Dimbula Tea from Zesta Tea. . . .

Dimbula Plantation teas are mostly grown around 5,000 to 6,000 feet on the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. The different altitudes make a lot of difference in the taste of the tea grown, and teas typically retain the name of Ceylon tea, this one being further identified as a High Grown Broken Orange Pekoe or BOP. Orange Pekoe refers to the size of the leaves that were picked and therefore also their location on the branch, as tip leaves are smaller, and broken tells us that this isn’t whole leaf tea.

While whole leaf tea is usually more expensive, that doesn’t mean that broken leaf can’t be good. If it came from good leaf, it just becomes broken good leaves. It can mean you need a fine strainer, and it does mean there is more surface area and therefore, you need to cut your steep time short to prevent bitterness, but made properly, broken leaf teas can be quite delicious.

This tea has a hearty, classic tea scent and bold flavor. The citrus notes are high enough to tingle your nose when you sniff the steeped tea. The liquor is dark orange and medium bodied. It has a nice briskness and goes well with food. I drink almost all of my tea plain, and this one is palatable that way, but if you like milk and sugar in your tea, this one can certainly take it. It also makes a good iced sweet tea.

I would have no trouble serving this as a breakfast tea, but it also does duty in my house as an afternoon tea with sweets, which is how I think I most like to use it.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Zesta Tea
Description

Enjoy our regional tea packs featuring teas from five tea growing regions of Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. This variety from such a small island is what made Ceylon tea famous – try it – from the low grown Ruhuna teas to the high grown Nuwara Eliya – a true journey in Ceylon tea, packaged in teabags for convenience and offered in a pine wood box. Perfect for gifting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Green Tea With Jasmine from Taylors of Harrogate. . . .

My daughter has recently gone mad for Taylor’s of Harrogate Green Tea with Jasmine. When an opportunity came up to review it, how could I pass it up? I don’t do many tea bag teas, but I love jasmine and I want to see what all the fuss is about.

These bags are individually wrapped – a MUST for freshness, in my opinion – and when I turned the wrapper over to tear it, I saw prominently printed on the back, “We are a member of Ethical Tea Partnership.” Okay, points from the start!

The instructions say that for a perfect cup I should boil fresh water and let cool for one minute, then infuse for one to two minutes. Since I have a variable temp kettle, I heated the water to 175F and infused for two minutes because I am a brave soul.

Steeped in my biggest, fanciest mug, I am not disappointed. I am being treated to an event of spa-like proportions. This is not green tea scented with artificial jasmine flavor, but rather green tea leaves that have been mixed with jasmine flowers and left to infuse with the flavor overnight.

I understand why my daughter loves this one and buys it in bulk now. It is easy to make at work, eco-friendly packaging, and it is a really decent cup of tea. It has just enough of the green tea flavor to make it a nice pairing with lunch, and enough sweetness and smoothness to make it very drinkable on its own. It lacks the sour taste that so many bagged jasmine greens have. This is a great choice for easy to make, easy to drink tea. No sweeteners needed, and doesn’t need milk to soften any astringency.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy: Taylors of Harrogate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Heritage Hard Water Tea from The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co.. . .

Here is an idea that was quite unique to me, though having looked into I see there are other companies doing this as well! This company is blending tea with the water of a specific area in mind, but I suppose that anyone who uses tap water for tea in a hard water area would benefit from buying a special blend like this, especially in an office where it would hard to keep spring water around.

First, this is true British builder’s tea. It is a blend of teas from Assam, India, Kenya, and Rwanda. It is listed as broken orange pekoe and was very fine when I measured it into my strainer. I was worried that a lot of tea dust was going to pass right through the mesh and leave me with bitter tea, but when I lifted the basket to check for dust in the pot, there was none. Hooray!

Since it was so fine, I only steeped for two minutes even though it says you can go as long as three. At two minutes, this is plenty strong enough for me. In fact, it was so dark it was scary! It almost looked thick when I poured it, so I warned my guests that it might be a tad strong. When they sipped, they said they liked it and had no problem with it. Nice!

I did not have to add milk, but it could very easily have handled it. I did not use sugar, but again, if that is how you take your breakfast tea you could easily enjoy it with sugar.

If you live in a hard water area and find that you water is keeping your tea from tasting “up to snuff”, and you are a fan of good, old-fashioned British builder’s tea, here is one for you to try. Tingle to the tongue, boot to the derriere, and out the door with you! Face the day!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co.
Description

This blend of strong black teas has been mixed for your local tap water. Living in hard water areas can affect the taste of tea and the water, ensuring that you get a proper cup of tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Peppermint Bark from The Sunshine Cottage. . . .

The name Peppermint Bark evokes memories of the crisp scent of mint with the sweet smell of white chocolate in a certain kitchen goods store I love to visit. I can almost feel the big bar breaking raggedly in my hand as the strong scent of mint stings my nose! Then you carefully gather all those little bits that broke off and pop them in your mouth before taking a big bite, and the white chocolate melts on your fingers.

The scent of this tea hit spot on with that memory. Fresh, sharp mint and rich, creamy white chocolate tickle your nostrils. The white chocolate is less obvious in the scent of the steeped tea but its sweetness is there, keeping this from falling into being a ho-hum plain peppermint.

Even though it is still winter as I drink this, we are already having some spells of hot weather where I live, but that’s okay because nothing refreshes quite like mint when you need to cool off.

A cooling cup it is, too! In winter, a hot cuppa will always warm you, but this is so very minty that I can also drink it hot OR cold on a hot day for refreshment. I have only had it unsweetened, but for those who like sweet tea, I really think this would be amazing that way.

The mint really is the star of the show in this tea, and even though I usually favor spearmint over peppermint by a long margin, the peppermint in this tea had delicious flavor, really sweet and fresh tasting without the edge of bitterness that sometimes creeps in with peppermint.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Sunshine Cottage
Description

Creamy white chocolate and crisp mint make this holiday tea a real treat. Perfect for a toe thawing, pick me up after an afternoon on the slopes, or for sipping by the fire after a wonderful meal!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Emily Dickinson’s Jasmine Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail. . .

I think it must be very rare to meet a tea lover who is not also a book lover. The Simpson and Vail Literary Blends are an incredible way to celebrate both of our passions – drinking tea and reading. Good books are always better with tea!

This blend is inspired by the flowers Emily loved to grow. The base is listed as jasmine tea, and my best guess is that this is a pouchong. There are jasmine flowers, rose petals, marigold petals, and blue cornflowers as well, making an absolutely stunning presentation. This is a tea that needs to be displayed on the table in a tea scoop or in a little glass before steeping, because it makes a beautiful display to begin your tea time, and shouldn’t tea time engage all of your senses? Your eyes will feast on this one!

The steeped tea is a medium gold color. It is a smooth and lightly brisk tea, which is very fitting for Miss Dickinson. The floral taste is surprisingly light. This isn’t a heavy jasmine and rose blend, but rather a confident green base with light floral notes sweetening it.

“Bring me the sunset in a cup.” Yes, thank you. This is lovely and comfortable with hubby and daughters sipping away and draining the pot as we wind down for the night.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10th, 1830 and lived in a home that was central to Amherst political society thanks to her father and brothers. Growing up around powerful men prepared Dickinson for a life of the same, but society dictated that, as a woman, she was relegated to seemingly less meaningful ventures. Her anger at this slight comes across in her poetry and letters where she explored complex ideas of meaning and self while examining the smallest details of the world around her. She withdrew herself from society and lived in relative solitude until her death. Only a few of her poems were made public during her lifetime, but four years after her demise, a collection of poems was published and met with popular and critical acclaim. Her poems reveal a complicated mind that examined itself with as much attention to detail as it examined the world. Dickinson’s defiance of categorization and simplification make her a popular poet to study even today.

In the years she spent away from society, Emily Dickinson cultivated an extensive garden. In it, she grew jasmine flowers, cornflowers, roses, and many other flowers, plants and herbs. These flowers appear repeatedly in her poetry so our blend had to be floral. We created a delightful combination of jasmine tea and rose petals that brews to a light ecru cup with long green leaves and rose petal accents. This delicate tea hits you with a strong jasmine taste that’s sweetened and mellowed with the subtle flavors of the rose petals.

Ingredients: Jasmine tea, rose petals, jasmine blossoms, marigold petals and blue cornflower petals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!