Tea Chai TeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed this one yet, since I’ve had it since my Portland birthday trip in March 2017, when I visited Tea Chai Te. It’s their take on the famous Cinnamon Orange tea from Market Spice in Seattle, only on a rooibos base. I normally don’t like that artificial “Red Hot” cinnamon candy flavor used in these sorts of spice teas; they don’t claim to be using any flavoring, but it certainly has that “cinnamon flavoring” taste which makes me think of cinnamon candy or Big Red chewing gum that I don’t associate with teas that are only using cinnamon spice. That said, the rooibos base adds a lot of natural sweetness which helps temper it a lot, so I find it much less cloying and obnoxious than I usually find that flavoring. It’s actually kind of pleasant, reminding me of the sweet, satisfying counter-balance to the strong spicy cinnamon flavoring I get from the one cinnamon candy that I actually like, chocolate-covered cinnamon gummy bears.
The result is a tea that is more mildly spicy than overbearingly hot; the sip has a sweet rooibos and strong cinnamon candy flavor, with a very subtle sweet orange note in the rooibos base. It’s a bit hard to make out beneath the spice, though. A bit of clove is present toward the end of the sip. Mostly, it’s a strong cinnamon rooibos, and it’s the artificial, candied sort of flavor. But it at least isn’t hot, creating pleasant warmth during the sip but not leaving a long spicy lingering unpleasant tingle. It’s a safe choice for spice-weenies like me.
Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange Zest, Rooibos, Sweet
This is probably the best smelling tea from the tea box, so I had to try it! It reminds me of Harney’s hot cinnamon sunset flavor, but with a bit more complexity. The flavor is mostly cinnamon. Sugar makes the flavor pretty pleasant. While it’s tasty, it’s not really special enough to keep around. I think the Harney version is a little bit better, but I don’t even keep that one around anymore since I haven’t gravitated toward spicy teas lately.
23rd day of Sara’s Advent Calendar!
It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and this is a nice spiced tea that reminds me a bit of Hobee’s tea, a blend they serve in their restaurants and also offer in loose leaf. The cinnamon and clove waft off the cup and are the prominent flavors. I can also taste the rooibos and a subtle note of the orange peel. It tastes sweet too. I like it hot, and I’ll bet it would work great as an iced tea too.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Orange Zest, Rooibos, Sweet
It’s already the 20th day of Advent! Thanks again to Sara for the custom calendar!
This one smells like pumpkin in the cup, not just spice! Since this is a chai blend, I brewed it in water and added enough vanilla almond milk to cool it down so I can drink it right away. It’s probably not to most people’s taste, but I like doing it that way.
It’s actually more pumpkin than spice! I can taste a little cinnamon and clove or allspice. I checked the ingredients, and no allspice. So it must be clove. Oh hey, now I found a ginger note at the end of the sip.
I think it would be fine w/o any milk too.
If you like your chai to have a big kick of spices, you might not like this one so much, but I love it. It’s warm and soothing.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Pumpkin
I received an early Christmas gift in the mail yesterday: the black tea gift set from Tea Chai Te! I’ve been wanting to try their “Mount Hood Vanilla” blend for ages and I’m so excited to finally own it, along with several others. This is the one tea in the gift set that I wasn’t quite sure about and sadly it isn’t for me. The description is accurate…this is like drinking melted red hots! Way too much cinnamon for me. I’m sure there’s someone out there who loves cinnamon and will adore this tea, so I’ll be popping it in the Discovery TTB for someone else to enjoy. :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Spicy
The smell is very vanilla! Like the vanilla coffee is sometimes scented with.
Hmm, I feel like I’m tasting the vanilla and then the mate, but not together. Or something grassy. There’s a very slight note of macadamia, but I wish it had a little more of that.
It’s not bad, but after smelling it, I’m a bit disappointed by the taste.
Edit: Okay, I tried it again cold, and I like it much better! I moved it up from 65 to 81. I also now taste a coffee note.
Flavors: Coffee, Grass, Nuts, Vanilla
Autumn Harvest! Going nutty again today, though this is my only macademia nut tea (honestly, I don’t think I’ve even seen any other macademia nut teas!) and it’s on a rather unique base — yerba mate (another rarity, as yerba mate blends in general are rather rare). The smell is interesting to me, because I’ve had plain yerba mate and it tasted just like gunpowder green tea to me — vegetal and like tobacco smoke — but this smells just like a nutty coffee with a bit of vanilla creamer from the dry leaf. It’s soooooo appealing! I usually only get roasted mate because I don’t care for that tobacco smoky taste, but this doesn’t even have a hint of that from the aroma.
Steeped up the tea is lightly golden, and the tea tastes very similar to the aroma. It isn’t a strong coffee flavor by any means (nothing like roasted barley) but I’m getting it. It’s a bit vegetal too, a bit like dry hay, but I’m not getting that smoky tobacco taste that turned me off so much from plain, unroasted mate before. The flavoring of vanilla and macademia nut oils is wonderful! It’s not overwhelming, but it really does seem to bring out that sweet, nutty coffee feel, and it’s so natural, too. The nut is very forward on the sip, and the vanilla just adds a sweetness that sort of lingers at the end, and the two flavors compliment each other well.
This is probably the best unroasted yerba mate I’ve ever had. Will definitely be keeping this one around!
Flavors: Coffee, Hot hay, Nutty, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal
I had this in my water bottle today, prepared as a cold brew, about five teaspoons to a quart and left to steep overnight. I have to say, this is a really nice fruit tea; I normally love tart/tangy hibi-hip teas, but this tea is much sweeter than a lot of fruit teas I’ve tried, with strawberry being the dominant flavor note I’m getting. In fact, the first thing that came to my mind was sweet, strawberry jam. I also get some slightly more tangy red berry notes, which settle toward the back of the tongue toward the end of the sip, but overall it’s just a very naturally sweet, juicy, jammy tea. It’s very refreshing!
Flavors: Berries, Fruity, Jam, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy
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