Vanilla Cupcake from the True Tea Club

It’s hard to resist a tea named Vanilla Cupcake, especially on a day when you just need something cute and sweet to brighten your day.  This tea smells surprisingly fruity alongside the vanilla cake flavors, reminding me of fruitcake or banana bread.  In a world of frosting-flavored, cake-themed tea blends, the amount of fruit flavors and fruity ingredients makes this blend stand apart.

The orange and papaya coupled with the vanilla, make this feel more like an orange-glazed sponge cake. Yum!  The banana chips add their own full-flavored sweetness, but there is distinctly less of the traditional “frosting” taste, so if you want the extra creaminess, you should add a splash of milk to give the blend that dessert-like twist.

Because this is a decaf rooibos blend, it would be a perfect choice to brew up for a girl’s tea party.  Who wouldn’t want a sip of a tea called vanilla cupcake?  You could even serve it with real cupcakes and make a day of it!

In addition to all the fruit pieces in the tea, the leaves have at least two types of flower petals which makes the blend especially pretty to the eye.  The bright and varied colors seem especially festive if you imagine this tea blend not just as a vanilla cupcake, but maybe as a “birthday cake” cupcake.  This is a great blend for any day that needs a celebration.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Roobios
Where to Buy: True Tea Club
Description:

This Vanilla Cupcake Rooibos provides an exotic and smooth rooibos which provides a velvet-mouth feel.  A dash of Banana chips amplifies this infusion into a heavenly status.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Birthday Cake from Bluebird Tea Co

birthday_cake_1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co

Tea Description:

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than cake. Except perhaps a cup of tea and cake! Our Birthday Cake Tea is delicious, has both and almost no calories! Oh and did you notice the pretty sprinkles in there too? Talk about having your cake and eating it!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve learned that if there is a tea that is supposed to taste like cake, that I need to try it. I was especially excited to try this blend because it has a rooibos base and the addition of star sprinkles. YUM! I haven’t found too many cake blends that have a rooibos or honeybush base. The dry leaf looks like it’s meant to be a part of a birthday celebration, too. I love the bright sprinkles, flowers and the soft rooibos.

For me, this cup isn’t quite birthday cake in a cup, but is really a sweet rooibos blend with a strong almond flavor. I can see how some might taste a cake flavor since there is a starchy element in the background, but I otherwise can’t taste anything that’s specifically birthday cake. Despite the cake element not being present in this cup, it’s still very drinkable and quite delicious. There is a little bit of a weird sour note in the background and I’m not sure what it is.. but it’s weak and doesn’t bother me.

I love that I can drink this tea any time of the day even though there is a small amount of black tea in the blend. I don’t feel like it will keep me up at night. This blend makes a great replacement for dessert after dinner, too. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, I’d try this one, but don’t expect it to taste like a slice of birthday cake.

Vicky’s Sponge Cake from Bluebird Tea Co.

vicky_s_sponge_cakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Think vanilla sponge cake with a dollop of raspberry jam! There is nothing better than a cuppa and cake (except perhaps a cake flavoured cuppa!) and did you know it was our good old queenie Victoria who invented the Vicky Sponge? Guess the name gives it away a bit! She loved taking afternoon tea with her home girls but decided they needed soem extra nurishment to last until dinner. Cake it is then! We like your thinking QV!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ah, Victoria Sponge. My favourite cake. Obviously when I found a tea that claims to replicate it, I just had to give it a try. Of all the people I’d trust to get it right, Bluebird Tea Co. top the list. The scent is right, for starters. Upon opening the pouch, I’m greeted with a waft of raspberries and vanilla. As ever with Bluebird, the dry leaf itself is a thing of beauty – fluffy green raspberry leaves, whole freeze-dried raspberries, smaller pieces of freeze-dried strawberry, and a scattering of desiccated coconut shreds. All on a black tea base, Ceylon specifically in this case. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup (the raspberries are so huge, they throw the measurement out a bit!), and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. The scent, like the dry leaf, is deliciously raspberry-vanilla. I really am thinking cake now!

To taste, the initial flavour is 100% raspberry. It’s quite a tart raspberry, but just sweet enough to stop it being jarring. What’s particularly nice is that it tastes like actual fresh raspberries – there’s no candy-like or artificial-tasting raspberry to be found here. Vanilla emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a pleasant creaminess and an extra dimension of sweetness that puts me in mind of the buttercream filling that usually accompanies raspberry jam in a Victoria Sponge. There’s a tiny hint of cake right at the end of the sip, but it’s a little fleeting. The coconut just starts to come through, and I think it’s this paired with the other ingredients that produce this effect, interestingly.

I quite like the way the flavours build here, one on the other, to create the overall Victoria Sponge effect. I also like that each individual aspect seems to taste natural, and not like it’s been created from a chemical compound in order to replicate “cake” as accurately as possible and at all costs. The raspberry tastes like real raspberry, the vanilla tastes like, well, vanilla. The combination really does suggest the filling of a Victoria Sponge, and (by some alchemy) everything comes together right at the end of the sip to give – cake! My only complaint is that the black base becomes a little astringent and drying as my cup cools – this is definitely one best consumed hot. Other than that, it’s a great success. Highly recommended for all Victoria Sponge fans – cake without the calories, or just a great stop-gap until your next slice!

A-Tisket A-Tasket Green Tea by Adagio

tiskettasketTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Adagio

Tea Description:

A sunny, citrusy green tea, with a hint of delicious vanilla. Contains green tea, lemongrass, sunflower petals, citrus peels, and lemon and vanilla flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Over time, this has become one of my favourite Adagio teas, and it takes a lot for me to say that. This is a green tea blend, part of the Sunlit Blooms collection, containing lemongrass, citrus peel, and lemon and vanilla flavourings. The dry leaf is primarily green tea, and the leaves are medium to dark green, fairly long and folded. No specific variety is given, but I’d say Dragonwell as an educated guess.

There’s also a generous scattering of sunflower petals, which I assume are there to carry the lemon and vanilla flavourings. Lemongrass and citrus peel are less in evidence, although it’s possible to find the occasional piece if you stir the leaf up and look hard. This hardly sounds encouraging, but as this one actually turns out to be a great tea I’m going to refrain from further comment.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright golden yellow, and smells mildly citrusy. To taste, it’s a different story entirely. Lemon cream, in the best bakery sense of the words! Although the green tea is a large proportion of the mixture, it’s completely unobtrusive in the finished cup, and super-smooth to boot. This means that the flavours really shine through, with lemon the first flavour to emerge, followed by a wash of vanilla and cream in the mid-sip. It’s truly wonderful, and sipping on this is putting me in mind of a huge lemon sponge coated in light, fluffy vanilla buttercream.

The lemon here is candy-like and a little tart, which works with the sweet, desserty vibe of the blend overall. Personally, I could probably take a tad more sharpness with all the creamy sweetness, but it’s so great I can’t say I’m all that concerned. This is lemon cream in tea form! A dessert replacement if ever there was one!

Adagio can be hit and miss in my experience, but this one is a definite hit. It’s just so perfectly put together, with really well balanced flavours. This is a must-try blend for anyone who appreciates a good dessert tea. I don’t think there are many that can match this one for pure lemon creaminess. Spectacular!

2005 Changtai Yun Pu Zhi Dian “Top of the Clouds” Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea

2005-Changtai-Yun-Pu-Zhi-DianTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Crimson Lotus Tea

Tea Description:

This is a very special puerh prepared by the Yunnan Changtai Tea Industry Group. The blenders who work for Changtai are true masters of their craft. The leaves in this puerh are a blend of 15 mountains, Spring picked in 2005. The name for this cake “Yun Pu Zhi Dian” means “Top of the Clouds”. Since Yunnan means “Southern Clouds” this name has a double meaning. It refers to the heavenly experience and also that this puerh contains the best from Yunnan.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve often thought of pu-erh as a cooler weather type of tea because it’s a tea that I prefer to be served hot.  As the tea cools, I find that the flavors begin to mute and become lost.

And yes, I do drink hot tea even in the summer months, in fact, I drink more hot tea than I do iced tea in the summer months, but, I don’t drink as much hot tea in the summer as I do in the cooler months.

2005-Changtai-Yun-Pu-Zhi-Dian2So when I drink a pu-erh, I’m often reminded of the cooler days of autumn and winter, but as I sip this 2005 Changtai Yun Pu Zhi Dian “Top of the Clouds” Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea, the tea seems to be evoking thoughts of late spring and early summer.

Perhaps it’s the lovely notes of fruit that develop throughout the infusions, starting off with a soft hint of apricot and in later infusions, I notice that the sweet apricot notes are accentuated with a contrasting sour note of tart apple.

Perhaps it’s the lovely background note of flower that seems to bring to mind thoughts of floral aromas filling the air in the spring.  Or maybe it’s the delicate woodsy notes and hints of vegetative earthy tones that remind me of the trees as signs of their springtime foliage begin to grow.

This tea is beautifully smooth and sweet with notes of fruit and honey.  In the earliest infusions, the fruit notes are strongest, but as I continue to steep, the honey develops and the fruit begins to wane somewhat.

Meanwhile, the woodsy notes are developing.  These aren’t musty wood notes, but clean, vibrant woodsy tones.   The tea has a sweetness to it that is balanced with the aforementioned notes of sour apple.

I’ve only just been introduced to this company – Crimson Lotus – but I am quite impressed with this tea.  They specialize in Pu-erh teas.  Those new to Pu-erh will find this a fantastic resource of teas that are good ‘starting out’ Pu-erh (and since they specialize in Pu-erh, they’ll be a great resource of knowledge for you too!)  And for those of you who are more experienced with Pu-erh, I think you’ll find that Crimson Lotus has an amazing selection of intriguing teas.

As for me, I highly recommend this Top of the Clouds Sheng!  It’s delightful!