Morning Blend/Fraser Tea

When I first became a hot tea drinker – and such a thing was relatively unheard of when I was growing up in the hot and humid South where sweet iced tea reigns supreme – I began with breakfast blends and always added milk and sugar. Then as I discovered higher quality teas, milk and sugar went by the wayside, and so did all those dusty blends that needed smoothing and soothing.

Now and then I still enjoy a breakfast tea. They can be quite nostalgic for me. But they have to be good enough to be enjoyed sans additions.

When I received this sample of Morning Blend from the Sisters to review, I knew it was a breakfast tea but my prior experience with Fraser made me pretty sure it would be drinkable even without additions.

This isn’t builders’ tea. This is a blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Chinese black teas that steeps up to a cup quite suitable for breakfast and quite nice on its own if you like your tea plain. It is lightly malty, with very light briskness and medium body. The aroma is complex with fruity notes.

The description says that there is orange peel in this tea but note that this does not taste like an orange flavored tea. If you were given a cup to taste with no information about the tea, I don’t think you would say it was an orange tea or even that you knew there was orange peel in it. Ceylon teas naturally have fruity notes with some high grown ones having pucker worthy lemon notes, which can be too harsh for me at times, and I perceive the orange peel in this as simply part of the classic Ceylon citrus note, but citrus fruity and not so astringent. It adds a bit of interest to the high notes here without taking center stage.

As usual, I roped a passerby into trying the tea while giving as little information on what to expect as possible. The verdict? “This is very smooth.” Not something you hear about breakfast tea every day.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Fraser Tea

Description

Why choose between English, Irish, or Scottish Breakfast teas when it’s possible to enjoy the finest qualities of each in a brand-new way?   Boldly blending Assam, Ceylon, and Chinese organic black teas, our signature Morning Blend Organic Black Tea is crafted with a focus on flavor, health, and well-being in mind.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Spicy Chocolate Chai/Fraser Tea

This tea was totally not what I expected – and I couldn’t be happier!

I have had a number of spicy teas, as in jalapeno spicy, and I have never been a fan of that kind of spice. Odd how it works out, because three of my children love spicy food, the hotter the better, but I have never been able to handle it.

I don’t drink much real chai spice tea, because I am not crazy about black peppercorns in tea, though I know it is good for you and many people love it. This has pink peppercorns, which I prefer. Also, I love cardamom in tea. And cocao nibs!

What I got with this tea was a silky smooth cup that reminded me of Mexican hot chocolate, only better. Did I say silky and smooth? Because that is my strongest impression from this tea. The spices are just so spot on. This is comfort food in a cup. The ginger is well behaved and doesn’t bite. AND IT IS ORGANIC!

Instead of Spicy Chocolate Chai, my pet name for this tea might be something like “Chocolate Cinnamon Daydream.” Or how about “Tea for Reading on a Rainy Day.” If you are afraid of the words “spicy” or “chai”, don’t be afraid of this blend.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

Description

Spicy Chocolate Chai Organic Pu-erh Tea is a fusion of cocoa nibs, spicy chili peppers, and delicate, sweet oranges combined to craft a flavor sensation with maximum health benefits. Striking a delicate balance between heat and sweetness, spicy chocolate chai is a smooth and flavorful tea that supports weight management and wellness.  Enjoy any time.  Try it as-is or add milk and sugar.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire Toffee/Bird and Blend Tea Co.

When it’s raining cats and dogs out, the sky is dark, and the lightening is bright, there is nothing quite like a latte made with a warming dessert tea. Normally, that warmth comes from a spice like cinnamon or clove but this time I decided to go a different way and picked out Bonfire Coffee by Bird and Blend Tea Co., a smokey black tea with caramel and apple.

I brewed up the tea rather strongly, steeping 4 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes. I topped the steeped tea with 8 ounces of frothed 1% milk.

The first thing I noticed when drinking the tea was the smoke from the Lapsang Souchong black tea. No surprise there given that Lapsang is always one strong tea.With that said, the milk sat atop the smokiness making for a smooth and creamy smokey flavor, as opposed to a more harsh smoke, until the end of the sip when the smoke just broke free and lingered in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is also where I most noticed the presence of a caramelized sugar/burnt caramel quality that was intermingled with the milk and Lapsang throughout the sip but came through more clearly in the aftertaste. Apple was missing in the latte but my guess it was drowned out by the more prominent flavors of the milk and the Lapsang.

It’s a nice tea but definitely not for the faint of heart. If you are not one for smoke, stay away from the Bonfire.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Bird and Blend Tea Co.

Description

Travelling tea merchants used to carry tea from east to west,all the way across Russia… well, their horses did anyway! It’s said the campfire smoke would infuse into the loose tea leaves at night creating smoked teas. Add some caramel, apple and toasted cinnamon and you get a spectacular Bonfire Night treat!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Terry’s Tea/Bird & Blend

Confusingly, the outside of my container for Terry’s Tea says “It’s not Terry’s…”

But, like, whose is it?

Apparently it’s named after Uncle Terry, but he did not come up with it. Is the story. Which is confusing. I’m not a fan of this advertising scheme.

Anyway, this is a chocolate orange tea.

I’ve had some in the past that tasted like one of those chocolate oranges you smash against the wall at Easter.

But this one tastes more like a hot chocolate/cocoa that someone squeezed an orange and some hibiscus into. It has more of a mellow sweetness that comes from cocoa shells than the dark chocolate bite. They each have their time and place, and this one’s a gentler approach.

I haven’t met Terry, but I imagine, from the flavor of this, that he wears a lot of cardigans. He has a self-effacing style of humor. He’s more of a “teach you to take photographs of nature” uncle than a “fix your car” uncle. Animals like his gentle, affable nature. He and his wife like to tend their garden together, their quiet laughter whistling through the acres of fields surrounding their home.

If this is NOT who Terry is, please don’t tell me, Bird & Blend. I like my personal Terry. And this tea.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy:  Bird & Blend

Description

We named our amazing chocolate orange tea after our uncle Terry because it’s his favourite. He’s so fond of it he keeps telling people it’s his. So we have to remind people it’s not actually Terry’s, it’s ours! But with chocolatey cacao and fruity orange peel we can’t really blame him!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!