Product Review: Create Your Own Tea from Design a Tea

designatealogoTea Information:

Leaf Type:  You Choose

Where to Buy: Design a Tea

Tea Description:

It’s time to order the best tea you’ve ever tasted. Why? Because you choose the flavors! The concept is simple, choose a base and one or two flavors to blend your own unique tasting tea. Top it off with a personalized name and brag to your friends about your gourmet style or give it away as a gift. Not sure what flavors to mix? Try our samples!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Have you ever craved a tea before so badly that you searched and searched for hours determined that this tea had to exist and that you would find it? That has been my mission as of late.  To find a flavored green tea that was flavored with. . . banana.  Yep.  I have been craving a green banana flavored tea.  Or really any banana flavored tea that wasn’t black or red roobios based.  But that’s harder to find than you think. The majority of banana flavored teas also have chocolate in them and I’m not a huge fan of chocolate teas.  I just don’t think I’ve found the right ones yet.

designateaA couple years ago, I discovered Design A Tea.  They have a great promotion where you can customize a few different blends pretty inexpensively and try out some of your creations before committing to a larger size, which is a fantastic option.  So after the hours of searching it dawns on me, I should create myself a green banana tea and that is how my Morning Sunrise blend was born.  The blending process is very simple.  You choose your tea base.  You can pick black, green, oolong, or rooibos. (There is a separate page that you can customize and design your own earl grey teas, whites, Darjeelings, and a slew of other teas.)   Pick up to 2 flavors and  pick one herb.  There are a ton of different options for flavors.  Pretty much the sky is the limit on what you can create.  Adding the herb is a nice  touch for the tea.  Finish picking out your packaging options, name your tea, and viola . . .Your creation is born!

With this particular order, I went banana crazy and made three different banana teas.  And I have to say, they are amazing! The bases that they use at Design A Tea are fantastic! I created a banana-orange green tea with chamomile  and it tastes just like that! The orange flavor is stronger than the banana (which seems to be a common occurrence with this company.  One flavor profile outweighs the other)  but I am a happy camper. It reminds me of a yogurt that I loved when I was a kid.  Sweet and citrusy all at the same time.   The green tea mixes in nicely and gives the tea almost a weightless property.  It feels like a tea you would drink in the springtime or on a summer day, maybe iced.  After the third infusion, the flavors were still going strong and I was very impressed.

I haven’t had a chance to try them all yet, but I am enjoying the Banana Caramel Oolong with Cinnamon (it tastes very similar to Banana Fosters. . . .yum) as I am typing this review up. This tea is a desert within itself.   Another home run.  I am incredibly impressed with this company and my brain is already concocting different ideas for future teas. . . . .

Yunomi Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club: Genmai (Toasted Rice) from Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantation

obubu-genmaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  It isn’t a leaf at all, it’s toasted rice!

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

Genmaicha or brown rice tea is made by combining genmai (toasted rice) with our Yanagi Bancha. However, we know genmaicha fans may already have their favorite, higher grade senchas, so we sell our genmai separately to allow you to create your own combination. The genmai also makes a delicious garnishing for miso soup, salad, or as a simple, healthy snack.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Yunomi’s Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club here.

Taster’s Review:

The September monthly mystery tea sampler’s club from Yunomi offered subscribers a very unique opportunity in this month’s package.  Instead of a package of pre-blended Genmaicha, I can customize my own Genmaicha experience using Genmai (Toasted Rice) from Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantation!  Awesome!

In addition to the packet of Genmai I received in my September package, I also received a packet of Houjicha and Bancha, so I decided to start with these two teas to customize my own Genmaicha.  Then I decided to try something a little bit different … and try some Genmai with a black tea.  But before I did that, I brewed a small amount of Genmai to try on its own … just to see what this brewed toasted rice tastes like!

Genmai from Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantation

 The aroma of the toasted rice is really delightful.  It smells a little bit like freshly roasted nuts, but with a grainy sort of fragrance to it too.  It smells delicious.  And the flavor is remarkable!  If you drink a Genmaicha because you love that roasty-toasty flavor … you really should try the Genmai on it’s own!  Sweet, deliciously roasty and toasty with a lovely rice note.  This sort of reminds me of horchata but without the cinnamon and the creamy consistency.  And I LOVE horchata!

 Custom Genmaicha made with Bancha

To make my custom Genmaicha with Bancha, I used the organic Autumn Bancha from NaturaliTea which was also in September’s mystery tea sampler’s club package.  I used 1 part Genmai to 1 part Bancha which I measured using a teaspoon.  Mmm!  I like this a lot.  There is more Genmai to this than in a typical pre-blended Genmaicha, so I get to really experience the sweet, toasted rice flavor.  I taste the light, vegetal taste of the Bancha and I love the way the natural nutty tones of the two components accentuate each other.  This is one of the very best Genmaicha teas I’ve ever tasted.

Custom Genmaicha made with Houjicha

Oh wow!  Totally yum!  To make my custom Genmaicha with Houjicha, again, I turned again to the teas that were included in September’s mystery tea sampler’s tea club package, and used 1 part Genmai to 1 part Autumn Houjicha from the Takea Family.   This is my favorite way to enjoy the Genmai.  This is total roasty-toasty goodness … so autumnal, so perfect for this chilly evening.  So comforting and cozy to sip.  I love how TOASTY this tastes!  Absolute awesomeness!

Custom Genmaicha made with Hawaiian Black Tea

I also wanted to try the Genmai with some black tea … but what black tea to use?  I wanted to use a pure leaf, and my first thought was a Lapsang Souchong as I was imagining how the toasty notes of the Genmai would taste with the smoky Lapsang Souchong.  But, I don’t have any Lapsang Souchong at the moment, as it’s not something that I keep on hand generally … I generally just go for sample sizes of the smoky teas like Lapsang, because I’m not a huge fan of it.  But what I did have is a Hawaiian grown black tea (I won’t tell you where I got this tea since I didn’t get it from Yunomi).  The black tea isn’t a smoky tea; it is a sweet, caramel-y tea with rye bread-ish type notes.

I’m liking how the roasty-toasty flavor from the Genmai meld with the sweet, burnt-sugar caramel.  These two flavors seem made for each other!  I really like the black tea Genmaicha … if for no other reason than it’s different … but really, there’s a lot of reasons to love this tea.  Sweet, smooth, rich … toasty, delicious flavor.  YUM!  (Oh … and just for point of reference, I used the same 1:1 ratio.)

In Summary…

I really enjoyed all the different ways that Genmai allowed me to experiment.  My favorite, as I said, is the Genmai with the Houjicha, but, I really enjoyed it with the other teas too … as well as on its own!  Tasting it on its own like this evokes thoughts of using the Genmai for something like a simple broth with some green onions and wontons.  I really, really like this product a whole lot!