Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of Atticus' The Grey Ghost Black Tea


Looking for some tea, coffee, or used books in Park City, Utah? Look no father than Atticus, a lovely spot along Lower Main Street. Our tea today comes from their shop and is an Earl Grey variant - yum! Atticus has added some vanilla and black currant to the standard Bergamot-enhanced black tea for a blend inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird.


We brewed a mug of this blend with twelve ounces of just-boiled water, a teaspoon and a half of tea, and four minutes. The hot water soaking into the leaves released delicious smells - vanilla and the citrus-y Bergamot combining in a sweet, tangy aroma that wafted pleasantly from the cup. Really, it was toned down quite a bit from the very, very intense smell of the lemon-y Bergamot on the dry leaves.


The flavors that wash over the tongue with each sip are smooth and very citrus-y. The vanilla provides a sweetness that is more background than anything else, a nice touch that probably increases the sweetness. The black currant puts some bite into the finish. While the fruit is not super noticeable, it definitely adds another dimension to the Earl Grey!


On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 5. I really enjoyed the additions that Atticus made to the base Earl Grey. However, this tea is rather special and can only be purchased from the Atticus Coffee, Books, & Teahouse in Park City, Utah. They have over seventy other loose leaf teas to try, too. For more information, visit the link below.




Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Atticus' The Grey Ghost is only available from their store in Park City, Utah. Visit their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of DavidsTea's Licorice Twist Herbal Blend

While I may be in the minority, I rather enjoy black licorice candy. So, when I saw an herbal blend with inspirations of black licorice, I knew I had to try it. However, Licorice Twist from DavidsTea has a lot more than just anise and licorice root, combining such herbs and fruit as nana mint, fennel, cocoa bits, pineapple, ginger, peppermint, and more!


I really enjoy when herbal blends can be steeped for a long time, bringing out a lot of flavors, without growing bitter. Licorice Twist is no exception, and I used the upper end of the recommended steep time (four to seven minutes), steeping my tea for the full seven minutes (maybe a bit more). I steeped two teaspoons of the mix in twelve ounces of just-boiled water. The aromas coming from the dry leaves are an incredible mixture of sweet and spicy with a really intense smell. Steeping the mixture tones down the intense aromas a bit. Some of the sweetness has diminished, as well as some of the spiciness.


My first sip reveals that the sweetness was only hiding. The taste is a complex blend, light on flavor but with definitive sweet notes and a spicy bite in the aftertaste. I would not describe the overall taste as "black licorice," rather I would say that the black licorice flavors are enhanced by a number of other herbs and spices. Even served hot, this tisane refreshes me like a cool drink of water. Mint teas sometimes seem to me to be heavy, but the mint in this blend adds to an already uplifting flavor.


On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 5. Earlier today, I drank some that had been chilled, and it was quite tasty. Over the past few days, I have been really enjoying every cup of this that I drink. Unfortunately, I picked up this sample some time back, and it is no longer available from the DavidsTea website.





Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
DavidsTea's Licorice Twist is no longer available.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of DavidsTea's Coffee Cake Black Tea

Today, I am going to do something rather unkind: I am going to review a tea, tell you how delicious it is, tantalize you with the description, tease you with how much I enjoyed it...and then give you some bad news. But, then I am going to give you some great news! So, let me tell you about this tea!

DavidsTea introduced their Coffee Cake black tea as a part of their winter seasonal collection several years ago. I believe it might have been a part of the winter 2013 or 2014 assortment of teas. Now, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to try it until the following winter, when it showed up - not as a part of any of their seasonal collection boxes - in their individual, one-ounce grab-bags. (If you have been to a DavidsTea location and seen the assortment of one-ounce bags, where you can buy a certain number for a set price, that was where I found it. Those bags often come from parted-out seasonal collection boxes from past seasons.) To me, the tea sounded tasty, and at that time I had more of an interest in sweet, flavored blends than I probably do now. I remember returning home, brewing some of this Coffee Cake black tea, and being amazed at the flavor. It was absolutely delicious! I found this black tea blend to be so tasty that I went back to DavidsTea and bought every last one of the one-ounce bags of Coffee Cake that that they had available. The sales clerks even looked in the back storage room to see if they had more that they could sell me. I will come back to the story at the end, but I want to share my thoughts on the tea itself and what I found to be so delicious.


Truly, I have done Coffee Cake a disservice by not reviewing it sooner than now! Of all the one-ounce bags I purchased, the tea I just brewed is from my just-opened, second-to-last bag. Over the past couple of years, I have drank through the other five to ten bags. It was great that they were in individually-sealed one-ounce bags, as it kept the tea very fresh.

Even though my taste in flavored black teas has diminished over the years, I still really enjoy this tea. Simply reading the description from the package is enough to make my mouth water: "This sweet, fragrant black tea blend has all the aroma of a fresh baked coffee cake..." And that description is absolutely right. Along with the coffee cake comes the addition of pineapple and cherries, mixed into the black tea. Smelling an open bag of this tea hits the nose with a sweet, bready, fruity blend of aromas. The pineapple and cherry aromas are surprisingly not very tart, nor does the whole blend smell overly-sweet or cloying.


Having brewed two teaspoons of tea in twelve ounces of just-boiled water for five minutes, I breathe the aroma of the fresh cup, while waiting for it to cool. Here, the bready and cherry aromas are more prominent; they smell warm (and not just because it is a hot tea). The aroma's softness gives the impression that the flavor is going to be just as smooth. I find the sweetness to be a bit comforting. When finally cooled enough to drink, I take a sip.


The flavors do not actually flood over me. I almost wish that they would, but that is the magic of this tea. Instead, just as the aromas suggested, the tea slides smoothly over the tongue. And the smoothness makes me want to close my eyes, smile, and sigh with happiness. (In fact, I just did.) Yes, this is delicious. The sweetness does not overpower the flavor. Hints of cherry are prominent with the coffee cake flavors on the beginning of the sip, transitioning to more-rounded body where sweet and fruit and bread combine. From a five-minute steep, the finish has just the slightest touch of sharpness from the tea, but it is very, very slight.  Coffee Cake leaves an aftertaste of sweetness, mild fruit (more the pineapple), and some of the cake aspect.


On my personal enjoyment scale, I would absolutely give this tea a 5. If you have the chance, I highly recommend trying it. Earlier I mentioned how the aromas were warm not only due to it being a hot tea; I had also tried cold-brewing it, and my experience was much the same and equally delicious.

To continue with my story, I bought all the Coffee Cake that the store had remaining. Then I asked when they would get more. Here is the bad news: This tea is no longer available from DavidsTea. (Hint, hint, DavidsTea, please bring this back!) In fact, when I bought it originally, it was leftover stock from the previous year and already unavailable. Remember how I said I just opened my second-to-last bag? I want you to have the chance to try this tea! So...the good news is that my last bag of Coffee Cake could be yours! The first person to message me through the "Questions or Comments?" link (or click here to message me) will receive this last bag.
Edit: I will update this post, when the tea is gone!

Thank you all for reading. I am looking forward to sharing this tea with someone, soon!



Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
DavidsTea's Coffee Cake is no longer available.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stained Fingers on Thursday - A Review of Diamine Shimmertastic Magical Forest Ink





This scan was done on an HP Deskjet F4280 at 600dpi.
Note: Because these scans are done with a light emitting printer, actual colors will, more likely than not, be slightly darker than they may appear, here. The colors shown, here, are probably a bit more reminiscent of what the ink would be like under a bright light or if it were held up and viewed with a light behind it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of Teas Etc's Orange Vanilla White Chocolate Black Tea

After last week's review of Adagio Teas' Tiger Eye, which tasted like dessert in a cup, I found this week's tea in the spice area at a Whole Foods Market. Giving it a smell, I knew I had to review it. This week we are tasting Teas Etc's Orange Vanilla White Chocolate black tea. Sounds like more dessert, right? Time to get steeping!


While I steeped a teaspoon and a half of this tea in twelve ounces of just-boiled water for three minutes, I inspected the dry leave themselves. Small-cut black tea leaves seem to be mixed with what look like pieces of orange peel and white chocolate. The aroma is definitely orange and vanilla, and it reminds me of an Orange Creamsicle. Despite a heavy sweetness, the tea smells smooth and not at all sharp or cloying.


When the three minutes of steeping finishes, the tea looks cloudy with oils floating on top, likely resulting from the oils in the orange peel and the pieces of white chocolate. (I have had other teas with chocolate in them steep cloudy cups like this.) The steeped cup releases aromas much like the dry leaves - orange and vanilla - but now the black tea has taken a stand behind these sweet smells and makes itself known.


My first sip tastes like such a mixture of flavors, suggesting a good blend. In fact, I find it hard to distinguish the individual parts from the whole of the orange-vanilla-white chocolate concoction. A minuscule astringent note finds its way into the background of the flavor, but the black tea can also be tasted beyond that note. The orange, especially pleasant, lingers on the tongue for a long time after the tea has been swallowed. The overall flavor of the tea is sweet but not cloying, heavy but not thick. Rather delectable, I think!


Currently, the listings for Orange Vanilla White Chocolate are out of stock on the Teas Etc website and on Amazon. However, Teas Etc told me that this should be back in stock, soon! Look for it via the link to their website, below. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 4.



Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Teas Etc's Orange Vanilla White Chocolate black tea is available from their website, here. I found this tea at a Whole Foods Market in the spice area.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stained Fingers on Thursday - A Review of Diamine Shimmertastic Sparkling Shadows Ink




This scan was done on an HP Deskjet F4280 at 600dpi.
Note: Because these scans are done with a light emitting printer, actual colors will, more likely than not, be slightly darker than they may appear, here. The colors shown, here, are probably a bit more reminiscent of what the ink would be like under a bright light or if it were held up and viewed with a light behind it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of Adagio Teas' Tiger Eye Black Tea

Adagio immediately has my respect with this tea. Never before have I seen gemstones used in the naming of a tea - much less then used in relating the qualities of said gemstone to the tea itself! Adagio Teas' Tiger Eye black tea has notes of caramel and chocolate they say are reminiscent of the "undulating, contrasting bands of color and luster" in the Tiger Eye gem. Time to "polish" off a cup of this tea!

The aromas that waft from an open bag of this tea seem like a dessert in and of themselves! With caramel flavor, cocoa nibs, chocolate flavor, and vanilla flavor all accenting black tea, it immediately reminds me of toppings for ice cream, drizzled over tea. The caramel and vanilla are especially prominent scents, while the chocolate aroma blends really well with the black tea and provides a nice background (to the dry leaf).


Steeping a teaspoon and a half of tea in twelve ounces of just-boiled water for three minutes, the resulting brew is a clear, clean-looking dark brown. The richness of the chocolate makes itself more prominent in the brewed tea aroma.


The first sip tastes like liquid dessert being poured over my tongue. I appreciate that it is not an immediate hit of sweetness but rather a definite surge of black tea, edged and enhanced with sweet flavors. This tea is definitely different than most of the plain black teas I have been drinking recently, and this makes the strong chocolate notes more noticeable. I find them to be the most prominent, with caramel coming in the mid-tones, and vanilla finishing and lingering in the aftertaste (along with some caramel).


While I would love to recommend this as a dessert alternative, I would imagine that - for most people - drinking a cup of black tea after dinner might mess with their sleep patterns. So by all means, have this liquid dessert to start your morning! Or after lunch! Or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up! The flavors are well-blended, and - despite how many sweet flavors are encompassed in Tiger Eye - I was still able to taste the black tea quite well. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 3.



Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Adagio Teas' Tiger Eye is available from their website, here.
This tea was provided for my unbiased review by Adagio Teas.
You can read more about my Personal Enjoyment Scale, here.
Text is copyright 2016, Built from Ink and Tea.