Tiger Monk Roasted Oolong Tea from Temple Road

tiger_leavesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Temple Road

Tea Description:

Inspired from the power, strength, and courage of the Tiger Warrior Monk in the great and millennial tradition of Chinese martial arts, the distinct woody and smoky aromas of this triple roast, medium fermentation, high mountain oolong tea combine with exquisite balance to create this strong, rugged yet smooth taste. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Toast!  That’s the first word that came to my mind when I took my first sip of this Tiger Monk Roasted Oolong Tea from Temple Road.  The triple roasting of this Oolong resulted in a really delightful, roasty-toasty flavor that reminds me of toast … but not just any toast that would pop out of the standard kitchen toaster.  This toast reminds me of something that you might have while out camping.  The kind of toast that you would brown over a campfire.

I used a slightly smaller gaiwan when I brewed this tea today, so, I was able to fit three infusions in my cup.  The combination of the first three infusions (following a 15 second rinse) created my first cup of this tea.  I noticed a sweet woodsy tone that contrasted with the slight char/mineral notes that the roasting imparted.  The flavor is very smooth, and there is not a lot of astringency to this cup.

There is a creaminess to this tea as well and I like the way the cream plays with the roasty-toasty nutty flavors.  It reminds me of flavors you’d taste at breakfast.  Very rustic but also sweet.

The second cup (infusions 4, 5 and 6) offered more of those delicious roasty-toasty-nutty notes, and I discovered some fruit notes that began to emerge … peach?  Yes, I think it is a little peach-like, but that doesn’t quite nail it.  The wood notes meld with these peach-y flavors and create a new “sweet” kind of flavor that I don’t recall encountering in an Oolong tea before.  It’s really unique and captivating.

The aforementioned “char” notes (like charcoal) are still there too, as are the mineral-ish type notes.  Still rustic, still sweet … but this cup is definitely different from the first.  I don’t think I could pick a favorite though, because both are lovely.

I decided to see what kind of flavors a third cup would produce, so I went ahead and infused this tea three more times!  This cup was considerably smoother and more mellow.  It has become sort of “expected” with my third cup of Oolong that the flavors become melded and seamless, and that has happened here.  I still get some of those smoked notes, and some of the charcoal-y/mineral-y notes that were in the previous two cups.  The peach notes are clearer here.

This is a really excellent Oolong!  If you like roasted Oolong teas – this tea should be at the top of your Must Try list!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Tiger Spice Chai Mix from David Rio

davidrioProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  David Rio

Product Description:

David Rio’s signature and award winning chai is a rich and creamy mixture of black tea and premium spices including cinnamon, cardamom and clove. A percentage of profits from the sale of ALL David Rio Tiger Spice Chai® will be donated to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org). For more info, visit ourAnimal Welfare page.

Learn more about this instant chai mix here.

I received a packet of this instant chai mix in my January Love with Food box.

Taster’s Review:

In addition to my tea addiction … I also consider myself a bit of a foodie, and I enjoy receiving a couple of “food tasting boxes” every month.  I subscribe to a couple of them, including Love with Food.  Love with Food is a great company that every month, sends out boxes that are filled with little samples of food items.  And for every box sent, Love with Food donates a meal to a hungry child.  I like that.

In January, I received a package of this Tiger Spice Chai Mix from David Rio. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried the Tiger Spice Chai Mix from David Rio … I had the opportunity to try their products years ago, after being introduced to them through a hot beverage convention that I attended back when I was still self-employed as a tea vendor.  I enjoyed it back then, and I’m enjoying it now.

It has a creamy, sweet-spiced taste. It is … in my opinion, too sweet.  I’d rather be able to sweeten it myself than to have all that sugar added to my chai, but, as a once in a while treat for myself, I think I can handle the occasional sweet drink.  And since this is the first time I’ve had this chai in … probably six or seven years, I’d say that’s once in quite a while!

And since that last time that I tried this chai … I can say that my taste buds have really come a long way.  I used to really LOVE this stuff.  It’s still … OK … but, it’s not all that I thought it once was.  The black tea is quite obscured by the sugar and the creamer used in the mix.  The spices are not very spicy … they’re pretty mellow in comparison to other chai blends I’ve had recently, and a bit more mellow than I would like it to be.

It’s drinkable, certainly, but not something that I would want to drink on a regular basis, and as it is pumped up with a lot of sugar and corn syrup solids, it’s probably better that way.  I enjoyed it, but, certainly not as much as I would have enjoyed a chai that I had more control over – that I could decide how much sweetener (if any) I would add, and how much milk/cream/creamer I would add, if any.

That said, I think it’s commendable that David Rio is committed to Animal Welfare.  You can read more about that here.


Tiger Chai from Kally Tea

Chai Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kally Tea

Chai Description:

Traditionally Chai is brewed by adding milk/cream and a sweetener. The spicy complexity of this libation is just as delicious brewed as a regular beverage without any dairy or sweetener. Try it both ways to discover your favorite way to enjoy.

Learn more about this masala chai blend here.

Taster’s Review:


And what better way to ring in this chilly, wintery New Year’s Day than with a warm, rich, delicious spiced Chai tea? I absolutely love a good, spiced Chai blend.  This is definitely a yummy Chai, and nothing seems to warm me up from the inside out quite as effectively as a warm spiced tea like this one.

The black tea base is rich and slightly caramel-y with notes of malt, which leads me to believe that it is either an Assam or an blend of teas that includes an Assam.  It has a very full-flavor, and it is a substantial enough tea to be able to stand up on its own while it is surrounded by the flavors of robust spices.

The spices are sensational!  Warm and spicy, but not so spicy that I’d consider this to be spicy-hot.  It is what I’d call “spicy” … but it isn’t so much so that I feel the need to temper the spices with the addition of milk – and even though this Chai does make an incredible latte – I rather like it when brewed simply in boiling water for four minutes with no other additions except a half a teaspoon of turbinado sugar to help enhance the spices.

It’s rich and warm and satisfying, and very comforting too, with a smooth creaminess thanks to the little touch of vanilla in the blend.  And I think that it is the touch of vanilla in this blend that makes it so comforting and smooth … without the addition of milk.

I taste the black pepper and the ginger here, and these are the two “stand out” spices in the masala blend, but I wouldn’t say that this is a peppery chai, really.  The other spices are strong enough to mellow the peppery notes out a little, and give the overall cup some balance.  I taste the cinnamon, I taste the clove, and I taste the cardamom.  It is a warming, delicious blend that I think everyone can enjoy – it is spicy enough for those who like a warm, spicy chai, but, it isn’t so spicy that those who tend to shy away from spicy-hot drinks would not be able to enjoy it.

A very lovely chai – from one of my favorite tea companies!  I wish everyone a very happy and wonderful new year!

Tiger Assam from Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Tea Description:

We are delighted to offer you this Tiger, our latest Assam tea. It’s resilient yet refined, gentle yet ass-kicking, crouching yet leaping. Prepare it any way you like and it’ll taste great. Forget it on the counter? Brew it a little hastily in a travel mug? It’ll still taste great. Tigers are like that. They don’t get discouraged. They don’t have off days. They deliver 100% tiger, at all times.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I am in love with this tea!  Seriously, I’ve only consumed about 1/4 of my mugful of this tea, and I’m already head over heels in love with it.

I’ve consumed a lot of Assam tea over the years, and I’ve liked some better than others.  But this … this is one of the very best I’ve tried.  In fact, as I sit here, contemplating this tea and trying to think of other Assam teas that I might enjoy just as much as I’m enjoying this, there is only one that comes to mind.  That’s pretty impressive, given the sheer number of Assam teas that I’ve sampled over the past ten years or so.

It is strong and rich … and just like a tiger, it will most assuredly kick your butt.  If you are still half asleep when you reach for a cup of this tea, you won’t be after you’re half way through the cup.  This tea has that GUSTO that you want from an Assam, it is robust and malty and delicious.  It starts out with a smooth, caramel-y taste, slightly earthy, and as it transitions to the finish, there is just a hint of bitterness to the taste.  Just a slight intonation… enough to let you know that you’re dealing with a TIGER!  The finish is astringent, and this astringency slowly begins to dry your palate … a drying sensation that lasts into the aftertaste.

If ever there was a perfect Assam, I would say that this would be it.  It is as close to perfect as it can get!  And I love it.