Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff. . . . .

The Oliver Pluff tea company focuses on colonial-styled teas, like those leaves thrown into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea party.  But is also has a variety of other products like mulling spices, pressed tea cakes, and more. Being both an American history-lover and a tea-fanatic, I’ve had my eye on Oliver Pluff products for a little while, and this post-holiday shopping season seemed like the time to give them a try.

I ordered the Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff and it arrived promptly at my doorstep. The tins were as sleek and stylish as they appeared online, with nicely embossed, heavy paper labels, and dark metal lids.  Careful when opening– these tins were filled to the brim!

According to Oliver Pluff, cacao shell tea was a big hit with our first First Lady, Martha Washington.  Neither black tea nor coffee, cacao shells make for a roasty blend with chocolate overtones.  I’ve reviewed other cacao shell tea on SororiTea Sisters before, and I’ll reiterate that I think they taste like chocolate-drizzled popcorn.  The cacao shells are surprisingly more buttery and savory than you would expect.  (Also, be aware that while the cacao shells don’t contain caffeine, they are technically stimulants, so make sure you brew this at a time that works around your sleep schedule).

The Cacao Shell Trio has three different blends, plan cacao shells, cacao and mint, and cacao citrus.  The plan cacao shells were comparable to other cacao teas I’ve tried in the past, a nice change of pace for the coffee-lover, or a lower-calorie take on a warm, chocolate beverage.

In the cacao mint blend the mint was very strong, like a less-sweet peppermint mocha.  It was a great blend to drink around christmas time, when everything is flavored like candy canes.  I would advise not over-steeping this blend, or else the mint really takes over.  Keep the steep times short to let the cacao shine through.

The cacao citrus  blend had both cacao shells and orange peels.  This was my favorite blend of the trio.  The orange peels were mild, but helped add dimension to the chocolate cacao.  This reminded me a bit of those chocolate oranges that come out around this time of year, or like some chocolate and orange pu erh teas I’ve tried in the past.  The buttery cacao shells were a nice pair with the tart and fruity orange peels.

Overall this trio was a great purchase and I’ll have to give more Oliver Pluff products a try in the future.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Oliver Pluff
Description: Martha Washington enjoyed steeping the shells of roasted cocoa nuts from the cacao tree for the interesting flavor and health benefits.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Smores from Citizen Tea. . . .

I have had this tea for quite sometime and though I had it before and enjoyed it, I kept looking over it when trying to pick something to drink. Well today I decided that it was about time I get to drinking this and I am certainly glad I did.

I had just enough leaf left to make a small latte. I steeped the tea for 3 minutes at 200F as per the recommendations on the package. I topped that with frothed milk and the end result is one tasty treat.

First and foremost is the gooey marshmallow flavor that takes over, boosted by the creaminess of the latte preparation. It could be in my head but I swear there is a wisp of smoke dancing on top of the marshmallow. Lingering at the bottom, and nearing the end of the sip is just a touch of chocolate nuttiness which brings back memories of the chocolate and graham crackers one would expect in a smores tea. If I had a complaint, it would be I want a bit more of the other smore components but as this is, it hits marshmallow right on the head.

I am not sure why I ignored this for so long. It certainly is a good tea, especially when prepared as a latte. I would call it more a marshmallow tea than a smores tea but there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, at least not in my books.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black/White/Oolong
Where to Buy:  Citizen Tea

Nothing triggers our nostalgia more than Smores! Our favourite nighttime treat and the smoky smell of campfire are sure to bring back the fondest of childhood memories (like that time you flung a flaming marshmallow at the back of Uncle Bob’s head. No? Just us?) A black tea with sweet chocolate drops and toasted marshmallow make for the perfect campfire favourite. Take a walk down memory lane with our Smores blend.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Mint by The Love Tea Company. . . .

Today we have a wonderfully minty black tea up for review!

This company’s website states that they donate 25% of their net profits to the Flagg Foundation for Mental Wellness, so buying this tea supports a great cause!

Another great thing about this company (in addition to offering great tea) is that their tea comes in cute little plastic canisters that you can either reuse or recycle. This is great if, like me, you’re getting tired of having to throw all those loose leaf tea bags in the trash because they’re made of paper (or plastic) fused with foil so you can’t recycle them or wash them out–or even if they’re just simple plastic bags, your city won’t accept them and you have to somehow recycle them separately (biggest inconvenience ever!). So this company is socially responsible and their tea packaging is eco-friendly (or at least convenient to be eco-friendly with . . . )!

For this tea session, I steeped 1.5 teaspoons of this chocolate mint tea in about 8oz of water (at just under boiling) for about 4 minutes. It smells nice and minty even before steeping, with a smooth creamy undertone from the chocolate.

While steeping, a reddish-brown cloud settles to the bottom of the cup. It starts to smell warmer and chocolatier. By the end of the steeping process, it’s reddish cedar-y in color, darkish but still see-through.

First sip: Very minty–like actual mint tea. There’s a distinct difference between a mint flavor from mint extract/flavoring and the actual flavor of actual mint leaves (mint leaves have some vegetal undertones and the possibility of bitterness if you oversteep, which the “extracts” don’t have). And sure enough, the ingredients list specifies that there are mint leaves in this, so kudos for that–we have actual mint here. And because the tea comes with bits of chocolate in it, this is a very naturally flavored chocolate mint tea.

 The flavor profile is excellent; creamy chocolate flavor is swimming underneath, with the sharp fresh mint above–steeping stronger might make the mint bitter, so be careful about that, but it’s not bitter at this strength. It’s friendly and welcoming, and does the chocolate-mint thing quite well. I can detect a teensy bit of tea astringency and black tea flavor.

With milk: it’s creamy, no surprises here. I use whole milk, which tames the mint quite a bit. It doesn’t bring out the chocolate as much as I was hoping, but it’s still quite yummy. I think next time I’ll need to be more careful to actually include chocolate bits in my spoonful of tea leaves.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this tea and we’re basically friends now. And I really appreciate the Love Tea Company’s social efforts and recyclable tea packaging, not to mention that their branding is really cute–I love the colors! 

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Love Tea Company

Did you know that February 19th is chocolate mint day?  The combination of chocolate and mint is one of the most delectable pairings known to human kind.   Its origins are unknown, but surely it was created a long, long, long time ago.  This scrumptious Black Tea Blend is a real treat, just don’t steal all of the chocolate pieces before steeping!  Brew up a nice hot pot and add a splash of milk and a dash of sugar and enjoy all of that chocolaty, minty goodness.  Surely February 19th must be the tastiest day of the year!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Eclair Tea. . . .#52Teas

My sister has never been a lover of tea. For a long time she could not understand my love of the beverage and it was only recently that she has started actually trying teas. It started with afternoon teas, at those she found a couple she liked and started to build a small stash, then I learned that she was actually drinking her teas nightly, and now she’s starting to get it. That is awesome in one respect but now she’s moving in on my teas, which I guess is fine but occasionally it means I am losing my very own mug.

For example, CuppaGeek sent me a 1-2 cup sample of this to try, however before that arrived, I ended up ordering myself a taster packet from 52 Teas. Thank goodness I did because when I brewed the sample from CuppaGeek, my sister decided to give it a try and then she decided we were “sharing” except the mug just kept moving closer and closer to her and soon this was gone and I had barely a sip. I guess you could say she was a fan.

Today she is not at our home so I knew I could actually get to drink my own cup and it is perfection. This is actually quite accurate to its namesake which is surprising since an eclair seems like a pretty complex food to capture in liquid form. Nonetheless, this is silky milk chocolate icing and creamy vanilla. The black base gives this a sturdy foundation but also imparts a breadiness that plays out as the choux pastry. The components of an eclair are all represented and they work together to create one awesome tea.

Honestly, now that I have had it a few times, I think I should have just committed to the large pack because this really is GOOD.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  52Teas

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Stout Brownies. . . A Quarter To Tea Blend

My birthday just recently passed and with that came a lot of people asking “what do you want for your birthday?” This seems like a simple question yet I have a bit of an impulse control problem so I tend to buy the things I want as soon as I see them, which makes it surprisingly difficult to request reasonable gifts. However, this year I knew just what to ask for…the monthly subscription to A Quarter to Tea! Every time I read about their new teas of the month, my mouth waters and now that they deliver to Canada, I knew it would be the perfect gift.

My first box arrived days ago and everything sounded awesome so today I just grabbed one tea and got brewing. I ended up pulling out the Chocolate Stout Brownies tea, a Temi black tea. The smell of the dry leaf was so fragrant with notes of mouthwatering chocolate while the flowery hops were speckled about. Amazingly, the smell of the dry leaf transfers over to the taste. There is a great does of honey from the base (so much so that I had to double check that I didn’t accidentally grab another tea from the box, Boxty with honey) that quickly melds with the silky chocolate undertones. I can pick up notes of the hops in the scent and it lingers underneath everything in, a bit citrusy, a bit savory, and certainly a seamless transition to the slightly bitter base tea which remains only noticeable in so far that it’s contrast to the other flavors highlights the sweeter and creamier notes present in the mug. The flavors come together perfectly to be both reminiscent of a stout (well the idea of a stout, with less coffee notes and bitterness) and a fudgey brownie, though leaning more towards to brownie side of things.

I am not sure how Lauren at A Quarter to Tea masters these flavors but this is one unique blend. I am quite pleased with this introduction to her monthly subscription boxes and if the teas in the box are anything like this one, I know I will continue to be pleased. This is certainly a birthday gift I will not regret asking for and I look forward to the next few months of boxes that are in store for me.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea

Rich chocolate pastry flavored Temi rounded with a touch of dryness from German hops and raspberry leaf.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!