Raspberry Leaf from Traditional Medicinals

Traditional Medicinals offers a variety of tea blends to help ease whatever ails you. I got an opportunity to try their Raspberry Leaf blend. I most often encounter raspberry leaf as a component in other tea blends, but this time I am brewing up a cup of pure raspberry leaf on its own.

Raspberry Leaf is supposed to help ease the discomfort many women feel during that time of the month. I can’t speak to how it affected my discomfort, but I can reflect on its flavor. This tea brew up a yellow amber color and tastes, mildly fruity and slightly nutty. It has a surprisingly full mouthfeel, with just a hint of black tea astringency. There is a slightly more vegetal aftertaste that I don’t prefer, but it mellows out nicely when mixed with a dash of honey.

I like this tea as an herbal alternative to the usual herbal tea suspects of ginger, mint, and chamomile. The ease of their sealed tea bags makes this an easy choice to pack when traveling or stash in your desk at work.

Browsing the Traditional Medicinals catalog, I see many other flavors I want to try and ailments I would like to treat. Even if the healing effects are more mental than physical, I love the comfort of a flavorful cup of tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Traditional Medicinals
Description: Of course, the delectable fruit of Rubus idaeus is a well-known and well-loved summer treat, but it’s the raspberry leaf you’ll find in this tea. With a silvery under leaf that is reminiscent of the moon’s glow, European and Native American women have used raspberry leaf for thousands of years for menstrual support, menstrual cramps and during pregnancy as a healthy tonic to help prepare the womb for childbirth.* We love this tea for its gently nurturing properties, and its robust taste, which is reminiscent of a delicate and mildly fruity black tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 11 from Teanzo 1856

It’s Day 11 in this Holiday Countdown!  After this, my 11th tea in the Advent Calendar from Teanzo, I only have 13 teas left.  Which means that there will only be 13 days left to shop, and 14 days until that magical day!

day2-1For today’s artistic inspiration, I chose this adorable little tree ornament created by Carol Westphal.   Isn’t it cute?

The ornament is crafted on heavy card stock to give it some weight, and the papers have been layered to give it some dimension.  There are cute little sparkly accents that were added to draw the eye to the ornament, including a ‘frame’ of silvery Krylon paint pen.  It may seem like a rather “simple” piece but it’s one that always seems to catch my eye when it’s hanging on the tree.  The bright white color is a pleasing contrast to the other colorful ornaments.  Sometimes the simple things carry the most impact.

Organic Chamomile

chamomileTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

The Ancient Egyptians dedicated Chamomile to their Sun God and valued it above all other herbs. Chamomile tea has a fragrance reminiscent of an apple blossom, and is calming after a long day. Sip Chamomile tea it by itself or for added pleasure mix with a squeeze of honey or lemon.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Just as today’s ornament might be called “simple” – today’s tea is one of the simple “staples” that just about any tea drinker usually has on hand.  But just because Chamomile is one of those “staples” doesn’t mean that just any Chamomile tea will do!  It’s smart to find a good quality Chamomile, like this one from Teanzo!

I liked that when I opened the sample pouch and emptied it into the basket of my Kati Tumbler, I could see big, whole chamomile blossoms, not a bunch of crushed flower dust.  Sure, there were some smaller bits in there too – that’s normal because some damage does incur in packaging and such.  But, about 95% of the contents of the pouch was whole ORGANIC flowers.  When it comes to chamomile – this is the good stuff!

The dry aroma was a combination of flower and honey, with light, fruit-like notes.  It’s quite a pleasant aroma.  Having never really been a big fan of chamomile in the past, I haven’t spent a lot of time smelling chamomile.  But I actually quite enjoy the fragrance.

To brew this, I steeped these blossoms in 195°F water for 8 minutes.  I usually let chamomile steep for a full 10 minutes, but I decided I’d try it at 8 and see how it tastes.  And it’s quite pleasant!

The flavor is sweet, with notes of honey and pollen.  I also taste notes of sweet apple.  As I taste this, I find myself thinking it might be quite tasty with a bit of cinnamon (apple and cinnamon work quite nicely together).  Hints of flower.  It always kind of surprises me that chamomile has less floral taste than other flowers.  It’s still a flower … I guess I always expect more of a floral note from it.

Over the past few days, I’ve been battling a cold.  I was fortunate to have quite a few reviews “on queue” waiting for their scheduled publication because I’ve not been writing many reviews over the last few days because of this cold.  My taste buds were not quite up to snuff and I didn’t want to attempt to write a review with an impaired palate.  This is actually the first review that I’ve written since that time – and I feel like my taste buds are back in working order.

I shared that bit of information with you because while many of my symptoms have diminished, I still have a bit of a scratchy throat from coughing.  This chamomile is quite soothing on the itchy throat!  I have never really tried chamomile as a soother of a throat, I’ve usually turned to teas with ginger or lemon (or a combination of both) and sweetened them with honey to calm the throat, but chamomile is quite a lovely, comforting tea too!

Above I mused about combining chamomile with some cinnamon, I suspect a bit of ginger would be quite nice too – perhaps some candied ginger!

Really, it’s a nice cup of chamomile.  It’s nothing fancy, but it’s certainly nice to sip on as my taste buds have just recovered from my cold and my throat still needs comforting.  I like the quality of this chamomile:  I like that these are whole blossoms and they’re organic – this is top notch.

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 9 from Teanzo 1856

Day12Wow, can you believe that it’s day 9 already?  I hope you’re enjoying lots of wonderful teas this holiday season.  I know that Teanzo has certainly kept me happy with this calendar of tea!

For today’s inspirational piece of artwork, I am again looking to one of the gifts that I received in one of the 12 Days of Christmas mail art swaps that I was involved in.  This cute mitten was made by Sue Foster, and it hangs proudly on my tree.

I love how perfectly the stitches are on this.  It would take me hours – literally, hours! – to do something like this.  I’m not as handy with a needle and thread, I’m afraid.

Thank you, Sue, it’s beautiful and whimsical and a perfect addition to my handmade tree.

Today’s tea from Teanzo is one that should inspire happy dreams.

Dream Spa Blend Tisane

Dream-Spa-BlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Spice Melange

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Ingredients:  Cardamom, saffron, licorice root, fennel, ginger root, cinnamon, rosebuds, lemongrass & rose scent.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:  

This tea smells amazingly good, especially after it’s been brewed.  The dry leaf smells remarkable as well, but the brewed liquid is almost intoxicating – it smells so good!  The combination of the spices and the rose is simply amazing.  It doesn’t smell too spicy, it doesn’t smell too rosy, it just smells dreamy.  Much like the name of the tea suggests.

Seriously, this scent should be made into potpourri or something.  Or soap!

To steep it, I poured the contents of the sampler pouch into the basket of my Kati and added 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F and let it steep for 6 minutes.  Originally, I thought that I’d steep it for 10 minutes, the length of time I would normally steep a tisane without hibiscus, but the aroma of the dry leaf was strong and I felt that if I went for the full 10 minutes that this would come off tasting too strong.

After I finished steeping, I kept the cup up to my nose for several minutes, just inhaling the fragrance.  So beautiful!  Then the thought that enters my head before I take a sip is:  should I be drinking this?  It smells TOO GOOD to drink, as in it smells like something I’d want to wear or possibly perfume my living room with but would I want to consume it?

But the ingredients suggest to me that this should be alright to drink.  There are some of the “usual ingredients” for a chai and I like chai.  There’s saffron and I like that too.  Licorice root and fennel are two of my favorite tea ingredients.  And I love rose teas and I enjoy lemongrass.  There’s nothing here that offends my palate so even though it smells like perfume hopefully it won’t taste that way.

So, I let the tea temperature drop to a drinkable temperature and took my first sip.  This is actually really nice!  It’s a strong taste – I’m glad I didn’t go ahead and steep it for my usual 10 minutes – but it’s quite pleasant.  There are a lot of layers to the flavor because I can taste each ingredient.

I notice hints of citrus at the very start of the sip.  It’s a warm, spicy citrus note, and about half a second after the citrus comes through clearly, the cinnamon and ginger come into focus.  Then I pick up on the rose and the saffron.  By mid-sip, the licorice and fennel are recognized by the palate.  In the aftertaste, I notice notes of rose and a cola-like flavor that I attribute to the cardamom.  It’s a warm and soothing cup, but it does have some invigorating quality to it too.

It’s a really unique beverage but I find myself enjoying it much more than I expected to.  To be honest, when I saw that today’s tea was an herbal, the thought going through my head was “again?”  You know, a kind of disappointed “again.”  But now that I’ve tasted it, I’m really happy with this!

Thank you, Teanzo for this beautifully fragrant dream of a tisane today!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 5 from Teanzo 1856

12Day8gift1It’s Day 5 of this countdown!  That means that there are 20 days until that big day … and only 19 shopping days left!  I really can’t believe that it’s already that time of year again.  The time flies by quickly.

Today, I’m going to feature some artwork by one of the artists in one of the mail art groups I was active in a few years ago.  This is another gift from a 12 Days of Christmas swap and it was crafted by Elaine Akers.  It’s a fabric ornament that I display proudly on my tree every year.

Really cute, right?

Going through these old memories of the artwork that I’ve given and received for the 12 Days of Christmas mail art swap makes me want to get back into doing that again.  Yes, I’m starting to feel a little inspired!

Maybe after the new year, I’ll be able to get myself back into the swing of creating.  I hope so!

Today’s blend is one that will inspire some relaxation!

Herbal Spa Blend

Chamomile-Hib-CTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

Ingredients:  Chamomile, Hibiscus and Lemongrass.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:  

Sigh!  Things were going so well with this calendar, and then … hibiscus.  Ugh.

But, I’ll try to keep an open mind and try it.  Hey, I might even like it, as I have found many blends with hibiscus in them that I’ve at least appreciated.

To brew this, I poured the contents of the sampler pouch in the basket of my Kati Tumbler.  I noticed that there was quite a bit of hibiscus in the blend when I poured it into the basket, so I kept that in mind when I set the timer, and after pouring 12 ounces of hot water (195°F) into the tumbler, I set my trusty timer for 5 minutes and let it steep.

After tasting, I think that this blend could have done well with even a little less time.  Maybe 4 minutes.  That seems almost not enough time for a tisane to develop flavor, but the hibiscus is really prominent in this.  Fortunately, at five minutes, I don’t get a heavy, syrupy texture which is the thing I like least about hibiscus.  It is tart, though!

The tart hibiscus almost overwhelms everything else in this blend.  The lemongrass is a little more discernible than the chamomile.  The chamomile almost is lost in this.  I can taste barely there, subtle hints of apple and honey-like notes from the chamomile, but these notes almost seem to be hiding behind the strong, berry-like tartness of the hibiscus.

The lemongrass is probably my favorite thing about this blend.  It adds a soft citrus-y note that is a little sweet and buttery, so it helps to soften the hibiscus a little.

On the plus side:  this tea tastes better iced.  After finishing half the cup, I decided to try it iced, so I refrigerated it for a short while and I like this much better cold.  It still has that strong, berry like taste from the hibiscus, but this profile seems to benefit from the chill.

I also think that this would be really good if you were to add some mulling spices to it while steeping.  (Or perhaps, bring the water and mulling spices to a boil, let them steep for a few minutes while the liquid is cooling to the right temperature – 195°F – and then add the tisane to the steeping liquid and steep for another 4 – 5 minutes and strain off the spices and tisane.  That would have a mulled wine sort of flavor but without the alcohol.  A nice alternative from the usual holiday drink.