Raven’s Blend from Friday Afternoon . . . . . .

Hello dear readers! I have recently come across a quite delightful tea company that was sent to me as a secret Santa gift and I was amazed by the quality and of course with the tea selection. I had a whole lot of tea to chose from in the care package that was sent to me but after some consideration, I picked up Raven’s Blend.

For starters, this tea is very light given its black tea base and I believe that is thanks to the white tea wingman. There is also blue cornflower in this tea which adds a delightfully light floral taste. To those who are familiar with the taste profile of Lady Grey, it is like that but more delicate. I feel like I say this a lot because most teas are relaxing but I find that this one can be paired with just about any relaxing activity. But it also can spark creativity, giving your brain a needed boost. Which makes sense because its namesake is derived from the Ravenclaw house in the Harry Potter series. Which, funny enough is my actually my house.

Now on to the pricing of this beautiful blend. There are a total of four sizes to choose from; 1 oz which is priced at $10, a 2 oz which is priced at $14, 4 oz for $25, and 8 oz for $45. There aren’t any individual samples that you can order outright but I do know for certain that you can email the shop and ask for individual samples at $2 per sample. If you want to be more adventurous there is a mystery sample pack for $13 with four options (high caffeine, no caffeine, moderate caffeine, mixed caffeine) and an educational sampler pack for $35 that comes with steeping notes that has five options to choose from; black teas, green teas, oolong teas, pu-erh teas, and medicinal teas. Lastly, if you are in the Harry Potter fandom, there is a Wizarding Collection that you can purchase for $25 that features .5-.75 ounces for each of the teas from each of the four houses.

For the final thoughts on this tea, I believe it is well worth the money for the taste and the woman behind it is also great from my experience. From what I can tell she is very active with her consumers and is constantly adding new products to her online and physical store. There is also an option to make your own custom tea blend for $35 either by email or at the physical location. Also, as I was writing this review, I made a fresh cup of Raven’s Blend and I will possibly make another one! I fell in love with this tea company and you better be ready to see more reviews of this company in the near future!

See you for the next cuppa, Kara


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Friday Afternoon
Description

In wise old Ravenclaw house, “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” This medium-bodied, floral black tea is designed especially for you bibliophiles. High caffeine levels prepare you for those all-night study sessions and sharpen your focus while you devour the written word. Also fabulous while you read (or reread) your favorite novel, curled up in your favorite armchair or reading nook.

Ingredients: Black tea, white tea, and blue cornflower

All of our teas available online are gluten-free and sourced from organically certified farms. Most are vegan, but some may include honey (indicated in ingredients).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Breathless – August Uncommon Tea

I need to stop looking at Facebook at 2 in the morning. It causes me to make sleepy purchases. One recent middle of the night purchase I made was from August Uncommon tea. I kept seeing adds on Facebook for August Uncommon and had been very interested in their unique blends. I saw that they were offering free shipping and many of their teas are available in sample sizes so I decided to order a few at 2 am. I am so glad that I did! The samples arrived very quickly and included an information card on the company. Their premise is that August is “like no tea you’ve ever tasted before. Our tea is wild, intense, and radically different.” I don’t know if I would say that the tea blends are “radically different” as I have seen a lot of unique blends in my tea journey. I will say though that the blends are interesting, fun and very flavorful.

One of the teas that I purchased is called Breathless. The description of the tea is “boozy black tea, white chocolate and prune.” This is an interesting combo for sure. The package indicates that the tea is gluten free and non gmo. I appreciate that August also includes tasting notes to let the consumer know what we should be tasting. In the case of Breathless it should taste like armagnac, prune, dark cherry and whipped cream. Interesting. I had to look up what armagnac is as I am not up on my liquors. It appears it is a brandy.

I will say that one aspect I appreciate on their packaging is that in the ingredient panel August actually tells us what type of black tea is being used in the blend. Often companies just simply put black tea down in a blend. August goes one step further and indicates it is an Indian Assam black tea. Other ingredients include hazelnut brittle (yum), sweet blackberry leaf, white chocolate, dried plum and flavoring. The package does not make any distinction if the flavoring is natural or artificial.

The first sip of the tea is nice, I get the initial hit of a pretty malty black tea base then the fruity plum develops followed by an ever so slight creaminess in the back end of the taste. I can certainly see where why they say that the this tea tastes like dark cherry because the plum notes coupled with the malty black tea gives a dark cherry flavor.

I really like this tea. It is very complex, dark and enjoyable when drinking straight. When I added a splash of soy milk the creamy notes developed more and gave a very dessert-like quality to this tea.

Overall I am very impressed with all of the samples that I purchased from August Uncommon. I think that they are doing a fantastic job of reinventing what the basic perception of tea is. They have left the safe confines of a traditional earl grey or english breakfast and are branching out to offer unique and interesting flavor combinations. I think they are certainly worth checking out!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  August Uncommon

Description

This tea has a boozy aroma with soft tannins, and a touch of fruit and leather. It is inspired by our favorite ice cream flavor in the world: Agenaise. This is a luscious ice cream laced with armagnac-soaked prunes made by the incomparable Parisian brand Berthillon. White chocolate gives it a super silky mouthfeel and a creamy finish reminiscent of ice cream melting over hot pie. This tea practically begs for milk to turn up the richness of its flavors.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Biron Herbal Teas – Pink Pepper Citron Black Tea

Typically I am not the first one to grab a black tea-especially a black flavored tea that could possibly be on the spicier side but I’m trying hard to stay out of my comfort zone with teas lately.

Biron Herbal Teas, based out of Georgia,  offers a variety of herbal blends and teas with an adorable tea fairy as their logo.   They mainly carry herbal blends but there are a few flavored and unflavored tea options as well in both tea sachet and loose leaf form.

For some reason, Pink Pepper Citron Black Tea caught my eye and before I knew it I had prepared freshly boiled water, grabbed my favorite mug, and I was steeping this tea.  The citrus aroma wasn’t super strong but I could definitely tell there was ginger in the blend.  I could also occasionally sniff a cinnamon note here and there. Because I’m super nuts about my black teas, I was very conservative with my steeping time.  The first infusion I only steeped the tea for 3 minutes before I took my first sip.

Sip, I should probably say gulp.  Once this tea hit my taste buds, I was in for an adventure.  This tea is unique but in a uniquely delicious way.  Not being a fan of chai I was surprised how much I enjoyed the peppery flavor this tea omits.  Generous spicy notes of pepper and ginger mingle lovingly with this smooth malty black tea base.  I was worried that the cardamom might overpower the blend but that isn’t the case at all.  To compliment the spiced flavors there is also this subtle sweet citrus flavor.  Really lovely and exactly what I needed to get my day started.

For being my first go with Biron Herbal Teas, I’m pretty happy with this selection and am thinking that I might even need to get more of this blend and try it as a cold brew.  Especially with spring right around the corner.  The flavors are just a fun creative mix that I think know I need more of.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Biron Herbal Teas

Description

With just enough spice provided by ginger, cardamom, and pink pepper, this black tea explodes with flavor. Lemongrass and orange peel even out the blend nicely, leaving a refreshing aftertaste on the palate.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Reading Nook Blend Organic Black Cream Loose Leaf Tea from Plum Deluxe. . . .

Feeling fretful and restless, unable to decide which of the many tasks at hand I ought to start, frustrated over adulting and situations that are somewhat out of my control for now, and tired of the rain, rain, and more rain, I decided not to do anything for now, but to pick a tea that needed reviewing instead. The chores will wait for me.

As I went through my box of tea, the title of this one grabbed me and said, “This is exactly what you need right now. A great book to escape into and a great cup of tea.”

I always listen when tea talks to me, so I headed over to the internet and downloaded a book I have been wanting to read for ages and made a whole pot of this beautiful blend.

Before I even started drinking it, I was already feeling more relaxed. The top of my infuser basket held the loveliest colors of pink rose petals, little lavender blossoms, and golden bits of chamomile floating lazily over the black tea leaves. An aroma wafted up that felt like a gentle hand patting the shoulder with a “there, there.” Now, feet up, tablet on lap, one chapter down, and two cups in me, I have a new attitude.

Ah yes, this was just what I needed, indeed. Every element of the tea is nicely balanced and making me feel more peaceful. The black tea is soft and smooth but still strong enough to make a nice “real tea” base for the blend. The floral elements are soft and sweet. I added nothing to this and it doesn’t need a thing in my opinion. The rose is sweet and creamy and adds roundness to the texture, the lavender is soothing and so much more interesting than just lavender by itself, and the chamomile would be the lightest touch here to me, adding to the sense of peace, as I associate it with unwinding and letting go of worries and cares. The tea says, “Breathe.” So I do, deeply and slowly.

The overall effect is just what I desperately needed – enough of a break to relax and restore the strength to do what needs to be done next. But not tonight. Tonight is going to be just me and a good book and a full pot of Reading Nook Tea. Breathing.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black/Herbal
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

The reading nook blend is our signature organic tea created for enjoying while perfecting some of our dearest passions: reading, writing, and enjoying conversation with friends.

One needs a touch of caffeine to keep the conversation flowing, the pages turning, or the pen on the move, so we start this blend with a wonderful cream black tea. We then added rosebuds for creativity and sustenance, lavender for flavor and aroma, and top it off with a bit of chamomile which adds a calming balance to it all. Customers often tell us this is our prettiest tea!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ruby 18 from American Gongfu. . . .

This tea tastes like… and I might be crazy here… a gingersnap. It has a malty, almost sweet thing going on. The site from which it came, American Gongfu, is currently down, so I have no way of checking whether I am a madwoman or a genius.

This is a very smooth straight black with some very crisp notes. I’m thinking that it’s got a French café vibe. You’re outside; it’s crisp dawn; and there are people going by clutching baguettes. It’s morning-bread time. There is a farmer’s market opening up, and you can see them setting up produce and baked items. People are wearing aprons and long skirts unironically. There are mimes, riding bicycles, dinging their little bells and scooting along.

The day is beginning, and you’re now awake and ready to take on your day of, uh, working in a bibliothèque or what-have-you. Yum.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  American Gongfu
Description

Organically grown in Nantou, this hong yu (紅玉) black tea, affectionally known as Ruby 18 for the cultivar name and number, is delicious.  Notes of brandy, candied fruit and spice characterize this pick

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!