Review: Tiesta Tea Maui Mango

Mango Tea, Marigold Tea, Orange Tea, Safflower Tea, Strawberry Tea, Tiesta Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It drinks more like a juice than a tea, and is certainly much more satisfying than any of the many watery, insipid tisanes that are on the market"
Vanessa’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 8.75/10
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Maui Mango is a tisane that should be sampled by any tropical fruit lover. This tea is loaded with tropical mango and pineapple, as well as healthy amounts of orange, strawberry, safflowers, and marigolds. The sizes of the fruit pieces was really commendable- huge chunks of pineapple and mango and entire slices of orange. The scent of this tea is fantastic- it really gives a bold fruit aroma. I prepared this tisane as I do with just about every other tisane: boiling water and a generously long steep time. I just knew that this was destined to be an iced tea, so I brewed mine with more than twice the amount of fruit as I would normally use, then watered down the hot brew with lots of ice cubes. The result was a tall glass of a yellow-colored tea that was lip-licking delicious. The mango is certainly one of the key players in the flavor category, but the pineapple is also very present as one of the starring roles. While the mango does lend a sweetness to the tea, it is the syrupy sweetness of the pineapple that is most prominent. The other fruits (orange and strawberry) are less important, although still noticeable on the palate. The flowers were not overly strong (thankfully), but did nicely balance out all of the sweet, fruit flavors. I am usually not a tisane person, but I have to say that Tiesta Tea’s offerings, particularly this Maui Mango, are really winning me over. Other tisanes I have had are weak and flavorless, even after ten minute infusions, but this Maui Mango is bold and full of flavor. It drinks more like a juice than a tea, and is certainly much more satisfying than any of the many watery, insipid tisanes that are on the market. As summer is just about to roll around, this is an ideal choice for iced teas, and is a must-try for any pineapple or mango lover.

— To purchase Tiesta Tea Maui Mango, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Vanessa Vanessa
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Reviews: Jing Tea Chai

Anise Tea, Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Ginger Tea, JING Tea, Spiced Tea No Comments »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Cinnamon was very much the centerpiece of this blend. The smoothness of the black tea is very enjoyable and blends beautifully with cinnamon, ginger and the milk of your choosing."
Jamie’s Teaview: 7.5/10
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Jing’s chai is expressed in a palette of warm golds, browns, tans and ochres. Fat long leaves of Ceylon complement big pieces of split and broken cinnamon and ginger chunks. I wasn’t able to locate an exact ingredient list at Jing’s website, but cinnamon and ginger are obvious enough and Jing mentions star anise and cardamom as additional ingredients. Pepper and clove seemed absent from this blend, according to my eye, tongue and nose, but I can’t verify this for certain.

The smell of this blend is smooth and warming – spicy to be sure, but lacking the heat I associate with pepper and strong ginger in some chai blends. This tea blend is more spicy in a soothing, cinnamon potpourri sort of way, and I’m reminded of homemade spiced applesauce. A comforting scent wafts out during the brewing – loaded with cinnamon.

I brewed this chai using about four teaspoons of tea to 24 ounces of water with some liquid stevia and 6 ounces of soy milk added toward the end of brewing. I brought the blend to a boil and then immediately reduced the heat to allow a 4 minute simmer. At that point I added soy milk and sweetener and brought back to a simmer for another minute. This chai is very cinnamon-y, perhaps more so than any chai I’ve tried previously. Mild in the spice load but full of flavor and with a very nice black tea chosen for the background, this is a wonderfully warming tea that makes me feel cozy. The soy milk (or whatever milk you choose) adds a creamy smooth body and complements the spiced tea flavor, bringing out the ginger and cinnamon.

This particular chai I think would appeal very strongly to those who are a bit shy of very spicy chai blends. I couldn’t detect any pepper in the mix – so it lacked that heat. Ginger is present in the tea to be sure, but it isn’t a spicy ginger that leaves a heat in the mouth. Ginger and cinnamon are the particular spices that are most forward and to me this tea was more in the realm of a warming autumnal spice tea than what I typically associate with chai. Cardamom is noted in the ingredients, but it seems to blend into the flavor profile – I really couldn’t pick it out. Pepper and clove were absent or so muted that I couldn’t detect them.

For a hot and spicy chai lover, this blend might seem too subtle. If you are a particular lover of pepper inclusive chai, I think you will be somewhat disappointed. Those seeking a creamy, sweet and smooth chai blend that doesn’t have to be highly spicy, this will be very pleasing indeed. And those who dislike strongly spicy chai, again, this will do well. This would also be an excellent option for anyone who just enjoys trying tasty chai blends or for an evening where you wanted a warm, cinnamon spice drink to sip either with or without milk.

I enjoyed this blend, though in terms of chai choices, I missed a bit more heat in the ginger, the flavors of cardamom and the absence of notable pepper flavor. While very enjoyable, in this blend cinnamon was so much the centerpiece that it was hard for me to distinguish other flavors aside from ginger. I suppose that the predominance of cinnamon and relative absence of certain spices (even clove, and I’m not a huge fan of clove) made this chai taste less chai to me and more like a spice tea…which I guess is what chai really is! Check it out, you won’t be sorry, even if it isn’t a recipe exactly to your specifications. The smoothness of the black tea is very enjoyable and blends beautifully with milk and cinnamon.

— To purchase Reviews: Jing Tea Chai, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Jamie Jamie
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Review: The Necessiteas Lemon Raspberry

Green Tea, Lemon Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Raspberry Tea, The Necessiteas No Comments »
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Perky rather than puckery, the tea is full of lemon without the tang but with enough flowery raspberry flourish for a sassy sip."
Raven’s Teaview: 7.4/10
Other Teaviews: Stephen gave it 7.5/10, Lea gave it 8.5/10, Laura gave it 8/10, Katie gave it 7.4/10, Geoff gave it 7.5/10, Vanessa gave it 8.2/10, Dan gave it 8.9/10, Erika gave it 6/10
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necessiteas-lemon-raspberry.jpgThere may be marriages made in heaven but so too are there matches made in Tropicana land as it seems every blushing berry bride has been paired with a gallivanting citrus groom. Strawberry and lime, cranberry and orange and lemon and raspberry (Although there may be a case for polygamy with lemon and blueberry and in the usual rounds, grapefruit would likely go stag). Just as eye catching, as appealing combos, they seem natural matches to have at the tea altar in the wedding months of summer to refresh and engage. The Necessiteas Lemon Raspberry is such a contender for a tart sweet sip. Not only from a company that flaunts its flavouring wiles so adeptly, a green tea is a fun backdrop for the pair rather than a more traditional black.

So with the wedding march bopping through my head, a first glimpse at the tea reveals less of the duo than I anticipated. Amidst the herb sized dark army green leaf pieces of the green tea, are beige and tan lemongrass pieces and fewer golden orange lemon rind cubes to add some visual interest but it doesn’t really scream lemon raspberry, nor could I find any whole raspberries as mentioned in the tea’s description on The Necessiteas website. There’s no worries there though once the scent of the leaves hits one’s nostrils. The bouquet does a surprisingly good job of conveying lemon’s tang in a completely non-Pledge way that is quite unique in its closeness to concentrated lemon juice. The full scent reminds me of RealLemon with a more intense zeal than the herbal lemon of lemongrass or lemon balm, often found in teas, or as rounded, like lemon drops. Yet, the tea’s aroma is quite floral, in a talcum powder kind of way which may be accentuated by straw notes from the green tea base although it is otherwise pretty quiet, without any discernible green or grassy notes. The floral adds a bit of raspberriness to the aroma in an abstract way as it seems to combine gardenia like powdery scents that along with the lemon seem a bit like Febreeze. Although I miss raspberry jamminess or fruitiness, it is lemony and then some. Plus, the bouquet certainly has personality that is none too shy, which can often be a disappointment in flavoured blends.

So off to the I do of the brew, I steeped the tea as kindly included on the package of the tea. With one rounded teaspoon of the tea and less than boiling water, which was 175°F, for three minutes. Emerging from the steep, the cup is full of sunshine with a dark lemony ochre hue rather befitting cooked lemon juice. Quite aromatic, the scent also shines as lemon bursts from a pretty backdrop. Sweetening, the lemon aroma becomes more enticing as it opens with a chiffon like veil that isn’t as dry or severe as the dry leaves and seems more like lemon balm with the light grassy notes of the green tea. The prettiness draws from the raspberry floral that builds on the bouquet but still doesn’t scream raspberry or fruitiness.

However, the flavour is quite a surprise while also seeming to find a better marriage between the lemon and raspberry than the bouquet. With an awakening boost of flavour, the surprise is the abundance of lemon in the sip without the sour. The completeness of the flavour is delightful, having a straw like medium body full of a natural lemon, yet the lack of tang is a bit strange. Though natural tasting, the lemon is also slightly mineral in a silica or powdered crystals kind of way, combining a sweetness of lemon balm with a lemon concentrate quality, rather than a lemon zest kind of lemon. Yet there’s more than just lemon in the sip, as the raspberry falls in behind.

While the raspberry flavour is a bit more berry-like than in the aroma, it still seems more floral than fruity, but doesn’t seem overly fabricated. Yet the raspberry resounds more in the aftertaste than the body, as the sip ends in a medium finish surrounded with a lovely raspberry rigor on one’s tongue and sweetening one’s breath.

After such a lively first cup, a second steeping of the leaves is irresistible. And it doesn’t disappoint as the aroma remains vibrant. Similar to the first brew, the bouquet is sweet and lemony. The lemon is still a bit powdery, like dry lemonade, while it zings from the gardenia or white musk kind of floral of the raspberry scent. More comes through from the green tea though, as a chard like vegetal chimes into the bouquet. Wonderfully, the flavour also remains ample, as more of the lemongrass seems to define the lemon flavour. Along with more of the green tea piping up, there’s a reedy green lining to the citrusy wholesomeness, as the flowery raspberry rounds out the flavour and fancies a lighter aftertaste. The green tea also increases the dryness and astringency adding a slight tinniness that is on the verge of sharp. A third steeping also retains enough gusto in aroma and flavour to enjoy. Although there’s hardly an aftertaste, there’s still some sweetness to the scent with more of a lemon concentrate twang to the citrus and a touch of soapiness to the raspberry flavour.

The Necessiteas Lemon Raspberry does wed lemon and raspberry into a merry match. There’s plenty of love in the gregarious bouquet and full hearted flavour that could hold its own against the summer breezes. While the lemon seems to take the lead, both do join hands along the aisle of the modest green tea which is a pleasing proof of promise. Their harmony isn’t quite the juicy, fruitiness one might think of the pair but together, they certainly offer a radiant, peppy blend to make one happily ever after…at least until the last sip.

— To purchase The Necessiteas Lemon Raspberry, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Raven Raven
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Review: Tiesta Tea Fruity Pebbles

Dragonwell Tea, Green Tea, Papaya Tea, Passion Fruit Tea, Pineapple Tea, Rose Tea, Sencha Tea, Strawberry Tea, Tiesta Tea, White Tea No Comments »
Chantal’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A wonderfully refreshing tropical fruit flavoured tea!"
Chantal’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Melanie gave it 6.8/10, Shaiha gave it 10/10, Vanessa gave it 8/10, Chelsy gave it 10.0/10
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Fruity Pebbles, by Tiesta Teas, is a blend of China Sencha, Lung Ching, Pai Mu Tan, papaya bits, pineapple bits, rose petals, and strawberry bits. This tea is a Slenderizer and was a 2008 World Tea Champion winner. The Sencha is very nice and blends well with the fruit flavours. The Lung Ching (or dragonwell) and Pai Mu Tan (or white) teas are a welcome addition and provide a bit more depth to the flavour of this delightful tea. I enjoyed this tea immensely for its fruitiness as well as the Sencha. It is a light, refreshing beverage perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a summer beverage. As of yet, I have not tried this tea iced but I’m sure it would be very good.

I steeped 1 tsp of this tea at 175F for 2 minutes. The leaves are tightly rolled bright green leaves mixed with large pieces of the various fruits. They are colourful with a bold fruity aroma. On brewing the tea, I noticed a more subtle aroma from the light green liquor. The first sip brought out a pineapple flavour and further investigation into the cup revealed definite papaya and passionfruit elements. Later steeps proved to be equally refreshing if only with a slightly more muted flavour. This tea is not bitter or unpleasant in its flavour. It is smooth and refreshing. When drinking this tea it is evident that the tea is of a good quality which makes the consumption of it all the more pleasant.

The sample that I received of this tea was large enough to brew several steeps and it is quickly becoming a favourite in my household. I would recommend this tea to anyone looking to enjoy a lively, invigorating cup of green tea with a fruity kick to it. It is not very expensive and is definitely worth purchasing.

— To purchase Tiesta Tea Fruity Pebbles, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Chantal Chantal
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Review: Culinary Teas Mango Tea

Black Tea, Culinary Teas, Mango Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The intense mango scent and aroma was just what I was looking for..."
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Erika gave it 7/10, Melanie gave it 8.5/10
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Culinary Tea’s mango tea is made with all natural flavorings, although what exactly is used is not mentioned on their website. The mango aroma coming off the dry leaves was a wonderful preview of what was in store for the flavor of the brewed tea. I brewed my sample of the tea using boiling water and a three minute infusion. The mango is, indeed, very present. I love mango, so I found the intense mango scent and aroma to be just what I was looking for. If you’re not head over heels for mango, then you might find the mango flavor to be a little too pungent. I had almost all of my sample as a hot tea, and it was very delicious as such. But I think it is even better as an iced tea, with a splash of sugar and a few ice cubes. One thing worth mentioning is that I found the black tea base to be a little strong, and perhaps easily over-steeped. In hind-sight, I probably should have used fewer leaves than I normally do and probably cut the infusion time by at least 30 seconds. The black tea base has potential to become bitter and detract from the tasty mango flavor. In all, this is one of the better mango teas I have tried, and would happily drink this one again.

— To purchase Culinary Teas Mango Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Vanessa Vanessa
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Review: iTeapot Shan Lin Xi Oolong

iTeapot, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" I was smelling cinnamon. Never - in all my brewing - have I smelled cinnamon from an oolong."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.4/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 7.6/10, Bryan gave it 8/10, Raven gave it 8.2/10, Katie gave it 7.8/10
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From the iTeapot site:

“[This is an oolong] from the Shan Lin Xi region in Nantou County of Central Taiwan, which has an altitude of about 1800 meters. This area is wrapped in mist and fog year round as the air stays cool. The high elevation provides the ideal growing conditions for Oolong tea and has become known as one of the Top Grade tea producing regions in Taiwan. Shan Lin Xi Oolong tea is highly prized by tea connoisseurs in Taiwan.”

It was nice to see an oolong from Taiwan that wasn’t roasted all to hell. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked the ones I’ve tried. But I consider myself a bit of a fan of the ball-fisted, Chinese-ish technique of oolong-rolling. This – on sight alone – reminded me of a Bai Hao oolong but possessed a buttery scent.

Thankfully, iTeapot offered two different ways to brew this up. One was Western, but a higher emphasis was placed on gongfu – or as they called it, kung fu – preparation. I didn’t quite go with their measurements because the water temperature and steeping times were too long. I opted for 190F water, a gaiwan, and four infusions – the first two at thirty seconds, the last two at forty.

First infusion (thirty seconds): Not much coloring resulted. The liquor took on a very light yellow palette along the lines of an under-brewed white tea. The aroma was all oolong in its dry and floral presence, though. The taste had a very silky delivery with a fruit note – grape-y like a white tea.

Second infusion (thirty seconds): Shimmering light green liquor – still resembled a white tea, though. The nose took on a more mineral tone like Ti Kwan Yin. It possessed a slightly vegetal forefront on taste with a creamy follow-up. The aftertaste was honey-sweet.

Third infusion (???): I meant to only do it at forty seconds but got sidetracked by something shiny. This steeped for about fifty-ish seconds as a result. The liquor colored about the same as the second infusion but the aroma was stronger – like dried jasmine blossoms. The flavor echoed the floral comparison with a petal-like front and a body that alternated between earthy and toasty.

Fourth Infusion (fifty seconds): Since I did the last infusion at fifty (or so) seconds, I followed that up with the same. I give up on describing the color; it didn’t change at all. What was interesting to note was the aromatic change. I was smelling cinnamon. Never – in all my brewing – have I smelled cinnamon from an oolong. The taste did not follow up the freakish fragrance, however, leaving an impression similar to the second infusion.

When I thought I was done writing, I steeped it for an informal fifth time. After an indeterminate amount of minutes, the flavor had changed to something almost identical to a Bai Hao oolong – honey/yam-like note and all. That almost made me think this could hold up to a Western-style mug prep as well. Not that I’d be the one to do it, though. A fantastic Formosa oolong.

— To purchase iTeapot Shan Lin Xi Oolong, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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