Pumpkin Caramel Creme from Spice and Tea Exchange. . . . . .

I was delighted to find this tea in my best friend’s kitchen today. It was her child’s third birthday, and I was celebrating by raiding her tea without permission.

This tea — Pumpkin Caramel Crème by Spice & Tea Exchange — is not currently available, but there are several dessert teas you may like on their site

Before we get started on this review, please do not tell me it’s “too late in the season” for a pumpkin spice latté or tea. I will drink one in the dead of summer if I want. We live in a global economy where all fruits, vegetables, and teas are available to us all year round, gosh darn it.

But if you ARE the kind of person who believes in seasonality, you will be pleased to hear that this tea doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all. I got caramel. I got crème. I did not receive pumpkin from this taste. It’s possible that I happened to get a scoop that was lacking in a pumpkin ingredient.

What this tasted like, most of all, was one of those maple syrup cupcakes with caramel icing that my husband’s cousin makes.  It’s approximately something like this.  It was extremely sweet, but a brown-sugar sweet instead of a white-sugar sweet. A more substantive, deep sweet.

“This,” I said to my best friend appreciatively, “is really good.”

“It is!” she said. “My mother-in-law got it for me!”

I have decided to blog about it and say something kind about them both as a thank you. So here goes:

My best friend is very kind and stylish; her other-in-law is the very nicest around; her husband is a genius; her kids are adorable; her house is charming; and her dogs are cuddly. She does not complain when I let myself into her home without knocking — or start up a kettle to try her teas without asking. She is the Patron Saint of Tolerance (and Good Hair).

And the tea is yummy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy: The Spice & Tea Exchange
Description

This tea is no longer on the site but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Kyoto Rice Green Tea Blend from The Spice and Tea Exchange

KyotoRice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  The Spice and Tea Exchange

Tea Description:

(Genmaicha Tea) Kyoto green tea leaves are blended with popped and roasted rice, to make this a brothy infusion with a unique appeal. Moderate Caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I drink a Genmaicha tea, I want that sweet, roasty-toasty flavor.  And that’s just what I’m getting from this Kyoto Rice Green Tea Blend from The Spice and Tea Exchange!

This is a good quality Genmaicha, with the lush, green tea flavor combined with the sweet, toasted rice flavor.  It has a nice, medium body to it:  smooth and brothy (just like the description above implies).

I don’t know that I’d stop in to my local Spice and Tea Exchange just to pick up some of this Kyoto Rice tea, because there are a lot of companies out there that offer good quality Genmaicha like this one … but, since they do carry some other blends that usually always interest me, if I’m low on Genmaicha I might pick up some from them.  It’s a good one, and I always like to have some Genmaicha on hand!

Mint-Chilla Chai-Nilla from The Spice and Tea Exchange

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Puerh, Chai

Where to Buy:  The Spice and Tea Exchange

Tea Description:

An organic pu-erh chai tea with creamy vanilla and bright peppermint. A rich, smooth tea that adds a refreshing twist to the traditional chai tea flavors. Moderate caffeine. Contains: green pu-erh tea, vanilla, peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, licorice root.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I received this from a fellow Steepster and I was totally not expecting to! When you wake up to a nice box of unexpected samples from a friend – that is the best day ever! This tea was included in that box. I have never sampled anything from The Spice and Tea Exchange before that I can recall so I grabbed this right away to try! The name of this tea also got me, with its quirkiness.

The puerh base here may not be the most complex out there by any means but it does provide a nice bold backdrop for the other flavors and is strong enough on its own not to let strong flavors like mint, for example, take over.

The puerh has a leather aspect to it, and a slight sandalwood note. A very nice puerh to use in a blend. I would not want to see a highly prized puerh used in a blend personally, yet I also want one with enough character to give the backdrop a good blend deserves and I feel that The Spice and Tea Exchanged selected a good base for this blend.

The vanilla is noticeable and the spices are quite lovely. Nothing tries to take over here. There is a wonderful mint lift which still allows the vanilla to have its time in the sun. Something of an after dinner mint flavor is what I am getting. You know those Chocolate Andes mints in the green wrapper? Yup that kind of mint flavor, so good! Now I am not saying that this tea tastes all that chocolaty but the spices and puerh tend to lead it in that direction just a little.

On the spices, they are lovely! I am not one for licorice or anise in any amount by nature although there are a few blends out there that have surprised me – this is one of those blends. I feel that The Spice and Tea Exchange has captured the best elements of a chai and added the fun vanilla and mint aspects very well all in a really solid puerh base.

I have had three very successful steeps from these leaves and am going on steep four.

This tea does make me want to check out The Spice and Tea Exchange website now and see what other teas they have to offer. I can also order my spices and herbs there as well. That is a bonus! It is always nice to try a new company and enjoy the cup, even more surprising when it is not a blend I would choose for myself yet I still enjoy it. That leaves a great first impression!

White Rose Tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  The Spice & Tea Exchange

Tea Description:

This fragrant white tea blend consists of all organic ingredients. Roses, jasmine, and lavender are combined with rejuvenating peppermint for a delicious and scented cup. Great for morning or evening enjoyment. Contains: green tea, rose petals, jasmine flowers, lavender flowers, peppermint leaves. Moderate Caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf is enchanting!  It has a strong peppermint scent, but, because the rose is also quite strong, these two seem to contrast each other enough to offer a bouquet that is beautifully floral and yet, deliciously minty at the same time.   In the background, I also smell notes of jasmine and lavender.  It’s a very pleasing fragrance.

The infusion is also nicely fragrant, smelling a bit more of the rose than of the peppermint, which was what I was hoping for.  But I purchased this tea based on the promise of a “White Rose Tea” … and not a peppermint one.  I am glad that the rose is prominent, with notes of lavender and jasmine accenting the rose and a hint of peppermint in the background.  It smells fresh and romantic, and evokes thoughts of summer when roses are in bloom.

With all these strong floral and peppermint notes, I expected the flavor of the white tea to be absent.  But it is not.  On the contrary, the flavor of the white tea is very well-defined with its sweet, slightly creamy attributes.  It is a very nice base for the flavors of rose, lavender and jasmine – as well as the peppermint – to express themselves.

Not surprisingly, the rose is the strongest component of the cup.  It actually starts out rather perfume-y, to the point of numbing the tip of the tongue with its sharp, perfumed quality.  That being said, somehow, it is not an off-putting perfume-y taste.  It doesn’t taste soapy, it is more reminiscent of rose water than of Aunt Bertha’s perfume.   And once the tea has cooled slightly, the flavor tends to settle in, and allows the palate to explore the other notes with ease.

The jasmine and lavender are softer flavors, and I find they serve more as an accent to the rose rather than as individual floral notes.  It becomes more of a medley of floral flavor with the rose as the main focus of that medley.  The peppermint is also a softer flavor, and I found myself actually looking for it with the first few sips, it was that soft.  Now that I am halfway through the cup, the peppermint is more apparent, although it is still not what I’d consider to be a strong flavor.  This sometimes aggressive herb seems rather content to be a background note here, and allow the flowers to take center stage.

I find this to be a very enjoyable cup of tea.  It offers a delightful sense of tranquility as well as romance, so pour two cups of this tea and sip it with someone special.

Rainforest Maté Tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  The Spice & Tea Exchange

Tisane Description:

Spice and fruit unite in this unique herbal melange composed of energizing mate’ tea, licorice, spices, rosehips and pineapple chunks that refresh and revitalize when brewed. Moderate Caffeine.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

This tisane has a lot going on, but it all works together very nicely.  The cloves offer the most prominent flavor of this cup, followed by a sweet licorice flavor.  I don’t taste much of the distinct earthiness of the Yerba Maté, and given the natural earthy qualities of the spices I don’t think that earthy/vegetal tone is really necessary and might detract from the delicious flavors that the spices provide.

By the end of the sip, mint tones begin to peek out without becoming too overwhelming.  I like the mint notes here, they are mere hints of minty goodness rather than an overpowering mint flavor … which is rather nice as I know from my own experience of blending teas that it is not easy to keep mint from taking over.

The sweet pineapple gives this tisane a luscious, fruity tone that is almost a surprise with the first couple of sips.  With the start of the sip comprised of warm (but not spicy) spice, I didn’t really expect the sweet, juicy flavor of pineapple to shine through, but it does!  Right about mid-sip, the pineapple begins to weave its way in and out of the sip.  It’s quite nice!

In the background there are hints of floral notes that seem to complete the rainforest-y theme that this tisane embraces.  I love how this tisane doesn’t just call itself a “rainforest” blend – it actually captures the spirit of what I imagine from a rainforest.  Zesty, but with a cool, crisp mint coming in toward the end.  Sweet, starting with a sweet yet snappy licorice note which is followed by a lovely pineapple flavor.  It all comes together in a very refreshing and energizing way!