Earl Grey Black from Camellia Sinensis

EarlGreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Camellia Sinensis

Tea Description:

From Dooars, in northern India, this quality black tea is scented with a natural flavouring extracted from organic Italian bergamot, a highly aromatic citrus fruit. You’ll be spellbound after one sip of this English classic.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I made an order with Camellia Sinensis for some teaware and they included several free teas such as this tea. Personally, I’ve never really sought to purchase an EG blend from Camellia Sinensis; I do enjoy Earl Grey but not enough to need more than one good kind on hand (and currently I’m loving the Liquid Proust’s Peach vs. Bergamot twist on the traditional Earl Grey) and when I’m ordering from Camellia Sinensis, which I frequently do, it’s more for the interesting and often unique straight/pure teas they carry or for the teaware.

That said, I’m grateful for the inclusion: I love the fact this Earl Grey is both organic and fair trade as those as aspects of tea I look to support as often as possible. This sample was a sachet style tea bag, and I ended up making it early in the morning before work. I have to say, I thought the dry leaf smelled fairly mild and quite floral and even as it was steeping up I was noticing more floral traits than anything overwhelmingly bergamot-heavy. However, the taste wasn’t bad! I enjoyed how smooth and clean the overall flavour was in addition to the light floral notes and medium concentration of bergamot flavour. There was also a very natural sweetness which I was fond of. That said, I wouldn’t have minded if the bergamot was a little stronger. For people who really LOVE Earl Grey and drink it on a more daily basis this could be perceived as a little light handed.

Overall, not a ‘stand out’ Earl Grey but a solid choice if you’re already placing a Camellia Sinensis order and want to do all your shopping in one place. And like I pointed out, the fact it’s Organic and Fair Trade (and still reasonably priced) makes it a tea easy to get behind.

Darjeeling Black from Teapigs

darjeelingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Teapigs

Tea Description:

Pinkies out, bone china cups and saucers, silk neck scarf and snorty laugh at the ready – this is the poshest tea around. Darjeeling tea without milk has a unique, clean, refreshing taste. Traditionally drunk in the afternoon it tastes equally good early morning from a chipped mug.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Thanks to one of our sisters, Scheherazade, I got a chance to try a few sachets of this tea! Teapigs is a company I’ve been kind of curious about for a while; the Sobeys I work at carries a small selection of their teas (though not this one) and I’ve always found the packaging cute. I just simply haven’t known enough about the company or seen enough reviews to be interested in trying one of their teas.

I steeped up one of the pyramid style sachets I received from Scheherazade this morning during a heavy downpour and sat on the steps outside of our house, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, while drinking it. It was definitely the perfect atmosphere to enjoy and appreciate the warmth of the mug and the clean, well rounded flavour. I thought in particular it tasted rather floral, with a slight bit of malt and a sort of autumnal vibe – probably from the very slight spice notes throughout the cup. The mouthfeel is very, very smooth and silky. It’s not the best Darjeeling I’ve ever had but it’s far from the worst.

Very pleasant, comforting and unobtrusive flavour overall. I don’t know if I’ve been sold enough on this tea to want to purchase more of it, but I might finally pick up one of the different blends we carry at the Sobeys I work at as my curiosity has definitely been heightened.

Oriental Beauty Oolong from Tea Ave.

OrientalBeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea Ave

Tea Description:

Go ahead, search the world—you won’t find another tea quite like Oriental Beauty, the luxurious, highly prized oolong tea so exquisite that it made its way from Taiwan to Queen Elizabeth II, who gave it its name. Processed entirely by hand, Oriental Beauty is produced only once a year, during summer. Our Oriental Beauty grows in the Ping Ling area of Northern Taiwan, known for its breathtaking scenery. The perpetual mild climate and rolling fog makes the growing environment truly unique.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Tea Ave. is a fairly new company that I was fortunate enough to get to sampler prior to their official opening; while I really enjoyed each tea I got to sample there was only one I personally wanted to restock and so I waited for a good opportunity to place that order. Well, they recently announced a Summer Sale where you don’t pay for shipping, which was the perfect chance to place that small order! In addition to the tea I wanted to stock (Ginger Lily), I received a few samples of their other teas as well as a little bit of “swag” in the form of a reusable branded tote bag.

Obviously this is one of the extra samples I had received; while Tea Ave. does let you specify what you’d like to sample I left that field of the order form blank and so they chose for me. Two of three samples were new to me, and one a repeat – though as I’ve been pretty impressed with all of their teas I’ve tried (including this double) I’m far from disappointed about that. This sample came in sachet form, though not all three did. It’s the first time I’ve tried one of their blends in a sachet; I always have mixed feelings about teabags/sachets because I LOVE the convenience but think that most sachets don’t generally offer enough room for leaf expansion – which is definitely a bigger issue with oolong. Though in this case the sachet is very large, and that turned out to not be an issue at all.

I did two infusions of this tea, both turned out to taste very similar so I wont do a flavour summary for each like I tend to do when I steep the same tea several times. I thought the liquor was very light and gentle with an incredibly smooth and silky mouthfeel that made for really easy, calm sipping. The dominant note – though in this case dominant just means “most present” because nothing about this blend was harsh, was honey and it was the right level of sweet but natural and not cloying. Supporting notes were fresh picked Spring flowers, hay, and a soft, roasty note that reminded me of just barely toasted bread. I’d describe the overall combination as ‘ambrosia’.

I do think this was a little watery, and had it not tasted quite as diluted I’d be all over this blend – but it was incredibly pleasant for what it is as well, and a really nice balance between a greener, more vegetal oolong and a heavily roasted, mineral tasting more oxidized one.

Going back to the company itself, it’s definitely always very cool when companies go that extra mile by including samples and other goodies – just like when I received my sample package from Tea Ave. months ago, I continue to be impressed by this company’s branding, their teas, their customer service and now on top of that their quick shipping time! If you like oolong even a little I absolutely recommend giving them a chance and taking advantage of the current sale which is running throughout July.

Anniversary Blend from Tozy Tea

anniversary_blendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tea Tozy

Tea Description:

Celebrating Tozy Tea’s anniversary, this wonderful black tea blend features a smokiness and hints of caramel and vanilla.  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love teas with a convenience factor to them.  Prepping loose leaf tea is something I’m now used to and have worked that into my everyday.  But there are some days that I don’t have time to boil the water, steep the tea, and pour it into my travel mug.  Sometimes I just need to throw in some tea and go.  I don’t yet have a travel mug that would steep the tea as I take on my daily grind.  I need to look into getting one.  But until I do I have this gem.

This tea has a slightly smokey black base finish with sweet caramel and vanilla notes in each and every sip. There are slight notes of tobacco, but very slight. I actually am surprised this tea sachet can pack this much flavor.  I’ve had a few other offerings from Tozy Tea and this one ranks right up there with their Cherry Blossom, which I adore!

As this one cools, the flavors just continue to grow stronger.  I even tried making this into an iced tea and the results were very similar. The only difference is the caramel and vanilla notes were more pronounced.

I think overall I preferred this one brewed hot.  The tea gave me that warm and cozy feeling that a good tea will give you.  I instantly wanted to curl up with a book and this cuppa.  This particular tea sachet has such a simple yet delicious flavor.

Another winner from Tozy Tea!

White Lemon Lime Iced Tea by Southern Boy Teas

SBT-WHITE-LemonLimeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy: Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Here’s our sweet, hay-like organic shou mei white tea fannings paired with the delicious tartness of organic lemon and lime flavors. It might not be as complicated as some of our other tea blends, but it will definitely put a smile on your face.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about SBT’s monthly subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been on such an SBT kick.  I started cold brewing tea and am completely obsessed with it.  And what is the easiest way to cold brew teas- Southern Boy Teas!

So during the last sale, I stocked up.  And I went through these awesome iced tea pouches quick!  This is one of the ones that I instantly said “Yep” and threw it in my cart.

Last night threw this one in my pitcher, added water, and into the fridge it went.  This morning I poured myself a huge glass of it, threw some ice in it, and underwent my morning routine of taking my kids to school.

I was hoping this would be one that I would fall completely 100% in love with . . .but alas no.  This tastes like a solid white tea.  That part I love. It has that delicate touch to it.    The part I am not 100% on is the lime.  I really didn’t pick up any of the lemon at all.  Just lime.  And it is more of a tart lime.  A bold lime.  A hit you in the face sort of lime.  Which is fine, but I really wanted that lemon lime taste.  I stopped drinking soda about 6 months ago and Diet Sprite or Diet Sierra Mist I still crave.  I was hoping this would take the place of those cravings and help me with my sweet tooth when I have those cravings.  Maybe if I tried again or if I brewed it up hot, maybe the lemon would come out more. I’m sure if I played around with it, they would.  Or if I added in some sugar.  That might help too.

This is delicious if you are looking for a lime tea with a delicate white tea base or finish.  Don’t get me wrong, this is very tasty.  Just not what my little ol heart was wanting at the time.