Maple Raisin Oatmeal from A Quarter To Tea. . .

I’m sure you’re familiar by now with the cultural phenomena that is “pumpkin season”. I can’t judge– there certainly was a time in my life where the crack of September first heralded all sorts of pumpkin’ified lattes, baked goods, scented candles– the list goes on and on. But you guys. Does anyone else feel like we are missing out, collectively, on SO MANY other great fall flavors? Cinnamon, apples, oats and smoke and spice and stone fruits and and and– I want it all! Enter A Quarter to Tea’s seasonal blends.

This little beauty popped up in my most recent monthly box from AQTT, and I’ve been properly obsessed. AQTT does unusual flavors magically, and there’s something about her rolled black tea blends that I find myself sipping like a madwoman until my samples are cashed. This blend in particular harnesses all those “outlier” fall flavors, like oatmeal, cinnamon, dried fruits– and whips them all together into a delightful cuppa that is simply made for cool and rainy morning sipping.

Served as a latte, this one captures its namesake even better– the creamy, frothed milk in my mug tastes just like sweet, spiced, fruity oatmeal. The notes of malty bread-iness balance out the dried fruit/cinnamon spice beautifully, and make for a perfectly autumnal treat.

No offense, pumpkin spice, but if this is what you’re up against, you’re gonna have to up your game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another cup of fall to brew!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter To Tea

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

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

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!

Jingle Bells from Lupicia. . . . .

Mary’s recent tasting of Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel inspired me. I figured if she could have a Chanukah tea in May, there was no reason I couldn’t have a Christmas tea. So, here I am, sipping on Lupicia’s Jingle Bells, a black tea scented with fresh grapes and fruity champagne (different than their old Jingle Bells tea which was citrus and yogurt from my understanding).

Grape is not a flavor you find too often in teas. I mean it does show up here and there but more times than not fruitier teas tend to lean more towards citrus, berries, stone fruit, orchard delights, or even tropical offerings. Grapes are just far less common, though each Christmas Lupicia brings out this blend and it is delightful.

While other companies focus on more traditional Christmas flavors like orange and spice or cranberries and spice or peppermint blends, Lupicia serves up something unique.

To me, this blend tastes like grape juice mixed with a bit of black tea. Very strong on the artificial grape flavor but with a bit of briskness/astringency from the base. Interestingly enough, that astringency actually works here as it promotes the champagne quality, adding a little bit of a citrus note without being overly citrus in flavor. For me, this reminds me of when I was younger and my mom would give me grape juice or sparkling grape cider on the holidays and let me pretend it was wine/champagne.

This tea is hard to describe but accurately named. It is something unique during the holidays that provides a welcome change to the more prevalent holiday flavors.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Lupicia

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

HoneyBee Tea from Sunshine Cottage

honeybeeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Sunshine Cottage

Tea Description:

Lightly floral with a lingering honey taste, a sip of this tea conjures up images of honey bees in the warm summer sun visiting flower after flower – This is definitely a happy tea!!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I adore Sunshine Cottage teas.  I have reviewed several of their teas and have found very few that I don’t just fall in love with instantly!

As the description indicates, this tea is a happy tea.  The warm honey notes and the irresistible black tea base mix well together giving you a smooth and sweet cuppa that makes you smile.  I haven’t tried this iced but I will. As good as this is as a hot cuppa, iced I can only imagine how incredible this tea would be. I am planning on ordering more soon to try this as a cold brew or even try mixing this up in a cake mix to liven up a treat.

My only issue with this tea is how bitter it gets quick if you oversteep which I did on my second infusion.  But my first infusion was pure honey heaven! The honey was sweet and natural tasting without any strong astringency notes.  I can see this being a great tea to be served at tea time with some little biscuits or treats.  Matter of fact, I think I might just plan my own tea party and serve this.

If you haven’t tried Sunshine Cottage teas, you are missing out.  These are some of the best flavored black teas I’ve had in a while! The are fresh and so much fun!