I am an avid tea drinker…to the extent that I have an entire closet stuffed with teas and herbal blends. However, despite this precocious tea consumption I actually find relatively few teas that I like.
Over the years I have gravitated to loose leaf teas, and in recent years I have been leaning a lot more towards organic teas. Who knew that tea could contain pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals? Not what I want to be putting in my body. I also am not a fan of artificial flavour, in particular because it leaves a gross aftertaste in my mouth and gives me a bit of a headache.
In general I prefer teas that are simple and natural. I like blacks, greens, whites, and particularly oolongs. I also like natural herbal blends, but I’m not as big into fruity blends (which incidentally most often have artificial flavour).
**- A favourite
*- I drink it
– Wouldn’t buy it again
Distinctly Tea– My favourite tea shop. Lots of great all-natural herbal options.
**Lemon Cream Lapacho– one of my all time favourites. Quite sweet and creamy tasting (although there is nothing cream-related in it–just lapacho bark, calendula petals, lemon peel and natural flavour). Perfect if you’re craving lemon squares or lemon meringue pie.
**Milk Oolong- I love the nuttiness, warmth, and smoothness of oolong.
*Happy Tummy Tea- (Catnip, spearmint, lemongrass, calendula flower, skullcap, rosemary, safe leaf, fennel seed)- Very minty tasting and soothing on the stomach.
**Mulberry Magic — With mulberry leaves, macadamia nuts, and natural flavouring, this tea is a sweet favourite in our house.
**Quangzhou Milk Oolong- I think I just love oolong tea. I particularly love the delightful smoothness and the subtle but round natural milk flavour.
**Vanilla Orchid Oolong- Another delicious oolong, this time flavoured with natural vanilla.
*Love Tea #7- I like this blend of black tea, chocolate, and strawberry, despite the artificial flavouring.
*Read My Lips- I enjoy this black/mint chocolaty tea with a hint of pepper– even though it’s got artificial flavouring again. Sigh.
Organic Saigon Chai- As David’s chais go, I appreciate this one is organic and has a balanced blend that includes my beloved cardamom. However, I find it wimpy, with the actual tea fading into the background and no spice punch- I have to brew it super strong and add milk to even attempt to maintain interest.
Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait– Love the concept of this one, but again it has artificial flavour.
Forever Nuts– This one is definitely nutty. It is bright pink in colour because of beetroot, which is weird to me (must have a nutty flavour in tea?). Not my favourite, but I can see why it’s popular.
The Glow (organic)– I find it too floral because of the rosehips. I feel like I’m drinking potpourri.
Bravissimo (organic)- Again, organic, but has rosehips. Apparently I don’t like rosehips.
Apple Custard- I am not a raisin fan. Also don’t like the artificial vanilla flavouring.
Coco Chai Rooibos– Has a peppery kick, which I like– but I don’t find the spice blend robust enough and there is artificial flavouring.
Creme Caramel Rooibos- A strong caramel taste which has an artificial undertone. Don’t love it.
Earl Grey Rooibos- My complaint with this, as it is with many earl grey teas, is that there is not enough bergamot.
Sugar Plum Forest Rooibos- Yuck. Brew it weak and it tastes like weird fruity water, brew it strong and it tastes like lingering, aspartame-like artificial flavour mixed with licorice-y star anise.
Cherry Blossom White Tea– interesting flavour, but I don’t like the artificial cherry aftertaste.
Tea Leaves (Stratford, Ontario)
**Hot Cinnamon Herbal– This is just basically ground cinnamon bark. Spicy, flavourful, and sweet, I love drinking it after dinner or when I’m craving some sugar and spice.
Earl Grey Honeybush- Not a favourite. I’m not sure I like honeybush and it didn’t have the bergamot punch I was hoping for.
Belgian Chocolate Rooibos- It’s okay. It has cocoa beans and calendula petals. I find the cocoa has a minty flavour for some reason– so it’s good, but it doesn’t taste predominantly “chocolate-y” to me.
Brands in Bags
**Uncle Lee’s Cinnamon Chai– an organic rooibos chai that is deliciously spicy. I always feel healthy and warmed when I drink it. Probably my favourite bagged tea.
*Typhoo– this is my favourite bagged classic British black tea. Nothing particularly flavourful or unique, but perfect for a bit of rain or an emotional state.
Teavana– In general I didn’t like my experience here. I found them pushy and the teas were expensive and I didn’t like them.
Caramel Almond Amaretti– This tea smells like heaven, but be warned– for some reason it contains beetroot- which colours the tea pink. It’s also got a distinct fruitiness. Not really what I want from a “caramel” tea. Plus there’s that pesky artificial flavour.
Peach Tranquility- Peachy and sweet, but again with the artificial flavouring. 😦
**American Classic Tea (Charleston Tea Plantation, South Carolina)- This tea is all-natural (no pesticides) and made in the good ‘ole USA. A nice cup of what you might call “regular” or “orange pekoe” tea– and great for iced tea, a Southern classic!
**Bachelor’s Button Tea (Buchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada)- I had this delightful green/black blend for afternoon tea in a beautiful garden in BC, and drinking it brings me back! I love the delicate taste of the strawberry and bergamot.