Trader Joe’s can be a great place to pick up some premium teas at a very reasonable price. Their tea selection, especially their seasonal offerings, always has a few innovative blends that are absolutely delicious. One of their newest teas is Trader Joe’s Coconut Green Tea, a light and refreshing tea for the summer. It is also a loose leaf tea, which is a departure from the usual bagged teas that the store carries. The tea is packed in a colorful metal tin to keep it fresh until you’re ready to brew it.
The tea has a green tea base, accented with coconut, lemongrass and ginger. Since the coconut graphic is so prominent on the container, I expected to get a strong coconut flavor from my first cup, but found that coconut blended nicely with the other flavors instead of dominating them. You get more coconut in the nose of the tea than in the body. The tea has a nice balance of green tea, citrus and spice. It’s mildly sweet and very well-blended, so no one element stands out over the rest- which isn’t a bad thing, as it makes for a subtle and very enjoyable cup of tea. I found that this tea was pleasant when brewed hot with no sweeteners, but its natural sweetness came out a bit more once sugar was added. It was also great when brewed at double or triple strength and served over ice.
Starbucks is rolling out their summer menu this week, and two delicious shaken ice tea lemonades are on the menu: Peach Green Tea Lemonade and Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. The Peach Tea Lemonade debuted last summer, while the blackberry is new for this year. Thanks to a promo for registered Starbucks card holders, I was able to get my hands on both tea lemonades before they hit the main menu. The Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade is made with a blackberry syrup, which turns the drink an intense berry color. Unlike the Berry Hibiscus Refresher, which also uses blackberries, there are no chunks of berry floating around in this drink to plug up your straw as you sip.
The blackberry tea lemonade has a green tea base, which is a good way to showcase the berry flavors without overpowering them with a black tea base. It is not too sweet – in fact, I would say it is slightly less sweet than the peach tea lemonade – but has the distinct flavor of juicy berries to it, which makes it satisfying and refreshing. One thing that the drink does not have, however, is any hint of mint. I expected to be able to taste a bit of mint in a drink with “mojito” in the name, but berries definitely dominated. I’m not positive (yet), but this drink is made with Teavana tea and Tevana makes a Blackberry Mojito Tea that could very well serve as the base for this drink. Despite the fact that there really is no mint flavor, the drink is a great alternative to some of the other iced tea lemonades and is a fantastic drink for a summer afternoon.
Everyone knows that k-cups are one of the most convenient ways to enjoy a cup of coffee, but there are plenty of k-cups out there that allow you to brew tea easily, as well. It is a bit faster than waiting for tea to steep and they give you an alternative to coffee in places like hotels and offices where Keurig machines are staples. That said, I primarily brew loose leaf or bagged tea at home and don’t usually buy too many tea k-cups. A friend of mine recently gave me a box of Lipton’s Soothe Green Tea K-Cups to try, saying that they were a new favorite in his house.
From the name, you might think that this tea is nothing more than a straightforward green tea, but the tea is actually quite complex and surprisingly delicious. These k-cups contain a blend of green tea, chamomile, lemon verbena, spearmint, peppermint, rosehips, orange peel, hibiscus, lemon grass, orange and chicory. Chamomile is fairly strong and it really works well with the green tea to give you a very balanced base that is not too heavily weighted towards the green or the chamomile. The green tea helps to mute the usually strong flavor of the chamomile and soften it. You get notes of orange, lemon, mint and rose, for a tea that is extremely soothing and without any one flavor jumping out. It’s good on its own and it is delicious with a little bit of honey or sugar.
This tea is ideal for bedtime or those days when you might be feeling a little under the weather – and since those are two times when you probably don’t want to work too hard to make your tea, k-cups are a perfect solution.
A mug of coffee or tea is often the perfect thing to pair with a slice of cake, whether you baked your own or picked up your favorite flavor at your local bakery. I tend to think that you can’t go wrong with black tea or black coffee, but you can really get a better pairing by looking around at all the options out there. A good example are the Cuppa Cakes Teas, which are a relatively new collection from Republic of Tea. These teas are inspired by the flavors of baked goods and pair fantastically with them – though they’re good enough to be satisfying on their own, as well.
I bake a lot with lemon in the winter and spring, so the first tea that I reached for from this collection was Cuppa Cakes Teas Lemon Chiffon. It’s an herbal green rooibos tea inspired by “chiffon cake speckled with sweet coconut and topped with a creamy lemon icing” that is made with a blend of apple, lemongrass, lemon, vanilla and coconut flavors, as well as green rooibus tea. I initially thought that the tea might taste mostly of lemon, but it really does capture some of the flavor and smell of a light, lemon cake in a way that is very surprising! You can easily pick out the lemon, vanilla and coconut notes, even if you’re not an experienced tea-taster (though it helps to be a lover of lemon, vanilla and coconut baked goods), which means that this tea is one that should have wide appeal to anyone who likes these flavors. I really enjoyed it, both hot and as a very refreshing iced tea, and it was especially good when paired with lemon or vanilla baked goods. I highly recommend trying a slice of lemon pound cake with it.
If you are going to drink it on its own (perhaps in place of a slice of cake), I recommend brewing the tea a little bit stronger than recommended on the packaging and adding a little bit of sugar or honey to intensify its cake-like notes.