Snow Buds from Radiance Tea House

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Radiance Tea House

Tea Description:

Like a symphony to the senses, you will discover an ensemble of fragrances that will delight the palette.

Taster’s Review:

This tea – the third and final tea from my March “Perfect Pairs” Steepster Select Box – is full of surprises!

Before opening the pouch, the name of the tea suggests to me that it is a white tea.  “Snow Buds” sounds like a white tea, doesn’t it?  And when I opened the pouch, I was greeted with large, pale green leaves covered in fluffy silver fuzz that gave it the appearance of a very high quality Bai Mu Dan.

The dry leaf aroma is fruity, reminiscent of fresh peaches, a scent I did not expect.  My mouth actually began to water, it smelled so delicious.

The brewed tea is very pale, and again, it appears to be more like a white tea than a green tea.  But the truth is in the flavor.  And while it doesn’t taste as “green” as some other green teas that I’ve tried, for it lacks much of that grassy/vegetal flavor that green teas possess, it tastes more like a green tea to me than it does a white.  Then again, it does have some similarities to a white tea, too.

The flavor is delicate, but not as delicate as a white tea.  It has a creaminess to it, and it is remarkably sweet, reminiscent of rock sugar candy.  The fruity tones are there too, with background notes of peach and possibly a hint of apricot.  It is very smooth and has a broth-y kind of mouthfeel.  There is virtually no astringency to this cup, only smooth, rich flavor.

Really, they can call it what they like.  Green tea or white tea, this tea is fantastic.  I am really glad that this was part of the Steepster Select box, and that I had this opportunity to try it.  It is SO good!

Cream Earl Grey from Special-Teas, Etc.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Special-Teas, Etc.

Tea Description:

Black tea, bergamot flavor, cornflower petals.  A hint of cream flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve stated many times, I love Earl Grey, and I also love many of the spin-off or variations of Earl Grey.  I am particularly fond of creamy Earl Grey teas like this one, where the tangy flavor of bergamot is softened by a touch of cream flavor. So, needless to say, when Steepster decided to include this Cream Earl Grey from Special-Teas, Etc. in their March Steepster Select box, I was thrilled!

The description provided for this tea does not indicate that this is a vanilla cream flavor, but, it does taste very vanilla-like.  It is also somewhat like caramel.  It is very smooth, sweet and indulgent.  It melds seamlessly with the bergamot orange flavor.  The bergamot and the cream are pretty well-balanced, and in my opinion, there is a bit more than a “hint” of cream flavor in this blend … but I’m not complaining!

I suspect that is because the cream flavor is what I would call a “top note” as it presents itself as the more assertive flavor, but, the assertiveness subsides rather quickly, allowing for the other flavors of this tea to be experienced.

This has allowed the bergamot to assume a mid-to-base note – which is quite a different role for the bergamot to play when considering a typical Earl Grey tea.  But then again, a Cream Earl Grey isn’t a typical Earl, is it?  The bergamot has a deeper flavor here, it tastes less sharp and does not possess that perfume-y, flowery note that can sometimes be associated with bergamot – probably due to the sweetness of the cream.

The Steepster Select box includes with its selection of teas a “theme card” that explains not only the theme but also gives a brief description of each tea on the back of the card.  This month, since the theme is “Perfect Pairs,” the description of each tea has been replaced with a suggestion to complete the “perfect pair.”  Here is what Steepster suggests for this Cream Earl Grey:

Pair with:  Gin Cocktail.  The distinct bergamot flavor makes earl grey an ideal candidate for mixed cocktails.  To create an earl grey-infused gin, add 4 tablespoons of tea into a 750 ml bottle of gin, cap and shake it, let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then strain.  The creaminess of this particular earl grey from Special Teas, Etc, a cozy shop that specializes and excels in tea blend and carries over 100 varieties of loose leaf blends, works splendidly in this Earl Grey MarTEAni recipe:

I did not make a MarTEAni, mostly because I am not particularly fond of alcohol, although I must say that I am tempted to try it.  Perhaps the next time I’m out and about I might pick up a bottle of Gin and try it.

However, I will say that I really enjoyed this tea … as a tea.  It’s one of the nicest Cream Earl Grey teas I’ve yet to taste.