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!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Chai Matcha Latte from Matcha Mountains

Where to Buy:  Where Matcha Mountains Products are sold

Product Description:

Spice up your life this season with our chai matcha latte made from organic freshly ground spices cardamon, cinnamon, cloves… and japanese matcha. Accent our chai with a cinnamon stick or dollop of whip cream and enjoy hot or cold.

Taster’s Review:

THIS IS SO YUMMY!

This is a perfect Matcha Latte … and a perfect Chai Latte for that matter.  It is so good.

This is gently spiced – not something I would categorize as spicy.  More like warm and soothing.  It is sweet but not cloying.  It is smooth, rich and creamy.  The combination of adding steaming milk and the Matcha make for a very foamy, frothy beverage.

The Matcha base tastes vibrant.  It has a light vegetative taste.  It isn’t as vegetal as a typical Matcha.  Perhaps that is because it’s a latte mix, or perhaps it’s because the spices cancel out some of the grassy tones, or it could be because the milk offsets the vegetative qualities of the Matcha.  But if you’ve tried Matcha in the past and found that strong vegetative taste to be a little off-putting, try this!

I absolutely LOVE this Matcha Latte.  I love it so much, in fact, that my cup is empty!  I don’t usually finish off the cup before I finish writing the review… but, in this case, it tasted so good I couldn’t stop!  It’s a yummy treat!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Chai Masala Spice Blend from The Chai Cart

Where to Buy:  The Chai Cart on Foodzie

or visit The Chai Cart website for more information

Product Description:

Make any tea into “Masala” tea by adding this magical blend of eight spices known for culinary flavors and therapeutic qualities.

When brewed with black tea and milk, this spice blend makes a bold, fragrant and smooth cup of Masala Chai that will transport you to India in just one sip.

The magical mix of eight spices is perfectly balanced so that no single spice dominates the palate. The boldness of cloves and nutmeg with the spice of ginger are balanced with the fragrance of cardamom and the sweetness of cinnamon. Fennel and white and black pepper add further layers of complexity.

This blend can also be used with green tea or rooibos as well as in soups, stews and countless recipes that need to be spiced up!

Taster’s Review:

This blend of spices is so versatile that it could be used in just about anything.  I considered grinding it fine and using it as a rub on a pork loin, but then, remembering that I still had a teeny-tiny bit of my Sweet Caramel O’Mine tea, I decided that I would use my sample of this spice blend as an enhancement for a cup o’ Spiced Sweet Caramel O’Mine.

I used three teaspoons of the spices with three teaspoons of the tea blend.   This made a very pleasant 3 cups of bold and spicy tea.  I added a dollop of honey and found that it was just perfect served this way.  To make a latte, I would have reduced the amount of water that I used to brew (only 2 cups of water) so that the milk wouldn’t dilute the flavors.

And … OH MY GOODNESS.  This is good.  Somehow the spices bring out the burnt sugar aspect of the caramel, giving this an almost sweet-and-savory kind of taste.  I think the nutmeg and the caramel compliment each other so well!

The main spice flavor that I’m tasting is the ginger, which when combined with the white and black peppers give this cup a very peppery kick!  The cinnamon comes just after the ginger, and the cardamom and cloves add pleasant dimension.  I can’t taste much of the fennel here, and while I do like fennel, perhaps it is a good thing that I can’t taste it too strongly with this tea.  I think it might taste a little too funky with the caramel.

I really like this blend.  I think I may be buying a tin of this in the near future so that I can use it on my next pork loin roast.  If I do this, I’ll be sure to post a review and the recipe on my Foodie Blog!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Lemon Curd from Heavenly Tea Gatherings

Where to Buy:  Cupboard of Blessings

Product Description:

Complete your heavenly scones with my deliciously “sweet and tart” lemon curd. Freshly made with eggs, sugar, water, butter, lemon puree and tapioca starch, my lemon curds are always a winner!

Taster’s Review:

In my review of Heavenly Tea Gathering’s Organic Scone Mix, I compared the flaky, tender texture of the prepared scones to my grandmother’s pie crust.  Well, this Lemon Curd from Heavenly Tea Gathering is almost (almost!) as good as my gramma’s lemon meringue pie filling!  Put the two together, and you have the most delectable tea-time treat imaginable!

This lemon curd is sweet with just the right amount of lemon-y tartness.  The lemon flavor is bright and sunny but doesn’t come off as pucker-y.  The curd is very custard-like, just like the smooth filling of a lemon meringue pie.

Sweet, silky … perfect!

I have tasted a LOT of lemon curd, but I can honestly say that this one is the best I’ve ever tried.  I love the creamy, custard consistency – I could eat it right out of the jar!  Yeah – it’s that good!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Organic Mint Green Tea Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Third Street Chai

Available on Amazon

Product Description:

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Organic Green Tea with Mint Concentrate, Malic Acid

Taster’s Review:

For my husband’s Superbowl party this year, I prepared a gallon of this tea – and it was gone when I returned home after the game!  Apparently it was a big hit!

And for good reason – it’s not only tasty but very refreshing too.  It has a clean, crisp minty taste that quenches the thirst without tasting overdone (not too minty) or too sweet.  In fact, this concentrate is unsweetened, which I like!  It allows me to decide just how sweet I’d like the tea to be.  And I find it to be really delicious without any sweetener whatsoever.  For the aforementioned party, I did add some agave nectar, and after a quick taste I found that a small amount of sweetener brings out some of the mint notes of the tea.  But it tastes great with or without sweetener, and I like that Third Street Chai leaves it up to the tea drinker whether they’d like it sweet or not.

The green tea is a very light taste here, but it isn’t overwhelmed by the mint.  It has a delicate vegetative taste – this is a very light grassy taste and I don’t think it’s enough to be off-putting to even the most sensitive palate.  This is a green tea that even those who don’t care for green tea can appreciate.

It is super convenient too!  Just mix 1 part concentrate to 7 parts cold water.  I actually use a little less water because I add ice which dilutes it – however, since this is so easy to make, it would be equally as easy to make tea cubes to chill the tea.

This would be perfect for your next BBQ!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Original Matcha Latte from Matcha Mountains

Where to Buy:  Where Matcha Mountains Products Are Sold.

Product Description:

Our original mix is ideal for getting you going in the morning or as an afternoon “pick me up”. Our original mix is for people who like the taste of green tea, although a few drops of vanilla extract or syrup is great. Simply mix with hot water and add your favourite frothed milk product. This product has the highest portion of matcha per serving and has a thick creamy texture.

Taster’s Review:

Yum!

I love Matcha and have been drinking it for years (although I will say that in the last year or two I have been drinking more than I had in the previous years), but I must admit that Matcha Latte drinks are a bit new to me, having only tried my first Matcha Latte in the last year or so.  But, since that time, I’ve been hooked!

This Matcha Latte mix has a sweetness to it, but it isn’t too sweet nor does it overwhelm the natural flavor of the green tea.  I can taste the distinct bittersweet taste of the Matcha, which I really enjoy.  This is incredibly creamy and energizing.

I love that this product is organic, and I also like that I can choose just how creamy I want this Matcha Latte to be by choosing my own milk – I can go with skim milk for less creaminess or I can really go for it and use half & half for an out of this world creamy experience.  Or if I prefer a non-dairy option, I can use almond milk or rice milk, or even coconut milk!

This is a versatile, delicious treat!   This product may be a little difficult to find since Matcha Mountains does not seem to sell it retail, however, it appears that it is sold in various Cafes and it is well worth the effort to find this latte mix because it’s outstanding!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff Tea-riffic Digital Stamps

About the picture to the left: This is a Valentine Card that I made for a Valentine Card Swap in which I’m participating.  It includes a top pocket so I can include a package of tea for the recipient.  I used the Tea-riffic Digital Stamps from Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff to create this card.  (Please see inside of the card below)

Where to Buy:  Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff on Shop Handmade

Product Description:

you get 9 teariffic digital stamps in this set perfect for tea parties or just beacuse, you have animated sugar cubes, 2 tea cups, 2 pretty flourishes and more whimsical deisgns! As a bonus you get a printable tea bag envelope template and SVG file to cut with your Cricut!

Artist’s Review:

OK, I have to be honest, when it comes to art, I’m totally “old-school.”  Before today, I have never used digital stamps, so this is all very new to me.  I don’t know if I’m even using them right!  haha!

inside view of the card

That being said, it was a lot of fun – and SO EASY – to use these digital stamps from Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff!  And now that I have gotten a taste for using digital stamps, I do think I am going to utilize them more in my art work.  It is a lot easier to keep them (no bulky wood blocks cluttering up the art studio!) and as long as I have ink in the printer, I’m good to go!

I printed these on pink vellum because I thought it would work best with my color scheme, and I adhered the vellum to the scrapbook paper using vellum tape.  I have learned from experience that you should definitely use vellum tape when you’re adhering vellum, unless you like that “tape can be seen through the vellum” look.

The scrapbook paper I used was from g-c-d studios (item #205 – Rose Circles) and I selected this particular pattern because it was a simple, small pattern that would work well with the teacup.  I felt that a more complicated design (or larger design) would have not been as adaptable to the teacup shaped card.

I am very happy with the way these turned out, and these “Tea-riffic” digital stamps are something that I can use again and again – not just for this particular occasion.  There are several very cute designs with this set too, not just the teabag tag and sentiment that I used.  There is even a Teabag holder with this set that I intend on using at some point in the future to send out teabags to friends.

I hope you’ll have as much fun with these as I did!

Product Review: Super Natural Energy from Dragon Pearl

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Dragon Pearl

Product Description:

If you drink energy shots, try theine instead of caffeine for an energy lift without jitters or anxiety.

Dragon Pearl’s Super Natural Energy tea shots are made from potent organic Taimu Mountain Mao Feng whole leaves, brewed into a super-powerful fresh green tea concentrate. The equalavent of three big, strong cups of fresh green tea is in each 2-ounce green tea energy shot.

Feel better and stronger every day.

Highly concentrated natural Theine provides healthy, jitter-free energy without anxiety that comes with chemical caffeine or too much coffee.

Directions:

  • Shake
  • Twist Hard (or tear the strip)
  • Sip to savor the flavors
  • Clean the garage

Taster’s Review:

I think that the writers for the Dragon Pearl website must have seen my garage!

I have to admit that I really had my doubts about this energy shot.  I haven’t tried those other energy shots because I feared the nervous, jittery feeling that some have reported after use.  I also feared the crash that would come in a few hours!

But, so far… so good!  I consumed this shot about an hour ago – just before walking to my daughter’s school to pick her up from choir practice.  It’s quite a hike – while the school is only a mile away, the hills between our house and my daughter’s school are quite steep!  Usually, after I get home after this little jaunt, I am wiped out for about a half an hour or so, but, I’m not feeling that way at all today!  I feel like I am at the same energy level that I was before the walk!

Awesome!  Of course, I will have to complete this review in a few hours to see if I “crash.”

These 2 ounce shots of energy are quite tasty.  They taste a lot like grape juice!  There is a little bit of berry taste in the finish that lingers well into the aftertaste.  It’s quite good.

That being said, there really isn’t a lot of green tea flavor to this shot.  I have a feeling that this was created for those who may not find green tea particularly enjoyable but wish to enjoy the beneficial (and energizing) properties of green tea.

There are other benefits to this shot as well because the fruit juices used here are superfruits:  pomegranate, Concord grape juice, blueberry juice and Acai juice.  As I said before, the dominate flavor is the grape, but I can also taste notes from the pomegranate and the berries, especially at the tail.

So not only is it a delicious and energizing drink, but the ingredients are actually good for you!  Let’s see how I feel in a few hours …

Seven and a half hours later…

Well, I had planned on coming back six hours later, but, I got busy doing other things.  (Sorry!)  Anyway, I am here to tell you that I did not experience any “crash-like” feelings.  Not that I would really know what they were like, having not ever experienced the crash from those other energy drinks.  But, I didn’t feel completely drained, if anything, I feel more energetic than I usually do at about this time in the evening!

KUDOS to Dragon Pearl – this Super Natural Energy shot is a winner in my book!

Product Review: Fruit Punch from GreenTeaHP/Green Tea Pros

Buy From:  Green Tea Pros

Product Description:

GreenTeaHP is the only green tea made from fresh, not dried, green tea leaves. It uses a patented water extraction process, which provides all the health benefits of green tea. These benefits include polyphenols (flavonoids), vitamins, amino acids, minerals, fibers, and more. The proprietary extraction process-no chemicals, alcohol or organic solvents used. Each pixie serving provides 1000 mg of green tea extract. Great natural fresh taste and color-no artificial colors or preservatives. Sugar-free and low calorie. 100% of the daily value of Vitamin C in each serving. Instant green tea powder tastes great, cold or hot, -just add water. We prefer cold. Most importantly, GreenTeaHP tastes great!

Taster’s Review:

I think I am liking these flavorful green tea mixes more each time I try them.

Today, I am enjoying the Fruit Punch flavor.  It tastes more like fruit punch than it does a tea – and I’ve come to expect that with these little pixie tubes of tea!  This is a drink mix that is – I think – created more for the people who want to drink more green tea because it’s good for them, but, don’t really care for the taste of green tea.  I get that.  Green tea can be a bit of an acquired taste.  And while I have acquired a taste for green tea, it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy this as well!

This has a sweet taste and reminds me of fruit punch – like the kind from a juice box.  But one significant difference between the two – this doesn’t taste overly sweet the way the juice box can.  It has a much more pleasant sweet taste to me than a sugar-sweetened fruit drink.

Unlike the Apple Cider flavored pixie that I recently reviewed, I am finding this more enjoyable as a cold beverage than a warm one.  I guess that’s because I prefer my fruit punch cold!  Just empty the pixie into your favorite glass, add 8 – 16 ounces (I added closer to the 16 ounces and it came out perfect), and stir vigorously to dissolve.  That’s it!  If you’re on the go, just grab a water bottle and empty the pixie directly into the water bottle, screw on the cap and give it a good shake.  YUM!

This is fruity, sweet, and delicious.  And in tasting this, it’s hard to believe that this is a HEALTHY beverage.  It doesn’t taste healthy… it just tastes good.

Product Review: Libre Glass’n Poly Mug

Where to Buy:  Libre Tea

Product Description:

New! Libre glass ‘n poly mug – enjoy loose leaf tea while on the go, now with as easy hold handle!

The Libre glass ’n poly has a health-conscious glass interior for fresh taste and a durable polycarbonate exterior for ‘on the go’ durability. The stainless steel tea filter is surrounded by BPA free polypropylene as is the lid interior. Can be used 2 ways to brew and travel with loose leaf tea.

Product Review:

I really like my new mug from Libre Tea!  The inner lining is made of glass, and because there is a double wall (inside wall of glass, outside wall of polycarbonate), the outside never gets too hot to handle.  And did I mention that this mug has a handle?  This mug makes loose leaf tea-to-go easy!  It also makes a perfect device to steep blooming teas!

There are two ways this mug can be used to steep tea – the first is simply to put tea into the main chamber, add the hot/boiling water, and then screw on the strainer lid.  After the tea has steeped, simply sip the tea through the strainer.  I find that this method works best for tisanes:  teas that won’t grow bitter as they continue to steep.  My favorites using this steeping & sipping method are flavored honeybush blends and yerba maté.

The second way to steep tea with this mug is to screw the strainer lid onto the mug before you add the loose leaf tea, and then add the loose leaf into the strainer lid.  Pour in the hot/boiling water, screw on the top lid securely, and then carefully turn the mug upside down to allow the water to infuse into the tea leaves in the strainer lid.  Once the tea is finished steeping, carefullly turn the mug back over, and unscrew the lids.  The spent leaves will remain in the straining chamber so that the tea does not over-steep.  This second method works best for green teas and black teas, or any tea that you don’t want to continue to steep. (Such as hibiscus-laden teas!)

This glass is like the one that I've owned for a couple of years now.

When using this second method, I recommend using some caution.  The first time I attempted it, the tea leaked out of the screw top because I failed to screw the lid on securely.  Be sure to screw the lid on securely – making sure to line up the threads properly.  I also recommend placing the mug on a dishtowel … just in case!  Since that first time I used the second method to steep, I have had several successful steeps using the same method, so it really was user-error, not product error!  So, do take some care to avoid this mishap, and you should be fine!

I have owned a similar type glass for several years now, and I must note some significant differences between the original glass and the new mug.  First of all, this mug has a handle.  (That one was pretty obvious, huh?)  More importantly, at least for this tea enthusiast, is the finer mesh on the strainer lid.  This fine mesh works well with chai teas, keeping the fine-ground spices out of the liquor!  It also works well with rooibos.

I like this new mug very much, and I highly recommend it.  It makes tea brewing on the go so easy, I no longer have an excuse to stop at the coffee house and buy a cup of tea there for $3.00 a cup!

Product Review: Apple Cider from GreenTeaHP/Green Tea Pros

 

Buy From:  Green Tea Pros

Product Description:

GreenTeaHP is the only green tea made from fresh, not dried, green tea leaves. It uses a patented water extraction process, which provides all the health benefits of green tea. These benefits include polyphenols (flavonoids), vitamins, amino acids, minerals, fibers, and more. The proprietary extraction process-no chemicals, alcohol or organic solvents used. Each pixie serving provides 1000 mg of green tea extract. Great natural fresh taste and color-no artificial colors or preservatives. Sugar-free and low calorie. 100% of the daily value of Vitamin C in each serving. Instant green tea powder tastes great, cold or hot, -just add water. We prefer cold. Most importantly, GreenTeaHP tastes great!

Taster’s Review:

Usually, I add these little pixies of magic Green Tea HP to a bottle of cold water and shake, but today, since I was trying the Apple Cider flavor, I decided that Apple Cider sounded better hot!  And you know what, these do taste great hot or cold!

This has a nice apple cider taste to it.  I can taste pleasing notes of spice along with a crisp apple flavor.

But, make no mistake, this isn’t a typical apple cider!  It does have other ingredients in this, and those ingredients do affect the flavor of the tea.   Like I stated for my review of the Orange Cream Green Tea from the same company, the green tea flavor is not a strong flavor, but it is there.  And I stand by my previous comment of it being a good product for the individual who doesn’t really care for green tea but still wants the benefits of green tea.

It is also a good product for someone who wants a nice energy boost!  That’s what I find tremendously rewarding about this product.  It tastes pleasant, and I feel invigorated after I drink it!   Especially nice for my Wednesday afternoons when I have to trek it up the steep hill to my house after picking my daughter up from choir practice!

If you do choose to drink this cold, all you need to do is open the little pixie and pour it into a bottle of water (I suggest at least 8 ounces of water for this, I prefer 12 – 16 ounces!) and give it a good shake, and keep shaking it as you drink it (or stirring it).   If you choose to have it hot, you needn’t continue to stir it, because it dissolves much better in the hot water.  No sugar needed – it already contains sweetener (sucralose)!

Product Review: Pumpkin Spice Scone Mix from Sticky Fingers Bakeries

Where to Buy:  Sticky Scones Bakeries

Product Description:

Pumpkin pie flavor in just minutes! Rich in premium quality spices and pumpkin flakes. Sure to be a favorite throughout the Holiday Season!

Taster’s Review:

I love scones!  And nothing seems to complete tea time quite like freshly baked scones.   But one thing I don’t really like about scones is what has to go into the baking process – measuring ingredients, kneading the dough… etc.  I want to be able to just add water, stir, drop by the spoonful and bake.

There are a lot of scone mixes out there, and many of them offer you the convenience of the process I just described.  The only problem is that many of them taste like you just added water, stirred, dropped by the spoonful and baked.  In other words, they don’t taste great.

There seems to be just a handful of companies out there that do scone mix right – and Sticky Fingers Bakeries is one of them.  And, they offer so many flavor choices!  I’ve tried several of their flavors, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.  I received this particular package as a gift from a friend – and it was a most welcome gift, indeed.

And the flavor is absolutely DELISH!  These taste a lot like pumpkin pie – in scone form!  I highly recommend eating these with clotted cream – it really elevates the flavor to a whole new level.   Another way to change this one up, should you want to, is to add a handful of chocolate chips.

The texture is so nice with these – they are somewhere between a biscuit and a cake.  Soft,  moist, and absolutely yummy.   And they reheat nicely – just pop them in the microwave for about 10 seconds and you have a nice, warm scone!  YUM!

Product Review: Masala Chai Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffle from Arbor Teas

photo taken by amazonv, and used with her permission.

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Company Description:

White chocolate ganache infused with our spicy Masala Chai Black Tea, coated in white chocolate, and topped with a chocolate marble.

Taster’s Review:

Editor’s Note:  This review represents part 4 of 6 reviews, one review for each of the six flavors in the truffle collection available from Arbor Teas.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love these chocolates from Arbor Teas?

This one is a white chocolate ganache that’s been infused with Arbor Tea’s Masala Chai Black Tea blend.  I haven’t tried their Chai, so I don’t know if this is a fair representation of the flavor of their chai tea, but, if it is, I’d have to say that it is a very pleasing chai, indeed!

I can taste the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves distinctly, but less flavor from the ginger and black pepper come through.  There is a nice peppery aftertaste that cuts through some of the sweet white chocolate, however, it is a faint flavor.  I detect very little of the black tea flavor, but I can taste a hint of it.

My favorite part of this treat was the gold-leaf embellished chocolate marble on top of the truffle.  I can taste a hint of bourbon in this and I personally think that there should have been more to this; it would have accented the flavors in the truffle very nicely.

If my favorite local coffee house made a white chocolate chai latte, I would imagine it tasting a bit like this.  It is very sweet and rich, but very decadent and delicious.

Product Review: Tea Pockets

Where to Buy:  Octavia Tea

Company Description:

Now you can enjoy the quality of loose-leaf tea with the convenience of a tea bag!  Tea Pockets make brewing loose tea easier than ever.

Unlike other fill-your-own tea bags, Tea Pockets are self-sealing and come with a string attached for easy removal after steeping.  Tea Pocket’s ultra-thin, almost transparent material allows water to completely circulate through the leaves, which yields a better tasting cup of tea.  Tea pockets are disposable, bleach-free, adhesive-free and have no paper taste.  Great for tea on the go.

50 fill-your-own tea bags per box.

Product Review:

As many of you probably know, I have been a tea artist (err… that is, I flavor and blend unique tea blends) for many years now.  And during those many years, I have utilized T-Sacs quite often – when sampling out my own blends.  Heck, I even sold them!

But, today, I have discovered a better product.  Tea Pockets!  What makes these so much better, you ask?  Well, these have a nifty fold-over flap (kind of like the old-school sandwich bags that mom used to pack in my lunches) to keep the tea leaves safely ensconced within the roomy pouch.  These also have a string loop to easily (and painlessly) remove the “tea bag” from the hot liquid.

And like T-Sacs, these are also bleach-free (and tasteless) so there are no chemicals to alter the taste of your tea.

This is THE WAY to make your own tea bags – which will be better than any commerically manufactured tea bag! – because you use your favorite high quality loose leaf tea!

Check out this How-To-Use video from the manufacturers of Tea Pockets:

Product Review: Lapsang Souchong Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffle from Arbor Teas

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Company Description:

A rich, smoky combination of dark chocolate ganache and our smoked Lapsang Souchong Black Tea, square cut and dipped in dark chocolate.

Taster’s Review:

Editor’s Note:  This review represents part 1 of 6 reviews, one review for each of the six flavors in the truffle collection available from Arbor Teas

Oh yummy!  Is there anything more exciting than tea-infused chocolates?  As a foodie, I love it when two of my favorite edibles are paired together in one delectable item.  And as a tea enthusiast AND chocoholic, I simply cannot resist these Tea-Infused truffles from Arbor Teas.

The appearance of this truffle is truly luxurious.  Regal even!  It has a brush stroke of glittery edible gold leaf, which adds a bit of sparkle and elegance to this yummy truffle.

And as some of you are probably aware, I’m not particularly fond of Lapsang Souchong.  I am slowly acquiring a taste for this classic, but, still, it’s not my favorite tea.  So, this is the one chocolate truffle in the six about which I was the most skeptical.

But, it is truly amazing!  The smokiness that usually throws me off in a Lapsang Souchong tea tastes absolutely divine in this dark chocolate truffle.  The deep, dark caramel-y notes of the tea create a flavor that is euphoric!

If this chocolate is any indication of what lies ahead with the other five truffles – I am truly in for a treat!  This truffle is amazingly, SINFULLY delicious!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Kati Loose Tea System from Tea Forté

Where to Buy:  Tea Forté

Company Description:

Loose tea by the cup…..simple.

Our double-wall ceramic tumbler and integrated stainless steel infuser make brewing loose tea by the cup simple. The innovative double-wall construction keeps tea hot and the tumbler cozy to hold. Includes three of our Loose Tea Single Steeps. Brews a generous 12 oz cup and is dishwasher safe.

Product Review:

I’d like to introduce you to my favorite new tea accessory!  The Kati Loose Tea System!  It has officially replaced my favorite tea mug.  I love this cup!

OK, so this is actually a “tumbler.”  But, let’s not get lost on semantics.  I love this cup!  Let me tell you why…

I love the shape of this cup, and how well it fits in my hands.  Because it does not have a handle, I cup my hands around the tumbler and experience the warmth from the tea.  And because it has a double wall construction, the sides of the cup are warm but not too hot.  This is a very important “selling point” for me, because my hands always seem to be cold.  I like that I can cup my hands around the tumbler and enjoy the warmth without burning myself!

The double wall construction also insulates the cup so that the tea stays warmer longer.  Another thing that helps to keep the tea warm is the lid!

The infuser is also a nice size.  I found that there was enough room to allow the tea leaves to expand fully without being overcrowded.  Generally, an infuser is something I don’t use because they aren’t large enough to accommodate the tea leaves properly, but, this one is just right.

Finally, I love the leaf design on the cup.  Sure, we’re just talking aesthetics here, and it has really very little to do with the tea inside the cup, but, it has a lot to do with my enthusiasm toward the cup.  I enjoy using a cup that makes me happy, and this cup (err… tumbler) makes me very happy!

White Tea Brownies from Sanctuary T

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Sanctuary T

Company Description:

If you are in need of a chocolate fix that complements your nice cup of tea, snatch a bag of these decadent, tea-inspired brownies. Loaded with white tea, valhrona chocolate, and bits of walnuts, these brownies are a rich complement to a cup of tea. Each package comes with 3 large, rich brownies!

Taster’s Review:

I have a confession to make.  I am currently working on my second order of these brownies.  I had only planned on ordering one order of them – just to try them – because, even though I thought they’d be good, I figured they couldn’t be as good as my fresh, made from scratch, home-baked brownies.

WRONG!  These brownies easily blow my brownies out of the water.  In fact, they are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten in my life!  And, once upon a time, I worked for a famous cookie/brownie vendor in the mall, back when that vendor still made the cookie and brownie batches fresh instead of from frozen dough.  These brownies are even better than those!

So… needless to say, once my package was empty, I ordered another one, PRONTO!

The flavor is rich and fudge-y and make the perfect tea-time snack.  Maybe not for “High Tea”… because these brownieshave an ooey-gooey factor to them.  It came as a bit of a surprise the first time I tried them.  I mean, you kind of expect that you’ll be licking chocolate off your fingers with a home-baked brownie, but not something you bought off the internet.  With these brownies, prepare for chocolate-y fingertips!

That being said, these brownies are a better “alone tea time” treat.  Pour yourself a cup of tea (I really recommend Carnival Tea with these brownies) and devour!

The brownies are filled with chocolate chips, walnuts and I think I may have even encountered a bit of caramel in my first batch.  In this batch, I haven’t found any caramel yet, BUT… I can taste the white tea a bit better in this batch than in the first.

Yes, it’s true, the white tea does get a little lost in this explosion of chocolate flavor.  That being said, it is doubtful that someone would actually miss the tea after tasting these decadent delights.  In the first batch, I could tell there was something else there… but it wasn’t a distinct white tea taste.  With this batch, though, I can definitely taste white tea.

If you haven’t done so yet, check out the Sanctuary T website.  While you’re there, be sure to join their mailing list, and you’ll receive a coupon code worth 10% off on your first purchase!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Ceramic Tea Tray from Tea Forté

Where to Buy:  Tea Forté

Company Description:

Tea Forte’s set of ceramic tea trays offer a dramatic and festive presentation for serving our Silken Tea Infusers. Return infusers to these trays after brewing to catch the drips. Each gift box contains two trays. An ideal accompaniment to any size of our tea package options.

Product Review:

As I’ve professed before, I am not a big fan of gadgets, especially when it comes to tea.  Tea, in my opinion, is best enjoyed when kept simple.

That being said, I have to admit that these ceramic tea trays from Tea Forté are REALLY cool!  Not only do they provide a great service (keeping tea preparation area neat and tidy), they make using tea sachets fun and stylish.  Even as someone who loves my loose leaf tea – I can still really appreciate this nifty little tool.

Imagine having tea with a friend… this simple yet effective little tray helps eliminate that awkward moment when you don’t know what to do with your tea bag.  This is a moment that most tea drinkers have experienced… You don’t want to put it on the table – it will ruin the table or stain the tablecloth!  You don’t want to use your napkin – that will render your napkin useless.  And you don’t want to put it on your saucer – because it will result in a messy, gauche saucer.  Having one of these cute, inexpensive tea trays (they’re just $6.00 for a package of two trays) gives you a place to put your tea bag while adding a sense of elegance to your tea table.

What I think I like most about these little trays is that they can suit just about any type of style desired.  They are minimalistic, and yet, they can be whimsical, cute, charming, elegant and even somewhat masculine, if you want them to be.

Product Review: Three Strand Tea Timer from Eteaket … and a NEW Contest!

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Eteaket

Company Description:

A tea timer is a must for any self-respecting tea drinker. This specially designed tea timer will not only look the part in your kitchen, it will ensure you get perfect results every time. It has 3 separate, colour-coded hour-glasses: 3 mins for green tea; 4 mins for black tea and 5 mins for white tea.

Product Review:

This is a classic sand hour-glass tea timer, but with a neat twist.  Instead of just one hour-glass, this one has three… with three different colors of sand:  green, black and yellow.

The hour-glass with the green sand is a 3-minute timer, which is perfect for most green teas or lighter infusions of black teas.  The hour-glass with the black sand is a 4-minute timer, which is a medium infusion for black teas.  The hour-glass with the yellow sand is a 5-minute timer which is perfect for white teas.

The three hour-glasses are housed in a beautiful brushed stainless steel frame that is very durable.  It is something that will last for years, is easy to clean and keep clean, and will also look nice on a counter top or desk.

I like this nifty little gadget.  It’s handy to have by the computer so that you can watch the time without standing over your teapot.  And… let’s face it, you COULD use the timer on your oven, but, what if you need to time the au gratin potatoes?  This lets you have your tea and your potatoes too!

CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT!

Hey!  How’d you like to win one of these nifty little timers of your very own?  We’re giving one away this week to one lucky reader!  In addition, I’m going to give away a 2 ounce tin of my (err… LiberTEAS, that is) Potpourri Tea.  To read a review of this tea, click here.

That’s right – a Three Strand Tea Timer (from Eteaket – a USD value of $20.25) and a 2 ounce tin of tea (from LiberTEAS – a USD value of $7.50) – all for one lucky winner (total USD value:  $27.75)

To enter, simply comment ON THIS review any time between now and August 21.  The winner will be drawn via random draw (using random.org) on August 22.  Be sure to include contact information so that I can get a hold of you if you’re the winner.

To earn extra entries in the contest (and increase your chances of winning!) you can do any of the following (one extra entry per item, up to 4 extra entries!):

1.  Are you on facebook?  Then, please “Like” our facebook page.  Just click on the box to the right of the screen, log in, and click on the “like” button to become a fan.

2.  Post a link of this contest on your Facebook page to tell your friends about it.

3.  Publish a blog post on your blog.  Be sure to include a link to our blog so that your readers can easily visit us here and enter too.

4.  Twitter about this contest, including a link to this contest.  While you’re at it, please follow Anne & Jennifer on Twitter.

If you choose to do any or all of these four things to earn extra entries, please do let us know by including the information in the comment section of this review, and include links for us so that we can check out your handiwork.

Thanks for reading, and GOOD LUCK!

Smart Tea Maker from Enjoying Tea

Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

An excellent tea maker that is practical and simple to use. Made of durable food grade plastic. Stainless steel filter included. Dishwasher Safe. Approx capacity: 600ml (20.4 fl oz).

Basic Instructions

  1. Place tea leaves in the Smart Tea Maker.
  2. Add boiling water.
  3. Steep tea to your taste.
  4. Place the Smart Tea Maker on top of a cup or mug and let the tea drain into the cup.
  5. Remove the Smart Tea Maker to stop the flow. Your tea is ready to serve.

Product Review:

I drink a lot of tea (you may have already noticed this about me!)  And when I drink my tea (all day, every day!) I like to do so out of a rather large mug (16 – 18 ounces!)

What I don’t like to do is use a lot of gadgets when I make my tea.  For me, when it comes to tea, the fewer gadgets and the simpler the preparation… the better!  I just want to have a full mug of tea without having to drag out all my fancy gadgets.  I just want my tea!

This Smart Tea Maker from Enjoying Tea understands this!  It is the perfect size to fill my mug – and all I have to do is add the right amount of tea to the chamber, pour in the hot water (or boiling water, depending upon what type of tea I’m brewing), and let it steep for the correct amount of time.  When the tea is finished steeping, I just sit the Smart Tea Maker on top of my mug and the tea drains into my mug – strained and ready to enjoy!

No additional strainer necessary or other fancy gadgets necessary.  Just my favorite mug, my electric tea kettle, tea leaves, a timer and this Smart Tea Maker.

The only thing that would make this Smart Tea Maker any simpler would be if it actually heated the water for me and had a built in timer… but then… it would probably cost a bit more.  As it is, you can get this amazing device at the unbelievable price of just $12.98 (on sale, it is regularly priced at $14.98 which is still quite reasonable in my opinion!)

I love this Smart Tea Maker!

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