A friend of mine was kind enough to share a sample of Hotcups’ Death by Cocoa tea with me. Prior to receiving this sample, I had not heard of this company. Then, as part of an Instagram challenge to post 365 days of tea, I featured this sample in one of my posts and tagged the company. Hotcups then reached out to me and was kind enough to share even more samples of their offerings. They sent me seven teas to try including this one, Fruit Thirsty Crow.
Fruit Thirsty Crow is a mix of currants, hibiscus petals, rosehip peel, elderberries, blueberries, cornflower petals, black currants, raspberry pieces.
I divided the sample in half and prepared a cold brew with one half and a hot cup with the other. For the cold brew, I let the tea sit in water in the fridge for approximately 24 hours. For the hot cup, I steeped it in boiling water for 4 minutes. Unfortunately life got in the way and the “hot” tea was mostly a cooled tea by the time I tried it. So, this is actually a review of a cold brew and a cooled tea.
The cooled tea tastes a little bit like bubblegum to me. Granted, not fresh, just-put-in-your-mouth gum. Instead, this is like gum that you have been chewing long enough that the flavor is slightly fading and the actual gum flavor is coming through, but not so long that it’s no longer fruity. As much as I feel like that explanation can be off-putting, its just the best way I can explain this. It’s actually an enjoyable enough cup with a hibiscus/berry flavor at the front that tapers off to that gum/wax flavor at the end of the sip.
The cold brew is better than the hot tea because that gum element is gone. It is sweeter than the cooled tea and has more berry flavor. This is more like Swedish Berry gummies in their prime than gum that’s losing it’s flavor.
Is it the best fruit infusion I have ever had? No. But it’s a nice enough tea if you like more of a berry focus.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: Hotcups
Ingredients: Currants, hibiscus petals, rosehip peel, elderberries, blueberries, cornflower petals, black currants, raspberry pieces.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
It’s day 23 … are you finished with your shopping yet? (Please don’t ask.)
For today’s artistic inspiration, I am featuring this rustic heart ornament from Gwynn Thoma. I’m not entirely sure, but it looks as though the panels were felted and then stuffed and hand sewn together. It’s really lovely and I love the way it looks on my tree. Since about 95% of the ornaments on my tree are all handmade, I love the way this ornament really seems to define that idea. It looks simple and rustic, but I love the charm that it brings to my tree.
Mint Detox Tulsi Tea
Leaf Type: Tulsi
Where to Buy: Teanzo 1856
With rosehips and mint, this loose leaf detox tea supports hydration and detoxification. You can sip this detox tea hot or gulp it down as an iced tea guilt-free since it has virtually no calories! Makes a fantastic and unique gift. This is a herbal tea that you can take with you in your water bottle and sip all day long to stay refreshed.
Learn more about this tea here.
There have been quite a few caffeine free tisanes in this Advent Calendar box from Teanzo. Some have been hits and others misses. Fortunately, this one is a hit!
I really like the combination of spearmint and tulsi. The warmth of the tulsi and the cool, crisp notes of the spearmint offers a nice contrast. The spearmint is refreshing without tasting toothpaste-y as the spicier notes of the tulsi help to reduce the impact of the mint.
Also nice is the light, lemony note from the lemon myrtle. It’s a really uplifting flavor that brightens the whole cup.
It’s a pleasant combination of flavors that I found very enjoyable. I don’t know if it works as a “detox” or not, but, I will say that this is one of the tastier “detox” teas I’ve tried. It’s thirst-quenching and tastes good served hot or cold and it has a nice, natural sweetness to it that requires no additional sweetener. Another bonus for the detox!
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Lemon Lily
Organic, delicate, earthy but not grassy. This blend of organic white tea is gently paired with organic beetroot Powder, organic lavender, organic passionflower, organic rosehip, organic rose buds Dry, it’s beautiful to look at. Steeped and allowed to rest for about ten minutes and you really start to taste the floral notes. But the touch of earthy sweetness from the beetroot balances out the floral, keeping it from tasting soapy.
Learn more about this month’s Postal Teas shipment here.
Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.
The photo above doesn’t really show the beetroot powder. When I received my pouch of this tea in my Postal Teas box this month, I was kind of surprised by the hot pink dust that had settled to the back of of the pouch. It kind of looked like freeze dried lipstick that had been pulverized into a powder.
I guess I could have said it looks like powder blush in the pouch, but, I couldn’t see anyone wanting to wear this particular shade of pink on their cheeks, but I could see it on someone’s lips or possibly their fingernails. Then again: freeze dried nail polish that had been pulverized into a powder – that seems like it would be a lot more effort to pulverize nail polish into a powder than it does lipstick.
Anyway … this blend has been dusted with powdered beetroot and it’s a vibrant shade of pink. And when you steep the tea, the tea becomes a ruby red color. It almost looks like it has hibiscus in it. Almost. Fortunately, beetroot doesn’t taste like hibiscus. I prefer beetroot.
This is one of the more interesting teas I’ve reviewed lately. First of all, love the name. Love it. And I can’t recall having a tea blended with beetroot powder. I may have. It’s just nothing comes to mind immediately. And you would think that something as unique as beetroot powder would stick in the memory, you know?
Similar to the Maple Leaf tea that I tried a few days ago from the same company, this tea is very floral. I am tasting notes of lavender and rose distinctly. The passionflower is a bit more demure in this blend, which is not surprising as it tends to be rather mild tasting. I like how the beetroot softens the flavors of the flowers a little and brings it’s own unique flavor to the cup. It’s sweet and I can taste a hint of the vegetable flavor of the beet.
The white tea is a little less discernible in this blend, but I do taste it. The light, airy, hay-like note of the white tea seems to complement the floral notes. This tea is earthy (which also complements the floral notes), floral, very slightly vegetal, and very enjoyable – albeit different! – to drink.
I steeped this in my Kati Tumbler and I chose to steep it in this cup for one reason: the beetroot powder. I didn’t want to have to scrub the jug of my Breville One-Touch after beetroot powder had steeped in it! It’s a lot easier to scrub my Kati Tumbler!
After shaking the pouch thoroughly (to redistribute the powder that had settled), I measured out 2 bamboo scoops of tea into my Kati and heat the water to 170°F and steeped the tea for 3 1/2 minutes.
Postal Teas recommends letting these teas cool a bit to let the flavors develop and I agree with that. As this particular tea cools, the flavors not only develop but the texture develops too. The beetroot seems to thicken somewhat to create a pleasant, brothy type texture to the cup (without it feeling syrupy the way a hibiscus blend would).
I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to try this tea! Thank you, Postal Teas!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Secret Garden Tea Co.
A playful blend of baby rosebuds, vanilla, and bergamot that reminds us of childhood tea parties. Proceeds go to BC Children’s Hospital.
Ingredients: Black tea, rosehip pieces, rose petals, blackberry leaves, natural flavors.
Learn more about this blend here.
After reading the ingredients listed and then opening the sample pouch of this tea, I was a little surprised to immediately recognize a chamomile blossom. I see the rosehips and rose petals and blackberry leaves, but they need to update their ingredient list to also include chamomile.
This is a tasty blend. The black tea base has a robust flavor and it melds nicely with the notes of vanilla to create a really rich, creamy flavor that is both malty and vanilla-y sweet. The sip starts out really smooth yet strong, and it remains smooth to the finish where I pick up on a slightly dry astringency.
The bergamot is a little less distinct than the vanilla and even the floral notes in this blend. When one reads the description of this tea, they might be led to believe that this is a “Earl Grey Creme” type of tea, but I wouldn’t call it that. It’s more of a flowery cream type of tea than it is a creamy bergamot type of tea.
The floral notes are soft and sweet. I like the way they contrast with the silky vanilla tones. I don’t taste a lot from the aforementioned chamomile blossoms, not even that distinct apple-y flavor that I usually pick up on when I drink something with chamomile. The strength of the black tea and other flavors seems to cancel out the chamomile – but that certainly doesn’t disappoint me. What I do taste is the rose and it’s quite a nice flavor. It starts out rather delicate and by the time I made my way to mid-cup, I was noticing more and more rose essence emerge in every sip.
I’m also so pleased to find that this tea is a tea that benefits the BC Children’s Hospital. I like that Secret Garden Tea Company has found a few favorite charities and offers help to them through the sales of their lovely tea blends.
This is a really nice tea. It has many different layers of flavor and what I think I’m realizing now that I’ve just passed the mid-cup point is that every sip seems to be just a little different than the one that preceded it. I might notice a really strong presence of the black tea in the first sip and with the next sip, I pick up on more vanilla. The sips that follow allow my palate to explore other flavors: hints of bright bergamot notes, a rose essence that develops, and the creamy-malty flavor of the vanilla and black tea flavors.
It’s quite an interesting tea – I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking for a blend that’s a little less ordinary!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Oolong is considered to be the very best, the champers, of the tea world. Oolong is the prettiest tea to watch unfurl in your cup too! Our combination of fresh zingy citrus + delicate floral elderflower won’t get you tipsy but it is tip top indeed. You can also rebrew this one up to 7 times!
Learn more about this blend here.
This is a really tasty and refreshing blend! I usually prefer pure Oolong teas as opposed to flavored Oolong blends but this one really is quite delightful!
The scent of the dry leaf is beautifully floral with bright citrus notes. It’s beautifully aromatic, smelling a bit like something I’d want to fragrance my home with! This would make a great potpourri!
I brewed this tea in my Breville One-Touch tea maker. I don’t usually brew Oolong teas in my Breville but I do sometimes make an exception when it comes to blended and/or flavored Oolongs like this Elderflower Champagne blend. I measured out 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of the tea maker and then poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug and set the settings for 180°F with 3 minutes steep time. For subsequent infusions, I simply added an extra 30 seconds onto the steep time, keeping the amount of water and temperature the same.
The result is a very tasty tea indeed! The aroma of the brewed tea is a little different from the dry leaf – this smells much more citrus-y and less floral than the dry leaf did.
The flavor is a stunning balance of citrus fruits and floral notes. I taste orange and lemon and I like the way the sweeter orange softens the tartness of the lemon so I’m not puckering as I sip. I taste soft, sweet flowery flavors too.
The ingredient list shows that there is hibiscus in this blend too, but I am happy to say that I don’t taste it … nor do I really see any evidence of hibiscus in this blend. The tea does not brew up “pink” in color (it’s more of a light, clear champagne color) nor does it have a thick or syrupy texture, and I’m not tasting hibiscus tart. So hooray for that!
In the first infusion, I didn’t taste a lot of obvious Oolong contribution to this. I did get a nice, buttery texture which is very Oolong-ish to me. I think that this buttery quality is perhaps the only attribute of the first infusion that speaks to me and says, “This is an Oolong tea.” I get hints of vegetation and notes of floral – and it could be that these are from the Oolong or at least these characteristics are highlighted because of the Oolong’s presence in this blend. But neither the vegetal notes nor the floral qualities are saying to me that they are here because of the Oolong.
That said, this is a very enjoyable drink, and I was very happy with the first infusion. I found that the subsequent infusions started tasting more like a Chinese Oolong tea and I noticed that some of the stronger citrus-y notes began to wane. I’m still getting plenty of citrus-y flavors – especially in the aftertaste! – but the citrus notes are softened now and allowing more of the Oolong notes to shine through. The elderflower notes are also softer in later infusions, and again, no real distinct hibiscus-y attributes. Yay!
I really like this tea a lot and I’d recommend it to those that appreciate a fun and interesting tea blend.