Have a Sweeter Breakfast Blend with Aso Black from Mellow Monk

Aso Black from Mellow Monk is technically a black tea but it is processed a little differently that most black teas.  If I understood their description correctly, Aso Black tea is made from the tea leaves that would normally go into making sencha green tea.  Picked in the mountains of Japan, these leaves are less processed and less fermented than traditional black tea.  Aso Black is also called “kocha” or “crimson tea”, perhaps due to its medium level of oxidation.  But I digress.

The leaves in my sample were small and flat, though very dark in color.  As it brewed, the tea smelled distinctly starchy like oats or bread.  It had none of the citrus brightness I associate with other black teas.

Mellow Monk recommends letting this tea cool slightly before drinking to let the flavors come forward, so I stepped away from my cup to let it cool down.

When I took my first sip of the tea, I was once again hit with the starchiness of the flavors, though this time it also had quite a bit of sweetness.  In an abstract way, the tea reminded me of oatmeal raisin cookies if they could be turned into a breakfast tea.

In the aftertaste there is a vegetal note that I expect more often from green teas.  It reminds me of the sweet and sour fermented green tea note that I often taste in kukicha green.  With all the sweetness and smooth mouthfeel of the rest of the blend, the green tea aftertaste is less grassy and more fruity, complimenting the sweet oat flavors in the overall smell and taste.

This is a unique tea, worth a taste by black tea and green tea lovers alike.  If you are tired of ceylon’s sharpness, or assam’s full fuzziness, try Aso Black for your next breakfast blend and maybe you’ll find it makes for a sweeter morning.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

How about a nice change of pace? Aso Black™ is black tea (kocha, or “crimson tea” in Japanese) made from the leaves of green tea varietals grown in the pristine foothills of Mt. Aso. Gently harvested leaves are only lightly fermented compared to conventional black tea, for a sweetness not found in ordinary black teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Holiday Tea Alert! Snickerdoodle from Simpson and Vail

Snickerdoodle from Simpson & Vail was a sweet, simple blend, perfect as the weather gets cooler.  The tea has true cinnamon-stick flavor– not at all like cinnamon candy– definitely the cinnamon flavor of baked goods.  The warm, spice flavor goes well with the gentle dry grass and honey notes of the green rooibos.  Let me put the emphasis on “green” rooibos.  Unlike red rooibos, which can have a tendency to get a little medicine-like, or cloying, the green rooibos always stays smooth, sweet, and mellow, so feel free to brew this gentle decaf cinnamon blend as long as you like.

In fact, I had to brew a much stronger cup to get beyond the simple, warm cinnamon notes and find more nutty, vanilla-cookie flavors.  Don’t skimp on the leaf amount or brew time with this blend: steep it strong for the best Snickerdoodle flavors.

It’s no secret that I love teas with lots of bold spices like ginger and cloves, but I do realize these are not everyone’s favorite flavors.  If you want something comforting and festive, but without all the overdone pomp and circumstance of a holiday chai, Snickerdoodle might just be the perfect tea for you.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal/Green Rooibos
Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail
Description:

When we were kids Jim came home from elementary school with some recipes his teacher had given him (perhaps for an upcoming bake sale). I’ll never forget the day our Mom made a batch of Snickerdoodle cookies. They were an instant favorite in our house! The recipe was lost for awhile and we would continually ask Mom for “those lovely cinnamon cookies”. You never saw four happier kids than when she found the recipe again.

If you are a cinnamon lover then this Rooibos blend is for you! When you open the bag, the aroma of cinnamon cookie happily greets you. The brewed cup is amber colored with the taste of fresh baked snickerdoodle cookies. The sweet cinnamon taste lingers deliciously on the tongue.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea & Cookies Flavored Black Tea from Caraway Tea Company

tea-and-cookies

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Caraway Tea Company

Tea Description:

You’’ll love how the sweet apple, scent of juicy oranges, and delicate cream sooth the spicy bits of cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, cloves and hot fruity pepper. Add a little milk and sugar and you’ll enjoy a special treat.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  I don’t know if what I’m tasting is “Tea & Cookies” so much as tea and cozy warm spices with hints of fruit … but, I’m enjoying this tea enough to overlook the fact that Tea & Cookies Flavored Black Tea from Caraway Tea Company might be suffering from a bit of a misnomer.

So what if it doesn’t taste exactly like “Tea & Cookies” to me … I can still kind of get where their coming from, calling it this.  It has a warm taste to it that reminds me of the smells that come from the kitchen around the holiday season, when the aroma of freshly baked cookies and warm spices fill the air!   This tea not only captures that fragrance, but the scent also translates into the flavor.  This tea tastes the way the kitchen smells during the holiday season!

The black tea base is a strong enough tea to hold its own in the presence of the spices, but, doesn’t attempt to overthrow the flavors of this cup.  The Caraway Tea Company website doesn’t mention what type of black tea is used in this blend, only that it’s “black tea.”  Based on what I’m tasting, I’d guess it’s a high-quality Ceylon … it has a strong flavor, but it’s pretty even-tempered, and doesn’t get too brassy or assertive.

There is a nice “bake-y/cake-y” kind of flavor going on with the cup too.  So, the cookie thing is not too far-fetched … and together with the cinnamon notes, it evokes thoughts of a snickerdoodle cookie.  The apple notes are very delicate but they do provide a nice sweetness to the cup.  It doesn’t taste distinctly “apple” with the first few sips, but, give it time … by the time I reached mid-cup,  the apple notes seemed to emerge, as did the delicious, juicy orange notes.

The other spices provide more of a soothing, gentle warmth to the cup rather than a strong spicy overtone.  This isn’t a heavily SPICED tea even though there are quite a few spices in the tea.  The spices accentuate nicely, though, which give the overall cup a sweet yet warm, cozy kind of effect.

A very delicious cuppa … this is one that I’d want to have on hand whenever I’m in need of a comforting cup of coziness!

Cookies & Cream Matcha from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

A person who has not sampled a Cookies and Cream Matcha delicacy, does not know what they are missing. This is because; this wonderfully creamy delicacy stands a world apart because of its popular appeal irrespective of age or station in life. Cookies and Cream Matcha is a sweet treat that has been tempered by Matcha’s distinct difference and can be enjoyed by the very young because of its creamy resonance and older people because of its Matcha twist. Cookies and Cream Matcha can easily holds its own among the well-loved desert favorites.

Learn more about this Cookies & Cream Matcha here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh My Goodness!  This is SOOOO good!

I feel like I should start out by stating that I’m not a big fan of cookies & cream.  I don’t really like the ice cream flavor, or the candy bar.  I LOVE Oreo cookies, especially the double stuff ones.  Oh… and they have a fudge covered coconut cream Oreo cookie thing that is just incredible.  But usually, I’d prefer my ice cream and Oreo cookies eaten separately, and not have the cookies crumbled up in my white chocolate bar.  I just don’t get that flavor.  It doesn’t translate into YUM for me.

So I wasn’t too sure about ordering it.  But something inside me told me that I HAD to try it.  Not sure why.  Maybe because even though the idea of cookies & cream ice cream doesn’t sound all that appealing to me, the idea of Oreos in my Matcha is very appealing.

And this is amazing.  This really does taste like I might have dipped an Oreo cookie in my matcha … rather than the cookies & cream ice cream that I don’t really care for all that much.  All that’s missing is the cookie texture.  But the cookie TASTE is there … I can taste the bake-y, cake-y, chocolate-y cookie taste as I sip this, along with the rich, gooey cream of the cookie.  This is like liquified Oreo cookie in my Matcha.  And it’s really delicious!

The Matcha tastes sweet and vegetal – and I notice that I don’t taste a lot of the “bittersweet” that I sometimes taste with Matcha.  The only thing I can come up with is that the cookies & cream flavoring have cancelled out the bitterness – and leaving only a sweet, delectable, decadent taste that is dessert worthy!   Seriously, one does not need dessert after indulging in this treat!  And … even better still, it’s a low-fat, low-calorie and HEALTHY indulgence!   Winning!

I ordered this with my “default go-to” settings:  the classic starter/basic Matcha with the distinctive level of flavoring … and this is just perfect.  I don’t think I’d want to have more flavor in this, because as it is, there is a delicious balance between the sweet, vegetative taste of Matcha and the sweet, creamy, cookie taste of the flavoring.  I think that more flavoring would be … too much.  But I don’t think I’d go less either.  Distinctive delivers the perfect balance for me.

However, I do think that this would be interesting to try with some of the other options.  White tea Matcha base, perhaps, or maybe the black tea Matcha base?  I love that Red Leaf Tea offers you all these options, so that you can customize your Matcha experience to be exactly what YOU want … just the way you want it.  And there are SO many flavors to choose from, you’re bound to find something that you’ll like … probably more than just one or two!

This is absolutely awesome.  You’ve gotta try it!

Cookies N’ Cream Tea from Still Water Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Still Water Tea

Tea Description:

Scrumptuous flavours of maple, honey, cream and chocolate take your cookie experience to the next level!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tea that benefits greatly from waiting a couple of minutes after brewing to allow the tea to cool slightly before you start drinking it.  The first couple of sips – while still piping hot – tasted a bit off, almost artificial.  But now that the tea has cooled just slightly – it’s still hot, but not fresh from the teapot hot! – it is much tastier.

This is an interesting combination of flavors.  It is a very sweet tea, but then again, with a name like Cookies N’ Cream, you know what you’re getting yourself in for, right?  You kind of expect it to be sweet.  And if the name doesn’t convince you, reading the description:  “maple, honey, cream and chocolate …”  yeah, that should do it.  This is a sweet, decadent dessert tea.

The sip starts out with a hint of chocolate, and the chocolate flavor develops over the course of the sip.  The honey notes weave their way in and out of the sip, and the cream is more of an undercurrent of flavor … off in the background, providing a pleasing creamy note all the while.  The maple was a little difficult to detect at first, but by mid-cup it is almost as strong as the chocolate flavor.

The black tea is in there too, although it is a mellower flavor.  It provides a pleasing backdrop, however, it does seem a little outdone by the strength of the flavors.  On the plus side, though, there is only a mild astringency so it doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of the flavors.

Overall, it’s a very pleasant cup of tea.  Makes a nice latte, too!