Whisky Chocolate Truffle from A Quarter To Tea. . .

Here are two little-known facts about me, friends: I don’t really drink much alcohol if at all (hashtag my bounce-back time is not what it used to be and all that jazz, hashtag old), and I am SO VERY PICKY about chocolate teas. So clearly, when this whisky chocolate truffle tea arrived on my front door step… well, it already had the odds stacked against it, to say the least.

But y’all: I am nothing if not continually amazed at the tea-magic that Lauren at AQTT is able to create in her flavors on a regular basis. This malty black tea is the perfect vessel for both the slight hint of whiskey, balanced by the not-at-all-fakey bittersweet chocolate notes. I’ve had many, many bad chocolate teas in my life– but consistently, AQTT’s chocolate teas are not among them. Rather than tasting like weird, weak hot chocolate, this brew is almost a touch bread-y and a hint savory while still feeling like a decadent, velvety chocolate treat. A splash of cream really takes this one to the next level, and I feel like I’m in college again, with not a care in the world (and the hangover resilience of a 21-year-old).

Almost 30-year-old Mary, though? She’ll stick to her whiskey non-alcoholic, in a tea latte, please and thanks.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea
Description

This tea was part of the subscription plan, click below to find out more!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bates’ Brambleberry Black Tea from Republic of Tea. . .

This isn’t the first time this surprising little treat has found its way into my tea sample pile, and frankly, I am elated every time a new bag shows up. Beyond my affinity for all things British (and most things Downton Abbey), this tea is a pleasant surprise for your standard pre-bagged tea, serving up a hearty black tea in a seemingly ho-hum round filterbag. Balancing out the base are beautiful berry notes– but nothing artificial, this feels as if Bates himself freshly squeezed some berries into his morning cuppa. (Side note: fellow Downton fans, do we really feel like Bates would be the one to take the time to slip berries into his tea? He seems like more of a straight-English-breakfast man to me. But I digress.) Perfect to toss in your bag when you need some tea from your emergency stash, or a great, un-finnicky brew to keep at your desk: this one can handle varying temps and lack of elaborate home brewing setup.

Perhaps the flavor doesn’t scream Bates to me, but its no-fuss-no-muss simplicity and tastiness certain seem right on par with everyone’s favorite unassuming valet. Now if you’ll excuse me: I’ll be heading to the downstairs for tea with the rest of the service crew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

This tea is no longer on the website but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Colombian Andean Princess Black Tea from Simpson and Vail. . .

Grape-y Goodness? Yes, please! But Colombian Andean Princess Black from Simpson & Vail is much more than that thanks to the simple – yet impressively unique – list of ingredients! The ingredients in this loose leaf tea are Colombian Black Tea, Isabella Grape Skin, Andean Raspberry, and Hibiscus Flower.

If any tea has done Hibiscus Flower perfectly it’s THIS tea! I wouldn’t change a thing about the hibiscus ratio or any other ingredient ratio in this lovely loose tea!

The grape and raspberry combination really make this special. Everything seems to have the same color hue when dry that it camouflages within the packet of ingredients!

S&V states on their website that this tea blend balances the naturally acidic flavor characteristics of Colombian fruits with the sweet flavor of Black Tea. Isabella grape is a hybrid distinguished by its high acidity and enhanced level of antioxidants. Andean raspberry is a type of blackberry found in northwest South America that is noted for its high vitamin C content, calcium, and phosphorus. Andean Princess tea brews to an amber cup with a full fruit flavor.

I enjoyed reading a bit more on this tea and the region it hails from which is the mountainous region of Colombia, in an area steeped in biodiversity, along the western slope of the Andes, is the Bitaco tea estate. They say the gentle mist from the mountains, rich soil, and ample rainfall all stimulate the growth of the tea bushes, producing a tea with unique characteristics.

I was excited to also learn that Bitaco Tea owns over 200 acres of tea plants that are cultivated at over 6,000 feet above sea level in the region of Choco. This region enjoys a high rainfall and has exceptional biodiversity. The tea gardens are located next to a thriving, protected rain forest, the Bitaco Regional Forest Reserve, where there is a wide diversity of flora and fauna: 256 bird species, 28 amphibian species, 23 reptile species and 772 species of plants. The garden, located near the Equator, enjoys a consistent climate which results in a bountiful production of tasty, delicate tea-tips that are picked and processed throughout the year.

Bitaco Tea not only cultivates exceptional teas, they also are committed to their community – (which you know we LOVE to talk about ChariTEAs here at the Sororitea Sisters). They created the Agricola Himalaya Foundation to develop and improve programs focusing on education, especially for local children. Activities focus on the improvement of infrastructure, recreational opportunities, local culture and access to technology.

This is a complete CommuniTEA Tea! Share with others and enjoy and KNOW it comes from people who also are passionate and care, too!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

This Blend balances the naturally acidic flavor characteristics of Colombian fruits with the sweet flavor of Black Tea. Isabella grape is a hybrid distinguished by its high acidity and enhanced level of antioxidants. Andean raspberry is a type of blackberry found in northwest South America that is noted for its high vitamin C content, calcium, and phosphorus. Andean Princess tea brews to an amber cup with a full fruit flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Cherry Bomb! from The Tea Spot

Chocolate Cherry Bomb!

It’s a special day when you get to drink a tea with an exclamation mark in its name!

I loved the aroma of this one as soon as I opened the pouch. The first impression I got from this deep black tea was that it was boozy, rather than sweet candy. Then I was reminded of the smell of cherry pipe tobacco, which is one of my favorite scents ever. When I see Haley Mills sniffing her grandpa in “The Parent Trap” to ‘make a memory’ as she put it, this is the aroma I imagine, even though she said he also smelled of peppermints!

Steeped, this is a strong and brisk black base with chocolate foremost and cherry after. And hallelujah! The cherry tastes like cherry instead of like horrific cherry cough syrup!

This would be a good breakfast tea thanks to that hefty base, and can easily handle milk and sugar. I do recommend that you let it cool a little before you sip. When I sipped it piping hot, I tasted chocolate but no cherry. With just a little cooling, the cherry flavor came out very well.

Don’t overleaf this one! The base is strong enough to stick with a level teaspoon for eight ounces.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description

Think hand-dipped chocolate cherry truffle… sweet, plump, juicy, decadent – without the calories. Its cherry scent and velvety smooth chocolate notes work to enchant, but not overwhelm. Handcrafted from two black teas this is a dessert that you can enjoy for breakfast.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 from Tea Revv. . .

Nothing says holidays like starting each day with a surprise gift. Advent calendars are literally the gift that keeps on giving. Usually they are filled with chocolate but for the tea lover on your list, I recommend checking out the Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 by Tea Revv. 

Tea Revv was kind enough to send me a sneak peak of their upcoming advent calendar and just from the looks I was excited. The advent calendar box was smaller than I anticipated but its true when they say good things come in small packages! The box is beautifully designed with geometric snow-capped mountains and two little geometric penguins. It certainly evokes the idea of winter and fun.

Inside are 24 small satchets with 2 cups of loose leaf tea each. The satchets are all stacked on top of each other, with the Day 1 tea on top. One thing I will say is that those who like the surprise of opening a door or scratching off a label to discover what the tea of the day is will not get that here. As you pull out one satchet, the next day’s satchet is right there with all the details of the tea. For me, the surprise factor is not essential and I actually like having all the details about the tea (including ingredients and brewing instructions) conveniently in front of me. In addition, the satchets are sleek and carry the geometric theme throughout with colorful and fun holiday images.

One other face-value perk of Tea Revv’s Tea Advent Calendar is it’s price. Relative to other companies offering advent calendars, Tea Revv is not very expensive and thus a great gift for every budget.

Now, how can I talk about a tea calendar without discussing some of the teas? I pulled out a couple of teas just to get a feel for the different blends the calendar has to offer. There is a lot of black teas and warming winter/holiday ingredients. Chai lovers would certainly be pleased. However, there are also fruit tisanes, rooibos blends, green teas, etc. Something for everyone.

One of the first teas I tried was the Day 1 tea, Frosted Fruit Spice. Frosted Fruit Spice is a black tea with cinnamon, ginger, apple, cloves, cinnamon quillings, amaranth petals, safflower petals, and natural flavors. The dry leaf and steeped tea have a deliciously sweet and spiced fruit smell. It has me thinking of fruit filling in a winter-themed fruit pie. Flavorwise, that spiced fruit pie filling transfers over to the taste though more subtle than the scent would suggest. Mostly that is because there is a floral component that is strongly coming through and conflicting with the pie filling. The floral picks up some of the base tea which gives it a bit of a drying effect. I don’t love that drying but the spiced fruit component is really tasty and the reason I keep reaching for my mug and with a splash of milk that is the flavor that is highlighted with the floral and drying drowned out.

I also tried Ginger Green. Ginger Green is a much simpler blend which simply combines green tea and ginger pieces. I was curious to try something other than a black blend and this is the first non-black tea I grabbed from the pile on my table. Now I should preface this by saying I am not a green tea lover and for that reason this tea will never be my favorite. With that said, I should note that it is actually a nice tea. The ginger has just the right amount of flavor and burn to keep things interesting against the green tea base. The base has a lot of umami flavor. Usually greens are grassy but to me this has more of a seaweed flavor. It took my by surprise but also had a richness to it that is more consistent with the winter theme of this tea advent calendar box.

All in all, I have enjoyed the teas I have tried so far and I am just getting started. I look forward to exploring all the blends this calendar has to offer.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Tea Advent Calendar
Where to Buy: Tea Revv
Description

2018 Blends Include: Chilly Willy Chai, Cranberry Apple, Notorious Eggnog, English Breakfast, Coffee Lover, Spiced Apple, Christmas Cake, Ice Cream Earl Grey, Relax, Ruby Amaretto, Golden Turmeric, Gingerbread Man, Belly Bestie, Pumpkin Pie Chai, Irish Cream Breakfast, Rum Pud, Snowballs, Christmas Eve tea, Breakfast Pancakes, Ginger Green, Chocolate tea, Ruby Chai, Achooo, & Frosted Fruit Spice.

Winter is here. But fear not. Defrost those hands kick back relax with Tea 24.  24 seasonal loose leaf tea blends! Each sachet has its own winter illustration packaged in a beautifully designed box. All designs produced in-house. Each sachet contains enough tea for two cups or one large mug. Brewing advice on front of sachets.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!