Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Ducky

Abandoned ducklings raised in a teacup!

Baby ducks, washed out to sea, rescued by a passing canoeist and nursed back to health IN A TEACUP.

Sweet Christmas, look at that! That is the cutest thing I have ever seen, ever. Those of you with too many teacups (like me) should clearly consider alternate uses. Like baby duck-raising.

(via Cute Overload)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Review: Lupicia Cherry & Peach

It's possible that I'm a huge jerk, because I have to tell you, I'm really excited to be doing a negative review for once. Normally when I don't like tea I just quietly don't write about it, but I'm always saying such nice things about Lupicia that I feel I can justify saying that this tea is awful.

Complaint #1: Lupicia has open tins around their stores for prospective buyers to take a whiff of their teas before buying them. This is clearly not a service I utilized, because this tea smells exactly like cough syrup.

Complaint #2: The tea itself is an inoffensive, if artificial, cherry flavor, but possesses a sharp, coppery, medicinal aftertaste. I don't want to compare it to cough syrup again, so I'll say it's really more like a cough drop. The menthol-eucalyptus ones. Without any of the benefits.

Overall: A half star, because zero stars is reserved for the truly undrinkable, and I drank all 50g of this. Why, I can't tell you. Possibly because I'm cheap and refused to waste the five bucks it cost.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Australians love teabagging

An op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald decries the state of Australian tea culture. Apparently Australia is full of foodies, but few carry their standards through to tea. The author seems particularly horrified by the prevalence of tea bags over loose tea:
The tea inside the bag has been pulverised so it instantly colours the hot water. You jiggle a little, using much the same motion as a gentleman rearranging his testicles, and then sup the bland result. There's not much flavour, and hardly any of the deeply restorative aroma that comes with properly brewed tea.
Australia, you may not have access to a wide variety of fresh leaf teas in the grocery stores, but at least you have teabagging jokes in your mainstream media.

Any Australians have thoughts on the matter?

Friday, July 13, 2007

SuperNaturale has an excellent basic intro to tea, for those of you looking for a good place to direct confused friends and relatives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review: Lupicia Yuzu

When I was teaching in Japan, one of the types of lessons our more advanced students had was to read articles in English and then discuss them. Frequently, these articles - generally from English-language newspapers in Japan - brought up interesting cultural differences between Japan and the west that made for great discussion topics.

The article on yuzu was not one of these articles. See, though not very well known in the US and Europe, yuzu are pretty common in Japan. So to these students, it was kind of like if an advanced Spanish class in America had you read an article about how "Apples are a very popular fruit. They come in many colors, from red to green to yellow!" Every time one of us taught this lesson, the student was like, "I'm paying how much to read this?" (also worth noting: advanced students take lots of lessons, so we often went through this several times a day)

But I never actually tried yuzu. If there's any incentive not to experiment with food, it's Japanese produce prices. The 100yen candy at the convenience store was cultural immersion enough for me, thanks.

So the funny thing is, this tea tasted exactly like how I imagined yuzu would taste, based entirely on that crappy article and my students' descriptions. And since according to most of my students yuzu do not make good eating, this is not a positive thing.

Overall: 2.5 stars. Bitter and unremarkable, and if you can buy Lupicia you can probably find a market selling yuzu, if you're really curious how it tastes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cooking with tea (sort of)

There's a Show Us Your Apron event at Lucullian Delights, and since I rarely get to participate in cool foodblog memes (the price of specialization) I jumped at the chance to show off my favorite apron:

It combines my love of tea, my love of dinosaurs (or at least Dinosaur Comics) and my love of bad puns. The drawback is that I hardly ever use it because I'm afraid it'll get stained. Who decided a white apron was a good idea anyways?

He is really enjoying that tea!
From the Natural History Museum, London.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A different kind of flower pot

Isn't this pretty? June was outdoor home month at Apartment Therapy: NYC, and this detail from an apartment in Romania struck me as a charming way to use an extra teapot. Extra points for getting it to grow through the spout.

Of course, while teapots have long been recognized as good alternatives to traditional flower pots, tea cups are generally too small for planting. Fortunately, San Francisco Apartment Therapy found a solution in the form of a teacup planter. According to the site,
while Gitta's Plant Cup planter could probably hold a gallon or two of English Breakfast tea, we think you're better off filling it daisies or tulips.
I can't say I endorse that conclusion.