Francesca from Sicilian Tea Company. . . .

It’s always good to have a chamomile blend or two in your tea cabinet for those when you need something extra comforting and caffeine-free.  Francesca from Sicilian Tea Co. could be the perfect choice for your evening cup of tea.

Some people consider herbal teas to be medicinal, with herbs like lavender and chamomile to help combat stress.  Both of these fragrant blossoms are in abundance in this blend, bringing their lovely color and shape to the dry leaf, and the lemony and floral scent of the brew.

There are also cinnamon sticks, Saint John’s Wort, and licorice root in this blend.  The cinnamon adds just a hint of spicy warmth, rekindling thoughts of spiced baked goods.  A touch of licorice root adds smooth sweetness to the brew.  As an added bonus, licorice root can help soothe a scratchy throat, so the ingredient helps make the brew extra restorative.

I’m not sure that Saint John’s Wort adds much flavor, but the herb is rumored to help heal against depression.  I’m not sure if I felt those effects or not; brewing a cup of tea is always my happy place, and helps me out of a dark mood.

This tea is all herbs and blossoms, so it’s completely caffeine-free and full of natural flavors.  If the licorice root isn’t sweet or soothing enough, it wouldn’t hurt to add a dollop of honey to your mug for a little extra sugar.  After brewing a cup of Francesca blend, there’s not much left to do but sit back, relax, and have a sip of tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Sicilian Tea Co.
Description:

Naturally caffeine free, this chamomile blend won’t keep you up all night like some other sleepy time treats.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lavender Dream from Dave and Solomons Tea

Dave and Solomons are a mother and son tea blending company, currently selling their indie creations on their Etsy store. I hadn’t come across them before this sample arrived with me, but it’s always nice to discover a new tea company, if a little dangerous for the bank account!

lavender-dreams2Lavender Dream is a fruit and herbal blend, combining the sweet fruitiness of peach with the light floral of lavender. It sounds a little odd to begin with, but I was pleased to discover that they’re actually two flavours which work incredibly well together. The dry leaf itself is incredibly pretty, with dark pink rose petals, bright blue cornflowers, and purple lavender buds, plus large (1-2cm square) chunks of dried papaya.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 5 minutes in boiling water. The result is a medium orange-brown liquor, which smells wonderful and which filled the entire kitchen with the scent of fuzzy peach.  To taste, it’s very much as you might expect. The peach isn’t particularly natural-tasting, hence “fuzzy” peach, but it’s strong and incredibly juicy, and I’m more than happy with that. The lavender is definitely playing second fiddle here, not really making itself known until very much the end of the sip. When it does, it’s a pleasant counterpoint to the sweetness of the peach, adding a delicate floral flavour, and just a hint of perfume.

I expected this one to be a lot heavier on the lavender, given that it’s called Lavender Dream. Having tasted it, I feel Peach Dream lavenderdreams3would be a much more appropriate name, because it is primarily a peach flavoured tea. I’m not the biggest fan of floral teas, particularly when they’re herbal blends, but in this case it shouldn’t put you off. The lavender really isn’t very prominent, but the contribution it makes is balancing one, and pleasant to boot.

As  this is a  caffeine free blend, it’ll likely be making a regular appearance in my evening rotation for a good long while to come. I love the juicy peach notes, and I’d actually like to try this one iced (although I might have to wait until summer, or a rare warm day, for that now.) I’ll definitely be trying more blends from Dave and Solomons Tea in the future on the strength of this experience. There’s certainly some skilled blending going on!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Fruit/Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Dave and Solomons Tea
Description

Yummy peach cubes with organic lavender, rose petals, marigold & cornflower petals. MMMM Soooo good!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Catnap from Aka Tea

I misread the name of this tea at first, and thought it said “Catnip.” Turns out I wasn’t far wrong, because this blend does actually contain catnip. It’s even more fitting when you consider that the company logo, and indeed the majority of their blends, are cat themed.

Catnap is purportedly a relaxing blend, containing chamomile, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm…and catnip. In my head, catnip isn’t something I typically associate with relaxation – it conjures images of bright-eyed, mischief-making kittens. Maybe in humans the effects are different.

Noticeable amongst the dry leaf are small whole chamomile flowers, pieces of lemongrass, cinnamon chips, bright blue cornflowers, and finely shredded mint (and, assumedly, catnip) leaves. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, no additions. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow-orange, the scent generically herbal with an edge of sweet mint.

To taste, it’s a little danker than I was expecting, more a dark, sludgy herbal than a bright, clean, refreshing one. Mint is the main flavour – there’s the characteristic cooling peppermint, the sweeter edge of spearmint, and then a borderline vegetal flavour that I’m assuming is the catnip. I’m putting it with the mints because that’s how it comes across to me – minty, but with a definite swampiness about it. Underneath all of those runs the cinnamon, adding a warming spiciness. I’m not sure that it pairs 100% successfully with mint, though. It’s not a flavour combination I’ve come across many times before, and I’m pretty sure there’s a reason for that…

The lemon emerges in the mid-sip, and lifts what could have been a fairly uninspiring cup into brighter territory. The lemongrass adds another layer of sweetness, combining hay-like notes with a light citrus, and the lemon verbena and lemon balm also help to heighten this impression. The chamomile makes itself known at the end of the sip, with its typical thick honey notes. It pairs well with the lemongrass, and moves this blend more firmly into “relaxing tea” territory.

To me, this is a tea of two halves. The initial sip is very heavy on the mint and cinnamon, but that fades pretty quickly and is replaced by the citrus-honey flavours that seem to develop further as it cools. It’s certainly a unique blend, but I’m not sure it’s one I’d seek out especially frequently, primarily because I find the flavour combinations a little too jarring.

Having said that, this is an interesting caffeine-free option, and it’s different from most other “relaxing” blends I’ve tried. If you’re looking for something a little unusual to brighten up your evening tea drinking, this could well be the blend for you. Cat lovers may well award extra points also!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Aka Tea

akateaDescription:

CatNap, anyone? Sometimes that’s just what the doc ordered. Catnip is not just for cats. It has been known to help humans relax, relieve headaches, and calm the nerves. Curl up with a cup and “cat”ch some z’s.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

#MusicandTeaMonday: Sweet Dreams Herbal from AstroloTea

Sweet Dreams is part of AstroloTea’s Transformative Loose Tea range, which combines ingredients with specific properties to create teas designed to have an effect on either mind or body. Sweet Dreams, true to its name, is supposed to be a relaxing blend, with the intention of promoting sleep or rest. Like many blends of this kind, it contains a selection of herbal ingredients known for their calming properties, including rose petals, hops, jasmine, lemon balm, and lavender. It also contains more unusual ingredients, such as poppy, catuba, gotu kola, dogwood, yarrow, brahmi, kava kava, and mullein. Many of these I’ve never come across before. All of the ingredients are organic, except the kava kava which has been cultivated without the use of chemicals.

I followed the recommended parameters and used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, added to boiling water for 5 minutes. The resulting liquor is a bright orange-brown, with a mildly herbaceous scent. The flavour is more delicate than I expected, initially quite generically “herbal”, but with clear flashes of rose and lavender. There’s a distinctive thick sweetness from the hops in the mid-sip, and a touch of aniseed-like fennel. A light lemony-citrus note rounds off the sip.

The proliferation of ingredients made me wonder whether it would be possible to distinguish any one of them at all, but in actual fact it is possible to pick out the stronger, more dominant, flavours. Many of the ingredients are unfamiliar to me, though (and probably to most people), and it’s fair to say that the overall effect is herbal with an edge of floral. I’m pleased the the floral doesn’t edge over into perfumey, and it’s not too strong, so you might get along with this even if floral teas are not typically your thing. In flavour terms, its reminiscent of a lot of similar blends, only with more unusual, carefully selected, ingredients.

I didn’t notice much of an effect straight after drinking, but I can certainly appreciate having another caffeine-free pre-bedtime blend in my cupboard. With its light, delicate flavour, it’s a pleasing choice for late night drinking whether you buy into the “sleep-aid” aspect or not. I’d happily seek out more AstroloTea blends in the future.

And since today is #MusicandTeaMonday, we couldn’t help but pair this tea with this song! Don’t forget to join us on your favorite social media of choice with #MusicandTeaMonday!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: AstroloTea

at_logo_headerDescription:

Sweet Dreams Organic Loose Leaf Tea is only available as an herbal tea blend. It is a powerful sedative tea for nighttime relaxation and sleep. It has been used to help relieve insomnia and sleep disturbances.

This soft and dreamy tea is the perfect way to close every day. Slip into comfort and notice how gently everything floats away as you easily drift off to dreamland. Sweet Dreams tea is a luxurious gift to give yourself for a day well lived.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mint Chamomile Rooibus from Simple Loose Leaf

Mint_Chamomile_RooibusTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Roiboos

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

Our Mint Chamomile tea will put a smile on your face regardless of the day you are having.  Brew a cup of this floral, sweet and soothing tea and enjoy a wonderfully fresh finish of this beautiful cup of tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mint and Chamomile seems to be an unusual combination – I think I’ve only ever tried one other similar blend. Based on that experience, I’d say that this surprises me. It sounds a little odd to begin with, for sure, but they’re ingredients that do actually work well together. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions. The dry leaf itself is very herbal-looking – there are whole yellow chamomile flowers, green shreds of peppermint, red rooibos leaves, and a smattering of creamy white chamomile petals. The scent is predominantly minty, with an underlying sweetness from the vanilla flavouring.