Black Tea & Lemongrass from Chiang Rai Tea House

Black+tea+lemongrassTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:   Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Enjoy your black tea with lemongrass, another great ally of your body with a lemony flavor that soothes and tastes delicious! Sip it hot after a meal for an easy digestion, or pour it over ice cubes for a refreshing summer treat.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Another interesting tea from Chiang Rai Tea House!  This time, it’s a combination of black tea leaves from Thailand and the curly pieces of Lemongrass that I enjoyed so much in their Lemongrass & Ginger blend.  I don’t know if the cutting process that produces the curls in the lemongrass makes a difference in the flavor or if it’s because this is lemongrass from Thailand – but the lemongrass that I’ve tasted in both these blends has been a substantial lemon-y flavor – much more so than I’ve experienced from the typical chopped pieces of lemongrass.

The lemon-y notes are sweet and tart, but not pucker-y tart.  Just tart enough to make this taste like lemon has been added to the tea rather than a sweeter lemon curd type flavor.  Just tart enough to perk up the taste buds and really brighten the cup!

The black tea base is a very mellow tasting black tea.  It’s not particularly robust, so I’m happy to have the sunny flavor of lemon in this tea.  It’s invigorating from the refreshing lemon notes with a background of smooth, sweet black tea.

A really nice blend – not quite as strong as I’d want from a breakfast tea, but this would make a wonderfully refreshing iced tea or a great afternoon tea.

Organic Chai from Twinings of London

OrganicChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Twinings of London

Tea Description:

Select black tea from Assam expertly blended with sweet and savoury spices including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger to deliver a flavourful tea with a warm, soothing aroma and a fresh, spicy taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

After trying two other rather lackluster teas from Twinings of London recently, I wasn’t sure what possessed me to actually try another today.  But I tried to keep a positive outlook and without having too high of expectations, I brewed this cup of Organic Chai from Twinings of London.

My initial thoughts:  this is better than both the two previous recent tastings of this company’s teas.  I can taste the robust Assam tea beneath the bold spices.  I like that all the flavors that I expected to taste are represented.

About now is where I might say something like “the flavor of the spices are well-balanced,” but I can’t really say that because they aren’t well balanced.  I taste more clove than any other spice.  I taste a hearty cinnamon flavor and in contrast, there is very little ginger flavor.  The cardamom is tasted, but, it’s not as strong as the clove and cinnamon.

But!  I do like the Assam here.  It’s a rich and flavorful tea.  It’s almost creamy because of its thick, malty texture and I find that very enjoyable.

Overall, it’s not a terrible chai.  It’s certainly not great though.  It’s not the tea that I’d keep stocked in the cabinet.  There are so many great teas out there and this is simply average or perhaps even just slightly below.

Organic Avaata Supreme Nilgiri First Flush Green Tea from Golden Tips

avaata-supremeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

An exquisite green tea from the coveted organic Avaata Tea Estate in the Nilgiris in southern India. The perfectly manufactured leaves boast of a light green texture combined with opulent long silver tips. The liquor has a very pale green appearance in the cup. The flavour is extremely smooth and fairly sharp typical of non-fermented green teas but without any hint of bitterness. A sensation of fruits and flowers flush your mouth with every sip of this certified organic green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’m sitting here sipping this tea, I find myself mesmerized by how good it is.  I then decided to do a search to see if I’ve ever tried a Nilgiri Green tea.  And as it turns out, I’ve tried two green Nilgiri teas, one of which was more of a smoky tea (reminiscent of a Chinese gunpowder) and one was the base for a Chai.  Neither were like this tea.

The dry leaf looks very much like a white tea, except that these are greener in color than most white teas I’ve encountered.  The dry leaf also has a stronger ‘green’/vegetal scent than most white teas I’ve encountered.  But the shape of the leaves – the appearance of the leaves – reminds me of a very high quality Bai Mu Dan.

So as you can imagine, it was a little more difficult to measure these leaves into the basket of my Kati tumbler.  Rather than attempt to measure the leaves using my bamboo scoop, I eyeballed a measurement in the palm of my hand.  Then I added 12 ounces of water heated to 175°F and let it steep for 2 minutes.

Delightful!  This is a wonderful green tea!  It has a delicate quality to it that reminds me of the aforementioned Bai Mu Dan, but it isn’t quite that delicate.  The flavor is a lot less vegetal than I would have expected after the aroma I experienced with the dry leaf.  In fact, those that tend to shy away from green teas because of that strong vegetal tone would probably find this green to be very much to their liking.

It’s light and crisp and very refreshing.  Sweet with almost a sugar-like flavor.  The texture is light yet creamy.  It has a nice softness to it.  There is no bitterness, but there is some astringency to this that is experienced primarily in the aftertaste, I can feel a dry, puckery sensation on the inside of my cheeks at the very end of the sip and into the aftertaste.

This is very CREAMY tasting.  I like that while it has that creamy taste and texture, it isn’t a super heavy texture and the astringency seems to cleanse the palate somewhat so that my palate doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the creaminess.

Truly, a delightful green tea.  This is one that should be on every tea drinker’s list to try because it’s so different from the green teas you’re probably familiar with.  It’s so lovely!

Sweetfern Tonic Tea from The Algonquin Tea Co.

sweetfernTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Functional Tisane

Where to Buy:  Algonquin Tea Co. 

Tea Description:

Delicious daily tonic formulated to assist every major organ in the cleansing of toxins. Immune boost and detox. Great iced tea. Tastes similar to black tea

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

The above description suggests that this tisane tastes similar to black tea.  And despite this ‘promise’ – I found myself still hesitant to try it because … well, because it’s a tisane.  And I know that I’ve mentioned more than once or twice my apprehension when it comes to tisanes.

But I finally decided that it was time to try it.  So, to brew this, I measured out three bamboo scoops of the tisane into the basket of my Breville One-Touch tea maker and added 500ml of water to the kettle.  Then I set the temperature for 195°F and the timer for 7 minutes and I let the tea maker do it’s thing!

I let it cool for a few minutes before taking the first sip.  And yes, it does taste a bit like black tea.  More accurately, it tastes like a ‘thinned’ black tea with herbaceous notes.  Like maybe someone took half a cup of black tea and topped it off with an herbal tisane.

It’s actually quite pleasant to sip.  And this tea has a few “pros” to it:  a) there’s no hibiscus!  Yay!  b)  it has echinacea which is a fairly well-recognized herb that boosts the immunity system.  c) it’s pretty tasty.

Unlike many tisanes I’ve had in the past, this tisane is more like a unified flavor of all the components.  That is to say – this tastes like one flavor and I’d find it difficult to discern the different flavors/ingredients of the blend.  I taste a gently warm flavor to it – like a subtle spice.  I notice a slight “root-beer-ish” kind of note that I attribute to the burdock.

But other than the “thinned black tea with herbaceous notes” – that’s really all I can taste.  I taste a thinned black tea, herbaceous flavors, warm, subtle spice and a hint of root beer.  It’s a tasty tisane.

The brochure from Algonquin that was included in this edition of the Postal Teas box suggests that tea is an effective “cleanser” or detox type of tisane and this is a detox tea that I wouldn’t mind drinking now and again because it does have that black tea + herbal tea taste to it and I’m finding it to be pleasant.

One thing I gotta say about Algonquin, their packaging is beautiful!  If I saw these packages in the store, I’d definitely be tempted because the artwork is stunning and as I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for artwork!  The packages that we got from Postal Teas are not as lovely as what I see on the Algonquin website, but if it wasn’t for receiving this 9th edition of Postal Teas, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the beautiful artwork!

Peace Tea from The Algonquin Tea Co.

tea-peaceTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Functional Tisane

Where to Buy:  Algonquin Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Peace Tea instills the tranquility, patience and beauty of the earth. This rich, bittersweet blend grounds us in a flowing meadow of healing herbs. Peace tea is ideal for calming down before, during or after any busy period.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

So, my Postal Teas box arrived the other day!  Yay!  A beam of happiness shines like a ray of sunshine when tea is in the mailbox!  And I do really enjoy the Postal Teas subscription.  So far, with every box that I’ve received from them, I’ve tried teas from companies that are new to me.  I like that.  I like that a lot!

I’ve never really made a big secret of the fact that I prefer camellia sinensis blends over herbal teas/tisanes.  Not a big surprise, right?  So, I was a little less than enthused when I opened the box this month and found not one … not two … but ALL THREE teas in the box were herbals.


So, it probably goes without saying that this month’s box was a little bittersweet.  I was not thrilled about receiving three herbal teas in the box BUT I was happy to be trying teas from a new-to-me company:  Algonquin Tea Co.

And while I do prefer camellia sinensis, I am willing to try herbal blends, and I actually do like to have an herbal tisane later in the evening to encourage some peace and quiet so that I can get a good night’s rest.

Which is why I chose to try this Peace Tea first.  The ingredient list suggests that there are quite a few calming herbs in the blend.

Ingredients:  Blue Vervain, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Oat Straw, Red Bergamot, Chamomile, Hops, Motherwort, Valerian, Skullcap and St John’s Wort.

To brew this tisane, I used my Kati tumbler and measured 1 1/2 bamboo scoops into the basket.  I heated 12 ounces of water to 195°F and then let it steep for 8 minutes.

As the description suggests, there is some bittersweet going on here.  This is a tisane that I recommend adding a dollop of honey (raw, locally harvested honey if you’ve got it!) to help tame the bitterness a bit.  After I added a little bit of honey, I found this to be an enjoyable cup.

The vervain and the hops is where a lot of the bitterness is coming from.  I taste hints of mint-like flavor from the catnip and there is a touch of citrus flavors from the lemon balm and bergamot.  I was really hoping to taste more of the bergamot in this.

Mostly, what I’m tasting is a very herbaceous flavor.  It is bittersweet.  Almost medicinal.  There’s a light floral note that is nice and it develops as I continue to sip.  I pick up on more of the chamomile flavor as the tea cools and guess what?  I was actually happy to discover the chamomile!  I think that the reason for that is because it’s more of a familiar flavor amid the medicinal notes.

All that said:  this isn’t a bad tisane.  I’m not hating this.  It’s not horrible.  It’s alright.  But this is not something I’d want to reach for on a regular basis.  The citrus notes and the hint of mint are this tea’s saving grace, because without those notes, I don’t know that I’d enjoy this.

The pros:  there is no hibiscus in here.  I enjoy the citrus-y notes and the touch of mint.  The floral notes are pleasant.  With a bit of honey this tastes much nicer and I am noticing myself relaxing and calming down a bit – I feel the peace that the name of the tea promises.  These are good things!

The cons:  It does have a strong bitter tone to it and while I can appreciate a contrasting, savory bitter note in a tea or tisane now and again, this is a stronger bitter taste than I’d like it to be.  It has a medicinal quality that makes me feel like I’m drinking something functional or “good for me” – which I am, but I don’t like to feel like I am.  I like to get my functional, good for me teas in sweeter, better tasting blends.

I think I’d like this a lot more if it had more citrus-y flavors, or more flavors that I don’t normally associate as “herbaceous.”  As a drink, it’s alright.  As a source of peace and calm, I appreciate how this tea is inspiring those things in me at the moment.  I feel noticeably more relaxed now than I did before I started sipping.