Wai Tisane from PONOinfusions

PONO_LooseLeafTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  PONOinfusions

Tea Description:

Wai will refresh you with a tranquil infusion of herbs & botanicals, inspired by breathtaking waterfalls, streams, and fresh water pools, all preciously vital to life in Hawai’i.  Made from certified organic and fair trade ingredients and caffeine-free, Wai immerses you in a marriage of mint & berry.  Wai means fresh water in Hawaiian—a precious resource in Hawai’i’s fragile ecosystems.

To learn more about efforts to conserve wai and the native plants & animals who call Hawai’i’s wai home, such as the endangered pinapinao (Hawaiian damselfly) and the uluhe fern featured on this package, please visit the Native Flora & Fauna section of our website.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

PONOinfusions is a company I only very recently discovered. So far, I love everything about them from their use of organic and fair trade certified ingredients to the incorporation of Hawaiian ingredients in their blends, creative themes to their teas, incorporation of Hawaiian culture and most importantly the strong emphasis on the fauna and flora in Hawaii which are endangered or at risk. On each tin you can see some of these species highlighted in the packaging, and a portion of their sales go to support working to sustain and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and plant and wildlife.

As described on their site, ‘pono’ means ‘the right thing to do’ and my first impression here is that Alex and Andrea are certainly doing their best to do that for Hawaii! I am very excited to get my first taste of one of their blends.

PONOpackageThe tisane I’m trying today (and not all of the teas in their line are tisanes) is called “Wai” which means fresh water, and the feature fauna and flora on their package’s design are the Hawaiian damselfly and uluhe fern. As I taste this for the first time, I’m definitely keeping the intended ‘theme’ in mind and will be seeing how the flavour compares to it.

My first impression of the taste is that it’s very familiar in a really comforting way. Breaking down the flavours I can see why; a lot of the ingredients are ones I like a great deal individually and they’re working very well combined. The body of the flavour of comprised mostly of the mint in the blend. I know this uses both peppermint and spearmint, but the spearmint is definitely more of a dominant/concentrated flavour than the peppermint is. Layered under that is the raspberry. It’s not raspberry in a really obvious way; but a gentle, subtle soft hint of raspberry that provides contrast from the mint. The nettle leaf is a little earthy and unrefined, it seems to roll in and out of sips as a flavour that I’m noticing. Finally there’s a floral aspect that finishes the sip. It reminds me of a mild jasmine though as far as I’m aware there isn’t actually any jasmine or floral ingredients in the blend.

While none of these ingredients individually make me think of fresh water there’s something about the way they interact with each other that’s very calming and tranquil and reminds me of seafoam, and skinny dipping with friends in the middle of July as the sunsets. Additionally, I remember reading a poem not too long ago that compared the ocean to a womb, first and foremost giving life and that’s the kind of feeling I get from drinking this tea. I want warm waves to wash over and cradle me.

Overall, I really like the overall taste of this tisane but more importantly I love the way it makes me feel. I haven’t been this excited about a newly discovered company in a really long time, and I’m excited to hopefully try more of their blends (in particular I’m hoping I get to try Nahele) and I very, very much recommend checking out their website! Definitely a cool company, and I think they deserve a little more attention.

Product Review: 24 oz. BPA Free Plastic Bottle from Fit Life Tea Company

FitLifeBottleProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Fit Life Tea Co.

Tea Description:

For the health and safety of you and your loved ones, insist on using containers made only with materials approved by the U.S. FDA as safe for carrying foods and liquids.

Our premium BPA-free drinking bottle has a convenient flip-top handle and a built-in straw. Its slender design makes it easy to always keep plenty of water or Fit Life Tea on hand wherever you are. It measures 9” tall x 2.5“ in diameter, so you can stow it anywhere and hydrate often.

You owe it to your cells to do everything you can to keep unwanted plastic residues from migrating into your fresh food, water and tea. Keep your water and Fit Life Tea tasting pure and delicious with this smart and stylish BPA-free bottle.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not one to get all excited over a plastic bottle.  I try to avoid all that is plastic when it comes to tea.  My iced tea pitcher is glass and I went through quite a lengthy search to find the one that suited my needs to a T(ea) and when I broke the handle on that pitcher, I went out and got another one just like it.

So a plastic bottle for drinking iced tea?  Not really something I would have been in the market for or bought for myself.  But when Fit Life sent me one of their 24 oz. BPA Free Plastic Bottles, I decided I’d try it.  So, I brewed a couple of Fit Life teas and let them cool completely before pouring them into the bottle and chilling.

And something about that bottle enchanted me.

I don’t know why I love this bottle so much, but it rarely leaves my side now.  This is what I drink my iced tea out of (and not just the teas from Fit Life!) and I also drink my favorite drink – Matcha infused Maple Water – out of this bottle too.  Like I said, my newest favorite cold drink drinking vessel.

I won’t pour hot liquid into this – I still don’t trust the act of ‘heating’ plastic even if it is BPA free.  But I think I can use this for iced tea and water and be OK with that!  In fact, I think I’m very OK with that!  I really love this bottle!

Product Review: Stur Liquid Water Enhancer Black Tea & Lemon

SturBlackTeaLemonProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Stur

Product Description:

Brewed Black Tea + Lemon – a mouthwatering and naturally sweetened blend of real, brewed black tea and fresh lemons! It just tastes natural, not chemical or processed. Add Stur to your tap water, bottled water, Sodastream/ sparkling water, even cocktails.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

During a recent shopping trip to my favorite produce market, Chucks, I came across a end-cap display of Eternal Bottled Water.  Attached to several of these bottles were little trial size packets of Stur products.  Most were fruit flavored, but I found a couple of Black Tea & Lemon trial packets, so I grabbed one of those.

These Stur products are similar to the popular “liquid water enhancers” that you can find in most grocery store aisles where juice is sold (or alternatively, where bottled water is sold.)  My daughter has recently “discovered” the liquid water enhancers because I’m not fond of her drinking a lot of sugared sodas or fruit juice (which has a lot of natural sugars and really isn’t that much better for her than soda, in my opinion).  Sure, I do make tea for her on occasion, but she doesn’t want tea that often, so, I find that these liquid water enhancers – many of which do not contain any sweetener in them – are something I’d prefer for her to drink over the over-sugared soft drinks.

This Stur product does have a sweetener in it:  stevia.  I would rather that not be in there, because … there’s something off about the stevia in this.  Either there is too much stevia in it or the stevia used in this product is a lower quality stevia because I’m tasting chemical-y taste … not just “aftertaste” but chemical while I’m tasting and then chemical that is lingering in the aftertaste.

It reminds me a lot of the drink mix that my step-mother would sweeten with saccharine.  Not my favorite taste.

And unfortunately, because of the off tasting sweetener, it’s hard to really talk about the black tea flavor or the lemon.  The lemon is there – and it’s a tart, acidic flavor (as if someone squeezed lemon juice into my water bottle).  The lemon is actually the best part of this “liquid enhancement.”

I don’t taste a lot of the black tea flavor, and that could be because the sweetener flavor is blocking my ability to really taste the black tea.  I don’t know, but I’m finding it hard to enjoy this particular beverage because of the stevia in it.

There is either too much stevia in this or the stevia product used is not a high quality product.   I wish I could say that I like this, but I just can’t … because … I don’t.  And I feel as though I ruined a perfectly good bottle of Eternal Water.

Silver Mountain Water Oolong Tea from Octavia Tea

Silver-Mountain-WaterTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Octavia Tea

Tea Description:

This is a characteristic green oolong that is calmingly sweet and fresh. The first steep is light and hints at what’s to come in successive infusions. Give it a second steep and you’ll discover more depth – with floral & fruit notes, vegetal flavours and a stronger minerality that works perfectly.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda’s Monthly Tea Tasting Box here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf aroma of this Silver Mountain Water Oolong Tea from Octavia Tea is vegetative with very soft notes of flower.  The tea leaves have been tightly wound into tiny pellets and the color is a deep, forest green.

My first cup of this tea (a combination of infusions 1 & 2 following a quick 15 second rinse) was a very pale greenish-yellow liquid with very little fragrance.  I take note of the texture – it is soft and silky – like a wispy cloud that floats over the palate.  The flavor is as soft as the color and almost as subtle as the fragrance (but not quite!)  But even with the delicate flavor, I notice complexity.  I taste notes of vegetative tones and a distant note of flower that beckons me to taste more of it by infusing these leaves yet again.  So I shall!

The second cup (infusions 3 & 4) is when I notice more flavors starting to emerge.  There is more color to the cup as well … the tea is a deeper color of greenish-yellow, still a light shade but not as pale as the first.  I taste a hint of fruit that evokes thoughts of a crisp apple.  The floral tones are more obvious now.  The vegetative notes are also more apparent, but they aren’t as dominate as the flowery notes.

The third cup (infusions 5 & 6) is where I begin to appreciate the sweetness of this tea.  The description from Octavia Tea suggests a fig-like flavor with a raisin-y sweetness, but I am not tasting that so much.  This is more like a honey-like taste to me.  Somewhere between the sweetness of pollen and the honey that is produced from it.  The floral notes are still present, but, I’ve noticed that the vegetative tones are beginning to wane somewhat.

The third cup was also noticeably creamier than the first two cups.  This cup is very Milk Oolong-ish!  Sweet and creamy and luscious!  And because I loved this third cup so much, I decided to go for one more cup (infusions 7 & 8).

Cup four was not quite as sweet and creamy as the third.  The third was absolutely my favorite of the four cups that I had of this tea.  The fourth cup was still quite tasty though … sweet and of the four cups, this one offered the most floral notes and more fruit notes than the first three cups too.  I taste very little vegetal flavor now, and the astringency has definitely begun to subside. The second cup was the most astringent, but even then, it was what I’d call a mild astringency.

A very enjoyable Oolong experience, I’m really that my Amoda Tea Box offered me this opportunity to try this tea!

Japanese Organic Green Tea Powder Packets from Shi Zen


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Shi Zen

Tea Description:

Our organic green tea (sencha) is grown on family farms located in small villages in the foothills of Mount Fuji where farmers pride in their commitment to only harvest crops grown in the way Mother Nature intended. Due to its high elevation, this remote Isagawa-Izumidaira and Kawane region of Shizuoka Prefecture enjoys the perfect combination of clean air, pure water, and fertile soil only found in this area of Japan, which allows for pesticide-free farming. 

In fact, to preserve this way of farming they’ve maintained for centuries, these villages have adopted a strict policy and guidelines on organic farming, and not only tea farmers but also fruit and vegetable farmer’s of this region strive to provide the safest and best quality pesticide-free produce to their customers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Cool “iced tea” refreshment doesn’t get any easier than these Japanese Organic Green Tea Powder Packets from Shi Zen!  Seriously … all you have to do is take a smaller water bottle (500ml size) full of freshly filtered water – or if you’re on the go and you’re buying one of the bottles from the convenience store, that works too! – open the bottle, pour in the fine, powdered green tea from two of the little pixie style packets and then screw the cap on tight and give it a really good shake!

That’s it!  No measuring and no special tools required for preparation.  All you need is a small water bottle full of water and two of these packets.  (For 8 ounces, just use 1 packet of the green tea powder!)  These are great for on the go, and it’s not only tasty but it’s also much healthier than any of those sugar-laden soft drinks that you might reach for when the weather turns warm and you need re-hydration.

greenteapowderThe powdered green tea becomes instantly incorporated (there was no sediment at the bottom, and you don’t have to keep shaking the bottle to make sure it stays mixed!) and the flavor is delightful.  There’s no sugar added to this and no artificial flavors, so you’re getting pure, green, Japanese Sencha tea and all the benefits of the whole leaf!

The taste is sweet, vegetative and slightly buttery.  It tastes light and crisp.  This is not Matcha – although it might look like it (and I did categorize it as Matcha because it is a powdered tea leaf), and it doesn’t have that characteristic thick, creamy texture that I’d often associate with Matcha.  This tastes and feels lighter … fresher!  It’s really refreshing and it is very invigorating too!  It’s a great way to “recharge” at mid-day when you’re starting to feel a little tuckered out … and because I prepared it in cold water … it’s really easy to chug down to quench the thirst.

This is my first experience with a tea from Shi Zen … and it’s a good one.  I’m looking forward to trying some of their other teas!