Rooibos Tea

Tea Collection Review: Art of Tea Holiday Sampler

Holiday Tea Sampler Pillow Box

Company/Brand Name: Art of Tea

Collection Name: Holiday Sampler includes Cran Marnier, Butterscotch, Santa’s Little Helper and Pumpkin Pie

Category: Various Organic Blends – White, Black, Puerh and Rooibos/Honeybush

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Various

The Leaves: Various

Overall: At first I was a bit disappointed with the four Holiday Sampler teas, because the flavors were quite different than what I was used to, being the black tea lover that I am. So, I had to remind myself that I had purchased the sampler set to step outside the box and try something new.

To fully enjoy the experience, I had to let go of my preconceived taste preferences and allow each tea to speak to me in its own distinctive way. That is when I really started to enjoy each sample and appreciate the nuances of the four unique blends.

As the Art of Tea website states, “This is a great way to expand and engage your palate on teas and beyond. I have to say that I whole-heartily agree.

Tea Review:

Sample 1

Name: Cran Marnier {Available Year-Round}

Category: Tisane; Organic South African Honeybush and Organic South African Rooibos

Cran Marnier

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with visible chunks of dried apple and cranberry, plus various spices

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Cranberries, Organic Cloves, Organic Nutmeg, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I first opened the sample pouch, I noticed that the leaves smelled like orange and spice; I just had to brew up a cup right away.

This caffeine-free rooibos blend had a subtle spiciness that was reminiscent of chai tea, but with a smooth-creaminess that was a bit of a welcomed surprise. Speaking of surprises, if the creamy-spiciness wasn’t enough there was also refreshing, citrusy finish that made for a brilliant cup.

The overall flavor reminded me a bit of Tang Spice Tea Mix that my mom made for us as kids. This mixture had Tang and instant tea in it, plus cinnamon and cloves (if I am remembering correctly). Anyway, it was a tasty treat. But, the Cran Marnier is a much healthier option!

I have to say that out of the four holiday samples, I most enjoyed the Cran Marnier. My cup had plenty of character and each sip was a new delight. Luckily, this tisane blend is available year-round as a dessert tea.

Preparation Tips: As recommended by the Art of Tea website, I used nearly boiling water and let the leaves steep for a full 5-7 minutes. For best flavor, be sure to use one full tablespoon (not teaspoon) of rooibos per cup of water. Also, I Finum Brewing Basket will come in handy to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds separated from your brew.

Sample 2

Name: Pumpkin Pie {Seasonal Only}

Category: Tisane; Organic & Fair Trade South African Rooibos and Organic South African Honeybush

Pumpkin Pie

The Leaves: Red rooibos shreds with bright yellow marigold petals and noticeable chunks of spices

Additions: Organic Cloves, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Marigolds, Natural and Artificial Flavors

Flavor: This caffeine-free blend is quite delicate tasting, so much so that I could barely detect any flavor at all at first, except for the rooibos itself.

Once I quieted my mind and focused on my cup of tea, that is when I tasted real pumpkin pie. However, the flavor was quite elusive. Each cup seemed to reveal just one brilliant sip and then the brew became just a gentle swirl of sweet-spiciness with a hint of creaminess.

Overall, I liked this rooibos blend because it made me concentrate on the taste and nothing else. I will often drink a cup of brew will working, only stopping to take a sip, experience the flavor and move onward. But this tisane, demanded my full attention and for that I am grateful.

Preparation Tips: I used one heaping tablespoon (three teaspoons of rooibos) per eight ounces of boiling water and let steep for 5-7 minutes. Due to the elusive tastes in this tea, filtered water is a must. In addition, to keep all the tiny rooibos shreds from sneaking into your cup, consider using a Finum Brewing Basket. I really love mine!

Sample 3

Name: Santa’s Little Helper {Seasonal Only}

Category: Organic Puerh, Organic Black Tea

Santa's Little Helper

The Leaves: Dark chocolate colored leaves punctuated with tiny candy cane and pine tree sugar confections

Additions: Sugar Confections, Natural Flavors

Flavor: When I opened the sample pouch the leaves smelled of mint and dark chocolate, so I was pretty excited to brew up a cup. But, when I took my first sip, there was a musty taste that caught me off guard. If I hadn’t been willing to investigate further, I would have poured the rest of the concoction down the sink because I found the initial flavor to be quite displeasing to my untrained palate.

During my second attempt, the musty taste became more of an earthy flavor, which I assumed was the puerh talking to me. Not entirely dissuaded, I took a third sip and that is when I noticed the bittersweet dark chocolate note, the subtle sweetness and the cool minty finish.

After several more sips, I began to enjoy myself and started to notice the complexity in my cup. Each taste experience was slightly different and as the tea cooled the cocoa note became quite pronounced.

However, the musty-earthy taste continued to linger to the very last drop. This key taste is what will keep me from purchasing the Santa’s Little Helper in the future. But, I’m glad to have given it a try for something different.

Overall, this is a high quality blend, but for my personal tastes it wasn’t a winner.

Preparation Tips: As recommended on the Art of Tea website, I used water at 206F (just under boiling) and stepped the leaves for about 3-5 minutes. In addition, I found one-teaspoon per eight-ounces of water sufficient for a quality cup.

Sample 4

Name: Butterscotch  {Available Year-Round}

Category: Organic White Tea

Butterscotch

The Leaves: Beautiful green leaves with bits of yellow marigold petals, punctuated with round, pink peppercorns

Additions: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Pink Peppercorn, Organic Marigolds, Natural Flavors

Flavor: The leaves have an intriguing aroma, quite similar to butterscotch. I was expectant of a fascinating cup. But, I just never found it. Instead, I got a slightly sweet, light tasting tea that was satisfying, but not extraordinary.

The butterscotch flavor did play the leading role in each cup, but I could find little depth. I have to admit that I am not a connoisseur of white tea and perhaps someone with a better trained palate may find the complexity I was missing.

Although, there were moments when I had steeped the leaves just right and a nuance of creaminess was present. This added some character to the infusion.

I also discovered that if the leaves are steeped too long or in water that is too hot, this resulted in a bitter tasting brew. While it wasn’t displeasing, it was a tad bit annoying because I was trying to find that perfect cup that kept eluding me.

I’m not sure I would purchase this tea again, only because I would want to try other white teas first. But, for a white tea lover this may be a wonderful treat.

As with the other teas in this holiday sampler set, I am glad I stepped outside my comfort zone I gave something new a try, especially since I’ve tried so few white teas this past year.

Preparation Tips: Since there were no directions on the sample pouch other than a steep time of 3-5 minutes, I went to the Art of Tea website for more thorough instructions.

The website recommended a water temperature of 175-185F and a steep time of 1-3 minutes. I followed these instructions, playing around with variations. As suggested, I also used one heaping tablespoon per eight ounces of water; you’ll need this much Butterscotch for maximum flavor.

Art of Tea Sample Packaging

Due to the delicate tastes in this blend, filtered water is a must.

Packaging:

Each blend is packed in a resealable, foil-lined pouch. The four pouches come together in a kraft pillow box with decorative label and brown ribbon.

I love this packaging because not only does it make for a stunning presentation, but it also makes it perfect for gift giving any time of year.

Each sample contains around 1-2 ounces or 15-20 servings.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this holiday sample pack, or any of the other unique tea blends from Art of Tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Art of Tea main web page. Enjoy!

Art of Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Types of Tea: An Introduction (Video)

Enjoy this lively, quick video that will walk you through the six types of tea. Plus, a few tisanes too!

Watch it in full-screen mode to get the total, awesomeness effect from the types of tea video. Have fun!

Photo Credits:
Flickr.com/Creative Commons Attribution License ~
Camellia Sinensis: Gwydion Williams
Puer Tea: Teajournaling
Rooibos: Akuppa
Yerba Mate: Juan Pablo Olmo
Fruit Tea: Moonlightbulb

Fotolia.com/Standard License ~
White Tea: Esolheim
Yellow Tea: Delphimages
Herbal Tea: KateP

Wikipedia/Free Art License ~ Guayusa: Anna Premo
Wikipedia/GNU Free Documentation License ~ Oolong Tea: Lateasquirrel

A Girl With Tea ~
Green and Black Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Rooibos Tea Review: Persimmon Tree Tea Chocolate Banana

Chocolate Banana

Company/Brand Name: Persimmon Tree Tea

Name: Chocolate Banana

Category: Organic Fair Trade Rooibos Blend (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: An interesting display of red rooibos offset by reddish-pink peppercorns and noticeable chunks of chocolate. The aroma of the leaves is sweet and inviting.

Additions: Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Apple Bits, Organic Banana Chips, Pink Peppercorn, Chocolate, Natural Flavors

Flavor: A sweet treat that tastes of real banana, with a little spice, and just a hint of dark chocolate.

Overall: This rooibos blend is both complex and interesting; it definitely kept me interested cup after cup.

Tea Review:

My first cup of this tea was amazing. I couldn’t believe that the banana flavor actually tasted like real banana. I was quite impressed especially since I was prepared for this tea blend to taste like imitation banana.

Once I got over my initial delight, I found that the Chocolate Banana tea also had a touch of spice to it. Not a lot of spice, just enough to create some depth.

Next, I noticed just a hint of dark chocolate flavor. It wasn’t very pronounced; rather it stood in the background supporting the lead.

Lastly, there is a soft-creaminess that brings it all together brilliantly.

Persimmon Tree Tea Packaging

Packaging:

I really love how Persimmon Tree Tea packages their teas. Each tea is shipped  in a high-quality tin that has the name of the contents, as well as steeping instructions, right on the label. The tea canister even provides iced-tea instructions, if so desired.

I was also impressed by the presentation of the packaging. The tea canisters came nestled in brown paper shred, which made me feel as if I had just received a gift in the mail from a dear friend.

Preparation Tips:

According to the Persimmon Tree Tea canister, 1.5 teaspoons of tea is to be used per cup of water. The recommended steep time is 3 to 5 minutes in water that is 200F.

I usually prefer to use my six-ounce glass teapot for brewing up a single cup of tea. However, because this tea has many small rooibos shreds, I decided to use my new Finum Brewing Basket, which worked like a charm!

I also suggest using filtered water so as not to miss any of the nuances this tea can provide.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – Since this tea provides a low-caffeine cup, it is perfect for the evening when desiring a little something sweet as a nightcap.

Iced Tea – The Chocolate Banana tea is wonderful when chilled; it really brings out the spiciness of the tea.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the Persimmon Tree Tea web page. Enjoy!

Persimmon Tree Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: Yes

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Rooibos Tea Review: The NecessiTeas Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Company/Brand Name: The NecessiTeas

Name: Carrot Cake

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: A beautiful display of red rooibos with noticeable chunks of dried carrot, cinnamon stick, coconut curls and walnuts, with a green cardamom pod or two.

Additions: Real Carrot, Cinnamon, Coconut, Maple Crumble, Walnuts, Natural Flavors (from label on bottom of tea tin)

Flavor: A highly-flavorful, creamy and sweet blend that has just enough spice to pull it all together.

Overall: I am a big fan of real carrot cake, but don’t like the calories. So, when I heard how good the Carrot Cake tea from The NecessiTeas was, I just had to give it a try. I’m glad I did!

Tea Review:

When I first opened the lid of the tea canister and took a whiff, I was spellbound by the sweet and spicy scent. I couldn’t wait to brew up a cup, so I did. No delayed gratification for this girl!

Once I took my first sip, I knew I had made a wise purchase.

At first the fragrant aroma of the brew helps to enhance the sweet taste, which is simply tantalizing. Then the spice kicks in, but not too much, just enough to make this blend quite captivating. To round it all out is an impressive creaminess that gets even more pronounced as the tea cools.

The finish is spicy and creamy. The spiciness leaves a little tingle on my tongue and the creamy texture lingers reminding me of the delicious treat I had just sampled.

The flavor of cinnamon really stood out for me, but I wasn’t able to detect the carrot, walnut and coconut flavors individually. Instead, they seemed to all came together, complementing each other quite brilliantly.

The result is a delightful blend that even won the heart of this hard-core, black tea lover.

As a sip this tea, I am reminded to slow down and enjoy each sip, because just like this Carrot Cake tea, life can be sweet too.

The NecessiTeas Tea Canister

Packaging:

I usually like to “test drive” new teas by ordering a sample size. But, I had read so many positive comments about this tea that I decided to go all out and purchased a 4-ounce size.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my tea purchase came in a silver canister with stylish label. Sweet!

Preparation Tips:

On the bottom of the tea canister, it was recommended using one heaping teaspoon per 8-ounces of boiling water and a steep time of five minutes. I ended up using about two level teaspoons per cup.

Usually, I use my six-ounce glass teapot for brewing up a single cup of tea, but since this tea has many small rooibos shreds, I decided to use a Finum Brewing Basket. This worked quite well, keeping all the little particles in the basket and all the taste in my cup!

Although, I do recommend filtered water, instead of tap water, to really enjoy all the nuances this tea can provide.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – This Carrot Cake tea is definitely sweet enough for a delicious calorie-free indulgence anytime of the day. Since rooibos is naturally caffeine-free, this blend won’t keep you up at night.

Iced Tea – I also tried this tea iced, just to see how it would taste chilled. The smell isn’t quite as aromatic as when the tea is hot, but it still retains its wonderful sweet and spicy flavor. I think this will make for an interesting treat come summer.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to The NecessiTeas web page. Enjoy!

The NecessiTeas

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Rooibos Tea Review: Teavana Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Zingiber Ginger Coconut

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown, but rooibos is native to South Africa

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Coconut Chips, Ginger Bits, Cinnamon, Apples, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Almonds

Flavor: A spicy, slightly sweet, aromatic tea that also has a touch of creaminess

Overall: Ginger and spice and everything nice, describes this rooibos tea blend perfectly. I really enjoyed the overall experience, which was entertaining and unique. Yet, this is not a tea I would gravitate to daily. Although, it does provide a nice departure from the mundane.

Tea Review:

First off, I have to say that the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos leaves have a complex bouquet that has a fruity-spiciness that makes the smell both energizing and mesmerizing.

Quite frankly, the smell is addictive. I would find myself opening the tea canister several times per day just to take a whiff of paradise. Not only does this tea pack a punch with its sweet, exotic fragrance, it is also beautiful to admire.

It’s not the kind of tea that you look at and say, “Yeah, that’s tea.” It’s a blend that has you standing there for several inquisitive minutes trying to comprehend what you see in front of you.

Like a fine painting, where each individual brush stroke creates the resulting masterpiece, this tea cannot be understood by studying each ingredient. It needs to be appreciated for the elegant combination that creates the final product.

When I finally get around to steeping a cup, the room fills with a wonderfully warm and enchanting aroma that heightens my anticipation for the first sip.

When I finally took my first sip, I was quite disappointed. The tea seemed quite weak tasting compared to the almost overpowering fragrance of the tea blend. But then, the fieriness kicks in and I taste a hint of ginger mingling with other spices.

Way in the background, a subtle hint of fruitiness reveals itself. The coconut makes an appearance too, as an ever so slight texture of creaminess.

Based on the intriguing aroma of the tea, I was quite expecting a sweet-fruity flavor to be playing the leading role, instead it was the understudy. It was the spice that truly stole the show and became the star.

As it turns out, the flavor profile is just as interesting and intricate as the aroma; it’s just much more delicate and elusive. The taste doesn’t provide the “Wow!” factor I was anticipating. Yet, still an interesting tea that is worth a try.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos from the Teavana store at the Mall of America, where I was swept off my feet by its visual appeal and intoxicating fragrance. I decided to purchase a Washi tin to house this tea to keep it fresh.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the label given to me when I had purchased the tea, but the Teavana website also provides excellent directions: Use 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of water. Heat water to just boiling (208F) and steep for 5-6 minutes.

This tea blend can be a little tricky to brew because the rooibos is tiny, especially compared to the huge curls of coconut. Therefore, I highly recommend using a Finum Brewing Basket to contain all the rooibos shreds.

Additional Notes:

Iced tea – As the tea cools, it becomes less spicy and a bit more fruity and creamy. I’ve found that I much prefer this tea when it is mixed with a basic black tea and then chilled.

Dessert Tea – A delightful spicy blend, that reminded me a bit of spice cake.

Other – This tea blend is caffeine-free, making it a perfect evening treat.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea or shop for over 100 types of other healthy, gourmet teas, as well as teapots and other  accessories, then click the link below. Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Teavana

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.