Vanilla Black Tea is the newest tea from Mountain Rose Herbs – so new that there’s not a picture for it on their web site! And alas, my phone camera doesn’t do justice to taking a picture of the beautiful tea (actually, my completely cluttered countertops, tables, and every other surface of my condo make it impossible to take pictures of anything) so I will just have to describe it to you.
The dried tea is beautiful – there are dried chrysanthemums in it, and that includes whole small flowers as well as petals. Absolutely gorgeous appearance. The chrysanthemum gives the dried leaves a complex aroma, too, a note darker than vanilla alone would provide.
When brewed, the taste is also more complex than vanilla alone. In fact, there’s a note that reminds me somehow of hot cocoa (after all, vanilla extract is a necessary ingredient in good hot cocoa!) and a spiciness from the flowers that gives an edge to it. Sometimes vanilla teas have too much of a sweet note for me, but this one is balanced out by the spiciness.
The body of the tea is quite full – again, something that reminds me of the richness of cocoa – and in fact, when I checked to see where the leaves were from, I discovered that they were Assam, which fully explains why my first impression of this was that it would make a wonderful breakfast tea. And to make you feel even better about being up in the morning, it’s an organic fair-trade Assam, and the vanilla beans, vanilla flavoring, and flowers are also all organic.
Mountain Rose Herbs describes this tea as:
This charming little box contains the world’s yummiest organic tea! All of our delicious teas are handcrafted by herb-loving artisans here in Eugene, Oregon. From writing recipes and blending herbs to assembly and packaging, our beautiful teas are created by their inspired hands.
All of the organic ingredients found in our line of teas are certified organic by Oregon Tilth. We will never use herbs that are conventionally grown with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or ecologically harmful chemicals. Farming methods which utilize these methods have damaging consequences to our communities, wildlife, watersheds, and livelioods, and Mountain Rose Herbs will not take part in supporting such a system.
By sipping this tea, you are supporting organic agriculture one cup at a time.
Contains: An organic fair trade Assam tea perfectly blended with organic cut Vanilla beans, organic Chrysanthemum flowers, and organic Vanilla flavoring. Contains caffeine. Certified Kosher by Earth Kosher.
The little box is indeed charming, and can be opened from the top or by opening the box along perforated lines which displays the lovely tea better. The tea is inside a cellophane bag which has an adhesive tab for re-closing, and that should help it stay fresh.
Included in the package I received were the “tea swatches” pictured above – which describe teas that I’m definitely going to try! The “swatches” are on a grommet, and if one fans them out, then on the back of the overlapping pieces is Mountain Rose Herbs’ full logo and graphic. But I’m not going to leave them all on the grommet – when separated, these will make perfectly-sized bookmarks, which I am going to distribute to my bookish friends and spread the word about Mountain Rose Herbs.