Plum Oatmeal Squares Temi Sikkim Tea from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

Buttery oatmeal squares are the simplest comfort food, a warm (healthy) hug. I expected nothing less from this Plum flavored seasonal offering from A Quarter to Tea.

My first impression is strong fructose vibe from ripe plums or berries, almost the scent of a sweet wine? It’s rare that I find plum in a tea, and this reminds me of smelling farmer’s market produce in the fall. Slivers of goodies decorate the dry black tea leaves, including actual oatmeal.

The hot water awakens the blend, the familiar breakfast oats smell emerges then the tannins follow, the strong fruit smell of earlier is now just a hint. Being present for transformations like these, I find myself appreciating the effort the creators put into their products. The plum aroma gets stronger again as the auburn water gravitates through the steeper.

There is a mismatch of acidity in the two flavors which surprises my taste buds, but also somehow balances itself out. These malted and fruity flavors work really well together. The second steep mellows out the tannins and is more of a creamy fruit taste. Delicate with hint of, wow, what is this biting aftertaste? Like most flavored blends, noticeably less intense but still a good amount of flavor. None of the some cinnamon-type spice in here that I would’ve expected, but it’s oatmeal-y enough without it.

It takes a lot of guts to release a rare flavor, and this offering from A Quarter To Tea rises to the challenge, keeping things original, yet still enjoyable.

Here’s the scoop!

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

Tea of the Month for November 2016

Temi’s perfect muscatel notes are blended with rich dessert flavors: plum, pastry, and vanilla butter. A warming dessert tea, perfect for this (or any other) season.

This tea is limited run, so once it is gone, it’s gone for the season. It is sold only in 0.5oz quantities.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Have a Sweeter Breakfast Blend with Aso Black from Mellow Monk

Aso Black from Mellow Monk is technically a black tea but it is processed a little differently that most black teas.  If I understood their description correctly, Aso Black tea is made from the tea leaves that would normally go into making sencha green tea.  Picked in the mountains of Japan, these leaves are less processed and less fermented than traditional black tea.  Aso Black is also called “kocha” or “crimson tea”, perhaps due to its medium level of oxidation.  But I digress.

The leaves in my sample were small and flat, though very dark in color.  As it brewed, the tea smelled distinctly starchy like oats or bread.  It had none of the citrus brightness I associate with other black teas.

Mellow Monk recommends letting this tea cool slightly before drinking to let the flavors come forward, so I stepped away from my cup to let it cool down.

When I took my first sip of the tea, I was once again hit with the starchiness of the flavors, though this time it also had quite a bit of sweetness.  In an abstract way, the tea reminded me of oatmeal raisin cookies if they could be turned into a breakfast tea.

In the aftertaste there is a vegetal note that I expect more often from green teas.  It reminds me of the sweet and sour fermented green tea note that I often taste in kukicha green.  With all the sweetness and smooth mouthfeel of the rest of the blend, the green tea aftertaste is less grassy and more fruity, complimenting the sweet oat flavors in the overall smell and taste.

This is a unique tea, worth a taste by black tea and green tea lovers alike.  If you are tired of ceylon’s sharpness, or assam’s full fuzziness, try Aso Black for your next breakfast blend and maybe you’ll find it makes for a sweeter morning.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk

How about a nice change of pace? Aso Black™ is black tea (kocha, or “crimson tea” in Japanese) made from the leaves of green tea varietals grown in the pristine foothills of Mt. Aso. Gently harvested leaves are only lightly fermented compared to conventional black tea, for a sweetness not found in ordinary black teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal DiviniTEA from 52Teas

Cinnamon-Apple-Oatmeal-DiviniTEATea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:  

This is a VERY special blend of white-tipped formosa oolong, Darjeeling Wonder Tea (a special oolong from the Darjeeling region), cinnamon, rolled oats, freeze-dried apple bits and organic flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yum.  Frank does it again.

He delivers exactly what he promised.  This tastes just like Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal … actually, as I sip this, I’m not really thinking of a bowl of oatmeal, but more of an apple crisp with an oatmeal crumble topping.  Mmm!

When I scooped out a bamboo scoop of the leaves to put into the basket of my Kati tumbler, I saw a HUGE dried apple chunk.  This is not your average little dried apple diced chunk that you’ll find in other tea blends.  This is about the size of a single square on the “regular” sized Rubik’s Cube.  As in, this was bigger than the average dried apple bit.

And because this apple chunk took up half of the bamboo scoop, I decided I needed more tea in the basket.  So I measured out another 1/2 a scoop of the tea and put that into the basket.  Then I poured heated water (180°F) over the tea.  I gave it a quick 15 second rinse, discarded the liquid, and then steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.

And as I said at the start – yum.  Like serious yum.

The apple and Oolong are a perfect pairing, I think.  Having tried (and enjoyed) a couple of other apple flavored teas this season from Zoomdweebies, I think that this may be their best apple tea yet.  Like I said, the apple and the Oolong seem to just work together.  The Oolong allows the more delicate flavors of the apple to really shine through while the apple doesn’t obscure the Oolong notes.  I love that Frank used a Darjeeling Oolong in this.  I love the crispness of the Oolong base here – it seems to accentuate the crisp, apple-y flavors.

And I like that I taste the other flavors too.  The cinnamon is strong without being overly assertive.  It enhances the apple and gives the cup a hint of spice to go with the sweet.  I can taste the oatmeal notes.  I even taste a hint of brown sugar (and this would be really tasty if you sweetened it with a pinch of brown sugar to highlight those brown sugar-y notes).

This tea should really make you happy that autumn is here.  That is assuming, of course, that you weren’t already just as pleased as apple oatmeal that it’s here.

A really tasty blend that resteeps really well.  The second infusion tasted very much like the first!  I’m betting this is really good iced too.  I like it warm though, it seems to add to the cozy, comforting thoughts that a bowl of apple oatmeal inspires.

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Flavored Black Tea from 52Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

I’m a picky eater. My wife and mother can attest to this. It’s not that I’m trying to be difficult really, but somehow I just wound up that way. Oatmeal is one of those things that, as a kid, made my stomach turn. It SMELLED amazing, but the texture and the appearance of it just ruined me for it. As an adult now, knowing more specifically what the gloppy stuff is, I don’t think I would have such an issue with oatmeal. I’m thinking I might just have to give it another try one of these days.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on this week’s tea of the week–a maple and brown sugar oatmeal flavored TEA! I’m actually enjoying a hot cup of the fruit of my labor right now, and it’s delicious!

My wife, bless her heart, made me some oatmeal scotchies for my birthday tomorrow, and they are an awesome companion to this tea, believe me. With rolled oats and natural flavors including oatmeal, maple and brown sugar, this is a tea that will “stick to your ribs” as my mother used to say of oatmeal. (Probably another reason I didn’t want any–why would you tell a kid that? It sounds horrible and painful.)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know I’ve said this before concerning at least one or two of 52Teas’ unusual blends, but, I really had my doubts about this one.  I mean, I enjoy oatmeal (even though maple and brown sugar oatmeal isn’t my favorite, I prefer cinnamon and cranberries in my oatmeal), but I wasn’t so sure I wanted an oatmeal tea.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to shy away from trying it.  The first time I brewed it, it didn’t turn out so great.  I find that with this one, how I brewed it was crucial to a good turn out.  Of course, that’s true of many teas, isn’t it?  It’s just that this one needed a little different brewing than what I’d normally brew a black tea to achieve a successful cup.  Using my Breville, I steeped this tea for three minutes (instead of the customary 2 1/2) at 200°F … and wow!  This really does taste like Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal!  Only… it’s tea!

The maple is the strongest note, and I can’t say that I’m disappointed by that, since I love maple and I’ve really been on a maple kick lately.  The brown sugar is almost as strong, but not quite.  One might think that means this is an overly sweet tea, but I don’t think it is.  The black tea base comes in to give it some balance, and the oatmeal is more of a lingering background note.

This has a pleasantly robust flavor with just enough sweetness, and it also has a satisfying kind of flavor to it that is homey and comforting … not unlike a bowl of steaming oatmeal, made with love by mom.

Another unusual tea flavor done amazingly well by 52Teas!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Black Tea from 52Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

For this week’s tea, he created a natural oatmeal flavoring, which I had been dreaming about for a while, so I could introduce you to this week’s tea of the week: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Black Tea, with rolled oats, plump raisins and natural flavors including oatmeal and touches of brown sugar, raisin, and butter (and yes, it’s all vegan, for our vegan friends).

I don’t want to toot my own horn too much here, but I think this is going to knock your socks off. It is truly stunning. Get yours while they last.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little worried about trying this tea after reading all of the feedback on Steepster regarding this tea.  I noticed one reoccurring theme amongst those tasting notes:  this tea tastes like grape.

For the most part, I do not care for grape flavored things.  Stuff like grape flavored candies or ice pops or soft drinks, as I rule I generally avoid them.  That being said, I do like the actual fruit.  And I do, on occasion enjoy grape juice or even a very rare glass of wine.  And I love Darjeeling teas that possess that all-important muscatel grape note.  I think I’ve even encountered a grape flavored tea or two that I’ve enjoyed.

But I worried that this may end up tasting like that artificial grape taste that goes into the ice pops and candy, and not end up tasting like the true fruit… or even tasting like raisin, which is what it should taste like.

The verdict:  Well, this does taste like grape, especially with the first few sips.  But it doesn’t taste like that grape flavor that I tend to avoid.  It tastes more like a wine-y grape.  With the first few sips, I didn’t notice much of anything that tasted like oatmeal, raisin, or cookie.  Sure, there were hints here and there that suggested those flavors, but, nothing that really screamed out:  OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE.

Right now, I’m imagining the Cookie Monster taking a drink of this and saying “where’s the cookie?” … think Wendy’s commercial from the 80’s. 

Now that I’m more than half-way through my cup, I am noticing the flavors are developing.  It still tastes more like grape than Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, but, I am noticing the flavors build.  I taste more raisin.  I can taste a hint of brown sugar and butter, and even a little bit of caramelized sugar taste that you’d find on the bottom of a cookie.  And the Oatmeal taste is beginning to emerge.

This is a really tasty tea, so I don’t want you to read this and think that I dislike it.  I’m enjoying it.  I’m just wishing for a little more of an obvious Oatmeal Raisin Cookie taste, and a little less of a grape-y taste.  I think that the overall flavor could be improved with a tad more of that butter flavor that 52Teas does so amazingly well, as well as a touch of cinnamon and maybe even some nutmeg.  A bit of walnut would be nice too.

An enjoyable tea, but I don’t think that the Cookie Monster would give his stamp of approval on it.