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Tea: Kusmi Violette

Kusmi tea

Kusmi tea

One of the teas I picked up at the Banff Tea Company ages ago was the Kusmi brand Violette tea.  I had heard and seen a bit of Kusmi tea, but didn’t know much about it until reading a bit about it in the shop.  You might remember I tried some of the Kusmi Almond Green tea last May as well.

Kusmi teas were first established in 1867 in St. Petersburg, and in 1917 the company moved to Paris where it continues using “high-quality teas with natural essences to create subtle aromas and flavours“.  Teas come from India, China, and Ceylon, while the essences come from around the world.

The little mints – I’ll get them next time!

I had seen some violet candies in the candy store only a little while earlier, (but not picked them up, as I was only getting things for someone else.. and no sweets for myself) and so the chance to try violet tea was too enticing to pick up (even if the cost was quite dear! eep!) According to the Kusmi website (the Canadian site is all in French, so I am referring you to the English USA site instead) the tea is from Chinese black tea leaves and violet petals.

Scent

Dry, the tea is distinctly a black tea, with a light floral violet scent.  It doesn’t look particularly pretty – though the tin itself is especially pretty!  Although the Banff Tea Co. website doesn’t list the Violette in-stock, they did have a few tins, though only the large size – they did have some smaller tins of different flavours and variety packs of smaller tins, so it’s worth calling ahead and seeing what they might have in stock before making the trip.  I’m sure I’ve seen the tins on the shelves of other specialty tea/coffee shops as well, so you can likely find it locally as well… (though next time you’re in Banff, you know where to go!)

The scent while steeping is similar to any other black tea, with a slight floral scent – though the violet isn’t especially distinct.

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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David’s Tea Brazillionaire

A black tea featuring lovely big chunks of Brazil nuts, I had high hopes for this loose leaf tea from David’s Tea. It didn’t disappoint!

Brazillionaire black tea blend from David's Tea

Brazillionaire black tea blend from David’s Tea

I mentioned Brazillionaire  in a previous post, and finally I got around to trying it! Loose it’s a bit intriguing, with highly visible raisins, coconut flakes, and then those big chunks of Brazil nuts, it looks more like muffin ingredients than something I’m going to steep up and sip on. The tea base is black tea from Sri Lanka, and then David’s Tea has gone and added those ‘natural and artificial flavourings’ that I’m starting to get a bit tired of…  (So many other premium loose leaf tea companies are able to get amazing flavours without using artificial flavouring, or unnamed flavours… catch up David!)

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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Ceylon Star from David’s Tea

With star anise as a major ingredient, I was really excited to try Ceylon Star from David’s Teas when it first came out… but when I went to check it out in-store, the dry scent just didn’t appeal to me. Then, a while ago I received a sample of the tea, which gave me a great chance to give it a taste – commitment-free.

Ceylon Star black tea from David's Tea

Ceylon Star black tea from David’s Tea

Keep reading for my mini review!

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Salted Caramel

I picked up Salted Caramel from David’s tea primarily for my mum, who loves all things caramel, butterscotch and toffee… me – I prefer the chocolate side of life, but I’ve enjoyed a nice little salted caramel once or twice…(especially when dipped in chocolate!).

Dry, the tea has a distinct smoky scent. I wouldn’t really say that it smells like caramel at all, though there is a slight hint of sweetness.  Steeped up, the smoky scent continues, though with a little sweetener and milk, the sweetness comes out too. The tea had a lot of fannings in it though which was disappointing – the tea leaves themselves in my strainer were very small, accompanied by very finely shredded toasted coconut, and one or two little cubes of toffee.  The limited amount of toffee actually in the tea (and the sugars it brings with it) probably explain why the tea neither smells, nor really tastes, of toffee.

The ingredients for this tea are Black tea, coconut, caramel, English toffee, sea salt, and flavouring. Allergens include dairy, nuts, coconut, and soy.  I don’t really know where my caramel or sea salt went to – I couldn’t see either in the dry tea at all.

Salted Caramel tea from David's Tea

Salted Caramel tea from David’s Tea

So, finally, the taste…

With sweetener and milk, I found the tea a slightly creamier, sweeter tea with a bit of complexity above a regular unflavoured black tea. However the distinction is minimal, there really isn’t a lot of additional flavour in this tea.  The black tea and toasted coconut are balanced with the toffee and caramel pretty well so that none of the flavours really jump out. This is good for some, and disappointing for others who might expect a bolder caramel taste.

Like some of the other teas I’ve reviewed, I’d recommend this more for those who want a slight update from their regular pot of black tea, more for those who like bold, exciting new flavours. (Oh, and my mum didn’t like the smokiness at all….) 😦

Salted Caramel tea from David's Tea

Salted Caramel tea from David’s Tea

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Sweet Orange Spice

I don’t usually buy bagged teas for myself anymore (unless I’ve tried it elsewhere and loved it) but I am always thrilled to try something new that is a gift!
I was given some bagged teas as a gift, by Tea forte, and one of the teas included in the set was a spiced black tea, Sweet Orange Spice.

The most important part is the taste of course – I had the tea as a morning tea with sweetener and skim milk, and it was definitely sweet (although I didn’t use a lot of sweetener) and spicy in the way that chai tea is spicy. I didn’t taste any orange though, which was a bit disappointing, but it still tasted good, and I could smell a tiny bit of citrus fragrance. As far as bagged teas go, it had lots of flavour on the first infusion. (Since I had just dumped out a weak bagged tea at work that didn’t have any flavour at all, this was a very good thing…)

Forte tea

Forte tea

The second infusion had considerably less flavour (which isn’t unusual for a bagged tea) but still had a bit of a sweet taste with a mild spicy tang. I would say that the spice overpowered the spice a little bit – but really the whole thing had very little flavour. If I hadn’t been so lazy (and crazy-busy!) I would have gone and made a fresh cup instead of drinking the weak tea.

Less important than taste, but what makes this a cute tea for a gift or for entertaining is the packaging. It’s not just a plain boxed bagged tea – instead each of the tea bags is individually packaged in a little tall, skinny paper pyramid. Topping off the pyramid is a wired paper ‘tea leaf’ – super cute! Inside the bag is a mesh fabric (rather than paper) tea bag pyramid with LOTS of room for the tea to expand as it steeps. The tea inside is fairly large pieces of tea leaf – rather than just the tiny flecks of tea dust (fannings) often found in bagged tea. The individual tea bags are not labelled though – so if you did have multiple flavours all steeping away in individual cups, it would be tough to know which flavour was which.

Comparing the wet and dry forte tea bags - look at the expansion!

Comparing the wet and dry forte tea bags – look at the expansion!

Tea Forte describes this tea as “an enticing rich black tea with the sweet, exotic taste of mandarin oranges, accented with zingy notes of cinnamon.” http://www.teaforte.com/store/gourmet-tea/black-tea/sweet-orange-spice/ The ingredients are Chinese black tea, Indonesian cinnamon, orange peels (from Spain), and cloves. Really, I’d say that after the flavour of the tea itself, the cloves are the most dominant taste, and the oranges the least.

If you like a mild change from a warm cup of chai tea, this one might make a great alternative – but if you are looking for a juicy, fruity tea – this isn’t for you.

Have you tried any other teas from Tea Forte? Which ones are worth checking out? Let us know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Tea & Beverages

 

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