Tea Together Tuesday: Straight Talk

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Today on Tea Together Tuesday, a delightful community tea prompt hosted by Tea with Jann and Tea is a Wish, the prompt is to share your favorite “straight” tea and how you like to make it. I assume straight tea is simply unblended, unflavored tea, something that I drink quite often, so obviously I cannot choose just one favorite. But I can share my favorite tea of the moment (I have, unfortunately, run out of the Baozhong that so captivated me a few weeks ago).

I received this Colombian White Tea from Chado Tea Room as PR a little while ago. I actually used their Egyptian chamomile in my Hercule Poirot literary tea session, and chose the Colombian white as my second sample because it was just so intriguing. Who knew they grew and processed white tea in Colombia? Well, I shared my thoughts a little while ago, but one thing I hadn’t tried was cold-brewing it. Yes, it is still nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit here most afternoons, so cold tea is the way to go.

And oh my goodness! This tea is delightful cold-brewed. It has that soft tannin coupled with a sugarcane-juice sweetness that I associate with Taiwanese black teas, without the hay-like quality I get in the flavor of some leaf-heavy white teas. But the cold-brewed version had a peach note to it that made it just taste like summer. It almost tasted like peach sweet tea, but without anything added. I had grand designs to make some sort of tea cocktail or mocktail with it, but I drank the entire litre of tea before adding anything to it, so this is certainly the straightest of straight teas. Nothing added because nothing is needed.

I’ve definitely found myself gravitating towards white teas these days. I think if I had to associate specific teas with specific seasons, I would put green teas with spring, white teas with summer, roasted oolongs and hojicha with autumn, and black teas with winter, but the unique flavor of this tea makes it one I could see myself drinking all year round. But brewed cold, it is just the essence of summer.

What’s your favorite tea? Does it change by the season?

NB: Tea was provided by Chado Tea Room in exchange for sharing my tasting notes, which I shared previously. If you are interested in collaborating, please see my collaboration and contact information.

Adventures in Portable Tea with Tea Drops

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Recently, Tea Drops* offered to send me some of their flavors after I was accepted into their affiliate program, so I’ve been trying their Classic Tea Drops Assortment* over the last couple of weeks. As I mentioned in my post on Pique Tea’s offerings, I’m a fan of finding ways to take tea with me on the go that is less complicated even than bringing a high-quality tea bag. Add to that recent concerns with microplastics in silky tea bags, and I’m always in the market for a way to take tea along with me that doesn’t immediately reveal me as a high-maintenance tea snob.

Tea Drops are a different direction of portable tea because they focus on flavors. Tea Drops are sweetened because the form is a compressed tea nugget, almost like a tea-flavored sugar cube, rather than a packet of powder. It’s worth noting that if you have to avoid all sugar, they do have some unsweetened types, but I went for their classic flavors: Rose Earl Grey*, Sweet Peppermint*, Citrus Ginger*, and Matcha Green Tea*. They come in a wooden gift box with two of each flavor. But the sweetened original Tea Drops have between 1-2 teaspoons of sugar each, so it’s not a huge amount of sugar. Just enough to give a pleasantly sweet cup of tea.

Now, I don’t drink a lot of sweetened tea, so these fit into a specific part of my life: namely lattes and after-dinner drinks. In the mornings, I will often have a lightly-sweetened tea latte instead of a solid breakfast. Sadly, the Rose Earl Grey Tea Drop didn’t have quite the right balance of sweetness, rose, and Earl Grey flavor for me. I had hoped that it would be a quick and easy way to recreate my favorite Rose Earl Grey latte from the local coffee shop. Plus, the tea is actually finely powdered tea leaves, not dehydrated brewed tea like the Pique Tea crystals. So there was a fair amount of sediment in the cup.

But the Matcha Green Tea Drop was made from a good blend of sugar and matcha powder. It wasn’t the best quality matcha powder, but it was certainly comparable to what you’d get at a Starbucks. In fact, a Matcha Tea Drop mixed into a cup of hot milk with my electric frother is probably the easiest dupe of a Starbucks green tea latte (I get mine “unsweetened” — that is, without the additional syrup on top of the sugar in their green tea powder). And the matcha mixes into the latte with little to no sediment.

The two caffeine-free flavors I tried were good for the other time I drink tea with sugar: when I want something sweet after dinner, but don’t want to eat a full dessert. Since Elliot started on solids, I’ve been watching how often I eat sweets, and we’ve largely stopped eating dessert most nights of the week. But once in a while I want a little something sweet, and while I love a hot chocolate, I don’t always want the dairy right before bed. So I’ve started having one of the caffeine-free Tea Drops as an after-dinner treat. It’s the perfect level of sweetness for me. The Citrus Ginger is a little heavier on the citrus and a little lighter on the ginger than I prefer (although I do drink straight sliced ginger in hot water, so I like it spicy). The Sweet Peppermint one is my favorite. It’s the perfect mix of peppermint tea and sweetness. These also have a sediment problem, but it’s fine enough not to be unpleasant, and it doesn’t detract from the experience.

Tea Drops also makes some other flavors that look interesting, such as their Cardamom Spice and their Dessert Collection, so perhaps I will keep exploring. All in all, I enjoyed this foray into sweetened, portable tea. If you like your tea a little sweet and want something that you could toss in your purse and take with you for when you have hot water or milk, these are definitely worth a look.

NB: These were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest thoughts. Links may be affiliate links, which are marked with an asterisk. If you’re interested in my other affiliate links, you can find them here. If you’re interested in contacting me for a collaboration, please read this page.