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!

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!

Mayan Cocoa from Sands of Thyme

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Sands of Thyme on Etsy

or on Artfire

Product Description:

Ingredients: black tea, cocoa bits, barley malt, roasted chicory root, ginger bits, cardamom, flavor, black pepper

you know how most chocolate teas leave you feeling disapointed. remember what i said about our quality. now try the best this is the chocolate tea that will take away that candy bar craving. sweeten it with a pinch of stevea and reduce the calories even more

Taster’s Review:

As some of you probably are well aware, I am a chocoholic.  Therefore, when it comes to tea, chocolate is one of my favorite flavorings.  As a result, I have tasted a lot of chocolate teas, and I’ve reviewed quite a few of them.

There are a lot of great chocolate teas out there, and some of them … not so great.  This one falls somewhere in between, leaning a little more toward the not so great than the great.  And I confess myself to be a little disappointed, because I was really looking forward to this tea.  I not only love chocolate, I especially love a spiced chocolate, because I love the contrast between sweet and spicy.

Let me start with the chocolate – it is a strong chocolate taste, and I like that.  In fact, the chocolate flavor in this tea is its redeeming quality. It tastes authentic and rich and delicious, and it is what is keeping me sipping this tea.

The black tea base is decent, although it is plagued by the overwhelming flavor of chicory root.  Normally, I enjoy chicory root in a tea – I love the deep, roasted flavor that it offers.  However, with this tea the chicory root is too strong and overwhelms the tea.  This causes the tea to have a funky taste that remains well into the aftertaste.  The funky taste is almost numbing to the taste buds, and making the tea less enjoyable overall.  It just tastes “off” somehow…

This tea is just OK with me.  I liked the chocolate flavor, but its the rest of the blend that sort of ruins the cup for me.  It isn’t my favorite, but I would really love to hear from others who have tried this tea and enjoyed it.  It could be that I just got an “off” batch.  I don’t know… but if you’ve tried it and liked it, please comment!

Grand Earl Grey from Mhai Diva

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mhai Diva

About Mhai Diva Tea:

Mhaidiva is pure quality tea. In general the following applies: the higher the tea is cultivated, the better the quality. Mhaidiva comes straight from the plateaus of Sri Lanka, the Nuwara-Eliya district, known as the ‘champagne area’ of Sri Lanka.

99% of the Mhaidiva tea is picked by women at the tea plantations, the women control the picking of the tea leaves with the fingertips in perfection. Mhaidiva is made by 100% Orthodox picked tea, qualitative the best way of picking.

Taster’s Review:

In her review of this tea, TeaEqualsBliss aka Jennifer states that this doesn’t taste like a bagged tea.  And I must concur … this is a very full-flavored, robust Earl Grey and if I hadn’t brewed it myself, I wouldn’t have guessed it was a bagged tea.

The black tea is brisk and energizing.  It has a remarkably smooth flavor without bitterness and very little astringency.  There is a hint of sweetness to the black tea – slightly caramel-ish.  This is a black tea that would be delicious on its own, made even tastier with the addition of the flavor of the bergamot orange.

The bergamot is citrus-y and lightly floral.  It doesn’t taste overly floral or perfume-y, just enough of a flowery note to add dimension to the overall cup.  The flavor is bright and slightly sweet with a nice tangy finish.

I can’t get over the fact that this is a bagged tea.  This is a bagged tea that will win over the loose leaf purists out there!  Yes it’s that good!

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!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Original Bhakti Chai Concentrate from Bhakti Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information about this product including how to purchase, visit:  Bhakti Chai

Product Description:

Antioxidant-rich black tea, fresh organic ginger, milled spices and a touch of evaporated cane juice.

Taster’s Review:

Oh. My. Goodness!  This is SO good.  This is so good, that I am on my second cup within a half an hour!

According to the website, Bhakti Chai uses fresh pressed ginger as opposed to dried ginger.  The difference this makes can be tasted!  The ginger tastes zippier, zingier, and ginger-y-er!

The black tea base here is a smooth tasting tea, but really, the focus of this chai concentrate is the spices.  And, that’s quite alright with me, because this is so delicious that I wouldn’t want to change it.  It’s absolutely perfect.

The ginger is the dominate flavor, and I can taste the black pepper supporting the flavor of the ginger.  The cardamom and cloves are a bit more subtle but can be tasted, providing that familiar background chai flavor.  The fennel is also quite subtle, but, I taste a hint of licorice-like sweetness in the distance.

One spice that seems to be “missing” is cinnamon – which is a common chai ingredient.  But, even though it isn’t in this chai, I’m not missing it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinnamon, but, like I said before, this tastes so good that I wouldn’t want to change it.

The ginger provides a lot of warmth (or “agni”) and offers a very warm, comforting sensation starting at the back of the mouth and permeating its way to the belly.  This is a perfect cuppa on those cold winter-y days.  Like today!

This original concentrate is sweetened, but, I am not finding it too sweet.  Bhakti Chai also offers an unsweetened version, which I will review at a later date.

If you like Chai Latte – this is definitely one you should try.  I love this stuff!

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!

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