Warm Fuzzy – Hand-blended tea from PaperBoxGoodies

Today’s blend, Warm Fuzzy, comes from Etsy shop PaperBoxGoodies. This teabag came with a cute tag and tea charm, helping remind me that each bag is hand-filled by the small Etsy shop.

Warm Fuzzy lives up to its name,  With fuzzy chamomile blossoms and green tea, this is a cozy, relaxing blend.  The grassy green notes pair easily with the floral, lemony chamomile.  For a tea with blend of herbal ingredients, this was gentle and sweet, definitely not bitter or medicine-like.  I think this blend is best with touch of honey to bring out the natural sweetness in the chamomile. I prefer teas with a bit more spice or boldness, but this is a kind, comforting brew for when you need to calm down and drink something nice-and-easy.

I don’t see Warm Fuzzy in stock on PaperBoxGoodies’ Etsy shop, but there are other intriguing flavors with names like Purple Snozberry, Bluesfest Green, or Passionmint Green.  After the quality of Warm Fuzzy, I look forward to trying other blends from PaperBoxGoodies.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: PaperBoxGoodies
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo. . . .

My sample of Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo looked so unusual in the bag I had to give it a try.  It looks a bit like sage or a white tea, grey-green in color and fuzzy to the touch, with a chain of full, yellow blossoms.  I needed my big infuser to handle all the lush stems, leaves, and blossoms of this tea.

I followed my usual pattern for lightly flavored herbal teas and steeped these leaves with boiling water, lots of leaves, and waited a good ten minutes.

Brewed the tea is very fragrant, vegetal but sweet, almost like brown sugar and okra.  There’s a hint of something in the scent that reminds me of savory dishes in the kitchen, like black pepper or oregano: herbal but spicy.

The taste of this tea has some of the familiar lemon and chamomile notes, gently floral, sweet and bright.  But this tea goes behind the chamomile flavors and has a more fermented great tea base beneath all that sweet lemon.  The sweetness is worth noting, there is a very forward, almost-caramel note in the scent and aftertaste.

This was a unique blend in looks, smell, and taste, not to mention it is an herbal tea packed with good things to help you live a long and healthy life.  Unless you go into the mountains to pick some more tea and encounter the gods of Mount Olympus, that is.  Safe travels and happy brewing!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Kilo

This variety, Sideritis Scardica, comes from the legendary Mount Olympus, in the Balkans, situated between Thessaly and Macedonia. It has been tested for antioxidants by Brunswick Labs, (www.brunswicklabs.com) the leader in bio-analtyical testing. It has a mild and very pleasant taste and aroma.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vivacious Vitalitea by Vampyre Tea Company (Cup of Love). . . . .

Steeping: 3 g at 212°  in 1 cup for two minutes. . .

This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.

As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your tea). It also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place – citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.

It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).

Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Cup of Love

A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day.  Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy

drink.  It leaves the body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of life’s adventures.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ten Flavors of Kombucha from GT’s Living Foods

Kombucha appears to be all the rage right now, with stores stocking more companies and flavors than I’ve ever noticed before, even outside the shelves of my local health food store.  What is kombucha?  Kombucha is fermented black tea.  The fermentation process gives the brew carbonation and bacteria, the good kind of bacteria like in yogurt, which helps the digestive system.  Due to the fermentation process, some kombuchas are contain alcohol, and others have gone through processes to filter out this excess alcohol and make it safer for those who don’t partake.  Check on the alcohol content of the next bottle of kombucha that you pick up to make sure it’s at a level you prefer.

My favorite Kombucha brand at the moment is GT’s Living Foods, specifically their Enlightened and Synergy series.  These teas come in heavy glass bottles with well-designed labels, and those with a white cap contain only trace amounts of alcohol.  Not to mention, these teas are available in seemingly every flavor imaginable.  Each time I find a store that stock’s GT’s Kombucha, I find a new flavor I haven’t seen before.

The best flavor I’ve tasted is their Synergy Trilogy flavor, which I see most often on the shelves.  Trilogy features a trio of fruits and spices, blending raspberries, lemon, and ginger with the bubbly black tea base.  This is the perfect balance of sweet and tart that compliments the sour bite of the fermented tea. The fizziness makes this feel like a sweet treat, but it has far less sugar than a can of soda, and more natural ingredients.  With black tea, bubbles, and that perfect touch of tartness, this kombucha always makes me feel like celebrating.  I can’t speak to how the good bacteria has helped my stomach, as I haven’t noticed a drastic change, but drinking the tea does do wonders for my morale.

Some of the other flavors I’ve had an opportunity try include:

  1. Trilogy – I’ve already waxed poetic about this flavor, see above.
  2. Gingerade – Less fruity, with more lemon and a spicier ginger kick, a great flavor for fans of ginger beer soda.
  3. Limited Edition Liberty – This blend came out for 4th of July, and features a blend of watermelon, cherry, and lime.  It’s a fun limited edition, but the fruit is a bit too delicate to hold up against the bold tea base.  I think it would have been better with a stronger lime-ade presence.
  4. Guava Goddess – Tasty, tropical, and pink, this was one of the sweeter blends available with the guava powering through the black tea base.
  5. Gingerberry – Very similar to the Trilogy flavor, but slightly sweeter with blueberry instead of raspberry, and still a hint of ginger spice.
  6. Cosmic Cranberry – The tartness of the cranberries work well with the sour tea base.  It’s similar to the Trilogy flavor but with more tart zing.
  7. Multi-Green – Surprisingly nutty and not too grassy at all. Much more savory than the other flavors.  Definitely an acquired taste.
  8. Lavender Love – The brew is almost purple in color from all the lavender. The soft, fragrant florals dance over the top of the sweet/sour tea.
  9. Lemonade – Most of the blends feature some lemon notes, but this blend is all-lemon, the sour citrus pairing perfectly with the tart tea.
  10. Mystic Mango – This blend is bright and opaque, full of fresh mango fruitiness.  This is like a kicked-up orangina, with hearty sweetness and a burst of bubbles.

Even looking at their website now, I see additional flavors I’m intrigued to try.  They even have a whole chia-seed series I haven’t seen before.  I’ll have to keep an eye out at my local stores.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of kombucha, give one of GT’s Living Foods many delectable flavors a try and see what new avenues of tea await you.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: GT’s Living Foods (or at your local grocery/health food store)
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk

Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is a Kumamoto-style guricha with tea leaf stems.  Apparently, the curly-shaped guricha leaves are prepared using a steaming process, rather than a pan-fried process, which give this tea its special flavor.

First and foremost, let me say that I like the name of the tea, and it’s helped me be inspired while drinking this brew. This is a well-balanced tea, just the right mix of both vegetal and fruity notes, and both sweet and savory tones. The vegetal notes feel like spring grass that grew up fast and got caught by that last, sudden wet frost.  This tea feels green and fresh, like melting frost on new grass, very wet and green.

There are also some brighter notes, which taste more lemony with a hint of savory herbs like sage or parsley.  In the aftertaste, there’s a bit of green almost-melon sweetness.  The most I drink this tea, the more I experience a buttery mouthfeel with hints of toasted nuts.  

Reminding me of the cusp of spring weather where new greens meet the last clutches of cold, Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is aptly named, and a fresh, fantastic brew.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk

Frosty Garden™ is a shiraore (also known as karigane), a tasty sencha mixed with some white leaf stems. That, plus a slightly different tea-crafting technique, results in a uniquely “soft” tea—a lightly herbaceous aroma, a gentle, creamy sweetness with nutty overtones, hints of sage, and a savory finish. This tea is always first flush—made from the first harvest of spring leaves.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!