison.

But also consider this… even if you don’t like licorice root, if you are willing to drink this disgusting-tasting stuff for your health…

…Then honestly, isn’t giving a tea with some licorice root, which tastes far better than that, worth a try for a little throat relief?

(To be fair, I’m not a fan of the taste of my Headache Tea, but sometimes a good herbal blend is worth it for the health benefits, right? At least that’s what I tell myself whenever I have to drink it…)

Next is my go-to tea for an upset stomach. I get a lot of nausea with my migraines, but any stomach malaise, as long as you are able to keep your liquids down, should benefit from the herbs in this blend. It comes from Steepers in Campbell, California in a vacuum-sealed pouch, but it was not resealable, so I’ve been using a small binder-clip to keep it sealed tightly back shut.

The tea is a caffeine-free herbal blend of peppermint, ginger, orange peels, and cinnamon. The lady that owns the shop said it was her own blend that she uses for upset stomach, and I was very interested in it since nausea is a main side-effect of my migraines. The leaf is full of lots of ingredients, but the sent is super strong of minty menthol! You wouldn’t even think this was anything but a mint tea if sniffing the leaf blindfolded!

The reason that peppermint menthol is so great at soothing an upset stomach is that it relaxes your stomach muscles when they get that tight, uncomfortable, cramped feeling. The same soothing effects menthol leaves on a sore throat passes down to the stomach, leaving it stretched, relaxed, and comfortable. Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols that relax the intestinal tract and help prevent stomach ailments such as motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea that accompanies stomach flu. Orange peel helps with heartburn and acid reflux, and cinnamon is used to ease gas in the stomach.

I use a heaping teaspoon of this tea in boiling water and steep for five minutes. Depending on how bad my nausea is, sometimes I’ll use double-leaf and make an extra-strong infusion, if I feel like I might be skipping meals for a while and mostly be substituting with tea for a bit. I figure if I’m going to be drinking my meals for a little while, may as well make them extra flavorful while waiting for my stomach to settle!

The tea brews up a deep gingery shade, and since it is a stomach soothing tea, I totally don’t have to feel guilty about taking that maple donut from the breakroom, right? It’ll just settle that sugary goodness right down! (Yes, this is the logic I tell myself…) It has a very strong, fresh minty flavor. If you really savor the tea slowly, you might be able to pick out a little gingery note beneath the mint, but it is quite subtle; you really have to be looking for it to notice it! Since the other herbs in the tea don’t really leave much of an impression on the taste compared to the mint, if you like mint tea, this tea should be a very easy drink as far as herbal brews for health remedies are concerned. It leaves a very strong, very brisk sort of taste in the mouth. If I’m taking mint casually I actually prefer it a bit more subdued than this, but when I’m nauseous, I’m perfectly fine with a really strong infusion… the mint and ginger combination really is quite settling, and I find a strong mint flavor more appealing than a strong ginger flavor.

Interested in some more health teas to keep you healthy during the final stretch of the winter season? Don’t forget to check out my Steepster account for even more tea reviews on the subject! Check out the following linked micro-reviews of AmberFreda‘s Detox Tea and Sexy Tea (she’s the same herbalist that made the Headache Tea I use!), T2 Tea‘s Detox and Tummy Tea blends, Celestial SeasoningsTension Tamer, and Traditional MedicinalsRaspberry Leaf!

And so another month of tea comes to a close! Last year I did dessert blends for February, but I’ve decided to do something a little different for February’s theme this year! It is still going to incorporate love, by featuring a type of tea that I love very, very much… Love You Oolong Time! So be expecting to see some interesting oolongs next month! (And who knows, there might still be some stuff to please my fellow sweet-tooths popping up on Steepster as well! *wink*) See you then!

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