Organic “Latvian Sun” Sampler from Lauku Teas

I recently tried the organic “Latvian Sun” sampler from the Lauku Tea company.  The set came with a honey rooster on a stick, carved apple wood spoon, cute postcards and more.  The three teas included are Anna’s Brigita’s Daylight blend, Anna’s Afternoon blend, and Evita’s Evening blend, all are herbal and naturally caffeine free.

The blends are truly handmade, with the leaves, berries, and roots very chunky and visible in the brew. I appreciated their beautiful online guide to the ingredients used in their tea. For the best flavor profile and a consistent brew, be sure to try and mix up the bag and put a balanced scoop of leaves and berries into your cup.  Too much of one or the other ingredient doesn’t show off the true blended flavor of the teas.

Brigita’s Daylight blend was the original blend that inspired the company.  It was a unique herbal with fermented apples leaves. This was a great departure from the sweet apple-pie-with-cinnamon teas I’ve tried over the years.  Brigita’s Daylight blend was still sweet with apple flavors, but had a more subtle, natural taste, coupled with the gently fruity and floral notes of accompanying black currant leaves, lemon balm, and clover flowers.

Anna’s Afternoon blend might be my favorite of the bunch.  This tea was driven by smooth berries, earthy herbs like oregano, and topped off with fresh and lemony chamomile.  There was also a nice taste of mint in the blend, not as cold or sharp as peppermint, but sweeter almost like the wintergreen taste from a birch tree cutting.

Last is Evita’s Twilight, which is definitely meant as a bedtime tea with relaxing valerian root in the blend. This tea was a little less focused on the sweet green notes of berries and leaves, and featured more herbs like thyme and heather.  The valerian root brought a different kind of sweetness, not quite like licorice, a bit brighter almost like non-spicy ginger or crushed pine needles. The grounded flavors suited the low-key bedtime brew.

All of these teas went incredibly well with a splash of honey, which helped the flavors pop and made the teas all the more comforting and soothing.  Maybe that’s why the sampler set comes with a honey rooster, though that guy is almost too cute to brew. I’ll have to save him for my next cup.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Lauku Tea
Description: Brigita’s Organic Daylight Blend is sunny and stimulating, when you need a clear head and good spirits.
Anna’s Organic Afternoon Blend is uplifting and indulgent, for when you need a reminder that all is good.
Evita’s Organic Twilight Blend is elegant and calming, when it’s time for rest and reflection.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sage Wellness from Plum Deluxe

I love brewing up tea with fresh herbs from the garden or from the kitchen.  With all the turkey and holiday meals in the wintertime, I feel like sage is an especially appropriate herb to be brewing this time of year, so I ordered a bag of Sage Wellness tea from Plum Deluxe.

 

This is a tea with a green rooibos base, which provides the perfect, gentle background for the other herbs and flavors.  In the dry leaf, there are plenty of fuzzy, grey-green leaves from the sage, a pleasure to touch and smell.  Rose petals and lemon peel add to the dreamy fragrance.

 

Beyond the rooibos and sage, this blend also features fruit pieces like strawberry and rosehips, and fruit flavoring from strawberries and peaches.  The sage feels like Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, but the strawberry feels like a summer harvest.  With the two fragrant, flavorful factors of sage and strawberry, the whole blend is reminiscent of a fresh, blooming herb garden.

 

Not too sweet and not too savory, the fruit and herbs come together to make an atypical take on familiar flavors.  With a blend so beautiful to look at and so tasty to brew, I like to pretend that I was wandering in a fantasy garden, plucking bits of sage and picking perfect strawberries to add to my perfect cup of tea.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Plum Deluxe
Description:

Nourish body + soul with the wisdom and healing of fresh herbs and fruits!  Our sage + green rooibos herbal tea artfully blends lemon and orange with a pinch of strawberry and peach to make a delightfully refreshing, flavorful tonic wonderful for when you have those emotional blues or just want a cup of something calm and restorative.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Stuff of Fairy Tales: Organic Nettle Tea from Republic of Tea

Nettle makes me think of ancient forests, fantasy novels, or fairy tales.  I imagine a character moving through the woods getting stung by nettle, or collecting herbs like nettle for a tea or potion.  The herb’s prickly reputation is featured in folk tales where the hero needs to grasp a bunch of stinging nettles, or make a cloak of nettles to fend of some malicious force or break a spell.  (As a side note, apparently there is a world nettle eating championship.  Who knew?)

All that magic in mind, how does nettle taste as a tea?  The Nettle blend from Republic of Tea tastes slightly green with a strong flavor of creamy vanilla, and just a hint of mint.  It’s unclear to me if the creaminess if from the vanilla flavoring or part of the nettle.  This brew has a smooth and buttery mouthfeel like certain green teas.

I did a little research and the internet tells me that nettle leaves should taste reminiscent of spinach or cucumber, green and mineral in flavor.  I’m not picking up on anything strongly like that in this blend, the vanilla clearly takes over.  Maybe I’m in luck, as a spinach tea doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

On its own merits, the Nettle blend from Republic of Tea is a easygoing herbal vanilla brew, with a hint of something green and minty.  I’m glad such a prickly herb was transformed into something so soft and comforting.

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

Nettle leaves have been known to support the body in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that it can help reduce joint inflammation and can help support kidney function.* Nettle tea has also been popular as a tonic for centuries to help women through all phases of life- from menstruation, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, to menopause. A touch of mint and vanilla makes this tea a joy to sip.

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!

Sunset in Seattle from Market Spice. . . . .

Wow! This tea is so cool tasting. It tastes like cream soda. Ingredients include rosehips, vanilla, chamomile, spearmint, raspberry, lemon grass, hyssop and herbs. This blend is very soothing, and very mellow. The taste is so unique and interesting. I want to keep taking another sip because there is just so much going on and I want to keep trying to figure it out. I can see why this tea has won awards and is a “fan favorite” at Market Spice

The first thing I noticed was that it smelled really sweet, so I skipped the agave (this is happening a lot lately! So unusual for me). I’m glad I went without sweetener because naturally it is already sweet enough. The second thing I noticed was vanilla and herbal flavor- spearmint, chamomile, and lemongrass. I could taste the raspberry at the end- but it really just added extra sweetness and nothing tart, which is great in my opinion because I don’t like tart. When I saw spearmint and lemongrass in the ingredients, I got nervous because I really dislike anything minty or lemony. I found that these ingredients were not overpowering and I quite enjoyed the little symphony they created, even if I don’t generally enjoy them on their own.

One thing I would like to mention- as a breastfeeding mother I am apparently not supposed to ingest the herb “hyssop”. It also shouldn’t be ingested if you are on any kinds of medications, like antidepressants. I realized this after I had finished about half the mug. Once I read the warnings on a few different medical sites, I dumped the remaining tea (sadly, because I really wanted to drink it). Please check with your doctor (or at least google interactions) before ingesting any herbs, it can be really dangerous. However- if you aren’t breastfeeding, pregnant, or on medications- go ahead and enjoy! This blend is dang good!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Market Spice
Description

One of our sweetest and most popular herbal teas, Sunset in Seattle is a blend utilizing a myriad of herbs that are soothing and mellow. Ingredients: Rosehips, Vanilla, Chamomile, Spearmint, Raspberry, Lemon Grass, Hyssop and herbs. Contains no sugar and is caffeine free.
This tea is a 3rd place winner in the North American Tea Championship for Flavored Herbal Blends category.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!