Cranberry Orange Muffin Tisane from DAVIDsTEA

cranberrymuffinTea Information:

Leaf Type: Tisane

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

We don’t care who you are or where you’re coming from. No one can say no to a muffin. There’s no cuter – or more delicious – way to start your day. Even the name is a delight. And with cranberries, orange slices and cinnamon, this warm and comforting blend has all the taste of a freshly baked muffin…at next to no calories. Meaning you can get that warm, fuzzy feeling every time you steep a cup. Does it get any better? Muffin can compare.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I feel like DAVIDsTEA actually came up with some really interesting flavours this fall – this one in particular is very strange and I don’t know how on board I am with a muffin flavoured tea. Actually, in fact I know I’m not totally on board with a muffin tea. I know people were weirded out by a peanut butter tea, but this is so much stranger to me. For whatever reason.

Again, this appears to be another really heavy herbal blend. There are a lot of big cranberry chunks in the leaf that look as impressive in size as the ones in DT’s black Cranberry Pear blend that I’m accustomed to seeing. The smell of the dry leaf is really weird though: it’s got a really strong orange flavour, but in an off-‘orange peel’ kind of way rather than a sweet, juicy orange. I also smell cinnamon, oat, and something… else. Dandelion I guess? Whatever it is does NOT appeal to me. I mean, the smell isn’t gross but there’s just really no appeal. I cold brewed my sample; the liquor is pretty foggy and this weird orange/brown colour. The smell is quite fruity, with more orange/citrus notes than anything else. I also smell a lot of cinnamon, and a whiff of bran.

The first, most noticeable thing about the flavour is the fruity top notes. The cranberry is very piercing, and this lovely balance of sweet and tart. Somewhere in the mix, I can taste mango too. The orange follows quickly behind, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the flavour. It’s very semi-sweet bordering on not sweet at all and the combination of sourness/tartness and slight bitterness makes me image I’m chewing on an orange peel. Yuck! Unfortunately, those orange notes are really long lingering, well into the aftertaste. I’d love to swap out the intensity of the orange for cranberry.

The muffin taste is alright; I’d say it’s more of a weird starchy oat flavour and bran than a complete “muffin” taste, and there’s cinnamon peppered in there as well. Similar to the orange, the cinnamon is also very lingering. Once the initial fruit flavour subsides you can really taste the “muffin” element of the tisane quite well. I actually don’t mind the overall flavour, but it is strange to be tasting it in chilled, liquid form. Something else comes into play – probably the dandelion, and it’s putting a damper on the flavour too though. If anything I think that it (the ‘muffin’ and dandelion) would work better hot. However, with the unpleasant orange flavour I don’t know whether I want to experience a hot mug to test that theory out.

For me, this is a big mug of nope. Despite how accurate I think it is to the name, this is definitely NOT the tea for me. However, I do encourage people to give at least one cup a shot because it’s a unique flavour.

Giddapahar White Orchid – 2nd Flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

This tea has been made from PURE AV2 plants at an elevation of 6500 ft. A specialised team of tea pluckers pluck the finest 2 leaf and a bud under the full moon beam. No wonder this tea is distinctive from the others.

It gets its name ‘WHITE ORCHID’ as Giddapahar T. E. Is situated in the town of Kurseong which is also known as ‘The Land of White Orchids’ as this valley produces some high quality WHITE ORCHIDS.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  Just wow!  This is a white tea?

When someone says “white tea,” thoughts of a pale, delicately flavored tea come to mind.  Even now, even after all the tea that I’ve tried, even after trying some intensely flavored, pure white teas … the majority of the white teas tend to have a very “light” overall characteristic, and therefore evoke the thoughts of a very soft taste.

But this white tea simply shatters those thoughts immediately, with the very first sip.  Yes, it does have a delicate quality to it, but, that certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to my attention.  I first note a sharp floral note that tells me exactly why this tea is called “White Orchid.”  This flowery note is not at all delicate!  It is there … and it is quite bold.

It isn’t until the tea cools just slightly that the delicate qualities of this tea come into focus.  Beneath the bold flavor of the orchid (which, I guess it could be argued is a rather delicate flower and perhaps the term delicate applies), there is a light, crisp note.  Here is where the real “delicate” quality that I mentioned previously comes in.  The flavor goes from a very powerful floral note to a much softer set of flavors … and while the presentation is on the delicate side, it is incredibly complex.  I taste layers of fruit (white grape, hints of peach, and even a honey-like tone that evokes thoughts of Honeycrisp apples), whispers of an airy quality, and sweet notes of vegetation.

This is one of the most amazing white teas I’ve yet to taste.  It is deliciously sweet, floral and possesses such an intriguing complexity.  It is refreshingly full-flavored.  This is a white tea for those who seek to challenge their previous thoughts about white tea.  This is unlike any white tea I’ve tried before, and I love it!

Chocolate Rose Tea from Culinary Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Tea Description:

This house blend is a heavenly blend of our rich Chocolate Tea and our delicate Rose Tea. The combination is truly romantic. Last years blend received rave reviews but this year the blend is even better with the addition of roasted cocoa bean pieces.

This tea is only available for a limited time.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was especially interested in trying this limited edition blend from Culinary Teas.  Chocolate – as many are probably aware – is one of my favorite flavors for tea, and I love the combination of chocolate and rose flavors.

And am I satisfied with this blend?  Absolutely!  I found this blend to be both surprising and very pleasing.

What surprised me is that the flavors of the chocolate and the rose are pretty equal.  Neither ingredient overwhelms the other, both seem pretty happy to share the spotlight with one another.  A beautiful marriage!

And what pleases me is that the chocolate is a plentiful flavor in this blend.  Normally, when reviewing a chocolate tea, I am stating my wish for more chocolate in the blend, but I won’t be doing that today.  This has a very rich, delicious level of chocolate flavor, enough to satisfy this chocoholic!

Which also means that the rose is also a strong flavor, but these two ingredients work so well together.  The rose is sweet with a sharpness to it, which cuts through some of the rich, deep flavor of the chocolate without surpassing it.  It is a lovely balance of flavors that really pleases the palate.

If you’ve a tea drinking Valentine, this would be a well-received gift.  Or, why not give a gift to yourself, and indulge in some chocolate and roses?  This tea is the current Featured Tea of the Week at Culinary Teas, and that means extra savings!

Lemon-Lime Meringue Flavored Kukicha from 52Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

This is an extremely limited edition blend. We have enough for twenty 2oz. pouches of this blend, then it’s gone. This is a Kukicha green tea blended with lemon myrtle and natural flavors.

We’ve managed to capture the essence of a slice of lemon-lime meringue pie, with a light touch of pastry-like crust, lemon and lime and of course, the meringue. Those of you who have the opportunity to try this are going to be blown away by it. Don’t delay, it’s not going to last long.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten lemon-lime meringue pie before … but my dear gramma made the best lemon meringue pie ever.  The meringue was light, fluffy, creamy and sweet … the way you might imagine a cloud tasting in those dreamy moments when you’re cloud-watching.  The lemon filling was slightly tart, but more sweet than tart.  It was smooth and rich and creamy.  And while I have known some people to just eat the filling out of a pie, with my gramma’s pie, you want to eat the crust, because it was always so perfect … she had a knack for pie baking.

And Frank from 52Teas has a knack for making unusual yet amazingly delicious flavored tea blends.

This particular flavored green Kukicha blend was not one of his “teas of the week” but, rather, a limited-edition V.I.T. (Very Important Tea) and what an important tea it is.  This tea has managed to take me back to the memories of my gramma’s lemon meringue pies.  It is smooth and creamy and fluffy … tasting like a bite of lemon custard (with just a hint of lime in there too), sweet meringue and buttery pie crust.  It even imparts such a sublime texture on the palate, that I feel like I just ate a bite of pie!  It is silky smooth and sumptuous.

This is DEFINITELY one of Frank’s best teas to date (I know I’ve said that more than once about teas prior to this review), and it just goes to show why you should subscribe to his newsletter (the subscription sign up is on the right side of the screen), as it will send you an email whenever a new tea like this one is introduced, so that you might avoid missing out on any of his Very Important Teas … this tea may have sold out, but maybe you can get in on his next amazing blend.

Damn Fine Holiday Blend from Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Company Description:

We weren’t planning to release a Holiday Tea this year. Instead, we thought we’d spend the Holidays the usual way – drinking leftover Carävan and Earl Grey, racing RC helicopters, and ranking slow jam videos. But lo, our designers were possessed by the spirit of the season and knit us these incredibly “tasteful” labels. We couldn’t resist creating a custom blend of delicious tea to stuff into a cozy tin. Sure, they’re a little itchy and the fit is a bit old-fashioned, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

The Damn Fine Holiday Blend is a one-of-a-kind blend of black teas. No, it’s not flavored with anything but pure, delicious tea. It’s full-bodied and bright, tastes great with or without milk, and is especially awesome with cookies. Brew it for four minutes in boiling water.

Taster’s Review:

True to its name, this is truly a Damn Fine Holiday Blend.

While other companies are busying themselves with flavoring their teas with cranberries, cinnamon and other what-nots, the geniuses behind Andrews & Dunham’s Damn Fine Tea (um… I guess that would be Andrews & Dunham, eh?) created a Damn Fine blend of tea leaves that tastes so remarkable, that it doesn’t need flavoring.  It has plenty of delicious flavor on its own.

Rich with a trace of smokiness, this is quite a hefty tasting tea.  There is a smooth … almost creaminess to the finish that I’m finding absolutely irresistible!  There is a toothsome quality to this tea that reminds me of the chewy texture of a fresh loaf of French bread (I love it when I happen to arrive at the bakery when the loaves are still warm!)

It has a whisper of sweetness that is sort of like burnt sugar caramel… sort of like honey… but then again, not quite like either of them.  It is intriguing and delightful.  I also love the smoky quality of this tea.  It is JUST RIGHT for me – I am one that typically does not care for overwhelmingly smoky teas (Damn Fine Tea’s Caravan is an example of one that I found just a little too smoky for more than occasional enjoyment).  But this has just enough smokiness to interest me without being off-putting.

I’ve tried several teas from Damn Fine Tea now, but, I think that this one is my favorite.  It is truly delicious!  And as of this writing, this limited edition of just 200 tins of tea is half gone!  I may just have to get myself another tin before it disappears!