Trappist Monk Blend Organic Black Tea from Fraser Tea. . . .

When I first started drinking loose leaf tea, someone sent me a sample of a monk’s blend. I don’t remember what company made it, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with it. I never did seek out any to buy, but I didn’t hate it. It just didn’t do much for me.

A traditional monk’s blend tea is black tea with vanilla and pomegranate, or grenadine, if you will.

This Trappist Monk Blend is far more complex. Blueberries, Michigan cherries, caramel flavor instead of vanilla, and lots more!

Did I mention that it is ORGANIC? This is a real point of passion for the brothers who founded this company. That raises the price, as would be expected with quality ingredients, but I resteeped my sachet and got a really great second cup, with almost no noticeable decrease in flavor or color.

The base is a smooth assam, so a nice bit of caffeine but not at all rough enough to need sugar. I thought it was delicious just as it is. I am guessing it would make a great iced tea, with or without sweetener, as well.

I found it to be more full-flavored than the monk’s blend from years ago. The assam and caramel lay down some nice deep bass lines, the stone fruits give us our sparkling middle notes, and calendula provides the treble. Cornflower makes it all a little sweeter.

This is a variation on monk’s blend that I can get behind!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea
Description

A unique twist on the tradition of Monk’s Blend tea, our Trappist Monk Organic Black Tea melds Michigan cherries with exotic vanilla and sweet caramel organic flavor and is crafted from the highest quality Assam tea. Through bold flavors, that are tempered with zesty orange peel, pomegranate and grenadine, the essence of this tea takes on a rich sweetness. We named this blend after the Trappist monks whose order our father was a member. Choose this organic black tea to help increase alertness and focus, we wish you a healthy mind, body and spirit with each cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 from Tea Revv. . .

Nothing says holidays like starting each day with a surprise gift. Advent calendars are literally the gift that keeps on giving. Usually they are filled with chocolate but for the tea lover on your list, I recommend checking out the Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 by Tea Revv. 

Tea Revv was kind enough to send me a sneak peak of their upcoming advent calendar and just from the looks I was excited. The advent calendar box was smaller than I anticipated but its true when they say good things come in small packages! The box is beautifully designed with geometric snow-capped mountains and two little geometric penguins. It certainly evokes the idea of winter and fun.

Inside are 24 small satchets with 2 cups of loose leaf tea each. The satchets are all stacked on top of each other, with the Day 1 tea on top. One thing I will say is that those who like the surprise of opening a door or scratching off a label to discover what the tea of the day is will not get that here. As you pull out one satchet, the next day’s satchet is right there with all the details of the tea. For me, the surprise factor is not essential and I actually like having all the details about the tea (including ingredients and brewing instructions) conveniently in front of me. In addition, the satchets are sleek and carry the geometric theme throughout with colorful and fun holiday images.

One other face-value perk of Tea Revv’s Tea Advent Calendar is it’s price. Relative to other companies offering advent calendars, Tea Revv is not very expensive and thus a great gift for every budget.

Now, how can I talk about a tea calendar without discussing some of the teas? I pulled out a couple of teas just to get a feel for the different blends the calendar has to offer. There is a lot of black teas and warming winter/holiday ingredients. Chai lovers would certainly be pleased. However, there are also fruit tisanes, rooibos blends, green teas, etc. Something for everyone.

One of the first teas I tried was the Day 1 tea, Frosted Fruit Spice. Frosted Fruit Spice is a black tea with cinnamon, ginger, apple, cloves, cinnamon quillings, amaranth petals, safflower petals, and natural flavors. The dry leaf and steeped tea have a deliciously sweet and spiced fruit smell. It has me thinking of fruit filling in a winter-themed fruit pie. Flavorwise, that spiced fruit pie filling transfers over to the taste though more subtle than the scent would suggest. Mostly that is because there is a floral component that is strongly coming through and conflicting with the pie filling. The floral picks up some of the base tea which gives it a bit of a drying effect. I don’t love that drying but the spiced fruit component is really tasty and the reason I keep reaching for my mug and with a splash of milk that is the flavor that is highlighted with the floral and drying drowned out.

I also tried Ginger Green. Ginger Green is a much simpler blend which simply combines green tea and ginger pieces. I was curious to try something other than a black blend and this is the first non-black tea I grabbed from the pile on my table. Now I should preface this by saying I am not a green tea lover and for that reason this tea will never be my favorite. With that said, I should note that it is actually a nice tea. The ginger has just the right amount of flavor and burn to keep things interesting against the green tea base. The base has a lot of umami flavor. Usually greens are grassy but to me this has more of a seaweed flavor. It took my by surprise but also had a richness to it that is more consistent with the winter theme of this tea advent calendar box.

All in all, I have enjoyed the teas I have tried so far and I am just getting started. I look forward to exploring all the blends this calendar has to offer.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Tea Advent Calendar
Where to Buy: Tea Revv
Description

2018 Blends Include: Chilly Willy Chai, Cranberry Apple, Notorious Eggnog, English Breakfast, Coffee Lover, Spiced Apple, Christmas Cake, Ice Cream Earl Grey, Relax, Ruby Amaretto, Golden Turmeric, Gingerbread Man, Belly Bestie, Pumpkin Pie Chai, Irish Cream Breakfast, Rum Pud, Snowballs, Christmas Eve tea, Breakfast Pancakes, Ginger Green, Chocolate tea, Ruby Chai, Achooo, & Frosted Fruit Spice.

Winter is here. But fear not. Defrost those hands kick back relax with Tea 24.  24 seasonal loose leaf tea blends! Each sachet has its own winter illustration packaged in a beautifully designed box. All designs produced in-house. Each sachet contains enough tea for two cups or one large mug. Brewing advice on front of sachets.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Polka Dot Bikini Organic Puerh from Fraser Tea. . .

The name alone had me with this tea. . .I mean being a lover of all things polka dot and all. . .

Polka Dot Bikini Organic Puerh is a wonderful blend of puerh tea, cocoa nibs, orange peel, fennel seeds and a few other ingredients.  A blend that I have had before but never with orange peels that large added in.  I ordered a box of sachets of this tea and a green tea sampler. I needed to know what this tea was all about.

Since Fraser Tea is a new tea company to me, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I received, immediately impressed me. I have already placed and received a much larger order and have plans to place another order very soon.

Each box of sachets was lovely assembled and each sachet was individually wrapped. Making the tea easier to transport and keep for those times where you need a tea asap and don’t have time to steep loose leaf. This particular tea had a lovely earthy smell with a slight citrus aroma.  Really wonderful.

Brewed up my water 212F and allowed the tea to steep for about 4 minutes. Allowed the tea to cool for another 2-3 minutes and took my firsts sip. I was instantly in love. This tea has this wonderful silky smooth texture with notes of sweetness, earthiness, and herbaceous all in one tea sachet.

The puerh tea is solid-smooth, luxurious, and makes a wonderful base for the rest of the ingredients to play on. I don’t drink a lot of puerh, but from what I’ve had of the flavored variety, this is one of the best ones out there.  With the dark tea base, the cocoa nibs become even more decadent adding to that silky luxurious mouth feel.  Add in the citrus twist  and fennel finish (not a strong fennel flavor by any means) and you have a wonderfully well balanced sweet treat.

Rich, sweet, citrus, earthy with a hit of chocolate. . and a touch of an herbal finish. . .really couldn’t ask for a better way to get you going and ready to take the day on.

I actually loved this tea so much that I took down half a box in one day and ordered 4 oz in my last order.  I did notice that I was only able to get two steepings out of each sachet so I’m hoping I will be able to squeeze hopefully one more infusion out of the loose leaf.

For my first experience with Fraser Tea, I’m quite loving it and am excited to prep my tea kettle up to enjoy more teas from order!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Puerh
Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea
Description

Sweet chocolate and licorice flavor with earthy citrus aroma

Puerh Tea*, Cocoa Nibs*, Orange Peel*, Fennel Seeds*, Eleuthero Root*, Organic Flavor (*) = Organic Certified.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Earl Grey Black Tea from Waterfalls Tea Company. . . . .

Waterfall Tea Company (AKA Waterfall Teas) is one of the companies I haven’t been able to dive into much thus far and I’m not really sure why!? I guess I just haven’t seen it around much and haven’t ordered it online yet.

About a month or two ago I re-visited Tea Leafs in Williamsville, NY, and came across a few of their teas that were available for sale and individually wrapped. I decided to buy a single bag just to try it out. The one I grabbed first was the one I decided to buy and that was their Organic Earl Grey.

Organic Earl Grey from Waterfall Tea Company is loose leaf in a biodegradable sachet. It’s what you would expect from an Earl Grey. Medium strength black tea and bergamot oil. The bergamot isn’t over the top nor is it whispering. It’s a nice middle-of-the road flavor. A nice SAFE tea to share with the masses!

I also appreciate the crisp and clean packaging, design, and presentation of Waterfall Teas. Everything is clearly marked and stated. They have the recognizable USDA Organic label along with Orthodox Union and Oregon Tilth labels.

In case you are not as familiar with the latter two labels…The OU (Orthodox Union) Kosher is the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency, certifying over 800,000 products produced in more than 8,500 plants located in 100 countries around the world.

Oregon Tilth is a leading nonprofit certifier, educator, and advocate for organic agriculture and products since 1974. Over the past 40 years, Oregon Tilth has helped lead the way on moving organic agriculture from a “fringe alternative” movement into a research-based approach to sustainable food production. They played an integral role in the formation of the USDA National Organic Program, helped found the Organic Materials Research Institute and pushed to expand organic sustainability beyond agriculture to textiles and other products.

So there is a little education with your daily tea. I enjoyed the cuppa and the research while preparing this post for today. Organic Earl Grey from The Waterfall Tea Company is a good one to have on hand if you are short on time or want a pleasing cup to share with a group of friends!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Waterfall Tea Company
Description

This tea doesn’t appear to be available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vanilla Black from The Toni Glass Collection. . . . . .

Vanilla is one of those flavors that always make a tea sound better. It is a standard flavor note in a lot of dessert teas and can range in flavor from creamy to sweet to fresh to bright and so much more. Tea company after tea company have vanilla tea offerings and yet they can taste world’s apart.

This is The Toni Glass Collection’s take on a vanilla black tea. I steeped the tea sachet for 3 minutes in near-boiling water, despite a recommended steeping time of 5 minutes.

The tea has a great vanilla flavor, like fresh baked cookies. Unfortunately, the vanilla is overshadowed by an astringent black tea base. Every now and again I catch fleeting notes of a french vanilla but that gives way to a bitter and chemical black base.

It’s a shame the base takes over because the scent of the vanilla promised some deliciousness that this tea just did not deliver. I wonder if the steeping parameters played a role in the off-taste so if I were to have this in the future, I think I would brew it low and slow in hopes of taming the base and letting the vanilla flavoring shine.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Toni Glass Collection
Description

A nostalgic Black tea that is infused with all your vanilla memories. This great tea boasts a beautiful natural sweetness and mouth watering flavor

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!