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!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Simple Loose Leaf
A classic Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) blended with just a touch of Ginseng for a satisfying sweetness that isn’t cloying. A masterful blend which features a delightful interplay of Ginseng while maintaining the true essence of our tea, giving you the wonderful taste of flowers, fruit, and herbs.
Ingredients: Tie Guan Yin, Ginseng
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.
I’m not usually a huge fan of teas with ginseng. I’m just not big on ginseng. I don’t necessarily hate ginseng, I just … don’t love it, you know what I’m saying? It’s kind of like chamomile for me – I don’t hate chamomile, but I don’t love it either.
That said, I’m enjoying this Ginseng Oolong from Simple Loose Leaf (it came in my July Selection Club subscription box!) I’ve had a few different Ginseng Oolong teas in my years as a tea reviewer, but, this one might just be the best that I’ve tried thus far, and I think the reason for that is because the ginseng is mild here. It doesn’t present an intrusive flavor that interferes with my enjoyment of the Tie Guan Yin Oolong. I like that I taste more Oolong than ginseng. I like that a lot!
I approached the brewing of this tea the same as I would most any other Oolong – in my gaiwan. A quick 15 second rinse, followed by a first infusion of 45 seconds. I added 15 seconds with each subsequent infusion.
The first cup (infusions 1 and 2) is sweet and buttery, very reminiscent of a Tie Guan Yin (which it is) and not so very reminiscent of ginseng. I do taste a slight earthy/woodsy note from the ginseng, but it melds in a pleasant way with the sweet, slightly “green” notes of the Tie Guan Yin.
The second cup was a little stronger in flavor, and I could taste more ginseng this time but I also tasted more from the Tie Guan Yin. This cup seemed to be more of an evenly matched combination of ginseng and Oolong tea. A stronger, earthier note from the ginseng. Woody notes. The Tie Guan Yin tasted a little less creamy and a little more sharp with floral notes. I taste notes of vegetation that unite with the woodsy notes of the ginseng and it’s near seamless in flavor.
Later infusions, I found the ginseng notes begin to wane, which was perfectly alright with me. The Tie Guan Yin allowed me to explore its flavors. The floral notes became softer and sweeter, and as I continued to sip, I noticed soft hints of vanilla and notes of fruit that reminded me of a cross between a sweet plum and a ripe peach.
If you want to incorporate more ginseng in your diet, this is the way to do it. And this one tastes great iced! A very tasty and energizing glass of chilly refreshment.
I received this tea as part of the sampler pack from the Simple Loose Leaf Selection Club. You can subscribe to this club – using the coupon code SISTERSELECTION25 and receive a 25% discount when you sign up for the Selection Club! This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.
I love my subscription to the Selection Club!
Leaf Type: Pu-erh Tea & Yerba Maté
Where to Buy: Zen Tea
Velvety, mellow and deep, this chai is an enticing blend of energizing pu-erh tea, shade-grown yerba maté, and cacao. Made even more inviting by creamy vanilla, nutty coconut and fruity, pungent and uplifting Ayurvedic long pepper. It is the most sophisticated take on hot cocoa.
Learn more about this tea here.
I was skeptical. A chai blend with a pu-erh and yerba maté base? Sounds way too earthy for my liking! But, this Organic Energizing Chai Blend from Zen Tea is really quite smooth and tasty!
I don’t know if its really “fair” to call it a chai, because the only “chai” spices it has is pepper (and this is long pepper, not the usual black pepper) and cardamom. But OK, since, chai technically means “tea” and not spiced tea, I’ll accept that this is a chai.
But, that criticism notwithstanding, this is still really tasty. It’s not overtly spicy, and not nearly as spicy as I would like a “chai” to be, but, I like this for what it is. And what it is is a smooth, sweet, warm blend that brings together the flavors of chocolate, coconut and vanilla in a really exciting way.
As I mentioned before, the base of this chai is a pu-erh tea and Argentinian Yerba Maté. Both of these ingredients contribute to the earthy notes of the cup, and this is a very prominent taste to this drink. But, I am not finding it off-putting, and I’m not sure if it’s because the coconut and vanilla give it a pleasant smooth, creaminess that seems to soften the earthy tones or because the earthiness complements the chocolate notes so well (or perhaps a bit of both of these reasons!) The Pu-erh is more pronounced than the Yerba Maté, but I can taste both in this cup.
The chocolate is really nice here. It has a deep, rich, almost toasty flavor to it, and this is nicely accented with the sweet, creamy notes from the vanilla and coconut. Overall, this is a really tasty cup – certainly different from the typical chai! But, I like this one for its differences. This is not one I’d recommend to someone looking for a good, spicy chai, but, rather, someone who was looking for something that is a departure from that spicy chai. This is not spicy … but it is tasty!
I like it!
Where To Buy: White August Tea Company
A tippy green tea bursting with succulent blueberries and intoxicating jasmine petals. This all organic tea yields a very complex and energizing cup.
I remember when I was in grade school and half way thru the school year having those student/parent/teacher conferences…each and every year my teacher(s) would say the same thing…”she’s a good student…but…she’s quite the Social Butterfly”.
My parents were never shocked but not overly pleased, either. What can I say? I like to talk!
When I saw this tea on the White August Tea Company’s Website…I knew I HAD to try it! And I know you aren’t supposed to judge a tea by it’s name…but…I’m not going to lie…sometimes I do!
In this case – the name does live up to it’s tea or the tea to it’s name!?
It’s Pretty, Floral, and Fruity!
The amount of Jasmine and the amount of blueberry TOGETHER is AWESOME! It’s just enough of each AND you can still taste the green tea!
There have been 2 other Blueberry/Jasmine Green Teas I have liked in the past but those 2 companies are no longer in business…so I am very happy to have found one to fill the void!
Social Butterflies UNITE! Fly on over to the White August Tea Company’s Website and see what gets you talking! There are plenty of lovely teas to choose from!
Leaf Type: Yerba Maté
Where to Buy: Teaquilibrium
Teaquilibrium’s Energizing Sport Tea contains yerba mate, a South American herb known for its plethora of health benefits. A study of yerba mate at The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded that mate contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.” Mate is also a natural source of caffeine, theobromine (dark chocolate’s euphoric stimulant) and theophylline (tea’s soothing stimulant) which stimulate the central nervous system to create calm energy and mental clarity.
Yerba Mate fuels your muscles and nourishes your body with 15 amino acids, 24 vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex. Natural phytochemicals stimulate your immune system and boost your metabolism.
OK, when I first saw the name of this tea, I was immediately reminded of “the other” Zest (you know, the bar of soap?)
But I’d much rather use THIS Zest as my “eye-opener” – and it certainly does do just that. The lemon-y flavor is bright and clean… and shall I say it? Zesty! The delicious, lemon-y flavor curbs the earthy notes of the yerba maté. This is not overly earthy or grassy tasting, it is quite smooth for a yerba maté, which sometimes can come off as a little bitter. I’m not getting that with this cup at all!
The lemon-y flavor is not incredibly tart, although there is a faint, tangy note at the finish that lingers a little bit with a tingly sensation on the tongue. This is something that is almost barely noticeable unless you’re focusing on it, though. Mostly what I get from the lemon is a smooth, sweet citrus-y taste that reminds me a bit of lemon curd.
The yerba maté is a green maté (that is, it isn’t roasted), so it has a fresher taste to it which is very fitting with the whole concept of “Zest.” This tastes fresh and bright and lively! It is certainly enough to get you going even on those days when you feel sort of sluggish. This will help rid you of those “sleepyzzz!”
I like to steep this energizing drink in a vessel that I can keep the leaves continually steeping as I sip… so I am using my Libre Mug. I put the loose leaf into the main chamber, and then add the hot water and allow it to steep for five minutes, then I screw on the filter lid and the filter lid strains the tisane as I sip it. Since yerba maté lacks the tannins of tea leaves, it doesn’t get bitter from lengthy brew times – it just gets more flavorful!
I like this!