Monday, September 30, 2019

Five in September: Freebies to plastic teabags

September, I hardly knew ye!

This month, I scored two free cups of tea.

1) Freebie #1
Bai Hao Yin Zhen is one of the priciest teas at Davids' Tea ($21.99/50g). This white tea had a light and sweet flavour.

2) Freebie #2
Tea at the White House offered free takeaway teas as a September promo. I had the Quangzhou Milk Oolong, while my mom had the Hawaiian Sunset herbal tea.

3) Chatime Bubble Tea (minus the tapioca pearls)
I visited the Chatime Innovation Bar in Yorkdale Mall where we ordered (left to right): 
a) Blue Crystal Coconut - I don't think it actually contained tea, but it looked and tasted good!
b) Royal Blue Tea Latte (blue = blueberry flavour)
c) London Fog - an Earl Grey tea with vanilla and charcoal (!). I guess the charcoal made the beverage looked grey. I enjoyed it.

4) September Sipdown
My tea empties for this month. My co-workers are VERY supportive of this challenge. HA!

5) New Study on Plastic Teabags
Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash
Silky pyramid sachets have grown in popularity because their shapes give tea leaves room to expand. Some sachets are made of plant-based materials (e.g., corn) and biodegradable. But many sachets are made of plastic compounds (e.g., nylon).

Last week, this Canadian study from McGill University was published: Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea. The full scientific article is behind a paywall, but McGill's news release summarizes the study's methods and findings for the general public. The scientists are also interviewed in the CBC article.

Approximately 75% of my tea collection is loose leaf tea. The remaining 25% are either traditional teabags or the pyramid sachets. Fortunately, the majority of the sachets in my collection use plant-based technology. Phew! I can't bear the thought of throwing good tea away so for the sachets that I'm not sure about, maybe I'll remove the tea from their teabag and steep them in a metal infuser.

The BBC article quoted Researcher & First Author Laura Hernandez: "The consumer should avoid plastic packaging, not a specific brand, and definitely not the tea that comes inside," ... "We encourage consumers to choose loose teas that is sold without packaging or other teas that come in paper teabags."

Monday, September 23, 2019

Kicking off pumpkin spice tea season

Happy First Day of Fall!

PSA to my Canadian friends: The holiday teas by Stash and Celestial Seasonings are now available on Bulk Barn.

Bulk Barn also sells loose leaf teas. But the way they store their tea leaves is less than ideal: clear plastic and the container is not air tight (because of the scoops).

I couldn't resist trying their pumpkin spice black tea which included real pumpkin seeds. A sample of 45 g cost less than $2! So I figured that if I didn't like the tea, I can just toss or give it away without worrying about wasting money.

I served the pumpkin spice black tea at last week's pop-up tea at the office. My colleagues and I thought the tea had a pleasant spicy taste, although the pumpkin flavour wasn't very obvious.

I've also been enjoyed Baskin-Robbins' pumpkin pie ice cream.

What's your favourite pumpkin tea or dessert?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Paragon Teacup: Yellow Roses

The teacup that I'm showcasing this week was a gift from a woman that I met at work.

I love yellow so I've always been partial to yellow roses.

This gorgeous teacup was made by Paragon--one of my favourite china companies.

With the autumn season just 1 week away, my teawares in the fall colours are now out on display!

Have you started decorating for the fall?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Chayo Tea's Boba

On Labour Day weekend, I visited Chayo Tea
"Chayo" (Madarin) translates to "Friend" in English.

I've seen Chayo Tea's booths at tea festivals, but this is the first time I've visited their new shop in downtown Burlington.

Inside the tea shop.

I was in the mood for a cold beverage so I ordered the peach bubble tea. Very refreshing!

Last weekend, I tried Donut Monster's Peach Earl Grey fritter. YUM!
I love trying out desserts that feature one of my favourite tea blends!

Monday, September 2, 2019

September Sipdown

How can it be September already?!?

Every Labour Day weekend, we go to "Canada's Largest Ribfest". This year, I was delighted to find The Fresh Tea Shop as one of the vendors. I tried out the cactus fig green tea which was a nice, light tea (and also tasted good iced!).

A friend shared this hilarious 1-minute "When you like tea too much" video with me. It's funny because it's true for this teaholic! 

How many kitchen cabinets do your teas take up? This is a safe space! I've reduced my number to 1.5 cabinets...

I've been trying to drink the teas in my stash before purchasing any new ones. Some Instagram tea lovers call finishing up a tea a "sipdown" and they even do monthly challenges! I don't usually record my sipdowns, but I'll try to track my sipdowns for the last 4 months of the year.

Sept 1 sipdown: the Lemon Coconut Pie black tea.

Have you ever participated in a sipdown challenge?