Tea Chai TeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m migraine sick and since the nausea is doing a number on my appetite, I didn’t feel like much more than a bit of white rice for dinner. But then I got the weird idea that maybe I could “spruce up” my Minute Rice a bit if I used tea for the water that the rice sucks up to give it some flavor, and figured, what better to try this experiment than the Sticky Rice Pu-erh I have yet to try?
So I brewed up a cup of the pu-ehr, strained it, brought it back to a boil so it would be warm enough for the rice, added the Minute Rice, covered it and let it do its thing. My kitchen smelled heavily of the nuo mi xiang herb, and that actually did improve my appetite slightly. The rice was a nice tea color after it had sucked up the tea liquor, and it was pretty good, too; still tasted mostly like white rice, but I was definitely getting a sticky rice herb flavor in the after taste that made it quite nice. I think next time I’ll try adding a little salt to the tea broth before adding the rice, too.
I also resteeped my pu-erh leaves, since the little mini tuo looked like it still had a lot more to give and I was curious to try the tea as a tea as well. The cup had a slightly earthy mineral/metallic scent to it, as well as nuo mi xiang herb aroma. No hints of fishiness. The pu-erh itself was quite sharp at the beginning of the sip, with a very mineral-tasting lead, with this sort of warm, brothy finish of the nuo mi xiang herb that closes out the finish and lingers on the tongue afterwards. Later in the cup, I was getting a very subtle camphor flavor. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it as a tea and bought it originally just to try as a rice flavor/ramen broth, but this actually is a really nice tasting cuppa. A little odd on the tongue at first, but the finish is so satisfying and relaxing.
Flavors: Camphor, Earth, Herbaceous, Metallic, Mineral, Rice, Smooth
June Wedding! Time for something old! As soon as I got back from my trip out this weekend, I needed to restock my fridge with iced teas, so I cold-brewed this tea which came from my March 2017 trip to Tea Chai Te.
I definitely don’t really like it when fruity green teas are so overpowered with fruit flavorings that you can’t even taste the base tea anymore; this tea certainly doesn’t have that problem. The base tea actually is the dominant flavor here, and it is a very pleasant sencha, having a very fresh, spring-like grassy flavor. I honestly don’t think this particular tea has any natural or artificial fruit flavorings in it; if it does, they are extremely mild, because the strawberry flavor in this tea is actually quite muted. The tea has some dried strawberries in it, so it does have a natural sweetness to it that you wouldn’t normally find in a sencha, and there is a sweet berry note toward the end of the sip, but it is rather subtle. Calling it a strawberry sencha is almost a bit of a stretch, since it just doesn’t have that overwhelming strawberry flavor you’d find in a flavored tea. It is a softer, sweeter green tea, and as far as an iced tea, I found it very thirst quenching… so it did have some nice qualities. But the fruitiness was a bit too subtle here. I don’t like my fruit greens so overpowered I can no longer taste the base green, but I wanted a touch of strawberry here… just a bit more of a happy medium between the base and blended flavor. This came off more as a pure sencha with fruit as an added natural sweetener to me, rather than actually having any fruit flavor. It is certainly a nice sencha, though!
Flavors: Berry, Grass, Sweet
June Wedding! For this “something blue” offering I’m revisting one of my older Tea Chai Te teas, Blueberry Rooibos, which I actually first sampled in their shop during a birthday vacation to Portland in March of 2017. I brought an ounce of it home with me, and have brewed up a warm cuppa for this rainy evening.
The leaf smells more heavily of the rooibos base than many flavored rooibos in my collection, but there is a somewhat tangy berry overtone to it. It actually comes off a little cough syrupy in aroma, and I don’t typically get that with rooibos… the last time I did, that was also a fruit flavored rooibos, so I wonder if it’s something about the addition of fruit notes with rooibos that brings that particular association to my mind?
Brewed up, it is deep red and smells more of rooibos and not much of blueberries, though there is a sort of general dark berry fruitiness to the aroma. The flavor, too, strikes me as stronger on rooibos than fruit flavor, which is more subtle; I get that sort of honeyed sweetness, a slight mellow orange note, a little brisk woodiness, and then toward the end of the sip is a slightly sweet, slightly tart berry flavor. It doesn’t strike me particularly as blueberry, though. But it is pleasant. And I do find that a nice, warm, strong cup of the tea (I do need to be a little more heavy handed on the leaf) produces a nice flavor and doesn’t come out with that medicinal cough syrup flavor that I was worried about. The leaf certainly smelled like it in the bag, though!
It’s a relaxing cuppa. I find it nice with a touch of local honey, too; gives it an almost floral sweetness and makes the berry note pop a touch!
Flavors: Berry, Honey, Orange, Rooibos, Sweet, Tart, Wood
This tea smelled like acetone as it was steeping, so I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Thankfully, I had no intention of drinking it hot. As an iced tea, the blend was a very interesting combination of floral, fruity and citrus notes. If I’d have been given this in a blind taste, I would’ve never pinpointed the flavor as lychee. To be fair, I’ve never eaten a lychee. I’ve only ever had lychee-flavored things – boba tea, candy/jelly, tea, etc. That said, it was a very pleasant blend with nicely balanced flavor. I’ll be saving a bit of my sample bag to make some boba tea. Again, it hasn’t been one of my favorites during this week of sampling Tea Chai Té blends, but it makes a nice iced tea.
I started my day with this blend – hot and straight. It’s pleasant but not something I’d repurchase. There’s something happening with the aftertaste that doesn’t sit well on my taste buds. It’s definitely a dessert tea. The base is nice, and there’s decent caramel flavor. I’m not getting much in the way of creme brûlée. It’s smooth and rich, but it’s not as decadent as I was expecting given the name. It’d probably make a nice latte.
I had this blend over ice this morning, but I imagine it’d be lovely hot as well (particularly in fall). The pear flavor was really fresh and ripe. It didn’t taste cloying or candied. The pomegranate added just a bit of tartness and sharpness. In fact, the blend reminded me of a more subdued, natural version of Cranberry Pear (one of my top ten faves from DT). Again, the smooth black tea base was hanging back and playing a supporting role.
If I didn’t have a ton of Cranberry Pear to sipdown, I’d be tempted to add this to my next order.
The flavored black tea blends from Tea Chai Te continue to impress.
I’m continuing to work my way through my Tea Chai Te samples…
Of the teas I’ve encountered that combine strawberry and lemon, I’d say about 95% of them are fruit infusions. I was very pleasantly surprised to see a black tea that featured the pairing. I had this blend (over ice) this afternoon, and I was really quite pleased with the flavor payoff. The flavors of the strawberry and lemon were both present, and they complemented each other very nicely. What’s more, the black tea base was smooth and mellow which really allowed the juicy, fruity notes to shine.
If you’re looking for a tasty iced tea blend that adds a bit of oomph to your standard citrus black tea, I’d recommend.
Flavors: Lemon, Strawberry
This tea combines my love of so many things – smooth black teas, vanilla, and stone fruits. Iced, this blend is so refreshing and juicy, and the vanilla just adds a bit of interest at the tail end of each sip. Hot, the vanilla is more amplified and the blend is giving me homemade peach jam/butter or peach cobbler vibes. The black tea base reminds me of those in so many of the blends I love from 52Teas – smooth, silky, strong but not astringent, complements the other flavors in the blend (as opposed to competing with them). It’s a delicious blend, and I’m so pleased that it tastes as good as it sounded when I bit the bullet and placed my order of samples. I received a very generous 1-ounce sample, but I’m burning through it quite quickly. I will be reordering it to add to my collection once I finish trying all my (11!) samples.
This is a delicious blend. I’ve iced it a few times. Each time it reminds me of freshly picked strawberries. The flavor is very jam-like to my taste buds. Truthfully, it makes me feel quite nostalgic. My grandparents used to grow strawberries in the backyard, and, as a child, I’d help my grandmother make homemade strawberry jam every summer. The hibiscus adds lovely color and a bit of tartness that complements the strawberry flavor. The orange and tangerine aren’t overpowering. They add just a kiss of citrus flavor that, again, recalls memories of jam making with grams and the addition of fresh lemon juice to complement the sweetness of the strawberries. Strawberry teas don’t rank very highly on the list of teas I have to have in my cupboard. However, this is a lovely blend with true strawberry flavor that would be an excellent addition to a summer iced tea rotation. It’d make awesome Arnold Palmers too.
I’ve been craving tropical teas for the past month or so. For the past few summers, DT’s tropical summertime blends have been very heavy on the coconut and they love their pina colada variations. While I love coconut, I can’t get down with pina colada teas. The only one I’ve enjoyed in (relatively) recent memory is Strawberry Colada, and that was largely because it was hibiscus-forward with excellent strawberry flavor. But, I digress. My point is, I’ve been hankering for some good tropical blends without having to drink the entirety of my Beach Bellini and Mandarin Mimosa stash. Enter Papaya and Pineapple. Even in the absence of added sweeteners or flavorings, the papaya note is so fresh and flavorful. I’m glad the pineapple just plays a supporting role in this blend.
Another simple tea – strong, rich vanilla flavor in a delicious black tea base. Although strong, the vanilla isn’t overpowering or sweet. Although Amethyst’s Gold (52Teas) is still occupying the top spot in my list of favorite vanilla black teas, this is a worthy substitute. It’s certainly easier to get my hands on, so I’ll be adding this to my list of teas to repurchase.
May Flowers! So I decided to try something a bit different tonight. I have never tried a Silver Needle white tea before (I’ve had Bai Mudan and Shou Mei varieties), and I’ve also never tried chrysanthemum as a floral, so I was curious about this one. It was one of the teas I picked up in my big Tea Chai Te birthday haul this last March.
The scent of the dry leaf was very herbaceous and didn’t give me many clues to the taste. I still find I have a hard time eyeballing whites, so I opted to just measure out just under two and half grams on my scale for my 400ml cup and western brewed this at around 180 F for three minutes. The scent from the yellow liquor was a lot sweeter than the dry leaf, with almost a honeysuckle quality, but there was also a very subtle grassy note to the aroma, too. It was a very soothing scent.
I found the flavor a bit mild, but not unpleasant. There was this slight earthy quality to the brew that has a vegetal/mineral quality that I also taste when I drink butterfly peaflower tea, as well as notes of dry grass, a floral sweetness, and a warm touch of honey on the close. It’s a very light and delicate tea, but there is also something very relaxing about it.
I wouldn’t say this sort of tea is my favorite flavor profile, but I don’t dislike it, either. For me, it’s a mood tea, and when I’m in the mood for it, I find it really hits the spot.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Sweet, Vegetal
May Flowers! This month I’m going to be sampling a variety of floral blends from my collection — teas and tisanes with inclusions of rose petals, lavender, chrysanthemum, cornflower, chamomile, hibiscus (yup, I don’t care if it’s the most unpopular ingredient on this site, it’s a flower, it counts!), marigold, sakura, or just teas that happen to have a strong floral note to their flavor profile.
This is one of my older Tea Chai Te purchases, that I actually bought when I visited the shop during a birthday vacation in March of 2017. For being a year old the leaf still smells good, but I’ve definitely put a priority on this for sipdown, since I know fruit teas don’t keep long, and this is a tropical fruit and hibiscus blend. The leaf has a very lovely fruity and floral aroma.
I’ve tried this tea warm in the past, but definitely prefer it iced. I’ve made it before as a warm brew and then chilled it, but this time I simply cold brewed it. The tea has a nice fruit punch flavor that I really enjoy, with a slightly tangy tropical flavor, with notes of pineapple, citrus, and a very subtle floral hint of rose right at the end of the sip. I have personally found that the tea is most tangy as a warm brew, but mellows out a bit iced, especially when cold brewed. While this does have a lot of natural fruity tanginess, I find it also has a lot of natural sweetness and a softer floral quality as well. I really enjoy this tea for it’s refreshing punchy quality; I think my only complaint, is that for a tea called “Papaya and Pineapple,” I wish it had a much stronger pineapple presense, but I don’t believe this tea is using flavorings (at least, it doesn’t state so on the website) and that would be hard to achieve with just dried fruit. Still a very tasty fruit blend!
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Pepper, Pineapple, Rose, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
I’m bringing the rating up on this one, because after getting to play around with this tea a bit, I’ve found a way to prepare it that works much better to bring out a sweeter profile rather than the initial extremely spicy one. The tea is no longer burning my mouth off and I have to say… I’m kind of digging this creamy golden latte.
While infusing directly in milk (from everything I’ve heard) usually isn’t advised, that’s basically what I did! One use of this stuff stained my gravity well infuser yellow, and it was extremely hard to dispense because it left a thick sludge on the mesh so the water couldn’t escape, so I was trying to think of ways I could make the tea that wouldn’t require the infuser. That meant using a teapot and pouring the tea through a strainer, or — since I wanted a latte anyway — I thought of simply making it the way I make cocoa, and putting the tea (which is mostly powder with ground spices and coconut) into my milk frother and letting it whip it up directly into the coconut milk while it heated the milk. Nothing gained without trying, right?
This time, I used one teaspoon of the chai, one cup of coconut milk, and a small dash of vanilla coconut creamer for an extra dash of sweetness. I leave the frothing attachment off my milk frother so it just stirs the ingredients and heats the milk, and I ran two cycles, so it was heating for about five minutes. At the end, it looked like a very creamy orange conconction! I put my strainer over my cup as I poured the milk in, and other than tiny bits of lemongrass making it into the cup (they actually looked like a garnish on the top) all the tea was filtered out and easily disposed. And the chai was now very sweet, without that extremely hot burning ginger aftertaste! Very smooth and creamy, some nice turmeric notes and some hints of spice, but overall a sweeter profile based more on the coconut in the blend. This is the way to go with this tea if you are spice-sensitive like me.
Flavors: Citrus, Coconut, Ginger, Orange, Pepper, Spicy, Sweet
Chai to Stay Dry! I got an order from Lupicia today, and it took me so long to update my tea catalogs that it was too late in the evening to make any caffeinated tea by the time I was done, so it was time to sample another of my herbal chais! This was another from my Tea Chai Te haul last month, and one I was fairly curious about; I’ve only ever tried one other turmeric tea before.
I’ll admit, the aroma of the tea really drew me in, as I smelled a heavy sweet coconut aroma from the bag. The tea was very hard to dispense from my infuser though, because it formed a thick sludge on the mesh of my gravity well infuser, so the liquid couldn’t pass through; I had to keep taking a spoon and scooping the sides as I dispensed the liquid a little at a time until I got the tea out. Certainly there must be a better way? Is that supposed to happen? I’ll admit I assumed the turmeric would just dissolve completely, like matcha or cacao powder.
I was not prepared for how spicy this tea was! The dry tea smelled so sweet, like a sweet honey cream coconut, but this was by far the spiciest tea I have ever tasted, and my spice-sensitive tastebuds were not prepared! Even more than the turmeric, this tea is really ginger heavy… spicy, full ginger, that sits at the back of the tongue and heats the whole mouth and just lingers there.
I actually think I’m okay with the taste of the turmeric. I’m picking up a sort of peppery, citrus orange note. Despite how heavy this blend is of coconut, I’m really surprised I’m having a hard time actually tasting it, or that it seems to be sweetening up the tea… but maybe that’s just because my ultra-spice-sensitive tongue is too busy burning from all the ginger!
Turning this into a coconut milk latte was a no-brainer, and that did help a lot. It could just be the coconut milk itself, but I’d like to think that helped bring out the natural coconut notes in the blend to the forefront a bit. The creaminess of the milk certainly worked wonders on the blend, but even through the milk, I still found this too spicy for my liking. I do think turmeric is a spice that has potential for me, but I think I may just need to play with proportions on this compared to how I normally make chai lattes. I usually make a double-strength tea infusion and do two-parts tea to one-part milk, and I don’t think that’s going to be the right equation for me here. So next time I’m feeling adventurous enough to burn my tongue off again, I’ll start by cutting back on the tea by a lot since I now know that ginger goes a long way, make more warm milk than usual, and sample slowly as I add more to the cup until I find a sweet spot.
Flavors: Citrus, Coconut, Ginger, Orange, Pepper, Spicy
Chai to Stay Dry! I’m on the second day of a migraine, so I’ve only been drinking herbal teas until this passes, just so the blood vessels in my head won’t be going through any extra vasoconstriction from caffeine. Luckily I actually do have several tisane chai options.
I’ll admit that when I first got this tea a year ago, the flavor didn’t really click with me so it’s mostly sat around in my cupboard since then. But over that year as I sampled more teas, one of the ingredients I’ve had more exposure to and really adapted my palate to and have taken a liking is tulsi, and now I really have an appreciation and liking for this chai. The base is a mix of honeybush and tulsi, and it has this strange aroma that is sweet, earthy, minty, peppery, and just a little citrusy. The tea is very relaxing; the sip leads with a soft minty taste before sweeter peppery honeybush and an earthy tulsi fill out the tea. The chai spice notes in this tea are a lot more gentle against the base; I can pick out a hint of clove in the background, and there is a lovely sweet licorice root finish left on the tongue, but overall this is a sweeter tasting tea than a spicy one. The peppery notes that make me think of this as a chai are flavor notes rather than heated or spicy, and are natural compliments of the honeybush and tulsi paired together. It seems an odd choice to put these two herbs together but the flavor pairing actually works really well.
This tea doesn’t really harken to the ideal of a chai equating a “spicy” profile, but herbal fans that are looking for something a little different might really like this. Especially tulsi fans!
Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Earth, Licorice, Mint, Pepper, Sweet
Chai to Stay Dry! So this was a chai that had me very curious, so I had to include it on my last Tea Chai Te order. I told my best friend about it, as he is a huge houjicha fan, and he even decided to order some to try as well! He sampled his before I got to mine and said it was very good, so on this drizzly evening, I figured it was time to finally give it a try!
This is a houjicha blended with chai spices and dusted in matcha powder (the chai spices aren’t specified on the website, so I’ve done my best to identify what I could from my infuser after the matcha powder was washed away, but I may have missed some, either from my ignorance or not having all the ingredients in that particular serving).
This is definitely a unique chai! The houjicha base is a deep, woody, roasted flavor, but the matcha powder adds a grassiness that normally isn’t present in that sort of tea. The initial taste of spices I pick out are anise and licorice; it isn’t a strong, biting, sticky sweetness, but it adds enough sweetness that the matcha feels naturally sweet rather than having its typical vegetal bitterness. Toward the end of the sip, as the sweet licorice and matcha flavors fade, the robustness of the hojicha fills out and a burst of strong ginger and cardamom linger on the tongue, leaving behind just a slight bit of heat.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition between sweet and savory, and honestly, I’ve never had a chai like this before. I think anyone that likes houjicha and matcha should try it, for the unique experience if nothing else. This tea is fine plain, but I like it with just a dash of vanilla almond milk, just because I find a fuller, creamy mouthfeel suits it nicely. Even though the matcha powder on the tea leaves is only good for the first steep, it’s totally worth it to resteep the houjicha and spices and enjoy the tea sans matcha on a second steep to enjoy that flavor as well… it’s almost like getting two teas in one!
Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Ginger, Grass, Licorice, Roasted, Spicy, Wood
Chai to Stay Dry! This is another chai I picked up with my birthday giftcard from Tea Chai Te (one of my favorite tea shops that is located in Portland, Oregon… I’m so glad they have a web shop so I can continue to try their teas since I haven’t had another vacation out that way in some time!) This tea uses their Mt. Hood Vanilla black tea as a base, and then adds cloves and cinnamon. The dry leaf smells lovely… the name seems quite appropriate from the wonderful spicy vanilla aroma.
This tea has a lovely depth to it. The vanilla is very natural, giving it a warm, sweet flavor, that isn’t syrupy or overbearing like teas full of flavorings. Mixed with the ceylon base and the spices, I get rich caramel notes, with a hint of dark cocoa. It’s very smooth, and even though the black tea brews up quite dark, there is no bitterness, and only the slightest hint of astringency left on the tongue after sipping. There is a wonderful cinnamon note that is left on the tongue after each sip, but it isn’t a hot, spicy cinnamon, but more of a sweet cinnamon note, like when you spread cinnamon-sugar over the top of toast! Just below the sweetness, is the subtle touch of clove, adding a little more depth.
This tea is amazing! I really loved the Colonille vanilla tea I sampled not long ago, that had the Vietnamese black base mixed with vanilla, but this easily outranks it with that sweet warm touch of cinnamon perfectly complimenting the vanilla notes.
I had originally planned to make this as a vanilla almond milk latte, because I expected the Ceylon to be more bitter and astringent (as it usually is for me), but this tea is just perfect as it is! It is a perfect balance of flavors, and I’m pretty sure this is going to be a permanent staple in my collection from now on.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Clove, Dark Chocolate, Smooth, Sweet
Chai to Stay Dry! And it certainly is a wet day here today! (It even snowed all morning before turning to rain! Bah! I could do without April snow showers!) This tea is delightful! I originally tried this last October during my “Pumpkinpalooza” for my now-defunct tea blog, but I stocked up on more with the Tea Chai Te gift card I got for my birthday, because I remembered just how good it was. On a cold, wet, throw-back-to-winter day like today, a tea like this really hits the spot!
The base of this chai is not as heavy as many other chais (it is actually very similar to the base of T2’s Chai blend I had the other night) so the spices and flavors don’t get overwhelmed by a strong or astringent black. This is also a chai that is on the sweeter side rather than the spicy side. The flavor has a strong cinnamon/nutmeg top note, with a bit of a lingering ginger/clove note. The base of the tea has a notable creamy vanilla and pumpkin spice flavor that is just wonderful, so the overall flavor is like a sweet pumpkin dessert. Of all the pumpkin spice teas I’ve tried, this one still remains my favorite!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Vanilla
I gave my tea presentation for National Library Week at the library today and I was shocked that 21 people showed up for it! I had kind of convinced myself I’d probably only get maybe 2-5 people at most (maybe because my biggest fear was having a big turnout, since I had five different teas to sample as part of the program and didn’t know how I’d manage brewing enough for a large group) but from the feedback I heard people seemed to like it, several said they wanted a return of the program with different teas, and a few that left early apparently told other staff members that I was very knowledgable on the topic. As a cataloger I don’t really do public speaking/events and I haven’t been in front of a group since college (!) so I was way more nervous than I care to admit, especially when I saw the turnout and was afraid people would be upset over smaller sampler servings. But it went smoothly and our director was happy with the turnout and the community interest bringing so many folks into the library! So I’m pretty happy now (though admittedly exhausted!)
This tea was one of the teas featured in the program (during the history and culture on China I featured a white tea) and I had a bit left over so now I’m finally getting to try it myself. This Peach Blossom White comes from one of my favorite tea shops, Tea Chai Te, in Portland, Oregon, and is one of the teas I got from their website with the generous giftcard my Dad sent me last month for my birthday. I prepared it iced using the cold brew method prior to the program.
This tea is soooooo much nicer than TeaSource’s Machu Peach-u, or at least, more to my personal tastes, as it is completely lacking that strong wet autumn leaf pile taste that is in Machu Peach-u. I know for a fact this tea is using Bai Mu Dan leaf, while Machu Peach-u only states it uses “white tea,” but it is a very brown tea leaf, and I’m now suspecting it’s base is Shoumei, and that’s the difference here; I just have a preference for one type of white tea over the other. I would say that the peach flavor is perhaps a bit more dominant in Machu Peach-u, but since that leafy flavor is also so strong, it is overall less enjoyable to me; here the peach flavor is light, flowery, and delicate, and some of the folks in the program where actually a bit disappointed and confused that it had such a strong peach smell but such a light and delicate flavor. I tend to appreciate my fruit-flavored teas (especially greens and whites) more on the softer side so the base can shine through a bit, and I think this one does a good job. It’s soft, has a bit of peach without being overwhelming, and some lovely floral notes fill the end of the sip. It’s very light, smooth, and refreshing.
Flavors: Floral, Melon, Peach, Sweet
My head pain is (slowly) starting to wane, and I remember that last time my migraine was approaching the postdome phase a heavy lavender infusion seemed to help speed up the process. My nausea is getting a little better (oddly enough the only thing I’ve really craved the last few days has been straight-up pineapple juice, so I’ve been guzzling that rather than tea), but I feel ready to handle a warm cuppa again. Since I cashed-in my birthday giftcard to Tea Chai Te and that order arrived today, I thought I’d make this blend, which has a very heavy lavender aroma.
Now, the last time I had a lavender-heavy tea, it was just too much (which was Lupicia’s Lavender White tea), and I ended up having to turn it into a lemonade infusion to drink it, so I’ll admit when I smelled how strong the lavender was in this, I was immediately worried. Plus the base in this was a mix of blackberry, strawberry, and… red raspberry leaf. My lowest rated tea to date has been Traditional Medicinals bagged Red Raspberry Leaf tea. But I wouldn’t have ordered this if I didn’t have a natural curiousity to try a new lavender tea so… crossing fingers and hoping for the best here.
I am actually honestly surprised. There is no doubt, lavender is the main flavor here, but there was something that came off so strongly in Lupicia’s White Lavender that it had this bitter bite right in the close of the sip, and the whole thing just felt overwhelming. This is not so. It has a strong lavender flavor, but still pulls off a delicate, floral mouthfeel. The taste actually has a minty note, if you were to take away the strong menthol feeling from the mint, and the finish is sweet and flowery. I thought with such a leafy base that I’d taste that distinct “cut grass” sort of taste I can get from raspberry leaf, but the tea just tastes like a very smooth lavender tea.
I love lavender and got a bit worried and put off by the last lavender tea I’d tried, so I’ll admit this is a really pleasant surprise… this is so nice! It has a strong lavender taste without hitting that edge that goes too far and becomes bitter from the flower, leaves a lovely minty, refreshing feeling in the mouth, and is incredibly relaxing. This is good plain, but if you are in the mood for a sweeter profile, a little lemon honey is great in it, as well! If you are a fan of lavender teas, this is a good one!
Flavors: Floral, Lavender, Mint, Smooth
Last night I had all the telltale signs of a sinusy cold coming on — pain between the eyes, drippy nose, horse throat, exhausted by 7 pm — so the tea I decided to bring to work today is one I picked up at the Tea Chai Te teashop in Portland on vacation last spring when the rainy Portland weather was also getting to my throat. I’m a very “spice-sensitive” person and just looking at the leaf is a bit intimidating, as it /looks/ very ginger-heavy, but a tea full of Vitamin C-rich hibiscus, rosehips, and citrus, and spicy throat-soothing ginger and licorice root was exactly what I was feeling.
I’m always amused when I brew hibiscus teas at work, because they come out purple instead of red (and I use the filtered water here! I seriously have to wonder about the water quality at the library sometimes…) Color aside, though the tea does have a nice heat to it, it wasn’t near as off-putting as I was fearing. I can’t taste the licorice root, but I think it adds enough natural sweetness to help tame some of the spiciness, and the hibiscus and rose hip give the tea a rich, tart base which grounds it a lot as well (and I have one of those tongues that takes tart flavors very well). There is a distinct orangey citrusy flavor to the base, followed by a burst of gingery heat. It’s a bit like an orange version of a lemon ginger tea, but more punchy due to the hibiscus, and the ginger notes are a lot stronger than I tend to find in most lemon gingers. It’s a bit spicy for me to drink this as a daily drinker, but this is a good, strong “throat tea” for a cold. Chock full of Vitamin C and herbs good for a sensitive throat.
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Ginger, Hibiscus, Orange, Spicy, Tart
This is one of the custom chais I picked up from Tea Chai Te, a tea shop I found on vacation in Portland last March that I absolutely adored (this was actually the first pot my friend and I shared at the shop, and I ended up taking some of this blend home with me!) This is an herbal chai blend that is like a spicy Mexican hot chocolate; the base is delicious Guittard cocoa powder, mixed with chai spices! Despite not having a strong black tea base, this by no means is not a chai without a bite, and I can’t imagine anyone being able to take this chai plain; it steeps a very dark color, like dark chocolate in a cup, has a very bittersweet bite (much like straight baking chocolate), and is very, very spicy! This is a chai meant to be taken with milk and sugar! I like to use just a little chocolate almond milk, since then I don’t have to fuss with finding just the right amount of sweetener, since the milk already has a sweet touch. I tend to take this one with a 3/4s tea to 1/4 milk ratio, just to make it nice and creamy, balance out the spices, and sweeten out the cocoa a bit.
This is a great chai if you like cocoa with a kick! It has a rich chocolately flavor, but there is a bit of spicy heat right at the back of the tongue in the finish. There is a faint peppery note on the tip of the tongue and some cardamom notes, but the dominant flavor for me is a hot gingery flavor, which compliments the chocolate well. The tea is pretty versatile, and more or less milk and sweetener can be added to your tastes depending on how spicy (or not spicy) you enjoy taking your foods. I’m the sort of person that has to take 0-stars on my Thai food, and find this a pretty robust chai, but can handle it fine with the right sweetened milk. If you are particularly sensitive to ginger (or don’t like ginger) then this probably isn’t the chai for you. If you like spicy-choco, I’d recommend giving this a try!
Flavors: Cardamon, Chocolate, Ginger, Pepper, Spicy
Needs a lot of leaf! After you brew it, I think it smells much stronger than it tastes. First brew was done at 2 minutes, second at 4. I haven’t tried a third, the second was still alright so it could be worth it.
Feels better warm than hot.