Saint Isaac’s Blend Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports

St.IsaacsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

A premium blend of Ceylon and China teas, with the flavor of grapefruit, bergamot, and other citrus fruit. Popular in Europe, this Russian-style blend is recommended for an interesting departure from traditional Earl Grey. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I am revisiting a tea that I’ve previously reviewed this evening, mostly because it’s been ages since that previous review published, and when I sat down with this Saint Isaac’s Blend Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports, I felt like writing about it.  It’s one of my favorites from Upton.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting a tea, is there?  One of the first lessons I learned when I began my tea journey many years ago (more years than you need to know!) I learned that every tea tastes different to every palate, and I think that it should follow that every tea would offer potential to be at least a little different each time you taste it.

This tea has a very pleasant black tea base that is strong and solid, like a robust drapery of flavor.  It is rich with hints of smoke – and I like that the smoke here is delicate.  I’ve tasted at least a couple of “smoky” Earl Grey blends, and of those that I’ve tried and come to memory, I will say that this one offers the softest smoky taste.  There is a slight “malty” note to this as well as a chocolate-y type of flavor from the black tea.   I notice less astringency with this cup than I seemed to indicate on my previous tasting note.

As the tea cools slightly, the citrus notes of the tea begin to POP.  The grapefruit, in particular, is noteworthy.  The bergamot seems a little less apparent than the grapefruit.  Imagine, if you would, two friends at the party:  one friend is sort of out there and really capturing everyone’s attention.  The other friend is right by the party animal’s side, not making as much noise but is still within the focus of everyone at the party.  With this tea, the grapefruit is the party animal, while the bergamot is the party animal’s best friend.

A really enjoyable tea – as I said before, it’s one of my favorites from Upton Tea Imports – because it’s an unusual tea with a captivating complexity.  Definitely one you should try!

Product Review: Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea, fiery ginger, and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually go for chai concentrates.  I don’t stop at a lot of coffee shops (although here in the Pacific Northwest, there seems to be at least one on every street corner) and order chai lattes that are made from those concentrates.  The reason is that I find that they don’t really taste very much like tea.  They are more like some sort of sweet (sometimes sickeningly sweet), spicy, milky beverage that is alright, but not something I’d want to drink on a regular basis.  On average, I’d say I have one of those coffee shop chai lattes about three times a year.

But… if I found a local coffee shop that used THIS chai concentrate, I might visit more often!  This is really good.  I prepared it according to package directions, using a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 1 part milk, put it into a mug and then zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.

The results are delightful.  Although it is sweetened – it is sweetened just right for me.  It is not so sweet that the sweetener overpowers the flavor of the black tea and the spices.  And neither does the milk.

I can taste the strong black tea and the spices – and if the name of this particular variety is any indication to you, I especially taste the ginger.  It is peppery but not over-the-top spicy.  It warms me up without making me feel like I need something to offset the hot spice.  Just enough zing without making my mouth feel like I should call the fire department!

This is really delicious!