Greetings, fellow tea lovers. Long time no write...
One of my dogs was diagnosed with a fairly serious disease last month, which of course turned into a very costly and time consuming affair to get her stabilized and on the road to recovery. You can read all about it on her Dogster page (scroll down to "her" diary). What does this have to do with tea? Well, nothing, really - just a justification for the fact that I haven't even really been tasting tea much, even though I drink it daily (two travel mugs daily, in fact). There's been a lot of other things on my mind, frankly.
I did get tea for Christmas though - some of the same Harney & Son's Holiday blend that I was giving out, ironically enough. I also got a Republic of Tea "Spicy Chocolate Mint" which is excellent, and a round tin "tower" of "Gypsy" teas that included a Raspberry Earl Grey (a bit on the light side, but tasty), and green, white and herbal teas I haven't tried yet. I love the tin though, and it will be perfect for seed saving when it's empty.
Which brings me to some issues I've been thinking through with regards to my buying habits. I've been trying to avoid unnecessary plastic lately, partically to be more eco-friendly, and partially to avoid any potentially bad health effects from storing/preparing food in plastic containers. This means that I no longer am content to buy tea in plastic storage bags or containers, even if it happens to be better quality (the irony of that is, better quality tea really "deserves" better quality containers anyways, don't you think?). So I'm now limiting my tea purchases to companies that sell tea in tins, rather than plastic or non-recyclable foil packaging. I would prefer to pay a little more for the tin that can be reused and will eventually rust back into minerals and such than plastic which is here to stay forever (and rarely able to be recycled). Plus, I'm not risking the leaching of chemicals into my tea, and subsequently into my brew (as unlikely as that is, considering we don't generally steep tea in plastic bags).
As you might guess, this has severely limited my tea purchasing. Currently I have Adagio (thier tins have plastic lids, but it is hard plastic, and not really in contact with the tea much), Harney & Son's (always premium), and Republic of Tea (much maligned, but I've always enjoyed their flavored teas) on hand. If anyone out there has recommendations for other companies that sell their tea in tins, please do let me know!
Also, I'm looking for a good travel mug to replace the one I use to take tea back and forth to work with me. Anyone have a good "all stainless steel" or "mostly stainless" mug that they are just in love with? It doesn't have to be specifically "for tea" - I brew my tea at home before I leave, and just use a metal infuser I already have.
I do still have several teas at home just waiting for a review - perhaps I'll get a few done here in the next couple weeks.