Green Rooibos from M&K’s Tea Co

greenrooibosTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal.

Where to Buy: M&K’s Tea Co

Tea Description:

The non-oxidized, green counterpart to the redbush rooibos you may have heard everyone talking about! Less red, more green, less autumn, more spring! Green rooibos tastes much more vegetal and refreshing and less robust than regular rooibos. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The weather is getting warmer and the spring bug is starting to set in.  I’ve noticed that my iced tea intake has gone way up.  My kids have the bug too.  Everyday they ask me if they HAVE to go to school.  My five year old who goes to a pre-K program has already declared himself as being done with learning and school.  I had to inform him that he has many years ahead of him and that next year he will be going all day next year versus the half day he currently goes now.

This tea reminds me of springtime.  The dry leaves smell very vegetal and have a hay/grass like smell to them.  Brewed up (212F-3tbsp-5 minutes in my Breville-then poured into a tumbler of ice) this is honey goodness.

Beautifully done. Smooth and honey like. A well done yet simple tea.  I’m not picking up any kind of vegetal flavor like the description had said.  That is fine with me.  This hit the spot.  Just wish I would have brought more along with me. I could drink this all day. Yum!

Seven Seas Herbal Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Seven_Seas_HerbalTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos & Herbal

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tisane Description:

This healthy and harmonious herbal tea blends peppermint, ginseng, cinnamon, echinacea, sarsaparilla, licorice, and organic South African rooibos. The cooling peppermint and warm cinnamon notes pair perfectly with the sweet, soothing finish provided by the other herbs. This special blend is an ideal and tasty way to stimulate your immune system.

Learn more about this tisane here.

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

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not usually a big fan of ginseng, but this blend has enough going on that I barely notice that the ginseng is there!  I’m too busy enjoying the contrast between crisp, cool peppermint and zesty cinnamon and snappy licorice to focus on the ginseng.  The peppermint, cinnamon and licorice are the three strongest components of this cup.

This is a delightful tisane to sip on this cold winter’s night.  The combination of cinnamon and licorice are warming me from the inside out, while the peppermint adds a refreshing element.  As I said, I don’t taste much from the ginseng.  I also don’t taste a lot from the rooibos or the echinacea.

At first, I had trouble locating the sarsaparilla in this, but if I slurp the sip, I do pick up on a light root beer-ish flavor in the distance, and it’s quite an interesting note to be tasting along with the cinnamon.  Peppermint and licorice are both profiles that I’ve occasionally noticed in gourmet root beers, but not cinnamon.  The cinnamon and sarsaparilla are quite intriguing and this combination is keeping me sipping.

This is a tisane that was a sample in my last box from Simple Loose Leaf (when they switched from the selection club to the co-op plan), and I held on to it for a while because … well, because it’s a tisane.  That’s why.  I have admitted before that I’m often skittish when it comes to tisanes and this just goes to show what I mean by that.

But I’m glad I finally decided to try it because I enjoyed this.  It’s a wonderful medley of contrasts, and there’s a lot of health benefits in this too!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 15 from Teanzo 1856

Today is Day 15, it hardly seems REAL to me that it would be December 15th already.  Just ten days until Christmas.  Just 14 shopping days before the day.  This year vanished way too quickly!

altered badgeToday, I decided to feature something that I made several years ago, and I had not intended on making it for the tree, but it has since become an ornament for the tree.  This is an altered toy sheriff’s badge.  I covered it with polymer clay and then I embellished it with more polymer clay accents, glitter, paint and some metal embellishments.

When I created this piece, I did so because I was working on an art ‘zine and the main topic of that issue was my favorite artist of all time, Vincent Van Gogh.  His painting, “Starry Night” is my favorite work of art of all time and this altered badge is an interpretation of that work.

In case you’re wondering what an art ‘zine is, it’s a handmade ‘magazine’ – there are many different types of ‘zines out there, but the ones that have always appealed to me and the kind that I focused on were altered art ‘zines.  In these ‘zines I would talk about art and also tea (my two obsessions) and I’d include short stories, journaling, “how to” tutorials, and little art sample inclusions (like little bits of ephemera and stuff).  They were fun.

Still curious?  This book might give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

Let’s get to today’s tea, shall we?

Simply Rooibos

orgrooibosTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

This high quality organic rooibos iced tea from South Africa is a great source of antioxidants and trace minerals. Simplicity at its best, rooibos is naturally caffeine free.  Also great as a hot tea and takes milk well.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

OK, yeah, I was less than enthusiastic when I saw that today’s tea is pure rooibos.  But, I was happy to find that it’s organic rooibos (I am not all that crazy about plain, pure rooibos.  But the organic rooibos is pretty good.  And yes, there is a difference, I did a side-by-side comparison to them at one point, and there is a distinct difference in flavor between the two.)

But really, there’s not a lot to say about this organic rooibos that I haven’t said about organic rooibos in the past.  It’s sweet with honeyed notes and a flavor that is somewhere between warm nutty flavors and woodsy tones.

To brew it, I recommend going slightly lower than most vendors of tea will suggest.  Most suggest using boiling water.  I don’t.  I lower the temperature to 195°F.

Here’s why:  A lot of tea drinkers, myself included, often complain about a “sour wood” taste to rooibos.  I didn’t call it “sour wood” though, I called it a “funky, weird taste” because I didn’t think of putting the words sour and wood together.  Yeah, I got the wood flavor, but it didn’t taste like “sour wood” to me, it tasted funky and weird.  So that’s what I called it.

After tasting that funky, weird, sour wood taste (or whatever you want to call it!) more often than I wanted to taste it when drinking something that is supposed to be a pleasure to sip (ie:  tea/tisane), I decided to play around with how I brew the stuff.  And I lowered the temperature of the water that I steep rooibos in and I found NO funky, weird taste.  No sour wood.  That’s my secret to avoid that strange flavor.


I steeped the rooibos for 10 minutes and it’s a very enjoyable cup.  Nutty, a little woody (but more like a nutty flavor than a woodsy one) with notes of honey-like sweetness.  Hints of a toasty, smoky note in the distance.  Quite pleasant, really.  Simple, organic, pleasant and naturally caffeine free.  A nice tea to sip later in the evening when you’d rather not overstimulate yourself with caffeine.

Rooibos Cinnamon Vanilla Tisane from Tea of Life

RooibosCinnamonVanillaTisane 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 confess that the first time I had a cup of this tisane, I accidentally oversteeped it.  I had started it brewing and walked away and forgot about it.  Some twenty to twenty five minutes later, I remembered it.  Fortunately, it’s a rooibos blend and rooibos doesn’t get bitter the way a tea (Camellia Sinensis) would.

However, I didn’t figure it would be a fair assessment to write this review based upon that steeping, so I waited until the next evening (tonight!) to try brewing it for my usual steep time for a rooibos tisane (ten minutes) and this time actually setting a timer for it.

And while this review will be based upon my cup from the 10 minute steep, I will also add some thoughts on the cup that steeped longer.  (Both cups were steeped with 195°F water.)

This is a very flavorful rooibos blend.  It seems a simple enough combination:  rooibos, vanilla and cinnamon.  This combination makes me think “Snickerdoodle” and well, it does have a snickerdoodle-ish taste to it.  The rooibos has a sweet, nutty flavor to it, and when combined with the vanilla and cinnamon, the result is a taste that’s a lot like the classic cookie.

The cinnamon is a warm but not spicy cinnamon taste, and one that marries well with the sweet, creamy notes of vanilla as well as the warm, honey-like sweetness of the rooibos.  It’s a pleasant cup of tea that’s not too sweet, but makes a nice late-night snack if you’re craving something just a little sweet but don’t want to wreck your diet by indulging in a real snickerdoodle cookie.  This tea makes a tasty and healthier substitute.

Rooibos Chocolate Coconut from Tea of Life

chocolatecoconutTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

Tisane Description:

South African Red Bush or Rooibos Tea is a pure and natural herbal blend.  Freshly harvested and finely chopped rooibos goes through a process of oxidation with the aid of the oxygen from the atmosphere and subsequently dried int he sun to produce a deep mahogany red cup of which is one of the most popular and healthy herbal drinks today.

“Tea of Life” is proud to introduce five New Naturally Caffeine Free Rooibos Teas combined with Dark Chocolate with delicious natural fruit and mint flavors for your enjoyment – all day and into the evening.

Taster’s Review:

The scent that is coming out of my teacup right now is evoking thoughts of chocolate coconut cake!  Yep, my mouth is watering right now, just thinking about chocolate and coconut!  Mmm!  Some of the most difficult moments of my life are those few minutes that I wait after I’ve brewed a cup of tea and I’m waiting for the cup to cool a little bit so that I can begin sipping.  I mean, I don’t want to burn my tongue, but, this smells so yummy that I’m growing impatient.

But the flavor is worth the wait.  As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I’m not big on rooibos, but, I’ve actually found quite a few that I enjoy.  And I’ve really been enjoying these Dark Chocolate blends from Tea of Life.  This one features luscious notes of Dark Chocolate and sweet and creamy notes of coconut.  Yum!

As you’d expect, this is a sweet tisane.  The chocolate notes are deep and rich and bittersweet.  The coconut notes are a little more subdued than the chocolate, but, not by much.  There is a pretty good balance of flavors between the two components here.  Lots of chocolate and lots of coconut.

What I’m not getting lots of is rooibos flavor and that’s alright.  I do get some warm, nutty tones from the rooibos and some of the sweetness of the cup I also attribute to the natural sweetness of the South African herb.  But overall, there isn’t a strong rooibos flavor to this cup.  This tisane is all about the chocolate and the coconut, and you won’t get any complaints about that here.  Chocoholic:  satisfied!