Chocolate PuErh from Numi Organic Teas

Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh bags are the perfect intro to flavored Puerh: organic yet inexpensive, and bagged for easy travel. In fact it was the very first tea I pulled from my very first sampler, an inexpensive add-on in my amazon cart. This is also sold loose leaf by the pound.

I have to admit I was skeptical because not only did I dislike chocolate, but I also had heard “fishy” things about the fermented tea. But as a scientist, I had to test these assumptions, and the evidence supported the null hypothesis. This was a light bodied, full flavor tea, that I’ve found is impossible to screw up in the brewing process.

This silky brown infusion reminds me of a hot cocoa with toasted marshmallows fresh from the campfire, and ooooooh that tiniest hint of that nutmeg. Alton Brown would be proud.  As a final touch of perfection, cue a chef’s kiss, no sweetener was needed!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Flavored Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Numi Tea

This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey from Zest Tea

“Mombie”  Noun; a parent who is so overcome by sleep deprivation that their appearance looks more and more like a zombie each day.

Oh how I wish this Zest Tea were around when I had a 6-month-old with jetlag. 150 mg of caffeine per cup. Oh how that would have prevented my choking down overpriced coffees. Oh how I would’ve cherished those early mornings easier with a hearty cuppa. If only my local store carried it then, as it does now.

Fortunately now all I have to deal with is the daily grind of a toddler, and this power packed Earl Grey is a perfect mid-day bolster. And who needs a seista when there’s never-ending muddy laundry to be done??

With Sherlock Holmes gracing the teabag’s packet, I know I’ll be ready to go at a moments notice, but still come across refined… or crazy… either works. I imagine Prince William with his 3 kids now, still having to attend royal functions but maybe with those glazed over eyes and a bit of nodding. (Please tell me I’m not the only one reading those tabloids) Perhaps the Duke would’ve benefitted from this nice cuppa Earl, eh!

Real talk, you need to be careful brewing this one — The excess caffeine can easily create a bitterness if over brewed. And the wonderful floral, bergamot aftertaste just won’t cover up a sloppy steep.  I propose an overnight cold brew – two birds, one stone!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: flavored Black Tea bags
Where to Buy: Zest Tea

Earl grey has been a popular blend since it was introduced to the British Earl, Charles “Chaz” Grey, in the 1830’s. Most Earl Greys are made with low-quality base teas, but not ours. Zest’s Earl is made with premium Nilgiri Indian black tea blended with a delicious bergamot essential oil. Don’t thank us. Thank Chaz.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Keemun Chinese Black Tea from The Tea Spot

I love the discovery of new tea flavors, finding their nuances, comparing and contrasting from a baseline. I started educating myself on tea with subscription boxes, and still have a soft spot for them. Looks like Tea Spot will be my next choice. They offer a monthly subscription box for $16 for about an ounce worth of 5-6 teas and also a quarterly loose leaf club at $45 for 3+ teas of one chosen style, in larger portions obviously. This selection seems to be from the former.

The dry Keemun smells very gentle, a bit like the coriander in my cupboard. There are uniformly tight, straight, leaves, appearing medium on the spectrum of browns. I see some broken bits in wet leaves and a tamarind color brew. It smells subtly sweet, and reminds me of cherries – cheerful but with a slightly tart finish.  1 heaping tsp per 8 oz from the brewing instructions, does not make a strong tea, which some people prefer. I’m not the type to drink this flavor straight, because tannins and I are frenemies.  I think it is It may leave a slight orange taste in my mouth but, this tea is still excellent at its job of caffeinating me!

Just like the Beastie Boys, I like my Sugar with [Keemun] and cream, too sweet to be sour, too nice to be mean.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description:

A splendor of toasty flavor and aroma! The most refined and perhaps the most well-known of Chinese black teas, this Keemun is handpicked in Anhui Province. This tea has an indescribable flavor, with the most delicate hints of smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple and a rich, sweet body.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea Spirits from Townshends Distillery

The absolute star of Portland’s Tea Fest earlier this month had to be this series of tea infused spirits from Townshend’s distillery. Normally they are known for their kombuchas, which have about as much alcohol in them as fresh orange juice does.  I chose a bottle of their smooth, high-quality cane spirits infused with roses and white tea, which lead to a dainty, yet crisp summer cocktail. I had no idea this was even a thing!!! Back at home, I mix mine with a touch of sparkling water to add to the merriment. Sipping the 80 proof straight provides an utterly fabulous, naughty at the garden party feel – strong yet uplifting, then a transcendent floral aftertaste that comes across quite differently than your standard rose tea. Definitely floral, but sweeter and not at all like an antique shop. Another fine benefit to this beverage is its ability to encourage me to break my writers block, win! And no hangovers yet, despite my crutch on it through finals week, knock on wood.

My partner ended up getting an early birthday present of Smoke Tea Spirits from them, a strong (smelling) lapsong souchong (in vodka I believe) alternative to scotch that they insist you must have at least two sips of to get the full effect. Not at all my taste, though I cannot really do tannins.  Have you ever had tea-infused cocktails before? What are your recipes? I’m dying to try and DIY some now…


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White Tea
Where to Buy: Townshends Distillery
Description:

Townshend’s White Rose is made from a simple recipe featuring white Tea and rose petals. Our unique low-temperature still allows us to capture the subtle aromas of these delicate botanicals. The result is a clean, velvety spirit that is delicious chilled, or in cocktails.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Plantation Fresh Uva Tea from Zesta

The crisp aroma of these maroon, CTC BOP leaves transports you with their smell of brambles dried in an arid forest.

Zesta aims for this tea collection, which includes this Uva, to provide an authentic Ceylon journey, well, mission accomplished! Turns out, this selection is from Sri Lanka’s 4th largest grower.

Zesta recommends brewing with boiling water, which produces a rich mahogany brew.

I also made a cup at my usual 175F, which had more of a ruby color to it. I didn’t detect any major differences in taste between the two temps. Though I know its pure tea, I taste lots of refreshing red apple and somehow a sweet, fresh-cut grass in there.

Sweetener also made a negligible difference in taste. Pairs deliciously with all kinds of milk!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Loose Black Tea
Where to Buy: Zesta

Description:

The perfect gift for the tea devotee, the enchanting pine wood gift box has premium black teas from all five tea growing regions in Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. Ceylon tea became famous for its unique taste variety that differs across the regions and elevations which are reflected in these teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!