Raspberry Cocoa Flavored Black Tea from Tippy’s Tea

raspberrycocoaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

A bold, malty blended black tea with a taste of raspberry and dark chocolate notes at the end. We highly recommend sweetening slightly to bring out the chocolate and raspberry. Delectable.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hmm … after experiencing their wonderful Not so Vanilla Tea, I had high expectations from the Raspberry Cocoa Tea from Tippy’s Tea.  And while it didn’t quite live up to those expectations, I still found this tea to be quite enjoyable overall.  And based upon some of the tasting notes for this tea on Steepster, I think I might be a minority in my thoughts on this tea.

To brew this tea, I used my Kati tumbler.  I measured a bamboo scoop into the basket of the tumbler and poured 12 ounces of boiling water into the tumbler.  Then I let the tea steep for 3 minutes.  I let the tea cool a couple of minutes before taking a sip.  That very first sip was not only still quite hot but also a little ‘muddied’ so I let it cool a few more minutes.

After the tea had cooled to a drinkable temperature, the flavors were much more distinguished.  The raspberry is strong.  It’s sweet with notes of tart.  But it doesn’t taste quite as authentic as I would want from a raspberry flavor.  It seems a little contrived, and I’m not sure if that’s because of the Keemun’s presence in this blend.

The black tea base is a blend of Assam and Keemun.  I’m getting lovely notes of malt and I like the way these notes play with the chocolate-y flavors.  The Keemun offers a hint of smoke to the cup as well as a hint of wine-like flavor.  The wine notes interact with the raspberry and I’m not sure that it does so in a good way.  I’m not sure if it’s the raspberry flavoring itself or if it’s the way the Keemun tastes with the strawberry, it just tastes a little bit off to me.

The smoke from the Keemun adds some interest to the cup as well, although I can’t say that it’s my favorite thing about this tea.  It adds interest, but does it improve the flavors?  Not really.  It almost seems like an odd note, standing out a little in the crowd, it’s just kind of different and doesn’t seem to meld with the other flavors quite right.

So, maybe it’s the Keemun in this tea and not so much the flavoring?  I’m not quite sure.

As the tea cools slightly, I pick up on more chocolate-y notes and that’s a plus.  The chocolate reminds me of a dark, powdery cocoa, as if it were derived from Dutch powdered cocoa.  I can taste the bitter and the sweet.  I think I’m just wanting more of it.

Interestingly enough, I needed to leave my cup for a while and when I returned, it was quite cold.  I found this to be a much tastier cup of tea when it was cold than when served hot.  I don’t usually find this with a chocolate tea (and maybe that’s my own perception because I think of “hot chocolate” when I think of a chocolate drink).

Overall, it was an enjoyable beverage, but there was something just a wee bit off with either the raspberry or the Keemun … or possibly both.  I’m still unsure.

The People’s Tea from Tippy’s Tea

ThePeoplesTeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Oolong Teas

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Tippy’s own interpretation of the Russian caravan tea. Strikes a delicious balance between the oolong and black teas. Infuse multiple times for a full tasting experience.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had a couple of Russian Caravan teas, I think that this one might be the best that I’ve tried!  I think it’s because the Oolong in this blend really comes through in a very pleasant way.  It imparts an almost creamy texture to the cup which is a nice contrast to the smoky notes of the Lapsang Souchong.

To brew this, I lowered the temperature.  When I come across a blend like this that blends two different types of tea (like green and black teas, or in this case, oolong and black teas), I generally yield to the tea that requires the lower temperature.  I’d rather have a slightly weaker flavor from the black tea than the bitterness that would result from a scorched tea leaf.

So I went with 190°F.  I measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the basket of my Kati and poured in the hot water and let it steep for 3 minutes.  After I had started the process, I thought to myself: “Maybe I should have done a quick rinse on the leaves!”  But by the time that I had come to that realization, more than a minute had passed and it was a little passed the time to do a rinse.  Maybe next time!

But as it is, it’s not too smoky.  I don’t know if the rinse would improve the flavor or not, because I’m enjoying it as it is.

It’s smoky, but as I said before, there’s a really nice contrast between the smoky element and the soft, buttery/creamy element of the Oolong.  It’s quite pleasant.  Smooth yet smoky.  Forward notes of caramel.  Middle notes of fruit and flower mingling with the smoke.  Hints of molasses and earth in the distance.  It’s a beautifully complex tea!

In the past, I would shy away from Russian Caravan teas because of the smokiness of them – I’ve never been a big fan of something heavily smoked and when I would smell a Russian Caravan, even though they’re not nearly as smoky as say a straight-up Lapsang Souchong, there is still a strong element of smoke to the aroma and in my earliest days as a tea enthusiast I found that smoky note to be very off-putting.  Now I’ve come to embrace it and enjoy it, but Russian Caravan teas are still not my favorite blends.  The few that I have tried seemed to focus heavily on their black teas and not so much on the Oolong aspect, I like that this tea – The People’s Tea from Tippy’s Tea – brought some balance to the two tea types so that the luscious texture and creamy flavor of the Oolong could be enjoyed with the smoky notes of the Lapsang Souchong and the fruity elements of the Keemun.

It’s a very well thought out blend!  Bravo, Tippy’s Tea!

Not So Vanilla Flavored Black Tea from Tippy’s Tea

NotSoVanillaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Decadent dark chocolate and vanilla. Extremely smooth, malty and chocolatey. Hand chopped Madagascar vanilla beans add a sweet and creamy vanilla flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmmmmmm!  This is really good.  REALLY really good.

I’ve tried more than one or two different vanilla flavored black teas, and I’ve enjoyed most that I’ve enjoyed.  I can’t think of any vanilla flavored tea that I didn’t at least like.  Maybe not love, but I think that I liked most of them.

This one – though – this is one of those that stands out as an EXCELLENT vanilla flavored black tea.  What makes this one so different?

Well, I think it has a lot to do with the tea base.  It’s a Golden Monkey.  The combination of the natural chocolate-y notes of the Golden Monkey along with the sweet, creamy notes of the Madagascar vanilla bean works very well together.

The Golden Monkey is rich and slightly creamy tasting.  The aforementioned chocolate notes are bittersweet and this is a really pleasing contrast to the vanilla notes from the vanilla bean.

Another thing that makes this one different is that this doesn’t appear to be a flavored tea.  That is to say, it’s not been flavored with flavoring oils.  It’s been infused with the flavors naturally using vanilla beans rather than oils.  And this gives it a light, natural vanilla flavor rather than a synthetic one.  It’s kind of like the difference between a vanilla bean ice cream and a vanilla ice cream.  They taste similar, but there is a distinct difference that can be tasted.

That said, because this hasn’t been flavored with oils, the vanilla here is somewhat more subdued than you’d find in a vanilla tea that’s been flavored with oils.  If you’re looking for a really STRONG vanilla flavor, then you might want to try a different tea.  If you’re looking for a really GOOD vanilla flavor – you’ve found your tea!

Midday Flight Black Tea Blend from Tippy’s Tea

MiddayFlightTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Tippy’s own unique afternoon blend. Drink it in the afternoon or it is really great as an everyday tea. Smooth and well balanced with malty undertones.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tried a couple of Tippy’s Teas now, and I have to say that I’m very happy with what I’ve tried so far!  This Midday Flight is lovely!

When I think “black tea,” generally, I think “morning tea” because I usually enjoy the black teas early in the day and by ‘midday’ I’m usually switching to either green or Oolong tea.  But, every once in a while, I want the rich, rewarding flavor of a black tea in the afternoon.

Today is one such afternoon.  I need something to give me a little more of a boost (read:  caffeine) than I get from a green or Oolong tea, so it’s black tea to the rescue!  Specifically, this Midday Flight from Tippy’s Tea.

This is rich and flavorful and very smooth.  The combination of Ceylon, Keemun, Assam and Darjeeling is wonderful and I like that I can taste ‘components’ of each tea.  I taste the rich, malty flavor of the Assam.  I taste a slight smoky character from the Keemun.  I taste the smooth, even tone of the Ceylon.  And I taste the light, crisp note of the Darjeeling.

The sip starts out with notes of malt and smoke.  It starts out with a strong, earthy flavor.  There is no mistaking that I’m sipping on black tea the moment I start sipping.  It’s not aggressive though.  It’s approach is smooth.  By mid-sip, I pick up on wine-like notes with fruity notes of grape and citrus.  The earthy qualities remain throughout the sip.  Beneath these notes, I taste a light sweetness that is honey-esque with very subtle molasses notes.

The finish is dry but not overly astringent.  There is some astringency and it does build – the first few sips were barely astringent and now that i’m more than halfway through my cup, I am noting more astringency than I experienced at the start.  But it’s not a bitter or jarring astringency.  It is as though my taste buds grabbed a little towel and patted my tongue dry so that it could be ready for another sip.

Very satisfying.  I’m enjoying this tea immensely.  It’s rich and flavorful and very smooth.  One of the best Afternoon blends I’ve ever encountered!

North Pole Estate Tea from Tippy’s Tea

NorthPoleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

A magical tea. Reindeer bitten and handpicked by elves in their off season, this tea is beloved by Santa Claus himself! 

Our North Pole estate is a dark, malty black tea blend with hints of cinnamon, gingerbread, cloves, and a touch of chocolate. A delicious holiday tea to keep you warm. Recommended to slightly sweeten. Adding milk or brewing as a latte will add an extra dreamy creaminess.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yeah, I know that the holiday has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still be enjoying holiday tea blends!  I, for one, love the warm, spicy flavors that seem to be a consistent theme for the holiday teas and I think they’re perfectly relevant to be sipping any time you want to feel that warm, cozy feeling!

newteacupThis is the first tea from this new-to-me company that I’ve tried and I’m trying it in a brand new teacup!  Last year, I broke my beloved Starry Night (Van Gogh) teacup and I’ve been using others that I have but I really needed a new big mug teacup that I loved as much as that Starry Night because I love tea – you know I do!  But tea tastes so much better when it’s served in something you love to drink out of!

And yes … I’m a Harry Potter nerd.  And while there are many parts of the books/movies that bring tears to my eyes, no five words from the Harry Potter world bring tears to my eyes more effectively than these:

“After all this time?” “Always.”

Yep, I’m tearing up right now.

So, let’s talk about this tea.

My initial couple of sips were not quite as spiced as I expected them to be.  I let the cup cool for a few minutes, hoping that some time would help bring the flavors forward.

And it does!  I am tasting more spice now.  I taste subtle notes of cinnamon.  The clove is even more subtle.  I taste a background note of gingerbread and a hint of chocolate.  The spices are not strong here – this isn’t a chai! – it’s an “estate” tea.  A North Pole Estate.

Single Estate teas tend to take on the flavors that surround the estate, but usually subtly.  The leaves absorb the essences that fill the air.  In the North Pole, I’d imagine the scent of warm spice, gingerbread and chocolate permeate the air.  And that’s what this cup brings to this cup.

The black tea is a strong blend of black teas from India and China (Assam and Keemun teas).  Bold, malty, rich.  There are wine-like notes to it along with the notes of malt.  The finish is dry.

The cinnamon is the most pronounced of the flavors, with hints of clove dancing in the background.  The chocolate is subtle but every now and again, it weaves its way into the sip in a very pleasing way.  The gingerbread becomes more noticeable when I slurp the sip and aerate the liquid on the palate.

A really interesting cuppa.  I like it.