Just Naughty ‘Nilla Black Tea from Just.Organic.Tea.

justorganictealogoTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Just.Organic.Tea

Tea Description:

We start with our premium black tea. Then, we add a generous amount of vanilla. Top it off with carob, and you’ve got the perfect dessert tea. Luxuriously rich and inviting, you’ll melt into vanilla heaven with hints of caramel-chocolaty goodness. Organic certified.

Taster’s Review:

This Just Naughty ‘Nilla is a blend that Just.Organic.Tea. offered when they were running their Kickstarter campaign (which did successfully fund, yay!) but it does not appear to be available at this time.

It’s a tasty blend.  Not my favorite vanilla tea that I’ve had, and I suspect that the main reason for that is the carob.  I’m not a big fan of carob, if you want chocolate-y flavor, go with cacao shells or nibs.  (Shells provide the best flavor, in my opinion.)  Carob just imparts a fake chocolate flavor.

That said … this is a tasty blend and with a few tweaks to it, I think that Just.Organic.Tea would have a successful tea.  The black tea base is a rich, well-rounded, full-bodied tea.  Notes of malt.  It’s a robust black tea that would make a nice morning tea and with the vanilla addition, it makes it just a little dessert-y for breakfast.  Who doesn’t want a little dessert for breakfast?

I love that this is an organic tea, and I do appreciate Just.Organic.Tea.’s ideas about social responsibility.  It’s a great company and I have enjoyed most of the products that I’ve tried.

Organic Jasmine Cacao Green Tea from Spicely Organics

jasminecacaoTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Spicely Organics

Tea Description:

This chocolaty jasmine flower and green tea blend has a lingering effect . The gentle jasmine flowers add a hint of relaxation to the invigorating combination of antioxidant-rich green tea and cacao nibs. INGREDIENTS: Organic Houjicha, Organic Jasmine Flower, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Carob

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about the Spicely Organics Monthly Tea Membership here.

Taster’s Review:

This Organic Jasmine Cacao Green Tea from Spicely Organics is not at all what I expected – it’s so much better than I anticipated it being!  When I see jasmine and green in the name of a tea, my immediate thought is not a houjicha tea.  But that is what Spicely Organics used for the base of this jasmine green, and I think that is what makes this tea so good.

Because the base tea flavor is toasty and nutty rather than vegetative, the chocolate-y notes meld well with the sweet, exotic jasmine.  I don’t know that it would have worked as well with a grassy green tea that has been scented with the jasmine blossoms.

The jasmine here is rather subtle, and takes a back seat to the nutty flavors of the houjicha and the earthy cacao notes.  I still taste the distinct flavor of jasmine, but it isn’t a dominating flavor.

The chocolate notes are nice.  Yeah, I would like a stronger chocolate flavor – but when do I not?  As it is, though, I think that there is a good balance between chocolate and toasty, nutty houjicha.  This is a warm, nutty tasting tea with mid-notes of chocolate with hints of jasmine that peek their way in and out throughout the sip.

A really unusual and tasty tea.  This is one I’d recommend to someone who typically doesn’t like jasmine teas because it isn’t like a typical jasmine.  It would also be a great tea for those who love the roasty-toasty teas like houjicha with a twist.  This one is familiar, but different enough to shake things up.  I like it.

Black Forest Tea Blend from Naked Teas Galore

Black-ForestTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Naked Teas Galore

Tea Description:

This tea shares aromatic notes with merlot wine – chocolate, cherries, dried fruit and flowers. To taste, this blend is classic chocolate and cherries. Ceylon makes for a light black tea base – the backdrop for a fudge-y chocolate start and cherry on the finish. Add a splash of milk and a little sugar to mimic the whipped cream topping.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda’s Monthly Tea Tasting Box here.

Taster’s Review:

When I read the name of this tea:  Black Forest Tea Blend from Naked Teas Galore, I got excited.  Black Forest to me means the cake – you know what I’m talking about, right?  The dark chocolate cake that’s topped with a glazed cherry topping and whipped cream.  YUM.

But then I read the ingredients.  Carob?  Ick.  Why carob?  Why not cacao shells?  Such an amazing chocolate flavor can be extracted from cacao shells.  I’m a chocoholic and I don’t like carob because carob DOES NOT taste like chocolate … at least not a good chocolate.  It tastes like carob.  It tastes like a poor man’s chocolate.  It tastes like imitation chocolate.  Ugh.

So, now my expectations are not all that high when it comes to this tea.  I’ll still try it and hope for the best.  Let’s see what happens.

OK … so this isn’t too bad.  It’s actually kind of tasty.  The chocolate flavor is a little weak (then again, this is a usual complaint of mine when it comes to chocolate teas, right?)  The cherry flavors come through nicely.  It’s not a super strong flavor, but, it’s enough to let you know it’s there.

The juniper berries offer a sharpness to the cup, again – not an overly strong flavor, but it does add some “focus” that I think this tea would lack if it wasn’t there.  I am also enjoying the rose notes that I taste.  Not something I’d normally expect in a Black Forest cake, but, I enjoyed it in the tea.

The black tea base is smooth and flavorful.  There is a sort of creaminess to the cup that develops as the tea cools, and I find this particular aspect of the tea quite enjoyable.  It is a medium-bodied black tea, so there’s not a lot of gusto to it, but, the flavors and tea meld well together to create a palate pleasing taste.

Overall, it’s not a bad tea.  I taste cherry, I taste a creaminess, I taste black tea.  I even taste a hint of something that could be chocolate if you don’t try to hone in on that particular note.  It’s certainly not as terrible as I thought it might be given that it’s flavored with carob rather than chocolate; I was able to finish the cup without grumbling.

I do still wish that Naked Teas Galore chose to employ cacao shells or nibs rather than carob, but, this tastes alright.  Not something I’d buy again, but I’d drink it again if it were offered to me.

2003 Reserve Four Seasons Oolong from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Our aged oolong is sourced from the Dong Ding tea growing region of Nantou County in Taiwan and was harvested in the spring of 2003. The varietal is Si Ji Chuan also known as Four Season. Our aged oolong was crafted by blend master Chen Pei Wen and is re-roasted every 2-3 years to minimize moisture content. 2003 Reserve Four Season Oolong is a rich full-bodied silky tea. The charcoal-colored leaves of this smooth oolong produce notes of honey suckle, bark, and grass and has a natural sweetness with no astringency present. This tea is also low in caffeine.

Ingredients: Taiwanese Oolong Tea

Recommended Brew Time: 4 minutes
Recommended Amount: 1 1/2 teaspoons of tea for 8oz of water
Recommended Temperature: 180 F

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As soon as I took my first sip of this tea I knew I needed to order more of it right away, and I did!

This has such a depth to it, it would make a wonderful substitute for coffee. The flavor does in fact have some coffee notes so if you are trying to convert anyone, give this a try!

The dry leaf is tightly rolled nuggets of well roasted oolong. It is one of the darker oolongs I have ever laid eyes on. The aroma is reminiscent of a campfire, or an old library, slightly musty, with a hint of leather.

When you drink this tea some of the notes you may find, like I did are, leather, dried leaves, tree bark, carob, rock mineral, coffee, brown sugar, and cream.

The after taste is quite deep and full, with a very fine roasted coffee bean flavor. Yet it is no where near bitter or astringent!

I am a huge oolong fan but have never experienced an oolong quite like this.

The only down side, if there is one, is that it has a lower caffeine content. So if you are trying to please a coffee drinker they may not get the jolt they desire. However as a tea drinker who used to love her coffee, I am in love with this oolong! It reminds me of what I used to appreciate so much in finer coffee yet it has plenty of caffeine for my late morning tea!

Now, if you are not a person who ever enjoyed a good coffee, don’t fear, this is a complex tea that deserves appreciation for its multiple layers of extraordinary flavors!

I find this tea to be very autumnal – it makes me feel like running out and jumping into a pile of leaves. With the change of season coming in my area, being able to do this is not too far off! As people begin to stoke their fireplaces I will be savoring this tea until the last snowfall!

Dark Forest Chai from Townshend’s Tea Company

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  Townshend’s Tea

Tisane Description:

Dark Forest Chai is made up of honeybush, cacao, carob, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, red clover, rosemary and roasted chicory.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

This tisane smells incredible.  As I was pouring the tea into my favorite mug and the amazing aroma wafted through the air, it was as though I had been magically transported to a donut shop – believe it or not, this smells like a cake donut that’s been dusted with cinnamon and sugar!

And while it doesn’t taste exactly like a cinnamon and sugar donut, there are elements in this that give it a similar (and very sweet-tooth satisfying) flavor.  A strong cinnamon essence, pleasantly sweet, with a somewhat savory, freshly baked cake sort of element to it, which is further enhanced by the presence of the cacao and carob.

The roasted chicory gives this cup a satisfying depth and a toasty element that is very harmonious with the other ingredients, and I think that this ingredient is what gives the cup that rich, freshly baked flavor.  It also lends a hint of coffee-like flavor to the background.  Coffee and donuts!

I like that this doesn’t taste strongly of any one ingredient, instead, it is a medley of all the ingredients.  It is mildly spiced, and while there is some heat to it which continues to develop as I make my way to the bottom of the cup, I would not categorize it as spicy.  It is warm, though, and I don’t know that I’d recommend this to someone who is extremely sensitive to spice, but, if you like a medium-warm heat to your cup, this tisane provides that.

I figured I’d like this chai – as I do love chai! – but, what a surprising treat it turned out to be!  I love this!