Honey Mead from A Quarter to Tea. . . . .

I have had one other flavored genmaicha blend from A Quarter to Tea and I was not a fan. Now that I think about it, my dislike was probably due to improper steeping on my end but nonetheless, the memory had me wary of buying another flavored genmaicha offering. However, when I see flavored genmaichas I feel compelled to buy them anyways, plus the honey in the title was just calling to me. Consequently I bought a mere sample size and now I am kicking myself for not getting more because this is ah.may.zing!

I should mention I have never actually had mead so I can’t speak to whether this tastes reminiscent of its namesake or not but I can say there is a whole lot of honey here and I am loving it. It is sweet and flavorful without being cloying or over-the-top. A lot of that is probably due to the roastiness of the rice toning down the sweetness of the flavoring. Add to that an almost citrusy brightness that is coming from what I imagine is supposed to be the mead element that creates yet another layer of flavor in the mix. I also like that the base is present enough to be detected but neither grassy nor vegetal. It is more like a mellow hay note that meshes seamlessly with the other components.

There’s a lot to keep me interested but nothing that is so powerful that I could grow tired of it after a few cups. So ultimately I was expecting the worst and was instead pleasantly surprised by a tea I could see myself enjoying again and again without getting bored. And that to me is the sign of a pretty great tea!

Here’s the scoop!

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

Sencha and toasted rice make a toasty and sweet base for apple, buttered rum and honey flavors (which are accented further with honeysuckle). Comforting and revitalizing.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Spiced Cucumber Melon from 52Teas . . . . .

If you were a teenage girl in the 90s-2000s (raises hand), there’s not a doubt in my mind that at some point, you owned a bottle of cucumber melon body splash. (Am I right, or am I right?) When I spotted this tea in my sample pile, my mind immediately jumped to that infamous, chemically-fresh scent of my adolescence.

Luckily, upon first sniff, I’m totally blown away– in the best way possible. There’s hints of the true cucumber-melon notes from the scent we’ve all come to know and love, but authentically, not chemically and fake at all. Underneath the bright freshness of the fruit and veg notes are hints of spice and vegetal green.

Brewed, the same notes come out– crisp, fresh and fruity, but a red pepper kick on the back end that is unexpected and delightful. I get a hint of bitterness from the green at the end of the sip when hot, but that bitterness all but disappears as a cold brew, which is a refreshing and unique treat.

All in all, this tea is such a fun, delicious throwback-with-a-twist to my tweenager days. Ow, to throw on my crushed velvet Blossom hat, blast some Ace of Base, and brew another cup!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy:  52Teas

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

A Dark Night Orange Spice Pu’erh from Plum Deluxe. . . .

I’ve always been a black-tea-with-milk-and-sugar kinda girl (thanks, semester abroad in London!). Now, as the years have passed, my tastes have matured, and I’ll happily venture out to less traditional teas and more traditional preparations, but there’s something about a bold black tea paired with creamy + sweet that gets me right in my cozy, nostalgic heart.

So you can imagine my bummer when I was recently put on an allergy test for to be without my beloved coconut milk (the only “milk” left that I could tolerate) for thirty days. SOB. As there’s a silver lining to every cloud, this has (finally!) opened up a category of teas that I all-too-often avoid: black teas that taste best SANS milk. Gasp! Who am I?

When this tea arrived in my monthly tea subscription from Plum Deluxe, I knew it would perfectly fit this new category in my tea-drinking life. A mellow pu’ehr with notes of orange, cinnamon, ginger, rose and anise, with fruity hibiscus? Yes please. It brews a beautifully robust almost walnut-y brown, with just a hint of pink from the hibiscus. Sweetened with a touch of honey, it’s a cup that is absolutely un-put-downable. Spicy and sweet, fruity and robust– like no other tea I’ve ever had. The only downside I can find is that a re-steep of the same leaves just doesn’t produce the same vibrant cup with similarly complex flavors as the first, but that can be a tall order for such a nuanced dry leaf.

Normally, I finish my tea of the month and move on to the next month’s bag without too much love lost. But with my newfound love (and need) for milk-less black teas, this one will be reordered as a permanent fixture in my tea cabinet.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Pu’erh
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

This tea is only available to members of the Plum Deluxe Monthly Subscription Plan. Please click below for the other teas they offer or to learn more about joining their monthly tea membership.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Spiced Coffee from Handmade Tea. . . . .

This sample is a SURPRISE SAMPLE from Handmade Tea, a tea-subscription company! I love blind-box subscription companies. What’s going to come? NO ONE KNOWS. It’s like Christmas EVERY. MONTH.

Handmade Tea is run by a fella named Caleb, who I think I’d like in person. He looks like a very intelligent lumberjack. In addition to mixing, he hires artists he thinks would go well with the blends. A self-professed foodie, he thinks society’s “only a few short years away from tea pairing becoming very common.”

This blurb made me realize — I would love to be a tea sommelier. I kind of already do this with my coworkers. “How are you feeling? Would you like a cup of tea? What are you in the mood for? Fruity? Flowery? Spicy? Sweet? Caffeinated? Let’s narrow it down. Here. I’ll steep it for you. I know how much to use and how long to steep it.” Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a know-it-all, but isn’t that PRECISELY what a sommelier is?

This Spiced Coffee tea is great for the mornings. It’s black and, by what I can tell from taste and how hard my heart’s pounding, a little bit of maté. (ZING, FAM.) There are also some spices and real coffee beans.

“Oh yes,” I whispered when I looked at the bag in which the Sororitea Sisters shipped this to me. “I am going to have a HEART ATTACK.”

There is nothing like a cardiovascular incident to begin a morning.

Despite the ingredients, this is a pretty mellow taste. Swishing the tea around in my mouth yielded a mellow maté flavor. (I pray maté is in this. If it’s not, I’m going to die of humiliation.) Swallowing yielded up the spices and coffee.

It’s a good brew. It’s the kind of brew an intelligent lumberjack like Caleb would make.  Thanks for the morning kick, pal!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: Handmade Tea

This tea is no longer available but click below to learn more about Handmade Tea’s monthly plans.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Maple Almond Dragon Pearls from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

Sometimes when you do tea swaps with other tea lovers, you find yourself surprised by added teas you did not expect nor ask for. And by sometimes, I mean basically every time. Gotta love the generosity of tea friends!

Well, this particular tea is one of those surprises and I was super excited to try it out. If I am being honest, it was the fact that these were black dragon pearls that appealed to me the most. I just love being able to pop a couple of balls of tea into the mug and watch them blossom. It is calming as the tea opens up and releases all its flavor into the brew. I will say though that I probably should have put these in a filter as opposed to directly in the mug because as fun as it was to watch, the pearl completely disintegrated and I had to strain out the leaves before drinking.

As I sip the tea now, the first thing I notice is the taste of the yunnan base. Smooth and malty which transitions nicely into a light note of vanilla. The almond is also present and adds depth to the tea. Unfortunately, I am not sure how much maple is coming through. As a Canadian, maple is a flavor that I get easily excited about but I have noticed it is a flavor that often isn’t done how I would want it to be. This is no exception because I find myself searching for it but to no avail.

This was a little bit of a miss for me given the lack of maple. That is not to say it was bad since I enjoyed the tea and had no trouble finishing the mug of it. However, I was disappointed that this didn’t exactly deliver on what the name promised.

Here’s the scoop!

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

Rich and malty handrolled tea from Yunnan, China with natural maple, vanilla and almond flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!