Earl’s Paradise Black Tea by Bluebird Tea Co.

earl_s_paradiseTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Earl Grey loose leaf tea blend with a papaya + strawberry twist. No one at The Nest (Bluebird HQ!) can start the day without a cup of this fruity, refreshing tea. Didn’t think you could improve the classic? We will happily prove you wrong! No words are gong to do it justice, it simply is paradise! Insiders tip: try it without milk for perfection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Bluebird Tea Co. kindly provided a 2-cup sachet of this tea as a sample with my last order. Naturally, I was instantly curious! It’s a fruity Earl Grey with Ceylon as the base tea, and I can imagine the citrus notes Ceylon can possess working well here. The dry leaf is in reasonably small pieces, and mostly a fairly uniform black although there are a few lighter, reddish-brown, leaves scattered throughout. The fruit here is papaya and strawberry, and I can see tiny freeze-dried pieces of both in the dry mix, although not in quantity. It’s literally just a piece here and there. There are also a few lime leaf pieces, which add an extra hint of colour. Dry, the scent is typical Earl Grey, with sharp notes of bergamot. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium red-brown. I made no additions, although judging from the colour of the brew, I can imagine this one standing up well to milk after perhaps a 3 or 4 minute steep.

To taste, this one is deceptively fruity! It’s hard to imagine, from the scent and appearance of the dry leaf, but it is the case! The initial flavour is all strawberry, and it’s deliciously creamy. It almost reminds me of strawberry milkshake! It’s a fairly candy-like strawberry, and not as natural tasting as some, but it steers well clear of artificial. There’s a hint of jasmine in the mid-sip which adds a heady richness, although fortunately it remains on the right side of floral for my tastes. The bergamot emerges mostly towards the end of the sip, and it is quite sharp. This is not a tea for bergamot haters, by any means! There’s also a bite of astringency from the Ceylon base, and together the combination is rather jarring, especially when contrasted with the sweet, creamy, fruitiness of the initial sip. That’s a slight disappointment to me, because I rarely have trouble with astringency when drinking Ceylon – it’s one of my favourite black tea varieties for that reason. As the tea cools, however, some of the astringency wears away and it becomes more palatable. This being the case, I’m starting to think that Earl’s Paradise might work better as a cold brew. At the very least, it needs to cool a little before drinking for the best experience. Possibly milk would help to smooth the edges on this one, although some Earl Grey purists might disagree. The other disappointment with this one is the lack of papaya – I just can’t taste it at all. The strawberry is so nice that it’s not a huge problem, but it is a little one-note. More so than perhaps it was intended to be.

This is a love/hate cup for me. There are things I adore about it (creamy strawberry, yes please!), and things I could really do without (astringency, intense sharpness of the bergamot). For this reason, I’m not wholeheartedly behind it. I think the idea of a fruity Earl Grey is a really nice one – it’s different, for sure. I’m just not sure that Bluebird have quite managed to pull it off. It’s close, but it’s not perfection. One tea can’t please everyone, though, and this blend does have a lot to recommend it. It’s definitely one for Earl Grey (and strawberry!) lovers to try.

We Are Nearing The Home Stretch!

Please help us reach our S-t-r-e-t-c-h Goals!  Please click here and contribute!

52teas3We are nearing the home stretch of our Kickstarter and we’re so excited that we’ve reached our goal and we will be funded.  This means that I will be – together with my daughter, Amethyst – taking over 52Teas as of June 1st!

But we are looking to achieve MORE with our campaign!  The more funds we raise, the more we can invest in equipment to make the business more effective.  We also desperately want a new website!

We have about eight days left on the campaign and I believe we can go FAR with those eight days!  Please click here to go to the campaign and contribute what you can.  As little as $5 will get you some tea – and you’ll have helped build our business and help my dream come to life!  THANK YOU!

And after you’ve contributed, don’t forget to vote!  Right now, backers are voting on five new reblends to add to the campaign reblends, so if you have a favorite 52Teas blend that you’d like to see reblended, please contribute and then VOTE – let me know what tea you’d like to try!

We Want To Take Over 52Teas – We Need YOUR Help!

Please check out our Kickstarter Campaign here!

52teas3I’m back to tell you a little more about this campaign – why?  Well, because we need YOUR support!

This campaign is about something that’s near and dear to my heart – something that I’m very passionate about:  Tea!  If you’ve been reading my reviews for any length of time, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I love 52Teas.

I love the idea behind it!  I love the plan to make a brand new tea flavor every week:  52 teas a year.  That’s just awesome.  For someone who is creative – the idea is like Christmas morning!  Which flavor to create next?

It allows that kind of freedom.  It allows me to create some amazing tea flavors that you won’t find anywhere else.  Some of the flavors that I’ve got ‘steeping’ in my brain are:  Watermelon Mint Limeade, Mango Sticky Rice Custard Genmaicha and Lemon Cheesecake Bar Houjicha.  That’s not even the tip of the iceberg!

We’ll also be reblending some of the classic 52Teas favorites like Maple Cheesecake TieGuanYin and Graveyard Mist!

I’ll also be bringing back some of my classic blends from when I ran LiberTEAS.  Teas like Sweet Caramel O’Mine and Masterpiece Chai.

And now that I’m teaming up with my daughter, Amethyst, I know that we have the tools that we need to make this venture a success.  With her business sense and my creativity, I’m confident that we’ll be creating some amazing teas that you’ll LOVE!

So please, if you haven’t yet contributed to our campaign – please click here now and help this mother/daughter team make this project happen!

Thank you!

The Time is NOW!

kickstartermemesmallFor those of you who are waiting for the right time to check out my Kickstarter Campaign and contribute, that time is NOW!  We are nearing the end of the campaign, and we still have a LONG way to go to reach our goal!

So, I thought I’d take a moment to answer some questions that you might have.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section!

Why have we launched the Kickstarter campaign?  What’s it all about?

A couple of months ago, I was approached by Frank from 52Teas (aka the Chief Zoomdweebie!) and he asked me if I was interested in taking over the 52Teas line.  He wanted to focus his efforts on his iced tea business.  You can check out his Indiegogo campaign to support his iced tea endeavor here!  And please do!

Anyway, he wanted to focus his efforts on his passion, which is iced tea.  My passion is hot tea.  So, I was very interested, but also a little hesitant, until I talked to my daughter, Amethyst, who told me that she wanted to do this thing with me!

So, we have the passion for tea.  We have Amethyst, who is very detail oriented and all about making sure things are done right, right on time!  She’s going to be the one keeping the numbers crunched and the orders fulfilled and the inventory in stock so that I can do what I do best:  tea.

But what we don’t have is equipment or inventory.  That’s where the Kickstarter campaign comes in.  If we’re successfully funded, we’ll have the funds we need to buy the equipment and the inventory we need to be able to get this business off to a running start.

But we can’t do it without you and your support!

Why do you need so much money?  

Because, as I said, we need the equipment and inventory to get started.  We need tea, we need the ingredients to create the unique flavors of teas that 52Teas is known for.

We need the equipment to make the business go.  We need the pouch sealer, we need the pouch filler.  Oh, we’ll need the pouches too.  We need the shipping label printer and labels for it too.  We have the passion and the ability to make the business go, but without the inventory and the equipment, we won’t get very far.

What do I get in return?

TEA!  And seriously, is there any better incentive than that?  You get tea.  How much tea and what kind of tea is totally up to you.  Check out the incentives list on the sidebar of the campaign for more details of what kinds of teas are available.

What happens if the campaign isn’t successfully funded?

Well, according to Frank, if we’re not able to take over the business as of March 31st, 2015, 52Teas will be no more.  So, if the campaign isn’t successfully funded – if we don’t get the money we need to take over the business, it will wither and die.  It will cease to be.

We can’t take over the business without the startup capital that we need to get the equipment and inventory.

I know it seems like a lot of money.  But it’s for a good cause – it’s to support a small business and to support a mother and daughter team to help them realize their dream.  And it’s about TEA.

Please support our campaign:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/497705217/the-great-52teas-take-over

Also, please support Frank’s Indiegogo campaign to help him build his iced tea business:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/southern-boy-teas-organic-flavored-iced-teas

Every little bit helps!  Please take a moment to help spread the word.  Tweet about this blog post, tell your friends and neighbors, post it on your facebook.  But most of all, take a moment to contribute because without the contributions, we simply won’t reach our goal!

Thank you!

Chocolate Toffee Black Tea from 52Teas

52teas-Chocolate-ToffeeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Here’s our premium black teas blended with cacao nibs, marigold petals and organic chocolate and toffee flavors. This is a rich, decadent treat.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yum!  Yum, yum, yum!

Well, I had no doubt whatsoever that I’d enjoy this blend.  Chocolate and Toffee in a tea?  Oh, yes, please!  And I’m happy to say that the chocoholic in me is even satisfied with the level of chocolate-y-ness in this blend.  Oh, sure, more chocolate WOULD be better but I’m quite happy with what I’m tasting.

I brewed this in my Breville One-Touch, measuring 2 bamboo scoops into the basket and adding 500ml of water to the jug.  Then I set the temperature for 205°F and the time for 2 1/2 minutes.  This produced a very delicious cup – well, actually, I fill my favorite mug twice with the 500ml of brewed tea – and bonus!  The Breville keeps the tea warm for me.  No tea cozy needed.

The black tea base is prominent and that just may be why I find this tea so enjoyable.  I like it when I taste the tea base of a blend (especially when it’s actually TEA and not rooibos or honeybush.)  The black tea here is a solid, full-flavored tea.  It tastes rich and there is a hint of malt to it and this complements the toffee notes.  This is a bold enough tea that this would make a really nice first cup of the day.  (A little treat for breakfast?)  There is some astringency to this, but I’m not finding it to be a strong astringency.  It falls somewhere between very mild and moderate.

The chocolate notes are really nice here.  As I said, I’d love to have more chocolate, but I find that the level of chocolate to be good here.  I think that’s because there is a really good proportion of flavors.  The black tea is the most prominent flavor, with the chocolate and toffee notes standing at about equal levels – maybe just a little more chocolate than toffee.

The toffee is sweet and buttery.  The combination of the chocolate and the toffee here is incredibly decadent.  This may just be one of Frank’s best “confectionery” type of teas yet.  This is really yum.  It reminds me a lot of a gourmet chocolate toffee candy like these from Valerie Confections, all that’s missing is that crunch.  And these might even be a little bit BETTER because there’s also tea.  And tea always makes things better.