52Teas’ the 12 Teas of Christmas – Day 11-Spoilers!

Day 11!

Christmas Eve already: are you excited?  The penultimate tea of the 12 Teas of Christmas is Caramel Monkey Bread Rooibos.  Monkey Bread is known for its cinnamon sugar and bouncy yeast bread base. This tea has plenty of cinnamon scent as soon as you open the bag.  But the cinnamon is sweet, not too hot or spicy, just the comforting warmth of a kitchen spice cabinet.

Brewed, the caramel notes come forward, enhanced by the natural toasted-sweet flavor of the rooibos.  If I were blind folded, I might guess that this tea flavor was snickerdoodle, with all the cinnamon sugar goodness that I taste.  There is that hint of caramel or caramelized sugar among all the spice. Is there such a thing as caramel- drizzled-snickerdoodles?  If not, this tea is making me think that maybe there should be.

The great part about this blend is that it is a decaf rooibos base, so you can drink it before bed (or as you are setting out the cookies for Santa), and still get some sleep before Christmas morning.  Well, as much sleep as you can with all the excitement and sugar plums dancing in your head!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Red Rooibos
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

This is one of the final teas (tisanes) that Frank crafted during his time with 52Teas and I have a wee confession – I hadn’t tried it until a day or two before I blended this batch. I had the tea in my stash – but it was still sealed … never opened! At the time when I received this tea in my subscription package, I was preparing to take over 52Teas: testing samples from my wholesale sources, setting up the website and blending teas. I was so busy back then I was running around like a crazy woman with her hair on fire and to be honest, I really didn’t have time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed most of the samples that I was sent by my wholesale sources, and I definitely was enjoying the teas that I was blending and then taste testing – but I didn’t have any time left to sit back and enjoy a cuppa that wasn’t directly related to taking over the operations of 52Teas.

So I stashed this tea away in my tea cupboard and – forgot about it! Yes, I forgot about this blend completely until someone mentioned that they’d like this tea to be reblended as part of this year’s 12 Teas of Christmas box. So a few weeks ago, I dug out that pouch and tried it out before I attempted to reblend it – so that I could get a fairly good idea of what I was going to do with this blend.

And as I sit here now, sipping on the results of that blending session, I must say that I’m a little bit impressed with myself. I often worry that I’m just not good enough to be a tea blender – but it’s times like now that I realize that I AM good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, I’m worthy of my self-appointed title of “Mad Tea Artist” because this is REALLY GOOD. It’s sweet, caramel-y, with a nice cinnamon note and a bread-y note that tastes a lot like … well, it tastes like freshly-baked monkey bread!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lemon Peel Infused Artisan Sugar from Beach House Teas . . .

Adding sugar to tea is something I do from time to time.  For the most part, I thoroughly enjoy enjoy my tea without sweeteners but every once in a while to shake things up I do like to add in honey or agave.  The other day I was enjoying a lovely white tea that just didn’t have the pizzazz I was looking for.  Then I remembered I had received some amazing sugars in the mail from Beach House Teas and I knew I had the answer to liven this tea up.

Lemon Peel Infused Artisan Sugars is a combination of organic pure sugar cane mixed with organic lemon peel granules.  The smell, well think lemon shake up from your county fair.  This sugar is handcrafted and I might add- handcrafted with love.  The presentation of this sugar is gorgeous too!

Sprinkled into my tea- this sugar completed the white peach tea I was drinking beautifully- adding in a smooth but sweet crisp citrus undertone that gave this tea exactly what it needed. Not too    I also tried my hand at a lemon shake up with using just water, ice, and a spoonful of sugar- I was in heaven!

For someone who drinks tea as plain as possible, I can’t imagine not having this sugar around to add in here or there.  I’m excited to pick up some more and bring to a tea party baby shower I”m throwing in a few weeks. I know my aunts will love adding this sweet treat into their teas and coffee!


Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy:  Beach House Teas
Description

Flavor-infused sugars make amazing gifts, great for when friends stop by unexpectedly for tea, when you just want to curl up under a blanket and cozy up with a cup of something warm, wow your guests with savory sweetness on the rim of cocktail glass or want to add some amazing flavors to your cooking and baking. These sugars make a dramatic statement on a drink or cocktail. Not only are they beautiful, they taste amazing!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Peeps from the Necessiteas

Two of our Sisters recently reviewed My Peeps from The NecessiTeas. . .here is the first one!

Springtime is historically the season for Peeps: those iconic, yellow sugar-coated marshmallow chicks.  The company behind Peeps has done quite a bit of branching out since those original Easter Sundays.  Now Peeps come in every seasonal shape and color, pumpkins and frankenstein heads for fall, snowmen and gingerbread men for winter, and more flavors and kooky combinations than you can imagine. 

I’m partial to marshmallows, whether big soft marshmallows in my hot cocoa, mini marshmallows in my Lucky Charms, or marshmallow-coated snowball cakes– you name it.  And yes, I like Peeps too.  The Necessiteas captured the sweet whimsy of marshmallow peeps in this delicious tea blend.  

This decaf honeybush blend is super jam-packed with strong vanilla, almost caramel flavors.  In both smell and taste, the foremost flavor in the blend is the beyond-vanilla buttercream frosting, meant to be ultra-reminiscent of marshmallows and marshmallow cream.  It’s hard to imagine exactly what flavors make marshmallows so distinctive, but the sugary sweetness with clean vanilla are a close match.  The honeybush is a great tea to use as a base, the leaves being gentle enough not to overpower the marshmallow flavoring.

Just in case the flavor alone wasn’t enough to entice you to try a cup of this brew, the loose leaf have mini marshmallows and pink sugar crystals to add sweetness and cuteness in equal measure.  


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush
Where to Buy: The Necessiteas

Easter just would’t be the same without peeps. In fact, you could say that peeps are to food what ugly Christmas sweaters are to clothing. You know whether you prefer chicks to bunnies, fresh to stale, or plain to chocolate-covered. I personally prefer slightly stale pink bunnies! When it comes to peeps, you either love them or you hate them. Their sugary, marshmallowy sweetness is enough to make your teeth ache, and I’m ok with that! I decided to make a healthier version of my favorite Easter treat by blending naturally sweet honeybush with mini marshmallows, pink sugar crystals and organic flavors. The outcome? Same sweet, marshmallowy goodness, minus the toothache!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Brown Sugar Organic Oolong by Tea Leaf Co.

BROWN_SUGAR_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Tea Leaf Co.

Tea Description:

A wonderfully bold and smooth organic tea blend of dark oolong and maple, a perfect pairing. While the oolong is bold, full-bodied, and lightly smoked, the maple is light, aromatic, and sweet. The combination of the two flavors results in a well-balanced, featured favorite maple tea blend.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been drinking quite a lot of Oolong recently, and some of it has really challenged my assumptions about the variety. I thought for a long time, for example, that I didn’t like Oolong at all. Then I realised that mostly what I don’t like are dark or roasted oolongs, but lately I’m even beginning to wonder whether that’s true. Mostly because of teas like this one! The dry leaf smells good – just like opening a fresh packet of brown sugar. It’s a mild toffee, molasses-like scent. Sweet and delicious. The leaf is fairly thick and wiry, with red safflowers. So pretty! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright golden brown, the scent heavily vanilla.

All of this gave me very high expectations, but I’m pleased to say that the taste more than lived up to them. This is a truly delicious tea. While drinking it, I almost completely forgot it was an Oolong because the flavour is so strong and accurate. The initial sip is hard to describe. It’s like taking a spoonful of brown sugar and letting it sit on your tongue – there are notes of toffee and vanilla, with a deeper, richer, molasses flavour running underneath. The mid sip is beautifully buttery and smooth, and reminds me a little of toffee popcorn. The flavour lingers long in the aftertaste, fading slowly and gradually into a fudgey, sweet, sugary ghost. I think this is as close to drinking brown sugar as it’s possible to get, and obviously so much healthier! I can hardly taste the base tea at all, which is a good thing in my book when it comes to flavoured teas. I want to be convinced by the flavours I’m drinking, and on this occasion I really, really am.

I think it’s easy to tell that I loved this one. I’d drink it again and again if I could – and I’d unhesitatingly choose it as a desert island tea if it ever came to that. It’s desserty decadence — pure deliciousness in a cup!

Brown Sugar Organic Oolong Tea from Tea Leaf Co.

BROWN_SUGAR_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea Leaf Co. 

Tea Description:

A wonderfully bold and smooth organic tea blend of dark oolong and maple, a perfect pairing. While the oolong is bold, full-bodied, and lightly smoked, the maple is light, aromatic, and sweet. The combination of the two flavors results in a well-balanced, featured favorite maple tea blend.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This Brown Sugar Organic Oolong Tea from Tea Leaf Co. is the first from this new-to-me tea company that I’ve tried, and it’s a good one!

The maple flavor is strong but I like that it’s not overpowering the Oolong tea.  Tea Leaf Co. has managed to strike a really delightful balance between the sweetness and rich flavor of the maple and the Oolong tea with its fruit notes and hints of smoke.

The base tea possesses notes of stone fruit (peach) and I taste wisps of smoke.  I like this delicate smoky note and how it plays to the notes of the sweet maple.  Nutty flavors develop as I continue to sip and I like how these interact with the maple notes as well.  This is a full-flavored Oolong, it’s rugged and has notes of wood and earth.  It’s a strong flavor that doesn’t wimp out behind the sweetness of the maple.  The contrasts in flavor from the woodsy, earthy, nutty and smoky flavors help keep the maple in check and keep it from becoming too cloying a drink.

The maple notes are sweet and pleasant.  They don’t taste chemical or artificial.  It tastes like someone drizzled a drop or two of real maple syrup in my teacup!  Quite delectable!

A real treat – this “Brown Sugar.”