Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, June 4, 2012

10+ Questions with Dax Miller of Tea Amigos


According to my Gmail inbox I have been receiving Tea Amigos tea reviews since March 2011. In that particular e-mail an Amazon Spice Tea was described as having the "aroma of a fighting champion". I finally got around to asking Tea Amigos co-founder Dax Miller to explain himself. (All questions conducted via e-mail).   

1)   For those who aren’t familiar with Tea Amigos, could you give us a rundown of the site?

Tea Amigos is the home to the most comedic tea reviews out there.  We keep it real on all levels, delivering unbiased, real-talk reviews of teas you’ve heard of, and teas that you’ve never heard of.

2)  When did you first come up with the idea for e-mailing tea reviews?

It started as just a joke.  Mike and I are marketers, and seeing all of the funny made-up phrases that people use to describe products needed a parody.  We decided that all the tea we drink on a daily basis would be great candidates to clown.  Then Tea Amigos was born.

3)  When did you first start sending them?

From day 1 we always had the email option for people that wanted to subscribe, and day 1 was sometime in late 2008.

4) Why tea reviews? Why not review something else?

We steep tea on the daily.  Having tried hundreds of tea, we know what we are talking about.

5)  Do most of your friends know about your website?

Most definitely.  People know what’s really good with the Tea Amigos.  They don’t even have to steep tea to appreciate the humor.

6)  There was a recent hiatus with your reviews. Would you like to say anything about it?

I started getting very involved with a personal project now turned corporation (namely The HOTH Corp), and Mike was traveling a lot.  TA got put on the back burner, but the love was never lost. 

7)  If you could choose three historical figures and/or modern day celebrities to read your tea reviews, who would they be?

Bo Jackson – I’ve been in his official fan club since a youth and I know that Bo Knows Tea

Morgan Freeman – His narration is unparalleled.

Ellen – We’d get on her show and run with it to the moon.

8) Why should people trust your reviews?

We let the tea do the talking.  If it is bad, we will say so.  If it is awesome, the world will know.  Plus, this is a labor of love.  We take no money from the mob nor any tea lobbyists

10)  Do you have a set routine for writing your reviews?

We steep the tea, take a couple of notes, then re-steep the same sachet to check the power of the leaf.  Lastly we steep again just to make sure we didn’t miss any mesquitability or something noteworthy. 

11)  Do you have an ultimate goal for Tea Amigos?

Our goal is to bring tea into the “cool zone”.  Many people don’t understand how great tea is and how many different types there are.   We are bringing the tea culture back!

12) Where do you live?

I currently live in Tempe, AZ, while Mike resides in a Chicago suburb named Buffalo Grove.

13)  Are there any tea shops and/or cafes near you that you particularly like?

In Chicago we really like DarkCloud.  Great people, great steeps.  Also, Wormhole in Wicker Park is the jam as well.  We do a lot of hothing there.

14) What’s your daily tea consumption like?

I’ve been steeping a lot of Yerba Mate lately, to the tune of 3 cups per day.  Throw in about 4 other random tea for the love or for the game and we are at about 6 cups of tea per day each.
We steep hella.

15) Do you have a favorite tea of all time?

Personally, my favorite tea of all time has to be Organic and Pure White Tea with Lemongrass.  This is a rare find and is only available in random grocery stores in Chicago.  Peep the reviews on Tea Amigos and you’ll see exactly why this mystical blend is a mainstay in my pantry.

16) What do you envision for the future of tea drinking in America?

I see either us, or another figure in the 20-35 age market making tea cool again.   I envision people showing up with full teasan status, whipping out their own tea bags at cafes.  It will get gangster.

17)  Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for this opportunity to put more people onto Tea Amigos and our reviews.  Shout out to thehoth.com and lookout for GroupHug (grouphugapp.com) that will most likely change the internet as we know it.  Steep on…
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Saturday, March 31, 2012

David Mitchell on Coffee

Mitchell tells it like it is.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Orwell on Tea

"I maintain that one cup of strong tea is better than twenty weak ones."

Read George Orwell's full opinions on tea here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The tea made me feel peaceful and relaxed, and I went to sleep.

From Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock:

They brought me tea. The nurse had me sit up against my pillows and placed a tray in front of me. She poured some steaming water into a cup with a little bag in it. Go slow, she said, it burns. What do you mean, slow? I sniffed the cup and detected the odor, I wanted to say, of smoke. I wanted to see what tea was like, so I took the cup and swallowed. Dreadful. A fire, a flame, a slap in the mouth. So this is boiling tea. It is probably the same with coffee, or chamomile, which everyone talks about. Now I know what it means to burn yourself. Everybody knows you are not supposed to touch fire, but I did not know at what point you could touch hot water. I must learn to recognize the threshold, the moment when before you couldn’t and after you can. I blew mechanically on the liquid, then stirred it some more with the spoon, until I decided I could try again. Now the tea was warm and it was good to drink. I was not sure which taste was the tea and which the sugar; one must have been bitter and the other sweet, but which was the sweet and which the bitter? In any case, I liked the combination. I will always drink my tea with sugar. But not boiling.
The tea made me feel peaceful and relaxed, and I went to sleep.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pipar og Salt


Klapparstigur 44
101 Reykjavik

(+354) 562 3614


Pipar og Salt (lit. Pepper and Salt) is not just a Scandinavian comedy program, it’s also a store in Reykjavik (though the two do not seem to be related in any way). Anyone who has tried to find reasonable tea in Reykjavik knows it’s not easy. The supermarkets don’t carry many brands of tea and what they do carry is not very good. If you are thinking that a country so close to the UK would at least stock some PG Tips on their shelves, you are in for a major disappointment. Fortunately for the discerning tea consumer all is not lost.

Pipar og Salt carries a variety of kitchen items, many of them spreadable. Glass jarred preserves, marmalades, and curds abound as do tea pots, coffee pots, tea cozies, and bird houses. Amongst such odds and ends in this small store is a shelf dedicated to loose leaf tea. The tea comes in blue, 125 gram packages that show little more than the name of the variety (no descriptions, no stories, just a name and the Pipar og Salt logo). I decided to buy a package of Darjeeling mostly because I hadn’t had Darjeeling in years. The decision did not disappoint.

Brewing to a deep amber color, the tea has the light smoky flavor one can expect from a good Darjeeling. Strong, but not knock out strong, it is a worthy choice for a place of such extreme weather as Iceland. If brewed just right, the tea finishes with a touch of sweetness.

Due to the apparent lack of loose leaf tea competition in Reykjavik, Pipar og Salt could probably get away with carrying second rate stuff. If the rest of their tea stock is as good as their Darjeeling, it is safe to say that they do not.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sacred Grounds

Cupping, digital scales, stolen cherries. Have a look at how the other half lives in Kelefa Sanneh’s article about coffee. At no point in the piece does drinking coffee sound like fun.