Black Cat Bytes

Tea reviews for the common cat!


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Majani Tea’s Tamu Organic Oolong Tea

Hi there fellow teacats! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your summer has been going well as of yet! It’s been so flippin’ hot outside here in Michigan! I’ll be headed to Texas in a few days (for the first time) and I’m a bit.. anxious about the weather, to say the least. Hopefully I won’t step off the plane and instantly burst into flames. ๐Ÿ˜›

10687158_723611994352654_5094452976209300319_nToday I’m brewing up some of Majani Teas’ Tamu Oolong Tea, a blend grown and produced in Kenya (like all of Majani’s teas! ). To be honest, the first thing that drew me to these teas was their incredibly beautiful packaging. Who doesn’t love cute, colorful little birdies gracing their kitchen countertop? Each bird featured on Majani’s labels is actually native to Kenya, and you can find some great information on each species by checking out their website here! The little guy featured on the front of the Tamu Oolong is an African Pygmy Kingfisher, and according to the site, it “is found in woodland, savannah, and coastal forest. Unlike some of its relatives, this kingfisher takes mainly insects and, thus, is not bound to water.” Neat!IMG_2060Nifty! Now that we’ve enjoyed some bite-sized ornithology, it’s time to move on to the tea! ๐Ÿ™‚ The leaves smell sugary sweet, with noticeable notes of earth and honey. For me, the scent conjures up images of a sunset on the Kenyan savannah- all warm and golden. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am a bit disappointed by how broken the leaves are- this tea looks like it would be just as at home in a tea sachet as it would a loose-leaf tin, but it’s important not to judge tea strictly by its appearance. Time to taste!

Shop Link: Tamu Oolong Tea

Ingredients: Fair Trade Certifiedโ„ข Oolong Tea

Brewing Guidelines: 185 F for 1 minute, 1.5 tsp per 200 mL

IMG_2061 Look at that beautiful red amber hue! Reminds me of a red delicious apple, making me almost wish it was autumn. There will be plenty of time for cold weather and apple picking soon enough. ๐Ÿ˜› The drink tastes a bit malty at the start, like an assam black tea, but then transitions to this incredibly sweet honey brown sugar finish that tastes EXACTLY like the black milk bubble tea I make at home. Due to this, I am 100% addicted to drinking this tea and find myself reaching for a cup of it constantly! Instant bubble tea? Pshhh yes please! I haven’t actually used it to make bubble tea yet, but I can only imagine that when I do, the heavens will open and awesome trumpet music will pour forth from the clouds and it will rains kittens and puppies. It’s going to be THAT awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a straight oolong tea with a taste profile as unique as this! I only wish that Majani offered a more “full leaf” version of the blend, but if changing the production of the tea would diminish the awesome brown sugar flavor in any way, I’ll happily stick to the broken leaf version. Absolutely delicious!!

Shop Link: Tamu Oolong Tea

Tea provided for review courtesy of Majani Teas. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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M&K’s Tea Co. Kuromaicha

Hello fellow tea friends! Feels good to be back to the blog! I’ve just come back from an epic road trip to Washington D.C!

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Pardon our legislative dust!

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Lookin’ at stuff in the Library of Congress! YAY! Cats!

Meant to have this blog entry done before I left, but alas, the planets did not align in such a fashion. HENCE! I am here to deliver the wordy tea goods now! ๐Ÿ˜›

A few weeks ago I had a really weird and urgent craving for some genmaicha. I scoured the internets looking for a good, cheap blend, but then remembered I had a tiny packet of M&K’s uber exotic Kuromaicha sitting on my tea shelf. Not completely what I had in mind, but this could prove to be even better! As far as I know, this tea is completely unique to M&K’s Tea- it is a custom blend of kyobancha and hojicha green teas combined with pan-toasted black rice. Neat!

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Shop Link: M&K’s Kuromaicha

Ingredients: Organic roasted Japanese green tea, organic toasted black rice.

I love the appearance of this tea- looks like what you might find by taking a sample of soil from a mature forests’ floor. It smells like it a bit, too! The characteristic toasted nutty scent you might expect from a genmaicha is easy to detect, but this kuromaicha also has a really distinctive earthy, wet leaves smell likely given to the blend by the hojicha. So much roasty toasty goodness!

IMG_1986Brew Temperature: ~95 C

Leaf Amount/Steep Time:ย  2 tsp/150 mL of water, 20 seconds (+20 more per infusion)

I wanted to experience the maximum amount of flavor I could from this blend, so I decided to use my small gaiwan as my brewing vessel. The directions on the back of the packet are more in line with western-style steeping.

As the tea (quickly) brewed, a scent that was incredibly reminiscent of a children’s cereal rose to my nose- I still can’t remember the dang name of the cereal as I write this blog! It was some kind of toasted grain cereal..ugh.. they were little.. V shapes or something? I think they had a little lizard boy with a hat as the mascot of it? Someone help me out here! ๐Ÿ˜› I’m going nuts!

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Finally, time to taste! If I didn’t know better, I’d never guess this was a green tea blend. Toasted and bold flavors with slight astringency that one might expect from a black tea dominate the brew. When I take a sip.. I feel like I’ve found myself surrounded by an ancient forest- beneath a broad canopy of leaves, warm moist earth beneath my feet, a slight breeze whistling past my ears… perfection. The dark roasted green tea and toasted black rice work so brilliantly together, a beautiful pairing of fire and earth. I think this flavor profile is much more palatable than the grassy vegetal + toasty rice combination of genmaicha.

2nd Infusion

IMG_1992With the second steeping, the brew looks a bit darker but is just as fragrant. The slightly longer steep time has definitely paid off- the taste of the toasted rice is especially vibrant, along with a sweeter but still powerful earthy flavor.

3rd Infusion

IMG_1994The rice is easily the most dominant flavor now- still good, but I fear the tea has reached the end of its tiny life. Thank you for your deliciousness, kuromaicha!

The first infusion of this tea was definitely my favorite- the tastes were so powerful and just the scent of the steeping leaves warmed my bones to their core. That said, it might not be the best idea to brew kuromaicha on one of these sweltering summer days we’ve been having as of late! ๐Ÿ˜› To enjoy this tea’s immense flavor most optimally (and without the chance of bitterness), I suggest opting to brew with more leaves, less water, and less steep time: this will allow you a much higher degree of control. Try using a gaiwan, if you have one!

Kuromaicha was exactly what I hoped it would be- earthy toasted goodness without any smokey flavors. M&K’s worked for months to perfect this tea, and it definitely shows. I’ve just recently purchased a sample pack of their genmaicha, and am curious to see how it will compare to this blend! Two will enter the ring, but only one may leave! …I’ll let you know how it goes. ๐Ÿ˜› See you later, guys!


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The Battle of the Blends! A Review of Blendbee.com โ€“ Part 2: Beach Breeze

Hello, folks! Welcome to part 2 of our lofty blend battle! Today we’ll be talking a closer look at Kev’s blend, Beach Breeze Tea, and wrap up with some final thoughts on Blendbee. Here we go!

The Opposition’s Blend: Beach Breeze Tea

Ingredients: White tea, chamomile, coconut flakes, ashwagandha root, holy basil, coconut flavorIMG_1935My SO has a vast fondness for coconut, and would probably love to add it to every food we eat in some capacity, so it was only natural he’d want to make a tea featuring it as the primary flavor. Since the blend is meant to emulate lazy beachy days, he thought it would be appropriate to add the chamomile, ashwagandha root, and basil due to their stated relaxing properties. The white tea is meant to be a subtle base flavor, allowing the coconut to truly shine through- and it certainly does! After just opening the bag, the coconut scent really jumps out, it even seems to stick to the back of your throat after you inhale. It’s strong, but not artificial- as you can see from the photo above, there are a lot of real coconut flakes in the blend. Smells like paradise. ๐Ÿ™‚ The white tea leaves are also quite noticeable! I was half expecting to see tea dust, given how reasonable Jamah’s prices are, so I was pleasantly surprised when I could easily identify the leaves in the blend.

As with the Cat Nap tea, we steeped Beach Breeze using freshly boiled water and leaving it to steep for about 5 minutes, though for this infusion I just used my normal steel infuser. Muslin bags are great for some teas and are eco friendly, but I just find them to be a bit of a hassle and can be crumby to clean. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

IMG_1939As Beach Breeze steeped, I could swear I had a tiny coconut votive candle burning somewhere. It smells that good, and the scent is that full! After what seemed like forever, it was finally time to sample the brew. The dominant flavors were that of chamomile and coconut, and I thought they complimented each other well with their similarly sweet (but not too sweet) tastes. The white tea was a great choice as a base, providing body without adding any hugely noticeable flavors. The basil and root weren’t really present, but this could just be attributed to the strength of the other ingredients.

When he created the blend, my SO had a soft, sweet taste in mind, and I think Beach Breeze ended up being a little more vibrant than he had anticipated- though he still enjoys it very much. Beach Breeze truly puts the punch in Hawaiian Punch! ..Did that joke work? I’ll see myself out now. We’re going to try putting the brew on ice next time we make it, I can see it as a truly badass smoothie or bubble tea base!


You can bet your sweet candy butt I just made a Neville Chamberlain reference in a tea blog. Yep.

Now.. we’ve had a look at both of the blends, so who won? I knew the answer would be difficult to come up with since we first had the idea for the competition. (We probably should’ve invited in a third party to test out the blends and select one, but oh well! This isn’t terribly serious. )While we both went for a “relaxing” theme, we seemed to veer off in far different directions as far as flavor profiles go. However, since Beach Breeze seems like it will excel at being iced, and Cat Nap is delicious hot.. can I just say we both won in different categories? Everybody wins! Peace in our time! YAY! ๐Ÿ˜›

Final Thoughts

It’s been an absolute pleasure to try out BlendBee’s services, and we’ll certainly be ordering from them again soon. Jamah was quick to answer my emails and was a huge help in offering advice on how to make our blends the best they could be- going so far as to brew them up herself to make sure they were exactly what we wanted and tweaking them accordingly before sending them to us. Our package arrived quickly and the teas were wrapped beautifully- it is obvious how much Jamah cares about both her products and her customers and her effort really shines. The prices are fantastic, and the fact that a sample bag of tea is only $2.50 is a great excuse to just go crazy and try making a bunch of different blends. There’s a lot of ready-made blends you can order right off the site that look great as well, and even a monthly subscription service. Whatever you want, I can pretty much guarantee you that Jamah’s got it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading through both parts of this review! I very much enjoyed writing it, and hope to do more cheesey tea blending competitions in the future! By the way, if you’re interested in trying either of our teas for yourself, enter the same ingredients into BlendBee’s custom tea form, and mention in the comment box that you’d like to try Beach Breeze or Cat Nap specifically. I’d love to hear what you think of them! Don’t forget to use the discount code ‘blackcatbytes’ in checkout to receive 15% off of your offer as well!

Thanks again guys! ๐Ÿ™‚


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The Battle of the Blends! A Review of Blendbee.com – Part 1: Cat Nap Tea

I find myself on quite the herbal infusion kick lately, and have been spending a lot of time wishing I had an herb garden so I could try my hand at blending my own teas. While that is nowhere near in the cards for me at the moment, I’ve recently had the incredible fortune of meeting the lovely Jamah from BlendBee.com, who has graciously offered me the chance to give their custom tea blending services a try! Both my boyfriend and I are ferociously competitive people – while camping last year we both developed horrible blisters on our hands from trying to pump up air beds faster than the other- so when Jamah asked me if we’d like to try our hand at creating our own teas, I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to have yet another friendly contest with my dearly beloved. Our goal: make the best summertime tea. Game on!

Spoilers! Here are the results! ๐Ÿ˜› With a bonus blend, “Save the Bees” added in! Expect a review on that sometime soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Creating the blends was a snap- the menus are simple to navigate, making it quick work to add or subtract ingredients from your tea as you move along. The health benefits of the ingredients are also listed- while those are honestly not a deciding factor in the way I wish to create my blend, I can appreciate that a lot of people may wish to do so and would find that information helpful. However, I love how the aroma and flavor of each ingredient is also described when moused over, making it much easier to be a bit adventurous with different combinations of herbs, flowers, and spices. I was worried when I began that I would be overwhelmed by all of my choices and end up making some weird blend (as would my boyfriend, who is pretty new to loose leaf tea), but as we went along we both found the process to be easy and fun.

Due to the fact this will be quite a large writeup, I’ve decided to split it up into two parts.Today’s post will be looking at my blend, and tomorrow’s will take a closer look at Kevin’s blend along with the results of our “contest” and overall thoughts of Blendbee.com. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Blend – Cat Nap Tea

Ingredients: hibiscus, rose hips, chamomile, orange peel, lemongrass, catnip, strawberry leaf, stevia leaf, and a touch of orange extract

IMG_1931When I think of summertime, one of the first things that comes to my mind is the way my cats bask lazily in the summer sunlight. Louie is always lying belly-up on the floor, catching as many rays to warm his fur as possible. Just looking at him relaxes me- as the saying goes: “It is impossible to look at a sleeping cat and feel tense”. As such, I wanted to try and create a tea blend that would recreate this feeling. I love the tropical taste of hibiscus so including it was an absolute must,ย  but also added the chamomile to help take away some of the flower’s inherent tang (since this is meant to be a soothing blend). I added the rosehips, orange peel, lemongrass, and strawberry leaf to give the tea a strong, fruity body, and included the catnip because.. well.. it only seemed fitting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I followed the printed brewing instructions carefully, using freshly boiled water and 1 tsp of leaves per 6 oz of water, and made a point to use the cute muslin bag and tea scoop Jamah included in our package.

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Louie was quite interested in the tea as it steeped! He must’ve smelled the catnip! ๐Ÿ™‚ Score!

As soon as the blend began to steep, a delightful combination of the orange, lemon, and hibiscus smells floated up off of the cup. I’ve never been to the tropics, but I’m absolutely positive this is what the region must smell like. ๐Ÿ˜›

IMG_1942I left the bag in for roughly 5 minutes, using the strength of the brew’s ruby color as an indicator of when the steep was finished. With my first sip, the most dominant taste was actually the chamomile, followed closely by luscious notes ofย  hibiscus and rosehips.ย  I found the orange peel and lemongrass in the light, citrussy aftertaste- made sweeter by the stevia leaf. I was a bit bummed I couldn’t really taste the catnip, but it must just be due to my superlame human sense of smell and taste. ๐Ÿ˜› I found Cat Nap Tea to be absolutely delicious, and perfectly embodied the feeling of lazy summer days I was trying to capture. I was so happy with the simplicity of the flavor profile- with the exception of the cat nip, I could identify every single ingredient in the blend, and that was just what I hoped for. In the future, when I order this blend again (and believe me I will), I will likely replace the chamomile with either white or green tea as a more subtle way of taming the hibiscus flavor. Or heck, maybe I’ll just forgo the idea of adding a base tea altogether and just ask Jamah to amp up the catnip goodness! The possibilities are endless, and that’s just what makes custom blending a tea so very exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚


That’s all for now, folks! Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to this tea blending adventure! ๐Ÿ™‚

Feeling inspired to make your own infusion? Head over to Blend Bee and see what sort of crazy concoction you can come up with! As a special bonus and thank you for reading my blog, enter ‘BlackCatBytes’ as a discount code during checkout and receive 15% off your order!


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M&K’s Tea Co. Sicilian Vanilla Black Tea

No matter how many black vanilla tea blends I try, even if I really enjoy them, I am ALWAYS on the hunt for more. Whenever I’m cruising through a tea website looking for tea samples, if I see a vanilla black tea, I am BOOM! on it like a car bonnet- I’ve gotta give it a try. I adore this flavor combination so much I find myself kinda using it as a standard to judge the overall quality and value of taste a tea company has- get it right, you’ll make Black Cat Bytes delight..ed! ๐Ÿ˜›

I was overjoyed when I was approached by M&K’s tea to give some of their blends a try. Their website is full of exotic, unique, and really well priced teas- I’ll be doing quite a few little reviews on what they have to offer over the next few months. However, in typical Black Cat Bytes style, their first tea I had to taste was their Sicilian Vanilla blend, knowing it would set the tone for how I would view the rest of the multitude of samples they had sent me. Drumroll pleaaase!

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Gorgeous flowers! Never seen these before.

Shop Link: M&K’s Sicilian Vanilla Black Tea

Ingredients: A blend of Kenilworth Estate Sri Lankan and Anhui Chinese black teas, helichrysum flowers, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, fiori di sicilia essential oil blend, aroma panettone essential oil blend.

I love the visual composition of this blend- looks so much better and more refreshing than “blends” consisting of only tiny black leaf bits with added flavoring. Even if the flowers are only an embellishment, they are beautiful and make the tea steeping process a little treat for one’s senses. The scent of the dried blend is nothing short of intoxicating- almost like freshly made cinnamon buns.

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Looks like a planetary landscape, doesn’t it?! ๐Ÿ˜›

Brew Temperature: ~100ยฐ C/ 212ยฐ F

Leaf Amount/Steep Time: 2 tsp / 8 oz of water, 1 minute

I increased the leaf amount and decreased the recommended steep time due to my “gongfu-style” teapot which does better with stronger, shorter infusions.

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The resulting brew is a beautiful shade of orange-red, and smells lightly toasted and smokey- how unique! I’ve never had a vanilla black with this sort of scent profile before. The tea tastes strongly of rich molasses or homemade gingerbread cookies, with a delightfully thick and satisfying mouthfeel. There is just the tiniest bit of an astringent aftertaste, which I think suits the tea perfectly.

As I was standing at my kitchen counter, sipping away and jotting down a few tasting notes on this tea, I couldn’t help but notice I had a glass jar full of those Lotus Biscoff cookies sitting just an arm’s length away from me. At that moment, I realized it was my destiny to bring this tea and cookie together- and the results.. were just incredible. The carmalized gingerbready goodness of the cookie, combined with the warm smoothness of the Sicilian Vanilla- they complimented and rounded each other out so well I could only shake my head in dreamy disbelief. SO good.

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After looking at some other reviews of this tea, I was surprised to find a few folks tasted rather prevalent floral and citrus notes in it- I did not personally find this to be the case at all and am certainly glad for it. The recipe may have been tweaked slightly since those reviews were written, or perhaps my tea sample had been allowed some time after blending for the flavors to mature before it was sent out to me. Either way, I am pretty confident that when I order this tea (and maybe you will too!) that the flavor profile will be similar to what I enjoyed when I wrote this review.

M&K’s Sicilian Vanilla is definitely a cupboard staple for me- rich, satisfying, and warming. I’ve never felt so bummed out about having such a small sample size of a tea before! M&K’s has passed my vanilla black blend test with flying colors- I cannot wait to find out what tastes the rest of their teas have in store for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shop Link: M&K’s Sicilian Vanilla Black Tea

Tea provided by M&K’s Tea Co. for review! Thanks guys!


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Lemon City Tea Co. : San-tรฉ-ria, Porteรฑos En Paraiso, and Oolong Old Fashioned

Happy Saturday, fellow Teacats! With the weather getting seriously hot and heavy lately, I figured it was a perfect time to check out some blends from Lemon City Tea, a newish tea company hailing from the beautiful city of Miami, Florida. This will be my second round of “byte-sized” reviews, where I take a look at three teas and give you a tiny review of each! Exciting stuff! Let’s dig in! Or rather.. drink in!

San-tรฉ-ria

INGREDIENTS:ย Organic Black Tea, Yunnan Golden Buds

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Brew Temperature, Time: 100 C / 212 F, 3 minutes

Lemon City markets this tea as being “invigorating” and a great way to get you buzzing in the morning, and based on the scent of the dry leaves alone, I believe them! I could smell cocoa and malt, along with a very potent fruity (plums?) smell that seemed to cling to my nose. Lovely!

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I had to keep myself from adding in honey while the tea brewed- the crisp, malty scent seemed to beg for it! Gotta keep it pure for the sake of the review, though. ๐Ÿ˜› The taste was not entirely what I was expecting, the fruitiness had gone away and was replaced by a dominant malty taste with a light hint of smoke and nuttiness. It was a bit heavier than I would have hoped for, but it’s probably to be expected from a “morning wake up” tea. That said, I think San-te-ria would take milk and sugar beautifully. I think coffee lovers attempting to make the switch to tea would love this blend.


Porteรฑos En Paraiso

INGREDIENTS: Organicย Yerba Mate, Organic Jasmine Green Tea, Organic Green Rooibos, Organic Hibiscus & Tulsi, and Organic Schizandra Berries

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Brew Temperature, Time: 100 C/212 F, 5 minutes

After I read the ingredients on the packet, I got to excited to steep this tea that I actually forgot to have a whiff of it before doing so. Oops! ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve never had Yerba Mate before, so this is a new flavor adventure for me! As I’m typing away, I can smell the deliciously fruity combination of the green rooibos and hibiscus rising out of the cup- if I close my eyes, it feels like I’ve drifted away to the sandy beaches of some distant paradise.

IMG_1867Phew, what a complex taste! I honestly have some trouble individually identifying each flavor, but the brew has a strong green herb and grassy flavor (which I assume is the Yerba Mate and the green tea) without any bitterness or astringency, and a mint and licorice flavor aftertaste. I couldn’t taste any of the jasmine or hibiscus, though I could see the hibiscus petals in the teabag- I assume there just wasn’t enough of it to make a real impact on the tea’s flavor profile. I found this a bit disappointing, seeing as how this tea is pictured next to gigantic hibiscus flowers on Lemon City’s website. I think there are simply too many ingredients in this blend that snuff each other out and leave the resulting taste a bit muddled- it might be better to simplify the recipe and amp up a few key flavors instead. More hibiscus please! ๐Ÿ˜›


Oolong Old Fashioned

IMG_1876Brew Temperature, Time: 85 C, 3 minutes

Time for our finale-tea! Finaltea! HOHO!!! Lemon City boasts this oolong as their “scotch of teas”: a superior-quality tea that is meant to be savored. The dried leaves smell earthy, almost like wet leaves, with accompanying hints of raisins or dates. As the tea steeps, that same hint of raisin drifts from the cup with a honey-like sweetness.

IMG_1880If you will recall, earlier I scolded the Porteรฑos En Paraiso blend for having a few too many competing flavors: Oolong Old Fashioned couldn’t be more opposite a brew in terms of taste profile. When I took a sip of this tea, the only words that appeared in my head were: PLUM. RAISIN. FIG NEWTONS! If those flavors are what you crave, you will be the happiest clam in all of the ocean with this tea. There is no bitterness, no smoke, not even much sweetness- just plummy paradise. I’ve never tasted an oolong quite like this, and I’m not sure if I would seek it out again, but I understand how easily this could be obscenely delicious to another tea enthusiast. To each their own! ๐Ÿ™‚


Overall, I find myself impressed with Lemon City’s variety of teas. I respect the fact that they are willing to take risks with the ingredient combinations and dominant flavors of their blends, and am eager to see what new infusions they will offer as time goes on and they continue to develop as a company. Being from Miami, I feel they have a unique and awesome opportunity to spread the tastes and culture of their incredible city throughout the USA (and hopefully beyond!) with their teas. You can expect another byte-sized review compilation of some more of Lemon City’s teas from me soon- in the meantime, feel free to check out the rest of their range for yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!


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Feature: Newby Teas Strawberry & Mango Iced Tea Recipe

Not too long ago, I wrote up a review on some of Newby Tea’s herbal tisanes– and their Strawberry & Mango infusion in particular had always stuck out in my mind as a tea I’d desperately like to have again. Thanks to the wonderful people at Newby, my dream has come true! They sent me an awesome care package filled with some of my favorite blendsย  along with some iced tea recipes they’ve created to help put a delicious summer spin on their teas! The first of three Newby iced teas I will be featuring over this summer is (of course) their Strawberry & Mango. I’ll be taking you through the recipe step-by-step, adding my own little tips along the way and showing you the delicious final result!

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Ingredients
4 x Newby Strawberry & Mango Silken Pyramids
1 litre freshly boiled water
Crushed ice
Sliced strawberries or mango to finish

To make

Boil 1 litre of fresh water, then pour on to 4 Silken Pyramids in a large jug. Brew for 6 โ€“ 8 minutes. Remove the Silken Pyramids and leave to cool โ€“ then serve over crushed ice with a slice of strawberry or mango.

First cultivated from wild strawberries in France, Newbyโ€™s distinctive blend combines apple, rosehip, beetroot and strawberry with exotic South Asian mango, hibiscus and papaya in a unique East-meets-West tisane.

Taken from http://www.newbyteas.com/2015/04/strawberry-mango-iced-tisane/

IMG_1840Let’s begin! Check out my awesome setup! ๐Ÿ˜› I will be following the recipe as exactly as possible, including using a fresh mango as a garnish for the final drink. Fancy~!

Action shot! Boom!

Action shot! Boom!

I placed four tea sachets into my infuser basket and away I went, pouring freshly boiled water over top of them into the pitcher. In hindsight, I probably should’ve removed the paper tags from the bags before steeping them.ย Learn from my mistakes, sweet reader! Honestly though, don’t worry if you accidentally leave them in, they don’t really seem to affect the resulting tea’s flavor much. Leave the bags in for the full 8 minutes- there are no tannins in this blend so you don’t need to worry about bitterness from oversteeping. The stronger the brew, the better!
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While you wait for the infusion to steep, turn your attention to the mango (or strawberries if you so desire) and start slicing and dicing! If anyone can advise me on a way to elegantly chop a mango, I’m all ears, seriously. ๐Ÿ˜›
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Such a mess… ๐Ÿ˜›

Once you hack those big delicious slices of mango goodness off of the gigantic stone in the middle, try your best to cut them into small lemon-wedge sized bits. You don’t want them to be so small that you may accidentally inhale one whilst sipping your tea, but you also don’t want to leave them so large that they take up half of your glass. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_1850Steep time is over! Look at that gorgeous scarlet color! So close to being done now!
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Newby is not specific on how much ice you should use to chill your brew with, so I added enough ice to the hot tea to cool it down to roughly room temperature. In my experience, if you add so much ice that you take the temp from boiling hot to ready-to-serve chilled all at once, the tea will become too diluted and will just taste sad and watery. Bring it to room temperature, and then simply pour the brew over iced added into the cup you will be serving the tea in. This ice won’t melt too much and you’ll have a far more potent iced tea to enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚
IMG_1855For the best results, place a few mango slices in your serving glass before you add the ice and pour in the tea. The slices will typically stay below the ice as you drink , lessening the chances of you accidentally ingesting the fruit.

This infusion is SO refreshing and delicious when iced. For my American friends, it is the natural-tasting sibling of Tropical Punch Kool Aid (or any tropical punch)- possessing all the flavor with absolutely none of the guilt. The fresh mango slice does a beautiful job of drawing out the natural taste of the dried mango pieces in the infusion, whilst gently sweetening the brew without being overpowering. Once you brew a pitcher of this tea and pour a glass of it, you will find it practically impossible to stop pouring yourself refills until there is nothing left- I say this purely from experience. I am happily addicted! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Check out Newby’s Strawberry & Mango tisane here! Take your taste buds on a journey!