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!

Black Matcha from Pure Matcha

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:   Black

Where to Buy:  Pure Matcha

Product Description:

During the Song Dynasty in 11th century China, tea was consumed in powder form. Centuries later this innovative way of drinking black tea has been reinvented with our natural 100% Black tea powder or Black Matcha. Consumed just like traditional Green tea Matcha our Black Matcha is made from the finest Darjeeling and Assam tea leaves of India, and has a robust rich flavor. Higher in natural caffeine than a traditional cup of black tea, rivaling that of a cup of coffee. Except with Black Matcha there is no jittery crash. When you drink Black Matcha you get almost ten times more anti-oxidants and vitamins than a regular cup of tea, where the leaves are thrown away after brewing. Black Matcha is great for a healthy morning wake up.

Taster’s Review:

Now, I know what some of you Matcha purists out there are thinking… Matcha made from black tea leaves?  But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

This is delicious.  It tastes like a very strongly brewed Assam/Darjeeling blend, heavy on the Assam.  It has a lot of GUSTO.  It has the maltiness that you would expect from a good quality Assam with a hint of muscatel in the background that is desirable from a Darjeeling.

There is a faint savory bitter note to this, but I’ve got to tell you that I really expected it to be very bitter in a not-savory-but-bad-bitter way.  This isn’t like that at all.  It does, however, have a fair amount of astringency to it.  It is robust with a well-rounded flavor.

It is very creamy and when that is combined with the biscuit-y quality of it and the malt – well, it becomes rather rich and decadent!  But, make no mistake, this is A STRONG TEA… so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or even if you aren’t, you should be careful not to drink this too late in the day.  However, if you are one who finds yourself dragging a bit in the morning (um… that would be ME), this is the Matcha for you!

There is also a whisper of spice in the background that I am finding rather intriguing, and a very nice undertone of sweetness that I enhanced a little sprinkling of raw Turbinado sugar. A really delicious – and DIFFERENT! – Matcha!

It prepares just like “regular” green Matcha:  First, I sifted the dry tea (which looks a bit like dry hot chocolate mix).  The water was slightly hotter than I would with a green Matcha.  The water wasn’t boiling, but, it was just under a boil, whereas with green Matcha, I bring it to just about 145 degrees F.  Add the water and whisk, and this froths up just like a green Matcha!

I think this would also be quite nice as a latte, in fact, I think I shall have my next cuppa with steamed milk instead of water to see how that works out!   I will update in the comments when I try it!  In the meantime, you should try this tea!

Darjeeling Tukdah TGFOP from Culinary Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Darjeeling

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Product Description:

Bright, lively and full of flavor. Has a lovely muscatel character with a hint of nuttiness, an excellent 1st flush Darjeeling.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very unusual Darjeeling.  It is almost like a combination of Darjeeling and Assam teas!  It has many of the characteristics I expect from a Darjeeling, but also some of the characteristics of a high quality Assam.  Interesting… very interesting, indeed!

I can immediately sense the muscatel – I can smell the wine-like notes as well as taste them.  But where this differs from a typical Darjeeling is that it isn’t as light-bodied.  This tea is a little more solid and strong.  Not quite as hefty as an Assam, but certainly not as sparkling as a Darjeeling.  This seems to fall somewhere in the middle, making for a delightful medium-bodied tea.

There is a delicious undertone of malt to this tea, as well as a lovely honey-caramel sweetness.  There is also a decidedly masculine note to this tea, almost “leathery” in presentation.  There is also a toothsome quality to it – which is quite different than most Darjeeling teas that I’ve encountered.  Like I said, this is really an unusual Darjeeling – unusual, but delicious.

This is a tea that I would recommend to the lovers of both Darjeeling and Assam.  It makes for a great morning tea for the Darjeeling fan, and a great late afternoon tea for the Assam enthusiast.  And for someone who just loves tea… you should really try this one!

A Nice Cup of Shut the Hell Up (Signature Blend) from Adagio Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Product Description:

Very biting tea smoothed over with a caramel smile. Great to wake up to, especially if you are dropping the coffee habit. Great for the early morning attitude enhancement with the added benefit of enabling you to think beofre you speak. Shut the hell up and give it a try.

Created by: Travis Pelt

Taster’s Review:

As some of you may know, I’m not particularly fond of Lapsang Souchong so I generally avoid them whenever possible.  I find the strong, smoky character of a typical Lapsang Souchong to be rather off-putting.

However, I am slowly developing an appreciation for strong, smoky teas such as Lapsang Souchong, but, suffice to say that while I am usually willing to try a tea with Lapsang Souchong in it, it is not something I probably would want to try.

But that all went out the window when I saw the name of this signature blend from Adagio Teas (created by Travis Pelt).  I knew I had to try it!

And I really am glad I did – this is actually really good.  The tea is very strong – ROBUST!  But what makes this tea especially good to me is the balance of tastes.  It is a smoky tea, but it isn’t too smoky.  It is, in fact, one of the most thoughtful blends I have encountered – and by that I mean that the underlying caramel-y notes of the Lapsang Souchong are highlighted with the addition of the caramel flavored black tea.  The sweet, creamy notes of the caramel are enhanced by the malty notes of the Assam.

The three types of tea create a very harmonized and yet hefty blend!  It is a little chewy and has a nice bake-y taste.  It makes a perfect morning tea, but I am actually enjoying it later in the afternoon at the moment – it is the perfect accompaniment to Dulce de Leche cookies from the Girl Scouts!  YUM!

Hattialli Golden Lion 1st Flush Assam from Lochan Tea Limited

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Lochan Tea Limited

Product Description:

This particular tea is not currently available on the Lochan Tea Limited website, so I was unable to get a product description.  Watch for the 2011 first flush!

Taster’s Review:

This is a delicious Assam.  Very flavorful!

The sip starts out with a sweetness that is caramel-y.  In fact, that was my first reaction to my first sip:  “Sweet!”  There are hints of fruit – plum?  These flavors make for an interesting introduction to this full-bodied, robust tea.

About mid-sip, a hint of savory bitterness comes along – just at the right time, to cut through the sweetness and make the taste even more interesting.  The sip ends with a strong astringency – almost a pucker-y astringency!  This is a hefty black tea with the strength to get you going in the morning.

The malty note to this Assam is also there – I would categorize it at a medium amount of malt.  Not as much malt as some Assam teas I’ve tried, but then, a little more than some others.  The malt together with the biscuit-y quality of this tea gives this a well-rounded taste.

This is my first sampling of a tea from Lochan Tea Limited, and I’ve quite enjoyed it.  The leaves are of good quality and the proof is in the flavor.  Even though this particular flush is no longer available from Lochan, I recommend watching their website for the 2011 flush … it will be well worth the effort.  This is a good Assam!

Starry Night from Art of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & White

Where to Buy:  Art of Tea

Product Description:

Pour the night sky into your cup. Organic Assam black tea combined with natural soothing vanilla bits along with star-shaped white tea.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tea that I’ve wanted to try for a long time.  What can I say, I’m a huge fan of Vincent Van Gogh, and Starry Night is my favorite painting of all time.  It has such beautiful emotion – the brushstrokes speak to me in a way no other painting ever has.

But you didn’t come here to read about my love of art (unless we’re talking about my love of Art of Tea!)

This is a fascinating tea.  The black tea is a stout Assam, which can pose some interesting complications when paired with a white tea.  I chose to steep it at a middle-ground temperature (180° F) and steep it for just 3 minutes.

Starry Night from Vincent Van Gogh

The result is delightful!  Although I don’t get much noticeable flavor from the white tea (that’s not to say I cannot taste it because it’s there, but it is something that I really need to focus on intently to detect it), the Assam tea is so deliciously flavorful that it would seem rather ungrateful to be complaining about the white tea not being prominent.

There is a rich malty tone to the Assam – and it has been flavored with vanilla and the vanilla lends a creaminess to the malty note that is rather irresistible!  This is an excellent, full-flavored Assam that has a toothsome quality to it and a hint of baked flavor in the background.

A smooth, bold tea that despite its name, is not a tea that I’d recommend sipping in the evening – unless drinking a strong, caffeinated tea in the later hours of the day would not keep you stirring at bedtime!  It would take the additions of milk and honey very well, although it is quite nice without them too.  I personally like my Assam tea with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar because it can be a little harsh without sweetener, but, with the vanilla here, it doesn’t really need it!  It definitely has an EDGE to it, but, it isn’t hard to handle.

I love this tea!

Ebony Wine Tea from White August Tea Company

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: White August Tea Company

Product Description:

Assam black tea garnished with black currant leaves and sweet berries. We recommend enhancing this tea with a lemon zest or cream for an outstanding smooth and lightly fruity morning beverage.

Tasters Review:

Ebony Wine Tea is another outstanding offering from White August Tea Company!

The aroma reminds me of a cross between ice(d) wine and Cabernet!  It’s a nicely flavored black tea.  The currant leaves and berries are perfectly in tune with my palate!  This is juicy and has a nice evenness to the sweet-berry verses the sour-berry.  I think it’s just lovely!

I have looking into more iced wine teas lately.  I must say my personal tea stash is a little low on iced wine teas at the moment so this was a perfect ‘stand-in” for it.

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