Blissful Buds from Mellow Monk . . . .

Tea has become more of a mindfulness exercise for me lately, rather than simply a means to caffeination. I reverently begin this tasting by getting on the level with the loose, green grinds. Dry leaves are sweet-smelling like a japanese tea.  They tease me with something that almost smells of raspberry, though I know there is none in this blend.

After brewing the tea leaves got much lighter in color and presented a cloudy olive-green infusion with lots of tiny stowaways from the gravity brewer into my cup.

I cannot stress enough, as with all green and white teas, watch your temperature or you will be drinking something akin to Satan’s bath water (to put it nicely).

I started off with my usual 175F for 2 min but was caught off guard by the bitter chemical type taste. I’d overbrewed it, serious bummer. The leaves were ruined and I’d have to start again from scratch. My second try was with half the steep time. Better tasting, but still a tannic nirvana (different from Darjeeling though). Not my cup of tea. You know those monks are seriously being tested when they drink a tea this strong all day. It for sure keeps them awake in church! I certainly couldn’t keep a vow of silence after drinking it.

As proud as I am of my scientific problem solving approach, I should’ve just read the package instructions. At 160F and right around a minute brew time, the third try was a charm. This delicate leaf brews strong! Tangy still, with a long lingering pucker-worthy aftertaste. But much more palatable than Satan’s bathwater. Upon resteeping, it was a much different flavor because a bit more of the sweetness came out.

This blend is described as sweet like other Japanese teas but that was not my experience, even with a cold brew attempt. But on a good note, I learned my lesson about reading the package instructions. Thank you monks!

Here’s the scoop!

Type of Tea:  Green
Where to Buy:  Mellow Monk

Blissful Buds™ is made by picking the small young buds at the pinnacle of the tea plant — the leaves richest in catechins. These tender leaves yield a refreshingly sweet infusion, redolent of apples, with berry-like tangy overtones and much less astringency than conventional senchas. This type of tea is also served at the end of a meal at fine Japanese restaurants. (In sushi lingo, this type of tea is referred to as agari.)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Raspberry Lemon Tart Bliss from theBeesTeas

RaspberryLemonTartTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: theBeesTeas

Tea Description:

Black tea perfectly blended with raspberry, candied lemons, chocolate, and vanilla (although raspberry & lemon flavors are more prominent). This blend also contains sumac, which adds a tart lemon-like flavor while also adding great health benefits (antioxidants) . This is a sweet and tangy blend that can be enjoyed hot or iced, but is better served hot. Black tea is caffeinated more than white tea or green tea, but considerably less than coffee.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love playing around on Etsy.  Its one of my favorite things to do when I have a few minutes to unwind.  The teas that I have ordered from the different shops haven’t all been that great. Some of them just didn’t have a whole lot going for them.  But that is not the case with this tea.

When you open the bag and smell the dry leaves, you are greeted with a delightful raspberry lemon smell.  Very bakery like.  There are huge chunks of raspberry and candied lemon pieces.  The tea looks exactly like the picture on the site.  That doesn’t always happen.

Once brewed up, you have yourself a delightful cuppa of a tea that tastes exactly like its name.  This tea tastes like a raspberry lemon tart!!!  Fresh, creamy, tart, berry, lemon goodness. Yum!!  This is a beautiful dessert tea.  The vanilla adds sweetness to the tea and there is a very tart like flavor that lends itself to a fresh bakery taste. The black tea base gives the tea a rich background for the rest of the flavors to play off of.  I don’t pick up the chocolate flavor but in the description of the tea, it said that the raspberry and lemon were the most noticeable flavors.

I’m extremely impressed and pleased with this tea.  This tea isn’t going to last long around me.

Well done theBeesTeas.  Well done.

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 13 from Teanzo 1856

side 1 of the ornament

It’s day 13 with this wonderful Holiday Countdown with tea from Teanzo – I have enjoyed trying the different teas that they offer through their Advent Calendar!  (All of which is also available – separately – on their website!)

For today’s bit of holiday art, I chose a really nifty ornament made by Regina Zyry!  One of the things that I love MOST about this ornament is that its crafted using an upcycled ribbon spool!  You know, when you go to the craft store and you buy the spools of decorative ribbon for your projects?  She kept her empty spools and turned them into creative ornaments!

side 2 of the ornament

I love the color scheme of these too!  It really stands out on my tree.  And while this first side offers a ‘modern’ appearance, the reverse side has more of an ‘old fashioned’ look to it.

See what I mean?  Clever, right?

This ornament was a gift in one of the 12 Days of Christmas mail art swaps that I was involved in a few years ago.  It was a very inspiring thing to be working with such artistic ladies.

And speaking of creative, I find today’s tea from Teanzo to be rather creative!  It’s one of the teas that is offered in their Spa Trio collection along with two other Spa tea blends, including one that I’ve already reviewed as part of this countdown:  The Dream Spa Blend.

Bliss Spa Blend

Bliss-Spa-BlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Tulsi

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Ingredients:  Ginger Root, rose hips, tulsi, orange peel, lemon peel, lemon myrtle, lemon grass, with ginger and citrus flavors. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yay!  Another tisane without hibiscus!  And this one is a Tulsi tisane – extra bonus points!  It’s been a while since I’ve had a Tulsi blend!

This blend is actually quite lovely!  I love the citrus-y flavors!  The notes of lemon and orange are strong in this blend and it adds a bright, vibrant flavor that is energizing and yes … blissful!

To brew this tisane, I poured the contents of the sampler pouch into the basket of my Kati Tumbler and added 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F and I let it steep for 10 minutes.  Remember, with no camellia sinensis leaves in the tisane, I don’t have to worry about the brew becoming bitter (no tannins!) and with no hibiscus in the blend, I don’t have to worry about the brew becoming too syrupy, thick or tart.

The ginger and the tulsi add a sort of warm, spicy note to the cup that contrasts nicely with the bright, juicy flavors of citrus.  This isn’t overly spicy, though, it’s a gentle, cozy warmth.  I like the undertone of spice that comes from these two ingredients.

But the real ‘star’ of this cup is the invigorating flavor of the citrus notes!  The orange is juicy and sweet, and the lemon isn’t too sour.  I’m not puckering when I drink this.

I really enjoyed this.  The last two tisanes that I’ve consumed from Teanzo (this and the aforementioned Dream Spa Blend) have been so delightful that they are renewing my faith in tisanes!  I have become so … blasé when it comes to nearly all tisanes that I’ve encountered as of late.  Sure, I might find the flavor agreeable, but truly exciting?  Not a lot of them have interested me to the point where I felt I was excited about what I was drinking.  These two blends are excitingly different!

2014 Giddapahar Spring Bliss First Flush (SFTGFOP1) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

Giddapahar Spring Bliss as the name suggests is one of the most ‘Blissful’ First Flush tea we have. A very yummy tea which is ideal for all day.

This is a tea that actually meets the First Flush mantra of ‘LIGHT & BRIGHT’. It is a full bouquet of fruity peach like notes and if you really care to understand what PURE CHINA BLACK TEA tastes like, this is the ideal tea. We assure you that it will be difficult to stop with just one cup.

A BLISSFUL, DELIGHTFUL, ENERGETIC tea from the house of GIDDAPAHAR TEA. A must have for every tea connoisseur. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh wow … what a lovely first flush Darjeeling!

The above description is pretty effective at describing this tea:  light, bright, aromatic with notes of peach that don’t just tickle the nose but also the palate with peachy flavor!

The dry leaf looks very much like a Darjeeling:  the leaves vary in color from green to brown.  I like that these are long and wiry leaves rather than chopped and torn.  Once brewed and completely unfurled, you can see that these are whole leaves.  I like that.

GIDDAPAHAR SPRING BLISS1When it comes to Darjeeling tea, I usually use a slightly lower than boiling temperature, because Darjeeling tea usually is not oxidized for quite as long as other black teas.  I go with 195°F and steep the leaves for 2 1/2 minutes.  This produced a light amber colored liquor that is delightfully fragrant.

And delicious!

As I mentioned before, I can taste the peach.  I am loving that.  I don’t typically taste peach-like notes in a Darjeeling tea.  This is sweet and fruity with lovely floral notes that are dancing in the background.

Darjeeling teas tend to be lighter in texture and this is no exception, but this doesn’t have the same dry astringency toward the tail that other Darjeeling teas tend to have.  This has a silkier texture than I’m used to with Darjeeling teas, and I am enjoying how easy and smooth it is to drink.

I know I’ve said it before, but if you are a fan of Darjeeling Teas … you really should give Darjeeling Tea Lovers a try.  I have been so impressed with everything that I’ve tried from them.  Their teas are top notch.  An apt name for this company, because it would seem to me, based on everything that I’ve tried from them, that this is a company that has dedicated itself to acquiring the very finest teas for lovers of Darjeeling tea!

La Isla Bonita Custom Tea Blend from Adagio Teas

laislabonitaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Tea Description:

Tropical the island breeze All of nature wild and free This is where I long to be La Isla Bonita And when the samba played The sun would set so high Ring through my ears and sting my eyes Your Spanish lullaby

A Jennifer Bliss Custom Blend.

Learn more about this custom blend here.

Find more Jennifer Bliss blends here.

Taster’s Review:

Tasty!  I must say that when it comes to Adagio Teas, I definitely have better luck with the white teas versus the black teas.  This La Isla Bonita Custom Tea Blend (created by very own Jennifer Bliss aka TeaEqualsBliss!) from Adagio Teas – a white tea blend – is very nice, indeed.

The tropical notes are the strongest flavors in this cup.  I taste the coconut and pineapple out in front, and then just beneath those tropical fruits, I taste notes of orange and tangerine.  The coconut tastes smooth and creamy, the pineapple is sweet with just a hint of tart, and the orange and tangerine add a pop of bright flavor to the cup.

The white tea tastes soft and delicate and slightly earthy.  It is the right base for this tea.  Everything is “delicate” but together becomes a powerful flavor without becoming overwhelming.

And then there is the spearmint!  I like that there isn’t too much spearmint in this blend.  There is just the right touch of mint to give it that cool taste of mint without throwing off the sweet tropical and citrus-y notes.

What I’m enjoying most here is how the airy quality of the white tea comes together with the spearmint and together, the two become a very “breezy” sort of sensation, which is in keeping with the “La Isla Bonita” inspiration behind the blend.   I love that I can taste the inspiration!

This is tasty served hot, but it really shines when it’s iced.  So deliciously fruity with just a touch of mint:  refreshing!