Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf. . . .

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf already made me feel warm and relaxed just from the name.  Makes me think of being under a quilt out at a cabin, maybe beside a warm fire. Beyond the name, this tea had a surprisingly pleasant long list of spices in its ingredients list.  Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, I expect, but not all chai teas comes with cloves and anise, and the never seem to come with fennel. What a lovely change of pace.

Brewed, this is a sweeter chai, thanks to a hearty serving of anise and cinnamon.  The anise isn’t strong enough to make this a black jelly bean chai, but it does add its token throat-soothing, candy-like properties.

Much to my surprise, the ginger and clove take a back seat in this tea, subtle enough that you might miss them if you’re not paying attention.  The fennel and cardamom are gentle and earthy, and add a much needed almost-savory pairing to the anise and cinnamon.

Just when I’ve thought that I’ve tried every chai tea I can think of, I find something new.   I look forward to getting cozy with another cup of Country Chai Spice from the Cozy Leaf sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Cozy Leaf
Description:

Full-bodied black tea chai made with real chai spices of rich cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and sweet anise and clove for a healthy and delicious treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Travel the World with #SirStuartBlackAndGreen from #Kent&Sussex Tea Co.

Sometimes I try out unflavored teas with one kind of leaf, and a flavor that all about the purity of the process.  And sometimes I try out teas that are exactly the opposite– just like today’s blend, Sir Stuart Black and Green.

This tea has both black and green tea leaves, three types of flower petals, and rich spices like cardamom, fennel and ginger.  Visually, this blend is full of diverse colors and shapes, and the smell of the dry leaf is luscious and complex.  It smells like someone lit floral incense in a kitchen, where other smells like fennel or orange peel are being mixed together as someone starts cooking.

The flowers are most prominent in the scent of the tea, with bergamot and sweet orange dominating the taste.  The flavors of the tea leaves themselves are minimal: no grassy greens and no bitter blacks.  Instead, the varied ingredients list really dominates the flavor spotlight.

As I drank the tea, more of the unexpected herbs like fennel or cardamom popped up in the taste and smell, though the ginger was slow in arriving.  I finally got some of my favorite buzzy, spicy mouthful from the ginger after I let the teabag steep beyond the recommending steep time.  Overall the blend is sweet without being cloying, and the bright citrus lingers on the tongue without being to tart.
According to Tea & Coffee, this blend is named after the well-travel Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire.  With all the varied treasures and eye-catching beauties hidden within this tea blend, it feels like a bounty gathered from exploring the reaches of the world.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Green
Where to Buy: Kent & Sussex Tea Co.
Description:

Sir Stuart a fine Black Tea and Green Tea. A flavoured Tea with hints of Bergamot and Orange. Named after the explorer Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire following a trip to the Orient. A beautiful looking loose leaf tea with magical flavours when brewed. A Fruity aroma combined with Spicy Ginger and Fennel create something special and fresh tasting. Ingredients Black Tea, Green Tea, Ginger pieces, Fennel, Cardamom seeds, Natural flavouring, Rose petals and Cornflower blossoms.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Aria blend from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.

Immediately evident in the dry leaves are whole cloves and some seed pods that I thought at first were anise but, after looking at the ingredients, I decided must be fennel. The attractive-looking combination also includes bits of licorice and marshmallow root as well as orange peel and peppermint plus cinnamon and ginger.

I used a heaping teaspoon of the tea leaves in a cup of water at approximately boiling temperature and then watched it steep for about the next four minutes. It smelled all nice and licorice-y while steeping and became a nice light yellow color, which reminded me a bit of a medium-strong green tea.
When I sipped it, I noticed right away the very present flavor of anise (licorice). It reminds me of the “throat coat” tea I grew up drinking whenever I had a cold, except that it’s a bit more delicate and refined in how it presents the licorice flavor. The licorice still manages to overpower the other flavors in the cup, though. I tried really hard and detected a hint of tingly spiciness from the cloves (I think. Or was I just making that up? I may have been just making that up), but I didn’t detect a noticeable presence from any of the other components. This was a little surprising as I’d seen citrus peel in the cup and that’s generally pretty strongly flavored. Fortunately, the licorice flavor itself was quite pleasing.
The effect of the tea is definitely soothing and relaxing to the throat. It’s a bit viscous as if it had lots of honey in it (likely because of the marshmallow root), which makes it even more soothing. It’s also caffeine free, which means it’s non-stimulating. This can be important when your throat is irritated and you’re trying to relax-soothe it, and it’s also good for singers in general especially near a performance because, according to some experts, caffeine can have a detrimental effect on the voice (the vocal cords, that is).

 

I’d say this tea would probably great for reducing throat irritation/scratchiness/etc, whether you have a cold or allergies or have just overused or abused your voice recently. (Which I haven’t. But I’ll be sure to use this tea next time my throat is feeling under the weather!) It probably can’t work miracles, like if you have laryngitis and are hoping to still go on stage or something, but it does have a markedly soothing effect. Also, this tea can be re-steeped! So you can use it over and over again, although I personally didn’t test to see how many cups of tea it will make so I can’t give a figure. I’d recommend this tea for not only singers but anyone who might sometimes overuse their voice or who might have to use their voice while sick, like teachers (can’t stop teaching just cause you have a cold!).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company
Description

A singer’s best friend! This herbal blend was originally designed for Portland’s very own Hampton Opera Center. Licorice, marshmallow root, cinnamon and mint are some of the ingredients used in this blend to provide relief and aid to the throat. Aria satisfies, soothes and warms.

Caffeine-Free.

Licorice Root*, Fennel*, Clove*, Cinnamon*, Orange Peel*, Ginger*, Peppermint*, and Marshmallow Root.

*Organically Grown.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Chamomile Curiosity Brew Black Oolong from Verdant Tea

chocolate-chamomile-curiosity-1588-LARGETea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black/Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

This blend is inspired by the connection we see between fine chocolate and fine tea. Our Laoshan Black and Wuyi Big Red Robe have strong natural notes of cacao that we wanted to bring out and play with. The end result is a rich, sweet and sparkling brew that brings out the best in both the tea, supported by the cacao nibs. Marigold provides a richness that complements the sweet flavors of chamomile, cinnamon and fennel, while the mint gives just enough of a clean sparkle to counterbalance the flavor of raw cacao. Enjoy this curious brew hot or cold and add a touch of buckwheat honey for a real treat.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Thanks to my SororiTea Sister TheLastDodo for the sample! I’ve actually been quite curious about this one for a while (pun not intended), but Verdant isn’t a company I’ve had much chance to explore and I’m wary of blends with chamomile so getting the chance to try a small quantity of this one was just perfect!

The dry leaf smells faintly of milk chocolate, and has even fainter fennel and mint notes as well. I know from the ingredients list that the mint in this blend is Spearmint; but based on scent I wouldn’t be able to differentiate.

Steeped this one up hot; it’s a lot softer than I expected and very, very smooth. The chocolate is the focus here and it’s accented quite nicely by the cinnamon and the fennel which are subtle but add a delicate, sweet spicyness. The natural malt from the Laoshan Black is delicious; and the spearmint creeps in right at the finish to add a lovely, refreshing coolness. Also, thankfully, I can’t taste the chamomile!

All in all, this was a great tea! It had a rich flavour, but not an in your face one and with the chocolate and mint pairing it made me think of a really fancy, well executed tea version of an After Eight chocolate. Mmm!

Storm In A Teacup Herbal Tea from Cupan Tae

storm-in-a-cupTea Information:

Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane

Where to Buy: Cupan Tae

Tea Description:

A stormy, spicy herbal blend with a breeze of anise taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This one has a very, very pronounced dry aroma; the leaf practically oozes with the scent of sweet, black licorice! Not licorice root or anise, mind you, but black licorice. While I have no problem with either anise or licorice root – I love black licorice and I’ve found few teas that convey it well.

That love for black licorice probably comes from my Grandpa; before he passed that was his absolute favourite self indulgent treat in the world. He kept huge tins of licorice allsorts by his lazy boy that he’d snack on during Blue Jays games, and he’d buy black jellybeans in bulk and sometimes he’d just let me grab big greedy hand fulls of from the tins. It’s a really good memory I have of him from when I was a child and the smell of the dry leaf of this tea is making me so nostalgic for it. I know there’s not actually black licorice in the blend and it’s a trick that the fennel, combined with the aniseed, is playing on me. But I’m gonna try and be willfully blind to that; because I want this to taste like black licorice.

Hmm, now that this one’s steeped up there’s a very thick, powdery white residue all along the inside of my mug and I can’t figure out why – I’ve never had that issue with any of the listed ingredients I’m familiar with – and the only one I’m not familiar with is ribwort, so unless it’s from the ribwort I can’t explain it. It’s annoying though; almost as bad as gross melted down chocolate goop from blends that use chocolate chips instead of nibs or shells.

Steeped up, sadly, it doesn’t taste like black licorice though. Not in the same way it smells like it, anyway. I do get heavy doses of both fennel and anise flavour which is sweet and delicious, but it’s fairly overtaken by a very dominating savory, herbaceous note and then milder notes of peppermint and a supple fruit note that I suppose could be apple like is listed in the ingredients. Visually I didn’t see any apple in my measured out tea leaf though. That strong savory note tastes very, very weird to me; and I’m wondering if that’s the ribwort leaves. I’ve never had another tea with ribwort leaves and after a very quick Google search I’ve learned that apparently they can have a mushroomy flavour. I have really, really minimal exposure to what mushrooms taste like given that I am pretty allergic to them; any time I’ve had them it’s been really involuntary and, upon realizing I’ve ingested them I’ve had much more pressing things on my mind other than the flavour.

It’s a fascinating experience for me even if it’s not the one I expected to be having and in that regard I’m a little disappointed this isn’t as black licorice-y as I wanted it to be but I also know I was projecting unfair expectations onto the tea. It’s definitely not a bad tea; just so weird. Am I actually tasting mushrooms!? I’d honestly be interested in going back and having this one all over again; I feel like without the expectation of a more licorice-y tea I might be more observant of the herbaceous qualities that are present. Overall, surprisingly sweet and savory!