Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane from Chiang Rai Tea House

Lemongrass+Pandan1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:   Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

An exquisite, balanced blend of two fragrant herbs typical of South East Asia. The lemony flavor and aroma of lemongrass is a great match to the sweet, vanilla-like taste of pandan. If you haven’t tried pandan yet, this infusion is not to be missed. The lemongrass-pandan combination is known to relieve stress, ease constipation. detoxify the blood and, being caffeine-free, it’s also the perfect after-dinner beverage. As for all our teas and herbs, these two are also organic.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t recall ever having tried Pandan before, so this moment with Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane from Chiang Rai Tea House represents a new experience for me.

Pandan is interesting!  It has a sweet flavor that is reminiscent of rice.  The description above suggests a vanilla-like taste and I get that too, but I think I taste more of a rice-like flavor than a vanilla one.  I’m quite enjoying it!

Lemongrass+PandanI have tried a lot of lemongrass in the past, but I must say that the lemongrass that I’ve sampled from Chiang Rai Tea House is truly exceptional.  I realize that there are people out there that might thing that ‘lemongrass is lemongrass’ but for those people, I’d recommend trying one of Chiang Rai Tea House’s lemongrass offerings and that might change your mind.  If nothing else, you might find the curly shavings of the lemongrass more interesting and enchanting than the typical blades of lemongrass that you might be used to.

The combination of the sweet, citrus notes of the lemongrass with its subtle hints of butter complement the pandan in a very pleasant way.  This is a really nice caffeine free drink – one I wouldn’t mind drinking on a regular basis!

Overall, I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to try this Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane – Pandan is delightful and so is the lemongrass!  A really nice tisane.

North Winds from Whispering Pines Tea Co.

NorthWindsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Co.

Tea Description:

My house black tea for good reason — North Winds is the essence of northern Michigan. A blend of a malty and chocolaty black tea from Fujian and a rustic high mountain dian hong with subtle fruity notes, this tea brings me home every time. Sweet fruity notes of apricot and white grape bring you to Traverse City while heavy dark chocolate notes allow you to have that Mackinaw Island fudge desert without having to take the ferry. Notes of toasted rye with cherry preserves show up mid-sip with a beautiful malt and wildflower honey finish. Light hints of sweet potato and clean white pepper mingle through the malt. These velvety smooth, decadent notes combine into a medium-bodied tea with a bold and rustic feel that makes for a perfect breakfast tea — but you’ll want to drink this all day long!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is Whispering Pines’ house black tea, and it’s become one of my house teas as well. It sits in a little tin at the front of my tea cupboard, and I drink it several times a week. When I feel like I’m beginning to run low I place an order for a couple more ounces because I never want to run out of this one. Given that I love trying new teas there aren’t too many teas that I say that about! It’s a delicious blend of Yunnan Dian Hong and Fujian Black Tea that makes me happy each time I drink it.

When I first sip this tea I get a nice mix of dark chocolate and malt. The chocolate note is deep but has a sweetness that makes me think chocolate rather than cocoa. There is also a sweet, fruity, cherry note that is eye rollingly good combined with the chocolate and malt notes. The mix of flavors reminds me of the braided cherry chocolate tarts I sometimes buy at Redding Terminal in Philadelphia.  Both the tea and the tarts are sweet but not overly so. There is an underlying earthy flavor to North Winds which I appreciate since it grounds some of the brighter flavors and makes this a tea that’s good both in the morning and the afternoon. I’ve paired this tea with eggs and biscuits for breakfast. I’ve also served it with sour cream chocolate chip cake at a tea party, and my guest really enjoyed it. Overall it’s a nice, versatile, and down right tasty blend.

Whispering Pines recommends Gongfu Style brewing for this tea. I have always brewed this Western Style using 1/2 a tablespoon of leaves in 8 ounces of 205°F water, steeping the leaves for  3 minutes.  I am curious to try the Gongfu Style brewing to see if it’s possible for me to enjoy this tea more than I already do. If you use different brewing styles with this tea leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

North Winds is a winner for me and one that I’ll happily repurchase again. I’d recommend this tea to black tea lovers and anyone who enjoys or is curious about Chinese black teas.

Lemongrass & Ginger from Chiang Rai Tea House

Lemongrass+GingerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Two excellent herbs, not only for their health benefits, but for their intense flavor and aroma, come together as the ideal hot beverage for when you feel under the weather. The spiciness of ginger, combined with the lemony taste of lemongrass, makes this a zesty combination that is guaranteed to make you feel good almost immediately! And, of course, both are organically grown.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not generally excited when it comes to trying a tisane.  Oh, I like most tisanes alright but if given a choice between a tisane or something with Camellia Sinensis in it, I’m going to choose the tea every time.

But there are times when I reach for a tisane, particularly later in the day/evening when I want to reduce the amount of caffeine I’m consuming.  And since it is evening now, I started sorting through my stash of teas and tisanes until I came across this Lemongrass & Ginger from Chiang Rai Tea House.  I decided that this would be my caffeine free choice for this evening.

The aroma wafting from my teacup right now is intriguing.  I smell very faint notes of citrus and notes of ginger, but I also smell a distinct note of pepper.  Black pepper, to be precise.  It smells as though someone had freshly ground some pepper in my teacup.  Not a fragrance I expected from this tisane!

Lemongrass+Ginger1I don’t actually taste black pepper, but I definitely smell it.  I smell it so distinctly that it gave me cause to check the ingredients:

Ingredients:  100% Organic Lemongrass and Organic Ginger.

No pepper.  Now, granted, ginger does have a peppery note to it, but I usually taste more of a peppery note than smell it.

But as I said, I’m not tasting a strong peppery taste.  What I taste is what the label promises:  I taste lemongrass and I taste ginger.  I like the way these two ingredients are balanced.

The ginger is warm and zesty.  The ginger has not been overdone here – I don’t feel too much heat on my palate or in my throat as I drink it.  It’s gently warming, but not hot or spicy.

The lemongrass is soft, sweet and delicately citrus-y.  Not tart but there is a hint of tangy to this.  It reminds me a bit of the lemon-lime taste you might experience if you were to be drinking a lemon-lime soda – but without the sugary sweetness.  There is a smooth, lightly buttery/creamy flavor to it and I really enjoy how the lightly sweet, creamy citrus notes meld with the lively ginger notes.

The combination is a simple one:  ginger and lemongrass.  But it’s really tasty!

Matcha from Chiang Rai Tea House

ChiangMatcha1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Matcha -green tea powder- is an antioxidant powerhouse (ORAC rating of 1,300 units/gram compared to 105 units/gram for pomegranates) and its list of health benefits goes on and on -fights viruses and bacteria, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, L-Theanine relaxes and supports concentration, boosts metabolism and burns calories, contains the unique and powerful antioxidant catechin EGCg.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Matcha.  And even though it’s been a little while since I’ve written about Matcha, that doesn’t mean that it’s been a while since I’ve consumed it.  I try to drink a bowl of Matcha (or do a cold-water shake-up of Matcha in my water bottle) at least every other day.  Occasionally, I might skip a day or two, but, I do try to drink it regularly – the stuff is magical!  It’s not only tasty but it also makes me feel so good after I’ve had it.  It’s one of the most revitalizing, energizing and spiritually uplifting teas I know of.

So, I was really intrigued when Chiang Rai Tea House sent me some of their Matcha to try.  Traditionally, Matcha is a Japanese tea, but the tea that was ground into this powdered green tea is from Thailand.  So, I was interested to find out if it would be different from the traditional Matcha.

The color in this photo is brighter than the color of the tea in the package I received.

The dry powder is not the vivid Apple Green that you’d find with most top quality Matcha teas from Japan.  This tea was more like an Army Green color.  Kind of drab and dull.  This worried me because it’s been my experience that when it comes to Matcha, the color is very telling of what I’ll be tasting.

But, I’m going to try it and see how it goes.  I measured out some of the Matcha into my sifter and sifted into my Chawan and added hot water (160°F) and whisked the Matcha with my Chasen.  The Matcha incorporated quickly.  There was some froth to the prepared Matcha but it disappeared as quickly as it formed.

On their webpage, Chiang Rai Tea House says this about their Matcha:

We are particularly proud of our matcha, which we honestly believe can rival any Japanese matcha. This is a high-grade, 100% pure green tea powder made following strict guidelines. It has a smooth texture, a sweet aftertaste and an intense flavor, without the bitterness characteristic of lesser matchas.

I don’t know if this can rival any Japanese Matcha, but I will say that it’s better than some of the lower quality Japanese Matcha that I’ve tried.  It is smooth and sweet.  I’m not getting any of the bitterness or even the bitter-sweet notes that I’d taste from a lesser quality Matcha from Japan.  I’m actually quite surprised by that – because I expected this to taste a lot like that!  I expected this to taste like some of those average or even less-than-average Matcha teas that I’ve tried over the years.

This has a strong flavor that is a lightly buttery and there are pleasant notes of cacao.  It’s smooth and even though there were a couple of chalky moments, overall, I find this to be a very tasty Matcha.  The powder remained suspended in the liquid and didn’t settle to the bottom which was a big bonus as far as I’m concerned.  I liked that the consistency of the tea remained the same from the first sip to the last.

Overall, this was a pleasant Matcha experience.  This isn’t the best Matcha that I’ve ever tried, but it certainly wasn’t the worst.  If you’re someone who drinks Matcha daily and is looking for a good alternative to the average Matcha, try this.  This has a very pleasant flavor that I don’t always find in the average Matcha.

Green Tea & Peppermint from Chiang Rai Tea House

GreenTeaPeppermintTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Everything that goes in our teas is organic and traditionally grown at the farm. Just like the peppermint in this amazing blend. As green tea boosts the metabolism and reduces appetite, it may help burn calories. Meanwhile, peppermint can improve your workouts by allowing higher brain oxygen concentration and reducing lactate build-up, while also helping your digestion. Oh, did we mention it smells and tastes delicious, hot or on ice?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I generally enjoy minty teas, but I especially like it when the mint isn’t so powerful that it ends up tasting more like mouthwash than tea.  This Green Tea & Peppermint from Chiang Rai Tea House has got the balance of flavors just right!

It’s minty, but not overly so.  It is more like a soft, subtle whisper of mint that accents the sweet green tea.  It has that cool, refreshing flavor that I want from mint teas, but, I’m tasting more green tea here than I’m tasting mint and for that, Chiang Rai Tea House gets bonus points.

The green tea leaves are large and whole and I could see the fine, fuzzy hairs on the leaves.  I was kind of surprised at the appearance of the leaves because I’m used to Chinese or Japanese green teas that are much greener – these are a pale green with silvery tips!  In fact, these looked more like a Bai Mu Dan tea than most green teas I’ve seen.

Then again, these tea leaves are from Thailand and I can’t say that I’ve experienced a whole lot of teas from Thailand.

But I like what I’m tasting – I’m enjoying this tea a lot!  It’s sweet and it tastes fresh and lightly vegetal.  The vegetal notes aren’t so much like grass.  It has a slight ‘hay-like’ flavor (another nod to the previous Bai Mu Dan comparison) and there are notes of sweet fruit – evoking thoughts of honeydew melon.

A really surprising tea on many different levels.  And it’s been a very happy set of surprises!  A really delightful tea!