Moroccan Mint Tea

It’s always fun discovering a new tea company, especially when you can clearly see the dedication and care they put into the quality of their teas. Serenitea Apothecary was recently put on my radar and while they have a smaller selection, all of their teas are made with organic, high quality ingredients.

I received a sample of their Moroccan Mint tea to try, I had only had one other Moroccan Mint tea before so I was very excited to test out this one. Moroccan Mint teas are blends typically made with a Chinese green tea, usually gunpowder green, and spearmint or peppermint. A simple blend but such a lovely cup of tea when done well. Serenitea Apothecary’s version uses organic gunpowder green tea and peppermint leaf.

The loose tea itself did not have a lot of scent to it, like you would expect from a mint tea. I hot steeped up a small pot first and was very impressed. The tea was so smooth, gentle and relaxing. The flavors were extremely well balanced where neither the green tea nor the mint took any dominating or sharp characteristics. Simply a lovely and soothing pot of tea in which you could clearly tell the quality of the ingredients and the mastery of the blending came into play to make it wonderful.

This tea gave all the indicators for being a delightful summer iced tea so I brewed some more up to chill next.

I steeped up the tea hot, let it cool, and then chilled it in the fridge. Chilled, the tea was very refreshing and would be perfect for a nice drink on a hot day. I think the peppermint comes out a bit more when chilled which gives an extra icy cold effect.

Preference-wise I do think I enjoy the tea better hot, but when chilled it was also a nice, refreshing, and enjoyable drink. Neither version needed any sweetening, the flavors came out beautifully on their own.

I very much enjoyed getting to try out this tea and I am running out quickly so will probably need to order some more soon.

Thanks for joining me, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Tea Experiments: Cold Chamomile Herbal

For this round of experiments, I tried three different chamomile blend recipes. I love chamomile and often have a hot cup before bed because I find it very calming and relaxing. For this though, I wanted to try it out cold and with some different blends. I did two blends cold steeped and one blend hot steeped and then chilled. The chamomile I am using is from Churchill’s Teas and I highly recommend it since it is full flower and stem and organic.

Trial 1: First I started off with my go-to blend for when I make chamomile hot. This includes:

  • 2 Spoonfuls Chamomile
  • 1 Spoonful Lemon Balm
  • Pinch Peppermint
  • Pinch+ Dried Ginger

I cold steeped this overnight in 12 ounces of water. This blend is amazing hot, warm and soothing. Trying it cold, it turned out nice but led me to wonder if this particular blend is better off hot. It still tasted good, reminiscent of a spring meadow, but the flavors of the peppermint and ginger did not really come through well. Still a nice smooth and calming blend, just better hot in my opinion.

Trial 2: For my second blend, I wanted something floral and refreshing. I used:

  • 2 Spoonfuls Chamomile
  • 1 Spoonful Rose Petals
  • Pinch+ Spearmint

Cold steeped overnight in 12 ounces of water. This one turned out quite well and I drank through it quickly. It was very refreshing with the mint. The only thing I did not like is that I think I used a bit too much mint. Even though it was a very small amount, it came through as a very dominant flavor. I could not really taste the rose but the chamomile was there in the background. So it would be a good blend if you are looking for a spearmint forward drink, and it was enjoyable, just not quite what I was after. I think if I do it again I would us the tiniest amount of mint and more rose.

Trials 2 and 1 after cold steeping overnight

Trial 3: Now my third try was my favorite, it turned out delicious. For this one I used:

  • 2 Spoonfuls Chamomile
  • 2 Pinches Lemongrass
  • 4 Pieces Freeze Dried Peaches (From Rotten Fruit Box, so yummy)
  • Little Bit Of Honey (about half tsp)

This blend I hot steeped first, because I discovered when using the dried peaches their flavor does not come out well cold steeped. It steeped in 10 ounces of water with one broken piece of peach for five minutes. Then I transferred it to a mug with the remaining pieces of peach and the honey and allowed it to cool. Once cooled, I refrigerated it for several hours. Cooling then chilling is my preferred way to make “iced” tea, yes it takes longer but you do not have ice diluting your drink.

Trial 3 Ingredients

This experiment turned out excellent, both the peach and chamomile flavors stood out well. Peach and chamomile seem to be good complementary flavors and make a really enjoyable drink. This would be a great drink for a picnic, bright peach and calming chamomile blending to make something truly lovely. I am interested to try this using fresh or frozen peaches, but I did not have any at the time. I would imagine the flavor would be even better with fresh.

I plan to keep experimenting with chamomile since I do enjoy it so well, and when chilled it makes a lovely afternoon drink for warm days.

Do you like chamomile? What are your favorite ingredients to have blended with it? I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that is fine, we all have different taste preferences and that is how we end up with such a massive amount of tea and herbals out there to choose from.

I will be back soon with more tea blogging and tea experiments. I have some hojicha powder ordered that I am very excited to experiment with.

Thank you for joining me and have a lovely day!

Tea Experiments: Iced Blackberry Maple Tea

I love baking and cooking and typically put my own spin on things when following recipes, but rarely do I come up with something fully on my own. I thought doing some tea recipe experiments for the blog could be fun though. So I wrote down several ideas and decided to start with this, Iced Blackberry Maple Tea.

Some of you know I am not the biggest fan of iced tea so I thought I would try out some iced tea ideas that might help change my mind. This recipe was inspired by the idea of combining maple syrup with ceylon black tea. Which I did try out hot steeped and it was delicious, the maple complements the woody notes in the ceylon well. So how do I make this idea summery, fruity, and even more fun? Well a bag of blackberries in the freezer helped that idea along and this recipe was born.

What I did was make a blackberry infused maple syrup to add into chilled ceylon tea. The syrup I made is enough to make several cups or a whole pitcher, but for this trial I only made one eight ounce cup of tea to test it out.

Tools for syrup:

  • Small Pot
  • Spoon
  • Strainer
  • Funnel
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons

Ingredients for syrup:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Blackberries (or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

Directions:

First put all the ingredients in the pan and heat on medium low. Stir and start breaking down the fruit with your spoon. Heat until it starts to bubble and then let it continue for another few minutes. Keep stirring and you may need to turn down the heat a little if it starts to pop. Remove from heat and let cool slightly (or fully cool if you’d like). Use your strainer and funnel to transfer the liquid to a sealable container (a heat safe one if your syrup is still warm, I used a mason jar. You may not need a funnel depending on the size of the opening of your container). Use your spoon to help the liquid get through the strainer, I used a stirring motion and had to scrape the bottom of the strainer a few times. You will end up with about a half cup of liquid, let this cool and then chill in the fridge.

Syrup while cooking
Finished syrup

After making the syrup I moved on to making the tea. I made an eight ounce cup, but you could make however much you would like. I steeped up about a teaspoon of Kenilworth Ceylon black tea from Harney and Sons for two minutes. Then I let the tea cool and chill overnight. You could just chill a couple hours if you don’t want to wait overnight.

2 TBS per 8 Oz Tea

When you’re ready to mix up your tea, use two tablespoons of syrup per eight ounces of tea (though of course you can always make yours stronger if you’d like). So if you’re doing a pitcher, add up the ounces and calculate the number of tablespoons you will need. For instance, if you make a liter pitcher you would need eight tablespoons of syrup. You can always adjust the amount of syrup to your taste. Add ice if you would like, but remember that will dilute the flavor some.

Some Tips:

  • I tend to brew my black teas lightly which is why I only did a two minute steep, you can do longer and that will give you an even stronger tea taste, but you may want to increase the amount of syrup you use too
  • You do not have to use ceylon tea, that is what happens to be my favorite black tea and I was playing off those flavor notes for the other ingredients
  • Don’t use a bamboo spoon like I did, it will likely stain with the berry juice, even though I did manage to get mine clean again
  • Be careful with the berry syrup, it will easily stain if you slop or spill (luckily my spill hit the red part of the rug and not the tan)
  • Left over syrup is also great on pancakes and waffles!

The finished drink does turn out a nice purple color. The maple flavor did not come out overly strong so you could always add a bit more than I did when you make the syrup. This drink has a nice woody flavor from the tea and a rich fruity burst from the blackberries, with a little bit of interest in the background from the maple.

I hope you enjoyed this experiment and let me know if you plan to try it out for yourself. Do you like the idea of tea experiment recipes? I have several more ideas I plan to try out soon.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you have a delightful day!

The Tea Community (and Monarch Tea Co Review)

Tea brings people together, whether in reality or virtually, tea gives us something in common and something to share. In my experience, the virtual tea community is such a warm and inviting place. The people truly care and want to share their opinions on teas and tea companies while getting to know a little bit about each other.

By the tea community, I mean those out there online talking about tea on Facebook groups, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and more. When you find a tea you love you want to talk about it, share it with others and learn about their opinions on that tea and others. When you want to learn more about different brewing methods, tea history, or tea making, people are out there to help. I feel like I have developed some very nice friendships through chatting with people in comments or private messages and also through watching videos, reading blogs and making my own.

One of the sweetest members of the tea community that I have met is Jann over on Tea With Jann on YouTube and Instagram. She loves tea, cats, and talking about and celebrating happy things. She has a series on her YouTube channel called Tea News With Jann, where she only shares good news about tea and tea related things. This season of the tea news she has also been hosting giveaways from various tea shops.

I happened to be lucky enough to win one of these giveaways and won two free teas of my choice from Monarch Tea Co. I had been super excited and wanting to try out Monarch since seeing Jann’s interview with the owner, Katie, so I was over the moon about winning and getting my chance to try some tea. I chose their Niagara Peach Pie and Silk Road Spice for my two teas. The peach because I thought it would be lovely in the coming warmer months and the spice because it is their newest release and the base is genmaicha, which I adore.

I had to wait a bit anxiously for the mail system to get my teas here from Canada, but finally they arrived and I got to see that beautiful packaging in person.

Niagara/Warm Peach Pie

I went with the peach first and tried it hot steeped. The irresistible smell opening that bag helped me to instantly know I made a good choice. It steeped up a nice golden yellow color and I tried it first without anything added. It was pretty good with subtle notes of flavors but then I added in a little honey to try and get the peach notes to really shine. The green tea base is definitely the dominant flavor, but the peach and floral notes do come out well, making it the best peach flavored tea I’ve had. It was quite enjoyable but I got the impression that this tea may be best iced, so I moved on to experiment with that next.

Iced, the peach tea was quite lovely. I think the green tea was still the dominant flavor, but you do get a nice peach taste in the background. I think it could make a great picnic accompaniment, especially with some fresh peach slices in it, or to help keep it cold and not dilute it, use some frozen peach slices.

Silk Road Spice

The second tea, hands down won the favorite slot. It is their Silk Road Spice and it is phenomenal. The inspiration was a blending of Japanese and Indian tea traditions, taking a genmaicha base and adding chai spices. Now I am really not a fan of chai, but I adore genmaicha and felt I had to try this tea. It is so good and has me rethinking my opinions on chai.

The base genmaicha flavor is very clear and recognizable, then the warmth of the spices blend in and add these lovely pops of uniqueness. This tea is very nice plain, but a tiny bit of honey livens it up a little more and it becomes spectacular. There is a nice comfort feeling to it, making it ideal for a chilly or rainy day. The blending is so on point making sure nothing overpowers. The spice is more warm than sharp and mixes perfectly with the toasty genmai. I have a feeling I will be needing more of this tea, especially when the colder months return.

So far I am very impressed by Monarch Tea Co. I am also signed up for their virtual tea blending class next month and am very much looking forward to that. Another post will be coming late May to tell you all about the class.

Until then, I have several fun ideas brewing, including some tea recipe experiments I will be sharing with you soon. Make sure you are following so you do not miss anything. Thanks for reading!

Adventure Through Tea with Silk Tea Co

With the release of a fourth enticing blend, I was finally pushed over the edge and ready to try Silk Tea Co.

The company had been on my list to try with their lovely sounding flavors and unique, attention grabbing names for a little while. I had been ready to purchase the three sample pack right when a fourth blend was hinted at so I decided to wait and that waiting brought much temptation. They released subtle hints of unique tea pairings and flavors of caramel and figs shown off in gorgeous photos. Each of their blends tells a story and takes you on a little adventure with every cup and the newest blend, Golden Hour, is the most daring and adventure filled yet.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of my now four sample pack, which came quite quickly in a pretty little bundle. The tea samples (each generous twenty-five gram portions) were wrapped in a black and white printed tissue paper and all tied up with a fluffy tulle bow.

The bags of loose leaf are all beautifully designed in rich colors and I was immediately drawn to the green one, The Secret Garden. This is their green tea with strawberry and honeydew and the one I decided to steep up first. On opening the package, my first thought was, ‘wow!’ The smell was incredible, fruity and floral all wrapped up in vanilla. It is a gorgeous blend with a greed background and pretty pops of pink, red, and orange. All of their blends have a luxurious look and powerfully inviting scents.

I steeped up The Secret Garden and it became a pretty buttercup yellow color with a delicious fruity scent. The owner of Silk Tea Co, MJ, in an interview talked of her fascination with scent and her care for this detail is abundantly obvious in each of her blends. I would love to have a perfume or candle version of both The Secret Garden and Desert Rose blends.

On to the taste, I first tried it plain as I typically do when trying new teas. It was a light and delightful green flavor with hints of rose and peppermint. I then added a touch of raw honey to my cup and the flavors bloomed into sweet yummy strawberry, crisp melon, and bright orange with hints of vanilla and floral. This taste rounds off and as you swallow leaves a refreshing hint of peppermint. The blending is perfect and each flavor has a purpose. The package mentions the tea being suited for multiple steeps, so I steeped it a second time and put that away to chill and then tried the third steep hot to see how the flavors lasted. Some of the flavors were still detectable, mostly the rose and peppermint with just a hint of melon.

The next day I tried out the chilled version, it was light and refreshing with flavors of green tea, melon, and peppermint. It was not quite to my taste but I am not a big fan of iced tea. I do think with some honey though, the chilled version would make a nice accompaniment to a picnic on a warm day.

This tea does transport you to a secret garden in your mind. It is very calming, absolutely delicious, and won the spot of my favorite tea in the sample pack.

My second favorite blend was the Desert Rose. This tea is so calming and gentle with just a hint of spice to keep it interesting. Desert Rose is their decaf blend and I usually don’t enjoy decaffeinated teas, but I like this one and that may be due to the decaf tea being green. This tea is like a beautiful rose water with a hint of cardamom that adds a warming spice to the background giving it an exotic feel. With a bit of honey, this tea reaches another level and is such a surprising delight.

Their Morning Sex blend was the one that first caught my eye from its name and packaging. This blend is all about indulgence and desires and not being ashamed about enjoying them. It has a milk oolong base with several floral ingredients giving it a look of celebration confetti. Its flavor is described to be reminiscent of creme brulee.

This tea was nice, however it was not my personal indulgence tea. I did not get a creme brulee flavor, I mostly got a floral orange taste, which was nice but not my tea of desire. What throws this tea off for me is the lavender, I do not like lavender at all. I can drink this tea because the flavors are balanced well, and without the lavender it may actually be perfect for my tastes. As the tea cools it does develop a nice vanilla/creamy taste with a hint of orange which would probably become even more noticeable in further steeps as the milk oolong opens up.

The final tea is the new Golden Hour. This tea had my interest and curiosity from the first few hints. Some slight hesitation crept in at the mention of a lightly smoked tea. On asking about this, I was assured this was a unique and very light smoking method resulting in a sweet taste. So I decided to face my dislike of smoked teas and give it a try, after all the other ingredients sounded too perfect. The loose tea has large chunks of fruit, cardamom, and caramel mixed into the assam and oolong.

It steeps up to a nice deep golden color, perfect for the golden hour time of day it was named for. My first thoughts were that it almost tasted golden, with a bright warmth to the flavor. It was somewhat light in flavor but a nicely blended mix of caramel and fig with the slightest hint of a sweet smoke that reminded me of a burning candle. The package suggested to elevate the flavors by adding honey or cream so I added in a small bit of honey. This seemed to open up the smokey flavor more, but it was still an aspect of the blend that I did enjoy. The caramel and fruit flavors were also brought out more, creating an amazing blend of flavors that do evoke a memory or feeling of that beautiful and slightly mysterious time of day that is golden hour where the sun is going down and the world is lighting up golden.

Silk Tea Co clearly pays an abundance of attention and care to the details of creating and blending of their teas. They are well balanced, high quality, and tell a story. I greatly look forward to what they have in store for the future. I would be curious to see them play around with herbals, specifically chamomile and ginger, or see what they do with a white tea. For now though, my favorites are absolutely The Secret Garden and Desert Rose.

If you are interested you can see my first impression tastings of these teas on my YouTube channel.

Thanks for spending some time with me and learning about Silk Tea Co. You can find their website here, https://thesilktea.co/

Have a lovely day!