Hot Cross Bun Rooibos and Black Tea Blend By Bluebird Tea Co.

HotCrossBunTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea & Rooibos Blend

Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Yes you heard us right, our Limited Edition Easter tea tastes of Hot Cross Buns!

At Easter time there are few things better than the aroma of currants, cinnamon and freshly baked buns wafting across the kitchen. When creating our Spring Collection we knew we had to pay homage to our favourite Easter treat, so here you have it – Hot Cross Bun tea! Don’t say we don’t treat you every now and again! 

Ingredients: Rooibos, Ceylon black tea, Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Apple, Rosehip, Orange peel, Lapsang Souchong, Vanilla, Cranberry, Flavour. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Easter time has long since passed but holiday teas are forever. At least that is what my Hot Cross Bun craving is telling me right now. It’s the same with most holidays, I end up hoarding seasonal teas for those yearnings throughout the year that can only be fixed by tea. You want Halloween in Summer, there’s a tea for that. You want Christmas in the Spring, there is a tea for that too! Well now I want Easter. Perhaps because I didn’t actually manage to eat any Hot Cross Buns this year due to my strict diet (boo!).

Looking at the ingredients for this is inspiring, Rooibos and Ceylon and Lapsang Souchong…woah! That is one heck of a base for this blend.

In scent the orange is waxy and rather strong with some dark fruit (like raisin but not quite) bitter tones and a hint of cinnamon. It is Hot Cross Bun like but not completely, only missing the sweetness, but a good start so far.

The loose leaf appearance reminds me of Autumn, it’s rather dark and dry with mostly brown colours and a hint of red.

Sampled without milk or sweetener.

Steeped scent is sour, waxy and very orange. Also some warm cinnamon tones. Similar to the raw scent but actually nicer and more Bun like.

Flavour matches the scent rather well, the orange is waxy and dominant at first before the cinnamon kicks in and the whole flavour becomes toasty and extremely Hot Cross Bun like. The cranberries that smelled particularly sour in the raw scent now resemble raisins almost perfectly. The Lapsang Souchong offers it’s smoky flavour to be toasty and warm. It also has some sweetness which I mentioned it lacked previously in scent. Despite the archive of ingredients this is a nice strength, not too bitter nor strong and with enough flavour whilst remaining fairly light in clarity.

It is rather like a Hot Cross Bun, though there is one thing missing for me. Butter. I always have butter on my Bun whether it be toasted or plain. Though I must admit this is not a bad attempt at all, by any means.

So there we have it, Easter is available at the click of the kettle. It also helps to close your eyes and imagine those nostalgic holiday times.

Hot Cross Bun today, Candy Cane tomorrow. What a wonderful tea world we live in!

Four Seasons Oolong Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

FourSeasonsOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Four Seasons of Spring is named because it produces four flushes (or harvests) each year that have a flavor and quality of that of a spring flush. This varietal was cultivated in Taiwan from a strain of TieGuanYin (Iron Goddess of Mercy), in the 1980s. This delightful oolong varietal has been cultivated for its sweet, floral flavors and expertly processed by hand. It is light yet buttery with lingering flowery finish of morning gardenias and warm milk.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

This Four Seasons Oolong from Simple Loose Leaf is absolutely delightful!

The appearance of the dry leaf is quite what you’d expect from a Four Seasons Oolong – beautiful, forest-y green leaves that have been rolled into small pellets.  The aroma is a strong, flowery essence.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and I measured out 1 bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl of the vessel.  Then I heated freshly filtered water to 180°F and poured water into the vessel and let the tea “rinse” for 15 seconds.  Then I strained of the liquid and discarded it.  I poured more hot water into the gaiwan and allowed this first infusion to steep for 45 seconds.  For each subsequent infusion, I added another 15 seconds onto the steep time.  I combined two infusions into one cup, so my first cup was composed of infusions 1 and 2, while my second cup was composed of infusions 3 and 4 … and so on.

Yeah, yeah, those of you who are familiar with my posts are probably also very familiar with how I steep my Oolong teas.  To those of you who are, I apologize for sounding somewhat redundant!  The brewing steps above are written for those who might not be as familiar with my brewing style.

Anyway … I find that the fragrance of the brewed tea is still very floral but the scent is somewhat subdued compared to that of the dry tea leaves.  This aroma translates to the flavor, because I’m tasting flower!  The description above suggests gardenias and yeah, that’s what I’m tasting.  I’m also getting a sweet, creamy flavor and texture.  The texture is soft and smooth and creamy!  Quite lovely!

I love the way the floral notes mingle with the creamy notes, because I find that these somewhat vanilla-like tones soften the sharp notes of the flower. I like that the creaminess here is not a heavy taste.  It doesn’t seem to coat my taste buds the way some creamy Oolong teas can.  Oh sure, I do love those sumptuous, creamy Oolongs but it’s nice to have a lighter approach now and then!

The first cup was finished before I knew it (hey, it’s good stuff!), and I found that my second cup was even nicer than the first.  The floral notes are stronger but the creaminess is still there to soften the sharp notes.  It is smooth and luxurious to sip from start to finish.  And I found myself picking up on some hints of apple and melon around mid-sip.  This cup seemed fresher and more round, with better developed flavors.

My third cup surprised me!  I didn’t expect it to be creamy.  By third cup with many Oolong teas, the creamy notes have waned, but I’m still getting a fairly strong cream flavor.  Oh, sure, it has softened somewhat, it isn’t quite as strong as the first two cups, but I’m still getting a pleasing note of vanilla-esque cream.  The floral notes are still there, and in the distance, I started to pick up the faintest hint of vegetation.  The aforementioned fruit notes were beginning to emerge a little more, but these were still somewhat distant as well.

Overall, one of the nicest Four Seasons Oolong teas that I’ve tried.  Another big win from this month’s box from Simple Loose Leaf!  Have you subscribed yet?

Nantou Four Seasons Oolong Tea from In Pursuit of Tea

NantouFourSeasonsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  In Pursuit of Tea

Tea Description:

This tea is made from a cultivar that can be harvested year-round- Si Ji Chun, which means four seasons like spring. It’s grown in Ming Jian Township in mountainous Nantou County, Taiwan. The mature leaves are lightly oxidized and rolled into ball shapes; as they open through multiple infusions, a sweet flavor and lush, orchidlike aroma is released.

Read other Steepster thoughts on this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf of this Nantou Four Seasons Oolong Tea from In Pursuit of Tea is sweet with notes of flower and distant hints of vegetation.

I prepared this tea the same way I would approach most Oolong teas:  in my gaiwan, using short steeps following a quick rinse (15 seconds).  I combined the first two infusions for the first cup, and the third and fourth infusions were combined for the second cup, and so on.  I managed to get eight delicious infusions this way (four cups).  I probably could have gotten more, but, I was satisfied after my four cups of this tea.  More than satisfied because this is a seriously delicious Oolong!

My first sip, I noticed a creaminess and a slight floral tone.   Then I began to notice more complexity to the cup.  The creaminess was somewhere between a buttery taste and texture and a sweet cream taste.  Very smooth and very yummy.  The floral tones are soft in this first cup.  By mid-cup, I started to pick up on faint fruit-like notes.  I also noticed some of the vegetal tones in the distant background.  Toward the end of this cup, I picked up on a note that I can only think to describe as vanilla-esque!  This, together with the sweet cream/buttery notes is quite delectable … decadent even!

Subsequent infusions began to “unlock” the floral tones just a bit more.  The creaminess began to wane by the third cup, which was still creamy, but much less so than the first two cups.  While I noticed some vegetative notes throughout the time I spent with this tea, they were always quite distant.  For those who tend to shy away from the greener Oolong teas because they don’t care for the vegetal tones of these types of Oolong, I think this Nantou Four Seasons would be a good one for you to try.

In the third cup, I started to pick up on more of a nutty tone.  The fruit-like notes never really came forward enough for me to be able to discern what kind of fruit I was tasting … it remained “fruit-like” but indistinct.

This is an excellent Four Seasons Oolong – one of the nicest that I’ve tried.  And I don’t think I would have had this experience if it wasn’t for Steepster Select!  It’s a great way to explore the world of tea.  And if you’d like to try what December had to offer, I am currently selling my second sample packages of the December Steepster Select.  You can check out the listing here.