Leaf Type: Herbal/Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: PONOinfusions
Wai will refresh you with a tranquil infusion of herbs & botanicals, inspired by breathtaking waterfalls, streams, and fresh water pools, all preciously vital to life in Hawai’i. Made from certified organic and fair trade ingredients and caffeine-free, Wai immerses you in a marriage of mint & berry. Wai means fresh water in Hawaiian—a precious resource in Hawai’i’s fragile ecosystems.
To learn more about efforts to conserve wai and the native plants & animals who call Hawai’i’s wai home, such as the endangered pinapinao (Hawaiian damselfly) and the uluhe fern featured on this package, please visit the Native Flora & Fauna section of our website.
Learn more about this tea here.
PONOinfusions is a company I only very recently discovered. So far, I love everything about them from their use of organic and fair trade certified ingredients to the incorporation of Hawaiian ingredients in their blends, creative themes to their teas, incorporation of Hawaiian culture and most importantly the strong emphasis on the fauna and flora in Hawaii which are endangered or at risk. On each tin you can see some of these species highlighted in the packaging, and a portion of their sales go to support working to sustain and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and plant and wildlife.
As described on their site, ‘pono’ means ‘the right thing to do’ and my first impression here is that Alex and Andrea are certainly doing their best to do that for Hawaii! I am very excited to get my first taste of one of their blends.
The tisane I’m trying today (and not all of the teas in their line are tisanes) is called “Wai” which means fresh water, and the feature fauna and flora on their package’s design are the Hawaiian damselfly and uluhe fern. As I taste this for the first time, I’m definitely keeping the intended ‘theme’ in mind and will be seeing how the flavour compares to it.
My first impression of the taste is that it’s very familiar in a really comforting way. Breaking down the flavours I can see why; a lot of the ingredients are ones I like a great deal individually and they’re working very well combined. The body of the flavour of comprised mostly of the mint in the blend. I know this uses both peppermint and spearmint, but the spearmint is definitely more of a dominant/concentrated flavour than the peppermint is. Layered under that is the raspberry. It’s not raspberry in a really obvious way; but a gentle, subtle soft hint of raspberry that provides contrast from the mint. The nettle leaf is a little earthy and unrefined, it seems to roll in and out of sips as a flavour that I’m noticing. Finally there’s a floral aspect that finishes the sip. It reminds me of a mild jasmine though as far as I’m aware there isn’t actually any jasmine or floral ingredients in the blend.
While none of these ingredients individually make me think of fresh water there’s something about the way they interact with each other that’s very calming and tranquil and reminds me of seafoam, and skinny dipping with friends in the middle of July as the sunsets. Additionally, I remember reading a poem not too long ago that compared the ocean to a womb, first and foremost giving life and that’s the kind of feeling I get from drinking this tea. I want warm waves to wash over and cradle me.
Overall, I really like the overall taste of this tisane but more importantly I love the way it makes me feel. I haven’t been this excited about a newly discovered company in a really long time, and I’m excited to hopefully try more of their blends (in particular I’m hoping I get to try Nahele) and I very, very much recommend checking out their website! Definitely a cool company, and I think they deserve a little more attention.
Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane
Where to Buy: Tealux
It may be a brash statement to say that one prickly green herb is the panacea for almost everything that ails you; but, in the case of stinging nettles, it’s mostly true. If there’s one plant to have on hand at all times that provides a cure for arthritis, an herbal treatment for allergies, relieves hair loss, treats Celiac disease, bleeding, bladder infections, skin complaints, neurological disorders and a long list of other conditions — it’s nettle leaf.
Learn more about this tea here.
So after Butiki closed up shop they put together two ‘travelling tea boxes’ for Steepster; one was an educational box with samples of various straight/pure teas and the other was a box of just herbal ingredients so people could try blending their own teas. While I didn’t participate in the Educational box I did get in on the herbal one! Since I was the only Canadian on the list, I was at the end of the shipping list to save people some shipping costs (darn postage; why do you have to be so expensive!?). Along the journey, other herbal ingredients were added to the box including this Nettle Leaf tea from Tealux!
This is one of a few ingredients in the box that I’ve either never had or never had plain; the latter in this case. Before mixing it with anything else, I wanted to try it on its own to know what I’m working with flavour wise – this also gave me a good opportunity to review it! I brewed up about sixteen ounces of this and had half of it hot, and the second half iced. Steeped up this has a very dark, swampy olive green colour. It’s both pretty and kind of intimidating. It reminds me a lot visually of what steeped up mulberry leaf looks like.
I started off by trying out the hot half of the two versions. I found that while this tasted very, very grassy with a bit of sweetness and also a bit of bitterness that along with those bold flavours was an equally bold medicinal kind of taste and aroma. It reminded me a little bit of the smell of a dentists’ office – an environment I’ve had a lot of exposure to recently. Of the two halves, this was definitely the one I least liked.
And on the note of ‘medicinal’ stuff – apparently there are a whole lot of health claims for drinking nettle leaf tea. I want to be really clear that I’m no expert on the health claims here nor do I necessarily believe all of them; and that’s definitely not why I’m drinking this tea. My personal belief is that any ‘health benefits’ I get from tea is a great added bonus, but I completely drink tea for the taste – and I review it for the sense of community, and to learn from other people’s experiences.
The iced version of this was very similar; incredibly grassy with sweet and pleasant bitter notes – however I didn’t taste anything especially medicinal and the aroma seemed less powerful too. It was just the taste of very obviously herbal tea. I’d definitely drink this plain again were it iced; I’m not so sure I’d be as willing to try it hot again unless it was sweetened, and I don’t normally sweeten my tea so that’s probably just a safe no on that front.
At least it gave me some good ideas of what to blend this with for my next herbal mix! Or I might just finish it off plain too; this was one of the ingredients in the box that was actually in a reasonably small quantity.