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!

Cardamom French Toast from DAVIDsTEA

cardamomfrenchtoastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

Something about cardamom just puts us in a festive frame of mind. We love its rich, fragrant taste any way we can get it. One of our faves? The buttery, cardamom-scented Christmas breads popular in Sweden and Finland. And cardamom toast is great,it only stands to reason that cardamom French toast would be out of this world. With black tea, cardamom, cane sugar and cinnamon, this rich, sweet blend tastes just like the decadent breakfast of our dreams. Only this is one brunch item you’ll be wanting all day long.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of those teas that is getting quite a lot of positive reviews, so despite my dislike for cardamom (generally speaking), I did want to give this one a go. I have a feeling that the cardamom will be tolerable in this blend because it’s mixed with something sweet. The scent of this tea is delicious! Bready, sweet and a tiny bit of that playful cardamom in the background. I have high hopes!

Sipping… oh this is very nice. This tea has such a great combination of cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. I also taste a little bit of the lemon peel which adds just the lightest tang. The black tea doesn’t really shine at all, though, and prefers to stay hidden behind everything else. I really like this tea and believe it’s the closest I’ve been to tasting french toast in a tea. The aftertaste is a bit weird… I am thinking it might have to do with the lemon and the spices mixing. It’s not really artificial, but is just an odd flavor combination. I would have liked for there to be a stronger custardy, eggy flavor to further enhance the french toast, but it’s pretty darn good without.

If you’re interested in a sugary sweet and lightly spiced holiday tea, I would pop this into your shopping cart. It’s very unique, drinkable and delicious! Yum!

Lapsang Souchong Crocodile Black from Dammann Freres

lapsang-souchong-crocodileTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Dammann Freres

Tea Description:

A black tea with a more smoky flavour than that of its Chinese counterparts. A great smoked tea from the Island of Formosa ; merits discovering.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The ‘Crocodile’ in the name of this tea is certainly intimidating; I picture it snapping at you when you take a sip. Almost like getting whiplash from the intense smoke I suspect I’ll be tasting. The smell of the dry leaf certainly seems to support my theory; however some very quick research seems to indicate the name comes more from the fact this is a Formosa Lapsang Souchong, and less because it’s gonna bite me.

This is actually really good though it’s a little less naturally sweet than some of the other Lapsang Souchong blends I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s got a very brisk black base, and the smoky notes are indeed biting, but in a way that stimulates taste rather than assaults it. Maybe it’s because it’s summer and finally BBQ season but I’m picking up flavor notes that resemble the smell of burning hamburgers on a grill. The finish reminds me a little bit of molasses or those ‘tar candies’ that are sometimes given out around Halloween.

I enjoyed this one best when it was lukewarm; but the entire cuppa was pleasant. I don’t think I could call it any better or worse than another Lapsang Souchong though. It’s certainly very smoky; so if you like your Lapsang light I’d veer away from this blend.

Thé Vert à la Menthe Nanah (Spearmint Green Tea) by Kusmi

SpearmintKusmiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Kusmi

Tea Description:

Nana mint is the mint used for teas in the Middle East and North Africa. Its refreshing taste makes Spearmint green tea perfect for after a meal.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The first thing I noticed about this one is how wonderful it smells – fresh, strong, sweet spearmint, right from the get go! I prefer spearmint to peppermint in general, but spearmint teas seem relatively scarce in comparison, so I’m pleased to have found this one from Kusmi. The dry leaf is very dark green and tightly rolled. There’s no indication on the tin of the variety of green tea this is, but I would guess Gunpowder from looking at the leaves alone. I could be wrong, but that’s my educated guess. For my cup, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a golden yellow, and smells primarily of spearmint with an underlying hint of green tea.

To taste, this one reminds me a bit of chewing gum, or softmints. It has the same intense initial sweet mint flavour, which lingers decently into the aftertaste. Spearmint is pretty much all I’m getting from this one, so it comes across fairly one note, but if spearmint is what you’re looking for, then it’s certainly what you’ll get. I had thought I’d be able to taste the green tea base a little more, but it remains firmly in the background. There’s the tiniest hint of it right at the end of the sip, but in a blind tasting you could tell me this was a pure spearmint tea and I’d probably be none the wiser.

As a fan of spearmint, I really like this one. It’s sweet, clean-tasting, and refreshing, and makes for a very pleasant cup on a warm summer afternoon. I imagine it’d also work well cold brewed, which is something I’ll have to try in the coming weeks. It’s not as punchy as peppermint in terms of flavour, and it lacks the intensely cooling effect that mint sometimes has, so this tea is just the thing if you like your mint a little softer and more gentle. This is a wonderful offering from Kusmi, and well worth a look this summer if you’re in the market for a mint green tea.

Mangue égyptienne Black Tea from Dammann Freres

mangue-egyptienneTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Dammann Freres

Tea Description:

A blend of black teas with sun ripened mango flavour lends to a warm and fruity infusion. Bits of fruits complete the aesthetic appeal.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This last week seems to have been unintentionally themed around mango teas; it honestly feels like I’ve had more of them now than I have had in the last two or three months. That’s probably because I’m a picky person when it comes to mango, but because it’s such a summer flavor there’s a surplus of mango teas around which equates to more that I’m easily swayed into wanting to try out.

This one was done as a cold brew; it had a very natural and realistic mango flavour. I personally find that the actual fruit mango has a very pine like and sappy flavour. I know I’m not the only person to have observed this; and it seems to be commonly observed with unripe mangoes but even ripe ones have this flavour to me. However most teas with mango as an ingredient don’t seem to convey this flavour and as someone who always tastes it when they eat the fruit it makes me feel like something is missing. Thankfully, I did taste is here! While I loved it the vast majority of people might not given than mango ‘isn’t supposed to taste like pine’.

There were also floral notes here, probably from the black base and I thought that added a nice depth to the flavour as well. While the fruit might not have had a robust, juicy flavour like I expected that didn’t stop this from feeling complete. I am, however, wary of how other people would feel about this; like mentioned it has that “undesirable” pine taste. It worked well for me, though.