Plum Oatmeal Squares Temi Sikkim Tea from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

Buttery oatmeal squares are the simplest comfort food, a warm (healthy) hug. I expected nothing less from this Plum flavored seasonal offering from A Quarter to Tea.

My first impression is strong fructose vibe from ripe plums or berries, almost the scent of a sweet wine? It’s rare that I find plum in a tea, and this reminds me of smelling farmer’s market produce in the fall. Slivers of goodies decorate the dry black tea leaves, including actual oatmeal.

The hot water awakens the blend, the familiar breakfast oats smell emerges then the tannins follow, the strong fruit smell of earlier is now just a hint. Being present for transformations like these, I find myself appreciating the effort the creators put into their products. The plum aroma gets stronger again as the auburn water gravitates through the steeper.

There is a mismatch of acidity in the two flavors which surprises my taste buds, but also somehow balances itself out. These malted and fruity flavors work really well together. The second steep mellows out the tannins and is more of a creamy fruit taste. Delicate with hint of, wow, what is this biting aftertaste? Like most flavored blends, noticeably less intense but still a good amount of flavor. None of the some cinnamon-type spice in here that I would’ve expected, but it’s oatmeal-y enough without it.

It takes a lot of guts to release a rare flavor, and this offering from A Quarter To Tea rises to the challenge, keeping things original, yet still enjoyable.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea

Tea of the Month for November 2016

Temi’s perfect muscatel notes are blended with rich dessert flavors: plum, pastry, and vanilla butter. A warming dessert tea, perfect for this (or any other) season.

This tea is limited run, so once it is gone, it’s gone for the season. It is sold only in 0.5oz quantities.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Toasty and Floral: Keemun Black Tea from The Tea Spot. . . .

Fine quality, unflavored black tea always makes me feel like a serious tea aficionado.  So I brewed up a cup of Keemun black tea from the Tea Spot and put my semi-professional tea-hat on.  Keemun tea is a well-known black tea from China.  The leaves are dark, with medium length and medium twists in shape.  No extra blossoms or fuzzy buds, just deep, rich tea leaves.  Dry, in the bag, the tea smells earthy and musky, very complex.

The Tea Spot describes this tea as having notes of “smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple.”  I was very intrigued. Brewed, the keemun has a much sweeter taste alongside the damp earth tones, which must be the “crushed apple” flavors coming through.  The earthiness is not as strong or overwhelming as sour pu erh tea, but more lush, like wet leaves or freshly-turned soil.  There is a touch of the “orchid” floral notes in the scent of the tea, but I don’t notice it as much in the taste.

The more I drink the tea, the more a toasty, almost-caramel aftertaste starts to appear.  And despite all my talk of savory, masculine flavors, there is a hint of a brighter note, more reminiscent of breakfast teas, with a lighter, almost lemony tone.

There is a lot going on in this tea, and lots of details to savor and enjoy.  For mornings when you want to feel sophisticated and expand your tea palette, you can’t go wrong with Keemun from the Tea Spot.


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!

Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose from MarieBelle. . . .

When I was younger, I preferred milk chocolate and found dark chocolate too bitter. The older I get, the more I love dark chocolate.

This tea was a gift from a family member, and it was so good that I put it on my wish list for the following year. Opening the tin and inhaling deeply, I could have sworn I was sniffing a box of rich, fine chocolates.

This brews up to a very adult cup of dark chocolate tea. I have had a few chocolate teas that (sadly) smell like mildew instead of chocolate, although they tasted all right. My husband hates the smell of those! But this one is pure dark chocolate aroma. I am reminded of a tisane I drank years ago that was made of pure cacao nibs and nothing else. The rose petals are more for eye appeal but there is a hint of rose flavor.

The website says that their two ounce tin makes about ten cups of tea. I always get more than that, and I find that most good quality teas can be steeped again. I usually make a steep and immediately resteep, combining the two together instead of drinking a weaker second steep by itself. This one does well for me and makes a very drinkable resteep.

I think this would be a great Valentine’s tea. Chocolate and roses – what could be more romantic?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: MarieBelle
Description

Our Dark Obsession tea is a blend of loose leaf black ceylon tea exquisitely scented with chocolate extract and embellished with pink roses. A perfect pick me up to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

1st Place Tea: Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas

Depending on where you live, you may have seen some snowflakes flying on the air this time of year, which would be the perfect time to brew up a cup of Snowflake tea from Aromatica Fine Teas.

This is an award-winning blend, taking 1st place in the North American Tea Championships in 2011.  Thinking about tea championships puts some silly images in my head, like some kind of tea Olympics, with little packs of tea on a snowy downhill ski slope.  Anyway, the story is getting away from me.

Like beautiful, white, creamy snowdrifts, this black tea is blanketed with extra vanilla and creamy flavors.  This tea is somewhere between a breakfast blend and a dessert blend, so that means it can be brewed up just about any time of day.  In addition to the vanilla, there are coconut flakes, which add their usual creamy, buttery taste. Luckily there’s not too much coconut, and this moderation keeps the brew from getting too oily.

What really sets this blend apart are the real slivers of almond.  These stylish blonde slivers go beyond the typical marzipan flavoring, and add real, sweet, nuttiness from actual nuts as ingredients.  With smooth almond and lush coconut shavings, this tea taste a bit more like a coconut cookie than a simple coconut cream tea.

Overall, Snowflake is a really solid vanilla tea blend, super drinkable and smooth.  I drank it black, but it would amazing as a latte or made hot-cocoa-style, topped with marshmallows.  The blend isn’t too sweet, nor too plain.

I know coconut is traditionally a tropical flavor, but with a name like Snowflake, this can be your next favorite winter brew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Aromatica Fine Teas
Description:

A fabulous almond coconut tea. Brew it in steamed milk for a Tropical Fog. Ceylon and China black tea, coconut rasps, flavour, almond flakes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hazelnut by Adagio Teas. . . .

Aha! A morning tea to appease coffee drinkers. The loose leaves of this hazelnut (also known as filbert if you’re botanically savvy) tea smells earthy, warm and dare I say sweet!?! It creates a rich, henna colored infusion. Seriously, I want my hair this color… you are what you drink, right?

Oh, somehow a milky taste snuck in for a full rounded, creamy mouthfeel. I had my rock sugar on standby, wary of bitter tannins, but no sweetener was needed, which is really saying something. It is bold and at the same time, smooth, with a lingering earthy nutty aftertaste.

This tea is the highlighting and contouring of tea, emphasizing what’s already amazing in a way that seems natural. Still tasty after 3 steeps, this is definitely making its way into my regular stock, for my coffee snob friends.


 

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description:

This flavor combines the full, bright taste of Ceylon black tea with the cozy creaminess of hazelnuts. Very nutty and aromatic, slightly roasty with a rounded, sweet flavor. Toasty dryness. A mellow, very well-blended cup of tea. Great with just a touch of brown sugar.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!