Ceylon Mango from Beacon Hill Teas

a55b1eeb5de9417eba3f3ec7a06689c9-2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Beacon Hill Teas 

Tea Description:

This delightful decaffeinated ceylon boasts a rich ceylon flavor, and is playfully highlighted by bits of creamy mango.  

Learn more about Beacon Hill’s Monthly Subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

I love my Beacon Hill Tea Company’s monthly subscription box. Each  month you get 4 1 oz packages of a variety of teas for you to enjoy.  Some of them I love, some of them I don’t. What I love the most is the variety of teas I can now try that I never would have thought of trying before. This tea is a perfect example.

A decaffeinated version of a ceylon tea with mango.  A perfect tea for the spring/summer time. I brewed up this tea with the package instructions and then put to sphere ice “cubes” into a mason jar and finished the jar off with an orange slice. Can you save heavenly?

The tea is a lovely light fresh black tea with a creamy mango undertone.  All ingredients are allowed to shine.  The tea is amazingly refreshing yet simple. I love that. How simple the tea is. There isn’t a mix of complex flavors just fresh wonderful tea that make an amazing iced tea. I have tried this tea hot and it is pretty tasty but where this tea really shines is as an iced tea.

If you are looking for a great monthly tea box that provides you with a nice array of teas, then look no further. I love the variety the box provides and trying out teas that I never would have thought about trying before. Sure it is a bit more expensive than others but you do get quite a bit of tea that you can re steep for several sessions and infusions. So far I have been very happy with my subscription and don’t see myself cancelling anytime soon!

Cola déthéiné Black from Dammann Freres

the-detheine-colaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Decaffeinated Black

Where to Buy: Dammann Freres

Tea Description:

Coming from the ‘Little Cristal’ collection, Cola is a decaffeinated black tea with a cola flavor that children have so dear.

At tea time, a flavored tea to enjoy the “Five O’clock” like grown people.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Prior to trying this blend, I’ve had exactly three cola flavoured teas: Cola Matcha from Red Leaf Tea, Cherry Cola & Cake from Della Terra Teas, and DAVIDsTEA’s Cherry Cola black tea. I remember that so specifically because all of them were super memorable experiences, and not for a good reason. In fact, DT’s Cherry Cola blend may actually be the worst black tea I’ve ever had. Cola just seems to be something that doesn’t apply well to tea, so I’m going into this tasting with extreme reservation and fairly low expectations.

I probably wouldn’t have purchased this one at all if it weren’t for the fact I got some in a group order, and therefore got to pick up a small size of it. It also helps it’s from Dammann Freres – I’ve yet to really find a “flop” from them, though there have been a few blends that just didn’t click because of personal taste. I have faith that if any company can pull off a cola tea they’re likely to be the ones to do it.

I’m cold brewing this – I just personally think that cola flavor kind of only works cold. I’ve had hot coke before (it was a dare) and it didn’t go over well. I have to say, the dry leaf of this smells pretty wonderful. It definitely conveys the smell of coke without any of the chemical/artificial qualities that I’ve experienced with every other coke tea. I don’t know how they do it! There’s even a whiff of vanilla to the smell as well!

I’ll come right out and say it; this is easily the best cola tea I’ve had. Simply put, it tastes like those shimmery silver cola ball candies that are basically pure sugar – though not as cloying as you’d imagine. There’s a really nice freshness to the tea and more natural notes as well like very mild citrus and possibly also pear. It’s ‘fancy’ cola ball candy! Definitely no sweetened needed with this one though; it’s just barely treading the line between natural sweet and ‘cavity’ sweet. I like that the base is also pretty strong, but not overly brisk. The fact it’s decaffeinated is a huge plus – as a generalization black tea is my favourite type and being limited with how much I can drink at night without the jitters is definitely a concern of mine; this will fit seamlessly into my evening routine.

I can totally see why this is marketed towards children as well; it’s something familiar flavor-wise, definitely sweet enough on its own, obviously healthier than actually giving a child a bottle of Coke, and what parent is going to complain about the lack of caffeine!?

My opinion on cola teas has been completely changed; and I’m already imagining interesting ways to try this one: tea soda, as a latte (because ‘floats’), and possibly even hot…

Maple Apple Cider Herbal from Stash

MapleAppleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Rooibos

Where to Buy: Stash

Tea Description:

This herbal tea combines the sweetness of maple with the tartness of apple for a lively, delicious cup. Fruity hibiscus and rooibos have been blended with sweet cinnamon, maple, apple and caramel flavors for this tasty tea cider. A touch of sugar brings out the flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This had a fancier box than other Stash teas I’ve seen so I’m wondering if, based on the flavour, this was a seasonal/Christmas blend? Upon opening up the box, the wrapper itself has a different design too. There’s definitely something different about this blend!

There’s really no smell to the dry teabag; if I concentrate maybe a little apple. It’s very weak though; I hoped the tea itself has more flavour. Steeped up, I could smell the cider part of the tea quite strongly, but no maple. I really hope I pick the maple up in the taste; it’s what intrigued me about this tea in the first place! It made this something a little bit different. And as a Canadian, I can never really resist anything maple anyway.

Sipping on it now though; and there definitely is more flavour than what the dry leaf led me to believe. It really does taste like apple cider; good apple cider too! Just the right balance of sweet, tart, and spice. And speaking of that spice, there’s obviously cinnamon but the nutmeg in here is a really nice touch too. Nutmeg has really grown on me, I never used to be a fan but now when a tea includes it I get so excited! That’s the first wave of flavour but then it eases a little into the maple; it’s a little raw and unrefined tasting with a sappy quality. I like it! It makes the cup sweet and layered, and I like that this one doesn’t feel completely put together, with the ’T’s crossed and ’I’s dotted. Sometimes a little reliable inconsistency makes a tea good. If that makes any sense at all.

There are also a few other interesting notes here; I’m picking woody-cedar like notes too! Maybe it’s a trick of the mind because of the raw, sappy maple or maybe part of it is from the rooibos – but it’s very enjoyable regardless. Actually, now that I think of it the more I’m sure it’s from the rooibos. I love how natural and earthy this tea tastes though; for once the wood like quality is contributing something that enhances the tea flavourings!

There’s surprisingly a lot going on with this tea bag. Colour me quite impressed!

Golden Honeydew from Lupicia

goldenhoneydewTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy: Lupicia USA

Tea Description:

Caffeine-free green rooibos tea is scented with Californian honeydew melon.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yes, this is a rooibos. Now, I have never been a big fan of rooibos. Quite the opposite. I am such a grump about anything with even a little rooibos in it that I avoid it like the plague. While it is a green rooibos, and therefore lighter and grassier in character, I was still skeptical. But a tea friend of mine just had to have me try it. So try it I did. The dry leaf alone sent my nose and I spinning down memory lane. Funny things, noses.

This tea reminds me so much of my favorite flavor of boba, it’s unsettling. For anyone not in the know, boba, or bubble tea, is an incredible liquid substance that comes in a plastic cup. Originating from Taiwan in the early 80s, it’s not so much a tea as it is a delicious, typically creamy beverage that can be made of tea, fruits, or a powdered mix better known as milk tea. Milk tea comes in a crazy variety of flavors, one of the most popular in the world being Honeydew. It’s sickly sweet, and creamy to the core. What makes this into boba is the large, round, gummy-like tapioca pearls. Oh, and the fat straw you sip the pearls through. It’s something that I almost always sneak into a movie. I highly recommend it!

I don’t know, just something about sipping down a creamy honeydew flavored slushie followed by chewing on those yummy gummy tapioca pearls makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Cures any sadness and cools down a sweaty brow.

Everyone close to me at least knows what rooibos is, thanks to my audible distain of the stuff. Now even my man huffs at the mere mention of it. Until this one. I liked it so much, that I almost didn’t tell him what is was when he asked for a little sip. Everything about this tea is delicious, juicy honeydew. The smell of the light green rods of the green rooibos, is exactly like the ripest honeydew you could ever imagine. As I brew this cup, I can just imagine biting into a fresh slice of pale green honeydew melon. I think the realism of the flavoring is what makes this blend. I don’t get that harsh artificial flavor I could have been assaulted with. Even while sipping on a pot of this tea is bringing to mind the velvety smooth fruit and the sweet juice. It’s so uncanny how spot on this tea is! It’s rich, broad, and smooth, I can imagine how great this would be iced.

I’d wager it’s better than the boba version.

Storm In A Teacup Herbal Tea from Cupan Tae

storm-in-a-cupTea Information:

Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane

Where to Buy: Cupan Tae

Tea Description:

A stormy, spicy herbal blend with a breeze of anise taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This one has a very, very pronounced dry aroma; the leaf practically oozes with the scent of sweet, black licorice! Not licorice root or anise, mind you, but black licorice. While I have no problem with either anise or licorice root – I love black licorice and I’ve found few teas that convey it well.

That love for black licorice probably comes from my Grandpa; before he passed that was his absolute favourite self indulgent treat in the world. He kept huge tins of licorice allsorts by his lazy boy that he’d snack on during Blue Jays games, and he’d buy black jellybeans in bulk and sometimes he’d just let me grab big greedy hand fulls of from the tins. It’s a really good memory I have of him from when I was a child and the smell of the dry leaf of this tea is making me so nostalgic for it. I know there’s not actually black licorice in the blend and it’s a trick that the fennel, combined with the aniseed, is playing on me. But I’m gonna try and be willfully blind to that; because I want this to taste like black licorice.

Hmm, now that this one’s steeped up there’s a very thick, powdery white residue all along the inside of my mug and I can’t figure out why – I’ve never had that issue with any of the listed ingredients I’m familiar with – and the only one I’m not familiar with is ribwort, so unless it’s from the ribwort I can’t explain it. It’s annoying though; almost as bad as gross melted down chocolate goop from blends that use chocolate chips instead of nibs or shells.

Steeped up, sadly, it doesn’t taste like black licorice though. Not in the same way it smells like it, anyway. I do get heavy doses of both fennel and anise flavour which is sweet and delicious, but it’s fairly overtaken by a very dominating savory, herbaceous note and then milder notes of peppermint and a supple fruit note that I suppose could be apple like is listed in the ingredients. Visually I didn’t see any apple in my measured out tea leaf though. That strong savory note tastes very, very weird to me; and I’m wondering if that’s the ribwort leaves. I’ve never had another tea with ribwort leaves and after a very quick Google search I’ve learned that apparently they can have a mushroomy flavour. I have really, really minimal exposure to what mushrooms taste like given that I am pretty allergic to them; any time I’ve had them it’s been really involuntary and, upon realizing I’ve ingested them I’ve had much more pressing things on my mind other than the flavour.

It’s a fascinating experience for me even if it’s not the one I expected to be having and in that regard I’m a little disappointed this isn’t as black licorice-y as I wanted it to be but I also know I was projecting unfair expectations onto the tea. It’s definitely not a bad tea; just so weird. Am I actually tasting mushrooms!? I’d honestly be interested in going back and having this one all over again; I feel like without the expectation of a more licorice-y tea I might be more observant of the herbaceous qualities that are present. Overall, surprisingly sweet and savory!