Wai Tisane from PONOinfusions

PONO_LooseLeafTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  PONOinfusions

Tea Description:

Wai will refresh you with a tranquil infusion of herbs & botanicals, inspired by breathtaking waterfalls, streams, and fresh water pools, all preciously vital to life in Hawai’i.  Made from certified organic and fair trade ingredients and caffeine-free, Wai immerses you in a marriage of mint & berry.  Wai means fresh water in Hawaiian—a precious resource in Hawai’i’s fragile ecosystems.

To learn more about efforts to conserve wai and the native plants & animals who call Hawai’i’s wai home, such as the endangered pinapinao (Hawaiian damselfly) and the uluhe fern featured on this package, please visit the Native Flora & Fauna section of our website.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

PONOinfusions is a company I only very recently discovered. So far, I love everything about them from their use of organic and fair trade certified ingredients to the incorporation of Hawaiian ingredients in their blends, creative themes to their teas, incorporation of Hawaiian culture and most importantly the strong emphasis on the fauna and flora in Hawaii which are endangered or at risk. On each tin you can see some of these species highlighted in the packaging, and a portion of their sales go to support working to sustain and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and plant and wildlife.

As described on their site, ‘pono’ means ‘the right thing to do’ and my first impression here is that Alex and Andrea are certainly doing their best to do that for Hawaii! I am very excited to get my first taste of one of their blends.

PONOpackageThe tisane I’m trying today (and not all of the teas in their line are tisanes) is called “Wai” which means fresh water, and the feature fauna and flora on their package’s design are the Hawaiian damselfly and uluhe fern. As I taste this for the first time, I’m definitely keeping the intended ‘theme’ in mind and will be seeing how the flavour compares to it.

My first impression of the taste is that it’s very familiar in a really comforting way. Breaking down the flavours I can see why; a lot of the ingredients are ones I like a great deal individually and they’re working very well combined. The body of the flavour of comprised mostly of the mint in the blend. I know this uses both peppermint and spearmint, but the spearmint is definitely more of a dominant/concentrated flavour than the peppermint is. Layered under that is the raspberry. It’s not raspberry in a really obvious way; but a gentle, subtle soft hint of raspberry that provides contrast from the mint. The nettle leaf is a little earthy and unrefined, it seems to roll in and out of sips as a flavour that I’m noticing. Finally there’s a floral aspect that finishes the sip. It reminds me of a mild jasmine though as far as I’m aware there isn’t actually any jasmine or floral ingredients in the blend.

While none of these ingredients individually make me think of fresh water there’s something about the way they interact with each other that’s very calming and tranquil and reminds me of seafoam, and skinny dipping with friends in the middle of July as the sunsets. Additionally, I remember reading a poem not too long ago that compared the ocean to a womb, first and foremost giving life and that’s the kind of feeling I get from drinking this tea. I want warm waves to wash over and cradle me.

Overall, I really like the overall taste of this tisane but more importantly I love the way it makes me feel. I haven’t been this excited about a newly discovered company in a really long time, and I’m excited to hopefully try more of their blends (in particular I’m hoping I get to try Nahele) and I very, very much recommend checking out their website! Definitely a cool company, and I think they deserve a little more attention.

Mint Yerba Mate (Herbal) from Aka Teas

MintYerbaMateTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Mate

Where to Buy:  Aka Teas

Tea Description:

Need some energy and focus? Yerba Maté has been shown to help the body digest carbohydrates (more energy!), burn calories from fat, and delay the buildup of lactic acid after a workout. 

Stimulating to the mind, body, and taste buds, Mint Yerba Maté can’t be beat. With it’s healthy concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants, Yerba Maté has been touted as the most nutritious and balanced energy-giver, when compared to coffee, black tea, green tea, guarana, or kola nut

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Aka Teas is one of my newest love affairs when it comes to tea shops.  I love their hand blended teas and the flavors each tea yields.  When I saw this one, I knew it would be instant love. And it was.

I’m a sucker for mint teas.  I have digestive issues so I find mint so refreshing and cooling.  Almost relaxing because of the cooling effect it seems to have on my body.  Pair that up with another love of mine, Yerba Mate and you have yourself a match made in heaven.  And that is exactly how I see this tea.

I dumped the sample of this tea into my One Touch Breville and hit the Herbal setting for 5 minutes @212F.  I wanted for that lovely beeping noise to alert me that my tea was ready.

I let this cool for a moment and dove right in.  The mint hit me first.  Such a lovely spearmint.  Clean and refreshing.  The Yerba Mate had a solid roasted flavor and that is the second flavor that hit my taste buds.  The two combined was a unique flavor but one I really enjoyed.  A mint refreshing cooling invigorating roasted tea.  Simple but full of flavor.  Each flavor played off the other and one flavor didn’t dominate the other.  If you are a mint fan and an yerba mate fan, I think you’ll like this one too.

Yogi Berry from Yellowstone Tea Co

BerryTeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Yellowstone Tea Co

Tea Description:

This Berry tea is great iced and full of antioxidants for flu season.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been neglecting my herbal teas as of late.  I’m sorry herbals! I’ll try to keep you more in sight ;).

This tea is from Yellowstone Tea Co, an Etsy Store.  I have tried a few of their teas in the past so when I saw this poor neglected fellow in my tea basket, I knew it was time to try him.

Into my tea pot the sample went along with 1 cup of water at 212F to steep for 5 minutes.  The tea produced a gorgeous dark red liquid.  So very pretty!

What is so nice with this herbal is the different and unique flavors that have been added in.  There are apples, orange peel, elderberries, hibiscus, rosehips, carrot flavors, orange slices, lemongrass, beet powder, raspberry fruit powder, and freeze dried grapes. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a tea with carrots or beet powder.  I was excited to see what these flavors would produce.

The first flavor that hits me is the tartness from the hibiscus but it is nicely contrasted with the lemon from the lemongrass and the sweet flavor from the grapes.  The other lovely flavor is what I’m assuming is the beet powder.  There is a really nice sweet yet I swear there are hints of an earthy flavor there, maybe I should describe it more like a tangy note.  Last but not least are the orange peels.  They are probably my favorite part.  The citrus flavor that is added in really kicks this tea up a couple notches and really balances out the flavor.

This tea iced is even just amazing.  So many flavors going on.  Each sip is different from the next.  An explosion of flavor with each taste.

Such a fun herbal to end my day with.

Darjeeling Black from Teapigs

darjeelingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Teapigs

Tea Description:

Pinkies out, bone china cups and saucers, silk neck scarf and snorty laugh at the ready – this is the poshest tea around. Darjeeling tea without milk has a unique, clean, refreshing taste. Traditionally drunk in the afternoon it tastes equally good early morning from a chipped mug.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Thanks to one of our sisters, Scheherazade, I got a chance to try a few sachets of this tea! Teapigs is a company I’ve been kind of curious about for a while; the Sobeys I work at carries a small selection of their teas (though not this one) and I’ve always found the packaging cute. I just simply haven’t known enough about the company or seen enough reviews to be interested in trying one of their teas.

I steeped up one of the pyramid style sachets I received from Scheherazade this morning during a heavy downpour and sat on the steps outside of our house, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, while drinking it. It was definitely the perfect atmosphere to enjoy and appreciate the warmth of the mug and the clean, well rounded flavour. I thought in particular it tasted rather floral, with a slight bit of malt and a sort of autumnal vibe – probably from the very slight spice notes throughout the cup. The mouthfeel is very, very smooth and silky. It’s not the best Darjeeling I’ve ever had but it’s far from the worst.

Very pleasant, comforting and unobtrusive flavour overall. I don’t know if I’ve been sold enough on this tea to want to purchase more of it, but I might finally pick up one of the different blends we carry at the Sobeys I work at as my curiosity has definitely been heightened.

Earl Grey Green from Three Teas

EarlGreyGreenTea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Three Teas

Tea Description:

This is one of the most popular of Three Teas blends.  This Green Tea version has the classic flavor of a traditional Earl Grey, but is made with Indian & Ceylon Green Teas and scented with Bergamot Oil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is one of the more popular blends according to Kathy @Three Teas.  I couldn’t wait to try it.  I do love my green teas and even tho Earl Grey flavoring sometimes is overwhelming to me, I was excited to try this one.

I prepped this one up per the instructions on the package- 2 tsps-185F-3 minutes.  The result was a very pleasant yellowish green liquid in my teacup.  The fragrance emitting from the cup was very bergamot oil like.  Almost overwhelmingly so.

Took my first sip and yes this is definitely a tea for the Earl Grey fans out there.  They bergamot is alive and well in this tea.  The green tea creates a very nice smooth buttery base (but very subtle) and the bergamot oil flavor is quite strong.

Unfortunately the bergamot was just too strong for me.  I think if there was some straight orange flavoring added in or maybe even some vanilla bean, this tea would take on a completely different profile making it pop.  I just picked up some vanilla bean so I might try that later.

Regardless, I’m really enjoying this green tea base.  I almost wish I could try that by itself without the bergamot oil.  This may just be one of those teas that need a little help to boost the flavor or maybe I should find it a new home.  I’m still glad I was able to try it!

Front Porch Peach Iced Black Tea from Teakoe

Front-Porch-PeachTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teakoe

Tea Description:

Enjoy blissful moments and gather inspiration by drinking this juicy blend of peach, ginger and licorice root. Take time to sit back, reminisce and envision what the future will bring.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

To say this tea was a hit was an understatement for yesterday’s fam get together.

Yesterday my parents came over for dinner.  We rarely seem to have them over for dinner and find ourselves mostly going to their house for any kind of gathering, so I was excited to finally return the favor.

Knowing that my dad was coming, I thought I would make up some iced tea to enjoy with dinner.  I was digging thru my tea and saw this package from Teakoe.  So far  I have enjoyed their Craft Iced Tea line and was excited to sample some of this with my dad and Jason.

This time around, I adhered to the directions on the back of the package instead of just cold brewing the tea overnight like I have before, but I did leave the tea bag in the pitcher and put it in the fridge.

My parents arrived and as I have been taught, I offered them a beverage as soon as they showed up.  I asked Dad if he wanted to some tea and he said, “Well Yah!” I gave him his glass and continued getting mom something to drink.  Before I had finished getting my mom a glass of sparkling water, my dad is already asking me for seconds on the tea.  I couldn’t believe it.  I gave him a pretty full cup. So I refilled his cup and gave him and Jason a cup.  Before I could finish getting my kids their drinks for dinner, Jason and my dad both are asking for refills.  So like I said. . . to say this was a hit would be an understatement.

Jason was out grilling when I handed him his glass and he came in to the kitchen and asked me what I had given him to drink and where would he need to go online to order more.  My dad was too busy downing another glass to really add anything more in.  Before I was even able to try this tea, the two of them had drained the pitcher and I was hoping the tea bag would hold up to a second steeping.  It did.

I was able to try this (I stole a few sips out of Jason’s glass), but I swear this tea tasted like a tea blend with rooibos in it.  It didn’t.  I looked over the ingredients several times over.

After dinner, Jason and I were talking about the tea and he asked me what was in it.  I listed the ingredients on the back of the pouch-peach, ginger, and licorice.  He said that he could taste each and every flavor and that it was the perfect iced  sweet peach tea with a hint of a wow factor in each sip.  I asked him what the wow factor was and he said a hint of a zing with a sweet background.  That made me laugh.  He couldn’t tell me what he thought of the tea base itself, just that all the flavors worked together and it was pretty darn close to being perfect.

Even tho I may not have cared for the tea, the guys certainly did.  To each his own tea I guess and this tea has already been requested as a re-order.   I’m happy to oblige! From what I’m hearing from the cheers and praise for this tea, this tea would be perfect to sit on the front porch and enjoy.

Australia Houjicha Green from What-Cha

GreenHoujichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

Two Rivers Green Tea started producing tea in 2001 with the aid and encouragement of Japanese tea experts who were seeking to encourage Japanese style tea production for the domestic Japanese market. The Two Rivers farm was selected as it has the same latitude of southern Japanese tea farms, idea temperatures, rainfall and great quality topsoil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I placed a What-Cha order for myself, and one of the things I was looking for was a Houjicha to stock up since it’s one of my favourite kinds of green tea and while I currently have a Genmaicha stocked that I really like there’s a hole in my cupboard where a good Houjicha should be. This one comes from Australia, and personally I’ve never tried an Australian grown tea before though I was aware that they were produced. Australia is one of those regions that isn’t typically thought of as a tea growing region among people who aren’t more learned tea drinkers the same way people don’t realize tea is grown in places like Kenya or Hawaii and I’m very excited to get my first taste of an Australian tea, especially considering how affordable this blend was. It was an easy thing to gamble on.

I do think this was worth the gamble. While it’s not as straightforwardly roasty as I tend to prefer from a good Houjicha there are some very, very nice subtle nuanced flavour notes that more than makes up the different. For starters, there’s an interesting nutty notes that seems to make itself known in each part of the sip in a different way. With that first initial taste it’s light lightly toasted nuts, and then in the body it weaves in and out between the other flavours. In the aftertaste, you’re tasting the shadow of the nut flavour which once was.

There’s also some really nice sweeter notes like caramel and cocoa which gently stretch out across the surface of your tongue, creating this really nice, smooth body flavour. The finish is lightly smokey, and leaves you wanting to go back in for another sip so you can experience the flavour dynamics all over again. Overall it’s a very warming and welcoming cuppa.

I definitely think I’ll clear my purchase of this easily, and will probably go back for more after that. More than that, this only gets me even more excited to try more of what Australia has to offer!

Peach vs. Bergamot ft. Formosa Oolong from Liquid Proust Tea

peachvsbergamotTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Liquid Proust Teas

Tea Description:

Ingredients: Formosa oolong, marigold, flavoring

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I probably would have never thought to pair Peach and Earl Grey/Bergamot, which is I guess why Andrew at Liquid Proust Teas is the blender and not myself. The idea is intriguing though; and I have to admit I’m incredibly happy to not see apricot or mango thrown in here as well; I get so tired of those flavour combinations. It’s been done time and time again, and it’s refreshing to see something else. The oolong base is really innovative as well; with it’s characteristic fruity flavour Formosa is a fantastic choice.

The dry leaf smells really incredible! You can get a sense of the bergamot as this grounded, lofty sort of flavour but then the ripe, plump aroma of fresh peaches seems to bounce off it! It smells juicy, and I can’t help but picture taking a bite of some sort of fantastic peach/orange hybrid and having the sugary juices running down my chin like some sort of gluttonous child gorging themselves on fresh picked fruit.

In traditional Earl Grey fashion I made sure this was my first tea of the day; however because I got the impression this was going to be more naturally sweet than a lot of EG I’m familiar with so I iced it instead of having it hot. True to my suspicions this was pretty sweet but in a very natural way that was realistic to the sweetness of fresh fruit. The bergamot was actually a lot milder than I would’ve guessed it to be base on the smell of the dry leaf. It ran like a citrusy current throughout each sip, consistently merged with the body of the sip. The peach left me breathless; there was something unnatural about it, but not in an artificial way or anything like that. It was more unnatural in a “how can this taste so plump, rich, and juicy!?” sort of way. I’m not really a fan of actual peaches, but if they all tasted like that I’d go through a crate of them a week. The bergamot and peach compliment each other to a tea; similar to what I was getting from the dry smell the bergamot is this lovely stable flavour and the peach seems to jump off it.

The formosa base was a great choice; while there’s a really faint but of astringency it doesn’t detract and the natural fruitiness of the oolong contributes even more lively fruit flavours. What I specifically observed was a really rich stonefruit like flavour in line with cherry, but a little more of a cocktail cherry type of note, which just goes incredibly well the peach. Plus, oolong means more solid steeps and so more bang for your buck.

As someone who is neither anti-Earl Grey or Peach but who doesn’t seek out those flavours I want to own this. I think I could drink it often; and with a growing list of Liquid Proust Teas that are blowing my mind Andrew is slowly wearing me down to the point where a LP order is probably in my near future despite the poor state of the Canadian dollar. Definitely a blend worth trying!

A final note though, in the battle of bergamot vs. peach I think peach wins…

Sun From Brew Mama Herbalism

SunHerbalTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Brew Mama Herbalism

Tea Description:

Sun Tea is blended with herbs packed full of antioxidants, and vitamins A, B, C and D . This blend makes a great cold and flu prevention. It is a delicious tea the entire family will enjoy. Kids love this tea, and if you don’t tell them it’s really good for them, they will never know 😉

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is just about the perfect herbal tea for me.  Sweet and tart with hints of a grassy touch.

Brewed up hot (212F-1c water-5 min steeping) I really didn’t care for this one.  The hibiscus was incredibly strong and the taste reminded me of unsweetened kool-aid.  Where my heart lays with this tea is when this tea is on ice.

When iced, this tea takes on a completely different taste.  The hibiscus is still there but there is now a sweetness that is combating the tart, making the tea just delicious. Refreshing is the word that comes to mind.

I love teas like this.   The flavors are bright, crisp, and they make you think of summer.  This tea is even a bit better than your normal herbal because there is this amazing grassy flavor coming in. Yum!

I love Brew Mama Herbalism’s Teas. Angie does such a great job.  Not one herbal note takes over the other.  Just the right touch.  Kudos Angie!

Pomegranate Dragon Fruit Green/White Tea from ESP Emporium

pomegranatedragonfruitTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green/White

Where to Buy: ESP Emporium

Tea Description:

Was the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden a pomegranate tree? Until this day, the pomegranate is considered a symbol of immortality and sensibility. Combined with the exotic dragonfruit and a touch of vanilla a paradisaical taste experience is formed. The unique blend of strong Sencha, select Kukicha and finest Pai Mu Tan ensures that this truly is a premium quality. Let yourself be seduced.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Pomegranate and green tea seem to be a fairly common pairing, and I have to admit it’s not one I’ve explored often enough given how much I actually like pomegranate – but the dragonfruit in this blend? That was the nail in the coffin, and the aspect that got me really truly excited for this blend. I absolutely adore the subtle pear/kiwi like flavour of dragonfruit and I used to buy quite a lot of it, but it’s really expensive ($3 a fruit) so I had to cut down.

This cold brew definitely puts more emphasis on the pomegranate though; it’s very sweet and juicy, with a really round and robust fruity flavour that just dominates over the entire drink. There is a little ‘extra’ fruit flavour that creeps into the end of the sip and aftertaste though. It reminds me quite a bit of a mild or more tame kiwi flavour which is definitely the dragonfruit. I didn’t really taste the vanilla for most of the drink. It wasn’t until the last few swigs that I thought it stood out as more than just additional sweetness.

As for the base, I struggled to taste the white tea, but the green was slightly present as a crisp, clear vegetal background note. It did a good job of being subtly present without cutting into the flavourings, which are definitely meant to be the focus of the blend.

This is definitely an enjoyable blend, well suited for summer.