Earl of Time from A Quarter To Tea. . .

Up to today’s bat is the Earl of Time, a Quarter To Tea blend that blends a black Earl Grey with vanilla and black currant.

I’m not sure why it’s called Earl of Time, but I SUSPECT it’s because Earl Grey got a message from a Time Lord to add these inclusions for a COMPELLING BREW.

Time Lord: “Listen, I’m from 3030, and Skynet just figured out a bangin’ way to make your trademark beverage a little more exciting.” Earl Grey: “My trademark beverage? I just throw a little bit of citrus into my black tea.” Time Lord: “Believe it or not, that’s going to be YOUR THING. You will be known through ALL OF TIME for that one thing.” Earl Grey: “What about my charity work? My metal band? My hand-tatted doilies?” Time Lord: “No.” Earl Grey: “My way with words? The fact that I am an expert cat cuddler?” Time Lord: “None of that makes it to the future.” Earl Grey: “So I’m just… like… a spritz of bergamot?” Time Lord: “And now… some vanilla and black currant. Try it.” Earl Grey: “That’s DELICIOUS! So creamy! That berry flavor, with the slight citrus edge! WOW! I might write a poem about it.” Time Lord: “It’ll be forgotten to the sands of time, but sure, I mean, go ahead.” Earl Grey: “Roses are red / violets are blue / I like this tea / and so might you.”

(illustration by Super Starling herself!)

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

A fun and fruity twist on the classic Earl Grey! This one features black currant, vanilla, with that classical satisfying punch of bergamot.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Black/Zest Tea

Earl Grey and I have an uneasy relationship. I like good Earl Grey. Not so good Earl Grey? I will have a glass of water, thank you.

Off the table for me are strong bergamot layered on super fruity Ceylon, and artificial bergamot flavor. Too sour! Both of them!

What a nice surprise this Zest Tea Earl Grey is! Zest is all about caffeine, which is the opposite of important to me. I don’t need it. I don’t really want it. But sometimes people do want it or need it. And getting it from tea gives you the added benefit of L-theanine.

Since this is supposed to have more caffeine than a cup of coffee, I expected it to be harsh. I gave the sachet a sniff when I opened the individually wrapped pouch (+1 for freshness) and it was a delightful, uplifting bergamot aroma.

The steeped tea is definitely toned down aroma-wise from the sachet, as is expected, but the tea is still bright and sparkling with cheerful bergamot. The Nilgiri base is pretty smooth with just the right amount of briskness. Most remarkable to me is how balanced the base and the bergamot are.

I drink my tea plain, but I bet this could take milk and sugar if that’s how you roll. Caffeine warriors, rejoice! This tea may be your new love! So I take it back. Zest isn’t all about caffeine. They are all about providing good tasting, good quality tea with extra caffeine kick, smoothed by L-theanine.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Zest Tea
Description

Earl grey has been a popular blend since it was introduced to the British Earl, Charles Grey, in the 1830’s. Most Earl Greys are made with low-quality base teas, but not ours. Zest’s Earl is made with premium Nilgiri Indian black tea blended with a delicious bergamot essential oil.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Madagascar Vanilla/Golden Moon

When you have a rare, quiet morning to yourself, what tea do you choose to be your companion? Golden Moon’s Madagascar Vanilla is my choice today because I need something that has the chops to follow up waffles and maple syrup.

This vanilla can’t go wrong, with the vanilla taste coming from real Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and not some mysterious dark liquid that knows beakers better than plants.

I am usually very sensitive digestion-wise to teas that are not from China, but this Indian base sits right with me. It has hearty breakfast tea flavor without the gut twisting bitterness that demands milk to tame it and sugar to tone it down. It has the light, tongue scraping sensation of gentle briskness and a touch of malt. I happily drink this sans additions.

This is vanilla tea for grownups, not a kiddie vanilla. I serve it morning and afternoon, because it does hold up well with a meal or with rich sweets. It is also a good fortifying cup. The hearty base makes it so versatile.

I can’t help but be impressed when I look at their website and see the pains they have taken to assure that the tea that comes to us is as pure as they can possibly make it. But it has to taste good, too! And this one definitely does.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Golden Moon
Description

There’s vanilla, and then there is vanilla. Sometimes “vanilla” is poured out of a small, dark bottle into your favorite boxed cake mix. That stuff is like that “iPod” you bought in Chinatown. Sure it may work, but it really isn’t the same. Our vanilla is straight from the vanilla bean. Not just any bean, but the world famous bourbon vanilla bean found in Madagascar. We chop up the beans, blend them with a pure, organic Indian tea base and let it age for over a month. Why? Because Madagascar Vanilla ends up having a fully infused, rich flavor with no weird chemical aftertaste. Sure it is a lot of trouble for us to make this tea, but it’s well worth it.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea. . . .

I love black tea with unusual combinations of spices, so I was very excited to try Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea.  This is a blend based around orange pekoe special Assam black tea with added sage and cardamom.

The full flavors of the black tea itself pair perfectly with the fresh and earthy sage, and the sweet and mellow cardamom.  This is one of those teas that will work for any occasion. It has classic black tea for those staunch pekoe drinkers and a little bit of spice for chai lovers.  But without the classic chai spices like cinnamon and ginger, this tea is much more versatile and unexpected.

Sage always makes me think of Thanksgiving, so this feels very much like a fall tea to me.  The cardamom helps that image, bringing up spicy visions of the upcoming winter spice cookies.  This tea smells like a classic kitchen or herb garden, but its flavor combination in a tea blend is a new and exciting change of pace for me.  Great for breakfast or afternoon, or anytime you want to feel a little cozy and a little dreamy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea
Description:

This delightful blend of Assam, sage, and cardamom might make you believe in Kismet after all.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Downton Abbey Christmas Tea from Republic of Tea. . . .

Downton Abbey Christmas Black Tea is a delicious blend that tastes like chai-meets-mulled-cider. It’s spicy, rich, wine-like, and a little bit fruity.

“Wine like?” you ask anxiously. “If it’s Christmas… I am looking for wine-like.”

Yes! Unfortunately, there is no liquor within it, but it tries. It gets pretty close.

And trust me, folks: I understand the holidays making you want to reach for the booze.

I type this post from my family’s home in Virginia, where I violated a Time of Tea Law. I settled in with a novel and this book at around 7 p.m. after dinner, and was admonished.

“Tea is with dessert,” my mother said. “We have that at 8 p.m.”

“I could make myself another tea… at 8 p.m,” I said, confused.

My father, who came back from walking the dogs, spotted the mug in my hand and said, “TEA? ALREADY?”

And I said “WHY SO MANY LIMITS ON THE TEA AROUND HERE?”

THAT is the kind of family interaction we celebrate at the holidays! Granted, this is Thanksgiving week, but I’m sure there will be similar interactions on my husband’s family’s side at Christmas.

Feel free to drink this whenever you get frustrated with your family and imagine it’s something stronger.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

This blend is a holiday blend but click below to learn more about all of Downton Abbey Blends that Republic of Tea offers.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!