Charlotte aux Fruits Rouges/Damann Freres- Ashmanra

Photo Credit: Dammann Freres

My first “gourmet” flavored tea was by Dammann Freres, and it felt like a whole new wonderful world had been opened up to me. It astonished me that they could put so many flavors into a single tea without them competing and turning it into a pure mush in which one flavor could not be distinguished from another. I remember seeing “biscuit” flavor listed and thinking, “Hah! How can you make tea really taste like biscuit? It probably just tastes like vanilla!” And then I sipped and my eyes widened and I said, “OOOOOOOOH! It tastes like biscuit!”

Not flour-y buttered biscuits from the good old Southern USA, but a lightly sweet European biscuit. They NAILED it. Oh, delightful pastry, how I love thee!

That first tea had lots of different flavors, but this one boasts of just biscuit and four red fruits. They have achieved marvelous balance with this tea, as the sweetish biscuit flavor rises hand in hand with the fruit flavors in a perfect blending. I detect mostly strawberry, not tart but not candy sweet.

The biscuit flavor keeps it feeling like a decadent grown-up tea and not a candy tea for a children’s tea time. The base has nice heft. I steeped it just below boiling and at about three minutes. (I have found that I prefer those parameters for almost all black French teas.) I definitely made nommy noises. We all cried, “Encore!” when the pot was finished.

The good news is that the second steep was just as good as the first. Bravo, Dammann.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damann Freres

Description

A blend of black teas with the delicious scents of red fruits, combining the aromas of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and red currant for an irresistibly fruity tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Four Red Fruits/Kusmi- Ashmanra

Photo Credit: Kusmi Tea

I love Kusmi’s packaging, I love Kusmi’s muslin tea bags, and I am loving Four Red Fruits!

I have tried a few Kusmi teas that ended up on my “must order” list. I can add one more now.

Four Red Fruits must be a “thing” overseas because I have had other teas and jams by that name, all of them from French companies.

First impression when I steeped this was….dark, rich aroma. Hallelujah, the tea base is going to be good on this one. I can tell by the smell! And it is.

It is so disappointing to get a great smelling tea and then find that the base is inferior and the tea tastes like watery disappointment with flavors added.

No disappointment here! The base has heft. I know I am drinking a good black tea.The company description talks about the pairing of sweet fruit against bitter black tea base, but I wouldn’t call this bitter. It is a great black tea with the nice, dark undertones you find in Keemuns and such. And it is the perfect foundation for adding these beautiful fruit flavors. They are not tart and not too sweet, just perfectly balanced. I can taste the tea and I can taste the fruit.

I have been disappointed that my favorite strawberry tea of all time was discontinued a few years ago. Now I can say I have found a tea that fills that void, even though there is more than just strawberry here. This is delightful, and I can see myself having it at breakfast and for tea time, or even with a late night snack as I am doing right now. Time to update the desert island list…


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Kusmi

Description

An organic black tea with red fruit flavors that will remind you of your favorite pastries!

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise!

If you go down to the woods today… you’ll be picking strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, and cherries!

We certainly didn’t beat around the bush when choosing these red fruits! We wanted them to be indulgent and delicious, delicate and refined… Then we combined them with an intense organic black tea to showcase their full flavors.

In a word, we went the extra mile – and it was worth it! Get ready for an organic Four Red Fruits black tea straight from the oven! Or almost… This tea is even better with a pastry or a biscuit for your afternoon snack.

Organic tea available loose because it’s good for the planet, and in teabags for when you’re on the go.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bukit Cheeding No. 53/BOH Tea -VariaTEA

Photo Credit: BOHTea

The fun thing about tea is that there are so many different varieties from all over the world. I have had tea from Zimbabwe, tea from China, tea from Israel, tea from the UK, tea from Sri Lanka and the list keeps going. Today I get to add to that list with a tea from Malaysia, BOH Tea’s Bukit Cheeding No. 53, a full-flavored Broken Orange Pekoe breakfast tea.

I have never been one for breakfast teas. I like the more smooth and sweet dessert teas as opposed to the robust breakfast ones. This tea is certainly in the latter category. In fact, it’s description highlights the robustness of this tea when it says “Its strong, brisk character stimulates the mind making it a perfect start to the day”. This is not a tea I would have picked for myself but my SororiTea Sisters were kind enough to send me a sample so the least I could do is give it a try.

My first sip really woke me up. When they say strong, robust, brisk, etc., they mean it. It’s certainly an orange pekoe with its sharp citrus zest flavor atop a drying and slightly astringent base. Normally I like my teas plain but I took BOH’s advice and added just a splash of milk. They also suggest adding sugar but I think that might take me too far outside my comfort zone.

The milk helps with the drying aspect of the tea. It’s creamy and has a nice citrus flavor, albeit more pithy than bright. It is still brisk.

This truly is a morning tea and for those who enjoy a great breakfast blend, this could be a nice one to try, especially if you’re a milk and sugar type of person since this tea can hold up to all additives.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  BOH Tea

Description

Robust and full bodied. Strong and brisk for breakfast.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Original Earl Grey (TE10)/Upton Tea Imports -VariaTEA

Photo Credit: Upton Tea

I don’t really like strong bergamot flavor. Every now and then I’ll reach for an Earl Grey Cream or a flavored Earl Grey but a straight Earl Grey has never been my thing. However, a friend was kind enough to share a sample of Upton Tea Imports’ Original Earl Grey (TE10) and so I figured it was at least worth a try. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to try and make the best of it so I found a London Fog recipe online and got to prepping.

I steeped 3 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes per the company’s steeping parameters. I used the 3/4 of cup of leftover coconut milk in my fridge, topped with some 1% milk to get to 1 cup. I frothed the milk with 2 teaspoons of honey and one removed from the heat I added 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This got poured over the steeped tea.

This is a super creamy latte with a whole lot of coconut and vanilla flavor. Coconut milk is always very rich but to me it is always a touch heavy and seems ever-so-slightly savory (for lack of a better word and maybe because I associate it with thai food more than anything else). I am glad I diluted it down with the 1% milk as well. The honey comes through as a nice balance to the coconut and vanilla, adding some sweetness but not as much as I expected, which is preferable for my tastes.

Of course, how could I talk about a London Fog without mentioning the earl grey itself. I actually am happily sipping away at this one because the bergamot is very nicely balanced. It adds a freshness and a nice citrus flavor but one that is more suited to the cool fall weather. Whereas lemon and lime are typically bright and zingy and make for a nice and refreshing tea in the spring and summer, London Fogs are more cozy. This definitely fits that description.

Unfortunately given all the other ingredients I can’t definitively say that this tea is good or bad but as a base for a London Fog, this tea is perfect. It’s got enough bergamot flavor to push through everything else in the mug without being too harsh or overbearing. Furthermore, from what I can taste, I would say this is good quality given the base is not bitter or astringent either. I still have a fair amount of leaf left in the sample but with this new recipe, courtesy of the Nourishing Gourmet .  I am sure I will make quick work of it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

China Black tea base with bergamot flavor. Produced for the British market, this tea has less bergamot than some American counterparts.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Creepy Cake/Evil Tea -CuppaGeek

Photo Credit: Evil Tea

Taste buds are a super funny thing.  Over the last few months, my taste buds have been all over the place.  There was even a time frame where I couldn’t even drink tea.  Everything tasted off and not even my favorite teas tasted right.  Right around the same time when I noticed my taste buds going wonky, I was starting to notice other health issues so I decided just to take a break from tea all together, hoping that eventually my taste buds would right themselves again.

Recently I felt the urge to have a cuppa tea and I was delighted when not only did the tea taste amazing but my taste seemed to be sharper.  Like I was able to pick up flavors I wasn’t able to before.  Which was so exciting! I quickly shuffled through my tea stash and got to work enjoying cuppa after cuppa of teas that had not had a lot of attention for a while.  After making some headway in my stash. . I decided it was time to check out my friends at Evil Tea once again.  I had tried their teas before and enjoyed them but never reordered or nabbed any of their latest blends.  After seeing a Halloween promo of theirs, I decided to indulge and pick up a few of their blends.  And then a few days later, picked up a few more. . .because. .I was a bit hooked.

I couldn’t wait to try this blend again.  I had tried this blend a bit ago and while it was good and I enjoyed the cuppa, with having so much tea in my tea stash- I was trying to still sip a few more down before I ordered again.   This morning I was super excited to get home, get the kettle prepped and get this tea a brewing.  I was a bit leery about the 5 minute steep time- so I went with a 3 min steep time with freshly prepped 212F water.

First sip in and straight away you are hit with a delicious dessert like note of vanilla that doesn’t really scream straight out vanilla but almost like that soft vanilla like note you would get from a really upscaled cookie or cupcake.  The aroma hits you in the same fashion.  Just a solid lovely not overdone sweetness that keeps you grabbing for you cuppa and enjoying every sip.  This is a Ceylon based blend and there is a slight briskness or astringent note towards the end of each sip that rounds out the sweetness perfectly.  There are also adorable sugar coated fennel seeds that I’m not really picking up but that is probably because I didn’t stick with the 5 minute steep.  I’m a big fennel fan so I will have to try for that 5 min steep to see if the fennel notes come across stronger.

All in all, just a perfect lovely cuppa that I can only imagine would make an insanely good latte with a spiced oat cream or even a lovely adult beverage with a touch of bourbon cream, which I will be trying later this evening.   I’ve always been a fan of my friends over at Evil Tea since they combine two of my favorite loves- all things dark and spooky and tea.  Can’t wait to steep up the other blends to see if they hit the spot like Creepy Cake does.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Evil Tea

Description

Ingredients: A blend of Ceylon Teas with Creme Brulee Flavoring and Sugar Coated Fennel Seeds

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!