Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Locally at Cultivate Tea
An easy-drinking wild black tea from a family-owned tea garden that is unique, friendly and aromatic.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
Went into this one without much of an idea what to expect; there’s very little information on the retailer’s website (it looks like they’re more set up for local in person shopping than online orders) and there aren’t any Steepster reviews yet other than my own. But this was really good!
In fact, it was actually so good I did two infusions of it which is something I hardly ever do for anything other than oolong when I’m steeping Western style. It’s really rare for me, personally, to want to drink the same tea multiple times in one day; I just want to experience as much as possible! So that definitely says something.
The dry leaves are really pretty; they’re long and twisty and have this rusty kind of tint to them that really popped as they were steeping; very tawny and autumn like! The steeped up brew was a really pretty amber colour. It kind of reminded me of the colour of a good beer, actually.
This was actually a lot less brisk and full bodied than I had expected it to be; there was some light astringency with the first steep but that went away with the second. Other than that bit of astringency both infusions were very similar though; they had a gentle sweetness to them with top notes of fragile honeycombs and really gentle undercurrents of malt and fresh baked French bread. The finish went back to sweeter honey with floral notes as well.
This is NOT a tea to drink with milk; you would absolutely drown out the subtler, delicate flavours that are present. It’s a shame it’s not really something I can get online and it’s not available to me locally because if it was available for a reasonable price I’d totally be interest in getting a bit more of this one.
Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: Parenteau’s Gourmet Foods
Ingredients: Red and black currents, raisins, hibiscus, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, seneka root, natural flavours.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
So this tisane is locally made and sold, and it features the Saskatoon Berry which isn’t as well known as it ought to be. I happen to live in Saskatoon Saskatchewan – and the berry is so popular around here that the city is named after the berry, and not the other way around. As such, any tea that features Saskatoons (of which there aren’t enough) very easily get my attention.
I decided to do a cold brew for my first try; sadly there’s a lot of hibiscus in the blend so a cold brew seemed like the best way to hold back some of the expected tartness I’ll likely be experiencing. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of berries in the blend as well but even still, not thirty seconds after I’d poured the water over the leaves the water was already the colour of McDonald’s mascot Grimace. The hibiscus in the blend was working quickly.
By the time the brew was done, it was a deep, dark almost maroon colour – but just slightly more purple. It reminded me of the colour of red wine. The smell is mostly hibiscus. That’s not very promising, but I’m still holding out that this’ll deliver the Saskatoon berry flavour I know and love anyway.
And the moment of truth; taste test!
The initial flavour here is a tart hibiscus flavour as anticipated; however, thankfully this isn’t all hibiscus. Similar to other berry/hibiscus teas I’ve had before like Rum Cream, from another local company (McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants), this starts tart and softens into a more mellow berry drink; it’s quite juice-like. I can definitely taste Saskatoon berries myself, but I also really taste the blueberries and black currants in the blend. Thankfully, I don’t get much flavour from the raisins – I’m not a raisin person, so it’s no loss for me.
For people unfamiliar with Saskatoon Berries picture something sort of like a blueberry and cranberry cross. They’re great straight, in pies, in jam or jelly, and as syrup. Really, they’re just great in general. It’s that simple.
I am enjoying this cold brew a lot though I’m craving a richer, more full Saskatoon berry flavour. If they used more Saskatoons and cut down a little on the amount of other berries in the tea, I think this could be amazing without having a more monotone and flat flavour. As is, I’m concerned people not familiar with Saskatoons are mainly going to focus in on the other berries in the blend and the hibiscus and miss out on the great flavour.
And what a loss that’d be.
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Local Coffee & Tea
Selby Select Rooibos Loose Leaf Tea is our custom blended Rooibos with orange peel and dried yogurt pieces. Created to celebrate the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, this is our perennial best seller. Each sip releases the aroma of sweet ripe oranges, followed by creamy notes on your tongue. You will think you are drinking Florida sunshine in a magnificently serene garden. Savor and enjoy!
Learn more about this tisane here.
I’ve had an interesting relationship with this tisane. The very first time I tried it, I didn’t really care for it. But the second time I tasted it, I questioned whether or not it was, in fact, the same tea that I had tried the first time around (I received the first sampling of this tea from a friend, the second I received as a sample direct from Local Coffee & Tea) because I was enjoying it. It wasn’t knocking my socks off or anything, but, it was pleasant, and nothing at all like that first cup I had.
Since then, I’ve come to really like this tisane. It reminds me very much of a creamsicle!
The orange flavor is bright and sweet, with just a hint of citrus tartness. It is a very vibrant flavor and it is contrasted with the creamy taste of vanilla yogurt. I think that yogurt was a perfect choice here (rather than using vanilla flavoring), because the yogurt is creamy without being too sweet. The rooibos is sweet, as is the flavor of the orange, and I think that adding a vanilla flavoring would have resulted in a very cloying beverage. As it is, though, everything tastes well balanced: just enough tart, sweet, and tang to please the taste buds.
The rooibos doesn’t lend too much of its woody flavor to this cup, and that suits me just fine. The rooibos does offer a warm nutty note to the cup that is especially apparent in the finish and aftertaste, and it melds nicely with the orange flavor.
This would make a remarkable iced tea in the summer – very refreshing and naturally sweet. I guess I like this one after all!