Cinnamon Squirrel/Totem Tea

Hi Tea Friends! Today I will be reviewing Cinnamon Squirrel from Totem Tea which is an apple and cinnamon Rooibos blend. This particular sample is bagged though it is also available as loose leaf. Let’s just take a moment and mention the packaging, how adorable! It’s an orange smiley squirrel face that makes me smile with the cuteness overload. The teabags are pyramid shaped biodegradable bags.

Totem Tea guarantee that all of their teas are: • Certified Organic • Whole Leaf • Ethically Sourced • Vegan Friendly • Free from artificial flavourings • All packaging is eco friendly

A little more on that packaging, what does eco friendly mean these days? Well Totem Tea state that the cellophane bags, pyramid bags and the pouches are all biodegradable. Plus as always the paper labels can be recycled and are actually made from recycled paper. Not only that but all orders are packed in recycled materials such as cardboard boxes and paper packing materials.

Now that is what you call eco friendly! How fantastic!

Back to the tea. Opening the bag (which we now know is biodegradable) I can smell a strong yet sweet cinnamon, Rooibos and fruit blend that bursts with sweetness. It was actually the strongest of the three samples I received l, or at least the first one that caught my attention. I couldn’t tell it was apple fruit wise but it clicked once I read the ingredients.

Ingredients: Rooibos, apple, mango pieces, cinnamon sticks, fennel, clove, liquorice root and natural flavouring.

One bag in my tea cup will steep for 9 minutes thanks to the steeping information on the back of the cute squirrel face.

Once steeped the resulting orange tea bares a sweet Rooibos scent that is somewhat thick with a hint of cinnamon. Less sweet and fruity than the raw form. The first sip reveals a delicate Rooibos flavour that thickens in the after taste, leaving a well of creamy apple and just a hint of cinnamon.

The Rooibos is dominant of the flavours but it’s clean tasting and not too powerful, though there is some dryness in the after taste. It’s also got a refreshing feel which is possibly the clove and licorice root coming into play.

It’s a pleasant blend that is rather inoffensive, and in personal taste I find this a drinkable Rooibos blend for someone that tends to dislike it. Rooibos has always been hit or miss with no in between for me but perhaps the organic nature and flavour of this blend makes it more likeable due to its soft nature.

I can only ponder, but for now I will admit this was a nice blend that I know will happily be added to my tea cupboard. Look out for two more Totem Tea reviews coming very soon!

Until then, happy steeping!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:   Totem Tea

Description

This naturally caffeine-free rooibos has been blended with real pieces of apple and cinnamon sticks. Just like a scrumpious home-made baked apple pie…in a cup!

12 biodegradable pyramids, freshly hand prepared for optimal scent and taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Psychocandy from August Uncommon. . . .

I made this Psychocandy tea by August Uncommon a while ago with the intention of writing a SororiTea Sisters blog review about it. At the time, I had high hopes for this tea because it smelled so decadently of caramel that I couldn’t help but be excited. Unfortunately life got in the way and not only was I unable to review the tea but I didn’t even get a chance to drink it until it cooled right down. By the time I could take a sip it had gotten so sickly sweet that it didn’t even taste like anything and most of my mug got dumped down the drain.

At that time I noted that perhaps hot, it would be better. I am happy to report that my suspicions were spot on. Though this is still very sweet, you can actually make out flavors here that give this more depth and keeps things interesting. Caramel is certainly present and harkens back to the caramel syrup, made by Smuckers, which somehow just appeared in the family cupboard and was used to make DIY sundaes at home. That caramel syrup that was just a little sweeter than it should have been but you were a child and thus didn’t care. Yet there is more than just caramel. There is vanilla here too. One that might get lost among the other, stronger flavors but every so often pops through with some creaminess. Pumpkin is adding yet another layer of sweetness here which is true to actual pumpkin flavor, a welcome alternative to the more typical pumpkin spice found in pumpkin teas. Plus, with just a bit of focus, apple can also be tasted floating about.

This tea was very well received by many of my tea friends and honestly I can see why. First of all, it is a pumpkin tea that has ACTUAL pumpkin, something that is much rarer than you’d expect. Plus it actually highlights that pumpkin by focusing on its naturally sweet flavor as opposed to hiding it under spice. Second, it is a unique tea in that it combines ingredients in such a way that they are familiar and comforting and yet the combination is still new and fresh. Third, the ever-hated rooibos base is nicely hidden underneath all the sweet, only slightly contributing to the overall flavor but in a way that helps to ground everything. And finally, the mouth-watering scent of caramel is just so good and it lingers in the air as if someone was creating tasty confections in your kitchen all day.

With that all said, this does have sweet on top of sweet on top of sweet which frankly for some people could be too…well…sweet. Personally, I would remove the sweet blackberry leaf if I could just to remove one element of sweet. Also, this is not a tea I would recommend cold by any means. Like I said before, it cooled down and basically just became a cloying jumble of yuck which ended up getting dumped down the drain. So though I recommend trying this one, I recommend with that warning. Drink it hot and drink it fast and know that you’re basically drinking candy in a glass. At least calories won’t be a concern so this could be a nice way to satisfy even the most insatiable of sweet tooths. And the fact that it is caffeine free means it can be the perfect substitute for a late-night dessert.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  August Uncommon
Description

Psychocandy is all pumpkin, no spice. We married the creamy sweet depth of real pumpkin flakes with earthy rooibos. Even before you taste it, the heady aroma will intoxicate you. Each sip has a long lingering caramel finish that remains long after the cup is empty. Adding milk turns the creamy sweetness up to 11. Makes a knockout tea latte.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Carrot Cupcake from David’s Tea. . .

I am trying this tea in front of an audience. I’m currently in the middle of a cabin with 15+ friends/kids, and everyone got excited when they sniffed this. I made several cups for everyone; I kept the last for myself.

Before I had a chance to even sip my cup, one of my friends slid up to me. “The tea you gave me is delicious,” he whispered.

“What did your kids think?” I asked. His three-year-old had sniffed the tea and kept following me around whispering “tea.”

“I haven’t given them any,” he said. “I’m keeping it all for myself.”

“That’s COLD,” I replied.

When I finally had a cup, I saw what he meant. This is a carrot/apple/spice mix with a bit of a cream/marzipan sweetness (as opposed to a powdery, shrill, hyper-sweet flavor). As I sipped, the spiciness increased. (Possibly the spices are heavier and sit further down in the mug?) I liked the flavor better back when it was sweeter at the beginning of the cup. I think that this would be sweeter and more consistent iced, and I think that’s what I’m going to try next.

Unlike my friend, I’d let my kids try this. I’d spread the joy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy:  David’s Tea
Description

This decadently creamy rooibos blend tastes just like your favourite carrot dessert. You’ll love its natural carrot sweetness and the extra zing of warmth from cinnamon and ginger. Plus it’s caffeine and calorie-free, so you can sip it all day every day. Still not convinced? The rich cocoa shells and whipped cream will change your mind. Yeah, we knew you couldn’t resist…

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Paris Evening from Fava Tea. . . .

When you think of Paris, do cherries and pineapple come to mind?

If your answer is, “no, don’t pineapples come from Hawaii, on the literal other side of the planet?”, you’re thinking TOO LITERALLY.

If the answer is, “Paris has lots of classy pastries with fruits inside them, I guess,” you’re ON TRACK.

This blend, Paris Evening Rooibos, is a blend that leans heavily on pineapples. The effusive sweetness creates a gentle, sugary-tasting nest for a light, spunky cherry-and-slightly-citrus taste. It’s a wonderful after-dinner treat. It’s sweet, low-to-no-calorie, AND naturally un-caffeinated.

I’m sure the Hunchback of Notre Dame would approve.

Probably.

… I’m sorry. I have no idea why this tea was named after Paris.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Fava Tea
Description

The caffeine-free version of our famous French Breakfast black tea. This rooibos-based tea has cherries, pineapple, and no caffeine. Fragrant, sweet, and delicious!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

52Teas’ the 12 Teas of Christmas – Day 11-Spoilers!

Day 11!

Christmas Eve already: are you excited?  The penultimate tea of the 12 Teas of Christmas is Caramel Monkey Bread Rooibos.  Monkey Bread is known for its cinnamon sugar and bouncy yeast bread base. This tea has plenty of cinnamon scent as soon as you open the bag.  But the cinnamon is sweet, not too hot or spicy, just the comforting warmth of a kitchen spice cabinet.

Brewed, the caramel notes come forward, enhanced by the natural toasted-sweet flavor of the rooibos.  If I were blind folded, I might guess that this tea flavor was snickerdoodle, with all the cinnamon sugar goodness that I taste.  There is that hint of caramel or caramelized sugar among all the spice. Is there such a thing as caramel- drizzled-snickerdoodles?  If not, this tea is making me think that maybe there should be.

The great part about this blend is that it is a decaf rooibos base, so you can drink it before bed (or as you are setting out the cookies for Santa), and still get some sleep before Christmas morning.  Well, as much sleep as you can with all the excitement and sugar plums dancing in your head!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Red Rooibos
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

This is one of the final teas (tisanes) that Frank crafted during his time with 52Teas and I have a wee confession – I hadn’t tried it until a day or two before I blended this batch. I had the tea in my stash – but it was still sealed … never opened! At the time when I received this tea in my subscription package, I was preparing to take over 52Teas: testing samples from my wholesale sources, setting up the website and blending teas. I was so busy back then I was running around like a crazy woman with her hair on fire and to be honest, I really didn’t have time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed most of the samples that I was sent by my wholesale sources, and I definitely was enjoying the teas that I was blending and then taste testing – but I didn’t have any time left to sit back and enjoy a cuppa that wasn’t directly related to taking over the operations of 52Teas.

So I stashed this tea away in my tea cupboard and – forgot about it! Yes, I forgot about this blend completely until someone mentioned that they’d like this tea to be reblended as part of this year’s 12 Teas of Christmas box. So a few weeks ago, I dug out that pouch and tried it out before I attempted to reblend it – so that I could get a fairly good idea of what I was going to do with this blend.

And as I sit here now, sipping on the results of that blending session, I must say that I’m a little bit impressed with myself. I often worry that I’m just not good enough to be a tea blender – but it’s times like now that I realize that I AM good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, I’m worthy of my self-appointed title of “Mad Tea Artist” because this is REALLY GOOD. It’s sweet, caramel-y, with a nice cinnamon note and a bread-y note that tastes a lot like … well, it tastes like freshly-baked monkey bread!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!