Hot Cross Bun from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

I was too chicken to order a full supply of this springtime blend, but I did get a free sample so I got to get a taste risk-free.  Hot Cross Bun is one of the Easter flavors released by Bluebird Tea Company. This is a black tea and rooibos tea blend, though rooibos makes up the majority, so you won’t be overloaded with caffeine.

The scent of this blend was vibrant and noticeable right out of the bag.  Some of the black tea was clearly a smoky lapsang souchong, but the smoked flavor was closely followed by a powerful, sweet vanilla scent.  Quite the flavor duo.

Brewed, this tea continued to open up and show off its delicious ingredients.  The smokiness cooled off, and became more like the suggestion of a fire in the fireplace.  The creamy vanilla was heightened to the decadence of buttercream icing. Both flavors were nicely balanced by sweet and tart orange zest to bring it all together.

This is a great tea for those days that you want a sweet dessert blend, but don’t want to feel too much like a pastry chef.  The whiff of rugged lapsang souchong brings a unique boldness to this brew and makes you appreciate favorite flavors like cream and citrus in a new light.  Don’t be a chicken like me and the next time you can-order a full bag of this springtime tea before it’s gone!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Rooibos
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Description:

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Carve off a Slice of Frosted Carrot Cake from A Quarter to Tea. . . . . .

In my experience I’ve found that people either love or hate carrot cake.  As for me, with my enormous sweet tooth, I’ll enjoy a slice of carrot cake any day, but that’s not always the case for others. What? Carrots? Cake?  Who’s sneaking vegetables into my dessert? I can understand the dichotomy.

Whether you love carrot cake or not, it’s hard to resist trying a tea flavor as bold and unusual as Frosted Carrot Cake from A Quarter to Tea.  From the beginning, these tea leaves have a lot going on.  This is a genmai cha-based blend, so sencha green tea and gold puffs of toasted rice are available in abundance.  Beside the rice there are actual carrot pieces in the blend, as well as raisins, and dried pineapple.  Ginger and cinnamon balance out this ingredients list and bring their usual baked-good-charms to the flavor palette.

The most impressive part of this blend is the vanilla frosting element, which actually tastes a bit tart and tangy like real cream cheese.  This isn’t just plain-old vanilla flavoring, the specific carrot-cake cream cheese frosting is alive and well in this cup of tea.

This is a green tea, so mind your temperatures and steeps times, no matter how delicious the cake aspects smell, take out the teabag after a few minutes to avoid any bitter undertones.  The frosting notes get more prominent as the tea cools.

Believe it or not, this tea does taste like carrot cake, even without sugar or milk, the fruits and veggies in the tea leaves bring enough natural starchiness and sweetness to make this blend feel full and decadent.

If you love carrot cake, you’ll love this tea.  If carrot cake isn’t your style, give this brew a chance in the name of good fun, you might be surprised by how tasty carrot cake and tea can be.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea
Description:

A cup of well-spiced carrot cake accented with raisins and pineapple for sweetness and a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Glazed Donut from 52Teas

I’ve hear about the 52Teas company for its unique and varying tea flavors (flavors like banana pudding, pumpkin cheesecake, and cotton candy), but this is my first time trying tea from 52Teas.  With a name like Glazed Donut, how could you not give this blend a try?

Glazed Donut is a black tea with organic flavors added to create the dessert-flavor of its namesake.  I brewed this tea in a variety of ways.  First, I went for my preferred style: hot tea without any sugar or milk.  With this method, the strongest glazed donut experience I had was the smell in my mug from the hot brew.  The fragrance had the sugary, frosted notes of a sweet and buttery donut.  When drinking the tea, the sweetness is much more mild, mostly tasting like quality, loose leaf black tea with the expected tart tannin flavors.

I also tried this tea as a twelve-hour cold brew.  The blend is much smoother with this method, though I didn’t find the glazed donut flavor to be any stronger.  It’s still the most noticeable in the scent and the first sip of the tea.  The later notes are all traditional black tea.

Finally, I went out on a bit of a limb for me, and I tried this tea hot, with a hefty teaspoon of sugar.  I also made sure to follow the recommended steeping instructions: brewing for 3 minutes and then letting sit to cool for 10 minutes.  Overall, I think this was the best brewing style.  Adding real sweetness to the glazed donut fragrance helped complete the flavor profile, and letting the brew cool a bit before drinking brought out more donut notes.

For best results, I recommend drinking this blend alongside a morning indulgence of your choice: cinnamon roll, danish, or glazed donut.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

I originally blended this tea as part of the Breakfast Inspired Sampler Add-On for the start-up Kickstarter campaign, but I do have a few packages of this tea remaining.

This tea was crafted with a very special tea base (a Thyolo OP1 from the Satemwa estate in Malawi). It’s a fair-trade and rainforest alliance tea – and it’s seriously good stuff!

I used this tea as the base for flavors to create a Glazed Donut like experiencece – and all I can say about this is YUM! So good!

Ingredients: single estate black tea, organic calendula petals, organic all-natural flavors.

This tea is no longer available but click below for the unique flavors that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vicky’s Sponge Cake from Bluebird Tea Co.

vicky_s_sponge_cakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Think vanilla sponge cake with a dollop of raspberry jam! There is nothing better than a cuppa and cake (except perhaps a cake flavoured cuppa!) and did you know it was our good old queenie Victoria who invented the Vicky Sponge? Guess the name gives it away a bit! She loved taking afternoon tea with her home girls but decided they needed soem extra nurishment to last until dinner. Cake it is then! We like your thinking QV!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ah, Victoria Sponge. My favourite cake. Obviously when I found a tea that claims to replicate it, I just had to give it a try. Of all the people I’d trust to get it right, Bluebird Tea Co. top the list. The scent is right, for starters. Upon opening the pouch, I’m greeted with a waft of raspberries and vanilla. As ever with Bluebird, the dry leaf itself is a thing of beauty – fluffy green raspberry leaves, whole freeze-dried raspberries, smaller pieces of freeze-dried strawberry, and a scattering of desiccated coconut shreds. All on a black tea base, Ceylon specifically in this case. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup (the raspberries are so huge, they throw the measurement out a bit!), and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. The scent, like the dry leaf, is deliciously raspberry-vanilla. I really am thinking cake now!

To taste, the initial flavour is 100% raspberry. It’s quite a tart raspberry, but just sweet enough to stop it being jarring. What’s particularly nice is that it tastes like actual fresh raspberries – there’s no candy-like or artificial-tasting raspberry to be found here. Vanilla emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a pleasant creaminess and an extra dimension of sweetness that puts me in mind of the buttercream filling that usually accompanies raspberry jam in a Victoria Sponge. There’s a tiny hint of cake right at the end of the sip, but it’s a little fleeting. The coconut just starts to come through, and I think it’s this paired with the other ingredients that produce this effect, interestingly.

I quite like the way the flavours build here, one on the other, to create the overall Victoria Sponge effect. I also like that each individual aspect seems to taste natural, and not like it’s been created from a chemical compound in order to replicate “cake” as accurately as possible and at all costs. The raspberry tastes like real raspberry, the vanilla tastes like, well, vanilla. The combination really does suggest the filling of a Victoria Sponge, and (by some alchemy) everything comes together right at the end of the sip to give – cake! My only complaint is that the black base becomes a little astringent and drying as my cup cools – this is definitely one best consumed hot. Other than that, it’s a great success. Highly recommended for all Victoria Sponge fans – cake without the calories, or just a great stop-gap until your next slice!

Gingerbread Flavored Iced Honeybush Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-HONEYBUSH-GingerbreadTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

This is a crowd pleaser. Order this today and offer your Thanksgiving dinner guests an awesome caffeine-free treat with organic flavors of gingerbread and a hint of cream cheese frosting. This is a real treat and likely to go fast. Do not miss out on this one.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Gingerbread is not something I eat often.  I like some gingerbread, but most that I find tends to be a little on the wimpy side with no real ginger flavor.  An exception to that is the gingerbread that I’ve tasted from Nikki’s Cookies.  Good stuff.

But a lot of the gingerbread that you can buy in the grocery stores (about a month ago, you couldn’t walk into a grocery store without seeing a “gingerbread house kit.”  And most of that stuff tastes like it was made from cardboard.  No real ginger flavor – it’s as if the ginger that they use in the recipe is ground ginger that had been sitting on the shelf since Christmas in 1990.  Boring flavor with no ginger kick.

So I’m hoping this tea will give me the kind of gingerbread flavor I want!

I hot-brewed this tea.  I brought a quart of water to 195°F and dropped the sachet into the kettle and let it steep for 9 minutes.  Then I strained the liquid into my favorite half gallon iced tea pitcher and repeated the process:  heated a quart of water – 195°F – and put the same sachet into the kettle.  This time, I let it steep for 11 minutes.  Then I let the pitcher come to room temperature before I stashed it in the refrigerator to cool overnight.

Today, I have a pitcher full of gingerbread tea!  Well, I guess I should say, I did have a pitcher full of gingerbread tea.  Now I have about 1 glassful of tea remaining at the bottom of the pitcher and that glassful will be consumed soon!

This has a nice ginger flavor.  The ginger is subtle but present in every sip.  It doesn’t have a strong, peppery zing from the ginger, but there’s enough ginger in there to know that you’re tasting ginger.  And there’s a pleasant sweetness, almost molasses-y, and that’s something I want to taste with gingerbread too.

This is sweet and enjoyable without being cloying.  The ginger cuts through enough of the sweetness to keep it from tasting too sweet.  The honeybush is a good base for the gingerbread flavors because the nutty and honey-esque flavors of the honeybush really tie in well with the overall gingerbread concept.

If I’m to offer any “complaint” about this tea, it would be that I want a little more “buttery/pastry” like flavor.  That – it would seem – has become a common complaint of mine about some of the baked good flavor teas that 52Teas/Southern Boy Teas/Zoomdweebies has been producing as of late.  I’m just not getting the buttery/pastry-like flavor that I’ve come to love from some of 52Teas’ classic flavors like their Pancake Breakfast tea.  I think that would make this taste more like a gingerbread cookie.

That said, I found this iced tisane to be enjoyable.  I like the flavor of the ginger and the molasses notes are quite delightful.  It’s not my favorite iced tea selection from Southern Boy Teas, but it’s tasty and refreshing.  The fact that the half gallon pitcher is nearly empty after it being in the refrigerator for less than a day should be testament to the fact that I enjoyed the flavor and it is very easy to drink.

Please take a moment to check out Frank’s Kickstarter campaign!  He’s looking to take Southern Boy Teas to new heights and the fundraising effort will help get him started in the right direction!  Please help this small business!