San Francisco Herb & Natural Food Co.

Recent Tasting Notes

Using my stash prudently; local store quit carrying in bulk. But general weariness coupled with general anxiety (t-word is in the forecast) justifies a long steep with lots of leaf. I’ll have to prowl around and see if any of you have a preferred bulk source of pure un-blended tulsi leaf.

SimplyJenW

I usually pick mine up at Upton. Amazon has Davidsons’ for about $17 a pound (which is a ton of Holy Basil!)

gmathis

I saw the Davidsons’ also—-hadn’t thought about Upton. Thanks!

K S

Grow your own – but use the leaves not the flowers like I was told to do.

ashmanra

K S: I was looking at seeds last night! I bought mine at Tin Roof Teas and I like it, but would love to grow my own.

K S

We buy small plants from the greenhouse. If I didn’t kill it, I know a chicken rancher can grow it.

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Ice storm; elderly parent who insists on driving in it; knots in neck. Straight up, steeped about 8 minutes. Could stand to take it intravenously.

Nicole

My mother isn’t that eld but I’m still anxiously waiting her call when she finishes her put off till the last minute Christmas shopping on the day of the ice storm… :)

gmathis

I’m less worried about the driving than I am him putting a foot wrong with his cane and …. roads this far south are more wet than slick. We’ve lost some branches and every crash makes me cringe. Flashbacks to our ice storm week without power a few years back.

Bonnie

I wonder what my kids are saying about me?! You guys are a riot! Glad you care. I use a cane. It’s more important that older people learn not to look down all the time, wear proper shoes and have a good tip on the cane. If you don’t look up where you’re going…you can fall.

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Ever notice how insomnia kicks in, not prior to a day when you don’t really need to be at peak performance, but immediately preceding a day that will be physically and/or mentally exhausting on general principles.

Yeah, well, after losing a wrestling match with the blankets last night and early morning, I gave up at 3:57 a.m. and realized my heart was going like I had been engaged in a WWF grudge match. So this was my morning tea instead of something caffeinated. It didn’t do a thing for mental clarity, but it did ratchet down the boogity-boogity adrenaline and palpitations.

If you have nothing else in your medicine cabinet this winter, get some of this and some peppermint and you’ll be well armed against 90% of what ails ya.

Spencer

Well-chosen! Pity about the insomnia, though.

gmathis

I think this one is like chamomile…there are a zillion different bagged varieties and tulsi blends, but for economy and effectiveness, you just can’t beat the straight-up stuff bought in bulk.

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Nothing new to say here; this has turned into the standby remedy for long and weary knots-in-the-neck days. If you haven’t tried it, there are dozens of branded and bagged tulsi, but I don’t think you can do much better than plain ol’ herb store bulk bin leaf.

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Trying to find an accurate descriptor for the week that doesn’t make me sound like the Queen of Hyperbole. It’s just been rough, personally, physically, and professionally: like your soul’s been dragged across a cheese grater. (No, that’s not adjectivally excessive at all.)

So there was nothing more appropriate to start bandaging the bruises at quittin’ time than a long, strong (8 minutes) steep of tulsi made gentler with a generous wad of homegrown lemon verbena (courtesy of k s). Coupled with a lap cat that makes paw circles in the air when you scratch in the magic spot, the acid adrenalin is starting to subside a little.

Rosehips

I’m sorry that your week has been so hyperbole inducing. I hope this weekend, and regular infusions of tea, will help.

gmathis

Thank you for the kind thoughts! (No exaggerations there.)

JacquelineM

Oh GG, I understand. I felt like someone physically beat me after last week! This week I felt I was only smacked around a little. Much love and sympathy :)

K S

Tazo and me are glad we could help begin the cleansing and hopeful de-shredding.

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Went to Fox Farm Grocery this afternoon and got a glimmer of hope for this one: the owner tells me San Francisco Herb & Spice has been out of commission due to some customs issues, but those are starting to work themselves out—tea shipments soon, we hope!

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The level of this one is getting distressingly low. I have whined before about being the Black Hole of Flavors. As soon as I develop an I-want-a-pound-of-this affinity with something, it disappears off the face of the planet. (Same applies to Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle scents.)

This is a lovely little melange of green tea, lemongrass, and lemon rind. Citrusy without being painfully tart. Inexpensive, too; everything you’d want in a humble little tea … except available, to the best of my knowledge. Sigh.

yssah - Love is Tea (LIT)

good thing you still have some :)

gmathis

Rationing v-e-r-y parsimoniously!

Em

Ooo parsimoniously. Good word!!

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Since I started fooling around with Tulsi this spring, it’s turned into a full-blown love affair. After a long search for an herbal remedy that actually unkinks the knots in my neck after a just-shoot-me stressful day, I think I have truly found my cure.
(Just-shoot-me + oops I forgot to take my blood pressure medicine = you could pour what’s left of me into a thimble.)

Which got me prowling around for pharmacological info to figure out why this works so well when other herbals don’t … boy, this stuff will cure whatever ails ya because it’s:

An immuno-modulator that balances and improves the immune response of the body in fighting antigens (disease causing agents such as bacteria, viruses, microbes, allergens etc.) and maintaining health

I won’t get radiation poisoning either.

So here’s to good health, a better day tomorrow, and not glowing in the dark.

K S

The clock turned to face the wall is bright enough at night without becoming a human nightlight. Think I’ll go fix a cup of homegrown myself.

ashmanra

I need to try tulsi. I could use some unknotting.

JasonCT

I never knew about Tulsi until I started dating my current girlfriend. She’s Indian and this plant is revered by Hindus. Often given to the dying, it hold both spiritual and medicinal benefits.
Glad to read about your love affair with it!

Tabby

I think I’m gonna grow Tulsi in my balcony garden next year. Hmmm…

Tea Sipper

I need some more tulsi teas! Basil is my favorite..

gmathis

I guess the best way to describe the effect (on me, at least; we’re all wired differently) is that when I have a revved-up stress-induced jet fuel adrenaline surge going on that I can’t pull back on, it takes the heat out of it. Make sense?

Terri HarpLady

I was drinking tulsi for awhile, but then it started becoming the new rooibos (showing up trendily everywhere) , & I went into an irritable avoidance pattern. I suppose I should give it a 2nd chance, maybe it will help with my allergies…

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Rain!
A rainbow!
Hope in liquid form!
(Over in 10 minutes, during which we couldn’t keep our noses out of the window giggling over it.)

And to celebrate, something fresh and and a little grassy that smells a little like our back yard.

This is my current favorite flavored green tea. I’m afraid it may be on the San Francisco Herb chopping block—may have to have a tearful visit with my friendly staff at Fox Farm: “Please, sir can I have just one more ounce?”

K S

Hurray for rain, rainbows, and favorite teas!

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I really need to find out the brand for y’all on this one, because it’s just plumb tasty! OK, Lemon, not plum. In bulk at my local herbal hangout, and they tend to stock San Francisco Herb and Spice or Frontier Natural Food Co-op stuff, but I haven’t found it on either website.

At any rate, it is a lovely Cheapster Steepster blend with gobs of lovely dried lemon peel. I prepared a pot properly, then chilled it—don’t have much luck cold-steeping green tea (it bitters up). At any rate, this has a wonderful baked-goods lemon cookie/pastry flavor that is every bit as good cold as it is hot. My introductory ounce is going fast.

gmathis

Well, pickle. I am the Black Hole of discontinued flavors…as soon as I fall in love with something, somebody else decides to pull it. Further research led me here http://www.herbspicetea.com/scripts/silverware.exe/moreinfo@d:%5Celevclients%5Csfherbtea%5Celevator.prg?ITEM=1044NH with the unfortunate word “closeout” behind it. Sigh.

Dylan Oxford

Oh man, that always sucks! By the way, I’m not sure you’re missing out on cold-brewing. A lot of people seem to enjoy it, but it just scares the bejeebies out of me.

Bonnie

With a brain as needy as mine is needing directions to follow for everything or I get confused, I use videos from the big tea houses like Teavivre and Verdant all the time. Verdant has all the cold brew and iced information that helped me understand what to do. Fear not Dylan of Oxford…brave one that thou art. and gmathis…I love the Well, pickle! What charm!

gmathis

Thanks, Bonnie. I’m probably not the hick I make myself out to be. Much.

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This one can be described in a very few words—Dr. Pepper without the fizz. I like it, but there’s a little censor in my brain this morning, as I drink it hot, who keeps whispering, “This should be COLD! This should be COLD!” (Shades of Sheldon Cooper.)

Flavor’s strong enough that 1/3 teaspoon of mate thrown in for a morning kick doesn’t make a dent in it. Notable as a Cheapster Steepster, too; bought in bulk for a bit over $1 an ounce. Plenty cheap to try it both hot and cold. (OKAY, Dr. Cooper. Enough.)

Vortegne

Sounds interesting, nice :)

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This is a Cheapster Steepster gem—I think it was less than a buck an ounce at our little independent health food store. Most of their bulk tea is San Francisco Herb & Spice Company, but I couldn’t find this variety on their website, so can’t verify.

At any rate, we’ve got a nice little blend of green tea (looks like sencha) tossed with lemongrass and bits of lemon rind. It is lovely lemony without being tart—more like lemon bread or lemon pastry. Any green tea flavor is very understated, not a bit bitter. Looking forward to trying this chilled.

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With apologies to the gentlemen’s sensibilities, this has been one of those food-coma, succumb-to-the-hormones-and-snarf-everything-sugary-within-reach weeks. And I’m now regretting it. And since I’m thinking Drano would be a little harsh for a system cleanse, I reached for what is quickly becoming an herbal standby for what ails me. Light, sharp, just a little spicy and, hopefully, an effective antidote several meals and unscheduled gorges.

Bought by the ounce at local health food hangout, a Cheapster Steepster award-winner as well.

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After a week of high-intensity, minimal-sleep geriatric caregiving away from home, I am a puddle o’nothing. Found this for just over a buck an ounce at local health food hangout. And if Wikipedia is right (tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress), and if this even hints at being effective, I shall buy it by the pound.

I expected it to be a little bitter, especially after noting the bronzey-green color after a five minute steep. Surprisingly, it isn’t—more like a combination of lemon and cloves. Lovely herb-y smell to it, too. Between this little herbal pick-me-up and a beautifully mild day overflowing with sunshine (after a week of local flooding), I hope to feel marginally human by day’s end.

TeaBrat

I think it helps me. :)

K S

Lemon and cloves? yeah, that’s what I got from Fusion’s Tropical Tulsi. I thought the clove was an unlisted ingredient. Interesting. My only other tulsi was a bagged (Organic India). I don’t remember it having the same characteristics.

K S

Went and checked my notes. I did note the clove taste but I wasn’t overwhelmed by the bagged version.

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Have mentioned before that this one isn’t painfully tart, but it’s sharp enough to help cut the crud that’s been lodged in my head for about a week. When you really concentrate on finding the apple flavor, you can find it…definitely a Granny Smith, not a Red Delicious.

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This smells absolutely heavenly—could stand its own as potpourri—but is tart (oh, hibiscus, you are such a nuisance). So I experiment and half-and-halved it with SpecialTeas Blueberry Cocktail. Ended up with a sort of warm fruitie slush suicide. Not bad; nothing I’d serve to anybody I was trying to impress, but a nice evening wind-down.

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This is another one that does better as a sun tea or a cold brew, which seems to be taming the tart in the hibiscus. Chilling it highlights the cherry-berry flavor instead.

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Guy at the health food store says he uses this for potpourri, and I can see why. Lovely sweet fruity thing happening, and not a ton of hibiscus as I’ve commented previously, but it’s still there. Bought an ounce of bulk mate leaf to try as a blend-in, which I did, and I think it cuts the h-word a little. Will have to experiment a little more with proportions.

This would have been a great morning to sit on the front porch of Shabby House and mull over flavorings and ingredients (a little rain, finally! am temps in the 70’s for the first time in weeks), but unfortunately the overnight rain made me oversleep. Thus, the mate needed to get me going quickly!

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My first taste of this one was on ice and thus, a little weak, but I was pleasantly surprised that the hibiscus didn’t make my eyes water. Appeared to be nicely balanced with the other ingredients. Have a full-strength bottle in the fridge for a second taste-test.

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Many cherry teas are either tart enough to burn off half your taste buds or taste really artificial like cough syrup. This one’s a nice happy medium with a believable fruit flavor. Unsweet cherry pie.

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The more I drink this, the more I’m annoyed by the the tart hibiscus because, dry, it smells so lovely smooth and coconutty. So last night I tried to squelch it with a little Rooibos Orange Cream from Franklin Tea. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t “it.” Just enough left to try one more blending experiment. Anybody know a foolproof antidote for hibiscus?

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Oversteeped this one and the hibiscus was so tart it made my eyes water. However, drinking the rest of the cup with a sugar cube lodged under my tongue was actually kind of pleasant. Still very bright and citrusy (even though apricot isn’t a citrus, is it?).

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Another one that smells so-o-o-o-o good dry and looks extremely bright and pretty—lots of loose yellow flower petals. Hibiscus hits you first again, but the coconut tones it down nicely. Great on a sodden, sullen rainy night.

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