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Yogic Chai

“The Big Chill” – January’s Steepster Select Box

I hope you’ll bear with me as I do something a little different with tonight’s post.

As a subscriber to the Steepster Select program, I receive a box with three different teas.  Each month there is a different theme.  This month’s theme is “The Big Chill.”  The box also includes a postcard size card that offers some insight on the theme, as well as the teas that are chosen.

Here is the description of The Big Chill:

For when winter seeps into the bones and dull skies numb the spirit, we have just the teas to warm you through and through.

A smokey black tea, fire crackling at your feet.
A chai with warming spices, heat spreading from sip to fingertips.
A peppermint-blended green tea, the remembrance of holidays past.

Seasons greetings from Steepster.

This month, I have already reviewed the smoky black tea and the chai with warming spices, but have not yet reviewed the peppermint-blended green tea.  That’s because I already reviewed this tea back in November, and since it was such a short time ago, I didn’t feel the need to review it once again.  My thoughts on this tea haven’t changed:  it still tastes crisp and minty and refreshing. However, I didn’t want to let January close without having mentioned the third tea.

The teas that were chosen for this month’s Steepster Select were all wonderful teas and were perfect for the chosen theme.  The smoky tones of the Lapsang Souchong evokes thoughts of a warm, cozy fire roaring in the fireplace.  The spices in the chai warmed me from the inside out, helping me to stave off winter’s cold.  And this delicious Moroccan Mint from Earthbound Tea is cool and sweet, reflective of the crisp chill in the air.

I can’t wait to discover what next month’s Steepster Select has in store!

Original Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Tea Description:

Organic Assam Tea, Organic Green Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cloves & Organic Ginger.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m quite sure I’ve said this (or something like this) before, but it bears repeating:  When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a cup of chai.  The heat of the masala spices warms you from the inside out.

And Yogic Chai makes some of my favorite chai blends.  And this blend is where it all started!  The blend is a perfectly balanced combination of just four spices:  cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger.  These are the four “usual suspects” when it comes to chai blends, and there are some tea companies that add some other spices, while others may omit one or two of the usual suspects, sometimes in favor of other spices, sometimes not. But really, when it comes to chai, the combination of spices that Yogic Chai uses is classic, but they have blended them masterfully as to create one of a very memorable chai.

Smooth, rich Assam tea makes up the base of this chai.  It is strong enough to offer a distinct flavor contribution, even though it is immersed in some rather spicy surroundings.  It has a malty character and does not taste bitter (although, as with all teas, I recommend not over-steeping as this may produce a bitter taste).

This is my second tea from my Janauary Steepster Select box, and it is a good one.  I’ve tried many teas from Yogic Chai, but this is the first time I’ve tried the Original!  Delicious served straight and it makes an awesome latte too, although I think its best served without the milk, adding just a little turbinado sugar to accent the spices.  This way I get more impact from the spices, as I think that the addition of milk seems to mute the spices just a bit.  This one is yummy any way you choose to serve it!

Lapsang Souchong from Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden

About This Tea:

The story goes that Lapsang Souchong was first created when the Wuyi region’s annual tea drying process was interrupted by army movement. To compensate for the missed drying period, tea farmers hung their tea over pinewood fires, consequently imparting a distinctive smoky flavor and aroma. Our Lapsang Souchong is sourced by Mark Ukra, co-owner of Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden, who comes from a family of Middle Eastern tea merchants dating back 400 years. Drink Lapsang Souchong plain or try it as a spice or rub for cooking.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

January’s Steepster Select box brought teas that to help warm us up from Winter’s Chill.  The first tea that I tried from the box was this Lapsang Souchong, which is a little unusual for me since it’s one of my least favorite teas (well, not this Lapsang Souchong, but Lapsang Souchong in general is one of my least favorite teas).

But this is no ordinary Lapsang Souchong.  This is easily the best that I’ve ever tried.  Now, I can’t say that I’ve tried a lot of Lapsang Souchong teas, as it is one of those teas that I tend to avoid, but I have tried a few, and I’ve even managed to – slowly – get my palate more accustomed to the unique flavor experience of Lapsang Souchong.  While I am slowly gaining an appreciation for this strong, smoky tea, it is still sometimes difficult for me to get past it.

This Lapsang Souchong from Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden has been a real eye-opening experience for me.  I am not just “appreciating” this tea … I’m LOVING it!

The first couple of sips are quite smoky.  But once I get past those first sips, I find wonderful flavors await me.  I can actually taste the pine here, and that is something that I didn’t really experience in previous Lapsang Souchong tastings.  I may have tasted mere hints of pine in the distance, but, mostly what I tasted was smoke and the caramel undertone.  Here, the pine is quite distinct and it is lovely.

The caramel undertones are there as well, giving a very pleasant sweetness to the smoky overtones.  But what I find especially enjoyable is the way that the caramel undertones meld with the pine notes.  The flavors here are deep and intriguing.

A very unique Lapsang Souchong, and I have Steepster Select for bringing it to me!

Coconut Maté Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Product Description:

We use Organic & Fair Trade Green Yerba Mate from Brazil for our Mate Chai(s)

Yerba Mate is a lightly stimulating beverage from South America that has a mild amount of caffeine with just the right kick. It produces a light green beverage, with a refreshingly bold flavor that has found a perfect match with our masala spices!

Taster’s Review:

This is one of the smoothest tasting Yerba Maté blends I’ve ever encountered.  Generally, I find Yerba Maté (and particularly green Yerba Maté as in this blend) to be quite rustic, consisting of a strong earthy quality as well as a vegetative note.  And, while this Yerba Maté blend does have that rustic feel to it, I think that the spices and the coconut help to even this Maté out to give it a smooth finish.

I suspect the same recipe of spices that goes in to Yogic Chai’s award-winning Original Masala Chai is used for this blend, and I like the way the spices and Yerba Maté work together in this blend.  The result is a gentler Maté with a savory kick of masala spice with just a hint of coconut goodness.  The flavors are warm and spicy.  I find the blend to be very soothing and a pleasure to sip.

The coconut is much more subtle here than I expected, but it gives the overall cup a creamy kiss of coconut-y sweetness that I really like.  The coconut is present throughout the sip, but, it is a subtle tone of coconut.

This is delicious hot but I actually prefer this one iced.  While it also makes a great chai latte, I prefer it without milk.  I just add a drizzle of agave nectar to enhance the spices and serve it chilled.   It is so refreshing and so beautifully different with its medley of spices.  It is calming and yet energizing; it is peacefully invigorating!

Gen Mai Lemongrass Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Type: Green Tea/Chai

Where To Buy: Yogic Chai

Product Description:

Herbal Properties:
– Genmaicha Tea: Is a flavorful Japanese classic which includes a stunning combination of whole, fresh Green Sencha leaves combined with roasted organic brown rice. The almost sweet, toasted flavor of the rice adds a lovely contribution to the whole bodied green tea leaves

– Cardamom: A household spice that is commonly used to support digestion without increasing Heat.* It has expectorant and diaphoretic actions.* The mucus forming properties of milk are neutralized when cardamom is added to it.*

– Cinnamon: This warming spice is traditionally used in cold formulas as an expectorant and diaphoretic (sweat inducing).* Due to its warming property, cinnamon is known to promote digestion.*

– Cloves: An energizing herb,* cloves are an effective stimulant and aromatic for the lungs and stomach.* Cloves are used extensively in Ayurvedic herbology.

– Ginger: In Ayurvedic and Chinese herbology, Ginger is known to have heating, cleansing, toning and stimulating properties.* Ginger promotes digestion, relieves abdominal discomfort, dispels chills and it is also useful for relieving respiratory complaints due to phlegm and arthritic conditions due to coldness.*

– Lemon Grass: As a medicinal herb, lemon grass is mildly diuretic and a stimulant tonic. * The herb promotes digestion of fats, and in Ayurvedic medicine a preparation of lemon grass with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea.* The herb stimulates perspiration, cooling the body in summer and lowering fevers any time of year.*

  • This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

Tasters Review:

Gen Mai?  Lemongrass?  Chai?  I can’t say as I would have thought about putting all of this together but I am sure glad that Yogic Chai did because it’s pretty darned awesome!

The Genmaicha is the perfect ‘strength’ for me and of really good quality.  The Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger are all quite subtle and I’m completely fine with that.  There are little popped rice that are included in this blend of flavors and I think that is very nice!  It makes me smile, actually!  The Lemongrass is a wonderful touch!

This is another good, unique chai/blend from Yogic Chai!  And I am grateful that I was able to try it.  If you have the opportunity to sample it – do it!  You won’t regret it!