Iced Ahmad Tea, Karen Flam, Tea vs. Beer, and Starbucks/Tazo

It was quite hot yesterday and today, and I made up my first batch of iced tea of the season, and I’m drinking the last cup of it, pictured here on my windowsill.  It was raining as I took this pic.

A cup of cloudy iced tea on a windowsill
Iced tea, brewed from Ahmad Tea’s loose-leaf Ceylon tea

This was brewed from the regular loose-leaf ceylon tea from Ahmad Tea.  It came out quite cloudy, and almost pinkish in hue–I found it quite aesthetically pleasing.  I brewed it on the mild side so I could drink it in quantity, but this tea I usually prefer to brew strong when I’m drinking it hot.   If I had to be stuck with a single black tea to drink, this would probably be one of the contenders for my pick.  It certainly helps that it’s priced at around $8 a pound–and this tea offers exceptional quality for this price range.  It tastes good hot or iced, and has a good balance of strength and complexity, with a rich malty quality and the wintergreen tones that I so love in black tea.  You can read my full review on RateTea.

I started thinking about writing a post for Teacology on energy efficiency in brewing iced tea.  RateTea’s page on iced tea has a little section on this, but I want to go into more depth.  So stay tuned for that.

Meeting A New Tea Reviewer: Karen Flam

In other news, I recently met up with Karen Flam, who runs the Aromatherapy Alliance.  Karen, a.k.a. spaflam, started out reviewing teas with a big splash, shooting up to the #5 spot on RateTea’s top reviewers page after only a few weeks.  Will she be the first one to overtake me on the site, in terms of number of teas rated?  I don’t know, but if she continues at the rate that she has been, I won’t be in that #1 spot for very long!

I love meeting up with people in person; most of the people I interact with through RateTea live rather far away, so it’s refreshing to find people local enough that we can meet face-to-face outside of big events like World Tea East.

More on Reviews: Beer vs. Tea

It’ exciting to connect with other people who love reviewing things online.  I dream of a day when RateTea will look like the RateBeer 100 Beer Club.  123 users who have rated over 5000 beers!  Wow!  I wish people would get that excited about tea.  I know I am much more enthusiastic about rating tea than beer, so the disparate level of enthusiasm between tea and beer has been a bit unintuitive to me, especially given that it seems people are much more likely to drink tea than beer when at a computer and in a state of mind where they’re eager to write up an online review.  But as my mother pointed out–“the types of people who like beer are more the types of people who like rating things, like think of the guys who rate women on their looks”.  Ahh…not exactly the most pretty mental picture…but perhaps there’s some truth in it, which would explain both why there’s been a little less interest in tea rating, as well as why my intuition for why there is less interest may be a bit off.

But I’m happy for what I have–RateTea’s participation and the reviews have been steadily growing.

More Reviews

Stay tuned for some new reviews from me.  I’ve been sampling some teas from TeaVivre, and they’re pretty top-notch.  This tea was amazing.  And there are two more that are top-notch.  I want to brew them a bit more before I write up the final reviews, but there’s a Lu An Gua Pian that’s the best example of it’s style that I’ve ever tried, and some other outstanding green teas as well.

Tazo: Tea Bags (Filterbags) vs. Sachets (Full Leaf)

I’ve also begun breaking apart Tazo’s offerings into the tea bags (which they call “filterbags”, awkwardly IMHO) and sachets (which they call “full leaf”, a term I have a bit of beef with)…and I’ve begun reviewing them separately.  Yes, Tazo still offers both of these lines of tea separately, although you’ll only find the “full leaf” sachets in Starbucks coffee shops.  And in case you missed it, Tazo finally did away with their flash-only website.  Check out the new Tazo site.  I love it; I think this is an immense improvement and will go a long way to helping Tazo’s online presence:

Screenshot of the new Tazo website
Tazo finally abandoned their old flash-only website, and has a fully-functional, standard website. Yay!

What do you think?

  • Any thoughts on the beer rating vs. tea rating topic?
  • How do you feel about Tazo’s naming scheme fol their tea bags vs. their sachets?  What about the quality of these teas?  And do you like their new website?

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