Edith Wharton blend from Simpson and Vail

This lovely tea has been sitting on my tea shelf for a while, just waiting for the right day.  Well today was the day. This darjeeling blend was created in honor of author Edith Wharton at the Simpson and Vail tea shop.

I don’t know what it is, but darjeeling and earl grey teas always make me think of ladylike tea parties with finger sandwiches and sugar cubes.  This darjeeling blend is crisp and and could fit into the high tea setting, but it also has a lot more to bring to your cup.

In both scent and taste this blend is pleasantly bright and playful with plenty of grapefruit citrus.  This tartness feels satisfying like having the perfect biting witty comment ready to go on your tongue.  Beyond the grapefruit there is a bit of ginger heat, quickly followed by the smooth, vanilla tones of the mallow blossoms at the end.

Bold but ladylike, sharp but playful.  This is a great tea for that favorite smart and sassy friend in your life, or for any literary tea aficionado.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Simpson and Vail

For our Edith Wharton blend we pay homage to her descriptions of the undercurrents rippling through fashionable society. We have combined a refined, high-grown Darjeeling black tea with a little passionfruit and citrus flavor, a dash of spice and lovely flower petals to create a taste that is smooth and elegant. Perfect for an afternoon tête-à-tête.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Peeps from the Necessiteas

Two of our Sisters recently reviewed My Peeps from The NecessiTeas. . .here is the first one!

Springtime is historically the season for Peeps: those iconic, yellow sugar-coated marshmallow chicks.  The company behind Peeps has done quite a bit of branching out since those original Easter Sundays.  Now Peeps come in every seasonal shape and color, pumpkins and frankenstein heads for fall, snowmen and gingerbread men for winter, and more flavors and kooky combinations than you can imagine. 

I’m partial to marshmallows, whether big soft marshmallows in my hot cocoa, mini marshmallows in my Lucky Charms, or marshmallow-coated snowball cakes– you name it.  And yes, I like Peeps too.  The Necessiteas captured the sweet whimsy of marshmallow peeps in this delicious tea blend.  

This decaf honeybush blend is super jam-packed with strong vanilla, almost caramel flavors.  In both smell and taste, the foremost flavor in the blend is the beyond-vanilla buttercream frosting, meant to be ultra-reminiscent of marshmallows and marshmallow cream.  It’s hard to imagine exactly what flavors make marshmallows so distinctive, but the sugary sweetness with clean vanilla are a close match.  The honeybush is a great tea to use as a base, the leaves being gentle enough not to overpower the marshmallow flavoring.

Just in case the flavor alone wasn’t enough to entice you to try a cup of this brew, the loose leaf have mini marshmallows and pink sugar crystals to add sweetness and cuteness in equal measure.  

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush
Where to Buy: The Necessiteas

Easter just would’t be the same without peeps. In fact, you could say that peeps are to food what ugly Christmas sweaters are to clothing. You know whether you prefer chicks to bunnies, fresh to stale, or plain to chocolate-covered. I personally prefer slightly stale pink bunnies! When it comes to peeps, you either love them or you hate them. Their sugary, marshmallowy sweetness is enough to make your teeth ache, and I’m ok with that! I decided to make a healthier version of my favorite Easter treat by blending naturally sweet honeybush with mini marshmallows, pink sugar crystals and organic flavors. The outcome? Same sweet, marshmallowy goodness, minus the toothache!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

1st Place Tea: Snowflake from Aromatica Fine Teas

Depending on where you live, you may have seen some snowflakes flying on the air this time of year, which would be the perfect time to brew up a cup of Snowflake tea from Aromatica Fine Teas.

This is an award-winning blend, taking 1st place in the North American Tea Championships in 2011.  Thinking about tea championships puts some silly images in my head, like some kind of tea Olympics, with little packs of tea on a snowy downhill ski slope.  Anyway, the story is getting away from me.

Like beautiful, white, creamy snowdrifts, this black tea is blanketed with extra vanilla and creamy flavors.  This tea is somewhere between a breakfast blend and a dessert blend, so that means it can be brewed up just about any time of day.  In addition to the vanilla, there are coconut flakes, which add their usual creamy, buttery taste. Luckily there’s not too much coconut, and this moderation keeps the brew from getting too oily.

What really sets this blend apart are the real slivers of almond.  These stylish blonde slivers go beyond the typical marzipan flavoring, and add real, sweet, nuttiness from actual nuts as ingredients.  With smooth almond and lush coconut shavings, this tea taste a bit more like a coconut cookie than a simple coconut cream tea.

Overall, Snowflake is a really solid vanilla tea blend, super drinkable and smooth.  I drank it black, but it would amazing as a latte or made hot-cocoa-style, topped with marshmallows.  The blend isn’t too sweet, nor too plain.

I know coconut is traditionally a tropical flavor, but with a name like Snowflake, this can be your next favorite winter brew.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Aromatica Fine Teas

A fabulous almond coconut tea. Brew it in steamed milk for a Tropical Fog. Ceylon and China black tea, coconut rasps, flavour, almond flakes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lavender Cream Earl Grey Black Tea from Aromatica Fine Teas

Lavender_Cream_Earl_GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Tea Description:

This tea brings together the best of all the earl grey worlds – bergamot, vanilla, cream and lavender. Why have them in 4 separate Earl Greys!? This is a sweet, creamy, delicious black tea with floral hints. The vanilla and cream soften the bergamot citrus edge. You can still enjoy this variation with milk.  

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I received my Amoda box a few days ago and this is the first tea that I’ve tried from the box!   While it’s not a surprise that I should reach for the tea that would be my clear favorite in the box, I generally like to save the one that I think will be my favorite for last.  Like dessert, right?  You save dessert for after the meal, but sometimes, you have to give in to the inner child and have dessert first!

So, I gave in to the inner child and drank the tea that I was sure would be my favorite in this month’s box first.  So, it should come as no surprise that I’m loving this Lavender Cream Earl Grey Black Tea from Aromatica Fine Teas!

To brew this, I used my Breville One Touch.  The entire sampler packet appeared to be just enough tea for one small pot of tea from my tea maker, so I poured the contents of the packet into the basket and added 500ml of water to the jug.  I set the parameters for 205°F (I like to go with slightly lower than boiling temperatures when I have herbs in the tea – in this case, the lavender and hibiscus) and 2 1/2 minutes.

Then I let the tea cool for about three minutes before sipping.  I’ve got to tell you that they seem the longest three minutes ever when you’re waiting to take a sip of something so aromatically alluring!

Mmmm!  I’m loving this tea!

Rich!  The black tea is a vibrant tasting tea – it’s good and strong.  There is a fair amount of astringency to this tea, and if I’m to offer any complaint about it at all, that would be it.  I would like the astringency to be toned down just a bit.

The flavoring, though, is spot on!  The bergamot is strong and flavorful.  The vanilla cream notes are pretty evenly matched with the bergamot, with maybe just a little bit more bergamot than cream.  The combination of the two is sweet, creamy and tangy with a bright flavor of crisp bergamot.

Then there is the lavender.  Ah … I do adore lavender.  Lavender is a lot like bergamot, in that it can be overdone in a tea and end up tasting a bit more like soap than a flavoring.  Here, the lavender is done nicely, not tasting even a bit soapy, instead, it has a touch of floral to this cup.  It’s a pleasing contrast, the floral notes of the lavender with the silky sweetness of the vanilla cream and the energetic flavor of the bergamot.  It’s a compelling flavor combination that keeps me sipping and makes for one very happy tea sipper.

So, this is definitely a win.  My only real complaint is – again – the astringent black tea base.  But this is something that I can overlook because the flavors are so delightful!  And those who detest hibiscus like I do, take note:  I can’t taste the hibiscus here!  Yippee!  That’s a win right there!

French Lemon Creme Rooibos from Petali Teas

French_lemon_creamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Rooibos

Tea Information:

Sometimes you just want a tea that’s bursting with fun flavour. We think it’s not too much to ask for that flavour punch to taste completely natural. Welcome French Lemon Creme with your luscious lemon and creamy vanilla sweetness. This is built on a green rooibos base, so the blend has extra health benefits from locking in the herb’s natural enzymes.

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I want to start this review by saying:  the aroma of this tea smells just like what the name promises:  It’s lemon and cream.  And it’s lovely!

I was happy to see that this rooibos blend is a green rooibos blend which is my preference when it comes to rooibos teas.  I like the fruity element of the green rooibos rather than the woody/nutty and sometimes gentle smoke note of the red rooibos (the red rooibos is oxidized to achieve it’s color, while the green rooibos is not oxidized.)

To steep this tea, I used my Kati Tumbler.  I measured out 1 1/2 bamboo scoops of the tisane into the basket of my tumbler and added 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F.  Then I let it steep for 10 minutes.  Rooibos doesn’t get bitter because it isn’t tannic like camellia sinensis, so go ahead and let it steep – the flavors will just intensify.  Do be sure to keep the temperature below boiling though, because you may get a ‘sour’ taste from rooibos if you steep it too hot.

Mmm!  This is good.  The aroma of the brewed tisane is still quite lemon-y and because of that, when I raise the tumbler to my lips and inhale deeply, I smell the lemon.  My palate’s reaction to this is to prepare itself for something sour.  But the sip doesn’t start out that way!  Instead I get a sweet, creamy lemon taste, similar to lemon curd.

It isn’t until mid-sip that I start to pick up on the tart notes of the lemon.  They aren’t a pucker-y tart, but just enough tart to let you know that hey, you’re tasting lemon!  The creamy vanilla notes are strong right at first, and then they subside to let some of the bright lemon notes shine through.

I really like the way these two flavors have come together in this.  It’s sweet but there’s enough tart to keep it interesting and to keep it from becoming too sickeningly sweet!  And the rooibos base melds beautifully with these flavors, adding sweetness without taking away from the sunny lemon and the luscious cream flavor.

A really awesome rooibos blend.  I don’t often say that about a rooibos blend, but this one has earned that praise!