Morning Blend/Fraser Tea

When I first became a hot tea drinker – and such a thing was relatively unheard of when I was growing up in the hot and humid South where sweet iced tea reigns supreme – I began with breakfast blends and always added milk and sugar. Then as I discovered higher quality teas, milk and sugar went by the wayside, and so did all those dusty blends that needed smoothing and soothing.

Now and then I still enjoy a breakfast tea. They can be quite nostalgic for me. But they have to be good enough to be enjoyed sans additions.

When I received this sample of Morning Blend from the Sisters to review, I knew it was a breakfast tea but my prior experience with Fraser made me pretty sure it would be drinkable even without additions.

This isn’t builders’ tea. This is a blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Chinese black teas that steeps up to a cup quite suitable for breakfast and quite nice on its own if you like your tea plain. It is lightly malty, with very light briskness and medium body. The aroma is complex with fruity notes.

The description says that there is orange peel in this tea but note that this does not taste like an orange flavored tea. If you were given a cup to taste with no information about the tea, I don’t think you would say it was an orange tea or even that you knew there was orange peel in it. Ceylon teas naturally have fruity notes with some high grown ones having pucker worthy lemon notes, which can be too harsh for me at times, and I perceive the orange peel in this as simply part of the classic Ceylon citrus note, but citrus fruity and not so astringent. It adds a bit of interest to the high notes here without taking center stage.

As usual, I roped a passerby into trying the tea while giving as little information on what to expect as possible. The verdict? “This is very smooth.” Not something you hear about breakfast tea every day.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Fraser Tea

Description

Why choose between English, Irish, or Scottish Breakfast teas when it’s possible to enjoy the finest qualities of each in a brand-new way?   Boldly blending Assam, Ceylon, and Chinese organic black teas, our signature Morning Blend Organic Black Tea is crafted with a focus on flavor, health, and well-being in mind.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Blueberry Black/Tea Sparrow

Organic Blueberry Black by Tea Sparrow is a blueberry black tea (shocking!) comprised of organic black tea, organic dried blueberries, organic blackberry leaves, and certified organic blueberry flavor.

I have had this tea once before, cold steeped in lemonade. That time, the drink tasted mostly of lemonade but had a bit of a blue candy sweetness added in. Like those gummy sharks that are meant to be blueberry but mostly just taste sweet.

This time I made the tea as a plain hot brew, letting 1.5 teaspoons of leaves steep in 10 ounces of 200F water for 3 minutes. The hot tea definitely tastes a lot more like blueberry than the tea lemonade. However, it is not like the fruit so much. It also isn’t much like blueberry gummies. Instead, I would say this tastes similar to blueberry pie filling as it has the blueberry essence with a whole lot of rich sweetness as well. The base tea gives this a thickness that compliments that gooey filling flavor, but it can also be a little brisk at times (for my tastes, at least).

I was surprised at how this captured blueberry flavor, even if it wasn’t quite true to the berry. Tea Sparrow has mostly been a lot of misses and though the brew of this cold steeped in lemonade wasn’t bad, it didn’t really scream blueberry to me. This hot tea is definitely blueberry-inspired and it is a nice dessert-like treat.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  Tea Sparrow

Description

Tea Sparrow is a tea subscription service. Check out the site below.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pumpkin Chai/Laughing Tree Tea

As a tea addict I am constantly on the hunt for tea. I mean literally every store, event or venue I go to I check to see if tea is present anywhere. I suppose some folks shop for clothes, others for gadgets and gizmos but I shop for tea. So when I was at the Freight House Farmer’s Market in Davenport I of course went in search for tea. I was surprised that there were several stands selling everything from kombucha to matcha to loose leaf. Tea was well represented here!

After walking around a bit I stumbled upon Laughing Tree Tea’s vendor stand. I must admit the free sample of peach green tea got me. I am a sucker for samples. But the sample was very nice so I decided to scope out the offerings. There were a lot of teas to smell and different sizes of tea to purchase. I do appreciate when companies offer sample packs of tea because honestly I am drowning in tea reserves. I often times want to sample a tea but don’t want to commit to a whole 2 ounces. Plus my husband tells me I might have to rent a storage pod if I continue to add to my collection. At any rate i purchased 4 samples to try.

Like a kid in a candy store I ripped open the first sample as soon as I got home! The first one I have tried and am reviewing today is Pumpkin Chai.

Laughing Tree Tea (try saying that 3 times fast) is a hand blended and locally sourced company that sells their tea in their cafe in Waterloo, IA but also at various farmer’s markets in the area. I smelled the sample of Pumpkin Chai in the vendor stall and immediately loved it! The scent is spicy, sweet and a bit nutty. I steeped my sample up at 212 degrees for 3 minutes. I felt that the tea could actually benefit for a slightly longer steep time so I let it steep an additional 2 minutes after my first sip. The base of this tea is black tea with rooibos. I enjoyed the mix of teas as the rooibos lends a nutty and sweet dimension to the blend. The traditional chai spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and black pepper are present as is coriander. I absolutely love coriander, it gives such a warm distinct flavor to blends. Also, almond, orange, flower petals and nut oil are added.

I really loved this tea. The spices blend so well together without being too spicy. There is a slight hint of pumpkin so I am suspecting that is contained in the natural flavors that are added. I loved this tea on its own but did find that adding a bit of soy milk enhanced the flavor. I suspect this will make an amazing latte.

This is an excellent blend and I have high hopes for the other 3 tea samples that I picked up. It seems that so often we hear about the large tea companies out there but the smaller companies like Laughing Tree Tea are doing some amazing things with tea that deserve to get noticed!

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Laughing Tree Tea

Description

Warm up with this with this pumpkin flavored chai. If you like pumpkin this is your chai. Offered seasonally be sure to pick up your brew. Chai is traditionally served sweetened and this fun tea is pre-sweetened with ghost and pumpkin candies.
Ingredients: Tea, Cinnamon, Apple & Rosehip pieces, Ginger, Cardamom, Black & White pepper, Candy, Hibiscus & Calendula & Sunflower petals, Clove, Nutmeg, and Natural flavors.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Creme Brulee Grey Black Tea/Plum Deluxe

Earl Grey tea is black tea with bergamot flavor, and there is a huge difference in natural bergamot – a type of sour orange – and artificial. Some people think they don’t like Earl Grey because they tried either a tea made with a poor substitute for the real deal or a base that too lemony and astringent to take on sour orange. Others love the stuff, any old way.

Enter Creme Brulee black tea. Plum Deluxe has blended a strong black tea base with orange peel, jasmine flowers (<3), blue cornflower, bergamot oil, vanilla extract, and….here I quote the package…love and gratitude.

This tea is STRONG. I don’t mean strong, in-your-face bergamot. I mean they didn’t wimp out on us for the black tea base. It is quality stuff. The first cup has deep, dark, rich color. The bergamot flavor is strong enough to please an Earl Grey lover, and balanced enough with the other ingredients to please the reluctant. The addition of vanilla adds a nice creaminess, and jasmine sweetens it. The aftertaste leaves a brisk tingle on the tongue.

To stretch my sample, I made a second steep. It was good, and sufficiently strong! In future, I would blend the two steeps together at the outset and double my tea dollar. The price is reasonable for a blend of this quality, but more money equals more tea! I was smitten with their Reading Nook blend, so I want to get the most bang for my buck so I can get all the teas I love and share them, too.

I checked out their accessories page and saw quite a few items that would make great gifts…or treats for me! I was rather taken with the pewter dragonfly strainer, but the Victorian infuser was really nice as well. This is also one of the more reasonable subscription boxes. Take a look!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

Description

Creme Brulee Earl Grey was the winner in our recent customer appreciation month vote – it won by a landslide, which tells you how good it is. The creamiest of cream earl greys, the brisk bergamot notes balance nicely wonderful rich cream notes. It makes a dandy London Fog (earl grey latte) or just enjoy it with your favorite tea cookie or biscuit.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pistachio Ice Cream/DAVIDs Tea

Disclaimer: I have a long-standing love affair with this flavor. I bought it as one of my very first non-grocery-store loose-leaf blends. The combination of its yummy flavor and the general fact that loose leaf is better combined to make this BASICALLY BAE, as the kids say.

So take this gushing with a grain of salt.

Speaking of salt, pistachio has a sweet & salty vibe that’s delicious. It’s a rare tea ingredient, which makes it special. The funkiness of the pistachios is held up by sweet apples, sturdy black tea, and almonds. The result is a cozy, warm, sweet flavor that reminds me of nothing so much as David the Gnome.

If you don’t remember David the Gnome, it was a cartoon show about gnomes who gave each other nose kisses and hustled around the forest, healing animals. It was adorable. It was kind. It made you feel joyous. JUST LIKE THIS TEA.

For a while there, David’s Tea had discontinued this, and I was very sad. I was drinking my depleting stash as a “special treat.”

THEN IT RETURNED.

The world is an unpredictable place. Life is short. Buy the tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:

Where to Buy:  Davids Tea

Description

Cool, creamy and out of this world – there’s nothing quite like a bowl of ice cream. Even Roman emperor Nero couldn’t resist its frosty deliciousness. Legend has it he used to send runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavoured with fruits and nuts. Though he had the right idea, it seems he was missing a key ingredient – pistachios. Sweet and salty, pistachio ice cream is just one of those desserts that keep us coming back for more. And with this nutty blend of black tea and crunchy pistachios, you’ll definitely want two scoops.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!