Chocolate Hustle from Wise Ape. . . . .

My introduction to Wise Ape’s Chocolate Hustle tea was a sister suggesting we brew it cold, in coconut milk… all of which I had no idea was even possible but wow, such a great idea for lazy mornings!!! This has since overturned my ugh totally “basic” hot water regimen. I was tempted this morning to liven up my bland, healthy cereal by putting it in here, but the scientist in me needed to have a control group first before I went too far down the rabbit hole testing the bounds of FLAVOR! (Cue that stoned cook from Blake Lively’s movie, Acceptance.)

Overnight the creamy liquid turned cocoa colored,  though I saw no obvious powders in the sachet, a la the matcha plus tea leaves trend. It also definitely smells like chocolate but tastes more earthy with a hint of true mint. Oh, it’s a maté blend, that explains it. I bet hot brewed in milk would perk up more flavor. The sweet coconut taste seems to overpower some of the other flavors, let’s see what else is in here. Oh chicory goodness! Hmmm ashwagandha… but I didn’t dislike it like other mind boosting teas. Stevia?! That normally tastes “off” with chocolate recipes but I don’t notice that in this concoction.

I can’t say I necessarily felt Planet of the Apes wiser, but it did boost my alertness during my carb-coma 3 hour block of post-lunch Biology slide shows! I’m learning our bodies can be unpredictable, but fortunately advances in science can help us live full, worthwhile lives. Another great note: A portion of their profits is donated to the brain tumor society. I HIGHLY recommend trying this tea, and that’s not the cook from Acceptance talking again.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Yerba Maté
Where to Buy: Wise Ape

Roasted yerba mate tea with hints of chocolate and mint, blended together with natural brain boosting herbs. Designed to heighten your focus, energy, and clarity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Oolong Tea from Teatulia

oolongTeatuliaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teatulia

Tea Description:

A stunning, full-bodied cup with hints of fresh pie crust, lemon and sake.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was really excited to learn that Teatulia began offering an Oolong tea!  I’ve tried other teas from this company in the past and have enjoyed them so I was eager to try their new Oolong.

What sets Teatulia apart from other tea companies is that their organic teas are grown in Bangladesh.  You can learn more about the Teatulia Organic Tea Garden here.

I love the packaging of Teatulia.  Their “eco-canisters” are completely biodegradable.  And while I prefer my Oolongs loose, I do appreciate that the pyramid sachets are made from corn silk.  Another plus:  the leaves appear to be large, not chopped into dust the way many teas in sachets or bags are.

Normally, when I steep my Oolong teas, I grab my gaiwan.  But because this tea is in a sachet, I didn’t do that.  (I suppose I could have cut the sachet and poured the leaf into my gaiwan, but I didn’t do that either.  I decided to brew this as the purveyor intended.)  However, I did perform a 15 second rinse on the teabag.  What can I say?  I’m sold on the reawakening of the tea leaves.  Oolongs just seem to taste better when I take that extra 15 seconds to do the rinse.  After the rinse, I steeped one sachet in 8 ounces of water that had been heated to 180° for 3 minutes.

The aroma is intriguing!  I smell notes of smoke.  I also smell something sweet … like butterscotch:  smoky butterscotch!  Notes of earth and wood.  I don’t think I’ve smelled an Oolong quite like this one.

The flavor is delightful!  Sweet!  I taste the notes of butterscotch.  The above description suggests notes of fresh pie crust, lemon and sake.  I’m not a drinker of alcohol and it’s been years since my one and only cup of sake, so I can’t tell you if I’m actually tasting sake or not.  But I do taste notes of lemon!

Bright, sunny lemon.  I also taste a slight pastry note.  The pastry note really pops when I slurp the sip to aerate it.  I can also taste subtle notes of smoke and woodsy tones.  It’s a rather interesting Oolong!

And since it is an Oolong, I decided to take it for a resteep.  The second cup is just as delicious as the first – maybe even better!  I am getting more of that butterscotch-like sweetness with the second cup!  Not so much of the smoke this time, but I am picking up on a slight woodsy tone.  The pastry notes are more subdued now, but I’m still getting light lemony notes.

A really lovely Oolong!

Restorative Ayurvedic Tea from TeaVeda

veda-logo-bgTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  The Veda Company

Tea Description:

Mildly caffeinated with green tea, one of nature’s antioxidant wonders.  Regroup and recharge with the engaging and flavorful blend of orange and mango in our “Restorative” tea.  

Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.

Taster’s Review:

This afternoon, I thought I’d try another tea from the TeaVeda collection from The Veda Company … this time from their “caffeinated” collection.  This “Restorative” blend is a combination of green tea and the fruit flavors of orange and mango.

I steeped the silky pyramid sachet in freshly filtered water that was heated to 175°F for two minutes.  This produced a flavorful cup where I can taste the bright notes of orange and the sweet notes of mango that highlight the lush green tea.

I like that while I can taste the fruit notes, they do not overpower the green tea.  This is a tea first – meaning that the tea is not playing “canvas” and providing a background for these fruit flavors.  I appreciate that.

The green tea is not an overly “grassy” tasting green.  It’s sweet, creamy and has a light vegetal tone and hints of flower.  It has a lightness that seems to meld nicely with the fruity notes.  The mango and orange work very well together.  These fruit notes taste juicy and pleasant with the green tea.

Overall, an enjoyable cup.

Tawantin Black Tea from Inca Tea

TawantinBlackTeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Inca Tea

Tea Description:

We thought long and hard about how to make a black tea as unique yet as strong as the Incan Empire and what we came up with was Tawantin Black Tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Tawantin Black Tea marks the last of the four teas from Inca Tea that are currently available.  I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to try all four teas.

Dry, the aroma is very subtle, I can smell notes of “black tea” and also hints of corn.  The brewed tea has a similarly soft fragrance, it smells very much the same as the dry leaf, although I think I smell less corn and more black tea now, but it’s still a rather subtle scent.

But there’s nothing subtle about the flavor!  This is a robust black tea with plenty of GUSTO.  This would make a great tea to reach for first thing in the morning because it’s got a real strong, energizing flavor to it.

The description on the Inca Tea website lists the ingredients as

INGREDIENTS: Finest 3 black tea leaves (2 or which are organic) and purple corn. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, “four parts together.” In Quechua, the term Tawantin is a group of four things (tawa, meaning “four”, with the suffix -ntin which names a group) This blend is a robust combination of 3 quality black tea leaves and purple corn.

An interesting bit of information about the name “Tawantin.”  Inca tea does not state what types of black tea is used here, but based on what I’m tasting, I would venture a guess that there is either Assam or Nilgiri (or possibly both?) in this blend because it has a rich, malty note to it.  Based on the slight bitter note that I taste toward mid-sip, I would guess that it’s an Assam.  The nice round character and slight wine-like notes suggest to me that there is either a Keemun or a Yunnan in the blend (or possibly both), or if not one of these two (or both), perhaps a Kenyan?

Again, that’s all guesses on my part.  I’m not sure of the teas used.  But it is a full-flavored, rich tasting blend of teas.  There is a slight astringency toward the tail and I find that this astringency starts out light and develops to more of a “medium” astringency as I make my way to mid-cup.

The thing that makes this tea different from the rest of the black tea blends that I’ve tried, though, is not the blend of black teas but the addition of purple corn.  The purple corn does not present a strong, obtrusive flavor to the cup, but I can taste hints of a grainy flavor to the cup.  With the casual sip, my palate has a hard time picking up the notes, so this is a tea you want to slurp a little bit so that you’re aerating the liquid onto the palate.  When I do this, I can pick up on those grain flavors and it’s a very satisfying flavor as it melds with the malty notes of the black tea.  It becomes almost bread-like … like a hearty loaf of freshly baked bread.  Nice!

Since I was unsure of the teas used in this blend, I brewed one pyramid sachet of tea in 8 ounces of 205°F (rather than going for the full boil) and steeped it for 3 minutes.  I think next time, I’ll steep it for just 2 1/2 minutes at the same temperature and see if this minimizes the slight bitter note.  The bitterness isn’t bad nor is it putting me off on the cup, but, I would rather it wasn’t there so next time I’ll tweak how I brewed it just a little to see if the results are better.

But as it is, I find this to be pleasant cup of tea.  I like the richness of the black tea and I like the subtle flavor that the corn brings to the cup.  This is unique enough to be fun and interesting to drink but not so unique that it becomes unfamiliar.

I look forward to seeing what else this new company – Inca Tea – will offer in the future.  These four teas that I’ve tried thus far have been quite nice!

Relax Ayurvedic Rooibos Tisane from TeaVeda

RelaxTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  The Veda Company

Tea Description:

Sweet, romantic and warming flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, rooibos and spices entice and entitle you to “Relax.” 

Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.

Taster’s Review:

I know I’ve said it more than once here on this blog, but I’m a sucker for packaging.  I’m also really into presentation.  And I have to say that I really like the presentation – and the packaging! – from this new-to-me company, The Veda Company, and their line of teas called TeaVeda.

The Veda Company sells not just an intriguing line of teas, but also candles, body care and home décor.  And I love the presentation of their TeaVeda line.  The tins are GORGEOUS and isn’t the teapot and teacup (in the photo above) absolutely beautiful?  The teacup is also called “Relax” and each of the teacups in the TeaVeda line has an inspiring message printed on the inside of the cup.  For the Relax cup, the message is:

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”  ~George Bernard Shaw

I love it all:  the teapot, the teacup, and the gorgeous tins that the teas are packaged in.  Beautifully ornate with a very tight fitting, double lid system to help keep your tea protected from the elements.

But wait, there’s more!  There’s TEA!

Tonight, I’m in need of a soothing, relaxing cup of tea so I’m sipping on “Relax” from TeaVeda, which is a chai-like blend of spices, vanilla and rooibos.  This chai has the “usual” chai ingredients:  ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.  Plus it also has some black pepper to spice it up even more and some vanilla to sweeten it.

This blend is a lovely spicy-sweet blend that teases my taste buds!  At first I think that the cloves are the most prominent flavor of the cup, but then the pepper and ginger come through strongly.  Then the cinnamon and cardamom come shining through.

The vanilla is a subtle flavor to this cup, adding a creamy flavor to the drink without softening the spices.  There is a warm, nutty flavor from the rooibos that complements the spices well.  And, even though the spices are vibrant, the beverage has a calming overall effect.

A nice, soothing cup of “Relax”!

When I first encountered The Veda Company, I found that their website is not an e-commerce/shopping cart type of site.  Instead, to place your order, you need to utilize their inquiry page and place the order via this system.  Not quite as convenient as the shopping cart, I realize, and they realize it too, so until they do get the shopping cart up and running, they are offering a 20% discount on retail orders made through the inquiry page!  I love saving money!