Organic Tea

Tea Collection Review: Art of Tea Holiday Sampler

Holiday Tea Sampler Pillow Box

Company/Brand Name: Art of Tea

Collection Name: Holiday Sampler includes Cran Marnier, Butterscotch, Santa’s Little Helper and Pumpkin Pie

Category: Various Organic Blends – White, Black, Puerh and Rooibos/Honeybush

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Various

The Leaves: Various

Overall: At first I was a bit disappointed with the four Holiday Sampler teas, because the flavors were quite different than what I was used to, being the black tea lover that I am. So, I had to remind myself that I had purchased the sampler set to step outside the box and try something new.

To fully enjoy the experience, I had to let go of my preconceived taste preferences and allow each tea to speak to me in its own distinctive way. That is when I really started to enjoy each sample and appreciate the nuances of the four unique blends.

As the Art of Tea website states, “This is a great way to expand and engage your palate on teas and beyond. I have to say that I whole-heartily agree.

Tea Review:

Sample 1

Name: Cran Marnier {Available Year-Round}

Category: Tisane; Organic South African Honeybush and Organic South African Rooibos

Cran Marnier

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with visible chunks of dried apple and cranberry, plus various spices

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Cranberries, Organic Cloves, Organic Nutmeg, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I first opened the sample pouch, I noticed that the leaves smelled like orange and spice; I just had to brew up a cup right away.

This caffeine-free rooibos blend had a subtle spiciness that was reminiscent of chai tea, but with a smooth-creaminess that was a bit of a welcomed surprise. Speaking of surprises, if the creamy-spiciness wasn’t enough there was also refreshing, citrusy finish that made for a brilliant cup.

The overall flavor reminded me a bit of Tang Spice Tea Mix that my mom made for us as kids. This mixture had Tang and instant tea in it, plus cinnamon and cloves (if I am remembering correctly). Anyway, it was a tasty treat. But, the Cran Marnier is a much healthier option!

I have to say that out of the four holiday samples, I most enjoyed the Cran Marnier. My cup had plenty of character and each sip was a new delight. Luckily, this tisane blend is available year-round as a dessert tea.

Preparation Tips: As recommended by the Art of Tea website, I used nearly boiling water and let the leaves steep for a full 5-7 minutes. For best flavor, be sure to use one full tablespoon (not teaspoon) of rooibos per cup of water. Also, I Finum Brewing Basket will come in handy to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds separated from your brew.

Sample 2

Name: Pumpkin Pie {Seasonal Only}

Category: Tisane; Organic & Fair Trade South African Rooibos and Organic South African Honeybush

Pumpkin Pie

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with bright yellow marigold petals and noticeable chunks of spices

Additions: Organic Cloves, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Marigolds, Natural and Artificial Flavors

Flavor: This caffeine-free blend is quite delicate tasting, so much so that I could barely detect any flavor at all at first, except for the rooibos itself.

Once I quieted my mind and focused on my cup of tea, that is when I tasted real pumpkin pie. However, the flavor was quite elusive. Each cup seemed to reveal just one brilliant sip and then the brew became just a gentle swirl of sweet-spiciness with a hint of creaminess.

Overall, I liked this rooibos blend because it made me concentrate on the taste and nothing else. I will often drink a cup of brew will working, only stopping to take a sip, experience the flavor and move onward. But this tisane, demanded my full attention and for that I am grateful.

Preparation Tips: I used one heaping tablespoon (three teaspoons of rooibos) per eight ounces of boiling water and let steep for 5-7 minutes. Due to the elusive tastes in this tea, filtered water is a must. In addition, to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds from sneaking into your cup, consider using a Finum Brewing Basket. I really love mine!

Sample 3

Name: Santa’s Little Helper {Seasonal Only}

Category: Organic Puerh, Organic Black Tea

Santa's Little Helper

The Leaves: Dark chocolate colored leaves punctuated with tiny candy cane and pine tree sugar confections

Additions: Sugar Confections, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I opened the sample pouch the leaves smelled of mint and dark chocolate, so I was pretty excited to brew up a cup. But, when I took my first sip, there was a musty taste that caught me off guard. If I hadn’t been willing to investigate further, I would have poured the rest of the concoction down the sink because I found the initial flavor to be quite displeasing to my untrained palate.

During my second attempt, the musty taste became more of an earthy flavor, which I assumed was the puerh talking to me. Not entirely dissuaded, I took a third sip and that is when I noticed the bittersweet dark chocolate note, the subtle sweetness and the cool minty finish.

After several more sips, I began to enjoy myself and started to notice the complexity in my cup. Each taste experience was slightly different and as the tea cooled the cocoa note became quite pronounced.

However, the musty-earthy taste continued to linger to the very last drop. This key taste is what will keep me from purchasing the Santa’s Little Helper in the future. But, I’m glad to have given it a try for something different.

Overall, this is a high quality blend, but for my personal tastes it wasn’t a winner.

Preparation Tips: As recommended on the Art of Tea website, I used water at 206F (just under boiling) and stepped the leaves for about 3-5 minutes. In addition, I found one-teaspoon per eight-ounces of water sufficient for a quality cup.

Sample 4

Name: Butterscotch  {Available Year-Round}

Category: Organic White Tea

Butterscotch

The Leaves: Beautiful green leaves with bits of yellow marigold petals, punctuated with round, pink peppercorns

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Pink Peppercorn, Organic Marigolds, Natural Flavors

Flavor: The leaves have an intriguing aroma, quite similar to butterscotch. I was expectant of a fascinating cup. But, I just never found it. Instead, I got a slightly sweet, light tasting tea that was satisfying, but not extraordinary.

The butterscotch flavor did play the leading role in each cup, but I could find little depth. I have to admit that I am not a connoisseur of white tea and perhaps someone with a better trained palate may find the complexity I was missing.

Although, there were moments when I had steeped the leaves just right and a nuance of creaminess was present. This added some character to the infusion.

I also discovered that if the leaves are steeped too long or in water that is too hot, this resulted in a bitter tasting brew. While it wasn’t displeasing, it was a tad bit annoying because I was trying to find that perfect cup that kept eluding me.

I’m not sure I would purchase this tea again, only because I would want to try other white teas first. But, for a white tea lover this may be a wonderful treat.

As with the other teas in this holiday sampler set, I am glad I stepped outside my comfort zone I gave something new a try, especially since I’ve tried so few white teas this past year.

Preparation Tips: Since there were no directions on the sample pouch other than a steep time of 3-5 minutes, I went to the Art of Tea website for more thorough instructions.

The website recommended a water temperature of 175-185F and a steep time of 1-3 minutes. I followed these instructions, playing around with variations. As suggested, I also used one heaping tablespoon per eight ounces of water; you’ll need this much Butterscotch for maximum flavor.

Art of Tea Sample Packaging

Due to the delicate tastes in this blend, filtered water is a must.

Packaging:

Each blend is packed in a resealable, foil-lined pouch. The four pouches come together in a kraft pillow box with decorative label and brown ribbon.

I love this packaging because not only does it make for a stunning presentation, but it also makes it perfect for gift giving any time of year.

Each sample contains around 1-2 ounces or 15-20 servings.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this holiday sample pack, or any of the other unique tea blends from Art of Tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Art of Tea main web page. Enjoy!

Art of Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: American Tea Room Brioche

Brioche

Company/Brand Name: American Tea Room

Name: Brioche

Category: Black Tea (Organic Blend)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves:  Beautiful ebony leaves sprinkled with delicate orange-colored blossoms and large, thin slices of almonds

Additions: Sliced Almonds, Safflower Blossoms, Cinnamon

Flavor: A rich black tea blend that has notes of cinnamon, almonds and sweet pastry

Overall: After my first sip, I fell in love with this tea. It’s that good. Period.

Tea Review:

As the Brioche tea steeps, it fills my kitchen with warm tantalizing notes of cinnamon and sweet almond pastries. I can’t wait to take that first sip.  

But, I am a little uneasy. I fear that the taste will be disappointing, especially after experiencing the delicious aroma of the brew. However, I needn’t have worried.

That first sip is absolutely perfect. I actually do a little happy dance inside my head because I am so delighted by the pleasing taste in my cup. It’s love at first sip.

As dive deeper into the flavor and take time to enjoy all the nuances, I find that this tea reminds me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The taste is sweet with a touch of cinnamon-spice that is complemented by a bakery-like quality.

But then, I a little bitterness comes into play.  This touch of tartness balances the sweetness nicely and gives my cup some robustness and depth.

The aftertaste is bitter-sweet, like any love story ending.

American Tea Room Sample Packs

Packaging:

Unfortunately, the sample-sized pouches are not re-sealable. However, they are constructed of thick material with a foil-lining to help the tea stay fresh longer. Plus, there are handy brewing instructions on the decorative label.

Preparation Tips:

On the tea sample package, it recommended using a water temperature of 200F and an infusion time of four minutes. I found these instructions to be quite accurate for obtaining the best tasting brew.

As with most of my tea reviews, I used my six-ounce glass teapot to sample the Brioche tea. Since there were no specific directions about the amount of water or tea to use, I decided to use one level teaspoon.

I tried both filtered and non-filtered (plain tap water) to brew my tea and didn’t find a significant difference in taste.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – This is such a wonderful dessert tea, especially if wanting to watch calories because it doesn’t need milk or sugar. This decadent and entrancing tea can stand on its own.

Infusions – The Brioche can be infused twice with good results. I found the first infusion to be robust with an enticing sweet note and touch of bitterness.

The second infusion retained the intoxicating sugar and cinnamon fragrance and flavor, but the brew was definitely weaker. Interestingly, there was no bitterness to be found in the second cup, even after an 8-minute steep.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the American Tea Room web page for the Brioche tea. Enjoy!

Brioche

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Rooibos Tea Review: Persimmon Tree Tea Chocolate Banana

Chocolate Banana

Company/Brand Name: Persimmon Tree Tea

Name: Chocolate Banana

Category: Organic Fair Trade Rooibos Blend (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: An interesting display of red rooibos offset by reddish-pink peppercorns and noticeable chunks of chocolate. The aroma of the leaves is sweet and inviting.

Additions: Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Banana Chips, Pink Peppercorn, Chocolate, Natural Flavors

Flavor: A sweet treat that tastes of real banana, with a little spice, and just a hint of dark chocolate.

Overall: This rooibos blend is both complex and interesting; it definitely kept me interested cup after cup.

Tea Review:

My first cup of this tea was amazing. I couldn’t believe that the banana flavor actually tasted like real banana. I was quite impressed especially since I was prepared for this tea blend to taste like imitation banana.

Once I got over my initial delight, I found that the Chocolate Banana tea also had a touch of spice to it. Not a lot of spice, just enough to create some depth.

Next, I noticed just a hint of dark chocolate flavor. It wasn’t very pronounced; rather it stood in the background supporting the lead.

Lastly, there is a soft-creaminess that brings it all together brilliantly.

Persimmon Tree Tea Packaging

Packaging:

I really love how Persimmon Tree Tea packages their teas. Each tea is shipped  in a high-quality tin that has the name of the contents, as well as steeping instructions, right on the label. The tea canister even provides iced-tea instructions, if so desired.

I was also impressed by the presentation of the packaging. The tea canisters came nestled in brown paper shred, which made me feel as if I had just received a gift in the mail from a dear friend.

Preparation Tips:

According to the Persimmon Tree Tea canister, 1.5 teaspoons of tea is to be used per cup of water. The recommended steep time is 3 to 5 minutes in water that is 200F.

I usually prefer to use my six-ounce glass teapot for brewing up a single cup of tea. However, because this tea has many small rooibos shreds, I decided to use my new Finum Brewing Basket, which worked like a charm!

I also suggest using filtered water so as not to miss any of the nuances this tea can provide.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – Since this tea provides a low-caffeine cup, it is perfect for the evening when desiring a little something sweet as a nightcap.

Iced Tea – The Chocolate Banana tea is wonderful when chilled; it really brings out the spiciness of the tea.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Persimmon Tree Tea web page. Enjoy!

Persimmon Tree Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Puerh Tea Review: Persimmon Tree Tea Coconut Cacao

Coconut Cacao

Company/Brand Name: Persimmon Tree Tea

Name: Coconut Cacao

Category: A Flavored Organic Puerh Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: A beautiful display of rich-brown-colored leaves with bits of curled coconut.

Additions: Organic Cocoa Nibs, Organic Coconut Pieces, Natural Flavors

Flavor: A robust blend that is creamy and sweet, flavored with hazelnut and embraced by a warm-earthiness. Underneath it all is just a hint of cocoa and coconut.

Overall: This tea provides a unique arrangement of flavors that intrigue the senses. The overall feel is slightly decadent because of its lush and highly-flavorful taste profile.

Tea Review:

My initial reaction when taking the lid off the tea container was that the leaves smelled a bit like sweet-licorice.

Once I brewed up a cup of the Coconut Cacao, I found the overall taste to be quite unique. The flavor was definitely sweet and rich tasting, but to identify the other flavors was a bit perplexing.

As I explored the flavor profile and took my time experiencing each sip, I discovered that the slight licorice-like smell of the leaves was also apparent in the taste. After further investigation, I realized that it was the hazelnut flavoring I was experiencing. I would have to say that this particular taste really stands-out and plays the leading role.

Nestled behind the hazelnut is just a hint of bittersweet chocolate and an almost vanilla like taste. This is all folded into a rich, yet mellow, earthiness.

Lastly, there is the coconut, which really doesn’t present itself much at all, except to perhaps lend this tea its creamy and smooth texture.

I almost forgot to mention that this tea has a superb finish. After each sip there is sweet, hazelnut taste that lingers for several minutes. This left me feeling as if I had experienced something quite remarkable.

For some reason whenever I drink this tea, I feel as if I’ve been transported to some chic teahouse with a warm, relaxing and unique atmosphere. As I sip my tea, in this cosmopolitan setting, all the mundane and trivial details of modern life seem to melt away. For a few moments I am living a sumptuous life.

Persimmon Tree Tea Packaging

Packaging:

I just love the packaging that Persimmon Tree Tea provides its customers.

Each tea, no matter what quantity ordered, is delivered in an attractive tin with the name of the tea right on the label. This makes it incredibly easy to find just the tea I’m looking for in my not-so-organized kitchen cabinets.

Preparation Tips:

According to the Persimmon Tree Tea canister, 1.5 teaspoons are to be used per cup of 210F water for 3-5 minutes.

Since I tend to like my tea on the stronger side, I steeped the leaves for about 4-5 minutes in my 6-ounce glass teapot. This resulted in the rich tasting brew described in this review.

For larger amounts, I also used my PersonaliTea teapot.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – If desired, this tea can be infused multiple times, but I found that after three infusions this tea started to get a little too weak tasting for my personal taste.

Dessert Tea – This tea has a sweet and somewhat nutty flavor, so perfect for an after dinner treat.

Iced Tea – The Coconut Cacao is quite exquisite when iced, retaining its smooth and luxuriant flavor. It makes for a very distinctive glass of iced-tea that will have the neighbors talking.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Persimmon Tree Tea web page. Enjoy!

Persimmon Tree Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: None

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Persimmon Tree Tea Earl Grey Crème

Earl Grey Creme

Company/Brand Name: Persimmon Tree Tea

Name: Earl Grey Crème

Category: An Organic and Biodynamic Flavored Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Beautiful midnight black leaves with bits of delicate cornflowers

Additions: Organic Cornflowers, Organic Oil of Bergamot, Natural Flavors

Flavor: An intoxicating dance of rich tasting black tea, French vanilla and bergamot, with a touch of citrus.

Overall: Not only does this tea have a stunning presentation, it also captivates the senses with a tantalizing fragrance and brilliantly delicious blend of flavors. I have to say that this is the best Earl Grey Crème tea I’ve sampled to date! It’s soooo rich and creamy tasting!

Tea Review:

When I removed the lid, I was immediately enchanted by the perfume of the leaves. Momentarily, I was transported to some far off imaginary place where the warm night air whispers tales of young love and exotic mystery.

Once I came back to reality and got around to actually brewing up a pot of tea, I was not disappointed.

The smell of the brewed tea is just as captivating and beguiling as the dried leaves. Each sip is a dance of robust black tea, warm notes of vanilla and sensuous bergamot. Behind the scenes is just the right touch of delicate citrus to underscore the melody of flavors.

The overall feel is one of sheer luxury.

Persimmon Tree Tea Packaging

Packaging:

First off, I have to tell you that I was swept off my feet as soon as I opened the box that this tea was shipped in.

What met my eyes was a charmingly decorated mini-tea tin nestled in light-brown paper shred. I felt like I had just received a gift in the mail from a very special someone.

For some reason this beautiful display encouraged me to open the tea tin right then and there.

Preparation Method:

According to the Persimmon Tree Tea canister, one teaspoon is to be used per cup of 195F water (preferably filtered) for 3-5 minutes.

I tend to like my black tea on the strong side, so I steeped the leaves for about 4-5 minutes in my 6-ounce glass teapot, which resulted in the luxurious flavor reported in this review.

For larger amounts, I also used my PersonaliTEA teapot.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – If desired this tea can be infused at least twice, but I found the first cup to be the best.

Iced Tea On the tea tin I received with the Earl Grey Crème, there were iced tea directions, so I decided to give this tea a try over ice.

All I can say is that it makes a brilliant glass of ice tea; all the wonderful flavors that this tea reveals when hot are also present when chilled. This is going to be a wonderful treat come summer!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Persimmon Tree Tea web page. Enjoy!

Persimmon Tree Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Organic & Fair Trade Tea from Persimmon Tree Tea

Persimmon Tree Tea Tins

Yesterday, I stopped at the Post Office to check to see if any new teas had arrived, and I was pleased to see a package from Persimmon Tree Tea. This is the first tea vendor I’ve run across that provides only organic and fair trade teas. I think that’s pretty cool!

Anyway, back to my new package…

Upon opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tea blends all came in beautiful little mini-tins, which were all nestled in brown gift shred.

Usually, I am pretty laid-back about trying new tea. I’ll put-off any temptation by telling myself to wait for the “right time.” Translation: When I feel like it.

But, for some reason I just couldn’t wait to tear into each sample of tea and give them each a whiff. It must have been the packaging that got me all excited!

After taking in the indulgent fragrance of each tea, I got pretty eager to try each one then and there. Within a span of a couple hours I had tasted each of the four teas I had received.

Here are my initial thoughts.

Chocolate Banana (rooibos blend): Wow! It tastes like real banana. I really enjoyed my first cup of this blend.

Coconut Cacao (pu-er blend): Interesting, reminds me of licorice for some reason and usually I don’t like that particular flavor, but in this tea it was quite subtle and appealing.

Vanilla Chai (rooibos blend): Not too excited about this one, but a decent chai. I would have liked it better if there had been a slight creamy taste to underscore the spice, but that is a personal preference.

Earl Grey Crème (black tea blend): Yum! This is one of the best Earl Grey teas I’ve tasted. Of course, I’ve only tried three others my entire life and they were all of the bagged variety. Yet, I couldn’t get this tea out of my mind all day today! Therefore, numerous cups of this blend where drunken throughout the day.

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

What is your favorite tea packaging?

Green Tea Review: Honest Tea Jasmine Green Energy

Honest Jasmine Green Energy

Company/Brand Name: Honest Tea

Name: Jasmine Green Energy

Category: Green and White Tea Blend, USDA Organic

Form: Bottled in a glass container

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Agave syrup, which adds 17 calories per serving, or 34 calories per 16 oz. bottle

Flavor: Sweet and flowery at first, then slightly grassy with a bitter aftertaste

Overall: A strongly flavored bottled tea that will surprise those who are used to a mellower tea concoction and amuse those who enjoy a little bite to their tea.

Tea Review:

I’ve had this bottle of Honest Tea hanging out in the fridge for a while; I was waiting for the right time to give it a try. Today, I wasn’t able to get to my tea kettle because the kitchen was going through a little remodeling, so it seemed like a good day to sample this particular brew.

I found this bottled tea to be quite tart tasting. Yet, I wasn’t turned off by the bitterness at all because the combination of flavors was quite interesting.

When I first take a sip, the flavor is sweet. Then the jasmine expresses itself alongside a hint of grassiness. Finally, as the brew makes its way to the back of my throat, the taste becomes bitter.  Yet, the sweetness still lingers, so a bitter-sweet flavor is my final impression.

Preparation Tips:

Twist the top off and drink!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea from Honest Tea just click the link below. Enjoy!

Honest Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.