Earl of Time from A Quarter To Tea. . .

Up to today’s bat is the Earl of Time, a Quarter To Tea blend that blends a black Earl Grey with vanilla and black currant.

I’m not sure why it’s called Earl of Time, but I SUSPECT it’s because Earl Grey got a message from a Time Lord to add these inclusions for a COMPELLING BREW.

Time Lord: “Listen, I’m from 3030, and Skynet just figured out a bangin’ way to make your trademark beverage a little more exciting.” Earl Grey: “My trademark beverage? I just throw a little bit of citrus into my black tea.” Time Lord: “Believe it or not, that’s going to be YOUR THING. You will be known through ALL OF TIME for that one thing.” Earl Grey: “What about my charity work? My metal band? My hand-tatted doilies?” Time Lord: “No.” Earl Grey: “My way with words? The fact that I am an expert cat cuddler?” Time Lord: “None of that makes it to the future.” Earl Grey: “So I’m just… like… a spritz of bergamot?” Time Lord: “And now… some vanilla and black currant. Try it.” Earl Grey: “That’s DELICIOUS! So creamy! That berry flavor, with the slight citrus edge! WOW! I might write a poem about it.” Time Lord: “It’ll be forgotten to the sands of time, but sure, I mean, go ahead.” Earl Grey: “Roses are red / violets are blue / I like this tea / and so might you.”

(illustration by Super Starling herself!)

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

A fun and fruity twist on the classic Earl Grey! This one features black currant, vanilla, with that classical satisfying punch of bergamot.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Madagascar Vanilla/Golden Moon

When you have a rare, quiet morning to yourself, what tea do you choose to be your companion? Golden Moon’s Madagascar Vanilla is my choice today because I need something that has the chops to follow up waffles and maple syrup.

This vanilla can’t go wrong, with the vanilla taste coming from real Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and not some mysterious dark liquid that knows beakers better than plants.

I am usually very sensitive digestion-wise to teas that are not from China, but this Indian base sits right with me. It has hearty breakfast tea flavor without the gut twisting bitterness that demands milk to tame it and sugar to tone it down. It has the light, tongue scraping sensation of gentle briskness and a touch of malt. I happily drink this sans additions.

This is vanilla tea for grownups, not a kiddie vanilla. I serve it morning and afternoon, because it does hold up well with a meal or with rich sweets. It is also a good fortifying cup. The hearty base makes it so versatile.

I can’t help but be impressed when I look at their website and see the pains they have taken to assure that the tea that comes to us is as pure as they can possibly make it. But it has to taste good, too! And this one definitely does.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Golden Moon
Description

There’s vanilla, and then there is vanilla. Sometimes “vanilla” is poured out of a small, dark bottle into your favorite boxed cake mix. That stuff is like that “iPod” you bought in Chinatown. Sure it may work, but it really isn’t the same. Our vanilla is straight from the vanilla bean. Not just any bean, but the world famous bourbon vanilla bean found in Madagascar. We chop up the beans, blend them with a pure, organic Indian tea base and let it age for over a month. Why? Because Madagascar Vanilla ends up having a fully infused, rich flavor with no weird chemical aftertaste. Sure it is a lot of trouble for us to make this tea, but it’s well worth it.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire Toffee from Bird and Blend Tea Co.

Bonfire Toffee tea from Bird and Blend should be part of everyone’s fall and winter brewing. A full bodied black tea is sweetened with the brown sugar and butter notes of caramel and toffee. The blend stops from being too sweet by the addition of crisp apple and smoky lapsang souchong.

If you aren’t into smoky teas, give this one a try. The smoke is mostly in the scent of the brew, and gets lost beneath black tea and toffee tones in the taste.

This tea feels like taking a walk in the fall. The robust black tea is wrapped around you like a wool scarf, and you can smell the pleasant char of your neighbor’s wood stove on the air. Take a bite out of a fresh apple and follow it up with something sweet, like holiday caramel candy.

I had been curious about trying Bonfire Toffee for its blend of sweet and savory, and the tea does not disappoint. Brew up a cup for your next leaf-peeper trip, or your next winter bonfire.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bird and Blend
Description:

Traveling 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!

Orange Cookie from Fox Tea Club

This is my first tea from the Fox Tea Club, and it has such an enticing name: Orange Cookie!

This black tea is blended with cardamom, cinnamon, and big beautiful slices of dried orange.  In the dry leaf, the tea smelled like a sweeter chai, with lots of bright citrus and cozy cinnamon.  Brewed, this scent continued, making this tea seem like the halfway point between bright, citrusy breakfast black teas and warm, spicy, chai teas.

Brewed, the black tea base really comes to the forefront with orange and spices lingering at the back of each sip, and in the scent.  The black tea is earthy and robust, with a smooth mouthfeel that reminds me of a pu erh tea.

Maybe I just have a sweet tooth, but I’m not getting the cookie flavors in this tea.  I think it would pair very well with some cookies, but on its own it is much more traditional and subdued.  To make it more cookie-like, I would brew it with more sweetener and milk next time. If you’re not into dessert teas, don’t let this name discourage you, this might just be the well-balanced orange and spice black tea that you’re looking for!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Fox Tea Club
Description:

Dried orange rind and aromatic spices will surely make this tea a favorite black tea to sip with good friends by the fire on a snowy winter evening. Hints of cinnamon and cloves balance the richness of the black tea. A spiced orange pomander in a cup!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea. . . .

I love black tea with unusual combinations of spices, so I was very excited to try Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea.  This is a blend based around orange pekoe special Assam black tea with added sage and cardamom.

The full flavors of the black tea itself pair perfectly with the fresh and earthy sage, and the sweet and mellow cardamom.  This is one of those teas that will work for any occasion. It has classic black tea for those staunch pekoe drinkers and a little bit of spice for chai lovers.  But without the classic chai spices like cinnamon and ginger, this tea is much more versatile and unexpected.

Sage always makes me think of Thanksgiving, so this feels very much like a fall tea to me.  The cardamom helps that image, bringing up spicy visions of the upcoming winter spice cookies.  This tea smells like a classic kitchen or herb garden, but its flavor combination in a tea blend is a new and exciting change of pace for me.  Great for breakfast or afternoon, or anytime you want to feel a little cozy and a little dreamy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea
Description:

This delightful blend of Assam, sage, and cardamom might make you believe in Kismet after all.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!