Dessert by Deb’s Concord Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jelly by Dessert by Deb
Green Tea / Flavoured
$6.75 for 25g

Concord Grape Jelly came to me as part of the bimonthly subscription box from Dessert by Deb.

First Impressions

In a pale pink metallic pouch comes Concord Grape Jelly, a green tea blend from Dessert by Deb. It comes to with a familiar polka dot label in rainbow colours. Concord Grape Jelly is part of the Picnic Sweets & Treats Collection, and having some concord jelly on a picnic seems like a great idea (especially in a sandwich made with some sourdough bread and a nice layer of smooth peanut butter).

Concord Grape Jelly has a sweet aroma to it, there’s something that reminds me of grape medicine as a child. Concord Grape Jelly consists of organic: green tea, natural strawberry flavour, elderberries, currants, raisins, hibiscus, strawberry and papaya pieces, freeze-dried blueberries, and mallow flowers. I mean, just look at this tea – it’s beautiful. Those mallow flowers are so gorgeous.

Preparation

Dessert by Deb recommends steeping Concord Grape Jelly in 200°F (93°C) water for 4 to 6 minutes. I opted to do an initial steep of Concord Grape Jelly for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Concord Grape Jelly steeps to a reddish purple. The aroma is grape-y, fruity (berry, grape), and sweet. The flavour of Concord Grape Jelly reminds me of a mix of grape juice (or a mixed fruit juice), a grape freeze pop, or liquid grape medication (let me tell you that I got sick a lot and needed antibiotics as a kid without directly telling you that I got sick a lot and needed antibiotics as a kid). While it does remind me of grape jelly, the level of sweetness is very jelly-esque, but after having taken a lot of liquid antibiotics as a child, grape flavoured things just doesn’t appeal to me (neither does banana or cherry). But it smells and tastes like grape.

A Second Cup?

I did attempt to resteep Concord Grape Jelly, the flavour of the second steep of the leaves was very similar to the the initial steep, but not as strong as the initial steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Dessert by Deb’s Concord Grape Jelly was just okay. I think the flavour is spot on, the aroma is perfectly reminiscent of concord grape jelly. The problem that I have is my personal preference not to engage in grape flavoured things that remind me of medication (due to a childhood riddled with repeated bouts of pneumonia). That said, I think that Dessert by Deb did a great job with the blend in terms of the aroma and flavour, and if you’re a fan of grape, this will be a blend for you. I would recommend having this green tea blend iced, and also mixed with some sparkling water to give it some pep and make it the perfect summer picnic option.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tea Pets

Tea pets are one of the more whimsical parts of Chinese tea culture.

There’s no real purpose to having a tea pet, besides having a cute figurine to join you in your tea drinking sessions. There are different types of tea pets – some squirt water, some blow bubbles, and some are just there to soak in the tea.

Traditionally, tea pets are made out of unglazed Yixing clay – same as traditional Chinese tea pots.

They can be all sorts of different animals – dragons, pigs, birds, snakes! You might want to get one because it looks cute, or because it’s your Chinese zodiac sign. Perhaps you have a dog or a cat and you came across one that looks just like your (furry) pet. Some many even have beads or be partially glazed – and those glazed parts might even be colour changing after having hot water poured onto them (they’re very fun to watch!).

One of the more popular tea pets is actually the Pee Pee Boy (see photo above). The Pee Pee Boy is a hollow figure, and gets his name from the fact that he “pees”. To fill up the little guy, put him into a bowl of cool water and wait until it fills up. To make him “pee”, pour hot water over his head and the water will shoot/squirt out of the Pee Pee Boy. I actually got my Pee Pee Boy years before I started tea blogging, it was a souvenir from my parents’ travels and got to witness him “pee” across the kitchen.

You’ll see online people talking about “feeding” their tea pets.

You can pour water onto your tea pets (the water used to warm up your tea pot), pour a bit of tea on them during the process of filling up your cup, or pour leftover tea at the end of your tea drinking session. If you have a tea pet that’s made with unglazed clay, you’ll notice that the clay changes colour when wet and over time (from the tea!). The aroma of your tea pet will also change over time as it absorbs the tea.

Then there are the untraditional tea pets.

My little hedgehog friend, who’s been featured in blog & Instagram photos before, is an example of an untraditional tea pet. He’s glazed and not really “meant” to be a tea pet. I think he was actually meant to be a little desk catch-all dish, or even for a small air plant (who knows?). Whatever he was meant for, his purpose now is to hold tea leaves. I don’t “feed” him any tea, mostly because he usually holds dry tea, but he’s still pretty cute and hangs out on my tea table while I prepare tea.

Some people name their tea pets, but it’s not a necessary component to keeping tea pets. The only important thing about having tea pets is to enjoy them and have fun with them!

Do you have any tea pets? What are yours?

Mocca’s Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte by Mocca
Green Tea (Matcha) / Flavoured
$8.99 for 375g (25g x 15 sachets)

First Impressions

Matcha Latte by Mocca was one of those impulse grocery store purchases – one of the best ways to fill up a shopping cart in my opinion (with tea!). The bright packaging caught my eye, so into my shopping cart it hopped. I never expect a lot from an instant tea product, but I’m always on the look out for something that’s tasty, inexpensive, and easy to get a hold of. The ease of preparing matcha on the go (or at work) constantly appeals to me, especially as someone who can’t always go to a kitchen, or the only access to a fridge is communal.

Matcha Latte comes in bright teal and green packaging. It comes with 15 individually packaged portions of instant Matcha Latte powder. The ingredients consist of: creamer, sugar, and matcha powder. For those health conscious, each sachet contains 25g, but also contains 12g of sugar. Of all the important nutrients, each packet also consists of 10% of your daily intake of calcium (so you can feel like you’re doing something right, right?). The Matcha Latte powder itself is primarily light green, minimal sparkle from the sugar, it has a minimal aroma to it.

Preparation

Using the powers of Google Translate, I found out that Mocca recommends mixing 190-210ml of hot water with the powder for a hot matcha latte, or use 100ml of hot water with the powder for an iced matcha latte (plus, adding ice).

I opted to prepare it hot, and used 175°F (80°C) water.

First Taste

Matcha Latte dissolved and mixed up very well, and even without really trying, there was a nice of foam and bubbles that formed across the top. The aroma is very grassy and milky. The flavour of Matcha Latte is better than I had expected! It’s grassy, sweet, milky. It’s not too sweet, considering the amount of sugar in it, and the dairy adds a great level of creaminess to it.

A Second Cup?

As an instant tea product, there’s no second cups.

My Overall Impression

I loved Mocca’s Matcha Latte. At 60¢ a serving, I was impressed with Matcha Latte. From the ease of preparation, the taste, and the fact that the amount of sugar wasn’t overkill. Despite having a sweet tooth, I didn’t find it to be cloyingly sweet. I like how easy it was, as well as that impressive amount of foam and bubbles. I’m definitely looking forward to having this one at work because the flavour is on point and doesn’t taste like a poor quality matcha. The grassy notes lend itself to a nice cup of matcha latte.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.