Churros with Dulce le Leche from A Quarter to Tea. . . . . .

Working downtown Toronto is amazing for the foodie in me. Not so amazing for my wallet. However, it is a cornucopia of good eats with new restaurants opening all the time. Most recently, a vegan Mexican restaurant opened around the corner from my office. Like literally around the corner. So when lunching with my vegetarian friend, I figured why not check it out…

Lunch consisted of vegan tacos and flautas and fritters but what really stood out were the churros. Warm and crispy on the outside with the right amount of doughiness on the inside. Plus a chocolate banana dip that complimented the cinnamon flavor perfectly.

With those tasty treats in mind, this Churros with Dulce le Leche tea by A Quarter to Tea got my mouth watering, especially when I cracked open the bag and got a big whiff of caramel icing deliciousness. I brewed this for three minutes in 180F water and left it to cool for a little while.

Drinking the tea, it is certainly an A Quarter to Tea blend. Some companies have distinct flavors and A Quarter to Tea is no exception. Something in the teas has a tendency to lean towards a honey flavor. Though not entirely out of place in a churro tea, it does overshadow some other flavors that should be present instead. For instance, there really isn’t much cinnamon and the touch of cocoa suggested in the description is completely MIA. There is a pastry quality, though not distinctly fried dough. As a whole this is sweet and could be construed as churros but it could also be perceived as other baked goods.

All in all, the tea is nice enough but not exactly what I expected or hoped for. It is sure to satisfy a sweet tooth but that could be said of many other teas and this doesn’t really stand out from that bunch in my opinion. Perhaps my point of comparison is too fresh or too different in my mind but this just didn’t measure up to the real deal.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea

Sweet fried dough dusted with cinnamon, paired with caramel and a touch of cocoa.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Caramel Shortbread from DAVIDs Tea. . . .

I am someone who does not like to add sugar to their tea. No sugar. Definitely no artificial sweetners. And no stevia. So personally, I don’t love when tea companies decide to pre-sweeten my drinks for me. I’m looking at you, DAVIDsTEA! Now don’t get me wrong…sprinkles, caramel bits, ice cream bits, and all those other bits and bobs that go into making a flavored tea fun and exciting, I enjoy. What I do not enjoy is this fairly new trend of DAVIDsTEA adding stevia to everything, sometimes in addition to adding actual sugar. Such is the case with their Caramel Shortbread herbal blend that they brought out (surprisingly early) for the 2017 Holiday Season.

Caramel Shortbread combines apples, raisins, brown sugar, elderberries, willow bark (a new ingredient to me that I am excited to try), almonds, hazelnuts, cherries, raspberries, stevia extract, and flavors. Though I don’t love it, I get adding sugar to capture a certain flavor but why does it then also need stevia? For some people, such as myself, stevia has a cloying and really unpleasant aftertaste so more times than not, its addition completely ruins a tea for me. That is why going into this, I am a bit hesitant.

I brewed this for 4 minutes in 200 degree water. As it steeped, I noticed it smelled a lot like another nutty herbal by DAVIDsTEA, Forever Nuts. It also reminds me of their Caramel Corn blend, which I suppose makes sense given the caramel.

As I drink this, to me, it also tastes like Forever Nuts but with stevia. Nutty and sweet. A bit too sweet but if I look past the stevia, I can kind of see how the sweetness lends itself to a more caramel-like flavor. It is also buttery, which is interesting and brings my mind to the melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies I think DAVIDsTEA is trying to capture. However, I am surprised I am not getting more of the berry/cherry notes given there is elderberries, raspberries AND cherries in the mix. That might be because I am distracted by the stevia but I find those flavors missing completely, which is a shame especially when you consider that without the sour cherries, this could be prepped as a latte.

Ultimately, I can see where DAVIDsTEA is going with this but like so many of their other blends recently with potential, I am completely put off by the addition of stevia. Luckily for many, that won’t be an issue so for those of you who don’t mind this ingredient, this is something worth trying. Also, for those that like Forever Nuts or Caramel Corn, this is in the same family and therefore might be something for you.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: DAVIDs Tea

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sweet Peppermint in the Shape of a Heart from Tea Drops. . .

I got a sample of Sweet Peppermint from Tea Drops in some teamail from a friend.  Most of the tea I drink for fun or for reviews are loose leaf teas, with the occasional bagged tea as well.  I personally haven’t tried many instant teas, so at first I was a bit baffled with the right way to brew this sample from Tea Drops.  Simply put the tea-cake into hot water and stir. How easy is that?

Let me draw attention to the adorable fact that this Sweet Peppermint sample came pressed into the shape of a heart.  The cuteness of this tea-cake is the essential detail here, and is what makes these Tea Drops teas such cute gift ideas. They have other shapes like stars and flowers as well as the heart shape I tried.

Brewed this tea is mildly minty, very sugar and sweet, with some creamy vanilla tones.  The little compressed tea-cakes might be an easy solution to brewing tea on the go. Consider stashing a few of these in your desk at work for when the going gets tough and you only have a mug around for tea-brewing.

As a tea, this blend is okay.  The cuteness of the presentation is its true benefit and enjoyment. Definitely worth a try for the novelty of their super-cute tea-cakes.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Tea Drops

A fuller bodied Peppermint tea experience that’s refreshing to the senses with a kick of genuine spearmint. Naturally caffeine-free, this is the perfect anytime tea – morning, day, or night.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fraser Tea Trappist Monk

An interesting twist on Monk’s blend.

Cherries are one ingredient you don’t see often in tea. Though I honestly don’t taste as much cherry flavor as I thought I would it does produce a nice undertone for the vanilla and caramel flavors.

It has a velvety mouth feel. The wet leaves remind me of the smell of coffee creamer. Go figure. For those who enjoy flavored black tea this is definitely one you need to try. It has unique character with flavors that aren’t too over powering but still deep enough for those who like a little punch with their tea.

If you like to support tea companies that focus not only on quality but sustainability I invite you to check out Fraser. They are a company from Michigan that look to enhance the lives of their framers while providing a truly unique blend of teas.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Fraser Tea

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!

White Chocolate Tiramisu from Fava Tea. . . .

I accidentally left this in the steeper far too long — which you aren’t supposed to do with green — but it’s still really tasty, so that’s a sublimely positive thing for us scatterbrained tea enthusiasts.

This tea tastes like white chocolate, nuts, and caramel. It’s supposed to taste like Tiramisu, but I’m not sure I’m getting that. Tiramisu, to me, mostly has coffee notes. That said, who cares, a tasty tea is a tasty tea. This is SO creamy and delicious and sweet. It’s a slick mouth-feel (ew, the phrase “mouth-feel” is horrible) that really coats the inside of the mouth.

I feel like I’m in a French patisserie with this tea. Everything is Marie Antoinette pastel. I have a tiny purebred dog upon my lap. My pinky is up. I’m with all of my friends. We’re wearing blush and having a scintillating conversation that focuses on fine arts and gossip.

We might enjoy ourselves so much that we oversteep the tea. But that’s okay. This tea doesn’t mind.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black & Green
Where to Buy:  Fava Tea

This is a green and black tea blend with almonds, coconut, and cocoa pieces. If you like the darker, creamy, savory teas, this is one for you! A popular dessert tea. Blends well with rock sugar. Try Vanilla Rocks, Chocolate Cream Rocks, or Strawberry Rocks, for starters!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!