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!

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!

Original Herbal Chai Rooibos Blend from Simple Loose Leaf

HerbalChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Chai is a type of tea typically served in India with milk and sugar. Our Herbal Chai is comprised of rooibos herbal tea along with a combination of ginger root, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and black peppercorn. This herbal version offers a remarkable authentic chai flavor while remaining naturally caffeine-free.

Ingredients:  South African Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger Root, Cloves, Black Peppercorn

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

This Herbal Chai from Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club Sampler Box is a very finely ground rooibos!  The rooibos leaves are chopped finer than I’ve typically seen in most rooibos blends.  It’s almost like a fine, “instant” powder … almost, but not quite.  This still needs to be steeped.

So I steeped it using a T-Sac.  I don’t usually reach for a T-Sac when I’m brewing tea, but with a tea/tisane that is as finely ground as this is, I usually choose a T-Sac to steep the tea because I don’t like loose, floating leaves in my brewed tea.  I’m not in to floaters.

Additional parameters used to brew this tisane: with freshly filtered water heated to 195°F and 1 tsp. of Herbal Chai in the T-Sac, I steeped the tea for 10 minutes.  Because this is a finer chopped chai, you don’t want to use a little extra leaf – as I often do with chai because I want a little stronger flavor with all the spices that are in the blend – but with this blend, the fine chop means that there is a lot of surface area and this is going to get plenty strong with the 1 tsp of leaf to 12 ounces of water ratio.

The aroma of both the dry leaf and the brewed tea is so delightfully spicy.  It reminds me of the smell I would experience when I visit the spice shop in Portland.  Notes of cinnamon, clove and pepper are prominent.  I can also smell the cardamom and ginger.

Mmm!  This is a perfect tisane to send out for September.  As the air becomes crisp and the weather turns cooler for the coming season (Autumn!) this tea serves me as a reminder of what is to come.  As I’ve said many times before, fall is my favorite season of the year.  And … yes … the reason is TEA!  Tea just tastes better hot.  Yeah, there are some teas that taste better iced, but for the most part, I find that teas just taste better when they’re served hot and I find that hot tea tastes best when the weather is chilly.

And my favorite kinds of teas to sip during my favorite season of the year are chai blends like this because the warm spices are just so cozy and comforting!  This is a perfect autumnal blend!

The finer chop on this blend makes for a very strong tasting chai, so don’t go overboard when you’re measuring out the leaf!  You might want to even use a little less leaf because it does get very strong.

The spices are robust.  The clove and ginger and pepper are the strongest flavors that I’m tasting.  After these flavors are recognized by my palate, then I begin to pick up on the cinnamon and cardamom.  The rooibos doesn’t offer a strong flavor to the cup, it’s more like a slightly sweet, nutty background flavor that is quite complimentary to the earthy notes of the spices.

I’ve got to tell you that when I saw that this is a rooibos chai, my thoughts were “Oh, another rooibos chai.”  I wasn’t all that thrilled with the prospect.  But this is one of the better tasting rooibos chai tisanes that I’ve tasted in some time.  The finer ground on the blend makes for a deliciously pungent, spicy chai and that’s just fine with me!

This tastes great with a dollop of honey or a half a teaspoon of sugar.  I find that the sweetener accents the spices in a chai (sugar and spice makes a chai taste real nice).  Add a splash of milk or cream for a tasty latte … it’s a wonderful, caffeine-free treat to drink any time of day.

Rooibos Ginger Peach Tisane from Tea of Life

RooibosGingerPeachTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Tisane Description:

Pronounced “roy-boss” and means “red bush” in Afrkaans, studies have shown this tea is comparable to green tea in the amounts of EGCG it contains.  Rooibos is totally pure and natural.  It contains no colorants or preservatives.

And Rooibos tastes divine!  It is less bitter than most teas.

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m making more of an effort to drink more tisanes in the evening.  Until recently, I would continue drinking Camellia Sinensis teas well into the evening, up to just a couple of hours before I go to bed.  And I’ve come to realize that it does affect my ability to fall asleep.  So, when it starts getting close to bedtime, I’ve been turning to caffeine free drinks like rooibos and honeybush, and on the nights when I know I need to catch some zzz … I even have a chamomile tea.  I’ve noticed a difference with my sleeping patterns now that I’m drinking more tisane later in the evening.

Tonight, I wanted something soothing on my tummy, so I reached for this Rooibos Ginger Peach from Tea of Life.  I like that it’s sweet from the peach notes and the honeyed, nutty flavors of the rooibos, but there’s just enough of a zesty kick from the ginger to give the cup some contrasting flavor.

The ginger isn’t an overpowering flavor.  It starts out rather subtle.  The first couple of sips, I could barely taste the ginger.  But as I continued to sip, the ginger flavor began to develop, and now there is a gentle heat at the back of the palate.  I feel the warmth of the ginger but it’s not too hot.

And the sweetness of the peach curbs the zing of the ginger.  Ginger and peach are a classic flavor combination and they really complement each other well in this tisane.

The rooibos is sweet, slightly earthy and nutty but I like that the drink doesn’t taste too strongly of rooibos, which is not my favorite flavor.  The natural honey-like sweetness melds quite nicely with the peach and ginger notes.

Overall, a pleasant cup to enjoy later in the day.