Canadian Ice Wine Black Tea Blend

Iced_WineWhile in Traverse City recently I visited a wonderful tea shop – the Spice & Tea Merchants shop.  It’s a cozy little store with wonderful smells of spices and teas.  I probably could have spent hours just gawking at all the tea.

I bought a couple of teas while there, one of which was a “Canadian Ice Wine” black tea blend.  The tea blends ice wine, black tea, white tea, and freeze dried grapes.  I’ll admit I bought it just because it seemed very different and it was Canadian based even though it was being sold at a shop in the US.

The tea really smells strongly like grapes. The taste is a bit more subtle – the black tea is fairly prominent and is complimented by a fruity undertone.  It’s an interesting combination.  I’m not sure it would start buying it in bulk but I’m definitely glad I tried it.

Mothers’ Day Tea Goodness

IMG_20160508_095323For Mothers’ Day Andrew and Little Miss surprised me with a homemade Doctor Who themed card and a whole lot of tea.  Pretty much the perfect gift in my mind and encompasses two of my favourite things.  The tea gift included a number of selections from Teavana which I’m still working my way through.

The first tea I’ve tried was the classic Earl Grey Creme (EGC) black tea.  I love my Earl Grey tea generally and it’s one of the DavidsTea selections I’ve come to enjoy on a regular basis.  (Yes, I have a tea addiction…I’m okay with that.)  The Teavana Early Grey Creme selection includes vanilla which mellows the dominant flavour of the bergamot.  Which I gather is the idea behind EGCs generally, it has the potential to be a subtler version of Earl Grey.

This was decent a cuppa.  But I love a strong cup of Earl Grey so EGCs probably aren’t being marketed to me.  I did like the subtle flavours and additional depth in this tea, but missed the strength bergamot that is in some Early Grey teas.

On to more tasty teas.

Advent Tea 23: Gingerbread Cookie

Days 22 and 23 of the #24daysoftea

Days 22 and 23 of the #24daysoftea

Second last day of the tea calendar! Today’s tea gingerbread cookie was the only tea (I think) in the calendar marked as “stimulant” and is a mix of rooibos and green rooibos.  It has flavors of cinnamon, pineapple, ginger, and maple.  Despite all the sweet ingredients the rooibos taste of the tea holds up well. And I thankfully really didn’t taste any pineapple in the tea.

The smell of the brewed tea reminds me of the very distinct smell of the Old Stanton Stores that were once prolific in the area I grew up in.  I’m not exactly sure what that smell is, but it’s comforting.

If you’re in the midst of getting in the Christmas mood check out The Small Glories rendition of The Huron Carol.  Cara Luft and JD Edwards are awesome and this is a great version of the classic holiday tune. Cara also annually does a video of a Christmas tune — typically played on the banjo. Her 2014 carol, “Unto Us A Child is Given” can be seen here.

Advent Tea 22: Snow Day

The ground outside has a decidedly un-Christmas feel.  Everything is green and snow has hardly graced the ground at all so far this year.  This “Snow Day” tea is a chocolate-mint tisane that is marketed as a nice tea to curl up with while watching the snow flutter to the ground.  But lack of snow didn’t stop me from drinking it.

The smell of this tea is wonderful.  A perfect mix of chocolate and mint smells.  I was worried it would be too chocolately (yes – that’s a thing).  But the chocolate flavor was more of an after-note with the mint flavor taking the main seat.  Of the three chocolate teas featured in the calendar this one was my favourite. Yum.

Advent Tea 21: Cardamon French Toast

French toast in a cup! Well kind of. This black tea has cinnamon, lemon peel, coriander seeds, cardamom, coconut sugar, and cane sugar.  This tea was a rich black tea with a slightly buttery tone and a hint of spice.  I’m not sure what liquid french toast would actually taste like but I imagine this is a fairly close (albeit mild) version of that.  And I’m not about to blend up actual french toast to find out.

I had this tea in the evening but think it would pair well with a morning snack or breakfast.  It’s mild enough that I could drink it early in the morning without being overwhelming by the non-tea falvours. A decent tea.

Advent Tea 20: Moment of Zen

The name of this tea reminded me of Buddha’s Blend – same calming idea behind the name I suppose. This green tea is scented with jasmine, blackberries, mallow blossoms, cornflower blossoms, natural blackberry flavouring. The loose leave tea was pretty to look at it had pops of blue and purple among the darker tea leaves.

This was a fruity green tea and had a dominant blackberry taste with a hint of jasmine. It brewed a nice green colour and had a fairly fragrant floral smell.  An okay green tea but leaned fairly heavily toward the herbal tea side.

Advent Tea 18 & 19: Forever Nuts and Dark Chocolate Delight

Day 18 and day 19 were two very different teas. Forever Nuts was another fruit infusion that doesn’t have any actual tea in it. It is a mix of apples, almonds, cinnamon, beetroot, and artificial flavor. It reminded me of the banana nut bread tea though this was apple fruity instead of banana. It poured a light red and you could smell the cinnamon. It reminded me of apple cider.

On the other hand the Dark Chocolate Delight tea was actual black tea infused with spiced dark chocolate, blueberries, cocoa shells and a mild chocolate flavor. I even convinced Andrew to have a taste of this one — it was too tea tasting for is like but not bad. I found his description funny as I was wishing there was more of a tea taste. Different preferences in hot beverages! This selection was a mild version of Hot Chocolate tea… with a barely noticeable hint of blueberry.

So basically day 18 and day 19 felt a bit like repeats to me. They were both very similar to teas already included in the advent calendar.



Advent Tea 17: Mulled Wine

MulledTeaMulled wine tea.  Interesting.  This oolong tea has apple, orange peel, cinnamon, clove and ginger.  It has a citrus cinnamon smell with a holiday feel. The smell and colour reminded me of apple cider.  Once steeped I was surprised the light colour of the tea — I’ve only have mulled wine made from red wine before making me thing that this would have more of a redish colour when steeped.

There is a slight perfuming taste to the tea that wasn’t too appealing and the oolong tea is overpowered by the other flavours.  It’s not horrible but nothing something I’d buy.  I’m headed to a Christmas party tonight where there were promises of actual mulled wine. Deliciousness awaits.

Advent Tea 16: Japanese Sencha

I love that this tea is simply green tea.  No added ingredients no attempt to be something it isn’t.  Just wholesome green tea. After reading about the tea I was careful not to over steep the brew and tried to make sure my water wasn’t super hot.  It steeped a nice light green and had a lovely grassy earth flavour.  A good green tea.

Despite my watchful eye while steeping I should have used one of my finer infusers.  The one I used this morning has larger holes that some of my finer metal based ones which resulted in my tea having bits of leaf floating around in it.  Not a huge deal, but something to remember if I brew it again.  The bit of floating leaf actually reminded me of being served tea in Ireland and it taking me a second to realize that it was loose leaf and I needed to pour through a filter.

Advent Tea 15: honey, I do

HoneyIDoOh the puns! This white tea is fruity smelling and fruity tasting.  The punny name comes from the honeydew melon in the tea it is accompanied by Apple, pineapple, mango, rose petals, natural watermelon flavouring.

The rose petals struck me as a little odd in this fruit heavy mix but I didn’t notice their taste when drinking the tea. The mango and pineapple are also pretty subtle with the honeydew and apple being the main taste of the tea.  Despite the fruit content the tea isn’t overly sweet, which is nice.

I think this would be good steeped cold in the summer, it has a light taste and the fruity notes would transfer well to a iced tea. This might be because the tea flavouring is pretty mild in this, it tastes more like a fruit infusion than a white tea.  Tasty though.

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