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big tea house

Cool Coconut Rooibos Chai from Big Tea House

cool_coconut_chaiChai Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Big Tea House

Chai Description:

Enjoy the fun and spiced infusion of chai gourmet loose leaf tea infused with the exotic flavor of coconut!

Learn more about this chai here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  The name of this tea led me to believe that I’d be enjoying a somewhat tame version of a masala spice chai but this tisane has got some kick to it!  Sure, it’s got the sweet, creamy coconut notes to soften the flavors a little but I’m still getting a lot of zesty flavor from this chai blend.

I love the coconut’s role in this blend.  It’s a creamy note and together with the spices, it evokes thoughts of a chai latte without the addition of dairy.  The coconut adds a pleasant sweetness too and I like the way the sweetness contrasts with the spices.

The spices are lively.  The ginger and pepper are the most prominent of the spices and the heat seems to bring out the spicy side of the cinnamon, making it more of a ‘hot’ cinnamon than a sweet cinnamon.  The cloves and cardamom add depth to the flavor.

The flavor of the rooibos is not easy to discern here, but I’m alright with that.  I do taste a very delicate earthiness from the rooibos and this complements the earthiness of the spices.

To steep:  I used 195°F water and steeped the leaves for 10 minutes.  I usually use a little extra leaf with a chai, so I used a scoop and a half for a 12 ounce cup.  A warm and flavorful chai.  If you want to go latte, use a little more leaf and a little less water so that the infusion is strong and doesn’t become to diluted by the addition of milk or cream.  But I found that with the coconut flavor, this doesn’t really need milk or cream to taste latte-ish!  A little bit of raw sugar does enhance the flavor of the spices nicely though, so I recommend adding just a half teaspoon of sugar to your cup!

Garden Bancha Tea from BigTeaHouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  BigTeaHouse

Tea Description:

A traditional loose leaf green tea with a hint of sweetness and a medium astringency. Bancha is known for its earthy tones and scents.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is the second tea from my “Around the Clock” Steepster Select box, and it is one with which I was pleasantly surprised.  I would not have thought of including a Bancha in this box, but, when I really think about it, it makes perfect sense, since Bancha is considered an “every day” type of tea in Japan.

However, if I were to make a list of Japanese green teas with which I’m familiar, Bancha would not be at the top of the list.  I’d immediately list Sencha, of course, and Matcha, followed by Genmaicha and Gyokuro.  Then I’d probably add Houjicha and Kukicha to the list.  At that point, somewhere down toward the bottom of the list, I might add “Bancha.”  I just haven’t tried all that many Bancha teas, so I’m just not all that familiar with them.

But, I am really glad that I’m getting to know this Garden Bancha from BigTeaHouse.  It’s really quite lovely.  It starts out very mild.  Almost too mild.  It took a few sips for me to really get much out of the cup, but, once the flavor started to build upon my palate, I found this to be a very enjoyable cup of tea.

The tea is quite vegetal, as you might imagine.  I’d call this an “earthy vegetative” taste, it doesn’t taste real grassy, nor does it taste strongly of vegetables, but, it has more of what I’d think of as a forest-y vegetative taste, a taste that I might get from the air while hiking in the woods here in the Pacific Northwest, where it is thick and green and wet.  From that note you should draw upon the word “air” because even though it does have a strong herbaceous note, it has an airy quality to it too, giving it a fresh character… like a breath of fresh air!

It has a sweetness to it, but I don’t find it to be incredibly sweet or buttery the way I’d usually classify a Sencha.  It is more mellow and relaxed, with a gentle sweetness and a pleasant savoriness.  A bit brothy … soup-like!  Yes, that is what this reminds me of, a delicious cup of soup!  Very comforting and soothing.

Very nice, indeed!

Apple Pearadise from Big Tea House

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Big Tea House

Tea Description:

Fun fruity flavors of apple and pear burst into your senses! A perfect way to have your green tea with a twist! Apple Pearadise loose green tea fusion is sure to satisfy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really tasty combination of flavors.

What I’m liking best about this blend is that while the apple and pear flavors come through very well, the flavor of the green tea is the strongest note.  The green tea is lightly grassy, sweet, and smooth.  It has a well-rounded flavor and a soft mouthfeel.

The apple and pear go together so well.  Pear is typically a difficult flavor when it comes to tea, more often than not, the pear flavor is so delicate that it is almost indistinguishable.  But, here, it is as though the apple is helping to highlight the sweet, luscious flavor of the pear.

The overall flavor is sweet, fruity, and pleasantly vegetative.  A very nice green tea that is delicious served hot, but even better iced!  The green tea notes soften just a little bit when it cools – not so much that you can’t taste the green tea, but the grassy tones become a little softer and smoother.  And the fruit flavors really seem to pop when it cools.

This one is a winner!

Chocolate Vanilla Twist from Big Tea House

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  Big Tea House

Tisane Description:

Get the best of both delicious worlds of chocolate and vanilla in a special Yerba Mate tea fusion. This rich creation is perfect for treating yourself to a little cup of decadence with a burst of energy!

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

Chocolate and vanilla?  Yes please!

This is really a delicious, energizing tisane.  The yerba maté provides a rich base that is not quite as earthy as I had expected from a yerba maté blend – a nice surprise!  There is some earthiness to it, and a little bit of vegetative taste, but mostly, it tastes rich and roasted, with a hint of nutty flavor that compliments the chocolate flavor very well.

Yes, I would like there to be more chocolate (that’s no surprise, right?) however, it is still quite delicious.  The vanilla has a silky creaminess to it, and gives the cup a very smooth flavor.

The combination of the vanilla and chocolate together give it a truffle-y, ganache kind of taste, and the flavor develops as I continue to sip.  It’s as if someone dropped a chocolate truffle in my cup of yerba maté, and it is slowly melting, and it gets more delicious with each sip.

I do recommend drinking this hot as I find that the flavors mute a bit as it cools.  I also recommend adding just a pinch of sugar to the cup to bring out the flavors a bit.  It tastes a bit more like unadulterated yerba maté without the sugar, but with it, it tastes chocolate-y and rich!  YUM!