Sweet Strawberry

Fruity heaven, here I come.

The details:

Type: White

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: There are hundreds of reasons to love strawberries but our favourite comes from Bavaria.  Every spring, they tie small baskets of strawberries to the horns of their cattle to attract berry-loving elves.  Legend has it, with the elves on your side you’re sure to have an abundant year.  So when you enjoy a pot of this sweet, berry-laced tea, try leaving a cup on your doorstep.  You never know what your neighbourhood elves will leave in return.

What I think:

This dry tea smells incredible.  Super sweet, just like strawberry juice.  Despite having rosehips and strawberries in the mix, the dry tea is very lightweight so you can get a couple of cups out of as little as 15 grams.  The tea steeps to a light pink colour, and is still exceptionally sweet-smelling.

At first sip, I’m a little unimpressed.  It tastes a little tart, a little sweet, but there’s no notable strawberry-like flavour.  The tea is unfortunately bland, so I’ll add sugar to see if it improves the situation… The tea’s still a touch tart, (obviously) a little sweeter, but is still lacking that true strawberry flavour.

This tea smells incredible but unfortunately doesn’t deliver on taste.  It tastes a little watered-down, and even with the addition of sugar, doesn’t taste much like strawberry.

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Pom Power

Pom Power makes me think of The Powerpuff Girls, so I guess I’m already sold.

The details:

Type: White

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: Need help getting through the daily grind?  Try pomegranates. Doctors have used them for thousands of years to heal just about everything.  Warriors in ancient Persia ate them before combat for strength.  But we love them because they taste amazing.  With tart pomegranate seeds, hibiscus blossoms, and white Silver Needles, this fresh and fruity tea will help you face any of life’s little battles.

What I think:

This dry tea smells nothing short of amazing.  The sweet and tangy mixture of pomegranate and hibiscus create a very girly perfume-like aroma.  Incredible.  The dry tea looks exactly like one would expect – Silver Needles and pomegranate seeds!

Once steeped, the tea turns a deep, rich pink.  This is definitely one of the prettiest and best-smelling teas I’ve tried so far!  Even steeped, the sweet scent is prominent.

I can taste the tart pomegranate, but unfortunately there’s a bit of a bitter aftertaste.  I also find that the tea’s not very sweet, so I decided to add a little brown sugar… It definitely helps bring out the pomegranate!  I still find that my tea’s a little bitter, so I suggest you steep for less than the max five minutes and be really careful about the 94°C suggested steeping temperature – don’t go above it!

This is another tea that I think would be nice iced!  The fruity flavours would make for a nice poolside drink. *sigh*  Now I’m wishing it was summer…

This tea probably won’t be a repeat buy.  It’s a little too tart for my liking, a touch bitter and not quite sweet enough naturally.  If you do decide to make this tea, be really careful with the steeping time and temperature!  And don’t forget to try it iced!

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Hot Cinnamon Herbal

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Toronto Tea Festival.  I had the pleasure of learning about tea shops in Toronto, and even across the province!  This tea was a gem I discovered at the festival.

The details:

Type: Rooibos

Bought at: Stratford Tea Leaves – Order online HERE

Description: This is a highly popular flavoured tea at the tea bar in Stratford.  It is a blend of three types of fresh cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves.  It is remarkably assertive and bold.  It boasts a very complex cup that rewards you with flavourful aroma and a lingering spicy sweet aftertaste.  Enjoy natural fresh sweetness without the sugar.

*NOTE: The Hot Cinnamon tea available online uses a black base, whereas the one I bought at the festival (and am reviewing here) uses a Rooibos base.

What I think:

This dry tea smells incredible.  It’s sweet and very spicy, just like cinnamon hearts!

The tea steeps to a lovely deep orange, and smells just as strong as it did in the bag.  Upon first sip, I think “Valentine’s Day.  This is a Valentine’s Day tea”.  The sweetness hits your tongue first, and I find it very hard to believe that this tea doesn’t have sugar in it.  This is easily the sweetest tea I have ever laid my lips on.  The spiciness of the cinnamon tickles my tongue and lingers in the back of my mouth for a long time.  It is incredibly similar to eating cinnamon hearts, down to every last detail.  My friend and I actually joked that this must just be ground-up cinnamon hearts.

This is such a flavourful, powerful tea and I think the natural sweetness from the Rooibos base is perfect.  I’m not going to add sugar to this as there’s no need!

This tea is easily my new favourite.  It beats all the others by a long shot.  It’s very powerful, very bold, beautifully sweet and tastes exactly like cinnamon hearts.  Did someone say Valentine’s Day?

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Organic Banana Dream Pie

Be warned: I love the taste of fake bananas and hate the taste of real ones.

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: When it comes to dreaming up new teas, sometimes inspiration just randomly strikes.  It usually happens in the middle of a really great dessert.  So you can probably imagine how this decadent flavour came to be.  We’ll give you a hint: it involved a chocolate banana cream pie.  We tried out dozens of blends before we found the perfect one – a rich chocolaty black tea blend with pieces of ripe banana and creamy white chocolate.  It tastes like a dream come true.

What I think:

One thing’s for sure.  This tea smells like a dream come true.  If it smelled any more like a chocolate banana cream pie, I’d be tempted to eat the tea leaves.  Seriously.  The tea is filled with generous chunks of banana, cocoa and white chocolate.

The tea steeps to a dark orange, with an oily layer on top (due to the chocolate, probably).  Even steeped it smells great, although it’s more chocolate and less banana at this point.  As soon as you take a sip, the chocolate hits your tongue, and the banana lingers in the aftertaste.  Thankfully, it’s a candied banana flavour – my favourite.

Milk and sugar make this tea even better.  But if you’re adding sugar, I feel that just a sprinkle doesn’t work with this one like it does with other teas.  I threw in twice the amount I usually do (which is still only half a teaspoon).  The creaminess of the milk turns this tea into a decadent dessert!

This tea is also incredible chilled!  I suggest trying it alcoholic if that’s your thing – I could see it being delicious with a splash of Bailey’s.

This tea is decadent.  I’m in chocolate banana heaven, and I’m not even that fond of bananas.  I suggest steeping this tea for less than the max 7 minutes (as it can get a little bitter), and in my opinion, it’s best with milk & sugar!  This isn’t one of my favourite teas, but it definitely does what it set out to do – imitate a chocolate banana cream pie.

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Organic Gold Rush

This tea had mulberries in it. MULBERRIES.  I love mulberries.

The details:

Type: White

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: Mulberries are a pretty precious fruit, so you don’t find them in tea very often.  After all, mulberry trees are usually reserved for silk making, as they’re the only thing silkworms will eat.  No wonder – they’re naturally sweet and rich, with an almost caramel-like flavour.  In a word, decadent.  Here we pair golden mulberries with creamy coconut and delicate white tea, for a tea that’s guaranteed to give you gold fever.  Eureeka!

What I think:

This tea smells, in a word, perfect.  The mulberries provide a rich, caramel-like scent while the coconuts remind me of pina coladas and tropical vacations.  The combination is overwhelming.

Once steeped, the first thing I do is pick out the decadent mulberries.  I wish I had something to accurately compare them to.  They are easily the yummiest berries I’ve ever eaten, especially when infused with white tea and coconut.  They are juicy and bursting with sweetness.  Taking a look at the actual tea, it steeps to a beautiful yellow-orange.  The scent dwindles down to a warm creme caramel-like fragrance.

At first sip, the tea is very light and coconut dominates the taste.  The mulberries add the perfect hint of sugar and come in strong at the end with a honey, caramel, dessert-like sweetness.  I really like that these flavours are layered over top of the light white silver needle base.  I just so happen to be drinking this tea with my younger brother, who is very new to teas and finds them kind of “plain”.  So let’s add some brown sugar.  In my opinion, it’s a bit unnecessary.  The tea is plenty sweet on its own and adding sugar just makes it sweeter without really enhancing any of the flavours…  And even my brother agrees that the sugar isn’t a good addition!

Just a note, this tea is just as wonderful chilled as it is warm.  Actually, probably more wonderful!

This tea is one of my favourites!  If you love rich, sweet teas, this is it.  With this tea, you not only get a flavourful drink, but a little snack as well.  Believe me, mulberries will change your life… Looks like I’ll be ordering a tin of this stuff!

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Organic Blueberry Jam

Blueberries are among my favourite fruits… Yum!

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: Blueberries might just be the greatest fruit around – after all, they’re the star ingredient of North America’s favourite muffin.  And hundreds of years before moms were making them into jams, jellies and cakes, blueberries were called “star berries” and revered for their healing powers.  Another little known fact about blueberries is that they make for one great cup of tea – when you blend them with black tea, elderberries, cornflowers and stevia, it’s the perfect companion to your morning toast.

What I think:

I am sold on the dry tea smell.  It smells like super sweet blueberry juice – my mouth’s watering already.  The black tea is filled with cute little flower petals and dried-up berries.  When steeped, the tea smells light but delicious and turns a very dark brown.

The first sip is heavenly.  The blueberry is so vivid, and the stevia is a surprisingly nice addition.  The tea has a bit of a bitter taste and is not quite as sweet as I would have liked it, but it’s great nonetheless.  I find myself savoring the moment the tea hits my tongue, and the aftertaste – but not the in-between part, which is when the bitterness kicks in.

I’m a little iffy about adding milk to a blueberry tea, but I’ll try anyway.  Like with the Salted Caramel I blogged about recently, I find that milk takes away the bitterness and makes the flavour more consistent from start to finish.  I added just a pinch of brown sugar and found that it really brings out the fruity flavours.  Like many teas that came before, this is a tea I prefer with milk and sugar.

I think this tea would make a great iced drink – with sugar, hold the milk.  It’s fruity enough to take the place of a juice, but is missing just a bit of oomph that can be found in brown sugar.

This tea is going to be way up there on my list of fruity teas.  It’s not tart like very many others I’ve tried, and the fact that it has a black base lets you play around with adding milk – which is almost always a good call.  Warm, it makes a great autumn/winter tea, and I think it would make an extraordinary iced tea in the summer!

Note: I made this tea again – steeped for the full length but at a lower temperature, and the initial slight bitterness I experienced was nonexistent.  I didn’t lose any of the delicious blueberry flavour either!  Problem solved!

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Salted Caramel

I love salted caramel. Salted caramel hot chocolate, salted caramel ice cream, salted caramel everything everything everything.

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: There’s no better treat than a salted caramel.  You won’t find this in your history books, but we heard that Romeo seduced Juliet with a salt-sprinkled toffee.  Rich, buttery and sweet with a kiss of salt – who can resist?  So it goes without saying that it makes for a seriously delicious tea.  This is a rich black tea blend, strewn with pieces of English toffee, coconut, caramel and a touch of French sea salt.  It’s guaranteed to seduce your taste buds. 

What I think:

This tea smells very rich. The sweet English toffee is hands down the dominant smell, but there is also a darker, earthier scent.  The tea looks like a standard black, with tiny bits of coconut and toffee thrown in.

The tea steeps to a dark orange-brown, and the smell tones down.  I can still smell hints of toffee, but there’s also an odd burnt smell.  The taste is surprisingly plain given the strong scent.  A touch of caramel, but that’s essentially all I can taste.  I wish the sea salt was more pronounced!  The aftertaste is a touch bitter, so I wouldn’t suggest steeping this for the full 7 minutes (4-5 would probably be more appropriate).

I’ve found that sometimes milk can transform teas, so let’s try this out… The milk definitely helps the taste.  The caramel becomes creamy and the bitterness disappears.  Even though this tea is already sweet, a touch of brown sugar does wonders.  The caramel flavour becomes more prominent and I feel like I can finally enjoy the smooth, easy aftertaste.  But I still don’t taste any sea salt!

This tea really got my hopes up.  Salted caramel is among my favourite things in the world, but this tea didn’t live up to my expectations.  The caramel taste was prominent, but I couldn’t taste any salt.  If you do attempt this tea, remember to add a bit of milk and sugar and to not steep for the max time!

This is the second David’s Tea caramel-type tea I’ve blogged about and unfortunately, neither were big hits.  I’m still searching for a beautiful caramel tea, so please let me know if you find one!

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Sweet Love

This is my first time writing about a tea that isn’t from David’s Tea… Brace yourselves.

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: The Detox Market; Brand: Kusmi Tea

Description: Subtle and spicy blend that combines black tea, liquorice root, guarana seed, pink peppercorn, and various spices.  Sweet Love is an invitation to reawaken your senses.  Health benefits include: guarana, which boosts energy levels and increases vitality, spices, which improve digestion, and liquorice root that gives the tea a lasting sweetness.  So good you won’t even think of adding sugar!

What I think:

The dry tea smells incredibly strong – a very heavily spiced black, with equally heavy sweet scents.  I bought this tea pre-bagged in a set and I’m so glad I did.  The individual tea bags are little fabric pouches that are one part convenient and three parts adorable.

The steeped tea has a very light, almost chamomile-like scent.  The tea steeps to a light, brownish orange.

From the first sip, Sweet Love is incredible.  I can taste a little spice which gives way to the liquorice root’s sweetness, and then the spice comes back and lingers.  It’s really unlike any other tea I’ve tried, it’s incredible how long I can taste the spice after sipping.  A little milk brings out the sweetness even more, and I feel like I’m drinking a fancy 300 calorie drink and not a good-for-you tea.

Adding sugar is in my opinion unnecessary, but I’ll try it anyway… And unnecessary is right. I find that the sugar distracts from the lovely sweetness that’s already there.

This tea might become a new favourite.  A black tea with a natural sweetness and a lingering spice, served best with milk! Seeing as I only started with two teabags of it, it looks like I’ll have to order more!

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Love Tea #7

Strawberries and chocolate and roses, oh my!

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: One sip of #7 and you’ll find yourself head over heels.  Mysteriously changed.  Magically happy.  Walking on air.  How does it work?  Frankly, we don’t know.  Our blender came up with it and then just ran off with the girl of his dreams.  Maybe it’s the chocolate bits that lower your inhibitions.  Or the seductive strawberries.  Or the romantic rose petals.  Either way, this black tea is seriously lucky.

What I think:

Well hello there.  This might just be the best smelling tea in the world.  Smells exactly like you’d think it would – loads of natural strawberry with hints of roses and chocolate.  I spy a couple of chocolate chips and rose petals in the mix, but it looks like a pretty standard black tea at first glance.

Steeped, this tea smells the way the ideal Valentine’s day should smell: heavy on chocolate and roses.  A lighter scent than the dry tea, but still spectacular.  I’m considering hanging tea bags full of this stuff in my room, seriously.  But I digress, my first sip is earthy and a little bitter (maybe I oversteeped?).  The aftertaste is subtly sweet and chocolaty.  I’ve become a sucker for milk in my blacks, so let’s try that out…  I think this is the first time milk didn’t do too well in a black – I don’t suggest it with this one.  Once I added the milk, the tea seemed to lose its sweetness and I was just left with a woody taste.  But a bit of sugar seems to bring the strawberry back to the forefront, so not all is lost.

This tea smells incredible.  Like I mentioned, maybe the best smelling tea I’ve ever tried.  It tastes pretty lovely straight, but seems to lose its appeal with milk.  It’s a little sweet naturally so I’d suggest you be careful when adding sweetener to it!  Overall, a pretty good tea.  Just maybe don’t steep it for the full five minutes.

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Toasted Marshmallow

I think this might become one of my Winter favourites!

The details:

Type: Black

Bought at: David’s Tea

Description: Everyone loves a camping trip in the fall.  Fresh air, beautiful scenery, hungry bears – ah, the great outdoors.  Well, okay, we’ll admit it.  We’re only in it for the marshmallows.  Nothing beats a freshly toasted marshmallow straight from the campfire.  But what if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth without going camping?  Try this tea.  It’s a sweet, toasty black tea blend with cinnamon, brittle and… you guessed it!  Mini marshmallows.  Now you can enjoy your favourite outdoorsy treat without a hungry bear in sight.

What I think:

This tea smells heavenly.  The combination of spices makes me want to cuddle up by a fire and perhaps toast the mini marshmallows in this blend.  There’s a little bit of an odd alcohol-like scent amid the spices, but it’s not overwhelming.

The tea steeps to a cloudy orange-brown, and the smell dwindles down to a light cinnamon scent.  Sipping the tea, I taste cinnamon first, with a touch of sugar – the marshmallow or brittle, I assume.  Although the tea is slightly creamy as is, I decided to try it out with some milk… And it’s incredible.  A perfect, toasty winter blend for a cold night.  The tea is sweet enough as is, and I find that adding sugar or honey changes the taste too much for my liking.

This tea has officially found a place among my favourites.  Looks like I’ll have to buy a tin of this tomorrow!  If you want a winter tea, something to look forward to on a snowy morning, this would be it.  It’s the perfect blend of cinnamon, brittle and adorable marshmallows!

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