Cardamom French Toast from DAVIDsTEA

cardamomfrenchtoastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

Something about cardamom just puts us in a festive frame of mind. We love its rich, fragrant taste any way we can get it. One of our faves? The buttery, cardamom-scented Christmas breads popular in Sweden and Finland. And cardamom toast is great,it only stands to reason that cardamom French toast would be out of this world. With black tea, cardamom, cane sugar and cinnamon, this rich, sweet blend tastes just like the decadent breakfast of our dreams. Only this is one brunch item you’ll be wanting all day long.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of those teas that is getting quite a lot of positive reviews, so despite my dislike for cardamom (generally speaking), I did want to give this one a go. I have a feeling that the cardamom will be tolerable in this blend because it’s mixed with something sweet. The scent of this tea is delicious! Bready, sweet and a tiny bit of that playful cardamom in the background. I have high hopes!

Sipping… oh this is very nice. This tea has such a great combination of cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. I also taste a little bit of the lemon peel which adds just the lightest tang. The black tea doesn’t really shine at all, though, and prefers to stay hidden behind everything else. I really like this tea and believe it’s the closest I’ve been to tasting french toast in a tea. The aftertaste is a bit weird… I am thinking it might have to do with the lemon and the spices mixing. It’s not really artificial, but is just an odd flavor combination. I would have liked for there to be a stronger custardy, eggy flavor to further enhance the french toast, but it’s pretty darn good without.

If you’re interested in a sugary sweet and lightly spiced holiday tea, I would pop this into your shopping cart. It’s very unique, drinkable and delicious! Yum!

Organic Oolong Tea from Buddha Teas

oolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Buddha Teas

Tea Description:

Over the years, many different varieties of oolong tea have been produced, each with their own style and flavor, however traditional oolong tea remains the most popular among these.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oolong has historically been my nemesis, although I have to say at this point that I’ve only ever tried loose leaf oolong with one exception (Teapigs Tung Ting Oolong, which is pyramid bagged). This oolong is also bagged, and in fairly small, square paper affairs that really don’t look like they’ll provide much room for leaf expansion. Even dry, the leaf fills up at least half of the space in the bag. One cute touch is that each paper tag has a different phrase – my current bag declares “love is ecstacy”, and my second “appreciate yourself and honor your soul”. Something to muse upon as you wait for your tea to brew? I added the bag to a cup of water cooled to around 180 degrees, and gave it 2.5 minutes. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown.

Once wet, it’s clear that the leaf is shredded quite finely, and it becomes waterlogged and soggy quickly. The leaf expands to fill the bag, but not as much as I thought it might. I guess the fine shred means that there are no large leaves to really unfurl. Looking at the leaf, this would appear to be a dark or roasted oolong. It has the signature scent that’s often one of the things I like least about oolong – metallic and a little sweet.

To taste, I’m more impressed that I expected I would be. I’m not the world’s biggest Oolong fan, so when I find one that’s palatable and enjoyable to drink, a bit of a celebration ensues. This Oolong is initially very nutty, in the way of pecans or maybe walnuts. There’s a slightly bitter tang that I associate with walnuts especially, which only reinforces the comparison for me. The mid-sip contains a little of the metallic flavour I so dislike, but it’s not over-strong and I’m finding I can ignore it without too much trouble. There’s a note of slightly burnt toast as well, which puts me in mind of autumn and open fires. It’s a fitting flavour profile for this time of year! The aftertaste is smooth and a little sweet, with an almost honeyed texture. It’s a pleasant, flavourful cup, reminiscent of a Formosa Oolong. I’m not sure which variety it actually is as the packaging gives very little away, but that’s where I would peg it.

I enjoyed this cup, which seems a strange thing for me to say given my history with Oolong in general. The nutty, toasted notes pair well together and are very complementary, which probably has a lot to do with it. I’d drink this one again, and I’d happily recommend it either to those who are just beginning to explore oolong (as an accessible entry tea), and to Oolong-phobes who are looking to be proved wrong. It’s made me reevaluate my feelings about dark and roasted Oolongs, in any case!

Garlic Toast Flavored Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

Garlic-ToastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Er, yeah, we went there. On our recent trip to the ASD tradeshow in Las Vegas, we met some folks who were from the “Garlic Capital of the World”. They challenged us to make a tea with garlic in it, and here it is. It’s our premium organic Iyerpadi black tea with organic garlic, bread and butter flavors. If you like garlic, you’re going to have to try this one. It made the whole office smell like a pizzeria or something.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

OK … this is the weirdest flavor that 52Teas/Zoomdweebies/Southern Boy Teas has ever come up with.  And if I’m going to be honest, I’m a little jealous.  I admit it!  I wish I had come up with it.

Yes, this is weirder than bacon tea.  It’s weirder than chocolate covered bacon tea.  It’s weirder than the pineapple bacon tea.  It’s weirder than Jalapeno Tea.  It’s even weirder than my beloved Tomato, Basil and Black Pepper tea.

When I opened the pouch, WOWIE!  This smells like garlic toast.  Like fresh from the oven garlic toast!  I steeped it the way I usually steep these large tea bags:  I heated 1 quart of water to 212°F and dropped the teabag into the water and let it steep for 2 minutes.  Then I removed the teabag and poured the hot tea into my favorite iced tea pitcher and repeated the process, adding 30 seconds onto the “resteep” time.

The brewed tea smells less like garlic toast than the dry tea.  Oh, it still smells like garlic toast, but it’s just not nearly as potent.

After allowing the tea to chill in the refrigerator overnight, it was time for testing!  I admit I’m excited and nervous and a little weirded out about trying a Garlic Toast flavored iced tea.  When I opened the pitcher, I could smell the garlic!  It’s still a rather distinct aroma, even though it’s not quite as strong as the dry tea was.  The odor of garlic is still there.  Then again, it should be, right?  I mean, I’m about to take a sip of garlic flavored tea.

OK.  Here goes …

Hmm … OK, here are my first impressions:  the garlic doesn’t hit you right at the start.  The smell of garlic hits you before you even take a sip, mind you, because the aroma, as I said … is THERE.  But the flavor of garlic doesn’t smack you upside the palate from the onset.

The first flavor I notice is the black tea.  The flavor is smooth and brisk and refreshing.  I am picking up on sweetness from the black tea that I hadn’t noticed from this particular black tea base before this tasting.   (The Pumpkin Cheesecake iced tea uses the same Iyerpadi black tea base.)  I suspect that the different flavoring has inspired the palate to pick up on different flavors from the tea.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

After about a half a second of tasting the black tea, I start to pick up on delicate garlic notes.

Yeah, I used delicate and garlic in the same sentence, and one was used to describe the other.  I don’t know that I’ve ever used the word “delicate” to describe garlic before.

  And really, delicate is the right word to use for the garlic flavoring here.  Although the pungent odor of the garlic in both the dry tea and the brewed tea wouldn’t really suggest a delicate garlic presence, the flavor itself doesn’t overwhelm the palate with garlic-y … um … goodness.  Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for.

It’s garlic toast but it’s not all about the garlic.  It is also about the tea.  And SBT has managed to create a balance to bridge these two seemingly opposing forces.  I mean, really … when was the last time you sat down with a cup of tea and thought:  you know what would really go well with this tea?  A piece of garlic toast!  No.  I might sit down to a plate of spaghetti and think, ‘I need garlic toast.’ A cup of soup perhaps, but a cup of tea?  No.

But I like this.  The zesty, savory flavor of the garlic brings flavors of the tea into focus that I might not have otherwise picked up on.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’m noticing the sweetness of the tea itself more now.  When you have sweet flavor elements in the tea – such as pumpkin and cheesecake – you miss some of the sweet nuances of the tea.  But with the garlic tasting like … well, tasting like garlic … I am noticing some of the sweeter qualities of this tea base.  I like that I taste the garlic but it’s not a garlic-y assault on my palate.

I will actually be buying at least one more package of this tea because I want to try it as a cold-brew.  I noticed that an iced tea that I didn’t really care for (the bacon iced tea) tasted much better when it was cold-brewed so I want to see how this one works with the cold-brew process.

It’s definitely different – but really tasty.

French Toast Flavored Black Tea Blend from 52Teas

 

frenchtoastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Look ma: No mango this week! Instead, be prepared to be blown away by this new black tea blend. If you love our Pancake Breakfast blend, you’re going to LOVE this. It’s similar to Pancake breakfast, but a little sweeter with some cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup and yes, even a touch of butter flavors.

This is like French toast in a cup without the 600 calories you’d expect from some hot French toast drowning in maple syrup and butter. This is a brand new comfort tea and I imagine it’s going to go FAST.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yum, yum, yum!  I have been looking forward to trying this French Toast Flavored Black Tea Blend from 52Teas!  I adored the “Pancake Breakfast” blend 52Teas put out a while back, and I was certain I’d enjoy this one as well.  And it certainly is living up to my high expectations.

It is totally YUM!

My one complaint, if one is to get picky … is that there is a tad too much cinnamon in this.  I don’t mind cinnamon, not at all, and I personally am enjoying the level of cinnamon in this cup, however, to capture the true essence of French Toast in a teacup, I think that the cinnamon should be a bit more delicate.  As it is, this is more like French Toast that has been made using cinnamon swirl bread … which is typically my favorite kind of bread to use for French Toast … although recently, I’ve discovered a Peach Cobbler bread and that stuff is AMAZING as French Toast … but I digress.

My point is this:  when using non-cinnamon-y swirly bread, my French Toast doesn’t usually have this much of a cinnamon taste to it.

But the cinnamon rant aside, this is truly delicious.  The black tea base is rich and robust.  The cinnamon is the strongest note here, but, I also taste maple, butter, and a hint of brown sugar.  There is also a sort of bread-y taste that brings all these flavors together and creates a taste that is very much like liquefied cinnamon French Toast breakfast in a teacup … made complete with a cup of tea to go with it.

What can I say?  52Teas does it again!  This blend has already sold out, however, you can request a reblend of it by going here and clicking on the big, blue “Please Reblend” badge on the center of the page and fill out the form that follows.

On the 9th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

This isn’t the only “12 Days” type of thing that I’ve chosen to become involved with this holiday season.  I am also in a 12 Days of Christmas art swap through a Yahoo! art group that I’m in.  You can learn more about that swap here and see some of the art pieces that I’ve received in that swap, as well as the art piece that I made for the swap.

Both of these 12 Days “thingies” have been a lot of fun for me … and there is a part of me that is just a little sad that they are both almost over.

But rather than think about when it will end… I think it is much better to focus on the here and now.  And right here and now, it is time to unveil the tea of the day for today!

BUTTERED CINNAMON RAISIN TOAST

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

So, a raisin flavored tea is pretty unique in and of itself; cinnamon-raisin tea: a bit cooler, but at 52teas, we don’t just push the envelope, we shove. So, I’m happy to present our tea of the week for the week of January 4, 2010: Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast flavored black tea.

We started with our premium Indian black teas base, added just a touch of smoked Assam teas for a tiny bit of toastiness, then we added real golden raisins, cinnamon stick bits and natural raisin and cinnamon flavors. We topped it all off with just a hint of natural butter flavoring. The result: Well, you will have to try it to believe it.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little surprised to find this tea in this 12 Teas of Christmas box.  Pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless; mostly because this tea is not one of 52Teas permanent collection teas.

However, I think it SHOULD be in their permanent collection, because it is so good.  I tried this tea when it was first introduced (and you can read my first review of this tea here), I mean, how could I resist?  It just sounded too unusual and interesting to pass up.

One thing that I really like about this tea is that it is a little different each time I brew it.  When I first reviewed it, the cinnamon flavor was a little subtle, this time, as I sip it, the cinnamon is front and center.  The butter is a little lighter this time around, but still present.  The raisin flavor is a little stronger, and I am getting a little more of a smoked/toasty taste too.  The overall cup is still sweet, but it is a little more spiced with a stronger cinnamon note.

One thing that I did say in the previous review that remains true today – this is definitely one of 52Teas most interesting blends!  I am so happy that I got to revisit it!