Hibiscus Berry from Rishi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Rishi Tea

Product Description:

Luscious currants and delicious forest berries complement this fruity and balanced blend with a wonderful scarlet red infusion that refreshes and rejuvenates.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said on several occasions, I’m not a big fan of hibiscus.  Generally speaking, it is too tart for my personal taste.  But, I know that some people out there love the stuff (otherwise, the tea companies wouldn’t be selling it, right?) so when I decided to give this tisane a try, I did so on the premise that I would be fair and objective about the tisane and try not to let my own personal feelings get in the way.

But you know what?  I’m actually enjoying this!  I am surprised that I am actually enjoying it.

I steeped it for just five minutes.  I find that steeping hibiscus-laden tisanes any longer results in a very thick, syrupy, tart cup.  But, five minutes is just long enough to extract flavor and a little bit of body out of the hibiscus without going overboard on the tartness.

And while this IS a tart tisane, it isn’t too tart.  I don’t pucker up when I take a sip, but I do feel that sourness hit the back of my tongue – and its ALMOST a pucker.  I did add a dollop of honey and I am sure that helped to curb the tartness a bit, but it also did something else too; it added definition to the blueberry, currant and mango flavors.

I love that I can taste the sweetness of the mango, and the thickness from the hibiscus makes the mango flavor almost nectar-like!  I can also taste the blueberry peeking through.  It’s a very flavorful, fruity cup and it is one that I am sure kids will LOVE (and this is much better for them than soda pop, even with the honey!)

So, it just goes to show you, don’t let the name of a tea affect your decision to try it.  If I had done that, I wouldn’t be drinking this tea right now, and I am liking it!

Acai Matcha from Shanti Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Matcha (Green Tea)

Where to Buy:  Shanti Tea

Product Description:

Matcha tea is kind of like a super-powered green tea—since you’re ingesting the whole leaf instead of just the brewed beverage, you get up to ten times the antioxidant effect and nutritional value of your standard green. Matcha’s rich in antioxidants, as well as chlorophyll and fiber, and has been found to have natural mood enhancing effects. All in all, matcha’s got no match when it comes to healthy teas.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really good flavored Matcha.  Flavored Matcha is not as common a product as other flavored teas, so it’s an exciting thing to find one.

The flavor is a bit different than other flavored Matcha teas that I’ve tried, I don’t know if that is because this is intended to use to make Matcha Lattes.  The first time I tasted it, I enjoyed it as I would normally prepare Matcha – that is with some hot water in my chawan and whisk with my chasen.  And this results in a pretty tasty tea.

The flavor is smooth and rich, with very little bitterness.  It is a lot less bitter than I usually experience with Matcha (which is typically a little bitter and a little sweet – a delicious contrast).  It is also not quite as vegetative.  Prepared traditionally, what I taste mostly is a creamy, sweet and rich tasting tea with mere hints of a vegetative taste (it’s kind of in the background!) and a tart note from the Acai berry.  It isn’t an unpleasant tartness, though.  I’m really enjoying it.

My Chawan from Koide Studio

But because I didn’t feel like I was truly experiencing this tea as it was intended, I decided that I should also try this as a latte.  I put a few heaping scoops (I used my Chashaku) of the Matcha in my Chawan, and then I made a thick paste using two tablespoons (I eyeball it) of hot (not boiling) water.  Then I added steaming milk and whisked it until blended and frothy.

As a latte, I notice that I get more froth than I did preparing it traditionally.  The flavor is much creamier, and I notice more of the vegetative notes as a latte, but less of the acai berry, which slowly creeps up to the palate in the finish and imparts a lovely tart note.   Not a pucker-y type of tart, just a pleasant, fruity tart taste.

After trying it as a latte, I decided to get a little more adventurous and try it with some orange juice.  So using the same method as before (a few heaping scoops, a little hot water, thick paste), I replaced the hot milk with a little bit of cold orange juice.  This may be my favorite way to enjoy this particular matcha because I like the way that the acai berry and the orange flavors mingle.  There is very little vegetative taste, it is sweet, slightly creamy, and pleasantly tart.

This Matcha is incredibly versatile.  It would also make a great addition to a smoothie, if you’re so inclined!  I like that the acai berry is subtle, but just enough to help smooth out some of the bitter notes of the Matcha.  I really enjoyed my time with this Matcha!

Tea Merci Berry & Rose from Blue Q

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Blue Q

Product Description:

You make me blush. Elegant India black tea with organic strawberries and a rose petal or two.

Taster’s Review:

This is really good – surprisingly good for a bagged tea!

This tastes like a delicious Rose Congou tea that has been livened up with strawberry flavor.  The black tea base is a pleasant tasting black.  It is fairly mellow, but there is a hint of bitterness toward the end of the sip.  There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the black tea because really, the rose and the berry are the real stars of this show!

The rose is very well pronounced (like I said, it tastes like a Rose Congou).  I really like rose in tea so I am finding it rather lovely.  The strawberry is a bit more delicate than the rose, but the flavor develops as I continue to sip.  There is very little tartness from the berry; just fresh strawberry sweetness melding with the feminine notes of the rose.

There is an interesting contrast between the rose and the berry.  Such a unique and flavorful combination!

Goji Berry Blue from Praise Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Praise Tea

Product Description:

An antioxidant explosion of sencha green tea, gojiberries, blueberries, lemon grass, and pomegrante seeds.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve professed before, I have somewhat of a ingrained response when it comes to Goji Berry.  That response is a hesitant recoil based upon the first time I tried a tea with Goji Berry.  The tea was incredibly tart – far too tart for me to enjoy it.  Since that time I have been less than enthused to try Goji Berry flavored teas.

And really, that’s an unfair response because since that time, the Goji Berry flavored teas have been quite delicious.  Like this one, for example.  This green tea is flavored with goji berries, blueberries, pomegranate and lemongrass.  And it’s absolutely amazing!

The fruit flavor is sweet with just a hint of tart.  The lemongrass adds a certain citrus-y element that accents the flavor of of the berries without overwhelming them.  There is a buttery note to the cup that I attribute to the green tea base as well as the lemongrass, it is a soft, creamy kind of note that doesn’t impart a strong buttery presence onto the palate – just a smooth sweetness that is quite delectable.

This tea is not what I would classify as “tart” even though there is a hint of tartness that hits the palate in the finish.  It is a pleasant note that sort of completes the overall taste profile.

While this would be absolutely amazing served over ice in the summer, I am finding it quite enjoyable as a hot beverage in the winter.   I found that a tiny bit of agave nectar brings out some of the sweeter qualities of the tea – especially the blueberry notes!

Queen Catherine Tea from Harney & Sons

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Harney & Sons

Product Description:

We created this blend of three Chinese black teas in honor of Queen Catherine, who introduced her love of tea to the British. We are privledged to have this tea featured in the Museum of Tea in Hangzhou, China. Harney & Sons is the only Western tea company to receive this honor.

Tasters Review:

Thus far – Queen Catherine – is one of my favorites from Harney & Sons!  I think it’s a great tea for mornings and afternoons as well as hot or cold.  It’s just one of those black teas that is good to have on hand at all times!

My first impressions of this tea?

Once I first started infusing this tea I could smell a very faint hint of smoke. It’s a deep burgundy brown.

The taste isn’t what I expected and that’s not a bad thing…it’s certainly your typical black tea taste but then I found a semi-bitter/semi-sweet berry type taste at the end of the sip!   It was a surprise but I  liked it! YUP! The tea description that I read didn’t mention that it had berries in it but I can certainly taste hints on the tongue.  And they are subtle, beautiful hints!

Plum Berry from Rishi Tea

Tea Type: White Tea

Where To Buy: Rishi Tea

Product Description:

A blend of white teas combined with succulent plum and wild forest berries. It’s juicy with a deep ruby colored infusion that’s tart, fruity and naturally refreshing.

Tasters Review:

If you have followed this blog for a while now you may have noticed I tend to make special notes about plums from time to time.  They aren’t necessarily my favorite fruit but they are on my top fruits list!  The reason I mention them here on SororiTEA Sisters is because I sometime find an ingredient that I am on the constant search for that perfect taste or flavor or aroma or feel IN a tea.  Plum is one of those flavors!  Each time I see a tea with Plum in it – I will most likely try it.  With Plum – specifically – I am looking for a plumpiness to it even in my tea!  So I am looking for a plump and juicy plum flavored tea.  Not one that is artificial tasting or barely there.  I guess my plum tastes are quite specific one could say.

I’m not going to tell you that Plum Berry is my favorite Plum tea because it isn’t.  BUT…I am going to tell you what I do like about this tea and why it’s different and why I would have another cuppa!

The first thing that came to mind when I smelled this DRY and prior to infusing was KOOL AID!  Once infused it does smell more like plum and maybe a hint of raspberry.  I prefer the infused aroma better than the dry.  It is pretty juicy smelling!

Thumbs up to Rishi for creativity!  It’s quite plum and berry like and it’s juicy but you can also taste the white tea a little underneath.   It might be a little too flavored for some white tea purists but I think it’s alright!  If you are looking for a plum or berry fix and need something a little different – you might want to try this one!

 

Pearl of Fruits from ESP Emporium

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Green

Where to Buy:  ESP Emporium

Company Description:

This fruity creation will impress you with its unusual spicy influences. Notes of exotic fruits, berries and creamy soft almond endow this black and green tea blend from China and Ceylon with an exotic, oriental taste experience, and orange peels and various blossoms reflect this in its appearance.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of those teas that I wasn’t too sure about before I tasted it.  It is a blend of black and green teas, and because this causes some concern when it comes to brewing the tea, I am always a little skeptical about these blends.  Since black tea is best brewed when the water is brought to a gentle boil, and green tea is best brewed when the water is hot but not boiling, it can be a little confusing as to how to best extract the flavor from the tea without ruining it.

In cases like this, I always go with the lower temperature.  This results in less flavor from the black tea, but, then again, with the lighter flavored green tea, this is probably a good thing.  So, I heated the water to the steaming point, when the tiny bubbles began forming at the base of the kettle but weren’t yet rising to the surface.  Then I steeped it for 4 minutes.  I felt safe that this would result in a tasty brew.

And I was correct!  This is very tasty, indeed.  The black tea is indeed lighter than a typical black tea would be when brewed with boiling water, but it works in this cup.  The combination of the two teas creates a very well-rounded taste – with a slightly woodsy note and a fresh note of vegetation.  I can even taste just a hint of smoke in the background, but it is ever so slight.

This creates a nice backdrop for the flavoring.  I taste a “fruit” taste that is somewhat like a tropical melangé.  Like the description above suggests, it does have a very exotic taste to it, and I love the whisper of the nutty flavor of almond, and although I don’t get much of the creamy taste that the description implies, I do like how well the nutty tones meld with the other flavors here.

There is also a delicate floral note that hits about mid-sip.  It is lightly sweet and gives a really interesting complexity to this refreshing cup of tea.  But it is the fruit flavors that are the most prominent here:  there is a distinct citrus-y tone to this tea, as well as an equally distinct berry tart taste that lingers in the finish.

Because of the overall lightness of this tea, it has very little to no astringency (I didn’t detect any, and my palate tends to be very sensitive in detecting astringency), and when brewed properly, it is not bitter.  Just delicious, fruity flavor!  Oh!  And this one is even better when chilled!  Yum!

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