Tonight I thought I’d dive into one of my favorite teas. This is Lupicia’s Momo Oolong Super Grade, which is apparently their #1 best seller. I’m hardly surprised. This tea is great. The peach flavor is pronounced, and it is sweet enough on its own to enjoy without any additional sweetening.
It’s a pretty tea to just look at, with the rose petals. The leaves are tightly twisted, and when set in to steep, they expand beautifully. Depending on my tea mood, I might use teabags instead of my teapot. But one tea I would never use the bags for is the Momo Oolong. The leaves need the space. They’re pretty large once fully expanded.
This is kind of a splurgey tea. It’s $13 for a 50 gram bag of leaves (don’t bother with the bagged version), but it is definitely worth it. You can get more than one steep out of the leaves per drinking session. I usually go for two or three pots with the same spoonful of leaves.
It’s a nice late afternoon or evening tea, since oolong has a lower caffeine amount than black tea. It’s not entirely absent though, so maybe stick to a morning brew if you’re particularly sensitive.
And as for food options, my old roommate Zed used to occasionally enjoy the spent tea leaves with rice. Like this but more basic.
The Elder Corgi Sister gave me one of these for the holidays last year. Mine’s the Teavana PerfecTea, but I preferred this video demonstration of the Adagio IngenuiTea. All the major tea people seem to have a version of this teapot (and I’m pretty sure all of them have punny names) (yes, yes, gravi-TEA, I know I could have used a pun in the title of this post BUT I RESISTED). They all work on the same principle. Place loose tea in pot, add hot water, let steep, then place over cup and let piss out the bottom. It’s great. I use the hell out of mine during the chilly months. Also when I’m sick—I’ve had a cold for the past ten days.
I have so much tea. I still have most of my Lupicia Lucky Bag. Plus when the Lupicia in San Francisco closed (BOO), we all went and bought a bunch more on clearance. I think I would need to be sick for at least three months to get through it all. (I really shouldn’t tempt fate by saying that.)
I went into San Francisco yesterday and stopped at Lupicia, one of my favorite tea retailers. I was there to pick up some loose leaf La Belle Epoque, my go-to for “tea-flavored tea.”
While I was there I noticed that they had a display of lucky bags (well, boxes, but same thing). Fukubukuro are a big thing with Japanese stores. They’re a grab bag sold at a discount. I was surprised to see they had any left (stores sell them for the New Year), but I picked up one for $30.
Here’s what was inside (and their descriptions from Lupicia’s website):
Momo Oolong Super Grade (retail price $13.00) Savor the succulent flavor and aroma of Japanese white peach in this Taiwanese pouchong blend accented with pink rose petals.
Sakurambo (retail price $6.50) Black tea flavored with Japanese cherries, which has a sweet and fruity aroma.
Tikuanyin (retail price $11.00) Oolong tea from Fujian province has a rich taste and sweet aroma.
Darjeeling Second Flush (retail price $8.50) A blend of summer-plucked Darjeeling tea. Often referred to as “Champagne of teas”.
Afternoon Tea (retail price $6.00) A blend of light-bodied Darjeeling and full-bodied Assam. Can be served with milk.
Strawberry & Vanilla (retail price $6.50) Green tea with matcha is flavored with sweet fragrance of strawberry and vanilla.
Muscat (retail price $6.50) Refreshing taste of muscat offers an interesting impression. Ideal choice for an iced tea.
Cookie (retail price $7.00) Black tea scented with an image of freshly baked caramel cookies. Best served with milk.
So that’s $70 worth of tea for $30! I have had the Momo Oolong before and loved it, but it’s expensive so I’ve only purchased it once. I have sipped my way through several bags of Sakurambo in the past, I like it a lot. The rest are new to me, and I’m very excited to try them all! The only one I’m a bit leery of is the Muscat, but I think I’ll take their advice and brew it for iced tea.
Last weekend, TeapotGirl and I headed into San Francisco for a day of food, makeup, and (of course) tea. Lupicia is my jam, and I’m lucky enough to live near two of their physical stores. I love going in and spending a quarter hour sticking my nose into all the tea tins. This time, after picking up my obligatory pouch of La Belle Epoque, I was given a bag of Chocolate & Strawberry Puer to sample. I made it today.
I’d never tried puer tea before, but from the reviews of this particular tea on Steepster, it seems like a flavored one was a good way to start. Apparently they can sometimes taste kind of fishy? I don’t know if I’d like that.
But this is a pretty nice tea. Really complimented a slice of sweet potato spice bread well. It’s sweet without needing sugar and creamy without needing milk. The chocolate and strawberry are definitely noticeable. I made two mugfuls with the same teabag since I’m a barbarian. While I don’t know if I would purchase a full pack of this, it was a pleasant enough diversion for an afternoon.
My friend TeapotGirl gave me Lupicia’s Handy Cooler as a gift last year. I have been using the hell out of it to make cold-brew iced tea. It’s great. I can drink so much of that stuff.
Here is the cooler in action. It’s got a fine-mesh insert that you put loose tea leaves in. You can also use bags without the mesh insert, if you prefer. Fill the cooler with cold water and place in the fridge overnight. Drink up, yum.
Making iced tea with cold water takes a bit longer, but the taste is really delicate and completely lacking in any bitterness.
I visit Lupicia’s physical stores a few times a year. Two of my favorite loose teas from them right now are La Belle Epoque and Peach. Both make excellent iced tea. For bagged tea, I have a particular fondness for Triple Leaf’s Ginger Tea, which is basically just a bag of dried ginger. It’s lovely on a hot day.
I visited Lupicia’s San Francisco store last weekend with my friend TeapotGirl, and it never fails that I pick up something new. However, if a new tea comes in, another must leave. And so it is with sadness that I bid farewell to Lupicia’s Golden Honey Dew Rooibos Tea, which is one of the most delicious iced teas I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even like honeydew melons, but this is so good.
A steeping note, if you ever find yourself in possession of this beauty. Since it’s only available in leaf form, I don’t recommend pouring the water over whatever your steeping mode of choice is. The leaves/twiggy components in the tea are very small and easily jostled out of a bag (I get my bags in giant packs at Daiso). Pour the water first, then gently place the bag into it.
I had my friend Joa over for tea today. Joa used to work with me, but she left to go have an adorable baby. Luna is so cute. She’s 7 months old, crawling all around, pulling herself up (and falling right back down again). We had a delightful time.
I made banana bread and some tea sandwiches. The plums on the outside tree are about a week away from full ripeness. I made a sandwich with some cream cheese and the closest to ripeness plum I could find, sliced thin and sprinkled with sugar. For a more savory sandwich, I buttered some bread and put slices of cheddar cheese with some Branston Pickle.
1/2 cup boiling water
6 chai tea bags
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour boiling water over tea bags in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags; cool to room temperature.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until well combined. Beat in brewed tea and vegetable oil. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.
Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.
Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (it took me closer to 50 minutes). Cool in pan on a wire rack.
3 oz. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Beat the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.
Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you’re looking for 170 F.
(I mixed everything in a stainless steel bowl, then put it over a pot of simmering water and whisked for 10-12 minutes.)
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.