French Vanilla Marshmallow Assam Black Tea/52Teas – Ashmanra –

A good vanilla black tea is a shelf staple in my opinion. Sometimes you need black tea but you want something to soften it, or make it a little bit pampering or luxurious.

French Vanilla Marshmallow Assam is a blend of first and second flush Assam leaves. They are strong, malty, and brisk. While the tea is piping hot you don’t notice the briskness as much, but as it cools it becomes increasingly more drying.

I am loving it as a morning cup, but I could definitely see it as an afternoon pick-me-up as well. The vanilla softens the Assam a little and blooms roundly after the swallow. That’s when the briskness kicks in and makes you pick up your cup for another sip.

I take my tea plain, but this could definitely handle both milk and sugar if you like your tea that way. In fact, I can see this being turned into a decadent dessert drink as a sweet latte or with the addition of vanilla creamer.

As for me, I will continue to enjoy it just as it is! And since it is so good with snacks, I think it is time to grab a cookie or two!

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Apricot Brandy/Spice & Tea Merchants -TeaEqualsBliss –

Apricot Brandy from Spice & Tea Merchants – based out of Michigan – is an organic flavored black tea that is labeled “More Caffeine” on their website and “Most Caffeine” on their package! More OR Most Caffeine…AND Apricot Brandy flavor? I’m game! Bring it on!

This tea has been infused with apricot pieces and natural brandy flavor. It’s full, delicious, sweet, and LUSH! It’s appealing to all of the senses!

The origin of this tea – India. The suggested brewing instructions – 1 teaspoon per 8 ounce water at 212 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes. I, for one, doubled it up to 2 teaspoons, and steeped for 3 and a half to 4 minutes and it was pretty stellar!

When I bought this I only purchased 1 ounce. I should have grabbed at least 5 or 6 ounces so it would last me a while because it’s already gone! It was terrific while it lasted! A definite THUMBS UP!

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Spice & Tea Merchants


Our apricot brandy tea had been blended with apricot pieces and infused with natural brandy flavor which gives this black tea blend a delicious full flavor and luscious sweetness.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tie Kuan Yin Black/Master Teas – Skysamurai-

Adagio is one of those unique companies that you can easily forget about and then rediscover later.

While I had originally passed off Adagio as just another run of the mill tea stores like Teavana but with this most recent sample I searched around their website to discover I was wrong.

Adagio is a unique beast of a store. This tea comes from a special section of their website called Masters by Adagio Teas.

They feature the tea, no tisanes, from Master tea farmers from China, India, Taiwan, and Japan.

This unique tea comes from farmer Yang Ai Fang in China. Though Tieguanyin is traditionally processed as an oolong tea,  Yang Ai Fang decided to try something different.

It resulted in a unique brew with a golden honey liquor color. The wet leaves have a musty, stone fruit aroma.

This no astringency tea has flavors of slight chocolate undertones with somewhat floral and fruity overtones.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Master Teas by Adagio Teas


Tie Guan Yin, often translated as Iron Goddess of Mercy or Iron Buddha, is a variety of Chinese oolong tea. However, this version takes the classic Tie Kuan Yin leaves and processes them in a black tea style. This unique combination culminates in the velvet savory texture of black tea with the unique floral charm of traditional Tie Guan Yin tea. When brewed, this intriguing handcrafted tea has a reddish-brown liquor that hints towards dark chocolate and a whispery licorice finish. A Masters Teas favorite!


Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jungpana Tippy Musk Black Tea/Udyan Tea – Skysamurai-

Jungpana Tippy Musk Black is a cross between full leaf and CTC. Meaning all have been cut but not all have been cut to be small like many do for tea bags. This one unfortunately isn’t listed on their website.

This does, however, give me insight into what their teas are like. No dry leaf aroma but the luscious scent emanating from the wet leaf more then makes up for it.

So earthy!

A wonderful mix of forest floor, wet wood, and musty mahogany. The flavor is also wonderfully earthy with with no astringency. It has a clean mouth feel and smooth finish. If you haven’t yet been to the Udyan website go head over there and give it a look.

They have many teas waiting to be discovered.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea


This tea is no longer available on the site but click below for more offerings.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jin Jun Mei/Tealyra -CuppaGeek-

I’ve recently found that I’m getting more and more into straight teas.  I’ve tried a few flavored teas to recently but I just felt that pull to pull out my gaiwan and experiment.  I’ve found myself eager to sit down and spend the time to enjoy the tea sip by sip in smaller quantities and this tea is a beautiful example of why.

Not too long ago, I brewed this tea up in the traditional western fashion- teapot, few scoops of tea with water prepped at a bit below boiling, steeped for a few minutes, poured into my tea cup and enjoyed. While the tea was tasty with soft chocolate notes , I wanted to see how the flavor would change if brewed with gong fu style.

Now when I do gong fu, I do a modified version that works with not only my crazy busy job but my house in a whole. I don’t get too deep into measuring and making sure everything is on point. I 100% should because I’ve over leafed and under leafed on more occasions than I would like to admit, but in the same- I have a very go go go 8-5 and after work so I have just decided to pour and go.  Eventually I’ll get to the point where I measure out the night before so I’m all prepared for the next day. Please forgive me that I don’t have all of the measurements to how exactly I steeped up this ditty.

Using my gaiwan, I popped in some leaf and water at 200F.  Gave the leaves a quick rinse and quickly added in more water to go about my first infusion.

-First infusion:  Delicious toffee notes with a small hint of chocolate and no astringency and a hint of malt.   At this point, we are talking dessert tea here.  Really lovely and nice.  Can not get enough and the brew was gone in no time.

-Second infusion: Still those same delicious toffee notes but the chocolate touches are becoming a bit stronger.

-Third Infusion:  Toffee notes are pretty distant now and the chocolate notes have also subsided a bit with the malt touches and a new astringency coming in.

-Fourth Infusion:  The astringency is really the power player at this point and I’m thinking about taking the leaves to make a cold brew.  Not a huge fan of super astringent teas and the brew is taking a turn in that direction.

Now, I was working the whole time I enjoyed this tea so probably if I would have timed the steeps, etc- the tea would have probably lasted for more infusions to my liking.   All in all, love the adventure this tea took me on.  I’m a big fan of this black tea anyway so I was excited to try a more intimidate way to enjoy the tea.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tealyra


Jin Jun Mei (Beautiful Golden Eyebrow in Mandarin) is a famous Chinese tea known for its deep auburn golden hue and delicate slender leaves, like a beautiful women’s eyebrow. It is one of the most beloved Chinese teas, grown and produced in Fujian province.

In the springtime, the two small leaves are plucked from the stem and allowed to fully oxidize; this full oxidation gives Jin Jun Mei its deep and malty aromatic profile. Jin Jun Mei is made of slim black and gold tips, covered in a delicate golden fuzz. Once steeped, it has a smooth body and well rounded mouth-feel; its taste is sweet, honey-like, malty, velvety smooth and has hints of vanilla.

Jin Jun Mei is best enjoyed straight, and try multiple steeping it multiple times!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!