VariaTea Enjoys a Caramel Oolong. . . . .

Nine times out of ten I will pass on an oolong. I just don’t love it as a tea base. However, that one out of ten is usually awesome. Some of my personal favorites are A Quarter to Tea’s On Wisconsin, DAVIDsTEA’s Vanilla Orchid, Lupicia’s Melon Oolong, and this one.

When oolong teas are done right, they are just so very right and this is no exception.

The base is floral but velvety which blends nicely with the silky caramel flavor that dominates this tea. The saltiness works as a flavor booster, highlighting the creamy sweetness of the caramel.

Moreover, there’s a smooth butteryness that ties this tea together like the bow on a delightful little present. Yum!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy:  Dammann Freres
Description

This oolong tea’s naturally velvety notes blend with the sweet-salty flavours of caramel. Enjoy a deliciously gourmet cup of this beautifully balanced blend of green and candy notes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bourbon from Dammann Freres. . . . .

Growing up my stepfather would often have a nightcap. A hard drink on ice to relax just before bed. Sometimes it was Rye, sometimes it was Whiskey, sometimes it was Scotch, and on the odd occasion it was Bourbon. On one such occasion, he poured his drink and left it on his nightstand while he went to make a quick nighttime snack. That is when my 10-year-old me wandered into the bedroom where my mom sat on the bed. I went to my stepdad’s side and climbed in. Then, I looked at the drink then at my mom, back to the drink and back to my mom, and then back to the drink. My mom, knowing what I had in mind said one word: “okay”. Well, I jumped at the chance, brought the glass to my mouth and took one tiny sip. The liquor barely made it past my lips before I immediately spat it out and made the biggest “blech” face I could muster. My mom knew I would hate it but also knew I would be stubborn about wanting to try it so she figured it was best to let me learn the hard way. So why am I telling you this story? I decided to share because I wanted to make it clear that I have not had good experiences with Bourbon in the past and yet I still decided to purchase this tea.

For some reason, despite not enjoying the inspiration, certain flavors in tea just call to me. For instance, I am not one to drink coffee but when I see latte teas or mocha teas or even just coffee teas, I convince myself it will be awesome. Nine times out of ten that is not the case. Same goes for a variety of alcohol flavors such as this one. Luckily, this time my gamble paid off as this is one lovely tea, albeit an inaccurately named one in my opinion.

Simply named “Bourbon” and yet this tea has no alcohol flavor to it whatsoever. Instead it is more confectionery-themed with its full-bodied vanilla-caramel flavor. More natural than many caramel teas out there, this manages to have a thick mouthfeel without being overly sweet (a task not easily achieved when you consider the fact that caramel is basically just sugar). The base plays a key role here as it blends effortlessly with the flavor while still maintaining its presence. This results in the black tea imparting a caramel note, but one that is toned down and subtle by the smooth malt of the tea itself.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Dammann Freres
Description

A blend of black teas scented with the aromas of vanilla and caramel. Ideal for lovers of warm, gourmet teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bali from Dammann Frères. . . . . .

I had this yesterday hot, but got sucked into the vortex of Various Appointments and came back to it cold. And it was… much more awesome cold.

And I thought: “is it gauche to drink it cold? Where are the green tea rules?”

So today, I decided to risk being Terminally Uncouth and iced this as my Midday Ice With Lunch Soda Replacement. (Trying to quit soda is… going… okay. I’m a Trash Monster that loves stomach dissolving beverages. I’m trying to improve.)

And yum, guys. This tea is a springy garden blast. It’s got rich green notes, sparkly flower notes, and floral notes. Usually, I think that flowers taste like soap when they’re iced, but the Frères picked some that survived the process. Or they found other components around it that formed a moat around the Soap Effect.

The ingredients for this that make it click are jasmine green tea, aromas of lychee, grapefruit, blood peach and rose.

If the phrase “blood peach” stood out to you as particularly horrific/weird, that’s because you haven’t encountered one in a grocery store. (They’re ugly as sin.) They are grown in the United States, and can be found in specialty stores and at farmer’s markets. They can grow up to 12 inches. Thomas Jefferson grew them.

When I went to review this, I went to the Frères’ site and found that yes, this can be iced. It is not gauche. You can do it, too. That’s my suggestion for how to best enjoy this one.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green Tea
Where to Buy:   Dammann Frères
Description

A subtle balance of fresh, fruity and floral notes is found in this delicately scented green tea which is just as delicious whether you enjoy it cold or hot. (jasmine green tea, aromas of lychee, grapefruit, blood peach and rose).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pu-Erh Gourmand from Dammann Freres. . . . .

I’m always surprised when I make a puerh tea.. I don’t drink it often, but when I look down into my cup, the tea is incredibly dark and mysterious. Lovely! The scent of this tea is sweet… vanilla cookies, perhaps? Maybe a bit of dry wood. There is only a tiny bit of that fishy scent that I detect in puerhs. Phew!

Sipping… the flavor is very much like the scent. The puerh base is smooth and not fishy. I also don’t taste much of the wood that I smelled earlier. I really like whatever sweetness this cup is offering. The vanilla and caramel are the strongest notes, but there is also something biscuity.. I also taste a tiny bit of spice.. maybe it’s just the finish of the puerh, but it reminds me a little bit of a spice cookie. What I like is that this tea isn’t overly sweet, but that it’s just sweet enough to take care of any dessert cravings.

If you enjoy puerh teas, this is a great desserty choice. If you’re just branching out into puerh teas, this is also a great pick because it’s not overly fishy or woodsy. Yum!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Puerh
Where to Buy:  Dammann Freres
Description

The warm and woody notes of Pu-Erh tea combined with a cocktail of sweet aromas: biscuit, vanilla, sweet almond and a hint of heliotrope.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pop Corn from Dammann Freres. . . .

Back on January 19 aka National Popcorn Day, my teas finally arrived from the States. Since my father lives in LA, I often route tea orders through him to save on shipping. Well, apparently the orders built up because the box that arrived was HUGE! Some of the teas inside were from a Dammann Frere group order. Of course, as soon as I saw the popcorn tea I just couldn’t resist given it being National Popcorn Day and all.

Popcorn tea, in theory, is a fancy name for genmaichas. However, instead of the traditional green tea base, this uses black tea. The black tea is a touch malty but also quite smooth. It also provides a depth that is not normally found with lighter green tea bases.

Moreover, perhaps it is the base or maybe it is the power of persuasion but this is more buttery than the typical genmaicha blend, which is really helping to create the illusion of popcorn. There is a hint of roastiness but more so than anything is the rich popcorn flavor similar to that of Jiffy Pop. The flavor is more on-point than expected so I am really impressed with this tea. Yum!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Dammann Freres
Description

If you love popped cereals, you simply must experience this tea. It is unusual and completely unpretentious – we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s well worth tasting! The light yet indulgent flavour is perfect to help you relax during a tea break or quiet evening in.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!