Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies

Just because the holiday season is behind us doesn’t mean that the time for holiday-themed teas is over!  In the spirit of keeping the good holiday vibes going, I brewed up a cup of Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies.  I don’t see this flavor listed on the PaperBoxGoodies Etsy shop so I’m not sure of the ingredients, but it looks to be an herbal blend with mint, chocolate chips, and licorice root.


I was excited about the herbal nature of this blend.  I love candy cane teas, but they all seem to have a black tea base which makes it hard to drink when I don’t need all the caffeine.  Having an herbal decaf option was just the tea I needed when relaxing and recovering from the busy end of the year.


Brewed, this blend is smooth, sweet, and minty.  The dry crispness of the mint is lessened by the licorice root.  Any herbal harshness that sometimes comes with pure mint teas is lessened by the rich chocolate chips.  Minty candy cane is the main flavor, followed by a mild cocoa aftertaste.  The licorice root doesn’t impart a specific flavor, but adds a natural sweetness and a smooth mouthfeel.


This is one of those teas that would benefit from a strong brewing and then made into a latte with whipped cream.  I didn’t quite have enough in my sample to go the whole latte route, so I’ll have to try it next time.


Overall this was a great decaf candy cane blend that I would try again next holiday season.




Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: herbal

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Francesca from Sicilian Tea Company. . . .

It’s always good to have a chamomile blend or two in your tea cabinet for those when you need something extra comforting and caffeine-free.  Francesca from Sicilian Tea Co. could be the perfect choice for your evening cup of tea.

Some people consider herbal teas to be medicinal, with herbs like lavender and chamomile to help combat stress.  Both of these fragrant blossoms are in abundance in this blend, bringing their lovely color and shape to the dry leaf, and the lemony and floral scent of the brew.

There are also cinnamon sticks, Saint John’s Wort, and licorice root in this blend.  The cinnamon adds just a hint of spicy warmth, rekindling thoughts of spiced baked goods.  A touch of licorice root adds smooth sweetness to the brew.  As an added bonus, licorice root can help soothe a scratchy throat, so the ingredient helps make the brew extra restorative.

I’m not sure that Saint John’s Wort adds much flavor, but the herb is rumored to help heal against depression.  I’m not sure if I felt those effects or not; brewing a cup of tea is always my happy place, and helps me out of a dark mood.

This tea is all herbs and blossoms, so it’s completely caffeine-free and full of natural flavors.  If the licorice root isn’t sweet or soothing enough, it wouldn’t hurt to add a dollop of honey to your mug for a little extra sugar.  After brewing a cup of Francesca blend, there’s not much left to do but sit back, relax, and have a sip of tea.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Sicilian Tea Co.

Naturally caffeine free, this chamomile blend won’t keep you up all night like some other sleepy time treats.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lola from Sicilian Tea Company. . . .

This blend will makes you feel like singing, or humming along to your favorite pop song, comforting, pleasing, and drinkable. It’s a rooibos blend, so it’s decaf and full of feel-good antioxidants. There also warming cinnamon and a hint of relaxing lavender. Licorice root brings smooth, natural sweetness, almost fruity, like apples, which compliments the caramel tones of the red rooibos.

The rooibos is the dominant flavor, and if brewed strong, it will overwhelm the other flavors with the almost-medicine floral taste. This blend strong enough that it’s best brewed twice, for two full cups of flavor. This is a versatile tea, and can also be brewed ice with a splash of milk for a creamy, faux-caramel latte.

This is the perfect cup for when you need something sweet, easy, and comforting. Not to mention is will get the pop song stuck in your head… lalalalala Lola…

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Sicilian Tea Co.

Lola is a sweet treat that’s safe to have before bedtime. South African Red Rooibos is rich in antioxidants. Organic lavender, licorice root and cinnamon make for a yummy treat (without the guilt).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Aria blend from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.

Immediately evident in the dry leaves are whole cloves and some seed pods that I thought at first were anise but, after looking at the ingredients, I decided must be fennel. The attractive-looking combination also includes bits of licorice and marshmallow root as well as orange peel and peppermint plus cinnamon and ginger.

I used a heaping teaspoon of the tea leaves in a cup of water at approximately boiling temperature and then watched it steep for about the next four minutes. It smelled all nice and licorice-y while steeping and became a nice light yellow color, which reminded me a bit of a medium-strong green tea.
When I sipped it, I noticed right away the very present flavor of anise (licorice). It reminds me of the “throat coat” tea I grew up drinking whenever I had a cold, except that it’s a bit more delicate and refined in how it presents the licorice flavor. The licorice still manages to overpower the other flavors in the cup, though. I tried really hard and detected a hint of tingly spiciness from the cloves (I think. Or was I just making that up? I may have been just making that up), but I didn’t detect a noticeable presence from any of the other components. This was a little surprising as I’d seen citrus peel in the cup and that’s generally pretty strongly flavored. Fortunately, the licorice flavor itself was quite pleasing.
The effect of the tea is definitely soothing and relaxing to the throat. It’s a bit viscous as if it had lots of honey in it (likely because of the marshmallow root), which makes it even more soothing. It’s also caffeine free, which means it’s non-stimulating. This can be important when your throat is irritated and you’re trying to relax-soothe it, and it’s also good for singers in general especially near a performance because, according to some experts, caffeine can have a detrimental effect on the voice (the vocal cords, that is).


I’d say this tea would probably great for reducing throat irritation/scratchiness/etc, whether you have a cold or allergies or have just overused or abused your voice recently. (Which I haven’t. But I’ll be sure to use this tea next time my throat is feeling under the weather!) It probably can’t work miracles, like if you have laryngitis and are hoping to still go on stage or something, but it does have a markedly soothing effect. Also, this tea can be re-steeped! So you can use it over and over again, although I personally didn’t test to see how many cups of tea it will make so I can’t give a figure. I’d recommend this tea for not only singers but anyone who might sometimes overuse their voice or who might have to use their voice while sick, like teachers (can’t stop teaching just cause you have a cold!).

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company

A singer’s best friend! This herbal blend was originally designed for Portland’s very own Hampton Opera Center. Licorice, marshmallow root, cinnamon and mint are some of the ingredients used in this blend to provide relief and aid to the throat. Aria satisfies, soothes and warms.


Licorice Root*, Fennel*, Clove*, Cinnamon*, Orange Peel*, Ginger*, Peppermint*, and Marshmallow Root.

*Organically Grown.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pomegranate Burst™ Green Tea from Good Earth

pomburstTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Good Earth online or Wherever Good Earth Teas are sold.

Tea Description:

Sure we all have responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle into a routine. Break things up with the tingling intensity of Pomegranate Burst™. Blended with the goodness of green tea and the unexpected tart flavors of pomegranate and cherry, one sip will be enough to shake up an ordinary day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I brewed this Pomegranate Burst™ Green Tea from Good Earth without knowing the ingredients in the tea – only knowing it’s a flavored green tea.  So, I brewed it the way I’d brew any other bagged green tea:  using 8 ounces of hot water (170°F) and steeping for 2 minutes.

After I finished steeping the tea, I noticed the color – it’s a vivid ruby color, just like the color of a pomegranate aril.  This communicated “hibiscus” to me.  And after my first sip, yep … there’s hibiscus in this.  Ugh.  That first sip told me something else:  there’s stevia in this too. Double Ugh.  And it’s not even the natural leaf from the herb “stevia” it’s steviol glycosides which is the chemical compound of stevia.  And I can taste that chemical taste from it too.  Triple UGH!

Served hot, this just isn’t my cup of tea.  I taste to much hibiscus and stevia and a syrupy cherry flavor (read:  cherry flavored cough syrup) for me to derive much enjoyment out of drinking it.  I do taste pomegranate and hints of raspberry.  Those flavors might be nice if my palate wasn’t overwhelmed by the flavor of hibiscus, chemical tasting stevia and cough syrup.

No green tea flavor to speak of here.  Just none.

Not one to want to give up on a tea so quickly, I decided to cold-brew a few bags in my half gallon pitcher, hoping that the cold brew might soften the overpowering flavors that I experienced with the hot steep.  I used 5 tea bags for 2 quarts of water and stashed it in the fridge for about 8 hours.

As an iced tea, this is a little bit better but not much.  The cherry flavor is not quite as cough syrupy as when it’s brewed hot but it still has that cough medicine taste.  The chemical stevia notes are a little less apparent although I can still taste it.  To offset the flavor of the stevia somewhat and try to make the sweet taste more natural, I added some agave to it and this addition helped make the drink more palatable.

On the positive side:  I do like that I taste the pomegranate and the raspberry and these two fruits have a pleasant fruity flavor.  The hibiscus is also less apparent as an iced tea.  This tastes a lot more like a fruit drink than a tea though.

I think it’s fair to say that this was not a win for me.  It wasn’t horrible but I find it difficult to move past that artificial taste of the stevia.  It really ruins this drink for me.