Product Review: 24 oz. BPA Free Plastic Bottle from Fit Life Tea Company

FitLifeBottleProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Fit Life Tea Co.

Tea Description:

For the health and safety of you and your loved ones, insist on using containers made only with materials approved by the U.S. FDA as safe for carrying foods and liquids.

Our premium BPA-free drinking bottle has a convenient flip-top handle and a built-in straw. Its slender design makes it easy to always keep plenty of water or Fit Life Tea on hand wherever you are. It measures 9” tall x 2.5“ in diameter, so you can stow it anywhere and hydrate often.

You owe it to your cells to do everything you can to keep unwanted plastic residues from migrating into your fresh food, water and tea. Keep your water and Fit Life Tea tasting pure and delicious with this smart and stylish BPA-free bottle.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not one to get all excited over a plastic bottle.  I try to avoid all that is plastic when it comes to tea.  My iced tea pitcher is glass and I went through quite a lengthy search to find the one that suited my needs to a T(ea) and when I broke the handle on that pitcher, I went out and got another one just like it.

So a plastic bottle for drinking iced tea?  Not really something I would have been in the market for or bought for myself.  But when Fit Life sent me one of their 24 oz. BPA Free Plastic Bottles, I decided I’d try it.  So, I brewed a couple of Fit Life teas and let them cool completely before pouring them into the bottle and chilling.

And something about that bottle enchanted me.

I don’t know why I love this bottle so much, but it rarely leaves my side now.  This is what I drink my iced tea out of (and not just the teas from Fit Life!) and I also drink my favorite drink – Matcha infused Maple Water – out of this bottle too.  Like I said, my newest favorite cold drink drinking vessel.

I won’t pour hot liquid into this – I still don’t trust the act of ‘heating’ plastic even if it is BPA free.  But I think I can use this for iced tea and water and be OK with that!  In fact, I think I’m very OK with that!  I really love this bottle!

Product Review: Cranberry Blood Orange Instant Matcha Green Tea Mix from Jade Monk

JadeMonkCranberryProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Jade Monk


A wake-up call in every cup. Before the first drop hits your lips, the bright aroma of our Cranberry Blood Orange powdered green tea will have you amped.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Browsing my local grocery store’s funky drink isle is one of my favorite pastimes. I came across this little green packet and tossed it in my cart for giggles. I am intrigued by the flavor, the illustrations on the front and back, and well, you had me at matcha!  I love the packaging of this tea, it really grabs you. The artwork is really fun, the intense eyes of the fierce ogre is powerful, and according to it’s claims, it’s ready to bestow all it’s power to you!

Now, I am not a fan of selling tea as a health product, the camellia sinensis plant is so much more than a diet aid. Sure, it was used as such during the first cultivation of the wild tea trees growing in China, but we have stepped up in our appreciation and cultivation of the lovely little plant. Yes, I do make my own functional herbal blends, but I don’t expect to be cured of cancer, or to have my waistline shrink like plastic wrap in an oven, either.

I chose this matcha green tea drink mix because of it’s convenience. I needed something that would give me that boost without waiting for water to boil and tea to steep. I was in a hurry this morning and whipped this up on a whim. I found the first fault to this mix when I took way to long to shake up all the little clumps of matcha. Mixes instantly? Not quite. Maybe my water was too cold?

The color of this match is an encouraging shade of key lime green. The smell is really quite nice, fruity, citrus, and refreshing. I take a sip and the first thing to hit my taste buds is sugar. Oh. Well. The first ingredients in this is sugar. While it is much, much too sweet for me, my ravenous thirst assists me in finishing my 24oz. bottle in no time.

The smell of the powder in the packet smells very matcha, but the finished product is lacking somewhat. The flavorings were very much there, in all their juicy citrusy glory. For me, If I wanted a flavored instant matcha, I’d like for the first or even second ingredient to be matcha. but of course if I was completely new to matcha, or didn’t like the taste, I would be all over this concept like brine flies to a can of soda.

Product Review: Caramel Chai Tea Latte from International Delight

CaramelChaiProduct Information:

Where to Find:  Where International Delight products are sold.

Tea Description:

Exotic flavors of cinnamon, clove & ginger blended with notes of sweet caramel & fragrant black tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Rarely do I go into the grocery store and think that I’ll find something tea-like in the dairy section.  I find milk (of course) and half and half and I do use these products in my teas to make a latte on a rare occasion.  Occasionally, I’ll see a ready-to-drink iced tea in the dairy section, but it’s my experience that most of these drinks taste more of sugar than they do of tea.  So, I generally cast a disproving look toward those products and move along without giving them a second glance.

But this product earned a second glance from me because while I’ve seen many iced coffee latte drinks in the dairy section, I’ve not found a lot of chai latte drinks in the dairy section (except for in the high end grocery stores like Whole Foods).

My husband has become a fan of chai lattes lately so after checking the label to make sure that it was made with real milk and also to make sure it didn’t have any artificial sweetener (I’m allergic to aspartame), I decided to put it in the cart and give it a try.  If nothing else, it would offer an affordable offering to my husband who wants to stop at Starbucks frequently to pick up a chai latte now.

Yes, I can make a chai latte, but, he doesn’t seem to like mine as much as he likes those horrible, sugar laden ones from the coffee shops.

The labeling shows serving this one iced but also suggests trying it hot which is how I prepared it for myself.  I simply shook the carton vigorously for about 15 seconds or so to make sure that all the spices and stuff that no doubt have settled to the bottom of the carton are well incorporated and then poured about six ounces of the creamy beige liquid into my teacup.  Then I zapped it for about a minute.

This is tasty.  Now, granted, this is a very sugary drink.  It’s very similar to what I’d get from one of those aforementioned coffee shops but without the frothy top.

If you want that frothy cap, you could probably achieve it with a frother.  Mine is no longer functional so I just had to imagine that I had a frothy top.

But the lack of frothy cap aside, this tastes a lot like what I’d get if I ordered a Caramel Chai latte at one of the coffee shops.  But the price for a whole carton of this costs about half of what a large chai latte would cost from that coffee shop.

It’s warmly spiced but not what I’d call spicy.  I find myself missing the cardamom so the spices do leave a little to be desired.  But I can taste the luscious caramel notes which are very nice and I can also taste the black tea and that’s something that I often don’t taste in those coffee shop chai lattes – so this might actually have an advantage over one of those concoctions.

Note:  not all coffee shop chai lattes are created equal.  Some are better than others.

Sugary, yes.  But it’s also creamy and rich and has a pleasant flavor.  And if you happen to have a mate who prefers a coffee shop latte over a superior chai brewed from loose leaf tea and spices like I do, this could present you an agreeable substitution for those pricey drinks at the coffee shop.

Product Review: Gingerbread Chai Latte from Coffee Revolution

coffeerevolutionlogoProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  If you live in Vancouver, WA:  Coffee Revolution.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said before, I don’t stop in to my local coffee shop(s) often.  Here in Vancouver, Washington – and pretty much anywhere in the Pacific Northwest – there’s a coffee shop at street corner, it seems.  My husband and I often joke at the number of Starbucks that there are.  If you happen to pass by a Starbucks, you don’ t need to turn around and go back, just keep going and there will be another one coming up on the next street corner.  In Portland, I understand there’s a Starbucks inside a Starbucks.

So I was less than impressed a couple of years ago when Coffee Revolution appeared in Vancouver at a location not far from my house.  I don’t usually go to the coffee shop, why would I go to this one?

But they hooked me in with their fancy digital billboard sign outside of their shop.  It beckoned to me:  Gingerbread Chai.  How do I resist that?

As it turns out, I wish I would have.  Essentially, this is the original Oregon Chai concentrate that’s been enhanced with Gingerbread flavored syrup.  The result:  an overly sweet concoction that tasted like gingerbread (with gobs of extra icing).

Yeah, I taste the chai.  I don’t really taste much of the ‘black tea’ that is supposed to be in the Oregon Chai concentrate.  When I’ve tried this brand of chai concentrate in the past, I didn’t taste the black tea either, so it’s not the sickeningly sweet gingerbread syrup’s fault that I can’t taste the tea.  It’s the concentrate’s fault.

The good:  I can taste the gingerbread.  If this were not as sweet, I’d be a lot more pleased with it though.  As it is, it’s just too sweet.  It’s cloying.  It’s so sweet that if I were a diabetic, I’d be worried about diabetic coma at this point.

On another note, I do feel bad.  Because as I was standing there, waiting for the very cheerful barrista to finish with my latte, I’m sure she could see just how disgusted I was that my chai was coming out of a carton.  It wasn’t her fault.  She was just doing her job.  So, if she happens to be reading this, I’m sorry if I came off as a tea snob.  I am, in fact, a tea snob and I don’t apologize for that, but just because I’m a tea snob doesn’t mean that I should be rubbing others the wrong way with it.  Sorry.

Product Review: The Tsleeve®

TeasleeveProduct Information:

Where to Buy: Tsleeve

Product Description:

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.

Product Review:

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.

Teasleeve1Anyway, 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.

Teasleeve2So, 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.

Teasleeve3It 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.