Have a Sweeter Breakfast Blend with Aso Black from Mellow Monk

Aso Black from Mellow Monk is technically a black tea but it is processed a little differently that most black teas.  If I understood their description correctly, Aso Black tea is made from the tea leaves that would normally go into making sencha green tea.  Picked in the mountains of Japan, these leaves are less processed and less fermented than traditional black tea.  Aso Black is also called “kocha” or “crimson tea”, perhaps due to its medium level of oxidation.  But I digress.

The leaves in my sample were small and flat, though very dark in color.  As it brewed, the tea smelled distinctly starchy like oats or bread.  It had none of the citrus brightness I associate with other black teas.

Mellow Monk recommends letting this tea cool slightly before drinking to let the flavors come forward, so I stepped away from my cup to let it cool down.

When I took my first sip of the tea, I was once again hit with the starchiness of the flavors, though this time it also had quite a bit of sweetness.  In an abstract way, the tea reminded me of oatmeal raisin cookies if they could be turned into a breakfast tea.

In the aftertaste there is a vegetal note that I expect more often from green teas.  It reminds me of the sweet and sour fermented green tea note that I often taste in kukicha green.  With all the sweetness and smooth mouthfeel of the rest of the blend, the green tea aftertaste is less grassy and more fruity, complimenting the sweet oat flavors in the overall smell and taste.

This is a unique tea, worth a taste by black tea and green tea lovers alike.  If you are tired of ceylon’s sharpness, or assam’s full fuzziness, try Aso Black for your next breakfast blend and maybe you’ll find it makes for a sweeter morning.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

How about a nice change of pace? Aso Black™ is black tea (kocha, or “crimson tea” in Japanese) made from the leaves of green tea varietals grown in the pristine foothills of Mt. Aso. Gently harvested leaves are only lightly fermented compared to conventional black tea, for a sweetness not found in ordinary black teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Master Matsumoto’s Supernatural Black from Postcard Teas. . . .

What is better to a tea lover than to have a little extra time in the morning in which one may prepare a simple breakfast and steep the perfect tea pairing for it, taking time to truly experience the cup? I am thus blessed this morning.

While I usually have a sensible breakfast, I am craving waffles this morning, buttered and doused with real maple syrup, warmed. This requires a tea that can cut through the sweetness and assert itself, but I am not a fan of harsh tea that must be tamed with milk and sugar.

Enter Master Matsumoto’s Supernatural Black from Postcard Teas in London. This is a Japanese black tea grown without chemicals, without pesticides or herbicides, even without manure. Thus, “super natural” in the way it is grown.

This is not your average black breakfast tea! While it is a Camellia sinensis sinensis varietal, the taste is of a fruity second flush Darjeeling. There is an aftertaste of light malt with a tingle on the tongue. The flavor lingers for quite a long time, with a little rush of fruity sweet/sour muscat rising with each breath, and finally a rising sweetness in the throat such as often follows a brisk green tea. The briskness persists. The flavor continues. I think a lover of Darjeeling tea owes it to themselves to try this one.

The leaves re-steep very nicely, adding economy to its virtues if the price has you troubled. I like to combine the first and second steep so I really only need a teaspoon of leaf to have a couple of cups of very satisfying tea, plus having both steeps made and on the table means I can enjoy without going back to the kitchen to re-steep.

This is one of those teas that you buy because life is short, and it would be a shame not to experience something fine now and then. This tea will be on my mind for a long time.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Postcard Teas
Description

An unusually aromatic Japanese black tea from Kumamoto area of Kyushu in Japan. The tea is made on a small 8 acre farm in Minamata-shi by 4th generation tea maker Master Matsumoto, who uses his great grandfather’s 90 year old Yabukita ancient tea trees grown without any chemicals, herbicides, fertilisers, or even manure – hence the tea grows ‘supernaturally’.

This is one of the most versatile black teas we have, combining some of the best qualities of Darjeeling, Assam and Chinese teas and adding something extra of its own. The tea has the aromatic qualities of a second flush Darjeeling and a plum/prune sweetness which comes out more when brewed lightly, but when brewed strong it tastes like the richest, smoothest Assam or Breakfast tea without any astringency or tannins. It can also take milk very well if required.

Sufficiently unusual to interest a seasoned tea drinker but familiar and comforting enough for someone just getting into specialty black tea – if we had to recommend just one black tea in our selection to someone overwhelmed by choice then this would be it.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jump Start You Day with This Blend from Adagio Teas

Jump start your car with a blast of electricity.  Jump start your brain and your day with this high caffeine cuppa!  For tea lovers everywhere, it’s no secret that mate tea is a powerful pick-me-up, and often cited as a great alternative to coffee.  Well Jump Start blend from Adagio teas has toasted mate and so much more.

There’s not just mate, there’s traditional black tea in the blend as well, a staple of every breakfast blend around.  But let’s take this caffeine level a step further:  kola nuts.  Kola nuts are caffeine-containing tree nuts, previously used as an ingredient in sodas, hence where we get the term “cola.”  So there’s caffeine from the mate, from the black tea, and even from the kola nut inclusion.  This tea should come with a warning, like roller coasters: don’t brew this tea if you have a heart condition.  You’ll be rocketing out of your socks in no time!

So how do all of these ingredients taste?  The toasted mate brings roasty, earthy, dry hay notes, which serve as a compliment to the more traditional boldness of the black tea.  With additions like smooth, sweet cocoa nibs, and warm, spicy cinnamon bark, it’s hard not to imagine the kola nuts adding their own kind of cola sweetness.  I brewed this blend black, how I take most of my tea, but it is bold enough to hold up its flavor, even if softened with a bit of milk.

This will be an amazing tea for those of you who just can’t seem to get enough caffeine.  Skip your espresso-laced red-eye cold brew coffee, and just brew a cup of Jump Start instead!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Herbal
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas
Description: Mate, Kola, and Black tea make up this well-caffeinated blend to make your mornings deliciously efficient.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

French Toast Oolong from Steeped Tea. . . . .

My weakness is mystery bundles. There is just something irresistible about being surprised by mail that isn’t bills. I’m also a sucker for a sale. So when my Steeped tea lady, Nicole, told me my order qualified for a Mystery bundle of $100 worth of tea for just $20, you best believe I snatched it up! This was one of nearly a dozen teas inside!

This delightful morning blend is literally the flavors of an entire breakfast in one cup. My cousin is big on the butter in coffee trend, and as much as I’m willing to try new things, I just can’t imagine butter in my tea. Fortunately Steeped’s french toast Oolong is so tasty on its own, that it helps me continue to resist.

The scent transforms from its smorgasbord of tropical dry ingredients to a fresh-bread smelling wet leaf to the buttery, smoky rose-gold infusion.

There are layers of flavor as well. When the tea is hot, there are strong notes of maple syrup, and as it cools, more of the acidic citrus blood orange creeps out.

The after taste is spot-on, french toast-y (Kudos to the food scientists who made this happen!). It tastes of malt, with a sweet acid.

Surprisingly this is one tea that I actually preferred without sugar, even though it’s not sweet. Studies have shown that giving in to your cravings in the morning can lead to fewer cravings throughout the day. this is perfect if you already eat a sensible healthy breakfast but crave excitement. This will definitely be used to hold me over until brunch. Or until my next mystery box 😉


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Loose Leaf Oolong with dried fruits

Where to Buy:  Steeped Tea

Description:

Breakfast in bed is served in this buttery mouth-watering tea.

Ingredients: Oolong tea, pineapple bits (pineapple, sugar, citric acid [acidifier]), coconut chips, lemon wedges, cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil [anti-caking agent]), orange peels, rose buds, pomegranate blossoms, vanilla bits, prickly pear blossoms, natural flavors.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Bumble Tea. . . .

My doctor told me to drastically decrease my caffeine intake, which means less tea. I got until 3:30 pm (right now) before making myself my one daily cup. I’d been hoping to cold turkey it and try talking about decaf teas for a while, but I crashed.

Today’s feature: Chocolate Chip Pancakes! YUM!

When you open this up, the chocolate powder puffs out. The majority of the mix is solid (tea parts, etc), but the powder is exciting. It smells REALLY amazing.

This is a malty, dark chocolate flavor. Like the pancakes have been a little bit crisped. The shimmering perky chocolate is a great contrast to the deep assam. Neither overpowers the other. It’s yin. It’s yang. It’s… CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES, GUYS. And oh god, thank goodness, it has caffeine.

I think if you put a splash of milk in this, it’d be GOLD, but we ran out of milk in the office, and it’s my turn to buy it. It’s not a finance issue; it’s a “can’t be bothered to go to a STORE” issue.

I probably can’t be bothered because I have literally no energy in my veins. Caffeine, I miss you.

All of my reviews from here on out will have a certain joy in them because they’re the only times in my day when I am allowed to have my previous zip-juice.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:   Bumble Tea
Description

Wake up with a decadent blend of black assam tea leaves, with carob & real dark chocolate. Best enjoyed with cream & sugar!

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!