Santa’s Secret from David’s Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  David’s Tea

Product Description:

Ever wonder how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in just one night? Well here’s the hush-hush formula. He uses a special combination of Chinese black tea, peppermint leaves and spices – all sprinkled with real little candy canes. It’s both energizing and remarkably soothing. All Santa needs is one cup and his motto changes from “ho ho ho” to “go go go”.

Taster’s Review:

Every year I try to tell my family that Santa would prefer tea instead of milk with the cookies we sit out for the jolly old elf.  They don’t believe me, but maybe this tea will convince them!

My first reaction – my first sip – was CANDY CANE!  It was sweet, minty and delicious.  Now that I’ve taken a few sips, it tastes a little less like candy cane (although that taste is still there), and more like a black tea that has been flavored with candy cane.  The mint flavor is just right – it doesn’t taste overly minty.  It tastes crisp and fresh and exhilarating with a sweetness that is not too sweet.  Perfect for dipping your favorite Christmas cookies!

The black tea base is strong without being overly aggressive.  It seems to be in perfect harmony with the mint flavor.  It is a very well-balanced cup.

I find this to be delightful as a hot tea and that’s just what I want this time of year.  It has a refreshingly sweet taste that requires no additions, although it might be nice with a splash of milk.

Yep, I think Santa would be a very JOLLY old elf indeed if you surprised him with a cup of this tea instead of a glass of milk!

Emerald Ice from WhiteAugust Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  WhiteAugust Tea Company

Product Description:

All the good stuff. Beautiful green tea, Ginger, Jasmine and tropical fruits. Our beautifully refreshing melody was made for iced tea and packed with antioxidant richness.

Taster’s Review:

I tasted this tea back in January, but I saved the review for it until May because Emerald is the birthstone for May (and my birthday is in May), so I thought it was appropriate.  Also, because this tea is outstanding as an iced tea, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the better iced tea options.

The aroma of the brewed tea smells amazing with notes of flower, tropical fruit and ginger.  It is so delightful!  When I first smelled this tea, I thought back to the Hawaiian Ginger plant that my gramma had in her back yard.  I don’t remember if it smells like this or not – but the tropical/gingery/flowery scent made me think of the Hawaiian Ginger… and warm memories of my gramma are always welcome!

The flavor is just as delightful (if not more so!)  The green tea is the dominant flavor, but, not by much.  It is a nicely balanced set of flavors.  The green tea tastes light and fresh and has a moderate astringency.  It has a unique “green” tea taste in that it doesn’t taste grassy or vegetative, exactly.  Nor does it have a buttery taste that is sometimes associated with green teas.  It falls somewhere in between butter and vegetable, without tasting like either one, if that makes sense.  It is delicious though, and melds well with the flavors.

The jasmine is the next flavor I detect, followed by the ginger.  The ginger doesn’t have that peppery taste, it is more of a mellow spice that nicely compliments the bright flavors of tropical fruit.  In the background rests the tropical fruit flavors.  I taste pineapple distinctly, but I am finding the other flavors difficult to specifically discern… mango perhaps?  Papaya?  It tastes sweet and juicy and delicious.  The jasmine lingers throughout the sip and into the aftertaste.

The unique and delicious combination of flavors in this tea makes it one of my favorites from WhiteAugust!  It is delicious hot, but even better iced!  Refreshing and exhilarating!

Razzleberry Green from 52Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  sorry, this limited edition tea is no longer available…

Product Description:

Our buttery sweet Chinese sencha green tea with real freeze-dried blackberries and raspberries and all natural flavors. This is a great treat for these waning days of summer. I think I’m going to make another big icy stein of it right now.

Taster’s Review:

Even though 52Teas is one of my favorite tea companies, I’ve only become familiar with their teas within the last two years.  So the limited edition teas that had sold out before I started becoming an avid customer – like this Razzleberry Green – were teas that were sadly out of my reach.

Fortunately, back in February, 52Teas offered some sample size packages of some of their retired blends.  The samples were random (I didn’t know which samples I would receive), but I was so happy to find this one amongst the samples I ordered.

This is really delicious.  The Chinese Sencha is light-bodied, buttery and sweet.  The “razzleberry” flavor is a combination of raspberry and blackberry, and it is a subtle flavor that slowly develops as I continue to sip.  The sweet “razzleberry” flavor seems a perfect match for the creamy flavor of the Sencha.

It is delicious hot, but even better as it cools.  A very refreshing iced tea!  This blend has a light sweetness to it, so I found it unnecessary to sweeten it when it was hot, but as it cooled, I found that a little sweetener (just a tiny drizzle of agave nectar) really brightened the fruit flavor.

This is a delightful tea.  I wish it were still available so that I could tell you to order some!  But I will say this:  you should visit 52Teas website and watch for their tea of the week updates (or better yet, just subscribe to their newsletter, you’ll receive an emailed update with information about each week’s tea, as well as updates on any mid-week specials).  If you love outrageous flavored teas, there is no tea company out there that does them better!

Ti Quan Yin Oolong with Fresh Ginger and Turkish Rose from Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Product Description:

Monkey-picked Tie Guan Yin oolong tea starts with a roasted-rice aroma and finishes with a fruity taste, blending beautifully with the refined Turkish rose and warm fresh ginger. These rolled leaves provide up to 4 infusions.

Taster’s Review:

Oh … WOW!  This tea is absolutely dreamy!  Like some sort of euphoric dream that’s been scented with roses and ginger and even a hint of smoke.  That’s not only what it smells like, it’s what it tastes like too!

It’s amazing!  The sip begins with an introduction from the rose.  It is a sweet and almost intoxicating rose flavor that is not bitter, it’s not even what I would consider to be sharp.  It is a distinct rose flavor, but, at the same time, it is unlike the rose flavors that I’ve experienced in teas before.

Shortly after your palate has become acquainted with the rose, a smooth yet smoky note from the Ti Quan Yin Oolong comes through and imparts its silky texture.  The smoky flavor is not at all off-putting, rather, it seems to unite perfectly with the rose and the ginger to create a complete flavor experience.

The ginger comes in next, and this is not a strong, peppery kind of ginger, but rather, an almost sweet note of warm spice.  It doesn’t taste hot or spicy, just mildly warm and enchanting.  The sip finishes with a slightly drying astringency, and the aftertaste lingers with the perfumed flavor of rose and whispers of ginger.

This tea is absolutely lovely.  Words cannot even begin to adequately describe just how lovely it truly is!  It is a tea that must be experienced to appreciate fully.  What a delight!

Latte Matcha from Teanobi

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teanobi

Product Description:

This Matcha is specially blended for a Matcha Latte. This blend provides a smooth rich texture and deep green tea flavor to make a full bodied Latte, just add milk. This blend dissolves quicker than any of our other products for instant use. Can be used both steaming hot and iced.

Our Premium Latte Matcha is made with a higher grade of gyokuro leaves. This yields a finer texture and more delicate flavor. The aroma is sweeter and the flavor is less bitter than our standard matcha. Both are a delight to drink they just have a slightly different flavor profile.

This tea is made from Gyokuro grown exclusively in the Shizuoka region of Japan. There are no preservatives or additives of any kind. Imported directly from Japan to preserve peak freshness.

Taster’s Review:

The first time I prepared this, I did so using the package instructions:  1 cup of steamed milk to 1/4 tsp. Latte Matcha.  It was good, but, to be honest, I wanted the Matcha flavor to be a little stronger.  I felt like I was tasting too much milk.  So, the second time I prepared it, I used a little more Matcha (not quite 1/2 a tsp.) and this was perfect for me!

The flavor is so rich, creamy, and smooth.  Yes, it’s vegetative, but, that’s to be expected.  This IS Matcha!  It has a wonderfully mild sweetness.  There is no bitterness to this Matcha, which I found kind of odd, because I always expect a light bitterness in the background.  Perhaps its the milk that offsets the bitterness?  I don’t know.  Anyway, for those of you who often find Matcha to be too bitter for your personal taste, try it as a Latte using this Matcha!  I think you’ll be surprised at how good this one is!

I have blended this using my bamboo whisk (a chasen) and I have blended it using my handheld frother.  Both work just fine, although I prefer the handheld frother for the latte.  It becomes more frothy and creamy – just like a coffee shop green tea latte.  One big difference, though, is that this one hasn’t been sweetened, so you can decide if you want sweetener in it or not.

I really enjoyed this Matcha.  It’s not only great for making a Matcha Latte, but it also is quite nice in smoothies too.  Here’s my recipe:

  • 8 oz. of yogurt or Kefir (I prefer Kefir, coconut Kefir if you can find it!)
  • Banana
  • 1 cup (or more if you desire) of frozen fruit of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp of Latte Matcha (or more if you prefer)

Blend until creamy smooth.  Enjoy!

Now, I warn you, this smoothie will not have the most appetizing color.  But it is delicious, and it makes for a very satisfying (and healthy) meal replacement.

This is a great Matcha – at a great price!

Honey Gold from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Product Description:

Travel far away to the Fujian Province of China. Our Honey Gold Tea steeps a nice amber color and releases a captivating orchid scent. Serves great chilled, and will impress any connoisseur.

Taster’s Review:

A lovely Oolong.

Just as the description above suggests, the aroma is indeed captivating with its flowery notes.  I can also detect a somewhat woody fragrance to it, with notes of earth lingering in the background.

The sip begins with a woody flavor – oak, perhaps? – and finishes with a sweet, honey-esque smoothness.  There are faint hints of smoke that weave in and out throughout the sip, and a stronger fruit note that is somewhat peach-like.  There is also the slightest whisper of flower in the sip that reminds me of the air in my gramma’s backyard when the honeysuckles were in bloom.

I have come to expect exceptional quality when it comes to East Pacific Tea Company and this Oolong is certainly exceptional.  The flavor is deliciously complex and contemplative, with an aroma that enchants the spirit.  And the best part when it comes to East Pacific Tea’s high-quality Oolong teas?  They product multiple infusions – stretching the value of this fine tea.  What a delight!

Tulsi Masala Chai from Yogic Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Yogic Chai

Product Description:

Ingredients: Organic CTC BOP Assam, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cloves & Organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) Leaf

Taster’s Review:

This is a very flavorful chai.  But then, I expected nothing less from Yogic Chai.  When it comes to flavor – Yogic Chai delivers!  Their chai is not too spicy, but not too mild either… it possesses just the right level of spiciness so that you know you’re drinking a chai blend without being smacked hard in the face with the spicy flavor.

Now I will admit that sometimes I like being smacked hard in the face with spice, but, when I want a delicious, evenly-spiced chai, Yogic Chai has never disappointed.

This Tulsi Masala Chai takes Yogic Chai’s award winning Original Masala Chai and adds a bit of dried Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil).  The addition of the Tulsi brings a hint of mint-like flavor that is especially noticeable in the aftertaste.  It is crisp and refreshing without overwhelming the balance of spices.

I like the subtle approach with the Tulsi here.  It’s almost enchanting.  Another delicious chai offering from Yogic Chai!

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