How's that for a header, eh?
So y'all can thank Ronni for suggesting this be a regular feature. We'll see how often I actually do it, but the more I thought about it, I thought it could be kinda fun. And my bff/bqf Lori has a food blog and often does recipes for scones and other such tea-related goodies, so we're going to team up! I'll be linking to recipes from her blog, and she made the great idea to also recommend a book--so tea, snackies, and reading. How wonderful!
For this week's post, I've got some more Plum Deluxe goodies for you. If I haven't already convinced you to give them a try, well, we'll see what happens now. And no, really, I'm not on their payroll!
As I mentioned previously, after getting the free samples I went ahead and ordered myself some tea--two flavors, then "Blender's Choice," in which they choose one for me. Additionally, as a thanks for my review on the last tea post, Andy tossed a single-serving sample into my order.
Andy's gift was the Self-Care Blend (Elderberry/Apricot). Since I opened the package of teas immediately upon getting home from my first session with my personal trainer in three weeks (since I'd been sick) and I was...umm...a bit worn out... and since I had homework and a conference call on the agenda for the night, I decided a little Self-Care was in order.
I brewed myself a cuppa and sat curled up in my living room armchair with my laptop to get my schoolwork done. The first sip? Oh my. The perfect amount of fruitiness--which, in my case, is "not hot-Koolaid, please." The website describes the key to this tea as the balance between the tartness of elderberry and the sweetness of apricot, and they sure did get that balance just right. If you've tried fruity teas before and didn't like them due to the hot-Koolaid effect I mentioned in my earlier post, this one should be bang-on what you'll like.
I only got one cup-full in the sample, but this is for sure going on my list of to-buys after I work my way through what I already have.
Next up is the Portland Rose City Chai.
I'm a big fan of Starbucks' Chai Tea Lattes--for a long time, that's been my afternoon decaf choice, as opposed to my morning Peppermint Mocha (high test) choice. However, when I'd tried a plain chai tea in a tea bag from the grocery store (don't recall which brand), I absolutely hated it. So I've assumed the only way I liked chai was with a ton of milk and sugar in it Starbucks-Style. Now that I'm being more careful about eating habits, chai tea lattes don't happen in my world much anymore.
Then my daughter was gifted a chai tea from a local tea place for her birthday, and I took a sip of hers. Delicious. I realized then and there that I didn't dislike all chai tea straight up, just that one I'd had before. So I decided to give Plum Deluxe's chai a shot and boy, am I glad I did. I really enjoy this one. I will say, however, that it's the only tea so far to which I actually add a little fat-free half-and-half: The balance of the chai with the milk is very nice. This chai isn't as hit-your-tongue peppery as Starbucks is, but the flavor of the spices comes through really smoothly. The balance of the spices with the other flavors just make a nice rich, layered flavor. Very tasty.
This next one was the "Blender's Choice"--in other words, I let them just send me whatever they felt like. Let's start by saying the Breakfast in Bed Black Tea is just plain pretty. I almost hated to douse it with hot water, I loved seeing those blue cornflowers so much. Gorgeous. And the smell? Beautiful. The first two parts of taste are sight and smell and this one already has those all wrapped up.
But the actual taste doesn't disappoint after that set-up, either. It's rich and smooth. The hazelnut makes it deep without being overly nutty and sweet. I'm a fan of that little bit of fruitiness from the blackberries (very low-key and not at all sweet), and there's just a touch of vanilla.
Fair warning, though--it doesn't pair well with clementines. Although that probably doesn't come up all that often for most people. (As they say, "ask me how I know.) I'm sure it would be quite tasty with pastries, though. But I won't be testing that any time soon.
The last tea I got this time was another breakfast tea with the not-as-creative name House Blend. The description of this one is that it's in the style of English and Irish Breakfast teas, and I'm a fan of both of those, so I figured I'd give it a shot. As breakfast teas go, this one is absolutely fine. However, I have to say, the Breakfast in Bed black tea may have spoiled me a bit. I would probably have fallen in love with the House Blend had it been my first, so to speak. Still, it's a good breakfast tea--strong but not bitter, smooth, would be good with a splash of cream, and particularly good with a hot biscuit slathered in jam and clotted cream.
Not that hot biscuits, jam, or clotted cream play a big part in my life at this point, either. But a girl can dream. And drool.
That's it for the tea reviews this week--next week I'm going "grocery store" with a couple of my favorites that I pick up at Wegmans.
On to snackies!
My friend Lori got inspired by my reference to Chai tea this week and is offering up this recipe: http://lipsmackinggoodness.blogspot.com/2017/04/its-tea-time-with-pumpkin-chai-scones.html. She does fantastic scones--this is a new recipe so I haven't had the chance to try making them yet but they sound delicious!
And for some fine reading while you're sipping and nibbling?
Why, Marie Bostwick's latest book, of course! I'm in the middle of reading The Promise Girls, her brand-spanking new release (image on left is a link). I won't review the book fully as, obviously, I'm not done reading it yet and I don't want to make any guesses as to where it's going. I can say, however, that Marie's writing style never disappoints. She's got a real gift for characters. I'm enjoying seeing where the story is taking me and getting to know each of the "cast" better with every chapter. There's a bit of a mystery involved (not a who-dunnit but a what's-going-on-here type of mystery), and other little tidbits here and there that keep things moving unpredictably at times, so every time I have to put it down I look forward to the next time I get to pick it up again.
(BTW, Lori has a book review on her post with the scones as well. It's a two-fer!)
(Amazon links in this post help support my podcast and blog. Plum Deluxe links only support Plum Deluxe. Thank you!)