Churros with Dulce le Leche from A Quarter to Tea. . . . . .

Working downtown Toronto is amazing for the foodie in me. Not so amazing for my wallet. However, it is a cornucopia of good eats with new restaurants opening all the time. Most recently, a vegan Mexican restaurant opened around the corner from my office. Like literally around the corner. So when lunching with my vegetarian friend, I figured why not check it out…

Lunch consisted of vegan tacos and flautas and fritters but what really stood out were the churros. Warm and crispy on the outside with the right amount of doughiness on the inside. Plus a chocolate banana dip that complimented the cinnamon flavor perfectly.

With those tasty treats in mind, this Churros with Dulce le Leche tea by A Quarter to Tea got my mouth watering, especially when I cracked open the bag and got a big whiff of caramel icing deliciousness. I brewed this for three minutes in 180F water and left it to cool for a little while.

Drinking the tea, it is certainly an A Quarter to Tea blend. Some companies have distinct flavors and A Quarter to Tea is no exception. Something in the teas has a tendency to lean towards a honey flavor. Though not entirely out of place in a churro tea, it does overshadow some other flavors that should be present instead. For instance, there really isn’t much cinnamon and the touch of cocoa suggested in the description is completely MIA. There is a pastry quality, though not distinctly fried dough. As a whole this is sweet and could be construed as churros but it could also be perceived as other baked goods.

All in all, the tea is nice enough but not exactly what I expected or hoped for. It is sure to satisfy a sweet tooth but that could be said of many other teas and this doesn’t really stand out from that bunch in my opinion. Perhaps my point of comparison is too fresh or too different in my mind but this just didn’t measure up to the real deal.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea

Sweet fried dough dusted with cinnamon, paired with caramel and a touch of cocoa.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pumpkin Brulee from The NecessiTeas. . .

In Toronto, a cafe recently opened up that specializes in creme brulee, Craque Du Creme. This cafe has fifteen different creme brulee flavors. FIFTEEN!! They have flavors such as Ferrero Rocher, Vietnamese Coffee, White Chocolate Rose, London Fog, Lychee Vodka, and even vegan flavors like Blueberry Lavender Coconut and Mango Coconut. What they don’t have is a Pumpkin Brulee.

The mind behind the NecessiTeas may not have fifteen different creme brulee flavors (though with enough time, she may), but she does have this Pumpkin Brulee tea and for that I am thankful. Now that the leaves are turning colors, I think it is the perfect time to give this a try. I got to brewing, steeping this in 200 F water for 5 minutes.

One thing that stands out to me when I drink this tea is that there is a burnt quality that is a necessary component of capturing the brulee aspect of this tea. It is not a bad burnt but one akin to the caramelization on the sugary crust of a creme brulee. More than just the brulee, this has an awesome caramel pumpkin flavor. Sweet and creamy, with a ribbon of vanilla and a comforting dose of spice to make it perfect for those crisp fall evenings that will soon be upon us again.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The NecessiTeas

This tea is not currently available bu click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Antivirus from TeaTaxi. . . . .

One thing I never realized until I started drinking tea is that when I get sick, my tastebuds stop working. Sometimes when I’m sick, my food still tastes the same but with tea there is almost a void in my tastebuds. It is like some of my tastebuds work and some are muted so everything is just off and it is all too clear that something is missing. It’s at these times I either try to drink teas I didn’t really love to being with or sick teas such as this Antivirus tea by TeaTaxi.

Made with peppermint, spearmint, rosehips, almonds, apples, ginger, rose, sunflower, calendula, osmanthus, hibiscus, and natural flavors, this is not something I would ever care to drink under normal circumstances. However, the collection of ingredients is tolerable and even nice when sick.

I brewed this both hot and iced, steeping both for 7 minutes in 200F degree water. Then I got suckered into going grocery shopping with my mother so both teas were left on the counter in their respective thermoses for a couple hours.

Starting with the iced tea, I am getting mint…mint and maybe ginger. That void is still present so the flavors are all lost for the most part but the tea feels good on my throat as I sip. Hot (well…warm), this tea has a lot more mint flavor. While the iced tea was more smooth and peppermint-like, hot it is more medicinal/spearmint tasting. Ginger is also more noticeable in the hot tea but as a soothing ginger tingle at the back of my throat. Other than that, everything else is M.I.A.

I don’t mind the lack of flavor because the tea is doing what I want and that’s soothing my sore throat and cough and hydrating me when I am not feeling 100%, especially the hot tea. If I am being honest, my preferred cold tea is probably Cold 911 by DAVIDsTEA but this is not a bad alternative.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy:  Tea Taxi

An infusion of peppermint, spearmint, apples and ginger to help you make it through the winter. It’ll warm you from the inside out.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jiri Horse from teabento. . . .

A few months back on Steepster, a little company called teabento just blew up. Reviews upon reviews were suddenly popping up for this company I had never heard of and people were loving it. One tea that seemed to be quite the success was this tea, Jiri Horse. The term “milk chocolate” was used a lot to describe it and for many it was a reminder of another popular tea on Steepster, Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea.

Now, Laoshan Black was THE straight black tea when I first joined Steepster. It was the winner or all winners for so many people and for that reason even I, as someone who basically only drank flavored teas at the time, was intrigued. Of course some kind soul was generous enough to send me a sample of this beloved tea but alas it was wasted on me because even though I could appreciate it was a nice tea and I enjoyed it well enough, it wasn’t my flavored teas and so I quickly moved on.

However, the more you drink and explore tea, the more you realize your tastes change. Many make the transition from flavored teas to straight teas and then become purists who will only touch the non-flavored stuff. I am not that person. I still love my sprinkles and my chocolate bits and my fruit chunks all mixed up in there but my tastes have developed so that I enjoy straight teas now too. So basically I am in the very expensive phase of the transition where I will drink and enjoy anything so no sections are left ignored when shopping for tea. I have been in this position for quite some time which my wallet doesn’t love but I have endless options which is nice.

Anyways, what this long rant brings us to is that when I read about this tea and all the love it was getting, I just HAD to try it. I didn’t truly appreciate the Laoshan Black but hopefully I can appreciate this tea which I steeped for 3 minutes in 190F water, after a quick rinse.

After my first sip, I can clearly see the chocolate connection. It definitely has that hot cocoa sort of vibe to it that’s a little bit creamy, a little bit milky and a whole lot of chocolate. I don’t know if I am fully getting as much “milk chocolate” as I thought I would and if I am being honest I am a bit saddened by that, however, I am still happy with the flavor here. To me, it is like a powdered hot chocolate mix that was made in water as opposed to milk – just a little watered down and leaning just a touch towards cocoa as opposed to actual chocolate, but it still hits the sweet spot. If this was powdered hot chocolate I would be mad that it wasn’t creamier or sweeter but since this is tea, I am impressed.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  teabento

An absolutely unique and amazing black tea! We were totally surprised by its prominent, deep, rich chocolate aroma and taste as we tried this tea at the first time. We could hardly believe that what we drunk was not a hot cocoa, but a 100% pure black tea. An outstanding gastronomic experience!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Marshmallow Root from Celebration Herbals. . . .

I think all of us have flavors that just call to us when we see them in teas. Some love vanilla. Others might prefer chocolate. Some lean towards fruit, while others love the malt of a plain black tea. For me, and for many others, marshmallow is one of those flavors. If you are anything like me than you see it and you just gotta have it.

In some cases, especially when tea makers are trying to remain vegetarian/vegan friendly, marshmallow root is what is used. It doesn’t necessarily taste like marshmallow but it tends to give teas that marshmallow fluffiness that is oh so delightful and when combined with other components, it can help sell the marshmallow element.

This tea, steeped for 4.5-5 minutes in 200F degree water, is definitely fluffy. Soft and fluffy. Flavorwise, it is smooth and a touch vegetal but also sweet. In theory, marshmallow root has a few health benefits so it is no surprise that the herbal nature of this tea comes off a bit medicinal tasting as well. Moreover, I get the slightest bit of corn and straw, similar to what you might taste in a white tea.

Overall, it is pretty calming tea but definitely not what you are looking for when you think marshmallow flavoring.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Celebration Herbals

Marshmallow’s genus “Althaea” is derived from the Greek word atho, meaning “to cure.” This herb has been used for centuries. It was advocated by Hippocrates for its virtues, and it has long been used as a food in times of famine.

Native to Europe, Marshmallow grows in wet soils. Its roots are harvested in the autumn.

Marshmallow has many uses and a good reference book is helpful. It is commonly used as a tea, poultice, syrup, ointment, gargle, capsule or wash.

With this bulk package you can create a vast array of home remedies including tinctures, capsules, poultices, salves and, of course, herbal tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!