Bonfire Toffee/Bird and Blend Tea Co.

When it’s raining cats and dogs out, the sky is dark, and the lightening is bright, there is nothing quite like a latte made with a warming dessert tea. Normally, that warmth comes from a spice like cinnamon or clove but this time I decided to go a different way and picked out Bonfire Coffee by Bird and Blend Tea Co., a smokey black tea with caramel and apple.

I brewed up the tea rather strongly, steeping 4 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes. I topped the steeped tea with 8 ounces of frothed 1% milk.

The first thing I noticed when drinking the tea was the smoke from the Lapsang Souchong black tea. No surprise there given that Lapsang is always one strong tea.With that said, the milk sat atop the smokiness making for a smooth and creamy smokey flavor, as opposed to a more harsh smoke, until the end of the sip when the smoke just broke free and lingered in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is also where I most noticed the presence of a caramelized sugar/burnt caramel quality that was intermingled with the milk and Lapsang throughout the sip but came through more clearly in the aftertaste. Apple was missing in the latte but my guess it was drowned out by the more prominent flavors of the milk and the Lapsang.

It’s a nice tea but definitely not for the faint of heart. If you are not one for smoke, stay away from the Bonfire.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Bird and Blend Tea Co.

Description

Travelling tea merchants used to carry tea from east to west,all the way across Russia… well, their horses did anyway! It’s said the campfire smoke would infuse into the loose tea leaves at night creating smoked teas. Add some caramel, apple and toasted cinnamon and you get a spectacular Bonfire Night treat!

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!

2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

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!

Creme Brulee Grey Black Tea/Plum Deluxe

Earl Grey tea is black tea with bergamot flavor, and there is a huge difference in natural bergamot – a type of sour orange – and artificial. Some people think they don’t like Earl Grey because they tried either a tea made with a poor substitute for the real deal or a base that too lemony and astringent to take on sour orange. Others love the stuff, any old way.

Enter Creme Brulee black tea. Plum Deluxe has blended a strong black tea base with orange peel, jasmine flowers (<3), blue cornflower, bergamot oil, vanilla extract, and….here I quote the package…love and gratitude.

This tea is STRONG. I don’t mean strong, in-your-face bergamot. I mean they didn’t wimp out on us for the black tea base. It is quality stuff. The first cup has deep, dark, rich color. The bergamot flavor is strong enough to please an Earl Grey lover, and balanced enough with the other ingredients to please the reluctant. The addition of vanilla adds a nice creaminess, and jasmine sweetens it. The aftertaste leaves a brisk tingle on the tongue.

To stretch my sample, I made a second steep. It was good, and sufficiently strong! In future, I would blend the two steeps together at the outset and double my tea dollar. The price is reasonable for a blend of this quality, but more money equals more tea! I was smitten with their Reading Nook blend, so I want to get the most bang for my buck so I can get all the teas I love and share them, too.

I checked out their accessories page and saw quite a few items that would make great gifts…or treats for me! I was rather taken with the pewter dragonfly strainer, but the Victorian infuser was really nice as well. This is also one of the more reasonable subscription boxes. Take a look!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe

Description

Creme Brulee Earl Grey was the winner in our recent customer appreciation month vote – it won by a landslide, which tells you how good it is. The creamiest of cream earl greys, the brisk bergamot notes balance nicely wonderful rich cream notes. It makes a dandy London Fog (earl grey latte) or just enjoy it with your favorite tea cookie or biscuit.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!