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Sample

Yerba Mate from Chi Whole Leaf

YerbaMateChiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Mate

Where to Buy:  Chi Whole Leaf

Tea Description:

A perfect addition to your morning routine, Yerba Mate is beginning to catch on as a extremely healthy substitute to coffee.  This tea has a sweet, earthy taste that will keep you coming back for more!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The last of five samples from Chi Whole Leaf!

I’ve been on a bit of a Yerba Mate kick these last few weeks, so I’m both very excited to try this blend but also kind of feeling like I’ve overdosed on yerba mate and need to take a break from it for a few weeks. What’s better than a powdered caffeine buzz though? Hell that’s half of why I love matcha so much – so I’m ignoring those feelings of being all yerba-d out, and excitedly trying this!

The dry leaf doesn’t smell anywhere near as fragrant as the other four samples have been; just subtly grassy. My observation thus far is that the blends from Chi Whole Leaf fall on one side of a spectrum, either “very intense” or “surprisingly muted”. I’ve yet to really find a blend offered by them that rides the middle, and if I had to guess I’d wager this is going to be a bit more muted.

Like anticipated, this is pretty mild as far as Yerba Mate tastes; it’s grassy and earthy with a touch of natural sweetness. However, the licorice root and ginseng are definitely stronger – actually, they do a great job of finding a happy medium between tasting mild or robust. The combined sweetness of both begin to creep in at the end of the sip in a typical licorice root fashion. It almost has a honeycomb taste to it. However, if someone dislikes licorice root, ginseng or both they’re really going to be turned off by that taste.

Interestingly, I found that of all five samples I had the biggest issue with the dry powder for this one. It was really, really clumping together but it wasn’t as sludgy at the bottom of the cup as I was drinking it.

Again, I have to really thank Will from Chi Whole Leaf for the samples! I had a really fun time exploring them, and while I definitely didn’t love them all I was surprised by a few which I thought I’d dislike but where really, really good. Namely Floral Herb!

Oh, and just an FYI; right now you can check out the Chi Whole Leaf website and click the “free samples” button there, fill in your address and you can receive a free sampler to try out as well! Since you’re not even paying for shipping it’s definitely worth checking out!

Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club, January Review (Part 2)

yunomi2As promised, this is part 2 of my review of January’s Tea Discoveries Club package from Yunomi.

OnochaBanchaWe’re going to start off where we left off last night, moving on to the third tea I tried from January’s collection of teas:  Bancha Green Tea from Onocha Tea Factory & Shop.  Similarly to the other teas in this collection, this tea is not available for purchase from Yunomi.  That’s part of what makes the Discovery Club a MUST for tea lovers.  It will expose you to teas that you might never have tried!  What a unique and wonderful opportunity!

OnochaBancha1
Bancha Green Tea

This is a really pleasant Bancha.  It has a crisp, uplifting flavor:  fresh, vegetative and clean.  There is a nice contrast between sweet and savory.  It has a nice, brothy sort of texture and taste.  Nutty, sweet, hints of bitter to offset the sweetness.  Nicely smooth.

It’s a soothing tea that reminds me a bit of sipping broth.  That warm, nourishing sort of feeling that I get when I sip broth, that’s what I get when I sip this Bancha.  It’s not too sweet, not too bitter – just really pleasant.

This is the kind of green tea that I like to have on hand for “every day” sort of drinking.  It is a great tea to drink with meals because it’s not an aggressive tasting tea – it’s really smooth and satisfying.SenchaSuiho

The next tea that I tried was the Sencha Suiho.  Immediately, I found myself curious as to how it would differ from the other Sencha I enjoyed from this month’s Discovery Club package:  Sencha Suiren.

Upon first sip, I got my answer!  These are really two very different Sencha teas!  This Sencha Suiho is sweet, buttery and smooth.  Very little bitterness.  Very little astringency.  I noticed more bitterness and astringency with the Suiren – and that wasn’t even a really strongly bitter or aggressively astringent tea!

SenchaSuiho1
Sencha Suiho

This is beautifully buttery and pleasantly mellow.  Nice!  The resteep is almost as nice as the first cup – still really beautifully creamy and sweet!

I saved the Hojicha for last as Hojicha is one of my favorite types of Japanese green teas!  Hojicha Soybean Blend to be exact.  I think of all the teas that I received this month, this was the one I was the most excited about, mostly because I found myself curious about the ‘soybean.’

Unfortunately, I’m not able to provide a picture of the tea itself because the battery in my camera thought it was the right time to die.  So, I just have a picture of the package.  HojichaSoybean

The dry leaf looks a lot like … well, it looks like dried, chopped up leaves and stems.  The first thought that went through my head when I saw it was “mulch.”  I’m hoping it tastes better than I can only imagine mulch tasting.  Since I’m not planning on brewing mulch and drinking it any time soon, I’ll have to imagine what it would taste like.

Ah … yeah!  Yum!  There’s that lovely sweet, nutty flavor that I’ve come to love when it comes to Hojicha.  That delicious roasty-toasty flavor that evokes thoughts of autumn.

It has a smooth texture to it and it’s not an astringent tea.  It’s not bitter.  It’s sweet and a very soothing, calming sort of drink.  Really lovely.  However, I don’t know that I taste any ‘soybean’ in this tea, I just taste sweet, nutty flavor, very much like I’d experience with a top-quality Hojicha.

Overall, I found this adventure with the Discoveries Club from Yunomi to be really enjoyable.  Spectacular teas – I love that these teas are exclusive to the Discovery Club.  It’s certainly well worth it to take part in this adventure and discover some amazing Japanese Teas!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 22 from Teanzo 1856

The big day is almost here.  Just two days left to shop for it!

Day8Today’s artistic inspiration comes from another 12 Days of Christmas swap.  This ornament was created by Autumn.  (Sorry, Autumn, I didn’t take note of your last name!)  This is really a cool ornament.  It’s difficult to tell from the photo (and the photo isn’t the greatest anyway!) but the base of the ornament is a juice concentrate lid.  You know, the stuff you get in the freezer section of the grocery store in the cardboard cylinders with metal ends?  Autumn took the metal ends and made ornaments!  Really cool!

It’s not only a beautiful ornament that adds a lot of sparkle to my tree, but I love that it was made out of something upcycled – something that was otherwise destined for the landfill!  Day8-1

Here is an up close view of the ornament…

Like I said, very cool.

I love doing the 12 days of Christmas mail art swaps for things like this – I find it very inspiring to see what other artists are doing with everyday “throwaway” items like juice can lids!  Pieces like this really get the creative juices flowing!

Today’s teas is one of my favorites thus far.  This is one tea I’m likely to buy again from Teanzo, because I suspect I’ll be wanting more of it soon!

Earl Grey Green Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

If you love Earl Grey Tea, then try our Earl Grey Green Tea.  You get all the health benefits of green tea, with that familiar Earl Grey flavor that you already love.  A perfect gift for Earl Grey lovers!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve reviewed quite a few Earl Grey black teas (an understatement!) but significantly less Earl Grey green teas.  There are a couple of reasons for this:  the first is that there are far fewer Earl Grey green teas available out there.  With just about any tea company out there, you’re likely to find an Earl Grey black.  Most tea companies has at least one black variety of Earl Grey.  But, only a fraction of those actually carry an Earl Grey green tea.

Earl-Grey-GreenThe second reason is that as much as I love an Earl Grey black tea, I’ve not found a lot of Earl Grey green teas that I’ve enjoyed as much.  I’ve enjoyed a few, but if it came down to a choice between an Earl Grey black and an Earl Grey green, I’d choose the black version every time.  Bergamot just seems to meld better with the flavor of black tea better than the green tea.

BUT!

I think I may have found an Earl Grey green tea that I enjoy as much as I enjoy some of my favorite Earl Grey blacks.  Maybe not as much as those Earl Grey black teas that are at the very top of my list, but, this Earl Grey green even when placed among the black teas would be somewhere in the top ten.  Yep.  I said it.  This is a GOOD Earl Grey green.  Really good!

I’m not sure what makes this one so much better than the other Earl Grey green teas that I’ve tried.  The bergamot?  Perhaps.  This is a flavorful bergamot, tangy with just a little contrasting sweetness, it’s bright and invigorating.  A nice, sunny citrus note that isn’t overly floral or perfume-y, but still very distinctly bergamot.

Perhaps it’s the tea itself?  The green tea here looks like large gunpowder pellets and it has a pleasantly sweet flavor.  It’s not overly vegetative.  It’s a little earthy, it has hints of buttery notes.  It’s a mild tasting green tea and it blends in a very agreeable way with the notes of bergamot.  It has a slight creaminess to it that softens some of the sharper notes of the bergamot.

Together, this is a delightful match.  The tea resteeps nicely too, I find that the bergamot notes soften somewhat in the second infusion but the softer notes are quite pleasant too.

This tea was one of the most pleasant of surprises discovered in this Advent Calender from Teanzo!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 8 from Teanzo 1856

Hello, tea lovers!  Today is day eight of this holiday countdown, which means there are seventeen days until the big day, sixteen days to shop before the big day gets here and there have been eight wonderful days of tea!

Day5Today’s artwork was created by artist Liane Ceglar for one of the 12 Days of Christmas swaps that I was involved in.

I’m quite proud of my Christmas tree.  Well, not the tree itself (I’m actually in need of a new artificial tree as the one we have now is quite old and has had better days), but what I’m proud of is that every single ornament is different, and I’d estimate that 85 – 90% of the ornaments on the tree are handmade and of those handmade ornaments.  I grew up in a household that had a very boring tree with boring round, glass bulb type ornaments.  You know, the kind that you buy in the store and they all look the same?

One thing about my tree – it’s not boring!  I love that every year when it comes time to put up the tree, that I’m not only putting up decorations but little works of art.  Like this piece from Liane.  This is one of my favorite ornaments because I love how the crystal bead reflects the light.

Let’s find out what tea Teanzo sent me on this, the eighth day of our holiday countdown!

Acai Berry Green Tea

Acai-Berry-GreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Reminiscent of juicy berries, this healthy loose leaf green tea is full of antioxidants.  Acai Berry Green Tea has a sweet finish without using any added sweeteners, so you can drink this luscious green tea guilt-free.  Acai berry is also known as the youth berry.  You will love this berry tea!  Drink it as a hot tea or serve this berrylicious tea over ice.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:  

Acai berry tends to be a tart berry, so I usually am just a bit apprehensive when it comes to trying an acai berry tea.  I’m not big on tarty flavors in tea, however, I do appreciate a tart taste when the overall tea offers a balance of both sweet and tart notes.  I like there to be a contrast.

And with this tea, there is a nice contrast between sweet and tart.  The sweet, fresh flavors of the green tea offer a pleasing counter note to the tart berry.

The sip starts out sweet with light grassy notes and a buttery taste and texture from the green tea.  The description of the tea does not indicate the type of green tea used in this blend but based on the taste and appearance of the tea, I would guess that it’s a Chinese Sencha.  It has that smooth, buttery flavor of a Chinese Sencha, and I like the way these flavors mingle with the tart of the Acai.

By mid-sip, my palate is introduced to the notes of berry.  These notes start out gentle and sweet and as the sip approaches the finish, the tart notes begin to develop.  And then there is that berry, tarty tingle at the finish.

To brew this tea, I used my Kati Tumbler again and poured the fragrant sample into the basket, and added 12 ounces of water heated to 175°F.  I let the tea steep for 2 minutes.  The brewed liquid is a golden green color and has a delicate berry aroma.

I enjoyed the tea served hot, but I stopped drinking it hot after I had finished about half the cup so that I could try it cold.  I think this is even better as it cools!  The flavors become smoother and more unified.  This would make a very refreshing iced tea when the weather is warm!

It’s good hot, even better iced!

Peppermint Herbal Tisane from Simple Loose Leaf

PeppermintHerbalTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tisane Description:

Enjoy the refreshing and cooling flavor of peppermint straight from the leaves. Peppermint can be enjoyed on its own or added to another tea blend. The soothing leaves lend well to any sweetener. We recommend a touch of honey and lemon when enjoying these herbal leaves hot or iced.

Ingredients:  Peppermint Leaves

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op program here.

Taster’s Review:

Crisp and cool!

Yes, this is plain and simple pure dried peppermint leaves.  That doesn’t make them any less enjoyable!  The leaves produce a really invigorating yet soothing drink that is tasty served hot or cold.  It’s especially nice after a spicy meal because I like the way peppermint tames the tummy after eating my chili!  (And I love chili this time of year!)

The tisane tastes very refreshing.  It’s a very uplifting drink.  And mint is a big hit in this household – this is something I can brew and chill and know that my daughter will pour herself a cold glass of this rather than reach for a sugary soda.

To steep this tisane, I used below boiling water.  I generally do this with all herbs, because it’s been my experience that boiling water can scorch the herbs and they end up tasting bitter.  I don’t know if this is the case with all herbs, but I’ve noticed it with some herbs so I’ve just taken to the practice of using under boiling water for all herbals.  195°F ought to do it!  I steeped 1 bamboo scoop of leaf in 12 ounces of 195°F water for 10 minutes and this produced a very minty cup!

Peppermint isn’t something I can drink all day long because it is a very strong minty flavor and after a while, it does end up getting a little too much.  But like I said, I do like to have peppermint leaves on hand for after a spicy meal, and it’s also quite nice to sip on when I’m feeling a little under the weather (especially with an upset stomach) because it perks me right up.

It’s also nice when served with a little citrus.  The description above suggests lemon, but my personal favorite is lime!  I love the taste of lime with peppermint!  Also, if you want to give a boost to your favorite green or black tea, add a little bit of peppermint leaves to the loose leaf green or black tea before brewing to add a bright twist to your favorite tea.  It’s a good tisane to have on hand.