Honeybush Malaika Tisane from Nothing But Tea

honeybush-malaikaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy: Nothing But Tea

Tea Description:

Honeybush is gaining a lot of attention at the moment for its benefits. This blend sees honeybush blended with strawberrys, kiwi, elderberry, passionfruit and rosehip for a new take on the fruit infusion.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hello fellow tea lovers.

Today I’m reviewing this Honeybush Malaika which I have to admit that I have not had a lot of Honeybush tea compared to the likes of Rooibos. So if you’ve heard of it but don’t really know what it is or much information about it then hopefully this will help.

Some brief information on Honeybush: The name of this plant is Cyclopia but it is better known as Honeybush purely because it’s flowers smell sweet like honey. While Cyclopia is one plant it has many different cultivars, all of which originate across South Africa. Technically speaking Honeybush is not a tea but a tisane and considering this; is also low in tannin. Similar to Rooibos in flavour but Honeybush is considered to be sweeter and with a fuller body, though similarly it is also caffeine free.

Comparing it to Rooibos is interesting as I don’t usually like Rooibos but the few Honeybush I’ve had I loved. Rooibos has a chemical flavour (at least in my opinion) and that tends to overpower any flavours added to it. Honeybush does not have that issue and while it is perhaps a little sweeter I find it does not dominate additional flavours but rather enhances them.

Back to this tea in hand. I received a sample pack of 10g from NBT a while ago as an exclusive pre-release taster before it was launched on the site. Now it’s up for sale I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it to try and get the most flavour from it. So for two days I have had 10g of this blend steeping in my fridge using 1litre of water. Coldsteeping is much softer and keeps delicate tones, it’s my preferred method of icing tea/tisanes.

I haven’t mentioned much about the look or scent of the blend but honestly there was not much to it. The blend looked floral and multi coloured which bared a subtly sweet yet herbal scent. The fruit was too delicate for me to really say much about it and I decided to let it’s flavour speak instead. So I waited for the outcome with enough time to thicken with flavour.

Today is the morning I try this and the resulting liquid is a light brown/orange colour with a delicious sweet, fruit scent. Particularly like apple and strawberry with honey. A real contrast to it’s unsteeped scent. It’s flavour is just as wonderful! Sweet honeyed fruits with a touch of floral after tones that leave my mouth feeling sweet and refreshed. The fruit tones are mixed but notable berry with a touch of sourness with an exotic fruit affair behind them.

Honestly this tisane gave me a lot more pleasure than I thought it would and I’m happy to say this Honeybush blend is a winner. I don’t think I would have liked this if it was a Rooibos base and the Honeybush really does make this blend stand out.

Until next time,

Happy Steeping!

Maple Vanilla Honeybush from 52Teas

Maple-Vanilla-HoneybushTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

This week’s tea is a new blend of caffeine-free honeybush, vanilla bean pieces, marigold petals and organic vanilla and maple flavors. This is an awesome relaxing night-time blend.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not generally all that excited about the honeybush blends from 52Teas.  I mean, I usually like them alright and some of them I enjoy quite a bit.  But when I read the announced flavor of the week and it happens to be a honeybush flavor, I can’t say that I’m all giddy about it.  But this one … this one I was excited about.  I love maple.  I love vanilla.  And the idea of maple and vanilla together with the naturally nut and honey notes of honeybush?  Yeah, that sounds pretty darned tasty!

And it is.  This is the perfect late-night snack when you want something yummy to satisfy that sweet tooth craving.  Sweet, creamy vanilla.  Nutty flavors from the honeybush.  The maple … mmm!  And there is a light honey-like note in the background that sort of melds with all these flavors.  This is deliciously, decadently sweet!

To brew this, I put 3 bamboo scoops of the tisane in the basket of my Breville One-Touch tea maker, and then added 500ml of freshly filtered water to the kettle.  The reason I added 1 extra scoop of tisane is that I generally do add a little extra leaf to honeybush and rooibos blends.  They tend to have a slightly thinner body and I feel that the little extra leaf really helps enhance the flavor.  I set the parameters for 10 minutes steep time at 195°F.

And like I said – yumminess!  This would make the ideal dessert substitute for someone who is looking to cut the calories and fat without losing out on the flavor of a delicious dessert.  This really does taste like an indulgent dessert.  Like vanilla bean ice cream that’s been topped with real maple syrup and a sprinkling of chopped nuts.

Because it has that decadent flavor, I think that this is best hot.  Sure, it still tastes good as it cools, but there’s something remarkably cozy about it when it’s served hot.  It’s like comfort food.  It’s like that big chunk of cake that you eat to coddle the broken heart after a break up, but it won’t keep you from fitting in that little black dress next weekend!

Rooibos Raspberry Tisane from Georgia Tea Company

RooibosRaspberryTisane Information:

Leaf Type: Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Georgia Tea Company

Tisane Description:

Rooibos, which means Red Bush in Afrikaans, is only grown in South Africa and contains about 20 times more antioxidants than green tea. Caffeine free naturally.

Ingredients: honeybush, rooibos, flavoring, raspberries, sunflower blossoms.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tasty tisane.  I love the base.  I think that the combination of rooibos and honeybush together tastes so much better than either one on their own.  The two seem to work harmoniously together to bring out the best in each other.  And let’s not forget the real star of this cup:  the raspberry!  A strong, vibrant raspberry note.  YUM!

The honey sweet flavor and nutty notes of the honeybush and rooibos base are not overpowered by the strong raspberry flavoring, but I like that the raspberry comes through loud and clear.  And I like how the flavors of the honeybush and rooibos play with the sweet-tart notes of the raspberry.  The herbals are a little earthy and sweet.  They taste smooth and nutty.  The raspberry tastes bright and sweet and tickles the tongue with a tart note at the finish.

I steeped this in my Breville One Touch tea maker.  I used 3 bamboo scoops of tea to 500ml of water.  Then I set the parameters as follows:  195°F for 10 minutes.  With the honeybush/rooibos base, I don’t have to worry about bitterness.  So steep it a little longer and get a rich, delicious flavor out of it!

This is good hot, but it is even better as it cools.  It makes a really good, refreshing iced tea that is naturally caffeine free.  This is one I can enjoy with my daughter – she loves it.

Tuk Tuk Chai Blend from Tay Tea

tuktukchaiTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tay Tea

Tisane Description:

This Thai inspired chai is bursting with flavor. Red vanilla rooibos tea provides the base for this infusion mixed with lemon grass, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I really love autumn and one of the main reasons for that is because as I’ve said before, hot tea just tastes better when it’s chilly outside.  When that chill of autumn nips the air, it just feels better to hold a steaming cup of hot tea in my hand to warm me up.  And no blend of tea does that better than a chai blend.

To brew this Tuk Tuk Chai from Tay Tea, I used my Kati Tumbler and measured out a heaping bamboo scoop of the tisane into the basket.  I generally use some extra leaf when I’m brewing a chai blend because I like my chai blends strong.  If I’m going to go latte with a chai, I add a scoop and a half of leaf, but since I didn’t want to go latte with this particular blend, I just used a heaping scoop.  The rest of the parameters go like this:  195°F for 10 minutes.  Remember, with rooibos, you can steep it extra long without worry that it will get bitter!

This chai blend has an interesting combination of flavors.  The rooibos base has a honey-like flavor with earthy/nutty undertones and these flavors accentuate the earthiness of the spices in this blend nicely.  The cinnamon, cardamom and ginger add a pleasant warmth that is well balanced.  I’m tasting each of the spices without one overpowering the rest.  The lemongrass adds a bright splash of flavor to the cup.  And the vanilla softens the edges and adds a delectable sweet and creamy note.

It’s sweet and spicy, earthy and bright.  It has a very satisfying warmth to it.  It’s something that would be a nice, uplifting drink in the morning and a wonderfully cozy beverage for later at night.  And because it’s naturally caffeine free, it’s something you can drink at any hour without worry that it will keep you up all night.

Vanilla Cacao Tea from Tisano

cacao-vanillaTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Tisano

Tisane Description:

If you love chocolate cupcakes this is the tea for you… In the 19th Century Dutch settlers in South Africa created an herbal infusion from the Rooibos bush. It is a caffeine-free natural source of antioxidants with a milky and nutty flavor profile. Combining Rooibos, Vanilla Beans and Cacao Tea creates a creamy chocolate dessert in a cup minus the calories, sugar, fat and packed with antioxidant goodness.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  This is so good.  Definitely one of the very best rooibos blends I’ve ever had.  And it’s all because of the chocolate, baby!

To steep this tisane, I used 195°F water and steeped it for 12 minutes.  I used 2 tsp. of leaf for 12 ounces of water.  This produced one serious cup of YUM!

Just as the description above suggests, this tastes like a liquefied chocolate cupcake!  The rooibos adds just enough of a nutty, sweet flavor to give this just the right cake-ish flavor.  I like that I can taste just a bit of the natural nutty tones of the rooibos without this tasting too much like rooibos.  You can taste those nutty flavors but it doesn’t taste so distinctly like rooibos.

The vanilla is a strong note too – sweet, creamy and luscious!  YUM!  For those of you who like the flavor of a latte but want to limit your dairy intake, the vanilla in this gives it just the right creamy, almost latte-ish like flavor that you don’t need to add milk or cream.

But the real star of this cup is – not surprisingly! – the cacao shells!  By now, those that have been reading my reviews enough should be aware of how much I love cacao shells.  I think that they’re the perfect component to a chocolate tea.  It adds a better chocolate flavor to a cup than cacao nibs do, better than chocolate flavoring oil does, and much better than chocolate chips/chunks do.  Cacao shells are the KEY to a chocolate-y tea!

And this is chocolate-y!  Rich and decadent and absolutely SINFULLY chocolate.  So yum!  The vanilla gives it just enough of a “milk chocolate” sort of flavor and enough of a creamy texture to satisfy that craving of a chocolate-y dessert (like that aforementioned chocolate cupcake!)

I don’t usually offer a “highly recommended” recommendation to a rooibos blend … but this one has earned it.  I highly recommend this one!  Two thumbs up!