Blueberry Custard customized from BlendBee.com

Confession: I‚Äôm completely fine with drinking alone…. Tea, of course ūüėČ But drinking with friends offers some undeniable benefits – laughter and memories made, more importantly a spread of tastebuds that offers better insight than just one picky tongue.*

There are so so many beautiful ingredients in this custom Blueberry Custard from Blendbee, I needed all the help I could get to do it justice! First off, I highly recommend using a clear brewing system (gravity steeper or mason jar) to be able to fully enjoy the making of this majestic Purple infusion. (Fortunately I had just cleaned the hard-earned tea patina off mine with baking soda and vinegar, so it was even more beautiful than my usual cuppa!)

Between the three of us sipping, only one added sugar and it really took away from the innate sweetness of this mix, hmmm better off just trusting the blend maker on this one. Some of us were crazy about this tea, but others found the herbals to be unpalatable. So we looked into what exactly were imbibing…

With Blendbee, you can create your own mix weighing anywhere from 1 oz to ¬Ĺ pound. You start with a choice from 15 tea bases, and here they chose the China Green tea.

Next there are over 90 categorized ingredients to choose from (though it’s recommended to stick below 8). Must be a tough decision from all those options!  This blender chose 7:
Earthy and pungent category: yarrow flower;
Mild and fruity category: elder berries;
Herbaceous herb category: strawberry leaves;
Mild and nutty category: ashwaganda root;
Mild and herbal category: agrimony herb, and coriander seed;
And one uncategorized, marshmallow root.

Next the website offers additional extracts and flavors (up to 3 per blend). Here the blueberry and custard flavor extracts were used. (It was argued at one point that this put the ingredient count to 9, above the recommended 8, but that person is a stickler for semantics and didn’t like the tea anyway, so read that with a grain of salt).

Some of these herbs strike me as acquired tastes, beyond that, I would’ve preferred having actual blueberries instead of the extract, though I didn’t see it as an option (yet) and the extract probably consistently offers more flavor in a smaller space.

This organic blend featured so many different flavor profiles, it was a… memorable… experience for well-developed sippers, and newbies alike.

*The best part of sharing with friends is finding a loving home for leaves that aren’t your favorite (yet). Thanks H.R.!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: BlendBee
Description:

Create custom teas, with more than a hundred quality and organic ingredients to choose from.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo. . . .

My sample of Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo looked so unusual in the bag I had to give it a try.  It looks a bit like sage or a white tea, grey-green in color and fuzzy to the touch, with a chain of full, yellow blossoms.  I needed my big infuser to handle all the lush stems, leaves, and blossoms of this tea.

I followed my usual pattern for lightly flavored herbal teas and steeped these leaves with boiling water, lots of leaves, and waited a good ten minutes.

Brewed the tea is very fragrant, vegetal but sweet, almost like brown sugar and okra.  There’s a hint of something in the scent that reminds me of savory dishes in the kitchen, like black pepper or oregano: herbal but spicy.

The taste of this tea has some of the familiar lemon and chamomile notes, gently floral, sweet and bright.  But this tea goes behind the chamomile flavors and has a more fermented great tea base beneath all that sweet lemon.  The sweetness is worth noting, there is a very forward, almost-caramel note in the scent and aftertaste.

This was a unique blend in looks, smell, and taste, not to mention it is an herbal tea packed with good things to help you live a long and healthy life.  Unless you go into the mountains to pick some more tea and encounter the gods of Mount Olympus, that is.  Safe travels and happy brewing!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Kilo
Description:

This variety, Sideritis Scardica, comes from the legendary Mount Olympus, in the Balkans, situated between Thessaly and Macedonia. It has been tested for antioxidants by Brunswick Labs, (www.brunswicklabs.com) the leader in bio-analtyical testing. It has a mild and very pleasant taste and aroma.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Woodland Trek by Beach House Tea Company. . . . .

I steeped this tea for 8 minutes at 212 degrees with 1.5 teaspoons of leaf in about 6-8 ounces of water.

After steeping, the tea is an interesting peachy color-pinkish-orangeish-amber. It smells mostly of honeybush and a little of hops. The flavor combinations available here are quite intriguing!

First sip: SUPER sweet. It has a light, airy quality to the flavor. It’s not as “earthy” as I’d expect with so much honeybush in it (honeybush and rooibos usually ground a flavor pretty well in my estimation).

The flavor is also much more complex than the fragrance, rather than being dominated by the honeybush and hops flavors. It has the sweetness and woodiness of honeybush, but also a touch of lemony/citrus flavor (which brightens it considerably), just a hint of minty or piney freshness maybe, and some other difficult-to-describe notes.

After consulting the list of ingredients (it’s a relatively long one for a tea blend, although not super-long like a processed food or something) I’ve worked out that the sweetness is probably boosted by the marshmallow leaf (although honeybush is sweet on its own too) and the licorice; the bee pollen is probably what I see dancing in the tea liquid, giving it this peachy color; and the cedar is probably what I was mistaking for minty/piney freshness. All taken together, these notes make a fascinating flavor that’s worth exploring!

I’m really glad I got to try this tea–the dried leaf didn’t smell nearly as appetizing as the tea liquid turned out to be, and I’m glad I gave it the chance to bloom (figuratively speaking, that is–this wasn’t what they call a “blooming tea”).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Honeybush/Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Beach House Tea Company
Description

Woodland Trek 100% organic loose leaf tea is crafted with honeybush tea with a rich undertone of licorice and sage and snap of organic Oregon hops and a hint of sweetness from bee pollen. This outdoor-rich blend with organic cedar tips invites you to reminisce memories of evenings spent camping or hiking the cascades.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vivacious Vitalitea by Vampyre Tea Company (Cup of Love). . . . .

Steeping: 3 g at 212¬į ¬†in 1 cup for two minutes. . .

This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.

As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos¬†fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike¬†flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh¬†as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your¬†tea). It¬†also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place ‚Äď citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is¬†sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not¬†too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.

It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).

Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Cup of Love
Description

A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day.  Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy

drink. ¬†It leaves the¬†body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of¬†life’s adventures.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yerba Mate Mint by Choice Organic Teas . . .

I steeped this tea for 4 minutes at 175 degrees with one bag in about one cup of water.

The packet says to steep for 4-6 minutes but it smells plenty strong enough at 4 so I stopped there. Plus, since mint can get bitter if oversteeped, I didn’t want to wait too long.

It smells nice and minty while brewing. I can’t really distinguish it from plain peppermint tea by the smell. After steeping is over, the tea is a yellowish cedar-like color and not noticeably viscous.

First sip: Surprise! It tastes just like mint herbal tea–to me, anyway. Or at least not different enough that you would be positive there’s something else in there rather than just a variation on the minty flavor. (Maybe if I had prepared a cup of plain mint tea at the same time to compare against, that would have helped me pick out any differences, but alas–I didn’t think of that until it was too late.)

What that means is that this could be a clever way to have something caffeinated in the morning if you’re an herbal tea drinker and don’t care for green or black tea or coffee! Or if you only drink black tea with milk (like me) and are avoiding milk because you have a cold, but still need that caffeine boost. (I know that sounds oddly specific but it happens to me more often than you’d think!)

The mate isn’t roasted, I’m guessing, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t have a strong enough flavor to dominate this tea blend (after all, peppermint is a very powerful flavor and it’s hard to overcome that). So if you like peppermint tea, you’ll probably like this!

With sugar: It’s still good and minty, nice and easy on the throat (which means that it’s both good for colds and for vocal health if you’re trying to relax your voice and stay hydrated, although I guess caffeine is a little bit controversial where vocal health is concerned).

Overall this blend is both useful and enjoyable when prepared as a hot tea beverage, and it seems to have plenty of potential as a cold brew as well, although I didn’t try it that way.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Yerba Mate
Where to Buy: Choice Organic Tea

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!