Friday, October 31, 2014

Chocolate chip black tea review (#23)

Flavored black tea
$3.25/4 oz

Ingredients: Chocolate flavored Oriental black tea, chocolate chips.

It's the final one... the last 23 Teas of October! (#23)

Chocolate for Halloween! It looks like the pieces of black tea are actually coated with chocolate! You can even hear the chocolate coating sliding against itself as you pour the dry tea.

It has little chocolate chips, which melt and infuse in the tea. Steep this tea for longer than you usually might. It takes some time for the liquor to thicken.

The chocolate smell is very noticeable and the flavor comes through with some nuttiness. I'm actually tasting the chocolate  more as it cools. Delicious with milk. A perfect dessert/snack tea for a long afternoon when you're craving sugar. And I plan on having a lot of it today.

Chocolate-coated pieces and chocolate chips!

So cute in the tea ball.

Yellow liquor deepens to a warm brown.

Come back next week. This it the last 23 Teas of October review, but I'll have more reviews in November!

It's your LAST DAY to win!
(Win tea! Rules here

Happy Halloween! Be safe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple Caramel Almond black tea review (#22)

Flavored black tea
$4/4 oz

Ingredients: Indian black tea, almond chips, apple pieces, and apple caramel and almond flavors.

It's The 23 Teas of October! (#22) 

A smooth, satisfying tea! You'd think apple and almond wouldn't work together, but it's nutty and darkly sweet. It smells like candy!

The almond is the most noticeable flavor to the nose, but the caramel softens the taste, and the apple is a quiet sidekick. It has huge slices of almond, a few pieces of dried apple, and tight curls of black tea that pack a lot of taste. This is a new fall morning favorite. Great instead of Halloween sugar... or in addition to it!

Come back tomorrow for the best Halloween flavor of all time: chocolate!

(Win tea! Rules here

Ready for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 tea review (#21)

Kusmi Tea
Flavored black tea

Ingredients: Black tea, bergamot, citrus fruits, flowers.

It's The 23 Teas of October! (#21)

Fascinating! I've only had bergamot in traditional black earl grey tea before. This Kusmi Tea from Paris was fun to try. I received a Kusmi box from a coworker who wants to use up tea before she can reasonably buy more... happy to help!

Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 has bergamot with citrus and flowers, which makes it invigorating but refreshing for the afternoon. The dominant flavor is citrus.

The acidity is very noticeable so I added a little sugar. The caffeine is noticeable and definitely perking me up in the first sip, which is good, because I still have editing to do.

Bergamot and citrus are nice together. Ahmad Tea in London (@ahmadteaUK) recommends adding a squeeze of lemon to earl grey; sounds great!

I just love the cloth tea bag that's stitched shut. I've never seen that before! I don't use tea bags too often, because they usually have smaller and lesser pieces, but these cloth bags have nice large pieces. Just as large as what you'd use in a tea ball.

Pretty packaging.

Steeping instructions on the tea bag. Smart!

Pretty yellow color.

Outside of the box.

So many options!

A closer look reveals large pieces of tea.

Come back tomorrow for a great Halloween flavor: caramel apple!

(Win tea! Rules here

What do you think of bergamot?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ti Kuan Yin Special Oolong tea review (#20)

Oolong tea
$3.30/2 oz

This was my first time steeping oolong the "right" way: not expecting much from the first steep, and enjoying the 2nd and 3rd times.

The first steep, which in the future I won't even drink: the tea had such a subtle taste that it was like slightly flavored water. I let it soak in cold water for a few seconds before this steep (like rice), but I will skip that in the future when I just dump out the first steep.

There was hardly any color while steeping. It was just the tiniest bit earthy. It wasn't bitter in the slightest, and the leaves did open up during the first steep. Make sure the water isn't too hot. The caffeine is refreshing.

The second steep was my favorite. It had twice the flavor, nice and earthy! I added milk for an even smoother taste, and the tea is such a light green that the milk overtook the color.

The third steep: the flavor got even more gritty. It was fun to see the tea leaves open up so much. This oolong tea would be fantastic with sushi, and it yields cup after cup!

Tea before any steeping.

First steep: hardly any color.


First steep: tea has expanded a little. 


Second steep: tea is noticeably taking on more water. 


After the second steep. 


Opens up nicely.


Third steep: huge pieces! 


After the third steep. 


Pretty color after the second steep. 

Amazing price for such a high-quality tea.

Come back tomorrow for a fancy tea from France.

(Win tea! Rules here

Have you tried this method of steeping oolong before?

Monday, October 27, 2014

San Luis Sunset tea review (#19)

Herbal tea
The Secret Garden Organic Herb Shop

Ingredients: Rosehips, hibiscus, marigold petals, dried apple, chamomile, orange, lemon myrtle, stevia leaves.

It's The 23 Teas of October! (#19)

What a darling tea! The hibiscus and orange give it a nice sweetness and the chamomile smooths it out. I don't usually like chamomile, and the chamomile is even more noticeable iced, but drinking it hot is like sitting with cats in a sunny cottage.

For all the herbs in it, it's sweeter than you'd expect. Keep it hot, though, because the flavor can become tart as it cools. Unless you like it both ways!

So pretty!! Huge pieces of flowers.

Health benefits!

Rich color.

Look at this! Raw Food Betsy found the outdoor/indoor Secret Garden Organic Herb Shop:

Come back tomorrow for a tea that gets better the more times it's steeped.

(Win tea! Rules here

Do you like chamomile in tea?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lady Hannah tea review (#18)

Herbal whole fruit tea
Margaret's Fine Imports
$6.99/4 oz

Ingredients: Luxury natural dried apple pieces, hibiscus, rosehip, pineapple pieces, papaya pieces, brambleberries, strawberry pieces, blackberries, raspberries, natural flavors.

It's Fruit Week during The 23 Teas of October! (#18)

According to a coworker: "I think this tea has just changed my day."

Hot, it's very bold with a nice sweetness. Definitely a statement tea. It has hibiscus which reminds me of an old favorite, Tazo Passion tea.

Iced, it isn't as enjoyable. It is too tart cold, so I mixed it with other flavors, and I wasn't completely saddened when I used it up. But, I may be revisiting it come February if I need some warm heartiness without caffeine.

Deep red pieces. Bought alongside the smooth and fruity special blend Garden of Eden, which I'll tell you about another day!

Come back Monday for an organic tea blend from California.

(Win tea! Rules here

What do you think of hibiscus?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

China Lichee Congou black tea review (#17)

Flavored black tea
Nicholas Coffee Co.
$8.99/4 oz

Ingredients: Flowery Orange Pekoe grade tea with essential oils from Fujian Province, China.

It's Fruit Week during The 23 Teas of October! (#17)

I love my boba (bubble) tea with green tea and lichee syrup, so this lichee black tea seemed like a good bet. The lichee is earthy and spicy, but also almost floral.

The tea is very light, though. I use more tea than I normally would because of how delicate it is. The caffeine does not seem strongly noticeable to me.

Very good iced made with cooler water and agave syrup, but also nice hot with milk. Great for a light summer drink! And now that it's fall, I have it hot in the afternoon. It's an unusual flavor hot, so it's something to be in the mood for.


Nice medium-sized pieces.


Simple bagging at Nicholas.

Light liquoring with a copper color. This cup has milk added to it, making it a bit more opaque.

Come back Friday for a very deep red tea.

(Win tea! Rules here 

What do you think of lichee? What do you think of bubble tea?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Last Mango in Paris tea review (#16)

Herbal fruit tea
Margaret's Fine Imports

Ingredients: Mango, orange, apple, pineapple, and rosehip pieces; hibiscus petals; elderberries; natural flavors.

It's Fruit Week during The 23 Teas of October! (Tea #16)

Wow! If this tea were in an oxygen bar (do those still exist?), I'd pay to smell it. The smell itself is invigorating, bright, delicious. Huge pieces of fruit and the blend is just delightful.

It's a tea I buy multiple times because it's great iced in the afternoon, or even mixed with other fruit teas. Interestingly, it makes a pink cup. It's also very nice hot in the afternoon in the office, if for some reason you've already had too much caffeine today.


So many pieces!

Come back tomorrow for a prickly, red, Asian fruit.

(Win tea! Rules here 

What's your favorite fruit tea?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bingo Blueberry tea review

Herbal fruit tea
Margaret's Fine Imports
$5.99/4 oz

Ingredients: Luxury natural dried currants, blueberries, apples, raisins, hibiscus, cornflower petals, rosehip pieces, natural flavors.

It's Fruit Week during The 23 Teas of October!

The smell of this tea before steeping is incredibly potent! I rolled my windows down while driving it home because the smell was intoxicating and distracting. I took it inside, and the next morning, the car still smelled of blueberry.

The taste is great, not as in-your-face as the smell, much smoother. I don't usually like blueberry--it can be too dark or tart--but this Bingo Blueberry has other fruits that even it out. I only drank it iced because I bought it for a nice refreshing taste.

Huge pieces of florescent color!

Come back tomorrow for... French tropics?

(Win tea! Rules here

Is blueberry too strong for tea?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feng Shui tea review

Herbal tea
Margaret's Fine Imports
$3.99/2 oz

Ingredients: Apple pieces, dragonfruit pieces (dragonfruit, sugar), goji berries, blackberry leaves, stinging nettle leaves, carrot flakes, orange peel, wild strawberry leaves, lemon grass, eucalyptus leaves, beetroot pieces, natural bergamot flavour with other natural flavouring, natural flavouring, cornflower blossoms, marigold blossoms, pink pepper.

It's Fruit Week during The 23 Teas of October!

You are really going to love the aroma of this tea. It is fresh, bright, and fruity. I particularly like lightness of the blackberry leaves. The colors in the dry tea itself are absolutely gorgeous! Looks like a birthday party.

Surprisingly, as it steeps, the tea starts off as a beautiful light pink color and deepens into a tropical pink. After steeping, though, a light pepperiness comes through in the taste. A good tea, but maybe too much pepper taste (and stinging nettle roughness) for me--since I wasn't expecting it. The more I drink it, thought, the more I taste the fruit.

It's also really nice to add other teas to it to soften the taste, if you like that idea. I don't usually use sugar, but this could also work with a little crystallized sugar. Maybe I'll try that next time to combat the pepperiness.


Bright pink!


Tuxedo cat does not approve.

Come back tomorrow for a very rarely used fruit in tea.

(Win tea! Rules here

Pepperiness: worth a try, or too gross?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cinnamon Tempest tea review

Flavored black tea
Trader Joe's

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, natural flavor. 

It's Spice Week during The 23 Teas of October!

A real tempest! But a polite one. The cinnamon and cloves are inviting. I know everyone says "inviting," but it's true. The orange makes it great for Christmas, too.

It has a smooth black tea flavor with a bold cinnamon scent and aftertaste. I don't even bring this one to work anymore because the scent is so disruptive!

Great tin!

Cinnamon dust lines the tin.

Large mesh tea bags.

Tempest in a teacup.


The assistants got curious.

Come back Monday for Fruit Week!
Can a person have too much cinnamon?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Spice tea review (02)

Flavored black tea
$3.60/4 oz (now on sale for $2.75!)

Ingredients: Black tea, pumpkin flavor, real cinnamon sticks.

This is my favorite morning tea for fall! Huge cinnamon chunks in the tea give it warm spice. It's just like the spices you'd put into a pumpkin pie. The pumpkin flavor isn't too noticeable, though, so this tea could easily be marketed as a Christmas holiday drink. It tastes like cloves, giving the tea a bold but smooth flavor. The caffeine is present but not overwhelming. A very special blend from Prestogeorge.

Gorgeous fall color!

Huge pieces of cinnamon!

Also for fall: Trader Joe's pumpkin butter! And a dog.

So affordable for such a great tea!

Come back tomorrow for a tempestuous Friday spice. 

What do you think, is pumpkin spice without pumpkin a lie?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Organic Cinnamon Spiced red tea review

Flavored rooibos

Ingredients: South African rooibos, cinnamon, cloves, natural spice oils.

It's Spice Week during The 23 Teas of October!

Wow, the cinnamon flavor in this is STRONG. You can see the large chunks of cinnamon in it. It has a thick body after steeping, too. There's some kind of flavor backing up the cinnamon--my husband guesses vanilla or peppermint? But it's probably the earthiness of the red tea and cloves.

It tastes similar to the herbal Good Earth tea, but better because of the smooth rooibos. It is so cool that rooibos is not a tea plant, but a South African redbush plant. This will be my husband's designated tea, because he's crazy about cinnamon and this is just SO much cinnamon. I'll probably mix it with my Autumn Apple black tea.

Drink this hot if you're sick or need some real comfort. Under no circumstance should you add sugar. None!

Update: I just tried this tea with 1.5oz instead of 2oz. I can stand to drink it now! It's thinner and lighter. Whew.

Small rooibos pieces and big cinnamon chunks.


Glass jar from Trader Joe's salsa. I used baking soda, vinegar, and bleach to get the smell out of the plastic rim in the lid. Pretty result!

A very deep red color!

Pretty in the cup!

Come back tomorrow for another try at fall's favorite flavor.

What's your favorite food with cinnamon?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Spice tea review

Flavored black tea
Margaret's Fine Imports
$5.99/4 oz

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon bark, cloves, ginger root, cardamom, marigold flowers, natural pumpkin spice flavor.

It's Spice Week during The 23 Teas of October!

Everyone loves pumpkin. But while this tea has a very sweet, inviting fragrance, after the first sip I realized I was really drinking some kind of banana bread tea!

It's like when beer or candy can taste just a bit too yellowy sweet, and once you think "banana" you can't get it out of your head. If a sweet, spiced banana bread flavor is appealing to you, try it! I love sweetness but I got tired of the flavor too soon.

The taste is similar whether iced or hot. I'm demoting it to a mixer for other teas that need a little sweetness. Alone, its personality is too strong. However, my husband tried it iced and he likes it. (I didn't mention "pumpkin" or "banana" at all.)

Rich dark tea with bright yellow bits, cinnamon pieces, and some whole cloves.


Cute little cloves!

Come back tomorrow for a walk on the red side.

Do you love or hate banana? There is no in between.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chai Spice tea review

Flavored black tea
Nicholas Coffee Co.
$4/4 oz

Ingredients: Black tea, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, flavoring.

It's Spice Week during The 23 Teas of October!

This is a special blend made in-house at Nicholas Coffee Co. It tastes unusual for a chai. Normally I'd expect a heavier bodied, cinnamon flavor. This chai is lighter and must have a lot of just one of the spices, I'm guessing nutmeg. Unfortunately, it reminds me of soap.

This chai could use more cinnamon or maybe some vanilla--something sweet to give it a heavier body. Because of my aversion to what I believe is the nutmeg, I usually add a bit of some other tea to it, such as the smoky Dragon's Breath Game of Thrones tea from Margaret's Fine Imports, or any spiced fall tea. Cinnamon would be great to try with it.

Alone, the tea has a very similar taste whether hot or iced. For steeping, I use a little more tea than usual because of its light taste. It has a noticeable but not overwhelming amount of caffeine.

Long, thin pieces of tea!

Looks adorable in this wooden box, which originally held bags of Canadian Ice Wine tea by The Metropolitan Tea Company.

Come back tomorrow for fall's favorite flavor... or is it?

What's your favorite brand of chai?