Regret

Chilli Berry Boom

I’m glad for the adventurous, and those who break the mould,
They bring such great advancements to the tired and the old.
But for this ‘tea’ I am not grateful,
This indictment on my lips,
It worsens and it burns the longer that one sips.
For people who drink gravy or pepper in their brew,
Or for those who munch on chillies,
Then perhaps this tea’s for you.
The berry is veiled,
On this cup I have bailed,
There is no way forward I can see.
Life is too short,
I have to report,
To keep drinking this rancid tea.

Chilli Berry Boom: 1/5
Enjoy with: a sense of immense accomplishment if you actually finish a whole cup.

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Beaming

Southern Sunrise

If you’re raised on Australia’s east coast, the possibility of going to the west coast of any country and watching the sun set over an ocean is a tantalisingly exciting prospect.

So imagine my joy when I moved to Los Angeles, lived by the beach, and had a year’s worth of ocean sunsets to lap up before returning to the east coast of Australia. The thing is, I lived just far away enough from the beach that it was a planned walking expedition and not a leisurely stroll to the sand type affair, so I just kept putting it off. On my final day in LA, a friend asked if there was anything I wanted to do. I said, “Watch the sunset over the ocean.” My friend was a little hesitant, but obliged anyway. The sunset over the ocean was nothing special, because the thing about LA is, it is heavily polluted. So there is a point at which the sun hits the smog line, and all the romance of the idea dies right then and there.

A short while after I got back home, I watched a sunrise on the beach, and it was magnificent. No smog, clear air, the possibility of a new day, a crisp, summery breeze. It was a complete winner. And this is why I am convinced T2 have a ‘Southern Sunrise’ and no ‘Western Sunset’.

Southern Sunrise is a gorgeous summery tisane. It is bursting with tropical punch flavour: sweet pineapple, mango, paw paw, citrus in a balanced harmony. The overall effect is sweet, bright and fruity, making it a good candidate for iced tea. This brew is zingy and sherbety, perfect for summer days or nights when you’re after a refreshing hit.

Southern Sunrise: 4/5
Enjoy with: sunrise, sunset, or any other time of day.

The Best Parenting Advice Ever

Spring

I am not a big fan of mummy blogs. They are numerous, they come across as overwrought, and most of them read as the smug catharsis of privileged housewives. In my own, subjective opinion, it’s not a true ‘mummy blog’ if there isn’t that air of smugness. Good ideas, activities, recipes, and book recommendations by mothers are great. Keep blogging, you’re terrific! If you’re just telling me all about how Dewdrop and Xavianitus are the beaming light of your life and today you drank a coffee on yak milk and did yoga while suspended from a skyscraper, spare us.

Maybe I’m being unfair, but I’d really prefer parenting advice to come from people with some kind of education to back up their experience. One mummy blogger I once read gave a long recount of the conversation she had with her 8-year-old about some lost chess pieces. We got the full details of why the chess set was so important, and where it had come from, and why it was so devastating that some pieces were missing. She recalled the full dialogue between them, where she basically put all the responsibility on him for the game now being ruined because some pieces were lost. The comments were full of showers of admiration for how she ‘taught her child responsibility’, when all I could see was an adult thrusting guilt upon their child. The child, I might add, when alerted to the missing pieces, began to search for them frantically, until the mother told him to stop because, “They were lost.” How is that teaching responsibility? Unless you’ve been taking this precious chess board with it’s hand carved marble pieces on a variety of excursions, the pieces should be in the house somewhere. Keep looking!

Another mummy blogger I read a couple of posts from (thankfully they were shorter), kept using the phrase, “Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect.” It drove me nuts. I didn’t expect she was saying she was perfect, until she pointed out she wasn’t, at which point I now found the rest of what she had to say extraordinarily smug. Of course you’re not perfect, and neither is your advice, because you’re a parent who is making this up along with the rest of us!

So, here is the best parenting advice I have to offer, because, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’ve been doing this a couple of years now, so I’ve pretty much got it figured out.

Here it comes: get to know your kid/s, then do what works for your family.

I know, it’s earth shattering. But seriously, I don’t read that kind of advice often enough. (And it is possible I have oversold this advice in the title). My parenting is not going to work for another parent because we are different and we’re rearing different offspring. This is why I’m a fan of experts who can give some context to the psychological, educational, and social dynamics at play when we do and say different things. Give me some options to choose from, all with healthy outcomes, then let me go from there.

So what does any of this have to do with tea?

Well, I would say that Spring is the ‘mummy blog’ of teas. It’s overworked, obtuse, and smug, if teas can be such a thing. It draws you in with it’s seemingly pleasant name: Spring. I think, hooray, fruity and maybe a bit floral. Oh no, Hibiscus is in charge like the Mega Mummy Bloggers who have OPINIONS about APPROPRIATE activities, food, and entertainment for their DARLING CHERUBS (sometimes referred to a sanctimummies). Behind the hibiscus cowers some non-descript fruity flavours, with a hint of citrus, parading as ‘Spring’ (just as a mummy blog parades as sound advice) without having any substance whatsoever. Some people go nuts for it, I’m just not a big fan.

Spring: 2/5
Enjoy with: a good, un-smug read.

UnAustralian

Mangoes and Cream

I am not mad about mangoes. It’s a really unAustralian thing to admit, I know. When I was a lot younger, and agricultural technology was not what it is today, mangoes were rare. The season was exceptionally short and the yield was low. Mangoes bruised easily and only grew in hot, steamy conditions, which are perfect condition to make them tor at an alarming rate. Mangoes were that rare and that expensive, they were a real treat. I’m convinced people went crazy for them because of their scarcity.

Although, my Main Man ardently disagrees. He thinks mangoes are pure joy and sunshine wrapped up in an edible form. He doesn’t think that wrestling the fibrous flesh off the inconvenient bone and getting covered in juice is too much hassle at all. ButI do. I think the texture is all wrong, and the flavour doesn’t do enough for me to persist. So you can keep your mangoes.

I came to mangoes and cream with some trepidation, but I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t so much taste like mango as it tastes like mango flavour. More like dried mango, with some peachy notes thrown in for good measure. When brewed hot it’s punchy and very sweet, but I couldn’t pick the ‘cream’ (the same problem I had before). Once you try it iced it becomes more refreshing and less punchy. Plus there’s the slightest whiff of ‘cream’ as well, so I suppose it passes. If you’re looking for something bold and sweet, or a tea that ices fine on its own, Mangoes and Cream is a winner.

Mangoes and Cream: 4/5
Enjoy with: the many other summer fruits that are just as delicious.

It Doesn’t Not Work

Strawberries and Cream

A short while ago I mentioned that my neighbour knocked on my door and subsequent events led me to steep some iced tea for 2 hours. It’s time for the full low-down.

I have never really been a fan of Pumping Pomegranate, or Strawberries and Cream as teas. They always seem to be rated highly by T2 fans, but I find them both a bit disappointing. Admittedly, they have been lauded as the teas to make iced tea, something that I have been fairly hopeless at for most of my tea-drinking life.

I find these teas individually a bit insipid and the overall profile too bright. But both being bold, fruity flavours, I stuck them together and figured I’d hope for the best. Here’s how it played out:

2 cups worth of iced tea is 4 tablespoons total. Cool, brew that in the pot. Ah, I’m steeping some Blue Mountain in the pot. Pour the leaves into a strainer and start steeping in a cup. Blast! This is enough tea for 2 cups, it will be way too strong. Ok, decant this into a jar. A small one should be fine. Urgh, I knew it would spill! It seems a small jar will not be fine, grab a big one instead. I hope the strainer is long enough to reach the liquid in that jar. Why can’t I do this without turning the bench into a river of spilled tea and water? Are you serious? The jar is too big for the strainer to reach the liquid. Who is knocking at the door?

(Interlude, while I chat to my neighbour and determine I will be over shortly).

Alright, all this tea into the flask. Wait! Take the leaves out of the Blue Mountain before its destroyed. Okay, pour over the sink this time and prevent a further bench river. It would seem 2 whole cups of water doesn’t fit in the flask. Oh well, too bad, I’ve stuffed around too much at this point. Just get cracking. Ok, river situation sorted. Lock up the house. Let MM know where you are so he doesn’t wonder when he gets home. Use the loo. Grab some shoes. Get the teapot. Off we go.

*2 hours later, after visiting next door*

The iced tea is still steeping. I ruined it. I should get rid of it. Wait! I can’t! I can’t just pour out all this tea.

MM piped up at this point to suggest letting it cool and seeing exactly how diabolical it was. So I did. Unbelievably, it tasted amazing. Nothing was astringent or tangy, nothing overpowered. It was like magic happened somewhere in 2 hours to make this a delicious (and bonus: sugar free!) iced tea.

So, should you use less water than recommended and steep your tea for over 2 hours? Well, comedian, John Mulaney used to black out drinking in his younger years, and would sometimes wake up with more money than he had at the start of the night. He said he wished he could give financial advice, but it would sound a little like this:

“Have you tried mixing daiquiris with Ambien?”
“Does that really work?”
“It didn’t not work!”

So that’s my advice with the delicious iced tea shemozzle I present you with.

Hot Strawberries and Cream is nothing exciting. Acutally, it’s kind of a bit like children’s cough mixture without any healing properties. I find it really tangy, with hardly any strawberry flavour at all. And as for the cream part? I can’t find it at all. I also find the tea fairly two dimensional, no depth, no real aftertaste, no reason to go back for more. But tonnes of people go mad for it, so you might want to try it out for yourself and see.

Strawberries and Cream: 2/5.
Enjoy with: Pumping Pomegranate, iced, and brewed for hours.

Too Hot

Lemon Sorbet

I do not handle heat well. I would rather live in Antarctica for 10 years than somewhere tropical for 1 year. When you’re cold you can always bundle up warmer. When you’re hot, you’re stuck.

When I say I don’t handle heat, what I mean is, I spend most of the time lying on the floor (where it is coolest), sipping water, unable to move. Sweating makes me feel like I’m suffocating myself in humidity (hence I swim for exercise). If I stand up, I get light headed. My whole body aches in exhaustion, but thanks to the immense temperature, I can’t sleep. I don’t like heat at all.

Granted, there are a few steps along the way to ‘total inability to handle the heat’. It starts with, ‘prickly discomfort’, then escalates to, ‘can’t help but sigh’, and soon arrives at, ‘too hot for dairy’. This might seem like a strange stage, but it is important. A cold iced matcha or chai latte is delicious around the first 2 stages of heat hatred. But there comes a point where drinking cold milk is the most absurd thing you could do in the heat. More importantly, this is the point at which ice cream becomes a nuisance, rather than a welcome treat. Unfortunately, because my tolerance for heat is so low, I tend to hit ‘too hot for dairy’ before most people have even considered it. So going for ice cream has often been fraught with problems for me. Sometimes, it is simply too hot.

And at those times, I find myself in search of the haven that is sorbet. I like most sorbets, but lemon is a particular favourite because a) it’s the most common, so I can nearly always get it, b) they nearly all taste the same, and c) it’s super refreshing once stage 3 of heat hatred has arrived.

So, how does the T2 tea parading this name measure up to the actual thing? Surprisingly well, you’ll be pleased to hear. The flavour profile of the tea moves through the same stages as the frozen treat. It begins with a bang of tangy lemon and then moves into a refreshing and sweet flavour. The aftertaste follows with lingering sweetness and a characteristic citrus bitterness that begs for another mouthful. Lemons sorbet is perfect for icing, and great for days that really are just too hot!

Lemon Sorbet: 4/5
Enjoy with: lemon sorbet, straight from the tub.