Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Herbal Alchemy Teahouse
This black tea has everything in which to woo an unsuspecting pallet – roses, chocolate, damiana and rich spices, but like every vampire’s kiss this tea is blood red and has a tiny bite…of cayenne red pepper.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about the MidWest Tea Fest here.
This Vampire’s Kiss Tea from Herbal Alchemy Teahouse is the third of the teas that were sent to me by the organizers of the MidWest Tea Fest: Herbal Alchemy Teahouse is one of the featured vendors at the festival! After a quick glance at the list of scheduled vendors at the festival, it makes me wish that I was able to attend! It looks like it’s going to be an awesome tea fest!!!
This blend is a combination of black tea, rose, chocolate and spices. The tea brews up to be a dark, burgundy red – like a blood red color which makes me wonder if there’s hibiscus in this? I didn’t see a full ingredient list, so I’m not sure, but if I were to wager a guess, I’d say that there’s either hibiscus or something ‘beet’ in this blend because of the color.
It doesn’t taste strongly of hibiscus, but I do get a slightly thick texture that I would normally experience from hibiscus. That could also be from beet. And because of the spicy notes, I’m not detecting anything that’s obviously tart from hibiscus or obviously sweet from the beet, so I’m not really sure what’s supplying the strong color, but I’m suspecting hibiscus because the flavor tastes more like hibiscus to me than it does beet.
So what do I taste? I taste chocolate. But it doesn’t taste like a creamy, rich kind of chocolate flavor, it tastes more like cocoa powder that’s been added to a spiced herbal tisane. Or like cacao nibs/shells that have been added to a spiced herbal tisane.
I taste the spice! The spices build gradually, staring out rather delicate, but after a few sips, I’m getting a warm burning sensation toward the back of my palate.
I also taste an odd, herb-y sort of flavor that I can’t really describe except to say it tastes sort of medicinal, but not in an unpleasant way. It tastes like an herbal tea and as I continue to sip, I’m tasting more hibiscus-like flavors too.
But, I’m not complaining because the cocoa and the spice play with these hibiscus-like notes in such a way that it tastes more ‘berry like’ than it does the tart, syrupy flavor that I usually dislike from hibiscus. It’s odd, it’s different, but somehow, it works!
My biggest complaint about this tea? I don’t taste much black tea flavor. I’m getting a strong presence of the other flavors here, but the black tea seems almost non-existent. I like that the chocolate is strong, I like that I taste notes of rose and even that hint of spicy cayenne pepper that builds on the palate. I like that warmth from the spices. I’m just wishing I had more black tea flavor here.
This seems a lot more like an herbal tisane to me than a black tea. It’s good, though. If you’re one who enjoys spicy drinks, this is something worth exploring!
And don’t forget about the Midwest Tea Fest! If you’re going to be in the Kansas City, Missouri area on June 6th – you should definitely visit! And if you can make the trip, GO! It’s a great opportunity for tea lovers to get more information about the beverage they adore and an excellent way for those who are new to tea to learn more!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
As difficult as you might imagine it would be to replicate a Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster here on Earth, particularly since the only ingredient we could obtain here would be the olive, it is an even MORE difficult task to create a non-alcoholic tea inspired by the drink. BUT I think we have succeeded in creating something awesome. Here’s our awesome premium black tea base blended with organic lemon-, brandy-, bourbon-, sherry- and red hot cinnamon flavors, cinnamon chips, lemon balm, lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, lemongrass, some chili pepper flakes and a TEENY touch of cayenne pepper to give it that little extra bit of BITE. Instead of an olive we added a tiny touch of organic maraschino cherry flavor for sweetness. I’m sure my creation can’t hold a candle to the awesome concoction from the fertile imagination of Douglas Adams, but I’m pretty sure it will put a smile on your face anyway, and now you can offer your guests a cuppa PGB.
Learn more about this blend here.
OK, I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn that 52Teas’ tea of the week was this PGB which – for those of you unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – stands for Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. It’s one of my favorite movies.
I still haven’t read the book. I have the book, but I just haven’t taken the time to read it yet. I plan to do that soon. As in eventually.
At the same time, I was a little afraid of the tea. I mean … I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to have my brains smashed in by a slice of lemon that’s been wrapped around a large gold brick. As amazing as that sounds, I just thought that might be something that’s a little like skydiving: it sounds fun. But jumping out of an airplane doesn’t sound like something I should do.
But I decided to summon up the courage and brew some of this tea and try it. Even if it meant that I would soon feel as though I had my brains smashed in a brick of gold that’s been wrapped in lemon.
At first the tea starts out rather mellow. But after about three sips, I start to pick up on FLAVOR. A lot of it! I taste cinnamon and notes of citrus, a hint of chili pepper. It’s sweet and spicy and fruity. The description states that there are flavors of brandy, bourbon and sherry in this, and I’m having difficulty discerning specific alcohol flavors in this. This could be that I’m either not very good at determining alcohol flavors because I’m a tea-totaler, or it could be that these alcohol notes meld into the background, behind the stronger flavors of black tea, cinnamon, citrus and zesty pepper.
I REALLY like this concoction. It’s different from any tea that I’ve tried before but it’s also similar enough to things that I’ve tried in the past that it doesn’t taste weird to the point of being off-putting. It’s a good weird. Kind of like 52Teas.
As I continue to sip, I’m picking up on a delicate sweetness from maraschino cherry. It’s a really nice contrast to the low and slow burn that I’m getting from the red hot cinnamon/natural cinnamon and cayenne and chili pepper.
The spice is the best part of this because it’s not TOO spicy. This isn’t one of those hot-cha-cha kind of spicy teas that becomes too difficult to drink because the spice is overwhelming. It isn’t sending me to the kitchen for a drink of ice water to cool the mouth. I’m not in need of a bite of yogurt to tame the zesty flavors that are dancing around in my mouth right now. It all works together very well. It’s warm and it’s – as I said before – a low and slow kind of burn in the back of the mouth and toward the back of the throat.
This is the kind of drink that I’m going to want to turn to when autumn arrives and there’s a cool crispness to the air. It’s just warm enough to give me that all-over sort of warm feeling that I would get if I just drank a shot of whiskey but without the flavor of whiskey in my mouth. That’s a big bonus for this tea-totaler.
I really like this. It’s definitely a suitable tribute to one of my all-time favorite movies.
Leaf Type: Guayusa
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas
Spice things up with our Winter Fire guayusa. We started out with a generous amount of cinnamon then ground up some whole chilies and added a touch of cayenne to our guayusa base. The result is a cinnamon flavor that packs some heat with a smooth molasses undertone. This guayusa works well without sugar; however, add a little sugar for a flavor that resembles red hot candy.
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! This Winter Fire Guayusa Blend from Butiki Teas has got some SERIOUS kick to it! I doubt anyone could accuse this tisane of wimping out – it brings the heat, and then turns it up … way up! If this winter weather has left you feeling cold, just brew yourself a cup of this tisane and it will warm you right up!
But, as the description suggests, there is a smooth molasses undertone to it too. Once your palate gets past that striking heat, there are some really delightful flavors to explore.
The fiery heat from the cayenne, chilies and cinnamon sort of mask the coffee-ish flavors of the guayusa at first, but as I continue to sip on this, I start to notice those coffee notes. There is a sweet, molasses-like flavor to the cup as well.
The prominent flavors are – quite obviously – the spices of this tisane. It’s a little jarring at first, just how spicy this is, but, once your mouth begins to get used to the heat, you’ll find you’re able to explore the other notes and you’ll find that there’s more to this than just the spice.
Those who can’t handle spicy-hot … this is not a tisane for you. This is for those who like it hot!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas
I apologize if this disappoints anyone, but this week’s tea tastes like neither napalm nor ferrets. And no animals were harmed in the manufacture of the tea.
Instead, what we have here is a tea blend from the warped imagination of one of our former tea bar customers. I’m honestly not sure exactly what it means or why it was so important to him, but then, that’s kind of the way a lot of the conversations at Zoomdweebie’s went for me–a bit over my head: like, outer space over my head. But that’s okay.
After explaining to me that he really wanted me to make a Napalm Ferret tea, Joe and I sat down to determine what exactly would constitute a Napalm Ferret tea. He decided right away that it needed to be a gunpowder base, with bananas because ferrets like bananas, I guess. It also needed cinnamon chips and just a touch of cayenne pepper. And that is how Napalm Ferret tea was born.
Learn more about this blend here.
Learn more about Zoomdweebie’s fundraising campaign to reopen the Tea Bar here.
I found this Napalm Ferret Green Tea Blend from 52Teas to be … entertaining … before I even opened the pouch. I started laughing out loud when I read the label, which reads:
*NOT flavored like ferret or napalm.
No animals were harmed making this tea.
This is one of the reasons why I love getting tea from 52Teas – Frank is a real person and he has a great sense of humor. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he makes tea … FUN! And since I spend a great deal of time drinking tea … I want it to be fun.
And this is a fun blend. The aroma of the dry leaf is primarily cinnamon, but I smell notes of banana, as well as the cayenne and the green tea … and these components alter the cinnamon-y notes just enough to offer what I’ll call a skewed cinnamon scent. Skewed … but I like it!
And I really like how it tastes! The cinnamon and cayenne work together to offer a burn in the back of the throat that starts off soft and builds gradually. By mid-cup, the sensation in the back of my throat is a very warm burn … but it burns so good!
And the banana … I like that it’s there. It offers a soft, sweet fruity note that offers a pleasing distinction between the heat from the cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The green tea is light and delicately sweet, with hints of a background “smoke” that enhances the overall “napalmishness” of this cup. (Yes, napalmishness is a word, I just made it up for the purposes of this review as I could think of no other word that worked quite as effectively as napalmishness. Hey, I’m a tea reviewer, trust me, I know what I’m doing!)
If I could offer any constructive criticism of this tea, it would be that I think I’d like just a little bit more banana to this. Just a little bit more. I can taste the banana and I like the way it comes through here, but, I think … just a little bit more would be nice. However, I found myself quite satisfied with how this tea turned out … I really like it.
At the end of my reviews of teas from 52Teas lately, I’ve been including a bit about the fundraising campaign to reopen Zoomdweebies. But, this time, I think I’m going to include a bit written by Frank himself, found on the notes about this tea:
If you would like to support our effort to reopen Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar, so that creative minds like Joseph’s can continue to thrive in a groovy environment like our tea bar, PLEASE visit our crowd-funding campaign page via the link above. Alternatively, if you think folks like Joseph should not be left freely wandering the streets, PLEASE support our crowd-funding effort so we can corral him with the rest of the freaks and geeks that make up Zoomdweebie’s. We promise, they’ll likely spend a lot of time at the tea bar and less time wandering the streets thinking about napalm ferrets and quoting Charlie the Unicorn.
I hope you’ll help them keep this dude off the streets of Wichita. I’m sure that the citizens of Wichita will thank you too!
Leaf Type: Green & Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
We had some discussion about what base tea would be used in a Smaug tea, but clearly it had to be a DRAGON Well. For those unfamiliar, Dragon Well (aka Longjing, aka Lung Ching) is a green tea from the Zhejiang province in China. Legend has it the tea derives its name from the beneficent dragon said to live in a local well.
Our Smaug tea is a blend of Dragon Well, cinnamon chips, a hint of lapsang souchoung (I only used a single ounce in five pounds of Dragon Well, just enough to give it a little smoky character), some cayenne pepper and organic flavors. It’s a fiery feast for your tastebuds!
Learn more about this tea here.
Oh WOW! This Smaug Tea from 52Teas is amazing!
I love the level of spice here – it is spicy, in fact, my first few sips, I could feel it in my sinuses! That’s how you know it’s got the spice! But, it isn’t SO spicy that I feel like I need to put out a fire on my tongue. I’m not running for a drink of water to dilute the spice, nor am I needing a bite of something dairy-ish to extinguish the flames on my palate (my personal favorite in instances such as these is ice cream). So … it is spicy and just a little smoky, but not to the point where I find it uncomfortable to drink. On the contrary, I’m really enjoying the burn!
The Dragon Well tea offers a light sweetness and a hint of vegetal taste. If I had any complaint about this tea at all, it would be that the Dragon Well almost seems a little overwhelmed by the flavors of cinnamon and cayenne pepper … almost, but not quite. I can taste the Dragon Well, but, the flavor does seem to be competing with the other flavors here.
The Lapsang Souchong is a barely there addition … there is just enough to give the cup the faintest insinuation of smoky undertones.
Another idea would be to use Chipotle pepper which would provide smokiness in addition to heat … Frank, if you’re reading this … how about a Chipotle Raspberry Chocolate tea? Spicy Love! YUM!
The cinnamon offers a nice, earthy character to the cup in addition to a zesty spice which compliments the cayenne pepper very nicely. The cayenne adds … just the right amount of heat here. It isn’t over done. If you’re wimpish about spices, you probably wouldn’t like this, but if you enjoy taking a walk on the spicy side now and then … I think you’ll find this tea is right up your alley!
Loving the burn! Absolutely LOVING it!