Review: Firepot Chai Chocolate Chai

Black Tea, Chai Tea, Chocolate Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"On its own, Firepot Chai's chocolate chai encapsulate warmth and repose. The immediate note of each sip stems from the tea's cocoa nibs, and while there's nothing sweet about them, they will provide an interesting and detectable "chocolatey-ness.""
Daniel’s Teaview: 8/10
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firepotchailogoI’m not a huge fan of chai; there, I’ve already admitted it, yet here you are, scrolling over a review meant to provide meaningful and reliable insight into a specific and ultimately unique chai tea. Rest assured, I’ve had many varieties albeit comparably slim to those more enthusiastic towards some liquored sweet and spice.

Predictably, I’ve never purchased anything from Firepot Chai, a Nashville-based company providing organic spices and Fair Trade teas from communities in India and Africa that the Firepot team has known for over a decade. Of the company’s very limited selection of products is an intriguing chocolate chai harmoniously providing a classic chai blend with an eye-catching addition of cacao nibs.

Starting at the highest points of the review, a tea latte or cup of flavored milk with a teaspoon or two of Firepot’s chocolate chai is insanely scrumptious, especially when sweetened. Of the many thick, frothy, and perfectly sugary lattes made from my Frabosk milk frother, my few from this blend were arguably objectively incomparable. Upon memory inspection, I just couldn’t think of any other tea latte that packed as much flavor in each and every sip.

Notes of the blend are balanced as well, which is difficult to do with any chai tea. Too often I’ve paid the price of excessively spicy or eccentric blends that promise everything but. Firepot’s chocolate chai, however, apparently has a little bit more figured out. In fairness, this is probably due to the fact that nothing in the blend could even pretend to be genuine leaves of the Camellia sinensis and the lack of such leaves do not invite the temptation to overcompensate (with various spices) for the boldness and astringency of what is almost always black tea.

The aroma pre-brewing is prominently earthy and not so chocolatey given the obvious lack of sweetness of the cacao nibs, but I did expect a richer aroma despite my small sample size. When steeped, the blend gives off its spicier notes in the ensuing aroma and the cacao nibs are more prominent. Yet for some reason, taking in these various scents all at once does not exactly provide the most pleasant experience, especially for a chai. I wouldn’t go as far to say the tea smelled musty or anything of the sort, but the individual ingredients meld together into something downright funky.

On its own, Firepot Chai’s chocolate chai encapsulates warmth and repose. The immediate note of each sip stems from the tea’s cocoa nibs, and while there’s nothing sweet about them, they will provide an interesting and detectable “chocolatey-ness.” Downing the liquor brings the bulk of the spiciness down with it, but it is not too much for the throat to handle. Impressively, the chai is just peppery enough to not be washed out by milky and sugary additives, nor is it too much so to be frustratingly harsh. As with many luscious-sounding teas, this one is a bit thin, perhaps primarily due to the lack of ingredients.

In all, this somewhat novel chai is within the range of hopeful expectations, but its simplistic nature can only stretch so far. When made into a tea latte, the brew of Firepot Chai’s chocolate chai is practically unparalleled. Don’t expect the unadulterated infusion to “wow” you, but it proves to be more than serviceable. For the aforementioned reasons, a favorable recommendation is well deserved.

— To purchase Firepot Chai Chocolate 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Ambrosia Herb Earl Grey Organic

Ambrosia Herb, Bergamot Tea, Black Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Organic Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"It smells sweet but very earthy and smoky. You can tell by taking a whiff that this is some strong black tea."
Alexa’s Teaview: 6.9/10
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ambrosiaherbearlgreyI’ve had lots of Ambrosia Herb tea and I’ve yet to be extremely disappointed with any of their teas. They focus on herbal teas and create some delicious blends. Their Earl Grey is an organic black tea from Italy. Natural Bergamot essential oil is added to their Nilgiri tea. Nilgiri tea is a very dark and aromatic tea, also called Blue Mountain Tea.

This tea looks and smells like a typical Earl Grey. It smells sweet but very earthy and smoky. You can tell by taking a whiff that this is some strong black tea. This is a good blend for those who love robust teas.

I steeped 1 teaspoon in one cup of almost boiling water for about 5 minutes. The flavor isn’t as sweet as the smell and is rather on the bitter side. It’s a strong, bitter, and smoky black tea. As a fan of strong tea, I rather enjoyed it plain. Since it is on the bitter side though, this tea is also very enjoyable with some cream and sugar. Due to being more robust, this isn’t a tea you’ll want to accidentally over-steep. The bergamot oil also isn’t a flavor that everyone will enjoy, though I rather liked the floral and citrus notes the oil created.

Despite being strong, it is enjoyable. Since this is a black tea, the blend contains caffeine and provides a good boost in the morning. I also find it very relaxing with the bergamot essential oil.

— To purchase Ambrosia Herb Earl Grey Organic, 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: Golden Tips CTC Assam Exotic

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Golden Tips Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"A strong black tea that screams for cream and sugar. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 3.5/10
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goldentipsassamctcGolden Tips is a tea company that has was first established in 1933 making them one of the oldest companies in India marketing Single Origin Unblended Teas. They also offer some rather nice blends. To introduce customer to their products, they offer some rather nice sampler packs for a reasonable price and free shipping. As the holidays are upcoming, they also have a holiday gift collection that’s perfect for the tea lovers on your list.

My sample today is a Signature Blend of Assam that is prepared in the CTC fashion. When dry, it has the standard aroma of black tea with just a hint of malt. I set it up to brew using boiling water and a steep time of three minutes per the recommendation on my sample pack.

Once brewed, the liquor is a deep, dark brown with a strong malty aroma with whisps of stone fruit and baked apples. Since I prefer black tea with a bit of rock sugar, I added a teaspoon to my tea. This was actually not enough to cut the bitterness in this tea. I ended up also adding some half and half to make it drinkable to my tastes. Unfortunately that addition muted the other flavors to where I am just able to pick up the taste of the tannins.

I have had Assams in the past that I really enjoyed but I can’t say that this is one of them. It might be to the taste of tea drinkers who like a really strong, bitter black tea but this isn’t one that I would keep around for personal use.

— To purchase Golden Tips CTC Assam Exotic, 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Swirl Tea Peach

Green Tea, Irish Tea, Peach Tea, Swirl Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's extremely portable, innovative, and very affordable."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.5/10
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swirlpeachSwirl Tea makes teabags that you can throw into water bottles and cold brew, which has to be just about the easiest cup of tea to make. It’s the same idea as the powdered tea packets you can buy in any grocery store, but it’s got to be a higher quality tea. As someone who requires constant tea intake, I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to brew while on the go.

I throw the teabag into my 16-ounce water bottle, fill it up, throw it in the fridge, and start drinking an hour later. The flavour is a good strength, not too strong nor too watery, so it seems there’s a proper amount of tea in each bag. It’s very peachy, more peach than tea, but it’s got a lingering fruity aftertaste. I wouldn’t call the peach flavour especially realistic, but it’s delicious and refreshing. It’s tasty in a peach candy sort of way.

As one would hope from a cold brew blend, there’s no bitterness. But the big surprise for it being cold brewed for only an hour, it has a surprising amount of flavour.

It’s extremely portable, innovative, and considering the product, it’s also very affordable. It’s definitely something I’d buy and keep in my school bag, work bag, purse, or wherever you want portable, easy to brew tea.

— To purchase Swirl Tea Peach, 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: Katie Katie
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Review: Cameron Tea Alishan High Mountain Oolong, Premium Grade

Cameron Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It appears that a new tea company is on the horizon, and it is most certainly a noteworthy one."
Daniel’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

cameronalishanoolonghighIt appears that a new tea company is on the horizon, and it is most certainly a noteworthy one. With a very precise and limited selection, Cameron Tea does very little but does it oh so well. Each of the company’s offerings features a premium and competition grade, a distinction made by the selection processes of the leaf. Unfortunately, I received only the premium grade of what was still a very special tea. Quite honestly, I doubt the grade makes much of a difference; my only moderate knowledge of determinants of quality tell me that elevation, region, and harvest date are greater determinants than is the difference in two ultimately similar selection processes. Before delving into the actual review itself, I would recommend with full confidence the premium grade for those that would prefer to save a few dollars; without having tried its greater counterpart, I was without want when brewing this lower of the two grades.

I love Taiwanese oolongs and they are easily my favorite “class” of tea. This is of course for many reasons, including the incredible fragrance and the dominant floral undertones of each of them. Cameron’s High Mountain Oolong possesses and absolutely ambrosial aroma, with specks of cinnamon, apple pie, and clover honey and an overall roasted composition, at least more so than any other Ali Shan I’ve experienced. This immediately standout element remains wholly consistent in the actual brew of the tea, giving off a slightly less floral result. Infusions are every bit as creamy, however, and Cameron’s unique oolong blends its many notes together while still delivering a milky, thick feeling liquor at its forefront.

Infusions of this fascinating oolong do not bring out the same roasted characteristic noticeable in the dry leaves addicting aroma, but Cameron Tea certainly does something different with this oolong than do most other companies with theirs, and this leads to an incorporation of positively unique and unquestionably crucial elements of a prize-worthy Alishan.

In order to obtain a reliable result, brew this however you typically brew a lighter oolong. A glass or porcelain vessel will probably serve as your best bet to capture the many interesting elements of this tea. I would most certainly recommend that you offer yourself the opportunity to to explore the wealth of purchase-worthy characteristics harbored by this tea. Of the numerous taiwanese oolongs that I’ve had, this is easily one of the most unique.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Alishan High Mountain Oolong, Premium Grade, 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Golden Tips Castleton Moonlight

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Golden Tips Tea, White Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a delightful tea that claims to be a black tea but I think it is a white one in disguise. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 7.9/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

goldentipsmoonlightOne of my favorite places to get Darjeeling teas is from Golden Tips which is a company that is based India and established in 1933. They always have a wide variety of Indian teas that are both tasty and affordable.

My sample today is a First Flush Darjeeling from the Castleton Estate. This is listed as a black tea but it greatly resembles a white in that the leaves are fluffy, lighter green and lightly furred. They also have a light grainy aroma.

I set them up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of 4 minutes. The resulting liquor is golden topaz in color with light grainy, fruity aroma.

The taste also reminds me of a white tea in that it is delicate, delicious and one to take time to savor. It has a faint astringency and has light fruity taste that reminds me of a Rhine wine. There is a sweet aftertaste that lingers for a bit also. Definitely a treat to delight.

I really enjoyed this darjeeling and it is one I can see myself enjoying later in the day which is when I find myself being able to really appreciate the lighter teas. If I was picking it up as a black tea to be drank in the mornings however, I would be disappointed. Because of this discrepancy, I did have some issues with rating it but finally decided to go with my enjoyment of the tea regardless of what category it should fit into.

— To purchase Golden Tips Castleton Moonlight, 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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