We're doing blueberries today because I messed up a couple of weeks ago. Or, rather, I got reading too fast and switched things around in my head. Lori and I were having an email conversation about possible upcoming Tea Tuesday themes, and she made reference to having baked blackberry scones. Well, when I read her email, I read it as "blueberry." So I immediately hopped online to pick up some blueberry teas.
Oops. Well, we did the blackberry post a couple of weeks ago, and Lori was gracious enough to make my blueberry tea splurge worth it by using that as our theme now.
Adagio Teas is the featured tea purveyor of this post only because, when we decided to do blueberry teas (well, decided-in-erratum), I found a bunch I'd never had there. However, the reason I went online in the first place is because I could remember having a wonderful blueberry tea that I'd really enjoyed a couple of years ago...but that story comes later.
First up...Adagio's Green Rooibos Blueberry Tea. It's a green rooibos (pronouned "roy-boss," did you know that? I didn't, until I looked it up!), with actual blueberries and natural blueberry flavoring, raspberry leaves, rose hips, hibiscus leaves, cranberries, and blue cornflowers. It definitely wins in the "nice to look at" category.
This one started out a bit underwhelming for me, but it grew on me as I worked my way through the mug of it I'd brewed one rainy afternoon. It was very mild and, although the blueberry flavor was subtle the way I like my fruit, there also wasn't much of any other flavor going on to begin with. However, once it cooled down a little and I was able to drink it a little more slowly, more flavor started coming through. Still, in my "Tea Tasting Notes," I rated this one a two out of 10 in comparison to other berry teas I've had. However, I could see where it might make a very nice iced tea with some fresh mint thrown in, so I'll definitely be giving that a try later in the season.
Next I went for a decaf black tea, named (prosaically enough) Decaf Blueberry. I'm not entirely sure what tea is pictured on the Adagio site because mine sure didn't look at all like what Adagio made it look like. Mine looked basically like a black tea, which is what it is. It's a decaf Ceylon tea with natural blueberry flavor, raspberry leaves, and blueberries, although as you can tell from my pictures, the blueberries weren't particularly noticeable.
I rated this one a little higher--it got a 5 out of 10 for me, but mostly because being a black tea it started out with a little more natural flavor. It has a wonderful smell to it (should I use the word "fragrance" instead? or "bouquet?") but the fruit flavor wasn't as strong as it was in the green roobios blueberry.
I normally don't go decaf in my coffee or my black teas. If I'm not going to have caffeine, I usually just go straight herbal. But this one wasn't too bad. Still, I'm unlikely to buy it again, though I'll likely finish the package I have.
And the final tea in the Adagio category is their White Blueberry tea. This time Adagio's photo at least bears a passing resemblance to mine. I didn't make many notes to myself while drinking this tea. I was probably sloshing at that point. (I was drinking a lot of blueberry tea this week!) However, I did rate it about a 7 out of 10, so that says something. It's white tea with blueberries and blueberry flavor--pretty straightforward. If I rated it that highly, that means it had enough fruit flavor for me to know I was drinking a blueberry tea but not enough to turn it into Koolaid, and it wasn't sweetened. I do recall that it had a little more of an herbal feel to it than the others. This was clearly one I felt like I'd drink again in the future.
But wait, there's more...
I've had this can in my cupboard for freakin-ever, and wasn't drinking it very fast. So, because it fit my theme, I decided to give it one more shot.
This one is available in our grocery store, where the rest of the specialty teas live. As you know from other posts, I like several Republic of Tea brand teas so, at the time I bought this, I thought their Hisbiscus Blueberry tea might be good.
Unfortunately, it's just way too fruity for me. It's hibiscus and blueberry, obviously, but also has natural blueberry flavor, rosehips and apple, and (unfortunately I apparently didn't notice this at the time) stevia. Although it's not super-sweet, I just don't like that after-taste in my tea.
I only got about halfway through the cup, offered the rest to my daughter, and we both decided we're not fans. This one is finally getting tossed. I don't have room for slackers in my cupboard.
That being said, I'm sure there are some of you out there who may love this tea! It's just personal taste here.
Finally--and no, I didn't turn into a blueberry--the elusive tea I originally went hunting for online. A couple of years ago, I'd done a series of seven speaking engagements over two days throughout the countryside of Vermont and New Hampshire. It's a marathon. We got to one location early one afternoon, and my host/driver happened to know of a wonderful little tea shop in the village so we stopped for a rest. It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and we were able to sit at a table outside and put our feet up for a much needed regrouping. I don't remember what tea I'd actually ordered--probably mint--but I bought myself a canister of tea off of one of their displays. I could remember really enjoying it when I got home, but I couldn't remember anything else about it except it had "wild Maine blueberry" in the title and a white label.
Well, after some googling, I found it! I finally have in my cupboard again Wild Maine Blueberry Tea, from Stonewall Kitchen (blended by Republic of Tea). This is a very tasty black tea with natural blueberry flavor. It's not particularly fancy with bits of dried fruit or any other herbs mixed in there, but it's quite good. I didn't do tasting notes or a rating scale on this like I had the others, but I can tell you I'd probably put it at 8 out of 10 or thereabouts. I really enjoy this one.
Once again, my book review has absolutely nothing to do with blueberries. Sorry about that!
I never saw the movie Seabiscuit, even though I had heard so much talk about how great it was. However, a few months ago I was trolling Goodreads for ideas for new books to add to my "to read" shelf and somehow came across rave reviews of the book. I went on Amazon, and I googled some critical reviews that had come out when it was published, and eventually decided, "Well, I guess it's worth a shot."
I'm so glad I did! Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand, is a great book! Again--never saw the movie, probably never will. I enjoyed letting it all play out in my head while I was reading too much to ruin it with someone else's casting. Hillenbrand does a fantastic job giving Seabiscuit believable personality, but also showing how much of his story was a product of the times. I love really good "slice of life" nonfiction books, and this ranks right up there. It read as smoothly as a fiction novel but never veered into the mistake a lot of nonfiction writers make of taking a little too much poetic license. I never found myself wondering, "Now how in the world could she have known that? She must be getting imaginative here." Really good nonfiction has to walk a very thin tightrope of fact and good plot, of crafting an intriguing narrative out of a lot of dry primary sources. Hillenbrand does just that. This would be a great summer read. (I also have her other extremely well reviewed Unbroken, and also haven't seen that movie, but the subject matter is taking me a little longer to decide I'm ready to dive in...)
And now, while you're drinking your tea and reading Seabiscuit, why don't you check out what Lori has baking in her kitchen?