Tea and Toast from Bird and Blend Tea. . . .

Bluebird Tea went through a name change and now they are Bird and Blend Tea.  Regardless of the name, they are still making delicious tea flavors.

Recently I tried a new summer blend called Tea and Toast.  This is a black tea with raspberry jam notes. I’ve been enjoying this tea as my summertime breakfast brew, hot or iced depending in the morning temperature.

The black tea is robust and balanced, very much the backbone of this blend. The raspberry is very fragrant in the dry leaf but mellows out slightly in the brew. The blend also includes raspberry pieces and the ever-polarizing hibiscus petals. The hibiscus is used sparingly, and adds just enough juiciness to help the raspberry pop with sweet and tart red berry flavor.

This is a delightful way to spice up you daily breakfast brew. The raspberries taste like summer, but don’t overpower the familiar traditional black tea base. Tea and Toast blend feels as delectable as trying a new flavor of jam on your breakfast toast or in your favorite PB&J. Get a sweet, fresh take in your morning brew this summer before this blend retires at the end of the season.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bird and Blend Tea
Description: Traditional English breakfast tea with sweet raspberry jam!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sun Moon Lake Assam from Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf Teas . . . .

Sun Moon Lake Black tea from Cameron gets its name from its home region of Taiwan.  What a celestial and romantic name! Do how did the tea compare?

This was a competition grade assam black tea.  The dry leaves were large and flat, darkly colored from the full oxidation process.  When I put my nose into the bag of dry leaves it smelled pleasantly like chocolate and dark plum.

Brewed, this tea was smooth and crisp, which was a bit of a surprise.  I’m familiar with assam teas with big names like golden tiger which brew up deep and chocolatey, with a robust warm-and-fuzzy feeling.

This assam was much brighter, tasting a little greener.  It reminded me of the tartness of a breakfast black tea, with a brisk and refreshingly dry mouthfeel. Though there wasn’t as much of the cozy chocolate notes as I expected in the brewed tea, there were plenty of sweet fruit flavors like apricot and plum alongside the more traditional black tea notes.

Maybe the duality of Sun and Moon come into play in comparing the tea’s scent with its taste.  The fragrance of the dry leaves are very much the evening moon, with darker, richer tones of cacao and purple plum.  The brewed leaves are much more like the sun, bright and crisp and perfect for breakfast.

This is a great tea if you are looking for a high quality assam that will surprise you.  Take a walk on the brighter side of assam and brew up a cup of Sun Moon Lake tea from Cameron.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf Teas
Description:

Sun Moon Lake is located at altitude of 700m, surrounded with mountains and lakes with remarkable environment and typical climate. Heavy moist and stable yearly average temperature make the tea trees grow thick and rich tea leaves which produce carmine and perfectly clear liquor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Perfect, Cold-Weather Cup: Boisahabi Estate Assam from Capital Tea Ltd

Assam teas are known for their fuller, malty feel and flavor, distinctly different than the tart zing of Ceylon black teas.  This Assam from the Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd., is a high grade tea (STGFOP (SPL) ) with a mix of black tea leaves and the highly-prized golden tips that bring the complex and delicious flavor.

In the dry leaf, this tea smells comforting and slightly spicy, like cinnamon sticks and fresh wood.  Brewed, the tea becomes surprisingly fruity, with lush muscatel flavors like pear and plum.  Beneath this fruitiness, the black tea is smooth and full, with toffee tones.  Overall, the tea feels very pleasant to drink, with a texture that fills my mouth with a warm, fuzzy feeling, without being too cloying or too sharp.

In the winter season, I seem to be drawn to all the crazy dessert-flavored teas like pumpkin pie or gingerbread cake, but while those teas are fun, their flavors are certainly enhanced by artificial flavors or added sugars and sprinkles.  There’s a time and place for those tasty flavored teas, but this Assam from Boisahabi Estate really took me by surprise and felt more flavorful and festive than those other blends.

This tea has a beautiful balance of both bold and delicate flavors, with the lighter, garden-like flavors of stone fruit, and the rich caramel and black tea undertones.  Even without sugar or milk, there is a smooth and comforting natural sweetness to this brew, which speaks to the quantity and quality of the golden tips and the tea leaves as a whole.

When you want a mature cup of tea with comforting yet complex flavors, brew a cup of Assam black tea from Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd. and stay cozy in the chilly weather.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Capital Tea Ltd
Description:

Sweetly aromatic attractive deep brown Assam leaves with plenty of golden tips. These leaves infuse to a rich, full bodied, and intensely flavourful tea liquor with prominent notes of candy-malt and toffee. Highly recommended as a breakfast tea to drink with milk

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!

1st Place Tea: Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas

Depending on where you live, you may have seen some snowflakes flying on the air this time of year, which would be the perfect time to brew up a cup of Snowflake tea from Aromatica Fine Teas.

This is an award-winning blend, taking 1st place in the North American Tea Championships in 2011.  Thinking about tea championships puts some silly images in my head, like some kind of tea Olympics, with little packs of tea on a snowy downhill ski slope.  Anyway, the story is getting away from me.

Like beautiful, white, creamy snowdrifts, this black tea is blanketed with extra vanilla and creamy flavors.  This tea is somewhere between a breakfast blend and a dessert blend, so that means it can be brewed up just about any time of day.  In addition to the vanilla, there are coconut flakes, which add their usual creamy, buttery taste. Luckily there’s not too much coconut, and this moderation keeps the brew from getting too oily.

What really sets this blend apart are the real slivers of almond.  These stylish blonde slivers go beyond the typical marzipan flavoring, and add real, sweet, nuttiness from actual nuts as ingredients.  With smooth almond and lush coconut shavings, this tea taste a bit more like a coconut cookie than a simple coconut cream tea.

Overall, Snowflake is a really solid vanilla tea blend, super drinkable and smooth.  I drank it black, but it would amazing as a latte or made hot-cocoa-style, topped with marshmallows.  The blend isn’t too sweet, nor too plain.

I know coconut is traditionally a tropical flavor, but with a name like Snowflake, this can be your next favorite winter brew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Aromatica Fine Teas
Description:

A fabulous almond coconut tea. Brew it in steamed milk for a Tropical Fog. Ceylon and China black tea, coconut rasps, flavour, almond flakes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!