Blue Mountain Pea Flower/Tin Roof Teas -Ashmanra-

A new tisane to try! This comes from a tea shop a couple of hours away. They were kind enough to allow me to sniff tin after tin of tea and answer my questions when I was a new tea drinker many years ago.

They had really educational tea flights before the pandemic, and hopefully those can happen again one day! If you live near enough to participate, I highly recommend that you sign up for their newsletter and look for a flight that addresses teas that interest you. They even gave out information sheets when I attended and it was fun to meet other people who are passionate about tea. They do ship at reasonable rates, too.

This blend contains apple pieces, mountain blueberry leaves, rosehip, orange & lemon peel, sweet blackberry & melissa leaves, lemongrass, blue butterfly pea flowers, mallow blossoms, and natural flavor.

Butterfly pea flowers are popping up everywhere because of the pretty color they give to food and beverages. I have some on the way to make my lavender syrup more appealing to the eye and to play with in sweet hibiscus drinks! It is also said to be full of antioxidants (like blueberries and purple tomatoes) and is adaptogenic if the internet is to be believed. Lemongrass is often recommended for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Some people pooh-pooh any measurable health benefits from tea and say just enjoy it! So let’s see if we do.

What does it look like in my spoon? Lots of leaves! I see the straight pieces of lemongrass and the soft, dried pieces of leaves and blossoms. I see at least a piece or two of orange and lemon peel in each spoonful. (I have already made this several times and once as a large pitcher of iced tea.) There are a few small apple pieces, too. It is well mixed and distributed and I don’t need to add lots of extra spoonfuls because of big chunks taking up lots of space. I stick with an actual teaspoon per cup. I prefer this to tisanes that have huge clumps of sticky dried fruit that defy measuring. But that’s just me.

The steeped tisane comes out blue, leaning toward a purple haze. The flavor is soft and mellow with nice, light sweet orange flavor and a pleasant little zing from the lemon and rose hips.

I do not care for rose hips and hibiscus much unless they are heavily sweetened to make essentially an adult version of Kool-Aid. But this doesn’t have any mouth puckering sensation at all. It is very pleasant to drink and needs no sugar to be enjoyable. This is the right amount of rose hips for me!

For the iced tea, I did add sugar because I live in the South and that’s what we do. It was good and did keep me from reaching for that carbonated, caffeinated soda I wanted and knew I shouldn’t have. I was glad I chose wisely. So there’s one health benefit I got from it!

I am thinking now, though, that the next iced pitcher will be unsweetened, because drinking the hot version again I feel like it really doesn’t need the sugar to be enjoyable unless I am just in the mood for something sweet.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy: Tin Roof Teas

Description

Apple pieces, mountain blueberry leaves, rosehip, orange, & lemon peel, sweet black berry & melissa leaves, lemongrass, blue butterfly pea flowers, mallow blossoms, natural flavor

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Strawberry Vanilla No. 961/Tin Roof Teas -Ashmanra-

I first tried this tea about seven years ago and I continue to pick it up now and then because it is really good to have on shelf. It is so easy to like and appeals to people who already love tea as well as people who are just starting on their tea journey. It pairs well with desserts and is lovely as a stand alone cup.

Although this came from Tin Roof Teas, I am 99.9% sure that it is sourced from Teageschwendner.

My excuse for buying this when I already have tons of tea is that my husband loves strawberry flavored teas, and he doesn’t like as many teas as I do, so I keep this on hand FOR HIM. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The green base is a blend from three countries – India, Japan, and China. I think Indian green must be excellent for aroma teas because I am pretty sure Harney and Sons uses a lot of it in their flavored greens. It is pretty mild and very smooth, and has just enough briskness to make this go really well with food. If tea is too mild, food flavors can overwhelm it so you taste pretty much nothing, like drinking a cup of hot water.

The strawberry flavor is fresh and the tiniest bit tart like a real strawberry. This is all smoothed over by the lovely hint of warm vanilla.

I like to steep this at 175F for three minutes and resteep right away, combining the two for an economical pot. It works really well.

Tin Roof Teas is in Raleigh, NC. They do ship and some of their teas are available on Amazon.
Their Moroccan Mint is blended in house and is my hands down favorite of the type. And their Tung Ting is mouthwateringly good. There is a 15% discount for your first order after signing up for their newsletter, so go wild!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Tin Roof Teas

Description

Our Strawberry Vanilla is a captivating composition of sweet, succulent strawberries and creamy vanilla that is sure to bring your taste buds to life.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Lavender/Teageschwendner -Ashmanra-

Nearly everyone has heard of Earl Grey, and I find a lot of people either love it or absolutely hate it. I am somewhere in between. I can really fall for the RIGHT Earl Grey. The trademark flavor of Earl Grey is bergamot, which is a type of sour orange. Most Earl blends are Ceylon black tea with bergamot oil, but Ceylon tea can already be very lemony and when you add sour orange…well, it just isn’t for me. It would be more palatable with milk and sugar but I don’t usually do additions. When you put a quality bergamot oil on Keemun or an a smoky base…now, that’s a different story. Or if you add cream flavor to counter the sour citrus, again, I can get on board. This one puts lavender second in the name, but I am finding it first in the flavoring, right after tea base. There is orange oil here as well, and I think that further gives a real roundness to the cup, as opposed to a punch in the tastebuds. The sweet floral lavender and cheerful orange takes the hard punch out of the bergamot and softens it into a very nice cup of tea, strong enough for breakfast (for me), yet smooth and sweet enough to be thoroughly enjoyable even without additions. As baby bear would say, this is “just right.”


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teageschwendner

Description

Heady bergamot flavor meets the sweetly floral aroma of Lavender. A wonderful reinvention of a beloved classic!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Violet Cream/Bird and Blend -Ashmanra-

A friend sent some samples for me to try from far across the sea! This is my first time drinking Bird and Blend as far as I recall, and this is the B&B tea I was most excited to try! I generally enjoy floral teas very much and violet seems so exotic as violet flavored things are rare where I live.

I am “one of those people” who likes violet candy. The first one I tried was very strong and I didn’t like it. It felt like I ate a bath bomb. But then I somehow missed that flavor. I tried another brand and I don’t know if it was milder or sweeter or if I just developed a taste for it, but I could eat a whole pack in one sitting if I didn’t use restraint. (I don’t, by the way, always use restraint.)

I was so madly excited to try this that I took out my most foofoo china and sat at the dining table with pink camellias in front of me in a silverplate gravy boat and fetched a fancy cookie. I am going for the whole experience here.

Mmmmm, the aroma is divine! This is a soft, sweet violet and somehow like sniffing a very fine, delicate talcum, in the best sort of way. The scent is very dreamy and creamy. It doesn’t assault my senses like cheap bubble bath.

I did not get a strong chocolate aroma, but I have never had chocolate covered violets, so maybe this is spot on. In fact, I wondered where the chocolate was. It seemed to actually smell of cream, not just have a creamy mouthfeel.

The chocolate part of this blend is (hallelujah!) cocoa nibs instead of chocolate flavoring. I dug through my infuser basket and found a nib and ate it. Ah, yes, this is what I thought was the cream. Sometimes cream is really just vanilla added to a blend, but this was legitimately creamy tasting and smelling and now I see it somehow came from the cocoa nibs!

All in all, a wonderful elevenses today and this is a blend I would definitely purchase.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Bird and Blend

Description

A chocolate box classic with a B&B twist. Sit back and relax with a nostalgic violet tea that will take you back to being at Grandma’s house

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Keemun First Grade/Upton Tea Imports -Ashmanra-

I received a gift of this tea in the mail from a fellow tea lover. Tea people are THE BEST! And Keemun is one of my favorite tea types, so let’s get down to business!

The package says First Grade China Keemun but the website puts it the other way around as China Keemun First Grade. This is an entry level Keemun with an astonishingly low price, so if you are not overly picky and want a daily drinker, this would be very economical.

The aroma of the dry leaves is very nostalgic for me. It smells just like the tea section of A Southern Season, harkening back to my earliest explorations of tea. This smells like TEA. The aroma is bracing and rich, and very comforting to me.

I erred on the side of caution and made this more like they would in China with a slightly lower temperature and a short three minute first steep, followed by a four minute re-steep.

Wow. I can not imagine taking this to five minutes with boiling water unless you are adding milk and sugar. Strong stuff.

I am getting no cocoa at all, no chocolate. The overwhelming impression is tobacco and wood.
There is a touch of wine or muscatel, like a darjeeling. There is a definite natural smokey flavor, not like lapsang but rather the light smoke often found in daily drinker Chinese black tea.

The aroma had so many layers and was so rich that I really thought the tea was going to blow me away. But it isn’t quite my favorite profile. I enjoyed it without milk or sugar with my breakfast, but this wouldn’t do double duty for me as an afternoon tea or a dessert accompaniment.

What I think it WILL do very well is sweet iced tea. It has the heft and smoothness to carry it off.

UPDATE: I made it as a sweet tea and let it chill overnight because we all know iced tea tastes best after it has had time to meld.

The taste really surprised me. I thought it would be a really classic iced black tea flavor but somehow the fruity aspect really amped up, to the point that it almost tastes like a flavored tea! Interesting!

Not a favorite Keemun type for me, but glad to have tried it. If you like winey Keemuns and are looking for a super economical price point, this is worth checking out.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

With its rich flavor profile and smooth mouth feel, this standard grade Keemun represents a great value for a China black tea. Hints of wine and a suggestion of smoke round out the earthy, full-bodied cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!