Saturday, October 27, 2018

Exploring the Asheville Goods "High Tea" Gift Box

I wrote an earlier blog post about the Asheville Goods “High Tea” Gift Box to give you an idea of what makes up this carefully curated collection.  Now, I will open up the packages and tins, have a taste of these teas and goods, and share the experience with you.

The teas in this gift box collection are selected to carry you through the day. If you follow my way of doing things, you will begin your morning with the brisk black Rwandan tea from TimaTea.  You will drink Dobra Tea’s green tea as a gentle afternoon pick me up, and then wind up your day with the soothing tisane from Asheville Tea Company.

First let’s talk about how to brew these loose teas.  Using the cute infuser which is enclosed in this gift box (pictured above) you will want to follow the brewing instructions on each tea package as your starting point for knowing how much of the loose tea to use and how long to infuse it in order  to brew a cup of tea.   

I drink a great deal of tea, so I generally brew my tea by the pot rather than the cup.  For a pot of tea, you will want to calculate out how much dry loose tea to use depending upon the size (cup capacity) of your tea pot. I use a tea pot with a built in infuser basket.  If you do not have this type of tea pot, you could use paper infuser bags such as those pictured above.  They work great.

Now, I want assure you that you are always free to experiment with both the amount of loose tea and the brewing time used to find the combination which suits your taste.  The suggestions on the packages are just a starting point.  So experiment and really taste your tea.  Each of these teas is a high quality tea that you will no doubt enjoy.  So if the first cup is not to your liking, experiment!

If you enjoy a sweetener in your tea, try the delicious wildflower honey from Mikell’s Farm which is included in the gift box. And if you enjoy a sweet something to eat with your tea, you will certainly love the lavender shortbread cookies made by Asheville’s Ivory Road Café& Kitchen.  The cookies freeze beautifully, so if you do not plan to eat them within a few weeks of purchase, pop them in the freezer to maintain their delicious, lavender-enhanced buttery flavor.

I drink a pot of black tea every morning with my breakfast.  This morning I brewed the black tea from Tima Tea of 3 Mountains which worked for me as a great morning wake up! This medium-bodied brew is slightly astringent and carries a distinct flavor profile which Tima Tea describes as being the flavor of the Rwandan terroir.  I like a fairly strong brew in the morning, so I steeped this tea for 5 minutes rather than that recommended 3.5 minutes.  Even with my  slightly longer than recommended brew time the tea did not taste bitter to me.  I look forward to enjoying this tea again with my morning meal.

The Green tea from Dobra Tea hails from the Yunnan province in China.  I find green teas to be a little less forgiving when it comes to modifying brew time because they can become quite bitter if over brewed. So I would definitely start with the 1 minute brew time recommended for this tea.

I brewed today’s afternoon green tea, called “Dian Lu Eshan” as directed.  I used the small pot and cup combination that had been given to me by a Chinese friend of my daughter. This small pot is perfect for brewing teas which call for multiple infusions with short brew times.  If you do not have your own small teapot, do not worry. The infuser included with this gift box will be perfect for brewing this tea one cup at a time.

Once brewed, this tea is light and fresh in body and flavor.  And because you can brew multiple infusions from the same leaves, which is to say that you can pour hot water over the same wet leaves time and time again, this tea will go a long way.

At the end of a long and busy day, the relaxing properties of the Lavender Chamomile tisane from Asheville TeaCompany are just what is called for.  This naturally caffeine-free blend, with its light body and slightly sweet flavor, is the perfect addition to your evening routine.

You can brew this herbal blend for as long as you like.  It does not get bitter with an extended brewing time. (This is a useful note for the forgetful ones among us.) I brew this blend for 5 minutes before drinking, but that is not mandatory.

So today I enjoyed the full range of items offered in the Asheville Goods “High Tea” gift box.  I recommend this collection as a gift for yourself or for any tea lover in your life.

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© my tea diary
Maira Gall