Friday, February 1, 2013

Tea Review: David's Tea Brazillionaire & Star Anise

I love tea.  It's one of my many cherished habits.  And I'm quite proud that I developed a taste for tea in lieu of coffee.  Coffee, at least the way we American's drink it, just seems so base.  Tea has style.  It doesn't hurt that this costuming hobby I have lends itself very well to tea parties.  Pretty dresses and pretty tea cups.  Yeah, there's definitely a correlation there!

A while back a distant friend on Facebook mentioned that she had developed a taste for tea on her visit to Europe and asked for recommendations of good tea here in the States.  Several people chimed in with their favorite teas, but a few people mentioned a Canadian company called David's Tea as a good source for loose leaf teas.  I clicked on a lot of the links given for other tea companies, but this one really piqued my interest.  You see, for every order made, they send you 3 samples of random other teas.  Well, frankly I thought that was just Brilliant!  Tea isn't cheap.  And because it can sometimes cost $8 - $15 for a package of loose leaf I tend to just pass on the ones that are pricey, yet sound really interesting.  I'd rather order from an American company, but I just really hate wasting money on something I'm never going to drink again if I don't like it.  And I'm picky, so that may very well be the case with any tea I order.  

How picky am I?  Well, I hate flowers.  Not the smell of flowers, the taste of flowers.  Flowers taste like soap to me.  I may love the smell of a good woodsy lavendar, but put it in my tea, or beer and my favorite drink will instantly be relegated to the "undrinkable" list.  There is a whole local brewery line that I can't drink because they put stinking flowers in pretty much all of their beer.  Many people like a flower taste profile in their drinks.  I do not.  I'm also picky about fruity flavors in my tea.  I can deal with fruit in cold tea, but I do not like fruit in my hot tea.  And let's face it, the whole point of me having a cup of tea is that cozy warm goodness, so I tend to stay away from fruit as well.  You can see, now, why I am wary of just buying a tea online sight unseen.

My first purchase from David's Tea was Ceylon Star.  The website has this to say about Ceylon Star:


Star anise is one of the most beautiful spices around...and also one of the most delicious.  It has a sweet, subtle licorice taste that we just can't resist.  And some say it has magical properties; keeping star anise around is said to bring you good luck, happy dreams, and even clairvoyance.  Most importantly, it makes for some seriously delicious tea.  Star anise and Ceylon black tea is a classic combination, but here we sweeten the deal even more with white chocolate, cocoa nibs, and coconut.  The result is sweet and creamy, with a hint of exotic spice.  Now that's star power.

David's Teas come packaged in a resealable foil pouch for freshness.  This is great, except for the case of this tea.  Getting the tea out of the pouch is a little troublesome due to the star anise.  In addition, most of the star anise is packaged on top of the leaves.  I found myself dumping out the top layer of star anise then scooping out some tea and then placing a star anise in the strainer and replacing the rest in the pouch.  This is one of those teas where you really do need a tea tin.  I ended up buying one when I made my second tea purchase.  Measuring the tea out was So Much Easier with a tea tin!

So how did it taste?  I gave it 4 out of 5 points.  I enjoyed it.  Mostly, you are tasting the star anise, but there is just a little hint of coconut in there.  The Ceylon tea was smooth and not over powering or bitter.  I would order it again.  Is it my favorite?  No.  But I will happily add it to my tea rotation.

For my second purchase I turned to Facebook myself to help narrow things down.  I had several teas I was interested in ranging from $6 - $12.  In the end I decided to go with the lower priced Brazillionaire so I could afford to order a tea tin for that Ceylon Star.  Also because my friend Brittney told me to and sometimes it's nice to just take somebody else's suggestion and go for it.  Good thing I took that suggestion.  I really like the Brazillionaire tea.  I like it slightly more so than the Ceylon Star, so I'm giving it a 4 1/4 score.  Here's what David's Tea says about the Brazillionaire:


Have you heard tales of the wealthy Brazilian eccentric?  According to local stories, he was completely obsessed with Brazil nuts, the source of his fortune.  He insisted on having them in every meal - even his afternoon tea!  Was it needless decadence, or a stroke of genius?  You'll have to taste it yourself to decide.  This fabulously opulent blend combines black tea with whole Brazil nuts, raisins and coconut.  Trust us - it tastes like a million bucks.

The tea is indeed a nutty flavored tea.  In fact, it's not just flavored, there are actually Brazil nuts in the tea.  The coconut and raisins are sparse in the mix, so the flavor is hinted at.  I was a little concerned about the raisin flavor, but I was wrong to worry.  I kind of wish I had purchased two tins though.  David's Tea was nice enough to include  an extra tea label for the Brazillionare to place on the tin.  Oh well, I'll likely order this again, so I'll just order two tins the next time I order something.  One of the samples was a tea that was in my list of possibilities last time, so I may already have my next tea order decided if I like the sample.