SororiTea Sisters

A Sorority of Sisters Who Love Tea

Infusion des Marmottes Tisane from Les 2 Marmottes

September19

Les2MarmottsTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Tisane

Where to Buy:  Les 2 Marmottes

Tisane Description:

Created in 1976, this is the first composition of two marmots.  This herbal tea to ruby and tangy taste is the sweetest and most mysterious of all.  Seven plants were found, but the dosage is one that will remain well buried in a hidden family secret terrier gallery . . .  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I think that this is the blend that started the company (or so I’ve been led to believe by the above description).  It is a combination of linden, verbena, peppermint, hibiscus, chamomile, rosehip and orange blossoms.

To steep this blend, I heated the kettle to 195°F and used about 6 ounces of water to 1 teabag and left it to steep for 8 minutes.  It’s a little longer than I typically steep a blend with hibiscus in it (usually I steep it for 6 minutes, tops!) but because I didn’t see a lot of ruby colored leaves through the teabag, I hoped that I wouldn’t be left with a cup of tisane where the hibiscus completely took over.

Fortunately for me, there doesn’t seem to be a heavy amount of hibiscus to this blend.  The color of the brewed liquid is lightly “rosy” but not ruby red the way that heavily hibiscus-ed blends often are.  It also doesn’t have the thick texture (or pucker-y tartness) of a heavily hibiscus-ed blend.

This is a surprisingly balanced combination of the eight ingredients.  The two ingredients that I expected to overpower the others – the aforementioned hibiscus and the peppermint – do not knock out the other components of this blend.  Peppermint can often be a rather strong presence in a blend when added with too heavy a hand.  Here, the peppermint tastes light.  It is crisp and adds a cool flavor to the cup without overwhelming the other flavors of the cup.

The linden, chamomile and orange blossom add just a whisper of floral essence to the cup while the verbena adds a hint of citrus.

The overall flavor of the cup is subtle and herbaceous.  Do I like it?  It’s alright.  Not the best tisane I’ve ever tasted but certainly not the worst either.  I think I rather prefer some of the other tisanes that I’ve tried from Les 2 Marmottes, but this isn’t terrible.  It’s a gentle cuppa, nice for later in the evening when you’re wanting to wind down and relax.  I think it’s best served with a little drizzle of honey to the cup – it makes this a very soothing and calming drink.

Product Review: Organic Lime Pomegranate Lightly Sweetened Iced Green Tea from steaz

September18

LimePomsteazProduct Information:

It starts with certified organic and fair trade green tea sourced from around the world – we then brew our tea with the most flavorful fruits that are rich in antioxidants and finished with a hint of organic cane sugar for a healthy and delicious refreshment that will enhance your senses.  And becuase our farms are Fair Trade Certified™, we ensure equal pay, better health care and equal opportunities for our farmers – so they too can reach new heights as well.  

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve said before that I’m not the biggest fan of RTD (Ready to Drink) teas that are available in just about any convenience store or grocery store.  Most of them are crafted primarily of sugar or other sweeteners.  They tend to be so full of sweetener and flavoring that the drinker can’t even taste the tea!

Occasionally, I come across one that’s different or at least, I come across one that seems to promise to be different.  This can of Organic Lime Pomegranate iced green tea from steaz says “Lightly Sweetened” on it, and that’s what immediately caught my attention about it.  Other eye catching features:  “Organic” and “Fair Trade.”  Two other things that I appreciated.

So, I’ll give it a try.

The description above states that there is a “hint of organic cane sugar.”  However, the ingredient list tells a slightly different tale:

INGREDIENTS: Filtered water, organic evaporated cane juice, natural pomegranate & lime flavors, organic lemon juice, fair trade certified™ organic green tea.

When the ingredient is second on a list five ingredients, that suggests to me that maybe there’s a little more than just a “hint” of sugar in this.  Also, after reading the ingredient list, I’m a little disturbed by the fact that the green tea is the LAST ingredient on the list!  What?!?

And unfortunately, with this tea, you can taste the ingredients as they’re listed.  I taste more sweetener and flavoring than I do green tea.

That said, this drink does have some redeeming qualities.  It is a tasty drink.  The lime is the strongest of the flavors, but I taste a sweet-tart pomegranate note in there too.  While I do taste more sugar than I do tea, it isn’t TOO sweet or cloyingly so.  This isn’t as sweet as say … the typical soda pop would be.  My teeth don’t feel as though they’ve been coated with sugar as I drink this beverage.

It’s a tasty, refreshing beverage.  I do wish I could taste more tea than sugar or pomegranate and lime.  I feel like this has been marketed as a tea product and as an organic product for the health appeal without any real focus on the tea.  Those who are trying to make “healthier” choices while shopping would probably buy this.  This isn’t a drink for tea drinkers, it’s a drink for those who probably have never really tried green tea and think that this is what green tea is supposed to taste like.

Assam FTGFOP Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

September18

AssamFTGFOPTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

A rich, whole leaf Assam with dark leaves and golden tips produces a bright copper, full-bodied tea. Floral and citrus hints are followed by a malty aftertaste. Lovely with milk and sugar, and a wonderful stand-alone tea.

Ingredients:  Assam Fine Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  That’s the first sound that came out of me as I took a sip of this tea.  There is something that is just so … delectable when it comes to a high quality Assam tea like this one from Simple Loose Leaf.  Is it the sweet caramel undertones?  The malty notes?  The hints of cacao that intermingle with the notes of fruit and flower and earth?  Or is it a combination of all these?

For me, it’s how the cup comes together.  It’s the sum of the parts.  The tea is rich and full-bodied.  It has a certain gusto to it that invigorates me, which is why I tend to reach for teas like this as my first cup of the day.

I also love the sweetness of the tea.  The creamy caramel low notes meld with the malty notes of the tea to create this decadent sweetness that compliments the cacao notes.  Then I taste the notes of flower and fruit in the distance.  It’s earthy and warm.  And as you’re starting to feel just a little cozy with the sip, those fruit notes come through to add a touch of brightness to the cup.

But how to brew it?  I have found that Assam teas tend to be rather finicky.  They don’t like to be kept in hot water too long or they’ll become quite bitter on you.  Sure, this is true of many teas, but I find it to be particularly true of Assam, and even a matter of 15 – 30 seconds too long can mean a cup that’s more bitter than you want it to be.

For Assam, I go with 205°F rather than the full-on boil, and then I steep the tea for no more than 2 1/2 minutes.  If I steep the tea in my Breville One-Touch tea maker (which is what I did today), I steep the tea for only 2 minutes.  500ml of freshly filtered water with 2 bamboo scoops of tea in the basket and I pushed the button to make my magical machine go.  Two minutes later, I was treated to a fragrant, delicious cuppa!

This is a really good Assam.  I like this tea best served hot, and it takes the additions of milk and honey well if that’s what you like in your tea.  I personally like this straight up, it’s edgy and it gives me a good shake awake.  When I want an indulgent treat, I sometimes drizzle some pure maple syrup in my cup and yum!

Another awesome tea from Simple Loose Leaf!  Have you joined the Selection Club yet?

Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon Tea from Upton Tea Imports

September17

BlackDragonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

Blended especially for Upton Tea Imports, this tea is a pleasing and subtly complex variation on a rich, smoky classic. The perfect gift for the Lapsang Souchong drinker who seeks a less smoky cup. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon is a very interesting Lapsang Souchong.  It is, as the description above suggests, less smoky.  This is evident even in my very first impressions of the tea when I first opened the package and smelled it.  Smoky, yes, but, it wasn’t an overwhelming smoky aroma.

I didn’t follow the brewing parameters from Upton, instead, I first gave the leaves a “rinse” – a fifteen second infusion and then I tossed the liquid and re-steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.

And this is one of the nicer Lapsang Souchong teas I’ve yet to taste and the reason is because it’s less smoky than the typical Lapsang Souchong.  I like the lighter smoky taste, which allows me to explore some of the fruity notes of the tea – which seem to be highlighted because of the smoke, but they’re something that I don’t really enjoy quite as much as I am here because the smoke tends to be so overpowering for my palate.

But not with this Black Dragon!  This is smoky but not too smoky.  I’m tasting delightful notes of fruit.  Notes of pine and a pleasant caramel-y sweetness.  It’s very smooth until the tail when I note a slightly dry astringency.

It’s a lighter bodied Lapsang Souchong, which are usually much stronger and bolder in flavor (and in smoke).  But I like that.  I like the lighter approach of the Black Dragon.  If you’re one who tends to shy away from Lapsang Souchong because of that heavy smoky essence, I think you’ll find that this is much more appealing.

Shimizu-En Kukicha Tea from Hisabo Tea

September17

kukichaHisaboTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Hisabo – this special link will not only sign you up for their newsletter but also qualify you for special pricing for our readers!  By subscribing to the newsletter, you can get in on their limited edition teas!

Tea Description:

“A hug in a cup” is one way I’ve heard Kukicha described. Warm, delicate, sweet, comfortable. A cup that’s likely to take your heart along with your senses. It certainly did for the husband of Yumiko, the 17th generation daughter of the family who runs Shimizu-en. In Japanese tradition, it’s usually the wife that goes and joins the husband’s business, but in this case the quality of the tea was too much to leave (sorry for the pun). 

In fact, it’s a minor miracle we are even able to bring Shimizu-en to you. The company has no website, no distribution, nothing. They just have a small shop in front of the tea garden and they sell out every year. The tea has been recognized multiple times nationally—no small feat for a company that only employs family members and picks most of its entire plantation by hand.

Kukicha is a very unique kind of tea, made from the stems and twigs of the tea plants. What began as ruthless Japanese efficiency has led to a tasting experience that had the entire Hisabo team saying ‘Wow’. This tea is a hands-down winner. Delicate and floral on the nose, once you take a sip you’ll taste a sweetness quite unlike anything you’ve had before. It will have you going back and trying different brewing times just to tweak the exact amount of sweet and grassy that you want. And it will definitely take your heart.

Taster’s Review:

Hisabo is a new-to-me tea company and they are unlike any other tea company I’ve yet to encounter!  They don’t actually sell teas on their website the way most online tea companies do.  Instead, they offer their limited selection of teas to their customers via email.  To get in on their offers, you need to subscribe to their newsletter.  (This link will also give you a special discount that is available only to our readers!)

Well, here, I’ll let you hear it from them:

Hisabo is a little different from most tea websites in that we don’t sell tea directly on our site.  We currently only sell through emails sent to people subscribed to our mailing list.  We’re also launching a subscription service where people can ‘pre-buy’ the teas we sell at a discount to ‘normal’ price.  In short: we send subscribers an email with a description of the tea, the story and pictures of the farm where it came from, as well as tasting notes.

That’s how they described it to me in the email they sent me when I asked them about this tea and where it was on their website.  According to the emailed newsletter regarding this Kukicha, they do still have some of it left, so if you’re interested in it, contact them quickly!

kukichaHisabo1The tea is packaged in 50g foil lined pouches with beautiful Asian calligraphy on the package.  The outer design looks a lot like a block collage of Asian papers.  It’s beautiful!

Inside these beautiful packages is the good stuff.  The dry leaf smells a little like freshly cut grass (and it looks a little like it too!) with sweet, warm nutty top notes.  I steeped this tea as recommended by Hisabo:  160°F for 30 – 60 seconds.  I opted for the 60 seconds, and I scooped 2 bamboo scoops of the tea and put it into the basket of my Breville One-Touch tea maker and poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug.  Then I let the tea maker do its thing and about 2 minutes later, I had a teapot of delicious tea!

It is a light and refreshing cup of tea.  I like it served hot but it would also be tasty iced.  As the weather is getting a little cooler now, I’m enjoying more hot teas (happily!) and while this tea has a fresh taste to it, the warm, nutty flavors of it are very autumnal to me.  It reminds me of the flavor of freshly roasted chestnuts together with a subtle grassy note in the background.

The thoughts this tea evokes is a little bit of summer still hanging on now that autumn has arrived.

It’s a wonderful cup of tea.  (It resteeps well too!)  I like this tea and I like the idea behind this company.  Rather than having a bunch of tea in inventory waiting for people to buy it, they only offer you the tea when they receive it and it’s the freshest tea that’s available.  Very cool!

And if that’s not enough incentive to check out Hisabo … their customer service is top-notch!  They are very friendly and helpful and quick to respond to inquiries.  When you check them out, tell them that the SororiTea Sisters sent you!

Cool Coconut Rooibos Chai from Big Tea House

September16

cool_coconut_chaiChai Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Big Tea House

Chai Description:

Enjoy the fun and spiced infusion of chai gourmet loose leaf tea infused with the exotic flavor of coconut!

Learn more about this chai here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  The name of this tea led me to believe that I’d be enjoying a somewhat tame version of a masala spice chai but this tisane has got some kick to it!  Sure, it’s got the sweet, creamy coconut notes to soften the flavors a little but I’m still getting a lot of zesty flavor from this chai blend.

I love the coconut’s role in this blend.  It’s a creamy note and together with the spices, it evokes thoughts of a chai latte without the addition of dairy.  The coconut adds a pleasant sweetness too and I like the way the sweetness contrasts with the spices.

The spices are lively.  The ginger and pepper are the most prominent of the spices and the heat seems to bring out the spicy side of the cinnamon, making it more of a ‘hot’ cinnamon than a sweet cinnamon.  The cloves and cardamom add depth to the flavor.

The flavor of the rooibos is not easy to discern here, but I’m alright with that.  I do taste a very delicate earthiness from the rooibos and this complements the earthiness of the spices.

To steep:  I used 195°F water and steeped the leaves for 10 minutes.  I usually use a little extra leaf with a chai, so I used a scoop and a half for a 12 ounce cup.  A warm and flavorful chai.  If you want to go latte, use a little more leaf and a little less water so that the infusion is strong and doesn’t become to diluted by the addition of milk or cream.  But I found that with the coconut flavor, this doesn’t really need milk or cream to taste latte-ish!  A little bit of raw sugar does enhance the flavor of the spices nicely though, so I recommend adding just a half teaspoon of sugar to your cup!

Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Ruby Black Tea (Competition Grade) from Cameron Tea

September16

CameronRuby1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Cameron Tea

Tea Description:  

Region: Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Type: Black Tea

Harvest Time: Winter 2013

Oxidation level: Fully oxidised

Taste: Natural flavour of cinnamon with a slight hint of mint.

When to drink: Throughout the day

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Having tried and LOVED the Premium Grade Sun Moon Lake Ruby Black Tea from Cameron Tea, I was excited to try their Competition Grade Ruby Black to see how it would compare.

CameronRubyI brewed this tea in my ceramic teapot which I warmed using hot tap water prior to measuring out the tea leaves.  I pinched out what appeared to be the equivalent of two bamboo scoops of the tea into the vessel.  This tea – because of it’s long, wiry leaves – is difficult at best to attempt to actually measure out with my trusty bamboo scoop.  So, unless you have a scale, you’re probably better served to use the noggin here and give it your best guess rather than to try to measure this tea with scoops or spoons.  I personally do not have a tea scale – and I don’t want one!  Tea should be simple and scales = scientific.  Science = not simple.

Anyway, after putting an estimated 2 scoops of tea into my teapot, I then added 16 ounces of near boiling (205°F) water to the teapot and let the tea steep for 3 minutes.  The result is a near perfect cup of tea!  (Well, actually, a mug of tea!)

It’s been a little while since I last tried the Premium Grade Sun Moon Lake Ruby Black Tea, but what immediately caught my attention about this tea is the cinnamon-y spice notes!  I don’t remember the spice notes being quite as forward in the Premium Grade version of this tea, and I’m not sure why that is.

Just beneath the cinnamon-like notes I notice flavorful notes of cacao – now those flavors, I remember!  I think that the big difference, at least in flavor, between the two grades is that this Competition Grade has a more pronounced spice note and the Premium Grade has a stronger cacao focus.

Other than that, this tea is very similar to the Premium Grade … both are rich, satisfying teas that would serve well as a breakfast tea or mid-to-late morning tea.  There is a strength to this cup that I find appealing, it’s the kind of tea that I want early in the day to keep me going.

This is really quite lovely on a day like today, when the weather is getting just a little cooler.  Not a lot cooler yet, but, I’m certainly ready and eagerly awaiting more signs of autumn to appear!  But this tea definitely has an autumnal sort of flavor going on and I like it a lot.

Another cup of AWESOMENESS from Cameron Tea!

Peach Cobbler a la Mode Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

September15

PeachCobbleralaModeSBTTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

This is delicious and refreshing.  I don’t know if I’m tasting peach cobbler a la mode or not … but I definitely am tasting the peach cobbler.  And it’s really yummy.

Peach cobbler is one of my favorite desserts.  There are few desserts out there that say “summer” quite as clearly as peach cobbler!  Sweet, fluffy, golden-browned biscuit atop sweet, juicy peaches and their juices.  Mmm!

To brew this tea, I went with the hot-brew method.  I brought 1 quart of freshly filtered water to a boil and then tossed in the tea bag and let it steep for 90 seconds, removed the bag and then poured the tea into my favorite tea pitcher.  I repeated this process – bringing another quart of water to a boil, this time steeping the same tea bag for 2 full minutes, removing the bag and pouring the hot tea into the tea pitcher to combine both infusions.

Then I let the pitcher cool down a while before stashing the tea into the chillbox and refrigerating for a few hours.  Mmm!  Frosty, delicious iced tea!

The peach notes are sweet and I can taste notes of buttery, biscuit-y pastry that’s been caramelized.  These flavors are evenly matched with the brisk-tasting black tea.  It’s sweet and fruity, but not too much.  The black tea balances out these flavors.  The black tea isn’t bitter, and I like that it’s a rich, solid tasting black tea.

This is SO MUCH better than one of those ready-to-drink iced teas that you can buy in the grocery store that are mostly sugar.  I can taste the black tea here.  This isn’t an overly sweetened, overly flavored tea.  It’s just a really refreshing, smooth-tasting, flavorful drink that tastes more like tea than a bunch of flavors and sugar … and it quenches my thirst on this hot summer day.  I like it.

Organic Light Oolong Tea from Arum Tea

September15

ArumLightOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

Very Smooth. Light golden hue with a fruity and floral fragrance. As the tea develops, the initial earthy flavors transforms into a lingering finish of herbs and flowers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I wanted to try this Light Oolong tea not too long after trying the Medium Oolong Tea from Arum Tea to see if I could describe some of the differences between the two teas.

The appearance of both teas in dry leaf form are very similar.  They look very much the way a greener Oolong tea looks (think Tie Guan Yin) with the leaves tightly wound into small pellets.  The aroma of the dry leaf of this tea is sweet and fruity, with fragrant floral notes.  The brewed tea smells more floral than fruity while the dry leaf smells more fruity than floral.  In contrast, the dry leaf aroma of the Medium Oolong tea is nutty and sweet with a slight earthiness.

Parameters:  I steeped this tea using my gaiwan as the brewing vessel.  I put one bamboo scoop of tea into the bottom of my gaiwan and then poured 180°F water over the leaves – just enough to cover the leaves.  I let that steep for 15 seconds and then drained off the liquid and discarded it.  (The rinse cycle!)  Then I refilled the gaiwan with water (same temperature) and let the leaves steep for 45 seconds.  I strained the tea into my teacup and resteeped the leaves for 1 minute.  Then I added the newly brewed tea to the teacup with the first infusion.  I combine 2 infusions with each cup, and I infused these leaves a total of 8 times for four cups of delicious tea.

The brewed tea here is lighter in color than the Medium Oolong.  This cup is a very pale golden yellow, and the flavor is lighter too.

The first few sips were very delicate, but after two or three sips, the flavors began to develop.  As the above description suggests, those initial two or three sips were light and earthy.  Now, I’m tasting more of an herbaceous floral note and this flavor stays on the palate long after the sip.  For as light in color as this tea is and as light in flavor as the first couple of sips were, I was really taken by surprise by just how flavorful this tea has become.

This tea is quite smooth but not so much buttery or creamy like you might expect a greener Oolong like this to be, however, as the tea cools slightly, I find that some creamy taste and texture develops.  The floral notes are profound.  There is a very distant background note of earth, and equally as distant is a fruity tone.  These flavors are off in the distance as if to beckon to the palate, saying, hey!  Keep on steeping so you can experience us!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was stronger in color and flavor.  The floral notes of the first cup are still present but they’re not quite as sharp as they were toward mid-cup of the first cup.  Smooth and sweet!  The fruity notes are making their way out of the distance.  I find that the flavors here taste less focused and distinct, although the overall flavor is stronger, the notes have become more unified.

Later infusions became smoother tasting.  I found the third cup (infusions 5 and 6) to be the strongest in flavor.  The flavors at this point are really quite seamless.  The individual flavors are less focused than they were in the first cup, but the flavor is richer with this cup.  The fourth cup started to become softer in flavor, reminding me a bit of the first cup, although with the fourth cup I could taste more of the fruit and earth notes that were mere insinuations in that cup.

As I promised, I offer the following comparison between the Medium and Light Oolong teas from Arum Tea:  while the Medium Oolong has more of a honey and nutty flavor, the Light Oolong is flowery with notes of fruit.  There are certainly some similarities to the two teas, but they are two very distinctly different teas, and I think that both deserve to be experienced by those that want to experience Oolong teas from Indonesia!

Original Herbal Chai Rooibos Blend from Simple Loose Leaf

September14

HerbalChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Chai is a type of tea typically served in India with milk and sugar. Our Herbal Chai is comprised of rooibos herbal tea along with a combination of ginger root, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and black peppercorn. This herbal version offers a remarkable authentic chai flavor while remaining naturally caffeine-free.

Ingredients:  South African Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger Root, Cloves, Black Peppercorn

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

This Herbal Chai from Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club Sampler Box is a very finely ground rooibos!  The rooibos leaves are chopped finer than I’ve typically seen in most rooibos blends.  It’s almost like a fine, “instant” powder … almost, but not quite.  This still needs to be steeped.

So I steeped it using a T-Sac.  I don’t usually reach for a T-Sac when I’m brewing tea, but with a tea/tisane that is as finely ground as this is, I usually choose a T-Sac to steep the tea because I don’t like loose, floating leaves in my brewed tea.  I’m not in to floaters.

Additional parameters used to brew this tisane: with freshly filtered water heated to 195°F and 1 tsp. of Herbal Chai in the T-Sac, I steeped the tea for 10 minutes.  Because this is a finer chopped chai, you don’t want to use a little extra leaf – as I often do with chai because I want a little stronger flavor with all the spices that are in the blend – but with this blend, the fine chop means that there is a lot of surface area and this is going to get plenty strong with the 1 tsp of leaf to 12 ounces of water ratio.

The aroma of both the dry leaf and the brewed tea is so delightfully spicy.  It reminds me of the smell I would experience when I visit the spice shop in Portland.  Notes of cinnamon, clove and pepper are prominent.  I can also smell the cardamom and ginger.

Mmm!  This is a perfect tisane to send out for September.  As the air becomes crisp and the weather turns cooler for the coming season (Autumn!) this tea serves me as a reminder of what is to come.  As I’ve said many times before, fall is my favorite season of the year.  And … yes … the reason is TEA!  Tea just tastes better hot.  Yeah, there are some teas that taste better iced, but for the most part, I find that teas just taste better when they’re served hot and I find that hot tea tastes best when the weather is chilly.

And my favorite kinds of teas to sip during my favorite season of the year are chai blends like this because the warm spices are just so cozy and comforting!  This is a perfect autumnal blend!

The finer chop on this blend makes for a very strong tasting chai, so don’t go overboard when you’re measuring out the leaf!  You might want to even use a little less leaf because it does get very strong.

The spices are robust.  The clove and ginger and pepper are the strongest flavors that I’m tasting.  After these flavors are recognized by my palate, then I begin to pick up on the cinnamon and cardamom.  The rooibos doesn’t offer a strong flavor to the cup, it’s more like a slightly sweet, nutty background flavor that is quite complimentary to the earthy notes of the spices.

I’ve got to tell you that when I saw that this is a rooibos chai, my thoughts were “Oh, another rooibos chai.”  I wasn’t all that thrilled with the prospect.  But this is one of the better tasting rooibos chai tisanes that I’ve tasted in some time.  The finer ground on the blend makes for a deliciously pungent, spicy chai and that’s just fine with me!

This tastes great with a dollop of honey or a half a teaspoon of sugar.  I find that the sweetener accents the spices in a chai (sugar and spice makes a chai taste real nice).  Add a splash of milk or cream for a tasty latte … it’s a wonderful, caffeine-free treat to drink any time of day.

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Our mutual love for tea and writing about it inspired us to start this blog so that we could better share this love with others.

One thing I (Anne) learned very early on in my career as a tea artist is that everyone has different preferences, and every single tea tastes differently on every single palate.  So just because one of us doesn’t happen to like a tea, doesn’t mean that YOU (the reader) will not.

We try to be as impartial as we can.  We do have our favorites.  We are human.  But we do our very best to be as fair and as honest about a tea as we can be.

You might not agree with my assessment – or with Jennifer’s assessment – of a tea.  But that’s OK… if we all liked the same exact tea – we’d only need ONE kind of tea and … wow… that sounds really boring, indeed!

What a beautiful world it is that we have so many teas to suit so many tea enthusiasts!

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