Cranberry Betty from A Quarter To Tea. . . .

I’m not exactly sure who Cranberry Betty is, you guys. But here’s how I imagine her: wild, curly white hair. A very sensible cardigan. Fan-TASTIC red shoes. Spitfire wit. A big old mug of this tea, named after her, of course– piping hot in her hand.

(Okay, fine, Google tells me it’s some sort of baked good. My fictitious Betty is a pretty great baker too, Google.)

This white tea from A Quarter to Tea is pretty much everything I imagine my Betty to be– bold, flavorful, sweet (that brown sugar note, though) and just a touch sour (hello, cranberry and tiny twist of lemon!). I have vehemently proclaimed myself a white tea hater in the past (or at least, white tea apathetic), but I think AQTT is turning that boat around. Every single white tea blend I’ve had from our friends at AQTT has been knocking it out of the park lately, and I’ve been demolishing every single sample bag I’ve got.

This is another one that won’t sit languishing in my tea cabinet for very long– Betty’s got places to be, friends. (My teacup, for example.)


Here’s the scoop!

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

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jiri Horse from teabento. . . .

A few months back on Steepster, a little company called teabento just blew up. Reviews upon reviews were suddenly popping up for this company I had never heard of and people were loving it. One tea that seemed to be quite the success was this tea, Jiri Horse. The term “milk chocolate” was used a lot to describe it and for many it was a reminder of another popular tea on Steepster, Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea.

Now, Laoshan Black was THE straight black tea when I first joined Steepster. It was the winner or all winners for so many people and for that reason even I, as someone who basically only drank flavored teas at the time, was intrigued. Of course some kind soul was generous enough to send me a sample of this beloved tea but alas it was wasted on me because even though I could appreciate it was a nice tea and I enjoyed it well enough, it wasn’t my flavored teas and so I quickly moved on.

However, the more you drink and explore tea, the more you realize your tastes change. Many make the transition from flavored teas to straight teas and then become purists who will only touch the non-flavored stuff. I am not that person. I still love my sprinkles and my chocolate bits and my fruit chunks all mixed up in there but my tastes have developed so that I enjoy straight teas now too. So basically I am in the very expensive phase of the transition where I will drink and enjoy anything so no sections are left ignored when shopping for tea. I have been in this position for quite some time which my wallet doesn’t love but I have endless options which is nice.

Anyways, what this long rant brings us to is that when I read about this tea and all the love it was getting, I just HAD to try it. I didn’t truly appreciate the Laoshan Black but hopefully I can appreciate this tea which I steeped for 3 minutes in 190F water, after a quick rinse.

After my first sip, I can clearly see the chocolate connection. It definitely has that hot cocoa sort of vibe to it that’s a little bit creamy, a little bit milky and a whole lot of chocolate. I don’t know if I am fully getting as much “milk chocolate” as I thought I would and if I am being honest I am a bit saddened by that, however, I am still happy with the flavor here. To me, it is like a powdered hot chocolate mix that was made in water as opposed to milk – just a little watered down and leaning just a touch towards cocoa as opposed to actual chocolate, but it still hits the sweet spot. If this was powdered hot chocolate I would be mad that it wasn’t creamier or sweeter but since this is tea, I am impressed.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  teabento
Description

An absolutely unique and amazing black tea! We were totally surprised by its prominent, deep, rich chocolate aroma and taste as we tried this tea at the first time. We could hardly believe that what we drunk was not a hot cocoa, but a 100% pure black tea. An outstanding gastronomic experience!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cocoa Chili Pumpkin from Tiesta Tea. . .

Tea friends, imagine this next paragraph as a deep-voiced movie-trailer:

“In a world of slightly-altered Earl Greys, chais, and variations on ‘creamy’ whatever, this tea dares to go where No Tea Has Gone Before. Pumpkin, chili, and cocoa: Can they overcome their differences to make a good tea?”

I’m not quite sure, but I’m definitely glad I tried it.

The pumpkin and cocoa are pretty straightforward: you experience the cocoa and the pumpkin on the tongue, and the pumpkin as the aftertaste.

The memorable feature is the chili. You can experience the burn as you swallow. It’s unusual. It’s a bit exciting. You feel like you’ve swallowed fire or walked across coals, without, you know, having actually left your living room or done anything dangerous.

The caffeine content is the bomb. This is part of Tiesta’s “energizer” line, and yuuup, that is what it is. Your mouth is sizzling and your eyes are bugging out.

You are prepared for your day. No matter how unusual it may be, you’ve already got this tea under your belt.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Tiesta 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!

Midnight Black from Love Some Tea (LST). . . .

Do YOU have trouble sleeping if there aren’t the appropriate number of pillows around you, at the right fluffiness, in the right configuration? If you said YES, then I have a MORNING CAFFEINE SOLUTION FOR YOU:

Black Midnight by Love Some Tea!

This is a well-rounded no-nonsense straight black that has notes of wood and raisin and malt. It comes in beautiful long twists that feel like something a witch would pluck and drink while waiting for her eye of newt to cure.

And the caffeine! Ah! The caffeine! If you were that witch, up all night plotting where to put your hex symbols on the floor, this would perk you right back up. Your pointy hat would stand right on end.

I have taken the witch analogy too far. I now declare it over.

Anyway, there’s something to be said for a sturdy, all-business, get-it-done kick-in-the-pants brew. And this is just the thing.

Onwards and upwards, my darlings. It’s time to start the day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Love Some Tea
Description

A tea as dark and flavorful as midnight itself. Our black tea is wild picked and fermented to a beautifully dark complexion with robust an bold flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Keemun Imperial Black Tea from Teavivre. . . .

Keemun Imperial Black Tea is one of the more expensive Keemun offerings from Teavivre. Spoiler alert regarding the upcoming review….I am placing it on my re-order list right now.

The instructions on my packet of leaves said to make it at 185F and steep for about three minutes. I hesitated about following those instructions because it is out of the norm for how I make my black teas, but I do usually go with 195F for Keemun teas, so I followed their recommendation and lowered the temp a bit more. Crossing fingers because oh, how I love my Keemun teas!

First sip, and immediately I heard a song playing in my head….”I’ll stop the world and melt with you…”. Oh my goodness. Stop. Breathe. Close,your eyes. Hug in a cup, comforting shawl, slipping into a warm bubble bath, whatever floats your boat as metaphor for a riveting tea experience, here it is.

This smells like TEA. Rich, lovely, calming, soothing TEA. Baked sweet potato, bread-y and malty, burnt caramel, and the lightest waft of smoke that is probably just an image coming from the gentle briskness that gives that tiny rasp on the tongue that lets you know you are having a Keemun, all somehow swimming in a very light-bodied liquor. As I sip more, the briskness grows a little, and I find this a perfect tea to sip with my chocolate chip and pecan scone.

It’s going to be a good day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Teavivre
Description

The fresh leaves for making this tea grew in the original producing area of Keemun tea, at an average elevation of 800 m above sea level. The one bud with one leaf (which just starts to open up, called Chu zhan “初展”) is hand-plucked for making this tea around the Chinese season of Qing Ming in early spring days. These fresh first-plucking leaves for making are loaded with nutrients and hence the finished dry leaves are neat and bold with high percentage of tiny golden tips. There is a sweet, mellow taste which creates a pleasant smooth sensation in your mouth. Overall, the first infusion of this tea is high in roasted sweet potato flavor mixed somewhat flower aroma, the second infusion is very mellow and the third infusion‘s lingering sweet and fragrant aftertaste will give you more enjoyment.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!