Tea of the Week: Nina’s Thé de Marie Antoinette

If you’ve ever watched Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, there’s a scene where the Queen of France partakes in a delicate cup of blooming Chinese jasmine tea. The scene is meant to reflect the decadence of the times, precisely what lead to the queen’s tragic death during the French Revolution.

Aside from being known for her beauty, fashions, and whimsical hairstyles, what’s less obvious is what a dedicated mother Marie Antoinette apparently was. She had 4 children, 2 who passed away while she was still alive, one who would suffer a terrible death during the Revolution, and only one daughter (her first-born) who would live to adulthood.

Nina’s Marie Antoinette blend is a tea that reflects back on the happier times in Marie Antoinette’s dynamic life. This Ceylon black tea combines the flavors of apples and roses. The tea is flavored with apples that come from King’s Kitchen Garden, otherwise known as Le Potager du Roi, in Versailles.

Upon realizing that her first-born was a girl and not the male heir that everyone wanted, it’s said that the queen stated: you are not what was desired, but you are no less dear to me. Here’s to all the mothers out there who accept their children, wholeheartedly, without conditions. More than anyone else, you deserve to sit back and relax with a good cup of tea!

Tasting Notes for Nina’s Thé de Marie Antoinette:

BREWING TIPS:  Brew at 212 degrees F for 3 minutes.
THE TEA:  Black Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka mixed with rose petals and natural rose and apple flavor.
THE SCENT:  If you love feminine, perfume-like teas, this is the blend for you! This tea combines the scent of fresh roses with juicy, cut apples. The perfume notes will markedly soften upon brewing.
THE STEEP:  Brews to a brilliant coppery gold. The steep is bold but not at all harsh. The apple flavor is that of tart, green apples, and is much more pronounced than the taste of roses.
GET IT:  At the Nina’s Paris website or on Amazon.
FOOD PAIRING:  This tea pairs well with French macarons and petit fours because it’s strong black tea base balances out the sweet factor in these confections. Perfect for enjoying with mom for Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch!

Tea of the Week: Palais des Thés’ Thé des Alizés

Yes, you read it right. Today’s Tea of the Week is Palais des Thés’ Thé des Alizés, a tea that I can barely type out much less pronounce. Luckily, as with all great teas, pronunciation matters little, so long as you enjoy the brew and know where to get more of it!

For my birthday this year, my sister showered me with some gorgeous tea gifts, including this cobalt blue Japanese cast iron teapot and some fancy tubes of fine green tea, both from the world-class tea boutique, Palais des Thés. As my big sis, Melissa has always made it a point to spoil me, and this year was certainly no exception.

palais de the 1Palais des Thés is a French based tea company with several locations throughout France and Belgium, but only 2 stores based in US, both in New York. For those of us living in the US, what’s great about this company is that all of their products are easily ordered online without having to deal with overseas shipping fees.

At first whiff, I knew that Thé des Alizés was going to be the first of the teas that I wanted to try. This blend is a softly scented, fruity green tea flavored with white peaches, kiwi, and watermelon. The tea also has a very slight hint of banana-like essence, which makes it warm and inviting.

palais de the the des alizesAlso known as Tea of the Trade Winds, what makes this blend worth trying is that it’s exceptionally well-balanced—it’s delicate tropical fruitiness doesn’t overwhelm the vegetal Chinese green tea base.

palais de the cobalt japanese teapot

As summer gives way to cooler fall days, Thé des Alizés is the perfect drink to say goodbye to summer with. A few sips and you’ll be reminiscing about the best of sunny days past.

Tasting Notes for Le Palais des Thés’ Thé des Alizés:

BREWING TIPS:  160-170 degrees F for 3 to 4 minutes. Good for two steepings. Great iced or hot.

THE BLEND:  Chinese green tea with flowers and pieces of white peach, kiwi, and watermelon mixed in.

THE SCENT:  Smells of ripe cantaloupe and honeydew. Lightly floral with sweet, soft tropical notes.

THE STEEP:  Light, crisp, and indulgent. Tastes of exotic fruits without tasting the least bit artificial. Although it’s delicious drunk plain, the lightest touch of honey will accentuate the fruit flavors in this delicately fragrant brew.

GET IT:  Since French teas aren’t always the easiest to buy in the US, we are lucky with this blend! You can find it in loose leaf form at the Palais des Thés website, and in muslin tea bags at Amazon and Birchbox.

FOOD PAIRING:  This tea is delicious served with a simple fruit salad when trying to keep things light. The tea is also perfect with “spa foods” like small nibbles of honey roasted nuts or trail mix.

Kusmi Tea’s Prince Vladimir

I fell in love with this blend from the moment I opened this tea tin.  When I got my first whiff of Prince Vladimir, my immediate thought was that it smelled like soda…like Coca Cola to be exact.  I cut soda out of my drinking regimen about 9 months ago, so I never thought I would be encountering soda again in the form of tea!

Prince Vladimir has quickly become one of my favorites.  This is a moderately strong black tea to have for your morning boost, and exceptionally delicious with some Blackberry Mandarin Orange Jam mixed in, just like the Russians do!

Tasting Notes:

BREWING TIPS:  5 minutes @ 212 degrees F.

THE LEAF:  Black twisty tea leaves with flecks of citrus peel scattered throughout.

THE SCENT:   This tea smells like Coke!  If you love drinking soda like Coke or Pepsi you must try this tea blend!  Smells of sunny, sweet citrus (bergamot, lemon, and grapefruit) with a strong base of creamy vanilla.

THE STEEP:  A dark mahogany.  A strong yet well-rounded black tea that pairs well with sugar and milk or tea jam!

GET IT:  At the Kusmi website or through Amazon.