Sunday, January 27, 2008
travelling with tea
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
my first block print
this is the actual linoleum block that i carved. it has been colored with a red permanent marker and a print was made on it before i took the picture.
anyone can go to an art supply store and get a linoleum block, some black printing ink, a basic carving set and some paper and do this at home. it's really pretty self explanatory although i like to be able to watch someone do it and ask questions etc... i will share a couple of unexpected things i learned to make the whole process a little easier. first, the instructor had us cover the linoleum block with a red permanent marker so that as you are carving away material from the surface of the block it is easier to see the contrast between the red and the color of the block. you can still tell what you are cutting away without coloring the surface but it's alot harder to see. the trick is that you have to use a truly permanent marker so that the color does not mingle with the ink you will roll on later. a second tip was to take a regular clothes iron and use it to heat up the surface of the block so that it is softer and easier to cut. you need to put a piece of cloth on top of the block to iron on or else you can melt the linoleum. the iron can be set on a medium temperature and you just iron until the fabric on top of your block is very warm to the touch. you can go back and keep doing this as it cools off. i'm not going to go thru the whole process but these were a couple things i woudn't have known to do by myself.
Monday, January 14, 2008
my tea accessories
this is not exactly a tea related item but i use these little bowls to photograph some of the prettier teas in. my mother-in-law got me a set of 6 of these with different aquatic life forms in them. they are wonderful, thin, raku little soy sauces dishes, or whatever you want to put in them. i love them.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
a trip to whole foods: tea installment #3
one of my alltime favorite teas that i could drink every day is a Celestial Seasonings white tea Perfectly Pear. it is so creamy, naturally sweet and delicious and is on the lighter side because it is a white tea. it has a nice, clean flavor which i do not always find with white tea and it also has my favorite tea character on the box, the painting siamese cat!! kudos to the artist who created this cat--is it a self portrait? while i am on the subject of artwork and packaging i also have to mention this delicious looking, wonderfully packaged, and affordable cereal i found at whole foods. the brand is dorset cereals and there were several different flavors all in wonderful packaging that did not include a huge box that is half empty like the usual cereal box--i know they put that air in there to keep the flakes from getting crushed but come on.... here is a close-up of the box and the goodies within.
lastly, here are the four loose teas i got from the bulk section. i have tried two of them so far. i was most excited about the orange dulce tea by mighty leaf. i am still on the fence about that brand in general and was slightly disappointed in the tea. it has a wonderful, tart, really strong orange flavor but the taste is very mellow and sweet so your nose is telling you "watch out for a great, strong citrus taste" but your mouth is getting a subtle caramel/soft orange flavor. it is unsettling to me when nose and mouth get different messages, a nice tasting tea is almost ruined because each time you take a sip you are expecting something different. kind of like when you think you have been handed a glass of water but it is really lemonade, even though you love lemonade you are shocked and don't know what you are tasting at first because your taste buds are expecting water.
well, that was a long-winded explanation. secondly i tried the tangerine ginger by rishi. i will probably blend this tea with the orange dulce and see what happens. it has a nice flavor but is an herbal tea with no dominant herbal flavor thus ends up tasting like hot, unsweetened fruit juice to me. not a fan of fruity herbal teas, they just don't have that magical zing that the tea leaf adds to a "tea" tea.i'll save the other two for the next tea installment. thanks! go drink a cup of tea!!
Monday, January 7, 2008
lotus pond : a waterscape
Sunday, January 6, 2008
the square tin, second tea installment
i was pleasantly surprised by the world market brand of tea, a nice quality loose tea. the desert sunrise is a very nice blend of black and green tea with a pleasant but unusual fruity scent and flavor. the other ingredients are sunflower petals, cactus blossoms and other natural flavors. the white ginger citrus i don't like as much, there is not a strong enough citrus presence for my taste, the overall flavor is a little muddy to me. even though i was not crazy about that one i would definitely buy more of this brand.
Friday, January 4, 2008
first painting of the new year
Thursday, January 3, 2008
tea drinking season
i have promised that i would write about my collection of different teas. as i am writing this i am drinking ginger peach green tea by the republic of tea. they definitely are one of my favorite tea makers, i love their flavors and the packaging is beautiful.
first off, i have to say that the most important part of a successful cup of tea is the steeping time. i always put the timer on when i make a cup of tea to make sure it steeps for the correct amount of time. in general, black teas should be steeped for 3-5 minutes and green teas for about 2 minutes. white teas are usually about 5 minutes but i always check the recommended time and then adjust accordingly. if a tea is steeped too long it gets bitter and if it's a flavored tea, which are my favorites, the delicate flavor is usually overpowered by the tea leaf.
overall, my favorite teas are flavored black and green teas. i do not like plain green tea, that grassy flavor is too strong for me so i am glad that there are so many flavored ones to choose from. i am not really a fan of rooibos either, although i did enjoy the numi brand of red tea while we were at my in-law's house over christmas. usually the rooibos smells like olives or play-dough to me. yuck.
one of my favorite flavors, especially in winter, is chocolate--in tea. here are my favorites so far.
this is also one of my favorite teas and an exception to my dislike of rooibos. if you like a rich, chocolatey flavor you really have to try this tea. i would recommend getting the loose tea, it is beautiful and of a higher quality than the tea bags. i believe they have changed the name to yerba mate latte but it is the same flavor.
this is a simple but delicious tea i found at "the leaf store" in boulder, colorado. it is chocolate peppermint, a black tea with pieces of chocolate and chopped mint. you can order online with them at theleafstore.com but it was nice to be at the store where they let me buy small quantity samples of several different flavors. there is nothing worse than getting home with a whole bag of tea that you don't like.
the tea in the foreground, spicy chocolate mint, by the republic of tea was a real disappointment. i was so excited to see a new flavor and it really sounded delicious but it really has no distinct taste, just kind of blah. i would love to know if anyone else has tried this and what they think. maybe i have not found the right steeping time to bring out it's best flavor....
well, that's all for the chocolate tea. there actually is one more that i love but i am out of it right now and don't remember the exact name. i think i can find it at whole foods so i will have to check there just so i can have a complete record for the tea story!! any excuse to buy new tea is good enough for me!
more to come...