What is the most exotic or weirdest tea you've tried?
I just did a tasting note for something that doesn’t really have a presence on Steepster: labrador tea. It is native to Canada and the northern United States, but I’ve only ever really heard of it being consumed regularly within Canada.
Some weird facts about it: it takes a really long time to steep (around 13 minutes with boiling water in my experience), has an oddly minty/earthy/white tea taste, and has a mild poison called ledol which can cause cramps and paralysis.
Let me clarify right away that labrador tea contains only some ledol and isn’t primarily composed of the stuff. Labrador tea has also been used for centuries by indigenous people as a remedy to everything including “colds, tuberculosis, dizziness, stomach problems, heartburn, kidney problems and hangover.” The tea is considered safe to consume in Canada and the U.S.
Anyway, what are some of the weirdest or most exotic teas you’ve tried or have sitting in your cupboard?
Neat, it’s interesting to learn about the labrador tea. Thanks.
*Puts on her ‘Plant Geek’ hat *
Despite the name it’s found all over Canada and parts of the northern States. It’s too dry to grown in this part of B.C. but it’s abundant further north. There’s also a related sepcies called Trapper’s Tea (Ledum glandulosum) that’s also drunk as tea, though it has similar amounts of ledol.
It is midly toxic so I wouldn’t advise drinking more than a cup or two a day, but so long as you drink in moderation it doesn’t seem harmful.
For me probably the weirdest teas I’ve drunk would be Adagio’s Savory Teas – especially the White Cucumber. 0_o
A nearly identical, already existing thread… the only difference is I asked what’s the weirdest tea you’ve tried and liked.
WOW! I tried that tea, Labrador, and i suspected that it contain a little poison, since it felt “sharp” in the mouth (For people to find out if flowers or plants have poison take a little sample and place it under the tongue. After some time, you’ll “feel” or taste the poison by the “sharpness” or the sourness- But seriously, don’t try something you don’t know. You never know when a sample gonna kill you )
Balsam Pear and Tien Chi Flowers.
The balsam pear is just a dried up bitter melon, but it’s got a woodsy bitter taste that takes some getting used to, good for cardiovascular health.
Tien Chi flowers are more earthy and look sort of like mini broccoli, it’s good for water retention.
Those are some of the more “exotic” ones that I’ve had, but they’re much more common in Chinese medicine.
The weirdest have to be that white cucumber thing from Adagio, which I found truly and utterly vile and which effectively killed any and all curiosity towards the other teas in their savoury line. Yuck times a lot, says I.
On a more interesting and exotic note, my turkish colleague gave me some turkish tea recently and instructions to brew it turkish style. The tea itself may be some perfectly ordinary black but it was lots of fun to try and brew it all authentically (and speculate whether I might be so lucky that it was actually turkish grown since I’m pretty sure she bought it in Turkey.) all of which is described in my post here http://steepster.com/teas/unknown/2322-turkish-tea
I had the most bizarre matcha experiencecand was wondering if anyone has tried this specific matcha before. My experience:
My local tea shop was sampling a new citron matcha their thinking of selling (unfortunately I don’t know the brand name). I walked in and found that it was served iced in one of those big jugs. Hmm… how is this going to work? Matcha settles when left undisturbed? Oh well, I’ll give it a shot.
I took the sample cup, pushed down the lever, and watched the cold matcha flow into the clear cup. To my shock, and horror, it was PURPLE! A definite slightly greyish purple! And it was thin and translucent. Not thick and opaque like match a should be. It seriously looked like some massively diluted kool-aid or egg dye.
Although I was terrified to try it, I did. Definitely tastes citrusy, but that’s it. No matcha taste, no matcha mouth feel.
I gave the store my honest opinion, but tried to word it diplomatically. But what I REALLY wanted to say is…
WHAT THE CRAP IS UP WITH THIS MATCHA?!
Yep. I totally forgot about this thread so I decided to move it rather than having a duplication.
Ok… I found out a little more about this matcha. It’s blended by my tea shop and is sweetened (blech!)… but that still doesn’t explain the nasty color or it not having the mouth feel of matcha.
Well, this just reminds me of a tea I mean to try. It’s literally droppings (yeah I mean feces) of some bugs. The bugs are raised to eat certain herbs (sometimes tea leaves) and their droppings is collected as a type of “tea”. It’s heated dry with honey and used in a way similar to “instant tea”.
I am not kidding…
(jokingly stern tone)- That is a tisane, don’t you ever put Camellia sinensis and bug droppings in the same product. :) I just hope other people follow that advice. A bug dropping flavored tea would be bad… pu erh is bad enough lol.
I thought tisane mean something flowery and beautiful :-p and would feel a little guilty call the droppings tisane… lol
Nope. Tisane means steeped beverage that is not made from the camellia sinensis plant. It concerns me that the manager of a tea company doesn’t know that…
Technically, if the droppings are the products of the bugs “processing” tea—I would say it is still tea. It is still from the tea plant—originally. This fascinates me. Wonder where I could get some, maybe create a flavored version?
Every body already thinks I’m bug sh*t crazy. (or is that supposed to be bat—?) Either way…
I wonder what flavors would suit a bug crap tea?
Pina Colada Bug Crap Tea
Ginger Peach Bug Crap Tea
CHOCOLATE FUDGE Bug Crap Tea!
I meant I thought most tisanes were flowery and beautiful. But indeed I know nearly nothing about tisane. No manager is perfect :-p
No, not by any means. But what is tea and what is not tea is, in my opinion, pretty basic. Kind of like how some companies don’t know that Pu Erh is not a black tea, but a unique tea type of its own.
In quite a few countries, people call products of various plants “tea”. So it all depends on what one’s specific definition is.
Besides, there are always blurred boundaries. Here is an example ;-)
I think the “poo” pu’er is sort of considered tea, as you say, because the droppings come from something that’s eating the tea (in the same way that coffee pooped out by a civet is still considered coffee). Also, most of the time when I’ve had the pu poo, it’s brewed along with tea, not just by itself.
True Gingko, but just because a person calls something by a certain name/term doesn’t mean that’s what it is. If that was the case I would have aced math. LOL :)
I think what she’s getting at is that things don’t translate perfectly across language barriers.
It’s true that in China, where tea comes from, ‘茶’ refers not only to c. sinensis, but to many other steeped beverages as well.
As far as a descriptive vs. prescriptive approach to language, that’s a more complicated thing, but I think that enough people consider any steeped herbal beverage “tea” that this battle has already kind of been lost in English. While I usually say ‘tisane’ if I’m referring to an herbal drink, I don’t spend a lot of time correcting people who do otherwise.
My OCD, legalistic tendencies also could have something to do with the fact that I never drink an herbal tea (tisane) solo, but blended with true tea.
Probably the weirdest I have tasted is Kuding, nail style single twisted Holly leaves. It is described as bitter with a faintly sweet aftertaste. It is and tastes medicinal. I swear I have felt better after drinking it, though it may be because you feel like you SHOULD feel better after something like that! It gets less repulsive with repeat usage, but it isn’t what you would grab for an after dinner treat.
I have read of the bug dropping tea, chong shi. http://www.chinaexpat.com/2008/05/08/5-uncommon-chinese-teas-why-you-should-drink-them.html/ I would try it.
Lapacho tea. Essentially… tree bark. It’s very woodsy but in drying sort of way. Not a bad taste but odd, and not something I would have often
David’s tea Have a new tisane called Amaretto made with Lapacho! I like it, but I’m not sure what lapacho tastes like so I don’t know if it tastes like lapacho!
LOL I just had some today!! but no, it tastes nothing like the lapacho I’ve had. The flavouring completely hides it… but it IS pretty mild so I guess it absorbs easily