Keep reading to find out how to win your own package of Sant Superfruit!
Leaf Type: Fruit Tisane
Where to Buy: Sant
The fruit, Garcinia indica, is super. Its been used in Ayuervedic medicine for 1000’s of years to balance the mind & body. It has Garcinol, HCA, xanthones; vitamins B1, B3, B9, B12, C; maganese, magnesium, and potassium and 5x more antioxidants than Kale.
Learn more about Sant here.
I learned about Sant Superfruit Beverage from Kickstarter, because they were running their campaign about the same time that I ran my first campaign. I was curious about the beverage and I do like to support people on Kickstarter since I’ve been pretty active on Kickstarter over the last three months or so.
But as I read about the beverage that results from infusing Sant the Superfruit, I realized that this is probably going to taste a lot like hibiscus. As some of you are probably well aware, I’m not particularly fond of hibiscus. However, my curiosity and desire to support a fellow Kickstarter seemed to over-ride my dislike for hibiscus, so I decided, let’s try it! Why not go ahead and give it a try.
It was another of those, “hey, what have I got to lose” moments. Of course, I did have a certain risk element that is attached to Kickstarter. So there is that. But, as long as the people at Sant weren’t going to abscond with my cash, I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose. And, I didn’t think they were going to send me poisonous fruit. I mean, the lady in the picture looks nothing like the evil queen that poisoned Snow White. So, I asked myself, other than the cash risk element and the risk that Sant could possibly be owned by the evil queen impersonating a real person that can do a headstand (impressive!), what else did I have to lose? Nothing, really. I mean, what was the worst that could happen? I guess I could find out that I’m allergic to Sant. There is that. OK, but what else did I have to lose?
At this point, I was starting to think that I didn’t think this out as clearly as I thought I did. But, I still decided to try it and toss caution to the wind. So, instead of a what have I got to lose moment, this became a “what the heck, if I don’t end up dead, then I’ll write a review about it” moment.
I decided to try this a couple of different ways. The first sampling, I hot steeped it. Bringing the kettle to 195°F, I got out my infuser mug. This is a 12 ounce mug with a ceramic infuser insert. I don’t use this mug often because the ceramic infuser has really big holes in it (it’s made of ceramic) and so tea can just sort of cruise in and out of those holes and leave floaters in my tea. I’m not fond of floaters.
But these pieces of dried pieces of Kokum fruit are fairly large. There are different sizes, with some being about the size of a slivered almond and others being closer to the size of a dried apricot. On average, the pieces are about the size of a shelled, halved walnut.
So I dropped four pieces of fruit into the infuser of my infuser mug and poured the hot water over the fruit. I let it steep for a minute. The liquid was a very pale pink. It looked nothing like the rich ruby color that I saw in the picture (above). So I let it steep for another five minutes. At this point, even though the desired color had not been achieved, my fear of tarty hibiscus taste dictated to me that I must cease the steeping process.
The fruit is now soft to the touch. It’s been somewhat re-hydrated, but not completely. The liquid is more of a blush color.
The flavor is TART! Adding some honey makes this a much nicer tasting beverage, so I highly recommend doing so. It has a hibiscus-y like quality to it, but there’s more of a fruity element to it. While hibiscus has more of a berry-tartness to it. this is more like a plum tartness.
For my second experiment/tasting with Sant, I decided to try cold-brewing some of it. I used my glass iced tea pitcher and added 1/2 gallon of freshly filtered water to the pitcher. After I saw how pale my hot brewed infusion became, I decided that I’d try a little more fruit to this infusion, and I added about 2 palmfuls of the tea (This would amount to approximately 20 pieces of fruit of varying sizes).
Then I put the lid on the pitcher and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours. By a few hours, I mean 6 hours. After six hours, I fished out the re-hydrated fruit from the now bright maroon-colored liquid.
I took a few sips of the infusion and TART!
Keep in mind that the longer you keep the fruit in there, more potent (and tart) the beverage becomes. So you can keep it in there for a little less time for a lighter flavor and less tartness or you can keep it in there for longer than I did for a deeper color and more likely a stronger tart flavor.
I made a simple syrup of raw sugar and water and I added it to the cold liquid. With the sugar (not too much, I would say about 1/8 a cup of sugar for 1/2 gallon of the drink), the Sant Superfruit Beverage is an enjoyable, refreshing drink. It has a really tasty, fruity flavor to it that reminds me of plums and berries – but interestingly enough, not in a hibiscus-y way. I’d take a glass of Sant over a glass of chilled hibiscus tea ANY day!
I doubt it will ever take the place of iced tea in my fridge, but I am enjoying this and I’m finding myself curious about some of their recipes.
Now, you’re probably wondering about that giveaway, right?
When I got my reward for backing Sant’s Kickstarter, I actually got TWO packages of Sant instead of one. I guess two labels addressed to me printed out so by a lucky chance, I got a surprise in the mail from Sant. Actually, I got two surprises in the mail from them because I was STUNNED at how quickly we got the reward from this project! I certainly wasn’t expecting to go out to the mailbox and pull out one package from Sant, but I got TWO!
So, I talked to Kim at Sant and she gave her blessing to let my lucky surprise be a lucky surprise for one of our readers! If you’d like to try Sant, I’ve got a full 50 gram package to send to one of you!
To enter, just comment on this review below! Tell us why you’d like to try Sant and while you’re at it, don’t forget to include a way to get in touch with you should you be the lucky winner of the random draw on Friday, April 24.
Want a way to earn extra entries? Of course you do! Here are a few ways to earn extra entries, you get one bonus entry for each one you complete!
1. Go to facebook and “Like” Sant’s page.
2. While you’re there, go ahead and like the SororiTea Sisters too!
3. And since you’re still on Facebook, go to your page and write about this giveaway on your timeline! Be sure to add a link to this review so that your friends can come by and read about Sant too!
Wa-La! Three bonus entries!
Now it’s time for some fine print type of stuff, but instead of making it smaller, I’ll just make it italicized: This contest is open to US & Canadian residents only. You can enter to win now through April 24. On April 25, a winner will be drawn via Random.org and contacted, and once contact is established, the winner’s name will be announced. If we are unable to reach the winner within 3 days, that winner will forfeit and a new winning name will be drawn until contact is established. To ensure that we get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner, please be sure to include the best way to contact you in your entry.
Product Review: The Tsleeve®
Where to Buy: Tsleeve
The goal of t-sleeve® is to be not only a convenient way to enjoy tea, but to be as eco-friendly as possible. Both the box packaging and t-sleeve® are recyclable. Once t-sleeve® comes in contact with the moist tea bag, it becomes a compostable product. Feel good about doing your part for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint.
Learn more about this product here.
When I first received this product to review, I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it. If you’ve read my reviews for any length of time, you’re already aware of what I think about bagged tea. I prefer loose leaf – always! – and while I have managed to find some bagged teas that I’m happy with, I still have qualms about the bag. And here I was with Tsleeves, a product that in essence embraces the tea bag. Hmm.
As with all things tea, I try to go into the review with an open mind, so I’ll do that wit this product too.
So, what is this product? It’s a sturdy cardstock envelope that’s just a wee bit larger than the average size individually wrapped tea bag. (For this particular review, I used a Stash tea bag.) You can also put a packet of your favorite sweetener in the Tsleeve.
The image doesn’t really show it, but there’s a little slit in the back of the Tsleeve that allows you to slide the flap into the slit for a closure. Then you have a neat little package with your traveling tea needs to take with you wherever you’re headed (a restaurant or hotel that doesn’t serve tea you like, work, or whatever.) It’s a handy little way to take tea (even though it’s bagged) with you. You can easily stow the Tsleeve in your purse or briefcase.
Note: I wouldn’t recommend using an unwrapped tea bag in this product, because of the little rectangular notch at the top of the Tsleeve, the unwrapped tea bag would not be protected from the elements, including the elements in your purse.
Anyway, when you’re ready to brew, then you remove your tea bag from the Tsleeve, unwrap the tea bag, and then slide the tag and string through the Tsleeve and through the notch at the top, as shown in the picture to the right.
This is probably the most useful part of the Tsleeve, in my opinion. On the occasions when I’m brewing tea in a tea bag, the tag seems to inevitably end up in the cup with the liquid as it infuses. Either the string isn’t long enough, or the act of pouring the hot water into the teacup seems to whoosh the teabag right into the cup with the liquid and I either have to try to fish the tag out with a spoon or fork or I burn my fingertips trying to get the tag out with my fingers. This ‘feature’ offers a larger ‘anchor’ that doesn’t get swept away into the tides of my teacup.
So, instead of having a dainty little tag on the side of the teacup, you have a rather large, anchoring Tsleeve sitting on the side of your teacup. This isn’t the most attractive look if you’re at a tea party with fancy teacups and saucers, but, if you’re drinking out of the average hotel room cup, it’ll work fine.
Once your tea is finished brewing, the idea is to hold onto the Tsleeve while you pull the tag up, which will pull the tea bag into the Tsleeve. Then, they suggest that you squeeze the tea bag into your cup.
I didn’t do this. Why? Because you should NEVER squeeze a tea bag into your cup. This doesn’t squeeze flavor into your tea cup, it squeezes tannins into your tea cup, making it bitter. This is supposed to be the main function of the Tsleeve – to help you ‘squeeze’ the tea bag and dispose of the tea bag.
It does give you a little less mess when it comes to disposing of the tea bag. I never know what to do with that hot tea bag after I’m finished with it when I’m on-the-go, because it is messy.
So, for me, the most useful part of this Tsleeve is that it anchors the tea bag tag so that it doesn’t go floating in my tea and it gives me an easy way to dispose of the tea bag after I’m finished steeping the tea bag.
For me, personally, this product really has a very limited use for me because I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea and because I don’t squeeze the tea bag. (And neither should you.)
But, I do thank the makers of this product for sending me a sample of it to try. I can see how this would be a useful tool for the casual sipper who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t squeeze the tea bag. For those of us who do know better, it could be a handy convenience when we want a cleaner way to dispose of the tea bag when not at home.
Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea Blend from English Tea Store
Leaf Type: Black & Green
Where to Buy: English Tea Store
The Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea loose leaf blend from English Tea Store is a delicate medium tea with a hint of Earl Grey and Jasmine. This is a lighter afternoon tea.
Every May, the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace, a lovely English springtime tradition. The tea that is served is a long time favorite, a delicious Palace medley specially selected for this occasion. Intriguing hints of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with the soft jasmine from Fujian Province. Couple this with malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli) flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), brisk and golden cup East of Rift Kenya (from Kambaa and Kagwe) and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles. Each cup is a cup of mystery – the flavors all come to the fore at separate times – one minute you taste the Earl Grey, the next second you can almost feel the soft floral notes of jasmine and finally you get the satisfying fullness of the Assam Ceylon and Kenya blend. Enjoy this tea and be a part of the annual tradition in the west gardens of Buckingham Palace, without having to dress up.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea is an example of a tea that I should have read the description of before I brewed it, because by simply looking at the loose leaf, it is difficult to tell that it’s a blend of black and green teas. I should have used a slightly lower temperature to steep this tea! And there is some bitterness as a result. I steeped this for 3 minutes using boiling water, and I think I should have used water that was closer to 180°F. Even with the bitterness, it isn’t a bad tasting tea, but I think it could be better. Unfortunately, I don’t have more of this tea to experiment with it.
The aroma is lovely! I can smell the bergamot and the jasmine, but neither offers an overpowering fragrance. This seems to be nicely balanced between the two classic ingredients of jasmine and bergamot.
The black tea is rich and flavorful. I can taste the malty notes of Assam and the aforementioned bitterness may be a result of the Assam’s presence in the blend. The bitterness is not something that I find off-putting as it’s not an intrusive flavor. It doesn’t get in the way of me tasting the other flavors of the tea nor does it get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall cup. I’d rather the bitterness not be there, of course, and if I had a little more of this tea, I’d experiment with it a little to figure out a better way to brew it so that the bitterness wasn’t present.
The green tea is a little less discernible than the black tea. This isn’t surprising, as green tea tends to have a lighter flavor than black tea. However, that isn’t to say that the green tea can’t be tasted because I definitely taste it’s softer, somewhat vegetal taste and a silky texture that is unmistakably green tea-ish.
The jasmine is a sweet, exotic note that compliments the tangy bergamot. The bergamot it not as strong as I typically like a bergamot in an Earl Grey blend, however, since this is a “garden party” blend (for Buckingham Palace, no less), I can let the softer bergamot slide because a stronger bergamot essence may very well overpower the delicate notes of jasmine and a good balance between the two has been achieved here. It’s a pleasantly floral, tangy cup that is very satisfying.
Overall, an enjoyable cup that I’d suggest as an afternoon cuppa. It’s not quite robust enough – in my opinion – to serve as a breakfast blend or that first cup of the day when you need that jump start. This is ideal to serve to guests though, and makes a lovely cup of tea to enjoy in the afternoon, even if your garden party is a party of one.
Cool Coconut Rooibos Chai from Big Tea House
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Big Tea House
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.
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!
Rooibos Ginger Peach Tisane from Tea of Life
Leaf Type: Herbal
Pronounced “roy-boss” and means “red bush” in Afrkaans, studies have shown this tea is comparable to green tea in the amounts of EGCG it contains. Rooibos is totally pure and natural. It contains no colorants or preservatives.
And Rooibos tastes divine! It is less bitter than most teas.
Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.
I’m making more of an effort to drink more tisanes in the evening. Until recently, I would continue drinking Camellia Sinensis teas well into the evening, up to just a couple of hours before I go to bed. And I’ve come to realize that it does affect my ability to fall asleep. So, when it starts getting close to bedtime, I’ve been turning to caffeine free drinks like rooibos and honeybush, and on the nights when I know I need to catch some zzz … I even have a chamomile tea. I’ve noticed a difference with my sleeping patterns now that I’m drinking more tisane later in the evening.
Tonight, I wanted something soothing on my tummy, so I reached for this Rooibos Ginger Peach from Tea of Life. I like that it’s sweet from the peach notes and the honeyed, nutty flavors of the rooibos, but there’s just enough of a zesty kick from the ginger to give the cup some contrasting flavor.
The ginger isn’t an overpowering flavor. It starts out rather subtle. The first couple of sips, I could barely taste the ginger. But as I continued to sip, the ginger flavor began to develop, and now there is a gentle heat at the back of the palate. I feel the warmth of the ginger but it’s not too hot.
And the sweetness of the peach curbs the zing of the ginger. Ginger and peach are a classic flavor combination and they really complement each other well in this tisane.
The rooibos is sweet, slightly earthy and nutty but I like that the drink doesn’t taste too strongly of rooibos, which is not my favorite flavor. The natural honey-like sweetness melds quite nicely with the peach and ginger notes.
Overall, a pleasant cup to enjoy later in the day.