Perles de Antilles Rooibos Blend from Camellia Sinensis

perlesdeantillesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Roiboos

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Tea Description:

What makes this extra good? One, it’s organic. Two, the coconut is subtle, rather than being the main note. Three… is that banana I taste? How unusual, but very pleasant. Together with the green rooibos, this is a fantastic combo. Soft, sweet and creamy. You can try it hot or iced.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Rooibos blends just aren’t my favorite.  They just aren’t.  But I do enjoy green rooibos more than I do red rooibos – I find that light, fruity note of the green rooibos to be appealing, especially when it’s part of a fruit flavored blend like this Perles de Antilles Rooibos Blend from Camellia Sinensis.

I think that the above description from Amoda Tea to be pretty spot on:  the coconut notes are soft and unassuming, and the banana adds a pleasant flavor to this delightful tropical fruit flavored tisane.  The overall flavor is indeed “soft, sweet and creamy.”

The creaminess is kind of a surprise for me, because I haven’t had a lot of green rooibos blends that have been what I’d categorize as “creamy.”  Usually, they’re light and crisp and have almost a ‘bubbly’ type of character to them.  I suspect the coconut and banana flavors brings a bit of creaminess to the party.

The pineapple adds a little bit of brightness to the cup.  The apple is not particularly distinguishable, but I do note a little bit of apple-like sweetness that enhances the overall cup.

I really like this:  it’s a soothing, gentle kind of flavor, the kind of tisane you want to curl up to late at night.  And because it’s naturally caffeine-free, you can do just that.  It’s sweet and it’s fruity without tasting like a cloying fruit punch concoction.  It’s quite tasty, really.

Darjeeling de Triomphe Black Tea from Teavana

DarjeelingdeTriompheTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Teavana

Tea Description:

Glasses lifted high in moments of celebratory triumph- the inspiration for this most coveted ‘champagne of teas.’ Refreshingly young black tea leaves, featuring vibrant gradients of green colors yield a high content of silvery tips and buds. Each and every single leaf is scrutinized for purity in taste and features a harvest of the first flush of leaves from six of our bountiful private reserve tea gardens. Taste a floral aromatic sweet ending with each sip of this victorious crème de la crème of Darjeelings. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I wanted to … I really, really wanted to!  I wanted to hate this Darjeeling de Triomphe Black Tea from Teavana.  I admit it.  I usually go in to my tea tastings with as open a mind as I possibly can, but, I have to admit that I am not particularly fond of Teavana.

I don’t like that when I enter a Teavana store, I am greeted by and then pressured to buy … by a clerk that most likely knows relatively little about the tea they are selling in the store.  I don’t like that Teavana is grossly overpriced and that coupled with the fact that they try to “ounce your wallet to death” by adding just a little bit more than the 2 ounces you’re buying and then asking, innocently “is that alright?”

And then they try to upsell you an overpriced tin by telling you that is the way you have to store the tea.   You walk into a store, expecting to pay maybe $25 and you end up leaving with $95 less in your bank account because of their sneaky upsell tactics.  (These things don’t happen when you’re shopping online with them, just an FYI.)

Finally, I didn’t like that this particular tea – this Darjeeling I’m sipping now – is one of their pricier teas.  It’s marked $19.98 for TWO ounces!  That’s insanity.

OK … ok … I’m stepping off my tea box now.

There are a lot of things that are wrong with Teavana … but there are some things right with them too.  I like that they’re opening up the public awareness to tea.  More and more people are learning more about tea – that there’s more to tea than that yellow, white and red box that has been sitting on the grocery store shelf for the last year.  That is definitely a positive aspect of this company.  I just wish … they were less “corporate.”  Tea should be a passion, not a bottom line.

Anyway … on to my thoughts about this tea.  It really is good, despite my desire to dislike it.  I just can’t.  It’s a mighty fine Darjeeling.  Is it better than some others that I’ve tried that are less expensive than this one?  No, it isn’t.  But it is still a good Darjeeling.

It’s a six estate blend of first flush teas.  So, we have a nice fruity tone to this cup, but not as much muscatel as you would experience with a second flush.   There are some really nice floral tones to this tea and it has a pleasantly crisp taste with a fair amount of cleansing astringency.  My mouth feels clean after a sip.

With each sip, I experience a nice complexity.  There are layers of wood tones, earth, high notes of flower, and sweet fruit notes.  It’s a really nice cuppa.

My final thoughts on this tea?  It’s a good Darjeeling.  It is a blend, though, so it certainly doesn’t deserve the price tag with which it’s been marked.  If this were a single estate tea and Teavana was working closely with the farmers to ensure quality and if it were an organic and fair trade selection, then I might be able to understand the high price on this one.  But, for a six estate blended first flush?  No.  I can’t in good conscience recommend it to you.  It’s good, but there are better teas out there.

Fleur de Geisha from Le Palais Des Thés

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Le Palais Des Thés

Tea Description:

Inspired by the Japanese Hanami tradition of cherry blossom viewing, Fleur de Geisha is a refined Japanese green tea, delicately flavored with cherry blossom.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Without having read the description of this tea and knowing only that it was a green tea, I brewed it and served it hot.  The aroma of the dry leaf was very cherry-like with beautiful floral background notes, making me think that this was a cherry blossom tea.  A spring-time favorite, I couldn’t have “blindly” chosen a better tea to enjoy this afternoon.  (By “blindly” I mean this:  as Le Palais Des Thés is a company based in France and the labels on this gift set are all in French, I didn’t know which tea I was choosing, only that “vert” meant that it would be a green tea)

The brewed tea maintains much of its cherry-like fragrance.  The flavor is delicate, especially when served hot.  As the tea cools, the flavor intensifies.  Served hot, the tea has a very soft balance between cherry blossom notes and hints of sweet cherry flavor mingling with a fresh, sweet vegetative tone.  It is very sweet and evokes thoughts of the beautiful cherry blossom trees.

Once the tea has cooled, the cherry flavor becomes much stronger, while some of the floral tones diminish somewhat.  The flavor of the green tea remains very sweet and lush, balancing out the sweet cherry flavor with a hint of vegetation.

While I personally prefer this tea hot, I can see how this would be a big hit as an iced tea … especially for those who enjoy cherry fruit notes over those of the cherry blossom.  I do like cherry, but I think I like better being able to taste those delicate cherry blossom notes that seem to subside as the tea cools.

A beautiful spring-time treat!