Easter Egg Nests from Bluebird Tea Co.

I had to try Easter Egg Nests blend from Bluebird Tea Company as soon as I heard about it:  marshmallows, puffed rice, cacao shells? It’s the dessert tea of my dreams! This blend is based on an Easter dessert of rice krispie treats with chocolate, shaped like bird’s nests with a few mini chocolate eggs or marshmallow peeps for good measure.

Springtime and puffed rice or marshmallow teas are all the rage.  There are lots of sweet and festive peeps-inspired teas available this time of year.  This blend from Bluebird Tea Co. is a slight rarity, in that it is a puffed rice tea with a half black tea half green tea base instead of the full green tea base more traditionally found in genmai cha.

This tea tastes like equal parts marshmallowy rice krispie treat and sweet and creamy milk chocolate. The natural nuttiness of the cacao shells is a perfect match for the toasty puffed rice, and I’m glad for the bolder black tea to provide a solid base for all these delightful dessert flavors. I love this tea just as it is, without sugar or milk; it has a tasty balance of starchy rice with smooth vanilla that isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, like salted caramels.

However, I’ve seen some amazing pictures of this tea as a latte, complete with whipped cream and Easter candy and that might just have to be my next dessert concoction!  Happy Spring!

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

The best Easter treats to make as kids: crispy, gooey, chocolatey, goodness! Whether you decorate with chocolate eggs or fluffy chicks we’re all fond of a home-made Easter Egg Crispy Nest (or two!). That’s why our limited edition Easter tea blend is packed with crispy toasted rice, chocolate pieces and (vegan) marshmallows!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Harmony Tea from Mellow Monk. . . . . .

Genmai cha is a special type of green tea with toasted rice.  Some of the rice kernels have popped in the toasting process, looking like little puffed, white popcorn pieces.  I’ve sometimes seen genmai chai billed as the “movie night” tea for its inclusion of these popcorn-like rice pieces. No matter what you name it, genmai cha is a unique and delicious tea experience.

It was a long time in my tea journey before I put genmai cha tea into my usual rotation.  Beyond the puffed rice in the dry leaf, the next most striking impression about the tea is that it is savory.  If you aren’t expecting a savory experience, the brew can be a little unsettling at first.  If you know this tea won’t be fruity or floral going into it, you’ll be much better off.  Tasting Harmony Tea genmai cha from Mellow Monk was no exception.

Brewed, the Harmony Blend smells like warm bread or sticky rice.  With these meal-like flavors, the warm tea might seem almost more like broth than tea.  Over my years of drinking genmai cha, I find this warm brew and its toasty, starchy flavors to be supremely comforting, like sitting in the kitchen when the oven is on and bread is baking.

Despite all this toastiness, it is good not to forget that genmai cha is a green tea, so brew it with slightly cooler water to avoid burning the green tea leaves.  Though the toasted rice is the prominent scent and taste of the tea, there is a role for the green tea to play in the flavor profile.

Green tea on its own can sometimes have savory incarnations, but it is usually a vegetable-inspired savoriness, like buttery bok choy or dark and nutty kale.  The green tea in Mellow Monk’s Harmony Blend is much sweeter, and not too vegetal.  It reminds me of a smooth green tea matcha, green and grassy but still sweet like nutty wheat bread.

It is a rainy, gray day today, and a warming cup of toasty Harmony Tea was just what I needed to turn my mood around.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

Harmoney Tea™ is a genmaicha — green tea mixed with roasted brown rice. The rice imparts a nutty, toasty flavor that makes genmaicha one of the most popular types of green tea in America. Unlike some tea growers, this artisan roasts his own rice, which he buys from local farmers. (During roasting, some of the rice grains pop like popcorn. This popped rice is also included in the mixture to enhance the flavor.)

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!

Firewater from Pelican Tea. . . . .

Firewater from Pelican Tea gets its name from the addition of hot habanero peppers to the tea.  But hot peppers aren’t the only unusual ingredient, this solid black tea also has toasted brown rice, an ingredient that is usually found in green tea genmai cha teas.

I always like to get a whiff of my tea leaves before I brew them, but I was a little nervous about sticking my nose in the bag this time.  Would I get a noseful of hot peppers and run away sneezing like in the cartoons?  Well, I got lucky, this tea smells savory and earthy and a bit like baked bread from all the starchy brown rice, but no burning or sneezing.

I let the leaves steep and took in the scent of the brewing tea.  Still no bite of spice, just more toasted cereal tones from the rice, and a robust black tea. Taking a sip, I finally get a glimpse of the hot peppers.  At the back of each sip there is the slightly smoky, chipotle flavor of habanero peppers, and a warm burn of capsaicin down my throat.  It’s not so spicy as to be unpleasant, but it is definitely a distinctive experience.  All the forward flavors of the tea focus on the nutty, roasted rice.

This would be a great tea for those who like rice in their tea, like in genmai cha.  Or this would be a winner for those of you who like the spicy soup sipping broth products out there. The brown rice and earthy black tea take over most of the flavor palette in this tea, but the passing flame of hot pepper spice with each sip makes this something special.

All in all Firewater is a really unique blend that would be a fun gift for any lover of all things hot and spicy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Pelican Tea
Description:

The original Pelican Tea, and an instant classic.  Habanero-infused Orange Pekoe black tea and toasted brown rice contribute to an unpretentious blend that’s as comforting as it is spicy.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mango Sticky Rice Green Tea from Ette Tea

MangoStickyRiceTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Mango Sticky Rice is a blend of genmaicha, black tea, roasted barley, mango dices & candied coconut. Very much inspired by the Thai local dessert, the tea brews like a platter of roasted glutinous rice with the coconut and mango coming in towards the finish on the palette. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mango Sticky Rice green tea from the Singaporean tea company Ette tea hits the nail on the head. I have not had a tea this interesting in a long while. The aroma of the dry leaf is underwhelming, but once you dunk those deep dark emerald leaves, teeny tiny toasted rice kernels, and the stray mango or coconut piece in water, something wickedly good this way comes. The aroma of the steeped leaf is also deceiving, but I must plough through! I still smelled normal genmaicha. Sigh. How could I have let my hopes up when I was feeling a bit betrayed? But then, I took my first sip. And was transported back in time.

I am sitting at a kitchen table, my nose barely peeking over the tabletop. It is a blistering hot summer evening. I must be what, 6? 5? My mother is stirring chunks of irregularly cut mangoes into a pot of rice, sweetened with coconut milk and plenty of sugar. I am absently chewing on the skin of one of her slashed mangoes, trying to suck out all the mango goodness. I wait patiently for her to finish, chomping on my mango skins and gnawing on the massive, surfboard pit. When my mother places a small bowl of mango sticky rice that she learned how to make from her mother, I eagerly grab a spoon and begin to devour all the sweet, fruity, coconutty goodness. I could lick a bowl clean in a matter of seconds.

To me, compliments could not be higher. This tea is so spot on with it’s sticky rice-ness, it’s light hint of mango, and coconut, that I am taken back in time. You know a tea is good by it’s time travelling qualities! I love how straightforward it is. I can pick out each flavor easily and distinctly. The name tells you what you’re going to get, nothing mysterious. But the only mystery to me is, “How did they make this tea so good?”