White Chocolate Roasted Banana/A Quarter to Tea

I don’t know what happened to me, friends– but I’ve gone from banana-tea-hater to banana-tea-OBSESSED lately. And it’s all thanks to A Quarter To Tea! After receiving a banana pudding tea in last month’s subscription box and gulping it down so frequently that I bought two– count ’em– TWO backup bags, I was thrilled to see this iteration of more banana goodness in one of their boxes.

This roasty oolong is sweet and creamy, with just a touch of decadence from the white chocolate. This tea takes a splash of milk nicely, and brings to mind a refined, grown-up banana split in flavor (sans cherry). While this one won’t be replacing my banana pudding tea anytime soon as my favorite yellow-fruit-flavor, it’s a solid choice for my fellow banana tea lovers.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea 

Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Watermelon Oolong/Fraser Tea

Watermelon oolong has just the right name to pull me in while thinking of a hot summer day here in the South. I was a little skeptical about the watermelon part because I thought it might be super subtle or not very authentic.

Quite often my daughter joins me when I am I tasting teas for reviews. I like getting another person’s impressions and opinions to consider.

She took one sip, looked up, and said, “This is going to be a problem.”

“How so?” I asked. “Because this sample is all we have?”

“Because this sample is all we have and something has to be done about that.”

I sipped. Yes, it is that good. It is that watermelon-y. She likened it to Jolly Ranchers. I don’t think I have ever had those so I likened it to my homemade watermelon ice. Thank goodness for the sake of family harmony, our sample resteeped very, very well. Full on watermelon flavor like one of the best melons of summer, rich and sweet.

My order should be here next week. I expect I will be having this hot, iced, and maybe even as tea popsicles. Already some of my daughter’s friends are clamoring for a taste.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

 

Description

A virtual summer picnic in your glass, Watermelon Oolong Organic Oolong Tea combines fresh berries and tropical fruit flavors together with lemongrass for a crisp and refreshing taste.  This superior grade organic oolong tea offers numerous nutritional benefits including weight management, diabetes management, and mental health.  Think wellness; embrace flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Walnut Green Tea/Aromatica Fine Teas

Monthly subscription boxes can be hit or miss. I have tried several along my tea journey including subscriptions by Amoda, A Quarter to Tea, Handmade Tea, myteabox.ca, Sips By, and Tea Sparrow. Some, such as the A Quarter to Tea box, offers selections from one company whereas others, such as the Sips By box, offer teas from a variety of different vendors in each box. The former is good if you know you like a certain company whereas the latter is fun for when you want to try and discover new things. Sometimes you discover gems, sometimes you discover disasters, and sometimes you find new things that are simply unremarkable.

I received the Tea Sparrow box as a gift. The teas are a variety of Tea Sparrow blends and blends from other vendors. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a tea that really stands out to me from this box which has so far put this subscription in the “unremarkable” category. With that said, one of teas in my Tea Sparrow subscription is this Walnut Green Tea by Aromatica Fine Teas. I have tried another Aromatica Fine Tea before, Ginger Cream, courtesy of my Amoda subscription. I really enjoyed that tea so my hope was I’d enjoy this as well. Moreover, this tea is also the first place winner of the 2011 North American Tea Championship so hopefully that means it’s a good one.

When I read the brewing instructions for this tea, it suggested steeping the leaf in “almost boiling” water for 2.5 minutes. Almost boiling is my least favorite temperature because it is so ambiguous. As a result, I decided to steep one cup for 2.5 minutes in 175F water (the “Green” setting on my kettle) and another cup in 200F water (what I would consider almost boiling to be) for 1.5 minutes. I figured I had the leaf so it could be interesting to experiment how different brewing parameters impact the tea flavor.

First cup I drank was the cooler cup, the one brewed at 175F. Lookswise, this cup was much lighter than the tea brewed at a higher temperature, a bright-ish yellow versus a deeper brown-gold. To me, this tasted like liquid brittle. Nutty and sweet with more walnut flavor than almond. No vegetal/grass flavors from the base tea and no pineapple or coconut in sight.

The second cup, brewed with a little more leaf and at 200F, is a lot more buttery though still tastes of brittle. I think more coconut comes through when brewed like this but less walnut which is really meant to be the focus in light of the tea’s name.

This tea is made of chinese green tea, sencha, brittle, coconut rasps, candied pineapple pieces, walnut pieces, flavor, and almond pieces. Given that list, I was surprised that not much of the base nor pineapple was part of the taste of either cup. Personally, I think I preferred the tea brewed at 175F just because it was more distinctly walnut and thus more true to its name though the two were fairly similar flavorwise. Overall I found the tea to be unique and good, definitely one of the better options provided in my Tea Sparrow subscription, but ultimately I just don’t reach for nutty blends or green teas all that quickly. As such, while I can appreciate this as a good tea, an award-winning tea even, I just don’t feel the need to keep it around all the time.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aromatica Fine Teas

Description

Chinese green tea, sencha, brittle bits (sugar,hazlenuts), coconut rasps, candied pineapple bits, walnut pieces, flavour, almond pieces.

“What a fantastic and sophisticated profile for a blended green tea!”

Michael Menashy, Tea Sparrow

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cherry Bakewell/Bird & Blend Tea Co

This Cherry Bakewell tea by Bird and Blend Co. has been sitting in my stash since January and I keep looking past it and grabbing other options. I am not sure why but this isn’t a flavor that makes me stop in my tracks to brew it. However, when I saw it posted on Instagram with the caption “This is dessert in a cup without being too sweet or artificial tasting”, it definitely piqued my interest. Now I don’t actually know what a cherry bakewell tart is but dessert in a cup sounds good to me.

The tea, which is made of Chinese white tea, almond, cranberries, hibiscus, rosehip, apple, currants, blackcurrant, and red and blue cornflowers, brews up a shade of pink that makes me worry that the hibiscus and rosehips might be in charge.

Though there is a that typical tartness from the hibiscus and rosehips, that is not the main flavor component but rather a topnote. The strongest flavor in my opinion is the almond. The almond and the white tea which makes for a nutty/buttery combo that does help create the idea of a tart shell. That tart shell transitions into a red fruit quality from the cranberries and currants, not a distinctly cherry flavor but alright nonetheless. However, that hibby/rosehip tartness then pops at the back of your throat and really takes you out of the the whole idea of a tart.

It definitely pushes towards dessert but it is not overly sweet or fake tasting. So, in that sense, the instagram posted that inspired me to take this out of the drawer was definitely correct. However, I just wish there was less tart and more cherry. Personally, I could also do with a little more sweetness since the blending of the tart shell and filling can be slightly one-note at times.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Bird & Blend Tea Co.

Description

Bakewell Tart is the classic tea time treat with juicy cherries and sweet almond. This luxury white tea blend is bursting with the same fruit juices and hints of sweet almond nuts, making it the perfect afternoon tea choice.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tasting Notes for 2018 Autumn Laoshan Green / Verdant Tea

More tea, less steep time. Less tea, more steep time. Too much water, less flavor. Each tea has unique steeping parameters. Each steep will be different. Even for the same tea of the same harvest.

Edamame. Very vegetal. Slight astringency. Clean and crisp


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This harvest is picked in the cool autumn air after resting the plant through summer. The result is crisp, fresh flavor with more savory green bean and cream that Laoshan for which Laoshan is famous. The He family’s signature green tea is fed by mountain spring water, picked by hand, and cultivated sustainably using traditional chemical-free farming techniques including growing rows of soybean between rows of tea to restore nitrates to the soil. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short growing seasons, but the He Family perseveres, protecting their tea in greenhouses over the winter. The result is a deeply sweet and delicate green tea unlike any other in the world.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!