Posts Tagged ‘Sip’
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Fairtrade black tea, natural oil of bergamot
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use one sachet or level teaspoon of tea leaves per person. Brew with freshly boiled water and infuse for up to three minutes
This tea has possibly one of the most well-described packages I have ever seen. The single teabag package reads: “Hamstead Tea, London. Organic Fairtrade Earl Grey with aromatic bergamot. 1 staple-free teabag.”
Wow, that is quite a mouthful. I personally do not know anyone who buys teabags who is also concerned about saving some metal, but by the look of the string attached to the teabag, it makes me wonder why more teabag-producers do not follow this. It seems that Hamstead has implemented an easy way to do away with stables entirely. But how about the tea itself?!
The packaging recommends 3-5 minutes for steeping. The last earl grey that I tried oversteeped even with low steep times, so I boil some water and decide to go for the lower end here with 3 minutes of infusion. While I will admit that I am not big on bagged tea, this tea smells quite good, dry in the bag. A hint of orange provides a nice aroma. The steeping tea gives off a pleasant bergamot aroma. The first sip confirms that 3 minutes was a perfect amount of steeping, unless you prefer your tea stronger. For a bagged tea, this is pretty smooth, but it lacks a bit in the flavor profile. This is definitely a quality bagged tea. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 65/100.
You can purchase the Biodynamic, Organic and Fairtrade Earl Grey directly from the Hampstead Tea website.
Category of Tea: Herbal
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: hibiscus, rosehip, apple, blackberry leaves, raspberries, orange peel, flavoring, citric acid
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 5 minutes, 208°F For stronger flavor, steep longer
Preparing to try out this herbal blend, the first thing that I notice in the smell of the dry leaves is “Hmmm, hibiscus.” After boiling some water, I steep one pyramid infuser in a cup of water for five minutes to prepare to taste the “nectar”! The steeping brew still smells a lot like hibiscus, but the raspberry and orange peel smells are noticeable as well.
The first sip of this herbal tisane is a massively juicy explosion of flavor. Tea Forte’s website had listed the ingredients as “rosehip, hibiscus, apple pieces, blackberry leaves, raspberries, orange peels, flavoring” and there is so much going on in the taste that I believe it has all those things and more. Thankfully, since this blend is called “Raspberry Nectar,” raspberry is one of the dominant flavors. The sweetness of the apple does come out quite nicely, albeit subtly. This would be a decent desert drink, especially if one is looking for something low in caffeine. On my personal enjoyment scale, I rate it a 72/100.
You can purchase Tea Forte Raspberry Nectar directly from their website.
Tea Company: The Necessiteas (website)
Ingredients: Rooibos, vanilla chips, natural flavors
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use 1 tsp per 8 oz boiling water, steep 5 min
Wow…the smell of this tea is great! It truly does smell exactly like vanilla cola. Yet this is the part where my mind catches up with my nose and hits me over the head, telling me to stop and think for a moment: Vanilla cola tea? As in…a hot liquid that tastes like vanilla cola? (I must be careful here to not call rooibos “tea,” for the sake of the tea-political correct.) While my mind is still trying to make a judgement call about whether or not it likes the idea of hot vanilla cola, my body forges ahead into the unknown to investigate and make some of this interesting mix.
It truly is a mix, according to the label. Rooibos, vanilla chips, and “natural flavors” come together in some magical manner to emulate the smell of this carbonated drink…minus the carbonation! Steeping is incredibly straightforward. 1 teaspoon per eight ounces of boiling water. I double this for my teapot and steep the blend for the recommended five minutes.
I had mentioned that the loose blend smells entirely of vanilla cola. Upon removing the infuser from my teapot, I catch my first whiff of the prepared drink…and now I get more variety to the aroma. The rooibos smell is much more prominent, the cola scent itself is there, and the vanilla laces the whole of the aromatic profile. Still charging onward with this endeavor, I pour my first cup and sit back to sip.
The taste of the brew is not as strange as I had anticipated. The rooibos comes through heavily in the flavor, causing this tea to be better described as “vanilla-flavored rooibos with light hints of cola.” The first thought that comes to my mind is “Well, this is fun.” The spiciness (meant, theoretically, to emulate the cola) adds a nice touch. Having experienced great vanilla rooibos in the past, this twist was novel and tasty.
Overall, this rooibos definitely made for an enjoyable and fun experience to try. If you like vanilla rooibos, or even rooibos in general, I highly recommend checking out The NecessiTeas Vanilla Cola. I would give it an 83/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Vanilla Cola directly from the The Necessiteas website.
Tea Company: Boston Tea Company (website)
Ingredients: Chinese Sechung Oolong Tea, Almonds, Calendula Petals, Natural Vanilla and Almond Flavors
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1 teaspoon per cup, water just before boiling, 2-5 minutes
If one doesn’t have the proper word to describe something, inventing one is always an option. Therefore and herewith, I christen this tea nuggety.
Dry, the rolled oolong leaves are nearly as big as granola bits; the almond slivers fully as big as your fingernail. The scent is all almond–the vanilla is just along for the ride. Nice apricot-colored calendula leaves add a little contrast, both visually and flavorfully.
A three-minute window of opportunity seemed a little generous (prep instructions suggested anywhere from 2-5 minutes), so I tried to hit the steep time right in the center. Doing so resulted in a beautifully pale cup that was sweet and subtly nutty. The variety of oolong chosen for this blend is so close and complementary to the almond flavor, it’s hard to separate them as you sip.
The tea label suggests that milk, lemon, or sweetening is appropriate. A splash of milk didn’t completely overwhelm the tea’s delicacy, but Vanilla Almond Oolong is best enjoyed on its own.
You can purchase the Vanilla Almond Oolong directly from the Boston Tea Company website.
Tea Company: Market Spice Tea (website)
Ingredients: Special Tea Blend, Natural and Artificial Flavors and Spices. Contains no sugar.
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
I argued with myself for a few hours about this tea. I really, really wanted to like it. I grew up in Washington State, and had this tea growing up – as it’s blended in Seattle. And I’m a fan of the more “in your face” teas, which this tea has a reputation of being. But it just wasn’t sitting right with me. For starters, there’s been so much essential oil placed into the leaf that it looks greasy as you spoon it into your cup. Intellectually, I know that more essential oil = more flavoring, but the visual was a little… off-putting. On the other side of the scale, the aroma is lovely. A nice blend of spice and orange. I can’t smell any actual tea aroma, but it does smell mouthwatering.
Once brewed up, all those essential oils left a film on the top of the tea. Again, a visual deterrent. And the flavor just wasn’t up to the expected impact of the aroma and all that essential oil. I would take a sip, make a funny face, wander off, then come back and do it again. It both felt like there was too much in the cup, too many side flavors competing for your attention, as well as that there wasn’t enough TEA in the cup of tea.
So, I sipped, and wandered off, sipped and wandered off, for a few cups worth, trying to find the place where this tea was wonderful. I tried it sweetened and I tried it unsweetened. I made stronger brews and I made lighter brews. And I just couldn’t find it. So I left and did something silly, like pay bills or watch TV.
And then it happened.
I came back to a cold cup, but with a dry mouth. “Eh,” I thought “I’ll drink this while I brew a fresh cup of this other tea.” And wow! There it was. This is the ultimate iced tea. Slightly sweetened, and iced, I could drink this all summer long. The spiced orange isn’t stomping all over the tea flavor, but rather melding with it for a fragrant and flavorful cup of cold brown joy. It’s lovely.
You can purchase the Cinnamon-Orange directly from the Market Spice Tea website.