Easy as Pie: Black Cherries and Sweet Cream from A Quarter to Tea

It’s getting to be summertime and cherries are in season.  You can see them in a glorious, burgundy bundle at the grocery store or the farmer’s market.  With summertime cherries on my mind, it seemed like the perfect time to try Black Cherries and Sweet Cream tea from A Quarter to Tea.  

The dry tea leaves and the first minute of steeping was all about the cream, wafting sweet waves of vanilla out of my mug.  As the tea cooled and I got my first taste, the cherries started to shine.  This tea is named for black cherries specifically, and you can taste the dark, full, fruit flavor in the tea.  This is certainly not the red cherry flavor of chewy candy or medicine, nor the syrupy maraschino cherry that goes on top of your sundae.  This blend truly tastes like fresh black cherries and a dollop of cream.  Even without milk and sugar, this blend is smooth and decadent, though it never gets too sweet.  

There is a distinct tartness in this brew, both from the natural fruit notes and from a tanginess to the cream. This tartness goes well with the astringent black tea base, matching the bright and sharp tone of the tea leaves.  This blend reminds me of the taste of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, with vanilla yogurt and burst of black cherries.  The vanilla is creamy, but has enough complexity to remind me of true frozen yogurt, or even a slice of cherry cheesecake.  

This is a great dessert blend to go with a cherry pie at that summer barbecue!  

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea

Luscious black cherries with a medium body darjeeling base, paired with heavy notes of cream and vanilla. Decadent enough to make a magister proud.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Oolong/Mate Blend from 52Teas

Caramel-Pecan-Cheesecake-Oolong-MateTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea & Yerba Mate Blend

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. We didn’t quite have enough of either roasted mate or Fujian oolong left to make a full batch of a new blend, so I decided maybe we should blend them together, and the toasty Fujian oolong is a great compliment to the roasted mate! Even better, we paired it with organic caramel, cheesecake and pecan flavors with real pecans. This is a yummy treat you’re not going to want to miss out on.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

This morning, I was in dire need of some caffeine.  It may come as a complete shock to you – but I’m guessing it won’t! – but I am addicted to caffeine.  And occasionally, I’ll go a little longer than I should without a cup of caffeinated tea and I’ll feel the withdrawal headache come on.  This was the case this morning when I woke up:  caffeine headache!  Ack!

When I get a caffeine headache, I generally turn to one of three types of “tea” to help rid me of the headache quickly.  I either whisk up a bowl of Matcha or I brew up a cup of Yerba Mate or Guayusa.  Usually, I reach for Matcha, but I don’t like to drink Matcha on an empty stomach and since I haven’t yet eaten anything and I can’t even think about food until I rid myself of this nagging pain in my skull, I decided to go with either Yerba Mate or Guayusa.

Fortunately, I remembered that I had some Yerba Mate to try in the form of this Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Oolong/Mate blend from 52Teas!  So I grabbed the pouch and measured out 1 1/2 bamboo scoops into the basket of my Kati Tumbler as the kettle was heating 12 ounces of water to 185°F.

My go-to temperature for an Oolong is 180°F and for Yerba Mate it’s 195°F.  Since this blend contains both, I decided to heat the kettle to somewhere in the middle.

I steeped the tea for 3 minutes and waited about 3 minutes to let the tea cool.  Mmm!

OK, let me just say that I really did have my doubts when I first read the description of this tea.  Seriously?  A blend of Oolong and Mate?  It sounded very strange and I wasn’t sure how I’d like it.  But this WORKS!  The nutty notes of the Oolong work together fabulously with the roasted flavor of the Mate.  This profile offers the perfect backdrop for the pecan flavor which is the star of this show.

Deliciously nutty, I love how the top notes of warm, roasty-toasty nutty flavors marry with the mid-notes of sweet, decadent caramel.  By mid-sip, I start to pick up on the creamy notes of cheesecake with just a touch of tangy cream cheese flavor.

This tea is so much better than I ever anticipated it being and guess what?  No more headache either!  This tea gets two thumbs up for being a deliciously rocked-out combination of tea bases that I would have never imagined together before now.  And if I had an extra thumb, I’d give the tea another thumbs up for helping me with my caffeine fix!  Unfortunately, I don’t have another thumb, so I’ll just say:  Bravo, 52Teas!

Passion Fruit Cheesecake Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-Passion-Fruit-CheesecakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Passion fruit and cheesecake? Does it get more decadent than that? Well, yes, actually it does, when we combine the organic flavors of passion fruit and cheesecake with our premium organic Iyerpadi black tea to make an iced tea from heaven!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

I made a half-gallon pitcher full of this Passion Fruit Cheesecake Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas last night, and now (less than 24 hours later and I’ve only been drinking this for about 3 of those 24 hours!) the pitcher is nearly empty.  I think I have one glass of this tea left in the fridge!

In other words:  this stuff is so tasty that I don’t want to stop drinking it!

The black tea base is a very harmonious flavor with the added flavors of passion fruit and cheesecake.  The natural fruity notes of the Iyerpadi single estate black tea marries well with these flavors, allowing the flavors to come alive in my glass of iced tea while still managing to maintain its own presence there.  It tastes brisk and refreshing.  It’s strong without being aggressive or overwhelming.  It’s not astringent or bitter.  Just really, really lovely.

The passion fruit is a very well-defined flavor here.  The cheesecake is less pronounced but it adds a really lusciously smooth and creamy taste to the sip.  The tangy note of the cheesecake is there too, it’s a subtle little note that hits about mid-sip.  A slight contrast from the sweet and creamy that is quite welcome and keeps the tea from becoming cloying.

Every once in a while, I also pick up on light buttery/pastry type of notes.  This buttery/pastry flavor seem to mostly be hidden within the ubiquitous cheesecake note, not really standing on it’s own so much as being part of the collective ‘cheesecake’ but every once in a while, I taste a little more of that flavor, as if it is trying to stand up and shout: “Hello, I’m here too!”

So I guess if I were to offer any sort of criticism at all about this tea, that would be it.  I might like just a tad more of that buttery/pastry flavor here.  But as I mentioned at the start, I’ve nearly polished off an entire half-gallon of this magical liquid in fewer than four hours.

I think I’m going to be needing more of this.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Flavored Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

Pumpkin-CheesecakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Our awesome premium organic Iyerpadi black tea blended with organic pumpkin and cheesecake flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This is really yummy.

I’ve tried 52Teas version of Pumpkin Cheesecake tea previously and it was yummy too.  Rather than being a blend of black teas, though, this appears to be a single type of tea blended with the flavors.  I like the black tea base, it’s smooth and rich and provides an enjoyable and solid background of flavor for the flavors of pumpkin and cheesecake.

I like the combination of pumpkin and cheesecake especially because the creaminess of the cheesecake flavor really enhances the pumpkin.  I’m a fan of squash and I think that it just tastes better when there is a creamy element added to a winter squash dish, even if it’s a bit of browned butter that has been added to the squash mash.  That little bit of creamy really elevates the dish.

And the creaminess of the cheesecake flavors elevates the pumpkin here too.

This is sweet and there are hints of spice.  I taste subtle notes of cinnamon in the background.  Not a strong flavor – it doesn’t intrude and become a focus of the tea, but it’s enough to add just a little warmth to this autumnal iced tea.  The black tea is a rich, robust flavor that doesn’t get overwhelmed by the flavors.  The cheesecake is sweet, creamy and tangy.  The pumpkin is sweet, rich and savory.  It’s a really delicious combination of flavors that is very well rounded on the palate.

Really good!

To prepare:  I used the hot brew method for this, heating 1 quart of water to 212°F and then steeping the teabag for 2 minutes and pouring the tea into my glass iced tea pitcher (temper it first so that it doesn’t break from the shock of the heat).  Then I repeated the steeping process, resteeping the teabag for 2 1/2 minutes in a quart of 212°F water and adding that quart to the pitcher to make a half gallon of iced tea.  Delicious!

Kiwi Cheesecake Flavored Oolong Tea from 52Teas

Kiwi-Cheesecake-OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:  

Here’s a special treat–Fujian oolong blended with real freeze-dried kiwi, marigold petals and organic kiwi- and cheesecake flavors. A little tart, a little tangy, a little sweet, and all delicious!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a kiwi cheesecake.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a kiwi cheesecake except for the photo on the label.  But I love kiwi (and it’s a fruit flavor that is not often used in a tea!) and I love cheesecake … and I love Oolong so I felt fairly confident that I’d enjoy the tea created for the week of August 25.

The aroma that filled the kitchen when I opened the pouch was a sweet, fruity scent.  I could smell the kiwi and I could smell the sweet, creamy notes.  To brew this, I didn’t grab my gaiwan as I normally would with an Oolong because I figured I didn’t really need it with a flavored Oolong.  Instead, I used my Kati tumbler.  I measured out 1 bamboo scoop of tea into the basket and heated the water to 180°F.  I debated with myself on whether or not I should do a rinse, ultimately, I decided to go ahead and try rinsing the tea for 15 seconds and then discarded the liquid.  Then I steeped the tea for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea has a much softer scent than the dry leaf.  I barely smell the kiwi and I worried for a moment that maybe the rinse rinsed the flavor right off the leaves!  Fortunately, it didn’t!  I may not be able to pick up on a strong kiwi fragrance but I can definitely taste the kiwi.

I can also taste the cheesecake!  There is a creaminess to it which is probably not just because of the flavor but because of the natural creamy notes of the Oolong tea.  I get a light, tangy cream cheese flavor.  The only thing I find myself missing here is a note of pastry or graham cracker crust.  There is a light buttery tone but I attribute that to the Oolong and not so much to the flavor of the pastry.  I find myself searching – in vain – for the crust of the cheesecake.  Normally, when I am trying one of 52Teas’ cheesecake blends, I can pick up on that crust taste.  This one, I’m not.

Perhaps it’s because I did the rinse.  Next time I brew this, I think I’ll try it without the rinse and find out if that improves the overall cheesecake-y-ness of this tea.

But really, the flavors of creamy, sweet, tangy cheesecake and sweet-tart kiwi are both represented very well here, and I like that while I do taste these flavors, the flavor of the Oolong is not lost.  It’s a sweet and smooth Oolong.  I am picking up on light floral notes from the Oolong and I like the way these delicate flowery tones play in the cup.  The Oolong seems to add depth to the kiwi notes and it was the right choice for the base for this blend.

This is a really unusual but very enjoyable cup of tea.