Caramel Shortbread from DAVIDs Tea. . . .

I am someone who does not like to add sugar to their tea. No sugar. Definitely no artificial sweetners. And no stevia. So personally, I don’t love when tea companies decide to pre-sweeten my drinks for me. I’m looking at you, DAVIDsTEA! Now don’t get me wrong…sprinkles, caramel bits, ice cream bits, and all those other bits and bobs that go into making a flavored tea fun and exciting, I enjoy. What I do not enjoy is this fairly new trend of DAVIDsTEA adding stevia to everything, sometimes in addition to adding actual sugar. Such is the case with their Caramel Shortbread herbal blend that they brought out (surprisingly early) for the 2017 Holiday Season.

Caramel Shortbread combines apples, raisins, brown sugar, elderberries, willow bark (a new ingredient to me that I am excited to try), almonds, hazelnuts, cherries, raspberries, stevia extract, and flavors. Though I don’t love it, I get adding sugar to capture a certain flavor but why does it then also need stevia? For some people, such as myself, stevia has a cloying and really unpleasant aftertaste so more times than not, its addition completely ruins a tea for me. That is why going into this, I am a bit hesitant.

I brewed this for 4 minutes in 200 degree water. As it steeped, I noticed it smelled a lot like another nutty herbal by DAVIDsTEA, Forever Nuts. It also reminds me of their Caramel Corn blend, which I suppose makes sense given the caramel.

As I drink this, to me, it also tastes like Forever Nuts but with stevia. Nutty and sweet. A bit too sweet but if I look past the stevia, I can kind of see how the sweetness lends itself to a more caramel-like flavor. It is also buttery, which is interesting and brings my mind to the melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies I think DAVIDsTEA is trying to capture. However, I am surprised I am not getting more of the berry/cherry notes given there is elderberries, raspberries AND cherries in the mix. That might be because I am distracted by the stevia but I find those flavors missing completely, which is a shame especially when you consider that without the sour cherries, this could be prepped as a latte.

Ultimately, I can see where DAVIDsTEA is going with this but like so many of their other blends recently with potential, I am completely put off by the addition of stevia. Luckily for many, that won’t be an issue so for those of you who don’t mind this ingredient, this is something worth trying. Also, for those that like Forever Nuts or Caramel Corn, this is in the same family and therefore might be something for you.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: DAVIDs Tea
Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jiri Horse from teabento. . . .

A few months back on Steepster, a little company called teabento just blew up. Reviews upon reviews were suddenly popping up for this company I had never heard of and people were loving it. One tea that seemed to be quite the success was this tea, Jiri Horse. The term “milk chocolate” was used a lot to describe it and for many it was a reminder of another popular tea on Steepster, Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea.

Now, Laoshan Black was THE straight black tea when I first joined Steepster. It was the winner or all winners for so many people and for that reason even I, as someone who basically only drank flavored teas at the time, was intrigued. Of course some kind soul was generous enough to send me a sample of this beloved tea but alas it was wasted on me because even though I could appreciate it was a nice tea and I enjoyed it well enough, it wasn’t my flavored teas and so I quickly moved on.

However, the more you drink and explore tea, the more you realize your tastes change. Many make the transition from flavored teas to straight teas and then become purists who will only touch the non-flavored stuff. I am not that person. I still love my sprinkles and my chocolate bits and my fruit chunks all mixed up in there but my tastes have developed so that I enjoy straight teas now too. So basically I am in the very expensive phase of the transition where I will drink and enjoy anything so no sections are left ignored when shopping for tea. I have been in this position for quite some time which my wallet doesn’t love but I have endless options which is nice.

Anyways, what this long rant brings us to is that when I read about this tea and all the love it was getting, I just HAD to try it. I didn’t truly appreciate the Laoshan Black but hopefully I can appreciate this tea which I steeped for 3 minutes in 190F water, after a quick rinse.

After my first sip, I can clearly see the chocolate connection. It definitely has that hot cocoa sort of vibe to it that’s a little bit creamy, a little bit milky and a whole lot of chocolate. I don’t know if I am fully getting as much “milk chocolate” as I thought I would and if I am being honest I am a bit saddened by that, however, I am still happy with the flavor here. To me, it is like a powdered hot chocolate mix that was made in water as opposed to milk – just a little watered down and leaning just a touch towards cocoa as opposed to actual chocolate, but it still hits the sweet spot. If this was powdered hot chocolate I would be mad that it wasn’t creamier or sweeter but since this is tea, I am impressed.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  teabento
Description

An absolutely unique and amazing black tea! We were totally surprised by its prominent, deep, rich chocolate aroma and taste as we tried this tea at the first time. We could hardly believe that what we drunk was not a hot cocoa, but a 100% pure black tea. An outstanding gastronomic experience!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Drop That Sweet Beet from Steeped Tea. . . .

I’ve had this one in my stash for a while and after one sip I wondered why it took me so long to jump into a cup of it. Drop That Sweet Beet by Steeped Tea is a Green Tea with plenty of other ingredients coming to the party.

Green Tea, Sultanas, Almond Bits, Apple Bits, Date Bits, Beetroot Bits, Rose Blossom Leaves, are what make up this cup!

Upon opening the package this smells like pure candy…sugary, sweet, and berry-like. Once infused it smelled more like a fruit juice or juicy wine. The beetroot certainly played the main part in contribution to the color of the tea water. The dates added a nice sweetness but also a contrast to the other fruits in this cuppa.

There is a slight spice on the end sip especially if you drink this as an iced tea. Both a hot cuppa and an iced cuppa are stellar with this tea! I can’t choose which one I enjoy more.

This is a very nicely flavored green tea with plenty of surprises in each sip. And a great way to incorporate beets and dates in a flavored tea. Two thumbs up from me on this one!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy: Steeped Tea
Description

Green tea, Sultanas, Almond bits, Apple bits, Date bits, Beetroot bits, Rose petals, Natural flavors. Contains: Almonds. May contain other tree nuts. Naturally contains caffeine.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Birthday from Adagio Teas. . . .

Do you enjoy creamy molasses/caramel flavors against a deep black base? If you do, well, I’ve got just the thing for you (INCLUDING SPRINKLES): Adagio’s Birthday Tea.

If I were to liken it to something — and you guys know I BASICALLY ALWAYS DO — I’d say this is a caramel fudge treat you buy yourself on your way out of an amusement park. You’re sunburned. Your stomach is jumpy from soda and roller coasters. You are holding a prize you’ve won that’s made of oddly slick polyester and crumbly stuffing. Your clothing is still damp from that splash ride. Your hair is fluffing out from your head in a dizzy halo. This treat melts in your mouth and your hand as you try to remember where you parked the car. You wipe your hand off on your shorts and stride off in what you think is the right direction, friends in tow.

It wasn’t the right direction. Where on earth did you put that car, already?

You’ll find it eventually. In the meantime, you’re enjoying the sweetness in your mouth and the streaky, saturated sunset.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas 
Description

A treat for any day of the year! A tasty blend of vanilla, cream, and a touch of caramel. The inclusion of rainbow sugar sprinkles adds a festive note and makes this tea perfect for celebrating your special day.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Goomtee Muscatel Valley Autumn Flush 2016, Darjeeling Organic from Tea Swan. . .

Many of you may already know that I start each and everyday with at least one black tea. Recently finished up my stash of Goomtee Muscatel Valley Autumn Flush 2016, Darjeeling Organic from Tea Swan and I have to say it will be sorely missed!

The natural flavor of Goomtee Muscatel Valley Autumn Flush 2016, Darjeeling Organic from Tea Swan was both floral and spice and they shine thru this straight-up black tea. It’s warming and comforting on just about ANY day.

I like my black tea strong so I tend to add a few extra leaves of tea to my cuppa. A nice hefty, overflowing teaspoon in about 200 degree water for about 2 minutes seemed to do the job for me.

The aftertaste was a lingering masculine type flavor sort of like pine, for example. Prior to steeping the leaves we crisp and much like you see in the photo above. This is an outstanding black tea. If you are a fan of straight-up black teas – you are going to want to try this one!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Tea Swan
Description

Goomtee Muscatel Valley Black Tea is unique variant of whole leaf tea is collected from Darjeeling during the autumn flush. It combines the flowery essence of autumn and the spicy charm of spring.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!