Hot Cross Bun from Bluebird Tea Co. . . .

I was too chicken to order a full supply of this springtime blend, but I did get a free sample so I got to get a taste risk-free.  Hot Cross Bun is one of the Easter flavors released by Bluebird Tea Company. This is a black tea and rooibos tea blend, though rooibos makes up the majority, so you won’t be overloaded with caffeine.

The scent of this blend was vibrant and noticeable right out of the bag.  Some of the black tea was clearly a smoky lapsang souchong, but the smoked flavor was closely followed by a powerful, sweet vanilla scent.  Quite the flavor duo.

Brewed, this tea continued to open up and show off its delicious ingredients.  The smokiness cooled off, and became more like the suggestion of a fire in the fireplace.  The creamy vanilla was heightened to the decadence of buttercream icing. Both flavors were nicely balanced by sweet and tart orange zest to bring it all together.

This is a great tea for those days that you want a sweet dessert blend, but don’t want to feel too much like a pastry chef.  The whiff of rugged lapsang souchong brings a unique boldness to this brew and makes you appreciate favorite flavors like cream and citrus in a new light.  Don’t be a chicken like me and the next time you can-order a full bag of this springtime tea before it’s gone!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Rooibos
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Blueberries and Blossoms in My Cup! Rooibos Blend From The Kettlery

As much as I love pumped-up black teas and spicy chai teas, I do need an herbal comfort now and again.  Enter: Blueberry Blossoms Rooibos Tea from the Kettlery.  Unsurprisingly, the overall the focus of this blend is blueberry.  You can smell the berries in the dry leaf, and their flavor is very forward in the brew.  This tea is not too juicy, or fruit-heavy, like other blueberry blends with hibiscus or apple pieces.  This is more subdued and toasty, like a blueberry scone.

I can understand why rooibos teas might be a hit-or-miss for some people.  Red rooibos can taste like medicine if oversteeped and green rooibos can be bland if you are not in the mood for it.  This tea feels like a happy medium, an easy-going rooibos, strong enough to add some nuttiness underneath the blueberry flavors, but far from overpowering. I didn’t experience any sour or bitter tones when brewing this tea, only warm and gentle blueberry.

There are marshmallow blossoms listed in the ingredients list, which I found intriguing.  We all know what marshmallows taste like, little clouds of pure sweetness in cocoa or Lucky Charms, but they’re not quite the same as marshmallow blossoms.  My internet research tells me that mallow blossoms should taste a bit sweet, like their sugary counterparts.  Any additional sweetness in this tea gets wrapped up in the blueberry flavor, and I didn’t notice any unusual herbal tastes in this tea.  Perhaps the mallow blossoms are in this blend for their visual appeal.  The little lavender blossoms certainly are a nice pair with the deep purple blueberries.

If you’re looking for a gentle, nutty, blueberry tea without too much sour fruit or in-your-face hibiscus, I recommend brewing up a pot of Blueberry Blossoms Roobios from the Kettlery.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: The Kettlery

This tea is better than dessert. Indulge into a healthy guilty pleasure with this rooibos tea blended with blueberry and smooth marshmallow blossoms.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Zhu Rong Yunnan Black Tea from Verdant Tea

Zhu Rong Yunnan Black from Verdant Tea
Zhu Rong Yunnan Black from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

The aroma of this intensely rich Yunnan black is immediately reminiscent of one of our favorite chocolate’s of all time: the Rogue Chocolatier Hispaniola bar, made with a tangy and nuanced cacao from the Dominican Republic.  Imagine a fine dark chocolate melted down and infused with hibiscus.  That is the aroma of this tea.  It is so rich and fruity it even reminds us of a fine, light roasted coffee.

NOTES: Velvet, Chocolate, Cayenne, Clove, Cinnamon, Molasses, Cream

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Some teas tend to learn toward a specific season for me. Such as Chai which I always prefer in the fall and winter seasons. Or berry teas which I prefer in the spring and summer seasons. What I love about Zhu Rong Yunnan Black Tea from Verdant Tea is that it suits me perfectly in any season!

The aroma of this tea is always inviting, with notes of baked goods, hay, molasses, malt, and even berry!

It has a rich full mouthfeel yet a savory element in the flavor profile that boarders right on the spicy side of life. I can’t think of many unadulterated teas that have so much complexity. From sweet to savory, spicy to fruity. Zhu Rong Yunnan Black Tea from Verdant has it all.

The initial sip gives off notes of chocolate, molasses, and malt, with a spicy kick near the end. The aroma helps you pick up those initial sweeter notes and takes your mind on a baked goods trip, so when the spice elements present themselves it is somewhat of a surprise.

The creaminess of the tea is mostly in the mouthfeel and texture of this tea rather than in the flavor although there is a creamy flavor element as well, that note is more taken over by the spice at the end. You have to notice the creamy flavor in the beginning of the sip.

The spice notes in this tea are not like that of a chai, so don’t let the flavor notes listed above of clove and cinnamon scare you if you are not in favor of spicier teas. I personally pick up more of the cayenne kick rather than cinnamon or clove, and it is only on the tail end of the sip and does not burn or create heat in the mouth. Its just more of a wonderful gentle wake up note that kicks your taste buds and mind into gear. A perfect morning tea!

The berry notes I detect are not listed in the flavor profile of this tea but I get a dark berry and raisin flavor when I swish the tea around my palate.

This is one of my favorite morning teas which is also quite excellent when cooled or iced! Perfect anytime of the year.

Tie Guan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong from Teavivre

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Teavivre

Tea Description:

Tie Guan Yin tea is a type of Oolong tea, and is – deservedly – one of the most revered and sought after type tea in China.  Sometimes also written as Ti Kuan Yin or Iron Goddess Oolong Tea.  Apart from its amazing taste, this tea also has great health benefits, being high in amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants.

more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Lord this tea smells so very good! That is in the dry leaf state! Don’t even get me started on the steeped leaf! I am weak in the knees at the aroma of this tea.

It has almost a brown sugar, or maple like essence. Oh my!

When steeped however it also develops some more notes such as floral, but not overly so, and vegetal, but again its not so vegetal that those who are not fond of green tea would be turned off.

To me, the predominant notes are of dessert-y, baked good aromas.

This is a tea that not only can be steeped many times, but deserves to be steeped many times! Having a gong fu session is best with this type of tea as each steep releases different notes, different characteristics, different elements trapped within the tea. It is our duty to release each and every one to be enjoyed fully.

Now it is no secret that I adore Teavivre teas but this specific tea is one of my favorites from them.

The first steep provides a light infusion of crisp floral and vegetal notes that are only slightly buttery. There is a slight yet noticeable lime note in this infusion but it is not tart, just juicy and bright. The lingering after taste is that of steamed greens, almost a celery flavor, very fresh from the market tasting.

Now if you are not using a gaiwan or yixing pot be sure you are using a large enough brew basket as these leaves really expand, a lot! Seriously, lol even my Gaiwan was a bit too full with this leaf! This however is not a bad thing.

Steep two is very similar to the first steep, however providing a slightly more buttery and nutty flavor. The mouthfeel is also slightly thicker and heavier. Drinking this tea makes me want to reach for some butter cookies. It just seems to be the perfect pairing! I only wish I had some.

Steeps three and four are where the flavor profile really begins to shift, with new notes emerging. There is a fruity essence coming forth and that all to well known to me flavor that most all oolong have is really forefront. A flavor that is difficult to describe and only those who have sipped a good oolong can understand.

Oolong is my favorite type of tea. I love the earthiness of it similar to puerh, the sweet vegetal notes like that of green tea, the fruity notes that you can find in many teas types, the boldness of a black. With the delicate nature of a yellow or white tea, with distinct flavor notes all of its own. Everything I love about all other teas can be found right here in an oolong, and this oolong is top notch.

Steeps three and four become more buttery with a more rich mouthfeel, savory from herbaceous notes, the floral has relaxed a little but is still an undertone to the cup. The vegetal is not as strong either but is replaced by a nuttier flavor yet in the after taste evolves again! I will get at least two more if not three or four more steeps out of this leaf and I look forward to each one!

Such a delightful, expressive cup.