This isn’t a review but an advertisement (sorry guys!) No, we don’t usually advertise here on this site – this is an anomaly – but because one of the founding SororiTea Sisters is now the Mad Tea Artist behind 52Teas, she gets the privilege of deviating from the norm.
And 52Teas has a Holiday Pre-Sale going on right now on Kickstarter! This isn’t a typical “fundraising” Kickstarter campaign, instead, this is a chance for you to get some Christmas shopping done early while it helps us keep things just a little more organized by keeping our pre-sales separate from our day-to-day sales activity.
52Teas is offering 5 unique, limited edition teas for this promotion – these teas will be available only during the season and once they’re sold out, they won’t be reblended until next Christmas!
Here’s the specs on those five VITs (Very Important Teas):
- Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire – This is a special blend of black teas with a hint of Lapsang Souchong to give it that smoky touch that you’d experience from an open fire. Flavored with chestnut and caramel and just a hint of spice to give it that winter-y kind of appeal.
- Gingerbread Houjicha – I love the flavor of gingerbread and I think that the roasty-toasty, nutty flavor of houjicha would offer a delightful base to these flavors.
- Eggnog Chai – A Chai blend (black tea with a touch of honeybush) flavored with notes of custard-y eggnog with an extra dash of nutmeg to enliven the cup. This would make a great latte to serve Santa on Christmas Eve!
- Cranberry Orange Cider – A blend of red and green rooibos that’s been flavored with cranberry, orange and apple with a medley of holiday spices.
- Peppermint Marshmallow Melting in Hot Chocolate – For this blend, I chose a special black tea blend (crafted with teas from our friends at Verdant Tea) for the base that has a rich, natural cacao flavor with hints of malt. Peppermint, marshmallow and even more chocolate-y flavor to create a deliciously delightful cuppa.
YUM! So please take a moment to visit the 52Teas Kickstarter Holiday Pre-Sale and get some of that early Christmas shopping done early! The campaign closes on October 27th so your card won’t be charged until that date, and the teas will be shipped in plenty of time for gift giving!
Thanks for taking a moment to read this . . . now let’s get back to the reviews!
Where to Buy: Stur
Brewed Black Tea + Lemon – a mouthwatering and naturally sweetened blend of real, brewed black tea and fresh lemons! It just tastes natural, not chemical or processed. Add Stur to your tap water, bottled water, Sodastream/ sparkling water, even cocktails.
Learn more about this product here.
During a recent shopping trip to my favorite produce market, Chucks, I came across a end-cap display of Eternal Bottled Water. Attached to several of these bottles were little trial size packets of Stur products. Most were fruit flavored, but I found a couple of Black Tea & Lemon trial packets, so I grabbed one of those.
These Stur products are similar to the popular “liquid water enhancers” that you can find in most grocery store aisles where juice is sold (or alternatively, where bottled water is sold.) My daughter has recently “discovered” the liquid water enhancers because I’m not fond of her drinking a lot of sugared sodas or fruit juice (which has a lot of natural sugars and really isn’t that much better for her than soda, in my opinion). Sure, I do make tea for her on occasion, but she doesn’t want tea that often, so, I find that these liquid water enhancers – many of which do not contain any sweetener in them – are something I’d prefer for her to drink over the over-sugared soft drinks.
This Stur product does have a sweetener in it: stevia. I would rather that not be in there, because … there’s something off about the stevia in this. Either there is too much stevia in it or the stevia used in this product is a lower quality stevia because I’m tasting chemical-y taste … not just “aftertaste” but chemical while I’m tasting and then chemical that is lingering in the aftertaste.
It reminds me a lot of the drink mix that my step-mother would sweeten with saccharine. Not my favorite taste.
And unfortunately, because of the off tasting sweetener, it’s hard to really talk about the black tea flavor or the lemon. The lemon is there – and it’s a tart, acidic flavor (as if someone squeezed lemon juice into my water bottle). The lemon is actually the best part of this “liquid enhancement.”
I don’t taste a lot of the black tea flavor, and that could be because the sweetener flavor is blocking my ability to really taste the black tea. I don’t know, but I’m finding it hard to enjoy this particular beverage because of the stevia in it.
There is either too much stevia in this or the stevia product used is not a high quality product. I wish I could say that I like this, but I just can’t … because … I don’t. And I feel as though I ruined a perfectly good bottle of Eternal Water.
Tea Type: Green Iced Tea (Ready to Drink/Prepared Drink)
Where To Find: Dutch Bros. Coffee
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.
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Driftwood Tea
Our Huang Shan Mao Feng comes from the first picking in early spring, when the finest teas are selected, and is a beautiful example of one of China’s ‘Ten Famous Teas.’ A real Champagne tea and one every Chinese and green tea lover should really experience fresh.
Learn more about this tea here.
Ah … lovely! This Pre Rain Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from Driftwood Tea is really a wonderful tea to experience.
The leaves are long and fluffy, and their shape and fluffy/bulky kind of quality reminds me a bit of a Silver Needle tea, but the color is a darker green color than the typical Silver Needle tea. They also do not feel as soft to the touch as a typical Silver Needle tea. But that’s OK, of course, because this is NOT a Silver Needle tea … it’s a Mao Feng.
And this is truly a lovely example of a Mao Feng. It is light and delicate, with notes of a fresh “grassy” kind of taste … but this grassy/vegetative taste is not a strong note. It is light, and there is an overture of sweetness that is almost nut-like, and this sweetness keeps the grassy tone from tasting ‘bitter’ or off. It’s a very pleasing, delicate balance between sweet and vegetative.
There is also a very enjoyable floral note that is almost indistinguishable with the first few sips, but as I continue to sip, this delightful floral note develops.
Mao Feng is a classic Chinese green tea, and as the above description states, it’s one of the famous ten teas. What makes Mao Feng teas so special to me is their simplicity. But even though I tend to call Mao Feng teas a “simple” green, there is complexity to them too. They have lovely layers of flavor, very soothing, and very pleasing to the palate. Sweet, nutty notes together with a brothy, vegetative grassy tone that is delicate yet lush, and the floral note that builds as one continues to sip.
A truly lovely tea, this Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from Driftwood Tea! If you are a green tea lover, this is one for you to add to your must try list!