Toasted Apple Green from Bluebird Tea Co.

toasted_appleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This blend of roasted green tea, popped rice and toasty apples is a bit of a tea Marmite. Some are addicted to its grassy, savoury taste but it’s not for those with a sweet tooth. Don’t worry though, Genmaicha fans will absolutely love Bluebird’s unique twist on the classic Japanese ‘popcorn’ tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Calling this blend ‘tea marmite’ is, I think, a pretty big stretch and probably not the best selling tactic if Bluebird Tea Co. wants to get North Americans buying their blends. I’ve had marmite and I certainly was not a fan, nor are most North Americans; that’s one food from across the ocean that I can’t see catching on here. However, this tea? It’s got the potential to, if done correctly.

Genmaicha is one of those teas that I consider a cupboard staple; it makes a very soothing, calming cup of toasted brown rice goodness and it also a great blend for sharing a pot with among friends – and for people truly new to tea who haven’t even come across Genmaicha it’s a good conversation piece as well; explaining the origin of adding brown rice to tea to stretch it out among the lower class in ‘old Japan’ in a fascinating thing to here and gives insight to some just how important tea is in some cultures. I, for one, remember that fact/’origin story’ being one of the most interesting to me when I was first getting really into tea outside of the flavored stuff offered at local chains such as DAVIDsTEA.

Of course, “Genmaicha with a twist” is a fantastic thing too; one a think more companies should run with. Some of my particular flavourites are Nina Paris’ Japon, Verdant’s Minnesota Blend, and Ette Tea’s Mango Sticky Rice. Apple seemed like an obvious, but untapped route – until now.

The initial wave of flavours was a very roasty brown rice and almost barley flavor; this is by far the best part of Genmaicha to me. If the level of roasty/toasty notes isn’t strong enough I’m going to be disappointed and if it’s too concentrated or has a “burnt” taste, like burnt toast, then I’m probably not going to be able to make it through the cup. However, this strikes a really nice balance between the two and has a lovely robust roasty flavour without overwhelming some of the other things going on.

Underneath that first, and most important flavour, was a mild vegetal note – there was some grassiness but mostly it was very marine with a bit of a seaweed flavour. This part of genmaicha is less important to me personally; as long as I can taste the green tea and it isn’t bitter I’m usually a happy consumer and both of those criterion were definitely checked off in this case. Now we get into the most important part of this particular blend: the apple! I’ll admit I didn’t taste it at first; but once the liquor had cooled I started to notice this very bright, slightly tart apple note at the finish of the sip that was lingering into the aftertaste. It’s definitely a greener apple; think Granny Smith or Sundance apples. However, the tartness and slight sweetness provides a really nice contrast between the flavour and whilst fairly simple I think this would be really enjoyable as a flavoured Genmaicha year round, but particularly in the fall.

Definitely worth trying, if you get the chance!

Fresh Books from Tea and Other Things

FreshBooksTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Green Teas

Where to Buy:  Tea and Other Things

Tea Description:

The first thing you inhale is the rich, smokey scent of a freshly opened new book. This tea starts off full of character with toast like notes, ending with a sweet rich caramel, and finally leaving you with a nostalgic feeling of a good, classic story.

Genmaicha (Japanese Green Tea + Roasted Rice), Hojicha (Roasted Japanese Green Tea), Lapsang Souchong (Chinese black tea that has been smoked over oak), Caramel pieces (Contains sugar + milk products)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea was so intriguing.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a tea for me.

This blend has so many uniquely different types of tea going on that I think it actually hurts the blend.  The Lapsang Souchong absolutely dominates the rest of the tea and all you really get is a smoky black tea taste.  The caramel, genmaicha, and hoijcha are lost in the blend.  I do like Lapsang Souchong but this one I just really didn’t care for.  It was an overload of smokiness.

Maybe if the Lapsang Souchong was taken down some, then the rest of the other blends could pop out and shine.  Or maybe if the Lapsang was taken out completely.  Now that would be a tea I would be all about.

The other unfortunate issue with this tea was that this tea and a sample tea were shipped in a regular letter style envelope without any padding or tissue paper to protect the tea.  A lot of the tea was crushed and to even get the tea out of the envelope was hard.  The Fresh Books tea was a 50g package and it was a pretty big package.  The sample tea I think was protected by the 50g package and was completely fine.  I’m not sure if this is why the blend tasted the way it did.  The boyfriend had the sample pack (Cream of Early Grey) and really liked it.

This Etsy store showcases some fun sounding teas including fandom teas.  I may check them out later or even send them a message asking if they can create this same blend without the smokey black tea.  I think that blend would be amazing!