Tea Spirits from Townshends Distillery

The absolute star of Portland’s Tea Fest earlier this month had to be this series of tea infused spirits from Townshend’s distillery. Normally they are known for their kombuchas, which have about as much alcohol in them as fresh orange juice does.  I chose a bottle of their smooth, high-quality cane spirits infused with roses and white tea, which lead to a dainty, yet crisp summer cocktail. I had no idea this was even a thing!!! Back at home, I mix mine with a touch of sparkling water to add to the merriment. Sipping the 80 proof straight provides an utterly fabulous, naughty at the garden party feel – strong yet uplifting, then a transcendent floral aftertaste that comes across quite differently than your standard rose tea. Definitely floral, but sweeter and not at all like an antique shop. Another fine benefit to this beverage is its ability to encourage me to break my writers block, win! And no hangovers yet, despite my crutch on it through finals week, knock on wood.

My partner ended up getting an early birthday present of Smoke Tea Spirits from them, a strong (smelling) lapsong souchong (in vodka I believe) alternative to scotch that they insist you must have at least two sips of to get the full effect. Not at all my taste, though I cannot really do tannins.  Have you ever had tea-infused cocktails before? What are your recipes? I’m dying to try and DIY some now…


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White Tea
Where to Buy: Townshends Distillery
Description:

Townshend’s White Rose is made from a simple recipe featuring white Tea and rose petals. Our unique low-temperature still allows us to capture the subtle aromas of these delicate botanicals. The result is a clean, velvety spirit that is delicious chilled, or in cocktails.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Just Elderflower from Plum Deluxe

The elderflower flowers look like micro chamomile blossoms, yellow and spherical.  Though the elderflowers are so tiny, it almost like a bag of pollen. The small blossoms are a golden color and very fine in texture.  When brewing this tea, be sure to use your infuser with the finest mesh or smallest holes.

Brewed, this tea is surprisingly earthy and savory, and not very floral.  The tea has a woodsy fragrance like crushed dried flowers or cut hay. Some of the flavor notes remind me of the brighter pu erh teas I’ve tried, so if you aren’t a floral tea fan, this blend might just be your favorite exception.

The taste of the brew continues to support the earthy, dried grass tones, but coupled with a new, buttery flavor.  The taste is a bit more vegetal than the scent, with a crisp, celery note. As the brew cools, and the more I drink, the more I detect a sweeter, brown sugar undertone.  Plum Deluxe recommends the brew with a bit of sweetener, which helps bring forward the toasted sugar or brown butter flavors even further.

Just Elderflower is a unique blend in appearance and taste, making for a thoughtful and flavorful one-ingredient brewing experience.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Plum Deluxe
Description:

Just Elderflower is part of our “just” line of thoughtfully-source, single ingredient herbal teas.  Elderflower is a curious, floral, and fragrant tea ingredient. Despite its delicate nature, it steeps up for a wonderful, calming, curing beverage.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Asha Teapot With Flowering Teas from Primula. . . .

I was so excited to get tea mail containing a blooming tea set from Primula tea to review. Primula, in case you are not aware, is a drinkware company. According to the website the companies “reputation is founded on creating quality products that make people happy to use or gift” The set includes a very large 60 oz teapot, Primula’s largest glass teapot, along with 3 flowering teas. The teapot is delicate but sturdy and I love the green leaf accent on the lid. It includes a green glass infuser. The infuser has small lines cut into the glass to allow the tea to diffuse into the water. While I love the aesthetic of the glass infuser I find that they are not always the best for tea making. The slotted lines can allow smaller teas such as those with rooibos to escape into the water. Overall I think that this is a lovely teapot that is a perfect size to accommodate a larger tea-drinking group and works well to showcase flowering teas.

The teapot also came with three of their flowering teas. Unfortunately there was not any literature included regarding the teas which I found to be a bit odd. I took a look at their website and discovered that the flowering teas have been with Primula since they started the company in 1991 and they continue the product line-up because of the popularity of the teas. All of their display teas are hand-crafted in China from AA grade green tea and flowers. Because the set didn’t come with any information on the tea I was able to deduce that the star-shaped flowering tea I enjoyed was a jasmine-scented green tea. According to their site the green tea is blended with jasmine five times to fully immerse the green tea in the Jasmine scent. There are 12 different types of jasmine green flowering teas offered however it is not clear what the name of the tea was that I tried so I can only identify it as the star-shaped tea.

I steeped the tea at a green tea temp, 175 degrees, for around 5 minutes, the time it took for the flowering tea star to fully unfurl. I am conflicted with this because I tend to enjoy my jasmine green teas with short steep times, around a minute. The longer the star steeps the more intense the jasmine becomes. Not to say this is a bad thing, it just develops and becomes more floral. Overall I liked the flavor of this tea. It was light, slightly vegetal with an underlying sweetness and a heavy jasmine scent. I was worried that a novelty tea like this would be lacking in flavor but I was pleasantly surprised.

I think that a flowering tea and a clear glass teapot are items that every tea connoisseur should have in their tea collection. If you are in the market for either of these items I would certainly give Primula a try!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Teapot with Flowering Teas
Where to Buy:  Primula
Description

The Primula Asha 60-oz. Glass Teapot is our largest glass teapot; it was designed with entertaining in mind. Made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass with a decorative glass leaf lid, this glass teapot includes a glass infuser in a beautiful contrasting hue, designed for steeping your favorite loose tea blend. The Asha Teapot includes three flowering teas, making this an ideal gift for tea lovers.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Go to Wonderland with a cup of Lewis Carroll tea from Simpson and Vail.. . .

Springtime feels like the time for Alice in Wonderland: flowers blooming, spending more time outside, feeling a little more whimsy after the winter blues.  I’ve seen a few new teas popping up this time of year, themed for just such an occasion.

I recently tried the Lewis Carroll blend of black tea from Simpson and Vail.  In case you don’t know, Lewis Carroll is the author of Alice in Wonderland, among other works.  Alice in Wonderland tends to be a favorite among tea fans for the famous tea party scene featuring the Mad Hatter, not to mention all the cute tea cakes that wreak fantastical havoc for Alice’s adventures.

This Lewis Carroll tea blend features an Indian black tea base, combined with Chinese Rose Congou black tea, highlighted by added violet fragrance and flavoring.  All these flowers are meant to put us in a fantasy world, whether in the queen’s roses, or in the garden beside the tea party.  There are lots of blossoms in the dry leaves, and the brewed cup smells as sweet as a blooming garden.

I enjoy the fragrance of this tea, but strong floral blends aren’t my personal favorite when it comes to taste.  I found I enjoyed the tea more with a touch of milk and sugar, which helped mellow out the strong floral flavors and made the brew more like a flower-scented dessert.

This is a great tea to put you in a springtime mood, perhaps sipped while out-of-doors after a dreary winter.  If you’re one for having fancy tea parties, this may also be a great choice, whether it fits your Alice in Wonderland theme, or just because it feels fancy and ladylike, and makes the flowers on your teacup smell like they are alive and fresh!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Simpson and Vail
Description:

A tea party plays a memorable role in Carroll’s most celebrated novel as the setting for Alice’s nonsensical meeting with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden” where, as the Mad Hatter told Alice earlier, “it’s always tea time.” To make our Lewis Carroll blend, we added our fragrant violet flavor to an Indian Black tea and Rose Congou tea, a China black that has been scented with rose petals during the drying process, to create a deep amber cup with an incomparable bouquet and a flavor that is absolutely heavenly.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Emily Dickinson’s Jasmine Tea Blend – Simpson and Vail. . . .

Now I have to start this off by saying that I am a sucker for author inspired tea blends. So it goes without saying that you are sure to find me reviewing more in the near future. Which shouldn’t be surprising since what is better than a cup of tea and a good book?

Now I think that this tea was simply delightful. It is not too strong and not too subtle, it has a perfect balance in my opinion. As a matter of fact when I was drinking this tea it was like it started to clear my head. Now I don’t mean completely like a lavender tea would do, but to the point where I could think about things. Now since I go to college I began to think about things I could do for my final that is coming up but not only that I can imagine this tea being a perfect companion when I am writing for a more creative venture.

I was also surprised that this tea had little to no dry notes in it whatsoever. And in my experience with jasmine, there would always be slight, somewhat powerful dryness to it.  But I believe that this a soft and balanced tea because of the ingredients. The jasmine tea is a beautiful binder for the rose petals, jasmine blossoms, marigold petals and blue cornflower petals. It goes without saying if you have read any of my previous reviews, that I have always loved the pairing of jasmine and rose. In my book, jasmine and rose will always be the power couple.

Now when I was in the process of brewing my cup I had a look at the tea leaves and apart from the enjoyment of finding little jasmine blossoms I was happy to see plenty of blue cornflower petals. Now, for those who don’t know, my favorite tea of all time is Lady Grey and that contains, you guessed it, blue cornflower. And I believe that the blue cornflower is a perfect addition to this tea for it adds a nice subtle, sugary sweetness to the blend.

On top of the delightfully delicate tasting tea the price is not at all bad either. It is $9.75 for a 4 oz tin but if you don’t want the tin you can save about $3 and pay $6.90 for a bag of the same size. Along with a great price this tea also has deep connection with the talented poet we know as Emily Dickinson. As the description reads on the bottom of this review, this tea was based off of Ms. Dickenson’s garden, which was a place that she got most of her inspiration from for her poetry.

All in all, I believe that this a beautiful tribute to Emily Dickinson and I will be purchasing this for my ever growing collection of teas in the future. (My collection is very expansive. If you don’t believe me, head over to my Instagram and I usually post updates on how big it has gotten.)

See you for the next cuppa!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Simpson and Vail
Description:

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10th, 1830 and lived in a home that was central to Amherst political society thanks to her father and brothers. Growing up around powerful men prepared Dickinson for a life of the same, but society dictated that, as a woman, she was relegated to seemingly less meaningful ventures. Her anger at this slight comes across in her poetry and letters where she explored complex ideas of meaning and self while examining the smallest details of the world around her. She withdrew herself from society and lived in relative solitude until her death. Only a few of her poems were made public during her lifetime, but four years after her demise, a collection of poems was published and met with popular and critical acclaim. Her poems reveal a complicated mind that examined itself with as much attention to detail as it examined the world. Dickinson’s defiance of categorization and simplification make her a popular poet to study even today.

In the years she spent away from society, Emily Dickinson cultivated an extensive garden. In it, she grew jasmine flowers, cornflowers, roses, and many other flowers, plants and herbs. These flowers appear repeatedly in her poetry so our blend had to be floral. We created a delightful combination of jasmine tea and rose petals that brews to a light ecru cup with long green leaves and rose petal accents. This delicate tea hits you with a strong jasmine taste that’s sweetened and mellowed with the subtle flavors of the rose petals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!