Spicy Chocolate from Kusmi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kusmi Tea

Product Description:

Black tea from China flavored with natural essences of chocolate and spices.

Taster’s Review:

I am so happy to be able to try this tea.  It is one that I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and it seems like every time that I am tea shopping, this tea is sold out!  Fortunately, my SororiTea Sister, TeaEqualsBliss, sent me a sampling of it!  Thank you Jennifer!

And the verdict?

I love it!

The chocolate level is nice.  Of course, it would be better with more chocolate, but that’s the chocoholic in me.  It has a nice amount of chocolate and it is in a pleasing balance with the spices here.  It tastes like a good quality dark chocolate.

Kusmi Tea does not specify what kind of spices they use in this blend (although I am sure that if I had the tin I could read the ingredients, provided they aren’t written in French!) but to me it tastes like ginger and perhaps a little cinnamon.  Maybe some cardamom?

The level of spice is not what I would classify as “spicy,” that is, I don’t find this to be overwhelmingly hot or spicy.  But that isn’t a bad thing, because I think that if it were spicier in this particular blend, it would overthrow the balance of flavors that I’m experiencing, and that WOULD be a bad thing.  I like it just the way it is.

The black tea base is a strong one and can be tasted with the other strong profiles.  There is a good deal of astringency to this tea, it clears the palate very well, leaving only a  faint note of pepper and of chocolate in the aftertaste.

It is not bitter, although I suspect it could be that way if it were steeped too long.  I steeped my cup for 3 1/2 minutes and it produced a delicious cup.  It doesn’t need sweetener, but, I found that a small amount of agave nectar helped bring out some of the sweeter notes of the chocolate.

This one is really good, folks!

Spicy Seattle Chai from MarketSpice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  MarketSpice

Product Description:

Our spiciest chai, with plenty of Pepper, Ginger and Cardamom. Add milk and sugar to taste. Ingredients: Black tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Tellicherry Peppercorns, Ginger and Cloves.

Taster’s Review:

This chai is AWESOME!

As most of you probably know (because I’ve said it enough!) I am very discriminating when it comes to chai – because I truly believe that I created the best chai blend ever.  However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot appreciate other chai blends, and this is definitely one for which I have tremendous appreciation!

It is SPICY!  The pepper and ginger are prominent, and I can actually feel it hit my throat in the finish – like a spicy, peppery blanket that warms my palate, then radiates down my throat and warms my entire body right down to the tips of my toes!

In fact, after my initial sip, I had to check the MarketSpice website to see if this chai had chili pepper in it, because the heat from the pepper is that kind of heat.  The website does not indicate that there is chili pepper of any kind in this – so I suspect that it is the rather fine grind of black Tellicherry peppercorns that brings the heat, as well as the ginger.

But, while the heat from these two ingredients is rather dominant, they do not overwhelm the palate so much that the other ingredients – cinnamon, cardamom and cloves – cannot be tasted.  The flavor of the black tea is even quite present in the sip – it is rich and bold and offers a tasty base for these zesty spices.

I really like this chai.  I have tried it several times now.  The first time I tasted it, I drank it with no additions, the second time, with just a drizzle of honey.  I found that the honey brought out some of the other spices very nicely and softened the edge from the tea, ginger and pepper just a little.  For an extra special treat, try it with brown sugar – the molasses in the brown sugar will be delightful with this spicy chai!

The third time, I broke down and made myself a chai latte by steeping the tea extra strong (using a little extra leaf and a little less water) and adding honey and some warmed 2% milk and frothing it.

When served as a latte – the spices present themselves a little differently.  It is still spicy, but the creaminess of the latte softens the spices and creates a warm, comforting cup that puts the coffee house chai lattes to shame!  The chai latte was absolutely delightful and my favorite way of serving this, although I quite enjoyed the other preparations as well.

An excellent chai – perfect for those who like their chai on the spicy side!

Product Review: Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea, fiery ginger, and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually go for chai concentrates.  I don’t stop at a lot of coffee shops (although here in the Pacific Northwest, there seems to be at least one on every street corner) and order chai lattes that are made from those concentrates.  The reason is that I find that they don’t really taste very much like tea.  They are more like some sort of sweet (sometimes sickeningly sweet), spicy, milky beverage that is alright, but not something I’d want to drink on a regular basis.  On average, I’d say I have one of those coffee shop chai lattes about three times a year.

But… if I found a local coffee shop that used THIS chai concentrate, I might visit more often!  This is really good.  I prepared it according to package directions, using a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 1 part milk, put it into a mug and then zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.

The results are delightful.  Although it is sweetened – it is sweetened just right for me.  It is not so sweet that the sweetener overpowers the flavor of the black tea and the spices.  And neither does the milk.

I can taste the strong black tea and the spices – and if the name of this particular variety is any indication to you, I especially taste the ginger.  It is peppery but not over-the-top spicy.  It warms me up without making me feel like I need something to offset the hot spice.  Just enough zing without making my mouth feel like I should call the fire department!

This is really delicious!

Black Celebration Tea from TeaScapes

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: TeaScapes

Product Description:

This tea is a celebration of colors and mixed flavors. The blended tea is a beautiful melody of tea leaves, rose petals, almonds, cornflower petals, orange peels and more. This exquisite Black Celebration tea won an award at the 2008 World Tea Championship for having the best aroma and flavor. The brewed tea offers up a spicy taste for the palate. It infuses for just 3 minutes, allowing the flavors and aromas to intertwine to create a zesty golden liquor. The flavor is naturally sweet and uplifting.

Tasters Review:

My first reaction to this flavor was “OH” and not necessarily a good one! Mostly because I wasn’t prepared for that flavor…

now…DON’T Be alarmed this is a POSITIVE review!  I ended up liking this tea just fine and dandy…keep reading!

You know when you take a big swig of something – what you think is – say – Cherry Coke and it ends up being lemonade or something completely different??  Well that is why I was so taken back by this…I was ASSUMING it was something completely different!

And you know what they say about ASS+U+ME…ing…

After that initial shock…I was blown away by the spiciness of this one!

By the 3rd sip everything started making sense and the taste and my taste-buds starting to finally become friends!

I could taste the spices, orange, and then the cinnamon – specifically – it reminds me of a fireball or Hot Ball type cinnamon, then comes the cranberry and peach.  Toward the end of the sip I can taste the papaya.   The apple is a bit more hidden than most of the other flavors but that’s ok with me.  The end of the sip on to the aftertaste is a fruity-spicy one…more spice than fruit – at least on my tongue.

This cup is NOT lacking color, aroma, or taste – let me tell you that!  This is a beautiful dry blend and the more I sip it the more I like it but it was quite shocking at first – especially because I wasn’t prepared for that flavor!  It’s intense!

I’m not complaining…I do like this!

Just a heads-up on the cinnamon!  If you like Fire Balls/Hot Balls you will probably like this.  If you aren’t into spices or cinnamon or fireballs…just wanted to warn you!

This is sure to warm any tummy!  It’s a Nice bright mix and toasty-warm cuppa!  I really needed this THIS week as we are in the middle of snow storm after snow storm!

Pearl of Fruits Tea from ESP Emporium

Tea Type: Black/Green Tea Blend

Where to Buy: ESP Emporium

Product 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.

Ingredients: black tea (55 %), green tea (30 %), orange peels, flavoring, rose petals, safflowers, marigold petals. Serving Size: 1 level tsp./6oz serving, Brew Temp: 203 to 212 degree F, Brew Time: 4 to 5 Minutes

Tasters Review:

Pearl of Fruits Tea from ESP Emporium is highly scented and very nice – to the eye, nose, and mouth!

Post infusion…everything seems to come together to create it’s-own aroma which is much different from before infusing but still VERY nice! I can smell the orange and floral tones a bit more than the others but not by much and I can smell a little something that reminds me of candy, too!

It has a very pleasant yet slightly juicy and floral taste to it but it’s certainly GOOD. I am very happy with this tea and so VERY glad I got to try it!

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