Monday, April 13, 2009

The NecessiTeas Reviews

Today, I'm reviewing assorted teas and tisanes from The NecessiTeas. They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, serious, artisanal teas -- they come in flavors like "Rootbeer Float" and contain ingredients like Andes Mints -- but they are fun and, as far as dessert teas go, very good. My reviews reflect this. After all, I'm not reviewing a rare oolong from a 100 year old tree, so why write about them like I am?

Chocolate Orange -- You know those chocolate oranges they sell during the winter? The ones in orange foil with the segments that you break apart by vehemently rapping the whole foil-wrapped chocolate mass against something hard before you open it? That's what this is like, except without the violence-inducing packaging and with some rooibos antioxidants. Yum!

Chocolate Coconut Lime -- I know coconut is a polarizing flavor, so I'll start off by saying that I love it. The aroma of the dry blend is mostly lime zest. The brew's aroma is more complex, but still mostly lime. The taste has a hint of chocolate and definite coconut notes, but it could still pass as a key lime black tea. For those who love flavored teas with sugar and milk, I strongly suggest this one. It's not exactly what I was expecting from the name, but it definitely is as "exotic" and "tropical" as the label claims.

Strawberry CHEESEcake -- This is a black tea with dried strawberry pieces. The aroma of the leaves is very tart, but, once brewed, it mellows and sweetens substantially. The taste itself is nothing special, but the aftertaste is uncannily like strawberry cheesecake with strong black tea.

Strawberry SHORTcake -- Different from the one above. This is a white tea with dried strawberries and natural flavorings. It doesn't look like the highest quality white tea out there (in fact, I'm not sure it will even meet the new standards of white tea that are being developed), but it DOES smell exactly like strawberry shortcake, and tastes quite a bit like it, too. I'd say this would score 9/10 for a gift to your favorite 20-something female friend who likes cute stuff from the 1980s.

Lemon Raspberry -- Light, refreshing and way less tart than the dry odor of the blend. It's a pretty basic, soothing citrus-berry green.

Caramel Dipped Apple -- I have to admit that I was hesitant to try this one. It smells VERY strong. However, the taste isn't so overpowering as you'd guess. It reminds me of Caribou Coffee's caramel apple cider, but WAY less intense.

Coco La Ven -- I'm not usually big on chamomile OR lavender, yet I love this blend of black tea, vanilla, lavender, coconut and (you guessed it) chamomile. The directions suggest "a touch of sugar and splash of milk," but I think it's great on its own -- rich, complex, sophisticated... This is a fantastic example of the new wave of dessert teas that have been coming out lately. It's not enough to add flavor to a tea and call it a day anymore. Blenders are stepping (and steeping) up to the challenge of making a great dessert tea. It's my favorite of the bunch.

Banana Split, Strawberry Banana and Banana Cream -- Yes, these are three different flavors and, no, I'm not reviewing any of them, as I hate dried banana and feel it would be unfair to review them. Still, I thought those of you who DON'T hate dried banana might want to know that these are offered. :) If you want them, email me your addy at vee (at) veetea (dot) com. The first person to ask gets them.

Orange Glow -- This one smells like orange cheesecake with lots of hibiscus. It tastes pretty much the same, but weaker. With this one (as with the others) I'm glad to see actual orange rind, flowers and flower petals and other "real fruit and flower" means of flavoring for the majority of the taste.

Rootbeer Float -- I recently tried e.lix.r's Rootbeer Tonic for comparison and I like this better. It tastes just like rootbeer, but less sweet, warm and not carbonated. Having reread that last sentence, I feel I should also say that it's way better than that sounds! I don't really get the "float" part from it, but that's probably for the best, as the only time I drank/ate a rootbeer float I vomited almost immediately. (Sorry if that's TMI...)

Mint Chocolate Chip -- Enter the "Andes Mints as tea ingredient." I loved Andes Mints as a child, so this blend makes me all nostalgic and warm inside. That aside, it's a good blend, so long as you don't mind a waxy surface (a pet peeve of mine with many chocolate teas). Refreshing, minty, rich, lightly sweet... I'm a fan.

Have any of you tried teas or tisanes from The NecessiTeas? What did you think?

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