Absolute Tea

Thursday, March 30

Scouring for Savory Articles

I've been searching the web for articles about tea ceremonies involving teapots recently and found this site. It has very little about ceremony practices, but it is a great introduction and history on how teapots came about. What prompted me to go searching in the first place was from looking at a gift I had received a few weeks back. It was a ceremonial teapot set that is used in China. It has the tiniest cups I've ever seen. They look like shot glasses, except for tea.

My friend Hui Yi, or Alicia as she is known here comes from Malaysia and I believe she got the gift for me directly from China. So if you're reading this Alicia, thanks again. It's one of the cooler gifts I have gotten.

In the pictures below you can see just how tiny everything is. I wouldn't steep the tea in this pot, but instead pour the tea into it when you are ready to serve. The traditional way would be to use a Yi-Xing teapot to steep the loose leaves, then drink directly from the spout.

Ceremony Article

After many dead ends I found the perfect Chinese Tea Ceremony article that I was looking for. It says everything that I would want to know about what is sacred to China tea culture. The article is well written and details how the Chinese appreciate tea. "A Chinese tea ceremony is more about the tea than the ceremony", as quoted from the article says so much. They believe in fully enjoy tea for all its aesthetic properties, such as smell, taste, sight, and even the meditative feelings you can achieve by focusing your mind on the tea - living the tea. It's quite a beautiful thought to know that you can enjoy something so deeply.

I would love to partake in a ceremony led by a true tea master, but I don't think I'm going to find too many up here in the Northwoods of Minnesota.

Wednesday, March 29

More Spouting

Continuing this weeks theme on teapots I'd like to share a little about what I use. I have two teapots - one for practical use and the other for a more ceremonial purpose. Most professional tea drinkers or serious hobbyists will have more than just two pots. They will have an assortment that ranges from Chinese clay to ceramic Japanese, as well as the famous British teapot.

I'm a poor college student so my options are very limited when it comes to choosing what I get to make my tea in. What I did choose is an English style teapot made of lead-free ceramic. Its specific brand name is Chatsford Teapot, which is very British sounding. They make the pot sizes up to 10 cups, but I chose the 6 cup teapot because that is plenty of tea for one person. If you're in the market for buying a teapot I'd recommend going no lower than a 4 cup pot, otherwise there won't be sufficient room for the loose leaves to unfurl as they steep.

The infuser (the filter that holds the tea) is a very important aspect to a teapot. Traditionally, the leaves are suppose to be unbound inside the teapot to achieve a maximum infusion, but for practical reasons and to save time cleaning up I prefer to use them. It also helps when you want to kill the steeping process immediately and then to clean up all you have to do is empty the filter.

Of course, you want to have a good sized infuser with the finest holes so that only the tea liquor gets through. The larger the filter, the better the tea will be. This is especially true for the more gentle and light teas like white and green. Some teas like High Mountain Oolong, should only be brewed in the largest of filters, such as the 10 cup ones because the leaves are deceptively compact and will expand to a point where it will make the oils difficult to infuse.

There are plenty of places you can buy teapots on the web, but if you want to know where I got mine, it was from the site Special Teas. I paid somewhere around $30 for it and out of the 5 colors I chose white so I could see the teas color and it is easier to tell when it's clean.

Monday, March 27

Teapot Week

For this week I thought I'd go ahead and try something different. Something relating more to the niche side of tea. I was thinking something like teapots.

They are absolutely essential if you're trying to make that great cup of loose leaf tea. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Teapots are the vessels of the steeping gods who bring forth those heavenly subtleties. There also is the fact that it's kind of hard to make a lot of loose leaf tea without one, but that's a minor detail.

Teapot Aficionados

If you're one of those diehard fans of the handle and spout then you must check out the blogs I have listed below. They are authored by those who breath clay and porcelain, and the content provided would satisfy even the most barmy fanatic.


This blog is probably the best you're going to find if you're looking for zany and unique teapots. I also believe that this is the only blog devoted soley to its subject - teapots. There really is no doubt when it comes to the name.

Teapots Teapots Teapots is centered around photos, with short posts giving a few good details here and there, but the photos really speak for themselves. There are also a bunch of wonderful links to follow if your need for teapots is insatiable.

The focus of this blog appears to be more on style than on functionality or traditions, which is perfectly fine. This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained either, as Andy (the blog creator) has some rather informative posts about the year the teapot was made, as well as putting the puchased price under each pot. This alone is very interesting to see how much value is placed for collectors. There are also details given from auctions and festivals that might interest any tea fan who is unable to attend, considering the blog is based in the UK.

Absolute Tea Rank: [*] [*] [*] [*] [ ]
(Based on a teapot fan perspective only)

That's 4 out of 5 for being a one of a kind, quality site. It's updated at a regular pace and is true to its blog name. The pictures are great and fun to look at. The reason this site loses a star is because it doesn't contain anything on the functionality of the pots. This is a minor thing though and perhaps it wouldn't fit anywhere in the blog either. That said, I highly recommend you at least take a peak at the site and scroll through a few photos. There is bound to be one in that massive list that appeals to you.

Blog Description - My Tea Blog: Discovering Oolong, Pu Er and the Art of Gong Fu Cha with Taiwan's Tea Masters.

As you can probably see from the description, this blog isn't necessarily about teapots, but it has a focus on traditions and ceremonies that involve teapots. More often than not, you will find excellent information here about the functionality that bring out the flavors in tea.

Throughout the site there is a high sense of professionalism and you get the feeling that Stephane (blog creator) knows what he is talking about. The fascinating thing about this blog is that it is written in a few different languages with no apparent pattern. It's as if he is tailoring subjects to different groups or people making it feel more personal and directed at individuals.

The focus of this blog seems to be on how to enjoy tea at the expert level. In fact, there is a recent post that describes how to drink tea like a professional tea taster. The post is in English and there are numbered instructions that you can follow.

Absolute Tea Rank: [*] [*] [*] [*] [ ]
(Based on a teapot fan perspective only)

I gave this site 4 out of 5 stars because it is a fantastic source of information regarding high-end teapots. The pictures are well done and the content is quite good for not being devoted to teapots. Tea Masters loses one star mostly because the site doesn't translate all its posts to English and it is not meant to be all about teapots. This really says something though for the quality and variety of the site, considering the information provided is as if the site was devoted to teapots. Another must see blog.

In case you lose this post in my archives I have put the sites in my sidebar. If I was rating these sites out of the context of a teapot fan I would definitely rate them at the highest mark. They are essential stops if you enjoy tea blogs.

Friday, March 24

Poetry Post

I must admit, for this post I don't have a poem that is based on tea, but I do have a poem none-the-less. This is perhaps the most unusual post I've ever made for this weblog and I rather enjoy it. I'm not quite sure that my poem fits with an oolong tea theme, as it (the poem) is a bit dark in mood opposed to the lightness of oolong tea. In any case I hope you can enjoy the contrast and that it provides you with thoughts of wonder and strangeness just like the name oolong does.

So without further ado, I present to you my poem of the week. It was inspired by a Harry Potter movie, which I really wish I wasn't compelled to tell you.

(This poem is short and meant to be read slowly, so take your time.)

Is Never Fair

At Midnight
Who tolls
But the bell

Demons and horns
Neurotic thorns
That which comes from hell

Be on guard
All those who dare
Creep past that gate

No cry from heaven
Or fellow brethren
Will protect your fate

So to your knees
And say that prayer
For the clock...

Wednesday, March 22

Oooo La La Oolong

The history of Oolong tea is quite complex and very rich, as most all tea types are. Personally, I don't know all that much about oolong tea, but I know of some great places to find information. For this reason I believe that someone else should provide the expertise on oolong. My knowledge of tea will be used to identify the credibility in content of any site I analyze to help you find the best, and most accurate information. So this post is dedicated to all the other sites with info about oolong tea and I will rate their usefulness making your gathering process easier with an oolong portal.

Due to time restraints I am only able to analyze 2 sites with any depth. I will however, include a list of unanalyzed sites just to give you a wider variety of info to choose from.

The Oolong Tea

  • Absolute Site Rating: [*][*][*][*][ ]
A great first stop on your way to discovering what oolong tea is all about. There are many different topics of discussion within the site giving quality information from respected individuals, such as honorary tea masters. As well, each page is designed for maximum clarity and ease of reading with well placed pictures, graphics, and subtitled sections.

Wide spectrums of information are provided to enhance a comprehensive knowledge of oolong tea. On top of this there is also a section devoted to health properties. Together, all of this leads to a very satisfying, yet brief introduction to oolong tea.

Some places this site is lacking lies within the detail of individual topics or subtitled info bits. They are great in many respects, but when it comes to getting into a deep and focused discussion of each part there is failing. There is also the fact that quite a few of the statistics are in either Chinese or Japanese characters. This makes it difficult to connect some of the images to what is being said in the text. I'm not exactly clear why there are two different languages on this site but it doesn't distract too much and kind of adds a little spice to the information they give. Now they just need graphics in English along side the other one.

On a final note for this site, I would like to mention that the URL address ends with a .org, which in my mind lends more credibility to the site, but it might not necessarily mean that it is. I just thought I would point that out to you since I so highly recommend you visit this site.

Oolong Oz

  • Absolute Site Rating: [*][*][*][ ][ ]
This site struck me as unique among the countless other tea expert sites who try to get you to buy their products. Although it may only have one short page of general introductory oolong tea information, it is very solid and compact. In other words, there is very good and concise writing within this tea site.

Searching further, you discover that there is much more specific information regarding High Mountain Oolong Tea. In fact, a lot more with a large article by Daniel Reid that discusses many things I missed when I analyzed that same tea earlier this week.

Other interesting things I found about this site are the brewing instructions for High Mountain Oolong Tea. They are incredibly complex and long making them seem almost like a ceremony process. In all accounts, they are not practical for the average loose leaf brewer.

Some things that lowered this sites rating were the limited variety in content, and a lack of anything substantial to lend credibility to the information. They did have a nice place to learn things about what the site is about (such as they are Australians) and who and why they run it, but it just isn't enough for me.

A final thing I would like to point out about this site is its tea poetry section. It was well done and very surprising for me too find. I guess it never occurred to me that there was poetry about tea, which is odd considering I have poetry within this weblog. Just a thought, and maybe I will include some poems about tea in the future... who knows?

A Quick Run Through

These are the sites I didn't spend too much time on. I've rated each one, but this is just a first impression rating and should not be mistaken for my absolute approval.

Oolong (Wu Long) Tea

Absolute Impression Rating: [*][*][*][ ][ ]

Cool design - good content.


Absolute Impression Rating: [*][*][*][*][ ]

I believe this site speaks for itself.

Chinese Tea For You

Absolute Impression Rating: [*][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Not much content and looks a little cheesy - has a nice little blurb.

Body Building.com

Absolute Impression Rating: [*][*][ ][ ][ ]

Different perspective - too much into marketing its product.

Adagio Teas

Absolute Impression Rating: [*][*][ ][ ][ ]

Great pictures with captions and a bit of intro info - all for marketing.

This concludes my oolong tea info list. I hope that the links above lead you to everything you ever wanted to know about this particular tea. I do recommend you try a variety of oolong so that you have a reference when you drink black or green tea. It will definitely help expand your taste bud sensitivity.

Tuesday, March 21

RSS Feeding

I've recently added some RSS feeding links to my sidebar incase you want to add my blog. If you're not quite sure how RSS works or you don't know which site is best for you, follow this link to About.com.

There you will find 10 sites and review on each. They tell the pros and cons of everything, which really helps when deciding on what reader to get. Personally, I chose Newsgator because it looked like a quality reader and the site design is simple, but don't feel you need to get that one as there are many many more that could be better for you.

At the moment I only have a few reader links to chose from, but I plan on adding more in the near future. So if you want to know when a new post is available on my blog please add my rss feed url to your reader.

Monday, March 20

Oolong Mystery Tea

Here it is, the mystery tea revealed at last.

Taiwan High Mountain Tea

(aka Formosa high mountain)

First of all, I must admit that I don't know too much about oolong teas. I believe I've had it one other time and I can't remember what it was or what it tasted like. This time around I won't forget.

When I first opened the plastic baggy and smelled the oolong I was reminded immediately of green tea and white tea. The fragrance had that familiar grassy smell, which is indistinguishable among all three teas. I must admit, the vegetative smell doesn't excite me much.

Moving on to the taste, I would say that High Mountain Oolong...
  • is very similar to the taste of white tea
  • registers a smooth, subtle, almost nonexistent aftertaste
  • has a tangy sweetness
  • contains the slightest bit of tartness
  • leaves your tongue feeling extremely wet
  • quenches your thirst
  • makes your breath fresher (at least to yourself)
These observations are based off some instructions I followed from the website Ten Tea. I'd like to extend a special thank you to Alicia for providing this site to me, otherwise I would have no idea where to start.

I followed the instructions exactly and as a result got a weaker tasting tea. I think I might have let the water cool down too much. Anyway, the cool thing with oolong tea is that you can rebrew it over again just like green and white tea, which is exactly what I did. This next time around the tea was definitely more potent and I could taste its fullness after it cooled down a little bit.

The way I did it the second time was to bring the water to a boil and immediately pour it over the leaves instead of letting it cool down to the suggested temperature. I also left the leaves to steep for 5 minutes, which is about the maximum you should allow.

This is the color it turned out as.

Something else that was interesting about making this tea was how much the leaves unfurled when I steeped them. It was almost as if they exploded out of the strainer and I had trouble getting the leaves out to clean it. This is truly a sign of a high quality tea. Let me show you what I mean.

Here are the loose leaves before they are steeped.

A close up

And now after steeping them twice to a full unfurl they look like this.

The close up.

As you can see, the size after steeping is almost quadruple the original.

Absolute Rating ( * ) ( * ) ( ) ( ) ( )

This tea receives such a low rating because of how disappointed I was at my hyped up experience. I expected oolong to taste more so on the black tea side rather than the green tea. Perhaps it is just this fine, and really expensive tea that tastes like green tea. The Chinese love it and consider it the best, but I tend to have a palette developed more so to India teas and the flavors that the British like.

From the texture of the drink I could tell that this was a delicate leaf made with great care and pride. There is no doubt that Taiwan makes excellent Oolong High Mountain tea, but alas, it is not for me. I think this flavor might serve my tongue better during the summer as an iced tea.

Suggested Brewing Method

Directions are located at Ten Tea.

This one has me stumped a bit, as my first attempt didn't turn out so well. The only advice I have is to follow this sites instructions and play with the formula a bit. As always, use filtered water and a proper teaspoon devoted soley to tea. Some advice I would change from the sites instruction is to use boiling water and don't worry about the temperature - just make sure it is hot.

Sunday, March 19

Mystery Tea

There is this tea sitting in a baggie on top of my fridge. It's not the best way to store tea, but I don't know what else to do with it. I got it as a gift and all I was told is that it is not green tea.

So what is it?

I'm guessing it's an oolong tea because I was told that it is an expencive tea from Taiwan, and me knowing tea concluded that it had to be something that Taiwan does well. Since Taiwans best tea export is oolong tea, I have no doubt that that is what it is.

I really wanted to do a review piece on it, but I'm not exactly sure how to brew it. Oolong tea is that in-between tea, which is neither a black tea, nor a green tea. I don't want to waste such a prized tea by random experimentation so I think some research is in order.

I think it will be fun to describe it and see if I can identify exactly what flavor it is. Kind of like putting my taste buds to the test. I'm actually more affraid that I won't like it. That's probably why I'm making this post - delaying or procrastinating the event. Well there is that and the fact that I just ran out of time today to do anything I really wanted to do, but that's another story.

So I can guarantee that the next tea I'll review will be this mystery tea. Oooooo.... exciting isn't it? What I can't guarantee is that I'll know what it is so this will be interesting - stay tuned.

Saturday, March 18

A One Post Week

This week was spring break for me so as you can imagine I didn't find time to post. Therefore, this will be the only post of the week. I want to use this time to add to something I forgot to talk about with the Rooibos tea.

The Best Way to Enjoy Rooibos

When I was giving instructions on how to brew Green Rooibos Oasis there was something very important I left out. How you should best enjoy the tea.

For starters, pipping hot tea contains very little flavor. This is true for most, if not all hot beverages. So after you pour yourself a cup be sure to let it cool down to a lukewarm temperature. It allows the taste buds on your tongue to be more responsive and not recoiling from scorching water.

Next comes what you can put into the drink to add flavor. I'd recommend putting nothing in this tea the first time you taste it so you can appreciate its natural sweetness and all the other little nuances within. If however, this is your second or umpteenth time trying it and you must add something, then I suggest honey. It has the ability to sweeten your drink without overpowering it. This can happen if you add too much cane sugar.

Just about anything will mix well with this drink such as lemon and milk depending on what kind of a consistency you want. Personally, I have a bit of a sweet tooth and need sugar, but I hate ruining the drinks' subtle flavors. How I avoid this is using a special sugar called crystal sugar or rock sugar. You can find it here.

If you're wondering, no I don't get anything special for plugging products. By all means, if you find it somewhere else cheaper get it there.

Saturday, March 11

Some Poetic Thought for your Red Bush Brew

The creative writing this week does not come from me. It comes from a man who writes poetry like I've never experienced before. It is for this reason that I am including it with the Roobos tea week.

Charles Bukowski is the mans name. The poem I am presenting to you is both shocking and wonderful and I absolutely love it - kind of like rooibos teas.

The use of dialoge in poetry is something that is hard to control. Bukowski makes it look easy and to showcase that I have this poem for you...

(It's a bit long, but it's worth the read.)

fire station

(for Jane, with love)

we came out of the bar
because we were out of money
but we had a couple of wine bottles
in the room.

it was about 4 in the afternoon
and we passed a fire station
and she started to go

"a FIRE STATION! oh, I just love
FIRE engines, they're so red and
all! let's go in!"

I followed her on
in. "FIRE ENGINES!" she screamed
wobbling her big

she was already trying to climb into
one, pulling her skirt up to her
waist, trying to jacknife up into the

"here, here, lemme help ya!" a fireman ran

another fireman walked up to
me: "our citizens are always welcome,"
he told

the other guy was up in the seat with
her. "you got one of those big THINGS?"
she asked him. "oh, hahaha!, I mean one of
those big HELMETS!"

"I've got a big helmet, too" he told

"oh, hahaha!"

"you play cards?" I asked my
fireman. I had 43 cents and nothing but

"come in back," he
said. "of course, we don't gamble.
it's against the

"I understand," I told

I had run my 43 cents up to a
dollar ninety
when I saw her going upstairs with
her fireman.

"he's gonna show me their sleeping
quarters," she told

"I understand," I told

when her fireman slid down the pole
ten minutes later
I nodded him

"that'll be 5

"5 dollars for

"we wouldn't want a scandal, would
we? we both might lose our
jobs. of course, I'm not

he gave me the

"sit down, you might get it

whatcha playing?"

"gambling's against the

"anything interesting is, besides,
you see any money on the
he sat down.

that made 5 of

"how was it Harry?" somebody asked

"not bad, not

the other guy went on

they were bad players really.
they didn't bother to memorize the
deck. they didn't know whether the
high numbers or low numbers were left. and basically they hit too high,
didn't hold low

when the other guy came down
he gave me a

"how was it, Marty?"
"not bad. she's got . . . some fine

"hit me!" I said. "nice clean girl, I
ride it myself."

nobody said

"any big fires lately?" I

"naw. nothin'

"you guys need
exercise. hit me

a big red-headed kid who had been shining an
threw down his rag and
went upstairs.

when he came down he threw me a

when the 4th guy came down I gave him
3 fives for a

I don't know how many firemen
were in the building or where they
were. I figured a few had slipped by me
but I was a good

it was getting dark outside
when the alarm

they started running around.
guys came sliding down the

then she came sliding down the
pole. she was good with the
pole. a real woman. nothing but guts

"let's go," I told

she stood there waving goodbye to the
firemen but they didn't seem
much interested
any more.

"let's go back to the
bar," I told

"ooh, you got

"I found some I didn't know I
had. . ."

we sat at the end of the bar
with whiskey and beer
"I sure got a good

"sure, baby, you need your

"look at that sailor looking at me!
he must think I'm a ...a ..."

"naw, he don't think that. relax, you've got
class. real class. sometimes you remind me of an
opera singer. you know, one of those prima d's.
your class shows all over
you. drink

I ordered 2

"you know, daddy, you're the only man I
LOVE! I mean, really...LOVE! ya

"sure I know. sometimes I think I am a king
in spite of myself."

"yeah. yeah. that's what I mean, somethin' like

I had to go to the urinal. when I came back
the sailor was sitting in my
seat. she had her leg up against his and
he was talking.

I walked over and got in a dart game with
Harry the Horse and the corner

Friday, March 10

A Jumpin' Stomach with the Roo

If my last post wasn't convincing enough that Rooibos tea can heal your stomach then you must be the type of person that demands credible proof, and I applaud you for it. I don't think it would be wise for me to rant about how great this tea is and how magical and yadda yadda... so instead I'll do what is more practical while trying to keep my positive bias under raps. Here goes...

Every site listed below contains information about rooibos health and somewhere within the sites you should find at least one thing about how it helps stomachs. All percentages are based on my own perceptions and are in no way affiliated with statistical data.

African Tea

This site is new to me but after examining it further, it appears legitamate.
Credibility rating: 50%

Intaba Teas of Africa

Another never-before-seen site, but it seems to have a smaller sales bias.
Credibility rating: 55%


I frequent this site quite often and trust it more than most places on the web.
Credibility rating: 85%

Savannah Imports

I've been to this once a long time ago, but I feel it has too much hype.
Credibility rating: 50%

Health 24

I've heard of this site and have visited it once or twice and find it to have good info.
Credibility rating: 80%

Rooibos Ltd.

This is one of those first time visit sites, but I trust the Canadians to provide factual info, and their site appears to have conguent info with other respectable sites I've visited.
Credibility rating: 65%

If you can't find anything within all these sites to convince you (at least a little bit) that rooibos tea contains something healthy, then I would really like to know why. If nothing else it should give you a reason to try it once.

Thursday, March 9

My Assembled Rooibos History

I thought I was going to have more to say on the subject of Rooibos, but there is just so much to say and so many better places to get that information. Instead, I think I'll just throw some links together that do a good job of providing history and background information on rooibos tea. Happy clicking.

Teas Etc.

This is a great site if you don't want to waste time learning the basics of Rooibos history. The site is set up with info bulleted under subtitles to find what you want to know fast.

I can't say I trust this site 100%, but what it has to say is pretty much correct from what I already know.

It also doesn't go into too much depth on some of the topics and leaves a lot unsaid; however, for someone who knows nothing about Rooibos tea, this is a good place to start.


I believe this site speaks for itself, as far as quality goes. It is no different under the rooibos section either.

The strengths of this site are in the levels of detail and hard to find information that is contained. As well, there are many links to other resources to back up everything that is said, and this increases the sites trustworthiness.

A down side to Wikipedia in giving the history of rooibos is the lack of variety in subjects. It would appear from the amount of content that all areas are covered, but this is not the case. The site too frequently elaborates on scientific details that are not interesting have too high of a technical aspect to actually use the information. Overall, this is a great place to stop if you want to get to the roots of detail and have it all be credible.

There are plenty of other sites out there that can tell you a thing or two about Rooibos teas, but why waste your time with that when you could just buy some yourself and find out all you need to know. I always recommend getting your tea from tea shops if you are new to tea as they can give you advice on how to make it and other recommendations, but if your looking for variety and a really cheap price, then I suggest you look here...

Special Teas

This place has a huge selection of rooibos teas, and will tell you a little about each tea when you click on a flavor. Their prices are very competitive as well.

If you search the site a little deeper you can also find their suggested brewing methods and other bits about how to make your tea taste even better.

Adagio Teas

Here is another excellent site that uses images and color very well. The selection is fairly big compared to most places and you can find all sorts of side information on rooibos tea.

Prices on this site run a tad higher than most, but the quality of the tea they suppliy more than makes up for it. They also guarantee freshness with every order.

My History With Rooibos

About 3 or 4 years ago I was vacationing in California and eating at many different restaurants, and generally enjoying a life of eating anything and everything. Well, sometime early on in that trip my stomach became extremely volatile and sensitive to all sorts of foods, but namely milk products. For a two years food would never be the same.

I couldn't eat many of things I loved. My diet changed radically to appease that pinging pain I always felt in the gut. It was torture. I felt like I was condemned to eating bread and water the rest of my life, so I went searching for something. Something different. Something that I could eat without feeling a pain in the gut.

I started with beverages, mostly because I wanted a replacement for hot chocolate, because I was craving it like mad. Coffee was close, but I needed a sweeter taste, a taste that would make me forget the chocolately sweetness of cocoa and sugar. So I looked into the world of exotic teas and what I found was rooibos. Green Rooibos Oasis that is. Just the name alone had me intrigued and I had to try it.

If you want to know how much I enjoyed it I recommend reading my last post.

From that point on I was hooked. I tried more and more combinations and I branched out into other types of tea. Even today I'm still taken by how good this type of tea tastes and I could smell those loose leaves forever.

Something else to note from all of this is how my stomach changed again. In the beginning the weirdest thing was developing lactose intollerance out of the blue, but I guess it happens all the time. Well, something even weirder, after drinking tea for a year straight I noticed that I could eat more and more food with out problems and had less intollerance to milk. It was great.

I can't say for sure that it was tea alone that did it or if it was time itself. I also think going to Mexico, getting sick, and taking some ciprofloxacin helpped out more. The tequila also seemed to be a miracle healer. Either way, I credit the discovery of this tea as my cure for my stomach problem. I still can't eat large quantities of milk products and ice cream is out of the question, but there is no more hurt, and that's all that counts.

So if there ever was a question on why I like tea so much now you know.

Wednesday, March 8

The Best Tea in the World

I've been waiting to talk about this tea since I first started this weblog. It is my favorite tea in the whole world, but there is just one problem. It isn't really a "true tea" so-to-speak. On the other hand, it isn't really a herbal concoction either.

So what is it then? Well, for starters it's a plant grown in South Africa that the locals call the Red Bush, but it's more commonly known as Rooibos.

There almost isn't a flavor you can't find within rooibos mixtures. From chocolate to fruit, and mint to almond you can have all assortments of flavors. Even plain, this drink is one of the best there is in the tea markets.

So I'd like to present to you the special blend that made me appreciate tea and respect it as a drink.

Green Rooibos Oasis

Image from Special Teas

Oo la la, this is one great tasting tea. It's absolutely brilliant with its natural sweetness and the fruity explosion that happens in your mouth. The ingredients that make up this tea include: orange peels, strawberry bits, peach bits, sunflower blossoms and cornflowers. If I haven't said it enough already, this is one superb combination of a tea.

Before I get into the specific taste of this tea, I'd like to talk about the name of this tea, as it is known to have a few different names depending on who you buy it from. This particular tea is from the company Special Teas. The common denominator of the name is Green, which has a good reason too. It defines which blend of rooibos you are getting, as regular rooibos is the oxidized version and green rooibos is non-oxidized; kind of like white tea vs. Black tea, but enough of that. Lets move on to the good stuff - describing the taste of Green Rooibos Oasis.

I would say that this tea...
  • is refreshing cold or hot
  • has a brisk fruity body
  • is smooth and sweet
  • contains completely rounded depths of flavor
  • creates a rich ambiance on the tongue
  • has the most pleasant aroma around, comparable to potent flowers
  • should be ranked among the finest teas in the world
The color of Green Rooibos Oasis is a slightly orangeish red. So now you should be glad I told you why this drink is called Green Rooibos, otherwise you might have been confused by this information. The actual color comes from the other ingredients like the orange peels and strawberry bits. If it had been just green rooibos the color would look very similar to a green tea.

Image from Special Teas

Something else to keep in mind with this tea is that because it comes from a completely different plant, it contains zero caffeine. Not only that, but rooibos also doesn't have any tannins in it, which is something very important when it comes to brewing - a good thing.

If you can't wait until tomorrow when I'll be posting more specific information on Rooibos teas you can check out wikipedia, as it has many good links.

Absolute Rating: ( * ) ( * ) ( * ) ( * ) ( * )

I think it's quite obvious why I gave this tea a full 5 stars - I'm completely biased. Okay, that's not all true. After making this tea for many different types of people including my tea club participants, family, and friends, not a single person didn't love it. I think that says something in-and-of-itself without my pedestal pushing. There really isn't a single thing I can find to fault this tea other than that it isn't a true tea. I mean, it has no caffeine, is naturally sweet, is incredibly easy to brew, tastes spectacular, and if you make it hot and it gets cold there is no consequence to its flavor.

This is a must try tea. If you've never had a good loose leaf tea or are trying loose leaf tea for the first time you would be silly not to try Green Rooibos Oasis. It's simply the best.

Suggested Brewing Method

By far, the rooibos teas are the easiest to make. They require little attention with there fire and forget process. With Green Rooibos Oasis especially, you have lots of room to work with. So relax and enjoy the pleasing, fragrant aromas this beauty of a tea emits while you loosely follow these instructions.

~What You Will Need~

  1. One ounce of loose leaf, Green Rooibos Oasis tea
  2. A 4-6 cup teapot with a large strainer (1 cup = 6 ounces)
  3. Teaspoon devoted to tea
  4. Automatic shut-off boiler
  5. Purified water
  6. A clock
  7. Something to do for 10 minutes


  1. Fill boiler with filtered water and start to boil
  2. Rinse teapot with hot water until warm
  3. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of loose leaf tea for every 1 cup of tea
  4. Let steep for 5-10 minutes or longer
  5. Remove strainer and loose tea
  6. Drink up and wet yourself with joy
From these directions you should be able to make a fine tasting tea. Even if you totally screw them up, there is a good chance you tea is still going to taste great. This is one of best features of Green Rooibos Oasis - the room for error. Let's say that while you're steeping your tea you forget about it while watching TV because you really got into the show (I've seen it happen). Now the next time you check your tea 15 minutes have gone by - don't panic. There aren't any tannins in rooibos to make your drink get bitter so in theory you could leave your tea steep all day. I don't necessarily recommend this because you lose some freshness, but hey, anything that takes the pressure off right?

I hope I didn't raise the expectations too high for you.

Sunday, March 5

Content Update: New Directions

If you have been following this blog you probably have noticed slight changes in content. I'm just letting you know that it's not by accedent.

I'm trying to get away from the formal aspect of delivering information on tea and attempting to provide a more personal account. I think it will add that something that is missing from this blog. I realize that there are many sites out there devoted to tea and that they are just not that interesting to visit on a daily basis - because they are all fact. I don't want to be all facts here at Absolut Tea, as I want to put more "emotion" behind my words.

There is that, and then there is the fact that I am big into creative writing. I would like to showcase more poetry and maybe even some fictional stories. Also, I have a flare for the visual arts and I plan on incorporating some photos (I just bought a new camera) into this blog.

I expect these changes to add a new level to discussing tea and make it more of an intimate expos'e of my perspective and knowledge of tea. If anyone would like to give me some feedback on this feel free. You can complain that you want me to keep doing what I have been, encourage my new adaptations, or tell me I'm way too obsessed with tea and should fall off the face of the planet. Or you could say nothing and I'll take the silence as acceptance that I'm on the right track in making this blog more tea-rific.

Friday, March 3

White Poetry

The last few days of winter are at hand and spring is on its way. So to honor this limbo time I'd like to pay tribute to a color that symbolizes this time of year - white. So to do that grab your white tea, put on your toga, and light an unscented candle while you read this poem.

About this poem: I wrote this a while back some 6 or 7 years ago and I recently did some heavy revising. The previous version contained more teen angst so I tried taking some of that out while preserving the original message.

Extended Season

If you don't mind
I'd like to say something
A little about myself
That is if you have time

It was around now
Many years ago since things began
Yes, it involves a girl
Perhaps as deceitful as eve
Satan wrapped satin

A tease while being naive
Bruising hearts
Experience as excuse
But my life has not ended

Many more years to go
Every winter has less snow
And the rain is gold
So when April weeps
I'll be laughing tears

Ha to your dreams
Ha to the day
Night is brighter
Because she's not there

When this is true
The moon will never sing
Choruses tainted blue
And I'll taste glory

Rising pinkish hue

Wednesday, March 1

White Tea = White Teeth

Drinking tea is healthy.

“No kidding Sherlock,” is what I hear you saying. I’m sure that in some way, society has managed to slip this basic knowledge into your mind, but how did it do it? Was it from your mother who drank it when she was feeling under the weather or down right sick? Did you see an article in some magazine or news paper that promoted tea? Were you reading the labels on your Lipton drinks?

Many false rumors have been carried on this way with tea. From ignorance to trying to get you to buy a product, people will tell you what you want to hear.

This is something to be thinking about as you analyze health information on tea. There are many unsubstantiated claims to the health benefits of tea and I don’t want to add to that pile. So please, check the facts and don’t believe everything you read with tea health sites.

I try to discriminate as much as I can when I’m finding informational websites to link to, but even then only trust 70% of what they say. I feel I have to say this because no one else seems care; they’re too much into hyping tea up so people buy more. Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way I think I can safely go ahead and throw some health info out there about white tea.

Healthy White Tea: What I Gathered

The biggest or most popular claim with white tea has been that it can help whiten your teeth. This claim is not because the tea is called white tea either, it comes from a study by Pace University, where they analyzed a substance called white tea extract.

I’ve followed the news about this claim for awhile now and it appears to have some truth to it; however, as far as white tea being better than any other tea for improving your teeth – inconclusive.

The real reason that white tea is touted more so than the other teas for teeth is because of its light color. Why would this make a difference? Well, because black and oolong teas are believed to stain your teeth over time due to the tannins that they contain. White tea doesn’t contain these high levels of tannins and thus will be a complete tooth improvement package.

A good site that talks about all of this and more can be found at drweil.com.

As well, more information (slightly biased but very detailed) on what stains teeth can be found here.

My Absolute

If there was one thing I’d like you to know about what makes white tea so healthy it is this: white tea contains more antioxidants than green tea because it has almost zero processing. That’s it. Use the information how you like.

If this doesn't do it for you then check this site out to dig more into the subject.