Booksipper Bulletin – April Edition

Hello Booksippers!

There were no April showers around here; this month found me in a drought- a reading drought that is.  I have had a lot on my mind and when that happens all I read is fiction fluff. So I curl up with one of these easy reads and a hot cuppa tea and zone out.

This month on Booksipper I added a post about homeschooling to the blog. I plan to do more.  I will share a bit about homeschooling older children and what that looks like at our house.  Check it out if you home school or even if you're just curious.

Teakettle

 ~ In Readable News ~

 I do not have any new reads to recommend but this title is sure to please: http://bit.ly/tearosebook This book has it all- star crossed love, suspense and a twisting plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


~ In Sippable News ~

I discovered a new way to prepare my loose leaf tea. Read all about it here: http://bit.ly/1XzdzCL  It might just become your favorite new way to brew a cuppa.


That is all for April. Thanks for reading and sipping along with me!

~Booksipper Candice

French Press Tea

I was browsing through a tea catalog the other day, when I noticed that quite a few tea cups and tea pots have an infuser built into them.  This seems to be a clever invention.  While I do not own one of these nifty inventions ( yet ) I do have a french press collecting dust in cupboard.  Could this french press make a good cup of tea?
I set out to find out.

FrenchPressTea

First, the convenience of a tea bag is not to be underrated. Drop it in a to go cup, add your hot water and go. This gets me through the hit the road days. But for days that are more laid back, I love a loose leaf tea, steeped and poured into a favorite cup.

Before this french press tea idea, I relied on a tea ball to steep my loose leaf tea.  Check out my current favorite!

Teapotball

However cute it may be, I tend to make a total mess with a tea ball!  The chaos begins with me attempting to get the tea in the mini container, then after steeping, I leave a trail of tea drops to the tea caddy, that then fills with tea.  After tea there is the emptying of the tea leaves that have expanded beyond your imagination when you put the teaspoon or two inside.  It stresses me out…not zen at all!

Now using the french press, I have more tea AND less mess! 

Here is what you do~

Step 1: Scoop in your loose leaf tea.  I used two teaspoons for a full carafe.

Step 2: Pour in your boiling hot water

Step 3: Stir it up a bit and put on the lid

Step 4: Push down the mesh screen lid slowly to allow the tea leaves to settle. 
I push it down a bit every minute or so. 
Do not push the tea leaves flat…that will give the tea a bitter taste just like squeezing the tea bag.

Step 5: Pour into a favorite cup & enjoy your French Press Tea!

TeainFrenchPress

Now the only challenge I have had with the French Press Tea method is that by the last cup, you are in for one heck of a strong cuppa tea. Not really a problem but I did need a little sugar to make it to my liking, a spot of milk may help with this also.

Give your french press something new to press other than coffee…..you are sure to love it!

Spring Time Tea Ware Finds

Spring time is here!  At least in my corner of the globe.  With the warmer weather and beautiful budding trees it makes me want to take my tea outside. 

I was fortunate enough a week or so ago to be gifted with some darling new additions to my tea cup collection.  After a birthday luncheon my family took me to several antique stores to hunt for tea ware.

Singletan

Isn't this darling?  It is a single cup and saucer that is in great shape.  The best part- it was $0.80!  I could purchase tea ware all day long at eighty cents!
This find was worth searching around.

 

These four matching tea cups have me anxious to host a garden tea party; or maybe a Mother's Day tea?  

Matching4

Again, it is worth spending time, looking around in little shops. These cups and the saucers are in fantastic shape and the set was under $20.00.

I need to get a book on tea cups and saucers that tell collectible pieces from mass produced.  But, at the end of the day I like pretty tea cups and will pick up what catches my eye and fits in my budget.

Here is a close up of these pretty floral cups.

Closeup

Where do you search for your tea ware?

Booksipper Bulletin – February Edition

Hello Booksippers! 

The cold and blustery month of February is coming to a close today.  February is the perfect time to curl up with a blanket and a book to sip on your favorite hot beverage!
With the massive snowstorm we had I was very glad to have found this new author and series to keep me company.  Keep reading to find out what it was.

Today is Leap Day!  I wonder who decided to put the extra day in the winter time?  Why not when the weather is nice?
But still it is nice to have extra time to get things accomplished or maybe do something fun.
What will you be doing with this extra day? 

DSC00484 2

~In Readable News~

I choose another title from my annual non-fiction reading list for February reading. I picked 1000 Years Over a Hot Stove. I wrote all about it here: http://bit.ly/1XzD7zZ

It is shaping up to be a tough decision for next months read.  Take a look at my 2016 List and tell me what you think I should read next.

My favorite fiction selection for the month was written by the author Nora Roberts.  One book wasn't enough and it became a series read – they were that good!
Read all about The Bride Quartet here: http://bit.ly/24oRNGV

~In Sippable News~

February had me steeping multiple cups of PG Tips tea.  This English brand of tea has a permanent place in my tea cupboard.  Read my thoughts here: http://bit.ly/1NZAd0a

I am still sipping my way through the Downton Abbey sampler that I purchased a while back. I am trying to decide which flavor I enjoyed the most.  I will post about that next month with the airing of the final episode.

Thanks for reading and sipping along with me this February.
I plan to spend this "extra day" reading something new and sipping tea, of course!

~Booksipper Candice

 

 

Tea Kettle or Electric Tea Pot

Do you prefer a whistling tea kettle or an electric tea pot? 

Twoteachoices
I always considered myself a whistling tea kettle kind of girl.  I knew when the water was ready because of that recognizable sound. One could hear that whistle rooms away and be lured into the kitchen for a nice cuppa. 

But there were numerous times I turned on the kettle, heard the whistle, picked it up and poured; only to find half a cup of water inside.

A big disappointment.

True tea enthusiasts know that you should pour fresh water into the kettle for each boil.  It has to do with the oxygen content making a better tasting cup of tea.  But life happens and (gasp) I have reboiled water.

One day I was walking through a store and happened upon a glass, see through tea pot.  It immediately caught my eye. 

This see through pot was my solution to the lack-of-water-in-the-kettle blues. 
I would always see how much water was in the pot.  A life changing thing, I know.

I received this wonder pot as a gift and I have used it everyday since. 

When you turn it on, the bottom glows a nautical blue hue. 

DSC09565

 Wait a few minutes and the rapid boil occurs. Watching it is very therapeutic!

DSC09572

 This model shuts off automatically, something the kettle on the stove could never boast. 

I adore my electric tea pot. It has seductive powers: auto switches, transparency and portability.

Am I converted away from my whistling kettle.  No.

While I am happy to have my back burner back, there is something idealistic about hearing that kettle sing. 
Both the kettle and the electric pot have space in my kitchen.

Which do you prefer?

Steeped with PG Tips

A well known English tea, but relatively new to me is PG Tips.

This black tea quickly became a must have in my tea stash.

Box
I had my first taste of PG Tips while sipping tea from a darling tea pot in a local tea room.  I had ordered a pot of black tea….my usual when I am not feeling decisive or spontaneous.
The tea that was served was a perfect.  I had to know what brand of tea it was. 

A few minutes of chatting with the owner of the shop, I learned she hailed from England and served the English brand PG Tips as her "house blend".  She did not have any boxes to sell, but she assured me that I could find it in a larger grocery store in our area.

Taking tea at home is not always an over the top experience like it is in a tea room. But with PG Tips it can be close!

  PGtipbag

The shape of the tea bag could be what sets PG Tips apart from other teas.  The pyramid shape is said to allow the tea to expand and infuse more effectively than a round tea bag. 
I am no expert on tea bag shape but I do know that this small pyramid shaped tea bag carries a big punch!

PG Tips brews into a delicious and bracing cup of tea with a shorter steep time than other black tea brands that I use.  The end color is a beautiful amber and tastes just as tea is meant to- with that slightly bitter tea bite at the end.

Brewed

I look forward to tasting all the many flavors of tea by PG Tips.  That's right, there is a world even beyond black tea, & I mean to sip and savor many!
I will let you know what I discover!

A little Monday humor for you.

Step Aside copy

Have you tried PG Tips?

Booksipper Bulletin – January Edition

Hello fellow Booksippers!

The first month of 2016 is coming to a close. 

The days seemed to turn almost as quickly as the pages in my favorite book of the month.  Keep reading to find out what that book was!

 I picked up a number of books this month that I just couldn't get into.  I had to remind myself that I am not in high school anymore, and I do not have to finish a book just because it has good reviews. 
I encourage you to put down whatever book you are forcing yourself to get through, because-

Noboringbooks2

~In Readable News~

January kick started my Annual Non-Fiction Booklist for 2016.  I am looking forward to reading all of these books and sharing my thoughts with you.
I have finished one of the titles and wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/realfoodwhattoeatandwhy

Now for my favorite fiction read of the month! 
Without a doubt it was – Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati.  This book is a sweeping romantic saga set in the wilds of upper New York in the 1700's.
Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/intothewildernessreview

 ~In Sippable News~

The month of January was National Hot Tea month.  I enjoyed having a reason to drink even more of my favorite beverage!  I purchased tea online for the first time with the Republic of Tea.  I wrote all about my experience here: http://bit.ly/1nu6eby

 January 2016 has been filled with good books and steaming cups of hot tea.
Thanks for reading and sipping along with me.

~Booksipper Candice

My First Online Tea Order Experience

Ordering tea online is a new experience for me.  I had no idea how thrilling it could be to see a box of tea outside my door.

The giddy rush of seeing a box of books, that I am well acquainted with.

But a box with tea inside, well it's something I could get used to!

Thebox

My first online tea ordering experience was with The Republic of Tea
Reason being: the last season of Downton Abbey was set to premiere and I wanted something "Downton-ish" to indulge in. 

The Republic of Tea just so happens to have a whole line of Downton inspired tea and paraphernalia.

I picked out this sampler envelope for myself and a fellow Downton enthusiast.

Firstteaorder

This gift assortment contains six different teas, each with a Downton themed name!  This was an ideal purchase for me.  I had no idea if I would enjoy the new tea I picked out or if it would be forgotten in my tea stash never to be tasted again.
Now for the next six episodes, I have a new tea to try.  I can then order more of the one/ones that I loved.

* For premier night I tried out the Downton Christmas black tea and it was delicious! With just the right amount of spice and with its hint of fruit- I loved every sip! *

The ordering process with The Republic of Tea went smoothly. 
It is stated that it could take 1 to 2 business days to prepare for shipping. They really weren't kidding about the handling time.  So plan ahead!
The shipping was great. The package arrived a day ahead of schedule!  Thank you to either the Republic of Tea or the shipping heros!

The biggest thrill aside from having a package on my doorstep were the samples that I found inside!  I adore samples!

Samples

Truly every company needs to adopt this practice, ( hint hint local health food store ) I am sure I am not the only person who finds it difficult to order something, especially something edible, without knowledge that I will like it and that it won't end up in the trash.

The Republic of Tea tweeted that samples arrive in every order!!  🙂

 

I am very pleased with my order from The Republic of Tea and will happily order from them again in the future!

 

Darjeeling Tea

To celebrate the end of 2015 and the start of a new year, I will be sipping the champagne of teas, also known as Darjeeling.  

I tried this tea once before in a tea room, and I must say I was not fond of the flavor.  But that was also the day I sampled lavender shortbread & that may have ruined my taste buds for a long time.

True Darjeeling tea is grown, harvested and manufactured in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India.  It is most commonly a black tea, however Green Darjeeling is becoming popular. 

I am brewing a readily available and affordable Darjeeling from Twinings.

Darjeeling

After a three minute steep time, the color is lighter than my normal cup of black tea.

Tea

At first sip, I enjoy the flavor, there is something familiar about it.  Then, the after taste hits.  It tastes smoky, musky or some word I can not seem to find.  It is not bad, it just isnt great.
But, I continue to sip & sip!

Lasting thoughts on Darjeeling, the Champagne of Teas: 
I enjoyed this tea if for no other reason than to double check my initial opinion.  It is a good tea, not memorable, and not a tea I would reach for all the time.