Dessert by Deb’s Maple Butter Shortbread

Maple Butter Shortbread by Dessert by Deb
Black Tea & Rooibos / Flavoured
$6.00 for 25g

Maple Butter Shortbread came as part of my November/December subscription box from Dessert by Deb.

First Impressions

In that familiar pale pink sealed, resealable pouch comes Maple Butter Shortbread. This is a blend from Dessert by Deb, another cookie-inspired blend that does contain rooibos. Now, I’ll preface the rest of the review with the fact that rooibos is not my favourite thing. I don’t go out of my way to seek out rooibos blends and I will not drink straight rooibos because I find it medicinal in flavour and aroma and I just don’t like it it (but if you love rooibos – that just means that there’s more available for you! Everyone wins!). The aroma of the blend is a nice blend of maple and vanilla, which reminds me of a baked good, but I do smell the rooibos blend. It does have that familiar medicinal quality. I don’t smell the black tea base, but that’s not too surprising given some of the other ingredients in the blend that can be more heavy.

Maple Butter Shortbread consists of all organic: black tea, maple syrup, Canadian maple, rooibos, vanilla, apple, palm sugar, and calendula petals. The ingredients are really pretty, and honestly it does photograph well. I quite appreciate the care in the blend. Vanilla isn’t an inexpensive ingredient to work with, and I always appreciate seeing it in a tea blend because it’s just one of those flavours/ingredients where the real deal is a lot better than artificial flavouring (yes, vanilla extract snob over here).

Preparation

Dessert by Deb recommends steeping Maple Butter Shortbread in 212°F (100°C) water for 4 to 6 minutes. I opted to follow the steeping recommendations and do an initial steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Maple Butter Shortbread steeps to a deep reddish orange (please excuse the bits of tea leaves, I was a bit haphazard when scooping the tea leaves into my infuser). It is very rooibos heavy in aroma, and I can smell the vanilla and maple – which definitely ‘screams’ this is a baked good to me. But the rooibos… It reminds me of medicine, earthy notes, slight sweetness… But mostly a medicinal quality to me. The black tea base lingers a bit in the background, but it isn’t as forward as I would have liked. The vanilla and maple are nice though, and this blend definitely has a nice amount of sweetness – also a nod to the palm sugar that’s present. It does remind me a lot of dessert, which is probably a good thing given that it’s called Maple Butter Shortbread.

A Second Cup?

I attempted a second steep of Maple Butter Shortbread, but found that the flavouring was mostly rooibos with hints of vanilla and maple. For me, personally, I wouldn’t have a second steep. If you’re a fan of rooibos, I would recommend a second steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Dessert by Deb’s Maple Butter Shortbread was just okay. I’m 100% confident that if I was any sort of rooibos fan/lover, I would have ranked this blend a lot higher. I’m quite open about not being the biggest fan of rooibos, and I only seem to appreciate it in blends that I can’t actually smell or taste the rooibos (which isn’t really appreciating it, is it?). So if you’re a fan of rooibos, I think you’ll like this one because it does remind me a lot of a dessert with the sweetness, the maple, and vanilla flavours. If you’re not a fan of rooibos, you might want to steer clear from this one since the rooibos is quite forward. Not for me, but I think it’d be one I would offer to someone who’s visiting and a fan of rooibos and wanting a dessert-style tea blend for sure.

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TeaSource’s Ceylon Burning Sun

Ceylon Burning Sun by TeaSource
Black Tea / Straight
$11.00USD for 4oz

I received Ceylon Burning Sun as part of my swag bag from the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival.

First Impressions

Ceylon Burning Sun comes in a shiny black sealed (and resealable!) packet from TeaSource, by way of my swag bag for the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival. The packaging is nice for the size because all the tea information is on the front, and the back is clear so you can easily see all of the tea leaves. Ceylon, for those unaware, was the name used for the former British Colony prior to gaining independence – and is now known as Sri Lanka. You’ll still find some teas being referred to being Ceylon if they’re from Sri Lanka just due to historical naming – but that’s where it’s from (Sri Lanka).

Ceylon Burning Sun consists of just black tea, with no flavourings. The tea itself is small, broken pieces, mostly dark brown in colour with some flecks of light brown throughout. It has a strong aroma to it, that reminds me a lot of a breakfast blend, with hints of stone fruit (mostly reminding me of dried apricots).

Preparation

TeaSource recommends steeping Ceylon Burning Sun in 212°F (100°C) water for 3 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions and did my initial steep for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Ceylon Burning Sun steeps to a really pretty orange colour. It has a nice aroma to it that continues to remind me of dried apricots, but also has a bit of a malty aroma to it as well, which makes me think of a breakfast blend. The flavour is malty, with a hint of astringency and just a mild sweetness that lingers at the tail end of each sip. I find it to be quite full-bodied in terms of flavour to the point that it packs quite the punch. I did end up tempering it down a bit with the addition of a little bit of sweetener and evaporated milk, which did help it along and make it more palatable for myself. It definitely makes for a pleasant cup of tea, once it’s not as strong.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Ceylon Burning Sun twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep, and found that it did really well with being resteeped. The flavour stayed fairly consistent throughout and was just a little bit weaker in flavour as I resteeped it in comparison to the initial steep. I would recommend resteeping Ceylon Burning Sun if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck from the leaves.

My Overall Impression

I liked TeaSource’s Ceylon Burning Sun. I found it to have a great amount of flavour, although I did prefer it with a bit of sweetener and evaporated milk. There’s just a robustness to it that reminds me a lot of a breakfast blend, and I think this would be a great coffee alternative for anyone looking to decrease their coffee consumption, as it might be close to a black coffee. It resteeps decently well for a tea that consists of small leaf pieces, and I find it to take to being tweaked well, so would be a great candidate for a tea latte.

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Dessert by Deb’s Sugar Plum Berry Bars

Sugar Plum Berry Bars by Dessert by Deb
Black Tea / Flavoured
$6.00 for 25g

Sugar Plum Berry Bars came as part of my November/December subscription box from Dessert by Deb.

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed about Sugar Plum Berry Bars (besides the name designed to trip me up) was the pale pink pouch. Very lovely and just has a nice aesthetic behind it (I love the colour pink). Sugar Plum Berry Bars comes in a sealed, resealable pouch, with a colourful label on the front of it with the ingredients and steeping instructions printed on it. The idea of berry bars makes me think of like apple crumble tarts or square, just with berries instead of apples (and cinnamon!). So I’ve got it in my head what I’m expecting this to smell and taste like.

Sugar Plum Berry Bars consists of organic: black tea, elderberries, currants, raisins, hibiscus, Canadian maple, raspberry and blueberry pieces, cranberries, brown sugar, and pink cornflowers. The aroma is very strongly berries, and reminds me a lot of a mixed field berry jam (which is delicious, by the way). And I can also make out the brown sugar and maple, which really lends itself to reminding me of a baked good. The one thing that would really make it stand out as a baked good/dessert would be the addition of vanilla (which I also love).

Preparation

Dessert by Deb recommends steeping Sugar Plum Berry Bars in 212°F (100°C) for 4 to 6 minutes. I opted to follow the steeping instructions and do an initial steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Sugar Plum Berry Bars steeps to a golden orange that has a pink hue around the edges of my cup – which is so difficult to photograph but I wish I had been able to do so because it was just so pretty. The flavour of this continues to remind me of mixed berries – it has a moderate amount of sweetness to it, thanks to the brown sugar, fruity ingredients, and maple. I get a lot of molasses sweetness, which I think is thanks to the brown sugar, and I find that it’s just very pleasant. It’s fruity, and I get a bit of astringency at the tail end of each sip with an almost malty flavour that’s playing second fiddle to all the fruity flavours from the black tea base. I’m pleasantly surprised that I can taste it, albeit being overwhelmed by all the fruity flavours. I do like the blend of berry flavours though, because it just has a nice balance of fruity goodness to it.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Sugar Plum Berry Bars and I was disappointed in it – but not surprised – because the berry flavours were lacking. With almost all ingredients that aren’t tea, the flavours are just harder to come by when it’s not the initial steep. I would recommend Sugar Plum Berry Bars for just the initial steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Dessert by Deb’s Sugar Plum Berry Bars. It just does a beautiful job of invoking the idea of a berry crumble dessert and I think it tastes pretty good! I like the amount of sweetness that the tea has, and think that if you were going to add anything to it some brown sugar or a splash of vanilla would be just the ticket to really make it the perfect dessert. I think it’s a fun black tea blend, and I really liked the fact that I could taste the black tea base! This could be nice as a tea latte, but I had a lovely time sipping it as a straight cup of tea.

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