Sage Wellness from Plum Deluxe

I love brewing up tea with fresh herbs from the garden or from the kitchen.  With all the turkey and holiday meals in the wintertime, I feel like sage is an especially appropriate herb to be brewing this time of year, so I ordered a bag of Sage Wellness tea from Plum Deluxe.

 

This is a tea with a green rooibos base, which provides the perfect, gentle background for the other herbs and flavors.  In the dry leaf, there are plenty of fuzzy, grey-green leaves from the sage, a pleasure to touch and smell.  Rose petals and lemon peel add to the dreamy fragrance.

 

Beyond the rooibos and sage, this blend also features fruit pieces like strawberry and rosehips, and fruit flavoring from strawberries and peaches.  The sage feels like Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, but the strawberry feels like a summer harvest.  With the two fragrant, flavorful factors of sage and strawberry, the whole blend is reminiscent of a fresh, blooming herb garden.

 

Not too sweet and not too savory, the fruit and herbs come together to make an atypical take on familiar flavors.  With a blend so beautiful to look at and so tasty to brew, I like to pretend that I was wandering in a fantasy garden, plucking bits of sage and picking perfect strawberries to add to my perfect cup of tea.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Plum Deluxe
Description:

Nourish body + soul with the wisdom and healing of fresh herbs and fruits!  Our sage + green rooibos herbal tea artfully blends lemon and orange with a pinch of strawberry and peach to make a delightfully refreshing, flavorful tonic wonderful for when you have those emotional blues or just want a cup of something calm and restorative.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Forest Friend blend by Leslie Kiesler on Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas is where I credit my loose leaf tea beginnings. They have a variety of teas for both beginners and experts, but their success comes from their lively fandom blend community.  There’s a themed-blend for every movie, book, and video game out there.  I know I’ve had a great time designing my own flavors, and I’m always interested in trying new blends from other tea lovers.

My favorite summer blend of late has been Forest Friend by Leslie Kiesler.  This blend is a homage to the main creature in the film, My Neighbor Totoro, of Studio Ghibli fame.  To me, Forest Friend is tea-blending at its best.  It is mixed from Adagio’s white strawberry, white pear, and rooibos jasmine flavors.  On their own, none of these teas are really my favorite: I found the strawberry to be a bit too sweet, the pear to be a bit too earthy, and the rooibos jasmine to be overwhelming floral.  But when mixed together in these proportions, I can’t seem to get enough of this tea.  It’s magical, like finding out you have a big fuzzy, forest friend as your neighbor.

I prefer this blend iced, with our without sugar depending on my mood.  This is a blend mainly made up of white tea leaves, so keep your water temperatures a little cooler than usual to avoid any harsh notes.  The strawberry makes this a delectable summer blend, almost like sugary kool-aid, but the pear and white tea gives the sweetness just enough grounding that it doesn’t become too much like candy.  The rooibos jasmine is amazing when added to a blend in smaller quantities.  It adds some tart, herbal rooibos flavors, and relaxing floral overtones.  There are even blue cornflowers and golden marigold flowers in the dry leaf to make the blend look vibrant in my pitcher as it brews.

Top off the great taste with Leslie’s cute label on the tin and you’ll realize why it is so hard to resist this blend.  Forest Friend is always in my wish list for when summertime comes around and I need a sweet, magical way to cool down and brighten my day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White/Rooibos
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas
Description: There’s a friend waiting for you in the forest, but he’s snoring the day away. Wake him up with a cup of tea so you can begin a magical adventure!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Tasting Notes on Passion Berry Jolt by Tiesta Tea. . . .

I steeped 1tsp tea for 4 min. in one cup of water at 200-205 degrees, which  produced a cup of tea with a nice dark amber color. Though there’s no berry coloring, there’s plenty of berrylike fragrance. The tea leaves themselves are attractive, with marigold and cornflower petals providing some nice color contrasts.

The berry smell blends with the black tea fragrance surprisingly well. (On a side note, I’m glad they used a high-quality black tea for this blend, as I tend to tire easily of “black tea” bases that have no actual tea flavor so that all you can taste is the flavoring.)

First sip: Not too astringent or acidic, which is nice. There is a bit of astringency, though. The berry flavor I’m finding in this tea is a bit friendlier, somehow, than most berry flavored teas I’ve tried. Perhaps a bit smoother? I’m sensing a rich, strawberry-like flavor here, and maybe a bit of raspberry as well. Maybe that’s why it’s less astringent and acidic than other berry-flavored teas that are heavy on the raspberry and blueberry. (It turns out that the strawberry-like flavor must have been from the “natural passion fruit flavors” in this tea. I guess I’m just not that familiar with passion fruit.)

It’s also not bitter at all, which I appreciate.

While the black tea flavor is present and isn’t overwhelmed by the berry flavor, it’s not super prominent either and doesn’t overwhelm the berry flavor. They exist side-by-side rather elegantly.

When I add a little sugar, it enhances the berry flavor and makes me want cream to complete the berries-and-cream effect.

When I add milk, it tastes like berries and cream just as I’d hoped. MMMMmmmm! I like it best this way. (Okay, that’s not really a surprise.)

This is a friendly, approachable berry/fruit tea, and it’s great for delivering that berries-and-cream dessert sensation without too many calories. I didn’t find it to be at all violent as suggested by the name (“Jolt”), but that’s okay because I really prefer nonviolent teas in most instances.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Tiesta Tea
Description

Ingredients: black tea + natural passion fruit flavors + cornflowers + marigold petals + raspberry bits

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bake a Valentine’s Cake to Go With Your Tea

Valentine’s Day.  A time for everything pink and rosy.  Strawberries and chocolate galore. If you are looking to recreate that sweet, romantic, dessert feeling I would recommend brewing up a cup of Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Shuswap Infusions. This black and oolong blend has dark chocolate and strawberry notes, and it even has flower petals in the dry leaf.

Whether you’re celebrating yourself or being cute with a sweetheart, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate.  So I recommend making an old family recipe (that we clearly just took from the King Arthur Flour cookbook) for a super-easy, super-tasty, one-pan vegan mocha cake.  Trust me, even those of you who are baking-impaired can make this one.  We call it the Stir-Crazy Cake.

For best results, mix the ingredients in the pan from which you will serve the cake.  This won’t be a problem if you use a cute heart-shaped pie dish or cake pan for the occasion.

Mix directly in your pan:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.

Make three wells (three divots or holes) in the dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the wells, only one ingredient into each well:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour 1 cup cold coffee over all ingredients.  If you don’t want a mocha cake, just use cold water instead.  [For those kitchen-oriented mad scientists out there, maybe adding a cold cup of your favorite dessert or strawberry tea could be a nice substitute as well.  I haven’t experimented myself, but now I’m  curious to try it… ]

Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.  Really make sure you mix the cake (hence the “Stir-Crazy” name).  Get all the dry ingredients mixed in from the bottom and edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any crumbs.

Serve straight from the pan to your plate.  If you’re getting overloaded from chocolate, brew up something sweet and fruity to go with the cake, maybe a classic like Raspberry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings to help balance out the dark chocolate decadence.
Happy baking!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Shuswap Infusions
Description:

Just in time for Valentines Day! The name of this tea is just as delicious as it sounds. For a real treat, serve it as a latte garnished with shaved chocolate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sir Rhuberry Oolongbottom from BlendBee

 

My family made a lot of strawberry rhubarb pies in the summertime, and each time I was tasked with washing and chopping the rhubarb from our garden. I was warned that the leaves were poisonous, and only the stems were okay to go in the pie. That dietary fact always made the bowl of chopped rhubarb and eggs and sugar all bubbling together seem like some questionable witches brew. But the resulting pie was always worth the danger, especially with all the pink strawberries in the mix.

Sir Rhuberry Oolongbottom from Blend Bee works to recreate this strawberry rhubarb combination. The dry leaf smells strong and sweet, a bit like artificial strawberry candy. A good dose of hibiscus ensures that this tea brews up bright pink, and brings a blast of tart, fruity flavors. Beneath all the sweet and sour, there is a gentle green, vegetal note, perhaps from the rhubarb or the oolong, and it adds a nice freshness to the tea.
Depending on your love of strawberries, you might really enjoy this tea for the berry sweetness. For me, the strawberry flavoring is very forward, so I would to argue for more rhubarb next time. Though, to be fair, I’m not sure that I would want a full-on rhubarb-only tea.  Rhubarb is achingly sour on its own, and needs strawberries and sugar to truly be palatable. There’s a reason rhubarb and strawberries are so often paired together and this tea is true to that classic strawberry rhubarb pie flavor.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Blend Bee
Description:

Juicy and refreshing, this blend has just a hint of sweetness and is rounded out with bold red fruit flavors. You will long for Sir Rhuberry Oolongbottom.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!