March 31st, 2005
Over the weekend, we opened up a sample of Organic Wyuan Ruikong China Green Tea (Upton item #ZG33). First, my husband made some iced tea with it. For one batch, we used 4 teaspoons of tea with 18 ounces of water; for the second, we used 3 teaspoons of tea with the same amount of water. The first batch was ok, but required a bit of sweetener and some diluting to be palatable. The second batch was quite good — it had an earthy quality, with some grassy overtones. It’s currently our second favorite iced green tea (after the Organic Gunpowder).
I also made one mug of this hot, using 2 teaspoons of tea with 12 ounces of nearly boiling water. I brewed it for 3 minutes. The first mug had a heavy grassy-veering-toward-fishy taste — I did not enjoy it much. But each subsequent infusion lost that harsh flavor, and some surprising sweet tones came out. I reinfused the leaves four times, increasing both the temperature and the time each time, and drying the leaves out between the 2nd and 3rd infusion. I like this tea, a lot. It was quite refreshing in the afternoon.
March 28th, 2005
Terry Schivo. Birth control. Abortion. The death penalty. Steriods. Social Security. A look at the front page of any newspaper in the United States might lead you to believe that these are the most important issues of our day, the things that our leaders really care about, the reason they got elected.
You’d be wrong.
What our Republican leaders really care about is taking care of business. Washington is about to make sure that their corporate contributors get what they want — and what they want is to drill in ANWR, make it harder to declare bankruptcy, and avoid class-action lawsuits.
Pay attention. Don’t be distracted.
March 25th, 2005
According to this old USAToday article, there are 10,000 to 25,000 adults and 4,000 to 10,000 children in persistent vegetative states in the United States. Presumably, their loved ones are making decisions every day about their care, and those decisions most likely include decisions about whether to remove feeding tubes and other life supports.
Who you think the Congress will vote about next?
(Credit where it is due: This idea behind this post was my husband’s).
March 24th, 2005
Here’s a tutorial on How to play the kazoo. It touches on many details of “kazooistry” and seems like it would be very helpful to a beginning kazoomer.
The tutorial was written by Geoffrey Leventham, the lead kazoomer of Oozak, which the website explains is “the all-kazoo musical sensation that is sweeping the globe.” There are some excerpts from Oozak songs on the website. I can’t choose a favorite song — it’s a toss-up between Billy Jean and Thus Spake Oozathustra.
Other kazoo websites of interest:
Several recordings of a kazoo hooked up to a wah wah pedal
History of the kazoo
How to make a kazoo
March 23rd, 2005
I have a sample of Harney & Son’s Winter White Earl Grey. It is packaged in a little round tin that contains 5 tea “sachets.”
The tea is really good. It is a Chinese Mutan White tea, flavored with oil of bergamot — the same thing that flavors your standard Earl Grey. The white tea is of decent quality, as far as my limited experience with white teas can attest. The bergamot flavor is light and does not swamp the tea — although the tea has none of the pear undernotes or aftertaste that are usually associated with white teas. I like this tea. In fact, I like it much more than I like standard Earl Grey tea. It’s a lovely tea to sip in the afternoon, when I don’t really want to be kicked by something stronger, but I still want a cup of tea.
The sample I have is of Harney & Sons sachets, rather than their loose tea. The sachets are little pyramid-shaped packets made from a fabric that feels like organza (I can’t find any info on their site about what it really is, but it is definately not paper). The packets allow the tea to move around more than a standard teabag, and the tea inside is the same tea Harney’s sells loose. I would prefer a loose tea, but these sachets are nice when I’m in a hurry. I imagine they would also be nice for travel.
March 22nd, 2005
I love homepages. The kind that aren’t weblogs, that just list the things that a person is into, and perhaps include little stories or snippets of information. I seek this kind of homepage out from time to time. My current favorite is Kazuhiro Asakawa’s homepage.
March 22nd, 2005
Revolting. Vile. Horrible. I can’t think of a term bad enough to describe the iced tea I made from some Chun Mee green tea purchased from Upton’s. I used 3 teaspoons in 4 cups of water. The resulting tea was cloudy, bitter, metalic, and probably some other things, but I couldn’t bring myself to try more than one little sip, so I’m not sure what they are. I’m not sure that there is enough of the sample left to try this hot — and even if there is, I’m not sure I am brave enough to try it.
March 21st, 2005
Ministers from the The Episcopal Church, USA; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Presbyterian Church (USA); United Church Of Christ and the United Methodist Church have issued a joint ecumenical statement saying that the Bush 2006 Federal Budget is unjust. The ministers’ main criticism of the budget is that it takes funding away from crucial programs for the poor — food stamps, day care, Medicaid — while at the same time giving the rich all kinds of new tax breaks. In their words “it has much for the rich man and little for Lazarus.”
This kind of critique makes me happy — delirious, really. It is vitally important that liberal and progressive Christians in this country make themselves heard. By allowing fundamentalist Christians to speak as if they represent all Christians, we are giving in to false prophets/profits and denying our selves and our faith. Like Simon Peter denying Jesus on the eve of his death, we’ve shamed ourselves. We have a lot of work to do to make up for it.
March 21st, 2005
This past weekend, my husband and I made a few batches of iced tea, using some Organic Gunpowder green tea puchased from Upton tea. I use the cold-brew refrigerator method to make iced tea (put some loose leaves in some water, put it in the fridge for 24 hours, strain before drinking), because I like it nice and clear and I find this method to be almost fool-proof in that regard. The only trick is figuring out the proper tea-to-water ratio.
For the Organic Gunpowder, we made two batches: one with 1 teaspoon of tea per cup of water, and another with 3/4 teaspoon of tea per cup of water. The first batch was too strong, and the second batch was a bit too weak. When I make this again, I’ll aim for something between the two. This tea is somewhat open, and the leaves unwound all the way in the fridge. The tea was probably about 75% whole leaves, and the rest were torn in half or thirds — they were all big pieces.
The resulting iced tea was quite good. It needed no sweetner, and had full, vegetal flavors — but it did not taste like grass. While a bit weak for my taste, it did have a nice “tea” flavor.
Just for kicks, I made a cup of this hot. The hot tea was harsher than the cold tea — I think I liked it better cold, it had a bit of natural sweetness. I reinfused this about 4 times.
Good news for our continuing iced tea experiements: iced tea — even cold-brewed — has plenty of antioxidents
March 21st, 2005
There’s been a long-running discussion on the Teamail list about weirdly-flavored teas — vanilla pu-ehr, jalapeno assam, and tomato tea. The first is apparently real, while the others are mythical. At least so far.
The last has me thinking — what would a V-8 matcha taste like? I think it might not be too bad. I’ll have to pick up some supplies.