On the Rebound – Teavana-Styled Rebound Teas from Adagio Teas. . . .

Late last year, Adagio teas offered a free set of “rebound teas” for recent customers of David’s Tea and Teavana.  While David’s Tea isn’t going anywhere as far as I know, Teavana has been closing its doors and sold out of the final stock in its online shop.  Adagio’s rebound teas were blended to be familiar to tea lovers from those other shops in the hopes of encouraging these tea-fanatics to try out more teas from Adagio’s selection.

Now, I am a little biased because I got my loose-leaf start with Adagio, but I feel as though different tea suppliers have different specialities, and I’ve enjoyed tea from both David’s Tea and Teavana.  David’s Tea and Teavana tend to have more specialized themed blends.  They are a great choice when you want a tea that tastes like a peanut butter cup or an over-the-top tropical peach iced tea. Not to mention, they have some very cute tea tins, mugs, and accessories to jazz up your tea shelf.

Adagio’s Rebound Sampler featured 5 teas (though they are adding new rebound blends all the time, see their listing of comparable teas here)

Teavana had a few popular peach teas, so this sampler has two peach teas of its own: Peach Bellini and Peach Serenity.   They are subtly different, with Peach Bellini focusing on more tropical flavors like mango and papaya, and Peach Serenity with more herbal ingredients like lemon verbena and chamomile.  In both blends, the strong peach flavoring drives the smell and taste.  I think these would be best suited for cold brews, where the sweet candy peach flavor can add sweetness without sugar.  These teas are great if you are a fan of peach rings candy.  I’m always in favor of having more herbal blends, but I think I prefer the more subtle peach taste in Adagio’s peach black tea or peach oolong.

Raja Oolong is an oolong blend with lots of delicious inclusions like chicory, ginger, and cocoa nibs.  Likewise, White Ayurvedic Chai  is a white tea with a long list of flavorful spices and fruits, like cloves, pineapple, lemongrass and cinnamon.  Despite the varied ingredient listing for both blends, the strong cinnamon flavoring takes over.  These teas would be great for fans of Adagio’s hot cinnamon spice tea, or for fans of Hot Tamales candies.  I’m all for a spicy tea, but I wish there was more variety in the spice.  It would be great to have some sweet ginger heat or herbal black pepper spice share the spotlight. I would recommend trying Adagio’s original White Chai blend as another take on the white tea and spice combination.

Samurai Mate is a sweet and tropical mate blend, with lots of sweet papaya flavoring.  The fruit pairs well with the green yerba mate, but it is a little one-note.  This might be more subtle when iced, not to mention a cold brew would suit the tropical fruit theme.  Not the blend for me, but a very striking fruity blend.

If you were able to take advantage of the rebound deal, I hope all the Teavana and David’s Tea fans out there enjoyed your first taste of Adagio.  I think Adagio’s strengths lay with their more naturally flavored or unflavored teas. Let’s not forget their lively fandom blends where customers design themed flavors using the tea blender tools.  If there’s a discontinued tea flavor that you’re missing, why not try your hand at creating a signature blend of your own to bring it back?

Here’s to a healthy rebound in your loose leaf tea life!

Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: Adgaio Teas

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Orange Spice from PaperBoxGoodies. . . .

One of my favorite things with the cold weather is being able to add spice to everything: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, the more the merrier!  One of the best partners to all this spice, is juicy orange and citrus flavors. I love the idea of decorating my home with clove-studded oranges for the holidays to release their sweet and spicy aromas throughout the house.  Not to mention, a nice slice of orange is the perfect garnish for a chai-based hot-toddy, with honey and lemon.

These are all the delicious orange and spice combinations I think of when brewing a cup of Orange Spice from PaperBoxGoodies.  I’m not entirely sure what all is in this brew, since it’s not currently active on the PBG Etsy shop, but I believe it is an herbal blend from its amber color and sweet taste.

The best part of this blend is that the dry leaf does not contain hibiscus, so the tangy, pink herb can’t take over the blend.  The orange is the main ingredient, adding plenty of sweet and tart flavor.  This fruity, juiciness is balanced by a large helping of cinnamon, adding its warm, herbal tones.  I think I see bits of ginger in the dry leaf, but the flavor is very gentle in the actual brew.

Juicy orange is the main flavor, closely followed by warm cinnamon.  Neither ingredient gets too tart or too spicy, and they don’t overpower each other.  It’s hard to go wrong with a classic taste combination like orange and cinnamon, so support a special tea Etsy shop and give one of the PaperBoxGoodies teas a try today.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: PaperBoxGoodies Etsy shop

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Green Tea Chai by Vahdam Teas

Steeped with a heaping tablespoon of leaves at 175 degrees in about 1 cup of water.

This tea was a new experience for me! I’ve tried lots of flavored green teas, but never one where the green tea was a substitute for black tea in a chai blend. As a result of this tea, I’ve realized how different these spices are outside of a conventional chai context and how much I take the black tea base for granted in chai blends!

As it steeps, I can detect a fragrance of spices; it smells like cinnamon and possibly cloves. The tea liquid isn’t very dark. In fact it’s only achieved a pale honeylike color after it’s finished steeping; it’s a little viscous, with nearly invisible flecks (of cinnamon, perhaps?) swimming in it.

The flavor is very different from any chai I’ve ever tried. The spices, instead of melding with a malty black tea flavor to form a rounded flavor profile, are instead mingling with the bright astringent green tea notes (grassy almost, but not much on the floral side that I can detect). This makes for a very focused flavor overall. It’s highly concentrated in the bright and forward flavor notes and not so much rounded out with the deeper tones that a black tea normally imparts to a chai (in my experience). It’s almost bitter, but then again, I may have oversteeped it a bit–I like my chais strong.

With milk, it’s suddenly not very strong at all. It still has spice flavors, but I’m really missing the black tea base here. And I know you aren’t really “supposed” to put milk in green tea, but that’s what I normally do with chai so I figured why not?

So to sum up, don’t expect this to taste like a more conventional chai! Instead, expect a bright, spicy, focused flavor that’s intended to be enjoyed alone or with a little sweetener; I recommend trying it without milk. In fact, I bet this would make a great iced tea!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Vahdam Teas

A superior blend of fresh green tea from Darjeeling blended with choicest Indian spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove & Black Peppercorns. Discover a smooth fulfilling aroma of fresh greens with delicious undertones of raw spices in every sip. The liquor is bright green with an energizing aroma. A unique chai tea which can be served with or without milk.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Stylish and Spicy: Chai du Kerala from #Nunshen

It goes without saying that a big part of drinking tea is the smell and taste of a good brew, but sometimes the presentation and design of the product can be a nice diversion.  This tea from Nunshen arrived in a sleek, modern, well-designed packet.  The bilingual instructions come with plenty of stylish symbols alongside the English and French, describing the temperature, brew times, leaf type, and the mood of the tea (Chai du Kerala is marked as, “relaxing”).  The muslin teabag adds a soft, handmade touch to the whole experience.

The dry tea and the brew both smell strongly of natural cinnamon sticks, warming up the whole room. It’s a chai tea, and it has the expected heat and spice without being too cluttered. This tea is deceptively fragrant, following me around the house from the kettle to my chair in wafting waves of cinnamon.  There is not too much ginger, just enough to add dimension to the cinnamon flavor, and both spices meld well with the earthy, malty, black tea base.

The tea’s package even numbers the blend, like a perfume or a vintage.  Chai du Kerala is no. 91 in the flavor listing from Nunshen.  With a sleek design and quality tea, I can’t way to try all the other numbered flavors!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Nunshen
Description: Love, healing and happiness go hand in hand as you sip on this unique blend. Hints of citrus and earthy tones will recover peace of mind and restore your well being.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Energy Chai from Hampstead Tea. . . .

“Organic Energy Chai” by Hampstead Tea was originally “BIOCHAI” (all caps). The original bag (which I am sampling here) touted the ingredient “biodynamic black tea leaves.”

They’ve since changed their branding to a more delicate branding scheme that involves a white background and no more claims of things being “biodynamic.” Which is sort of a relief, because when I see “BIOCHAI” or “biodynamic,” I ironically don’t think of something being biological at all. I think about things that are biologically enhanced, like a Terminator/Borg situation. Like this tea got taken over by nanobots.

This delicate, sweet tea doesn’t seem like it’s going to “harness your inner energy and bring the diva out in you!” I actually find this to be more soothing than HYPE. It’s just a tasty blend that is helping nudge me into wakefulness on this cloudy Monday.

Speaking of which, I definitely have “a case of the Mondays” today. I went to the gym, but all of my usual companions slept through it, which was lonely. So I watched YouTube videos of people painting while walking slowly on an incline on the treadmill. It was the saddest workout you’ve ever seen.

Which is not to say my workouts are usually zesty, but at least if people I know are there, I half-ass it instead of no-ass it.

This lackadaisical attitude toward fitness means I am the slowest, pant-iest drag on the group’s speed of all time.

This is why I am the group’s Resident Black Tea Drinker. It’s the only thing that will nudge me into the next gear. I’d just rather be drinking tea than hustling.

I’m sure you gals understand.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Hampstead Tea

Chai comes from India where Darjeeling Black Tea is blended with exotic herbs and spices to make luxurious,aromatic drink. Let it harnessIngredients:Black Tea, Ginger, Lemongrass, Peppercorns, Cardamom seeds and Cloves

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!