Caramel Chai Pu-Erh Tea from Inspired Leaf

caramel-chai-pu-erhTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

Bold spices and aged tea are mellowed to perfection with smooth caramel.

Inspiration#79 “Age is a state of mind. What’s yours?”

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yummy!  I like this way better than I expected to.

I mean … let’s look at the name of the tea, shall we:  Caramel – yep, love the stuff.  Chai?  Oh yeah, one of my favorite teas.  Pu-erh?  Um … not so much.

OK, so, I will be the first to admit that over the past few years, I’ve discovered that I actually like Pu-erh.  Most Pu-erh, that is.  But there is always still that lingering doubt.  My first few experiences with Pu-erh really tainted my brain and turned me against Pu-erh, even though most (I’d say at least 96%!) of my Pu-erh experiences since those first few have been positive experiences.  But those first few have set some sort of unbreakable alarm that sounds off every time I see the word Pu-erh (or any variation on the spelling).

So, I’m always just a wee bit hesitant when it comes to trying Pu-erh.

So, I didn’t expect to love this Caramel Chai Pu-erh the way that I’m loving it.

Since this is a blend rather than a pure leaf Pu-erh, I used my Kati Tumbler to brew it.  I added about 1 ½ bamboo scoops of leaf to the basket of the tumbler and filled the tumbler with water heated to 190°F.  I then waited 20 seconds and tossed out the liquid (a rinse!) and then I filled the tumbler with another 12 ounces of 190°F water and steeped it for 1 minute.  The result is a lovely caramel-y chai!

The base tea is a Pu-erh, but I’m not getting any brine-y, fishy or overly earthy notes from it.  I taste lovely spice notes from the ‘chai’ – notes of cinnamon and clove and ginger!  The nutmeg is a little less obvious but I don’t think this blend would taste the same without it.  The spices aren’t “spicy” but warm and comforting.  The earthiness of these spices melds with the earthy notes of the Pu-erh and the result is a very smooth flavor that you’ll want to curl up to.

The Pu-erh is very rich and mellow.  The sweet caramel tones of the Pu-erh accent the caramel flavoring to make a really lusciously sweet, dessert-y kind of flavor.

This is a very autumnal taste:  cozy, rich, warm and decadent.

I’d recommend this to anyone who doesn’t like pu-erh because of the strong earthy tones or that fishy-briny taste.  This tea doesn’t taste like that at all!  I believe you’ll be very pleased with the flavors!

Caramel Popcorn Flavored Black Tea from Inspired Leaf


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea, Yerba Mate & Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

A little bit corny…a lot delicious!

Inspiration No. 7: It’s time to schedule a play date with your inner child.

Ingredients: Organic black tea, black tea, barley, caramel pieces, yerba mate, organic rooibos, corn, sea salt, popcorn, natural flavors Allergen Notice: Contains dairy and barley.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Caramel Popcorn Black Tea from Inspired Leaf

Mmm!  This tastes much better than I imagined it to … and I was pretty confident that I’d enjoy it before taking my first sip.  I mean, while the idea of a Caramel Popcorn Flavored Black Tea sounds pretty wacky and wild, it also sounds like it could be absolutely wonderful!  And this tea from Inspired Leaf is indeed wonderful!

The sip starts out sweet with hints of burnt sugar caramel.  Shortly thereafter, I start to notice just a hint of salt to the taste – and I love the combination of salty and sweet!  Mid-sip, I detect the rich, smooth black tea base that is accentuated with the toasty, earthy qualities of the yerba mate and the warm grain notes of the barley.  By the end of the sip, I feel as though I’ve indulged in a decadent treat that’s a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, and so very tasty!

The base of this tea is a blend of black teas (the ingredient list says it’s an organic black tea and a black tea).  If I had to guess, I’d say that there is an Assam in the blend, because I taste the characteristic richness of an Assam as well as notes of malt.  The malty tones complement the caramel notes.  The barley in this mix adds a hint of grain flavor that seems to give the overall cup a “corn” sort of taste.

There is also yerba mate and rooibos in this blend.  I don’t taste a lot of contribution from the rooibos, and I’m not really sure why the rooibos has been added to the blend … but by the same token, I can’t say that this blend would taste the same without the rooibos.  The yerba mate – now that I can taste.  It’s not an overwhelmingly strong contribution to the overall cup, but, it does add a nice toasty flavor and an earthiness that really brings everything together in a nice way.

This tea gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me – it’s got all the goodness of caramel popcorn – all that’s missing is the crunch and the hulls.  (And really, I don’t miss the hulls!)

Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut Black Tea Blend from Inspired Leaf


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

A buttery, decadent treat with yummy nutty notes.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

Yummy!  How could I resist a tea called Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut?  I mean, seriously?  Toffee?  Chocolate???  Hazelnut?  YES PLEASE!  This black tea blend from Inspired Leaf is as tasty as the name promises it to be!

The black tea base is a robust yet smooth-tasting black tea.  It is rich enough to hold its own with the flavors in this cup, but, it isn’t an overly aggressive tea that seeks to gain a lot of the spotlight.  It is content to let the flavors do most of the talking here, but it still manages to get itself noticed.

The first flavor I notice is a lovely buttery tone … very butter toffee-ish!  It has a sweet, creamy taste to it and the creaminess here is satisfying enough to where you don’t need to add dairy to have a latte-ish taste to the cup … although a splash of milk certainly doesn’t hurt … and does enhance the overall creaminess!  I really like the buttery tone to this tea, it may just be my favorite aspect of the drink.

And that’s coming from a chocoholic!  The chocolate notes are a bit subdued here in comparison to the buttery tones.  But the buttery tones are so delicious, it’s difficult to complain about a little less chocolate.  That said, more chocolate is always better … and this tea would definitely be improved with more chocolate.  The ingredient list has carob chips as one of the ingredients, and personally, I think I’d rather see the carob chips omitted and maybe some extra cacao nibs added or how about some cacao shells!  I still think that cacao shells are the absolute BEST way to flavor a chocolate tea!

I find that the chocolate notes do intensify as I continue to sip, and they do eventually become almost as strong as the buttery toffee notes.  Nice!

The Hazelnut notes are lovely here.  In my first couple of sips, there was a delicious toasty note that was strong … reminiscent of the flavor of freshly toasted hazelnuts.  It was really yummy.  After those first few sips, that strong toasty note sort of melded into the background as the butter notes began to emerge, but, the toasty notes were very memorable and really captured the essence of hazelnut.  The hazelnut is still a present flavor, it’s just not as prominent as those first few sips.

By mid-cup, the flavors seem to unite and become a collective “Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut” flavor … rather than tasting the individual notes, this is more like a creamy, nutty, buttery, chocolate-y taste that is almost sinful!

This one might just be my favorite that I’ve tried thus far from Inspired Leaf.  And I do like the inspiration from this tea:

Inspiration No. 31: A little chocolate can improve your state of mind.

Agreed!  This tea is a definite must-try for those who enjoy dessert teas!

Berkshire Apple & Fig Blend from Inspired Leaf

Berkshire Apple and FigTea Information:

Leaf Type: Black, Oolong & Rooibos

Where to Buy: Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

Tempting crisp apple with notes of earthy sweetness.

Inspiration No. 53: Harvest the good in those around you.

Ingredients: Black tea, oolong tea, organic rooibos, apple pieces, fig pieces, clove, star anise, natural flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Berkshire Apple & Fig Blend from Inspired Leaf is really yummy!

The base of black tea and Oolong is a pleasing combination – it is mild but not too mild … it is strong enough to provide a solid background of flavor without overwhelming the flavor of apple and fig.  There is a moderate amount of astringency … just a slightly dry sensation of the palate toward the tail, and the aftertaste is sweet … the kind of sweetness that lingers on the palate after eating dried fruit.

As for the rooibos … I don’t taste it!  Then again, I can’t say that this blend would taste the same without the rooibos, and some of the nutty, earthy flavors of this cup are probably due to the presence of the rooibos.

But what I really like about this cup is the way the apple and the fig taste together.  Sweet and autumnal … a trait that is further accentuated with the addition of clove and star anise.  The spices are subtle … adding just a hint of warmth and exotic sweetness without adding a lot of distinct spicy flavor.

This is a real treat … a cuppa that evokes thoughts of autumn even though spring is just around the corner.

Chocolate Strawberry Saffron from Inspired Leaf

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Inspired Leaf

Tea Description:

Fresh picked, chocolate-dipped with an Eastern twist.

Inspiration No. 22: You are amazing…you deserve great tea!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very interesting tea.

I’ve had at least one other Chocolate Strawberry Saffron tea, and the two teas very likely came from the same source, but I’m liking this one better … it could all be the result of a better batch, but, I just know that I am finding myself more impressed with this cup of tea than I was with my previous experience with a Chocolate Strawberry Saffron tea.

But, I do think I could be more impressed by this tea, too.  I’ll get to that a little later though.

This tea does deliver with what it promises:  I taste chocolate, and it is prominent; I taste strawberry, and it is sweet and tart, just like a fresh berry; and I taste the saffron which interacts in a very pleasing way with the chocolate, giving it a semi-sweet, bitter note that I find very enjoyable.

The chocolate in this blend comes from cocoa beans, white chocolate chips and dark chocolate flakes, as well as some flavoring, I’d imagine.  The combination of these, together with the saffron, creates a very creamy, rich, chocolate-y flavor that is bittersweet and also has just a hint of vanilla undertone that I really like.  It’s a pleasing, complex chocolate note.

The strawberry flavor is emphasized by the addition of currants to the blend, which seem to highlight the tartness of the berry.  The result is a strawberry taste that is tingling on my tongue in the aftertaste with that berry tartness.  I like this, because it offers a contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate, but I think that if the sweet chocolate notes were not there, I’d probably find this a wee bit too tart for my liking … so it is fortunate that there is some sweetness too.

As I mentioned before, I think that this tea could be improved and take it from something that is good and tasty to something that is rather exceptional.  The change would be in the black tea base.  I suspect this is a Ceylon, and here, it tastes kinda wimpy.  It is very thin in the midst of all these other flavors, and the end result is more of a highly decorated, yet thin hot chocolate rather than a flavored tea.  I think that by adding a Nilgiri or an Assam to the base, or perhaps even a Fujian Black tea, that it would give the cup some much needed body and flavor.  I wouldn’t want something too aggressive, because I like the flavors the way that they are, but, I just find myself wanting more tea out of it, because as it is … it is just too thin.  I don’t like thin hot chocolate, and I don’t like thin tasting tea either … and this seems like it’s stuck somewhere in one (or both) of those confining boxes.

A good tea, but not a great one.