Cantaloupe & Berries Green Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-GREEN-Cantaloupe-and-BerriesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

This super refreshing and delicious iced tea will definitely get you in the mood for spring. We’ve blended our sweet organic Chinese sencha fannings green tea with organic cantaloupe, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry flavors. Be warned, this will disappear out of your fridge really fast!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

I love cantaloupe.  At family gatherings, my mom and I fight over the last piece on the fruit plate.  My sons will yell at me if I come home from the grocery store without one.  Thank goodness my grandpa is a farmer.  He supplies us with the most amazing fresh cantaloupe (and other fruits and vegetables) throughout the summer months.  He is 80 years old and still goes out in the fields and hand picks everything while drinking his coffee from the thermos. Even in the crazy hot days of summer!

This tea reminds me of him and hanging out with him in the fields during summer break.  Brings back so many fantastic memories of my childhood.  I love it when a tea gives you what I call “Warm Fuzzies” and takes you back to happy times.

I didn’t brew this up per the packaging.  Since I am the only one that drinks tea in my house, I break the larger pouch into smaller tea bags so I can enjoy them on the go or at my office.  I’ve tried to brew up a pitcher all at once, but I wasn’t able to drink the tea fast enough.  This way works for me and from what I can tell, it doesn’t affect the outcome of the tea at all.

This is a perfect spring/summer tea.  The cantaloupe flavor is the first that hits your taste buds.  The green tea gives the tea a rich buttery feel.  You can taste it more after you’ve had a sip or two, adding in a slight grassy note.  Very slight.  Its more of an after thought.  I’m not picking up any of the berries or even a hint of them.  Which is fine with me.  I’m good with an iced cantaloupe green tea.  Overall, I really dig this one.  I wish I could taste more of the berries and I’m hoping additional steeps will bring those flavors out.

Chai-napple Gunpowder Tea from 52Teas

ChainappleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Crazy? Or genius? You’ll have to be the judge. I’ve taken some smoky gunpowder green tea and blended it with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and freeze-dried pineapple to make a chai-napple gunpowder. Get it? Chai-napple? I kill me.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn how to subscribe to 52Teas’  Tea of the Week program here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh, yum, nom, nom!

I generally brew ‘chai’ blends using either a teapot or my Kati tumbler because I find that the spices of a typical chai seem to attach themselves to my Breville tea maker and the scent (and the flavor) stays with the tea maker until I give it a good soak brew in baking soda.  I learned this fairly early on with my first tea maker (about four years ago!) and so I changed my approach to brewing chai teas as a result.

For this “Chai-napple” tea, I used my Kati tumbler.  I added a heaping bamboo scoop of tea to the basket of the Kati system and then filled the tumbler with 175°F water and let the tea steep for 2 minutes.  I generally add a little bit of turbinado (raw) sugar to a chai to bring out the spice, but I found that the pineapple lent a certain sweetness to the cup and it really didn’t need additional sweetener.  I guess if you want to add it, it wouldn’t hurt … but try it first!

For the record, the spices do cling to the basket of the Kati too, and I find to rid the tumbler and basket of the spices, I simply sprinkle some baking soda into the cup and basket, and then fill the tumbler with boiling water and let it sit for a while.  This does the job!

When I took my first sip of this tea while it was freshly brewed and still rather hot, I could taste the pineapple and the green tea notes very distinctly.  I wasn’t tasting a lot of the spices, but the pineapple and green tea flavors were quite strong.

After allowing the tea to cool to a more drinkable temperature, I began to pick up on more of the warm notes of spice.  I find that the three spices – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – are blended in such a way to provide a deliciously warm medley of spiced flavor without tasting too spicy.

The pineapple is the real star of this cup, though.  It is sweet and juicy tasting, and I like the way it melds with the spices as well as the sweet, slightly nutty, softly smoky note of the Chinese gunpowder green tea.

And I noticed that the leaves had not yet completely unfurled with the first infusion and they were begging for another infusion.  Who am I to refuse?  I infused the leaves again, adding an additional 30 seconds of steep time.

With the second infusion, I could really taste the cardamom!  The cinnamon and ginger were a little more forward with this infusion as well.  I still got a good flavor from both the green tea and the pineapple too.  This is a blend you really SHOULD infuse a minimum of two times to get the true “chai-napple” experience!

The pineapple was a little softer in flavor with the second infusion, but I like the balance of flavors better this time around.  I can taste each of the components and it becomes a really tasty alternative to the “usual” masala chai!  I taste a little bit of ginger’s bite, a cozy, sweet cinnamon flavor and the warm, comforting flavor of cardamom along with the juicy, delicious flavor of pineapple.

The gunpowder green tea is a delightful base because it’s gentle earthiness and understated smoky note offers a compelling contrast to the sweet burst of flavor of the pineapple and the warm notes of spice.

This truly is a unique chai.  If you’re one who wants your chai blends to be hot and spicy, this blend might not be for you, because the spices are pretty mellow when compared to some of the spicy chai blends I’ve sampled.  But if you’re one who likes something with a mild level of spice and something just a little different (like pineapple!), I recommend giving this blend a try.

Cotton Candy Iced Green Tea from Southern Boy Teas

CottonCandyGreenSBTTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

Premium Organic green tea with organic flavors. Each 14g teabag will make one 2-quart pitcher of DELICIOUS iced tea. Re-steep the teabag and you can get a full gallon out of each one.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  OK, it was pretty much a given that I’d LOVE this flavor of iced tea from Southern Boy Teas.  I love the original 52Teas version of Cotton Candy, I loved the Cotton Candy with the White Tea Base.  And of course, I loved the Cotton Candy Black Iced Tea from SBT which was part of their original series of iced tea pouches.  So, I was really confident before I even poured the first glass of tea that I’d love this too.

And I do.

It is sweet and refreshing.  The lighter base of green tea is perfect for the Cotton Candy flavors which tend to be on the delicate side.  The Cotton Candy notes are able to shine through nicely.  And the buttery notes of the green tea work really well with these flavors.

I find myself emptying the glass of iced tea almost as quickly as I can refill it!  It just tastes so good, but even though it’s crafted as an homage to one of my favorite carnival treats, it doesn’t taste sickeningly, sticky sweet.  It’s sweet, certainly, and those of you who don’t like sweet beverages might find this to be a bit cloying, but for those of you with a sweet tooth, this cold drink might be right up your alley.

To brew this, I hot brewed the sachet in 1 quart of freshly filtered water that was brought to 170°F.  I steeped the sachet for 1 1/2 minutes, and then I poured the brewed tea into my iced tea pitcher.  Then I repeated the process – same amount of water and the same temperature, but this time I steeped the sachet for 2 minutes.  And what I LOVE about the green teas from Southern Boy Teas is that you can resteep it for another half gallon of tea!  I just stash the sachet in the fridge in an airtight container, and then I resteep the sachet at the same temperature (170°F), 2 1/2 minutes for the first quart and 3 minutes for the second.  I get a full gallon of delicious iced tea out of this.

It tastes fresh and light and it’s a very invigorating glass of refreshment.  This one is definitely one I’ll be reordering in the future.  With the next one I buy, I want to try cold-brewing the sachet to see how it fairs!

I like it a lot!

Cherry Cola Flavored Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

CherryColaSBTTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t drink a lot of soda, but on the rare occasions that we go out to eat and the iced tea available at the restaurant is questionable, I usually ask for a cherry cola.

So I was excited to try this iced tea flavor from Southern Boy Teas, because it’s a flavor that I enjoy and would be able to identify and also because in the past, I’ve been impressed with the cola flavored teas that 52Teas has offered.  They really do have a bubbly, effervescent taste of soda pop, which is a little weird when I would drink the hot tea.  Weird, but in a wonderfully weird sort of way.

To brew:  The Southern Boy Teas are a “bagged” tea, sealed in a large tea pouch that makes it easy to cold-brew (put it in a pitcher with a half gallon of freshly filtered, cold water and then stash that into the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, take out the sachet – and save it to resteep later! – and enjoy) or to hot brew.

I do have another pouch of this tea and I plan to cold steep it to see how that turns out.  I’ll have to come back and comment on this review to let you know how that turns out when I do that.

I usually hot brew all these iced teas for the first tasting, because I feel like I’m getting the true, intended flavor that way and since I want to write about the experience, I think that this is the best way to do that.

To hot brew this, I start with a quart of freshly filtered water and put it in my kettle and heat it to boiling.  Then I just toss the sachet into my kettle and let the tea steep for 2 minutes, strain the tea into my favorite iced tea pitcher, and then I repeat the process, pouring another quart of water into the kettle, heating it to boiling and then resteeping the pouch, this time for 3 minutes.  I let this come to a room temperature cool before I put the hot glass pitcher into the cold refrigerator.  Then I let it chill for several hours (or overnight).

This is a tasty glass of cold refreshment.  I can taste the notes of cherry and cola.  And I can taste the black tea flavor too.  It’s a bit like someone poured some flat cherry cola into my iced tea.

Yes, I’m still getting some of that aforementioned bubbly taste from this, but, it’s not as bubbly or effervescent as you’d get if you were drinking a straight soda pop.  Nor should it be.  This is tea, not a carbonated beverage.  However, you can make it a tea soda.

I can taste that bubbly sort of flavor that I’ve experienced in the past with 52Teas soda flavors, although for some reason (I’m not sure of the reason) and this is something that I’ve noticed with the other cola flavored iced teas from SBT, the “soda” or “cola” flavor doesn’t shine through quite as copiously as it seems to when I sip on a cup of hot soda flavored tea from 52Teas.  As I said, I’m not quite sure why this is.

That said, this is still really tasty.  It quenches the thirst and it tastes great while it’s quenching the thirst, and that’s what I look for in an iced tea.

Product Review: Lime Zero Unsweetened Guayusa from Runa

LimeZeroProduct Information:

Step into the limelight – experience bright and refreshing flavor with zero calories.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t often buy RTD teas/tisanes.  But usually when I’m in the supermarket, I do look over the varieties of teas and tisanes that are available in the ready to drink section.

My biggest issue with RTD teas/tisanes is that they’re usually so loaded with some type of sweetener and often more than one type of sweetener that I can’t taste the tea.  Then it begs the question for me – what’s the difference between this and a soda?  Nothing really, except that the soda has bubbles.  So really, the sweetener has changed the tea into a soda that is more expensive than the typical commercial soda … an expensive soda without bubbles.

So, last week when I was in Chuck’s Produce, this ready to drink Guayusa caught my attention.

The first thing that caught my attention was the price.  It was a featured item that was priced competitively ($ .99 for a bottle, not bad.)  The second thing that caught my attention was the word unsweetened on the top of the label.  This isn’t zero calories because it’s made with stevia or an artificial sweetener that will make me feel queasy.  This has zero calories because there is NO SWEETENER in it at all.

In fact, here is the ingredient list:


Brewed organic guayusa (purified water and organic guayusa leaves**), organic lime juice concentrate, organic lime extract, natural flavors, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Now that’s my kind of ingredient list.  OK, I’d like a little more details on what the “natural flavors” are, but, I like that this is has no sugar, no cane syrup, no corn syrup, no stevia, no aspartame, no saccharine, no nothing to make this taste like some sticky, sickeningly sweet, syrupy soda without bubbles.

And what I’m tasting is lime and Guayusa.  The Guayusa has that smooth, slightly earthy and coffee-esque taste that I’ve come to recognize as Guayusa.  The lime is strong in this, but it tastes like real lime juice.  It’s bright and refreshing.  The drink is cool and energizing and it feels clean on the palate, not heavy or inundated with too much sweetener.

I’m really happy that there are some companies out there who are willing to celebrate the flavor of the leaf – even if the leaf in this instance happens to be the leaf of Guayusa and not Camellia Sinensis – my point is that this is the way RTD teas/tisanes should be.  They should be about the leaf and not the sugar!