Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

If you’re looking for some tea to go with your post-holiday fruitcake, or just some tea that tastes a bit like holiday fruitcake, brew up a cup of Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea.

This black tea smells sweet in the dry left and in the brew.  The taste of the blend is not too sweet, mainly driven by the appropriately clean and tart breakfast black tea base.  There is a hint of juicy pear with each sip, and a touch of ginger heat behind the pear.  The ginger is not too spicy, mainly adding a little herbal flavor and sweetness to make the tea feel festive.  I don’t taste any buttery cake or pastry flavors, just pear and ginger.

It’s possible that my small sample wasn’t at peak freshness or maybe I just needed a bigger serving of tea leaves to get the flavor intensity I was looking for.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for this blend in the future and give it another try.

This is a gently flavored blend, but very drinkable.  There are not many pear teas on my shelf, so this was a nice brew to have in my mug.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White/Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea
Description:

Sweet pastry with pear, spicy ginger, and cinnamon and clove accents.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

RYCBAR by Fandom Teas. . . .

I’m a Doctor Who fan and, even with the information that this is an “impossible girl” inspired tea, it still took me several seconds to figure out what the name of this blend meant. Maybe my brain was just really slow today? Hopefully you can figure it out faster. 😉

I steeped two teaspoons of this tea in ten ounces of 175-degree water for three minutes.

While steeping, it starts smelling fruity right away. This is a flavored tea (raspberry-pomegranate flavored) and the tea liquid is much darker than an unflavored green tea would. That might be from the raspberry, although it’s not really pink; it’s a sort of clear and handsome brown color with a reddish tinge.

First sip: It’s definitely fruity and sweet. Pomegranate and raspberry are both quite tart fruits, but the tartness isn’t coming through too strongly here, although yes, there is quite a bit of astringency. The fruity flavors complement each other well, and the green tea base sings backup; I’m hard put to it to distinguish its flavor components separately, yet I can still tell it’s there.

With sugar: Sweeter, of course. But surprisingly, I can taste the green tea base a bit more now. The sugar tames the astringency but doesn’t really bring out the fruity flavors like I hoped/assumed it would.

I bet this one would be great as iced tea too, but wouldn’t want to try milk with it because it might be too acidic for that.

All in all a fun tea, and one that I’d like to try iced (or as cold-brew) if I ever have the chance to try it again!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Fandom Teas
Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Assam Black Tea by Mana Organics

 I haven’t bought from this tea company before, but it seems to have a social conscience. Mana Organics isn’t just focused on producing organic tea and selling it, but instead takes a more holistic approach to getting the products from farmers to customers. They focus on community development and sustainable farming in rural areas, then help the farmers get products out to the world by doing marketing and retail work. So I’m really excited about this company and I’m planning to do more research and potentially start sourcing some of my tea from here.
But on to the review!
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for about five minutes, using 1.5tsp of leaves in about 10 ounces of water. It turns out to be a handsome teak /cedar color after steeping. It smells deep, malty, and strong. It’s very aromatic, promising good things to come.
First sip: It’s astringent, but not puckery, with a deep and bright flavor profile. There’s just a hint of bitterness at the back but then it’s gone (fortunately; it’s not my favorite thing when bitterness hangs out with me all day). But on top of that, I’m detecting sweet potato and baked squash notes! Nice. Next to chocolate, I think this is one of my favorite flavor types for black teas. Actually I’ve been looking for a good squash/sweet potato flavored tea so this is good news.
Anyway. With milk, which brings baked-squash and maltish flavors to the front, this tea is just great. In fact I’m almost finding it has a little brown sugar flavor to go with the squash flavor. So fun! (Come to think of it, I hope I’m not the only person who thinks it’s funny how similar sweet potato and baked squash flavors are. Isn’t that just strange?) There’s no bitterness now, and practically no astringency; milk is an excellent buffer for such things, which is one reason I almost invariably have milk with my tea. (Another reason is that I sometimes drink tea when I’m hungry, or even in lieu of a meal, and the milk helps keep my blood sugar from crashing.) I’m also thinking maybe I’m detecting a hint of a floral note? But then again maybe I’m making that up–it was too fleeting to be sure.

 

All in all this is a solid, strong, great tea blend and goes well with food at meals (or even without food at meals if you’re like me) and is excellent with milk. <3

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Mana Organics
Description

A brisk tea with a malty, honey-sweet aroma followed deep character of taste and a pleasant pungency that will please even the most discerning of palates.Only Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Premier Grade (TGFOP1) Assam tea direct from our family’s estate, Chota Tingrai.  Healthier for you and the environment thanks to our USDA certified organic practices.  Packed onsite in re-sealable bag so you get that garden-fresh taste again and again.  Tastes, smells, and looks so delicious that we got an award in the Global Tea Championship 2017

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

English Breakfast Black Tea by Steeped Tea

I steeped this tea for two minutes at 212 degrees, with one heaping teaspoon per cup of water.
So this is another tea company I haven’t tried before, how exciting! Let’s get right to the details of this tea. I guess it’s a blend of black teas, since that ‘s how english breakfast teas are generally made.  It has a nice, hearty, strong fragrance, which is of course exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a breakfast tea (after all, it’s meant to help you wake up in the morning, right?).
It smells a smidge bitter while steeping, but mainly you notice that strong, robust tea flavor! After steeping, it doesn’t look super dark; instead, there’s a cedar-like, chestnutty color, and it’s very clear rather than opaque. The smell fortunately is less bitter after steeping has ended, and I can detect some malty notes.
The tea itself isn’t noticeably viscous/thickened. At the first sip I notice plenty of astringency combined with a tad of bitterness, but not a lot. It’s not too bitter (not as bitter as you’d expect from how it smelled while steeping), so I’m sure people who like really strong tea (or coffee) would love it, or it would be perfect for if you’re planning to have it with milk and sugar. Or, to avoid the bitterness, I’d consider steeping it a tad cooler next time.
While sipping this I can detect plenty of tannins–it seems to be a highly oxidized tea, which is just what black tea is supposed to be, but it also has an extremely tangy flavor, which I find quite helpful for waking up in the mornings (or even in the afternoons if I’m having a hard time staying awake after lunch).
There’s not much in the way of floral or cocoa notes, although there may be a touch of maltiness deepening the flavor here and there.
Of course I also had to add milk (to test my it-would-be-great-with-milk theory) and discovered that this tea is indeed lovely with milk, and that the milk takes out the bitterness just as I was hoping. With milk this tea has a strong, creamy, and excellent flavor, and I find it to be exactly the sort of tea I enjoy the most. <3

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Steeped Tea
Description
This classic breakfast tea is fresh, full and flavorful. Traditionally served with milk.
Ingredients: Black tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Downton Abbey® Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea by Republic of Tea

Before I get to my tasting notes I’d just like to mention that Republic of Tea uses eco-friendly packaging to combine the convenience of tea bags with the sustainability of loose leaf tea. The tea comes in a reusable (and surely recyclable) metal tin, prepackaged in super-convenient round tea bags that are:
  • Unbleached
  • Minimalistic (don’t use much material)
  • Biodegradable (well, it’s just a thin piece of paper, and tea leaves are compostable)
  • Chemical-free
  • Glue-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Without extra packaging like staples, strings, or tags

It’s a very clever design and I really appreciate the effort they put into making eco-friendly tea so accessible.

So anyway. I steeped this tea for four minutes. I enjoyed the steeping process as well as the tasting process, because this tea gives off a wonderful aroma as it brews. It’s actually so good that you might end up worrying that the tea won’t live up to its fragrance when you actually taste it. It smells like an excellent dessert, which of course it should since it’s dessert-flavored, and creates the impression that you’re baking something custardy in your kitchen.

After steeping, it’s become a nice medium-dark color; it’s reddish/orange/brown, and the smell has strong notes of vanilla and cream. The first sip definitely has more black tea flavor than you’d expect from the fragrance. There’s lots of pudding flavor too, especially in the aftertaste. A bit sweet on its own (without sugar), and it’s very, very buttery.

With milk, it tastes like a custardy dessert in liquid form– it doesn’t taste eggy, though (which is probably a good thing, because who would want to drink eggy tea? Although eggnog chai is definitely a thing I drink sometimes, but it tastes more of spices than of egg fortunately).

Four minutes is just the right steeping time. If you wanted it more dessert-like, you could add sugar to boost the sweetness. But I’m having it for breakfast, not dessert, so I’m not doing that because it seems plenty sweet enough the way it is. Milk goes very well with this (and adds a slightly sweet dimension while also boosting the creaminess). Especially whole milk. I don’t vouch for creamless milk though. Anyway, the creaminess plays into the pudding illusion, so that’s another positive.

All in all I really enjoyed trying this tea (I loooove having desserty teas for breakfast–it’s great because everyone thinks you’re just having tea rather than dessert!) and I definitely would like to try it again. And I’m very glad to know that if I choose to buy tea from Republic of Tea in future, I’ll be making an Earth-friendly choice!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

This decadent dessert tea has the homemade flavors of vanilla sponge cake drizzled with rich caramel sauce. The full-bodied base of premium black tea lends itself well to a splash of milk, making it a perfect afternoon tea to partner with puddings, scones and shortbread.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!