Black Forest Cherry from The Tea Merchant. . . .

This tea traveled all the way from South Africa to join my tea stash in Toronto. Better than that? It arrived with two other Tea Merchant teas in tow: Cranberry and Strawberry Cream. They were all intriguing but my family unanimously determined that this was the best smelling of the three, an interesting decision given that everyone else in my family doesn’t like cherries. I, on the other hand, am a cherry fiend and couldn’t wait to dive in.

I have now had this tea a few times since it first arrived and I think I like it best cold brewed. There is a lot of hibiscus here and when prepared hot it can get rather tart. Cold brewing tames that hibby tartness and provides a chance for the other flavors to come through. That’s not to say it isn’t tart, because it is, but there is also sweetness here and the combination is reminiscent of cherry. Underneath everything, the currant acts as a foundation and though I am not entirely sure what elderberries taste like, this blend has a fairly juicy yet generic berry/cherry flavor that I am sure captures the taste of them.

If I am being totally honest, I do enjoy this tea and it makes for a flavorful juice-like drink but it is a bit of a disappointment in light of how good it smells. The scent is quite distinct but the flavor is far less specific. Plus, when you name a blend something like “Black Forest Cherry” it creates a certain expectation of baked goods and chocolate cake that is just not present here. So, as much as I do like this tea from time to time, it is not quite what I hoped it would be.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tea
Where to Buy:  The Tea Merchant

A rich cherry infusion to blow your taste buds away. Packed full of flavour, this blend of cherry, black currants and elderberries is simply wonderful.

Ingredients: Hibiscus, Currants, Grapes, Elderberries, Chopped Almonds, Natural Flavourants, Safflower, Cherry Pieces

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

White Coconut Blondie from The Tea Merchant

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  The Tea Merchant

Tea Description:

Creamy, smooth, and delicious! We use spring select white tea hand blended with coconut, safflowers, and cornflowers. Delivers a sweet creamy texture with a light body, and a good balance of coconut. This tea is wonderful hot, iced or as a dessert tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is so-so-so good!

Right off the bat, I’m really impressed with this tea.  When I opened the resealable Kraft pouch, I was greeted with some of the freshest white tea leaves I’ve yet to see!  Their color is a pale green with silvery white tips, and are covered in silvery fuzz.  And they’re so soft – not crunchy!  I think that the only time I’ve seen white tea this fresh it has been a pure, unadulterated tea, not a flavored tea blended with flower petals and chunks of organic coconut.

And now that I’ve brewed the tea and am sipping it, I’m so thrilled with how good it tastes.  It has a sweet, creamy coconut taste that marries beautifully with the delicate taste of the white tea, which is not overwhelmed by the strong coconut flavor.  The white tea has a lightness to it (it IS a white tea, after all!) but it also is quite creamy, with an almost buttery undertone.  I like that I taste both the coconut and the white tea … It’s all very nicely balanced.

The tea also has a very subtle floral tone that offers just a hint of contrast.  This, together with the slightly dry astringency toward the tail helps keep this tea from coming across as cloying.  It is a very sweet tea, but, these little nuances keep it from tasting too sweet.

A very enjoyable tea that is delicious any time of day, would make a very good alternative to dessert on the days when you want to go low-calorie but still crave delicious flavor.  If you like coconut, this is a tea that you MUST try!

Green Kukicha from The Tea Merchant

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  The Tea Merchant 

Tea Description:

Our organic green kukicha is comprised of non-roasted tea twigs and leafs. Otherwise known as Senkukicha and praised for its health benefits and low caffeine content in the macrobiotic community. This tea has a fresh grassy feel with a slightly fruity taste and a crisp finish. Brews a lively green infusion and is best brewed at a low temperature.

Organic Green Tea Leafs and Stems

Caffeine Content: Low

Region: Japan


Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This has a lovely green Kukicha base and one of my first Kukicha, actually this may have been my first Kukicha, however since have been able to sample a couple others so I can say I do like the base used in this blend. Its buttery, and slightly nutty and I am partial to buttery, nutty teas!

The initial aroma was nutty and the dry leaf is eye pleasing.

The initial taste on first sip was indeed buttery but then something shifted, this tea tasted very much of an oolong, which I also do love my oolongs!

The color of the steeped tea is quite interesting, almost a neon yellowish color that boarders on orange. It is the color of the sunrise. Quite pretty.

For such a light colored tea it actually has somewhat of a full mouth feel being nice and creamy!

As I sat with my cup and took in the aromas around me I noticed this tea also smells very much like an oolong!

The flavor however was still very vegetal, grassy and fresh, yet there was this kick to it similar to an oolong with a roast-y toast-y goodness and after taste!

It is quite rich and while I am used to using 2tsp of leaves for greens and oolongs this one may even be able to be extended in your stash by only using 1tsp but I have yet to try that.

Its a delicate tea so be sure you steep a bit lower – around 150 to 170 degrees but not over that as it will become bitter and astringent.

This is a part that is slightly annoying to me as often I do not have the time to baby my teas and just need hardy teas that you can dump into the stainer and pour some scouring water over and be done with it but fine tea does deserve far more focus and attention so be sure that when you steep this tea you have the time to treat it with respect and it will offer you a welcome cup.

Earl Grey from The Tea Merchant

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tea Merchant

Tea Description:

Our blend of hand picked organic black teas from only choice gardens in Sri Lanka. Precious oil of bergamot is then blended with full-bodied leaves to create an excellent citrus bouquet with a great finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m guessing that by now my adoration for Earl Grey is no secret.  I love Earl Grey.  This love of Earl Grey and specifically bergamot makes me eager to try an Earl Grey from a new-to-me source.  When I come across a tea company that I’ve not heard of before, one of the teas that I go hunting for in their selections is Earl Grey.   (Others include yellow teas, chocolate teas and unusual flavor combinations)

So when The Tea Merchant approached me about reviewing some of their teas and asked me which of their teas I’d most like to try, Earl Grey was a the top of my list!

This is a lovely Earl Grey.  The flavors are a bit more mellow than some of the Earl Grey teas that I’ve tried, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I like how the flavors come together:  a full-flavored black tea and a mild intonation of bergamot that enlivens not just the cup but my senses!  (One of the reasons I love Earl Grey so much is that bright aroma from the bergamot.  It has a way of perking me up.  I smell it and I can’t help but smile and from that point on, I feel a little more alert.)

What I’m really enjoying about this particular Earl Grey is that the bergamot has a smoother quality to it – it isn’t sharp or in-your-face strong.  As a result, it has a delicious, natural citrus taste that is deliciously smooth and sweet with just enough of a tart, tangy taste to keep the taste buds happy.

The black tea is deliciously brisk with a nice roundness to it.  It is not bitter, and the astringency is at a pleasing level.  It is not too astringent, but there is some … I’d categorize it as a medium level of astringency.  Those that fear astringency might find this to be a bit too astringent for them, but, for those that realize that astringency is a good thing – they just might agree with me that this tea has the perfect amount of astringency here.

There is a delightful balance struck between the flavor of the tea and the flavor of the bergamot.  I’m not knocked over the head with the flavor, rather, I get to enjoy both flavors in each sip, and enjoy the complexity of this delicious cup of tea.

I’d recommend this Earl Grey to those who think they do not like bergamot as you have a totally different way to experience the fruit with this tea.  If you’re looking for a strong dose of bergamot, this tea might not be for you, but those who are looking for very well balanced Earl Grey need not look any further than this one!


Silk Dragon from The Tea Merchant

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  The Tea Merchant

Tea Description:

A unique blend that is exotic, balanced and complex it will engage you from the second you open the bag with its intoxicating creamy vanilla aroma to your first sip. Creates a smooth, rich flavor with hints of cream, vanilla and a stimulating citrus finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  This is so good.

As you know, I do enjoy quite a few different flavored teas, but when it comes to Oolong, I find that the ones that I favor tend to be pure, unadulterated Oolong teas.  Sure, I enjoy the flavored ones too, but, if given a choice between pure Oolong and flavored, I’ll choose the pure every time.

However, I am finding this flavored Oolong to be extraordinary … one of the best flavored Oolong teas I’ve encountered in a while.  The vanilla flavor is in perfect step with the natural creaminess of the Oolong for a very luxurious, creamy experience.  It’s so silky and creamy and delicious.

The lemon myrtle gives just the right touch of citrus.  It is not a strong tangy note – nothing that interrupts the sweet, creamy goodness of the vanilla – but it offers just a hint of citrus-y taste toward the finish so that the vanilla cream does not overwhelm the palate.

And with all this talk of the amazing vanilla taste and hints of citrus, you may have thought that the flavor of the Oolong is lost somewhere.  It isn’t.  It adds a hint of earthiness and a touch of flower (orchid?  Yes, there are distinct orchid notes), and just a hint of peach-like undertones.

If you like vanilla – you really should try this Silk Dragon from The Tea Merchant.  It takes vanilla to a whole other level.  I don’t think I’ve experienced vanilla in a tea quite like this before.  It’s really amazing.