Green Tea Masala Chai/Vahdam Teas

I have been seeing Vahdam Tea in the news lately and thought a spicy cup of chai would settle me right in for the night.

This isn’t your traditional black tea boiled with water and milk and heavily sugared. This is a fine darjeeling green with cardamom (YUM!), cinnamon, and clove. When I pour the dry leaves out to investigate them, it LOOKS like black tea, but don’t be fooled. Darjeeling tastes best to me prepared with slightly lower temperature water and a short steep to keep astringency low. If you like very brisk tea, increase your temp and time.

The green darjeeling is a tad brisk. The long boiling time of traditional chai makes the tea strong and bitter or astringent, and that is why milk and sugar are added, and a good dollop of milk, too! I am not adding anything to this, though, and it is enjoyable just as it is. The spices are at a great level for me. I have never been a fan of chai made with tons of black peppercorns, and I really feel that the cardamom and cinnamon lead the spices in this one. The scent of the dry leaves and the steeped tea is scrumptious.

And it is working! The strong flavors of the tea are keeping my cravings at bay and I don’t feel deprived at all.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Vahdam Teas

Description

A superior green tea blend with the finest, aromatic Indian spices for a unique Chai experience!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cherry Rose Green/Elmwood Inn Fine Teas

I have never been a lover of floral teas. Normally rose or lavender or jasmine or any other floral ingredient got me groaning. However, that all changed when my university roommate bought me teas from Camellia Sinensis for the holidays. Among the teas she bought me was a blend called Des Roses et Des Bonbons. It was a cherry rose tea and it was amazing. One of my favorite teas EVER! And it’s sadly been discontinued.

Since trying Des Roses et Des Bonbons, I have been all the more open to rose teas. Since its discontinuation, there has been a hole in my heart (and stash) and I have been in search of a cherry rose tea to fill it. Perhaps Tea Sparrow could end my search with their delivery of Cherry Rose Green by Elmwood Inn Fine Teas in one of my monthly subscription boxes…

Cherry Rose Green is a Japanese Sencha Green Tea blended with rose petals, cherries, and natural cherry flavor. I steeped the tea for 2 minutes in 175F, the temperature my kettle recommends for green teas given the company suggestion was a rather vague “not quite boiling water” instruction.

At first sip I am disappointed to report that this is not the replacement I have been hoping for. Des Roses et Des Bonbons was a sweet candy-like black tea blend. Cherry Rose Green is just that…a green tea. Where I want candy, I am getting nature. It’s not bad, just different.

Cherry Rose Green has a fair quality green base, its a little grassy and slightly bitter at the end of the sip. The rose does provide a natural sweetness that is fresh like the green tea base but brighter. The cherry comes in at the end and is a little medicinal when combined with the bitterness of the base tea.

It is not a bad tea but it is not my favorite either. I think the bar was set too high going into this tea because what I wanted and what I got were two drastically different things. I could see this being a nice transition tea for those trying to make the leap from flavored to plain teas. It has flavor but the base tea is really the star here.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Elmwood Inn Fine Teas

Description

We’ve blended Japanese sencha green tea with rose petals and cherries to give you all the flavor and aroma of a springtime orchard. Try it cold-steeped as well!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Love Life/Harney and Sons

My beautiful, foolish husband let me into a Harney & Sons store in upstate New York. I placed a few carefully chosen items into my basket, and moved toward the checkout.

“Is that all?” the doofus queried.

“I can have more?” I asked.

“That doesn’t seem like much stuff,” he said.

I tripled the amount in my basket.

One of my picks was this flower-fruit-coconut concoction that’s basically a bar in the tropics, distilled down into one alcohol-free mug. I felt like I was swimming up to a swim-up bar (I’ve never done this) with a big flower in my hair (I’ve never done this) in the background of Lilo and Stitch (I’ve never done this).

When it comes right down to it, I’m more of a forest/lake/inland kind of girl than a beach girl. I like how trees smell. I don’t like sand between my toes. But this tea, man, this tea almost makes me reconsider my stance. Almost.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Harney and Sons

Description

Delicious, refreshing tea with a charitable twist. Named for GMHC’s slogan and logo, our Love Life tea is a refreshing blend of Japanese Bancha green tea with fresh flavors of strawberry, coconut, rich vanilla, and puffed rice for a light, fruity brew. 50% of the sales from this tea benefits GMHC, an organization devoted to fighting for an end to the AIDS epidemic and uplifting the lives of those affected.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Raspberry Kissed Coconut Green Tea/52Teas

Raspberry and coconut is a tea combination I overlooked for a very long time but one that I loved when I finally tried it. My tea journey started with DAVIDsTEA and I quickly made my way through most of the teas on their wall. One that I always seemed to skip over was Fantasy Island. For whatever reason, it just never appealed to me until a friend sent a sample over in a swap. One taste was all I needed to get hooked. The combination of raspberry and coconut was magical and it left me all the more heartbroken when the blend was discontinued.

Thankfully Anne, the genius behind 52 Teas, blended up a raspberry coconut tea, Raspberry Kissed Coconut Green Tea. The tea combined fair trade single estate zomba green tea, organic coconut, organic raspberries, and organic natural flavors.

Unlike Fantasy Island which was a black tea, this has a green tea base and that green tea is imparting a vegetal flavor. This is a coconut green tea through and through. The raspberry is present but a secondary note to the coconut, adding some brightness to the drink. For a raspberry coconut tea, it is not as sweet as you might expect. It’s a rather mellow tea which makes it nice in the warmer months when you want something light.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas 

Description

This tea is no longer available but click below to see the current green tea lineup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Walnut Green Tea/Aromatica Fine Teas

Monthly subscription boxes can be hit or miss. I have tried several along my tea journey including subscriptions by Amoda, A Quarter to Tea, Handmade Tea, myteabox.ca, Sips By, and Tea Sparrow. Some, such as the A Quarter to Tea box, offers selections from one company whereas others, such as the Sips By box, offer teas from a variety of different vendors in each box. The former is good if you know you like a certain company whereas the latter is fun for when you want to try and discover new things. Sometimes you discover gems, sometimes you discover disasters, and sometimes you find new things that are simply unremarkable.

I received the Tea Sparrow box as a gift. The teas are a variety of Tea Sparrow blends and blends from other vendors. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a tea that really stands out to me from this box which has so far put this subscription in the “unremarkable” category. With that said, one of teas in my Tea Sparrow subscription is this Walnut Green Tea by Aromatica Fine Teas. I have tried another Aromatica Fine Tea before, Ginger Cream, courtesy of my Amoda subscription. I really enjoyed that tea so my hope was I’d enjoy this as well. Moreover, this tea is also the first place winner of the 2011 North American Tea Championship so hopefully that means it’s a good one.

When I read the brewing instructions for this tea, it suggested steeping the leaf in “almost boiling” water for 2.5 minutes. Almost boiling is my least favorite temperature because it is so ambiguous. As a result, I decided to steep one cup for 2.5 minutes in 175F water (the “Green” setting on my kettle) and another cup in 200F water (what I would consider almost boiling to be) for 1.5 minutes. I figured I had the leaf so it could be interesting to experiment how different brewing parameters impact the tea flavor.

First cup I drank was the cooler cup, the one brewed at 175F. Lookswise, this cup was much lighter than the tea brewed at a higher temperature, a bright-ish yellow versus a deeper brown-gold. To me, this tasted like liquid brittle. Nutty and sweet with more walnut flavor than almond. No vegetal/grass flavors from the base tea and no pineapple or coconut in sight.

The second cup, brewed with a little more leaf and at 200F, is a lot more buttery though still tastes of brittle. I think more coconut comes through when brewed like this but less walnut which is really meant to be the focus in light of the tea’s name.

This tea is made of chinese green tea, sencha, brittle, coconut rasps, candied pineapple pieces, walnut pieces, flavor, and almond pieces. Given that list, I was surprised that not much of the base nor pineapple was part of the taste of either cup. Personally, I think I preferred the tea brewed at 175F just because it was more distinctly walnut and thus more true to its name though the two were fairly similar flavorwise. Overall I found the tea to be unique and good, definitely one of the better options provided in my Tea Sparrow subscription, but ultimately I just don’t reach for nutty blends or green teas all that quickly. As such, while I can appreciate this as a good tea, an award-winning tea even, I just don’t feel the need to keep it around all the time.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aromatica Fine Teas

Description

Chinese green tea, sencha, brittle bits (sugar,hazlenuts), coconut rasps, candied pineapple bits, walnut pieces, flavour, almond pieces.

“What a fantastic and sophisticated profile for a blended green tea!”

Michael Menashy, Tea Sparrow

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!