A Dark Night Orange Spice Pu’erh from Plum Deluxe. . . .

I’ve always been a black-tea-with-milk-and-sugar kinda girl (thanks, semester abroad in London!). Now, as the years have passed, my tastes have matured, and I’ll happily venture out to less traditional teas and more traditional preparations, but there’s something about a bold black tea paired with creamy + sweet that gets me right in my cozy, nostalgic heart.

So you can imagine my bummer when I was recently put on an allergy test for to be without my beloved coconut milk (the only “milk” left that I could tolerate) for thirty days. SOB. As there’s a silver lining to every cloud, this has (finally!) opened up a category of teas that I all-too-often avoid: black teas that taste best SANS milk. Gasp! Who am I?

When this tea arrived in my monthly tea subscription from Plum Deluxe, I knew it would perfectly fit this new category in my tea-drinking life. A mellow pu’ehr with notes of orange, cinnamon, ginger, rose and anise, with fruity hibiscus? Yes please. It brews a beautifully robust almost walnut-y brown, with just a hint of pink from the hibiscus. Sweetened with a touch of honey, it’s a cup that is absolutely un-put-downable. Spicy and sweet, fruity and robust– like no other tea I’ve ever had. The only downside I can find is that a re-steep of the same leaves just doesn’t produce the same vibrant cup with similarly complex flavors as the first, but that can be a tall order for such a nuanced dry leaf.

Normally, I finish my tea of the month and move on to the next month’s bag without too much love lost. But with my newfound love (and need) for milk-less black teas, this one will be reordered as a permanent fixture in my tea cabinet.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Pu’erh
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

This tea is only available to members of the Plum Deluxe Monthly Subscription Plan. Please click below for the other teas they offer or to learn more about joining their monthly tea membership.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

North from Metolius Artisan Tea

If you would have told me a few weeks ago that North from Metolius Artisan Tea would be an herbal tisane that I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about I would have called you CRAZY.

I mean…I’m pretty finicky when it comes to herbal tisanes. Let’s face it…they’re NOT really tea. I’m not saying that as a slam it’s the technicality of it, folks! North from Metolius Artisan Tea is a REALLY AMAZING Herbal Tisane. One that blew me away and I will not be able to say enough about.

North from Metolius Artisan Tea is Fresh, organic, vibrant, and hand-blended. It’s a sweet and spicy blend of coconut, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, and pink peppercorns.

I have a confession to make. I was terrified of the licorice in this. I know – I need to get over that. I have now sipped on many wonderful licorice flavored teas and tisanes since a few I tried years ago and couldn’t stand. But I have to say that North from Metolius Artisan Tea is in a class of its own!

The coconut and licorice pairing is something of an enlightening outer body experience of sorts. Call me dramatic if you will but I’m trying to express my surprise and delight with this blend of flavors! Its licorice and cinnamon ‘stave off sugar cravings and tone down energy-bonking’ according to Metolius so it’s perfect for evenings or after dinner when you don’t have anything for dessert or later on in the night when you have that sweet tooth going. The spices are present at the ideal ratio, too!

I wouldn’t change one thing about this herbal. It’s truly amazing! I LOVE it! I find myself revisiting it time and time again!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane
Where to Buy: Metolius Artisan Tea

A sweet and spicy blend of coconut, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, licorice and pink peppercorns.

Beyond North tea’s warmth and flavor, its licorice and cinnamon stave off sugar cravings and tone down energy-bonking.

Fresh, organic, vibrant, and hand-blended.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Time is NOW!

kickstartermemesmallFor those of you who are waiting for the right time to check out my Kickstarter Campaign and contribute, that time is NOW!  We are nearing the end of the campaign, and we still have a LONG way to go to reach our goal!

So, I thought I’d take a moment to answer some questions that you might have.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section!

Why have we launched the Kickstarter campaign?  What’s it all about?

A couple of months ago, I was approached by Frank from 52Teas (aka the Chief Zoomdweebie!) and he asked me if I was interested in taking over the 52Teas line.  He wanted to focus his efforts on his iced tea business.  You can check out his Indiegogo campaign to support his iced tea endeavor here!  And please do!

Anyway, he wanted to focus his efforts on his passion, which is iced tea.  My passion is hot tea.  So, I was very interested, but also a little hesitant, until I talked to my daughter, Amethyst, who told me that she wanted to do this thing with me!

So, we have the passion for tea.  We have Amethyst, who is very detail oriented and all about making sure things are done right, right on time!  She’s going to be the one keeping the numbers crunched and the orders fulfilled and the inventory in stock so that I can do what I do best:  tea.

But what we don’t have is equipment or inventory.  That’s where the Kickstarter campaign comes in.  If we’re successfully funded, we’ll have the funds we need to buy the equipment and the inventory we need to be able to get this business off to a running start.

But we can’t do it without you and your support!

Why do you need so much money?  

Because, as I said, we need the equipment and inventory to get started.  We need tea, we need the ingredients to create the unique flavors of teas that 52Teas is known for.

We need the equipment to make the business go.  We need the pouch sealer, we need the pouch filler.  Oh, we’ll need the pouches too.  We need the shipping label printer and labels for it too.  We have the passion and the ability to make the business go, but without the inventory and the equipment, we won’t get very far.

What do I get in return?

TEA!  And seriously, is there any better incentive than that?  You get tea.  How much tea and what kind of tea is totally up to you.  Check out the incentives list on the sidebar of the campaign for more details of what kinds of teas are available.

What happens if the campaign isn’t successfully funded?

Well, according to Frank, if we’re not able to take over the business as of March 31st, 2015, 52Teas will be no more.  So, if the campaign isn’t successfully funded – if we don’t get the money we need to take over the business, it will wither and die.  It will cease to be.

We can’t take over the business without the startup capital that we need to get the equipment and inventory.

I know it seems like a lot of money.  But it’s for a good cause – it’s to support a small business and to support a mother and daughter team to help them realize their dream.  And it’s about TEA.

Please support our campaign:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/497705217/the-great-52teas-take-over

Also, please support Frank’s Indiegogo campaign to help him build his iced tea business:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/southern-boy-teas-organic-flavored-iced-teas

Every little bit helps!  Please take a moment to help spread the word.  Tweet about this blog post, tell your friends and neighbors, post it on your facebook.  But most of all, take a moment to contribute because without the contributions, we simply won’t reach our goal!

Thank you!

Daughter’s Ring Early Spring Green Tea (Ming Qian Nu’er Huan) from Teasenz

Daughter'sRingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teasenz

Tea Description:

A farmer needs to work seven days, just to produce about 1.5 kg of this artisan tea, picking only the most-tender leaves from large-leaf tea trees in Simao, Yunnan. Afterwards, each ring is carefully hand-rolled piece by piece, requiring patience and mastery of advanced tea processing skills. A pure organic and luxury green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Beautiful!  These leaves are so amazingly graceful!  They are rolled in perfect little rings, and the leaves feel soft and fluffy as they’re still covered with their downy fuzz.

They slowly unfurl in hot water, and it’s fun to watch them do their thing as they brew.  I highly recommend steeping these in something that you can watch the brewing process.  I realize that the website recommends a ceramic teapot for brewing, but I brewed this in my gaiwan so that I could watch the tender leaves do their graceful dance as they gently infused the hot liquid.

The cup that sits before me now is the results of the first two infusions, and this tea is delicious.  It is delicately fragrant.  The flavor is lightly vegetal with notes of butter and nutty tones, reminiscent of a nutty browned butter. It isn’t bitter, grassy or overly astringent.

There is a subtle floral note to the cup that seems to gradually build, and is especially noticeable in the aftertaste.  The notes on the website suggest a jasmine note, but, I don’t know that I’m tasting jasmine.  It is a very gentle flowery note that melds seamlessly with the other flavors of the cup.

This is a really remarkable green tea from Teasenz:  I love that it’s organic, I love that it offers several delicious infusions (I got two cups of tea out of one measurement of leaves, infusing the leaves for a total of four times), and quite simply, I love this tea!  Then again, I’ve been very impressed with all the teas that I’ve tried from this company!  This is one company that you should put at the top of your shopping list!

Golden Stars from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Our Golden Stars are handcrafted and tied into the shape of a star. This tea originates from China and is a smooth full-bodied tea that is juicy, buttery, and vegetal. Notes of sweet fresh spinach and artichokes can be detected as well as light lingering lemon notes. This delicate tea is delightful and refreshing.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

These clusters – these stars – are interesting.  They appear to be hand-sewn, I can even see the thread.  They form a little star shape, and as they infuse they do not “open up” really, they just sort of plump up, still retaining a vague, now swollen, star shape.

They don’t possess a strong aroma.  The fragrance of the brewed tea is equally as faint.  And… even the first couple of sips are very faint.  But don’t let that stop you from sipping on this tea.  The flavors develop.  Trust me!

The tea never really becomes a strong tasting tea.  But I like the gentleness of this tea.  The liquor has a thin, brothy texture.  The flavor is slightly buttery and there is a hint of citrus-like flavor that hits the palate toward the tail and lingers well into the aftertaste.  After the flavors have developed (I’d say, at about the mid-cup point), it really tastes lemony.  It is a sharp, bright lemony taste that is especially apparent in the aftertaste.

The tea tastes primarily vegetative – not grassy though.  It isn’t a sharp or even a sweet grass taste.  Instead, it is more like a mild, sweet vegetable taste that falls somewhere between steamed spinach and artichoke, leaning more toward the artichoke  than the spinach … especially with the lemon notes, because I like to steam my artichokes with lemon slices in the steam water.

It’s a lighter tea, nice for a weekend afternoon when you want to just relax and kick up your feet a bit.   Really nice!