Category Archives: Drinks

Earl Grey for Cheap: Dilmah & Taja Tea

There are many things I love about having Grocery Outlet so near my house, and one of them is their ever changing brands of tea.  I used to pretty much only buy Twinnings tea (waiting for it to go on sale, as it’s usually $4 for 20 bags), but so many of the teas I’ve found at Grocery Outlet are comparable in flavor, that I am no longer tied to that venerable branch.

I’m usually a black-tea girl, but I do make an exception for Earl Grey, a black tea flavored with bergamot orange oil.  I’ve recently had those produced by Taja Tea and Dilmah, and they were both excellent.

Taja Tea specializes on “saffron” teas and offers five flavors.  The Earl Grey is made with black tea from Argentina, and artificial bergamot flavors (I checked).  Still, it is delicious.  Other Taja Tea flavors also get good reviews, and I may try the red rubio and the assam if I catch them at GO.

Dilmah is a Sri Lanka based, family company, established soon after Sri Lanka gained its independence.  They specialize on Ceylonese tea, as you’d expect, and their Earl Grey is very satisfying.  It’s not as flavorful as Taja’s, but it has nothing to envy Twinnings.  It uses Ceylon black tea and artificial bergamot flavoring.

They are both cheaper than Twinnings as well. I’ll check the actual prices next time I go to GO, but they’re about $1.50 to $2 per box of 20.

 

Impra Organic Black Tea – Review

I got a box of Impra Organic Black Tea bags at Grocery Outlet ($1.50 for 25) and I was quite pleased with it. This Ceylon tea has a medium flavor, it stands well to milk and sugar. It was quite tasty, and given the great price I’ll probably buy a few more boxes.

Barrington Tea @ Grocery Outlet

I’m a moderate tea drinker and mostly a fan of Twinings English Breakfast Tea, which I buy at the supermarket when it’s on sale or at Santos Spice Products, where a 50-tea bag box is only $5 or so. But it’s not always possible to get it at either place, so when I found myself with no tea last week, I decided to give the Barrington Tea I found at Grocery Outlet a try. At about $1.50 for a 20-tea bag box, I figured I wasn’t gambling much. And to my surprise, I ended up liking this tea quite a bit.
I usually like plain black tea mixes – like English breakfast, though I’ll have the occasional cup of Earl Grey. I drink my tea with milk and sugar.
Only “Pure Ceylon Black Tea” is listed as an ingredient on the Barrigton English Breakfast tea box, but I could swear the tea has some sort of flavoring in it. I can taste hints of mint and something else which makes the tea taste particularly sweet. It’s not as robust as the Twinings, but it stands well to milk and sugar, a bag is strong enough for two mugs and it doesn’t seem to over-brew very fast (I don’t usually remove the tea bag while I’m drinking the tea). In all, I’m quite happy with this tea and I’ll probably go and, given the price, I’ll probably go and pick up a few more boxes of it to keep in case Grocery Outlet stops carrying it. The tea expiration date is 11/12, so it should be good for quite a while.
A final thing that I like about this tea is that the bags come in plain paper covers. Twinings’ come in sealed waxed/metallic paper bags, which I don’t think I can recycle/compost.
Finally, I haven’t found much about the Barrington Tea company online – which makes me assume it’s quite new. According to its website, their corporate offices are in Palo Alto. The tea comes from Sri Lanka.

Update
I just got a box of their Ceylon tea and I’ve enjoyed it very much as well. It’s a robust black tea, with some hint of flavoring but not as strongly as in the English Breakfast. It’s very nice with milk & sugar. I’d buy it again, though now I’m curious about trying the Trader Joe’s tea, which is even cheaper.
I’ve also tried the Earl Gray tea and this one has disappointed me. It’s very weak and it doesn’t really have a different spicing than the other teas – it’s just weaker. I won’t be buying it again.

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

I ran out of strawberries, but got a lot of blueberries at Safeway for $5 – so I decided to make blueberry smoothies for dessert. Everyone agreed it was a good idea. I made them using the recipe for strawberry smoothies I made the other day, modifying it a little. The results (of my second batch) were quite good, though not as good as the strawberry smoothies. The blueberry flavor was also more subtle – if you want it stronger, use more blueberries.
Ingredients

  • 6 ice cubes, crushed
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

Blend everything together until your smoothie is smooth – pun intended 🙂
Update. Mika, my 7yo, made this blueberry smoothie today again, all by herself, and it was really good.
blueberry smoothie

Strawberry Smoothie

A couple of week ago I got a Bella Cucina Rocket Blender at Macy’s. It was on sale for $20 and they had a $10 rebate – so, if when I get the rebate check, I’d only have paid $12 – I bought it at the store so there were no shipping charges. I’ve only used it a few times, so I’m not going to review it yet. It’s working fine, but I’ve read that it doesn’t have much on the way of longevity – at least for regular smoothie makers, which I’m not.
Anyway, now that I have the little thing I’m motivated to make smoothies – at least once in a while. The first few recipes I tried underwhelmed me, but this recipe from allrecipes.com was great. I did increase the amount of strawberries it called for, but I think how many you use will be very dependent on the size of your strawberries. Similarly, how much sugar you use will depend on the sweetness of your strawberries. The ones I used were medium to small (and super sweet). Here’s my adapted recipe:

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 8-12 strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sugar

Crush the ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until it’s all combined.
Note: If you are using a smoothie maker like mine, all the ingredients will fill the large mixing glass to the top. I still was able to get them blended, but if you are concerned, you can mix it in two batches (just divide the recipe above by 2).

Banana Daiquiri

I had several of these when I was at all-inclusives in the Riviera Maya and decided to make my own. Based on an online recipe, this is what I came up with:
-1/4 cup light rum
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-1 cup ice
-1 banana
-1 tsp. sugar
Put everything in blender and blend until smooth.
It’s quite good.

Kathy’s Paradise

My sister Kathy is in town and she likes me making her rum-based mixed drinks in the evenings. I seldom do it, and I’m not always successful, but last night she was insistent so I searched through the net for something I could do with the ingredients we had at home. What I came up with was this recipe for Pink Paradise, which I modified to suit the ingredients available at home. She liked it and I made her quite a bit of it 🙂

  • 2 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 3 oz Cranberry Cocktail
  • 2 oz Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat

Mix everything together. Serve over ice.

Coke with Lime

I bought a bottle the other day by accident. I won’t say that this soft drink is vile – I did drink it all – but it’s just not good. It’s rather bitter, a bit like an RC cola, and doesn’t even have a hint of lime flavor.

Disaronno

Another small bottle that Mike got was for Disaronno liqueur. It’s an amaretto (though you wouldn’t be able to tell that by looking at the bottle) and Mike didn’t like it for straight drinking, at least. I’m sure I’ll find something to use it in, however.

Tangueray Gin

We got a number of small liquor bottles as stocking stuffers. As I don’t drink hard alcohol even when I’m not pregnant, Mike is the one who ends up with them. He already tried the Tangueray Dry Gin (straight) and he liked it quite a bit, it had a nice and subtle lemon flavor. It was his first time drinking gin, I think, so it may very well be that that’s how gin tastes 🙂