Perfect, Cold-Weather Cup: Boisahabi Estate Assam from Capital Tea Ltd

Assam teas are known for their fuller, malty feel and flavor, distinctly different than the tart zing of Ceylon black teas.  This Assam from the Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd., is a high grade tea (STGFOP (SPL) ) with a mix of black tea leaves and the highly-prized golden tips that bring the complex and delicious flavor.

In the dry leaf, this tea smells comforting and slightly spicy, like cinnamon sticks and fresh wood.  Brewed, the tea becomes surprisingly fruity, with lush muscatel flavors like pear and plum.  Beneath this fruitiness, the black tea is smooth and full, with toffee tones.  Overall, the tea feels very pleasant to drink, with a texture that fills my mouth with a warm, fuzzy feeling, without being too cloying or too sharp.

In the winter season, I seem to be drawn to all the crazy dessert-flavored teas like pumpkin pie or gingerbread cake, but while those teas are fun, their flavors are certainly enhanced by artificial flavors or added sugars and sprinkles.  There’s a time and place for those tasty flavored teas, but this Assam from Boisahabi Estate really took me by surprise and felt more flavorful and festive than those other blends.

This tea has a beautiful balance of both bold and delicate flavors, with the lighter, garden-like flavors of stone fruit, and the rich caramel and black tea undertones.  Even without sugar or milk, there is a smooth and comforting natural sweetness to this brew, which speaks to the quantity and quality of the golden tips and the tea leaves as a whole.

When you want a mature cup of tea with comforting yet complex flavors, brew a cup of Assam black tea from Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd. and stay cozy in the chilly weather.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Capital Tea Ltd
Description:

Sweetly aromatic attractive deep brown Assam leaves with plenty of golden tips. These leaves infuse to a rich, full bodied, and intensely flavourful tea liquor with prominent notes of candy-malt and toffee. Highly recommended as a breakfast tea to drink with milk

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Creme from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

Back in January I treated myself to a huge Bluebird Tea Co order and like so many other companies my package arrived with a couple of extra samples to try. One of those samples happened to be this tea, a teabag of Earl Grey Creme (EGC). This is not one I would have picked for myself in light of my tumultuous relationship with bergamot but it arrived and I am happy to give it a try.

Alas it seems this has fallen victim to the astringency that often accompanies bergamot. Between the black base tea and the crisp citrus, this tea is a touch too brisk for my personal tastes. Often with ECGs, this astringency is drowned out by the vanilla or “creme” component but that is not the case here. With that said, there is a vanilla creaminess lingering beneath the bitter that is trying to break through.

In an effort to drown out the sharpness of the bergamot, I added a splash of half and half cream, which I do not like to do. However, even that isn’t toning down the briskness so ultimately I would say this tea just isn’t for me.

I should note that I brewed this not using my usual variable temperature kettle or mugs which might seem like it doesn’t matter but I have found that such things can impact the flavor of a tea. Moreover, I am in a different country on vacation and something as simple as a different composition of the water could be at play. So in fairness to this particular tea, which happens to be a winner of the 2013 Great Taste Award, my dislike could be because of my preference against bergamot or because of the different elements at play rather than a fault with the tea itself.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

Don’t we wish prime ministers today were as good as the ones in the good old days? Take PM Earl Grey, he was the cream of the crop. Not only did he help abolish slavery and reform the House of Commons, he also invented the legendary Earl Grey tea! So we’ve created this creamy tribute just for you old chap!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

French #7 from Blue Hour Tea. . .

Don’t let the flowers fool you: this Earl Grey blend is POWERFUL. It’s packed to the gills with the Earl’s trademark bergamot, plus lavender and cornflowers. This blend packs a punch. DO NOT OVERSTEEP IT.

Tired? The smell itself is so strong that it will wake you up immediately. Cranky? The flavor will get your gears in motion. Dead on the inside? The caffeine will give you a shove.

This is like Earl Grey’s spunky hippie sister got into his tea stash and started messing around with it

“I picked these today,” she whispers, dropping a handful of blossoms into the mix. “These will make it pretty AND align his chakras. He’s so UPTIGHT sometimes.”

And then the Earl gets in there and he’s like “OH MY GOD, MOONBEAM, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

Then he sips it and says, with a sigh, “Oh. It’s pretty good.”

And goes back to bureaucracy or whatever it is Earls do all day. She’ll wander back into the fields, going on a walkabout, not to return until the winds and the moon usher her back to the castle. He never knows when she’ll drop by, but he’s secretly glad when she does. She keeps him on his toes.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Blue Hour Tea
Description

This is by far our most fragrant tea, just one sniff and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the beautiful streets of Paris! Our French No.7 blend uses a base of rich Earl Grey tea and has been mixed with a generous portion of lavender & cornflowers to create its wonderful floral aroma and flavour.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

My Morning Blend from The NecessiTeas. . . .

This robust tea is made from two simple, quality ingredients: black tea leaves and roasted cocoa beans.  This tea has everything that is good about hot bold black tea, hot chocolate, and coffee.  The black tea gives enough fresh tartness to keep the chocolate from being too sweet, and the roasted cocoa beans add a decadent smoothness that hints at the rich and nutty tones of coffee.  No matter how long I steeped the leaves, the blend stays strong and smooth, with no bitter astringency.

Many black teas in people’s cupboards are English breakfast blends.  I feel like My Morning Blend could easily be called American Breakfast, with all that Hershey chocolate flavor over the top of a welcoming tea brew (if we Americans weren’t already drinking coffee as the breakfast beverage of choice, that is).

I recently tried some cocoa shell tea for the first time, and found it to be a tasty, unique experience, a mix of sweet and salty, almost like chocolate-drizzled popcorn balls.  Cocoa shells are well and good, but as a tea-lover, sometimes I just need that black tea undertone.  My Morning Blend from The NecessiTeas was the perfect fix.

This blend takes milk like a champ, only growing more delicious and creamy with rich chocolate and toasty tea notes. This blend should be an essential on everyone’s tea shelf for those mornings when you want a cup that feels like putting on your favorite sweater and smells like your favorite cookies baking in the oven.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The NecessiTeas
Description:

If you are looking for a wake-me-up, perk-me-up cup in the morning, that’s off the beaten path of coffee, look no further. This strong black tea has the smoothness of chocolate, and the boldness of roasted cocoa beans. Doctor it as you would a cup of coffee, with milk and sugar to start off your day!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jump Start You Day with This Blend from Adagio Teas

Jump start your car with a blast of electricity.  Jump start your brain and your day with this high caffeine cuppa!  For tea lovers everywhere, it’s no secret that mate tea is a powerful pick-me-up, and often cited as a great alternative to coffee.  Well Jump Start blend from Adagio teas has toasted mate and so much more.

There’s not just mate, there’s traditional black tea in the blend as well, a staple of every breakfast blend around.  But let’s take this caffeine level a step further:  kola nuts.  Kola nuts are caffeine-containing tree nuts, previously used as an ingredient in sodas, hence where we get the term “cola.”  So there’s caffeine from the mate, from the black tea, and even from the kola nut inclusion.  This tea should come with a warning, like roller coasters: don’t brew this tea if you have a heart condition.  You’ll be rocketing out of your socks in no time!

So how do all of these ingredients taste?  The toasted mate brings roasty, earthy, dry hay notes, which serve as a compliment to the more traditional boldness of the black tea.  With additions like smooth, sweet cocoa nibs, and warm, spicy cinnamon bark, it’s hard not to imagine the kola nuts adding their own kind of cola sweetness.  I brewed this blend black, how I take most of my tea, but it is bold enough to hold up its flavor, even if softened with a bit of milk.

This will be an amazing tea for those of you who just can’t seem to get enough caffeine.  Skip your espresso-laced red-eye cold brew coffee, and just brew a cup of Jump Start instead!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Herbal
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas
Description: Mate, Kola, and Black tea make up this well-caffeinated blend to make your mornings deliciously efficient.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!