Cinnamon

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: The NecessiTeas Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Company/Brand Name: The NecessiTeas

Name: Carrot Cake

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: A beautiful display of red rooibos with noticeable chunks of dried carrot, cinnamon stick, coconut curls and walnuts, with a green cardamom pod or two.

Additions: Real Carrot, Cinnamon, Coconut, Maple Crumble, Walnuts, Natural Flavors (from label on bottom of tea tin)

Flavor: A highly-flavorful, creamy and sweet blend that has just enough spice to pull it all together.

Overall: I am a big fan of real carrot cake, but don’t like the calories. So, when I heard how good the Carrot Cake tea from The NecessiTeas was, I just had to give it a try. I’m glad I did!

Tea Review:

When I first opened the lid of the tea canister and took a whiff, I was spellbound by the sweet and spicy scent. I couldn’t wait to brew up a cup, so I did. No delayed gratification for this girl!

Once I took my first sip, I knew I had made a wise purchase.

At first the fragrant aroma of the brew helps to enhance the sweet taste, which is simply tantalizing. Then the spice kicks in, but not too much, just enough to make this blend quite captivating. To round it all out is an impressive creaminess that gets even more pronounced as the tea cools.

The finish is spicy and creamy. The spiciness leaves a little tingle on my tongue and the creamy texture lingers reminding me of the delicious treat I had just sampled.

The flavor of cinnamon really stood out for me, but I wasn’t able to detect the carrot, walnut and coconut flavors individually. Instead, they seemed to all came together, complementing each other quite brilliantly.

The result is a delightful blend that even won the heart of this hard-core, black tea lover.

As a sip this tea, I am reminded to slow down and enjoy each sip, because just like this Carrot Cake tea, life can be sweet too.

The NecessiTeas Tea Canister

Packaging:

I usually like to “test drive” new teas by ordering a sample size. But, I had read so many positive comments about this tea that I decided to go all out and purchased a 4-ounce size.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my tea purchase came in a silver canister with stylish label. Sweet!

Preparation Tips:

On the bottom of the tea canister, it was recommended using one heaping teaspoon per 8-ounces of boiling water and a steep time of five minutes. I ended up using about two level teaspoons per cup.

Usually, I use my six-ounce glass teapot for brewing up a single cup of tea, but since this tea has many small rooibos shreds, I decided to use a Finum Brewing Basket. This worked quite well, keeping all the little particles in the basket and all the taste in my cup!

Although, I do recommend filtered water, instead of tap water, to really enjoy all the nuances this tea can provide.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – This Carrot Cake tea is definitely sweet enough for a delicious calorie-free indulgence anytime of the day. Since rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, this blend won’t keep you up at night.

Iced Tea – I also tried this tea iced, just to see how it would taste chilled. The smell isn’t quite as aromatic as when the tea is hot, but it still retains its wonderful sweet and spicy flavor. I think this will make for an interesting 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 NecessiTeas web page. Enjoy!

The NecessiTeas

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

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: Trader Joe’s Vanilla & Cinnamon

Trader Joe's Vanilla & Cinnamon

Company/Brand Name: Trader Joe’s

Name: Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea

Category: Black Tea, Flavored (Seasonal)

Form: Tea Bag (Paper)

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not applicable because the leaves are finely ground and hidden inside the typical tea bag exterior

Additions: Vanilla, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon

Flavor: The cinnamon and vanilla flavors are a bit muddy tasting, yet they still work well together

Overall: I’m a sucker for any vanilla and cinnamon tea combination, even if the brew is a bit weak!

Tea Review:

When I first purchased this tea, I was wondering if it would taste similar to one of my favorite holiday teas, which is Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet. They both have exactly the same ingredients: vanilla, “other natural flavors” and cinnamon.

As soon as I got home and opened the wax seal, I knew that I had been correct in my assumption.

While allowing the tea to steep, the resulting fragrance pales in comparison to the Nutcracker Sweet’s inviting aroma.

I had a similar experience with the taste. The flavor is suggestive of vanilla and cinnamon, but it makes for a rather weak brew. Although, I found I could compensate for this by simply using less water.

At times, I got a little bit of a paper-y taste. Overall, the flavors were rather muddied; not clean and crisp tasting. It was difficult to distinguish the vanilla and cinnamon individually, but the combination somehow works out to make a sweet tasting holiday treat.

In conclusion, the Trader Joe’s brand just didn’t have that extra oomph of the Nutcracker Sweet, but would do in a pinch.

Packaging:

This holiday tea came in a rectangular cardboard box. The tea bags are square in shape and layered in twos on top of each other in a wax-lined paper seal. Because two tea bags are connected, you’ve got to tear them apart to use just one.

Trader Joes Vanilla and Cinnamon

Preparation Tips:

Per usual, I simply followed the directions printed on the box: “Pour boiling water directly over tea bag in a cup and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bag.”  Since no instructions were given regarding the amount of water to use, I went with the general guideline of 8-ounces. However, I would recommend 6-ounces to obtain a better flavor.

One thing I did find out accidentally, is that this tea can steep for quite a while without getting bitter.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – I would classify this as a dessert tea, because it does taste sweet due to the vanilla and cinnamon combination.

Holiday Tea – For some reason the warms notes of vanilla and cinnamon seem to be well suited for the holidays.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, you’ll have to live near a Trader Joes (because it isn’t available online) and wait until the holidays when it will be in stock again 🙂

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.

Rooibos Tea Review: Teavana Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Zingiber Ginger Coconut

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown, but rooibos is native to South Africa

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Coconut Chips, Ginger Bits, Cinnamon, Apples, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Almonds

Flavor: A spicy, slightly sweet, aromatic tea that also has a touch of creaminess

Overall: Ginger and spice and everything nice, describes this rooibos tea blend perfectly. I really enjoyed the overall experience, which was entertaining and unique. Yet, this is not a tea I would gravitate to daily. Although, it does provide a nice departure from the mundane.

Tea Review:

First off, I have to say that the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos leaves have a complex bouquet that has a fruity-spiciness that makes the smell both energizing and mesmerizing.

Quite frankly, the smell is addictive. I would find myself opening the tea canister several times per day just to take a whiff of paradise. Not only does this tea pack a punch with its sweet, exotic fragrance, it is also beautiful to admire.

It’s not the kind of tea that you look at and say, “Yeah, that’s tea.” It’s a blend that has you standing there for several inquisitive minutes trying to comprehend what you see in front of you.

Like a fine painting, where each individual brush stroke creates the resulting masterpiece, this tea cannot be understood by studying each ingredient. It needs to be appreciated for the elegant combination that creates the final product.

When I finally get around to steeping a cup, the room fills with a wonderfully warm and enchanting aroma that heightens my anticipation for the first sip.

When I finally took my first sip, I was quite disappointed. The tea seemed quite weak tasting compared to the almost overpowering fragrance of the tea blend. But then, the fieriness kicks in and I taste a hint of ginger mingling with other spices.

Way in the background, a subtle hint of fruitiness reveals itself. The coconut makes an appearance too, as an ever so slight texture of creaminess.

Based on the intriguing aroma of the tea, I was quite expecting a sweet-fruity flavor to be playing the leading role, instead it was the understudy. It was the spice that truly stole the show and became the star.

As it turns out, the flavor profile is just as interesting and intricate as the aroma; it’s just much more delicate and elusive. The taste doesn’t provide the “Wow!” factor I was anticipating. Yet, still an interesting tea that is worth a try.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos from the Teavana store at the Mall of America, where I was swept off my feet by its visual appeal and intoxicating fragrance. I decided to purchase a Washi tin to house this tea to keep it fresh.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the label given to me when I had purchased the tea, but the Teavana website also provides excellent directions: Use 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of water. Heat water to just boiling (208F) and steep for 5-6 minutes.

This tea blend can be a little tricky to brew because the rooibos is tiny, especially compared to the huge curls of coconut. Therefore, I highly recommend using a Finum Brewing Basket to contain all the rooibos shreds.

Additional Notes:

Iced tea – As the tea cools, it becomes less spicy and a bit more fruity and creamy. I’ve found that I much prefer this tea when it is mixed with a basic black tea and then chilled.

Dessert Tea – A delightful spicy blend, that reminded me a bit of spice cake.

Other – This tea blend is caffeine-free, making it a perfect evening treat.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea or shop for over 100 types of other healthy, gourmet teas, as well as teapots and other  accessories, then click the link below. Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Teavana

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.

 

Black Tea Review: Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Company/Brand Name: Celestial Seasonings

Name: Nutcracker Sweet

Category: Black Tea Blend (Seasonal)

Form: Tea Bag (Paper)

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not applicable because the leaves are finely ground and hidden inside the typical tea bag exterior

Additions: Vanilla, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon

Flavor: A sweet, aromatic tea with an enchanting vanilla taste and just a hint of cinnamon spice

Overall: I always look forward to this time of year, because I know it is holiday tea season! Nutcracker Sweet has been one of my favorite holiday teas for many years now. Every time I open a box, my senses are captivated by the sweet vanilla scent. I can feel myself drift away momentarily to some magical place where anything is possible.

Tea Review:

As this tea steeps, it fills the surrounding area with a wonderful aroma, like something yummy is baking in the oven.

Once the tea is ready, the first sip never disappoints. The brew has a warm vanilla note that is delightfully creamy and rich tasting.

What makes this tea particularly interesting is the touch of cinnamon spice that lingers in the background. The spiciness is just right, not too harsh and not too subtle as to be overlooked.

I’ve found that sometimes vanilla flavored tea can taste a bit off, but I didn’t find that to be the case with this particular combination.

In fact, the vanilla is the star of this black tea blend, making it a holiday favorite.

Packaging:

Inside the colorful cardboard box is a wax-lined paper seal where all the tea bags are held. The square, flat tea bags are layered in twos and each tea bag is connected to another. To separate the two tea bags, you’ve got to tear them apart at the perforated center.

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Preparation Tips:

I simply followed the directions printed on the box: “Pour freshly boiled water over one tea bag. Steep 3 to 5 minutes and remove tea bag.” Because there were no notes about how much water to use, I went with the general guideline of one cup. Then, I used a holiday mug to make things extra special!

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – The Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker box states that this is a “decadent-yet-healthy treat.” With zero calories, this tea is perfect when craving a little something sweet.

Iced Tea – This tea blend is also quite tasty when iced. Drinking it cooled seems to bring out the cinnamon flavor; it actually ends up tasting a bit spicier when chilled.

I Want This Tea!

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

Nutcracker Sweet

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.