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!

Jane Austen’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail. . . . .

So I had this sample of Jane Austen’s Black Tea Blend by Simpson & Vail in my tea stash and I remembered being excited about this tea but I could not remember what was in this blend at all, let alone what I was so excited about. When I was scooping the tea out of the bag, I noticed bits of lavender so there’s that. Also, the steeped tea smells of mint and baked goods (which makes me think vanilla is lurking in this mug). If nothing else, it certainly smells delicious!

Well this is a very smooth and relaxing tea. I want to use the word mellow. Is that weird? It is what I am going with though. The black tea base is just a touch malty but not overly flavorful. Instead it provides more of a subtle foundation for the other flavors. Mint is probably the most prominent flavor and though it tastes of natural spearmint (as opposed to a sweeter peppermint note), it is not harsh or sharp by any means. The lavender is also present but with just a touch of lavender flavor as opposed to the overbearing lavender spiciness that many teas tend to have with this ingredient. Nothing is over-the-top but that works here. There is also a a gentle sweetness that is combining seamlessly with the malt of the base. My guess, again, is vanilla is responsible.

I was curious what it was that I was so excited about and whether I was accurately detecting various ingredients so I investigated on the Simpson and Vail website to see what this tea is made of. The ingredients include: black teas, spearmint, lavender flowers and vanilla flavor. Yay! It would seem my tastebuds are doing a-okay when it comes to tea tasting.

All in all, this is a tea I could see being really nice in the nighttime before bed (for those that can drink black tea before bed). It has enough flavor to keep things interesting without getting you wired or overly stimulated with sweets and treats. It is like a Jane Austen book in that sense actually, there is enough going on that you’re intrigued but it is calm enough that you feel comfortable gently dozing off into the night.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

The delicate prose of Jane Austen’s novels is evoked in this blend that combines peppermint with a gentle touch of vanilla. Lavender flowers, which look lovely in both the cup and the gardens around Jane Austen’s estate, add a sweet floral taste that complements the mint and vanilla wonderfully. This blend captures the color and joy of Austen’s characters while taking inspiration from the herbs and flowers she cultivated in her own garden. It brews to a refreshing cup with a cool mint flavor that’s softened by the warm vanilla and the sweet lavender flowers.

Ingredients: Black teas, spearmint, lavender flowers and vanilla flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vanilla Black from The Toni Glass Collection. . . . . .

Vanilla is one of those flavors that always make a tea sound better. It is a standard flavor note in a lot of dessert teas and can range in flavor from creamy to sweet to fresh to bright and so much more. Tea company after tea company have vanilla tea offerings and yet they can taste world’s apart.

This is The Toni Glass Collection’s take on a vanilla black tea. I steeped the tea sachet for 3 minutes in near-boiling water, despite a recommended steeping time of 5 minutes.

The tea has a great vanilla flavor, like fresh baked cookies. Unfortunately, the vanilla is overshadowed by an astringent black tea base. Every now and again I catch fleeting notes of a french vanilla but that gives way to a bitter and chemical black base.

It’s a shame the base takes over because the scent of the vanilla promised some deliciousness that this tea just did not deliver. I wonder if the steeping parameters played a role in the off-taste so if I were to have this in the future, I think I would brew it low and slow in hopes of taming the base and letting the vanilla flavoring shine.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Toni Glass Collection
Description

A nostalgic Black tea that is infused with all your vanilla memories. This great tea boasts a beautiful natural sweetness and mouth watering flavor

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!