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Mango Sticky Rice Green from Ette Tea

MangoStickyRiceTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green/Black

Where to Buy: Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Mango Sticky Rice is a blend of genmaicha, black tea, roasted barley, mango dices & candied coconut. Very much inspired by the Thai local dessert, the tea brews like a platter of roasted glutinous rice with the coconut and mango coming in towards the finish on the palette.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is the tea that got me interested in Ette tea in the first place! The idea of mango and genmaicha is definitely very, very appealing. Really, any genmaicha with a twist gets me excited – it’s the first variety of green tea I ever really liked, and I’m still incredibly partial to it.

Dry, this is very roasty smelling with a distinct, and very fresh coconut aroma. I’m not getting much of the mango yet, but I can see several chunks of it in the dry leaf so I have faith that it’ll shop up in the flavor. For my preparation, I did a very quick 1 minute steep Western style in boiling hot water; I find that’s long enough to draw out the flavour, especially the roastier notes of a good Genmaicha, but not long enough for the brew to get bitter.

This method has worked well here; this has a very strong toasted rice flavor with absolutely no bitterness. It’s also accented by a lovely, clear toasted coconut flavour that pairs phenomenally with the rice and subtle vegetalness of the green tea. There’s also a slight creaminess to the coconut as well. There are some very light nutty notes as well, imparted both from the toasted rice and the green base. The black tea in the blend is a little less pronounced than the green; but I think that’s how it should be.

The mango is less obvious than anticipated, but still very much present and distinct; true to Ette Tea’s description of their blend it’s more show cased in the end of the sip and aftertaste and the sweet, tropical and fruity flavour it provides alongside the coconut does make me think of Thai food, though I don’t know if it specifically conjures up images of sticky rice. It’s delicious though!

This is an incredible tea, and while it’s not totally what I imagined it to be at this point I don’t think there’s a thing I’d change about it either. It’s very comforting, and because of the gentle wave of flavours both sweet and slightly savory I think it makes a really nice tea to curl up with at the end of the day. That said, unlike I would do with a conventional Genmaicha I think this would also work very well iced as something to take with you on a day out and about: the unconventional fruit flavors give this a little more life and lend themselves well to cold prep.

This is definitely my favourite Ette blend so far (something I feel like I’ve said with nearly all the Ette Teas as I’ve had them) and I would definitely buy more of this one!

Casablanca Twist by Adagio Teas

casablancatwistTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Tea Description:

An interesting twist on classic Moroccan Mint tea, which traditionally combines Gunpowder green tea from China with fresh mint. We kept the latter, and replaced the smoky notes of Gunpowder with the muscatel highlights of a Darjeeling from India. The result is very a refreshing cup, with bold, cool minty notes, smooth and relaxing texture and flavor. Very intriguing cup.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is a mint lovers dream! It screams mint from the moment you open the package until you take your last sip. I love mint teas.  I especially love green tea with mint, but this tea takes the award for being the tea with the most mint flavor that I have ever had.

I picked this one up at the Chicago store when I was there for work a couple months ago.  I had never had it but with it being a Darjeeling with mint, I knew I would love it.  So I went with the 2 oz package.  Glad I did.

I prepped this one up per the instructions on the bag, throwing a few more tsps in since I knew I wanted to try this one iced.  (I’ve been in a huge iced tea sort of mood lately).  So refreshing! I just shared a bacon breakfast with my boyfriend so this was the perfect tea to try right after that heavy meal.

The Darjeeling takes a step aside while the mint (which is peppermint) dominates this tea.  I like it, just wish you could taste more of the base tea.  But saying that, I think this would be a great base tea to mix with some herbal teas to bring out a brighter flavor or to spruce up a tea that you might not have liked the first go around.  I have a few of those sitting around.  This would also be a good one to have with some honey for a tea to drink while you aren’t feeling your best.

I can’t say that I would drink this tea by itself again, but I’m eyeing a package of Blood Orange herbal from Adagio that is right next to my computer and my brain is starting to create some other blends I could throw a tsp of this into to make a few new concoctions of my own.

Ginger Twist Herbal Tisane from Sloane Tea

ginger_twistTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Tea Description:

This tea is incredibly warming and comforting. A herbal blend that’s both sweet and spicy. Lemongrass gives a dominant , but smooth, citrus flavour. Hints of mint and tropical fruit blend seamlessly, making individual ingredients subtle to detect. The sweet comforts of the liquorice root coat the throat and help the flavours of the tea linger.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I admit that I entered into my experience with this Ginger Twist Herbal Tisane from Sloane Tea with a little bit of intrepidation because I had heard from a friend of mine who is also an Amoda Tea subscriber that she was a little less than thrilled with this tea.  And after reading the ingredient list, yeah, I was a little nervous about this one.

What’s In It:  Lemongrass, mint, ginger, ginseng, licorice root, apple, papaya, citrus peel, cornflower petals, natural flavour.

Lemongrass, mint, ginger?  OK.  Ginseng … ugh.  Licorice root – in most cases, I’d be enthusiastic about it, but it’s been my experience when ginseng and licorice root are blended together the result is a flavor that … evokes thoughts of dirty socks.  The rest of the flavors seemed OK to me.  It’s the ginseng with the licorice root that was causing my anxiety about this blend.

But, despite my intrepidation, the tea beckoned to me to try it and since my friend was asking for suggestions on how best to brew and serve this tea, I figured I needed to try it.

What’s the worst that could happen?  Since I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients, an allergic reaction isn’t the worst thing that could happen and I trusted Amoda Tea not to send me poison so I didn’t fear for my life if I were to drink this tea.  I surmised that the worst thing that could happen is that I hate this and after I take a sip or two, I unceremoniously dump the rest of it down the drain.

So I brewed it.  I decided to go with a ‘light’ brew and only steeped it for 6 minutes rather than my usual 8 – 10 minutes for a non-hibiscus tisane.  Then I let it cool for a few minutes and took my first sip.

Here goes…

This isn’t horrible.  As suggested by Amoda in the above description, it is a warming drink.  The ginger is the strongest component to the cup and the peppery warmth of the ginger is accentuated by the snappy flavor of the licorice root.

Fortunately, it doesn’t taste of dirty socks.  Or what I think dirty socks might taste like if I were to brew them.  This is not something that really appeals to me so I’ve never actually attempted to brew my socks.  Plus, I usually wear wool socks and if I were to put them in boiling water, the wool might fuse.

The lemongrass and mint are very subtle to the point where it’s really difficult to identify them in the sip.  If I had been given this brewed tisane blindly – not knowing what was in it – and then asked what I ingredients I thought were in it based on what I was tasting, I don’t know that I would immediately pick up on the lemongrass and the mint.  I would definitely pick up on the ginger and the licorice.  I wouldn’t notice the apple or papaya, nor would I immediately notice the citrus peel.

Now that I’m about halfway through the cup, I do notice some light citrus-y tones to this.  I can also taste the faint earthiness of the ginseng, which I find myself wishing wasn’t there.  If I inhale sharply so that a breath of air floats over my palate after I take a sip, I can taste some minty notes, but I don’t actually get much of anything that resembles mint in the sip unless I slurp the sip, and even then, it’s more like a faint hint of mint that could just as easily be mistaken for a faint hint of basil in this tisane.

Overall, I have to say that this isn’t my favorite cuppa from Amoda Tea.  Rarely am I disappointed by a tea from Amoda (they’re my favorite subscription) and I don’t know if I’d say that I find this tea disappointing but rather, I’d say it’s perplexing and not necessarily in a good way.  I think that there are about a hundred other tisanes out there in this great big world of tea that Amoda could have chosen for the box that I would have appreciated more than I have this.

But I guess they can’t all have me jumping for joy, can they?

Lemon & Lime Twist Black Tea from Ahmad Tea

lemonlimeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Ahmad Tea

Tea Description:

The zesty flavour of lemons lend this tea a warm aroma and generous flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I generally go into a tasting of a bagged tea with a certain amount of diffidence.  If my experience with tea over the many years that I’ve been drinking it (more years than I care to admit to!) have taught me anything, it would be that even though there are some bagged/sacheted teas that have been quite lovely, I can’t say that they compare to the quality of most loose leaf tea.  As a rule, I prefer loose leaf tea.  Loose leaf is just better.

That said, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed teas from Ahmad Tea – even their bagged varieties!  And this Lemon & Lime Twist Black Tea is tasty.  The bright, citrus-y notes are very uplifting, and the black tea is brisk and flavorful.

Citrus flavors and tea is a classic combination, I mean, who hasn’t twisted a slice of lemon into their cup of black tea (or a glass of iced tea)?  The sunny flavor of lemon really elevates a cup of pure black tea.  Here, the lemon is given a twist of lime to create a very enjoyable, tarty note that isn’t so tart that I’m puckering when I sip it.

There is a nice sweet contrast here to offset the tartness just enough to where my tart-sensitive palate can handle it.   I am getting a tangy-tart taste, notes of sweetness, and there is even a slight bitterness to this.  The bitterness is not coming from the black tea although, I wouldn’t recommend oversteeping this tea. I taste the pith of the fruit and that’s where the slight bitterness is coming from.  I can taste hints of that fruit pith, and it isn’t an off-putting flavor.  Actually, it’s a bit grapefruit-y!  I like it.

A really enjoyable cuppa … this is a tea that I wouldn’t mind having with me when I travel – the fact that it’s bagged would provide me with the convenience I need when I’m on the go, and it has a pleasing flavor.  This one is also really refreshing iced.

Casablanca Twist Green Tea Blend from Nuovo Tea

casablanca_twistTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Darjeeling

Where to Buy:  Nuovo Tea

Tea Description:

An interesting twist on classic Moroccan Mint tea, which traditionally combines Gunpowder green tea from China with fresh mint. We kept the latter, and replaced the smoky notes of Gunpowder with the muscatel highlights of a Darjeeling from India. The result is very a refreshing cup, with bold, cool minty notes, smooth and relaxing texture and flavor. Very intriguing cup. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  I’m really liking this Casablanca Twist Green Tea Blend from Nuovo Tea!  I don’t usually get all “wow-ed” by a mint tea like this one, but, this one is pretty darned good.  Oh, sure, I like mint, and I do enjoy a minty tea every now and again.  But I don’t often take a sip of a minty tea and exclaim “Wow!” like I did with this tea.

And what makes this more surprising is the mint level in this tea.  This is very minty.  I might even go so far as to say it’s too minty had it been with any other tea blend.  But, because I am liking the way the peppermint marries with the Darjeeling base, where I can taste subtle tones of muscatel behind the strong mint notes … I have to admit that I like this blend just the way it is!  I like the way the lighter, crisper Darjeeling notes play in the background as the cool, refreshing mint struts its stuff in the foreground.  I like the change up here, using a Darjeeling tea.

Although, here is where I hit a wall of confusion:  this tea is categorized as a “green” tea, but from what I could learn about this blend, the Sungma Summer Darjeeling is used for this blend and to my knowledge, that is considered a “black” Darjeeling.

However, since I steeped it as I would a green tea (180°F for 3 minutes), I find the flavor of the Darjeeling tasting even lighter than it probably would had I brewed it at a higher temperature.  I don’t know.

What I do know is this:  I like the way the fruity notes of the Darjeeling tea and the crisp peppermint taste together.  I think that a tad less peppermint could make this even better, because some of the nuanced flavors of the Darjeeling could make their way forward.  As it is though, this is an enjoyable blend – it tastes amazing with a thin slice of lemon!