Berry Romantic from DAVIDs Tea. . . . .

They say to never judge a book by its cover. I know this– really, I do. But you guys. This tea is SO PRETTY. It might’ve tasted like swamp muck and I would’ve been too distracted by the big, beautiful flower buds and petals, strawberry pieces, and fairy-like flowery-somethings filling up my cup to actually notice.

Luckily, that’s not the case.

This tea delivers just as much on the palate as it does on the eyes, with creamy strawberry notes atop delicate, floral oolong leaves. With a little honey, it’s perfectly sweet– but even without, it’s a beautiful mix of creamy, fruity and just a touch floral. On a second steep, I lost a bit of the berry, with mostly that creamy floral oolong remaining, but I’m not complaining.

This tea is the perfect cup to sip in these late-winter-early-spring-but-not-quite-oh-here’s-some-more-snow-for-you days that us northerners are still plodding through. A book I’ll happily claim to live up to its cover!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  DAVIDs Tea

A romantic strawberries-and-cream tea, strewn with pretty flower petals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The 2017 Valentine’s Day Collection from DAVIDs Tea. . . .

Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark holiday. A wonderful time to celebrate those you love with flowers and cards and chocolates and gifts. Red and pink hearts abound. All the while, intelligent companies bank on this commercial goldmine, like Lindt which sells the same Milk Chocolate Lindor Balls you can get year-round but in a heart-shaped box and with an inflated price tag. DAVIDsTEA is no stranger to the Valentine’s Day game and lucky for us that means new Valentine’-inspired teas to try. That and cute heart-shaped tea tins for those hoping to impress their tea-loving sweethearts.

The Earl’s Valentine is a returning Valentine’s Day blend that was sold last year to a great deal of popularity. It is branded as a black early grey based tea, but there are more chocolate curls and rosebuds in the dry mix than actual tea leaf. It is made with roasted carob, black tea, chocolate pieces, rose buds, cornflower petals, natural and artificial bergamot, chocolate and cocoa flavouring. It brews up a caramel brown color and looks rather oily on top, probably due to the chocolate pieces. Thankfully the slickness of that oil goes unnoticed unless you are focusing on it. As for the flavor, the earl grey base, though it appears minimal compared to the other ingredients in the dry leaf, is quite present. The bottom of the sip is brisk and citrusy while the silky milk chocolate floats on top. Sandwiched in between is the rose which acts as a nice segue between the other flavors that might seem out of sync without its presence. Sweet yet floral, this blend delivers on what it promises and should be enjoyable if you enjoy bergamot and can look past the sheen on the top of your mug.

Berry Romantic, one of the new blends introduced this year, is a strawberries-and-cream tea made with apple, oolong tea, cane sugar, blackberry leaf, gomphrena petals, jasmine buds, strawberries, rose buds, natural strawberry flavouring and artificial cream flavouring. The dry leaf looks quite lovely and smells like a bouquet of flowers. The blend steeps up almost golden and has an unexpectedly thick mouthfeel that compliments the “cream” flavor. Unfortunately, the berry doesn’t remind me of the fruit so much as a generic berry flavoring. Also, I do pick up on the apple more than I would like, though I suppose that would make sense since it is the first ingredient. On the plus side though, despite the various floral ingredients, it is not a particularly floral-tasting tea and the blackberry leaf and cane sugar do not make this overly sweet. It is better than expected but still more synthetic and processed tasting than I normally like.

White Chocolate Rose, the other new blend for 2017’s Valentine’s Day, is probably the one I was most excited about. I don’t usually love floral teas so the rose should be more off putting to me but something about the simplicity of this blend just called to me. Black tea, white chocolate , rose buds, and natural and artificial flavouring make up this offering – no added sweeteners which DAVIDs has become so found of and no mile-long list of ingredients. The dry leaf is beautiful with its large pink rosebuds and its bright white chocolate pieces amidst the black tea base. Brewed up it is very similar in appearance to The Earl’s Valentine, caramel brown and with a slickness on top which, again like The Earl’s Valentine, is inoffensive in regards to the texture. Scent-wise this is all rose and that translates into the flavor as well. I saw white chocolate so I know it is in here but I just can’t find where. Nevertheless, I think this is my favorite of the three as it is the most natural in the mix. It is also the prettiest/most romantic looking blend, though all would make for an aesthetically pleasing present.

If your Valentine like chocolate teas or floral blends, these might be worth taking a look at. If not, I would recommend going with teaware instead…or flowers or chocolate or jewelry or any other classic Valentine’s Day present.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Various
Where to Buy:  DAVIDs Tea

truly, madly, steeply

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Valentine Tea Alert! Love Tea #7 from David’s Tea. . .

My lovely, kind, smart and wonderful fiancé has one fatal flaw. He doesn’t like strawberries, you guys. STRAWBERRIES. How?! I wish I could tell you. I, on the other hand, clearly am a fan. So when I dug this tea out of my sample stash, I knew that this could go one of two ways: I could love it, and rejoice in the more-for-me glory, or it could fall seriously flat and I wouldn’t be able to pawn it off on him as I so often do with teas that I don’t love (Whoops. Sorry for all the rejects, honey).

At first sniff, I could pick out all the key players– chocolate, strawberry and rose, all present and accounted for. My hopes rose even more after steeping a generous teaspoon in my cup– the brewed aroma alone made my kitchen smell like I’d just finish dipping a batch of chocolate-covered berries.

And did it deliver? YES. (insert hallelujah hands emoji *here*). I lost a little bit of the rose in the brewed tea, but my cup was perfectly evocative of my favorite little red fruit covered in creamy, sweet chocolate. As a latte, this was divine.

Thankfully, this little pouch will get tucked away in the all-mine corner of my tea cabinet, and I don’t think my fiancé will mind one bit.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  David’s Tea

A romantic blend of black tea, chocolate, strawberries and rose petals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bake a Valentine’s Cake to Go With Your Tea

Valentine’s Day.  A time for everything pink and rosy.  Strawberries and chocolate galore. If you are looking to recreate that sweet, romantic, dessert feeling I would recommend brewing up a cup of Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Shuswap Infusions. This black and oolong blend has dark chocolate and strawberry notes, and it even has flower petals in the dry leaf.

Whether you’re celebrating yourself or being cute with a sweetheart, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate.  So I recommend making an old family recipe (that we clearly just took from the King Arthur Flour cookbook) for a super-easy, super-tasty, one-pan vegan mocha cake.  Trust me, even those of you who are baking-impaired can make this one.  We call it the Stir-Crazy Cake.

For best results, mix the ingredients in the pan from which you will serve the cake.  This won’t be a problem if you use a cute heart-shaped pie dish or cake pan for the occasion.

Mix directly in your pan:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.

Make three wells (three divots or holes) in the dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the wells, only one ingredient into each well:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour 1 cup cold coffee over all ingredients.  If you don’t want a mocha cake, just use cold water instead.  [For those kitchen-oriented mad scientists out there, maybe adding a cold cup of your favorite dessert or strawberry tea could be a nice substitute as well.  I haven’t experimented myself, but now I’m  curious to try it… ]

Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.  Really make sure you mix the cake (hence the “Stir-Crazy” name).  Get all the dry ingredients mixed in from the bottom and edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any crumbs.

Serve straight from the pan to your plate.  If you’re getting overloaded from chocolate, brew up something sweet and fruity to go with the cake, maybe a classic like Raspberry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings to help balance out the dark chocolate decadence.
Happy baking!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Shuswap Infusions

Just in time for Valentines Day! The name of this tea is just as delicious as it sounds. For a real treat, serve it as a latte garnished with shaved chocolate

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Perfect for Valentine’s Day! Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea. . . .

I’ve been on a kick with flavored Lapsang Souchong’s as of late. Not sure WHY but I am. I can’t say as I have ever been on a flavored Lapsang Souchong (specifically) kick before. So this time around I want to share Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea with you.

Cup of Love Tea is a subsidiary of Vampyre Tea Company so I was pretty darn excited to try it! Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea contains Lapsang Souchong Black Tea, Cinnamon, Apple, Orange Peel, Hibiscus, and Coconut Tea & Pieces.

Dry – the aroma was more faint than I was expecting but once infused everything seemed to come to life! I could smell the Lapsang, the Cinnamon, and the Orange up front with hints of Apple floating in the background. The coconut was hard to pick up with the ‘old sniffer’ but it looked lovely in the dry mix! Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea smells quite unique which makes me REALLY want to sip on it and FAST!

I listened to what my cuppa was telling me and I took a sip of this intriguing Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea. The flavor of the Lapsang Souchong was in full force but the Apple flavors seemed to be right along side of it acting as a faithful sidekick. I could taste the cinnamon on the end sip and on into the aftertaste. Follow-up sips revealed the orange flavors which were juicy and delicious!

What was really interesting with this tea is that when it naturally cooled at room temperature for a bit I was able to taste some more fruit notes but they seemed to pop out more and become more juicy. Most notably the citrus! THEN…it seemed to end on a subtly sweet and creamy note – possibly due to the coconut slivers! I’m TOTALLY digging this Heart Tea Goodness from Cup of Love Tea!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Smoky Black Tea
Where to Buy: Cup of Love Tea

Don’t let the smoky flavor full you, this China Black Tea is good for your heart!  Elegant Black Tea smoked over wood logs in the Fujian Province of China, in the same centuries old process, is the base for this truly unique blend.  Woody in the nose, the smoky taste is mellowed in the cup by coconut so that the finish is filled with notes of roasted cinnamon apple.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!