Steeping time 4 minutes, 1/2 cup boiling water, 2 g of tea leaves and stems.
I have always been an avid herb gardener (although not, alas, always a successful one) and today I noticed what exactly it is about this type of tea that I found familiar. The leaves are similar in appearance (silvery and fuzzy) and even similar in shape to Lamb’s Ear, and I think the fragrance may be similar as well, although Lamb’s Ear is not actually well-known for its smell. (Plus, I can never manage to keep it alive so I don’t actually have a Lamb’s Ear plant to compare right now). When I looked it up, I discovered that the two plants are in the same family, i.e. the Mint family . . . but then so are hundreds and thousands of other plants, so that doesn’t mean they’re actually closely related. I guess it’s just the type of family resemblance that sometimes shows up unexpectedly between distant cousins.
The other thing that the leaves remind me of is licorice, or at least those licorice-flavored herbal teas that you drink when you’re sick with a cold. (Actually I may be thinking of the combination of licorice and slippery elm flavors? But I’m not positive.) It’s not an unpleasant fragrance, and I can imagine this tea being pleasant to drink.
As I steep the tea, the fragrance emerges more, but not at overpowering levels. The tea liquid itself does not appear to change color greatly, and after steeping appears slightly yellowish but not extremely so. The fragrance hasn’t gotten much stronger in the last couple of minutes.
The first sip is not quite as flavorful as the fragrance, but it does support my impression of this tea as being similar to an herbal tea used to treat colds. It tastes slightly sweet in the back of the mouth. It doesn’t seem all that viscous, but it’s probably giving my throat a nice protective coating as I drink it. It doesn’t need sugar, which is a good thing because if you’re going to drink it every day for your health then you wouldn’t want to add sugar or you’d counteract the health benefits, right? It definitely tastes healthy, but in a good, gentle way, not in a bitter-green-smoothie type of way.
I’m not going to say that I want to replace my regularly scheduled tea breaks with this herbal tea, but since it’s caffeine free I bet it would be a great nightcap. Plus, it does have quite a soothing and calming effect, so add that to its other benefits (such as its health benefits) and it turns out to be quite a valuable beverage!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Klio Greek Tea
This variety, Sideritis Scardica, comes from the legendary Mount Olympus, in the Balkans, situated between Thessaly and Macedonia.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Steeping specs: about 3 g in about 8 ounces of water at about 212° for about four minutes
The first thing I noticed when steeping this tea or trying to rather is that it’s kind of hard to fit all of the leaves and stems into the amount of water I have available.
The tea turned out tasting pretty good though, so I don’t think I used more leaves than I’m supposed to. I guess I could be wrong about that.
It has a distinctly herbal fragrance even while steeping that’s almost a little bit like licorice or anise. The water turns yellowish while steeping, almost like a yellow tea.
After steeping, the fragrance is still licorice -like. The first sip: I noticed a pleasant flavor, not nasty tasting like some medicinal herbs, and yet a flavor that’s uniquely different than anything I’ve tried.
It’s not a whole new flavor family though. The flavor does have some sweetness and is not bitter or even astringent really, although maybe a tiny bit of citrusy just at the end of the sip. It doesn’t taste quite as licoricey as it smells, but it’s still a fairly pleasant flavor. (I know the emphasis is really on the health benefits of this tea rather than on its flavor, but still I think the flavor is important.)
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Sparta Natura
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Tisane
Where to Buy: Mountain Rose Herbs
Raspberry leaves are among the most pleasant-tasting of all the herbal remedies, with a taste much like black tea, without the caffeine. Raspberries were said to have been discovered by the Olympian gods themselves while searching for berries on Mount Ida. Raspberries are indigenous to Asia Minor and North America, with the first real records of domestication coming from the writings of Palladius, a Roman agriculturist. By Medieval times it had a great many uses, including the juices which were used in paintings and illuminated manuscripts. King Edward the 1st (1272-1307) was said to be the first to call for mass cultivation of raspberries, whose popularity spread quickly throughout Europe. Teas of raspberry leaves were given to women of the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Mohawk nations in North America, and have earned approval of the authoritative British Herbal Compendium.
Learn more about this tea here.
Raspberry leaves are pretty cool things; they’re great during pregnancy and a girl’s best friend during ‘that time of the month’. Plus, it’s just so fluffy and aesthetically pleasing to look at – like marshmallow leaf! I’ve enjoyed them mixed into a few different tisanes, but this is my first time trying them straight.
he description from this company likens raspberry leaf to black tea, but I found the taste quite a bit similar to green tea; very herbaceous and grassy with an almost chlorophyll-like note and the taste of fresh cut lawn trimmings. It was smooth and pleasant while it was hot, but as it cooled it almost took on an unpleasant bitter flavour. Such a drag.
Also, a big downside, for whatever reason this left a ghastly oily green film all along the entire inside of my mug. It was actually quite thick, and really unattractive to look at. Not sure what caused the film; I’ve honestly never had that issue with any other blend that used raspberry leaf but it really detracted from my overall experience.
Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane
Where to Buy: Tealux
It may be a brash statement to say that one prickly green herb is the panacea for almost everything that ails you; but, in the case of stinging nettles, it’s mostly true. If there’s one plant to have on hand at all times that provides a cure for arthritis, an herbal treatment for allergies, relieves hair loss, treats Celiac disease, bleeding, bladder infections, skin complaints, neurological disorders and a long list of other conditions — it’s nettle leaf.
Learn more about this tea here.
So after Butiki closed up shop they put together two ‘travelling tea boxes’ for Steepster; one was an educational box with samples of various straight/pure teas and the other was a box of just herbal ingredients so people could try blending their own teas. While I didn’t participate in the Educational box I did get in on the herbal one! Since I was the only Canadian on the list, I was at the end of the shipping list to save people some shipping costs (darn postage; why do you have to be so expensive!?). Along the journey, other herbal ingredients were added to the box including this Nettle Leaf tea from Tealux!
This is one of a few ingredients in the box that I’ve either never had or never had plain; the latter in this case. Before mixing it with anything else, I wanted to try it on its own to know what I’m working with flavour wise – this also gave me a good opportunity to review it! I brewed up about sixteen ounces of this and had half of it hot, and the second half iced. Steeped up this has a very dark, swampy olive green colour. It’s both pretty and kind of intimidating. It reminds me a lot visually of what steeped up mulberry leaf looks like.
I started off by trying out the hot half of the two versions. I found that while this tasted very, very grassy with a bit of sweetness and also a bit of bitterness that along with those bold flavours was an equally bold medicinal kind of taste and aroma. It reminded me a little bit of the smell of a dentists’ office – an environment I’ve had a lot of exposure to recently. Of the two halves, this was definitely the one I least liked.
And on the note of ‘medicinal’ stuff – apparently there are a whole lot of health claims for drinking nettle leaf tea. I want to be really clear that I’m no expert on the health claims here nor do I necessarily believe all of them; and that’s definitely not why I’m drinking this tea. My personal belief is that any ‘health benefits’ I get from tea is a great added bonus, but I completely drink tea for the taste – and I review it for the sense of community, and to learn from other people’s experiences.
The iced version of this was very similar; incredibly grassy with sweet and pleasant bitter notes – however I didn’t taste anything especially medicinal and the aroma seemed less powerful too. It was just the taste of very obviously herbal tea. I’d definitely drink this plain again were it iced; I’m not so sure I’d be as willing to try it hot again unless it was sweetened, and I don’t normally sweeten my tea so that’s probably just a safe no on that front.
At least it gave me some good ideas of what to blend this with for my next herbal mix! Or I might just finish it off plain too; this was one of the ingredients in the box that was actually in a reasonably small quantity.
Leaf Type: Medicinal Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: CaryTown Teas
Organic Tummy Tonic is an herbal tea blend designed to help sooth an upset stomach, stimulate digestion, relieve bloating and is delicious and safe to drink any time of day, every day!
Learn more about this tisane here.
I feel that I owe the kind people at CaryTown Teas a bit of an apology. They had sent me a sampling of this tea some time ago for me to review. But because of it’s purported stomach soothing properties, I wanted to wait until I had an upset stomach before I tried it so that I could review the tisane on more than just its taste. Well, time went by, and I’m quite sure that I’ve had at least one or two tummy aches between now and then, but, I had forgotten about the tea until a couple of weeks ago when I came across it as I was going through my cupboard.
Well, tonight is the night. I actually do have a bit of an unsettled stomach, as I’ve been enjoying some rather spicy (VERY spicy) jalapeño snacks (you can learn more about these on my foodie website) and as delicious as the snacks are, my stomach now feels a bit uneasy. So, I’m hoping that this Tummy Tonic from CaryTown Teas will help soothe my stomach … and hopefully I won’t end up with a case of heartburn. And while I’m not so sure that this is the type of upset stomach that CaryTown Teas had in mind when they developed their Tummy Tonic, it would be nice to have a natural tisane remedy for such a case, as I tend to eat spicy food rather often.
This blend is a melange of ginger, licorice, peppermint and chamomile, so I expected a strong minty taste with peppery notes and hopefully that snappy sweet taste of licorice. And that’s pretty much what I’m tasting. The chamomile is a light flavor here – primarily I taste the ginger, licorice and peppermint. The peppermint is a bit lighter than I expected it to be, but it is crisp and cooling, and I’m enjoying it.
The ginger has a peppery taste, and I like the way the peppermint and ginger compliment each other. I don’t know that I really noticed how well these two ingredients go together before, but they make a winning combination. It is zesty without being too peppery or minty, they balance each other out, cutting through the powerful flavors of each so that the overall result is more mellow and soothing. The licorice is quite pleasant here too, sweet and yet spicy in its own way. It lends a very enjoyable taste to the overall cup. Yes, the flavor is a bit medicinal, which should be expected from a medicinal herbal blend.
However, it isn’t an unpleasant flavor, and yes, it is indeed soothing my stomach. I will have to finish this review in the morning, after I’ve had time to determine whether or not I’ve suffered from heartburn … but, I’ll let you know!
The Next Morning: No heartburn last night, and this morning my tummy feels good as new! Hurray for Tummy Tonic!