Oteas’s Black Tea with Caramel

Black Tea with Caramel by Oteas
Black Tea / Flavoured
$6.95 for 30g (12 sachets)

Oteas has provided me with Black Tea with Caramel for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Black Tea with Caramel is a little bit different from the first tea that I tried from Oteas (Orange and Ginger). A little bit different is that the box is shrink wrapped, but there was no plastic bag inside of the box. Instead, inside was simply the tea sachets – all 12 of them. The aroma of the tea is primarily that of the caramel, it smells sweet and inviting.

Black Tea with Caramel consists of: black tea and caramel cubes. The tea bags are mentioned as being biodegradable, which I had previously mentioned as a positive aspect in a world of a lot of products that can’t be recycled.

Preparation

Oteas recommends steeping Black Tea with Caramel in 100°C (212°F) water in 3 to 4 minutes. My initial steep was for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Black Tea with Caramel steeps to a bright orange. There’s a strong caramel aroma from this tea, and the caramel cube was quite obvious in the dry leaf. After the steep, I couldn’t find any remnants at all so I’m quite confident that it’s dissolved fully in the hot water. There’s a buttery, sweet flavour to the tea, I found that there’s a nice savoury aspect to it that balances well against the sweet caramel flavours.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Black Tea with Caramel twice, adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The first resteep is less sweet than the initial, but still has those buttery caramel flavours. The second resteep lacks the caramel flavours, so I would suggest one more steep for Black Tea with Caramel.

My Overall Impression

I loved Oteas’s Black Tea with Caramel. I really enjoyed the buttery, caramel flavours in the tea and wish that it resteeped a bit better since it’s quite tasty. It has a nice sweetness to it, and I think could play well with a bit of cream for a nice tea for afternoon tea, but it also doesn’t need any additional sweetener unless you have a very strong sweet tooth.

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Field to Cup’s February Adventurer Box

February Adventurer Box by Field to Cup
$34.97USD for 1 Adventurer Box (per month)
$356.69USD for 12 Months ($29.72/mo)

Field to Cup has provided me with the February Adventurer Box for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I was very happy when Field to Cup reached out to me about trying their monthly subscription boxes. Field to Cup offers one-off or multi-month subscriptions (3, 6, and 12 months). The options are called Adventurer, Discoverer and Explorer. Discoverer and Explorer both have options of black or low-caffeine teas, while Adventurer is geared towards tea drinkers who enjoy straight teas, while also including some seasonal teas specifically chosen for each month. I opted to try the Adventurer box because I greatly enjoy straight teas.

The inside of the cardboard box has a sticker that has some tips for making tea, as well as a handwritten note to me! Included as a card about the Adventurer box (4 teas each month, with 2 being premium/rare teas and seasonal teas included) from Haim and Shirley, who are the co-founders of Field to Cup. Also included is the steeping guide, which includes information for each tea in regards to how to steep each one, and tips on how to gauge water temperature if you don’t have a variable temperature kettle or thermometer. The February Adventurer box includes a bonus fifth tea, which is fitting for the season.

The teas in the February Adventurer box are: Blackened Heart (black tea), Hand-Rolled Delight (white tea), Mexican Hot Chocolate (black tea and rooibos blend), Organic Assam-azing (black tea), and Organic Darj-Oolong (oolong tea). Each tea came in a sealed, resealable foil bag with a clear label on the front that includes details of tasting notes, ingredients, steeping instructions. Also included was a rolled stack of paper steeping pouches in the box.

Blackened Heart is in a compressed, heart-shaped tea and the 10g bag had 3 hearts. The aroma is primarily that of roses. This tea consists of dark tea (fermented black tea), and rose petals. I’m most curious about how this one will look steeped when the heart opens up. Hand-Rolled Delight is a hand-rolled white tea from Africa. I found the leaves to be wiry, and almost feels like it’s been loosely rolled and twisted together. There’s a mild vegetal aroma, and slightly smokey in a way. Mexican Hot Chocolate is described as being a spicy blend, when I opened the bag I smell apples and cinnamon. This black and rooibos blend consists of: organic rooibos, organic black tea, apple, organic cacao beans, organic cardamom, organic cinnamon, organic clove, organic black pepper, organic chili flakes, organic ginger, organic peppermint, chocolate bits, natural cream flavouring and natural vanilla flavouring.

From left to right: Blackened Heart, Hand-Rolled Delight, Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Organic Assam-azing consists of black tea TGFOP1 from India, there’s a very mild aroma to the dry leaf. It smells a little bit malty. Organic Darj-Oolong consists of a partially fermented organic darjeeling from India. I found that the leaves to be a bit wiry, with a light floral aroma.

From left to right: Organic Assam-azing, Organic Darj-Oolong.

Preparation

Blackened Heart is recommended to steep 205°F (96°C) water for 4 minutes. My initial steep of Blackened Heart was in 200°F (93°C) water for 4 minutes.

Hand-Rolled Delight is recommended to steep in 175°F (79°C) water for 2-3 minutes. My initial steep of Hand-Rolled Delight was in 175°F (79°C) water for 2 minutes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate is recommended to steep in 205°F (96°C) water for 4-5 minutes. My initial steep of Mexican Hot Chocolate was in 200°F (93°C) water for 5 minutes.

Organic Assam-azing is recommended to steep in 200°F (93°C) water for 2-2.5 minutes. My initial steep of Organic Assam-azing was in 200°F (93°C) water for 2 minutes.

Organic Darj-Oolong is recommended to steep in 190°F (88°C) water for 2-3 minutes. My initial steep of Organic Darj-Oolong was in 185°F (85°C) water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Blackened Heart steeps to a beautiful light orange. I found there to be an obvious rose aroma to the steeped tea. There’s a nice sweetness to the tea, but still floral and yet savoury all at the same time – I think that has to do with the fermented black tea in the heart. With the natural sweetness from the rose petals, I don’t think that it really needs any sweetener.

From left to right: Blackened Heart, Hand-Rolled Delight, Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Hand-Rolled Delight steeps to a light yellow colour. There are some buttery cream notes, with a light smokiness to it. I found it very pleasant and light on the flavour, which is starkly contrasting compared to the rest of the teas in this box.

Mexican Hot Chocolate steeps to a deep brown, with a very obvious spicy aroma to it. I found that the flavour to be a bit sweet and I can definitely taste the heat of the chili. I don’t really taste any of the chocolate, unfortunately, but I do believe it is there because there’s a slight oil slick on the top from the melted chocolate that’s present in the blend. Fortunately, I don’t taste the rooibos base since I’m not usually a fan of it.

From left to right: Organic Assam-azing, Organic Darj-Oolong.

Organic Assam-azing steeps to a dark golden brown. I found it to have a pleasant caramel flavour, although not as sweet as a true caramel. It also has a strong malty flavour to it, which I find to be quite typical of Assam black tea.

Organic Darj-Oolong steeps to a slightly lighter golden brown, especially when compared to Organic Assam-azing. There are some nice floral notes, which make for a gentle sweetness in the tea. I found it to be very smooth and tasty. The tasting notes mention toasted cumin, but I don’t get that impression from my cup.

A Second Cup?

From left to right: Blackened Heart, Hand-Rolled Delight, Mexican Hot Chocolate.

I resteeped Blackened Heart three times, adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found the flavour to remain fairly consistent throughout, but there was considerably less rose flavours by the third resteep, so I would recommend it for two resteeps.

Hand-Rolled Delight resteeped quite well, I did two additional resteeps with the same leaves and found the flavour to be pleasant. I think a third resteep might be possible, but I found that the flavour in general for this white tea is quite light.

I attempted to resteep Mexican Hot Chocolate once, and found that it didn’t taste as good as the initial steep. The spice level wasn’t as strong so it didn’t remind me as much of chili spices.

From left to right: Organic Assam-azing, Organic Darj-Oolong.

Organic Assam-azing was resteeped twice, I found that each steep was similar to the initial steep – strong and malty. I enjoyed each resteep of this Assam tea.

For Organic Darj-Oolong, I resteeped it twice. The floral notes and gentle sweetness were strongest for the first resteep, and the second resteep tasted fairly similar to the initial steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Field to Cup’s February Adventurer Box. I really enjoyed the variety of teas in this box – it’s quite nice that there’s a blend of straight teas with the seasonal blends. The packaging is very straight-forward and informative, it’s all tied together nicely with the steeping guide and the labels that provide so much information.

Field to Cup suggests that each box results in 4o to 72 cups of tea, depending on how many resteeps and leaves you use – and really makes the box affordable for how much tea you get in it. The February Adventurer box is 90g of tea, but most of the teas do really well with being resteeped, which just adds further value to the tea. My favourites in this box were the Blackened Heart and the Hand-Rolled Delight.

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Whisk Premium Matcha’s Be My Rose

Be My Rose by Whisk Premium Matcha, in collaboration with The Good Chocolatier
Green Tea (Matcha) / Flavoured
$10.00 for 1 bar (42g)

Whisk Premium Matcha has provided me with Be My Rose for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Like a lot of other people in the world, I’m a fan of chocolate. I first tried Whisk Premium Matcha’s Matcha Cremsicle chocolate (plant-based matcha white chocolate) when I bought a bar at the 2018 Vancouver Tea Festival. I was absolutely tickled when they very kindly sent me a bar of Be My Rose, which is a very similar chocolate bar – plant-based matcha white chocolate with dried rose petals embedded into the chocolate.

The bar of chocolate itself came in a plastic sleeve that’s resealable. The chocolate is molded into square segments, with a floral and leaf pattern molded onto the front, while dried rose petals are present on the backside of the chocolate. Be My Rose consists of: Ecuadorian raw cacao butter, coconut cream powder, coconut sugar, organic matcha, rose petals, maple syrup, and vanilla. Each bar contains a 1.5 servings of matcha per bar of chocolate. There’s a strong matcha aroma from the chocolate, with a very light, sweet floral fragrance that comes off from the rose petals.

First Taste

I broke off a few squares of the Be My Rose to try. There’s a very strong matcha flavour in this chocolate. I love white chocolate, and often find it sweet compared to milk or dark chocolate. Be My Rose is surprisingly not that sweet. It has a rich matcha flavour, with a floral flavour through each nibble from the rose petals. The chocolate has a nice creaminess to it – I don’t taste coconut in it, in case anyone doesn’t want to taste coconut in their chocolate. The matcha flavour has nice sweet notes to it.

My Overall Impression

I loved Whisk Premium Matcha’s Be My Rose. I really enjoyed eating the chocolate, found it to be delicious. It’s definitely unlike any other chocolate that I’ve had before – a lot of matcha chocolate is often sweet, and the label specifically mentions that it is free of refined sugar – finding the sweetness from coconut sugar and maple syrup. It’s a fun little treat, although I don’t find myself eating more than 1-2 squares at a time, due to the richness in the chocolate itself – so despite the cost for each bar, it goes a long way!

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