Earl Grey Lavender Black Tea Blend from ArtfulTea

earlgreylavenderTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

The classic cup of Earl Grey tea gets a makeover in Provence. The addition of lavender blossoms adds a soothing floral note to the traditional flavor of Earl Grey’s main ingredient – oil of bergamot. Very aromatic!  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yay!  It’s time for a cup of Earl Grey!

There really are very few teas that I prefer over a cup of delicious Earl Grey.  Generally, I do prefer the classic, straightforward Earl Grey:  black tea with the essence of bergamot.  But I do also appreciate some of those cool “twists” to the traditional Earl Grey, like this Earl Grey Lavender from ArtfulTea.

And this is a REALLY good Earl Grey tea with Lavender!  The black tea is a smooth, robust black tea that supports the strong bergamot flavor well.  It’s smooth from start to finish with a tangy astringency toward the tail.  The bergamot is strong without tasting perfume-ish, and that’s especially important when it comes to a blend like this because the lavender can often come off as too soapy.  It’s crucial to keep the right balance of bergamot and lavender flavors so that the tea tastes like tea and not like a cup of body bath liquid.

But this tea has been carefully blended to offer a powerful bergamot note and enough lavender for a sweet, floral presence without creating a tea that tastes like it belongs at the cosmetics counter at the department store.

This tea is sweet, tangy, floral and invigorating to sip.  It makes a nice afternoon cuppa.  This is the kind of tea that evokes thoughts of sipping tea in a garden on a breezy summer afternoon.

This cuppa represents the last of the samples I received when I ordered the ArtfulTea Sampler, I guess I’m going to have to order more from them soon because my experiences with this company have been nothing but positive!  I recommend them highly!

Petal Passion Oolong Tea Blend from ArtfulTea

petalpassionTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

This lovely, flavored oolong combines the taste of passion fruit with an intensely tropical fragrance that immediately enchants. Aronia berries, mango cubes and rose petals enhance the exotic flavor of this half-fermented tea. Refreshing hot or iced. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have very much enjoyed the teas that I’ve tried from ArtfulTea this far, and this Petal Passion Oolong Tea Blend is quite lovely.

The dark Oolong tea leaves look a lot like either an Oriental Beauty or a Formosa Oolong.  There are chunks of fruit and pretty pink rose petals tossed in with the tea leaves.  It’s a visually appealing blend, and it’s beautifully aromatic with notes of tropical fruit.

And the taste is YUM!  The Oolong base is smooth.  It has an almost buttery texture to it – not so much of a buttery taste as a texture, but some of this texture seems to translate a little bit to the flavor.  I don’t taste a heavy “buttery” quality to it.  There are some woodsy notes to the cup.

But mostly what I’m tasting is the lovely tropical fruit notes of this tea.  Passion Fruit and mango!  It’s sweet and there’s almost a nectar-like flavor to this, as if someone had added freshly pureed fruit to my cup of Oolong!  I like that these flavors taste authentic, they don’t have the fake or chemical-ish type of flavor that sometimes accompanies flavored teas.  This tea just has a very pleasant tropical flavor to go along with the naturally woodsy, smooth flavors of the Oolong tea.

There are some aronia berries in this tea and they do give the cup a slight astringency.  Don’t let that frighten you though, I’m finding the astringency to be rather mild, and I’m experiencing more of a tingly berry tartness than I am a pucker-y astringency.  I find this to be an enjoyable contrast to the sweetness of the passion fruit and mango flavors.

Another really lovely blend from ArtfulTea, and I feel like I’m trying it right at the right time – we’ve been experiencing some monsoon-ish weather here in the Pacific Northwest lately, and it’s been uncomfortably hot and humid!  Ugh!  This tea takes me away – at least, mentally – on a tropical vacation.  Unfortunately, my vacation only lasts as long as the cup of tea – but fortunately, this is an Oolong and can be resteeped!  Revisiting my tropical island is as easy as resteeping my tea leaves!

Star of India Black Tea from ArtfulTea

starofindiaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

A blend of black teas from three of India’s premiere growing regions: Assam, Darjeeling and the Nilgiris. This tea has all the highlights of India’s best black teas in a flavorful, coppery-colored blend that is similar in style to an “English Breakfast” tea. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m always excited to try teas from Etsy sellers, because I used to sell my tea blends on Etsy.  I like to support these artisans – and yes!  Blending tea is an art!   I also always check Etsy first when there’s something that I need like a new set of pot holders (I just purchased some recently similar to these lovelies!)

So when I found the seller ArtfulTea on Etsy, I decided to try some of their teas.  I purchased this sampler, and I think I mentioned it in an earlier post.  The sampler is so beautifully packaged.  The box was lined in brightly colored tissue paper, and the loose leaf samples were pre-measured into unbleached paper DIY teabags which you can opt to use or you can empty the tea into a small brewing vessel to let the tea steep loose.

Everything about this experience was lovely – and I have to admit that it reminded me a bit of when I was a tea purveyor on Etsy … I took a lot of care in my packaging too.  It is a practice that is often overlooked, and one that I personally appreciate when I order teas online.

This Star of India is not the first tea that I’ve sampled from ArtfulTea, but I think it might be my favorite thus far.

My first reaction after taking a sip of the coppery liquid?  Wow!  It’s a very well-rounded cup of tea.  My palate seems very satisfied with this tea.  It’s sweet but not too sweet, it’s smooth, not overly astringent, and it has a rich, flavorful taste.  It’s not bitter (although I wouldn’t advise oversteeping it!) and it’s got a substantial flavor without feeling or tasting too heavy.

The blend is crafted using Assam, Nilgiri and Darjeeling teas, and I really like this combination of tea leaves.  The Assam and Nilgiri offer a pleasing malty flavor with a nice caramel-y undertone.  Sweet and rich!  These both are hearty teas, and I like how the Darjeeling rounds them out, lightening the overall flavor and texture of the cup so that it feels less heavy.  It would make a very agreeable afternoon cup, or if you’re looking for a nice weekend breakfast tea, this one would do nicely.

Along with these malty notes and flavors of caramel, there are sweet, fruity notes that contrast with an earthy, woodsy note.  The flavors seem nicely balanced with one another.  There is a light cleansing astringency toward the finish, and it leaves the palate feeling refreshed in the aftertaste.

It’s not a tea that I’d add milk to (I just don’t really care for milk in my Darjeeling teas because it overwhelms the delicate nuances of a Darjeeling, in my opinion), but it would take a dollop of honey nicely if you want to add that, or perhaps you’d like a thin slice of lemon, that would work well here too.  I found that I preferred this one hot.  As the tea cooled, it ended up tasting a lot like an average black tea, but while hot, I could taste a lot of the subtleties that this tea offers.  It’s a pleasant, complex blend that should be explored!

Summer Romance Tea Blend from ArtfulTea

summerromanceTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Green Teas

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

Let this magical blend carry you away like a summer of love. Sweet papaya and strawberries intertwine with black and green teas for an intoxicating, exotic flavor. Refreshing hot or iced.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm … this Summer Romance Tea Blend is TASTY!  I often have my misgivings about a tea blend such as this, where two totally different tea types are used – in this case, it’s black tea and green tea – because it’s difficult to determine just the right steeping parameters to use.  Black teas usually do best with boiling water (or at the very least, near boiling) and the green tea leaves may end up scorched if I were to use boiling water to brew them.  So with blends like this, I usually cater to the more delicate tea, and so I brewed this with 180°F water, and then I steeped it a little longer than I normally would a green tea:  3 minutes.

These parameters produced a very flavorful, tasty cup of tea.

Of the two types of tea leaves, the black tea offers the strongest flavor.  I taste a rich flavor from the black tea, although I’m sure that it would be far more robust if I had chosen to steep this at a higher temperature.  The green tea is not quite as discernible, but, I do notice some light, buttery notes from the green tea.  The overall cup is a bit lighter and that has to do not only with the lower steep temperature but the presence of the green tea.  And despite my “misgivings” about black/green tea blends, I do like that these two teas were utilized as the base for this tea because it’s a very unique sort of taste and I like the way the flavor of the base plays with the notes of strawberry and papaya.

The rosehips don’t give off a lot of flavor to the cup, but I do notice a slight bitterness from them which acts more as a slight “brightness” to the sweet fruit notes rather than make the cup taste “bitter.”  The same is true of the sunflower petals.  They add a subtle sharpness to the cup, accentuating the sweet flavors of papaya and strawberry.

This tea blend is aptly named, for it does taste a bit like summer in a teacup.  At the moment, we’re experiencing a rainy summer day.  These are the kinds of days that I look forward to in the summer, because it cools things off for a while.  We had some pretty obnoxiously hot days over the past couple of weeks, and I was ready for the rain to come and bring the heat to a halt.  But the tea that’s in my teacup reminds me of just how lovely summer can be.

Nutty Mocha Mate Blend from ArtfulTea

nuttymochamateTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea orArtfulTea on Etsy

Tisane Description:

The indulgent taste of chocolate and hazelnut, plus mellow chicory, give this mate blend a rich, roasted, mocha flavor. Yerba mate is an herbal infusion, but unlike most herbal teas, mate contains a stimulating caffeine-like compound. 

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve had some Yerba Mate, and this is a great tisane to get myself back into it!  This is really quite tasty!

It actually reminds me a lot of a tisane that I used to make back in my blending days!  I made a mocha flavored Mate, mostly because I was looking for something that would satisfy my craving for coffee back then because I was still missing coffee.  As I’ve said before I couldn’t drink coffee any longer, but there were still times when I missed the flavor of coffee.  I certainly didn’t miss the sick feeling I’d get a few hours later though!

Since that time, I’ve come to really love tea more than I ever loved coffee.  That’s probably pretty obvious, huh?  But I still love it when I find a tea or tisane like this one that offers a taste that is reminiscent of that rich, roasted flavor of coffee that I used to enjoy.

And this satisfies that craving!  This tastes very much like a rich, delicious mocha that you might find in one of those super expensive coffee shops, complete with the sweet, nutty flavor of hazelnut and even a touch of chocolate.  I am wishing there was more chocolate flavor to this, though.  It’s got some chocolate, but as I have been known to say, more chocolate is always better, and that’s true with this tisane too.

As it is, though, I found this to be quite enjoyable and I’m really glad that I got to try it.  Another tasty offering from ArtfulTea.