TeaLady Grey/Rare Tea Company – Stephenia-

I admit it, I am obsessed with earl grey tea. Every morning is started with a cuppa of earl grey and many times I end my day with a caffeine-free rooibos version. I literally have over 40 different varieties of the stuff from all sorts of companies in my tea collection but I am always looking for THE holy grail earl grey. I think I may have actually found it!

I recently saw that Rare Tea Company released a new version of earl grey. If you are not familiar with Rare Tea Company it was founded by Henrietta Lovell. She wrote a fantastic book called Infused which recounts how tea has shaped her life and has been a constant companion through times of trouble. I can’t recommend the book enough, especially if you love tea! At any rate she created a new blend called TeaLady Grey. I was immediately drawn to it because of the addition of lemongrass. Lemongrass is perhaps one of my absolute favorite herbals and I especially love when it is added to earl grey. It helps to deepen the citrus notes of the bergamot. I ordered the tea during one of their free ship events. Make sure you are subscribed to their email because free ship events are offered several times a year.

The tea begins with a beautiful base. And really, a tea blend is only as good as the base used with it. I find so many companies start with an inferior base in hopes that the other ingredients will mask the fact that the tea leaves are not good. The base is black tea from the Shire Highlands of Malawi. It is a smaller cut leaf typical of teas from this region. The base is strong, malty and a perfect tea to carry the Sri Lankan lemongrass, Malawi lemon verbena and Italian bergamot. Because Henrietta has such a great relationship with her tea farmers she is able to secure the highest quality and freshest ingredients which translates to an exquisite tea experience. This is an absolutely perfectly blended tea and on par with all the other great teas I have had from Rare Tea Company. The layering of the citrus notes from the bergamot, lemongrass and lemon verbena create a perfectly bright and well rounded cup. If you are a fan of earl grey I highly recommend this version. This blend checks all the boxes for me and then some on what I am looking for in a perfect earl grey.

 


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Co.

Description

This tea is our Rare Tea Lady’s (founder Henrietta Lovell) riff on a traditional Earl Grey; a more delicately herbaceous and distinctly lemon blend.

Instead of containing just black tea and the essential oil of bergamot that composes a traditional Earl Grey Tea – we’ve built up the lemon notes, not with more citrus but uniquely with delicious lemon herbs.

Rich yet elegant black tea from the Shire Highlands of Malawi blended with Italian Bergamot, Malawi Lemon Verbena and Sri Lankan Lemongrass.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Masala Chai/Tea Sparrow – Stephenia –

I admit that I love getting tea subscription boxes. Who doesn’t like getting monthly packages with new teas to try? Recently I had the opportunity to try out the Tea Sparrow tea box. Tea Sparrow samples hundreds of teas each month to select blends that they feel will inspire their customers. This means that each month you are guaranteed a whole new selection of tea blends to try. The box comes with 4 teas. I was eager to try them all however since Chai is my favorite tea blend I of course went with that first.

The Masala Chai they sent is the classic blend of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom with the addition of ginger liquid and cinnamon liquid. All the ingredients are organic.

I steeped the tea per the package directions (1 tbsp per 10oz of water using boiling water, let step 4 minutes).

I really loved this blend. It is a mellow chai, the spices are not intense or stand out on their own, rather it is a light mingling of flavor. I especially love these types of chai for an afternoon cuppa when I want a little pick me up but don’t want anything too intense.

I am eager to try the other teas in my box and look forward to my next month’s teas!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy :  Tea Sparrow

Description

Did you know that ‘chai’ means ‘tea’? It’s Masala Chai that means ‘spice tea’ – or ‘chai tea’ as some Westerners like to call it. Except wait, that’s ‘Tea Tea.’ Never mind, just drink it!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pumpkin Chai/Laughing Tree Tea

As a tea addict I am constantly on the hunt for tea. I mean literally every store, event or venue I go to I check to see if tea is present anywhere. I suppose some folks shop for clothes, others for gadgets and gizmos but I shop for tea. So when I was at the Freight House Farmer’s Market in Davenport I of course went in search for tea. I was surprised that there were several stands selling everything from kombucha to matcha to loose leaf. Tea was well represented here!

After walking around a bit I stumbled upon Laughing Tree Tea’s vendor stand. I must admit the free sample of peach green tea got me. I am a sucker for samples. But the sample was very nice so I decided to scope out the offerings. There were a lot of teas to smell and different sizes of tea to purchase. I do appreciate when companies offer sample packs of tea because honestly I am drowning in tea reserves. I often times want to sample a tea but don’t want to commit to a whole 2 ounces. Plus my husband tells me I might have to rent a storage pod if I continue to add to my collection. At any rate i purchased 4 samples to try.

Like a kid in a candy store I ripped open the first sample as soon as I got home! The first one I have tried and am reviewing today is Pumpkin Chai.

Laughing Tree Tea (try saying that 3 times fast) is a hand blended and locally sourced company that sells their tea in their cafe in Waterloo, IA but also at various farmer’s markets in the area. I smelled the sample of Pumpkin Chai in the vendor stall and immediately loved it! The scent is spicy, sweet and a bit nutty. I steeped my sample up at 212 degrees for 3 minutes. I felt that the tea could actually benefit for a slightly longer steep time so I let it steep an additional 2 minutes after my first sip. The base of this tea is black tea with rooibos. I enjoyed the mix of teas as the rooibos lends a nutty and sweet dimension to the blend. The traditional chai spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and black pepper are present as is coriander. I absolutely love coriander, it gives such a warm distinct flavor to blends. Also, almond, orange, flower petals and nut oil are added.

I really loved this tea. The spices blend so well together without being too spicy. There is a slight hint of pumpkin so I am suspecting that is contained in the natural flavors that are added. I loved this tea on its own but did find that adding a bit of soy milk enhanced the flavor. I suspect this will make an amazing latte.

This is an excellent blend and I have high hopes for the other 3 tea samples that I picked up. It seems that so often we hear about the large tea companies out there but the smaller companies like Laughing Tree Tea are doing some amazing things with tea that deserve to get noticed!

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Laughing Tree Tea

Description

Warm up with this with this pumpkin flavored chai. If you like pumpkin this is your chai. Offered seasonally be sure to pick up your brew. Chai is traditionally served sweetened and this fun tea is pre-sweetened with ghost and pumpkin candies.
Ingredients: Tea, Cinnamon, Apple & Rosehip pieces, Ginger, Cardamom, Black & White pepper, Candy, Hibiscus & Calendula & Sunflower petals, Clove, Nutmeg, and Natural flavors.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Aged White Tea (Shou Mei)/TeaBook

As my appreciation for tea grows as does my curiosity in different tea manufacturing methods. It is amazing how slight variances in processing can result in completely different flavors.

Likewise, the aging of tea can also create completely different tastes. I was so excited to get my hands on a package of Aged White Tea (Shou Mei) from TeaBook. I have wanted to try TeaBook for a while and the white tea was very interesting to me. This tea is aged 5 years which gives it a unique and complex flavor not generally expected from a white tea. I steeped the tea at 200 degrees for 2 minutes.

The tea steeps a lovely light golden color. It has a slight fruity smell. I was so excited after my first sip. The tea is light on the tongue but has a creamy, slightly floral taste. I can also detect a hint of honey in this. I was able to re-steep this 4 times, each time different aspects of the flavor stood out more to me. I really loved this tea, so much so that I want to read up more on the processing of Shou Mei.

I highly recommend this tea to anyone who is wanting to broaden their tea palette. Although the flavor is complex it is still very approachable and so it is a great option for tea virgins just starting to find out what they like in a tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  TeaBook

Description

This Aged white tea is a unique but luxurious production, looking a little close to Bai Mu Dan but with more silver haired tips. The dry leaf invites you in with hints of honeydew melon and when brewed, an aroma of sweet bread and blackberry pie emerges.

The light gold liquor has flavor notes which dance between shortbread, biscuits with sweet cream and even hints of rose. This is a full-bodied white tea that enters round and is smooth throughout.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Cupcake/52Teas

I am picky when it comes to my Earl Grey teas. I like them to be balanced. So often the bergamot is too strong, the cream flavors too artificial tasting or the black tea base is too weak.

Almost every tea manufacturer puts out their version of an Earl Grey and sadly I have a box full of Earl Grey teas that just didn’t make the cut. What is the point of drinking something that you don’t love?

When I saw that 52 Teas was again offering their Earl Grey Cupcake tea I really was interested. The tea itself is very pretty, full of star-shaped sprinkles. The smell of the dry leaf is very heavy on the bergamot so I was at first worried that the bergamot would be too overwhelming.

I steeped the tea for 3 minutes. The instructions on the packet indicate that the tea flavor develops as the tea cools, about 10 minutes. I am happy to report that this tea is lovely. The black tea base is solid, it is malty with very little astringency. The bergamot is perfect, not too strong at all, and the back end of the taste is a delightful vanilla flavor. The vanilla is not artificial tasting, it is a nice, natural flavor.

I did try the tea at the 10 minute mark and I do agree that the vanilla becomes much more prominent as the tea cools. I have been so pleased with all of the teas I have tired thus far from 52 teas and this tea is no exception. I highly recommend this tea if you love Earl Grey.

This probably would rank in my top 5 Earl Grey teas of all time and that is saying a lot as I have tried many!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: 52Teas

This tea is currently not available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!