Chocolate Zucchini Bread from A Quarter To Tea. . . . .

Most summers growing up were spent helping my mom tend to our vegetable garden. Beaming proudly at my over-run chives, measuring my height by the sunflowers, plucking tomatoes from the vine and popping them into bowls with a hefty sprinkle of salt, warm from the sun. But nothing was more ubiquitous than our zucchini plants. Come late summer, we were literally swimming in zucchini. Try as she might, my mom could hardly keep up with our producing plants, and was finding every possible way to work them into our daily repertoire. Who knew all she needed to do was turn them into tea??

This chocolate zucchini bread tea from A Quarter to Tea perfectly captures the flavors of one of my favorite iterations of our garden spoils– a warm, gooey, chocolatey loaf that was just as healthy as it was tasty (okay, maybe not the abundant chocolate chips sprinkled on top. But you gotta live a little, right?). Somehow, this blend manages to make the zucchini flavors prominent while keeping them from being gross– balanced with the cocoa, it’s almost reminiscent of a hot chocolate (and with a splash of maple syrup and coconut milk, it’s nearly a dead ringer). The walnuts bring a warmth and roundness of flavor that are simply delightful, and the malty, bread-y-ness impressively captures the pasty-like quality of such a dessert without feeling heavy or overwrought. If you have nostalgic garden dreams from childhood like I do, this is a great blend to pick up for your afternoon cuppa. Particularly when paired with a snack of some zucchini bread.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea
Description

This tea was part of the limited monthly subscription.  Click below to learn more.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Oriental Beauty from Dachi Tea. . . .

These long twists, amber and brown with white tips, are stunning. They are also sort of difficult to measure out with my “perfect teaspoon.” So what you’re getting with this review is a BEST GUESS at how this should have been made.

Regardless, this is a sweet little number tastes like white grape juice. It tastes like sugar, and flowers, and grapes, and candy, and ribbon-dancing.

Do you remember ribbon-dancing? There was a product called Ribbon Dancer.  

My mom wouldn’t let me have it, so I took a stick, tied some braided-up yarn to it, and made do.

This tea is like if I’d RECEIVED a Ribbon Dancer. I would have been the most graceful ribbon dancer of all time. This tea is has an airy, swishy ballerina vibe to it. I might have under-leafed it a bit, but I genuinely think that it’s meant to be delicate. (It says “delicate” on the bag. I’m cheating a little bit here.)

You can’t buy this tea directly from Dachi’s site, but you can take a moment to look around the site. (And consider a subscription!) The site has graphics that show not only the tea itself but what it tastes like. Which is a wonderful way for a visual learner like me to discover the properties of different tea. I mean, look at this.

I daresay that’s the Ribbon Dancer of tea photography.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Dachi Tea
Description

Premium-grade, single-origin, direct-trade tea delivered to your desk or door, month after month.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hazelberry Pu’er from Simple Loose Leaf. . . . . .

Valentine’s Day has come and gone but this tea feels like it would have been a perfect fit  for such a sweet, romantic day. This tea contains cocoa nibs,hazelnut flavor and strawberry flavor. The hazelnut flavor is what I taste the most, with a finish of chocolate and strawberries. It also has a slight roasted, earthy flavor from the pu’er tea itself which goes really really well with the other ingredients. I used to love hazelnut lattes back when I drank coffee, so this tea is a real treat. I tasted it plain before adding anything, and it’s pretty sweet on it’s own. It also has natural cream flavor, so it’s got a little bit of sweet and creamy all on it’s own.

I decided to gild the lilly and add a little coconut sugar and coconut milk and sipped away. It was heaven. This would be an amazing tea to have with breakfast, or even a delicious dessert tea. When I closed my eyes and sipped, I almost felt like I was drinking a chocolate covered strawberry!! This tea really is perfectly balanced, because it would be really easy for these flavors to be cloying, but they so aren’t. They make for a nutty, fruity slightly chocolate-y tea that is pretty dang close to perfection. I loved every last drop of this tea, and can’t wait to have another cup.

Whether you make it for a loved one or yourself, it is a delicious, tasty treat!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Pu’er
Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf
Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Awake from Bird’s Eye Tea. . . . .

I’ve been sleeeeepy lately. It seems with all that’s been going on in my personal life, a full 8 hours of ZZZs is usually the first thing to take a hit and man, is it ever slowing me down. So you can imagine when I saw this cute little packet of tea in my sample stash proclaiming to make me “awake!” I couldn’t open it fast enough with my sleepy little fingers.

It’s a beautiful mate with herbs galore– tulsi (my favorite adaptogenic herb), bacopa, spearmint and current. It brews up a beautiful, vegetal dark gold, and tastes brilliantly herbal with no bitterness (and no need for honey).

I can’t say I immediately perked up after my first cup, but the soothing holy basil and fresh spearmint chilled me out and gave me that nice, focused feeling of being awake without being buzzy.

Just what I needed! Now to find what else I need– a cozy bed and a spare two hours to nap.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Mate
Where to Buy:  Bird’s Eye
Description

Bird’s Eye is a monthly subscription plan.  Check out the link below for more information.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Coconut Lime from Handmade Tea. . . . . .

Month two of my three month Handmade Tea subscription arrived. This time I kept that wax sealed envelope closed and decided I would let the tea speak for itself before reading the provided tasting note.

First thing I noticed was the big pieces of coconut in the blend. The scent of them takes over which makes since given the bright white coconut chips amidst a sea of black tea. When steeped up though, the malty assam base is what floods the nose leaving me a little bit worried that those coconut chips are just for show.

Sipping on the blend, I will say it is a pretty nice black tea. The malt is strong here. It is smooth but a little bit pithy and astringent as the sip finishes. I imagine that is the contribution of the lime element seeing as I have no other indication of its presence in the tea. There are also notes of raisin and stonefruits, sweet and jammy, with a drizzle of honey. Now and then there is a creaminess that I think is the coconut though it is faint and merely textural. To be honest, if I was blindly trying this, having not known the name or seen the dry leaf, I would have assumed this was a plain assam tea, not a flavored one.

So, having now tried the tea and assessed it for myself, let’s see how my observations compared to those laid out in the tasting note: “The black tea has light raisin notes along with a brisk astringency” – so far it seems my thoughts are in line with what is to be expected. “Next we add coconut chips to add a natural sweet flavor. Coconut also adds a thicker and more complex mouth feel” – I definitely got the mouth feel component here, though I interpreted as a creaminess as opposed to the described thickness and the sweetness I attributed to the base instead of the coconut. “Lastly, dried lime peel is added in to finish out the blend. The tartness and subtle sweetness of the citrus balances well with the coconut and raisin-like notes of the base tea” – this was lost on me.

In addition to the tasting note, the blender provides a message in which he also makes note of the stone-fruit flavor I picked up on in the tea. He also speaks to the fact that he believes this is a good winter tea which is an interesting point in light of the more tropical/summery coconut and lime flavors. However, having drank the tea, I can see how this is better for the winter given the focus on the rich base as opposed to the lighter flavoring


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Handmade Tea
Description

This is a selection from Handmade Tea’s monthly subscription plan. Click below if you want to learn more about this plan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!