Cold and Flu Relief from Virginia Tea Company

Sometimes you need an herbal tea with lots of roots and leaves and ingredients to make you feel like you’re brewing up a cup of healthiness.  With peppermint, yarrow flower, ginger, echinacea, and elderberry this Cold & Flu Relief blend from Virginia Tea Company really fits the bill.  I’m not a doctor, but if you buy into this kind of thing, these herbal ingredients promote all kinds of benefits like aiding in digestion (mint), settling a nauseous stomach (ginger), and boosting your immune system (echinacea).  There’s also a little pop of vitamin c from the tart elderberries.

This naturally decaf blend is good to drink any time of day, especially if you’re feeling under-the-weather and are getting ready for a midday nap. The overall flavor is smooth and minty, cooling on an itchy throat, with a slight sweet, licorice root undertone from the yarrow flower.  Though there is ginger in this blend, the spice is very mild. You’re not drinking this tea for a kicked-up spicy chai. This is the perfect cup to drink when you need something soothing and gentle, or need a warm beverage to mix with honey to soothe a sore throat.

Whether you aren’t feeling well or are just having a hard day, this blend will help you find some relief and comfort.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Company
Description: Mother always said the best thing for the flue is to drink something hot! Even better, this hot liquid also includes healing herbs to help your immune system fight your illness.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Leatherbound from August Uncommon Tea

leatherboundTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: August Uncommon Tea

Tea Description:

Dark wooden walls shoulder the weight of endless rows of well-loved books. The brooding tannins and rich, buttery aroma of this tea mimic the inviting yet austere atmosphere of an old library. Hints of cocoa and sweet almond enliven the mix like the occasional contemporary novel whose glossy cover puts the leatherbound classics into relief. A drop of milk tips the flavor towards a dark creamy stout. Like sinking into a crackled leather club chair to ponder the pages between your hands.

Learn more about this tea here

Taster’s Review:

I am really eager to try this blend as I’ve never had a tea blend with caraway included. It sounds like such an interesting combination – assam tea, caraway, cacao.. so unique! Plus, I love the idea of this tea bringing to mind a library and old books.

Sipping… hm, the first thing that I taste is the smooth black tea base and the cacao. It reminds me of other chocolate and black tea blends I’ve had in the past. There is a tiny bit of astringency as well. A strange thing happens after I’ve sipped.. a bit of a buttery flavor blossoms on the tongue. It reminds me of caramel squares and buttered toast. I also pick up on hazelnuts and very lightly, cherries in syrup. The finish is very drying,  but it’s still drinkable despite being slightly unpleasant. I can’t seem to pick up on the caraway flavor… but then again, I’ve never had caraway in a tea.. so I could be tasting it, but just not know it.

Overall, I enjoyed this tea and I appreciate that it had many different flavors to discover. I’m not sure that I really experienced the library comparison just by taste… perhaps the description is slightly far-fetched, but it was certainly interesting. I’m excited to see how my next cup will be when I add a bit of milk!

Hunan Mao Jian from Harney & Sons

hunan_mao_jianTea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

While looking for the best teas in Changsha, we found this organic green tea. Not every occasion demands the best tea, so this is a nice one to drink more often.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mao Jian has become one of my favourite green tea varieties over the last year or so, and I’m always pleased to try one that’s new to me. This Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons looks pretty much as I’d expect – thin, wiry leaves that are a little curly and twisted, a fairly uniform dark green in colour, and pretty long (most around 2cm, but some more like 5-6cm). Dry, it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.

 Once brewed, more variegation in terms of colour is revealed. The wet leaves are a mixture of bright grass green at the tip and a darker kelly green towards the stalk. There are a few yellowish tinges, and the odd patch of brown. The scent is delightful, like freshly steamed green vegetables. Really fresh, vegetal teas like this one are what finally won me around in terms of green tea, and this is a perfect example. The liquor itself is a very pale green, with a mild vegetal scent.
 To taste, this is beautifully sweet and delicate, and very reminiscent of freshly shelled peas. It’s a pretty mild flavour all told, but smooth and buttery with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. There’s a slightly stronger vegetal flavour in the mid-sip, reminiscent of green beans, but it doesn’t linger very long and it’s still very much at the mild end of the flavour spectrum. The aftertaste contains a hint of floral, although it’s not too perfume-like or overpowering. It reminds me a little of lillies. As it cools, I’m picking up an edge of sharpness that puts me in mind of lemon zest. It adds a savoury twist to an otherwise relatively sweet ensemble, and works well as a refreshing, clean tasting element of the overall flavour.
 I’m enjoying this one for its fresh, sweet flavours, and ultimately clean, refreshing flavour. I actually think it’s a green tea I’d enjoy drinking most in summer, possibly cold brewed or iced. It’s good hot, too, and it’s really making me think of warmer days while I sit here in the middle of my centrally-heated winter. This is a really great green tea, and one of the most unique Mao Jian’s I’ve tried. Delicious!

Nakazen: Hibiscus Tea Herbal Tisane from Yunomi

HibiscusTeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

Hibiscus tea bags are made with high quality roselle (a kind of Hibiscus) grown in the tropical region. Enjoy hot or as iced tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hello tea friends, I do hope you are all well.

Recently I received an order from Yunomi of which they were kind to include this tisane as a free gift. While admittedly hibiscus is not something I would usually order it is nice to try something different. Plus I feel tisanes are something I should drink more of, going caffeine free every now and then sounds like a good idea.

They do offer this as two versions on their website: loose leaf and teabag. This is the teabag version.

The bags are a good quality thin polystyrene (very typical Japanese tea bag design). They are white and a little bit see through with 1/5 filled with small, chopped petals. As I sniff the bag I am met with a dry, sweet, tangy and herbal scent. Very hibiscus strong and herbal but also not overly thick.

Steeping: Popping one bag into boiling water for three minutes.

Colour is deep, deep red. Scent is floral, sweet yet sour and overall rather soft.

Flavour is stronger than the smell though it’s not as thick as I expected (or feared). The hibiscus is sweet with sour after tones and a touch of dryness, this leads to a herbal after taste. The sourness is actually rather minimal considering, likening this to sherbet. ie. More sweet than sour.

Half way down my mug I’m finding this to remain consistent with the first sip. The dryness is not increasing and nor is the herbal tang that tisanes tend to have.

Overall I thought this was nice, more pleasant tasting than I had imagined being generally a non hibiscus fan. This was of fair quality and strength which complimented the hibiscus. A simple tisane but a nice companion on this warm night.

Happiness Rooibos/Green Blend from Lupicia

happinessTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green/Green Rooibos

Where to Buy: Lupicia

Tea Description:

Rose petals, marigold and small mallow decorate this green tea and green rooibos blend scented with energizing grapefruit and luscious white peach. One sip and you will find happiness.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

In Canada Lupicia teas are fairly hard to get a hold of without swapping with someone else, which is what I did in order to try this sample. I’ve only tried a handful of their teas, but generally speaking I’ve enjoyed most if not all of them. That said, I’ve read almost entirely negative, or at least relatively critical reviews about this particular blend so know I have some expectation bias prior to trying this blend. With the sample I have, I decided I’d cold brew this tea because I thought it would work well for the fruity aspects but also the dual bases used.

My first thought upon trying this was that it tastes very familiar. I realize I drink a lot of tea, and so it’s no uncommon for new teas to bear a resemblance to ones I’ve tried before but I’m talking serious Deja Vu with this tea; I was convinced I’d had the experience of drinking this one before even though I know I haven’t.

As for the actual flavour of the blend I do have to say the peach element comes through the clearest to me: I made a recent discovery regarding peach, actually. I’ve always thought of peach as a flavor that I could go either way with but someone at work recently pointed out to me that I’m actually very consistent with some peachy things and that’s either “Peaches & Cream” or “White Peach”, both of which I regularly like. So I did a little bit of research (I asked one of our produce clerks the difference between white and yellow peaches; that counts, right?) and it turns out the main difference is the acidity – yellow peaches have a much more noticeable acidity that only levels out as they ripen while white peaches are more delicate and naturally sweet, ripe or not. They’re also a little more floral. Makes sense to me.

So in addition to the clear and enjoyable flavour of white peaches, I tasted a few other fruits – however one fruit I didn’t observe was grapefruit which is actually the flavour that’s supposed to be present. Instead I tasted a more mellow strawberry flavour which was a great compliment to the peach notes. Chef Darcy, at work, tried a little of the cold brew and said he tastes peach and green melons and while I didn’t taste that melon flavour myself I can see where he was coming from: there was a sort of “bubblegum” sweetness, and as I’ve observed from honeydew teas sometimes the flavor of of those two things can be similar. As for the bases, visually I know there was more green tea in my sample but the taste of the green rooibos was a lot stronger in my opinion. I really like the green rooibos that Lupicia uses though – it’s one of my favourite of any company’s.

Overall, this was a really great experience – not just for the flavour, but for the little journey of self discovery that it took me on.