Notes on Beyond Blueberry/Akova -skysamurai-

I’m taking a leap out of my purist comfort zone to taste some cuppas by a new tea company.

The smell immediately pulsates up your nose when you open the bag. The blueberry aroma is like a club playing EDM.

Makes me wonder if we’ll ever see clubbing again…

This wonderful smell prepares you for something amazing in the flavor. Which unfortunately isn’t there.

It is tepid blueberry in flavor. To be honest, the flavor is very bland. Even the black leaf uninspiring.

My suggestion would be to add real blueberries to the blend (freeze dried if possible). Out of curiosity I’ve also steeped it cold to see if that would reveal better flavors. At five minutes it is still bland but something seems to be trying to peek out.

After 10 minutes there is a bit of cream and a bit more fruity. Which makes me wonder if this would be a good overnight iced tea. .


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Akova Teas

Description

Intoxicating black tea with the aroma of wild blueberries.

Ingredients: Black tea*, Elderberry* + Currant pieces*, Hibiscus petals*, Natural flavors (organic compliant)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea Time with Friday Afternoon Tea – CuppaGeek-

Each and every year, tea enthusiasts take a look at their tea stashes/cupboards  and decide to take an earnest attempt at sipping down the tea that they currently own for a variety of reasons.  This year, I’m joining in on this venture for a different reason- I want to dedicate more time to myself.  2020 was a hard year on my family.  Between one of our son’s being diagnosed with cancer to losing a beloved member of our family to an extremely hectic and challenging political cycle (my 9-5) to everything in between which includes basically being a “single parent” for a good chunk of the year while my hubby took care of our son, Parker while he was getting treatment at St Judes.  For so many, 2020 will always be an exhausting and stressful year.  But, it is time to now look at 2021 and make new habits and choices to set the year off right.

One the new habits I am truly striving to establish for myself is literally time for myself.   I am very fortunate to have been working from home for a few years now but with the kiddos also being home and remote learning, that tea time that I always really enjoyed fell by the way side.   And I have too many delightful tea goodies to have that happen.  So I have literally set up time each day on my calendar to take a moment, pop onto Steepster, log my teas, see tea lovelies everyone is enjoying all while enjoying a cuppa myself.  If you aren’t familiar with Steepster, I highly encourage you to check it out. Steepster is a great place to log your tea tasting notes while engaging with other like minded tea friends.  A lovely environment that I am thrilled to be engaged with once again.

To start 2021 off right, my Black Friday Friday Afternoon tea order finally arrived on 1/3 so I thought these would be a nice treat to ring in the new year.  I mainly ordered a variety of black flavored teas but my mystery sampler was also included in this order so there were various tea samples to dig into as well.

#1 Sipdown:

I’m No Prize was the first sample I grabbed.  This blend is  black tea, ginger root, star anise, rose, jasmine blend with cinnamon flavoring.  I’ve been seeing a lot of rose flavored chai blends lately and the idea of mingling floral and spiced flavors was incredibly intriguing.  Brewed up with water at 212F and steeped for 3 minutes, this tea was a joy.  You could literally pick out each flavor on its own and they all worked together nicely.  Pops of ginger, star anise, and cinnamon worked wonderfully well with the rose and jasmine.

I was able to get a few infusions out of the sample serving and enjoyed every sip.  Really lovely blend and one I could see re-ordering more of in a heart beat.

#2 Sipdown:

Butterfly Blend was the second sample that grabbed my attention.  A black tea blend with honey, strawberry, orange peel and lemongrass.  When I first opened the sample- the first thought that came to mind was how much this tea smelled like a strawberry candy.  I was eager to enjoy this one so I prepped up my water at 212F and again allowed the tea to steep for 3 minutes.  Sadly, I think my taste buds are changing and this blend was too sweet for me.    The first sip – my taste buds were super happy.  Super sweet honeyed strawberries was what I was getting.  However, after a few more sips, it was like I needed a bit of something else to round out that sweetness, possibly even a bit more black tea.  The blend itself is beautiful to look at but just doesn’t seem to be the right tea for me.

#3 Sipdown:

Courtesan’s Blend was the last of the three samples I enjoyed during my tea time sipdown.  I will be honest, I’ve received this blend a few different times in my mystery samplers from Friday Afternoon and I have never really enjoyed the blend.  But again, looking at the ingredients I should.  Oolong, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring.  All sounds delightful.  When you first open the sample pack as well, the blend smells delightful.  To my dismay, those aromas (for me) did not translate into any noticeable flavors until the very end of each sip if not the after taste.  Then I could pick up the oolong, clove, and cinnamon notes.  If the flavors were more pronounced, I have a feeling I would be in love with this blend.  But after trying this blend so many times, I think this one just isn’t for me.

All in all, not a bad little tea party (that spanned a few hours might I add).  The winner for me is I’m No Prize which is already on my list to re-order the next time I order from Friday Afternoon.

Let us know if you have any tea related goals for 2021. We’d love to hear them!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Where to Buy: Friday Afternoon

Two Seasons/teakruthi

teakruthi is a company that focuses on Ceylon teas. Personally, I did not think I was a fan of Ceylon teas since I always found them to be rather tannic and astringent. However, teakruthi was wonderful and shared generous samples of their teas in exchange for honest reviews. I have tried several of their teas now and I am happy to report that they have really changed my outlook on Ceylons. While I have not loved all of their teas, some have been quite enjoyable. In the enjoyable category is a blend called Two Seasons.

Two Seasons is one of a few blends that teakruthi carries as their focus is mostly on plain teas. Two Seasons is a mix of Pure Ceylon Black tea, Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP), ginger root, and peach. I steeped the tea per teakruthi’s recommended steeping parameters: 3 minutes in 95C water.

Drinking the tea, Two Seasons definitely seems like a fitting name. It’s got warming ginger notes that are flavorful but not very spicy and to balance that, it has a soft fruitiness from the peach. As such, the tea captures both flavors that represent Winter and Summer. The flavors are present but mild which allows the full/medium-bodied base to come through as well. The base tea is floral, which the peach plays off nicely. Also, It can be a touch astringent at the end of the sip but not overly so.

This tea is a nice bridge between flavored and unflavored teas. While it definitely has flavoring to it, it’s not overwhelming which allows you to appreciate the base tea as well. Softer flavoring also means you are less likely to tire of it quickly, which makes this easy to drink over and over again.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  teakruthi

Description

Mild in flavour, the high- and medium-grown black tea perfectly supports the delicate flavour infusion of ginger and peach. Hand-selected from the Sri Lankan wetlands on which it grows, the ginger in this tea boasts a subtle spiciness that harmonises with the flavour of the black tea. The sweet flavour of peach brings balance and peace to the spiciness of the black tea and ginger blend. Brewing to a deep copper in your cup, this tea is brimming with a tantalising blend of spicy, floral, and woody notes that are exclusively designed to exhilarate your taste buds while bringing peace to your mind.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 from Tea Revv. . .

Nothing says holidays like starting each day with a surprise gift. Advent calendars are literally the gift that keeps on giving. Usually they are filled with chocolate but for the tea lover on your list, I recommend checking out the Tea 24 Advent Calendar 2018 by Tea Revv. 

Tea Revv was kind enough to send me a sneak peak of their upcoming advent calendar and just from the looks I was excited. The advent calendar box was smaller than I anticipated but its true when they say good things come in small packages! The box is beautifully designed with geometric snow-capped mountains and two little geometric penguins. It certainly evokes the idea of winter and fun.

Inside are 24 small satchets with 2 cups of loose leaf tea each. The satchets are all stacked on top of each other, with the Day 1 tea on top. One thing I will say is that those who like the surprise of opening a door or scratching off a label to discover what the tea of the day is will not get that here. As you pull out one satchet, the next day’s satchet is right there with all the details of the tea. For me, the surprise factor is not essential and I actually like having all the details about the tea (including ingredients and brewing instructions) conveniently in front of me. In addition, the satchets are sleek and carry the geometric theme throughout with colorful and fun holiday images.

One other face-value perk of Tea Revv’s Tea Advent Calendar is it’s price. Relative to other companies offering advent calendars, Tea Revv is not very expensive and thus a great gift for every budget.

Now, how can I talk about a tea calendar without discussing some of the teas? I pulled out a couple of teas just to get a feel for the different blends the calendar has to offer. There is a lot of black teas and warming winter/holiday ingredients. Chai lovers would certainly be pleased. However, there are also fruit tisanes, rooibos blends, green teas, etc. Something for everyone.

One of the first teas I tried was the Day 1 tea, Frosted Fruit Spice. Frosted Fruit Spice is a black tea with cinnamon, ginger, apple, cloves, cinnamon quillings, amaranth petals, safflower petals, and natural flavors. The dry leaf and steeped tea have a deliciously sweet and spiced fruit smell. It has me thinking of fruit filling in a winter-themed fruit pie. Flavorwise, that spiced fruit pie filling transfers over to the taste though more subtle than the scent would suggest. Mostly that is because there is a floral component that is strongly coming through and conflicting with the pie filling. The floral picks up some of the base tea which gives it a bit of a drying effect. I don’t love that drying but the spiced fruit component is really tasty and the reason I keep reaching for my mug and with a splash of milk that is the flavor that is highlighted with the floral and drying drowned out.

I also tried Ginger Green. Ginger Green is a much simpler blend which simply combines green tea and ginger pieces. I was curious to try something other than a black blend and this is the first non-black tea I grabbed from the pile on my table. Now I should preface this by saying I am not a green tea lover and for that reason this tea will never be my favorite. With that said, I should note that it is actually a nice tea. The ginger has just the right amount of flavor and burn to keep things interesting against the green tea base. The base has a lot of umami flavor. Usually greens are grassy but to me this has more of a seaweed flavor. It took my by surprise but also had a richness to it that is more consistent with the winter theme of this tea advent calendar box.

All in all, I have enjoyed the teas I have tried so far and I am just getting started. I look forward to exploring all the blends this calendar has to offer.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Tea Advent Calendar
Where to Buy: Tea Revv
Description

2018 Blends Include: Chilly Willy Chai, Cranberry Apple, Notorious Eggnog, English Breakfast, Coffee Lover, Spiced Apple, Christmas Cake, Ice Cream Earl Grey, Relax, Ruby Amaretto, Golden Turmeric, Gingerbread Man, Belly Bestie, Pumpkin Pie Chai, Irish Cream Breakfast, Rum Pud, Snowballs, Christmas Eve tea, Breakfast Pancakes, Ginger Green, Chocolate tea, Ruby Chai, Achooo, & Frosted Fruit Spice.

Winter is here. But fear not. Defrost those hands kick back relax with Tea 24.  24 seasonal loose leaf tea blends! Each sachet has its own winter illustration packaged in a beautifully designed box. All designs produced in-house. Each sachet contains enough tea for two cups or one large mug. Brewing advice on front of sachets.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Sun AKA Earl Grey Mandarin from TeaLeafs

Earl Grey Sun – or Earl Grey Mandarin – I believe they are one in the same – but I could be mistaken.

When I last bought this tea it was labeled Earl Grey Sun but the only one I can currently find on their website is Earl Grey Mandarin but I think they are the same tea because I can distinctly remember the lovely orange notes of the flavored Earl. But it was more than just your standard Bergamot. And more than your common Orange. I’m pretty sure the glorious ray of sunshine in the flavored black tea – flavored Earl Grey (more specifically) was that of the might mandarin.

Regardless – this was a fantastic cup! One of the more impressive flavored Earl Grey’s I’ve had to date. And probably in my Top 5 teas offered at TeaLeafs.

The black tea base itself is that of a High grown Ceylon tea and it’s sturdy and tasty in its own right.

This is surely a tea that has brightened my day and I hope you are able to try it at some point because I think you will, too, be a fan!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Tea Leafs
Description

Ingredients: Black Tea, Bergamot, flavoring from Germany, Mandarin

High grown Ceylon tea with Bergamot and Mandarin

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!