Monday, May 15, 2017

Lauku Tea: Latvian Sun Sampler, A Tea Review

You know what is just so infuriating? My clumsiness!! Not sure if it is a direct result of having Fibromyalgia or part of the whole Autism Spectrum, but my sense of spatial reasoning is terrible and I run into/bang into things constantly. The most recent accident happened last night around 3AM, I rounded the corner in my tea room and banged my knee full force into the corner in one of those fantastic 'pain so intense my vision goes white' moments. I am pretty furious about it since this also meant I got no sleep last night because my stupid knee was throbbing. And now I have even more of a limp than normal. Of course, this all comes off the day before crashing my head into the car frame by falling into the car...I am such a graceful creature.

Today I am looking at three herbal blends all the way from Latvia, and let me start by saying how awesome the packaging was! Not only does Lauku Tea's Latvian Sun Sampler have all three teas they offer, it also came with an awesome apple wood spoon (from the same trees that make the apple ingredients in the blends) a Riga Rooster honey lollipop, and some cheesecloth bags for brewing (which I ended up not using, but love when boxes think to include things like that.) One thing that Lauku Tea does that I really like is the presentation of their ingredients, each of the blends has a link where it shows what each ingredient looks and tastes like. This is doubly awesome when combined with the knowledge that all these herbs and flowers are grown on a single EU/USDA certified organic family farm. I like the farm and their philosophy, overall this company just struck a good chord with me! (I should point out at this time, I annihilated that lollipop, the rooster was delicious!)

So, first up is Brigita's Daylight Blend, a blend of fermented apple leaves, dried apple. black currant leaves, clover flowers, lemon balm, and mountain ash berries. Some of these ingredients are new to my palate, which I found immensely exciting! Fermented apple leaves and mountain ash berries being completely new to me, I am not sure I have even lived in a region where mountain ash grows. The aroma of the very fluffy leaves is a blend of dried apples, lemon balm, tree leaves, herbaceous green notes, a bit of grass, and wildflower undertones. It smells very refreshing and green, like a summer garden.

I decided since all these blends are made with big fluffy leaves and flowers that it was time to gongfu brew them all, and I am glad I did! The color is perfect for a tea called Daylight since it looks like the glow of early morning, and it is refreshing, which is also perfect for an early in the day drink. The taste starts with a blend of dried and quite sweet apples with crisply green and refreshing lemon balm. The finish is light notes of herbaceous green, wildflowers, and hay. The taste reminds me of summer in my mom's garden with a touch of summers on the farm, it is very evocative.

Next up is Anna's Afternoon Blend, with birch leaf, chamomile, calendula, forest raspberry leaves, lady's mantle, lemon balm, meadowsweet, and mint. The only new one for me is birch leaf, and I hope that it tastes like my much-beloved birch beer (made from the bark and impossible to find in the midwest, sadly.) The aroma of this blend is very green and herbaceous with cool notes of light mint and wintergreen (hello birch!) and underlying notes of peppery flowers and lemon balm.

Ooh this one is tasty! I was little worried about the inclusion of both mint and chamomile, sine I am not a huge fan of them a lot of times, but I will freely admit that most blends that use both these ingredients tend to use crap, and when they are of a high quality both can be fantastic! The mint is light and sweet, and the chamomile adds a sweet hay and wildflower taste, combined with the gentle wintergreen, refreshing lemon balm, and very green herbaceous notes of the rest of the ingredients and this is really tasty. I will say that I did not find it as sweet as the other two, but I do recommend floating a calendula in your cup for extra prettiness.

Last is Evita's Twilight Blend,  combining catnip, calendula, heather, meadowsweet, thyme, valerian, and lemon balm. Nothing new for me in this one, but I was a touch leery of the valerian because it can be so bitter, though really I should have been leery of the catnip! As soon as I opened the pouch my cats descended on me, they would not let me be until I plucked a catnip leaf out for each of them to promptly nom on. Once that was settled I could finally enjoy this tea myself, and the aroma is lovely, the aroma of catnip and lemon balm dominate, but the soothing floral notes and peppery green herbaceous notes take the finish to a lovely place.

This one is probably my favorite, I just love the way the lemon balm, catnip, and meadowsweet blend together for a very sweet yet herbaceous drink. It is also the one with the best mouthfeel and longest lasting aftertaste, which I find kinda perfect for an evening blend, drinking it made me feel like I was sinking in my chair. I also made a cup of this western style, mostly for Ben to drink, but I stole a sip and still really enjoyed it, though my favorite was gongfu since it was sweeter and the floral notes were stronger. Overall I enjoyed all three, now that it is getting warmer I am curious to see how they might taste cold steeped, as iced herbal teas were a staple of mine growing up. If you like herbal blends I really cannot recommend these enough!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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