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Iphone photographers- can you help? I'm looking for an app that allows me to keep a photo present that I've chosen from my library and use it as a guide for a new photo that will save to my photo library as a new independent photo. I want to do this so I can capture images such as bread dough rising. I can then show a compilation of images showing the rising dough. It's sort of like stop-action but my problem is the photos might need to be taken hours apart. Any ideas?
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Time for more Harney...
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Numi Organic Emperor's Pu-erh

This week I tried a couple of Numi teas. I must say, while I don't like all of the flavors Numi puts out, I applaud their boldness in trying new things, like their savory tea line (that I didn't like much).  Anyway, they've had pu'erhs out for a while and I got a couple of samples from +Consumr  to try.  

Now, pu'erhs are an interesting category. They originate from Yunnan Province in China, and are a fermented, dark tea with a distinctive earthy, musty, and sometimes even a bit fishy, profile. I've heard it described as old leather, cigars, dirt, and old leaves.  

Pu-erhs are the most highly oxidized of the tea categories and is an aged tea, sometimes over dozens of years.  Have you ever brewed a 60 year old tea? Some pu'erhs are even older and are, as you can imagine, ridiculoulsy pricey. Because their flavor develops over time, they are sometimes compared to fine wines. They are stored carefully away in the form of large, tightly packed bricks or cakes, but we can purchase them as mini cakes (tuochas) or even loose leaf. 

Anyway, this is not a pu'erh primer- I'm probably singing to the choir anyway.  I was just thinking about traditional, aged, expensive pu'erhs versus the entry-level kind I can afford, like Numi's bagged Organic Emperor's Pu-erh. 

As I tasted Numi's version, I had to say that it does seem to be a good gateway to the more expensive pu'erhs. It's not so expensive a purchase that if you hated it you'd hate yourself, too (nothing worse than splurging on something expensive and hating it). And it's not as strongly flavored as the expensive stuff you might have imported to you from China (you lucky devil) so it's not especially difficult to become accustomed to.

It's got a rich, robust dark-as-black-coffee color and is smooth to the palate. I drank it with and without Splenda and it was find both ways- a bit earthy and musty, and even a tad tingly-spicy on the tongue. It has a nice, perfumed aroma that I didn't expect. 

Now, you can get affordable loose-leafe and toucha-style pu-erhs from many places. I've ordered a couple in the past and might still have a mini-toucha somewhere. My first experience wasn't so wonderful but I think I'm ready to work my may back. I have to thank +Consumr for sending this sample out. I very rarely buy teabags, but this could join my collection.
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MMMmmmm- Russian Caravan! I am not normally a fan of black tea, but Upton Teas' Finest Russian Caravan, which arrived as a sample, is quite savory, aromatic and delicious. It reminds me of Earl Grey in that it has a special undertone of flavor. I haven't identified that flavor but it is seems to br a slightly earthy "spice." This may cause me to buy my first black tea in a while!
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I had a bad experience with Numi's Broccoli and Cilantro tisane so I tried very hard to approach this one- Tomato Mint- with a cleared palette and open mind.

The aroma is interesting and didn't pummel my nose like the aforementioned. I could definitely detect the mint aroma beneath the tomato-ishness. Tomatoes have a mild aroma, so Numi did a good job controlling the stronger mint.

The flavor? Vegetable broth with a slight tang on the tongue. Not too strong a flavor. It's not horrible, and I don't feel inclined to put ramen noodles in it (although you totally could). It's smooth with a full body. Fine alone or as an accompaniment to crackers or antipasto, perhaps.

You know what this is good for? Liquid fasting. It makes me feel almost like I've had a meal. You get 5 calories and 25% of your RDA of calcium. There, I've found its niche in my life.

Earlier review: Numi's Broccoli Cilantro Tea: http://bit.ly/NumiBrocCil

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REVIEW: ARACHA TOKUSEN GREEN TEA

I bought this tea at an import market here in Vegas. It comes loose leaf and vacuum packed into a foil-lined, 7 oz package.

It's called simply Green Tea because it's a blend of Fukamushi cha, kukicha and kona cha. The aroma is nice. I brewed it for only a minute or so and enjoyed the flavor.

The flavor was pleasant- nothing special, though. The body was relatively smooth.
I've enjoyed other greens more, but as I sipped I was thinking this would be fine as an everyday tea.

Then I got to the final few sips and suddenly it became extremely astringent, like the most extreme brut wine. Yikes! I seriously couldn't drink anymore- it was a totally different experience in the space of 10 minutes or so.

So...since it was nice until the last bit, I won't give up on it. I'll fiddle with temperature, amount of tea and brew time, and - maybe drink it quickly! At $16.99 I'm not throwing it out.
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I'm sure there's a perfect brew time somewhere. Maybe 30 seconds is the trick. :-)
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Today, due to some changes going on at the house, I had to use tap water for my tea rather than the bottled water I have delivered every month. Bottled water is a luxury I've gotten used to and was considering eliminating. I tasted the water before heating it, and noticed a minor difference. But wow- the difference was magnified when I brewed my fukamushi! The whole flavor profile changed of the leaves changed. The tea was unrecognizable.

Yes, water delivery is a luxury, but so is imported whole leaf tea. Why spend money on the tea and then use horrible water for it? I decided to use the water anyway since I'm at work, but not for the good stuff!

And I decided I'm not getting rid of my water delivery any time soon. 
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This is a review of the Numi's Broccoli Cilantro tisane

I drink tea almost daily, and drink it all day at work. I'm mainly into green teas and oolongs, and rarely buy tea at grocery stores since whole-leaf tea is more easily found online.

Given my tea preferences, I was a bit nervous about the strange combination of broccoli and cilantro. I couldn't imagine how the broccoli was prepared- is it the leaves of the broccoli plant? Freeze-dried broccoli pieces?

The teabag has a very strong aroma of dried soup mix or cubed bouillon - or... seasoning salt.

The liquor is reminiscent of consommé of some sort. I smell tomato, spinach, maybe celery? It's like hot V8 and I'm afraid to try it.

Wow. It's the liquid left after you've boiled broccoli. I don't taste cilantro.

I don't know what to say. I applaud them for their adventurousness, but sell it as a broth to be used as a noodle soup base. I just can't drink it straight as "tea". (Somewhere, I imagine Numi board members laughing and saying, "I told you, people will drink anything!")

Ramen, anyone?
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Tea snob? I sometimes wonder if purchasing tea only online is turning me into one, and preventing me from enjoying tea that more people have access to.

Tight finances have caused me to use up my favorite teas over the past 3 months without replacing them. My thinking had been that once I had some extra money I'd order from my usual places: Harney, Upton, etc.

After I created shopping carts on my favorite sites today, I balked at the $60 price tag. After removing a bunch of items I balked at the shipping & handling fee, which raised the price by almost 35%. I thought to myself, buying online simply isn't a good idea right now.

Why do I prefer online vendors? Am I hooked in by words and phrases like "top quality," "finest," and "premier"- words used for products that the tea factory workers themselves often can't afford?

Today I tried several local stores that happen to also carry pre-packaged looseleaf tea. I ended up with two Yamamotoyama teas from the first store: sencha and fukamushi cha. From a second store I got ryoku cha from Yamama. (It wasn't easy finding these as the shelves are lined mostly with varieties of bancha, hojicha and gen mai cha).

Now, do I like them? Well, I haven't fallen in love with the first two. They're too bitter. But I'm going to take them to work and force myself to make the best cup of tea possible with them. This will be a good learning experience.

The ryoku turned out to be sachets, which I didn't notice at the store. I was disappointed (snob) but this turned out to be the best of the three! It's smooth, has body, smells awesome, and produces at least three steepings per sachet. A keeper at $7, even if its in a bag.

While I will probably buy from my favorites again when my finances improve, exploring lower priced teas is a good balancing experience. So glad I did this! 
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Let's talk about our favorite loose leaf teas and tisanes!