Four Red Fruits/Kusmi- Ashmanra

Photo Credit: Kusmi Tea

I love Kusmi’s packaging, I love Kusmi’s muslin tea bags, and I am loving Four Red Fruits!

I have tried a few Kusmi teas that ended up on my “must order” list. I can add one more now.

Four Red Fruits must be a “thing” overseas because I have had other teas and jams by that name, all of them from French companies.

First impression when I steeped this was….dark, rich aroma. Hallelujah, the tea base is going to be good on this one. I can tell by the smell! And it is.

It is so disappointing to get a great smelling tea and then find that the base is inferior and the tea tastes like watery disappointment with flavors added.

No disappointment here! The base has heft. I know I am drinking a good black tea.The company description talks about the pairing of sweet fruit against bitter black tea base, but I wouldn’t call this bitter. It is a great black tea with the nice, dark undertones you find in Keemuns and such. And it is the perfect foundation for adding these beautiful fruit flavors. They are not tart and not too sweet, just perfectly balanced. I can taste the tea and I can taste the fruit.

I have been disappointed that my favorite strawberry tea of all time was discontinued a few years ago. Now I can say I have found a tea that fills that void, even though there is more than just strawberry here. This is delightful, and I can see myself having it at breakfast and for tea time, or even with a late night snack as I am doing right now. Time to update the desert island list…


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Kusmi

Description

An organic black tea with red fruit flavors that will remind you of your favorite pastries!

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise!

If you go down to the woods today… you’ll be picking strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, and cherries!

We certainly didn’t beat around the bush when choosing these red fruits! We wanted them to be indulgent and delicious, delicate and refined… Then we combined them with an intense organic black tea to showcase their full flavors.

In a word, we went the extra mile – and it was worth it! Get ready for an organic Four Red Fruits black tea straight from the oven! Or almost… This tea is even better with a pastry or a biscuit for your afternoon snack.

Organic tea available loose because it’s good for the planet, and in teabags for when you’re on the go.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Original Earl Grey (TE10)/Upton Tea Imports -VariaTEA

Photo Credit: Upton Tea

I don’t really like strong bergamot flavor. Every now and then I’ll reach for an Earl Grey Cream or a flavored Earl Grey but a straight Earl Grey has never been my thing. However, a friend was kind enough to share a sample of Upton Tea Imports’ Original Earl Grey (TE10) and so I figured it was at least worth a try. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to try and make the best of it so I found a London Fog recipe online and got to prepping.

I steeped 3 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes per the company’s steeping parameters. I used the 3/4 of cup of leftover coconut milk in my fridge, topped with some 1% milk to get to 1 cup. I frothed the milk with 2 teaspoons of honey and one removed from the heat I added 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This got poured over the steeped tea.

This is a super creamy latte with a whole lot of coconut and vanilla flavor. Coconut milk is always very rich but to me it is always a touch heavy and seems ever-so-slightly savory (for lack of a better word and maybe because I associate it with thai food more than anything else). I am glad I diluted it down with the 1% milk as well. The honey comes through as a nice balance to the coconut and vanilla, adding some sweetness but not as much as I expected, which is preferable for my tastes.

Of course, how could I talk about a London Fog without mentioning the earl grey itself. I actually am happily sipping away at this one because the bergamot is very nicely balanced. It adds a freshness and a nice citrus flavor but one that is more suited to the cool fall weather. Whereas lemon and lime are typically bright and zingy and make for a nice and refreshing tea in the spring and summer, London Fogs are more cozy. This definitely fits that description.

Unfortunately given all the other ingredients I can’t definitively say that this tea is good or bad but as a base for a London Fog, this tea is perfect. It’s got enough bergamot flavor to push through everything else in the mug without being too harsh or overbearing. Furthermore, from what I can taste, I would say this is good quality given the base is not bitter or astringent either. I still have a fair amount of leaf left in the sample but with this new recipe, courtesy of the Nourishing Gourmet .  I am sure I will make quick work of it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

China Black tea base with bergamot flavor. Produced for the British market, this tea has less bergamot than some American counterparts.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Creepy Cake/Evil Tea -CuppaGeek

Photo Credit: Evil Tea

Taste buds are a super funny thing.  Over the last few months, my taste buds have been all over the place.  There was even a time frame where I couldn’t even drink tea.  Everything tasted off and not even my favorite teas tasted right.  Right around the same time when I noticed my taste buds going wonky, I was starting to notice other health issues so I decided just to take a break from tea all together, hoping that eventually my taste buds would right themselves again.

Recently I felt the urge to have a cuppa tea and I was delighted when not only did the tea taste amazing but my taste seemed to be sharper.  Like I was able to pick up flavors I wasn’t able to before.  Which was so exciting! I quickly shuffled through my tea stash and got to work enjoying cuppa after cuppa of teas that had not had a lot of attention for a while.  After making some headway in my stash. . I decided it was time to check out my friends at Evil Tea once again.  I had tried their teas before and enjoyed them but never reordered or nabbed any of their latest blends.  After seeing a Halloween promo of theirs, I decided to indulge and pick up a few of their blends.  And then a few days later, picked up a few more. . .because. .I was a bit hooked.

I couldn’t wait to try this blend again.  I had tried this blend a bit ago and while it was good and I enjoyed the cuppa, with having so much tea in my tea stash- I was trying to still sip a few more down before I ordered again.   This morning I was super excited to get home, get the kettle prepped and get this tea a brewing.  I was a bit leery about the 5 minute steep time- so I went with a 3 min steep time with freshly prepped 212F water.

First sip in and straight away you are hit with a delicious dessert like note of vanilla that doesn’t really scream straight out vanilla but almost like that soft vanilla like note you would get from a really upscaled cookie or cupcake.  The aroma hits you in the same fashion.  Just a solid lovely not overdone sweetness that keeps you grabbing for you cuppa and enjoying every sip.  This is a Ceylon based blend and there is a slight briskness or astringent note towards the end of each sip that rounds out the sweetness perfectly.  There are also adorable sugar coated fennel seeds that I’m not really picking up but that is probably because I didn’t stick with the 5 minute steep.  I’m a big fennel fan so I will have to try for that 5 min steep to see if the fennel notes come across stronger.

All in all, just a perfect lovely cuppa that I can only imagine would make an insanely good latte with a spiced oat cream or even a lovely adult beverage with a touch of bourbon cream, which I will be trying later this evening.   I’ve always been a fan of my friends over at Evil Tea since they combine two of my favorite loves- all things dark and spooky and tea.  Can’t wait to steep up the other blends to see if they hit the spot like Creepy Cake does.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Evil Tea

Description

Ingredients: A blend of Ceylon Teas with Creme Brulee Flavoring and Sugar Coated Fennel Seeds

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Scottish Morn/Harney and Sons -ashmanra

Photo Credit Harney & Sons

Tea away from home can be a scary proposition. Tea in a public kitchen – scarier.

Needing a cup of tea at a gathering recently, I gulped and inquired as to where the ladies were getting their tea. I was led to a communal kitchen with a metal box containing assorted and sundry tea bags of unknown age and doubtful quality. But lo and behold, tucked in the box was a bag which proved to be Harney and Sons sachets! This, I can trust.

I had never tried Scottish Morn so given my dodgy tummy that sometimes rebels at Assam origin teas I was a little hesitant. Still, it was sure to be the best quality tea available here and I gave it a shot. I enjoy Harney’s Ceylon teas so that was another point in favor of trying this one as it is a blend of Assam and Ceylon.

In spite of my fears that it would be too strong – there was no milk or sugar available and I had no timer – it was quite nice. The water was boiling temperature and the time I guesstimated at 3 minutes. Any diehard strong breakfast tea lovers could go for five minutes and have a blast. You do you.

I saved the sachet in a tiny paper cup and resteeped it an hour later for a second mug, quite satisfactory. Note that Harney’s tea bags are intended for about six or so ounces of tea while the sachets are made with a mug in mind and can do twelve ounces very nicely. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing tea from them, because I USUALLY get 24 ounces of tea from each sachet, and that takes many teas from reasonable to BARGAIN!

The Assam was the dominant flavor, malty and bready, moderately brisk, and the Ceylon brightened and smoothed the cup. It was very drinkable plain and would easily take milk and sugar. It is considered a morning tea but I drank it at night with no food accompanying it and found it enjoyable.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Harney and Sons

Description

Scottish Morn is a strong tea, perhaps our very strongest. When you stand up your spoon in this tea, it might just stand straight. A portion of Scottish Morn & Scottish Afternoon sales goes to support the charitable endeavors of the American-Scottish Foundation®.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Truffle/Fraser Tea -ashmanra

Photo Credit: Fraser Tea

We are a family of puerh lovers and food lovers, so when we gather together there is likely to be an ample amount of both. Fortunately, puerh is touted as having a mitigating effect on overconsumption, and I can personally attest that it has been my boon companion after too much pizza with garlic butter.

At our last gathering, we tried something new – Chocolate Truffle, a flavored organic blend of puerh and black tea.

There are some chocolate teas that have a strong, strange odor. I assume it is an artificial chocolate flavoring. I greatly prefer the natural, thumping good bass note that comes from cocoa nibs, and that’s what Fraser uses in this organic blend. Natural cocoa nibs seem to s-c-r-a-p-e across the tongue like unsweetened cocoa without the bite.

The puerh is earthy and sweet, not terribly strong, and the black tea is not a brisk one, which made this delightfully smooth to drink, and it resteeped very well. There is a natural sweetness coming from the flowers without the tea taking on a strong floral taste.

Overall, it is an elegant cup, somewhat mild and very satisfying as a dessert tea. Being on the higher end of the caffeine scale for tea, it may also serve as a little energy boost if you are using it as a dessert replacement.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black/Puerh

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

Description

Sweet cream with earthy chocolate flavors and smooth finish

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!