Traditional Black Tea from Rington’s Premium English Teas

traditionalTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rington’s Premium English Teas

Tea Description:

Our Traditional Blend contains some of the best teas produced from around the world, selected predominantly from our long standing relationships with family businesses in East Africa and India. Our expert tea blenders taste and choose each individual tea that goes into the blend, ensuring you always receive that unique, refreshing and lasting flavour that makes Ringtons Traditional our most popular blend.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Of the different teas that I’ve tried thus far from Rington’s Premium English Teas, I think that this Traditional Black Tea blend might be my favorite.  Yes, it’s a bagged tea.  Yes, I prefer loose leaf over bagged varieties.  But occasionally, I’ll find a bagged tea that’s decent.  Sure, I’d still rather drink loose leaf, but when I do find a bagged tea that’s worthwhile, I’m going to say so.

And after having tried the one loose leaf offering from Rington’s the other day, I must admit that I’m finding this one – a bagged tea – more enjoyable than their loose leaf variety.


Because this tea is smoother.  It is richer and more rounded.  There’s less astringency.  Put simply, I’m finding this variety from Rington’s to be more satisfying than their loose leaf blend.  Now, if this Traditional blend were offered loose leaf, I’d be one very happy sipper!

The sip starts out sweet.  I taste delicate notes of honeyed caramel.  The tea has a robust character – it has a nice, satisfying round flavor.  A little earthy, a little flowery, and a little fruity.  It’s very smooth with no bitterness and very little astringency.  Very, very little astringency – as in virtually none.  I like that.

This tea tastes great hot and it also tastes really good as it cools.  I had finished about half the cup and then I needed to step away and came back to a cold cup of tea – and it still tasted really great.  It doesn’t need any additives to taste good – it just does.

It’s one of those types of tea that you want to keep on hand when you just want a no-fuss cup of tea.

Bvumbwe Malawian White Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

Bvumbwe Malawian White TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Bvumbwe white tea is harvested in Africa in the country of Malawi! Similar to a Chinese Shou Mei white tea, Bvumbwe white tea offers something different than the usual White Peony (Bai Mudan) or Silver Needle Chinese white teas. With a lovely caramel note that lingers on the tongue, this Malawian tea offers tea drinkers (experienced and beginners alike) a different experience and will open the door to the world of Malawian tea!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was excited to try this Bvumbwe Malawian White Tea from M&K’s Tea Company.  I’ve tried many different white teas, but very few of those are from Africa.  In fact, I think I’ve only tried one other white tea from Africa so I was excited to have the opportunity to try another.

This is really nice.  The flavor is delicate – like I’d expect from a white tea.  It has a really pleasant, soft mouthfeel.  It has a flavor similar to what I might experience from a Chinese white tea – it’s a gentle flavor with notes of hay and a crisp, airy sort of flavor.  I’m also picking up on soft notes of fruit.  It has a very clean and refreshing sort of taste.  Soothing and mild.

As I continue to sip, I start to pick up on some flavors that I wouldn’t normally expect from a white tea:  a hint of caramel!  I don’t think that I’ve ever encountered a pure white tea with a caramel-y sweetness like I’m experiencing with this tea.

Then I notice gentle notes of warm, peppery spice.  Like white pepper and a hint of cinnamon.  It’s warm and a rustic sort of flavor.  For such a delicate taste, there is a whole lot of dimension to this cup!

A really lovely white tea – one I’d recommend to any tea drinker.  The complex flavors of this cup are something to be experienced!

Seven Seas Herbal Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Seven_Seas_HerbalTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos & Herbal

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tisane Description:

This healthy and harmonious herbal tea blends peppermint, ginseng, cinnamon, echinacea, sarsaparilla, licorice, and organic South African rooibos. The cooling peppermint and warm cinnamon notes pair perfectly with the sweet, soothing finish provided by the other herbs. This special blend is an ideal and tasty way to stimulate your immune system.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op program here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not usually a big fan of ginseng, but this blend has enough going on that I barely notice that the ginseng is there!  I’m too busy enjoying the contrast between crisp, cool peppermint and zesty cinnamon and snappy licorice to focus on the ginseng.  The peppermint, cinnamon and licorice are the three strongest components of this cup.

This is a delightful tisane to sip on this cold winter’s night.  The combination of cinnamon and licorice are warming me from the inside out, while the peppermint adds a refreshing element.  As I said, I don’t taste much from the ginseng.  I also don’t taste a lot from the rooibos or the echinacea.

At first, I had trouble locating the sarsaparilla in this, but if I slurp the sip, I do pick up on a light root beer-ish flavor in the distance, and it’s quite an interesting note to be tasting along with the cinnamon.  Peppermint and licorice are both profiles that I’ve occasionally noticed in gourmet root beers, but not cinnamon.  The cinnamon and sarsaparilla are quite intriguing and this combination is keeping me sipping.

This is a tisane that was a sample in my last box from Simple Loose Leaf (when they switched from the selection club to the co-op plan), and I held on to it for a while because … well, because it’s a tisane.  That’s why.  I have admitted before that I’m often skittish when it comes to tisanes and this just goes to show what I mean by that.

But I’m glad I finally decided to try it because I enjoyed this.  It’s a wonderful medley of contrasts, and there’s a lot of health benefits in this too!

Rooibos Cinnamon Vanilla Tisane from Tea of Life

RooibosCinnamonVanillaTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Tisane Description:

Pronounced “roy-boss” and means “red bush” in Afrkaans, studies have shown this tea is comparable to green tea in the amounts of EGCG it contains.  Rooibos is totally pure and natural.  It contains no colorants or preservatives.

And Rooibos tastes divine!  It is less bitter than most teas.

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I confess that the first time I had a cup of this tisane, I accidentally oversteeped it.  I had started it brewing and walked away and forgot about it.  Some twenty to twenty five minutes later, I remembered it.  Fortunately, it’s a rooibos blend and rooibos doesn’t get bitter the way a tea (Camellia Sinensis) would.

However, I didn’t figure it would be a fair assessment to write this review based upon that steeping, so I waited until the next evening (tonight!) to try brewing it for my usual steep time for a rooibos tisane (ten minutes) and this time actually setting a timer for it.

And while this review will be based upon my cup from the 10 minute steep, I will also add some thoughts on the cup that steeped longer.  (Both cups were steeped with 195°F water.)

This is a very flavorful rooibos blend.  It seems a simple enough combination:  rooibos, vanilla and cinnamon.  This combination makes me think “Snickerdoodle” and well, it does have a snickerdoodle-ish taste to it.  The rooibos has a sweet, nutty flavor to it, and when combined with the vanilla and cinnamon, the result is a taste that’s a lot like the classic cookie.

The cinnamon is a warm but not spicy cinnamon taste, and one that marries well with the sweet, creamy notes of vanilla as well as the warm, honey-like sweetness of the rooibos.  It’s a pleasant cup of tea that’s not too sweet, but makes a nice late-night snack if you’re craving something just a little sweet but don’t want to wreck your diet by indulging in a real snickerdoodle cookie.  This tea makes a tasty and healthier substitute.

African Chai Blend from Justea

africanchaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Justea

Tea Description:

Our African Chai is whole leaf Kenyan black tea with organic African spices and rose/safflower petals. “The fennel, clove, coriander and liquorice root makes this chai smooth and silky on the palate. This African chai is balanced – it has a tea hit first and then a sweet finish”

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Justea’s fundraising effort to support Kenyan farmers here.

Taster’s Review:

Are you looking for a truly DIFFERENT chai blend?  This African Chai Blend from Justea might be just what you’re looking for!  This chai is quite different from many of the other chai blends that I’ve tasted … and different is good!

That’s not to say that I’ve not enjoyed the other chai blends I’ve tasted … you know how I love a good spiced blend.  But this blend focuses on other spices:  I taste the fennel and licorice root up front, and they give the cup a sweet, snappy kind of taste, and like the Tea Sommelier video for this tea states, it’s a very silky sort of wash over the palate.  The clove and coriander lend warmth and zest to the cup without turning this into something overly spiced.  The balance of the spices allows for enjoyment of each ingredient’s presence here, and I like that.

The Kenyan black tea is an excellent base for this tea because it is so rich and smooth, and it has its own sort of natural spice taste to it.  It seems like a smart choice to accentuate the natural spice tones of the tea by turning the tea into the base of this African Chai.

I also taste the rose in this.  I like the hint of sweetness from the floral notes here.  It adds just a little interest, just a little something to keep the palate excited to keep tasting.

This tastes less “spicy” and more warm and “spiced.”  It doesn’t have a “spicy-hot” sort of flavor, instead, it tastes comfortably warm, with a cozy sort of taste to it.  The kind of tea that you like to warm up with on a chilly autumn day.  As I continue to sip, my mouth feels warm, as though I’ve had something peppery, but not so hot that I feel the need to wash it down with something cooling.  It’s a very enjoyable warmth.

I tried this African Chai a few different ways.  First, I tried it straight up, and it was delicious.  Then I tried it with a little bit of raw turbinado sugar, and discovered my favorite way to drink this chai.  The sugar brings out the subtle nuances of the spices, and I got the most enjoyment out of this chai with just a little bit (about half a teaspoon for a cup of tea) of sugar (honey would do nicely too!)  Finally, I decided to try it latte, and this makes a really outstanding latte too.  Just a splash of warmed milk enhances the silky smooth quality of this tea.  I really enjoyed it as a latte, but, the milk does mute some of the spices just a tad, and since I really love the spices … I’d have to say that the best way – or at least, my favorite way – to enjoy this is with just a little bit of sugar or honey.  It’s so good!