I would like to thank Canada Customs for doing a stellar job of keeping bad things out of Canada. I’ve seen “Border Security”. I know it’s a daily battle. Travellers to be monitored, backpacks to be swabbed, mail to be sniffed, statues to be drilled into, suitcases to be searched for shrunken heads, and tea packages to be ripped apart and held for ransom!
Yup! It’s all getting searched these days. I don’t mind too much if they have to rip open the box, leaving all the guts, papers, packages, wrappings, cardboard, and packing tape all hanging out… boxes crushed and mangled so they look like an undergrad art project. No, that’s not so bad… I know they gotta do what they gotta do! But why do they have to hold the tea for so long? This was shipped on September 3rd and I just received it. October 27th. It’s been 2 months. It seems that all my tea is taking 2 months or more (languishing helplessly in some remote airplane hangar in Yellowknife, I’m sure), and it’s ALL getting “inspected” which really means they take the boxes out back and run over them with the truck a few times before shipping them to my mail depot. Thanks Canada Customs… for keeping Canada safe!
OK, I got this awesome shipment from teageeks.com and there are 7 beautiful and interesting teas here which I can’t wait to dive into: Hoji’cha Karigane, Very Berry, Orange and Gooseberry, Ginger and Lemongrass, Orange Grapefruit and Mint Rooibos, Elderflower White, and Jade Ti Guan Yin. Sounds DELISH!! I’m glad to see some yummy looking tisanes and fruit-teas because I’m looking for low/no caffeine alternatives for evening sipping!
I’m starting with this Hoji’cha Karigane because it looks so toasty! Hoji’cha (Houjicha) is usually Bancha or Sencha (Japanese common green tea) which has been roasted, and Karigane is usually the stems and twigs of the tea plant. You can see here the little cut twigs and stems which are roasted to a nice warn, nutty brown colour. The great thing about the process is that the caffeine is greatly reduced! Great for relaxing after dinner!
I open the bag and then realize it isn’t resealable, so I have to tape up the rest of the packet with cellophane tape. I don’t have any nice tea containers free right now, so this is a bit annoying. Anyway, the tea smells great: toast and roasted almonds. Yummy!
I brew one teaspoon in a basket in a mug. I leave it for about 45 seconds. It smells quite strong, so I stop it. It’s a rich, glowing amber colour.
Let’s sip! Ohhhhh… nice! This hits my mouth with a vegetal sweetness, but quickly changes to a warm, woody, nutty, toasty rich flavour that’s very soothing. The deep roasted almond flavour tastes darker than it looks. It’s very smooth with no astringency… just a nice warm roasty-toasty flavour that makes me wish I had a fireplace!
I steep cup #2 for about 2 minutes. It’s a bit lighter in colour, and the flavour is more mellow. I think I like this one even better than the first. It’s nutty and toasted and smooth. Very warm and relaxing on a cool night. I can’t wait to try the others!
teageeks.com offers several subscription packages where you can have a fantastic assortment of teas delivered to your door each month. These are very generous-sized packets, well-labelled, and with complete brewing instructions on the back of each package (which I usually ignore… I know, I know, I’m terrible!). If I didn’t live in Canada, with a 2-month wait time, I would probably go for it myself! I’m sure I’ve been red-flagged at Customs!
Big THANK YOU to teageeks.com for providing this sample. Stay tuned for the others, coming soon!