Category Archives: black

Drink Me: Tea Runners, Ajiri Tea, Kenyan Black

I’ve been falling down on the tea reviews, but my collection of tea just keeps growing!  One of the selections from my Tea Runners club from a few months back is Kenyan Black Tea from Ajiri Teas.

Kenyan Black Tea is black tea grown in Kenya.

Kenyan Black Tea is available for $10.00 for 3.5oz/100g of loose leaf tea or for $9.00 for a box of 20 teabags. All profits from sales of Ajiri Tea are donated to the Ajiri Foundation, which pays school fees for orphans in western Kenya.

When I got this tea I wasn’t sure whether I would like it. Primarily, I was surprised that it was almost the consistency of coffee grounds.  I used a paper filter to brew up a cup and I was pleasantly surprised that it was delicious. It was a good strong black tea without a bitter finish.  I added a bit of sugar to mine, and I suspect this one would be excellent with a bit of milk or cream.  This was a really great find for Tea Runners and I suspect I’ll be trying more of Ajiri’s teas in the future.

Drink Me: Tea Embassy, Secret Garden

Another tea I picked up in my last Tea Embassy order was their Secret Garden blend.

From the website, Secret Garden contains Pai Mu Tan, Darjeeling and Chinese green teas, sencha, dragonwell, gunpowder, jasmine jade pearls, candied mango bits, candied pineapple bits, orange peels, strawberry bits, red currants, sour cherry bits and apricot bits.

Secret Garden is available at $6.50 per ounce in 1oz, 2oz, 4oz, 8oz and 1lb packages.

When I first opened the package, I got the overwhelming tropical scent of the mango and pineapple. As it brewed I also detected the cherry and strawberry scents.   The tea itself was light and fruity.  The blend didn’t taste strongly of any of the actual teas: I didn’t get a black tea feel from it, and the green tea was very light and not grassy.  Overall, it was a really nice light fruity blend. I think it would be fantastic iced and I really enjoyed it.

Drink Me: Tea Embassy, Snow Flake

When I placed by last order with Tea Embassy, they slipped in a sample of their Snow Flake tea.

From the website, Snow Flake contains black tea, almonds and coconut rasps.

It is available in a variety of sizes: 1oz for $3.25, 2oz for $6.50, 4oz for $13.00, 8oz for $26.00 and 1lb for $52.00.

I was interested in trying this blend because there is another Snowflake tea that I’m quite fond of and I wanted to see how this one compared.  This one smelled quite good – I got a lot of coconut and almond aroma right away.  Once brewed, the tea was quite smooth with a lot of coconut flavor, but I didn’t get as much of almond flavor as I wanted. The tea was still quite good, and would be a great dessert tea.

Drink Me: Tea Runners, English Breakfast

This month I received my third subscription box from Tea Runners.  So far I have been really impressed by the offerings and this month is no exception.

This month’s selections include: Fellini’s Folly (rooibos), English Breakfast, Kenyan Black and Moonlight Jasmine.

Today I’m review the English Breakfast tea from Rishi Tea in Milwaukee, WI.  This black tea is sourced from the mountains in Thailand.

English Breakfast is available in a variety of sizes: a “teaser” sample for $2.00, 4oz for $13.00 and a full pound for $45.00.

I really liked this blend. It was a good strong black tea with a full bodied flavor, but it didn’t end up at all bitter.  It was an excellent way to start my day and I’d definitely try it again.  Stay tuned – next week I’ll review the Moonlight Jasmine.

Drink Me: Tea Runners, Black Masala from Sahpat Teas

This week I was delighted to receive my second shipment from Tea Runners (I blogged about my first shipment here.)  This month featured four wonderful selections. Today I’m reviewing the Black Masala from Sahpat Teas included in the shipment.

From the package, this is another award-winning black tea with a “spicy south Asian kick to it,” as well as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black pepper.

I love Masala and was so excited to receive this one. When I opened the package I got the best spicy aroma and I couldn’t wait to brew it up.  This one was super smooth, with a full bodied flavor with lots of spice. I had mine with just a touch of honey, but I’m sure it would be delicious with milk as well. Usually I share my samples with my friends, but I am tempted to keep this one all to myself!

Drink Me: Tea Runners

Late last year I heard about a new tea club that would be starting in 2017, Tea Runners.  Tea Runners is the brain child of Jewel Staite and Charlie Ritchie. Each month Tea Runners sends out a box of 4 loose leaf teas along with tasting and brewing instructions.

I was lucky enough to get in for the March box and was delighted when it arrived.  The packaging was really nice; it was evident a lot of thought and care went into the presentation.

The teas included in March’s box include: Makalu Mint Green Tea Blend, CTC Black, Annapurna Oolong Tea and Peach Ginger Detox Tea.

I love that the labels are chock full of information including ingredients, brewing and tasting instructions and where the tea came from so that I could find it again in the future.

This week I had a chance to try both the CTC Black and the Peach Detox Tea.

The CTC Black was excellent. It was strong flavored, but extremely smooth. It was a great black tea for a morning cup, and I also enjoyed it in the afternoon with just a touch of sugar.

The Peach Ginger Detox Tea smelled amazing when I opened it – just like ripe juicy peaches.  It ended up being a really light tasting white tea with a hint of peach. I got almost no ginger in the flavor. I bet this one would be fabulous iced on a hot day, maybe even with a slice of peach?

If you’re interested in giving Tea Runners a try (and I suggest you do!) head on over to the website to sign up to be notified when subscriptions are open and boxes are available.  Do keep an eye on your mailbox as they sell out quickly.  There were 300 boxes available in March and they were gone within a few hours!  Monthly memberships are $25 per box, or if you want to commit to 3 or 6-month subscriptions they’re available for slightly less.

Drink Me: Simpson & Vail, Ceylon Orange Pekoe

Often I get asked why I don’t review more unflavored teas.  The simple answer is that I’m always interested in the flavored teas, but I will try and make more of an effort to review unflavored teas in the future.  To that end, in my order from Simpson & Vail, I selected their Ceylon Orange Pekoe.

From the website Ceylon Orange Pekoe contains “medium sized black-brownish leaves… [that] produce a deep amber cup with a brisk, well-rounded, flowery taste.”  Ceylon Orange Pekoe is a blend of black teas from several growing areas in Sri Lanka, which was formerly known as Ceylon.

Ceylon Orange Pekoe is available in a variety of sizes: 1oz for $2.00, 4oz for $6.65, 8oz for $13.30 and 1lb for $26.60.

This tea was a wonderful strong black tea, perfect for breakfast.  It was full bodied, but mellow and not too bitter. I enjoyed mine with a touch of sugar.  I also think those who enjoy milk in their tea would really like it in this one.  I do feel like this blend would be a good staple for any tea chest.

Drink Me: Simpson & Vail, Root Beer Black Tea

Recently I placed my first order with Simpson & Vail, a tea company located in Connecticut.  They had some interesting selections that I wanted to try. One of those was their Root Beer Black Tea.

From the website, Root Beer Black Tea contains black tea, sarsaparilla and root beer flavor.

Root Beer Black Tea is available in a variety of sizes including 2oz for $3.75, 4oz for $6.40, 8oz for $12.10 and 1lb for $24.20.

Before I even opened the package I could smell the root beer scent.  I couldn’t wait to brew this one up.  After it brewed, the root beer flavor was definitely still there, but there was also a nice black tea underneath and I didn’t find it overwhelmed by the root beer. I just really enjoyed this one, but then again I love root beer!

Drink Me: Tea Time Scottsdale, Passion Berry

Another tea my friend Liz brought me from Tea Time Scottsdale was Passion Berry.

From the package, Passion Berry is a black tea.

I don’t know precisely what is in the Passion Berry tea, but when I opened the package all I got was delicious tropical aromas.  I sort of assume what I was smelling was passionfruit flavor, and there were obviously petals that smelled of apricot. Actually, when I opened the package it reminded me of fruit roll ups from my childhood.  But I mean that in the best way possible!  Once brewed it smelled a bit less fruity, and I definitely got a hint of the black tea.  The taste was sweet, but very tropical. I think this would make a great summer iced tea, although it was a delicious mid-afternoon treat!

Drink Me: Tea Time Scottsdale, Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Last week I got to meet up with my friend Liz and she brought me some delicious teas to try from her local tea store, Tea Time Scottsdale. I have tasted teas from them in the past, and they’re delicious, so I was looking forward to trying these.

The first blend I tried was Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake.  From the package, it includes black tea, organic cinnamon chips, apple pieces and orange blossoms.

It appears that the online store website isn’t up right now, but I bet you could call and place a phone order if you wanted to try this one.

When I opened the package all I could smell was the lovely cinnamon smell. This tea was strong enough that once brewed, it filled my house with a delicious aroma. I could definitely taste the apples and cinnamon and it was both sweet and strong.  It was a delicious cup on a cold day. I would highly recommend!