SororiTea Sisters

A Sorority of Sisters Who Love Tea

Spicier Chai Blend from 52Teas

December28

Spicier-ChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Looking for a chai with a little extra ZING? You’ve found it! We crafted this warming chai with extra ginger and cinnamon, plenty of anise seed, peppercorns and even a touch of red pepper flakes. It’s not super spicy like they cayenne pepper blends we’ve created, but it will do a great job of warming your bones.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

The name of this chai made me go hmm.  – Spicier Chai –  Spicier than what?  But after I took my first sip, I got it.  I understood.

Because…

Wow!  “Spicier” is right!

And to answer the question:  it’s spicier than your average chai.  And it might even be spicier than the average spicy chai.  Frank (Chief Zoomdweebie at 52Teas) didn’t skimp on the spices in this chai.

And I’m LOVING it!  This is the way chai should be.

Oh sure, I’ve loved many a mild chai.  But, in my heart of hearts, I like my spices robust and zesty, and to call this Spicier chai “robust and zesty” would be an understatement.  This takes robust and zesty to the extreme!  This is sure to warm you up after a day out in the snow.  (Or the cold, biting rain like we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.)  This will warm you up – starting on the inside and that heat will radiate outward.  And I like it like that.

There is a good amount of ginger to this, and that, along with some black pepper and red pepper flake is what is providing the heat.  But I’m glad that there is more to this chai than just ginger and pepper!  I am getting a nice cinnamon-y backdrop and a pleasant anise flavor.  The snappy-sweet licorice flavor from the anise contrasts nicely with the peppery flavors.  The cardamom and clove work together with the cinnamon to create a cohesive “chai” flavor rather than something that tastes like it’s all peppery/gingery heat.

I think that’s what I like best about this chai is that it’s not a one-note kind of chai.  I am tasting a masala blend here, not just one or two spices.

Yes, I do taste the black tea too.  I have to say that it does get a little lost in the spices here, but the black tea is strong enough to offer a background of black tea flavor.  I’m not drinking an infusion of spices.  I’m drinking black tea and spices and that is evident in the flavor.  The nuances of the black tea are difficult to discern.  I’m not tasting “delicate floral notes in the background” or “notes of fruit” within the layers of flavor.  I taste SPICE and I taste black tea.  And really, that’s good enough for me because the spice is bold and strong and that’s what makes this a seriously good chai.

If you’re one who tastes a chai and thinks, “Hey, where is the spice?”  or if you’re one who thinks that the average chai is just a little on the tame side, you really should try this chai!  This chai has some bite!

Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from Teavivre

December28

Anxi Monkey KingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

TeaVivre brings you the fresh Monkey King Monkey King Tie Guan Yin which has no heavy roasting flavor. It is from the origin place of Tie Guan Yin, Anxi in Fujian Province. The twisted dry leaves are tight and strong in dragonfly-like shape. Dry tea has the light refreshing fragrance of vegetables and fruits. After brewed, the characteristic fresh scent of Tie Guan Yin comes. The tea liquid tastes sweet and its fragrance lasts long.

Tie Guan Yin has two different kinds of making method, Zheng Chao (正炒,) and Tuo Suan (拖酸), which was introduced in the description of Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin. This Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin belongs to zheng chao Tie Guan Yin tea, has comfortable brisk and smooth flavor without the sour taste on your tongue, just like the Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a lovely Tie Guan Yin – it’s a little different than the ‘typical’ Tie Guan Yin, at least, those that I’m used to.  The leaves above look greener than the leaves that I found when I opened the sample pouch, these appear to be a chocolate brown color with notes of a deep forest-y green.  They look as though they might have been lightly roasted or at the very least they appear as though they were oxidized a little longer than the typical green Tie Guan Yin.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of leaf into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I rinsed the leaves for 15 seconds in 180°F.  Then I discarded the liquid and resteeped the leaves for 45 seconds in 180°F water and strained the liquid into my teacup.  Then I repeated the process, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.  I combined the first 2 infusions to create my first cup, infusions 3 and 4 combined made my second cup, and so on…

And after tasting the tea, I think I’m correct with the ‘roasted’ guess because I taste a nice roasty-toasty flavor to this.  It’s sweet and nutty and very pleasantly smooth.  There is very little astringency to this first cup.  It’s creamy and this creaminess develops as the cup cools.  I found the first few sips to be crisper, brisker than the sips that followed as the cup cooled somewhat.  As the tea cooled, the brisk flavor became more subdued and the creaminess came forward.  While I liked that brisk note, I am liking the creaminess even more.  I like the way it melds with the nutty flavors.

The second cup was not quite as creamy as the first but I found it to be even smoother.  The roasty-toasty notes remind me of notes of charred wood and freshly roasted, still warm chestnuts.  The toasty flavors lend an autumnal taste to the cup, evoking thoughts of a walk on an afternoon when the weather is crisp and the fallen leaves are crackling beneath your feet.  You can smell hints of smoke in the air from a nearby chimney.  It’s a very cozy and comforting flavor.

The third cup almost seemed like a different tea entirely!  It’s still smooth, but this tastes brisker and cleaner.  I’m not getting as much a nutty tone as I’m getting a fruit-like flavor.  Hints of peach with the charred wood notes that I experienced in the second cup.

This third cup is a very refreshing tea – my palate feels clean after sipping it but don’t mistake that for a ‘cleansing astringency’ because I’m not experiencing that.  What I’m experiencing is a crisp, clean flavor that isn’t inundated with a heaviness.  It is gentle and soft on the palate and doesn’t weigh it down with flavors.  It’s an invigorating taste.  As the cup cools slightly, some of the nutty flavors start to emerge and these meld beautifully with the peachy flavors.

A really lovely Tie Guan Yin.  If you are familiar with the greener Tie Guan Yin, I strongly recommend trying this one for something a little different!  This is yet another example of why I love Oolong teas so much – the word “Oolong” can mean a vast number of different tastes and just when you think you’re familiar with one type of Oolong, something comes along like this Monkey King and offers something a little different and makes you fall in love with Tie Guan Yin all over again!

Bemolapur Estate Assam STGFOP1 Black Tea from Capital Tea Limited

December27

Bemolapur Estate AssamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Capital Tea Limited

Tea Description:

Small tightly rolled leaves with a high proportion of golden tips. These amazingly aromatic leaves produce a highly concentrated sweet and full bodied tea liquor with an incredibly rich dark chocolate-malt character. An outstanding breakfast tea to enjoy with milk.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love it when I find a really excellent Assam tea – and this Bemolapur Estate Assam from Capital Tea Limited is indeed excellent!  The flavor is full and robust!  This is the kind of tea you want on those mornings when you need to shake the sleepy, because it’s got plenty of gusto!

To brew this Assam, I heated the water to 205°F and poured the sampling I received into the basket of my Kati Tumbler.  Then I poured the water over the leaves and steeped the tea for 2 1/2 minutes.  This is a tea that I’d recommend tinkering around with to find just the right time and temperature for you, because although my cup was not bitter, it was somewhat astringent and I suspect that the tea would have been bitter if I steeped it for another 15 or 30 seconds.

Fortunately, I cut off the steeping time at just the right time for my palate because what I’m getting is a sweet, malty richness that I love from an Assam tea.  Bold!  Delectable notes of dark chocolate with an undertone of honeyed caramel.

I liked this tea served hot, straight up.  But I did let part of the cup go cold (I got distracted and was away from my cup too long!) and it’s quite tasty as a cold tea too (again, straight up).  It would also be nice with a dollop of honey (to accentuate those honey undertones) and a splash of milk (the creaminess of the dairy together with the malt would be outstanding).

A really lovely tea.

1997 Light Green 7582 Private Order Pu-erh Tea from White Two Tea

December27

1997_7582 Raw PuerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  White Two Tea

Tea Description:  

This cake is made from the Menghai factory recipe 7582, composed of many larger leaves. This production was made on private order at a smaller factory between  1995-1999, we decided to take the median of the age and list it as 1997, though we can not pinpoint an exact year. The tea is already smooth and easy to drink. There is some humidity that still shows up in early steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about White Two Tea’s Tea Club Subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!

The aroma of the dry leaf is delicate and earthy.  It’s not a strong fragrance which I sometimes find in an aged tea.  I’m glad the earthy notes are rather subtle here because it’s usually that really strong, earthy scent that I find off-putting.  This is not off-putting at all.

To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan.  I eyeballed a measurement of leaf (the sampling I received from White Two Tea had been broken off the cake) and placed it in my gaiwan.  After having brewed cake pu-erh enough times, I’ve gotten to the point where I can recognize by sight how much tea is “the right amount.”

As I said, the sampling had already been broken off the cake, but a couple of the pieces were a little thicker, so I took a knife and I split the leaves apart so that I’d get a proper infusion.

I brought the water in my kettle to 185° and I poured enough water into my gaiwan to cover the leaves.  Then I let that steep for 15 seconds and strained off the liquid, discarding it.  This is a “rinse” or a reawakening of the leaves.  I find this step is crucial for the best tasting cup of tea.

Then I filled the gaiwan with more water (same temperature) and let it steep for 45 seconds and strained it into my little teacup.

Ah … this is lovely!  It’s sweet and mellow.  The earthiness is perhaps the most pleasant earthiness I’ve yet to taste from a pu-erh.  There have been times when the earthy qualities are just not pleasant at all.  They taste a bit more like earth than they do earthy, if you get what I’m saying.  But, this is more like the flavor of a mushroom.  That’s the kind of earthy I like.

It’s not brine-y.  It doesn’t taste fishy.  It’s remarkably smooth with no astringency and no bitterness.  It’s a really lovely cup of tea.  And since it’s a pu-erh, I can take this for several infusions (and by several infusions – when it comes to pu-erh – I mean more than 3 or 4!)

The second infusion presented a slightly deeper flavor than the first.  Earthy, and I’m starting to pick up on the development of a caramel-y like flavor.  Very pleasant.  Mild.  Smooth.  A hint of a vegetative flavor that complements the aforementioned mushroom note.

The flavor kept getting deeper with each subsequent infusion.  It remained very mellow, smooth and sweet.  The sweetness develops from a caramel-y note to more of a dark molasses-y type of flavor.

I picked up on notes of raw cacao in later infusions.  I’m also picking up on a mineral-y quality and a slight ‘tangy’ note to it.  Not astringent tangy, but as if someone had squeezed a lime on my tongue but without the distinct lime note.

I really enjoyed this tea – the first that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company!  I found this experience to be quite encouraging of what is to come!

Cinnamon Apple Honeybush from 52Teas

December26

Cinnamon-Apple-HoneybushTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Organic, caffeine-free honeybush blended with real freeze-dried granny smith and red delicious apples, cinnamon chips and organic flavors.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

It seems that this fall season, Zoomdweebies is embracing the apple!  There have been several apple-y flavors released this year.  That’s OK with me, because I’ve been enjoying them!

For this review, I decided to try something a little different with the brewing process.  I steeped it in my Breville One-Touch (nothing different about that) but instead of going with 500ml of water, I went with 750ml of water and poured the whole pouch (1/2 ounce) of tisane into the basket of my Breville.  The reason for this is that when I was measuring out the 3 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket, I noticed that there was about a scoop left of the tisane (maybe a little more than 1 scoop, like a heaping scoop).  So, I decided to to ahead and add a little more water to the jug and use the whole pouch.   I set the parameters for 195°F and 10 minutes steep time.

The result is a tasty pot of caffeine-free tisane!  Two very large mugs full to the brim of cinnamon apple-y goodness.  Before I took my first sip, I set my Breville One-Touch to “keep warm” so that I could have another hot cup of yummy, but shortly afterward, I thought that I’d like to try it iced.  So, I poured the rest of the tea into a lidded cup so that I could refrigerate it.

This blend is a really delightful combination of flavors:  the sweet apple notes with just a hint of tartness toward the finish, the zesty, warm notes of cinnamon and the honeyed nutty flavors of the honeybush.  It’s pleasantly sweet – no need for additions with this one – so if you’re one who typically adds sweetener before you taste it, I would recommend trying this one before you add anything to it.  If you like your drinks sweet, a dollop of honey would be a nice addition.

Served warm, I find it to be somewhat hot apple cider-like and I really liked that.  It also makes a refreshing cold drink, although I found that as it cooled, I could taste a slight chemical note from the flavoring.  It’s very slight and it was not as apparent to me when I drank the hot tea.

I enjoyed this, but not quite as much as I enjoyed some of the other apple offerings this season from Zoomdweebies.

Pomegranate San Francisco Black Tea Blend from Culinary Teas

December26

pomegranate_san_franciscoTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Tea Description: 

Our Pomegranate San Francisco has lovely hints of vanilla and chocolate sprinkled with candy like notes. Cup has a ‘sec’ (dry) character that highlights the tea flavor!

Learn more about this tea blend here.

Taster’s Review:

This is good stuff!

First, I have to tell you about the aroma because it won me over before I even took a sip.  It smells sweet and evokes thoughts of the aromas that might surround me if I were to walk into a candy shop.  YUM!

To brew the tea, I measured out 1 bamboo scoop of the loose leaf tea into the basket of my Kati Tumbler and poured boiling water into the cup.  Then I let it steep for 3 minutes.  The result:  irresistible yumminess!

The pomegranate notes are tart and sweet, and I love the way they mingle with the notes of vanilla and chocolate.  It’s a sweet treat with delightful, contrasting notes of tart.  And the black tea base is smooth and full-flavored, with a pleasant malty note.

As the tea cools – or perhaps as I continue to drink – I pick up on more creamy chocolate notes.  The chocolate is further accentuated by hints of vanilla, making it a very sublime creamy experience.  This flavor combination becomes a very captivating flavor, as if it’s enveloping the palate with notes of sweet chocolate and vanilla.  Mmm!

This reminds me a bit of grenadine.  The fruitiness of the pomegranate together with the creamy notes give it a thick sort of texture that you might experience if you were sipping on grenadine.  But … this is even better, because:  a) it’s tea, and b) it’s not syrupy.  But it does have that sort of yummy factor that I mentally associate with grenadine, like when I was a kid and I’d sneak a sip of grenadine!  Hey!  I liked it a lot when I was a kid!

But now that I’m no longer a youngster, I much prefer my grenadine experiences to be involving tea – like with this Pomegranate San Francisco!

Peace Tea from The Algonquin Tea Co.

December25

tea-peaceTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Functional Tisane

Where to Buy:  

Peace Tea instills the tranquility, patience and beauty of the earth. This rich, bittersweet blend grounds us in a flowing meadow of healing herbs. Peace tea is ideal for calming down before, during or after any busy period.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

So, my Postal Teas box arrived the other day!  Yay!  A beam of happiness shines like a ray of sunshine when tea is in the mailbox!  And I do really enjoy the Postal Teas subscription.  So far, with every box that I’ve received from them, I’ve tried teas from companies that are new to me.  I like that.  I like that a lot!

I’ve never really made a big secret of the fact that I prefer camellia sinensis blends over herbal teas/tisanes.  Not a big surprise, right?  So, I was a little less than enthused when I opened the box this month and found not one … not two … but ALL THREE teas in the box were herbals.

What?  

So, it probably goes without saying that this month’s box was a little bittersweet.  I was not thrilled about receiving three herbal teas in the box BUT I was happy to be trying teas from a new-to-me company:  Algonquin Tea Co.

And while I do prefer camellia sinensis, I am willing to try herbal blends, and I actually do like to have an herbal tisane later in the evening to encourage some peace and quiet so that I can get a good night’s rest.

Which is why I chose to try this Peace Tea first.  The ingredient list suggests that there are quite a few calming herbs in the blend.

Ingredients:  Blue Vervain, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Oat Straw, Red Bergamot, Chamomile, Hops, Motherwort, Valerian, Skullcap and St John’s Wort.

To brew this tisane, I used my Kati tumbler and measured 1 1/2 bamboo scoops into the basket.  I heated 12 ounces of water to 195°F and then let it steep for 8 minutes.

As the description suggests, there is some bittersweet going on here.  This is a tisane that I recommend adding a dollop of honey (raw, locally harvested honey if you’ve got it!) to help tame the bitterness a bit.  After I added a little bit of honey, I found this to be an enjoyable cup.

The vervain and the hops is where a lot of the bitterness is coming from.  I taste hints of mint-like flavor from the catnip and there is a touch of citrus flavors from the lemon balm and bergamot.  I was really hoping to taste more of the bergamot in this.

Mostly, what I’m tasting is a very herbaceous flavor.  It is bittersweet.  Almost medicinal.  There’s a light floral note that is nice and it develops as I continue to sip.  I pick up on more of the chamomile flavor as the tea cools and guess what?  I was actually happy to discover the chamomile!  I think that the reason for that is because it’s more of a familiar flavor amid the medicinal notes.

All that said:  this isn’t a bad tisane.  I’m not hating this.  It’s not horrible.  It’s alright.  But this is not something I’d want to reach for on a regular basis.  The citrus notes and the hint of mint are this tea’s saving grace, because without those notes, I don’t know that I’d enjoy this.

The pros:  there is no hibiscus in here.  I enjoy the citrus-y notes and the touch of mint.  The floral notes are pleasant.  With a bit of honey this tastes much nicer and I am noticing myself relaxing and calming down a bit – I feel the peace that the name of the tea promises.  These are good things!

The cons:  It does have a strong bitter tone to it and while I can appreciate a contrasting, savory bitter note in a tea or tisane now and again, this is a stronger bitter taste than I’d like it to be.  It has a medicinal quality that makes me feel like I’m drinking something functional or “good for me” – which I am, but I don’t like to feel like I am.  I like to get my functional, good for me teas in sweeter, better tasting blends.

I think I’d like this a lot more if it had more citrus-y flavors, or more flavors that I don’t normally associate as “herbaceous.”  As a drink, it’s alright.  As a source of peace and calm, I appreciate how this tea is inspiring those things in me at the moment.  I feel noticeably more relaxed now than I did before I started sipping.

Pumpkin Spice Chai from The Tea Spot

December25

PumpkinSpiceChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tea Spot

Tea Description:

Our NEW seasonal Pumpkin Spice Chai may soon become your favorite tea to look forward to each Fall! This chai blend boasts a perfectly-balanced full leaf Assam black tea base with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, allspice, and pumpkin flavor to get you warmed up for Fall. This tea makes an amazing pumpkin latte with the simple addition of steamed milk. This seasonal treat will have you jumping in piles of rainbow-colored leaves in no time!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This year (at least this time of the year this year) seems like it’s been the year of the pumpkin chai!  I’ve reviewed quite a few different pumpkin chai teas this year!  I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve tried (nothing comes to mind immediately that I did not enjoy, but some I definitely enjoyed more than others), but I think I’m saving the best for last!  This one – this!  This is one of the very best pumpkin chai teas that I’ve ever tasted.

The first thing that really impressed me when I opened the pouch of this tea is the aroma!  Wow!  I can really smell the pumpkin!  It is a distinct pumpkin-y fragrance.  It smells like the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning when the pies are baking!  I smell notes of spice and black tea too, but the pumpkin notes are prominent!

The aromatic pumpkin notes are there in the brewed tea too.   The fragrance wafting out of my teacup right now are scrumptious!   To brew this, I used my Kati Tumbler and measured 1 heaping bamboo scoop of tea into the basket.  I like to use just a little more leaf when I’m brewing a chai!  This is especially important if you plan on going latte, because you want to accommodate for the heavier flavor of the dairy – or whatever product you’re using to make it a latte.

I brought 12 ounces of water to boiling and poured it into the tumbler and let this tea steep for 3 1/2 minutes.  I usually stop at 3 minutes with a black tea (and especially an Assam, which this is!) but because of the spices, I wanted to give them a little more time to develop so I crossed my fingers and hoped that the Assam would let me steep it a little longer!

Fortunately, the Assam didn’t seem to mind the slightly longer steep.

This is a really delicious pumpkin chai.  The pumpkin notes are distinct.  They are THERE.  There’s no mistaking the pumpkin here!  This isn’t a pumpkin pie spice type chai where you’re tasting the spices of a pumpkin pie but no pumpkin flavor.  This is PUMPKIN!

And even though the pumpkin flavor is strong, it is a true-to-the-squash type of flavor.  It doesn’t taste artificial.  It tastes like someone liquefied pumpkin puree and added it to my teacup.

The spices are nice.  They’re good and strong – flavorful – without pushing it to the spicy level!  It’s a distinct, spiced blend.  Not just warmly spiced, but not quite “spicy” either.  It’s somewhere between.  Consider the amount of spice that you’d find in the typical pumpkin pie.  Let’s call that mild spice.  And then there’s the super zesty, spicy level … this is somewhere in between.  This tastes like a chai that is also a pumpkin tea.

And I like that the spices are so thoughtfully balanced.  I like that this tastes like a chai!  I taste each of the spices:  cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger.  I am also tasting the allspice which is nice (and not always something that’s added to chai!)  It’s warm, it’s cozy, but it’s also got a certain zippy invigorating quality that I get from a well-spiced chai.

You might think that with all that pumpkin and spice, that the tea winds up on the short end of the stick.  But no!  This is an Assam tea and it’s got some gusto!  It is a rich, malty tea and the sweet, caramel-y notes together with the malt really play nicely with the flavors of pumpkin and spice.

For the purposes of this review, I didn’t go latte with this chai.  I wanted to experience the tea straight up, with just a little bit of raw sugar added to enhance the spices a little.  (This would also be amazing with honey!)  After I finished writing my thoughts about the non-latte chai, I decided to add some steamed milk and it’s awesome like that too!  So rich and creamy and yum!  Better than what you’d find in the local coffee stop!

This is a very clever, well-crafted pumpkin chai.  This is the best of the pumpkin patch!

White Vanilla Peppermint Black Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

December24

whitevanillapeppermintTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Polar bears? Candy canes? It’s that time of the year again! Yay consumerism! Yay tasty things! So hop on board the capitalism train, and try out a bag of our exclusive limited-edition White Vanilla Peppermint black tea blend! It has tea from Australia if you can even believe it. It tastes like a polar bear got into a fight with a mint plant that exploded all over your face. Seriously, try it.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m really enjoying the teas this company I found on Etsy!  The holiday blends are really unique.  I love that they didn’t go the standard orange spice holiday blend route.  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy those orange spice blends, but, it’s nice to find something that ventures off the beaten path, you know?

And this blend is different from any other holiday blend I’ve yet to try.  Mint is a popular “holiday” flavor, but M&K’s decided to change the mint a bit by adding licorice to the blend.  I like the way the licorice cuts through some of those strong minty notes to give this more of a candy-like flavor than a mouthwash-y one.  The sweet candy-ish taste is enhanced further with the addition of creamy vanilla.

And let’s not forget the black tea in this – because M&K’s didn’t!  This has a strong, full-flavored black tea base that’s rich and has a hefty impact.  It’s the kind of tea that I imagine I’d want for Christmas morning when my daughter wakes me up at the crack of dawn to open presents.

I like the way everything comes together in this blend.  The peppermint is cool and refreshing.  The licorice adds a sharp, snappy flavor that I like.  The vanilla softens the sharper edges of the licorice and tones down the peppermint a little bit.

The black tea offers a lot of interest to this blend too, I’m tasting hints of smoke.  I like the way that wisp of smoke melds with these other flavors, it sort of tastes like Christmas Day:  it’s around 9 am.  All the presents have been opened and you’re relaxing before you start working on that holiday dinner.  There’s a fire roaring in your fireplace and you’re curled up next to the warmth of the fire and sipping on tea and enjoying something sweet that Santa left you in your stocking.  That’s what this tea tastes like!

It’s a nice (and different) holiday blend!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 24 from Teanzo 1856

December24

Here we are, folks!  This is the last day of my countdown with tea from Teanzo 1856!  It’s been fun counting down the days to Christmas with this Advent Calendar and trying some pretty tasty teas along the way!  I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to try a new Advent Calendar!

AlteredFoundObjectFor today’s artistic inspiration, I chose another piece that I created for a swap that I hosted one year.  It was the first year in a long time that I had what I call a “full size” tree – before that, money was really tight and we had a very small artificial tree.  When we finally could afford a larger tree, I needed ornaments to fill it!  And as I may have mentioned previously, I find the “boxed” ornaments to be just a little too ordinary.  I like to think outside the box.

So, I hosted an altered art ornament swap that year.  Basically, each participant was assigned an object to alter, and they needed to make six of those altered objects and send all six to me, and then after all participant’s ornaments were received, I would swap out the ornaments and everyone got one of each of the ornaments returned to them.   They would send in six ornaments and they would receive six ornaments back, receiving six original and unique works of art for their tree.

This is one of the ornaments I made that year.  My assigned altered object was “found object” and I used hot cup sleeves that I found at my local coffee shop.  The town I lived in at the time was a small town, and at least once a week, I went into town and had a chai latte at the coffee shop.  They had those cardboard sleeves to protect the hands from the heat of the beverage that made the paper cups difficult to handle otherwise.  I liked the “tea cup and saucer” design on the sleeves, so I took a few of them one day, thinking that there was something I could do with them.

I rolled one of them up into a cone shape and turned it into Victorian-esque cone and filled it with little artificial flowers.  I painted the sleeve with shimmering paint to give it some sparkle and added eyelets on either side to loop a ribbon for hanging.  It was a cute little ornie, I thought.

Cherry Tea

Tea Information:Cherry-Tea

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Cherry Tea is a deliciously fruity black tea.   It has black cherries which lends a certain natural sweetness to the tea. This tea goes both ways just like most of our teas – iced or hot. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I said before, this is the last tea from my Teanzo Advent Calendar.  I’ve really enjoyed this tea journey with Teanzo.  If I could have “dictated” what teas would have been in the Advent Calendar, there would have been some changes made, but, for the most part, I’m really happy with the teas that I’ve tasted!  And since there were some teas that I might not have chosen for a “custom” Advent Calendar in this year’s box, I’m actually glad that I didn’t choose the teas because this gave me the opportunity to try some teas that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

To brew this Cherry Tea, I used my Kati Tumbler (yet again!) and poured the contents of the sampler package into the basket of the tumbler.  I then poured 12 ounces of boiling water into the tumbler and let it steep for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea has a very distinct cherry scent to it.  It smells a little like a jar of maraschino cherries.  There are some that might say that it smells a little like cherry cough syrup.  I happen to like cherry cough syrup so that smell isn’t a bad thing for me, personally.

The flavor is very cherry.  It tastes a little like a cross between maraschino cherry, bing cherry and a tart cherry.  Maybe a ratio of 2 parts maraschino, 2 parts bing, and 1 part tart cherry.  Now, imagine these cherries being macerated in brandy and then strained.  Liquefy the cherries and add a splash of the liquid to black tea.  Yeah, that’s what I’m tasting.

It’s a little sweet and a little tart.  My aforementioned comparison to cherry cough syrup is appropriate for the flavor too, because I do get a hint of that kind of flavor (which is why I made the macerated in brandy reference in the previous paragraph.  Cough syrup tends to have a slight boozy taste to me.)

The black tea is a pleasant tasting black tea – smooth and nicely round.  It isn’t bitter and it isn’t overly astringent.  There is a slight “pucker” of the inside of the cheeks toward the finish, but it’s slight and not unpleasant.  It’s not what I’d call an aggressive tea but it is a strong tea, strong enough to stand its own with the strong cherry notes.

As the tea cools, I notice more of the tart notes emerging.  Some of the sweeter notes of the tea start to come forward because of the tarter cherry notes.  I’m noticing more contrast with the cooled tea.

It’s an interesting tea.  Not my favorite from Teanzo – but I’m glad I got to try it.

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Our mutual love for tea and writing about it inspired us to start this blog so that we could better share this love with others.

One thing I (Anne) learned very early on in my career as a tea artist is that everyone has different preferences, and every single tea tastes differently on every single palate.  So just because one of us doesn’t happen to like a tea, doesn’t mean that YOU (the reader) will not.

We try to be as impartial as we can.  We do have our favorites.  We are human.  But we do our very best to be as fair and as honest about a tea as we can be.

You might not agree with my assessment – or with Jennifer’s assessment – of a tea.  But that’s OK… if we all liked the same exact tea – we’d only need ONE kind of tea and … wow… that sounds really boring, indeed!

What a beautiful world it is that we have so many teas to suit so many tea enthusiasts!