Thai Iced Tea from Arbor Teas. . . .

Let me take you back, friends. To a tiny Thai restaurant around the corner from my single-girl apartment, in a bygone era. Picture this– five girlfriends smushed around a corner table, ordering the spiciest dishes off the menu (and dying equally over how good they all were, and also how our mouths and subsequently, entire bodies were aflame from the inside), our only respite coming from the sweet, creamy Thai iced teas peppered all across the table. I don’t even think we knew whose was whose anymore– we just kept ordering them, passing them around, trying to quell the spice-fire.

And that, my friends, is the LAST TIME I had a Thai iced tea. I KNOW! My life has changed a bit since then, in that I am both neither a single girl anymore, nor do I live in that apartment– but certainly not because I don’t *like* Thai iced teas anymore (even typing that seems like blasphemy). Rather, due to the revolt that dairy has since decided to wage on my body and thus, sweeping them off the table.

So while I was a little glum when I saw a few samples of Thai iced tea dry leaf blends in my review pile, I knew I wanted to give recreation a go. AND THEN: I found coconut milk condensed cream at the hippie grocery store on our block and all was right with the world. I brewed this one up cold, overnight in a mason jar (my favorite iced tea method), and when it was steeped and strained, stirred in some deliciously sweet & creamy condensed coconut milk, gave it a stir, and was immediately transported back to that corner booth, mouth on fire, seeking respite in the cold, spiced, creamy and sweet Thai iced teas of my relative youth. Well done, Arbor Teas! I’ll be recreating this one in my kitchen again for many a day to come.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas
Description

Finally, Thai Iced Tea with NO artificial flavors or colors!

Thai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular iced drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the US. Our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Thai Iced Tea is a traditional blend of strong black tea, vanilla bean, cardamom and anise. It can be enjoyed hot or cold with a twist of lime as a self drinker (without milk). Or it can be brewed to create a traditional, restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea when combined with ice, milk and sugar!

To recreate a restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea, we recommend steeping a double strength cup of tea. Then sweeten the hot brew with sugar, and serve over ice. Glasses of Thai Iced Tea are usually topped with dairy, such as sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk (this last one, of course, is not actually dairy). The final addition of dairy usually rests on top of the ice cubes creating a beautiful layered effect in the glass! For illustrated step-by-step instructions, check out our guide How to Make Thai Iced Tea and/or see our how to video.

NO artificial colors or flavors! Did you know that the deep orange color of Thai Iced Tea served in restaurants is usually attributed to artificial coloring? Well, no longer! We’ve developed an organic teablend that includes no artificial colors or flavors. As a result, when dairy is added to this iced tea it will not turn orange, but a beautiful, natural light brown!

Ingredients: organic black tea, organic cardamom, organic anise seeds, organic vanilla extract, and natural vanilla flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Let’s Kick It Up A Notch! Ginger Chili Tisane from Arbor Teas

 

I  don’t know what’s going on with my tastebuds lately but the spicier the tea, the better it tastes to me. I used to pass over ginger teas all the time because I just wasn’t a fan. Now, I’m searching high and low for ginger and even black pepper tea blends. Just can’t get enough of them.

Which is why Ginger Chili Tisane really fit what my taste buds were craving. Plus the fact that this blend has green rooibos in it, just makes this tea that more inviting.

Ginger Chili Tisane is a mix of green rooibos, ginger, lemon peel, rosemary, cloves, and chili flakes. So interesting and unique and as a side note, a blend that is organic.  I’m so happy this blend has green rooibos as its base instead of red rooibos. Red rooibos is really the only tea that I just have trouble trying or enjoying.  But green rooibos and I are the best of buds!

I brewed up this tea with water prepped at 212F and allowed to steep for 5 minutes.  For my first experience with this tea, I wanted to stay on the side of safe. The instructions actually call for a 5-7 minute steep. I think next time I enjoy this tea, I’ll go with the full blow 7 minutes or even a cold brew!

The first experience of this tea is one of wonderment. The green rooibos provides and lays down a heavy rich honey flavor that is quite smooth. The ginger and chili add in that spice that isn’t overwhelming by any means. I actually wish the ginger and chili were a bit stronger which is easily remedied by a stronger steep I’m thinking.  The cloves bring in that familiar chai feel while the rosemary contrasts the sweet honey by a touch of a savory note.  I’m left with the feeling that if I would have added in another scoop or even allowed the tea to steep a few more minutes, if that lingering spice that is described on the website wouldn’t have been more noticeable.

All in all, just delicious. Sweet and spicy for sure but more on the milder spice. But again, the spice may increase with a longer steep. I would love to add in a touch of black pepper to this tea to see if those spices don’t kick it up to the level of craving even more!

For my first experience with Arbor Teas, I’m impressed. It seems (and I know I’ve said this  before) that you find yourself in a rut, drinking the same kind of tea again, and again. Ginger Chili Tisane definitely brings in flavors to shake up your tastebuds!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas
Description

We are extremely excited to offer this *hot* new organic herbal tea. Naturally caffeine-free, this loose leaf tisane packs a punch! With an herbaceous nose of rosemary, citrus, and ginger, its aroma reminds of a fragrant cocktail. But, once it is consumed you’ll be surprised by the warming and lingering heat! The liquor starts off mellow and sweet and then WHAM — the chili sets in to become the predominant flavor and you are not drinking a simple herbal tea, but along for a spicy, hot thrilling ride!  Add a little honey to create a sweet and spicy organic tea concoction.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Ancient Green Tuo Cha Pu-Erh Tea from Arbor Teas

Organic-Ancient-Green-Tuo-Cha

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Tea Description:

This compressed Green Pu-erh is made with top-quality sun-dried buds from the antique tea trees of the Jing Mai Mangjing region of China’s southwest Yunnan province.  Many of these tea trees range from 800 to 1200-years-old with the eldest exceeding 1300-years-old! The flavor of this organic Chinese tea is mildly sweet with a character of gentle white and green teas. This Pu-erh is created using the traditional sheng processing techinque and aged for eight years.  The infusion of this exquisite organic tea is light brown with a rose hue, yielding the flavor and aroma of malted grains and sweet apples. The faintest hint of earthiness that is characteristic of organic pu-erh tea can also be detected. Each tuo cha is individually wrapped and perfect for a medium sized teapot or can be broken apart to accommodate a single serving.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  This Organic Ancient Green Tuo Cha Pu-Erh Tea from Arbor Teas is one of the nicest and most unusual Tuo Cha Pu-Erh Teas I’ve yet to taste.   

The dry appearance of the Tuo Cha is the first thing that took me by surprise … it doesn’t look like the typical Tuo Cha … the leaves are green and yellow-ish (like straw!) and it looks a bit more to me like hay that has been compressed into bails than it does a Pu-erh Tuo Cha.  The aroma is quite different too, normally, I experience a strong earthy note from Pu-erh, but the aroma here is rather mild.

The flavor of the first infusion is just as mild as the fragrance.  And I’m liking this mellow attitude that I’m getting from this tea.  It is light and sweet, reminding me more of a gentle green tea or perhaps a delicate white tea than a Pu-erh.  It doesn’t taste earthy, brine-y or fish-y or any other flavors that are often associated with Pu-erh.  It is vaguely reminiscent of the flavor I’d get if I were to sip the simmering water from a pot of farro rather than what I would normally taste from a Pu-erh, and I’ve got to tell you … I like that a whole lot!

The second infusion offers a slightly deeper flavor.  The flavor is a little more earthy … but again, it’s not the same kind of “earth” note I’d get from a typical Pu-erh.  This is more like the earthiness I’d taste from a Shou Mei white.  Sweet, almost hay-like.  Notes of flower to this cup as well.  There is a slight dryness to this infusion that I didn’t experience with the first infusion.  Where I liked the mild, mellow flavor of the first cup, I’m liking the sweet, white tea-like flavor of this second cup … I like that this tea has different things to show me as I take this tea journey.

The third infusion is my favorite so far!  The flavor is sweet and has a distinct fruit-like taste to it.  The above description suggests notes of apple, and I’d agree with that … there are hints of the sweet apple-y notes as well as whisper of tartness.  Nice contrast.  The earthiness is no longer present, this is much more like a hay-ish taste, with notes of the aforementioned farro and the fruit tones.  A crisp, light sweetness to this cup.  Very nice!

And this tea is still going strong!  I like that this tea offers me a taste of the lighter side of Pu-erh … it is smooth and sweet, but it is much crisper and more delicate than the typical Pu-erh tea.  If you are a fan of Pu-erh and are looking for something a little different, you should give this one a try.  On the other hand, if you typically find Pu-erh to be a little too earthy or brine-y for your liking … this one will change your mind about Pu-erh!

A really delightful Pu-erh!

Organic Singampatti Oothu Black Tea from Arbor Teas

Organic-Singampatti-Oothu-Estate-Black-Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Tea Description:

This very fine black tea hails from the Oothu estate in the Indian state of Kerala, just miles from the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. Isolated from the rest of the country by the Western Ghats, tea grows at the Oothu Estate amid lush green rainforest and stunning natural beauty. In fact, Oothu translates to “spring of water.” The Singampatti group of estates produce the largest amount of organic tea in the world. This organic, Fair Trade Certified black tea is full-bodied, smooth, and subtly sweet with light to medium astringency.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Organic Singampatti Oothu Black Tea from Arbor Teas – while the name is quite a twisted mouthful! – the tea itself is so smooth and rich and absolutely delightful to sip!

This is a very pleasantly smooth tea.  It starts out with a sweet note that is reminiscent of a caramel note – a light caramel note.  Throughout the sip, I notice hints of fruit and flower.  There are very subtle spice tones to the tea as well as a touch of malt.  It has a sort of “chewy” bake-y flavor that evokes thoughts of the chewy crust of a warm, freshly baked French Bread.

It is a warm, robust tea, but I like that it is not a bitter tea.  No, I didn’t over-steep the tea, but, sometimes, with Indian teas there are very subtle notes of something there that suggest to me that if I had over-steeped the tea that I would have a bitter tasting brew.  There is no inclination of that with this tea.  Just smooth, sweet, delicious flavor.

There is some astringency that is slightly dry.  I notice this dry sensation on my palate toward the finish, but it isn’t an overbearingly dry tea either.  The dryness reminds me of a fine wine, with notes of black currant toward the finish, and a slight dryness on the palate as the sip concludes.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable tea!  It is one that I’d like as that all-important first cup of the day (in fact, that is what it is today!) because it’s strong enough to provide a that little kick of gusto that I need to get going.  But it is not an aggressive tea, and it would also make an agreeable afternoon pick-me-up kind of tea as well.  Nice with milk and honey (or other sweetener) but, equally as nice without!

And I really can’t say enough good things about Arbor Teas as a company.  They are definitely tops in my book.  I love that all their teas are organic and fair trade – and that they are dedicated to providing the best quality organic and fair trade teas to their customers.  I also LOVE that they are devoted to the environment, using biodegradable packaging and focusing their efforts toward a greener planet.  These things are important to me, and I love that they are also important to Arbor Teas!

Organic Vanilla Bean Black Tea from Arbor Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Tea Description

This organic, Fair Trade Certified tea offers a delicious synergy between excellent North Indian tea and rich, creamy vanilla. Organic vanilla beans were added in the Fall of 2008 to make this blend even more decadent than before! Excellent with milk, this tea is great for dessert. We recommend adding a bit of sugar or honey to satisfy a sweet tooth. This Vanilla Black Tea, as with all of our flavored blends, uses only the highest quality teas, essential oils and botanical ingredients, insuring an excellent cup every time!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Even though I don’t usually get too excited over a vanilla tea, I do consider vanilla to be among my favorite tea flavorings.  There’s just something so irresistible about a good cup of vanilla tea – so rich, smooth and creamy!

And this is a good vanilla tea!  The black tea base is strong but not what I’d call aggressive.  It is earthy and pleasant tasting, and there is a hint of bitterness toward mid-sip.  This is not that “oh no, I oversteeped the tea” kind of bitterness, but instead, it is a savory note that offers a contrast to the sweetness from the organic vanilla bean.

And while this IS a rich and creamy vanilla tea, it isn’t quite as creamy as some other vanilla teas that I’ve tried.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a smooth and creamy, decadent tasting vanilla tea, but sometimes, its nice to find one that is a bit more focused on the black tea than the vanilla, like this one is.  I think that this would be the ideal vanilla tea for those who typically find vanilla teas to be too cloying, because this one isn’t too sweet or creamy or anything verging near “cloying” at all.

Barely a hint of astringency, I don’t know if that’s the work of the vanilla there, smoothing out the astringency of the tea … but I just know that I hardly notice astringency as I sip.  Aftertaste is softly sweet.

A lovely cuppa.