Friday, February 15, 2008

Gifts of Tea and TV

I have been the fortunate recipient of several gifts during the past week. Mum always said, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." But, then again, she never had Yogi Tea's "Breathe Deep."

A friend of mine bestowed three bags of "Breathe Deep" on me, but now I wonder if it was because she couldn't drink it either. To be fair, even Yogi Tea doesn't claim this is Tea -- although the use of "Tea" in the firm name may create that impression. The fine print notes that it is an "herbal supplement" and caffeine free -- two sound indications that the stuff ground up in the bag isn't really Tea but an infusion of leaves and twigs -- quite literally. In fact, it's just about everything except Tea. There's some roots -- licorice, ginger, elecampane; some leaves -- eucalyptus, basil, thyme, peppermint, mullein; bark (cinnamon), cardamon seeds and licorice flavor.

The astute reader will notice that licorice made the list twice, but a drinker of "Breathe Deep" could not be convinced that licorice is in there less than three score to one as to any other ingredient. I would suggest to the Yogis that they save money by eliminating all of the ingredients other than licorice which are hardly perceptible over the anise. like licorice. But this has the distinction of being the first cup of hot infusion or Tea that I couldn't finish because that flavor was so overpowering. And the fact that it is all organic doesn't resurrect this infusion. In fact, this was so awful that I can't wait to try Yogi Tea's other products which stand to be far preferable.

Fear not. I was gracious in accepting the gift and reciprocated by sending my friend a fine black tea infusion.

For the sake of full disclosure, this black tea infusion was also a gift. This one came from a friend across the pond that found it in a retail shop called Teavana. Tea encourages the mystical naming, I suppose, like this variation on Nirvana and terms like Yogi. This was the shop's Raspberry Black Tea and it was quite exquisite. The raspberry flavor was perfectly balanced with a quality black tea. My only complaint, albeit a minor one, is that it took quite a bit of product to steep to adequate strength. I look forward to more of this Tea.

I was also able to enjoy the Raspberry Black with yet another gift, this one from a fellow blogger, Mr. Tapscott. He provided me with a dvd of the latest show from Mr. Derren Brown, mentalist extraordinaire, titled, "The System". Visit Mr. Tapscott's blog,, but beware the spoiler for the main trick -- Mr. Brown convincing a single mother working two jobs to wager 4000 pounds on his horseracing system. In addition to that main event, Mr. Brown performs several other feats of cunning which still baffle me. Mr. Brown is one of the two or three finest magician/mentalists around. The hour I spent watching The System, while enjoying the Raspberry Black from the States, infused me with a lasting Tea memory.

All this talk of Tea has created a stirring in me to sample more of my dwindling supply of Raspberry Black. Must go and put the kettle on.

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