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Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

Back in November of last year (2009) I began a new Sunday morning routine.  Hot Vinyasa Yoga followed by a Starbuck’s Orange Mango Vivanno Smoothie with matcha.  If you have never taken a hot yoga class, picture this… an enclosed yoga studio filled with 25 plus yogis and the heat cranked up anywhere between 95 to 100 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Only one word appropriately describes the experience – INTENSE! Upon completion, I have had the workout of my life, not to mention I am incredibly hot, dripping with sweat, and invigorated.  A few hours later, I love to sit and enjoy a hot cup of tea. Today’s choice Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement.

Composition: Green tea, white tea (Bai Mu Dan), eleuthero root, alfalfa leaf, stevia leaf, natural lemon and orange flavors with other natural flavors (contains soy lecithin), rosehips, and roasted chicory.

Dry Visual: It is difficult to tell as the tea is contained in tea bags.  From what I can tell, the leaves appear to be fannings. Thanks to Celestial Seasonings for the photo.

Dry Aroma: The tea bag inhibited my ability to develop an impression of the dry aroma.  However, after steeping the leaves had a strong citrus aroma with orange and lemon dominating.

Flavor: Consistent with the wet aroma Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a definite citrus flavor followed by the distinct floral tastes of roses.  As the cup begins to cool, the chicory presents itself in the middle – significantly, yet not overpowering. With the various flavors of citrus, chicory, and floral I was unable to easily discern the green and white tea flavors.  Green tea is the predominant tea ingredient; however, Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement is not vegetal.

Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup. I drank the first cup without sugar – the stevia leaf provided a delicate sweetness.  In the second cup I added Sugar-In-The-Raw to see the impact of the sweetener on the slightly tart citrus flavors.  Interestingly, I found the chicory came alive with the addition of sweetener. I prefer drinking Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement without a sweetener.  As a side note, many say ground roasted chicory can be used as a coffee substitute. I say it tastes like black licorice. You tell me…

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow liquid with a reddish hue.

Brewing Time: Celestial Seasonings recommends steeping Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement in boiling water for 2 minutes.  I steeped both cups for the requisite 2 minutes.

Manufacturer: Celestial Seasonings

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

What is Eleuthero?

Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly Acanthopanax senticosus) is a species of small, woody shrub in the family Araliaceae native to Northeastern Asia. It is commonly called eleuthero, and was previously marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng as it has similar herbal properties to those of Panax ginseng. However, it belongs to a different genus in the family Araliaceae.

Reference: Eleutherococcus senticosus. (2010, April 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:19, April 18, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eleutherococcus_senticosus&oldid=354779930

**Tea was provided by Celestial Seasonings as a sample.

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White Masala Chai 2To be fair, I must start this post off stating that I am completely biased when it comes to Chai – I simply love it.  Even though, I do not profess to be enamored with black tea, there is something special about a cup of Chai. A traditional drink from India, I was first introduced many years ago to Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks.  At that time I thought, who drinks tea with milk in it? Surprisingly, the taste was amazing. As my interest in tea blossomed into loose tea, I stopped purchasing the Starbucks version and began making my own with blends purchased from Harney and Sons initially and later Yogic Chai. Yogic Chai, really opened my eyes to the possibilities of Chai. Especially when I discovered White Masala Chai - the subject of today’s tea review. 

Composition: Organic Bai Mu Dan (white tea), Organic Cinnamon, Organic Green Cardamom, Organic Cloves, Organic Ginger

Dry Visual: An amazing blend of dark and green broken and whole leaves and buds. A mixture of small yellow, orange, green, and brown chunks of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Some stems are present. Many thanks to Yogic Chai for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Sweet yet spicy – absolutely delicious to inhale.

Flavor:  Never having the opportunity to drink a cup of White Masala Chai, I was truly intrigued by what this experience might bring. I must admit that I really enjoyed this tea. Unlike a traditional Chai made with black tea (most often Assam) White Masala Chai is not pungent or powerful tasting tea. This is not to be construed with a lack of flavor. Characteristic of white teas, the tea in this brew was mild yet flavorful. The addition of the spices – cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon were definitely evident, but blended in proportion to the strength of the Bai Mu Dan. White Masala Chai is natually sweet and spicy.

A couple of things to note: There was no astringency and no sweetener is required (Yogic Chai even recommends not adding sweetener) – I did drink both with and without sugar. I preferred with sugar, because the flavor of the spices were enhanced. Additionally, milk is not recommended nor was it added – a common way of preparing Chai. The mildness of the Bai Mu Dan could not stand up against the power of milk. White Masala Chai is full-bodied or as some like to say heavy in the mouth, but smooth. 

Liquor: A rich gold hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 2 – 3 if the ingredients are allowed to come to boil  in a small pot. Unfortunately, I was at work and without kitchen amenities. Thus I steeped for 10 minutes tasting at intervals in water less than 190 degrees F.

Manufacturer: Yogic Chai

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of White Masala Chai, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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img_1014Periodically, I like to add sweetener to my tea – typically only to black tea or even better southern style sweet tea. There was a time when I only used old faithful white sugar. Some would say that I graduated to honey. While honey is tasty I found the taste distorted the flavor of my tea. In an effort to discover the perfect sweetener that enhanced the flavor of the tea instead of detracting from it, I began using Sugar-In-The-Raw. I cannot say there was a compelling reason for trying Sugar-In-The-Raw other than ,”Starbucks uses it”. Then recently, I discovered Sugar Crystals by Adagio Teas.

What are Sugar Crystals? According to Adagio Teas website, these crystals are sugar in its purest form. “Adding a few sugar crystals will sweeten tea without distorting its flavor profile, pleasing both your sweet tooth and taste buds.” After reading, I knew I had to place an order. When I opened the container, I laughed. Adagio’s Sugar Crystals look like the rock candy I used to eat as a child. Large chunks of amber colored sugar crystals in varying sizes. Eaten alone the crystals are hard and crunchy with a natural sweetness.

I decided to brew a cup of tea and give these Sugar Crystals a try. With a steaming cup of tea in hand, I added several crystals. One note, the crystals do not dissolve immediately, but require a few moments of continuous stirring to fully melt down. I found my tea wonderfully sweetened. There was no aftertaste as with artificial sweeteners like Equal or  Sweet and Low. In addition, no distortion, like honey – I was pleasantly pleased.

In consideration of the fact that Sugar Crystals are sugar in its purest form, I was surprised by the amount needed to sweeten my tea. My assumption was that the crystals would be very potent, however they were not. In contrast, Sugar Crystals by Adagio teas are quite mild. Perhaps this is how sugar was always meant to be.

Just a few details…

Adagio Tea’s Sugar Crystals can be purchased in two different sizes – a sample size for $3.00 and 16 ounces for $9.00.(I purchased the sample size,img_1013 which has lasted longer than I ever anticipated.)  In addition, the Sugar Crystals come in both amber and white. Visit Adagio Teas for more information about this spectacular accessory to your tea collection.

If you currently use Sugar Crystals, stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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My Saturday morning tea was Organic Mountain High Chai Tea. A lover of chai tea, I could not wait to taste and remininsce about my first loose tea experience. It was Indian Spice (a yummy chai tea) from Harney and Sons. So with eager anticipation, I tore open the see-through pouch containing the nylon tea sachet.

Composition: Organic Single Region Assam black tea, Organic cinnamon, Organic cardamom seed, Organic cloves, organic orange peel, natural flavor.

Dry Visual: Full of earth tones Organic Mountain High Chai contained a mixture of oranges, browns, and creams. I could not discern any additional characteristics as this is loose tea in a biodegradable nylon sachet.

Dry Aroma: Yummy! A distinct aromatic spiciness characteristic of chai teas. 

Flavor: Organic Mountain High Chai Tea was flavorful, yet a bit milder than I expected. The various spices blended together well giving a true chai tea experience. I initially sipped without sweetener and found Organic Mountain High Chai Tea to be naturally sweet. However, as a true lover of chai, my cuppa tea just wasn’t right without some sort of sweetener – at a minimum. Adding Sugar-In-the Raw enhanced my chai experience. While I would have loved to incorporate milk or cream, Organic Mountain Chai was not robust enough to add.

Liquor: A reddish-brown hue.

Brewing Time: Recommended brewing time is 3 minutes. Initially I brewed for the recommended 3 minutes, but added an additional 2 minutes.

Manufacturer: Two Leaves and A Bud

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have never enjoyed chai tea, let me first tell you that the word “chai” is Hindi for tea. There are no other teas I would add both milk and a sweetener to other than chai. The complexity in taste is amazing. Some call the concoction “chai tea latte” (like Starbucks) I usually drop the latte. Sounds too much like coffee. :-)

So, if you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Organic Mountain High Chai Tea please stop by and comment. I would love to hear your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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