Maple Raisin Oatmeal from A Quarter To Tea. . .

I’m sure you’re familiar by now with the cultural phenomena that is “pumpkin season”. I can’t judge– there certainly was a time in my life where the crack of September first heralded all sorts of pumpkin’ified lattes, baked goods, scented candles– the list goes on and on. But you guys. Does anyone else feel like we are missing out, collectively, on SO MANY other great fall flavors? Cinnamon, apples, oats and smoke and spice and stone fruits and and and– I want it all! Enter A Quarter to Tea’s seasonal blends.

This little beauty popped up in my most recent monthly box from AQTT, and I’ve been properly obsessed. AQTT does unusual flavors magically, and there’s something about her rolled black tea blends that I find myself sipping like a madwoman until my samples are cashed. This blend in particular harnesses all those “outlier” fall flavors, like oatmeal, cinnamon, dried fruits– and whips them all together into a delightful cuppa that is simply made for cool and rainy morning sipping.

Served as a latte, this one captures its namesake even better– the creamy, frothed milk in my mug tastes just like sweet, spiced, fruity oatmeal. The notes of malty bread-iness balance out the dried fruit/cinnamon spice beautifully, and make for a perfectly autumnal treat.

No offense, pumpkin spice, but if this is what you’re up against, you’re gonna have to up your game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another cup of fall to brew!

Here’s the scoop!

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

This tea is no longer available but click below for black teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Berry Bushel Bounty from Plum Deluxe. . . .

There’s something magical that happens whenever I get a new tea from Plum Deluxe. It’s like Andy and his fantastic tea blenders just have a wire straight to my brain and know JUST what kind of tea I’m craving at any given moment. (Seriously, you guys. How do you do it. HOW.)

When this fruity, fragrant tea of the month showed up at my doorstep, I was a tiny bit cranky from this random week dreary getting close to spring time kind of days — and little did I know, a fresh cup of fruity iced tea was just what the doctor ordered to cure me of my let’s get winter over -crankyness.

This delicious oolong & black blend brews up with mild, fruity sweetness in the brewed cup, and is a perfect combination with a splash of lemonade (my favorite way to serve it) or paired with a hint of sparkling water. But you guys, if we’re being honest? I’ve been hoarding the dry leaf to sniff instead of brewing it because it smells OH SO VERY GOOD. Do you remember the sweet and delicious tang of strawberry fruit snacks as a kiddo? This tea is a DEAD RINGER for that delightful flavor-memory, but sans any of the chemical-ick.

Frankly, it’s the only cure I’ve found to remedy the crankiness that is born of cold dreary days. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pour a cup and stick my nose in the dry leaf and enjoy.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong & Black
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

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!

The Energy for Word Craft – James Joyce Tea Blend by Simpson and Vail. . . .

From day to day we find ourselves taxed with work, school, and the other things that make our life worthwhile. And when we try to sit down to pursue our hobbies, may it be writing, reading, or any other creative venture we find ourselves creatively drained. We either stare at a blank page or a room that holds our craft that refuses to give us the needed inspiration to fuel our venture.

This, my friends, is where I have found myself a lot this month. Balancing school and my desire to put the story, that I have been holding on to for ages, onto paper seems to be a momentous task. But that is where tea comes in.

To be specific James Joyce’s Tea Blend by Simpson & Vail gave me the needed boost to finally put something down on paper. Now, this is tea not alike the others I have tried for this tea is very simple in nature. This cuppa is like Irish/English Breakfast and as a matter of fact, it tastes like a blend of those two. It has that perfect maltiness that I have come to love in Irish Breakfast with a little bit of the robustness that English Breakfast has to offer.

The price of this tea won’t hurt your wallet either for you can get either a 4 oz package for $6.90 whereas if you want the decorative 4 oz tin that will be about $3 extra at $9.75.

Even though this tea didn’t have anything new or different added to the blend I still appreciate it. Drinking this blend brought me back to the days when I first tried hot tea. Calling this tea simple is not negative in this case for a simple cup of tea could be the only thing you need to get you back on track.

See you for the next cuppa!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson & Vail

James Joyce was born February 2, 1882 in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. He attended a private boarding school until his father’s debts caught up with the family and he and his siblings were forced to leave. He would later attend college and, while he achieved high marks, his views never aligned with the Jesuit professors. A collection of his short stories, The Dubliners, was published in 1914 and introduced Joyce’s dense and atmospheric prose to the world. He would go on to travel Europe, spending most of his productive years in France, where Ulysses was published in 1922. Joyce’s influence continues into the 21st century where his method of conveying the complexity and chaos of random thought as a stream of consciousness is still in use.

For Joyce, tea was an expected part of life and it appears in his works as a routine part of the day. As a man of taste, he enjoyed the finer things in life and, as an article describing a meeting at his house says, “Mrs. Joyce gives us the best tea and the nicest cakes that are to be had in any house in Paris.” Our James Joyce tea blend uses a distinctly Irish mix of black teas to mimic the type of drink he and his friends would have enjoyed.

This delightfully bold blend of teas brews to a golden cup with a malty flavor and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

Ingredients: Black teas from India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

AMERICAN DREAM : PEACHES & CREAM from Impeach Tea. . . .

I used to think that I didn’t like black teas until I tried a peach flavored tea. Then, I fell in love with black teas, especially ones that are sweet and fruity. So, obviously when I saw this American Dream: Peaches & Cream tea, I thought that it would quickly become one of my favorites. I was right.

Dry, the leaf smells vaguely sweet. It’s nothing to write home about. Brewed up, however, it smelled just like a fresh peach. Sometimes flavored teas smell a lot better or stronger than they taste, but I’m happy to say that with this tea, that isn’t the case. The first note I got when I sipped on this tea was juicy peach, followed by a mellow cream flavor.

The thing that I appreciated most about this tea is that the peach didn’t get lost in the sweetness of cream. The peach flavor is still the star of this tea, with a touch of cream flavor to balance it out and make it really smooth.

This was my first time trying Impeach Teas and I know I will have to pick up more. This blend is very well balanced and an extremely enjoyable cuppa.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Impeach Teas

American Dream fuses deliciously juicy-sweet peach with the delectable nuance of sweet cream with a Ceylon Black Tea backing. With it’s truly remarkable balance, this blend is the perfect summer sip when served over ice and incredible when served steamy hot from your mug of choice.

Ingredients: Ceylon Black Tea, Red Safflower Petals, Calendula Petals, Blue Cornflower Petals, All Natural Flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!