Strawberry Lemon Basil from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos (red), Tisane

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium 

Tea Description:

Only the best for the spoiled berry, the queen amongst the gourmets … A hint of lemon, just the perfect helping of basil and a carpet of red roses with fanfares! Take this “state visit” home with you and you’ll soon win all votes.

Ingredients: Rooibos tea, basil, flavoring, freeze-dried strawberry pieces and lemon granules (fruit (lemon juice), malt dextrin, natural lemon oil, gelling agent: sodium alginate), red rose petals.

Serving Size: 1-2 level tsp./6oz serving

Brew Temp: 203 to 212 degree F

Brew Time: 8 to 10 Minutes

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love it when someone wants to do a tea trade and asks me for a tea I have not had myself in ages. It is a nice reminder to dig something out and enjoy it all over again! This is what happened with this lovely red rooibos tisane!

As I have said in other reviews – I’m not big on red rooibos, but once in awhile there is one that grabs my attention. I have had this in my stash for quite awhile now and it is overdue time to savor it again.

Speaking of savoring something – this is quite the savory tea – although it is also quite sweet. It may even be a little too sweet for some but the lemon and basil do a wonderful job of aiding in it becoming cloying.

Upon first sip, the ripe sweet strawberry flavor is most present, then followed nicely by the basil, with lemon not far behind to give a nice cleansing of the palate and taking away the initial sweetness of the sip. I appreciate that the lemon is not too tart as well.

This tea is good cold but I prefer it hot, although I have read where most others prefer it iced. You can let your own taste buds decide how you like it but the fact that it is a versatile tisane is nice.

Roses take only a minor role in the cup so if you are not a fan of the more floral teas I would not shy away from giving this one a try. The rose comes though not in the aroma but in the flavor and only a slight bit yet I find personally I have to really swish the tea around in my mouth to get that flavor. The rose is also present in the aftertaste for only a few moments – as if they bloom quickly and then the petals delicately blow away into thin air.

Another thing I love about this tea is in my opinion red rooibos is a difficult tea to work with. Too many times the rooibos flavor takes over and the other flavors become hidden elements or are not complimentary. This blend works perfectly with the natural flavor of the rooibos, which is why it is still in my cupboard.

One could say this is a lovely summer brew but I am finding it will be a nice tea to sip on in colder weather. Between its savory appeal and the strawberry, lemon, and rose, it will be a nice reminder of the warmer days as well.

A big thank you to my tea trade parter for reminding me to appreciate this good tea hiding in my stash!

Bon Bon Black Tea Blend from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium

Product Description:

White beaches, crystal clear water, the rustle of palm leaves, Caribbean music in the background, sun-tanned skin and a happy mood… The pleasure of chocolate and coconuts would bring to perfection the picture of a good life, “le bon gout de Ia vie”. To be brief, Bon Tea.., chocolate and coconut included! Enjoy this tender, creamy creation with, or even without, Caribbean music. It’s worth it!Testing here.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As the clock ticks toward the coming of the new year, many of you out there may be reaching for a glass of champagne to celebrate.  Not me.  As I’ve said before I am not much of a drinker of alcohol.  I’ll take a cup of tea over a glass of champagne any day.

And being the chocoholic that I am, this Bon Bon tea from ESP Emporium is probably the kind of tea that I’ll reach for to help me ring in the new year.  Sweet, creamy coconut together with rich, delicious chocolate and a solid black tea base.  So yummy!

This tea brews up very dark, and it tastes strong and rich and smooth – no bitterness to this tea, and only a moderate amount of astringency is noted.  It is a really nice base for the flavors of chocolate and coconut – everything tastes so smooth and deliciously harmonious.

I’m finding that the chocolate and coconut are pretty evenly matched here, just when I think that the chocolate might be the strongest flavor, the coconut comes through and convinces me otherwise.  This tea is very appropriately named, because the combination of the two flavors gives this tea a very truffle-y, bon-bon-ish kind of taste that is absolutely irresistible.  I love it!

This tea makes an awesome latte too!

Wild Grey Green Tea from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium

Product Description:

Earl Grey is the most popular flavored tea. This classic has been known for ages as a black tea, and green tea lovers have long waited for the Sencha variation. But now, your waiting has come to an end. We introduced this blend very successfully some years ago. Our exquisite Sencha base was flavored with high-quality bergamot flavor and richly decorated with lemon peel and orange blossoms. Earl Grey friends can now finally discover green tea – and vice versa.

Taster’s Review:

As many of you are well aware, I love Earl Grey black tea.  However, I’m not always so keen on Earl Grey green teas.  Sometimes, I find that the bergamot and green tea just don’t jive, but, occasionally, I’ll find one that gets it right.  Well, ESP Emporium got it right!

I suspect that it is the addition of the lemon peel and the orange blossoms that make the difference here, as well as the lightened flavor of the bergamot.  ESP Emporium didn’t go heavy on the bergamot with this blend.  It is light and crisp with a hint of tangy citrus flavor.  The taste is clean and delicate enough to let the sweet, fresh taste of the Sencha tea to come through.

The Sencha tastes refreshing, with nutty notes and a hint of butter.  There is a faint astringency that doesn’t completely dry the palate, but, cleans it enough so that the buttery sensation doesn’t linger and allow the tongue to become sodden with a buttery taste that muddles the other flavors of the tea.

I really like this Earl Grey variation.  It is a delicious twist on a familiar taste for me.   It is a tea that can be enjoyed hot or iced, and if you like a little sweetener in your Earl Grey this one would take well to that addition (but be light-handed with it, or you may overwhelm the cup), but I don’t recommend adding milk to it.  This tea is far too delicate for such an addition.

I would recommend this to all Earl Grey fans out there!  It’s a winner!

Flower of Asia Oolong Tea from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium

Company Description:

On the one hand, this exclusive, flavored Oolong tea will strike you with the soft, spicy cup of the well-known Chinese Oolong tea and, on the other hand ,with the intense flowery soft note of the Lotus Oolong. This scented creation is rounded off pleasantly with the fresh flavors of ripe passion fruits and apples, and sweetly decorated with pink rosebuds and bright Roman chamomile.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of this tea is very alluring:  it’s like a tropical fruit salad with strong notes of mango and passion fruit, and there are delicate rose notes in the background.

These essences translate into the flavor as well.  I am primarily tasting the mango flavor but I can also taste the flavor of peach nectar and even a hint of apple.  It is sweet and very juicy.

The tea flavors also come through.  The Oolong is a dark Oolong – which indicates a long oxidation time.  This is the perfect Oolong base for these fruit flavors, because I’ve found that the darker Oolongs tend to have a natural fruit-like flavor to them.  That fruit taste enhances the flavoring very nicely.

This tea also possesses a nutty quality and a light buttery tone.  The flowery notes are a little more present in the scent than in the flavor, but I can taste faint floral characteristics to this cup.  The union of all these flavors makes for a very ambrosial taste!  Delicious!

Pearl of Fruits from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Green

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium

Company Description:

This fruity creation will impress you with its unusual spicy influences. Notes of exotic fruits, berries and creamy soft almond endow this black and green tea blend from China and Ceylon with an exotic, oriental taste experience, and orange peels and various blossoms reflect this in its appearance.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of those teas that I wasn’t too sure about before I tasted it.  It is a blend of black and green teas, and because this causes some concern when it comes to brewing the tea, I am always a little skeptical about these blends.  Since black tea is best brewed when the water is brought to a gentle boil, and green tea is best brewed when the water is hot but not boiling, it can be a little confusing as to how to best extract the flavor from the tea without ruining it.

In cases like this, I always go with the lower temperature.  This results in less flavor from the black tea, but, then again, with the lighter flavored green tea, this is probably a good thing.  So, I heated the water to the steaming point, when the tiny bubbles began forming at the base of the kettle but weren’t yet rising to the surface.  Then I steeped it for 4 minutes.  I felt safe that this would result in a tasty brew.

And I was correct!  This is very tasty, indeed.  The black tea is indeed lighter than a typical black tea would be when brewed with boiling water, but it works in this cup.  The combination of the two teas creates a very well-rounded taste – with a slightly woodsy note and a fresh note of vegetation.  I can even taste just a hint of smoke in the background, but it is ever so slight.

This creates a nice backdrop for the flavoring.  I taste a “fruit” taste that is somewhat like a tropical melangé.  Like the description above suggests, it does have a very exotic taste to it, and I love the whisper of the nutty flavor of almond, and although I don’t get much of the creamy taste that the description implies, I do like how well the nutty tones meld with the other flavors here.

There is also a delicate floral note that hits about mid-sip.  It is lightly sweet and gives a really interesting complexity to this refreshing cup of tea.  But it is the fruit flavors that are the most prominent here:  there is a distinct citrus-y tone to this tea, as well as an equally distinct berry tart taste that lingers in the finish.

Because of the overall lightness of this tea, it has very little to no astringency (I didn’t detect any, and my palate tends to be very sensitive in detecting astringency), and when brewed properly, it is not bitter.  Just delicious, fruity flavor!  Oh!  And this one is even better when chilled!  Yum!