Caramel Apple Almond from Full Leaf Tea Co.

CaramelAppleAlmondTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Full Leaf Tea Company

Tea Description:

This black tea blend steeps to a rich caramel color with subtle hints of apple to the taste. 

The tea in Full-Leaf is a mix of marigolds, apple bits, caramel bits, and almond chips

Country of Origin: India

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love discovering new companies and new tea company owners that really care about what their customers think.  Matt@ Full Leaf Tea Company is just that kind of owner.  He cares about what his customers think and really takes the time and care to listen.  When I come across that kind of a company, I tend to keep going back.  On top of the awesome customer service you reciceve, there is also an amazing selection of teas to try.  And I have tried several.

Recently I had their Caramel Apple and Almond Black Tea.  I couldn’t wait to try this one.  Threw some tea leaves into my Breville One Touch and set this up with the black tea setting (212F-3 min). The dry leaves had a slight almond like aroma with hints of a sweetness.  Didn’t exactly smell like caramel or apple but you can tell there was something there.  You could actually see the caramel bits, apple bits, and the almond chips right in the blend.  You have to love that!

Poured myself and Jason (my boyfriend) a cup.  Brewed up hot, this had a very pu erh flavor and smell.  The tea was very earthy and I couldn’t taste any of the caramel, apple, or almond.  We both thought this tasted like a pu erh blend so much that I actually emailed Matt and asked him if pu erh was in the black base tea.  He said there wasn’t.  I was a bit confused by this.

Typically when I don’t like a tea brewed hot, I will enjoy it cold brewed.  Threw some leaves in my cold brew bottle and let it steep overnight.  In the morning I had a fantastic blend of sweet and earthy caramel apple tea.  The earthy flavor was still there but the flavor blended so well with the sweet caramel apple.  I didn’t taste the almond but I have a feeling the almond was more subtle and aiding in the rich earthy flavor.

I think I just need to go back and play with the steeping parameters on this tea.  I have a feeling that the 3 min steep was too long and maybe should go with a 2 min steep when trying to brew this up hot.  I also want to try and steep this up in my glass tea pot instead of the Breville.    This is a tea that just needs a bit of experimenting to bring out all of those lovely flavors and I am up for the task.  Just need to get some more.

On The First Day of Christmas, Southern Boy Teas Edition!

OK, so like I promised you on the first day of Christmas with my previous countdown, I was planning on doing two countdowns per day, unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.  Instead, I decided to do 1 of the countdowns starting on the 14th of December and counting down to Christmas, and then I’ll do the second version which will actually BE on the 12 days of Christmas, starting on the “actual” first day of Christmas, December 25th.  Not that it really matters to me.  All that really matters to me … is the tea.

So, my second Christmas countdown this year is with Southern Boy Teas (aka 52Teas) and their Iced Teas!  Let’s get this thing started!

Monkey Fart Iced Tea

MonkeyFartTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently, Frank at 52Teas ran a fundraising campaign to get some new equipment that he needed to operate more efficiently, specifically for his iced tea line which he calls Southern Boy Teas.  That campaign was very successful, and out of that success, Frank decided to not only do his 52Teas version of the 12 Days of Christmas, but also a SBT’s version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

For today’s iced tea, Frank chose Monkey Fart.  Now, I have already brewed and reviewed the Monkey Fart iced tea, and I imagine that quite a few of this selection of 12 iced teas I’ve already tried, however, Frank has added quite a few new flavors to his SBT line, so I think I’ll be in for a surprise along the way too.

But, let me just say that I’m glad that Monkey Fart was part of this collection.  No, I’m still not crazy about the name.  It still weirds me out a little bit to think that I’m drinking something called Monkey Fart.

Nonetheless, this tea is tasty.  I cold-brewed it, and it’s as tasty as I remember it.  Sweet and loaded with banana flavor that is more like candy than true-to-the-fruit banana flavor, but, I don’t mind it, because like I said in my previous review, it tastes a bit like banana cotton candy that’s been liquefied and then added to a glass of black iced tea.  YUM!

I hope that the rest of the Southern Boy Teas countdown is as tasty as the first day has been.

Pink Rose Lemonade from The Tea Spot

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  The Tea Spot  –  be sure to check out the coupon code featured just after this review for a limited time offer on this tea!

Tea Description:

Pink Rose Lemonade is a swirling collage of flowers with a hint of lemon and wintergreen. Like a fancy floral confection, this delicately handcrafted tea will refresh and soothe your palate. Pink Rose Lemonade is totally guilt-free, as it has no caffeine and is naturally sweet. Lemon, rose, mint, chamomile, and lavender spring to life in this absolutely fabulous herbal tea. Pink Rose Lemonade tastes distinctively wonderful brewed hot or cold.

Learn more about this caffeine free tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

Along with my Steep & Go, I received three samples of teas that go well using this cold-brew device:  Boulder Blues, Climber’s High, and this tisane.  Of those three, this one is my favorite to use in the Steep & Go. This was really surprising to me, because, I tend to avoid chamomile blends.  I don’t dislike chamomile, but I don’t really like it either.  However, the combination of ingredients in this herbal tisane works together so well, especially when cold-brewed in the Steep & Go.

It’s also quite good when hot-brewed and served warm just before bedtime.   I especially like the aroma of the hot-brewed tisane.  It smells so beautiful – I can smell the rose and the lavender and the combination of the two flowers is absolutely enchanting.

And it tastes pleasant too!  The lavender and chamomile are very relaxing, and I find it tremendously soothing especially after a busy day.  The flavors are sweet and lemony, with a foreground of floral notes and a background note of mint.  The mint is not nearly as strong as I thought it might be, as mint tends to be a rather aggressive herb.  Here, it takes the back seat and allows the other flavors to express themselves in a tasty and calming way.

But as I mentioned above, I really prefer this tea when cold-brewed using the Steep & Go.  I recommend allowing this to steep at least ten minutes, but it really gets good the longer you let it steep.  I found that after about a half an hour, the flavor was just perfect:  light and thirst-quenching.  I found that the bright, lemony notes were very refreshing, the hint of mint brought a cool, crispness to the taste and the floral tones added a pleasing contrast.  It was pleasantly sweet without sweetener – this is the perfect on-the-go beverage.

To be honest, when The Tea Spot sent me this tea to try with the Steep & Go, I had my doubts… I guess I come from the school of thought that believes that the best flavor can be achieved through hot brewing a tea … but I am coming around to the whole idea of cold-brew after trying this tisane cold-brewed!  This one made a believer out of me!

Special, Limited-Time Offer:  Now through October 14, you can save 15% on your purchase of this Pink Rose Lemonade from the Tea Spot!  Just put the Pink Rose Lemonade in your shopping cart, and use the coupon code sororitearose at checkout, and enjoy your savings … and the tea! 

Citrus Spice White Iced Tea from Nature’s Tea Leaf

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Nature’s Tea Leaf

Tea Description:

Citrus Spice White Iced Tea is an exclusive iced tea blend that combines choice White Peony tea with real pieces of spicy ginger, zesty lemon and fragrant rosemary herbs. Our specially blended iced tea allows the brightness and tanginess of the lemon to soften the distinctive piquant bite of the ginger while allowing the aromatic essence of natural rosemary to shine through. This perfect balance of sweet, spicy, citrus and savory is a taste sensation you will want to experience again and again by the glass or by the pitcher.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I hot-brewed this and allowed the tea to cool to room temperature before chilling it, but I admit to taking a quick sip or two of it while it was still hot to see how I liked it served hot. And while I did enjoy this as a hot tea, I agree with Nature’s Tea Leaf:  this tea excels as an Iced Tea!

And yet, this is quite unlike any iced tea I’ve ever tasted … and I mean that in a very good way.  That is not meant to slight any tea that I might have tasted in the past, only to say that this is so refreshingly DIFFERENT.

The white tea offers a soft, creamy undertone to the bright, sunny citrus tones and the SAVORY spices.  Yes, that’s right, I said savory.  This is not a chai … which is immediately what I think when I see “spice tea” … and that is what makes it so different.  The ginger tastes zesty and peppery, but it lacks a certain heat that you might ordinarily experience with ginger because it doesn’t have other exotic spices like cinnamon, cloves or cardamom to enhance the spicy-heat of the ginger.  Instead, the ginger tastes a bit more mellow – peppery, yes, but without the heat.

The rosemary is what allows these flavors to translate into a more savory kind of taste.  The rosemary enhances the citrus-y tones while bringing in a delicate pine-like taste (and aroma!) to the cup.  So the tea does indeed have an exotic kind of taste to it, but, not a spicy-hot-chai kind of exotic.  Instead, it is more of a balanced taste with its bright citrus notes, sweet white tea, warmly spiced ginger and savory rosemary.

This is not only wonderful because it is so different, but it also gets BONUS POINTS for being incredibly soothing.  With winter time right around the corner and with it comes the cold-and-flu season, this is the kind of tea that you want to have on hand when you’re feeling a touch under the weather.

Very refreshing … deliciously different.  I like this very much!  OH… and it tastes great cold-brewed too!

Pear Iced Green Tea from Den’s Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Den’s Tea

Tea Description:

Pear’s sweetness and freshness are harmonized with full-bodied Sencha flavor. Den’s Pear Iced Green Tea is the most popular flavored iced green tea among our development team.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love pears, but it is one of those “less common” kind of fruits, especially when it comes to fruit flavored teas.  It’s become pretty easy to find strawberry or peach flavored teas, for example … but I don’t come across as many pear flavored teas.  And I think I know why:  it’s not an easy flavor to capture with tea.  The flavor of the fruit tends to be a delicate one anyway, so to flavor tea with pear essence is not an easy feat.  More often than not, the resulting pear flavored tea ends up tasting like artificial pear or not like pear at all.  I’ve only tasted maybe a handful of pear flavored teas that ended up tasting true to the fruit.

Well, add this one to that handful!  Because this does taste true to the fruit while still managing to maintain the presence of the green tea.  In fact, the green tea is the strongest flavor of this tea, and it is sweet and tastes lushly green – very vibrant and yet calm … just like the color itself.

But the pear is also strong – deliciously strong – without tasting fake.  No odd flavors here, nothing tastes off.  It tastes like deliciously smooth, vegetative Japanese Sencha and sweet, juicy pear.

Oh… and did I mention just how refreshing it is?  It’s been so hot lately, it’s finally cooling down, but it is still rather warm.  But gulping this tea helps keep me cool and hydrated!   So good that you won’t even think about how good it is for you.  But it is … so you don’t have to worry about that, either!