Whisky Tea/Whittard of Chelsea -VariaTEA-

I have never been a fan of whisky. My step-dad likes it and so when a young me meandered up to the side of of my mom’s bed and looked at the glass of whisky on the night stand and then at my mom and then back at the glass and back at my mom, my mom had no qualms about giving me the okay to taste it. Why? Because I reacted in the very way she expected…I took the tiniest sip and then spat it out and yelled “EWWWWWW!!!” I did not like it then. I still do not like it now. So when a tea friend sent me a whole bunch of this Whisky tea by Whittard of Chelsea, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

That is until the other day when my family made pulled pork, which required 2L bottles of coke. My mom bought the off-brand coke figuring it was going in the food and wouldn’t really matter thus no sense spending the extra money on actual Coca Cola. So when there was a bit leftover, we were unsure of what to do with it. I felt inspired and decided to use it in a teapop. That left me with the question of which tea to use and it was this one that came to mind.

I brewed up both a plain hot cup of the tea and a teapop. Both were steeped for 3 minutes in 200F water.

The hot cup is malty. Malty but brisk. The underlying flavor is dry, like alcohol. It is like a breakfast tea but with alcohol. Definitely not the tea for me. I like softer and more dessert-like flavors. Astringency and briskness with a touch of alcohol is just not for me. However, for those that like breakfast teas and whisky, this could be right up your alley.

As for the teapop, it’s more of the same but with the off-brand coke, it has a pretty strong medicinal quality. It latches on to the dryness and gives this a bit of a cough syrup element. Like cherry cough syrup but without the cherry.

This tea smelled good in the bag but ended up being quite the bust. I think that is more due to my personal tastes than a reflection on the tea. Plus, it was not helped by the off-brand coke flavor since I am a Coca Cola girl through and through. So while this was not good for me, I do see that it has potential for those that enjoy these flavors.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whittard of Chelsea

Description

Specially for those who love a tipple, we’ve concocted a rich black tea laced with flavours of fine Scotch whisky, adding a highland fling of heather petals in true Scottish spirit. With its warm, rounded flavours and malty sweetness, this tea is as good as any hot-toddy – so you won’t be needing that hip flask after all…

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Review: Lion’s Blend/Friday Afternoon

This afternoon I felt like getting woke — both energetically and politically — so I chose Lion’s Blend from Friday Afternoon Tea.

This tea is essentially an Earl Grey with added rooibos & orange. The rooibos in Lion’s Blend gives a nice vanilla/sweetness that balances out its citrus/bergamot flavors. (I’m a huge fan of red rooibos, which I think throws in creaminess and joy to any cup.) Despite the rooibos, I still find this blend a little astringent. I like it, but it’s not on my must-have re-buy list.

However, I’m super happy I bought this blend because the proceeds go to an important charity that assists trans people with getting their mental health needs met (https://seattle.eater.com/2020/6/8/21284453/seattle-cafe-friday-afternoon-tea-donates-trans-mental-health-funds-jk-rowling). All of Friday Afternoon’s Harry Potter themed (https://fridaytea.com/collections/j-k-rowling) teas’ proceeds go there.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with a children’s book writer from 20 years ago, Jo (J. K.) Rowling has been saying a lot of transphobic things. You can Google it if you want. It’s mean stuff.

Friday Afternoon Tea saw this and decided to use its teas and the fans of her work to show that the fandom is progressive and kind! I love this. It’s a win-win situation.

It’s possible to love someone’s work without loving them. I also feel this way about horror/fantasy author HP Lovecraft. (He was really, REALLY racist. He thought Hitler had some good ideas.) It’s possible for people to be geniuses in one way but very, very behind in others.

That’s where this tea comes in.

Thanks, tea. You always give me balance in a crazy world.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black/Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Friday Afternoon 

Description

Lions, tigers, and griffins, oh my! This tea is dedicated to our bold, righteous Gryffindor brethren. They can find courage and happiness in the darkest of places, especially when bolstered by the bright citrus notes in this tea!

Ingredients: Rooibos, Assam black tea, orange peel, marigold, natural flavorings

All of our teas available online are gluten-free and sourced from organically certified farms. Most are vegan, but some may include honey (indicated in ingredients).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Autumn 2019 Special Grade Laoshan Black/Verdant Tea

Please do not mind me as I sit here and gaze at this pulchritudinous tea.

It is somewhat difficult for me to describe the color of these brilliantly twisted leaves.

It is dark brown with hints of grays and greens. The aroma is fresh, toasty, and warm. The wet leaf aroma is vegetal.

Slightly musty. What a unique flavor.

Toasty notes are the forerunners. Followed closely by a chocolate and cream sensation. If steeped too long it takes almost like burnt chocolate.

The after taste is a bit mineral and this really shows when it comes to the feeling it leaves on the tongue.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

Pioneers and community leaders in Laoshan Village, the He family was one of the first to plant tea on the misty ocean-facing slopes of the Taoist Holy Mountain they call home.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Shou Pu’erh/Little Red Cup Tea Co

It’s been a while since I have had a decent Pu’erh or even written a review about one. I guess I’m pretty specific in my personal Pu’erh tastes.

Enter Little Red Cup’s Shou Pu’erh.

I have to say I was a little afraid when I infused 1 teaspoon – maybe a little more – loose Pu’erh in my strainer and cup. It was SO dark in color – near black. Normally I would LOVE that for a straight-up black tea – but this was a Pu’erh – and I was pre-judging it before I tried it. Shame on me! I was ‘assuming’ it was going to be SO hardcore and over the top strong that it would be hard to drink. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

The flavor was smooth, silky, somewhat – but not overly – earthy, and down right delicious! It wasn’t wormy like some Pu’erhs. And it had hints of cream or vanilla, too!

As it cools – naturally – at room temperature – sweeter notes came into play.

This was a tasty and surprising pu’erh that I would certainly have again!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Little Red Cup Tea Co

Description

Our Fair Trade Shou Pu’er Tea (熟普洱) is grown and produced by members of the Wa minority in Lincang, Yunnan — about as close to the birthplace of tea as it’s possible to get. This shou pu’er brews smooth and dark, silky and earthy with hints of vanilla. It’s a lovely tea: mellow, moderate, and enormously pleasant.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vanilla Caramel Chai/Tazo

A little while back the SororiTea Sisters shared teas in a traveling tea box. One of the sisters was kind enough to share several tea bags of Tazo’s Vanilla Caramel Chai. I grabbed a couple bags to try since vanilla and caramel are both flavors I usually love and lately I have been trying more and more chais and enjoying them.

Tazo’s Vanilla Caramel Chai is a black tea with cinnamon, licorice root, ginger, black pepper, cloves, and natural flavors. The licorice root has me a bit nervous but hopefully the other flavors hide the typical cloying sweetness of the licorice root.

Normally I would make chais as a latte but with only two tea bags, I didn’t think I had enough leaf for that. Consequently, I am trying the tea plain first but may add a splash of milk to get that latte creaminess.

Sipping on it now I am happy to report that the licorice root is nicely masked. There is a lot of cinnamon in the scent of the steeped tea which transfers over to the taste. I also get a ribbon of clove running through the sip. It is sweet and though I can smell vanilla caramel, nothing distinctly reflects that in flavor other than sweet.

I added a little bit of milk and unfortunately it doesn’t do much for taste. This tea is still cinnamon heavy though there is perhaps a bit less clove now.

Some people don’t like too much spice from their chai blends and if you are one of those people, this could be a nice option for you. As for me, I think spice is the whole point of having a chai and this falls short. I would happily forgive the lack of spice if it was in favor of highlighting the vanilla caramel but this falls short there too. It’s not bad per se but there is nothing all that great either.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tazo Tea

Description

How do you make a great cup of chai tea taste even better? You add rich notes of vanilla, delectable caramel, and the classic spices of chai into the boldest black teas. It’s a sweet twist on a spicy favorite. It’s not just better. It’s better-er.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

photo credit:  Tazo Tea