Raspberry and Apricot Green Tea Delight from iHeartTeas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: iHeartTeas

Tea Description:

A light and fruity handcrafted green tea blend with pieces of sweet raspberries and delicate bits of apricot. Wonderful both hot and cold.

Recommended Steeping Parameters: 1 tsp of tea at 175F for 2 mins.

Steeping parameters are recommended based on the way I enjoyed this particular blend personally. Feel free to play and discover how you enjoy it best.

Ingredients: green tea, natural raspberry flavor, raspberry leaves, raspberries, rose petals, apple pieces, natural apricot flavor, apricots, and marigold flowers

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Totally unexpected delight. First of all the aroma of this tea is of warm vanilla sugar and berries. The smell was so warm, so inviting, so sweet, and so natural smelling. It really reminded me of the caramelized sugar on top of a creme brulee with wild berry glaze on the side.

The very fist sip was that of raspberry but it quickly faded into a warm sugared apricot flavor but not a sticky sweet sugar, rather a very natural sugar flavor.

This tea is JUICY! It makes your mouth water and the flavors are really quite wonderful! I could not detect any artificial flavors even if they are used and I am pretty sensitive to artificial flavorings.

Finally, an apricot I can fully appreciate, as I have had issues with finding an apricot tea I like recently. I like the sweet raspberry – not tart, which really helps to mellow the usually more pungent earthy apricot and while I do like earthy teas, apricot and I do not normally get along.

This is an inconspicuous tea, it does not force you to take notice, rather allows you to simply meld into its splendor! I found that none of the flavors fought one another for attention. While vanilla was not mentioned in the name or ingredients of this tea I swear I could taste a hint of natural vanilla!

There were actual pieces of fruit in the blend just as stated on the site!.

No sugar is needed to add to this tea its really quite perfectly sweet and balanced all on its own and I can only imagine adding sugar would make it all the more decedent or dipping some sugar cookies into it but I have had my allotment of cookies for today lol.

I loved the fresh tart apricot, the sharp but sweet raspberries, and the wonderful green tea base. A sweet, succulent tea that truly is a delight!

It does not hurt one bit either that Rachel of iHeartTeas is such a sweetie herself!

Strawberry Lemonade from iHeartTeas

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos & Herbal/Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  iHeartTeas

Tisane Description:

 A perfect summer treat without all the sugar.  A slightly sweet and tart blend.  Wonderful hot or cold.   Add a touch of raw sugar or honey for the perfectly balanced cup.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

I received this as a free sample with my recent order from iHeartTeas.  I just love it when companies give free samples with orders – it’s like a little gift and a really nice way to make me as a consumer feel special.  And Rachel from iHeartTeas is really so very nice, it’s like receiving a gift from a friend, which makes it extra special.

My usual steeping parameters for rooibos blends is to steep for 10 minutes, but because this blend also contained hibiscus, I cut that time in half … and I’m glad I did.  At five minutes steeping time, the liquor developed a very deep red color from the hibiscus, but none of the syrupy texture of it.

It also picked up quite a bit of the hibiscus tartness, though, and I did find this tisane to be quite tart.  But I guess it should be, right?  It’s Strawberry LEMONADE, after all.  Lemonade is supposed to be tart.

But even though it is tart, the sweetness of the strawberry comes through quite nicely.  I even taste a bit of the berry tartness which may be from the strawberry but may also be the hibiscus as it often takes on a berry-like quality when it’s infused.

The apple in this blend is only slightly distinguishable, but really, what it adds is primarily a sense of sweetness, along with the strawberry.  The rooibos are not discernible.  The strawberry is delicious, the lemon is quite tart, a little bit puckery tart.  I would rather there was no hibiscus, but it does give the tisane the aforementioned pretty, ruby red color.

Overall, a pleasant blend.  Not my favorite tisane, but certainly not something I’d turn down if offered.  I enjoyed it, and it made for a very relaxing cuppa later in the evening.

Sticky Buns Black Tea from Jacqueline’s Tea Room

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Jacqueline’s Tea Room

Tea Description:

Black tea with honey, caramel and vanilla. Sinister!

Learn more about Jacqueline’s Tea Room here.

Taster’s Review:

I purchased this as part of a sampler offered by iHeartTeas a while back, but I’m just now getting around to tasting it.  Just as well, though, because, this tea is very autumnal and goes well with this time of year!  And as I’ve said before – it’s my favorite time of year, and I just love it when I grab a tea from my stash of samples and find one that fits in perfectly with the season.

Of course, I wouldn’t turn down a sticky bun any time of year.  But, really, this doesn’t taste all that much like a sticky bun, at least not to me.  It’s lacking that bake-y, cake-y kind of taste to it.  That’s not to say it’s not delicious – it IS!  The flavors of honey and caramel meld together beautifully to create a very luscious sticky bun topping, even if the bun is not there!  The vanilla weaves its way in and out throughout the sip, tantalizing the taste buds.  YUM!

The black tea base is pleasant, but, there is part of me that thinks that this combination of flavors might benefit from a slightly stronger base.  Something that has that natural freshly baked bread kind of taste in it.  Something a little bit malty, a little more powerful.  As it is, it is delicious, but not really very strong, which makes this a better afternoon cuppa than a breakfast one, in this taster’s opinion.

So, this one is a little bit disappointing because I think it could be so much more than it is.  A stronger, maltier base with a natural “baked goods” kind of taste to it, perhaps, or even some nutty tones might make the idea of “Sticky Buns” come across more in the flavor.  But I am enjoying it for the way it is, and I certainly would not refuse a cup if it were offered.  Yummy, but capable of so much more, I think!

Strawberry Island from iHeartTeas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  iHeartTeas

Tea Descripton:

Finally after much delay I have created my first blend by hand. It is a sweet and juicy blend of strawberry black tea, a touch of coconut to remind you of the islands and creamy vanilla which helps to bind all the delicious flavors together. This blend can be enjoyed hot or cold making it versatile all year long. I am sure you will find this little concoction of mine very light, fun, and slightly sweet. A great blend to brighten spirits and perhaps put a spring in your step.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea takes me back to when I first started out on my path of blending and flavoring teas.  It was a scary, intimidating time, and back then, there were far fewer resources available to me to learn the art … so for me it was very much a case of trial and error – resulting in mostly error!

If I’m interpreting the above description correctly, this is iHeartTeas’ inaugural blend; the very first tea blend that she blended herself.  Knowing from experience how difficult it can be to “put yourself (or in this case, your blends) out there” – I commend her for her courage to do so, and I’m excited for her and glad that she has taken her first steps (and the many steps she’s taken since crafting this blend) to get her young business on the right track.

That being said, I just can’t get all that excited about this particular blend.  I mean, it’s alright, but it’s not as good as I had hoped it would be.

The black tea base is strong and tastes pleasant.  The rich, malty tones of the tea meld quite nicely with the flavors of coconut and vanilla, and I think that that’s my favorite part of this tea.

But the strawberry just tastes a little bit off, a little on the artificial side.  The name of this tea – Strawberry Island – suggests to me that the strawberry flavor would be a bit more pronounced than it is.

I notice that as this tea cools, it does taste much better.  While the strawberry notes remain dormant, I am not noticing as much of the artificial strawberry notes that I tasted when the tea was warmer.  The coconut, on the other hand, has really emerged at this point, creating a delicious creamy coconut flavor.

Because of the way the flavor changes as it cools, I’d say that this tea is best iced.  It is tasty hot, but, better iced.

Overall, I find this tea to be decent – not bad, certainly, but not great either – and it IS a really good first blend, and if this is a look at what the future holds for iHeartTeas, I’m very excited for what comes next!

Jacqueline’s Tea from Jacqueline’s Tea Room (available from iHeartTeas)

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:

This tea is part of the Sweet Set Sampler from iHeartTeas.

Learn more about Jacqueline’s Tea Room here.

Tea Description:

Black tea with Lavender flowers and honey bee pollen.

Taster’s Review:

There were a couple of teas in this sampler that prompted my purchase, but, I have to admit that this wasn’t one of them.  I think it was the English Garden that really struck my fancy, and it was the name of the tea, really, that made me want to try it.  I find it somewhat amusing and even a little disturbing that after all this time, and after all the teas I’ve tasted, that I am still swayed by something as cosmetic as the name of a tea.

As far as this tea goes,  I don’t think I even read the description of this one before I brewed it!  I don’t know, “Jacqueline’s Tea” just didn’t sound all that exciting to me.  I just happened to grab a black tea from my pile of samples that I need to try.  If I had taken the time to read the description, I probably would have been much more eager to try it.  Lavender and pollen?  AWESOME!

Normally, I associate pollen with the stuff that makes me feel icky in the spring and summer months.  But, when it’s used for culinary purposes, I really love pollen.  I was absolutely blown away by these Fennel Pollen Shortbread Cookies.  Pollen offers a sweetness like honey, but with more complexity.  Here, it has some lovely floral intonations, which enhance the flavor of the lavender quite nicely.

The black tea is mild and smooth.  On Steepster, I compared this tea to an impressionist painting.  If you stand up close to most impressionist art, it looks muddled, like a confused set of brush strokes.  But if you take a few steps back, the subject matter comes in to focus, and you see the brilliant beauty of the artwork.  This tea is like that.  The first couple of sips, the flavors seem kind of blurry.  I tasted the black tea and I tasted sweetness, but, my palate seemed a little confused by it all.  Then, after a couple of sips, the flavors come in to focus.  The black tea:  mellow and unassuming.  The lavender and the pollen:  sweet and floral, with the pollen notes highlighting the lavender in a way that I don’t think I’ve experienced lavender before.

This is not a tea that I’d recommend for the “gotta-get-moving” first thing in the morning cup of tea.  This is more like a tea you want to sip when you just want to sit back and contemplate.

If you’re a fan of lavender, this is a tea I recommend trying.  It is a different way to experience lavender, and it’s definitely worth experiencing!