Taste test: Three teas by The Loose Leaf Tea House

loose-leaf-tea

I’ve been lucky enough to try some of the range of certified organic tea from The Loose Leaf Tea House. About 70% of their tea is currently Organic, and Monique is constantly trying to source more organic teas to add to their range. Their best sellers are the Organic Earl Grey, Organic China Sencha, Japanese blossom and the Organic peppermint. I tried the following three teas:

organic-english-breakfast

Organic English Breakfast
The Organic English Breakfast is my favourite of the three teas and I’d happily recommend it to my friends. It has a beautiful smooth flavour, which reminds me of soft caramels. It is a traditional strong breakfast tea, made with certified organic and bio dynamic Assam and Ceylon teas. It produces a full-bodied aromatic blend. I could easily drink this tea every day.

It is best brewed for 3 to 5 minutes at a water temperature of 100°Celsius.

organic-china-sencha

Organic China Sencha

The Organic China Sencha is a delightful green tea. This certified organic tea is made from large leaf green tea, which produces a distinctive crisp and mild flavours. The tea has a high level of vitamin C because it is made from the first picking of the leaves in spring and steamed dried. This tea looks different to other green teas I have tried, as you can see the large vibrant green leaves. The tea has a yellow light green colour and gives a good rounded taste. It reminds Matt of the green tea served in Chinese restaurants.

It is best brewed for 2 to 3 minutes at a water temperature of 80°Celsius, so allow the kettle to rest awhile before pouring. It took about 5 minutes for the water to cool to the recommended temperature, but this will depend on your kettle.

immune-boost

Organic Immune Boost
The Organic Immune Boost is a certified organic herbal tea which aims to build up the immune system and help keep away colds and flus. The tea consists of a blend of powerhouse herbs such as echinacea, Siberian Ginseng, spearmint, ginger and lemongrass. The packet is full of chunky herbs but the tea provides a well balanced taste. I prefer my herbal teas to be organic – you can really taste the difference, particularly with peppermint tea. I would recommend drinking this herbal tea through winter or as a warming drink to have before bed.

It is best brewed for 5 to 8 minutes at a water temperature of 100°Celsius.

teaspoons

The teas are available for purchase online and at various locations around Australia.

Thank you The Loose Leaf Tea House for allowing us to try Organic English Breakfast, Orangic China Senha and Organic Immune Boost. 

Taste test: Australian Daintree tea by The Tea Centre

daintree-tea

The Tea Centre sells two loose leaf teas that are made from Australian tea – Australian Daintree and Australian Sencha.

We decided to taste test the Australian Daintree. It’s a pleasant mild tea which has an earthy taste. Although it is a black tea it brews to a reddish brown shade.

The tea can be taken with or without milk, or used to make iced tea. Some chefs even use it as an additive for smoking their fish and meat!

The tea is grown on the Cubbagudta (means rainy place) plantation, which is located in Northern Queensland, just north of Port Douglas. The tea is grown along the fringes of the Daintree rainforest. I was pleased to hear that the plantation does not use pesticides and so the tea contains no pesticide residues or tannic acid.

The plantation is a family owned and operated business and features in the AUSBUY guide as 100% Australian.

Don’t forget to add your tea leaves to compost as they make a great fertilizer.

A great every day tea that’s Aussie made.

Australian Daintree loose leaf tea
The Tea Centre

Healing herbal teas for digestion

peppermint-leaves

Herbal teas are best brewed for about 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water. You can add a little honey if you like. Here are some herbal teas that are good for improving digestion:

Chamomile

Chamomile has a calming effect on the digestive system. It relaxes and soothes the bowel muscles and is helps to ease spasms. It is perfect as a night cap before going to bed.

Ginger

Ginger tea is good for tummy upsets. You can purchase it either in tea bags or use grated fresh ginger.

To make ginger tea, grate some fresh ginger root (about half a teaspoonful) into a cup and then add boiling water. Leave for at least 5 minutes to steep and then strain through a small sieve.

Peppermint

Peppermint tea is a fantastic anti-spasmodic. I prefer to use fresh leaves from the garden or organic tea bags (For some reason the non-organic ones have a blah taste to them).

If you are using fresh leaves from the garden, select about five to ten of the bigger ones and cut or rip them up to release more flavour. Add to the bottom of your tea cup and add boiling water.  Leave for at least 5 minutes to steep and then strain through a small sieve.

Other herbal teas

  • Fennel is good for flatulence

Prepared herbal teas

Flaxseed tea

flaxseed-tea

This is a simple recipe but it’s great to know if you have an upset tummy, as the flaxseeds are very healing for the gut and help to sooth irritated mucous membranes. Flaxseeds are high in manganese, magnesium and omega-3 essential fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid (ALA).

Keep your flaxseeds in the fridge and always grind them yourself so they are fresh.

1 tbsp whole flaxseeds

  1. Add a spoonful of flaxseeds to a cup and fill with boiling water.
  2. Steep for an hour or longer. It is best to steep the mixture overnight in the fridge.
  3. Drain the seeds and drink at room temperature.

You could sprinkle the tea with cinnamon or add a little honey, but I like the plain nutty taste.

I tip the seeds in the garden and I’ve now got a little patch of flaxseed plants growing!

Kitchen equipment for gardeners

Even the most experienced gardeners have to deal with gluts in produce and as a result they may own a few more different pieces of equipment then the norm. Gardener cooks need to be creative with their produce as it’s easy to tire of eating the same dish over and over again.

Blender: Useful for making soups and smoothies. You’ll need a heavy duty motor if you want to blend ice or make nut milks. Try: Kitchenaid or VitaMix. Magic Bullet and Personal Blender are smaller portable version.

Food processor: Similar to a blender, but usually has extra blades and disks to perform more tasks. You can slice and chop vegetables, grind, shred and puree food, as well as mixing and kneading doughs. Try: Bruan, Cuisinart, and Kitchenaid.

Food Dehydrator: Usually have stackable trays or removable trays. An inexpensive way to preserve the nutrients in your produce and extend their life. Try Excalibur or Fowlers.

Juicers: Look for ones that separate the juice from the pulp (then use the pulp in bread, cake and biscuit making). Crushing or cold press juicers are best for retaining nutrients. Try Champion or Oscar Living.

Preserving kit with air-tight bottles, cans  or mason jars.

Grain grinder: Useful for making flour. Steel-burred is best.

Sprouter: A dedicated container for growing sprouts. Try A.Vogel.

Mandoline: Zyliss or one of the Japanese ones.

Grater: Microplane are brilliant.

Veggie ‘spiraler’ : Make pasta-like strands out of your vegetables.  Try Benriner Cook Help Spiral Vegatable Slicer (or Cooks Helper or Asian Spiral Slicer – they’re all the same).

Tea strainer: for making herbal teas.

If you serious about being self-sufficient, you may also want a yogurt maker (Easiyo) and a beer making kit (also good for cider).

Photo: Sign at the Powerhouse, Brisbane.

Mulch vs termites

The guy behind us decided to put up a fence about half a metre inside his property. I’d never seen this done before, which was a little strange because we would have been more then agreeable to get the rusty school style fence replaced. The neglected back corner was over run with grass and I regretted not putting a thick layer of tea tree mulch down.

A few days later the wooden fence was finished and it was growing on me. It should shade our vegetable patches a little (but not too much) and will also act as a bit of a wind break. I’ve decided to liven up the area and put in a hedge of low maintenance lilly pillies.

Matt pointed out that our termite inspector would not approve of the fence. (The inspector looked like he could have stepped out of a Ghostbusters movie.)

“It’s way too close to the bare earth” and “those wooden posts should have steel bottoms”!

The biggest bump we had when buying our house was finding termites in the laundry, which we promptly had treated. Matt had to cut off all the wooden palings underneath the house so there was a decent gap between the ends and the ground. A very grubby job. Since then we get our place checked once a year for peace of mind.

Last time I asked the inspector about mulch.

He said “Nup don’t put it anywhere near the house.”

“What about cypress mulch? It’s supposed to repel termites.”

“Nar, I wouldn’t use it. Don’t believe any of that marketing stuff. If you’d seen some of the damage to houses that I’ve seen termites can do. No mulch or wood near the house!”