Blueberry Cordial Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-Blueberry-CordialTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

After sharing some blueberry cordials with a friend, my helper, Shante wanted us to create a blueberry cordial tea. So here it is: our premium Indian black teas blended with organic chocolate, blueberry and brandy flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about how to subscribe to Southern Boy Teas here.

Check out Southern Boy Teas Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign here and consider supporting this small business!

Taster’s Review:

I’m starting to notice that I need to drink at least a full glass of iced tea of whatever flavor I’m reviewing from Southern Boy Teas before I’m able to make a proper assessment of it.  I need to finish the first glass and be about halfway through my second glass before I’m able to really offer a fair evaluation of the tea.

That’s because the flavors don’t really reach out and grab me from the first few sips.  It isn’t until I reach the end of the first glass that I’m starting to notice the flavors.  Then with the second glass … I notice that the flavors are still developing on my palate.  By the time I’ve reached the mid-glass point of the second glass of iced tea, then I can really taste the flavors clearly.

And this is really a tasty iced tea!

I don’t know if it’s a “blueberry cordial” exactly, though.  I find myself still searching for the chocolate notes.  I can taste the blueberry very clearly.  I get a strong sweet yet tart blueberry flavor with that familiar tingly berry sensation at the finish.  That tingling, tart note lingers into the aftertaste.

I also taste notes of brandy.  The notes of brandy are subtle but they’re there and they seem to accentuate the flavors of the blueberry rather than try to stand out on their own.

The chocolate is there too, but it’s something that I find myself needing to really focus on the sip to taste.  Once I do focus on the sip – by sipping slowly with a slight ‘slurp’ to aerate the liquid on my palate – I can really taste the chocolate.  So, I’m not saying that the chocolate notes are too delicate, I’m just saying that when taking a casual sip, they aren’t as noticeable as when I’m really trying to focus on what flavors I’m experiencing with this tea.

The black tea is also tasted in this.  It’s not an aggressive flavor, but it’s tasted.  It’s smooth and brisk.  No bitterness and I’m not detecting any astringency either.  It’s just smooth and pleasant.  It isn’t a particularly bold tasting tea, but it isn’t something I’d call muted or even drab.  I think it’s offering just the right amount of flavor for this particular blend:  allowing the flavors of the blueberry cordial to shine through while still reminding me that I’m drinking black tea.

Overall, I think that this blend is a win.  It might not be my favorite to come from Southern Boy Teas, but it’s one that I wouldn’t mind having again.  I enjoyed it!

Apple Brandy Assam from 52Teas

Apple-Brandy-AssamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

A Mokalbari Estate GFOP Assam blended with freeze-dried apple pieces, and organic apple and brandy flavors. This rich Assam base has a long and wiry leaf style with some golden tips and makes a beautiful cuppa with the hints of apple and brandy.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow, this review is scheduled to publish mid-January and I’m just now getting into my December teas from 52Teas!  Time to get with it!

I steeped this tea in my trusty Breville One-Touch.  I love this machine!  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket (these were heaping scoops because the pieces of apple are large and took up a considerable amount of space in the scoop!) and I measured 500ml of water into the jug.  Then I set the parameters:  2 minutes (it’s an Assam so I use a little less time) and 205°F (again, with an Assam, I take the temperature down from 212° to 205°).

At first I wasn’t too sure about this tea.  I wasn’t really picking up on any flavors at all.

I could taste the Assam.  It tasted like a wine-like Assam to me – then again, that could just be the Brandy flavoring playing games with my palate – but I can taste a wine-like taste to this and not so much a malty tone.

I do taste some malt, just not as much as I typically do with an Assam.  I really like the base, though, because it’s a rich and full-flavored tea.  It’s very enjoyable and has a really good flavor to it.

I’m not a big alcohol drinker, as I’ve confessed many times (I’m a TEA-totaler) so I can’t really tell you that what I’m tasting is definitely brandy.  But I do taste a wine-like/brandy-like flavor to this and this flavor develops as I continue to sip.

Because as I said at the start of this review, I wasn’t too sure about this tea.  It took a while for the palate to start picking up on the flavors of this tea.  After a short cooling time and as I now continue to sip (I’m now halfway through my mug of tea), I’m tasting more flavors that taste of brandy/wine.

And I can taste the apple too!  The apple notes started to really pop after drinking about 1/4 of my cup of tea.  The flavor is sweet and crisp and I like the way it melds with the brandy and Assam.

This is tasty!

PGB Black Tea from 52Teas

PGBTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

As difficult as you might imagine it would be to replicate a Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster here on Earth, particularly since the only ingredient we could obtain here would be the olive, it is an even MORE difficult task to create a non-alcoholic tea inspired by the drink. BUT I think we have succeeded in creating something awesome. Here’s our awesome premium black tea base blended with organic lemon-, brandy-, bourbon-, sherry- and red hot cinnamon flavors, cinnamon chips, lemon balm, lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, lemongrass, some chili pepper flakes and a TEENY touch of cayenne pepper to give it that little extra bit of BITE. Instead of an olive we added a tiny touch of organic maraschino cherry flavor for sweetness. I’m sure my creation can’t hold a candle to the awesome concoction from the fertile imagination of Douglas Adams, but I’m pretty sure it will put a smile on your face anyway, and now you can offer your guests a cuppa PGB.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

OK, I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn that 52Teas’ tea of the week was this PGB which – for those of you unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – stands for Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.  It’s one of my favorite movies.

I still haven’t read the book.  I have the book, but I just haven’t taken the time to read it yet.  I plan to do that soon.  As in eventually.

At the same time, I was a little afraid of the tea.  I mean … I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to have my brains smashed in by a slice of lemon that’s been wrapped around a large gold brick.  As amazing as that sounds, I just thought that might be something that’s a little like skydiving:  it sounds fun.  But jumping out of an airplane doesn’t sound like something I should do.

But I decided to summon up the courage and brew some of this tea and try it.  Even if it meant that I would soon feel as though I had my brains smashed in a brick of gold that’s been wrapped in lemon.

At first the tea starts out rather mellow.  But after about three sips, I start to pick up on FLAVOR.  A lot of it!  I taste cinnamon and notes of citrus, a hint of chili pepper.  It’s sweet and spicy and fruity.  The description states that there are flavors of brandy, bourbon and sherry in this, and I’m having difficulty discerning specific alcohol flavors in this.  This could be that I’m either not very good at determining alcohol flavors because I’m a tea-totaler, or it could be that these alcohol notes meld into the background, behind the stronger flavors of black tea, cinnamon, citrus and zesty pepper.

I REALLY like this concoction.  It’s different from any tea that I’ve tried before but it’s also similar enough to things that I’ve tried in the past that it doesn’t taste weird to the point of being off-putting.  It’s a good weird.  Kind of like 52Teas.

As I continue to sip, I’m picking up on a delicate sweetness from maraschino cherry.  It’s a really nice contrast to the low and slow burn that I’m getting from the red hot cinnamon/natural cinnamon and cayenne and chili pepper.

The spice is the best part of this because it’s not TOO spicy.  This isn’t one of those hot-cha-cha kind of spicy teas that becomes too difficult to drink because the spice is overwhelming.  It isn’t sending me to the kitchen for a drink of ice water to cool the mouth.  I’m not in need of a bite of yogurt to tame the zesty flavors that are dancing around in my mouth right now.  It all works together very well.  It’s warm and it’s – as I said before – a low and slow kind of burn in the back of the mouth and toward the back of the throat.

This is the kind of drink that I’m going to want to turn to when autumn arrives and there’s a cool crispness to the air.  It’s just warm enough to give me that all-over sort of warm feeling that I would get if I just drank a shot of whiskey but without the flavor of whiskey in my mouth.  That’s a big bonus for this tea-totaler.

I really like this.  It’s definitely a suitable tribute to one of my all-time favorite movies.

Organic Apricot Brandy Flavored Black Tea from ArtfulTea

OrgApricotBrandyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ArtfulTea or ArtfulTea on Etsy

Tea Description:

Organic apricot pieces and natural brandy flavor give this black tea blend a delicious full flavor and luscious sweetness. An aromatic and visually appealing tea.

Ingredients: organic black tea, organic apricot pieces, organic calendula and osmanthus petals, natural apricot brandy flavor. Produced in accordance with the Ethical Tea Partnership.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I placed my samples order with ArtfulTea, this was the first sample that I selected.  I’m not sure what it was about this tea that allured me, but at the moment when I was shopping something in my head thought:  “Oh, that sounds good!” when I read the words Apricot Brandy.

The aroma is a perfect representation of Apricot Brandy!  The dry leaf smells of apricots, brandy and black tea.  (No big surprises!)  Once brewed, the tea smells similar, but I think I smell more black tea now.  It’s a wonderful fragrance – the kind of scent that gets the taste buds excited and the mouth watering!

And it tastes as good as it smells!  Mmm!

I can taste notes of apricot:  sweet, juicy and reminiscent of the flavor of a tree-ripened apricot.  When served hot, this is especially true (I guess because tree-ripened fruit is always a wee bit warm, you know?)

I taste the black tea next and it has a pleasant flavor.  It’s a smooth, mild-tasting black tea.  The website doesn’t indicate what type of black tea is used in this blend, but if I were to wager a guess I’d say it’s a Ceylon, because it has that moderate, even-tempered sort of flavor that is typical of a Ceylon.  It’s an enjoyable black tea base, not bitter and not overly astringent.  There is some astringency, slightly dry toward the finish, but it’s not a strong astringency.  I’d categorize it as a light astringency.

As I sip this, I can’t help but wonder how apricot flavors would fair with Assam tea.  I think those caramel-y, malty notes of an Assam would taste delightful with apricot!

The brandy flavor is – happily – not an overpowering flavor.  I like the way it balances with the other tastes in this cup.  Sometimes with alcohol-inspired teas like this one, I find myself concerned that the alcohol notes will be overwhelming, and because I’m not much of a drinker of brandy or any other alcoholic beverage (I’m a tea-totaler!) I generally am not all that excited about teas that taste strongly of an alcoholic drink.

This has more of the sweet, delicious apricot than it does brandy, and the two meld together in a very delightful way.  The flower/petal additions don’t add a strong floral note to the cup, but, the osmanthus does enhance the apricot nicely.

Overall, a really enjoyable cup of tea!  I’m very happy with this cup.  It tastes good hot, and it’s also nice as the cup begins to cool, suggesting to me that this would make a tasty glass of iced tea as well.

Butter Brandy Cake from 52Teas

ButterBrandyCakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

I’m having a glass of this week’s Tea of the Week as we speak. I think this is probably going to be a great comforting hot tea, but to anyone who knows me, I almost always drink my teas iced. The brandy flavor is the most prominent, with the buttery, cakey goodness coming through in the aftertaste. It’s a very unique and soothing flavor pallete. It seems well-suited to cold nights indoors under an afghan or (if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace) in front of a roaring fire.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never had butter brandy cake. In fact, I was thinking that we have butterscotch and butter rum, why not butter-brandy, but when I went to Google it to see if such a confection existed, what I found was butter brandy cake and here we are. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am. My big tumbler is empty now.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is not my first cup of this tea, I have been drinking it about every other day for about a week now.  However, I did have a bit of a head cold over the past week, so, I felt my taste buds weren’t quite up to snuff … at least, not enough to offer an adequate tea review on this tea.

The first time I tasted it, I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought of it.  I didn’t even rate it numerically on Steepster, because I wasn’t sure about it.  I knew I liked it, but, it was just so different from anything that I’d tasted before.  I don’t know if that has anything to do with the fact that I’ve never tasted Butter Brandy Cake, I just knew it was delicious, I was enjoying it … but it was … different!

The first flavor that I notice is the brandy, it has a strong, fruity/sweet/almost-wine-y kind of taste to it.  Then I notice a caramel-y undertone … a sweet, luscious, buttery caramel-y taste.  Toward mid-sip, a buttery, freshly-baked cake-y kind of flavor comes through.  Throughout the sip, the black tea base is present, it isn’t a strong, overwhelming presence, but it is there enough so that you know you’re drinking tea and not some weird, space-age, liquid cake that’s been doused with brandy.  (Note:  In this case “weird” is good … definitely good!)

In the past, 52Teas’ black tea blends had a problem with astringency, that is to say it was really quite astringent to the point of coming across as bitter.  Since that time, Frank at 52Teas changed its black tea base to a smoother, more satisfying black tea blend … and I don’t think I’ve noticed much astringency in any of the black tea blends that 52Teas has offered until now.  Somehow the flavors here bring out the astringency … but I don’t find it off-putting.  Instead, the astringency works well with the flavors … it seems to complete the brandy notes quite nicely.

This is a very compelling blend by 52Teas … I like it quite a bit!  It also makes a remarkably tasty latte!