Tuesday
Jul222014

Tuesday Tea - Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea - TeaVivre

Tea Description:

Our Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng Green tea is Te Gong grade. Te Gong refers to two Chinese words: 特(tè) and 贡(gòng). 特 is short for 特级, which means the tea's grade is nonpareil; while 贡 is short for 贡品, meaning that the tea was used to be paid as tribute to the emperor.

Beautiful mountains can produce good teas; higher places can engender better aroma. Our Huang Shan Mao Feng is grown in an area between 1200 meters to 1400 meters high, which has proper sunlight and is covered by clouds and mist. Normally green tea is rated based on two solar terms: Qing Ming and Gu Yu. Our Te Gong teas are picked and made before Qing Ming. Fresh tea leaves with one bud and one leaf which are in their early sprout are in the best quality. Through the process of fixation, rolling and drying, the slight curly leaves of Mao Feng teas will be shaped, with green bud hidden in. After brewed, the bud will reveal, looking like a spear while the leaf beside looks like a flag. This is what we called the Qi Qiang (旗枪, qí qiāng) shape.

The proper condition of sunlight and mist in high mountain areas brings the Huang Shan Mao Feng a brisk and fresh flavor, as well as mellow and sweet taste. Grown in high mountain environment makes the tea contain less polyphenol. As a result the tea tastes less bitter or astringent. The high mountain environment also makes the tea leaves thicker. A glass cup is recommended to brew this tea, for you can see clearer of the beautiful green tea leaves.

Other Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Purchase: TeaVivre

Growing Information:
Grown in Shexian(歙县) County, Huanshan City, Anhui Province
Harvest Time: March 28, 2014

Suggested Brewing Tips: 

Serving Size: 3-4 Tablespoons (8g) per 17oz serving

Water Temp:  185°

Steep Time:  3 steeps: 3m, 4m, 5m

TeaVivre also provides brewing instructions for using a 3 oz Gaiwan. In case you aren't familiar with what a Gaiwan is, it is a Chinese lidded bowl used for brewing and drinking tea.

Serving Size: 3g

Water Temp:  176°

Steep Time:  3 steeps: 5s rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s

Review:

Just as I was leaving for France last month Angel from TeaVivre let me know that the new Spring teas were available and offered to send me several to share with you. They came while I was on my trip and since then I've been anxiously awaiting the chance to try them. The first tea that I sampled, Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea, is really something special. It is grown in the high mountains shaded by clouds and mist. The leaves are harvested and processed in the early spring before the Qing Ming harvest in early April. The resulting cup of tea is tender and slightly sweet, much more so than later harvested Mao Feng teas that I've had an opportunity to sample.

The first steep of this tea produces a cup that is very smooth and refreshing with an almost honey-like texture. It has a subtle sweet, slightly grassy flavor with no hint of astringency or dry mouth. The fact that it doesn't produce a dry mouth after tasting it makes it the perfect tea for the long, hot months of summer. As the temperature begins to rise I tend to look for lighter flavored teas that will quench my thirst without leaving me with the dry mouth feel that many other green teas produce. This is one of the few teas that I've tried in the past few weeks that does just that. It produces a very refreshing cup of tea and I could see myself consuming a lot of it this summer.

The second steep of this tea produces much more complex flavors than the first and there is a very noticeable shift in flavors. The sweetness from the first steep is still present, but the flavor begins to edge towards toasted rice rather than grassy. It reminds me somewhat of genmaicha, although the toasted notes aren't nearly as strong. Both the second and third steeps of this tea produce very different results from the first, it is like I am drinking a completely different tea. I have always considered Mao Feng green tea a staple in my cupboard, but I've never had one that quite compares to TeaVivre's Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea.

Before I end my review I did want to mention that TeaVivre is having their 3rd anniversary sale at the end of the month. To start things off they will be giving away a limited number $10 gift cards on July 27th which can be used during the sale. Visit their website for more information about the giveaway and sale, it's the perfect time to try something new or stock up on a few favorites. 

My Rating: 91/100 Want to better understand my rating system? Check out the about tab for more information.

Would I order this again? Yes! The complexity of this tea really appeals to me, I could see it becoming a summer staple in our house.

Disclaimer:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that this sample was provided to me free of charge by TeaVivre for my review. As always, all opinions are my own. If you are a company and would like to send me an item for review feel free to drop me an email.

Saturday
Jul192014

Healthy Mini Popsicles Perfect for Teething Tots! #FirstBites

There really is nothing quite like an icy cold popsicle on a hot summer day; they've always been my favorite summertime treat. My son clearly takes after me because he will happily eat his way through an entire box in one sitting if I'm not watching him closely. Since I live in a household with a couple of popsicle addicts I've been searching for healthier options that won't leave me feeling guilty when I give in to his huge puppy dog eyes and begging for more treats.

What can I say, I'm a pushover!

Healthy commercial options are in short supply, so I went on the hunt for tot-sized popsicle molds. They're harder to find than you would think, but I eventually stumbled across these NUK Fill & Freeze Pops from Nuk. They make the perfect size popsicles for the smallest of tots and the handles are easy for small hands to hold. One of my favorite features is the drip guard which cuts down on the amount of popsicle juice that ends up in my lap!

I've been playing around with different recipes with varying degrees of success. The Greek yogurt pops I made last week were a complete fail, but my second attempt made with homemade applesauce were a huge hit. The Spiced Blueberry Applesauce recipe that I posted on Monday has been my son's favorite or you could try my recipes for Easy Crock-Pot Applesauce and Strawberry Applesauce. All three make popsicles that are bursting with flavor without the added sugar found in store bought popsicles. If you're already making your baby's food from scratch you can mix this up and use any flavor of fruit puree you have on hand. The possibilities with these healthy treats are endless and they have the added benefit of being a great way to soothe your baby or toddler while they're teething.

Today's recipe is part of OXO Tot's #FirstBites blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from OXO and OXO Tot, but no other compensation was given for this post. Don't forget OXO Tot is hosting a giveaway so see below for more information on how to enter for a chance to win your own OXO Tot #FirstBites set and a Seedling High Chair!
Applesauce Pops
makes 4 tot-sized pops 

Ingredients

4 ounces Applesauce or other fruit sauce

Tools

NUK Fill & Freeze Popsicle Mold

Directions

  • In a blender puree fruit sauce until smooth. Fill popsicle molds and freeze for several hours.
  • When ready to serve run warm water around the base of the molds for several seconds and the pops should easily release. 

Giveaway

OXO Tot is hosting a fabulous giveaway so make sure to enter below for a chance to win your own a Seedling High Chair and OXO Tot #FirstBites set.

 

 

Disclosure

This posts contains my Amazon affiliate links.  I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Please keep in mind that this is a necessary evil to cover my expenses in running this blog so I can continue to provide you with quality content.

Tuesday
Jul152014

Tuesday Tea - July Selection Club - Simple Loose Leaf

Plan Description:

When you join Simple Loose Leaf you will tour the world and explore the wonders of tea. Our members embrace the discovery of new passions and rekindle their forgotten loves through our carefully curated menu of teas. Select a plan, make tea selection, and get a package!

Where to Purchase: 

Simple Loose Leaf - Not Starving Yet readers, use coupon code NSYSELECTION25 to receive 25% off when you sign up for the Selection Club

July Selections:

Yin Gou Mei Green
Kenilworth Ceylon Black

Plum Blossom White
Ginseng Oolong
Tropical Sunshine Herbal
Yin Gou Mei Green

Review:

The green selection from the July box, Yin Gou Mei, has a very unusual shape compared to most teas. The leaves are rolled tightly and are slightly curved, giving them the shape of an eyebrow. Eyebrow tea first hit my radar about a year ago, but I've fallen in love with it's quirky shape and love to pull it out for guests. The unique shape is so unlike the tea most of my friends are familiar with so it always sparks a lively conversation.

While I love green teas in any shape or form I am more particular about the type I select for summer. As the weather heats up and I spend more time outside I want a tea that leaves me feeling hydrated, not thirsting for more. This means that I typically save the dry mouth producing teas like this Yin Gou Mei for the cooler seasons. From the first sip this tea gives you an immediate dry mouth which only increases as you drink more. During the cooler weather I don't mind this as much, although it isn't something I specifically seek out.

Overall the flavor of this green tea is mild with a slight astringency and slightly vegetal flavor. This is the sort of uncomplicated green tea that I like to seek out for everyday drinking because I don't feel the need to dissect what different flavors I taste, I can simply sit back and enjoy it. While it isn't what I prefer for the hot days of summer it will be something I can enjoy the rest of the year.

Would I order this again? Possibly. This is a nice every day green, but the dry mouth feeling keep me from enjoying it this time of year.
Tropical Sunshine Herbal

Review:

The description of this tea says Tropical Sunshine Herbal is an explosion of flavor and I can't think of a more apt description for a tea. The citrus flavors do seem to explode on your tongue every time you take a sip. The first thing I notice about this blend is the combination of lemongrass, orange peel, and grapefruit. They give this herbal tisane an strong citrus flavor that contrasts perfectly with the spicy additions of cardamom, red peppercorn, and cinnamon chips. The addition of these spicy ingredients may feel odd at first, but when combined with the citrus flavors and slight sweetness from the apples and papaya flavoring we're left with an incredibly well balanced blend that just screams summer.

What is perhaps the most surprising aspect of this tisane is that it truly is just as delicious hot as it is iced. I find that I seldom feel this way about tea, I either enjoy it hot or I enjoy it iced, seldom do I enjoy it both ways. When prepared hot the flavor from the rooibos tends to come across slightly more giving the blend a somewhat woodsy flavor under the sweetness, citrus, and spice. I find that I don't notice it as much when this is cold steeped for iced tea. This blend was such a surprising find, I don't typically enjoy citrus teas, but I could see myself enjoying this one all summer long.

My Rating: 90/100

Would I order this again? Yes! This easily makes the list for favorite teas I've sampled from Simple Loose Leaf since starting my subscription. 

Not Starving Yet readers, use coupon code NSYSELECTION25 to receive 25% off when you sign up for the Selection Club

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Simple Loose Leaf has provided me with free subscription to their service. As always, all opinions are my own.