Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teas and Botanicals
Chai tea is an aromatic spiced tea originally from India. Our Real Chai Tea is a blend of two loose leaf black teas and a variety of spices, which brews a delicious and satisfying beverage.
Learn more about this chai here.
This Real Chai Tea Blend from Teas and Botanicals is a really flavorful chai. As far as spices go, it’s a relatively basic masala blend – possessing the usual suspects: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves … with pepper which is not as often utilized in spiced chais but I am encountering more and more chai blends that do include black pepper (and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned!)
The black tea is a solid black tea, chopped very fine (This is a very fine CTC) but, don’t let that detract you from trying this blend … I’ve tasted many CTC teas that are remarkably flavorful. The key is knowing that you shouldn’t brew them quite as long as you would full or broken leaf tea, because there is more surface area. A longer brew time may result in a bitter tea with a CTC tea. I brewed this in boiling water for just three minutes and I was treated to a very flavorful, strong tea without bitterness.
The spices are bold and delicious! I enjoyed this chai served without milk and just a little bit of turbinado sugar to enhance the spices … and then I tried it with a splash of warmed, frothed milk and what a TREAT! Yummy! This makes a fantastic chai latte!
A really good chai – I love chai and this one is delicious!
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Tea & Botanicals
Red Tea is naturally caffeine-free red tea blended with colorful flower petals and tropical flavors. Red Tea has reputed health benefits, as it is antioxidant rich and also contains vitamins and minerals.
Learn more about this tisane here.
Visually, this is a very pretty tisane. Amongst the needle-like reddish-brown rooibos leaves, there are beautiful petals of blue, red, and yellow. There is really very little aroma to the dry leaf, which is a little disappointing because with a name like “Real Red Paradise Tea,” I was kind of hoping for a beautiful, exotic fragrance. The brewed tea has a slightly stronger scent, smelling of a tropical fruit medley – not like any one fruit in particular, its more like a tropical fruit punch.
The flavor is surprisingly good. I say that because, with most rooibos blends I want a strong flavoring, because I don’t usually like to taste the flavor of oxidized rooibos. They are nutty, a little woody, and there is often this really funky sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste. It’s not really the most pleasant flavor.
But, somehow, this all works together very well. F0r starters, I don’t taste that funky sweetness nor do I taste a funky lingering aftertaste that I normally associate with red rooibos. I do taste the nutty tones, but somehow these typical rooibos flavors just work well with the flavors and more importantly with the level of flavoring that this tisane possesses. I taste sweet, nutty flavor, and unlike some other red rooibos blends I’ve tried in the past, this tastes very pleasant!
The tropical flavors are very light. I don’t know that I taste any one type of tropical fruit specifically. Every once in a while I think I taste pineapple, but, it tastes more like a harmony of fruit notes … and it’s a very delicate taste, like it’s off in the distance, just barely tempting the palate with sweet, fruity goodness.
And what I’m really enjoying most of all is how well these whispers of tropical fruit mingle with the floral notes … the rose is especially noticeable. The sweet notes from the rose together with the soft tropical fruit is really quite delightful.
Not a bad tisane, quite enjoyable. Nice for a quiet evening, when you just want to sit back and relax.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teas & Botanicals
Originally designed as a loose leaf ice tea blend, but great served either hot or iced. Blend of three flavored black teas producing sophisticated nectar with hints of cinnamon and citrus.
Learn more about this blend here.
When I hear (or read) the word “Ambrosia,” a very distinct image pops into my head. That of a fruit salad composed primarily of canned fruit, fresh sliced bananas, coconut shreds and mini marshmallows, all mixed together with a tub of Cool Whipped Topping to create a very fruity, sweet, white cloud of a salad that I would devour eagerly as a youngster during family gatherings. An ambrosia salad was certainly at most of these family gatherings, especially if my stepmother was hosting it.
So when I received this tea, that is immediately what I though of. But I must say, this doesn’t taste much like the ambrosia salad that I remember as a kid… this actually tastes better. It’s not quite as cloyingly sweet as the salad was, and while I do still have a sweet tooth as an adult, I do like the sweet flavors to be balanced with something to temper it. This tea provides that balance – with a taste that is sweet from the various fruit flavors, but, also a little something more. The cinnamon gives it a little bit of warmth and contrast, as does the black tea.
And with so many fruit flavors going on, one might thing that the black tea base might be a bit overpowered, but it isn’t. It is the strongest flavor, the first flavor that I noticed with my first sip, and each sip that has followed. It is a good, solid tasting black tea, not overwhelmingly strong and not a lot that stands out about it, except that it is pleasant and nicely round.
I taste the apricot flavor probably more than any other fruit note in this, and it is a smooth, sweet kind of taste. The orange seems to come through toward the tail end of the sip, and seems to linger on through the aftertaste. The other fruits seem to meld together in the background, offering more of a combined “fruit” flavor rather than several individual flavors, sort of like “fruit punch” tastes like a medley of assorted fruits rather than one distinct fruit flavor.
The cinnamon is blended skillfully here. Too much cinnamon and you’d end up with another of those cinnamon-orange type of teas with the majority of the other fruit flavors overpowered by the strength of the cinnamon. Too little and well … it wouldn’t be noticeable in the midst of the many fruit flavors. But here, it’s just right. It offers just enough gentle, warm flavor to the cup to perk up the flavor; to give it just a little bit of pizzazz without going overboard.
As this tea cools, I notice that the fruit notes begin to emerge stronger – not as individual fruit notes, but more of the combined fruit flavor that I discussed previously. The cinnamon emerges a little more also, but, still maintains its gentle presence and never becomes too strong.
Overall, a very enjoyable cup, makes for a lovely afternoon cuppa, it would be equally as nice served over ice on a hot summer afternoon (like today!) as it is served hot. In fact, I am allowing the rest to cool so that I can indeed enjoy this iced – because I’m wanting some cool liquid refreshment – this might just be the thing I need!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tiger Spring Tea
Bergamot oil from the citrus fruit grown in the Calabria district in Italy had become popular in the 18th and 19th centuries as a flavouring for gin and snuff. It was brought to Joseph Banks attention who is known to have experimented with flavourings. He is credited with adding it to tea, and it was most likely given the name Earl Grey, since he was the popular Prime Minister of the time. Our Real Earl Grey is scented using natural bergamot oil, rather than the synthetic scents commonly used. As a result it has a more citrusy nose and palate.
Learn more about this tea here.
As most of our regular readers are probably well aware of by now, I am a HUGE fan of Earl Grey. So whenever I get a new Earl Grey to try, I’m excited. And whenever I find an Earl Grey that I absolutely love … I find myself not only elated, but also somewhat confused. Why? Because I have a few “favorite” Earl Grey teas, and it seems that this list of favorites is expanding at a continual rate!
This Real Earl Grey from Tiger Spring Tea has earned a spot in my ever-growing list of favorite Earl Grey teas. From what I can glean from the Tiger Spring Tea website, the tea seems to be one that was grown in Kenya, which explains the robust black tea flavor that I taste. It is rich and well-rounded, providing a taste that is strong and smooth, with hints of smokiness in the background that offer an interesting dimension to the overall cup.
But as with any Earl Grey, the important factor is not the tea (although a high quality black tea base IS essential, and Tiger Spring certainly has not overlooked this) but the BERGAMOT. Here, the bergamot tastes very natural. There is a freshness to it, like freshly squeezed citrus juice. It is sweet … it seems to be sweeter than I usually notice with bergamot, and this sweetness offers a pleasing contrast with the tangy notes of the Italian fruit. I also notice that the natural floral notes of the bergamot are different here too.
I usually also notice floral notes with bergamot as well, and I do taste them here too, but, again, it’s different with this Earl Grey. The floral tones are not as noteworthy during the sip, which seems to focus on the sweet yet sour notes of the fruit, but in the aftertaste, which has a lingering floral note that is quite lovely. No soapy/perfume-y tastes here, just vibrant bergamot flavor.
Another favorite for the list!