Watermelon Mint from Trader Joe’s. . . .

You know how every once in a while, you stumble across a tea that is LITERALLY PERFECT? (I know, it doesn’t happen often– but when it does, hallelujah hands, am I right?) This tea, you guys. I cannot stop cold brewing it for the summer! I grabbed a tin of it at Trader Joe’s during my grocery trip a few weeks ago, and I’ve already picked up a second– that’s how quickly I’m sipping through it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a weird relationship with watermelon and watermelon-flavored things– I feel abundantly ‘meh’ regarding melon as a fruit (when I pretty much love all other fruits and veg) and could take or leave fresh watermelon. But when it comes the the flavor? I am ALL about it. This one has that perfectly juicy, melon-y flavor that is spot-on best watermelon– tempered by a hint of mint with just a touch of natural sweetness from the licorice. (Licorice haters, don’t fret– you can’t taste it, it’s just there for a flavor boost). It’s perfect iced as-is, but it also takes a splash of lemonade so well. SO WELL. I’m not done gushing– this iced tea is perfect, friends.

To top it all off? This tea comes in the absolute cutest tin I ever did see, and every time you open it for a whiff, the aroma is absolutely divine. While I normally spend all summer sipping all manner of iced teas, this is one that I just can’t help but want to drink every day, the rest of my collection be darned. Who knew TJ’s would come in with the sleeper tea hit of the summer? Go get you some, stat!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Trader Joe’s
Description

This tea is not on the website but click below to find a Trader Joe’s near you.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Inconceivable! Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas . . . . . . .

I love a tea with a good theme, so Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas was a joy to drink and write about.  Vizzini refers to the character from the Princess Bride film, you know the one who was always shouting: inconceivable!  His brew was made with a black tea from the Fujian province of China.

When brewed, this blend was exceptionally smooth, both smelling and tasting reminiscent of creamy hot cocoa.  With a chocolate scent and silky mouthfeel, this brew was far sweeter and more comforting than the grating voice of its namesake.

Beneath the sweet buttery-vanilla cocoa flavors, there were hints of honey-roasted nuts, reminding me of honeybush teas.  The range and potency of these delicious flavors were impressive, knowing that this was an unflavored black tea.

I think the real cleverness in choosing this blend for Vizzini lies in its brewing notes.  Geeky Teas said that this type of tea can be brewed strong or light according to your preference, and it will maintain its tasty cocoa notes without getting bitter.  I couldn’t help but imagine brewing two mugs side-by-side with different brew times and tasting them to compare.

It made me think of Vizzini’s infamous “pick your poison” scene in the Princess Bride.  A clever man would brew a strong tea… Light or strong: which would you choose? Just remember: never go against a Sicilian when death– I mean.. a good cup of tea– is on the line!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Geeky Teas
Description:

Black tea from the Fuijian province of China. Can be brewed strong or weak. As you wish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ruby 18 from American Gongfu. . .

This is one of those teas, like Darjeeling and Big Red Robe, that almost need their own classification.

They are simply marked as a certain type due to how they are processed but their elegant flavors deserve something more.

The best flavors, in my opinion come out when it is brewed at a lower temperature. Luke warm is the best. Sweet sensations of spices like clove and earthiness like wet wood.

The wet leaves have an amazing sweet aroma.

Some would say camphor and I would agree.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  American Gongfu
Description

This instant crowd favorite has an interesting pedigree.  Ruby #18  – also know as Red Jade – is the name of a cultivar developed in Taiwan by pairing a wildTaiwanese tea tree Camellia formosensis with a Burmese Assam (C. sinensisvar. assamica.).  The best crafted Ruby 18 leaf usually comes from Nantou’s Sun Moon Lake region.

Brewed lightly or at lower temperature, the tea exhibits an aromatic sweetness with hints of gingerbread and other spice flavors.  Brewed deeply or at high heat, yields a strong spicy tea, with notes of camphor, allspice, and deep woodiness.

A little goes a long way with this leaf, making it economical as well as delicious. We recommend a lighter brew if you’re new to this tea.

Cold brewing this tea produces an excellent, complex brew that is irresistible.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Roasted Almond Chai from Fava Tea Company. . . . . . . .

I was lucky to discover Roasted Almond Chai from Fava Tea Company thanks to a tea trade with fellow Sororitea Sisters, and now this is one if my favorite chai teas.

This is a decaf blend, so I find it most satisfying as a sweet treat to ease me through a rough afternoon or evening. This tea is perfectly both sweet and spicy. The dry leaf in the bag smells exceptionally creamy and a touch fruity, like marzipan candies. In the loose leaf, there are cloves, cinnamon, and huge cardamom pods, promising more spice in the brew.

Brewed, this blend is surprisingly pink, and I had a moment of worry: pink?! Is there hibiscus in here?  I read the label again and saw beetroot as an ingredient but no hibiscus. Taking a sip, I was relieved. The pink color was clearly from the beetroot which added a wonderful natural sweetness that did not get in the way of the other flavors.

The one change I would make is to rename this blend Marzipan Chai, instead of Roasted Almond Chai. There is not much in the way of tasted flavors or pure nut-like flavors. The beetroot and almond make for a blend that is sweet like a  cake with creamy frosting. This tea is driven by its candied almond taste, coupled with the warming spices of cinnamon and cardamom. Even without milk, this tea is so smooth and creamy, a perfect dessert. I will be stocking up on this chai the next chance I get!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Fava Tea
Description:

This is the sweet taste of almond magically blended with rooibos and chai spices. Smooth, delightful and a perfect compliment with dessert. Or in place of dessert! Either way, enjoy!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jasmine Creme Brulee from DAVIDs Tea. . . .

Picture this: young tea reviewer-Mary, at a fancy lunch with her dad, celebrating her 16th birthday. Side note: my parents often took us out for special one-on-one time (hello, life with siblings), especially around our birthdays– but this year was a special one, so my dad pulled out all the stops. After a particularly decadent dinner, my dad insisted we order some dessert. Who was 16-year-old-I to say no? Faced with a delicious decision, I decided to go rouge– crème brulee, a dessert I’d never tried before. All I knew was this: it looked delicious, and had some serious bonus-fun in the form of crackling that burnt-sugar topping before diving in. Sugar AND an activity? Count me in?

Needless to say, ever since that first burnt-sugar-crack, I’ve been a fan of crème brulee. So of course, when I saw this latest offering from David’s Tea, I knew this one was coming home with me. This green tea boasts creamy, burnt-sugar-and-vanilla flavors, with just a hint of floral jasmine on the side. Brewed up solo, it’s delightful– but definitely leans more heavily on those floral notes. I was looking for something creamier, something more reminiscent of the fancy-dessert-nostalgia of my youth. With juuuuust a tiny, tiny touch of honey and a splash of steamed coconut milk on top, this one transforms from creamy floral green tea to magical, burnt-sugar-esque crème-brulee-in-a-cup. In fact, I’m not sure how they manage to perfectly capture that slightly toasty creamy note (almost like a genmaicha, but without a bit of toasted-rice in sight) through flavor alone, but I love it. This is one I’ll be brewing up to share with my dad, for sure.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  DAVIDs Tea
Description

Meet our newest obsession: the crème brulée. French for “burnt cream,” this rich and creamy dessert is famous for its silky custard base and crunchy toffee crust. This decadent green tea captures all the vanilla-cream sweetness of a classic crème brulée – with a pop of jasmine for a light floral touch. It’s satisfying, sophisticated and downright addictive.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!