Zevia’s Earl Grey Blood Orange

Earl Grey Blood Orange by Zevia
Black Tea / Flavoured
$1.99USD for 355ml (12 fl oz, 1 can)

First Impressions

I came across a selection of Zevia Organic Tea drinks at a local grocery store and had to give them a try – the fact that they were on sale didn’t hurt either! Earl Grey Blood Orange comes in tall and skinny can, with a matte feel to it. The can mentions that it contains no sugar and has zero calories, but it’s also sweetened (more on that later). There’s a few certifications indicated on the can, for those who care, as using non GMO ingredients, USDA organic, and fair trade tea.  There’s even a mention that this is a vegan product which… when you think of it – tea should be naturally vegan by default.

Earl Grey Blood Orange consists of organic brewed black tea, organic natural flavours, citric acid, and organic stevia leaf extract. This prepared tea also has 45mg of caffeine per can. For comparison, an 8oz (tall) coffee from Starbucks contains 180mg caffeine. The can opens with a pop tab and the drink itself is a bright orange colour (although darker in a deeper cup). The aroma is primarily that of citrus.

First Taste

Earl Grey Blood Orange is a clear orange (although looking brown in the photo below due to the depth of the glass). The aroma is citrus – nothing really jumps out and said bergamot to me though. The flavour is a black tea plus citrus. The lack of the specific bergamot notes doesn’t scream Earl Grey to me, unfortunately. The tea is sweet, thanks to the stevia. I find a slight astringent at the tail end of each sip, with a bit of mouth puckering happening because of the citric acid.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Zevia’s Earl Grey Blood Orange was just okay. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more complexity with the citrus notes to differentiate between the blood orange and bergamot that’s found in Earl Grey. While the drink itself was tasty, I found it to be lacking in something in the flavour profile that made me think yes, this is Earl Grey and yes, there is blood orange in here too. The drink itself is refreshing, but doesn’t make me think of Earl Grey and blood orange, it reminds me of an iced black tea with citrus notes.

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Tastea Treats’s Maple Black Tea

Maple 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

Maple Black Tea came in a shiny black sealed (and resealable!) pouch. The label on the front provided me with details of the tea blend. The tea leaves themselves are clearly black tea with bright yellow flower petals. There’s a sweet maple aroma to it, with a mingling of floral notes. The sweetness to it and notable maple notes makes Maple Black Tea really inviting to this Canadian tea lover.

This black tea blend consists of: black tea, calendula and sunflower petals, natural flavours (organic compliant), and real maple syrup. I think it’s important to note that there’s a huge difference between ‘syrup’ (e.g. “pancake syrup”) and real maple syrup (and even ‘imitation’ maple syrup). Just in terms of the complexity of flavours and the richness in maple flavour of the real liquid gold.

Preparation

Tastea Treats recommends steeping Maple Black Tea in freshly boiled water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 7 minutes. I opted to fall into the middle at 5 minutes for my initial steep.

First Taste

Maple Black Tea steeps to a clear orange colour. I did note that some very tiny fragments made their way through my stainless steep infuser (for those who really do care about not ingesting tea leaves – I don’t know why – a filter bag would help you out with that). The texture of the tea is thick – it just has an obvious thicken mouthfeel to it, despite being quite smooth. There’s a nice sweetness to it – the maple flavour is pronounced, but it’s not as sweet as I was expecting. There’s a pleasant flavour to the black tea base that has mild astringency that reminds me of a breakfast tea blend – but not so much that I find it off-putting in the slightest.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Maple Black Tea, but found that the maple flavours were mostly gone by the second steep, but the black tea base is still pretty pleasant. I’d recommend resteeping if you enjoy a mostly straight black tea.

My Overall Impression

I liked Tastea Treats’s Maple Black Tea. I enjoyed the maple flavours, but was surprised at how it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting. For those who are as much of a sweet tooth as I am, I would recommend sweetening with some (real) maple syrup, to amplify the maple flavour. I think this is definitely a nice dessert tea, and could pair well with afternoon tea or with a maple glaze donut.

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Adagio Teas’s Brigadoon Breakfast

Brigadoon Breakfast by Adagio Teas
Black Tea & White Tea / Flavoured
$15.00USD for 4oz

Adagio Teas has provided me with Brigadoon Breakfast for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Brigadoon Breakfast from Adagio Teas is a tea that is sold once every 4 years – only on February 29th. I’m grateful to Adagio Teas for offering me the opportunity to try out their tea ahead of time so I was able to try and write a review ahead of the 29th. So Brigadoon Breakfast comes in a beautiful metal tin. I love the concept of a limited edition tea, but it’s mostly time limited since it’s only sold on one day out out of four years.

The tin itself is beautiful, the tea is loose inside. If you do get this, be sure to check out the artwork and the story of Brigadoon is printed on the inside of the lid as well. The tea has a lovely aroma – I mostly smell the black the tea base and hints of floral notes and toasted notes. Adagio describes the ingredient choices as being both for the blend flavours itself and also so that the colours mimick of the Scottish flag. Brigadoon Breakfast consists of: Assam Melody (black tea from Meleng Tea Estate in Assam, India), Keemun Concerto (Chinese black tea from Anhui Province), silver needle, and blue cornflowers.

Preparation

Adagio Teas recommends steeping Brigadoon Breakfast in 100°C/212°F water for 3 to 5 minutes. I opted to do my initial steep of Brigadoon Breakfast for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Brigadoon Breakfast steeps to a beautiful golden orange colour. There’s a very pleasant malty flavour in the steeped tea, just a hint of floral notes from the cornflower petals. I found there’s a mild astringency in this black tea blend, which lends itself to a bit of a mouth pucker effect. Brigadoon Breakfast has a mild sweetness, but it’s not over the top. I find it to be a nice cup of tea, very much a breakfast tea without being familiar to other breakfast blends that I’ve tried (think English or Irish).

Brigadoon Breakfast is definitely a tea that I can see being doctored up in the morning though. Add a bit of sweetener or evaporated milk (or cream, if that’s your thing). It would also be refreshing iced with a slice of a lemon floating on top, mostly because I think the slight astringency would play off the sour notes of lemon quite well.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Brigadoon Breakfast twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavour remained fairly close to the initial steep, it was just a little bit weaker compared to the initial steep – as one might expect. I would recommend doing at least one resteep of the leaves, and then go for a second if you’re feeling a bit keen.

My Overall Impression

I loved Adagio Teas’s Brigadoon Breakfast. I love the special packaging for the limited edition tea, I love the concept and the exclusiveness of the blend of Brigadoon Breakfast being available only on February 29th. The black tea blend itself is pleasant – it has a great flavour with a twist on the idea of a breakfast tea blend, which I do appreciate. The addition of the silver needle really lends itself well to having a bit of a fresh, floral flavour profile that mixes with the malty black tea base. Lastly, I have to give Adagio Teas some props for not charging an arm and a leg for their Leap Day tea because Brigadoon Breakfast is set at an affordable price for most tea lovers.

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