Archive for the ‘herbal tea’ Category

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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Safari LullabyI am always excited to crack open a new box, tin, or foil package of tea.  For a moment I simply sit with my eyes closed and inhale the dry aroma. There is nothing else I can draw on from the recesses of my memory that smells quite as soothing as tea leaves. Whether the tea is flavored, unflavored or blended is irrelevant.  Others may disagree, and perhaps I have a bit of free association going on, but I’m okay with that. While I have never visited a tea plantation, when enjoying dry tea’s perfume, I sometimes find myself imagining the plantation from whence the tea originated. Even now, I am reminiscing about the smell of Safari Lullaby, the subject of today’s tea review.

Composition: Rooibos, Chamomile, Spearmint, Lemon Grass, Valerian, natural flavors.

Dry Visual: Because the tea came prepackaged in a tea bag, I was unable to get a clear view of tea. Interesting fact from the retailer – the tea bags are made of unbleached Manila hemp and unbleached wood pulp – very eco-friendly. Nevertheless, what I could see were flecks of yellow, green, and red – a representation of the the ingredients.

Dry Aroma: Safari Lullaby has a sweet, somewhat citrus, mildly minty aroma.  There was a hint of its floral nature.

Flavor:  The flavor of Safari Lullaby and the dry aroma almost mimic one another with one exception – I was unable to detect the lemony taste of lemongrass.  However, the sweet nutty flavor of rooibos and the floral quality of chamomile were easily discernible. This tea has a mild soothing taste. No one flavor overpowers the other, but blend wonderfully to form this brew. A personal lover of mint, it would have been nice if the mint presented itself a bit more robustly, but then again, its spearmint not peppermint.

Not an ounce of astringency was detected thus Safari Lullaby could be enjoyed without sweetener. However, next cup I may be adventurous and add either Sugar in The Raw or Adagio Sugar Crystals to test the impact on the flavor profile.

Liquor: A burnt orange/rusty hue.

Brewing Time: As I was unable to locate the recommended steeping time for Safari Lullaby, I relied upon my past experience with rooibos which typically requires a 5 – 7 minute steep time. After 5 minutes, I tasted and decided to steep for 7 minutes.

Manufacturer: Kalahari Red Tea

Caffeine: No.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Safari Lullaby, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!


180px-Valeriana_officinalisWhat is Valerian?

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers. The flowers are in bloom in the northern hemisphere from June to September. Valerian was used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.  Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Valerian has been introduced into North America. Valerian is used for certain effects including sedation.

References:  Valerian (herb). (2009, July 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:39, July 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Valerian_(herb)&oldid=303383954

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Coco ChaiWhile many people think of iced tea as the method of choice for drinking tea, you will find here on Tea Escapade that I will continue to drink hot tea. There is something wonderful about holding a steaming cup of tea in my hands and inhaling the wonderful, steaming aroma of tea. Watching whole leaf teas unfurl and the enveloping sense of peace that comes from sitting still for even just a moment. Today’s tea choice… CoCo Chai Tea

Composition: Rooibos, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, red peppercorns, shredded coconut, natural flavors.

Dry Visual: Very color like potpourri – with reds, and yellows, rust and light brown. Various textures as well, from the bark like appearance of rooibos to the circular peppercorns to the actual strips of coconut instead of coconut flavoring. Thanks Mighty Leaf Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Sweet and spicy – coconut and cardamom dominate with a hint of cinnamon. There is nothing quite like the smell of chai – in all of its many varieties the aroma steals the show.

Flavor:  An herbal tea,  CoCo Chai is absolutely delicious. While I tend to not drink a great deal of flavored teas, it is always nice to incorporate one into my tea routine. The rooibos dominates this brew with its nutty flavor and is complimented by hints of spiciness. As alluded to in the dry aroma, I found the coconut  flavor had a significant presence in the flavor profile from start to finish. This was followed by the combined tastes of cardamom and cinnamon. I was unable to distinguish the taste of the peppercorns initially – perhaps that had something to do with the fact that I was unsure what they were supposed to taste like.  Of course, I reopened the tea blend, found a peppercorn and popped it in my mouth. It was peppery but sweet. After eating the peppercorn and taking another sip of CoCo Chai, I could definitely taste its subtle influence.

One could easily drink CoCo Chai without sweetener as there is no astringency whatsoever.  However, I found that I preferred adding a little but of sugar. In my opinion sweetener softens what I would describe the “tart” nature of Rooibus.

Liquor: A bold rustic hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for CoCo Chai is 5 to 7  minutes in 202 degree water (or a rolling boil).  I steeped for 7 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Mighty Leaf Tea

Caffeine: No.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of CoCo Chai, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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35026azoomI think I have been drinking flavored tea for over a week, today was no exception. While at work, running from one meeting to the next, I had a serious craving for a cup of tea, yet no time to fool around with the contraptions required to steep loose tea. Hence I found myself, earnestly searching for a tea bag to satisfy my thirst. Luckily, I was carrying around a couple of Chocolate Mint Truffle tea bags. The joy of loose tea with the convenience of a tea bag. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement.

Composition: Rooibos leaves, mint, cacao nibs, natural chocolate flavors. Cacao nibs are cleaned, roasted, winnowed and lightly crushed cacao beans. (Their taste is nicely bittersweet, and they have the crunchy, toasty flavor derived from nuts.)

Dry Visual: A mix of color – red, green, and brown – encased in a 100% biodegradable silken sachet. Thanks Mighty Leaf Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: A delicious chocolate and mint mix – liquid peppermint patty.

Flavor: Chocolate Mint Truffle is a very unique tea. Initially when steeped and tasted, I found the rooibos to be the dominate flavor. Followed by mint in the middle and finished by a hint of chocolate. My first few sips indicated Chocolate Mint Truffle to be naturally sweet – sweetener was not necessary.  Because of the name, I was somewhat surprised by the mild chocolate flavor. This prompted me to add sweetener – nothing exciting like Sugar Crystals or Sugar-In-The-Raw, just plain white sugar. WOW! Chocolate Mint truffle was transformed into an amazing dessert tea. The chocolate flavor was simply amazing and incredibly robust – almost like drinking a cup of hot chocolate with a hint of mint. Chocolate Mint Truffle is delicious!

Liquor: A rich amber  hue.

Brewing Time: It is recommended that Organic Southern Belle is steeped for 5 – 7 minutes at a temperature of 205 degrees. I steeped for 5 minutes.

Manufacturer: Mighty Leaf Tea

Caffeine: No

If you have had the joy of drinking a cup of Chocolate Mint Truffle, stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Organic Cinnamon PlumHappy New Year!!! I believe this is my first tea review for 2009 and I am excited. Sad, but true, the end of December 2008 and beginning of January 2009 was rough. Not only was I plagued with a head/sinus cold, both my hubby and step-son traded viruses. Drinking tea was wonderfully therapeutic, but writing about it was not. Now that everyone is healed, I’m back to my old tricks and ready to review. Today’s choice… Organic Cinnamon Plum Tea.

Composition: Organic cinnamon, organic Fair Trade Certified™ hibiscus, organic currants, organic licorice root, natural plum flavor.

Dry Visual: A medley of colors from golds to browns to reds to purples – absolutely beautiful to behold. 

Dry Aroma: A combination of both spicy and fruity, Organic Cinnamon Plum smells scrumptious!

Flavor: As the dry aroma suggests, Organic Cinnamon Plum has both a spicy and fruity quality. It is full-bodied with the taste of currant and plum dominating the brew as well as adding bitterness. (I’m sure the hibiscus acted as an accomplice, contributing to the bitterness as well.) Cinnamon is present adding a subtle yet sweet character to the tea. Not a lover of black licorice flavors, I was surprised by how well it was blended into Organic Cinnamon Plum. Its presence was known, but not overpowering.

I found it necessary to add a sweetener to Organic Cinnamon Plum – my choice was Sugar-In-The-Raw. After adding, the bitterness was completely eliminated illuminating the fruity nature of the blend. I found the currant and plum flavors enjoyable.

Liquor: A vibrant raspberry color.

Brewing: It is recommended that 1 tablespoon of Organic Cinnamon Plum is steeped for 5 minutes in boiling water. I steeped as recommended.

Manufacturer: Rishi Tea

Caffeine: No

As always, it is a wonderful experience to sample a new tea. If you have had an opportunity to taste Organic Cinnamon Plum, please stop by and share your thoughts.  Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Today was the day for doing things that make no sense. Last Friday, I purchased a fish entree from the Kroger Marketplace near my home on a recommendation from my mother. Okay… sidebar… The Kroger Marketplace near my house has wine tastings every Friday and Saturday night. Bizarre? Additionally, there is a chef who makes entrees for purchase by the patrons of the wine tastings. Bizarre? Also, there are tables and chairs set-up for all of the patrons. Bizarre? For those of you who don’t live in the Midwest, the Kroger Marketplace is a grocery store and there are regulars who meet for wine tasting every Friday and Saturday night. There’s even a server and they both dress in black and white uniforms. Bizarre? The regulars include my mother… hence the recommendation.

Now back to doing dumb things… Today, almost a week later, I decided to eat the fish entree I purchased last Friday. Why? Is, “it looked really tasty”, a good excuse? So, I ate the fish and started on the carrots that were included in the entree. Not only did the carrots taste odd, I developed major nausea within minutes. So bad that even the smell of the leftover food in the trash made me feel like I was going to vomit. It was at that moment that I wanted nothing more than a hot cup of tea to soothe my sick stomach. I decided on Organic Peppermint Tea.

Composition: 100% Organic Peppermint

Dry Visual: Very green broken peppermint leaves. No other details available as Organic Peppermint is loose tea in a biodegradable sachet.

Dry Aroma: Absolutely minty!

Flavor: A true lover of Peppermint Tea I eagerly anticipated my first sip and I must say Organic Peppermint tea did not disappoint. Truly minty, this tea was robust from the first sip to the last. Leaving a soft peppermint aftertaste. There was no need to add sweetener – I was able to enjoy Organic Peppermint tea pure. Not only was it delicious, Organic Peppermint soothed my stomach and eliminated the nausea. 

Liquor: A golden brown – leaning more towards brown.

Brewing Time: Recommended brewing time is 1 – 3 minutes. I brewed Organic Peppermint for the recommended 2 minutes.

Manufacturer: Two Leaves and A Bud

Caffeine: No.

The next time you think about eating week old fish… DON’T! But, even after my sage advice you decide to do so anyway, please be sure to have a cup of Organic Peppermint tea close by. It will soothe your stomach and produce a great cuppa tea.

If you have had an opportunity to experience a cup of Organic Peppermint tea, stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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After my traumatic weekend without tea, I redeemed myself with two delicious cups on Monday. First thing, I opted for a new favorite, White Peony. However, last night, I decided to go with something new… Blueberry Cocktail.  The very name got me excited.

Composition: Blueberries, grapes, hibiscus, beetroot, berry leaves, black currants, and natural flavors. I always wonder what the vendor means by “natural flavors”. As opposed to what?

Dry Visual: Blueberry Cocktail reminds me of a high fruit content trail-mix. The blueberries, grapes, and black currants really stand out and are complimented by the rest of the ingredients. Thanks Dragonwater for the great picture!

Dry Aroma: Scrumptious! The smell of berries was absolutely delicious – I was tempted to grab a handful and taste. Okay truthfully? I am still tempted.

Flavor: While not a huge lover of fruit teas, I was pleasantly surprised by Blueberry Cocktail. After the delicious smell of the dry tea, I was fearful of being disappointed by the taste.  I assure you, Blueberry Cocktail held its own. I could immediately taste the various berries – especially the blueberries and grapes. The other ingredients were masked, but I cannot say I expected anything different. My initial taste was without sweetener and there was a slight tartness evident. However, I added about a level teaspoon of Sugar-In-The-Raw and Blueberry Cocktail was completely transformed. The sweetener eliminated the tartness and enhanced the natural sweetness of the tea. It was delicious.

As is my custom, after drinking about 3/4 cup, I allowed the remaining 1/4 cup cool. My final recommendation? Blueberry Cocktail would make an awesome flavored sweet tea. 

Liquor: A rich, dark purple. Almost the color of eggplant, but not quite.

Brewing Time: Recommended brewing time is 3- 5 minutes. I brewed for 4 minutes, but question the intensity of the flavor if brewed for 1 additional minute. I’ll try 5 minutes the next time I brew Blueberry Cocktail.

Manufacturer: Dragonwater.

Caffeine: No.

If you are looking to make a break from the ordinary, you may want to give Blueberry Cocktail a try. Hot or cold, I think you will be impressed if you enjoy fruit flavored teas. Stop by and share you experience, if you have already tasted Blueberry Cocktail. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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