White Cap Chai from Beach House Teas. . . .

When I see those lovely spiced teas, I always get so jealous.  Being one that just doesn’t care for overly spiced teas or chai blends, I always feel like I’m left out of some cool kid’s tea drinking club.   I look at them longingly and try them on occasion, but always find myself having to add in a ton of agave or cream to help offset the brew.  And yes, I know that is part of the chai tea latte set up, but I want to be able to taste the actual tea itself, not just the add ins.

Enter White Cap Chai from Beach House Teas.

First off, this chai tea doesn’t have your traditional tea base.  Instead of having a black or even green tea base, this blend has a lovely white peony tea base that sets the tone in a more subtle way.  No fear of having a very bitter or astringent brew where you have to add in sweeteners or cream- no, this tea base has an all around lighter feel.

Add in your traditional spices like fennel seed cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods, star anise, ginger, orange peel and my favorite part- cinnamon chips- not just a dusting of cinnamon but honest to goodness large enough so you can see cinnamon chips.  I should say that about all of the ingredients.  No need to squint your eyes to see that these inclusions are high quality and might I add organic.

The brewing parameters on the package had me a bit scared-1 heaping tsp with 6-8 oz- allow to steep for 6-8 minutes at 212F.  White tea is more delicate so I was worried about brewing at boiling but after timer went off at 6 minutes worth of steeping, I was so very happy I did.  I should have know that Beach House Teas would have my back and not steer me wrong.

Right out of the gate there is this lush slightly floral silky feel and some very bright flavors that provide this wonderful first sip.  I instantly fell in love with the cinnamon flavor that has a soft twist of ginger and a hint of the fennel undertones. As this is still a chai tea, those more noticeable chai flavors like cardamom and clove notes are present but they are more apparent towards the end of each sip.  Towards the end of each sip and after the sip is over, you are left with this spicy peppercorn touch on your tastebuds.

I eagerly sipped down my first cup and went back to brew more.  I’m a huge fan (if you couldn’t tell) of this tea and highly recommend anyone who isn’t a chai or spiced fan to check this tea out.  The flavors are light and crisp and are not heavy like a traditional chai or should I say the chais I’ve experienced in the past.  Heavier chais do have their time and place, but for me- White Cap Chai has stolen my heart.  This may be my new morning tea!

If you are interested in checking out this (and I highly recommend you do!) blend or any others, Beach House Teas is offering a 20% discount for our readers- just enter tealover3 at checkout!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White
Where to Buy:  Beach House Teas 
Description

White Cap Chai is a lighter version of the traditional chai making it delicate and unique. This beautiful chai is made with 100% organic white peony tea leaves and organic spices. It’s a modern twist on a sweet and spicy classic. The chai gives you a smooth, mellow taste with subtle layers of flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

D’s Teas from 52 Teas . . . . . Diving into the New Permanent Line of Teas at 52Teas. . . . .

If you’ve been a loose-leaf tea drinker for any amount of time, you’re familiar with 52 Teas. And if you’re familiar with 52 Teas, you know that their constantly-rotating blends are in high demand– due to their limited-edition status, sure, but first and foremost thanks to their delicious sip-a-bility and seriously crave-able flavors. (Raise your hand if you’ve got a hoarded stash of 52 Teas somewhere in your tea cabinet. *raises hand*)

All of this to say: to know 52 Teas is to love 52 Teas. And also to be kind of sad that once your favorites are gone, they are ne’er to be reblended.

… until NOW! Anne and her team at 52 Teas have heard the cries of thirsty tea lovers everywhere and started to offer a permanent line of some of the very, very best sellers– Marshamallow Treat Genmaicha (yum), Pancake Breakfast (yumm), and Graveyard Mist (yuuuuuummmm). You’ll find these three under the special 52 Teas delineation, D’s Teas.

I’ve been sipping on these three for the past few weeks, and friends: they are worthy of not only a permanent spot in Anne’s offerings, but also in your tea cabinet. Keep your eyes peeled for a separate review post to come highlighting tasting notes and other tea musings, but first, I wanted to share some of Anne’s perspectives on why she brought these three back in particular. I had a chat with Anne the other day (all while sipping a fresh, creamy, minty cuppa Graveyard Mist)– read on to hear what she had to say about this new permanent offering from 52 Teas.

Mary: Hi, Anne! Thanks for chatting with me. We all know and love 52 Teas’ ever-changing stock of delicious tea blends. What inspired you to add these three in particular to a permanent rotation?

Anne: When Amethyst and I decided to take over 52Teas, we talked about creating a permanent line of teas because I knew that there were some teas that people would want in stock all the time based on reading other people’s reviews and tasting notes of certain teas. The three that most often came up when favorites were discussed were these three. Then when we took the reigns, I found that I the thing I was asked about most often was reblending teas. I get at least one or two requests per day. The three teas that are requested most often are these three teas, so when we decided it was time to start the permanent collection, I knew I wanted to start small and grow from there – so I chose the three teas that were most often requested knowing that having these teas available permanently would make most of the regular customers happy.

M: What, if anything, is different about the D’s Teas teas as compared to your rotating 52 Teas blends?

A: The biggest difference is that when one of the D’s Teas sells out, it will be reblended as soon as possible and available again soon. Another difference is that there are more large pouches available of these teas – they’re tried and true and most of the customers love them – so when I’m packaging D’s Teas, I package more large pouches and when packaging the rotating blends, I package more taster pouches. Eventually, we’ll have different labels for the D’s Teas.

M: What kind of feedback have you gotten from tea lovers about these three over time that encouraged you to keep them as permanent offerings?

A: We’ve only been doing this for 2 years (we took over 52Teas in June 2015) but when we first started talking about taking over, we did a poll of sorts on Steepster, asking people what reblends they’d want in the start-up Kickstarter. These three got the highest number of votes in that poll. And over the course of these 2 years, when we’d reblend these teas and as soon as they sold out, we’d have people asking for more. I even had one customer order a full pound of the Graveyard Mist at one point. These teas are big fan favorites. I decided that if the people really want these, that I should make them available to them when they want them. I can’t do that for every tea that we’ve made (we’d definitely have a storage space problem if we tried!) but for a few favorites like these three, we can make room for them to be a permanent part of our collection.

M: Which of the three is your personal favorite?

A: I like all three for different reasons, so I think it would really depend upon my mood. Pancake Breakfast is the only black tea of the bunch and I usually personally prefer black teas – especially earlier in the day when I need a caffeine boost. I love the balance between starchy/savory and sweet in this tea – and maple is one of my favorite flavor profiles so this tea has a big place in my tea-loving heart.

When I want something cool and minty, Graveyard Mist is nice. The mint is not overbearing because of the soft, sweet note of marshmallow. I think that this tea, in particular, helped me gain an appreciation for Spearmint. Before really working with this tea quite a bit (since the 52Teas take-over), I would always lean more toward either Peppermint or Wintergreen over Spearmint, but working with this tea helped me to appreciate the subtle nuances of Spearmint – it’s actually a much nicer herb to work with than Peppermint: far less assertive and much more amenable when paired with other flavors.

When I want something sweet and dessert-y, Marshmallow Treat is a tea that I’ll reach for again and again. Marshmallow Treat actually has a little bit of history – when Frank originally crafted the tea, he did so using Matcha infused Genmaicha and mini marshmallows. I fell in love with that blend. The subsequent reblends from Frank were not as good, in my opinion, because he didn’t use the Matcha infused Genmaicha and he switched from mini marshmallows to marshmallow root. I actually prefer the mini marshmallows – I’m not vegan – but now that I’m doing the blending – I also recognize the need to be inclusive and not shut out my vegan customers. I want everyone to feel welcome at 52Teas and not excluded from something we offer which is why we strive to keep all our teas vegan, gluten-free and allergen free (except for coconut). However, now that I’m doing the blending, I do use a Matcha infused Genmaicha. It’s more expensive, but I love the difference it makes to the cup so it’s worth it to me.

M: What types of teas or flavors of blends do you most enjoy creating?

A: Banana is a favorite flavor of mine. I find it kind of funny, I’m not a huge fan of bananas on their own, I’ll eat a banana now and then – I like them but I don’t love them. However, when it comes to banana flavored things, I’m usually a big fan except for Banana Runts, I don’t like them but I’ve been told that sometimes the banana flavored teas that 52Teas creates (before I took over) taste like Banana Runts. I don’t get that – it doesn’t translate to my palate like that, but to each their own, I guess! Other flavors I enjoy working with are marshmallow and maple. The truth is that I really enjoy what I do, so most flavors excite me, especially when I get to taste test the finished product. It’s a pleasure to find out if the flavor worked or not – a bit sad when it doesn’t but it’s kind of fun to find a way to (as Tim Gunn would say) make it work!

M: And finally, I’ll admit– I’ve just always wanted to know this next one. How do you find inspiration for your endless, deliciously-flavored blends?

A: I’m inspired by so many things. I find most of my inspiration from recipes that I happen across on the internet. I’ll see a recipe for a cookie or a cocktail or something and I find myself wondering how that would work in a tea. Shopping also provides inspiration. I get inspiration from customers too – they will often write me with ideas. When I read the tasting notes or reviews from customers, they let me know the things that I’m doing right and the things I’m doing wrong and I find that information invaluable and I try to apply that feedback to my future blends so that I’m continually learning. I love tea – and ultimately, the tea blend needs to pass my own taste test – if I don’t like something, I won’t sell it – but I greatly value the input from others too – because not all palates are the same.

Thanks, Anne, for your abundant tea-knowledge, and sharing your delicious talent with us all! Check in soon for a thorough review of these three fan fave teas.


Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: 52Teas
Learn even more about this permanent line of teas and more about 52Teas in general here!

These Are A Few of My Favorite Teas!

Continuing the Birthday Par-TEA (yep- you can call me a nerd now), I thought I’d share some of my favorite teas that I’m currently obsessing over.  Earlier this morning I wrote a post about my favorite vessel for brewing tea- The WALL Tea Infuser from Boreal Wildcraft.  So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to chat about the teas I’ve been enjoying with this brilliant mug.

(1) Peeps Genmaicha from A Quarter To Tea. . 

I recently did a review of this tea and am still drinking this tea on a daily basis.  I’m a HUGE fan of genmaichas so when you combine that gorgeously toasted tea with a marshmallow flavor. . .I’m 100% on board!

This tea is part of A Quarter To Tea’s Spring Collection. . one that I had to pick up several ounces of.  If you are a fan of floral teas, you have to check out Lauren’s Honeyed Apricots and Amonds Chun Mee.  After one sip of this tea, I was back on the website buying 2 oz.  I’ll be reviewing this tea shortly on its own but just had to share the love for this spring inspired blend.

(2) Graveyard Mist from 52Teas. . .

This blend of marshmallow root, green tea, spearmint, and vanilla provides such a lush and haunting flavor that I’ve declared this tea as my ultimate favorite tea.  Graveymard Mist is one of those teas that relaxes me and I’ve found so much comfort drinking this brew.  From having sinus infection to having a bad day at work, this tea delivers a spot on flavor that just creates a soothing and relaxing feel.  Luckily, our beloved Anne (aka LiberTeas) recently reblended this tea so I was able to get my hands on a new batch.  (Thank you, Thank you Thank you Anne!)

My husband and I shared a pot of this tea the other night and this new batch delivers all those same feels as the blends that Frank blended a few years ago.  I feel a petition needs to be created to keep this tea in stock at all times.

(3)  Any tea from Wendigo Tea Co.

Wendigo Tea Co is one that really opened my eyes to what a high quality straight tea can deliver.  All of Skye’s teas are ripe with amazing robust flavors and the fact that they are all named after different mythical creatures makes these teas even more alluring to me.  Highly recommend these teas and they brew up gorgeously each and every time.   Plus, the fact that you are able to enjoy these teas for multiple steepings. . .you can’t go wrong.

My personal favorites are Yeti, Bigfoot, and Nessy, but the King Dragon Oolong is something to behold.

(4) Extinction Event from Tea Historic

Can we just take a moment and chat about this tea company? I mean c’mon. . .combining marvelously high quality teas with dinosaurs. . .it’s such a great match! The logo alone gets me every time. A Dino Tea Party!

Extinction Event is a blend of black dragon and white jasmine pearls.  The flavor is phenomenal. Rich and robust with lingering notes of a floral finish.  This is another tea I’ve spent many tea sessions with.  To make sure that you get an equal flavoring of both teas, Tea Historic has even prepackaged the teas for you for easier preparation.    I’m excited to check out the rest of the line of teas they offer.

(5)  Custom Blended Teas from The NecessiTeas and BlendBee

Being a sucker for a green tea mint combo, I am always on the hunt for different ways to spruce up this combination. And that is where they amazing ladies at The NecessiTeas and BlendBee come into play.

Linsey at The NecessiTeas has graciously reblended and created different blends for me based on her current lineup of teas.  She takes dessert teas to a new level! With teas like Strawberry Cheesecake, Carrot Cupake, and her new blends- Jelly Bean and My Peeps. . .I’m gobbling these teas down like it is nobody business.

For being flavored teas, I’m able to even pull out up to three steepings.  Flavors are spot on and even though you do have to buy in larger quantities from her site, trust me. . .it is worth it.  Her hand blended beauties are teas you just can’t get enough of.

If you don’t follow Linsey on Instagram, I highly encourage you too. Her pictures are amazing and incredibly drool worthy!

BlendBee offers customized teas with fresh quality teas and inclusions that are second to none. Jamah’s attention to detail on each of her blends is outstanding and her customer service is amazing. I’ve had several conversations with Jamah through email where I’ve felt like I’m being a bother and a pain because I’d like this blend this way or this blend that way and she is always so incredibly courteous.

Along with BlendBee’s pre-made blends, you can also create your own.  I’ve made blends like Orange Cranberry Yum (don’t judge my names, I’m terrible at being creative- ha!) and Honey Lemon Green.  The process is incredibly simple and the fact that you can include different herbals to add in a healthy kick makes the experience even better.  I drink BlendBee teas daily and have found myself consistently looking for these blends in my stash to share with others.  I’ve even served these teas at my nieces birthday parties and have shared several pots of these teas with my dad.

These are just a few of my favorite teas that I’ve been enjoying but that is what makes tea such an amazing experience.  There are so many different brilliant teas out there that I have yet to experience from companies that I have yet to meet.  I have so many different teas that really are my favorites that I keep on hand at all times, but these are just a few that have recently captured my love and affection.

Almond Cookie from Tea & Tins. . . .

Lately I have had a serious obsession with pistachio ice cream. Like, I have eaten almost 3 quarts of it in the past 2 weeks. Well, pistachios themselves have a very mild flavor. Subsequently, the ice cream itself is actually flavored with almond. Have you ever noticed that pistachio ice cream kind of smells like biscottis? Well, that’s because of the almond flavoring.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many pistachio ice cream teas circulating around in our little “tea-world” as of late. So, when I saw Almond Cookie by Tea & Tins I figured that it may help curb my craving for pistachio ice cream because of the almond flavor.

Upon opening the bag, the sweet smell of almond and coconut filled my nose. Yum! I could see coconut shreds and almond pieces scattered about the green tea. Once steeped the smell of cookie was much more prevalent, but the almond and coconut was still very much there. I steeped this tea with hot water for about 3 minutes. It was very smooth and light, with a prominent taste of green tea. I added agave to add some sweetness, but it was also sweet on it’s own. I could taste the coconut and almond flavor, but unfortunately the flavor of “cookie” did not translate from smell to taste.

Nonetheless, this tea was still very well done and tasty. I don’t think I could say that it will be replacing my love for pistachio ice cream, but it is something that I will continue to enjoy and would purchase again. Another “win” for Tea & Tins!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green Tea
Where to Buy:  Tea & Tins
Description

Loose leaf green tea with almond and coconut.
Ingredients: green tea, almond coconut taste with grated coconut and almond flakes, and flavoring.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Spotlight on The NecessiTeas. . .

 

The SororiTea Sisters has always been a great place  for finding different teas and tea companies to check out.  But we really only look at the teas and not so much the tea companies behind those delicious brews we drink each and everyday.   Today we are starting a new series of posts that will start doing just that. . .taking a deeper look into the creative minds and wonderful owners/blenders/crazy tea scientists who keep our cuppas brimming with our favorite brew.

So without further ado. . . . .Let’s start off the series with a company that can blend a dessert tea like no one else. . . .

Name:  The NecessiTeas
Owner:  Linsey Manning
Founded:  2007

Thank you Linsey for being our first company to be featured.  I know several of The SororiTea Sisters adore your blends and we’ve had a blast reviewing the delicious treats in the past.  But I would love to know, what made you decide to go into the tea business to being with?

The story behind it all is a bit funny…  I was raised in a very strict LDS (Morman) family and we weren’t allowed to drink tea or coffee, it is just part of the religion so I didn’t grow up having a love for tea, I really didn’t even know what it was. I remember my mom having a few boxes of Celestial Seasonings in the cupboard (decaffeinated of course) and on a rare occasion, if we were sick or something, we would get a cup.

That is really the ONLY memory I have of tea!  My first “real” experience with tea was in 2007, we were watching the local news and they were taking about things to do for Valentines day. They were featuring my favorite hotel, the Grand America, and talking about a special Valentines day afternoon tea experience.  They were showcasing their sipping chocolate (a real fancy hot chocolate) and it caught my attention, I knew I had to see what this afternoon tea was all about.  When we got there I remember how special they made us feel. The tea ware was so pretty, I was nervous to even touch it!  The waitress gave us a tea menu and it was like reading gibberish, I finally just told her to pick something for me.  She brought out the teapot and strainer and poured my first cup and reminded me to place the strainer over the cup each time I pour. I wasn’t impressed with the flavor of the tea, in fact, I had to keep adding sugar just so I could get it down and I spent half the time fishing tea leaves from my cup because I kept forgetting to use the strainer.

However, the dainty little tea sandwiches, scones, and desserts are what really won me over.  I had so much fun that I returned a week later to share the experience with a few other friends.  This time our waitress recommended a different tea. I remember lifting the cup to my mouth and the aroma was incredible, I closed my eyes and took my first sip and instantly fell in love.  I loved it so much that I ended up drinking 4 pots of it and purchased some to take home.  I made some for my husband and he fell in love as well.  We both loved the experience of making tea that it became our nightly ritual.

As time went on, I started purchasing more teas online, I started collecting tea cups, and I purchased every tea party book I could find.  I started hosting tea parties at my home for friends and family and it warmed my heart watching their faces light up with the whole experience.  One night I was showing my husband a  new tea book I had just bought and I was going on and on about all the fun ideas and amazing recipes.  He stopped me mid sentence and said “if you love tea so much, why don’t you start your own business?”  My own business, how was I going to do that? See, I got married and had my first of 4 boys at 19 and all I’ve ever done was be a stay at home mom.  My husband started his own business at 18 and new exactly what to do, he told me he would help me step by step if this was something I wanted to pursue.

It was that very night that The NecessiTeas was born!

I think a lot of us started off our tea obsession the exact same way.  You fall in love with one blend and all of a sudden you’ve got a tea stash that is full to the brim and you are stuffing tea in every nook and cranny you can find.

Your site offers such a great range of flavored teas . . .what is the inspiration behind those blends? 

I have a HUGE sweet tooth so many of my ideas come from my favorite desserts. I will get ideas while walking down the ice cream isle at the grocery store, I also get ideas from some of my favorite hand soaps or candles. I also get ideas from other tea companies. Sometimes I will see a blend and think to myself, how can I make this even better or how can I put my own twist on it.  And many times customers will email me and give me ideas that they have.

What is your favorite tea. . .doesn’t have to be one of your own blends either. . . . 

That’s a tricky question! All my blends are my favorite, I couldn’t bring myself to sell them if they weren’t. And like the seasons, my taste is always changing! An all time favorite would have to be my Almond Cookie and my new and current favorite might be my Marshmallow Krispy Treat.

Have you ever had a great idea for a tea but the blend just didn’t come together?

That is also a hard one to answer because I have had SO many not turn out! Each time I work on new blends, I might have 20 ideas and only 5 make the cut.  I am super picky and if I don’t absolutely LOVE it, I wont sell it.  This winter I was really let down by a White Chocolate Chai blend I was attempting. I haven’t given up just yet so who knows, you might see it on my site one of these days!

Are there big plans in 2017 for The NecessiTeas?

I started The NecessiTeas as a hobby but this last year I have wanted more than anything to really make it grow!  I want MY blends to be in everyone’s kitchen cupboards!  As always, I am working on new flavors and continuing to push the envelope.  I am also working on a new look and new packaging and I have also created a new brand that I am hoping to add to The NecessiTeas very soon.

I know my kitchen cupboards are filled with shiny tins full  of your delicious blends.  

Do you have any special activities you like to pair tea with? I’m partial to sharing a pot of tea with my hubby while we chill and watch Netflix.

I recently got in to planning so each time I sit down to plan I have a cup of tea by my side.  I also have a cup keeping me company while answering emails, watching YouTube or a movie at night.

I know I’m quite partial to your hand blended teas and just adore them.  What new flavors can we expect to see in 2017?

I have many in store, some that I am hoping to add to the site very shortly. I am also pushing myself out of my comfort zone and will be using tea bases I don’t normally use and also mixing different teas together.

A big Thanks to Linsey@The NecessiTeas for being our first featured Spotlight company.  If you are interested in learning more about The NecessiTeas,  you can check them out on SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.  

For our readers, The NecessiTeas has offered a coupon-SIP10.  I highly recommend checking out their site if you are interested in flavored teas that are fresh, quality, and taste amazing.  I’m quite partial to My Morning Blend and I’ve been known to drink pots of this tea on Saturday mornings.

Be sure to check back all through the day today as we will be sharing our thoughts on a few of the different blends The NecessiTeas offers including a review from one our newest contributors, Sophia.

(All pictures used in this post are property of The NecessiTeas)