Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Our goal with this blend was to create something that was distinctly Minnesotan with additions like Minnesota Wild Rice and north woods juniper berries, while still feeling decadent and rich for a tea lover like Lady Gaga. Vanilla bean and generous saffron make the brew rich, full and sweet without overwhelming and heavy-handed cloying artificial sweeteners.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I saw that this was a limited-edition blend created to honor Lady Gaga’s visit to Minnesota, I knew I had to try the tea. Not because it’s a tea created for Lady Gaga, but, because it is a limited-edition tea! I am a sucker for limited-edition because … well, they’re limited. I like to know what I might possibly be missing out on, you know?
And I’m glad that I decided to buy a sampler package of this tea! It’s lovely!
Reading the ingredients list, one might think that this is a wild twist on the classic Genmaicha … and yeah … there are some similarities, but this is WAY more than just your average Genmaicha!
It’s a delightfully aromatic and sweet cup with notes of vanilla. I am also picking up on a gentle, warm ‘pine-like’ resinous flavor from the juniper berry. The rice gives it a smooth, nutty flavor. I don’t taste a heavy ‘vegetal’ flavor with this tea although I do taste notes of edamame. I’m getting that an umami sort of taste here that I attribute to the green tea.
At the start, I don’t taste a lot of saffron flavor, but I can definitely smell the saffron when I lift the cup to take a sip. It’s beautifully fragrant! As I continue to sip, I can taste the saffron notes beginning to develop, although I must admit that saffron is not a spice I have a lot of familiarity with (it’s a seriously expensive spice!) but I do taste subtle hints of it here.
I taste the rice and the vanilla most prominently and these two together give the cup an almost “rice pudding-ish” sort of flavor. By the time I reach mid-cup, I can pick up on more of the green tea flavors – it tastes sweet and savory and lush without tasting overly “leafy” or “green” or “vegetative.” The nutty notes of the rice intensify by the time I’ve reached the bottom of the cup.
I find myself in agreement with the last sentence of the above description … the vanilla and saffron make this a rich, full, and sweet without needing to add sweetener and yet the sweetness is not an overpoweringly, cloyingly sweet taste, so I would recommend adding sweetener very cautiously and only after you’ve tasted it first, you may find that you don’t need it at all!
This is also a tea that offers multiple infusions. I steeped the leaves three times and got a really pleasing flavor each time I steeped it. The second infusion was a little less “creamy” and “full” than the first cup, but it was still very satisfying and deliciously rich. These later infusions offered more nutty flavors and a little more green tea taste than the first did, and I think these flavors are worth exploring!
A really good blend. I recommend getting some of this while the getting is good because the website says that the quantities are low!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Zest Tea
Our Blue Lady Black blends a sultry South Indian black tea base with an aromatic mix of orange, lemon, passion fruit, and hibiscus. A peppering of vivid blue cornflower petals and bits of orange peel make for a visual spectacle. Blue lady will excite all of your senses. No wonder this is a favorite among hot and chilled tea drinkers.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about Zest High-Octane Tea here.
I thought that this Blue Lady Black Tea from Zest Tea was the ideal tea to review on tax day. We got to get those taxes done and in the mail, right? Actually, I finished my taxes in the first week of February, but, I know that there are those who don’t get them done and April 15th always seems to be crunch day, right? So, this one’s for you!
Zest Teas are “High-Octane” teas, that is to say that there is more caffeine in this cup of tea than in the average cup of flavored black tea. The goal, according to the makers of Zest Tea, was to create a high quality cup of tea that had the caffeine of a cup of coffee.
My one concern was this: I can’t drink coffee. Coffee makes me sick. I used to drink coffee every morning until I realized that the reason I was feeling sick around 11 am was that the coffee I was drinking every morning was making me feel that way. Was this “High-Octane” Zest Tea going to have the same effect on me? I kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t.
This tea is VERY aromatic. When I opened the pouch, I was greeted with a very fruity “punch” of fragrance: I could smell citrus notes of orange and lemon and I could smell the passion fruit. And despite the images that the “High-Octane” evoked in my head, it doesn’t smell of gasoline. Not one bit. It smells like a fruit flavored black tea. I like that smell.
It tastes great! The fruit notes of citrus and passion fruit are strong, but I also taste the Nilgiri black tea base. It has a pleasing flavor: rich and smooth, no bitterness, and it has lovely notes of malt.
I like the way the notes of malt play with the notes of lemon and orange. I also appreciate the balance that has been achieved in this blend: I taste the strong fruit notes but there is a full-flavored black tea base to fill in the background. There is also an agreeable balance of tart and sweet here. It is neither too sweet nor too tart.
The hibiscus in this blend adds a little bit of body to the cup and a hint of tart flavor that complements the citrus notes. Not a lot of hibiscus flavor, just enough tart and tangy taste to contrast with the sweeter notes of the fruit.
There are no weird/funky flavors associated with the extra dose of caffeine in the tea. Not that I thought there would be, but for those of you who might have thought: “What will that “High-Octane” thing do to the flavor?” I’m here to tell you that I don’t notice anything off with the flavor at all. This tastes like tea. It doesn’t taste different or off or funky in any way. It just tastes like a tasty tea with lovely notes of citrus and passion fruit.
So far, I really like what I’ve tasted from this tea. I’ll come back in a couple of hours to let you know if I felt any ill after-effects from the caffeine.
OK … so a few hours have lapsed since I finished the cup of tea, and here’s what I noticed:
- More energy: Yep. I could feel the extra burst of caffeine. But it didn’t feel like the jolt you’d get from a cup of coffee. It was stronger than the usual energy flow that I’d get from the usual cup of tea, though. A bit more like the unbridled jolt from coffee, but, I didn’t feel jittery or … well, I didn’t feel like I had just consumed a cup of coffee. But there is definitely an elevated level of invigorated energy from this tea.
- No ill effects: I didn’t feel that icky feeling that I would feel after I drank a cup of coffee in the morning. Big bonus points for that.
- No “crash”: After drinking coffee and experiencing that jolt, a few hours later, I usually feel the crash. I feel a lack of energy, like I need another cup of coffee to get me going again. Now, the lack of crash could be from the fact that I drink tea throughout the day, but, my tea drinking today has been limited to this one cup of tea from Zest Tea and then a couple of glasses of cold-brewed black iced tea. I don’t know the level of caffeine from the iced tea, but, I will say that I don’t usually feel “energized” after I drink iced tea. I feel refreshed and I feel my thirst has been quenched, but I don’t feel the burst of caffeinated energy from iced tea.
OK, so there you have it. I like this stuff … it’s a great way to get your act together in the morning on those days that you really need to get it together. And it tastes great too. This tea has it going on.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Culinary Teas
A very interesting and flavorful tea (hints of strawberry and lemon). Have a cup and see yourself lounging on a divan at the end of the day. Lady Londonderry is perfect hot or iced.
Learn more about this tea here.
Very nice! This Lady Londonderry Tea from Culinary Teas has a really lovely balance of flavors – offering a brisk black tea base with notes of sweet strawberry and tangy lemon. It’s a really lovely afternoon tea – and it makes a stunning iced tea too!
Of course, iced tea weather is starting to wane, which is just fine by me, I prefer my tea hot! I still find myself guzzling at least a quart of iced tea daily – and this one really tastes great iced. The black tea has a slightly sweet, slightly earthy, somewhat astringent quality to it, giving it that brisk, refreshing taste that I look for in an iced tea.
And the strawberry and lemon work really well together. The strawberry has enough sweetness to soften the tart lemon to give the cup a really tasty contrast. It’s sweet and fruity, with a nice, tarty tingle toward the finish. And even though it is a sweet and fruity tasting tea … these flavors do not overpower the black tea base … the black tea comes through strong and I like that.
An invigorating thirst quencher! And be sure to check out Culinary Teas’ homepage … they’ve always got specials on their tea of the week!