Like many tea lovers, I began my tea journey almost exclusively with tea blends that featured fruits, nuts, herbs, and spices together with an Indian or Sri Lankan black tea. Graced with exotic-sounding names, they opened doors into fanciful worlds of taste. With time, as my appreciation for the subtle nuances of pure, natural teas grew, I discovered how wonderful the grassy and vegetal notes of the classic greens and whites – and even blacks – could be. Today, aside from the occasional Earl Grey, I rarely venture into the tea blends realm.
So it was with some trepidation that I decided to sample three tea blends from Tiesta Tea, a Chicago-based tea company that began thanks to a memorable loose-leaf tea experience at a teahouse in the Czech Republic.
My original plan was to write a post on teas designed to address specific health concerns, but my focus changed when I sipped the first of the samples – Earl Grey De La Crème, also known as Energizer. It was good. This is a chilled-out Earl Grey – full bodied, but as smooth as satin, thanks to the vanilla and blue mallow blossoms. I usually like to add a bit of sugar or agave to my black tea, but this tea is naturally sweet all on its own. It reminds me of another favorite tea blend that I have not purchased in awhile – the American Tea Room’s Tangier Tea, a Ceylon black with saffron and apricot petals.
The second sample was Eternity, which also goes by the name of Gojiberry Superfruit. This green tea blend begins with sencha and adds gojiberries, lemongrass, and a mixture of pomegranate seeds and blueberries. The dominant scent when you take a whiff of the dry tea is that of blueberries. The liquor, however, is clearly that of a sencha, although all the flavors come through. It is doubtful this tea has the power to bestow immortality, but it does make life’s journey all the more enjoyable.
Relaxer – or Nutty Almond Cream – was the third sample. The dry tisane – no true tea, so no caffeine – looks and smells like granola, with apple bits, crushed almonds, cinnamon, and beetroot. Once you have steeped it – six minutes is recommended – you can’t help but notice that it also tastes like granola. Although it does not need a sweetener, after my first few sips, I decided to add a half a teaspoon of honey. Heavenly. Of course, if your reaction is “Granola?! Eew!” then this is obviously not the tisane for you.
Sadly, Tiesta Tea has not yet made it into stores on the coasts – both east and west. But their teas and tisanes are available for ordering online and there are plenty of other delicious-sounding combinations, so check them out!