Bates’ Brambleberry Black Tea from The Republic of Tea

In addition to being a fandom tea that I’m sure everyone who watches Downton Abbey will love, this tea has a wonderful flavor and is an awesome eco-friendly offering from the Republic of Tea. It comes in a round unbleached tea bag with no strings, staples or tags, and can be composted after you use it. It looks insubstantial enough that you could even throw it in your own non-industrial-strength compost pile (I understand some municipalities have compost pickup along with trash and recycling pickup, but mine is not that lucky so I do my own composting).

It smells excellently of berry, so I greatly enjoyed the fragrance as it steeped. I steeped it about five minutes using boiling water and it turned out reddish-brown with that very pleasing fragrance and a wonderful refreshing berry taste. It does, as advertised, remind me of summer and berry-picking. It’s called “brambleberry” so I would have expected mostly blackberry flavor (because those are the type of berry that people call brambles in England, right?), but there’s definitely a serendipitous raspberry tinge in there as well. The tea information says that it also has strawberry and blueberry flavors, but I found those to be less obvious than the raspberry and blackberry flavors.

considered adding milk but then decided against it. I don’t think this tea is acidic enough to actually curdle the milk (although I could be wrong), but it’s definitely acidic enough to be interesting and I don’t want to dull that edge, which milk is likely to do.

 I only had one teabag in my sample, so I was unable to try it both hot and iced, but I’m convinced that it would be really great iced as well. In fact, icing it would probably bring out the summery berry flavors even more. And cold steeping is another great idea, one I also didn’t try but do encourage others to experiment with.


Overall I really enjoyed this tea and wished I had more of it! I’ll definitely consider purchasing it if I ever get around to ordering from The Republic of Tea while they still carry it. (So many tea companies, so little time!)

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:
Where to Buy: Republic of Tea


This bold yet smooth premium black tea is perfectly coupled with a handful of summer fruit – blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. A touch of sweetness to this cup will bring out the full, ripe flavor. A casual refreshment served hot or over ice with biscuits or sandwiches.

The award-winning TV series, Downton Abbey® has entranced millions of viewers and become a modern media sensation. Every episode is an explosion of drama, relationships and intrigue. Downton Abbey is home to the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. From the pen of Academy Award® winner Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey is the most watched drama ever on PBS!

This tea is an online exclusive

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Miss Figgy from Tea and Tins

So, I have to say this first: the piggy sprinkles are DEATH-DEFYINGLY cute! (I think that’s a thing?) Also, I appreciate the fact that this is an extra-punny tea: not only is the name a pun, but the tea itself is both figgy AND filled with sugar-based figgy piglets. (Yes, the sprinkles do absorb fig flavor over time. I checked.)

miss_figgy_-_spoon_largeAlthough you can smell the sweet flavor of figs through the packet, it gets even better while steeping. After steeping, the tea is a nice hazy cedarish amber color. The overall taste is a bit less figgy than I expected from the smell, though the flavor does build up towards the end of each sip. This tea is sweet enough to not need sugar, although it’s good with sugar too! And it’s quite smooth, with no more than a teeny hint of astringency.

For best flavor, I recommend adding a pinch of sugar and some milk (but you know me, I recommend that for basically all teas). I also recommend using generous amounts of leaf. The first time I sampled this tea, I used a heaping teaspoonful for about 10 oz of water. I tried it and found myself wondering if it would be even better in a stronger infusion, so the next time I tried two heaping teaspoonfuls in about 8oz of water and found the flavor much improved. Again, it’s a matter of taste, so go with your instincts and feel free to experiment!
I really enjoyed drinking down my sample of this tea, and it’s made me consider adding a figgy tea to my regular rotation. (I’m also considering buying some of this tea as a Christmas present for my little sister. It’s both cute and yummy, and thus it’s likely to be an instant little-sister favorite.) If you’re a serious fig fan, you might have to steep this tea especially strong to get as much fruit flavor as you’d like; still, if you’re looking for a nicely fig-flavored black tea with the cutest sprinkles EVER, this is most certainly THE one for you.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:
Where to Buy: Teas and Tins


Loose leaf black tea, nicknamed Miss figgy!

Ingredients: black tea, fig taste with dried figs and pink pig sprinkles.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Black Tea from Zest Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black TeaEarl_Grey_800_x_650_grande

Where to Buy: Zest Tea

Tea Description:

Earl grey has been a popular blend since it was introduced to the British Earl, Charles “Chaz” 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. Don’t thank us. Thank Chaz.

Tea Base: Flower Orange Pekoe

Base Region: South India

Ingredients: South Indian Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea, Bergamot Flavor, Natural Caffeine

20 pyramid bags per tin!

Caffeine: Approximately 150 mg/ cup – About the same as a cup of coffee!


Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Earl Grey Black Tea from Zest Tea is more than just a black tea.  It’s more than your average Earl Grey tea.  What makes this different from others is the caffeine content.  Zest Tea prides themselves on being the most caffeinated tea on the market.  They have 3 times the caffeine than other standard black teas.  This fills a nice niche for those who like tea but also need that caffeine buzz early in the morning (or any time of day, really.)

With this specific tea – being as highly caffeinated as it is – you may be surprised that there is little to no jitters or crash like with other caffeine crazed beverages.  Zest Tea is packed with amino acids, including L-Theanine, which has a synergistic relationship with caffeine and helps to moderate caffeine’s effects according to their website.

I have to say the first time I tasted this tea I wasn’t sure my opinions at first but long term results shows I ended up enjoying the tea because my tin is near empty.  I’m actually holding on to the last bag for a day when I REALLY need it!

The taste was a bit hardcore at first.  It kind of reminded me of those chocolate covered caffeine balls I had years ago and/or chocolate covered coffee beans.  I’m not saying they actually TASTED like coffee but the taste of pure caffeine, I guess.  Anyhow…After I got past that initial shock of flavor I noticed the strong black tea base which was pretty good.  There was the Earl Grey flavor, yes, but it wasn’t your standard Earl Grey that you have come to know and love.  I would say 60/40 caffeine to Earl Grey flavor ratio.

The draw to this tea is that it DOES provide you with that pick-me-up and that is EXACTLY what I used it for an kept it on hand for.  Overall I appreciate this tea as a NovelTEA and ended up really liking it on those hard-to-get-into-mornings!


Revel Berry Yerba Mate from Guayaki

GuayakiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Mate

Where to Buy: Guayaki

Tea Description:

Revel Berry has a delicious raspberry and blackberry flavor.  It’s easy drinking and clean tasting, and not too sweet.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

For those who don’t know, I work in a grocery store. It’s not uncommon for us to start carrying different, less common drinks but it is uncommon for them to be tea-related so when we picked up some of this brand’s flavors of iced/canned Yerba Mate I got really excited! I knew I’d seen at least one of this brand’s products reviewed on Steepster so I took the plunge and a bought a can of each flavor to try out.

I don’t know what I expected when I tried this one, maybe a little more yerba mate flavour? But this threw me off a little bit; it definitely tastes distinctly of raspberry and even has a tinge of sharper tartness however I can’t taste anything specifically blackberry flavoured. If anything, I almost want to say there’s more of a blueberry flavor present. Regardless, this does seem pretty watered down and I’m missing any distinctly earthy notes from the yerba mate – which is kind of the best part of mate other than the caffeine. I absolutely appreciate that this is not overly sweet though!

I don’t know if I’d personally buy this one again because I know I enjoy a stronger Yerba Mate flavour but I do look forward to trying the other two flavours I picked up and I’m all for the idea of this if it gets a more “mainstream” consumer experiencing Yerba Mate – which I know it’s been doing at work since some my coworkers have taken to drinking this during break instead of other popular and more “conventional” energy drinks. Plus, the convenience of it being canned it always a plus.

Seven Seas Herbal Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Seven_Seas_HerbalTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos & Herbal

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tisane Description:

This healthy and harmonious herbal tea blends peppermint, ginseng, cinnamon, echinacea, sarsaparilla, licorice, and organic South African rooibos. The cooling peppermint and warm cinnamon notes pair perfectly with the sweet, soothing finish provided by the other herbs. This special blend is an ideal and tasty way to stimulate your immune system.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op program here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not usually a big fan of ginseng, but this blend has enough going on that I barely notice that the ginseng is there!  I’m too busy enjoying the contrast between crisp, cool peppermint and zesty cinnamon and snappy licorice to focus on the ginseng.  The peppermint, cinnamon and licorice are the three strongest components of this cup.

This is a delightful tisane to sip on this cold winter’s night.  The combination of cinnamon and licorice are warming me from the inside out, while the peppermint adds a refreshing element.  As I said, I don’t taste much from the ginseng.  I also don’t taste a lot from the rooibos or the echinacea.

At first, I had trouble locating the sarsaparilla in this, but if I slurp the sip, I do pick up on a light root beer-ish flavor in the distance, and it’s quite an interesting note to be tasting along with the cinnamon.  Peppermint and licorice are both profiles that I’ve occasionally noticed in gourmet root beers, but not cinnamon.  The cinnamon and sarsaparilla are quite intriguing and this combination is keeping me sipping.

This is a tisane that was a sample in my last box from Simple Loose Leaf (when they switched from the selection club to the co-op plan), and I held on to it for a while because … well, because it’s a tisane.  That’s why.  I have admitted before that I’m often skittish when it comes to tisanes and this just goes to show what I mean by that.

But I’m glad I finally decided to try it because I enjoyed this.  It’s a wonderful medley of contrasts, and there’s a lot of health benefits in this too!