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!

On the Third Day of Christmas 52Teas sent to me. . .

On the third day of Christmas 52 Teas gave to me….Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberry Honeybush tea! When I scratched the label off of this one and started to be able to make out the name, you should have seen my face! I didn’t get a chance to try this blend back whenever it was available at 52 Teas because I don’t believe I had heard of the company yet. The other day I saw someone mention it on Steepster and I was really interested in trying it and wondered if I would ever get the chance. Imagine my shock when I saw it as Day 3’s blend!

                I don’t think I mentioned yet in these reviews, but I’m currently pregnant with my second daughter. I’m due in February! Because of my pregnancy, whenever I see a tisane (herbal, honeybush, rooibos, or fruit infusion) blend, I’m always really psyched because that means I can drink it as much as I want, whenever I want, being as they are naturally caffeine-free! So, I am very happy that this beautiful myriad of flavors are part of a honeybush base.

                Now, I am not usually a fan of chocolate in tea, but something that 52 Teas does is use cacao nibs and shells instead of actual chocolate chips, so I am not as afraid of their chocolate blends as I am with other companies. The chocolate is light here, not overpowering or artificial tasting. The strawberry and hazelnut are light, too. No one ingredient overpowers the other. Instead, there is just a little hint of everything combined with the sweet and herbal taste of honeybush. It’s really enjoyable, even though since I am a huge hazelnut-lover I wouldn’t mind if the hazelnut flavor was a little stronger. Other than that though, this is definitely something I would choose to drink again. I have been really happy with all the teas in this holiday countdown box and I have no doubt the fun will continue!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Honeybush
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 Chai from California Tea House. . . . .

This herbal blend is a lovely cross between chai and hot chocolate.

The chai is a non-aggressive but still flavorful blend of spices, including chicory root pieces, cardamom blooms, fresh-cut ginger root, whole cloves and peppercorns.

The chocolate side of the blend is cocoa nibs, white chocolate pieces, and orange peels.

I drank this straight (no milk/sugar/honey) and found it to be totally sweet. Both literally and figuratively (“sweet, maaaaaaaaaaaan”).

It’s also, because it’s decaf, a great drink to give to a kid. My best friend’s daughter is always floating around, asking to have my tea, but the last thing a 3-year-old needs is more caffeine. I could make her a cup of this, and she’d be in love.

And I’d be a responsible adult, for once. Who knew hot chocolate would be the thing to do it?

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  California Tea House

Do you like Chocolate Tea? This is hot, spicy Chocolate Chai herbal tea… need we say more? Here’s the more: We used USDA Organic cocoa nibs, white chocolate pieces, orange peels, chicory root pieces, cardamom blooms, fresh-cut ginger root, whole cloves and peppercorns. Perfect as is or if you’re really getting frisky, add some milk and sugar. Buy Chocolate Tea with our 100% satisfaction guarantee

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Festive Garden from Palais des thes

festivegardenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Palais des thes

Tea Description:

A delicious herbal tea of fruits and plants, Festive garden blends cocoa, orange, and grapes and tastes like a candy store at Christmas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to say, steeping- this tea has a unique aroma coming from it. The description fits it perfectly. It smells like a candy store where there are a bunch of sweet treats all mixed together. Just from the dry leaf alone I can pick up what smells like bubble gum, cotton candy, and suckers with a grape and orange twist. Very unique indeed!

This is my first experience with Palais des thes. I’ve always wanted to try tea from them in the past but have never really come across it or think about the company when I’m looking for my next tea fix.  I was excited to see this offering in my last set of teas to review.

This unique blend consists of 7 different fruits and plants and is just so much fun to look at.  This is one of those teas that just put you in a happy mood while you are steeping it. I brewed this up with water prepped at boiling and allowed the herbal tea to brew for about 5 minutes.  The tea was a lovely light pink or rose color.  This tea just screamed for an afternoon tea time with proper biscuits and cookies. Or even to be served at a little girl’s tea party.

I allowed the tea to cool for a few moments and took a sip. What I am greeted with is a flavor that really reminded me of the aroma I was getting from the dry leaf.  I swear this tea tastes like a bubblegum cotton candy mix with a slight hint of a chocolate undertone. A very unique herbal tea. That taste tho doesn’t seem like one that fits a hot tea very well so I tossed in a few iced cubes to see how this tea would play out as iced and also a lemon wedge.

The iced cubes seemed to really intensify the chocolate flavors.  Those seem to be the first ones I’m  now greeted with instead of the bubblegum cotton candy mix. That being said, the iced tea with lemon didn’t work out so well so I took the lemon wedge out and just enjoyed the unique cuppa I had. I wish this would be a great iced bubble gum cotton candy flavor like I was getting from the hot tea but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Regardless, this is one unique cuppa tea that takes you on a tasting adventure for sure!