Cinnamon Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong from Stylin’ Tea Blends


Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Stylin’ Tea Blends

Tea Description:

Phoenix Dan Cong is a premium variety of china oolong teas, grown and processed in Mountain Phoenix, Chao Zhou, Guangdong. Dan Dong Teas are noted for their ability to naturally imitate the flavors and fragrances of various fruits and flowers, such as honey orchid, cinnamon, sweet-potato. According to history record, Dan Cong was served as an imperial tribute tea in Song Dynasty. This Tea is very popular in China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was in a mood today for oolong. Been drinking it all day actually. Today was just one of those days were you wanted something rich, comforting, and a bit more complex.

Digging thru my tea stash I stumbled upon this beauty.  The leaves were gorgeous- dark and slightly twisted.  They yearned to be brewed up!

Brewed these up with water prepped at 195 per the steeping parameters and I allowed them to steep for about 3 minutes.  I was greeted with the most marvelous flavor! Rich, deep, well balanced, slightly vegetal, but so incredibly smooth.  This is was of those lush silky teas that give you that whole mouth feel and leave you craving more as soon as you finish your first sip. A gorgeous blend for sure and one that I’ve now brewed up a few times-enjoying each cup.

I can’t say that I picked up any cinnamon like flavors but I did pick up the sweet potato like resemblance and oddly enough the honey orchid profile. Those two flavors mingled together so nicely.  Sounds odd to say that they did but I finished off this tea in no time. A really fabulous tea for those days when you need a tea to comfort you all along your way!

Caramel Apple Almond from Full Leaf Tea Co.

CaramelAppleAlmondTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Full Leaf Tea Company

Tea Description:

This black tea blend steeps to a rich caramel color with subtle hints of apple to the taste. 

The tea in Full-Leaf is a mix of marigolds, apple bits, caramel bits, and almond chips

Country of Origin: India

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love discovering new companies and new tea company owners that really care about what their customers think.  Matt@ Full Leaf Tea Company is just that kind of owner.  He cares about what his customers think and really takes the time and care to listen.  When I come across that kind of a company, I tend to keep going back.  On top of the awesome customer service you reciceve, there is also an amazing selection of teas to try.  And I have tried several.

Recently I had their Caramel Apple and Almond Black Tea.  I couldn’t wait to try this one.  Threw some tea leaves into my Breville One Touch and set this up with the black tea setting (212F-3 min). The dry leaves had a slight almond like aroma with hints of a sweetness.  Didn’t exactly smell like caramel or apple but you can tell there was something there.  You could actually see the caramel bits, apple bits, and the almond chips right in the blend.  You have to love that!

Poured myself and Jason (my boyfriend) a cup.  Brewed up hot, this had a very pu erh flavor and smell.  The tea was very earthy and I couldn’t taste any of the caramel, apple, or almond.  We both thought this tasted like a pu erh blend so much that I actually emailed Matt and asked him if pu erh was in the black base tea.  He said there wasn’t.  I was a bit confused by this.

Typically when I don’t like a tea brewed hot, I will enjoy it cold brewed.  Threw some leaves in my cold brew bottle and let it steep overnight.  In the morning I had a fantastic blend of sweet and earthy caramel apple tea.  The earthy flavor was still there but the flavor blended so well with the sweet caramel apple.  I didn’t taste the almond but I have a feeling the almond was more subtle and aiding in the rich earthy flavor.

I think I just need to go back and play with the steeping parameters on this tea.  I have a feeling that the 3 min steep was too long and maybe should go with a 2 min steep when trying to brew this up hot.  I also want to try and steep this up in my glass tea pot instead of the Breville.    This is a tea that just needs a bit of experimenting to bring out all of those lovely flavors and I am up for the task.  Just need to get some more.

Thé Vert à la Menthe Nanah (Spearmint Green Tea) by Kusmi

SpearmintKusmiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Kusmi

Tea Description:

Nana mint is the mint used for teas in the Middle East and North Africa. Its refreshing taste makes Spearmint green tea perfect for after a meal.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The first thing I noticed about this one is how wonderful it smells – fresh, strong, sweet spearmint, right from the get go! I prefer spearmint to peppermint in general, but spearmint teas seem relatively scarce in comparison, so I’m pleased to have found this one from Kusmi. The dry leaf is very dark green and tightly rolled. There’s no indication on the tin of the variety of green tea this is, but I would guess Gunpowder from looking at the leaves alone. I could be wrong, but that’s my educated guess. For my cup, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a golden yellow, and smells primarily of spearmint with an underlying hint of green tea.

To taste, this one reminds me a bit of chewing gum, or softmints. It has the same intense initial sweet mint flavour, which lingers decently into the aftertaste. Spearmint is pretty much all I’m getting from this one, so it comes across fairly one note, but if spearmint is what you’re looking for, then it’s certainly what you’ll get. I had thought I’d be able to taste the green tea base a little more, but it remains firmly in the background. There’s the tiniest hint of it right at the end of the sip, but in a blind tasting you could tell me this was a pure spearmint tea and I’d probably be none the wiser.

As a fan of spearmint, I really like this one. It’s sweet, clean-tasting, and refreshing, and makes for a very pleasant cup on a warm summer afternoon. I imagine it’d also work well cold brewed, which is something I’ll have to try in the coming weeks. It’s not as punchy as peppermint in terms of flavour, and it lacks the intensely cooling effect that mint sometimes has, so this tea is just the thing if you like your mint a little softer and more gentle. This is a wonderful offering from Kusmi, and well worth a look this summer if you’re in the market for a mint green tea.

On The First Day of Christmas, Southern Boy Teas Edition!

OK, so like I promised you on the first day of Christmas with my previous countdown, I was planning on doing two countdowns per day, unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.  Instead, I decided to do 1 of the countdowns starting on the 14th of December and counting down to Christmas, and then I’ll do the second version which will actually BE on the 12 days of Christmas, starting on the “actual” first day of Christmas, December 25th.  Not that it really matters to me.  All that really matters to me … is the tea.

So, my second Christmas countdown this year is with Southern Boy Teas (aka 52Teas) and their Iced Teas!  Let’s get this thing started!

Monkey Fart Iced Tea

MonkeyFartTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently, Frank at 52Teas ran a fundraising campaign to get some new equipment that he needed to operate more efficiently, specifically for his iced tea line which he calls Southern Boy Teas.  That campaign was very successful, and out of that success, Frank decided to not only do his 52Teas version of the 12 Days of Christmas, but also a SBT’s version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

For today’s iced tea, Frank chose Monkey Fart.  Now, I have already brewed and reviewed the Monkey Fart iced tea, and I imagine that quite a few of this selection of 12 iced teas I’ve already tried, however, Frank has added quite a few new flavors to his SBT line, so I think I’ll be in for a surprise along the way too.

But, let me just say that I’m glad that Monkey Fart was part of this collection.  No, I’m still not crazy about the name.  It still weirds me out a little bit to think that I’m drinking something called Monkey Fart.

Nonetheless, this tea is tasty.  I cold-brewed it, and it’s as tasty as I remember it.  Sweet and loaded with banana flavor that is more like candy than true-to-the-fruit banana flavor, but, I don’t mind it, because like I said in my previous review, it tastes a bit like banana cotton candy that’s been liquefied and then added to a glass of black iced tea.  YUM!

I hope that the rest of the Southern Boy Teas countdown is as tasty as the first day has been.

PRODUCT REVIEW: French Plum Indian Black Tea Cold-Brewed Concentrate from Kickstand


Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Kickstand

Product Description:

The Organic French Plum Indian Black Tea is a scented-blended tea. This type of black tea is scented with the essence of French plums plucked at their peak.

About Kickstand Tea Concentrate:

You can serve it Hot or Cold, mixed with milk, sugar, alcohol or even adding it to a ice cream or cake mix. Prepare it to your taste, the possibilities are endless.

Taster’s Review:

Before I get started on the product review for this French Plum Indian Black Tea Cold-Brewed Concentrate from Kickstand, I have about how I had heard about this product.  I occasionally buy from Fab and as a result I get their emails all the time, and Kickstand cold-brew tea and coffee concentrates were being offered on Fab this week, and I was thinking about ordering some of this tea concentrate to give it a try.  That SAME day, I go to the post office, and in my PO Box, waiting for me, is a sample bottle of this tea concentrate, their new “for summer” scented tea to review.  Wow!  Talk about being in-sync with a tea company!kickstandtea

The bottles of this tea concentrate are very attractive – they’re packaged in dark amber bottles that are reminiscent of “medicine man” type of bottles.  They hold 32 ounces of cold-brewed tea concentrate which is to be diluted with a ratio of one part water to one part tea concentrate, and then poured over ice. So, you can make one glass of iced tea, or a whole pitcher if you want.

Since I had a pitcher handy, I decided to just go ahead and prepare the whole bottle of concentrate (that way, I don’t have everyone asking me, “hey, mom, what’s in that bottle in the fridge?”)  And the 32 ounce bottle dilutes into a half-gallon pitcher just perfectly (duh, right?).  However, this produces a rather strong glass of iced tea if you don’t pour it over ice … so I recommend doing so.  And if you prefer not to add ice (or if your iced tea is cold from being in the fridge) you might want to add a little more water to dilute it further, because it’s rather strong.

Since I had just diluted the tea, I went ahead and poured the iced tea over ice, and while my first couple of sips (before the ice started to melt) was strong, now that the ice has melted, I find this to be just right.  Strong … but not unappealingly so.  The tea is robust.  It’s very refreshing and brisk!  It has a sweetness to it and a hint of malty undertones.  Very flavorful!  The concentrate has a citric acid added to it … which I am guessing is meant to help preserve the tea, and this adds a pleasing citrus tone to the tea (like someone squeezed a lemon wedge in my iced tea).

And then there is the very appealing plum note.  It is tangy and sweet.  It isn’t quite like the flavor of plum that I’m used to (like the plums that I usually purchase in the produce section of my grocery store), instead, it’s more of a savory plum note with a certain sweet-tart taste that I find very enjoyable.

On a side note, I noticed that after pouring the whole bottle of tea concentrate into my pitcher, there were “floaters” that looked a lot like citrus pulp.  I don’t know if that’s what it is.  I strained the tea into my glass so that I would avoid getting the floaters in my tea, but I didn’t examine these floaters further.

I really like this product!  I especially like that the concentrate is NOT sweetened … so often concentrates like this are so overly sweet that you just can’t taste the tea.  I like that this product allows me to decide whether or not I want sweetener.    I also like that it’s organic!  I’m really glad I got a chance to try it.