Sip a Cuppa with Me at the Plentea Tea Bar

Last month, I checked Toronto off my bucketlist. We had a weekend getaway to visit Niagara Falls, wineries and spend the day in that wonderful city. While we were there, we LITERALLY stumbled across a surprising gem of a place on Queen Street West called Plentea Tea Bar in Parkdale, Toronto.

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Plentea tea bar is located in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto.

Plentea’s mission is to evolve the culture of tea, upgrading the tea bag into a multi-sensory experience with an identity.

Their specialty: tea lattes.

But it’s not what you think. They don’t boil up a tea bag tea and throw some milk in it and call it a day. They steep your own personalized tea blend IN the milk. You heard me, personalized blend in the milk. Plentea has wall of individual herbs and spices and you can choose what and how much goes into your own tea blend.

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A signature tea latte being poured straight from the steep.

The staff will dispense fresh herbs and spices from their tea wall, then, depending on what you’ve ordered, they’ll grind the spices in a pestle and mortar, or fill a espresso brewing filter with your blend and pressurize hot water through the tea blend (just like making an espresso but not with ground coffee beans), or steep it in their signature milk method.

Even if you find this approach to tea a little intimidating, there is a vast menu you can choose from if you’re lacking in gumption. These recipes are inspired by family tradition, old culture, and a drive for a technicolor experience.

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This iced tea was an off-the-menu recipe that they suggested for me. It’s called a Sunny Cider: apple cider, ginger and hibiscus. Incredibly refreshing for such a warm day in Toronto.

Senses will be heightened, tea lattes will be drunk, and tea drinkers will be indulged at this unique tea bar, Plentea.

If you’re within diving distance (or even if you’re not), go to Plentea. You’ll not be disappointed!

Keep on steeping, tea lovers!

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Herbal Tea Feature | Ginger

Can we create a judge-free bubble for a minute? I had a couple too many glasses of wine to drink the other night and I definitely had a hangover the next morning. Mind you, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually done that and I’m not too terribly experienced in hangover remedies. But when you need to get up and get going, you find a solution right?

Off I went to my tea cupboard to see if I had anything that said “hangover cure tea.” I knew that ginger soothed tummy aches and reduces nausea but I’ve never heard of ginger being a hangover cure tea. Common sense told me that it may work so off I go to boil up a kettle.

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I’m telling you, after I drank that spicy cuppa, I was able to get on my feet! Not in a I’m-still-dragging-my-feet way. I mean, in a bounce-in-my-step, skin-a-glowing, revitalizing way! Can anybody relate???

So I wanted to know more of the ways I could use ginger in everyday life and this is what I found:

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HISTORY

Not to be confused with “wild ginger” from North America, ginger is native to the tropical parts of Asia and a popular ingredient in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and other asian cuisines. Ginger traveled with the Spaniards into the New World and now is extensively grown in the West Indies.

TASTE

pungent, spicy, warming, clean, juicy.

BENEFITS
increases blood flow and circulation
warming sensation, good for healing the body from colds
lowers cholesterol
prevents blood clotting
stops nausea, morning sickness
increases metabolism
stomach soother
eases sore throats, fights off cold and flu
improves and clears the respiratory system
antiseptic agent for digestive, urinary and respiratory systems
helps treat arthritis and joint pain

cures hangovers!

USES
the benefits of the ginger plant comes from the root in either its raw natural form, juice, or powder
drink ginger tea to ease motion sickness during travel, to reduce nausea or morning sickness during pregnancy, to relieve upset stomach discomfort, to soothe menstrual cramps

Try ginger cookies or candy!

STEEPING TEA
typically needs to be slightly sweetened with honey and/or lemon

tip: blend it with peppermint. heat and spice of the ginger is balanced by the cooling peppermint

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Now I’m finally coming around to drinking ginger tea for the fun of it, and not strictly in a medicinal way. Mind you, my sweet tooth has the best of me, so I sweeten my ginger tea with honey and lemon.

Obviously, I’m not a doctor, just a tea aficionado. This blog is a compilation of the information I found as I researched this herb. Please check with a medical professional before use.

I hope you got a bit of a laugh and enjoyed this herbal feature on ginger!

Keep on steeping,
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Why You Should Be Cold-Brewing Your Herbal Tea

I’m having a love-hate relationship with tea right now. I adore my cuppa but my body isn’t liking the heat. I’m inclined to make a big pitcher of iced tea instead but my teas have been tasting a bit on the bitter side.

Off to google I go!

So I’ve heard of cold brew coffee before, but cold-brewed tea? not so much. I didn’t know it was a thing!

So I thought I’d take you through my journey with cold-brew teas if you haven’t tried it yet!

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What is cold-brewing or cold-steeping?

“brewing” or “steeping” teas in cold water and extracting its flavors over a longer period of time.

Why you should be cold-brewing/steeping your teas:
  • easier to steep than hot brews (less risk of oversteeping)
  • less bitter and astringent taste (due to less tannins being released)
  • naturally sweeter
  • you still get all of the antioxidants
  • proportions for steeping not as critical
  • perfect for spring/summer
  • idiot-proof!

You can cold-brew almost any kind of tea! Black, green, white, oolong, etc. and especially herbal teas! With herbal teas, you can even use fresh herbs…just give it a quick muddle to extract more flavor.

How to cold-brew or cold-steep your teas
  1. Add one spoonful of looseleaf tea or one teabag for every cup of tea into a pitcher or mason jar
  2. fill pitcher or mason jar to the top with cold, filtered water
  3. pop it into the fridge overnight
  4. strain looseleaf tea or teabags
  5. pour over ice or a to-go container
  6. voilá!fill with water Collage
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Tip: the longer you leave it in the fridge steeping, the more flavor, antioxidants and color it extracts. Try leaving it in for a minimum of an hour or two versus overnight. See which one suits your fancy!

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My cold-brews sat in the fridge for 11 hours.

 

The only way you can screw up a cold-brew is if you forget it in the fridge! #coldbrewfordays #NOT

I loved all of the cold-brewed teas that I made, except the Mint. I’m a little underwhelmed that it didn’t infuse more like the loose leaf teas. I’m guessing that because it’s a fresh herb, that it needs to steep for longer.

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Well, tea lovers, I hope you give cold-brew a go and let me know how it goes!

Keep on steeping,

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Tea Recipe | Mint Julep with a Twist

It’s summer people! Whether we like it or not!

Living in Florida has its perks: Disney, beaches, Miami…you name it! But the one thing you gotta know is…..FLORIDA IS HOT. Really hot. Starting early March through almost Christmas.

So we Floridians like to think of new ways to keep cool during the summer and I got the idea to make a tea-inspired mint julep.

with Rooibos.

oh yeah!

rooibos mint julep

Just as nutty, caramel-y and creamy as bourbon, Rooibos is a great alternative when making a lovely chilled glass of mint julep!

How to make Rooibos Mint Julep
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Muddle mint with one spoonful of sugar. Top the glass with ice. Pour freshly steeped Rooibos tea over the ice.

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Add a sprig of mint as garnish. Enjoy!

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You may notice that this drink doesn’t have alcohol. But who’s stopping you?! Go ahead, add a splash or two of your favorite bourbon to the rooibos!

Keep on steeping, my fellow tea lovers!

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Tea Review | MoxTea’s Viking Moxie Tea

I’ve been anxiously waiting to try this special tea for months now and it’s finally here! I have to tell you the story before we even get to business here:

I purchased this tea during our recent move into a new house and the good ol’ US Postal Service gave this sweet company a run for their money by not properly forwarding packages to us. It took poor MoxTea 3 tries to get it to me, hence why I’m plain giddy to finally try this! I mean seriously, one doesn’t simply withhold tea from me.

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I digress…

MoxTea is a Canadian based company that sells 2 main teas: the Chai Moxie (recently released last year) and the Viking Moxie (their “bread-and-butter” tea).

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What makes the Viking Moxie tea so special is that the #1 ingredient is Rhodiola Rosea. It’s not very well known here in the states (well, at least I haven’t seen it anywhere) but it’s an ancient herb used in the Old World for boosting energy, focus and alertness.

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Initially, the scent of the cinnamon and cloves really hits you in the nose. It tastes very earthy and there’s definitely a spicy kick from the cinnamon!

Aroma: 7/10 cinnamon and cloves
 
Appearance: 6/10 whole cloves, bits of cinnamon and rose petals. some broken tea leaves.
 
Flavor: 7/10 earthy, spicy
 
Color: 7/10 rich honey and deep amber color
 

Benefits: 9/10 energy booster from the rhodiola, alertness from the cinnamon, stress reducer from the rose petals.

Overall experience: 7/10 I’m really intrigued by this tea! It strikes me as a kind of tea to drink when you want to reach that elevated level of energy, not necessarily a tea that you steep to sit and talk over. Does that make sense?

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Overall, I totally dig this tea! Now that summer is officially on the way and the kids are home from school, I forsee this tea being my secret weapon in order to keep up with the kids!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tea review of MoxTea’s Viking Moxie tea! Definitely check out their website and this tea!

http://www.moxtea.com/products/natural-energy-boosting-herbal-moxtea-tea

Keep on steeping,

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