Pipers Chai from Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

PiperschaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Pipers Loose Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Black tea infused with black pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla and orange flavor.  Add milk and your preferred sweetener or sweetened condensed milk for a rich, spicy chai. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Pipers Chai from Pipers Loose Leaf Tea is the first tea from this new-to-me company that I’ve tried.  I was in the mood for something satisfying and warming from the inside out and this tea certainly fits the bill.

I brewed this chai in my Kati tumbler, using 1 1/2 bamboo scoops of tea and 12 ounces of boiling water.  I steeped it for three minutes, and it produced a really strong, warming cup of tea!  Nice!

The black tea is a robust black tea.  The description doesn’t tell me what type of tea is used here, but I think – based upon the richness of the tea – it’s an Assam.  There are also some faint notes of bitterness which hint further at the Assam.

The spices are bold.  There’s a lot of clove in there though.  I find myself tasting more clove than any other spice.  The cinnamon and cardamom are warm and the ginger and pepper add some kick to it.  I think it would be better if the clove were not quite as strong so that the other spices could shine through better, it might make for a more balanced spicy note.

The vanilla is the best part of this blend.  It adds a nice creaminess to this and accentuates the malt notes of the black tea base.  It softens some of the edges to the tea and it gives a slight ‘latte’ taste to the cup without going latte with a dairy addition.  It also adds a pleasant sweetness so you don’t have to add too much in the way of sweetener to this (I suggest tasting before you sweeten so you don’t add too much and overwhelm the tea.)

The orange is a nice flavor here too, however, I think it could be even better without it.  I don’t mind the orange, it tastes good with the orange notes, but I think that it detracts a little bit from the spice and I find myself wanting to focus more on the spice and a little less on the citrus.

Overall, I enjoyed this chai.

Wild Monkey Marsala from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Product Description: 

Here it is at last! The Wild Monkey Marsala Tea, a wickedly zesty tea that comes from our wine-infused group. There are several spicy teas available from Red Leaf Tea, and we think that this may be the most exotic one of all! We begin with a strong Chinese black tea and then add a heavy dose of cinnamon to that sweet and rosy brew. We finish this complement of dominant flavors with the powerful musty sweetness of an infusion of marsala wine. It all balances out perfectly, with the marsala melding into the black tea and the cinnamon lending a peppery effect. Let the Wild Monkey into your tea service today!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little worried about this tea prior to tasting, but, it really is quite tasty.  I think that it is the wine.  While I’ve enjoyed almost all of the alcohol-infused teas that I’ve tried, I am always a little apprehensive; I’m not big on strong alcohol flavors.  Fortunately, it’s been my experience that the flavor of the alcohol compliments the tea flavor, and it is the flavor of the tea that prevails.  And that is the case here, too.

The aroma of the dry leaf is a bit unusual, but certainly not unpleasant.  The sweet, fruity scent of the Marsala wine is apparent, and the cinnamon is quite strong.  It smells sweet, spicy and rather intriguing, actually.

The flavor of the cinnamon and the Marsala wine meld together quite nicely here, the cinnamon is warm and spicy and it does have a slight peppery kind of taste to it.  The Marsala wine is sweet and fruity, and the combination of the two tastes a bit like mulled cider.  It doesn’t taste strongly of wine, but I can taste hints here and there that are reminiscent of wine, especially as it cools.

And the flavor of the tea is there too; it is a good, strong black tea base that creates a pleasant backdrop for the flavors of the wine and cinnamon.  Together the flavors of wine, cinnamon and black tea offer a very well-rounded, smooth taste for the palate to enjoy.  There isn’t a whole lot of notable astringency to this tea.  The aftertaste is cinnamon-y sweet and pleasant.

I really enjoyed this tea, a delightful tea to sip on these chilly winter afternoons, as it will warm you from the inside out.