Tazo’s Dessert Delights Collection

20180112-tazodessertdelightsVanilla Bean Macaron by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

Butterscotch Blondie by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

Glazed Lemon Loaf by Tazo Tea
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$2.98USD for 1.11oz  (15 sachets)

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First Impressions

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Tazo reached out to me to send me a little something. Fast forward to mid-December when I received a lovely package in the mail from them – complete with a zippered pouch filled with individually wrapped tea bags of their new Dessert Delights collection (Vanilla Bean Macaron, Butterscotch Blondie, and Glazed Lemon Loaf) along with a few extra teas that are part of their core collection (Zen, Passion, and Green Ginger) and an enameled pin set – aren’t they just sweet?

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be focusing on the Dessert Delights collection teas only and will be discussing them each in the same order throughout each section.

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Vanilla Bean Macaron has a very strong vanilla aroma, but surprisingly does not contain vanilla in the ingredients. The ingredients listed are: black tea, natural flavours, chicory root, cocoa peel, licorice root, roasted yerba mate, cinnamon, and cardamom. I can make out the cinnamon and cardamom, and while the vanilla is delightfully strong, it doesn’t remind me too much of a macaron. (As an aside, on the back of the packaging of each bag, the information for the ingredients and steeping instructions are in white, and they’re a bit difficult to read unless you have excellent lighting.)

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Butterscotch Blondie surprised me a lot by smelling just like a butterscotch candy. Surprisingly, the ingredients listed for this black tea blend is nearly identical to that of Vanilla Bean Macaron. This tea consists of: black tea, natural flavours, chicory root, cocoa peel, licorice root, cinnamon, and cardamom. Just missing the roasted yerba mate and it would have been just the same.

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Glazed Lemon Loaf is the one that surprised me the most. This herbal infusion actually smells like a glazed lemon loaf. It has the citrus and vanilla aromas from the dry leaf, along with what reminds me of the aroma of a sugary glaze. This herbal infusion consists of: apple, natural flavours, green rooibos, orange peel, chamomile, rose petals, licorice root, and ginger.

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Preparation

All three of the blends in the Dessert Delights collection suggests steeping in 212°F (100°C) water for 5 minutes. I steeped the two black tea blends (Vanilla Bean Macaron and Butterscotch Blondie) for 3 minutes each and steeped the herbal infusion (Glazed Lemon Loaf) for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Vanilla Bean Macaron steeps to a deep orange with an unfortunate oil slick across the top. I’m not entirely sure which ingredient this came from (perhaps the ‘natural flavours’?), but I found that the aroma was very much vanilla. It reminds me of the aroma of vanilla cupcakes more than a macaron (although perhaps I just need to become more acquainted with macarons?). The flavour of vanilla isn’t subtle in the steeped tea. I found that the spices (cinnamon, cardamom) to be quite warming while the vanilla was just present. I was able to pick out the yerba mate at the tail end of each sip because it left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

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Butterscotch Blondie also steeps to a deep orange, but I didn’t notice an oil slick across the top of my cup. I found that the aroma of the steeped tea still screamed ‘butterscotch’ to me, although I didn’t find that to be the case with the flavour. I didn’t really find that it reminded me of a blondie when I steeped it straight, but I found that a tiny addition of sugar and milk actually helped it along to add some creaminess to it.

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Glazed Lemon Loaf steeps to a happy and bright yellow. The aroma that wafts up from this herbal infusion is one of lemony citrus and sweetness. I found the flavour to be enjoyable, the lemon was rather calming (or perhaps that was the chamomile) and the sweetness was just enough. I could taste some heat from the ginger, and I found it to be nice and soothing. I think this tea was fine on its own, but was improved with a touch of honey.

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A Second Cup?

I did attempt to resteep all three of the Dessert Delights, but found that the second steepings of each were watery and diluted compared to the initial steeps. This can often be the case for teas found in tea bags, especially when the quality of the teas (and size of tea leaves) aren’t top notch.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Tazo’s Dessert Delights Collection. I probably wouldn’t keep much of Vanilla Bean Macaron or Butterscotch Blondie around, but I would definitely buy a box or two of Glazed Lemon Loaf because I think it did the best with matching the name to the aroma to the flavour. Plus, the flavour combination makes for an excellent just-before-bed drink (or a I-have-a-sore-throat cuppa).

At the time of writing, I’m not entirely convinced that this collection is available in Canada. I’ve never seen it in stores, and none of the retail sites for Canadian groceries stores seem to have in in stock. However, if you’re in the USA, you’re in luck! The price isn’t bad either, considering you get 15 sachets for less than $3. Not a bad deal if you’re just looking to try it out.

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InNature Teas’ Red Rose Tea

Red Rose Tea by InNature Teas
Black Tea / Flavoured
£5.95 for 50g

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InNature Teas has provided me with Red Rose Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

With a name like Red Rose, it makes me think of the long-standing brand of orange pekoe that I grew up drinking. InNature Teas sent me Red Rose, a black tea, in a thick, square cardboard carton. On the outside, the packaging details the health benefits to drinking tea. On the inside, the tea came in a sealed paper packaging with a piece of paper titled Pure Fresh Teas Instructions. There’s some information regarding the history of tea, how to make the perfect cup of tea, and health benefits.

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Red Rose Tea is a black tea, from the Zhejiang region, and red rose buds, from Jiangsu. The aroma is that of floral and woody earthiness.

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Preparation

The piece of paper that InNature Teas provided suggested hot water, with no suggested temperature for black teas. The product page for Red Rose Tea suggested 75-80°C after describing the tea as a silver needle (white) tea. With that in mind, I used 80°C (175°F) water and steeped it for 3  minutes.

First Taste

Red Rose Tea steeps to a deep orange. The tea is quite aromatic, the aroma of the roses is strong with the natural woodiness from the black tea base. There’s an earthiness that mixes well with the floral rose fragrance that is tasty. I found that there’s a lovely sweetness at the end of each sip, and it is a nice finish. InNature Teas suggests that Red Rose Tea can be had straight or with a bit of milk and sugar.

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A Second Cup?

InNature Teas suggests that Red Rose Tea can be steeped up to three times. I resteeped Red Rose Tea three times (four infusions total), and found that the flavours seemed stronger for the first resteep, but became gradually weaker with each subsequent steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved InNature Teas’ Red Rose Tea. This black tea blended with red rose buds is delightful – I really enjoyed the floral flavours and the woodiness from the black tea base. I really enjoy the sweet, floral finish at the end of each sip. This tea is really tasty, and a nice change from a straight black tea. This tea also does well with a bit of honey and evaporated milk, and I think it would be a nice addition to an afternoon tea as it would couple nicely with savouries and sweets.

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Necessitea’s Mojito

Mojito by Necessitea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$6.00USD for 2oz

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Necessitea has provided me with Mojito for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

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Mojito came to me from Necessitea in a resealable package. When I first opened the package, I first smelled the mint, and then the black tea base. I definitely smell the orange pekoe and the mint. Holly of Necessitea had included a letter with the package and described this blend as being inspired by the mojito drink, to give the option of a virgin tea version of the alcoholic drink (and could be mixed as well). I love the smell of the mint.

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Mojito is a black tea blend made up of orange pekoe black tea, mint, and lime. The lime is a bit harder to pick out of the tea, but I can definitely smell the mint in there.

Preparation

There were no steeping instructions on the packaging or the Necessitea website, but I did an initial steep at 100°C (212°F) for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Mojito steeps to a beautiful golden orange. The aroma that comes from this tea is richly of mint, with the fragrances of a strong orange pekoe. The tea base comes through and the mint isn’t too overwhelming. I found the lime present in the steeped tea, it just adds a touch of freshness in this tea and it primarily shines through at the beginning of tea sip. The tea has a slight sweetness to it, but I found it benefited from the addition of a bit of honey (I used a locally harvested clover honey), which helped to amplify the flavours of lime and mint.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Mojito a couple of times. I found the first resteep to be fairly similar to the initial steep, while I found the second resteep to be quite a bit watery. I would say that Mojito would be good for just one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Necessitea’s Mojito. I really enjoyed the mint flavours in this black tea blend, and the freshness that the mint leaves added to the tea. I wish that the lime was stronger, because I feel like it would have highlighted the mojito experience. I really liked this black tea with a touch of honey, and I think it would make an excellent iced tea if it had been hotter weather. If you like black teas with mint, I think you’ll really enjoy this black tea blend.

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Teazorean’s Broken Leaf

Broken Leaf by Teazorean
Black Tea / Straight
$14.83 for 32g

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Teazorean has provided me with Broken Leaf for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I mentioned some information of Teazorean’s conservation efforts in my last Teazorean (Orange Pekoe). The loose dry leaf came to me in a cute little tin, kind of the perfect size to tote extra tea in your bag around.  The dry leaf has a mixture of dark brown and reddish brown leaves, and there were some small sticks that I noticed in there as well. The sampler tin holds 10g of tea, I used approximately 3g for my small teapot.

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Broken Leaf is a straight black tea. The smell that comes from the black tea leaves was a malty aroma, that reminds me a bit of Assam tea, and there’s some peachy-apricot aromas coming from the tea leaves as well.

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Preparation

Teazorean recommends steeping Broken Leaf in 205°F (96°C) for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Broken Leaf steeps to a lovely light golden orange, it’s more pale that I expected for a black tea when I steeped it according to the length of time suggested by Teazorean. On first taste, the first thing that I noticed was the honey sweetness in this tea. Despite the aroma of the dry leaf having a maltiness to it, I noticed that there was quite the minimal malty flavour to it, and there was an apricot finish to each sip.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Broken Leaf two additional times. I found that the first resteep was slightly weaker than the inital steep – there was more apricot flavour that came out in the tea. The second resteep was weaker still, and not as enjoyable as the initial and first resteep. I would say that Broken Leaf is a good choice for one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Teazorean’s Broken Leaf. I found the aroma of the dry leaf and the taste of the steeped tea to be enjoyable. The honeyed sweetness and the apricot flavours are delicious, and I think it’d be a great alternative to the traditional Earl Grey for an afternoon tea because it has a different flavour profile, but still has the robust flavours of a strong black tea.

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Fox Tea Club’s Forest Lake

Forest Lake by Fox Tea Club
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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Fox Tea Club has provided me with Forest Lake for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

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With a name like Forest Lake, I wasn’t sure what to expect this tea to smell like. Would it smell like trees? When I opened the packaging, I was immediately smelling the smokey aroma that is unmistakably lapsang souchong. There are some light fruity undertones to the smokey dry leaves. I can make out the aroma of berries and it almost reminds me of late summer. The unfortunate thing is that there were a lot of forest fires near where I live this past summer, so Forest Lakes reminds me a lot of this particular past summer due to the smokey aroma.

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Officially, the list of ingredients for Forest Lake is: black tea, cranberry, pine buds, rowan, and sea buckthorn. At the time of writing, the description for this black tea blend included mention of lapsang souchong, sorbus, and currant.

Preparation

Fox Tea Club recommends steeping Forest Lake in 205°F (96°C) for 3 to 5 minutes and suggests that the leaves can be used for 2 steeps. My initial steep of Forest Lake was at 200°F (93°C) for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Forest Lake steeps to a beautiful golden colour, there’s a bit of a musky undertone to this tea and when I smell it, I can’t make out the berries that were so obviously in the dry leaf. On first sip, I’m primarily confronted with the smokey nature of the black tea base. It’s malty, robust, and there’s a hint of sour at the end of each sip – not so much that it’s overwhelming, but just enough to know that it’s there. The smokiness is strong in this black tea blend, mostly because it’s covers the smell and the taste senses – but there’s also hints of sweetness and fruitiness from the berries, but that takes a bit more effort to come out since it’s overwhelmed by the smokey flavours.

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A Second Cup?

I did resteep Forest Lake, mostly because Fox Tea Club suggested that it was possible. It was – I found the smokiness to be more subdued compared to the initial steep, which allowed the other flavours in the tea blend to come out more. I attempted a second resteep of this tea and found that it was quite lacking in flavour compared to the first two steeps. I would say that Forest Lake is good for one more steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Fox Tea Club’s Forest Lake was just okay. I’m not generally a fan of lapsang souchong or smokey blends, and I think that did play a part in my rating of this black tea blend. I did enjoy the subtleties of the berries in this tea, when I was ale to taste them. A touch of sweetener may help in drawing out the fruity flavours more. I am always glad that I don’t have allergies or food sensitivities, but do take care if you’re trying this tea if you have any fruit allergies – I would suggest contacting Fox Tea Club directly for the full ingredients list if you have any concerns since some of the ingredients mentioned in the description are missing from the ingredients list on the product page.

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