Classic Masala Chai from Chai Safari. . . .

As a chai tea lover, I’m surprised I haven’t run into more Chai Safari teas in my experience.  Needless to say, I was excited to brew up a cup of spicy tea and try a new flavor.

I took one look at the dry leaf of this tea and immediately wanted to look up the ingredients.  The black tea leaves are processed into small pellets, which is typical for some types of chai, but I was confused when I saw the green tulsi leaves mixed in.  It’s not everyday that you see green ingredients in a chai tea, it’s usually lots of golden ginger and warm, brown cinnamon. Classic Masala Chai blend from Chai Safari has many of the classic chai staples like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, but it mixes in some more surprising ingredients like black pepper, tulsi (holy basil), and saffron.

Brewed this is everything you would expect from a chai tea: bold and warming, with the spice-cookie flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.  I love the idea of the peppercorns in my teas, but it is hard to pick out the pepper flavor in this brew. Maybe some of the heat I associated with the ginger is actually from the black pepper.

The piece that sets this chai appart is the inclusion of tulsi and saffron.  These herbs add just a hint of floral sweetness in the scent and aftertaste. These refined flavors are an unexpected compliment to the bolder spices and made me realize that there is more to chai than ginger and cinnamon alone.

I will have to adventure into Chai Safari again and check out more unexpected chai tea flavors!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Chai Safari
Description: The Classic Masala Chai is India’s most popular chai. India’s own home grown recipe and consumed as a staple beverage across the country. This blend of exotic spices is the experience that will take you for a trip on this journey. The chai has dominant flavours of dried ginger and cardamom pods with a touch of black pepper’s spicy aftertaste. The sweet undenotes are delivered by cinnamon, Tulsi and a pinch of Saffron.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Happy from Wild Leaf Active Teas

Happy blend from Wild Leaf Active Teas is described as a stress-buster meant to lift your mood and brighten your day. This herbal blend features chamomile, rose petals, and lemon myrtle as the main flavor profiles though there are other ingredients like tulsi basil as well.

This tea is driven by its chamomile base, with lots of gentle lemon-honey herbal flavors, made even sweeter with a bit of stevia in the blend.  The rose petals are gentle, much to my relief, and add just a breeze of floral tones without getting too much like perfume.

I detect a some of the greener and earthier undertones from the tulsi basil, though I might have missed it if I weren’t looking for it. I wish there was a little more tulsi to help add some variety with all the sweet lemon and honey flavor.

This is a delicate blend, gentle and easygoing.

When you want the relaxation that comes from chamomile but want a blend with a little more floral flair, try Happy blend from Wild Leaf.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Wild Leaf Active Teas
Description:

Imagine all life’s favorites that make you relaxed and content. A cup of Happy feels a lot like that. A modern blend to cheer you up or chill you out, organic whole leaf Tulsi reduces stress and lift moods while Chamomile, Lemon Myrtle and Rose Petals brighten the spirit. A happy body and happy soul makes for a happy place wherever you go. Just to be clear, Happy will not magically whisk you off on vacation. That’s a different kind of Happy. But one can dream, and we’re glad you do. Sip it in deeply. Because this life is Wild.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cup of Love from Big Heart Tea. . . . .

This tea has two ingredients, rose petals and tulsi, also known as holy basil. On paper, this seems too sparse. I mean I like tulsi quite a bit but I’ll be the first to stay that it shines when balanced with other herbs and flavors. Looking at the leaves in the bag, I’m slightly more encouraged. The rose petals are vibrant and numerous, and the tulsi is lush and green. Lots of big leaves, no crushed tea powder here.

Brewed, there is a lovely cinnamon-like flavor in the smell and taste. Since there is no cinnamon in the blend, I must attribute this surprising spiciness to the tulsi.  Beyond this first warm cinnamon burst, there is the familiar earthiness and sweet-herbal basil flavor of the tulsi. The rose petals are gentle, just a hint of something lighter and more romantic, which keeps the earthy tulsi from being too sour or herbaceous.

As someone who is skeptical of rose teas, I will say this one does it right: not at all perfume-like, but plenty sweet and floral.

I’m impressed by the full flavor of a this two-ingredient tea. Robust and drinkable, and a caffeine-free herbal blend to boot.

It is also a very beautiful-looking dry leaf, and with all the bright pink rose petals, which may make it a great gift for a tea-loving friend who can show off its colors in their tea cabinet.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Big Heart Tea
Description:

Cup of Love is a mild, nurturing, naturally sweet rose tea. Crafted by hand to reduce stress and soothe your soul. A floral olfactory release, just like a hug from your grandma.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Holy Basil: The Secret Ingredient to My Fave Detox Tea

Fresh basil is the stuff of summer, plucked from the garden for added depth to sandwiches, or pressed between mozzarella and tomatoes for a caprese plate. Daily Detox tea from the Tea Can Company doesn’t have that kind of basil, but the smell of the dry tea leaves did bring me back to fresh summer days in our family herb garden. Instead, the ingredient this tea is Tulsi, holy basil.

There are other ingredients like rose hips or spearmint, but they take a back seat to the strong, forward flavors of lemon myrtle and holy basil.  I was surprised– usually rose hips like to make the tea pink and sour, but I had no problem sour fruit flavors, even after steeping this tea long and hot.

I love herbal teas with savory spices like sage, or chili, or fennel, and a basil tea is a great addition to this category. Lemon and basil are often used together on food, and it is no surprise that the flavors work well together in a tea. This blend sweet enough to still be a traditional tea, with plenty of creamy lemon flavors and soothing mint, but the pop of basil really sets it apart. The basil adds a “green” flavor that is very different from the usual grassy senchas or hay-like green rooibos, adding a distinctly full, leafy note.

Both holy basil and Linden blossom have long histories of sacred respect and healing properties, so the detox they provide might be both physical and spiritual, if you buy into that sort of thing.  If nothing else, you will experience the peaceful moment of enjoying a tasty cup of tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Tea Can Company
Description:

This unique blend of Medicinal Herbs and Berries provides a host of antioxidants and health benefits. A feel good drink that lasts all day. Serve hot or cold.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Watermelon Lime Green Tea from The Tea Guys

watermelonlimebasilTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  The Tea Guys

Tea Description:

Sweet-as-candy watermelon is paired with the subtle peppery-sweet flavor of basil, and the spice of cracked pink peppercorns, all folded into a base of smoky green tea. The result is a sophisticated and refreshing cup that will surprise and delight you.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I really thought that Watermelon Lime and Basil Green Tea was an herbal that I was shocked  when I looked up the product page for this tea that it is actually a green. I saw nary a leaf in my sample package when brewing up this tea iced. I would feel bad that I used boiling water for my brews, but all I could see was chunks of dried fruit.

The chunks of fruit smelled absolutely yummy, though. It was like a lime popsicle married a fresh watermelon. It’s been getting hotter and hotter as summer begins to actually set in the rocky mountains. This tea is perfect for the oncoming heat wave. Tossing the big ‘ole chunks into my infuser, I came across something I have yet to encounter in any tea, seeds! Like, legit dried watermelon or pumpkin seeds. I have yet to see the merit of these seeds in the taste of the infusion, but I may be missing something subtle that my tastes buds just cannot catch.

When the tea cools, I taste a pool party in my mouth. The lime popsicle is joined by a watermelon Jolly Rancher that takes me back to the playground. Some people may be put off by the candy like flavor that dominates this tea, but I am all for it. I love iced teas that taste like candy. It’s pretty much Kool-aid without the calories. Sometimes a person just needs juice tea!

Despite being mislabeled as a true tea and not delivering, I enjoyed this icy cold brew a lot more than I thought I would. The seeds did not deter me from relishing in the watermelon-y goodness.