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infusion

Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas

It’s usually hit and miss with herbal tisanes for me but this combo of Ararat dark opal basil and wild mint in Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas is truly something special.  Eventho herbal tisanes usually are not my thing I tend to gravitate towards anything minty.  This didn’t disappoint!

Not only does this Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas has the perfect ratio of basil to mint to please the nose and the taste buds – it’s also pretty pleasing to the eyes!  Upon opening the bag I saw fluffy, springy mint and basil that were VERY fresh and ready to infuse!

Personally the mint takes it to the next level for me but I have to mention the Ararat Basil, specifically, here!  Ararat Basil is a beautiful bi-color basil (usually shades of purple and green).  It has a slight licorice aroma and flavor to it, too!

Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas is pretty impressive and makes me change my mind about herbal tisanes.  If you are anything like me and want to find the BETTER tisanes out there give Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas a whirl.  If you already adore herbals then Ararat Basil Infusion from Armeniac Teas might be right up your alley!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Tisane

Where to Buy: Armeniac Teas

Description:

This pungent infusion has the extraordinary aroma and fresh flavor of dark opal basil and notes of wild mint, mentioned in old texts as a stress reducer and positive mood enhancer.

Ingredients: Ararat dark opal basil and wild mint

Type: Herbal, Natural, Caffeine Free, GMO Free, No artificial colors or fragrances

Directions: Place 1 heaping teaspoon of tea blend per each cup in a teapot, add freshly boiled water and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a teacup and serve hot or iced, without sugar.

Learn more about this tea and tea company here.

Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane from Chiang Rai Tea House

Lemongrass+Pandan1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:   Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

An exquisite, balanced blend of two fragrant herbs typical of South East Asia. The lemony flavor and aroma of lemongrass is a great match to the sweet, vanilla-like taste of pandan. If you haven’t tried pandan yet, this infusion is not to be missed. The lemongrass-pandan combination is known to relieve stress, ease constipation. detoxify the blood and, being caffeine-free, it’s also the perfect after-dinner beverage. As for all our teas and herbs, these two are also organic.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t recall ever having tried Pandan before, so this moment with Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane from Chiang Rai Tea House represents a new experience for me.

Pandan is interesting!  It has a sweet flavor that is reminiscent of rice.  The description above suggests a vanilla-like taste and I get that too, but I think I taste more of a rice-like flavor than a vanilla one.  I’m quite enjoying it!

Lemongrass+PandanI have tried a lot of lemongrass in the past, but I must say that the lemongrass that I’ve sampled from Chiang Rai Tea House is truly exceptional.  I realize that there are people out there that might thing that ‘lemongrass is lemongrass’ but for those people, I’d recommend trying one of Chiang Rai Tea House’s lemongrass offerings and that might change your mind.  If nothing else, you might find the curly shavings of the lemongrass more interesting and enchanting than the typical blades of lemongrass that you might be used to.

The combination of the sweet, citrus notes of the lemongrass with its subtle hints of butter complement the pandan in a very pleasant way.  This is a really nice caffeine free drink – one I wouldn’t mind drinking on a regular basis!

Overall, I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to try this Lemongrass & Pandan Tisane – Pandan is delightful and so is the lemongrass!  A really nice tisane.

Sant Superfruit Beverage from Sant

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Keep reading to find out how to win your own package of Sant Superfruit!

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  Sant

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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.

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Kokum Fruit or Garcinia Indica before it’s dried and becomes Sant Superfruit!

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.

sant3But 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).

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This is pretty close to the color of the liquid in my fridge right now.

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.  

Lavender Daze Herbal Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

LavenderDazeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Soothing lavender, sweet cinnamon, adjective ingredient! You get the idea. But this herbal infusion is a special one, with a taste that is all its own. You’ll have to try it to describe it! But, as far as we can tell, it tastes something like lavender, chamomile, licorice, and a hint of cinnamon. This blend is part of the Original 20 M&K’s Blends. Additionally, this is the first M&K’s blend officially invented.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Usually when I find a lavender tisane like this Lavender Daze Herbal Tea from M&K’s Tea Company, I expect it to be a combination of lavender and chamomile – and this is such a blend.  But what makes it different from other blends is that M&K’s didn’t stop at just lavender and chamomile.  They added honey roasted licorice root, star anise, ginger, lemon verbena and cinnamon!  Most of these ingredients are not ones you’d find in the average “nighttime” lavender and chamomile blend.

So I didn’t know what to expect with this tea.  I brewed it in my Kati Tumbler, using 1 1/2 bamboo scoops of tisane and 12 ounces of near boiling (195°F) water and steeping for 8 minutes.

As I surmised based on the list of ingredients, this isn’t the typical nighttime lavender/chamomile blend, and it certainly doesn’t taste like it either.

The licorice is really strong with this blend.  Maybe too strong.  I love licorice, but the licorice notes here overpower the other flavors a bit too much because I’m tasting mostly just licorice.  The sip starts out with a soft cinnamon-y note, and then the licorice hits and it lingers throughout the rest of the sip and into the aftertaste.

Just after I notice the cinnamon, I pick up on the subtlest of hints of lavender, ginger and citrus.  But again, they are so faint because bam!  The licorice hits and overpowers the rest of the blend.  I do taste whispers of honey, but mostly, I taste licorice.

And as I’ve said, I LOVE licorice, but I think that with this combination of ingredients and what seemed to promise a really interesting fusion of flavors, I find myself just a wee bit disappointed because I would have liked to experience a more balanced cup.

It’s good, don’t get me wrong.  If you like licorice, you’re bound to enjoy this and I am enjoying the licorice notes here.  I just think it would have been more interesting to taste more of the other components to this blend.

California Sweet Peach Herbal Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

CaliforniaSweetPeachTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Sweet orange peel roasted in honey, real grade-A Madagascar vanilla beans, actual peaches! California Sweet Peach is our signature herbal infusion. We are proud to roast our own orange peel in local honey and use peaches straight from California! Our natural peach flavor is supplied by Silver Cloud Estates and is a blend of different natural extracts and oils, enabling us to boost the taste of peaches. This blend is part of the Original 20 M&K’s Blends. Note: California Sweet Peach contains no tea, as it is an herbal infusion. We chose to include the term “herbal tea” in the title due to its categorical popularity.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This California Sweet Peach Herbal Tea from M&K’s Tea Company is an interesting tisane.  As I sit here, sipping it, I’m trying to determine whether or not I like it.  I can’t say that immediately upon taking my first few sips that I was blown away by it.  At the same time, I can’t say that immediately upon taking my first few sips that I wasn’t intrigued.  I felt the need to keep on sipping.  It’s interesting enough to keep me sipping but there’s something about it that hasn’t yet ‘won me over’ – at least not yet.

I like that the hibiscus is not a strong presence in this cup.  Normally, when I am about to taste a tea or tisane with hibiscus, my thought is “why?”  Why hibiscus?  But, after drinking about half a cup now, I can see why the hibiscus is in this blend.  It adds a little bit of body to the cup (but I wouldn’t recommend steeping it longer than 6 minutes or so to avoid having a thick or syrupy body) and the little bit of tartness that it brings to the cup adds balance to the warm notes of the licorice and the sweetness of the peach, honey and vanilla notes.

The star of this cup is – obviously – the peach.  I like the flavor of the peach here and I think that’s what’s keeping my interest.  The peach is a genuine peach-y note.  It doesn’t taste chemical or artificial.  It tastes true to the fruit.  I also like the orange in this.  The orange adds a touch of bright flavor to the sweet peach notes.

Now that I’ve finished the cup I can say that I enjoyed this.  It had a strong peach flavor but there was enough other stuff going on in this that it didn’t end up being all about the peach.  I liked the different flavors going on.  And even though this does have hibiscus in it – like so many other fruit/herbal tisanes to – this is not your ordinary tisane.

Just as an aside:  it’s something when I finish the tea before I finish the review.  Take that for what it’s worth, but it doesn’t happen often.  I must have enjoyed what I was drinking!

Yeah.  I’d drink this again.  I enjoyed it.  This one has earned my approval.  Even if it does have hibiscus in it!