Dowager Countess Grey Special Black from Tea For All Reasons

00391_thumbTea Information:

Leaf Type:  BlackTea

Where to Buy: Tea For All Reasons

Tea Description:

For all of you Downton Abbey and Earl Grey fans, this is a must! I’ve created this new blend in honor of the irrepressible Dowager Countess. You are aware of a strong presence whenever she enters a room, impeccably dressed, with rows and rows of creamy white pearls. She makes no apologies for her strong sense of tradition, and underneath her sharp, dry wit, there is a sweetness that she tries to keep well hidden. Much like the Dowager, our new Earl Grey blend is “steeped” in tradition, has a strong, tart Pomegranate presence, with an underlying sweetness, and is dressed up with creamy white pearl dragees. Enjoy!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve reviewed teas from Tea For All Reasons in the past and you may already know that I love their thoughts behind their blends.  I love their names.  And they are pleasing to the nose, eye, and tongue.  This time around I am tasting the Dowager Countess Grey – a specialty black tea – from their Downton Abby Series Collection – which makes a cross over to their Earl Grey Collection, too!

What isn’t overly present is the stereotypical bergamot you would find in an Earl Grey.  Instead – Tea For All Reasons has ‘thought outside the box’ (or the tea bag rather) and decided to pair this blend with pomegranate.  I really enjoy the Pom-Flavor in this loose leaf black tea based blend of flavors.  It provides a subtle tartness without it going to wild.  There are hints of cream towards the end sip that are quite intriguing as well.

I infused for about 3 to 4 minutes and eventho this is a black tea base the post-infused liquid color isn’t all that dark in the cup.  But that’s ok…what it lacks in color/tone – it makes up for in aroma and taste!  This is a nice sipping tea when hot and a jolly-good gulping tea when cold.

If you are looking for a creative blend with a little bit of tarty-fruit notes – try this one, if you are a Downton Abby fan – put this one on your list – or if you are into flavored Earl Grey’s – give this one a whirl!



Organic Earl Grey Tea from Delicious Sip

Org Earl GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Delicious Sip

Tea Description:

One of our most popular teas and for good reason, it’s the go to classic that is always in style. Our bergamot infused Organic Earl Grey has a unique aroma that beckons for just one more sip.

This heavenly black tea is a treat that can be enjoyed anytime of the day and has been hailed by many as the “best they’ve ever had.” We invite you to treat yourself to a cup or two and decide for yourself. We think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Well, I don’t know that I’ll hail this Organic Earl Grey Tea from Delicious Sip as the best I’ve ever had.  Then again, I’ve had a LOT of different Earl Grey teas and so there’s quite a bit of competition for that number 1 spot.  But I will say this:  It IS a really wonderful Earl Grey!

Whenever I’m about to brew a new-to-me Earl Grey tea, the first thing I’ve got to do is smell the dry leaf.  Do I smell that bergamot?  Yep!  I can smell that distinctive bergamot essence, and it’s strong with this blend without being an overwhelming scent.  It smells lovely, it smells like bergamot, and it’s a powerful aroma without smelling so strong that I’m worried that it’s been overdone.  The brewed tea has a much softer fragrance.  The bergamot is still distinctive and I can smell notes of the rich black tea base as well.

The flavor is is divine!  The black tea base is a rich, full-flavored black tea.  There is a fair amount of astringency to the cup.  It’s earthy, strong and has a light undertone of sweetness that complements the tangy bergamot flavor.  The bergamot has a tart, citrus-y note to it, with whispers of floral notes that weave their way in and out of the sip.

The sip starts out with a sweet note.  As the sip progresses, the rich, robust black tea flavor washes over the palate.  Shortly thereafter, I start to pick up on that unmistakable bergamot flavor:  exotic and citrus-y, tangy, and just a hint of sweetness.  The bergamot lingers into the finish.  The finish is dry and I can feel a slight puckering on the inside of my cheeks from the astringency.  The aftertaste sort of tingles on the tongue the same way as a tart, citrus drink might tingle.

A very enjoyable Earl Grey.  I’m very happy that I got to try it, and if you’re a fan of Earl Grey teas like I am, I’d recommend you trying it as well, you might just find a new favorite to add to your tea collection!

Revenant Oolong Tea from Pelican Tea

revenantTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Pelican Tea

Tea Description:

An earthy but delicate habanero-infused Seschung Oolong tea with organic mint and pan-toasted brown rice. This is a favorite when I’m not in the mood for something sweet, but definitely in the mood for… something*.

*Something in this case may be anything.  Spooky.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Whoa!  This one has got some kick to it!  When I read the label and it said “Moderately Spicy,” I didn’t expect quite so much heat!  Not that I’m unhappy with it, I like the spice level.  But, for those of you who tend to be sensitive to spicy things, don’t be fooled by the word moderate.  This one is warm.

But after the first two or three sips of WARM … the heat becomes more subdued (or maybe it’s just that the taste buds have adapted to the heat) and now it’s more like a pleasant warmth at the back of the throat.  So, don’t let those first two or three sips scare you, once you get past that point, then you can sit back and really enjoy the complexity of this tea.

Because yes, it’s spicy, but, there’s so much more to this tea than just heat from the habanero pepper.

First, we have the roasted flavor of the Se Chung Oolong tea.  The delicious roasty-toasty flavor melds beautifully with the pan-toasted rice, and the delicate smoky notes of the Se Chung accentuate the spice of the habanero.  I love the way the roasty-toasty, the smoky and the spice taste together.  It’s a well-conceived flavor combination.

Then there is the mint.  Given how well the other three components – Oolong, rice and habanero – seem to work together, one might think that the mint is a bit out of place in this blend.  But, I like the touch of mint.  Mint can often become a bit too aggressive in a blend and wind up giving off a toothpaste-y sort of taste, but, that didn’t happen here.  The mint is strong enough to be tasted but not so strong that it overpowers the other flavors.  Instead, what it does here is come in to offer a cooling, crisp note to the warm, toasty and smokin’ flavors of the other ingredients.  It’s an interesting and creative contrast to the warm flavors.

Since this IS an Oolong, I decided to take it for another infusion.  The second infusion was – surprisingly – a little spicier than the first.  This surprised me; I expected the heat to wane a little with the second infusion.  The roasted and smoky notes of the Oolong as well as the toasty rice notes seemed to soften somewhat.  I think I preferred the balance of the toasty, smoky and spicy notes of the first cup over this, where it seems that the fiery notes of the habanero are stronger than the flavors of the Oolong and rice.  It’s still delicious, just different.

The mint is a little stronger in this second infusion too, so with this cup, there is more balance between the mint and habanero flavors rather than with the warmer notes.  It’s more like a balance between the crisp, refreshing notes of mint and the peppery heat.  Still a tasty cup of tea, and certainly worth the resteep!

This is a really fascinating blend from Pelican Tea!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Grapefruit Flavor Infused Green Tea from Dutch Bros. Coffee

Product Information:

Not our local Dutch Bros. Coffee Shop. But, it kinda looks like this.

Tea Type:  Green Iced Tea (Ready to Drink/Prepared Drink)

Where To Find:  Dutch Bros. Coffee

Taster’s Review:

OK, so my youngest daughter’s latest “thing” is the Italian sodas from Dutch Bros.  You know what I’m talking about right?  Basically, it’s like club soda that’s been infused with Torani Syrup and then generously topped with whipped cream and/or infused with a dollop of cream (both of those are optional).  As we were sitting in the drive through, waiting to place an order for her after ballet class treat, I noticed “Torani Infused Teas” on the menu and my curiosity was piqued.

So, I asked the clerk what it was and was told that they add the Torani syrup to either green or black tea.  Then he listed off the flavors of Torani syrup that they have and when he said Grapefruit, I decided I’d try a Grapefruit Flavor Infused Green Tea from Dutch Bros. Coffee.  I mean … I figured the worst that could happen is that it tastes like an overly sweet tea much like the ready to drink teas that you get at the corner convenience store.

My first sip of the beverage – yep, that’s what it is.  It’s a very sweet tea with more grapefruit flavor than tea flavor and an abundance of sugary sweetness that overpowers the tea notes to oblivion.  This drink … well, it was … alright.  Drinkable.  Something that I’d be able to finish but not something for which I’d want to return to Dutch Bros.

But then something impressive happened.  My husband told the clerk that I’m a tea snob and very picky about my tea.  When the clerk asked me how I liked the tea, I said, “It’s drinkable.”  My husband translated this to the clerk to say, “That’s a compliment from her.”

Ha!  My husband fancies himself a comedian.  I’ve tried to explain to him that just because our pre-teen daughter and her friends find him entertaining does not mean that he could make a living as a stand-up comic.  

When I say drinkable, basically, what I mean is that this tastes alright, but it’s too sweet and it’s not something I’d buy again.  I can drink it but would I call it tea?  No.

Upon hearing that the infused tea drink was merely “drinkable,” the clerk takes back the drink and explains that their drinks are 100% satisfaction guaranteed.  Then he made me a new Grapefruit Flavor Infused Tea, this time, using half the syrup that was used the first time around.

This time, it’s actually quite enjoyable.  Not just drinkable, but something that put a smile on my face.  I have a mildly sweet drink where I’m able to taste both the grapefruit and the green tea.  The grapefruit reminds me of the flavor of a Texas pink grapefruit (my favorite).  It doesn’t taste like a candified (yes it’s a word, I just made it up) version of grapefruit.  It tastes like the Texas pink grapefruit that I cut in half and lightly sprinkled with a little sugar to contrast with the tart bitterness of the fruit.  It tastes … yummy!

And I can taste the green tea this time around (the first cup that was made for me, I could not taste green tea).  It tastes light and crisp, with a refreshing hint of vegetative flavor.  Slightly grassy.  It marries nicely with the notes of grapefruit, and there is a pleasing balance between the components of this beverage.

Overall, this was a really tasty tea.  Bravo to the clerk at Dutch Bros. for taking a little extra time to make my drink just right for me.  I appreciate this kind of customer service, and this tea exceeds what I’d find at the “average” coffee stop.

Cumulus Green Tea from Pelican Tea

cumulusTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Pelican Tea

Tea Description:

Cumulus.  A light, contemplative brew of gently habanero-infused Pinhead Gunpowder green tea, organic peppermint and spicy cinnamon.

Yeah. We also like the sound of that.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love the aroma of this Cumulus Green Tea from Pelican Tea!  The dry leaf has a warm fragrance from the cinnamon and habanero, but there is also a crisp, exhilarating note from the peppermint and a slightly fruity note … which I originally thought must be from the green tea, although I don’t usually smell “fruit” when I smell a gunpowder green tea, so I guess that the fruit note I smell could also be from the habanero, which is technically a berry, right?

Once brewed, I smell cinnamon and peppermint primarily, with background notes of habanero and green tea.  It smells zesty, warm and inviting.

Mmm!  This is really good!  All the flavors have a really nice balance and each note seems to meld in a really harmonious way with the other notes.  It is one of the more “fluid” tasting teas – that is to say, everything just sort of moves along in a very smooth, effortless, seamless way.

The sip starts out with the cinnamon and peppermint and these two notes are pretty well paired – they aren’t competing with one another, and they aren’t overpowering flavors.  This doesn’t taste too minty or too cinnamon-y.

Next comes a very soft wave of heat from the habanero.  The warmth of the habanero sort of builds on the back of the palate, but it never becomes a really strong flavor.  It’s just a gentle sort of warmth.  If I slurp the tea, I notice more habanero notes, but, even then, it isn’t a bold peppery flavor.

The notes of the gunpowder green are ever present in the sip, sitting there, in the middle of things, offering its sweet flavor and light lushness of green tea notes.  There is a hint of smokiness to this too that is off in the background, and this marries especially well with the cinnamon flavor.

A really good tea.  If the idea of a habanero infused tea is a little intimidating to you, I recommend starting with a tea like this one because it’s “gently infused” with the habanero, and that gentle infusion allows for enjoyment of the pepper without too much of the spice.

I’m really happy I got to try this one!