Yerba Mate Mint by Choice Organic Teas . . .

I steeped this tea for 4 minutes at 175 degrees with one bag in about one cup of water.

The packet says to steep for 4-6 minutes but it smells plenty strong enough at 4 so I stopped there. Plus, since mint can get bitter if oversteeped, I didn’t want to wait too long.

It smells nice and minty while brewing. I can’t really distinguish it from plain peppermint tea by the smell. After steeping is over, the tea is a yellowish cedar-like color and not noticeably viscous.

First sip: Surprise! It tastes just like mint herbal tea–to me, anyway. Or at least not different enough that you would be positive there’s something else in there rather than just a variation on the minty flavor. (Maybe if I had prepared a cup of plain mint tea at the same time to compare against, that would have helped me pick out any differences, but alas–I didn’t think of that until it was too late.)

What that means is that this could be a clever way to have something caffeinated in the morning if you’re an herbal tea drinker and don’t care for green or black tea or coffee! Or if you only drink black tea with milk (like me) and are avoiding milk because you have a cold, but still need that caffeine boost. (I know that sounds oddly specific but it happens to me more often than you’d think!)

The mate isn’t roasted, I’m guessing, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t have a strong enough flavor to dominate this tea blend (after all, peppermint is a very powerful flavor and it’s hard to overcome that). So if you like peppermint tea, you’ll probably like this!

With sugar: It’s still good and minty, nice and easy on the throat (which means that it’s both good for colds and for vocal health if you’re trying to relax your voice and stay hydrated, although I guess caffeine is a little bit controversial where vocal health is concerned).

Overall this blend is both useful and enjoyable when prepared as a hot tea beverage, and it seems to have plenty of potential as a cold brew as well, although I didn’t try it that way.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Yerba Mate
Where to Buy: Choice Organic Tea

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lost Maples from CatspringYaupon. . . October’s Sips by Box. . . .

A few days ago, my first Sips by box arrived.  Included were four unique designed teas curated to my tastes and likes.  Sips by is a monthly subscription box that curates teas to a survey/profile that you put together.  Each month you receive four teas that you want, which I love.  Being one that is picky about their herbal and black teas, I loved the fact that I could say no to certain teas while including tea varieties that I’ve always wanted to try.

My first box was a huge success and so far I’ve loved all of the teas I’ve tried.  Lost Maples from Catsprinng Yaupon was the first tea that caught my eye and so far my favorite of the bunch.  I’ve tried Catspring Yaupons tea before and was excited to try this medium roast version of Yaupon.

Yaupon is a plant that grows wild in North America.  The plant itself is naturally caffeinated and this particular Yaupon is harvested right on the Catspring Ranch and conveniently packaged in tea bag form or loose leaf if you like.  The last time I experienced Catspring’s Yaupon Tea, I had the loose leaf option, which I loved.  This go around I’m enjoying the tea bag version.

And am I enjoying this tea.  If you have never experienced Yaupon tea, I encourage you to do so.  With a light vegetal undertone and a roasted flavor, this tea could be compared to an yerba mate tea blend but with a lighter and more airy feel.  Through each sip, you can almost get this roasted chicory note that reminds me of coffee.

This is one of those teas that I’ve always meant to pick up more of and just never got around to it.  Thanks Sips by for reminding me what a smooth well balanced tea that I’ve been missing in my tea drinking routine!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Yaupon
Where to Buy: Catspring/Sips by
Description

Sips by™ is a startup based in Austin, Texas, founded by a small group of tea lovers who want discovering tea to be fun, personalized, and affordable.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Assam Tea from Taylors of Harrogate and the Brands of Britain. . . .

I’m a little groggy from a night of nightmares in which my husband WOULDN’T STOP TALKING DURING TV. Not just any program: a reboot of my favorite childhood TV show (Space Cases). I kept whining “YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEEEEEEEEEEEEANS TO ME. STAAAAHHHHP.”

I need to stop drinking.

So here I sit, hoping that this assam tea will wake me up.

The bag says it’s “strong and malty black tea,” but what I’m mostly picking up here is an English Breakfast kind of flavor. It’s a little bit astringent and raisin-y. It’s pretty good tea, in an English Breakfast tea. As an Assam, it’s not fillin’ the bill.

Am I being pranked?

I feel like Ashton Kutcher is going to pop up and say “YOU’VE BEEN PUNKED! THIS IS ACTUALLY ENGLISH BREAKFAST THAT WE PUT IN AN ASSAM BAG! PUUUUUUUUUUUNKED!”

Oh, Ashton. You SCAMP.

I was thinking about Ashton Kutcher/Steve Jobs this morning, actually. (I can’t quite remember what Steve Jobs looked like, so Ashton tends to fill it in.)

Bagged tea is the iPhone.

Follow me on this.

Did you know that there was a time when I had a flip cell phone AND an iPod? I had to carry them both around in college. It was a hellish and inconvenient time.

Bagged tea is the one-step solution to tea. It’s CONVENIENT. Like checking movie times literally anywhere. Or listening to music and having it gracefully fade down when someone calls. Or looking in the face of someone on the other end of the country.

Loose leaf tends to have flavor on its side, but there are times when I can’t bear to portion it out, fill the steeper, wait, push the button, clean the steeper, etc.

If getting tea-punk’d every once in a while is the price I have to pay for ease on mornings like today, I’ll pay it. Just like my outrageous phone bill.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Brands of Britian
Description
Assam in north-eastern India grows exceptional tea in the lush soil of the Brahmaputra valley  and we pick ours at the peak of the season from some of the region’s finest estates during the second flush harvest. It’s rich, strong and full-bodied with malty notes.
Strong & Malty
This product is made with 100% tea from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org
Ethical tea foundation
Ingredients: Black tea (100%)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Rose Petals from The Tea Can Company

Rose Petals, both the name of this tea and, of course, a key ingredient. Rose petals, ceylon teas, and natural flavors. Basically this tea took a floral base and added a floral flavoring.With no recommended steeping I followed my heart and steeped this for 3 minutes in 190F water.

The end result is…surprise…floral. A little bit sweet from the rose but also a little perfumey and dry from the ceylon base. Think potpurri sprinkled with sugar. Granted I am probably not this teas intended audience since I don’t like floral or ceylons to begin with but sometimes teas with these ingredients have won me over. Alas, that is not the case here.

This tea claims to taste of sweet romance but this is not the relationship I am looking.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  The Tea Can Company
Description

Description: The taste of sweet romance. Delicate, fragrant and soft as a flower, this rose tea is smooth perfection. Enjoy love in a cup, and the glow of good health delivered by abundant antioxidants. Relaxing rose tea can also relieve cramps.
Ingredients: An Aromatic Blend of Ceylon Teas, Rose Petals and Natural Flavoring, Contains Caffeine

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals. . . .

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had throat issues. I got strep throat almost every year. My mother is a nurse and she is really into organic and natural products. One day she came home with this tea and she told me to drink it before bed when my throat was bothering me this one time. The next morning I swear that I felt so much better. Ever since, I have always kept this tea on hand for when my throat started acting up. It works every time. If the issue is strep, it may not rid it completely of course (you need to see a doctor and get antibiotics) but it will definitely ease the pain and make it a little more bearable. This tea is very soothing and it tastes delicious.

This is a blend that comes in a pre-packaged tea bag. Although I am not usually a fan of anything in a tea bag, I prefer loose leaf, but this tea brews strong enough that I truly wouldn’t know the difference. This blend is absolutely delicious, seriously it is! Not only is it soothing on a sore throat or just great for overall throat health, it is tasty and not the stereotypical “medicine tasting” herbal tea. I can taste the marshmallow and licorice the most, followed by the medley of herbs. It doesn’t even need to be sweetened because the marshmallow and licorice root do the job. I think that this could even satisfy a sweet tooth, that’s how yummy it is!

Every household needs to have this in their cabinet. Drink it at night before bed when you feel a sore throat coming on (or daily, for ultimate throat help and protection!) and you will feel so much better in the morning! So many times I have felt a sore throat starting and the morning after I drink this, I feel so much better. Not to mention it’s marshmallow-y goodness is delicious!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Traditional Medicinals
Description

Slippery elm or Ulmus rubra (Latin for “red elm,” so called for its lovely reddish bark) is a beautiful, native North American elm tree. It’s the inner bark of this tree that is actually called “slippery elm” due to its, yes, slippery, smooth, and slimy-in-a-good-way properties. Combined with licorice and marshmallow root, we think this tea blend is like taking your voice to the spa—because we all need a little comfort sometimes so we can get back to being our best.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!