Brown Sugar Organic Oolong by Tea Leaf Co.

BROWN_SUGAR_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Tea Leaf Co.

Tea Description:

A wonderfully bold and smooth organic tea blend of dark oolong and maple, a perfect pairing. While the oolong is bold, full-bodied, and lightly smoked, the maple is light, aromatic, and sweet. The combination of the two flavors results in a well-balanced, featured favorite maple tea blend.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been drinking quite a lot of Oolong recently, and some of it has really challenged my assumptions about the variety. I thought for a long time, for example, that I didn’t like Oolong at all. Then I realised that mostly what I don’t like are dark or roasted oolongs, but lately I’m even beginning to wonder whether that’s true. Mostly because of teas like this one! The dry leaf smells good – just like opening a fresh packet of brown sugar. It’s a mild toffee, molasses-like scent. Sweet and delicious. The leaf is fairly thick and wiry, with red safflowers. So pretty! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright golden brown, the scent heavily vanilla.

All of this gave me very high expectations, but I’m pleased to say that the taste more than lived up to them. This is a truly delicious tea. While drinking it, I almost completely forgot it was an Oolong because the flavour is so strong and accurate. The initial sip is hard to describe. It’s like taking a spoonful of brown sugar and letting it sit on your tongue – there are notes of toffee and vanilla, with a deeper, richer, molasses flavour running underneath. The mid sip is beautifully buttery and smooth, and reminds me a little of toffee popcorn. The flavour lingers long in the aftertaste, fading slowly and gradually into a fudgey, sweet, sugary ghost. I think this is as close to drinking brown sugar as it’s possible to get, and obviously so much healthier! I can hardly taste the base tea at all, which is a good thing in my book when it comes to flavoured teas. I want to be convinced by the flavours I’m drinking, and on this occasion I really, really am.

I think it’s easy to tell that I loved this one. I’d drink it again and again if I could – and I’d unhesitatingly choose it as a desert island tea if it ever came to that. It’s desserty decadence — pure deliciousness in a cup!

Halpewatte Ceylon Black Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

Halpewatte Ceylon Black TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: MK’s Tea Co.

Tea Description:

The basis of Earl Grey tea! Ceylon tea is a sweet, brightly orange colored (once-brewed) black tea harvested in the lush hills of the island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). This is a fantastic introductory tea, a great tea for the black tea lover, and an extraordinary tea for blending purposes. Ceylon tea is just brisk enough to be uplifting, but light enough to not be bitter or off-putting. It truly is a remarkable black tea that belongs in every tea-lover’s collection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I started the day with this tea, hoping that it would be clean and refreshing. Thankfully I was right, and it made a great choice in lieu of breakfast. The dry leaf is straight and pretty long (I’d say an average of 2cm), and a fairly uniform black-brown with just a few lighter brown leaves. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a vibrant red-brown, and the leaf itself has also taken on an impressive red-brown hue. It’s very autumnal looking! The scent is sweet and a little chocolatey, which wasn’t something I was expecting from a Ceylon.

To taste, this is pretty much a classic Ceylon in many respects. It’s very fresh and clean tasting, with a bright edge of citrus running throughout. It comes across as a “light” tasting tea, to me. There are no thick or heavy flavours that are cloying on the palate, just the delicate, refreshing sweet/citrus play off. There is a touch of maltiness towards the end of the sip, but it doesn’t dominate the flavour or drown out the fresher notes. I can also detect just the tiniest bit of chocolate, which shifts the balance of the aftertaste away from citrus and more towards the generically sweet. It’s almost like it’s a tea of two halves, but they’re two very good halves so I’m not going to complain.

This tea is delightfully smooth and creamy, with no bitterness or astringency at all. It’s a real joy to drink, and I’m finding it an especially good choice this morning with its bright, citrusy “wake up” profile and edge of comforting sweetness. Delicious!

Cocoa Amore from Whispering Pines Tea Co.

cocoaamoreTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Whispering Pines Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Blended with two rich and chocolaty black teas and the irresistible cherry-chocolate notes of top-grade Tahitian vanilla beans, Cocoa Amore is pure decadence. The aroma of the dry and wet leaf is pure cherry chocolate with a hint of malt. The flavor is unimaginably smooth with creamy melting chocolate and rich vanilla fudge. An ever-present cherry note stands out in front of the warm barley sugar background. Light mineral notes play through the sip along with a light hint of sweet cinnamon and a malty finish. Later infusions are just as creamy and rich, eventually presenting a beautiful powdery mouthfeel reminiscent of cocoa powder.
Learn more about this tea here

Taster’s Review:

I am so excited to try this tea since it’s been on my wishlist for ages. This tea is quite expensive so I’m really hoping that the cherry and chocolate flavors come through and that it’s just as delicious everyone says it is.

The scent of this tea is certainly malty with a strong vanilla note and a touch of rich chocolate. I’m so impatient that I might just burn my tongue! The start of the sip is weirdly fruity.. and not something that I’d necessarily pin as cherry. The more that I think about it, the more I think I really do taste cherry, but with a strong floral touch. It reminds me of a fruity perfume. I really like that this cherry flavor doesn’t come across as artificial, but bright and natural.  The cherry fades into strong vanilla and chocolate flavor that reminds me of fudge. What’s amazing is that sipping this tea makes me feel like I’ve eaten a piece of dark chocolate with a sliced cherry center. It’s so good that you want to keep sipping!  I will say that you have to sort of look for these flavors and that they are a bit on the soft side.

Before I know it, the cup is empty and I’m left a little bit confused. While I did enjoy the chocolate and cherry, I’m not sure that the cup as a whole was what I wanted it to be.. the notes were too light for me. I’m not sure if I would buy more of this tea simply because it’s so expensive. I wouldn’t pass up a cup, but I certainly can’t afford to have this as a regular pick in my cupboard.

Birthday Cake from Bluebird Tea Co

birthday_cake_1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co

Tea Description:

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than cake. Except perhaps a cup of tea and cake! Our Birthday Cake Tea is delicious, has both and almost no calories! Oh and did you notice the pretty sprinkles in there too? Talk about having your cake and eating it!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve learned that if there is a tea that is supposed to taste like cake, that I need to try it. I was especially excited to try this blend because it has a rooibos base and the addition of star sprinkles. YUM! I haven’t found too many cake blends that have a rooibos or honeybush base. The dry leaf looks like it’s meant to be a part of a birthday celebration, too. I love the bright sprinkles, flowers and the soft rooibos.

For me, this cup isn’t quite birthday cake in a cup, but is really a sweet rooibos blend with a strong almond flavor. I can see how some might taste a cake flavor since there is a starchy element in the background, but I otherwise can’t taste anything that’s specifically birthday cake. Despite the cake element not being present in this cup, it’s still very drinkable and quite delicious. There is a little bit of a weird sour note in the background and I’m not sure what it is.. but it’s weak and doesn’t bother me.

I love that I can drink this tea any time of the day even though there is a small amount of black tea in the blend. I don’t feel like it will keep me up at night. This blend makes a great replacement for dessert after dinner, too. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, I’d try this one, but don’t expect it to taste like a slice of birthday cake.

Mighty Organic Earl Grey Tea from Tea Leaf Co.

MIGHTYOrganicEarlGreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tea Leaf Co. 

Tea Description:

A GBOP grade of black tea for this earl grey and blended with extra bergamot essence creates an infusion especially well suited for London fogs or for those seeking a strong bergamot flavor in their tea. Much stronger than the classic, malty notes, and a lively cup.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Mighty Organic Earl Grey Tea is the last of four teas that Tea Leaf Co. sent me to sample.  I figured I’d save the Earl Grey for my last day as a tea reviewer and go out with all my favorites!

When I opened the pouch, I was a little surprised by the aroma.  I could smell the bergamot, certainly, but I could also smell licorice.  I thought my olfactory nerves were deceiving me!

I brewed this tea in my Kati Tumbler (seriously, folks, if you haven’t gotten yourself one of these yet, you really SHOULD!)  I measured 1 bamboo scoop of tea into the basket of my Kati and then poured 12 ounces of boiling water into the tumbler.  I let it steep for 3 minutes.

After the brewing was complete, I lifted the cup to my nose to smell the brewed tea.  Again … I smell licorice!  Weird!  At this point, I’m starting to worry that I’m coming down with something.

But the flavor is NOT licorice!  The flavor is bergamot!  Distinctly!  It’s tangy and it’s a little sweet, it’s citrus-y and it’s bright.  It’s bergamot.

So don’t let my weird experience with the aromatics throw you off – this is an Earl Grey tea – a “Mighty” fine Earl Grey!  The black tea is richly flavored and has a pleasant, robust taste that’s just right to greet you in the morning and give you that gentle shake awake that you need.  It has notes of malt that mingle with the bergamot in a pleasant way.

The bergamot – along with the orange peel – offers a sunny flavor.  These two citrus notes together create more of a citrus-y flavor rather than a straightforward bergamot note which I don’t really mind because I can still taste the distinguished flavor of bergamot.

Overall, a really good Earl Grey.  Where does it rate in my Earl Grey ratings?  I think it would be somewhere in the upper echelon of Earl Grey, but it’s not in the top three, or even the top ten.  It’s much better than many of the Earl Grey teas I’ve tried, but not as good as some.  I’d definitely recommend it to the Earl Grey aficionados out there – it’s absolutely worth trying, you might find your new favorite even though I didn’t find mine!