Tag: tea blending

Plant Rant: Gunpowder Green Tea

Gunpowder Green Tea

Hello, friends! Welcome back to the blog! Today’s gonna be another Plant Rant day. The next plant in the line of fire is Camellia sinensis, or tea bush, specifically prepared as gunpowder green tea. Before the rant begins, allow me to provide a bit of background. This quote from dominiontea.com will explain it better than I can. 

“Gunpowder tea (also called Zhu Cha) is believed to have been first produced during the Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.) in Zhejiang provenience of China. The withered and steamed green tea leaves were balled by hand into small pellets before being dried. Its English name came from its appearance as the tea pellets after drying look like shiny greenish-black pellets, much like gunpowder.” – Dominion Tea

Upon hearing that I wanted to buy gunpowder green tea, my gun and explosion enthusiast husband replied “I like gunpowder”. I told him that it was tea and I think he was disappointed. I don’t think I will be disappointed, though. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea, but I have ideas for how to make it work… 

First Impressions

My first experience with gunpowder green tea was in 2017 when I spent far too much money on some mint + gunpowder green tea from Teavana in Salt Lake City. I really enjoyed it. It was my first enjoyable experience with green tea that wasn’t matcha. (I have been known to slurp down matcha fraps like nobody’s business. Starbucks makes the best.) 

I am rarely a fan of green tea on its own, no matter how many times I try it. It leaves a bad aftertaste unless I put so much honey in it that it almost becomes green tea syrup. That mint + gunpowder tea was really nice, though, and I remembered that as I sort of lost control of my life and bought a pound of gunpowder green tea for myself yesterday. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it, so that’s why I say I’ve lost control of my life. The total was a little under $30 including shipping, which isn’t terrible for something that should last me quite a while. The mission here is to find a blend that I will enjoy regularly even though I’m picky about green tea. 

Green Tea’s Benefits

I know green tea has several benefits, including caffeine. I’m a little scared to have this much caffeine within my grasp. I am a caffeine addict to the point where Mountain Dew does nothing for me anymore, even if I drink a liter of it in one sitting. We all know that is not healthy. I really should be reducing my caffeine intake to begin with. Going lower-carb has really helped with my energy levels, though. 

I also feel better in general as I eat fewer carbs. My hives are beginning to retreat and I feel better about life than I would if I were gorging myself on pasta every other minute. I’m down to about three small cups of coffee a day, sometimes a bit more. It’s far better than needing 5 or 6 huge ones like I used to. I can see myself leaving coffee behind someday in favor of tea, herbal or otherwise. 

Drinking herbal tea also helps when my chest gets tight from allergies. I call that chest tightness the Stick because it feels like there’s a stick in my throat when it comes around. I love the feeling of drinking hot tea when the Stick comes around. I wonder if the green tea will have the same effect. 

Emotional Regulation

I feel guilty for buying the tea in a way because I wanted to only work with herbals for a long time. I wanted to quit caffeine because I knew it was hurting me. I made it caffeine free for about a month before becoming very sad for long periods of time. It turns out that caffeine helps me regulate my emotions. 

I know that’s not the healthiest way to do things, but as I am becoming healthier, I feel better all around without as much caffeine. I’ve been having fewer sad days. Sometimes I still do have sad days, but they’re largely due to things happening mostly outside of my control. It’s awesome to see the sadness going away for the most part. Someday I’ll be able to regulate my emotions without caffeine. 

The Caffeine Queen

Speaking of caffeine, I don’t know if the tea will do a ton for me as far as that goes, but I look forward to finding a blend that’s actually tasty. If I manage that, I may drink enough to actually be wired. That would be a good time. Combine that with eating fewer carbs and I may have enough energy to get me through the day without wanting to nap, even if I am sad.

I’m actually writing this while caffeinated. They don’t call me the Caffeine Queen for nothing. Tea gives me a different sort of boost that’s softer, while coffee of any sort shoots me straight into the stratosphere. That’s another reason I’m excited to try this tea and blend with it. Soft caffeine would be nice for a change, especially as I’m gaining more energy. 

The Question of Blends

I know that jasmine and mint go really well with green tea, but I really want to try hibiscus and mint with it. The problem with this is that I’m currently out of hibiscus and running low on mint. This is unfortunate. I’ll grab more hibiscus next month. I want to only buy one herb or tea per month just so I don’t go crazy buying herbs. I have a bad herb problem, we all know that! I also want to blend it with lavender. It would be awesome to swap the chamomile for the gunpowder green in Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea to make an It’s Alive! tea. The idea of lavender, green tea, mint, and lemongrass sounds delightful. I might throw in some anise, as well. It could be cool to blend it with spices, too. 

Do you like green tea? What’s your favorite blend? Let me know in the comments! Stay cool!

-E

What’s Cooking? A Look Into My Kitchen

Hello, all! I have been very busy today and yesterday. I went to an herb store yesterday evening and the lady who runs it was super cool! She found all the herbs on my list and I walked out of there a happy customer. She even had vervain and agrimony! I was very impressed. She also had valerian root. Valerian root is a jerk to blend with. I blended it with jasmine, chamomile, lemon peel, lemongrass, and honeysuckle, and still the valerian was a jerk and overpowered everything. It did do its job and knock me out cold for the night, though. Kudos to valerian root. I wondered what I would do with all of these neat supplies today. I also went grocery shopping yesterday, so it’s been a busy day cooking and brewing tea. What exactly is cooking today? Let’s take a look!

Codfish For Lunch

What's cooking? Cod is...or was.

This beautiful mess is a Mediterranean codfish dish (say that 10 times fast!!) that contains asparagus, a whole leek, a whole onion, about a cup of olives, two tomatoes, olive OIL, a whole stick of butter, and more. My husband liked it and asked for a refill. He doesn’t normally eat a lot of food in one sitting in general, so asking for a refill is something very rare. It’s a high compliment! He also didn’t add additional salt, which blew my mind. He refers to himself as the Salt Lord, so seeing the Salt Lord eat a thing and not need more salt…dang. I’m impressed with myself. I really am good at cooking!

It was very easy to make and I didn’t hurt myself making it. Opening the asparagus can was a little tricky. Thank goodness my husband is here today or else I would not have been able to open it. Once the blasted can was open, everything else went smoothly. 

It took about 20 minutes to bake the dish and it was worth every minute. I was super hungry while I waited for it to bake, but I stayed strong and didn’t give in to my hunger. It was worth it!

It tasted super fresh and was delightful. The onion slices were too big, though, which threw off the balance a little bit. They did, however, absorb a lot of the butter and olive juice. It was  super nice and was probably that poor onion’s saving grace here. It was a big hit!

Taste the Herbs: Today’s Tea Making

Before all of the cod shenanigans, I made two slightly different pots of tea. A friend of mine loves hibiscus in her tea but is allergic to citrus. I took it as a challenge to make her some hibiscus tea without citrus. The blend I ended up liking the most contained hibiscus, cinnamon, lemongrass, allspice, and a tiny bit of peppermint. The first round was slightly more tart with a cinnamon finish and the second one had more pepperminty roundness, probably because I added more peppermint. My synesthesia loved it. 

I’m super pleased with how all of these turned out. Here’s a picture of the blend so far:

She should get her blend tonight or tomorrow. I’m excited to see what she thinks!

Stay tuned for more!

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Like Swallowing Fire: Special Edition Tea Making Post

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Hello, friends! I have created this very special special edition of Order In Discord to discuss something very important – swallowing fire.

If you’ve hung around here for a while, you might remember my ginger + turmeric + red pepper anti-inflammatory potion. Ever since making it that one night, I have wanted to make it again. While I was at the grocery store, I found fresh ginger and turmeric. I snatched some up (about 0.6 lbs each), checked out, and headed home.

Eating ginger is like swallowing fire.
Ginger and turmeric roots.

The first task was chopping them up. I was really scared to peel them because I don’t like sharp objects. It took a lot of courage to even cut them.

A bit of a digression here…

Before I picked up the ginger and turmeric, I heard a song that my dad and I both loved – “Walk on the Ocean” by Toad The Wet Sprocket – in the grocery store. I almost started bawling in the middle of the aisle. It’s been a really hard week for me with regards to grief. I think my dad was hanging around last night. My husband was talking to our housemate about how engines work while I worked on last night’s post about the sleepytime tea. Their discussion reminded me of one my dad would have. I thought of that song in the store, last night, and the process of getting over my fear of knives as I cut the ginger and turmeric.

The chopped turmeric.

People have told me that the only way to get over a fear is to face it head on. In the case of knives, I must learn to use a knife if I’m ever going to stop being afraid of them, so I did a courageous thing today and cut the turmeric and ginger up into little pieces.

Stock Pot Tea

After all of the chopping was done, I stuck the pieces in a stock pot and covered them with water. I put the pot on the stove on high heat, stirring it as it came to a boil. I also added 2 cinnamon sticks and a healthy (?) dose of crushed red pepper. I kept stirring as it boiled, and the result was a dark brown liquid. It was incredibly spicy by the time I pulled it off the stove, so spicy that it took 3 cups of whole milk to get the burn to go away at one point.

(Tip for those sensitive to spice: milk is good at getting spicy pain to go away, but butter is better.)

The tea in a mug.

It got less spicy as it cooled, or I got used to it, seeing as I’m on cup #6 of the stuff, I think. I’ve lost count. I still have a long way to go to finish the pot. I want to make this tea when I’m sick because it cleaned out my sinuses! It’s spicier than a lot of hot sauces I’ve tried at restaurants. I’m pretty sure that people who are used to spice would have no problem with it, though.

Like Swallowing Fire

At first I titled this post “Like Swallowing Fire” because I wanted it to have a cool name. After some thought, though, it’s more accurate than I imagined it it would be.

I have been doing a lot of thought about spiritual tests and the nature of grief these last few days. It’s been hard, especially with my dad’s birthday a bit ago. When I’m not writing blog posts, I deal in a lot of imagery because I love to write poetry. I think the image of swallowing fire goes beyond the taste of tea. In my life, I can either swallow the fire and show up to life, or the fire can swallow me. It’s my choice. I’ve been going through a lot of difficult things lately. Like braving the taste of spicy tea, dealing with grief, and cutting turmeric, I can either plunge headlong into hard things or run away from them. The question I must answer is: will this break me?

My answer is no. Absolutely not.

Thank you for reading.

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How To Use Chamomile

How To Use Chamomile - A Tea Blend Guide

Hello, all! If you had a childhood like mine, you had chamomile tea to help you settle down before bed. It is a popular sleep aid and just the tea itself can be very calming! If I ever have little ones running around, I’ll whip up a batch of tea that includes this glorious herb before bed! It will be a staple of my kitchen. Did you know that this herb blends very well with other herbs? This post will walk you through how to use it and what to blend it with.

I love blending chamomile with other herbs. Chamomile is very mild and smooth. It doesn’t have the tanginess of hibiscus or the bite of mint. It blends well with many other herbs. I have tried it with blended with jasmine and blended with lavender, but I’ve found some other interesting recommendations from around the web that I’d like to try. Let’s talk about blends!

Jasmine + Chamomile

This blend is absolutely amazing and smooth. I made it for a friend whom I actually met in a coffee shop and then drank almost all of it myself. The blend is named “Smooth Criminal” because of how smooth and delicious it was. I blended it using a 1:1 ratio. It’s cool that I drank a lot of it, but I’m also sad that my friend didn’t get to try.

Regarding where to get these herbs, I like Frontier Co-op’s selection and quality! I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just like their products. Another awesome thing is that they have free economy shipping on orders over $25. Pick up your jasmine and chamomile here and here.

Adding Lavender to the Mix

Lavender is another calming herb that smells great to most people and helps them chill out. If you like lavender, I highly recommend adding it to your tea blend. It’s got a slightly heavier flavor that I really enjoy. You can also add jasmine again, either by itself or with chamomile. Have fun with it and pick up your lavender here.

Here Be Dragons

Here are some blends that I have yet to try that looked interesting. I found them on the forums at TeaChat.com. Some people suggested pairing it with spearmint, hibiscus, or lemongrass. I personally want to try it with valerian (another sleep aid) for maximum sleep time. I’ll try all of them!

How do you like to blend chamomile, tea fans? Let me know in the comments!

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