Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: The East Indies Tea Company
There is nothing better than sitting on the porch on a warm Spring day with a cup of creamy gelato. Imagine the taste of fresh, ripe persimmons in the gelato, just dancing around your taste buds!
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
That’s such a unique and fascinating flavour idea, and the minute I saw it on East Indie’s website I knew that I had to try it. For anyone who isn’t aware of East Indies Tea Company, they’ve got some really interesting and well executed flavoured blends. Their ‘specialty’ is probably dessert blends. Also, for people not aware they seem to be the supplier for most of, if not all of, Della Terra Tea’s blends – a company pretty well known for having wonderful flavoured dessert blends.
When I cracked open my sealed up package of this the smell was really overwhelming; I honestly have only had persimmons once or twice and I found that they tasted like a very sweet tomato, almost with an orange-y flavour. The aroma of the dry leaf certainly causes me to relive that experience; it’s intensely sweet and fruity with a strong citrusy scent that makes me think of really ripe mandarin oranges or perhaps very ripe mangoes. Visually, there’s lots of dried fruit (Persimmon? I wish there was an ingredients list for this blend) in the leaf as well as a multitude of little yogurt drop type things. All of this in conjunction had me very, very pumped to get this tea steeped up!
I gave this a nice, long steep to make sure I drew out as much flavor as I could and to also give the many yogurt drops time to fully melt. I was somewhat worried that when they did melt the liquor would either get a little oily or I’d get “yogurt scum” similar to what happens with melted chocolate chips but neither really happened and the liquor was very smooth and thick. The flavour was quite wonderful too; while I ultimately think the gelato aspect of the blend could have come across better, as it was basically just added creaminess from the yogurt drops, the persimmon was very well executed! Persimmons, simplified, are basically just very sweet tomatoes and that came through. I got that wonderful umami flavor that a tomato has that manages to linger all over your mouth, but also fruity notes that made me think of very, very ripe mango or either naval oranges or really ripe, in season mandarin oranges.
Anti-rooibos tea drinkers be warned though, while the flavor is strong and lively it doesn’t completely mask that rooibos base so expect to taste it alongside the lovely persimmon/citrus notes. But overall this is just a really wonderful, unique flavored rooibos and I’m extremely happy with it and definitely recommend trying it if you find yourself with the chance to.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Acquired Taste Tea
A new addition to our Earl Grey collection. This black tea combines bergamot, grapefruit and mandarin to create a pleasant variation on an Earl Grey theme.
Learn more about this tea here.
I like to do what I call the ‘Earl Grey Test’ whenever I encounter any kind of earl grey. First cup is all natural, to see how the base is in comparison with the bergamot. Second cup is with the finest bit of sugar, to wake up the sweetness of the black tea and the flavoring. Third is with a dash of cream. So how did this one hold up?
Grapefruit earl grey is an interesting take on a classic. The dry leaf is quite strong of both bergamot and the tangy grapefruit notes. Too bad that did not translate to the steeped leaf. Now, I love bergamot, but I feel like this was too strong. It overpowered the grapefruit notes. The base was a bit too robust and dusty for my taste, but adding some cream definitely helped.
Too bad! I had such high hopes for this tea. I really want to like it, but the blerghamot is simply too strong for my taste. I think I like smelling this tea than drinking it. If a strong bergamot is your scene, then go for it! Or, know, go for Republic of Tea’s Earl Greyer… Like the company name suggests, I think this tea is just an ‘Acquired Taste.’
I received my Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club package the other day and I was excited to get started! This month, the teas are focused on ’tisanes’ – herbal blends from various Japanese tea companies.
Since this is a tisanes package and not Camellia Sinensis, I won’t be featuring part two of this series tomorrow night. This is because I don’t usually drink more than 1 tisane per day, so I need time to consume these teas and write about them!
This month’s package included Yomogi herbal tea which is a Japanese Mugwort tea, Longevity herbal blend which is a blend of 18 Japanese herbs, Mulberry leaf tea which has been prepared Sencha style, Organic hatomugicha which is also called “Job’s Tears” and finally, Organic mugicha which is a barley tea. Of the five, the Mugicha is what I look forward to most, as I’m quite fond of barley tea.
Also in this month’s package was another cute origami Crane … I’m getting a little collection of these! The usual booklet which offers some information about each of the teas was not included but we received an email from Yunomi explaining that the booklet would arrive separately a little later.
The first tea that I’m going to try is the Longevity Herbal Blend from Nakazen. I was happy to see that this tea included Camellia Sinensis in the form of Oolong tea. Here is a list of the ingredients:
Barley tea, job’s tears, sicklepod seeds, cat’s whiskers (herb), dokudami (herb), oolong tea, tumeric, guava leaves, biwa (loquat) leaves, mikan (Japanese mandarin) peels, brown rice, pine leaves, ohbako, benibana, persimmon leaves, amachazuru, sarunokoshikake (fungi), cinnamon
The aroma of the dry leaf is very herb-y. It sort of reminds me of walking into one of those apothecary shops. The brewed tea has more of a ‘medicinal’ type of fragrance, still smelling very apothecary-ish but the herbal notes are medicinal smelling.
The taste is actually quite enjoyable. It has a roasted flavor to it. It’s toasty and warm. Very nice on a chilly night!
The roasted flavor I attribute to the barley in the tea. I also taste the brown rice, it lends a warm and nutty flavor to the cup. I taste the resinous notes of pine leaves and I taste the warm spiced notes of cinnamon. I taste hints of tumeric and I don’t know if I actually taste the Oolong, but I can feel it’s contribution – the texture of the tea has that wonderful, thick Oolong-ish mouthfeel.
The other herbs of this tea, I’m not sure what flavor profile to fit with which herb because they are herbs that I am – for the most part – quite unfamiliar with. I would like to say, though, that even though the aroma strongly suggests an herbaceous, medicinal flavor, I smell more of that herb-y medicine-y flavor than I taste. For the most part, what I taste is the barley’s contribution to this tea – I taste that warm, roasty-toasty flavor and that’s quite fine with me – I’m really enjoying this!
The second tisane that I’ll be sampling – and the last for this, part 1 of the Yunomi Discoveries Club, Volume 17 review – is the Japanese Mugwort Tea from Yomogi-Cha. The word “Mugwort” makes me think of Harry Potter and Nightmare before Christmas. It sounds like something that Professor Snape would put in a potion or something that Sally would put in Doctor Finklestein’s soup.
This particular herbal doesn’t appear to be available on Yunomi’s site at the moment.
The dry leaf looks a lot like a dried salad. The leaves are large and fluffy and there are some stems in there too. The steeping parameters suggest using 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of water. I brewed this in my Kati tumbler which holds 12 ounces (so 1 1/2 cups of water) so I figured, close enough. Because these leaves are so fluffy and large, I eyeballed what looked like a tablespoon of leaf and put that in the basket of my tumbler and poured in 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F and let it steep for 4 minutes. (The suggested parameters are 3 – 5 minutes.)
Having never tried Mugwort tea (at least, not to my recollection), I was not sure what to expect. The aroma of the brewed tea is very grassy/leafy, evoking thoughts of what it might smell like if I were to steep some fresh lawn clippings.
The taste is very much like what the aroma suggests. It’s an interesting combination of bitter and sweet. It’s very herbaceous but not so much in an herbal sort of way, it’s more a grassy sort of herbaceous. There is a light buttery note which is kind of nice. There is some sweetness. Overall, it’s not an unpleasant tasting drink, it’s just quite different from what I’m used to tasting and I’m not finding myself really enjoying it.
In other words, I don’t hate it but I don’t really like it either.
From what I understand, Japanese Mugwort tea is useful for detox and weight loss. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I’m just drinking one cup of the stuff and that’s hardly enough to gauge whether or not it will work in this capacity. I am noticing a warming sort of effect though.
Overall, it’s alright. If I were going to drink this on a regular basis, I think I’d want to add something to it, perhaps a thin slice of lemon or some mint – something to perk up the flavor a little bit so that I’m tasting less of that strong grassy sort of flavor. Not my favorite.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Davidson’s Organics
Beautiful, full-flavored black tea, chai spices, anise and mandarin orange essence.
Ingredients (* organic): Black tea*, cinnamon*, cloves*, cardamom*, orange peel*, natural flavor & anise seed*.
Learn more about this chai here.
This is another tea that I received from a friend as a holiday gift. I hadn’t yet tried the Mandarin Chai with Anise from Davidson’s Organics so I was happy to receive it!
Eh … this is alright, but as far as chai blends go, it’s a little on the underwhelming side. The black tea is flavorful, but the spices are a bit tame for my liking. It’s not extraordinarily spicy, and chai blends don’t all have to be extraordinarily spicy to make me happy but, this just … seems to miss the mark a little bit. Every once in a while I notice that my palate seems to be “searching” for the peppery kick of ginger but it doesn’t find it because there isn’t ginger in this.
I do like the snappy little licorice-y note that I get from the anise, and the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom give it a really wonderful warmth. But part of me would like this to be a wee bit spicier than it is. I think maybe I’d feel less disappointment if this weren’t called a chai and was instead called a “Mandarin Spice” blend. I realize I’m arguing semantics here, because, ‘chai’ means ‘tea,’ but, as I’ve mentioned more than once, in this part of the world, we’ve come to think of chai meaning a spiced tea, and usually a highly spiced tea.
I do like the orange in this blend, it’s a little bit of “brightness” in the cup and it brings an overall “holiday-ish” sort of feel to the drink. This tastes very much like what many tea companies would promote as their “holiday” blend, but there is much less spice to it than in the typical holiday blend.
It’s alright, but, just kind of boring. In a world that is filled with so many interesting and wonderful teas, this one just falls a little short of the mark.
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas
Tropical the island breeze All of nature wild and free This is where I long to be La Isla Bonita And when the samba played The sun would set so high Ring through my ears and sting my eyes Your Spanish lullaby
A Jennifer Bliss Custom Blend.
Learn more about this custom blend here.
Find more Jennifer Bliss blends here.
Tasty! I must say that when it comes to Adagio Teas, I definitely have better luck with the white teas versus the black teas. This La Isla Bonita Custom Tea Blend (created by very own Jennifer Bliss aka TeaEqualsBliss!) from Adagio Teas – a white tea blend – is very nice, indeed.
The tropical notes are the strongest flavors in this cup. I taste the coconut and pineapple out in front, and then just beneath those tropical fruits, I taste notes of orange and tangerine. The coconut tastes smooth and creamy, the pineapple is sweet with just a hint of tart, and the orange and tangerine add a pop of bright flavor to the cup.
The white tea tastes soft and delicate and slightly earthy. It is the right base for this tea. Everything is “delicate” but together becomes a powerful flavor without becoming overwhelming.
And then there is the spearmint! I like that there isn’t too much spearmint in this blend. There is just the right touch of mint to give it that cool taste of mint without throwing off the sweet tropical and citrus-y notes.
What I’m enjoying most here is how the airy quality of the white tea comes together with the spearmint and together, the two become a very “breezy” sort of sensation, which is in keeping with the “La Isla Bonita” inspiration behind the blend. I love that I can taste the inspiration!
This is tasty served hot, but it really shines when it’s iced. So deliciously fruity with just a touch of mint: refreshing!