Strawberry and Kiwi Fruit Infusion by Whittard of Chelsea

Strawberry and Kiwi Fruit Infusion by Whittard of Chelsea is THE summer iced tea drink - especially for those who have to cut back on caffeine.
I brewed this twice, once hot and once cold or iced. Both times the tea was infused twice, and I probably could have gotten another infusion out of the hot tea variety but I was anxious to try this iced so I got to work on a cold brew infusion.
Quite often herbal, fruit tisanes are bitter or tart - it's generally the hibiscus that leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. You can combat that, of course, using sugar or a sweetener, but nowadays so many are trying to drink tea straight. Strawberry and Kiwi Fruit Infusion is a tea you can easily drink without sweetener and it's not bitter in the slightest!
One sip and I'm transported to my childhood home in San Diego, where we grew our own strawberries. I'd sneak out to the garden every afternoon and steal a couple, rejoicing in the sweet fruit warmed by the California sun. Strawberry and Kiwi Fruit Infusion hot reminds me of those stolen afternoons in the heart of summer. The iced variety is out of this world! It's slightly tart but not bitter - like a refreshing glass of iced tea should be.
I did add sweetener (agave nectar) to the first glass of iced tea, but found I didn't need it with the second. It was a pre-emptive addition as typically I like sugar or sweeteners with fruity tisanes. You don't need to add any sugar to this tea, IMO. The fruit is bursting with flavor, ready to please the palate.
I can't wait to enjoy a hot cuppa in the dead of winter to remember summer, and celebrate my memories of California!


New Cupboard Staple - Lotus Green Tea by The Persimmon Tree

Lotus green tea/photo by The Persimmon Tree/used with permission

The Persimmon Tree’s Lotus Green Tea is a new cupboard staple – perfect year round! :)

Lotus Green Tea is a fragrant and surprising bouquet of flavors. The best part? You can infuse multiple times. I brewed one serving for hot tea and was able to reinfuse the leaves three times; for iced tea, I “only” got two infusions, but I steep my iced tea long for extra flavor.

Now the taste is truly unique – it’s floral and vegetal, a nod to its green tea base. There’s a hint of vanilla on the cusp of sip, which rounds out the flavor palate nicely. The vanilla gives it a sweet finish too, especially when iced.

If you’re new to The Persimmon Tree, this tea is great taste of what this CA-based company offers: unique flavors and high quality tea with multiple infusions! And better yet, try them by 7/21/13 and use coupon lotustea15 and you'll score 15% off your purchase!

"Like" their Facebook page for more info, access to sales and news and other coupon codes!


Rose Mojito - White Tea from The Persimmon Tree

I'm not normally a fan of white teas, but one of my 2013 New Year Resolutions was to be more tolerant of white teas (as well as earl greys, but that's a posting for another time).

Once I read the flavors in Rose Mojito (formerly called Amore), I thought I'd give the tea a try. And I'm so glad I did!

Rose Mojito by The Persimmon Tree is light and playful - a blend of refreshing peppermint and calming botanicals. While the ingredients list "rose" as a flavor, I don't necessarily pick out that flavor in each sip. This is a good thing; I'm not a fan of roses, in my tea or otherwise. Rose Mojito just tastes like a mint floral cuppa - a generic floral, which I like.

This used to be called Amore and only recently was changed to Rose Mojito, FYI.

I was able to infuse the leaves twice - and both infusions yielded the same light taste. I know from experience that white teas can be finicky, so I did stick to the 180 degree water temperature, and did brew for three minutes on the first infusion and four minutes on the second.

If you want to give this tea a try, you can save 15% off your purchase with code KeenTeaMojito now through March 1, 2013. Once you give Rose Mojito a try, tell me what you think!

Check out The Persimmon Tree's website for more information and/or stop by their Facebook page.

This was a terrific blend to kick off my adventure into white teas. Are there any others - from any shop - you'd recommend? Comment below or email me!


French Vanilla Bean (Black Tea) by The Persimmon Tree

French Vanilla Bean black tea by The Persimmon Tree/photo by Keen Tea Thyme

The Persimmon Tree French Vanilla Bean Black Tea

With snow falling outside yesterday it was the perfect time to try a piping hot tea from The Persimmon Tree, a Southern California-based tea company. I grew up in San Diego and during the winter I miss the warm weather, beaches and palm trees even more, so trying a tea from the area was a no-brainer.
            I opted for French Vanilla Bean, a black tea. The dry leaves smelled vaguely of vanilla marshmallow – sweet and fluffy. While it brewed, the vanilla aroma deepened to vanilla cookies.
But by the time my tastebuds hit the first sip, I was in for a full-on vanilla bean treat – almost like melted vanilla bean ice-cream in a cup. And since I can’t eat most ice creams this was even more of a treat for me!
            I didn’t add any sugar in the first infusion, but for the second one I decided to try it with clear rock sugar. I didn’t want to lose or mix up the vanilla flavor. In my opinion the rock sugar enhanced the vanilla bean taste, offering a delicate balance to what could have a sweetness overload.
            I “only” got two infusions from the leaves – but I did steep both for at least four minutes each infusion, as I tend to like a bold, brisk cuppa for a black tea.
            Next I brewed up a second round (but a third hot cuppa). Also I should note that the first two infusions were at 212 degrees, as per usual with black teas, but I tried the second round at 195 degrees (the oolong setting on my kettle) and the result was about the same. I skipped the sugar but poured it over ice. Delish! I’m sticking with the hot variety in the winter but in the summer this will be an even cooler, sweeter treat.
            I did a little research on The Persimmon Tree and found out that not only are they from near my hometown (and where my heart resides!) but they are environmentally-friendly. They use a lot of recycled products in their labels and shipping supplies and encourage recycling. This is important to me personally, so I happily support a tea company with similar views as mine! Plus their tea comes in cute little tins you can either refill with tea or recycle in other ways: store change, keep pens and pencils in, use them to store other office supplies in your home office or even your junk drawer.

            Want to try French Vanilla Bean tea? Order before 2/8/13 and score 10% off your purchase with code: KeenTeaThymeFVB.

            And stay tuned to Keen Tea Thyme for more reviews! Don't forget to stop by The Persimmon Tree Facebook page for more information including coupons, news and more.

French Vanilla Bean black tea by The Persimmon Tree dry leaves/photo by Keen Tea Thyme


7 Swans a Swimming

Day Seven of the 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

White Coconut Dulce White Tea by TeBella Tea, in Florida

Rachel used her local tea shop for her day - yay for supporting local businesses! She explained that she picked a white tea because of the white swan feathers, then continued the white theme by selecting coconut as the flavor.

This tea is fabulous. I'm not normally a white tea fan, but this may change my mind. There is a terrific coconut taste without coconut shavings (at least there weren't any in my cuppa). This would be great if you are allergic to coconut but love the flavor. (I am allergic to milk chocolate and ice cream myself, and I like both so I know what I'm missing. A tea with either of those flavors but not the actual ingredient would satisfy my craving, but not cause me pain. Anyway...)

This is one of the best coconut teas I've ever had. It's creamy and sweet - but not too much of either. The paper she included with the ingredients and description smell like the coconut tea - I just sniffed it, my coworkers must think I'm a weirdo.

Delish! Thanks Rachel! :)

3 French Hens


Day Three of 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

LiberTEAS included three teas in a cute purple egg. I tried the first two, but haven't gotten to the third one yet.

1) Cafe Vanilla by Della Terra Teas
The aroma is sweet, like vanilla bean ice cream. It's not an artificial vanilla flavor at all. Della Terra Teas are always so flavorful and this is no exception.
The taste is crisp with a hint of extra sweetness on the edge of the sip. It makes me want to lick my lips! The flavor balances well with the black tea taste. The black tea isn't astringent. It's as if a vanilla candy or chip is melting in my mouth.
I expect nothing less from Della Terra Teas! This has to be one of the best vanilla teas I've ever had.

2) French Canadian Maple Tea from Tealicious Tea Co
The dry leaves have a hint of maple, which I love. (I love maple fudge and maple candies, potentially because I am from upstate New York!) This reminds me vaguely of how Pancake Breakfast's aroma is. Once it's brewed, I lose a lot of its maple-y goodness. Almost as if the maple flavor was rushed or pressed out. It lingers but isn't a solid taste.

3) French Blend (green and black teas) New Mexico Tea Co
Not much to say on this one yet. Dry leaves just smell like tea. Will try soon and update. :)

Loved the card she included - and the purple egg!

6 Geese A Layin'

Part of Day Six of the 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

I mixed these two following the suggestion of the Day 6 teaist tattooed_tea. This was a great idea!

I've only ever tried Adagio's genmaicha tea and didn't really care too much for it. So pairing it with something else was right up my alley. I love anything strawberry so naturally these pairing would be perfect for me.

The Wild Strawberry tisane has a hint of hibiscus (hiss) but the genmaicha cuts it down considerably. Likewise, the tisane masks some of the burned popcorn taste I associate with genmaicha.

This tea smells and tastes like a bowl of Special K strawberry - YUM! :)

She also included Pancake Breakfast and Maple Bacon from 52 Teas, as well as Cranberry Orange Spice. Breakfast of champions!

Look at the cute box she wrapped the teas in. Adorable! She also included a honey drop. I'm saving it for later. :)

5 Golden Rings

Day Five of the 12 Days of Christmas exchange

I think this blend is Glitter & Gold from David's Tea - but I'm not 100%. DauisyChubb selected this one as a tea for Day Five of the 12 Days of Christmas Tea Exchange.

Check out the amazing artwork on the package! She's very talented! :) I actually want to frame it and hang it in my office - I love snowmen. Or snowpeople, to be PC.

On to the tea...
I can't get over how YUMMY this tea smells dry! I can tell this will be an instant fave... or I hope so.

While steeping the aroma is that same spicy and vanilla smell. It reminds me of Christmas in a cup. I love the gorgeous gold balls too.

The taste is a real treat for my tastebuds! Spicy vanilla with a hint of sweetness. Within one sip this has become a fave spicy tea.


4 Colly Birds

Day Four of 12 Teas of Christmas exchange

Thanks to a three-day long migraine I am very behind on the Christmas teas exchange (plus I missed my office’s xmas luncheon, boo). I’m sampling this one before tackling Day 5 and Day 6.

I really enjoy the black tea base on this tea because it doesn’t eclipse the black currant taste. I bet this would be amazing iced. Other than that, I can’t say too much about it. It’s decent, but there isn’t much flavor…so I’m not sure if this would be a purchase of mine. I keep feeling like it needs more oomph, like adding mint or strawberry or something…

I believe BoxerMama chose this tea because colly birds are black, and black birds makes one think of blackberry.

Many of us in the exchange thought it was "calling birds" - I still swear some versions of the song have the singer sing "calling birds" too, so we're not alone!

I'm looking forward to the next tea which is Glitter and 5 Golden Rings! It smells spicy!