No. 23 Kandy Black Tea from Steven Smith Teamaker

KandyBoxTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Steven Smith Teamaker

Tea Description:

Named after one of the most beautiful cities in Sri Lanka, Kandy brings together full and flavory Dimbulla with highly aromatic and intense Uva and lightly scented high-grown Nuwara Eliya. A tea made for sipping with pleasure all day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I got Kandy no.23 black tea from a friend recently, and with the recent news of Steven Smith himself passing I wanted to pay homage to him by drinking one of his creations. He had many successful companies, one you might have heard of too. If anyone has had any of Tazo’s teas while they were still at Starbucks, raise you hand. If you want to read more about his legacy, there is a great article here.

Kandy is a blend of three different Ceylon teas. I’m going to disappoint anyone who thinks that this tea is going to tastes like actual candy; this tea is named after a city in Sri Lanka, not after a sweet treat. However, I am convinced that there is something sweet about this tea. In the large square sachet, smells of malted milk balls and raisinets waft into my nose. Smells like classic movie theater candy. Yum. Let’s get this started!

Now, I am not one to follow directions on packages, but reading the one on the outside of the sachet I just had to pay attention. The directions are as follows:

“Bring filtered water to a roiling boil. Steep 5 minutes, while googling the ornate Palace of the Sacred Tooth.”

Now you have my attention.

So google I did. According to Wikipedia, The Temple of the Tooth is a Buddhist temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. In that temple is contained the sacred tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because whoever holds the tooth holds the governing power of the country. Kandy was the last capital of Sri Lanka, so it gets the tooth. Huh. Quite a history lesson for my daily cuppa.

Whilst ruminating on this, I sipped this tea in silence. I got the classic malt notes, as well as bright citrus and raisin notes. It’s smooth without having any trace of astringency. While this is not the most interesting and unique blend on the market today, there is something just so nostalgic about black tea from India and Sri Lanka. It tastes like a hot summer day with a refreshing cup of sweetened sun tea with lemon. It’s a cool rainy morning with a dash of milk. This would make for a great daily drinker for anyone who loves the mellow yet rich profiles of Ceylon teas.

The thing I like the most about this tea is the history that this company wants you to know about this tea. I really enjoy getting to know everything I can about the leaves in my cup. What are it’s hobbies? What music is it into? Is it named after a city who is famous for owning a tooth? This tea demands to be understood. And Steven Smith Tea maker is sure to get it’s point across.

Lord Bergamot Tea from Steven Smith Teamaker

lord_bergamotTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Steven Smith Teamaker

Tea Description:

A flavor somewhat superior to traditional Earl Grey. Fragrant Ceylon Dimbulla and Uva are artfully combined with select teas from India’s Assam valley, then scented with the flavor of bergamot from the realm of Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Lord Bergamot from Steven Smith Teamaker is one of my all-time favorite Earl Grey teas.  So I was very happy when this tea was included in April’s box from Knoshy.

What makes Lord Bergamot so great?  I think it has to do with the fact that the black tea base is a blend of Ceylon teas from the Dimbulla and Uva estates as well as Assam tea from India.  This creates a very pleasant, full-bodied base for the scenting of the bergamot oil.  The Ceylon provides a smooth, rich flavor while the Assam adds a touch of malty flavor.  There is a slight “wine-like” quality to the tea that contrasts in a lovely way with the tangy bergamot.

And I love that when I tear into one of these individually wrapped sachets I can SMELL the bergamot and it’s a powerfully strong scent.  This is the way bergamot should be.  It should be very aromatic.

By the way, this tea is available loose leaf too, and that’s how I originally tried this tea and as is true with other teas:  I prefer it loose!  However, Knoshy decided to send a box of sachets instead of loose leaf tea.  That said, even in a sachet, this is still a really excellent Earl Grey!

bergamotfruitThe flavor of the bergamot is evenly matched with the richness of the black tea base.  It doesn’t taste fake or chemical-ish.  It doesn’t have a perfume-y sort of taste to it.  This happens sometimes when the tea blender has selected a bergamot oil that is of lesser quality ~or~ when the tea blender has gone a little too heavy handed with the bergamot scenting process.  (Or perhaps a combination of both factors.)  But when a high quality bergamot oil is used in the right amount, it produces a SUBLIME flavor like I have here in my teacup right now.

It is a bright and tangy flavor, but there is a really pleasant sweetness to this too.  The combination of the caramel-ish, malty notes of the black tea and the sweet/tangy flavor of the bergamot is moreish.  Which is why, as I said at the start of this review, this is one of my top three favorite Earl Grey teas.

Those top three change pretty frequently, depending upon availability – some times a tea company either closes shop or they discontinue or change their Earl Grey; and sometimes it depends upon my palate – meaning that sometimes I come across a new favorite Earl Grey and one of the other teas is knocked to the #4 spot.  But this one continues to be a top contender.

It’s just really good.  If you like Earl Grey … this is one you should be putting on your must try list.

Passion Fruit Black Tea from Design A Tea

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Design A Tea

Product Description:

Koslanda – Dimbulla blend from Sri Lanka with all natural flavoring

Tasters Review:

I’ve had so much fun sampling the teas I have had the opportunity to try from Design A Tea!  Of course it doesn’t hurt that I am originally from Western New York and Design A Tea is based in Darien Center, NY.

Anyhow… I decided to post a review on their Passion Fruit Flavored Black Tea today.

Passion Fruit flavored products are gaining more and more popularity and TEA that is flavored with Passion Fruit is near the top of that list!  I think this is GREAT NEWS!!!  I have tried several Passion Fruit Flavored Teas and I must say this is probably one of my favorites!

This smells lovely…surely it’s Passion Fruit but you can still smell the Black Tea.  It infuses fairly dark brown.  The taste is juicy with hints of floral undertones to it.  This is a VERY enjoyable cup and a nice flavored black.

Another great Design A Tea Experience!