Cranberry Orange Muffin Tisane from DAVIDsTEA

cranberrymuffinTea Information:

Leaf Type: Tisane

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

We don’t care who you are or where you’re coming from. No one can say no to a muffin. There’s no cuter – or more delicious – way to start your day. Even the name is a delight. And with cranberries, orange slices and cinnamon, this warm and comforting blend has all the taste of a freshly baked muffin…at next to no calories. Meaning you can get that warm, fuzzy feeling every time you steep a cup. Does it get any better? Muffin can compare.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I feel like DAVIDsTEA actually came up with some really interesting flavours this fall – this one in particular is very strange and I don’t know how on board I am with a muffin flavoured tea. Actually, in fact I know I’m not totally on board with a muffin tea. I know people were weirded out by a peanut butter tea, but this is so much stranger to me. For whatever reason.

Again, this appears to be another really heavy herbal blend. There are a lot of big cranberry chunks in the leaf that look as impressive in size as the ones in DT’s black Cranberry Pear blend that I’m accustomed to seeing. The smell of the dry leaf is really weird though: it’s got a really strong orange flavour, but in an off-‘orange peel’ kind of way rather than a sweet, juicy orange. I also smell cinnamon, oat, and something… else. Dandelion I guess? Whatever it is does NOT appeal to me. I mean, the smell isn’t gross but there’s just really no appeal. I cold brewed my sample; the liquor is pretty foggy and this weird orange/brown colour. The smell is quite fruity, with more orange/citrus notes than anything else. I also smell a lot of cinnamon, and a whiff of bran.

The first, most noticeable thing about the flavour is the fruity top notes. The cranberry is very piercing, and this lovely balance of sweet and tart. Somewhere in the mix, I can taste mango too. The orange follows quickly behind, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the flavour. It’s very semi-sweet bordering on not sweet at all and the combination of sourness/tartness and slight bitterness makes me image I’m chewing on an orange peel. Yuck! Unfortunately, those orange notes are really long lingering, well into the aftertaste. I’d love to swap out the intensity of the orange for cranberry.

The muffin taste is alright; I’d say it’s more of a weird starchy oat flavour and bran than a complete “muffin” taste, and there’s cinnamon peppered in there as well. Similar to the orange, the cinnamon is also very lingering. Once the initial fruit flavour subsides you can really taste the “muffin” element of the tisane quite well. I actually don’t mind the overall flavour, but it is strange to be tasting it in chilled, liquid form. Something else comes into play – probably the dandelion, and it’s putting a damper on the flavour too though. If anything I think that it (the ‘muffin’ and dandelion) would work better hot. However, with the unpleasant orange flavour I don’t know whether I want to experience a hot mug to test that theory out.

For me, this is a big mug of nope. Despite how accurate I think it is to the name, this is definitely NOT the tea for me. However, I do encourage people to give at least one cup a shot because it’s a unique flavour.

Product Review: Unsweetened MatchaBooster from Maeda-en

matchabooster-unsweetenedProduct Information:

MatchaBooster is a ready-to-use matcha-based powder. It mixes easily in your favorite drink and can used as a cooking ingredient.

Boost up your lifestyle with Maeda-en MatchaBooster♪

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en


Green tea’s smooth and fresh green flavor. Enjoy traditional Japanese green tea!

Learn more about this MatchaBooster here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to receive my shipment of MatchaBooster products from Maeda-en.  I have all four “flavors” – Sweetened, Yuzu, GenMai and this Unsweetened – and I figured that I’d start off with the basic Unsweetened variety and go from there.

This is a very versatile product!  Unlike traditional Matcha, it requires no sifting.  Just add it to whatever you want to boost with Matcha!

For the purposes of this review, I started out simply.  I made it in my favorite water bottle that holds 16.9 ounces of water.

It was very easy to prepare.  To promote your humble bottle of water to a bottle of Matcha on-the-go, just add 1/2 teaspoon to each 8 ounces of water.  So, for the typical 16.9 ounce bottle of water, I took a swig of the water – it leaves enough “mixing” room that way – and then I add 1 teaspoon of this unsweetened MatchaBooster to the bottle and gave it a vigorous shake.  It mixes quickly and easily.  Instantly even!  There are no lumps and no sediment at the bottom.

It tastes a lot like I added Matcha to my water bottle.  Only I didn’t have to sift it, and when I add Matcha to my water bottle, inevitably … there are lumps.  Little ones, but still, there are lumps and/or sediment at the bottom of the bottle.  (Exception:  when I’m using a Matcha product like this that’s intended for cold water bottle mixing – no lumps!  That’s what makes this product great!)

It’s a little “lighter” in flavor than a traditional bowl of Matcha.  It doesn’t have quite as much of that thick, creamy texture that you’d experience with a chawan of Matcha.  It isn’t as dense or rich as that traditional Matcha would be.  Instead, this is light and very pleasantly sweet.  It’s a natural sweetness and unlike some Matcha, this isn’t “bittersweet”.  There is no bitterness at all.  It has a pleasant smoothness.  It has a light vegetal flavor.  It … well, it tastes like Matcha, except that it tastes and feels a little lighter, an extra thin Matcha.

It certainly makes that boring bottle of water taste a lot better!

So I decided to try this product in something else.  I grabbed a bottle of pomegranate juice and I took a drink of the juice (again, to make room for the powder and the shake) and then I added 1/2 teaspoon of MatchaBooster to the bottle and shook vigorously.  My thoughts:  I could taste the Matcha but it wasn’t a strong presence.  The flavor of the juice was strong and I could taste hints of the vegetal quality of the MatchaBooster.  If you want more Matcha flavor, you would want to add a little more than 1/2 teaspoon.

That said, I certainly felt the energizing quality of the Matcha in the juice!  I really felt invigorated after drinking the juice.

And from there, you can let your imagination be your guide.  Want to give your orange juice a boost?  Add 1/2 teaspoon or more of MatchaBooster powder to eight ounces of juice and stir.  Or add some to your coconut water.  Or your almond milk.  Or your breakfast smoothie.

There are some intriguing recipes on the Maeda-en website.  Already, I’m thinking that this would be really good in my tomato soup!  Or try stirring a scoop of it into your favorite hummus!  This is a great way to add the goodness of Matcha to your favorite foods.

Product Review: Lime Zero Unsweetened Guayusa from Runa

LimeZeroProduct Information:

Step into the limelight – experience bright and refreshing flavor with zero calories.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t often buy RTD teas/tisanes.  But usually when I’m in the supermarket, I do look over the varieties of teas and tisanes that are available in the ready to drink section.

My biggest issue with RTD teas/tisanes is that they’re usually so loaded with some type of sweetener and often more than one type of sweetener that I can’t taste the tea.  Then it begs the question for me – what’s the difference between this and a soda?  Nothing really, except that the soda has bubbles.  So really, the sweetener has changed the tea into a soda that is more expensive than the typical commercial soda … an expensive soda without bubbles.

So, last week when I was in Chuck’s Produce, this ready to drink Guayusa caught my attention.

The first thing that caught my attention was the price.  It was a featured item that was priced competitively ($ .99 for a bottle, not bad.)  The second thing that caught my attention was the word unsweetened on the top of the label.  This isn’t zero calories because it’s made with stevia or an artificial sweetener that will make me feel queasy.  This has zero calories because there is NO SWEETENER in it at all.

In fact, here is the ingredient list:


Brewed organic guayusa (purified water and organic guayusa leaves**), organic lime juice concentrate, organic lime extract, natural flavors, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Now that’s my kind of ingredient list.  OK, I’d like a little more details on what the “natural flavors” are, but, I like that this is has no sugar, no cane syrup, no corn syrup, no stevia, no aspartame, no saccharine, no nothing to make this taste like some sticky, sickeningly sweet, syrupy soda without bubbles.

And what I’m tasting is lime and Guayusa.  The Guayusa has that smooth, slightly earthy and coffee-esque taste that I’ve come to recognize as Guayusa.  The lime is strong in this, but it tastes like real lime juice.  It’s bright and refreshing.  The drink is cool and energizing and it feels clean on the palate, not heavy or inundated with too much sweetener.

I’m really happy that there are some companies out there who are willing to celebrate the flavor of the leaf – even if the leaf in this instance happens to be the leaf of Guayusa and not Camellia Sinensis – my point is that this is the way RTD teas/tisanes should be.  They should be about the leaf and not the sugar!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Unsweetened Bhakti Chai Concentrate from Bhakti Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  For more information about this product including how to purchase, visit:  Bhakti Chai

Product Description:

Absolutely zero sugar added. Try with honey, agave nectar or stevia.

Taster’s Review:

OK… so basically, this is the same formula as the Original Bhakti Chai that I previously reviewed, except that this does not contain the “touch of evaporated cane juice” that the Original has.

This is every bit as good as the Original too, even without the cane juice!   Sure, it tastes different without the sweetener, but, it is still very tasty.  I find that the spices come through a little differently without the cane juice, as sweeteners tend to help accent the spices.  The ginger still comes through loud and clear though.  It’s the other spices that need a little encouragement from the sweetener.  But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy this latte without sweetening it!

The first time I tried it, I tried it without the sweetener.  The second time I tried it (within a half an hour of the first tasting!) I decided to make myself a chai latte float!  I didn’t add sweetener to that either, because I figured the vanilla ice cream was plenty sweet enough without additional sweetening.  And I was right.

To make my float, I simply measured out 1 cup of the chai concentrate and heated it, and then I added a scoop of ice cream to the measuring cup, along with enough milk to make 1 cup.  When the chai concentrate was good and hot, I added the milk and ice cream.  The ice cream melted pretty rapidly, but it still made for a deliciously creamy, vanilla-y, chai treat.

Today, I am sipping this for the first time with a little bit of sweetener added.  I used a teaspoon of Turbinado sugar, and this is a delicious chai latte.  I love the amount of sweetness with this, not too sweet or cloying.  It would also be nice with some raw honey, but I wanted to see how the molasses-y note would work with the chai ingredients. YUM!

Having now tried both the original and unsweetened chai concentrates from Bhakti Chai, I must say that I think I prefer this unsweetened version because it gives me the freedom to determine just how sweet I’d like it to be.  Both are absolutely delicious, though.  Certainly one of the very best chai concentrates I’ve EVER come across!