Madagascar Vanilla/Golden Moon

When you have a rare, quiet morning to yourself, what tea do you choose to be your companion? Golden Moon’s Madagascar Vanilla is my choice today because I need something that has the chops to follow up waffles and maple syrup.

This vanilla can’t go wrong, with the vanilla taste coming from real Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and not some mysterious dark liquid that knows beakers better than plants.

I am usually very sensitive digestion-wise to teas that are not from China, but this Indian base sits right with me. It has hearty breakfast tea flavor without the gut twisting bitterness that demands milk to tame it and sugar to tone it down. It has the light, tongue scraping sensation of gentle briskness and a touch of malt. I happily drink this sans additions.

This is vanilla tea for grownups, not a kiddie vanilla. I serve it morning and afternoon, because it does hold up well with a meal or with rich sweets. It is also a good fortifying cup. The hearty base makes it so versatile.

I can’t help but be impressed when I look at their website and see the pains they have taken to assure that the tea that comes to us is as pure as they can possibly make it. But it has to taste good, too! And this one definitely does.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Golden Moon
Description

There’s vanilla, and then there is vanilla. Sometimes “vanilla” is poured out of a small, dark bottle into your favorite boxed cake mix. That stuff is like that “iPod” you bought in Chinatown. Sure it may work, but it really isn’t the same. Our vanilla is straight from the vanilla bean. Not just any bean, but the world famous bourbon vanilla bean found in Madagascar. We chop up the beans, blend them with a pure, organic Indian tea base and let it age for over a month. Why? Because Madagascar Vanilla ends up having a fully infused, rich flavor with no weird chemical aftertaste. Sure it is a lot of trouble for us to make this tea, but it’s well worth it.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Aronia Plumberry from St. Fiacres Farm. . . .

This tea is like the tastiest, plumiest, most perfectly-spiced fruit jam you ever did taste. Now, I could sit here and regale you with how my tastes have been changing to stray away from my heavy, wintry, black tea favorites lately (they have), or how all I want lately is fruity and fresh and bright and vegetal (I have)– but really, all I want to do is tell you how yummy this herbal infusion is.

I couldn’t find much about this tea on St. Fiacre’s website, but let me tell you– the dry leaf here can speak for itself. Big, bright berries pepper this dry leaf, and some of my favorite spices are large, in charge, and immediately visible– spicy cardamom pods, sweet licorice root, fragrant anise seeds– the gang’s all here!

And this blend takes all those unique ingredients and perfectly blends them together. Heavily fruity, but not overly-sweet– the warming spices bring a nice balance to the otherwise sweet herbal blend, hitting all those notes of lightly spiced jam that I just can’t get enough of. Now, if some enterprising tea-drinker would only *actually* turn this tea into a jam for me, we’d be in business. Crumpets, anyone?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy: St. Fiacres Farm
Description

TEA CLUB OVERSTOCK! Missed out on the Aronia Plum Berry from our VIP Tea Blend in December? We have a little bit left that you can try or stock up on more if you loved it. A spin off the traditional sugar plum which is a candy that has a hard outer coating of sugar… think along the lines of the Jordan almond or an M&M type candy. A sweeter tea thanks to the licorice root, almond extract and vanilla. This tea also features Oregon grown aronia berries, plums and cornflowers

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Grandma’s Apple Strudel from The NecessiTeas . . . .

My grandmother was more of an apple crumble lady herself. My dad’s grandmother, however, could apparently make a mean apple strudel. Now I never met his grandmother but I have gone to a Hungarian restaurant, Old Country Inn, with my Dad who has told me that the strudel there taste’s just like she used to make so that’s my basis of comparison here.

In order to recreate Grandma NecessiTea’s strudel, this tisane is a blend of apples, raisins, cinnamon, chicory, almonds, vanilla, and natural flavoring. I brewed this hot, steeping about 3 teaspoons of tea in 16 ounces of 200F water for 5 minutes.

The first thing this tea brought to mind was the Forever Nuts blend by DAVIDsTEA. Both teas have that warming and sweet nutty flavor to them that takes over. At first when I tried Forever Nuts, I loved the flavor but it is strong and I was quickly turned off of it to the point that even the smell was off-putting. However, whether it be the long time I went without a tea like this or the subtle differences between this and the DAVIDsTEA version, I don’t mind this so much.

The apple is definitely the foundation flavor of this blend, coating your tongue with its sweet and fresh cinnamon-apple note. At first it is a bit of light vanilla that sits atop the apple but that quickly is taken over by the heavier and nutty almond and chicory flavors. There is a baked good vibe here and though the different components all together sound like an apple strudel, I find in actuality this tea doesn’t come together quite how it should so instead it is a jumble of flavors. In fairness, that could be due to my negative experience of Forever Nuts and the similarity to that but as I sip, I just can’t help but think that this is not the Apple Strudel tea for me.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy:  The NecessiTeas
Description

This tea does not appear to be available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Apricot Vanilla Creme from Tazo Tea. . . .

Apricot Vanilla Creme, a white tea by Tazo, one that I had never seen prior to the arrival of a traveling teabox. My past experiences with Tazo have been nothing special but this particular teabag has me intrigued. I blame the “creme” since that’s one of those trigger words that catches my eye. “Vanilla” is another. So when I saw this, I knew it was a tea I wanted to try.’

I opened the teabag and the smell of stone fruit and vanilla filled the air. As per the recommended steeping parameters on the teabag, I steeped this for 3 minutes at 175 degrees.

This actually is quiet nice. Definitely one of the better Tazo teas I have tried and thankfully it delivers on all that is promised. Apricot? Check. Vanilla? Check. Creme? Check. The base is also present and though I wish it was more muted, it is by no means offensive. It contributes a touch of bitter that slightly distracts from the flavors but is not as invasive as I thought it might have been.

All in all, I am impressed. This is flavorful and given its a teabag, its a no muss, no fuss sort of treat.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White
Where to Buy:  Tazo Tea
Description

This treat of a white tea delights with hints of fresh apricot & Tahitian vanilla.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Downton Abbey® Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea by Republic of Tea

Before I get to my tasting notes I’d just like to mention that Republic of Tea uses eco-friendly packaging to combine the convenience of tea bags with the sustainability of loose leaf tea. The tea comes in a reusable (and surely recyclable) metal tin, prepackaged in super-convenient round tea bags that are:
  • Unbleached
  • Minimalistic (don’t use much material)
  • Biodegradable (well, it’s just a thin piece of paper, and tea leaves are compostable)
  • Chemical-free
  • Glue-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Without extra packaging like staples, strings, or tags

It’s a very clever design and I really appreciate the effort they put into making eco-friendly tea so accessible.

So anyway. I steeped this tea for four minutes. I enjoyed the steeping process as well as the tasting process, because this tea gives off a wonderful aroma as it brews. It’s actually so good that you might end up worrying that the tea won’t live up to its fragrance when you actually taste it. It smells like an excellent dessert, which of course it should since it’s dessert-flavored, and creates the impression that you’re baking something custardy in your kitchen.

After steeping, it’s become a nice medium-dark color; it’s reddish/orange/brown, and the smell has strong notes of vanilla and cream. The first sip definitely has more black tea flavor than you’d expect from the fragrance. There’s lots of pudding flavor too, especially in the aftertaste. A bit sweet on its own (without sugar), and it’s very, very buttery.

With milk, it tastes like a custardy dessert in liquid form– it doesn’t taste eggy, though (which is probably a good thing, because who would want to drink eggy tea? Although eggnog chai is definitely a thing I drink sometimes, but it tastes more of spices than of egg fortunately).

Four minutes is just the right steeping time. If you wanted it more dessert-like, you could add sugar to boost the sweetness. But I’m having it for breakfast, not dessert, so I’m not doing that because it seems plenty sweet enough the way it is. Milk goes very well with this (and adds a slightly sweet dimension while also boosting the creaminess). Especially whole milk. I don’t vouch for creamless milk though. Anyway, the creaminess plays into the pudding illusion, so that’s another positive.

All in all I really enjoyed trying this tea (I loooove having desserty teas for breakfast–it’s great because everyone thinks you’re just having tea rather than dessert!) and I definitely would like to try it again. And I’m very glad to know that if I choose to buy tea from Republic of Tea in future, I’ll be making an Earth-friendly choice!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

This decadent dessert tea has the homemade flavors of vanilla sponge cake drizzled with rich caramel sauce. The full-bodied base of premium black tea lends itself well to a splash of milk, making it a perfect afternoon tea to partner with puddings, scones and shortbread.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!