Chocolate PuErh from Numi Organic Teas

Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh bags are the perfect intro to flavored Puerh: organic yet inexpensive, and bagged for easy travel. In fact it was the very first tea I pulled from my very first sampler, an inexpensive add-on in my amazon cart. This is also sold loose leaf by the pound.

I have to admit I was skeptical because not only did I dislike chocolate, but I also had heard “fishy” things about the fermented tea. But as a scientist, I had to test these assumptions, and the evidence supported the null hypothesis. This was a light bodied, full flavor tea, that I’ve found is impossible to screw up in the brewing process.

This silky brown infusion reminds me of a hot cocoa with toasted marshmallows fresh from the campfire, and ooooooh that tiniest hint of that nutmeg. Alton Brown would be proud.  As a final touch of perfection, cue a chef’s kiss, no sweetener was needed!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Flavored Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Numi Tea

This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey from Zest Tea

“Mombie”  Noun; a parent who is so overcome by sleep deprivation that their appearance looks more and more like a zombie each day.

Oh how I wish this Zest Tea were around when I had a 6-month-old with jetlag. 150 mg of caffeine per cup. Oh how that would have prevented my choking down overpriced coffees. Oh how I would’ve cherished those early mornings easier with a hearty cuppa. If only my local store carried it then, as it does now.

Fortunately now all I have to deal with is the daily grind of a toddler, and this power packed Earl Grey is a perfect mid-day bolster. And who needs a seista when there’s never-ending muddy laundry to be done??

With Sherlock Holmes gracing the teabag’s packet, I know I’ll be ready to go at a moments notice, but still come across refined… or crazy… either works. I imagine Prince William with his 3 kids now, still having to attend royal functions but maybe with those glazed over eyes and a bit of nodding. (Please tell me I’m not the only one reading those tabloids) Perhaps the Duke would’ve benefitted from this nice cuppa Earl, eh!

Real talk, you need to be careful brewing this one — The excess caffeine can easily create a bitterness if over brewed. And the wonderful floral, bergamot aftertaste just won’t cover up a sloppy steep.  I propose an overnight cold brew – two birds, one stone!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: flavored Black Tea bags
Where to Buy: Zest Tea

Earl grey has been a popular blend since it was introduced to the British Earl, Charles “Chaz” Grey, in the 1830’s. Most Earl Greys are made with low-quality base teas, but not ours. Zest’s Earl is made with premium Nilgiri Indian black tea blended with a delicious bergamot essential oil. Don’t thank us. Thank Chaz.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Blueberry Custard customized from BlendBee.com

Confession: I’m completely fine with drinking alone…. Tea, of course 😉 But drinking with friends offers some undeniable benefits – laughter and memories made, more importantly a spread of tastebuds that offers better insight than just one picky tongue.*

There are so so many beautiful ingredients in this custom Blueberry Custard from Blendbee, I needed all the help I could get to do it justice! First off, I highly recommend using a clear brewing system (gravity steeper or mason jar) to be able to fully enjoy the making of this majestic Purple infusion. (Fortunately I had just cleaned the hard-earned tea patina off mine with baking soda and vinegar, so it was even more beautiful than my usual cuppa!)

Between the three of us sipping, only one added sugar and it really took away from the innate sweetness of this mix, hmmm better off just trusting the blend maker on this one. Some of us were crazy about this tea, but others found the herbals to be unpalatable. So we looked into what exactly were imbibing…

With Blendbee, you can create your own mix weighing anywhere from 1 oz to ½ pound. You start with a choice from 15 tea bases, and here they chose the China Green tea.

Next there are over 90 categorized ingredients to choose from (though it’s recommended to stick below 8). Must be a tough decision from all those options!  This blender chose 7:
Earthy and pungent category: yarrow flower;
Mild and fruity category: elder berries;
Herbaceous herb category: strawberry leaves;
Mild and nutty category: ashwaganda root;
Mild and herbal category: agrimony herb, and coriander seed;
And one uncategorized, marshmallow root.

Next the website offers additional extracts and flavors (up to 3 per blend). Here the blueberry and custard flavor extracts were used. (It was argued at one point that this put the ingredient count to 9, above the recommended 8, but that person is a stickler for semantics and didn’t like the tea anyway, so read that with a grain of salt).

Some of these herbs strike me as acquired tastes, beyond that, I would’ve preferred having actual blueberries instead of the extract, though I didn’t see it as an option (yet) and the extract probably consistently offers more flavor in a smaller space.

This organic blend featured so many different flavor profiles, it was a… memorable… experience for well-developed sippers, and newbies alike.

*The best part of sharing with friends is finding a loving home for leaves that aren’t your favorite (yet). Thanks H.R.!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: BlendBee
Description:

Create custom teas, with more than a hundred quality and organic ingredients to choose from.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Rose Chateau by The Love Tea Co

I steeped this tea at 200 degrees in about a cup of water for about four minutes.

This is another selection from the Love Tea Company, who donates a quarter of their proceeds to mental health causes. Their teas also come in cute little reusable canisters!

The dried leaf has rose petals and other flower petals too, it looks like. According to the ingredients list these could be hibiscus, calendula, or sunflower petals, which are all included in the blend! In addition, there’s green tea in here and some curled oolong bits and some pieces of dried fruit (which turn out to be rosehips based on the ingredients list). It smells mainly fruity, with some rose/floral scent.

The steeped liquid looks almost pinkish-peach and smells like strawberry with floral notes and some savory green tea flavor.
I steeped for four minutes because it didn’t seem very strong at three (and I prefer getting stronger flavor out of my tea when I can).

First sip: it tastes a little astringent and strawberryish; the rose flavor isn’t overpowering here (maybe I just didn’t get any rose petals in my scoop of leaf?). It’s delicate and reminds me the most of a strawberry-flavored green tea, which is quite nice and desserty. There’s a bit of seaweedy vegetalness in the back of the throat. A few particles of tea escaped the strainer so I’d recommend a fine mesh if you don’t like that sort of thing (although mostly they’re just sitting on the bottom of the cup not causing a problem).

Overall it’s light, floral/fruity, but with a hint of buttery aftertaste (from the oolong), so I’d say it’s great for afternoon or evening relaxation (unless you’re super-sensitive to caffeine; green tea generally has just a little).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green/Black
Where to Buy: The Love Tea Company
Description

This blend was created by a Canadian Master to evoke the character and spirit of France’s best rose vintages.  It’s combination of some of the most luxurious green and black teas available today.  Like wine, it goes perfectly with cured meats and fine cheeses.  Milk and sugar are NOT recommended with this one.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Green Tea Chai by Vahdam Teas

Steeped with a heaping tablespoon of leaves at 175 degrees in about 1 cup of water.

This tea was a new experience for me! I’ve tried lots of flavored green teas, but never one where the green tea was a substitute for black tea in a chai blend. As a result of this tea, I’ve realized how different these spices are outside of a conventional chai context and how much I take the black tea base for granted in chai blends!

As it steeps, I can detect a fragrance of spices; it smells like cinnamon and possibly cloves. The tea liquid isn’t very dark. In fact it’s only achieved a pale honeylike color after it’s finished steeping; it’s a little viscous, with nearly invisible flecks (of cinnamon, perhaps?) swimming in it.

The flavor is very different from any chai I’ve ever tried. The spices, instead of melding with a malty black tea flavor to form a rounded flavor profile, are instead mingling with the bright astringent green tea notes (grassy almost, but not much on the floral side that I can detect). This makes for a very focused flavor overall. It’s highly concentrated in the bright and forward flavor notes and not so much rounded out with the deeper tones that a black tea normally imparts to a chai (in my experience). It’s almost bitter, but then again, I may have oversteeped it a bit–I like my chais strong.

With milk, it’s suddenly not very strong at all. It still has spice flavors, but I’m really missing the black tea base here. And I know you aren’t really “supposed” to put milk in green tea, but that’s what I normally do with chai so I figured why not?

So to sum up, don’t expect this to taste like a more conventional chai! Instead, expect a bright, spicy, focused flavor that’s intended to be enjoyed alone or with a little sweetener; I recommend trying it without milk. In fact, I bet this would make a great iced tea!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Vahdam Teas
Description

A superior blend of fresh green tea from Darjeeling blended with choicest Indian spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove & Black Peppercorns. Discover a smooth fulfilling aroma of fresh greens with delicious undertones of raw spices in every sip. The liquor is bright green with an energizing aroma. A unique chai tea which can be served with or without milk.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!