The First Sip of Tea’s Crème de la Earl

Crème de la Earl by The First Sip of Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.99USD for 1.3oz (37g, 16 tea sachets)

The First Sip of Tea has provided me with Crème de la Earl for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Crème de la Earl came to me from The First Sip of Tea in a gorgeous matte cardstock box – it feels lovely and some of the prettiest artwork I’ve seen on tea packaging in a long, long time. The box itself is recyclable, according to the print on the bottom, and contains a silver foil pouch inside. The pouch itself is sealed, not resealable – so keep that in mind if you’re not the type to binge drink a tea repeatedly over a short period of time. I don’t know many people who don’t have resealable zip bags on hand or  mason jars (just keep in a dark location!), so it’s not too much of a bother.

The Crème de la Earl tea comes in individual pyramid tea sachets with a string. The packaging states that the sachets are made with biodegradable material. Fun fact, the packaging also states that The First Sip of Tea is a women owned company as well. The Crème de la Earl has a lovely Earl Grey aroma to it – I can smell the bright citrus notes of the bergamot and the vanilla. It’s quite pleasant and inviting. Crème de la Earl consists of organic: black tea, bergamot, vanilla, cornflower petals, and natural flavours.

Preparation

The First Sip of Tea recommends steeping Crème de la Earl in boiled water (100°C/212°F) water for 3 to 4 minutes. I opted to do an initial steep of 4 minutes.

First Taste

Crème de la Earl steeps to a lovely dark orange colour. The aroma is primarily bergamot with those vibrant citrus notes, and the vanilla is in the background but still noticeable. I find that it’s quite inviting, especially with the strong bergamot notes. There’s a nice level of creaminess with the vanilla notes that balances really well against the strong malty and full-bodied flavour from the black tea base that really make it a comforting cup of tea. I did find that it wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked. For Earl Grey blends, I tend to add a bit of sweetener and evaporated milk (which I did do with Crème de la Earl and found that it worked very well!).

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Crème de la Earl and found that the bergamot and vanilla flavours just weren’t as strong as I would have liked. If you’re a fan of a nice strong bergamot in your Earl Grey-inspired blends, I would stick to the initial steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved The First Sip of Tea’s Crème de la Earl. I love Earl Grey as much as the next girl, so having a blend that really brings forward a good amount of bergamot and vanilla flavour is important. I found it tasted lovely on its own, but even better with the addition of a sweetener and evaporated milk (so I think it’ll take quite nicely to being made into a London Fog). Having the tea portioned into tea sachets already makes it a great candidate for a tea to take when you’re out and about, which is always a nice feature for work and travel.

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Herbal Teas: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Herbal teas (tisanes – if we want to be technical) have been beloved and steeped for a long, long time. From the calming chamomile before bedtime to ginger root to soothe an upset stomach, there are many fantastic and wonderful plants that can be steeped and enjoyed. Steeping and drinking an herbal tisane isn’t without its worries – especially if you are pregnant, take any medications, or have any health issues.

While many herbs are safe – if you can properly identify the plant – there are some ones that should be avoided, under certain conditions. A lot of people will argue that herbs are natural and therefore safe – but the plague are natural too, but nobody is lining up to lick a Petri dish colonized with it. There’s a bit of good with the bad, after all!

There’s no way that I can go through each and every single herbal ingredient there is – there’s just too many! So here are some of the highlights of ingredients that you may find in some of your favourite herbal tisanes:

Ginger root is one of those herbal ingredients that I love. It has a great warming sensation when you consume it (in either tisane or food), with some great spicy notes. Ginger root traditionally helps a lot with digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also interact with anticoagulants, some antibiotics, and cardiac medications.

The most popular one to avoid is St. John’s wort. While it’s considered a medicinal herb that may have some anti-depressant properties, St. John’s wort is also highly interactive with many medications that include, but not limited to, cancer medications, contraceptives, antivirals, and anticoagulants. There’s a very long list of medications that it can interact with, so really it’s just best to avoid St. John’s wort completely if you take any sort of medication.

Another digestion aid, hawthorn, is popular in traditional Chinese medicine and indigenous medicine (although, they do use different species of hawthorn). Hawthorn is actually an ingredient in a popular Chinese snack (haw flakes), but hawthorn consumption has been known to interact with digoxin (a cardiac medication), and can also cause hypotension (low blood pressure) and cardiac arrhythmia (where your heart is either beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly). It’s an ingredient I’d definitely have a chat with your health care professionals about, especially if you have any heart or blood pressure issues.

Valerian root is used as a sleeping aide – it is frequently an ingredient in sleepy time teas. But valerian should be avoided if you have any liver issues, or with alcohol and some prescription medications (best check with your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist!).

For those who love licorice root, you know that it’s found in a variety of candies – and can be delicious, I personally don’t think that licorice root tastes like the candy at all. Licorice is one to avoid in pregnancy, and it can actually cause hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as hypokalemia (low potassium) and edema (water retention). Which, if you’ve ever been pregnant, you already know you’re going to have some water retention, so why would you want to exacerbate it?

When in doubt about an herbal ingredient in your tisanes, I would recommend following up with your physician or pharmacist – especially if you are pregnant, taking any medications (prescription or otherwise), taking supplements, or have any health concerns.

Tastea Treats’s Chocolate Mint Black Tea

Chocolate Mint Black Tea by Tastea Treats
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.00 for 100g

I took part in a Secret Santa tea exchange on Instagram in December 2019. I received this tea as part of the gift from my Secret Santa, a review was not requested.

First Impressions

Chocolate Mint Black Tea comes in a sealed, resealable shiny black pouch. There’s a lovely colourful label on the front that tells me information about the tea (name, description, ingredients, and preparation tips). The tea itself has a really lovely smell – mint and chocolate and it reminds me a lot of candy (which is always a plus!). It’s a surprise to me that there isn’t any actual chocolate pieces in this blend since it smells so much like chocolate

The ingredients in Chocolate Mint Black Tea include: black tea, blackberry leaves, peppermint leave, and natural flavours. I don’t really smell blackberry, but I think that’s because the peppermint is such a strong ingredient in terms of aroma. Either way, the idea of a chocolate mint aroma without actual chocolate is interesting and entices me to try it out.

Preparation

Tastea Treats recommends steeping Chocolate Mint Black Tea in “freshly boiled water” (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 7 minutes. I opted for an initial steep of 5 minutes.

First Taste

Chocolate Mint Black Tea steeps to a golden orange colour. There’s a very lovely mint aroma to the steeped tea. The flavour of the tea is nice – there’s sweetness, minty flavour, and also chocolate notes without being overwhelmingly chocolate. I think it’s pleasant that chocolate isn’t an actual ingredient because chocolate pieces often leads to oils floating on top and more clean up is involved. That said, the mint is definitely stronger in flavour than the chocolate, which I think is fine. I would say that you probably wouldn’t need any sweetener since there’s a good amount of natural sweetness in the tea (but I would recommend an unflavoured sweetener if you opt to add some, so you don’t distract from the chocolate minty goodness).

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Chocolate Mint Black Tea. Unsurprisingly, the flavours weren’t quite there with the second steep –  I found that the mint was considerably less compared to the initial steep and the chocolate flavour was quite weak. The black tea base does come out in the second steep though, it reminds me a bit like a breakfast blend with some malty notes. So if you’re drinking this for the chocolate mint flavours, stick to the initial steep but if you’re also a fan of black teas then a second steep would do you some good.

My Overall Impression

I loved Tastea Treats’s Chocolate Mint Black Tea. I really enjoyed the aromas and the flavours from the initial steep. What really impressed me was the fact that chocolate isn’t an actual ingredient in the blend, which meant not having to wait for chocolate to melt and finding the oil slick floating on top of my tea. It makes for a very pleasant and smooth dessert tea. If you wanted to really push it over the top, I’d pair with some creamer or evaporated milk to add an extra layer of decadence and make it more dessert like.

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