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!

Review: Pu-erh Hazelberry/Adagio Teas

This tea’s loose leaf smells like a chocolatier’s shop in the late afternoon. The sun is low and the ochre dust motes ease in waves through the air. Ah. It’s old, it’s new, it’s sweet, it’s familiar.

As you steep the tea, it turns amber. When I saw the color, I thought “amber!” and then I thought “WHICH IS WHERE DINOSAUR DNA COMES FROM.” (Being a tea reviewer does not mean I will grow up.)

The resulting flavor is a chocolately, muted-berry, cream affair. The berries, despite being pretty prominently mentioned in the title of the tea, have been repressed — possibly by the patriarchy. It’s usually the patriarchy.

The primary flavors of this are a sort of chocolate/vanilla/hazelnut mix that remind me of protein shakes.

I’m not one to dis protein shakes! They’re an easy breakfast I eat most days!

But I’m not sure it’s what I wanted for my tea. This would be a great starter tea, though, for a person who really likes protein shakes and isn’t sure if they’re going to like tea. The “tea” itself isn’t the point. It’s more of a support for the chocolate/vanilla/hazelnut flavor that sits on top.

That said, there’s definitely a time and place for this tea. It’s inoffensive and unchallenging and sometimes that’s simply what you want. This tea is the sort of thing I’d contentedly drink while needing caffeine (it’s pu’erh!) but in the mood to focus on my work instead of the intricacies of what I’m drinking.

Not everything needs to be difficult or sophisticated. Take it from the girl who referenced Jurassic Park in a tea review.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description

The earthy smoothness of Pu Erh creates a warm foundation for the rich flavor of hazelnut while playful, tangy-sweet strawberries peek through the nutty opulence. A hint of cream adds a soft, dreamy note to the blend.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lemongrass and Ginger. . . .Empa-Tea/Miss TeaSmith

Things have been unique as of late with my family.  We are currently experiencing some life changing news and are working on addressing and processing all of this new info we’ve been given.  Except for me- who has decided to go on this mad teaware and tea buying spree, which is not necessarily a bad thing- I just have not had the mind set to sit down and actually enjoy what I’ve been buying as of late.

Until this beauty showed up at my door.  Empa-Tea is a simple blend of ginger and lemongrass that we’ve seen a few different versions of.  Sometimes there is a bit of rose or lavender in the blend but an herbal ginger lemongrass blend is pretty common.  This particular blend only has ginger and lemongrass listed in the ingredients on the label (on the website the ingredients also list lime peel, lemon verbena, lime leaves, red peppercorns and sunflower petals)  but I am spying some peppercorn along with possibly some citrus peel as well.  The name struck me and it seemed like the perfect time to check this blend out.

I prepped this blend a few different ways but my absolute favorite way was to cold brew this blend over night in sparkling water from my Soda Stream. I can’t seem to get enough of it.  Bright pops of the ginger and lemongrass really blend well with the citrus undertones and the fresh bubbles of the sparkling water.  Our lovely VariaTea creates unique tea concoctions all the time and I thought I’d try my hand with this blend.  And so happy I did.  Bubbly sweet, spicy, with a citrus note. . .you can’t go wrong.  Completely puts the sparkling water flavors you can pick up at the local grocery store to shame or at least a bit.

I did try this blend as both a regular cold brew and brewed hot and all were lovely.  The prominent notes that came across with each brewing was the ginger and the lemongrass.  The citrus notes were more muted when hot brewed but cold brewed you were able to pick up on those.

Versatile blend and classic flavors, you really can’t go wrong with a solid fresh ginger lemongrass blend like Empa-Tea no matter how you prep it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Miss TeaSmith

Description

ingredients – Ginger, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena, Lemon peel, Lime Leaves, Red Peppercorns, Sunflower Petals

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

**This tea was sent to the SororiTea Sisters in exchange for a review**

Snooze (Sleepy Tea)/Teapigs

Just the Facts
*Tea Type: Tisane / Herbal
*Region: Not Specified
*Caffeine Level: None
*Ingredients: sweet apple, light lavender, and chamomile.
*Description: apple sweetened tea with a flowery hint.
*Appearance: small dried chamomile and lavender buds with bits of dried apple.
*Brewing Instructions: Temp of 212*F or 100*C. Brew 3-5 minutes.
*Multiple Infusions: No
*Aroma: apples with herbs.
*Color: light champagne
*Tasting Notes: apples, lavender and chamomile.
*Availability: In stock / Sold in Temples (sachets)

The Review

I often find myself drinking herbal tea when I want to remedy an aspect of my life or health. It’s not uncommon for me to pull out a ginger or peppermint tea when a digestive ailment plagues me, and chamomile or lavender to calm. Lately, I have had difficulty regulating my sleep cycle so I was eager to try Snooze Tea by Teapigs. Before I had released the temple, the term used to describe their pyramid shaped tea bags, I had heaped upon it my desperate desire for immediate and a deep recuperative sleep. I know, I imposed sleeping pill expectations that no tea could live up to. However, what I did find was a calming chameleon in a sachet. I use the term chameleon to describe teas with tasting notes that change when a different sweetener or steeping applications is introduced.

I was unable to find the amount of water to be used for their single serve tea temples on the website or packaging. I tend to like a stronger tea which prompted me to use 6 ounces of water heated to 212F or 100C, and the steep time of 5 minutes. The color was that of light champagne and the aroma reminiscent of a farmers market in the south of France. Sweet earthy apples, warm chamomile, and heady lavender wafted from the cup. I pictured myself riding a 1950’s lavender-blue cruiser style bicycle with a wicker basket on the front packed with cheese, bread, and produce. I giggled when I pictured myself falling off the bicycle because I haven’t ridden in over 25 years; so much for that daydream and the now crushed wicker basket.
I parted the brewed tea into three 2 ounce portions and commenced with my tasting. The plain brew had a heavy herbal taste to it that left a minty-medicinal finish; odd, given that I didn’t remember mint being listed amongst the ingredients. The portion sweetened with white sugar had a pronounced pleasant floral aroma and finish. Finally, the remaining portion sweetened with clover honey brought forth an apple crispness and finish. I found both sweetened versions incredibly enjoyable.

While they did not induce sleep, they did calm my mind and spirit. I would not recommend these teas be paired with strong dishes, but they would compliment light fare such as cheese and crackers. Really, any foods where you want to add an apple or herbaceous note. Better yet, drink it alone or try it as a refreshing iced tea on those hot summer days when you want something light but thirst-quenching.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Teapigs

Description

Fancy. Sweet apple, light lavender and a flowery hint.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!