Pancake Breakfast Black Tea from 52Teas

PancakeBreakfast1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: 52Teas

Tea Description:

Because the love for this tea is so strong, we stuck closely to the original recipe.  One difference is that we’re utilizing different teas in our black tea base.  I think you’ll notice the difference and I’m confident you’ll feel this was a change for the better!  We’ve made a really yummy thing even better!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about the Tea of the Week Program from 52Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Well hello there! It’s been a long time, no see! It has been a hot minute since this Dodo has written anything in the world wide tea web about tea. Just to catch anyone up, I have started a new job, and it is that job that has made this little bird a bit apprehensive about writing any reviews. You see, I now work with the tea company, Tealet. The curtain has fallen, and the inside of the tea world looks quite different than it did on the outside. Taking everything I learn with a grain of salt, I think I can safely begin reviewing teas at perhaps an even more subjective perspective than before. (Cracks neck) Now I am ready to get back to work!

On to the tea! This is the first tea that I cracked out of the re-blend sampler pack I receive as my kickstarter rewards. This was the one I was most excited about. Upon opening the package, I get a strong whiff of the flavors. Maple at the forefront, light and fluffy buttered pancake at the bottom. At first whiff it smelled like the black tea base was cowering in the wake of the flavoring.

Steeping the tea, the black base does get to shine through a bit more. It’s a robust cuppa, very suitable for a breakfast setting. A dash of cream, no sugar, and you get more dessert flavors from the maple and the black tea. The flavoring themselves are quite strong, maybe a little too strong for me. Even so, they pin down hot, fluffy pancakes, buttered and drowned in syrup so well I almost don’t care.

This tea is quite good. I finished my sampler bag in three days! I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a quirky twist on your plain, old, worn out English Breakfast. Two for you, 52Teas, you go 52Teas!

Midwest Tea Fest 2015: Part 1 – The Event!

midwestfest1The Midwest Tea Fest a was a whirlwind of fun! It had everything I could have hoped for in my first tea-centric festival, great teas, fun gadgets, big names, and excitement! I can’t thank the coordinators Alex and Nichole enough Here is my review of the festivities, quick and easy.

Getting to the venue was a bit of a challenge. One of the country’s oldest races cut right across the World War 1 museum, so find the entrance was a bit of a laugh for me, I felt like I was climbing a mountain to get to the tall spire and the bashful sphinxes that guarded the museum. I never realized just how out of shape I was until I trudged up that hill! By the time I got to the entrance, it was already 10:15. The festival started at 10 and the line was already almost to the door. With some waiting and a slight hiccup, (I had preordered my tickets, and got the Dragonwell VIP package, and was not found on ‘the list.’ I managed to get in, but now that I think about it, there was all sorts of goodies I was supposed to receive with my ticket… ah well.) I was in! There was such a mass of people, that I had to wait aside for the right moment to enter, lest I be swept away by the throngs of tea-obsessed peoples.


I managed to get inside, and immediately started taking pictures. Queen’s Pantry was the first booth, and was massively swamped the whole time, with good reason too! They were sampling their Birthday cake black tea, which was excellent. Next door was the Shang Tea booth, which was sampling their white and tangerine blossom red. I couldn’t wait to sit in their presentation about aged white tea and unglazed porcelain.




The booth next to Shang was none other than James Norwood Pratt and his wife Valerie! I had to double back from the Harney and Sons booth to say hello to them both. JNP was a little surprised at my enthusiasm, a good majority of the people in attendance were just walking past him. He had a funny laugh and was quite polite. He handed me his business card with both hands and made me promise to keep in touch. NO problem, man! Next to his booth was Pi ceramics, which had great handmade pottery. I ended up getting a lot of her wares! But that is for another post.



Harney was stuck in the corner, and strangely unattended most of the time. Across that way was Tea Market, Bingley’s and Traveling Tea. I loved Bingley’s setup, they were actually my favorite booth! They had a little Yoda and R2D2 watching over the teas and a little glass teapot.


Phoenix Herbal was next, next to Yoki, Anna Marie’s Teas (Which actually had two booths, I got a teacup candle from their second one) and London Tea Room. Yoki was another one of those booths that was always crowded, I was only able to squeeze in for about a minute before being squished out again. But they did have some great looking tea sets and matcha candies.  The London tea room had some great teas to sample as well. I really enjoyed their setup as well.


A quick jaunt to the booth just outside of the tasting cafés was Single Origin Teas. I managed to snag a sample or two before heading to the presentations. In the tasting café area as well as the presentation rooms I was able to get a more in depth look at the companies and the teas they were most proud of. It was a breath of fresh air, with a lot less people to wade through. I was able to sit in at Tealet’s tasting of Nepalese teas, which is where I met fellow tea blogger, Amanda, ‘Soggy Enderman’ Wilson! Funny enough, we were right next to each other, and a mutal Instagram friend pointed out our near identical tasting cup pictures! Just when the tea was getting good, the fire alarm went off mid tasting session! We all filed out, and waited to go back in, but not before getting one last taste out of the white tea we were drinking. Luckily, nothing was actually on fire, so it was a short wait out in the humid Kansas City air. Whoever set off the alarm, we will never know. I went to the tasting session promptly after we were allowed to go back inside, hosting by the London tea room. At that time my phone had had enough of all the frenzied photographs I was taking and promptly died. My man and I stopped for an eat to bite as well as to charge my phone. While it was regaining it’s strength, we had a great lunch of period army food, ‘chipped beef’ and ‘trench stew.’ Appetizing, ain’t it?midwest17

I had some time to kill before the last presentation, so I wandered about, and ran into Elyse and Ree ‘Tulli’ from Tealet! Shooting the breeze with the fabulous and fascinating ladies at Tealet was so much fun, I would love to work with these strong and motivated people again soon!

Finally the time came, the main event was upon us! I had a friend secure us a good seat to listen to James Norwood Pratt’s thoughts on tea. He was a hit, making the easy crowd laugh and describing the intricacies of processing tea. It was a great end to a fabulous event. I had a great time, and I would not hesitate to go again next year. Next stop, Rocky Mountain Tea Fest!

Bonus points for making it through this post: I was on KC TV (channel 41) right before going to the fest! Watch me stumble over my words here.

Genmaicha Green Tea from Tealet

GenmaichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tealet

Tea Description:

Genmaicha is one of Japan’s most well-known green tea outside sencha. Translated to Brown Rice Tea it is literally green tea, Yanagi Bancha, with 100% Japanese-grown sweet mocha rice. The roasted brown rice will remind you of the rich and sweet flavor of popcorn. This brings a nuttiness to the sweet and bitter of the sencha. This is a great introduction to the diverse world of Japanese green tea.

The sweetness and warmth of Genmaicha is best shared with loved ones on a chilly day. All palates can find something to love in this nutty tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Genmaicha is one of my favorite teas to sip when it’s chilly outside.  There is just something so warm and comforting about the roasty-toasty flavor of Genmaicha.  This Genmaicha Green Tea from Tealet is a wonderful offering … brought to Tealet from the Obubu Plantation in Kyoto, Japan.


The toasted rice flavors have a slightly caramelized flavor to them – warm and roasted.  There are also notes to this tea that remind me of freshly popped popcorn – hold the butter!  I think that is what differentiates this Genmaicha from others that I’ve tried … there is less of that buttery undertone to the green tea … instead, I find this green tea to be more of a savory tasting tea.  That doesn’t make it better or worse … just different, and I really like it when I find something that is just a little different from the rest.

What I like best about this Genmaicha is it’s overall lightness.  There is a crispness to this cup that is very refreshing.  It also appeals to me because it is both sweet and savory.  This would be an excellent Genmaicha for someone who wants something a little less sweet … a little more balanced!  As for me, I think it’s absolutely lovely!

Japanese Black Tea from Tealet

japanese-black-teaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tealet

Tea Description:

Japan is not known for its black tea production, but it is no surprise that many Japanese growers are trying their hand at black tea. All tea derives from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, only the processing of the leaf makes a difference. Japanese tea growers such as Osamu are experimenting with new tea processing methods by learned from growers in other countries. This Wazuka black tea is a bit different than the common Ceylon or Darjeeling, but it will not disappoint. Its rich flavor shows that Japanese tea varieties are capable to make great oxidized teas. It also shows the dramatic effect location and climate has on a tea?s characteristics.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Japanese black teas are usually pretty difficult to find in this part of the world.  In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually come across Japanese black teas … and one time, it was in such a limited quantity that it was given to me by a tea vendor that did not offer it on their website, because they didn’t have enough to sell!

So, I am thrilled that Tealet is offering this black tea from Japan.  And, I am loving this cup of tea!  It’s excellent!

This tea has a sweet profile, and if I were to describe that sweetness, I’d say that it reminds me a bit of raw sugar.  It has that unprocessed, unrefined kind of sweetness to it, and something about the sweetness reminds me of the warmth of raw sugar.

The tea has a delicious richness to it, it is smooth and there is no bitterness to the tea at all.  There is a minute amount of astringency to this … and only really noticeable when I focus on trying to detect it.  A casual sip does not reveal the astringency, only when I try to taste it, that is when I notice it.

There is also an earthiness to the cup, and these earthy tones play toward the raw sugar notes, as well as notes of cocoa that I begin to pick up on by mid-cup.  These cacao notes develop as I continue to sip.  Interestingly enough the first couple of times that I notice the chocolate-y notes, it reminds me of raw cacao.  Then, toward the end of the cup, the chocolate-y flavor has intensified enough to the point where I notice more dimension in these notes … and I notice hints of roasted cacao.

A truly interesting cup, one I’d be happy to sip anytime!  I love that Tealet is opening the windows of opportunity for tea drinkers who might not have had access to some of these more difficult-to-find teas!  Thank you, Tealet!

Kyobancha from Tealet

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tealet

Tea Description:

After the long cold winter tea growers in Kyoto Prefecture harvest tea leaves and twigs to produce Kyobancha. It has a deep woodsy flavor that is sure to warm you up on a cold holiday night. Many tea-growing regions refer to Kyobancha as ‘bancha for babies’ because it is so low in caffeine because of its late harvest date. It is very difficult to find this tea in stores because tea-growing families usually just drink it themselves.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kyobancha before, so I was excited to try this tea from Tealet.  The leaves are large and remind me a bit of a white tea, actually, like a darker white tea such as a Shou Mei … a really high quality one, where great care was taken to preserve the whole leaf.

The aroma reminds me of a Houjicha tea – its got a toasty kind of scent to it.  The flavor is also kind of roasty-toasty like a Houjicha.  In fact, if I were served this “blindly” … I would guess it was a Houjicha, although there are noticeable differences in the overall flavor. This Kyobancha tastes lighter, and seems to have a little less body and texture to it than a typical Houjicha.  It’s a lighter roasted taste, and just overall a lighter tasting tea.

In this video from Tealet, Elyse from Tealet discusses the differences between Kyobancha and Houjicha.  It’s a short but informative video, check it out!

I love the sweetness of this tea!  It tastes a bit sweeter to me than a Houjicha, with very little vegetative taste.  It kind of tastes like raw sugar cane, with some nutty notes and hints of a hay-like vegetal note.

The best way I can describe this is this:  Imagine Houjicha and White Tea had a love child.  That child would be named Kyobancha!

I really enjoyed this new experience.  Thank you, Tealet, for making it happen!