Polari-Tea Organic from Starwest Botanicals

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Starwest Botanicals

Company Description:

Complex herb tea with licorice and fennel to add sweetness and warming, as well as ginger for hint of spice.

Ingredients: Organic fennel, organic flax, organic fenugreek, organic licorice and organic peppermint.

Taster’s Review:

After reading the ingredient list I was fairly confident that I’d like this blend.  After all, I love licorice, fennel and peppermint.

But, I have to be honest.  I’m not really crazy about the blend.  The licorice is strong – as is the fennel.  The peppermint offers an interesting crisp freshness to these sharp flavors, but, it’s just – somehow – not enough.   It’s not bad… it’s just not my favorite cuppa.

So to improve the flavor, I tried drinking it with a thin slice of lemon.  This was really very nice.  It would also be good with a couple of chunks of candied ginger.

And even though it isn’t my favorite tea, I think this would be a good tea to drink if suffering from a sore throat (or a toothache, since licorice root is very good for tooth ailments), because it is very soothing and it offers a good amount of warmth, even when sipping it as an iced beverage.  It would also be quite comforting to drink on a chilly evening because it really warms you from the inside out.

Shu Mee White Tea from Starwest Botanicals

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Starwest Botanicals

Company Description:

White tea is the least processed tea. The leaves are simply withered and dried. White tea has a higher level of polyphenols that green tea. This tea brews to a light red color has a slightly sweet taste with no “grassy” undertones.

Taster’s Review:

This white tea brews up a bit darker than a lot of white teas – as the description provided by Starwest Botanicals suggests, it is a light, reddish color.   It also has a deeper flavor than a lot of white teas that I’ve tried.   It does have a more delicate flavor than a green tea, but is stronger in flavor than a Bai Mu Dan white tea.

This is a very simple, pure, clean tasting white tea that is very refreshing.   It is sweet and smooth.   There is a richness to the flavor of this tea that is almost savory; it is very enjoyable, indeed.

Serve it hot and try dropping in a couple of chunks of candied ginger for a little extra pizzazz!  Or maybe toss in a few fresh mint leaves when you brew it for a fresh, exhilarating taste.  Or you can just enjoy it without additions!  Yum!

As it cools, the flavor does not become muted (this sometimes happens with lighter white teas), so this would also be an excellent choice for summer (iced tea time!)   It is also good for a second infusion that is just as tasty as the first!

If you’re new to white tea, this would be an excellent starter white tea.  Or, if you’ve tried other white teas and found them a bit too delicate for your liking, give this one a try – it might make a believer out of you!

Lychee Black Tea from Starwest Botanicals

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Starwest Botanicals

Product Description:

A base of black OP leaf scented with the essence of the Lychee fruit. This tea has a natural, sweet and very aromatic character.

Tasters Review:

Lychees.  Lychees and I have a history…an on again – off again type relationship.  It all started when I was 16 and worked at a grocery store.  Every time we received a shipment of a new, rare, or strange fruit or vegetable I HAD to try it!  This was one of those times.  I had been reading up on Lychees – how they were considered a delicacy in some countries.  I remember them being $5.99 per pound when I first saw them.  I decided to buy 2 of them and it came to 17 cents.  Yes, they are VERY light-weight and have a hard shell and are red and have spike like things pointing out.  The spikes were not sharp, however.  I was told to peel the shell off and suck the juice out.  I remember it tasting like paint thinner.  Of course, I have never tasted paint thinner but I would think that THAT is what it would taste like.

So, yeah…after THAT I was afraid of Lychees to say the least.  Since then I have had some Lychee flavored things like candy, tea, juice, etc…and I have liked those for the most part.

BUT…on to the actual review for THIS flavored black tea…

I’m not really into the dry aroma of this flavored tea, to be honest.  But It does get a little better once infusing is complete.  Thankfully it’s a mild and mellow aroma.

This is primarily black tea with a hint of lychee fruit. I don’t know if I would be able to tell it was Lychee flavored in a blind taste test but there is a hint of flavor there…enough to say it’s a fruit.

Having said that – I really do like this tea!  It’s very tasty and I would certainly have it again.  I really like this because you can taste black tea with the flavoring in the background…it’s not overly flavored and that’s what I like about this tea!  It’s still true to the black…very nice!

Rooibos Chai Tea Organic from Starwest Botanicals

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Starwest Botanicals

Company Description:

A non-caffeinated chai tea made with Rooibos, spices and hint of stevia to sweeten it up.

Ingredients: Organic rooibos tea, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic cardamom, organic cloves and organic stevia.

Taster’s Review:

I really like the spice level of this particular rooibos chai.  It is very vibrant in flavor, and I also like that I can taste the individual spices.  I can taste the cinnamon.  I can taste the ginger – nice and peppery!  I can taste the cloves and the cardamom!  Sometimes with chai blends, one spice is so strong that it overwhelms the other spices – but that doesn’t happen here.  Each spice is fairly represented in my cup and I like it.

If I had to change anything about this particular blend, it would be the addition of the stevia.  Perhaps it’s just me, but I really prefer honey in my chai.  I feel that the honey brings something special to chai and gives it “the right” flavor.  I think that the stevia here is a bit too sweet and it leaves a little bit of a funky sweet after taste that just doesn’t sit perfectly on my palate.

Other than the stevia, this is a really good blend that is heavily laden with spice.  It is lovely served latte style with a little warmed, frothed milk.

One other thing I feel I should mention:  this is a very finely ground rooibos and spices blend.   I recommend using a T-Sac to brew it because the grind is so fine that it will sift its way through most wire mesh strainers – even the very fine mesh strainers – and it will clog a nylon strainer.  Because a T-Sac is made out of unbleached paper, very little if any sediment will strain through it.

Indian Tea Fair Trade Organic FOP from Starwest Botanicals

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Starwest Botanicals

Company Description:

An organic black tea from the mountains of southern India. This tea has a mild, bright flavor and fresh finish.

Taster’s Review:

This tea has really surprised me.  I really like it a lot.

When I first brewed this tea; I didn’t know what to expect.  But I certainly wasn’t expected to be as impressed with it as I am.

It has a fairly mellow flavor – and yet there is a very pleasing underlying note of spice to it that is a little peppery and vaguely reminiscent of toasted cumin.  It isn’t exactly what I’d call spicy yet it has these little hints of flavor that entice and excite the palate.

This is a very impressive black tea!  I drank it hot, although it has a such refreshingly different, bright flavor that would also be very good iced – perhaps with a thin slice of lemon?  I added just a drizzle of agave nectar to my cup which highlighted some of the unique notes of this tea very nicely, but it is quite good without sweetener.

However you choose to serve this tea – it is sure to be a winner!  I highly recommend it!