Hot Cross Bun from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

I was too chicken to order a full supply of this springtime blend, but I did get a free sample so I got to get a taste risk-free.  Hot Cross Bun is one of the Easter flavors released by Bluebird Tea Company. This is a black tea and rooibos tea blend, though rooibos makes up the majority, so you won’t be overloaded with caffeine.

The scent of this blend was vibrant and noticeable right out of the bag.  Some of the black tea was clearly a smoky lapsang souchong, but the smoked flavor was closely followed by a powerful, sweet vanilla scent.  Quite the flavor duo.

Brewed, this tea continued to open up and show off its delicious ingredients.  The smokiness cooled off, and became more like the suggestion of a fire in the fireplace.  The creamy vanilla was heightened to the decadence of buttercream icing. Both flavors were nicely balanced by sweet and tart orange zest to bring it all together.

This is a great tea for those days that you want a sweet dessert blend, but don’t want to feel too much like a pastry chef.  The whiff of rugged lapsang souchong brings a unique boldness to this brew and makes you appreciate favorite flavors like cream and citrus in a new light.  Don’t be a chicken like me and the next time you can-order a full bag of this springtime tea before it’s gone!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Rooibos
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Description:

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bake a Valentine’s Cake to Go With Your Tea

Valentine’s Day.  A time for everything pink and rosy.  Strawberries and chocolate galore. If you are looking to recreate that sweet, romantic, dessert feeling I would recommend brewing up a cup of Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Shuswap Infusions. This black and oolong blend has dark chocolate and strawberry notes, and it even has flower petals in the dry leaf.

Whether you’re celebrating yourself or being cute with a sweetheart, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate.  So I recommend making an old family recipe (that we clearly just took from the King Arthur Flour cookbook) for a super-easy, super-tasty, one-pan vegan mocha cake.  Trust me, even those of you who are baking-impaired can make this one.  We call it the Stir-Crazy Cake.

For best results, mix the ingredients in the pan from which you will serve the cake.  This won’t be a problem if you use a cute heart-shaped pie dish or cake pan for the occasion.

Mix directly in your pan:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.

Make three wells (three divots or holes) in the dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the wells, only one ingredient into each well:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour 1 cup cold coffee over all ingredients.  If you don’t want a mocha cake, just use cold water instead.  [For those kitchen-oriented mad scientists out there, maybe adding a cold cup of your favorite dessert or strawberry tea could be a nice substitute as well.  I haven’t experimented myself, but now I’m  curious to try it… ]

Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.  Really make sure you mix the cake (hence the “Stir-Crazy” name).  Get all the dry ingredients mixed in from the bottom and edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any crumbs.

Serve straight from the pan to your plate.  If you’re getting overloaded from chocolate, brew up something sweet and fruity to go with the cake, maybe a classic like Raspberry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings to help balance out the dark chocolate decadence.
Happy baking!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Shuswap Infusions
Description:

Just in time for Valentines Day! The name of this tea is just as delicious as it sounds. For a real treat, serve it as a latte garnished with shaved chocolate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

White Tea Brownies from Sanctuary T

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Sanctuary T

Company Description:

If you are in need of a chocolate fix that complements your nice cup of tea, snatch a bag of these decadent, tea-inspired brownies. Loaded with white tea, valhrona chocolate, and bits of walnuts, these brownies are a rich complement to a cup of tea. Each package comes with 3 large, rich brownies!

Taster’s Review:

I have a confession to make.  I am currently working on my second order of these brownies.  I had only planned on ordering one order of them – just to try them – because, even though I thought they’d be good, I figured they couldn’t be as good as my fresh, made from scratch, home-baked brownies.

WRONG!  These brownies easily blow my brownies out of the water.  In fact, they are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten in my life!  And, once upon a time, I worked for a famous cookie/brownie vendor in the mall, back when that vendor still made the cookie and brownie batches fresh instead of from frozen dough.  These brownies are even better than those!

So… needless to say, once my package was empty, I ordered another one, PRONTO!

The flavor is rich and fudge-y and make the perfect tea-time snack.  Maybe not for “High Tea”… because these brownieshave an ooey-gooey factor to them.  It came as a bit of a surprise the first time I tried them.  I mean, you kind of expect that you’ll be licking chocolate off your fingers with a home-baked brownie, but not something you bought off the internet.  With these brownies, prepare for chocolate-y fingertips!

That being said, these brownies are a better “alone tea time” treat.  Pour yourself a cup of tea (I really recommend Carnival Tea with these brownies) and devour!

The brownies are filled with chocolate chips, walnuts and I think I may have even encountered a bit of caramel in my first batch.  In this batch, I haven’t found any caramel yet, BUT… I can taste the white tea a bit better in this batch than in the first.

Yes, it’s true, the white tea does get a little lost in this explosion of chocolate flavor.  That being said, it is doubtful that someone would actually miss the tea after tasting these decadent delights.  In the first batch, I could tell there was something else there… but it wasn’t a distinct white tea taste.  With this batch, though, I can definitely taste white tea.

If you haven’t done so yet, check out the Sanctuary T website.  While you’re there, be sure to join their mailing list, and you’ll receive a coupon code worth 10% off on your first purchase!