Bird of Paradise from Alice’s Fine Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Blooming/White

Where to Buy:  Alice’s Fine Teas

Product Description:

This bloom unfolds into beautiful birds perched in a golden nest surround by green. Not only is it visually surprising, but the taste is surprisingly spicy and reminds one of autumn, like pumpkin pie!. One of the favorites at Alice’s Fine Teas, a delicious, warm, soothing tea. Ingredients: Marigold (believed to help circulation and ease stomach ache), Lily (said to enhance energy and to have a cooling effect) and Silver Needle Tea.

Taster’s Review:

I enjoy blooming teas, but I don’t really brew them very often.  I blame the gadgetry – I am a self-professed anti-gadgetite (I just made that up) – and when I brew a blooming tea, I have to watch it brew, right?  I guess I am just going to have to promote my glass teacup to the status of essential tool rather than its current status of “gadget” so that I can enjoy the beautiful art of blooming teas!

I steeped this bulb for four minutes in 165° F water and after the four minutes, the bulb had not completely opened.  Only a hint of the orange-y blossoms that would display was showing at the very top of the bulb.  But this is a good thing!  It means additional infusions… which means MORE tea!  Yay!

This really DOES taste like pumpkin!  There are very gentle spice notes in the background, which contributes to the “pumpkin pie” like taste that is mentioned in the above product description from Alice’s Fine Teas.  I wouldn’t say it tastes just like pumpkin pie – but it does have similar characteristics.  The squash flavor is distinct … and quite yummy.

The tea has a very pleasant sweetness to it (I don’t recommend adding sweetener to this tea, it would overwhelm the delicate flavors!) and a light yet smooth mouthfeel.  Very little (almost no) astringency to this cup.  A very pleasant, mild cup of tea that makes for an excellent topic of conversation as well as a refreshing beverage.

For the second infusion, I steeped for five minutes and achieved another delicious cup of tea.  The bulb had not yet fully opened until I infused for the third time (for six minutes), and the tea was still quite lovely, although the pumpkin flavor had subdued a bit by this time.  There were still faint notes of squash and spice, but mostly what I tasted by this time was the soft, fresh notes of silver needle with a delicious buttery finish.

When the bulb finally did completely open, I enjoyed the sight – it looked like two swans dancing (ever go to Disneyland and watch the swans in the pond outside of Sleeping Beauty’s castle?  Every hour when the sounds of a singing Sleeping Beauty can be heard, the swans dance together).

This was an incredibly fun tea to steep and to drink.  The flavor was delicious and surprising, and the colorful display from the bulb made tea time all the more entertaining.

Don’t Call Me Pumpkin! from WhiteAugust Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  WhiteAugust Tea Company

Product Description:

A yummy blend of South African Rooibos, toasted pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon sprinkled with candy treats. Tea comes in a stylish tin and includes T-sacs, so you can enjoy your Tea on the Go.

Taster’s Review:

This is a whimsical looking tea.  The little pumpkin candies that you can see in the photo above are so tiny (much tinier than the photo might suggest!) and give this yummy pumpkin flavored rooibos a really fun attitude.

Not surprisingly, this tisane tastes very autumnal.  The pumpkin flavor is not as strong as I thought it would be, edged significantly by the flavors of cinnamon and ginger.  These are not spicy-hot tasting spices and they only a gentle warmth to the overall cup.  These spices taste more like accents in pumpkin pie rather than the sometimes super hot or peppery spices they can be.

The toasted pumpkin does not come across as a overwhelming flavor, but it does nicely disguise the rooibos taste – of which I can only taste a slight nutty hint of flavor.  As I continue to make my way down to the bottom of the cup, I find that the pumpkin flavor develops a bit more, but never really becomes extraordinarily strong here.  That being said, I think this cup presents itself as a very well-balanced set of flavors and is lightly sweet, warm, and comforting, and leaves a faint note of spice in the aftertaste.

I enjoyed my cup with a tiny drizzle of agave nectar and I found that this gave a little definition to the spices without making the cup too sweet.  Do taste it before you sweeten it though, because it does have a little bit of sweetness to the cup already (the little candy bits melt in the hot water!)

A lovely cup of pumpkin pie that you can enjoy all year round!

Bird of Paradise Tea from Alice’s Fine Tea

Tea Type: Flowering Tea/Blooming Tea

Where To Buy: Alice’s Fine Tea

Product Description:

This bloom unfolds into beautiful birds perched in a golden nest surround by green. Not only is it visually surprising, but the taste is surprisingly spicy and reminds one of autumn, like pumpkin pie!. One of the favorites at Alice’s Fine Teas, a delicious, warm, soothing tea. Ingredients: Marigold (believed to help circulation and ease stomach ache), Lily (said to enhance energy and to have a cooling effect) and Silver Needle Tea

Tasters Review:

Surprisingly this DOES taste a lot like pumpkin or maybe more of a butternut squash with yummy spice notes underneath!  As it cools at room temperature it does taste more like pumpkin…not really pumpkin pie, but pumpkin.  It’s almost like a flavored silver needle!  It’s very nice – very surprising!  It’s also slightly peppery in the middle of the sip but finishing somewhat soothing and flatter.

The 2nd infusion…is completely different.  It’s floral from start to finish and a little bitter…but floral bitter, not bad bitter.  I would say more marigold, specifically.

I will say this is one of the more perfectly bloomed Flowering Teas I have had…it had no problem blooming whatsoever!  It was very beautiful and it was very aromatic even before infusing.  This is certainly a tea for special occasions and certainly a piece of art!  I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Pumpkin Pie from Suffuse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Suffuse

Product Description:

Unique blend of Red Rooibos & traditional gingerbread.  All natural ginger root coated with butterscotch and spiced with cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg evokes home-baked Festive Enchantment.

Taster’s Review:

Did you leave room for pumpkin pie?  If you’ve stuffed yourself at the holiday feast and you don’t feel like you’ve room for one more bite, perhaps you’ll have enough room for a sip or two of pumpkin pie rooibos!

The fragrance of this tisane is strong – very pumpkin-y!  As my tea cup sits in front of me, the scent of fresh pumpkin pie perfumes the air and brings a smile to my face!

The flavor is also very pumpkin-y.  I don’t know that I’m tasting a lot of “pie” or pastry flavor, perhaps a hint of buttery taste and the natural nutty flavor of the rooibos also lends a bit of the pastry taste to the cup.  But, what it lacks in “pie” it definitely makes up for in pumpkin.  And let’s face it, when we eat pumpkin pie, we want the pumpkin, am I right?  I remember when I was young, I used to eat the pumpkin and leave the pie crust on my plate.

The pumpkin has a pleasant squash taste that’s been seasoned with cinnamon.  It is not an overly seasoned pumpkin, but it has just enough spice in there to make it interesting without detracting from the taste of the pumpkin.

What I really like about this particular tisane is that the pumpkin is so prominent and it is a true pumpkin flavor.  So often with pumpkin flavored teas, I taste the tea, but, I don’t get a very authentic pumpkin flavor.  You won’t hear that complaint from me with this tisane; it’s delicious!

Product Review: Pumpkin Spice Scone Mix from Sticky Fingers Bakeries

Where to Buy:  Sticky Scones Bakeries

Product Description:

Pumpkin pie flavor in just minutes! Rich in premium quality spices and pumpkin flakes. Sure to be a favorite throughout the Holiday Season!

Taster’s Review:

I love scones!  And nothing seems to complete tea time quite like freshly baked scones.   But one thing I don’t really like about scones is what has to go into the baking process – measuring ingredients, kneading the dough… etc.  I want to be able to just add water, stir, drop by the spoonful and bake.

There are a lot of scone mixes out there, and many of them offer you the convenience of the process I just described.  The only problem is that many of them taste like you just added water, stirred, dropped by the spoonful and baked.  In other words, they don’t taste great.

There seems to be just a handful of companies out there that do scone mix right – and Sticky Fingers Bakeries is one of them.  And, they offer so many flavor choices!  I’ve tried several of their flavors, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.  I received this particular package as a gift from a friend – and it was a most welcome gift, indeed.

And the flavor is absolutely DELISH!  These taste a lot like pumpkin pie – in scone form!  I highly recommend eating these with clotted cream – it really elevates the flavor to a whole new level.   Another way to change this one up, should you want to, is to add a handful of chocolate chips.

The texture is so nice with these – they are somewhere between a biscuit and a cake.  Soft,  moist, and absolutely yummy.   And they reheat nicely – just pop them in the microwave for about 10 seconds and you have a nice, warm scone!  YUM!

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