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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Necessitea’s Licorice Mint

Licorice Mint by Necessitea
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$6.00USD for 2oz

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

First Impressions

Licorice Mint came to me in a resealable silver foil package. I like the minimalist look of the labelling – not too much information on there. The dry leaf has an unmistakeable minty aroma – just the first sniff made me feel as though my sinuses were clear (even though I was not sick when I tried this tea). I’m not entirely sure what licorice root is supposed to smell like – however, I don’t smell anything that reminds me of licorice candy and whatever licorice root is supposed to smell like, it reminds me a bit of lemongrass. Just an overall burst of freshness, although it is overpowered by the mint.

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Licorice Mint consists of licorice root, mint, and rosehips. All three ingredients are quite visible in the dry herbal blend.

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Preparation

There were no preparation instructions on either the packaging of the sample I received or on the product page on the Necessitea website. I opted to steep Licorice Mint at 100°C (212°F) for an initial steep of 4 minutes.

First Taste

Licorice Mint steeps to quite a bright yellow. I found the minty aroma from the steeped herbal infusion to be strong. The flavour of this tisane did not disappoint. Each sip began with the freshness of mint, and tapered off into something a bit citrus-tasting, although I attributed that to the licorice root. There’s a sweetness to this herbal infusion that I wasn’t really expecting. However, I did do some Googling on licorice root and found out that licorice root is actually really sweet and doesn’t taste a thing like the licorice candy! (Lucky for me.) There’s something quite soothing about sipping this tisane that’s quite calming to the senses. I think it’s the combination of the aroma of the steeped tisane and the flavour that’s just very pleasant.

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A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Licorice Mint and found it to be a very watery version of the first steep, I would say that Licorice Mint is good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Necessitea’s Licorice Mint. I did find myself a bit apprehensive at first, but this was my first exposure to licorice root and I found it surprisingly pleasant. I’m not usually one for herbal infusions, unless it’s fruit based (and iced!), but I did enjoy Licorice Mint. I found the calming effects of just inhaling the aroma of the mint and licorice rot to be quite soothing. It’d be a great drink for late night since it’s naturally caffeine free. I wish it had done decently well for a second steep, since it does smell so good from the initial steep.

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Tisano’s Mint Cacao Tea

Mint Cacao Tea by Tisano
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$13.99USD for 4oz

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Tisano has provided me with Mint Cacao Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

The pairing of mint and chocolate has been a steady part of my life for a very long time – one of my dad’s favourite flavour combinations is mint chocolate (especially in the form of ice cream), so it’s one that I’m very familiar with. When I saw that Tisano had sent me a sample packet of Mint Cacao Tea, I was very excited. Ripping open the packaging, I was first welcomed by the smell of chocolate and mint. If After Eight chocolate was ever made into a tea blend, I think this would accurately represent the aroma of that candy.

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Mint Cacao Tea consists of cacao shells and Egyptian peppermint. I’ve never had Egyptian peppermint before, but it has the crisp, refreshing aroma of mint that I’m used to.

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Preparation

Tisano recommends steeping Mint Cacao Tea in 212°F (100°C) water for 3.5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions for the initial steep.

First Taste

Mint Cacao Tea steeps to a golden orange, and has a mostly chocolate aroma that wafts up from the tea. I smell a hint of mint, but it’s primarily the chocolate that comes through. On first sip, it reminds me a lot of the Original Cacao Tea that I reviewed previously, with just a touch of mint that shines through. There’s a touch of bitterness to this cacao blend, that reminds me a lot of dark chocolate. I found myself searching for the mint at times.

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I added a touch of cream to Mint Cacao Tea and found that it helped with the bitterness, which allowing the mint to come through a bit more. There’s not as much sweetness as I was hoping to find in a chocolate mint tea, but a little bit of honey helped bring out the chocolate flavour a bit more.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Mint Cacao Tea and found that the mint chocolate flavours was quite watery compared to the first steep, and would say that Mint Cacao Tea is good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Tisano’s Mint Cacao Tea was just okay. I found myself wishing that there was more mint in the flavour of the tea, but the addition of honey and cream helped the blend to taste more like a hot mint chocolate. The aroma of the dry leaf is amazing and reminds me just like mint chocolate candy, and it smells quite a bit like chocolate (with a touch of mint). With a bit more peppermint or mint extract, I think this would just hit the spot.

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Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea

Original Cacao Tea by Tisano
Herbal Infusion / Straight
$14.95USD for 4oz

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Tisano has provided me with Original Cacao Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Tisano sent me a sample of their Original Cacao Tea. The sample came to me in a resealable bag (thank goodness), and the aroma of the cacao shells is one of pure chocolate. It smells and reminds me of a rich hot chocolate. Original Cacao Tea is a tisane made up of only cacao shells. I’m not sure what a cacao shell is supposed to look like, but the tisane is made up of thin, light brown flakes and smell like a chocolate bar.

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Preparation

Tisano recommends steeping Original Cacao Tea at 210°F (99°C) water for 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Original Cacao Tea steeps to a beautiful golden brown colour. Surprisingly, there’s slight bit of oils across the top that I think it comes from the cacao shells themselves (since chocolate has oils). The aroma from the steeped tisane is nothing short of hot chocolate. Sipping Original Cacao Tea has the taste of chocolate, a slightly watery version of hot chocolate. There’s a slight bitterness to the tisane, it reminds me of dark chocolate.

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I added some cream to Original Cacao Tea and I found it helped to dull the bitterness and make it taste a touch more like hot chocolate, as it allowed the natural sweetness from the cacao to come through more.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Original Cacao Tea, but found that the flavour was a watery compared to the initial steep. I would recommend Original Cacao Tea for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea. I found that it was really good with the addition of cream, it made it taste like a hot chocolate. It’s a nice alternative to the sugary commercial hot chocolate mix available out there. I wasn’t too fond of the bitter notes with the straight tisane, so I recommend adding some cream or milk to make it into a rich hot chocolate drink.

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Grand Tea’s Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum Tea by Grand Tea
Herbal Infusion / Straight
$35.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Chrysanthemum Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Chrysanthemum Tea is a floral infusion that I’m quite familiar with – it’s a common option available to be paired with dim sum (yum!). These floral buds came to me in a gold sample packet from Grand Tea, the chrysanthemum in this floral infusion are quite a bit younger than what I’m used to since they’re only partially opened. I found these chrysanthemum buds to be quite fragrant, it’s quite distinctly the floral aroma of chrysanthemum that also has a honeyed sweetness to it.

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This is a straight infusion, with no additional ingredients. There is quite a bit of health information surrounding Chrysanthemum Tea on the Grand Tea website, surrounding health benefits – help with dizziness, headaches, and digestion; as well as potential side effects – interference with medications and allergies. When in doubt, always have a chat with your primary health care provider or pharmacist before trying new-to-you herbs, there could be an interaction with your medications.

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Preparation

Grand Tea recommends steeping Chrysanthemum Tea in 80-90°C (176-194°F), there was no time included but I opted to steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

The initial steep of Chrysanthemum Tea was a pale yellow that was surprisingly quite fragrant despite the lightness in colour. I found that it smells exactly like the dry floral buds, and might even be a stronger aroma. The buds opened up a little bit, and I found that the infusion is delicious. There’s just a hint of sweetness when I sip it that makes it quite enjoyable. There is a mention of mild bitterness on the Grand Tea website about this tea, but I didn’t find that to be noticeable at all.

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A Second Cup?

I generally don’t resteep herbal infusions because I find that the flavour can be quite lacking compared to the initial steep. For Chrysanthemum Tea, I resteeped the floral buds twice, adding an extra minute per subsequent steep. I found both resteeps to be quite delicious, although a touch weaker than the initial steep. Despite that, I found that this herbal infusion resteeps decently enough that I would recommend doing it at least twice to get more value out of your tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Grand Tea’s Chrysanthemum Tea. This is definitely an aromatic floral infusion that is delicious, has just the right amount of honeyed sweetness naturally occurring as the floral buds get steeped. I found that there was no bitterness at all, which made this floral infusion more enjoyable. Bonus, because it doesn’t actually contain tea leaves, this infusion is naturally caffeine-free and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

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