Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Greeting readers,

Today, I want to tell you about a website where you can build a custom tea mat for your tea club or reading group. The mat features 8 "places" to put a tea cup, as well as names of the members of your tea group.

The site for this product is basically a site where you can personalise a mat to sit on your tea tray for all the people in your tea round, say at work or in a book club etc.

The mats are neat, and of excellent quality. They are intended to be placed upon your tea tray, and to act as a serving tool for your tea.

Check it out at I recommend this product, and hope you will consider giving it a try!

Again, that website is

Over and out,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Love Your Mug!

Hey all,

I just received an email about a neat promotional program that I thought you would all like to know about.

The promotion is called Love Your Mug. The idea is that you get to create your own personal tea mug, with your tea and sugar preferences printed right on it to use at the office, or whatever. Or, purchase a set for your tea club, so that you know what to make for everyone when it's your turn to make the tea!

Love Your Mug has been invented by Cravendale for thse people who love to sip the perfect cup of coffee or tea in the office and at home. Everyone can now personalize their very own mug with their own name, which drink they want, the strength of the drink and if they want sugar or not. Every mug is decorated with a lovely and happy cow grazing under the blue skies.

These mugs look great. I'd encourage you all to visit the website and check it out.

The website is found at:

Over and out,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tempted by Tulsi (TeaTulia Style)

Hey Readers,

I apologize for taking so long between posts, but the semester is winding down, and school is busier than ever. However, I do have a review for you today, and it's one which I think you'll find rather interesting - it is new to me, and thus presented itself as an ideal candidate for review on the blog.

Recently, I was contacted by Teatulia Teas (formerly known as Tetulia), who informed me that they had not yet shared with me one of their favorite blends - Teatulia Tulsi Infusion. They asked if I would like some samples, and I said yes, eager to try something new.

Now - Tulsi is not just a name for an infusion. It is called the Tulsi Infusion because it contains an herb called Tulsi, otherwise known as Holy Basil. I had not heard of Tulsi before being invited to sample this infusion, so I was most eager to give it a try. Tulsi fanatics boast a plethora of health benefits from this herb. I'm not sure how many of these benefits truly pan out, but I'm sure it's a very healthy thing to take into your body. You can read more about the health benefits and properties of Tusli at the following website:

Now, to review the Infusion. The tulsi addeed some very interesting characteristics to this tea, which was excellent. It incorporated a certain earthiness, as well as a very subtle spiciness to the brew, and I almost detected some minor notes of nuttiness as well. The tea portion of the blend was also excellent - whole leaves, mostly unbroken - exactly as it should be.

This brew is excellent for this of you that yould like to try something new and different, and it a welcome addition to any tea lover's stash. I thoroughly enjoyed this blend, and hope you will consider trying it as well - I'm sure you would love it.

As for the packaging, it was excellent. Colorful and informative, with brewing instructions, and a pyramidal teabag - the highest form of tea bag (however when I brewed it, I opened up the teabags and poured them into my Timolino mug.)

Overall, an excellent tea, from an excellent tea company.

Additionally, readers of this blog can get a 10% discount for the next 30 days on all TeaTulia products. Just enter code "INSANITEA" (without the quotation marks) at checkout to receive an instant discount! I hope you'll try this out!

Thanks for reading this week's review! Let me know what you thought of it!

Over and out,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Plucker's Pick Tea Critics Club

I just received an email from Pluckers Pick that I thought my readers might like to know about. Here's what the email said:
Have you seen my Plucker's Pick Tea Critics Club? Check it out here.

It allows people to order Plucker's Pick and a sample of four other tea brands to compare and rate against various characteristics... and I'm only charging for the shipping!

I'm posting the results in real-time because I want people to know truthfully how my product compares to other more established tea brands. If you would like to participate, simply click on the link above. I would really value your feedback!


I thought this was a great idea, so I figured it'd be worth it to let you all know! If you decide to accept the offer, let me know how it goes!

Also, stay tuned over the next couple of days, as I have a review in the works that I think you will enjoy!

Over and out,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea


Recently, I discovered the Harney & Sons Guide to Tea while browsing at the Barnes & Noble. I emailed the publisher to see if they would be willing to send me a review copy, and luckily for me, they said yes! This truly is a delightful book, and it really covers it's bases well. I will be using and recommending this book for years to come.

The book is written by Michael Harney, a master tea blender working at Harney & Sons. He is a very credible source on the subject of tea, because of the large amount of experience he has had at Harney & Sons.

The book contains a section on tasting teas, which I found very interesting. It includes a lot of tips, such as examining the leaves, brewing for the proper time and temperature, using the proper sort of water (filtered water), etc. The tasting guide is second-to-none, and I highly recomment you all give it a look.

The book also contains a brief history of tea, a "Tree to Tea" appendix, a lot of tea sources, and so forth.

But the bulk of the book is spend describing in detail over 50 of the most common types of tea, the temperature at which they are to be brewed, how to distinguish a good tea of a certain type from a bad tea of a certain type, etc. He also includes details about what the dry leaves should look like, what the liquor should look like, the types of aromas the tea should posess, the body that the tea should have, and the flavor notes you should be able to detect from the tea.

All in all, this book is an exhaustive resource on the various types of teas that are available, and the author has done an excellent job providing all the details you would want to know when brewing a cup of tea.

I highly recommend that you all pick up a copy of this book. I think you will find that it is an invaluable resource for any tea drinker to own.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Video on Tea Steeping

Hey all,

I just got emailed this video about steeping tea that I think you might enjoy. Here is an excerpt from the email that I received:

"Think you've got steeping down? has a fun new video that may change your tea brewing ways. David Wong, director of tea culture and education at Tillerman Tea, is on CHOW with the three "hows" of steeping. Check it out:"

So, if you feel like it, I recommend checking out this video! it is very interesting.

Again, it can be found at:

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tea Cozies by El Donna

Greetings readers!

Today's posting won't be an actual tea review. Instead, I'll be reviewing a tea-related product.

Recently, I was contacted by Amber Malley of a company called "By El Donna." She asked to if I would be interested in helping her raise awareness about their new line of tea cozies. Naturally, I said yes, since I am always interested in raising awareness about quality products in the world of tea.

So, she sent me a sample cozy to check out, and today's post will consist of me commenting on the cozy.

I've used a lot of tea cozies over the years, and throughout my experiences with tea cozies, I think I can safely assert that all tea cozies are NOT created equal. I have used many quality tea cozies, but I have also used tea cozies that are definately NOT up to par.

Once, I ordered a cozy from a popular tea company on the internet (which company shall remain nameless), and the item I received from them looked great, however, upon using it, I discovered that they did a poor job on the stitching, and the product literally came apart at the seams when I tried to use it.

Another time, I purchased a cozy from my local Target store, and while the tea cozy looked great, and managed not to fall apart, it wasn't made of a thick enough material, and when I used it to handle a particularly hot teapot, I burned myself, because the material did not do a good job of insulating against the hot teapot inside.

Thankfully, neither of these scenarios are the case with the product I received from By El Donna. The very day I received the cozy, I put it to immediate use. I used the cozy to insulate my favorite glass teapot while I handled it, and moved it from place to place. Not only did this cozy hold up under the pressure, it also did an excellent job of insulating my teapot! The cozy barely felt warm to my hands while it insulated my teapot - a sign of utmost quality.

Additionally, these cozies look GREAT! I love all of the cozy designs on her website, especially the one she ended up sending me, which is called "Quite Reflections." They have colors and designs available to suit a teapot of any color that you might imagine.

Another point I would bring up is that each of these cozies is hand-stitched, which is an excellent sign that this company is one that is committed to a very high quality standard.

I would refer you to the image I have posted if you would like to get a closer look at the cozy.

So, the tea cozy held up to my highest expectations! I would highly recommend these cozies to anybody shopping for one!

I would encourage you to drop by their website, and have a look at their offerings! Their website is also very well-designed, by the way. You can find the site at the following location:

I'd highly encourage you to take a look and see what you can see!

Well, as always, thanks for reading! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for several reviews that I am currently working on. I have several different reviews in the works, so I will try my best to have a new review up every 1-2 weeks. Since I am a student, that is the best I can do. I'd love to be able to post more frequently, but my studies always come first!

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you all have an excellent fall, and an even more excellent winter! Winter, my favorite season, is almost upon us! And with the rapidly cooling weather, we are on the verge of the ultimate season for hot tea!

Over and out,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Revolution 3D

Hey all,

Today I am reviewing a new beverage from Revolution Teas called
Revolution 3D. It is a canned tea beverage, with an interesting idea
behind it.

The beverage combines the benefits of a vitamin drink, and the
antioxidant power of fruit juice with the natural refreshment of tea.
It's a lovely idea.

The beverage is sweetened only with pure cane sugar and agave syrup,
which I think is admirable. However, I still have not addressed the
most important question: How does Revolution 3D Taste? The answer -
It's actually pretty good. I think that Revolution did an excellent
job with their combination of high-quality tea and fruit juice.
Neither flavor ever overpowers the other, which can be a real
challenges with beverages of this variety.

The beverage comes in 4 flavors - Blueberry, Green Apple, Pomegranate,
and Mango, all of which are excellent. My favorite, however, was the
Mango, as I thought that Revolution did an especially good job with
the blending of this flavor. Mango is a flavor that easily overpowers
other flavors, especially the delicate flavors often found white tea,
which is the base that the beverages use. Not so in this case,
however. It ended up being a very light, mellow beverage with a good
contrast between flavors.

So, if any of you are looking for a new beverage to try, I'd encourage
you to get ahold of a can of Revolution 3D. It really is pretty good,
and I highly recommend it.

You can check it out at

Thanks for reading, and watch out in another couple of weeks for my next review.

Over and Out,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Whole Leaf Organics - A Choice Product

Hey readers,

Well, the semester has officially started, so my posts here are going
to become somewhat less frequent, as I am taking alot of classes this
semester, and am also heavily involved in some extra-curricular
activities. So, the once-weekly posts you have been getting used to
are, for now, a thing of the past. Once the semester ends, I'll start
posting more often again.

Today, I'll be reviewing another offering by Choice Organic Teas.
This time, however, instead of a loose-leaf tea, I'll be reviewing
some of their organic premium tea bags in Pyramid infusers. I have
always liked the looks of the pyramid infusers, and find them to be a
superior form of the tea bag, allowing more water movement, and far
more room for the product to expand in.

Although they sent me several samples, I'll only be reviewing two or
three of the samples today. Maybe in some future posting, I'll review
some more of these teabags.

First, I will address the packaging for these, which is excellent.
The pyramids are packaged in individual biodegradable paper envelopes.
The design of the packets is fairly attractive, with lots of color
and a very simple, pure design. The front of the package displays the
name of the tea, and a short description, as well as the "Whole Leaves
Organic" designation, and the Choice Organic Teas logo. It also
contains that all-important USDA organic stamp, and a stamp indicating
that the tea is fair trade certified.

Being fair trade certified is also very important for a tea. I'll
post a more thorough article on what Fair Trade means for a tea, and
why it is so important that fair trade guidelines should be followed.
This is an important ethical issue in today's world of tea, and one
which I want to dedicate an entire posting to at some point in the

On the back of the packet, it lists the ingredients, brewing
directions, and so forth, as well as the tidbit that these teabags
also happen to be fully biodegradable, which is nice.

Choice Organic Teas has always been a company that takes their
environmental obligations seriously. This is part of the reason that
they have chosen to deal only in Organic teas. Additionally, they
recognize the value of using only fully biodegradable packaging and
materials, so that the end result of your cup of tea does not spend an
eternity in a landfill.

Now, I will review a few of the teas themselves.

The first tea I will review is the Jade Green blend. Jade green is a
blend of various green teas, with no additions. As far as greens go,
this is a pretty decent blend. It has a nice vegetal flavor. It's
dry scent tells of floral notes, which is interesting. For the
negative, however, I would point out that this blend has somewhat more
astringent than I like to find in a well-blended green tea.
Additionally, the term "Whole Leaf Organics" seems kind of misleading,
as I found quite a large number of broken bits of tea leaf contained
within the pyramid, and very few whole, unbroken leaves. It isn't
quite as bad as the tea dust Lipton likes to serve you, however I was
somewhat disappointed with this. This area could use a bit of

The end result, that it to say, the brewed cup, did not suffer
tremendously from this, as it still does seem to be a very
well-blended tea, with a good profile of flavors.

The second tea I will review is the Sweet Liquorice Mint blend. This
blend, I have found to be a true delight. It pleased me in many ways,
and the combination of liquorice and mint always entrances me. I
particularly enjoyed the spearmint flavor in this blend. It has a
excellent cup clarity, with very little cloudiness, and has an
excellent cup colour against my white teacup. However, with all of
these positive traits noted, I must mention a few things that need
improvement with this blend as well. As with the Jade Green, this tea
also suffers from alot of broken bits of leaf. I would have preferred
to see much larger pieces of herb, rather than the crushed remains.
Once again, the end result did not suffer much from this, but
remember, one of the signs of a truly excellent tea is the inclusion
of whole, unbroken leaves and herbs, or at the very least, large
peices (in some cases, the herbs and their various parts are too large
to include without some breakage or separation.)

Overall, this is a pretty good blend, however. And I would recommend
it to those who enjoy liquorice blends, or mind blends, as it
satisfies both characteristics without overpowering either of them.

And the third blend that I would make mention of is the Chamomile Citrus.

In quality, this is the best of the tree blends. It does much better
with the breakage problem I found in the other two blends, using large
bits of herb to acheive it's goals. This tea contains both hibiscus
and chamomile. As you all know, I am fairly particular when it comes
to chamomile teas. As most of you probably also know, both hibiscus
and chamomile are very delicate, and are easily overpowered. In this
blend, however, Choice Organic Teas has done an excellent job
preserving both herbs, and the citrus notes, both lemon and orange,
are very notable, without being brutish and overpowering to the rest
of the blend. I would say that this is the most well-blended of the
three teas I have reviewed today.

The hibiscus and the chamomile complement each other perfectly, and
they have included just the right amount of citrus to get the job
done. I would highly recommend this brew to lovers of chamomile

Well, thanks for reading, and I hope you'll stay tuned for further
reviews and developments on the blog.

Over and out,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur

Hey readers,

This weeks review will be a little different from my usual reviews, in
that I am not reviewing an actual tea, or a tea gadget, or even a tea
company. Instead, this will be about a product that makes a brilliant
usage of tea in a unique and interesting way. The product is called
Voyant Chai.

Recently, I made contact with Voyant, because I found their product
interesting, and asked them if they would allow me to review their
product. Those of you that are followers of this blog will not that
it is a rare thing for me to approach a tea company - usually,
companies contact me, asking for a review. Sometimes, however, I find
a product so and interesting, that I just cannot help myself, and find
myself making the first move. This is the case with Voyant.

First, allow me to explain what Voyant actually is. Voyant Chai is a
blended alcoholic beverage, which is designed to exemplify the best
characteristics of a good Chai, while at the same time serving as a
refreshing, creamy and delicious treat for those of us that appreciate
fine spirits. And I believe it serves this purpose very well. In
this review, I will discuss just how well it exemplifies the best
properties of Chai, and will subject it to my full scrutiny as a
reviewer of teas.

But before I comment on the actual beverage experience, I want to say
a few things about the packaging, which is absolutely brilliant. The
bottle deserves a special mention. The design of the bottle consists
of a painted flame, with a stylized V, standing for Voyant, and the
name "Voyant" artistically spelled out below the design. The bottle
is painted in a sophisticated assortment of red, gold and orange
tones, blended with the soft white color of the V. The bottle itself
is a spectacular work of art. I would encourage you to visit their
website just to have a look. This is some of the most creative
packaging I have ever seen on a beverage bottle.

But, as attractive as the aesthetic design of the bottle is, we all
know that looks aren't everything. For this product to work, this
brilliant design must be met with an equally brilliant product. And
with that mention, I will go on to discuss the merits of the beverage
itself - and in doing so, determine whether or not this product

Voyant Chai is a mixture of many things. Voyant Chai is the perfect
beverage for someone who enjoys both fine tea and fine spirits.
Voyant steeps real spices and tea and use aged rum and premium dutch
vodka - only the best ingredients. It is obvious from my tasting of
this product that Voyant has put the greatest of efforts into
selecting the perfect ingredients for this blend. This blend of fresh
dutch cream, premium black and green teas, and the natural sweetness
of premium aged rum really hits the spot.

As a Chai beverage, this product suceeds on it's own merits. It does
a splendid job of achieving the perfect balance between the earthiness
of the teas, and the delightful spiciness of the herbs and spices that
make it a Chai. Also, notable within this blend is the mellowing
power of real vanilla - something which I really enjoy within a Chai,
and which I was delighted to find came through especially well in this

When I first received this bottle, and took my first sip of Voyant, my
response was a "Wow!" It really does taste like an authentic Chai,
with the tangy kick of spirits to help push it along your tastebuds
smoothly and cleanly. This beverage is also the perfect consistency -
Thin enough to be very easy to drink, but thick enough to really carry
forth a luxurious creaminess that creates the perfect complement to
the natural spiciness of the chai. This balance between creaminess
and spiciness is what makes this beverage so uniquely delicious.

I also really appreciate the amount of natural sweetness within this
beverage. The rum adds just enough sweetness to really bring out the
flavors of the spices, but is not so sweet as to be overpowering in
any way. Just the way I like it.

As I sampled this beverage, I drew alot of comparisons between this,
and Suntory's Zen Green Tea Liqueur, which I also love dearly, and
which sets a high standard for any alcohol and tea blend. I truly
enjoyed Zen Liqueur, but I also thoroughly enjoyed my experience with
Voyant. It meets the high standard set by Suntory, to say the very
least, and is an excellent addition to a world where tea and spirits
get along peacefully, and coexist together in perfect harmony.

I give Voyant Chai my full props, and my highest recommendation. If
you enjoy a fine Chai, and you also enjoy fine spirits, I would
wholeheartedly recommend Voyant Chai as the beverage for you. It not
only well exemplifies the essence of great Chai and great spirits -
but it does so with a style and a unique twist all its own.

I want to thank Robert at Voyant for pulling the strings necessary to
get a bottle of this to Utah - as I understand that was no easy task,
and I want to thank him for allowing me the opportunity to have the
Voyant Chai experience.

I would also encourage all of you to visit Voyant's website, to have a
look at the bottle, and to find much more information on Voyant.

You can visit them at:

Thanks for reading, and I hope you take the opportunity to try this
impressive new take on Chai!

Over and out,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

33 Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

Hey all. I recently encountered an excellent article that sums up
many of the health benefits of drinking tea, and I thought some of you
might enjoy this.

You can find the article at:

Over and out,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Search of the Golden Ibis

Greetings readers,

It's been only a week since my last posting, and I am already feeling
ambitious once more. Today, I have another review for you, from a
company I'm fairly sure you haven't heard of until today.

Recently, a representative of Golden Ibis Tea contacted me, asking if
I would be willing to review some samples for him. I did, of course,
gladly accept. But before I proceed to make specific mention of a few
of the teas that were sent, i want to take a moment to say a few
things about this new tea company. Since they are new to the tea
world, very little information is available about them, so I decided I
would try to help them ot by spreading some info about their company

Golden Ibis puts great attention into where they purchase their teas
from, and they buy teas made in a time-honored tea producing
tradition. This, to me, seems admirable. They also have an
interesting philosophy on tea, where they believe that tea should be
made in the most authentic way possible, but also believe that tea
should be attainable (although not too attainable.) This can provide
an interesting balance between the most expensive of teas, made
authentically, in a time honored tradition from a single estate, and a
more attainable tea that is still made with authentic, high quality
standards, but also is cheap enough to be affordable.

We will see if the samples they sent hold up to the high standards of
excellence that they seem to be proposing.

Also, since Golden Ibis is so new to the world of tea, they haven't
had enough time to figure out packaging, so I will not be discussing
that aspect. For this review, I will stray outside of my norm, and
eveluate them based only upon the tea samples themselves.

The first sample I will be reviewing is a Phoenix Oolong tea. I am
very particular about oolongs, but this one seems to be up to the
task. When I opened up the foil packet, the smell is the first thing
that hit me with this blend - it has that characteristic nutty sort of
scent that all good oolongs tend to have. The dry appearnace of this
tea was also perfect - mostly whole, complete leaves, with only a few
broken up parts.

This tea was also a pleasure brewed. It imparted a decent cup
clarity, and had that nice light amber color that a good oolong should
have. As far as flavor goes, I can tell that great effort was put
into all aspects of this tea's processing, as it retained the
characteristic nutty flavor of an oolong, while having very little of
the astringent properties common to improperly produced oolongs. This
was a very clean, smooth tasting brew that imparted the best
characteristics of an oolong.

While it is not the best oolong I have ever tasted, it was pretty
good, and maintains that delicate balance between availability and
quality which is so important to this particular tea company.

The second of the samples that they sent was a Long Jing green tea.
As far as straight green teas go, this is actually one of the better
ones I have been given the opportunity to sample. It was particularly
good at maintaining that mild vegetal flavor that quality greens
always hold on to. However, this blend did posess a bit more
astringent than I like, which leads me to believe that it might have
been rushed a bit in it's processing, or may have been harvested a bit
too late. Other than the slight bitterness problem, this is an
excellent brew, having a brilliant cup clarity, a perfect cup
coloration, and an excellent assortment of flavor notes, from that
stereotypical vegetal flavor to a very slight nuttiness, to a very
slight fruity flavor.

I would highly recommend this brew as one of the better straight
greens I have tried.

And the third sample I was sent by this company is an apricot white
tea, which I won's spend much time discussing, other than to say that
it is an exceptional white, and to say that the amount of apricot was
expert - just enough to add some character, while not distracting from
the delicate flavor of the white tea it is based on.

Overall, I would say that these samples are above average for such a
new tea company, but could still use a little bit of improvement. I
suspect that many of the improvements in suppliers, etc, are alredy
being made. Since this is such a new company, these slight
shortcomings are very forgivable.

I would recommend these teas to most people, although I would caution
the more developed drinkers out there that these blends won;t really
compare to their more expensive counterparts available from other tea
companies. These teas do represent an excellent compromise between
expense and quality, however, which seems to have been the goal.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will all give this new tea company a
try - they really deserve to be getting some attention, as they are
doing quite well for being so new to the world of retail tea.

Over and out,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Clever tea videos

Hey readers,

I ran into a couple of clever videos about tea, and thought to share
them with you. Hope you enjoy these!

Over and out,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tavalon, Part II

Greetings, Readers!

I have just returned from my 9-day vacation near Yellowstone, and as
promised, I now have my reviews for the final two blends that Tavalon
sent me for review. Having already discussed packaging, shipping, and
so forth, this review will focus only on the two remaining teas, and
my reactions to each.

The first blend I want to make note of is Kama Chai Sutra - Tavalon's
take on a modern Chai. One thing I found to be especially delightful
about this chai blend is the addition of vanilla bean - a flavor I
could detect with relative ease in the blend. The vanilla is expertly
blended with the traditional chai ingredients, adding it's
characteristic smoothness and imparting it's mellow flavor
characteristics to the cup.

This is a relatively standard Chai blend, with little to distinguish
it from other Chai blends, besides the notable addition of vanilla.
However, that does not mean that it is a very good chai, because it
is. It is easy to tell that careful attention was placed in blending
the various herbs and teas together in just the right combination.
It's also easy to see that some serious effort was put in here to
ensure that only the highest quality whole herbs were included in the

The result is one of the finer Chai blends on the market - Not quite
as good as Yogic Chai, but far superior to your standard tea shoppe
blend. Although, in Tavalon's favor, Yogic does specialize
specifically in Chai where Tavalon does not make such a

The final Tavalon blend that I will make note of is called Serenity,
and is one of Tavalon's very fine herbal blends. It is made from
Chamomile, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Rooibos and Vanilla. Any of you
who are frequenters of my blog will already know that I have alot of
concerns with Chamomile blends, due to the mild and subtle nature of
Chamomile, however, the other herbs are of little contest over the
flavor characteristics that might have been drowned out in the

This may be one of the most interesting minted blends that I have
tried. Additionally, the amount of mind included was perfect - it was
neither weak nor overpowering, but added a refreshing and vibrant tone
to this otherwise quite mellow tea. The earthy profile of the Rooibos
did not come through as well as I would have hoped, but Rooibos is a
difficult herb to blend, so I am somewhat forgiving of this minor
shortcoming. The lemongrass was just right as well, adding just the
right amount of tartness, and it's delicate citrus-like notes came
through in this blend very well.

I was also quite impressed, once again, with the superior blending of
the vanilla in this particular mixture. The vanilla gets alot of
milage in this blend, smoothing out the edges of the lemongrass and
peppermint, and adding a brilliant mellow feel to complement the
mellowness of the chamomile. The sweetness of this blend was also
right on target, making this a blend that can be enjoyed fully without
the addition of any sweeters, re-emphasizing the role of this tea as a
late afternoon beverage (too many sugars in an evening tea can defeat
it's mellow nature.)

Overall, I'd consider this one of the nicer evening teas I have
sampled in a while, and give it my highest recommendation.

Well, readers, I hope you have enjoyed reading this week's tea review,
and I hope that you will stay tuned in the coming weeks for more
content to be added soon.

Over and out,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tea Begins at Tavalon, and Tavalon Starts with T!

Hey readers! As promised, I have another tea review for you this week.

Recently, I was contacted by none other than Tavalon, who requested
that I review some samples for them. For those of you that don't
know, Tavalon is one of the largest, if not the very largest, tea
establishment in New York City. So when they asked me to review some
samples for them, you might say I leaped at the opportunity - I just
could not turn it down.

And, I am pleased to say, I was not at all disappointed.

Statisticaly, in New York, there are more tea drinkers per capita than
almost any other state in the US. Also in New York, Tavalon has come
to be a household name in Tea. I often worry about large tea
companies, as it seems that the larger a tea company gets, the more
mechanized they become, and the more shortcuts they begin to take.
The larger a tea company becomes, the worse their tea becomes overall,
with few notable exceptions. However, with Tavalon, their success has
spelled out their failure. Quite the opposite, in fact. It seems
that Tavalon is now more focused on quality overall than ever before!
From the packaging to the product, I have seen few greater displays of
pure tea-related ingenuity than those present in Tavalon's excellent

The first thing I would like to discuss is the packaging. Tavalon has
some of the best packaging of any tea company I have worked with.
Each tea is shipped in a clear, reusable, sturdy plastic canister,
which comes very much in handy for storing teas later on. In fact, I
very much wish that I could order these containers in bulk to store my
loose teas in.

Printed on the bottom of each canister is the name of the blend
contained therein, as well as complete directions for brewing the tea,
including the amount to be used, the temperature, and how much time is
necessary for the brewing. Fortunately, it also tells you how many
servings it contains, so you know exactly when to send for more when
your container runs dry. On the top and side of each canister is a
second label, which also serves as a seal for the canister, which
displays the Tavalon name, as well as giving you the name of the

The labels work well with the design and appearance of the canister as
well, making the packaging as aesthetically pleasing as it is useful.

I would also make note that the shipping and customer service
experience behind Tavalon is also excellent. They always respond to
emails quickly and professionally, and leave no question unanswered,
which is something that is rare and extremely appreciated for a tea
company of their prestige.

Now, I'd like to review two of the four blends that Tavalon decided to
send my way. I will review the other two blends in some future post.

The first blend that I'd like to mention is the NYC Breakfast blend.
Tavalon's NYC breakfast blend is made from a variety of premium black
teas, rather than just one variety as most breakfast blends consist
of. This breakfast tea is actually one of the best breakfast teas I
have ever had the pleasure of sampling! The varieties that were
chosen complement each other very well - It's as if they are taking
the good qualities from the various black teas that were available,
and combined them into one. This blend is the perfect mixture of
fragrance, subtle nutty flavour, and natural sweetness. In addition,
it has the least astringent of any black tea that I have ever tasted.

The leaves are whole, unbroken leaves, as I expect from a premium
view, and there is no tea dust to settle to the bottom of the
container, which is delightful. The blend also has an excellent cup
colour, a pleasant light amber, with none of the cloudiness that is
often typical of "every day" teas such as breakfast blends. The tea
also exhibits the perfect blend between the strong flavor expected
from breakfast teas, and the subtle mixture of flavors and aromas that
accompany any premium blend.

Overall, I would rate this breakfast tea very highly, and not only do
I recommend this tea, but it is likely that I will begin using this
blend as my exclusive breakfast tea in my own home. Yes, it is that

The second blend I would like to mention, is called After Dark. As
it's name implies it is an evening tea, composed of chamomile and
dried fruits.

The dominant fruit flavors in this blend are cherry and some sort of
citrus (Orange, I think), which both come through very strongly. Now,
as many of you will know, if you've been keeping up on my postings, I
am a big fan of Chamomile tea, and as such, I am very particular about
it. In chamomile blends, what usually occurs that the the subtle,
mellow flavour of the chamomile is drowned out by the strong fruity
tones. With this blend, however, it is not the case, for while there
are very strong fruit tones in this blend, the strongest of them being
the cherry (if I am not mistaken), they do not completely overpower
the chamomile. Instead, they complement it's subtle flavor. The
cherry, in particular, does very well in contrasting with the subtle
nuttiness of the chamomile.

This blend, also, is made of large chunks of material, rather than
small, broken pieces. This tea is a dark crimson color, presumable
from the cherry, but has excellent clarity and tint. This is one of
the most delightful chamomile blends I have tasted in a long time. It
was a pleasure for me to have the ability to sample it.

These two blends are some of the best blends I have ever tasted.
Tavalon definately puts the appropriate effort into both quality of
their ingredients, and expertness of their blends.

Well, that wraps it up for this review. I give Tavalon high marks,
and my highest reccomendation. Stay tuned for my review of the other
two blends that they sent, which also should prove to be delightful.

Over and out,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Twinings Weekly Blog Review

Hi Readers,

I just received a copy of this review from Twinings, and thought I would post it to see what you all think. Let me know what you think of it! Thanks.

By William I. Lengeman III

This is a selection of recent popular blog articles from the Twinings Tea Blog, where you will find the best tea blogs by tea lovers from around the world.

Rooibos: Some Health Information

Elliot, at the Miro Tea blog, continues his examination of rooibos, the increasingly popular herbal beverage from South Africa. Last time out, he took a look at how rooibos is processed. This time around, some thoughts on the potential health benefits of rooibos. For more on rooibos and health, look here.

Teaware: Chataku

What's a chataku? As Katrina pointed out, in a recent post at The Tea Pages, it's "a saucer (coaster) that sits under the small handleless Japanese teacups known as yunomi." Chataku are also known in China as chatuo.

"Stringing Tea": Intro & Part 1

If the phrase "stringing tea" doesn't ring any bells, it's because it was apparently coined in an interesting post by Mellow Monk. The introduction and part one of the multi-part post relate how a three-person film crew from Europe's Arte TV network followed him on a tea-buying expedition as part of their research for a documentary on Japanese green tea.

About Twinings

The Twinings Tea Blog discusses everything to do with Tea; from the fascinating history, the many different varieties, and special brewing techniques to the latest health news, unique teapots and famous tearooms. Nobody knows tea like Twinings. The finest ingredients coupled with 300 years of experience makes Twinings the tea experts. With nearly 200 Twinings blends to choose from, there is something special for everybody - every one has its own special aroma, flavour and character.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Iced Teas and New Darjeeling Blends from Mighty Leaf

Greetings readers!

I have two teas to review with you today.  Since I have already posted a full review, I will not be focusing on packaging, the shipping experience, customer service and so forth, as I have already done so.  Instead, I will focus only on the teas themselves.

The first tea is one of Might Leaf's newer Darjeeling blends - Okayti Darjeeling Autumn Flush Oolong.  This is a particularly enjoyable blend.  I have always been fond of Oolongs, and there are very few teas that can beat those grown in the Darjeeling region.  Teas from the Darjeeling region have characteristics that are distinct from teas grown in other regions - much like Idaho potatoes taste very different than potatoes grown in other states, and Georia peaches taste differently than Utah peaches, and so forth.

I was particularly impressed with the blend for a number of reasons.  The first of those reasons is its excellent, natural mildness.  This is a very moderate blend, with a lot of flavor, and almost no astringency, which gives it a delightful flavor in the cup.  It is apparent that this tea was harvested at the peak of it's maturity, and processed very quickly, so as not to become bitter.  The quality of this blend is similar to much more expensive imported blends that I have tried.  Additionally, the leaves are whole and unbroken, which is uncommon in a less expensive tea.

I was also particularly impressed with the clarity of this blend in my teacup.  It is difficult to find Darjeelings that do not contain some cloudiness when brewed, but Mightly Leaf has found one, making this brew as aesthetically delightful as it is mild and delicious.

The second blend I will discuss today is one of Mighty Leaf's excellent iced blends.  Here in Utah, the temperatures can become quite extreme, and one must naturally find something to do to keep the temperature down - And iced teas fit the bill splendidly.

Of the three samples that Mighty Leaf sent me, there was one that I was impressed with above all others - A blend called Island Breeze.  This blend represents a very skilled mixture of herbs which compliment each other in all of the right ways.  It contains hibiscus, kiwi, and berries.  The thing that I was expecially impressed with in this view is how well the hibiscus blended with the fruit flavors.  I have sampled alot of hibiscus-fruit blends, and it is almost invariably the case that the delicate flavor of the hibiscus is overpowered by the strong fruity tones, however, that is not the case with this blend.  The hibiscus stood it's own, as was as pronounced as any of the flavors in the blend.

I was also pleased that I found only naural ingredients in this blend - No artificial flavors or colors - only pure fruit and herbs.  Mighty Leaf's Island Breeze just might be one of the best-blended iced teas I have ever sampled, and I give it my highest reccomendation.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to stay tuned to our blog throughout the summer, as we have many new and exciting reviews that will be coming out soon.  Also, this will be the first summer that I will be able to give proper attention to the blog, as this is the first summer that I have not gone into the mountains for 2 months.

Over and out,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Contest - Celestial Seasonings

Hey Readers!

I just wanted to let you all know about an upcoming contest from Celestial Seasonings, so here you go!

Iced Tea Drink Recipe Contest

Celestial Seasonings is holding an iced tea drink recipe contest!  Individuals are invited to create a custom drunk recipe using any of their favorite Celestial Seasonings teas as an ingredient.  Recipes will be judged on use of tea, creativity, and taste.  members can submit recipes for consideration at by July 31, 2008.  Winners will be notified in early august, and will receive one of three prizes:

One grand prize winner will receive a 500 dollar American Express gift card to be but towards a summer road trip, a signed copy of "Queen of the Road" and a Celestial Seasonings gift basket valued at $100

Two runners-up will receive a $250 American Express gift card to liven up their next book club discussion party, a signed copy of "Queen of the Road,: and a Celestial Seasonings gift basked valued at $50.

Thanks for looking, and I hope one of you wins the grand prize!  Let me know if you do!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Delicious Teas are Found in Nature.

Greetings, readers!

I know I promised you another blog entry in one week, but a week and a half isn't too bad for me, right?  Better than my usual month between entries!  Once again, my apologies for keeping you all waiting, and now, without further ado, is this week's tea review!

This week's review is on a tea company called In Nature Teas.  They are another Organic tea company, which is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the world of tea!  I remember the days, not too long ago, when organic teas just did not meet the same quality standards as their mainstream counterparts.  Companies like In Nature, and others, are changing this for the better.  In fact, I would wager that some of the better teas I have sampled in the past few years have been organic ones.  It is very relieving to me to see organic products meeting such high standards!

Now, back to the main point.  Recently, I received a package of samples from In-Nature.  The sample I'll review today is one of their Jasmine blends.

For the most part, I can say nothing but good about the jasmine tea that I sampled.  I have always been a fan of jasmines, and this seemed like a particularly good one.  Pure, whole jasmine pearls, with very little breakage, just the way it ought to be.  Brewing the tea was also a sinch - they included detailed brewing instructions in the box, that covered the amount and precise temperature of brewing.  The cup clarity of this blend is at least as good as any jasmine that I have sampled before.  They seem to have done everything right with this blend.  Additionally, the buds were picked at the right time, and had just the right balance of flavour and astringency.

The packaging was also second-to-none.  A well-designed and durable storage box, inside of which is a foil-sealed bundle of Jasmine.  Also inside is a sheet of paper giving you more info on the blend you just opened, as well as containing detailed preparation and brewing instructions.  The packaging is both useful and attractive, and very well suited toward keeping your tea as fresh as possible.

Shipment was fast, and every inquiry that I submitted was answered quickly and professionally.

In Nature is, and shall remain one of my highest recommendations for a quality organic Jasmine.  I thank them for allowing me to experience their product.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading this review.  Look for another in about 1-2 weeks.

You can visit their website at

Thanks for reading!  Over and out,

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Little Taste of Zen

Hi Readers!

Today I finally have a review ready for you, so sit tight, and I hope you enjoy it, even though it will be a bit of a variance from my typical posts.

Recently, I was contacted by Suntory, who asked if I would be interested in reviewing a product called "Zen Green Tea Liqueur." They described it as an alcoholic beverage made from Japanese Matcha. Although I typically refrain from doing reviews on alcohol products, this one seemed interested, so I determined to give it a shot.

Shortly thereafter, I received a box containing a bottle of the beverage for my evaluation. It even came with a booklet of suggestions for cocktails and other things that could be made with the liqueur. However, I decided that I would take the route of the purist on this one, and evaluate Zen only on it's own merits.

The first sip was an interesting experience. It certainly had plenty of flavor imparted from the matcha, but I could also detect a blend of spices that I couldn't quite identify - although they certainly added to the experience. The tea flavour was authentic, strong, and shockingly not overpowered by the flavour of the underlying spirits.

I quite enjoyed the flavour of this beverage, although I do feel that it would be a bit strong for most people's liking - which is why it would make such a great cocktail beverage!

The packaging is also a delightful experience all its own. It comes in a shaped green glass bottle, which is curved in a very pleasing way. The colour also complements the profile of the matcha inside. Aesthetically, I could be no more pleased with this product.

Flavourwise I do have a few suggestions, however. First, the beverage is a little bit too sweet - this acted to take away somewhat from the presence of the Matcha. A little less sweetness would make this a much finer beverage. However, all other aspects of the product, including the blending and overall flavour profile, fit the ticket perfectly, making this a truly luxurious brew for the tea afficianado, and a brew that every fan of spirits and tea should give a chance.

I'd like to thank Suntory for the experience, and I hope that any of your readers that enjoy the occasional drink will see about trying this next time you are at the bar. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

That's all for now, but stay tuned later this week for additional reviews and other material.

Over and out,

Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Announcement of Yogic Proportions

Hi readers!  Sorry for not posting in awhile.  I have a few reviews in the works that will be up soon.  In the meantime, I have a special announcement from Yogic Chai!

Tomorrow, Sunday June 1st, is the grand re-launch of Yogic Chai Website!

Yogic Chai and the Insani-Tea Blog0 would like to take an opportunity to offer you a coupon code that you can use on the Yogic Chai website during the first 48 hours of their opening date.  To use this coupon, you will need a special coupon code, which is 510680.  By using this code, you will be able to get 25% off any purchase made either tomorrow, June 1st, or Monday, June 2nd.  I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity!

Once again, the coupon code is 510680 and its for 25% off. To redeem the coupon, you will have to enter it at the checkout page.

You can visit Yogic at  I hope you take advantage of this, and keep your eyes peeled, as I promise I will post at least one review within the next week, with several more to follow shortly.

Over and Out,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Let's Get Yogic (And Have Some Chai!)

Hi all,

It's been a little over two weeks since my last post, but you'll be delighted to know that the semester is now over, which means I may be able to post much more often!

Today's post will be a review for Yogic Chai. Yogic Chai contacted me a few weeks ago, and asked if I would examine some samples for them and then post a review. Of course, since I love chai, I accepted immediately!

I will first explain one of the blends I received, and point out the good and pad points, then I will discuss quality, and will then finally discuss packaging and the shipping experience, after which I will make some closing remarks about the product and the company that makes it!

The tea that I will write about today is the one that impressed me the most, for a variety of reasons. It is called Kuki Chai Masala, and it represents much of what I have always loved about a quality chai - balance. The Kuki is a mellower version of the Chai, which lacks much of the spiciness one would expect from a traditional Chai. However, what it lacked in oomph it made up for with flavor, smoothness, and balance. The mildness of this blend might be due to the fact that it is a Kukicha blend. For those of you that don't know, Kukicha teas are made from more than just the leaves of a tea - they also include twigs and stems, in fact, some Kukicha do not include any leaves at all, which I believe is the case with this tea (Please, Yogic, correct me if I am wrong.)

Although the Kuki lacked the spiciness I have come to expect from a quality Chai, it did not lack flavor, and still remained a rich, luxurious dessert tea. Adding cream is nice, but not necessary, as much smoothness and creaminess is already present.

I particularly enjoyed the cinnamon flavor in this brew, but had a more difficult time detecting the ginger (which is usually part of a Chai mixture), however I believe I did eventually detect it. The dominant characteristic in this blend is absolute balance. This is one of the most well-balanced teas I have ever enjoyed. Each flavor complemented the others perfectly. There was neither too much nor to little of any one spice, and I did not find that any spice was overpowering in the tea, or covering up for other flavors. This is probably the best mild Chai I have tasted in 10 years.

As for quality, this Chai is second to few. I would say second to none, but my local Grounds for Coffee actually has one that they hand-blend that I find to be superior. The granular tea is made of whole, unbroken ingredients, including whole, unground spices. This is a delight, especially in a chai, as many modern chai beverages will grind the spices a little or a lot, and this takes away from the true essence of the spice, which, in my opinion, can only truly be released when steeped whole.

This tea also contains excellent clarity and cup color, showing up to be a nice amber-orange color. Additionally, it has almost no cloudiness, which is a great sign that they only use whole leaves and herbs, and tea dust never makes it into their final blend. This is a relief, and a sign of premium quality in a tea.

The packaging is nice, but could use some work. The teas arrived in brown, foil-lined packets with a label on the front which names the tea and it's net weight and a disclaimer stating that it contains caffeine. While this presentation is aesthetically pleasing, it lacks several important characteristics.

First, it provides little protection to the tea. The packet could easily be crushed in shipping, which would significantly diminish the quality of the tea. Second, it does not
provide a listing of ingredients. Personally, I am a person that likes to know what his in his tea, so this was a bit of a disappointment. Third, it lacks any temperature guidelines or brewing instructions. Someone not very familiar with loose tea would be at a loss for how much they should use per cup, what temperature they should heat the water to, and so forth.

While the packaging is somewhat lacking, this is something that can easily be corrected with relatively little work. Fortunately, the tea inside is of superior flavor and quality.

The shipping experience was also nice. The teas were well-packed, and arrived safely and not crushed - something to be admired. The teas also arrived quickly, and without incident, and queries sent to the provided email address were always aswered very quickly and professionally.

Overall, I would rate Yogic Chai, as a company, very highly. There are few shortcomings, and of those shortcomings, none affect the actual quality of the tea. For this inerested in a milder version of their favourite Chai, I would recommend this company wholeheartedly, as I believe they have done a truly beautiful job.

Thanks for reading everyone! Now that the semester is over, posts will pop up a little more often, which will be good for all of us.

You can visit Yogic Chai on the internet at

Over and out,
Relznuk Zero Relznuk

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Leaf is Mightier Than The Sword

Hello again, all!

I know, I know... In my last post, I promised another review in a week or so. I'm well aware of that, and I apologize for my failure. Being a full-time student, a part-time blogger, and running your own business can take a lot of time and energy, and I haven't balanced the three too well. I hope I can make it up to you with several up-and-coming reviews, one of which is probably the most exciting product I have ever reviewed on this site (watch for this one sometime after May 13.)

Now, for today's offering. You might think the title of this post is an interesting one. The english and writing lovers among you are probably anxious to point out that the title should say "Pen" rather than "Leaf." But I have very good reasons for this.

Today I'll be reviewing a sample from a tea company called Mighty Leaf Tea. I recently received some samples courtesy of Annelies from MLT. All of the samples were fantastic, but one rose above the rest, so I will mention it here in detail.

Mighty Leaf Tea crafts artisan blends of high-quality whole leaf tea and premium herbs and ingredients. Indeed, the quality of these teas, particularly the notable herbal blend which I will mention today, is as yet unsurpassed in my experiences with herbals. This makes for an exceptional tea experience. Mightly Leaf started as a San Francisco teahouse 12 years ago, and have since progressed and become quite sucessful in the tea business, which I believe is a result of their commitment to excellent teas and a superb customer experience. They ship very quickly, have excellent email response times, and are always positive and eager to help out the customer in any way possible. This type of customer service is a prime example of excellence.

The tea which I will be reviewing today is Chamomile Citrus. Any frequenter of this blog may know that I am a great fan of chamomile tea, so I tend to be rather picky when reviewing them. I'm always hardest on my favorites. This blend, however, has failed to present any serious negative traits worth mentioning. Typically when chamomile is blended with citrus, the chamomile flavor takes a back seat to the strong and overpowering citrus notes. However this is not the case with this particular blend. The subtle and mellow citrus flavor complements the chamomile almost perfectly. You can definitely tell that Chamomile is the main ingredient in this blend, which I say is how it always should be!

Although the samples I received came in tea bags (which I am not frequently a fan of), Might Leaf did not commit any of the sins of bagged tea. They place quality whole-leaf tea in a bag that is actually large enough to promote proper water flow, which is a rare quality for a bagged tea. This tea allows me to be a fan of loose tea while granting the convenience and portability of a teabag. The teabags are also biodegradable, which is important, and definitely appeals to the environmentalist within me. So many tea bags present an environmental disaster!

The color and clarity of the tea was also surprisingly excellent. The tea was extremely clear with no cloudiness, and a minimum of tea dust in the bottom of my cup. The flavor is pleasantly tangy, and presents a near-perfect balance between the sour citrus notes and the natural sweetness of both the citrus of the chamomile. The tea also has a strong enough flavor to keep you sipping to the bottom of your cup, unlike many other bagged teas which are often pale and uninteresting after the first few sips.

I give mad props to Mighty Leaf for bring respect back to teabags. :)

Now, one thing I would like to specifically mention is the packaging, which is both good and bad. The teas came in a sort of folded bubble of cardstock. On the cardstock is printed all of the information you need to know about the tea, including the proper brewing temperature and time. Three teas are included in each bubble. One thing that worried me is that the teas seem to have been slightly cramped inside this bubble, and I worry that sometimes two teabags will press against each other and crush some of the fine leaves and herbs. That worry aside, however, the packaging is convenient, portable, and environmentally friendly.

The shipping experience with Mighty Leaf is also a delight. This is some of the fastest shipping and processing I have seen, with the package arriving faster than I expected (I believe it took 2 days to receive the parcel.) This is important for customer satisfaction, and for the company's reputation!

Overall, my correspondence with Mighty Leaf was delightful in every way. Excellent customer service, fast shipping, and great quality tea in one easy package! I would highly recommend their teas to anyone, and would suggest that other tea companies take a "leaf" (haha) out of the Mighty Leaf book.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to watch the blog for new entries. At some point in the future, I'll discuss some of Mighty Leaf's new blends they have just received out of the prime tea farms in India.

I encourage you to visit their website at

Over and out, and SIP ON!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring is the Time for Choice (Organic) Teas.

Greetings Readers!

Sorry for leaving you an entire month with no updates to the blog. I’m ashamed and need to do much better with my commitment. To make up for it, I promise at least three entries for this month (including this one.)

I want to open up today’s post by asking you all what is your favorite tea to drink in the springtime? Here in Utah, the end of Winter is upon us. While Spring Equinox doesn’t officially occur until the 21st, it already seems as if Spring has sprung.

One of my favorite teas in the springtime is Genmaicha. The toasted, nutty flavor of the roasted grains of golden-brown rice makes me think of warm days returning after a long summer.

With that in mind, I’ll begin today’s review.

Recently, I was contacted by Abby, a representative of Choice Organic Teas, with a request to sample a few of their blends and provide a review in the customary method. As with most such requests, I gladly accepted. A few days later, a small parcel arrived containing some of their blends, including one of my new favorites that I hadn’t seen before.

I will begin by reviewing a few of the samples I received, and then I’ll mention a few things about the packaging and overall experience I had with this quality purveyor of teas.

The first sample I’ll mention is an organic Genmaicha. For those of you that don’t know, Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese green tea blended with nicely toasted grains of brown rice, which imparts a lovely flavor.

Genmaicha is one of my favorite blends of tea, so I do have a few useful comments towards this particular blend. For the positive aspects – this tea did have a very nice cup colour with very little clouding, and had a very well-blended profile, remaining smooth and blended from the first sip to the last.

However, there are a couple of things I might mention. Primary among these is the size of the tea leaf pieces in the blend – they seemed a little small and broken in comparison to my usual Genmaicha. Generally, an intact or mostly intact leaf tends to provide a better flavour with less asringent. The smaller pieces tend to add to the bitterness of the cup, and alter the flavour somewhat, as well as resulting in a cup that is less clear than one might expect. While this cup was by no means cloudy, I also wouldn’t call it clear.

Overall though, the expert blending of this particular mix made up for it’s shortcomings, providing the perfect balance between the warm, roasted and nutty notes of the rice, and the mellow flavor of the green tea which serves as its base.
The suggestion I would give for this blend would be to incorporate larger portions of the tea leaf into the blend.

The second blend was one I had not seen prior to my correspondence with this company – Lemon Lavendar Mint. This was unique and delightful. The sample I received was a bagged tea, although I believe this blend is also available in a loose version.

This is perhaps the most well-blended specialty tea I have ever had the pleasure to consume, and by far one of the best bagged herbals I have ever had the pleasure to sample. The lemon and mint flavors combined to provide first a refreshing kick, and secondly a lasting sort of vibrancy which persisted through the cup. They also did well not to commit the common mistake with these sorts of blends and overpower the lavender, allowing its delicate floral notes to flourish.

Whatever shortcoming might have been present within the Genmaicha were more than compensated for in this delightful and refreshing brew. Additionally, this tea tastes exceptional over ice, with a slice of lemon or lime and a small pinch of sweetener.

I would grade this tea highly and place it near the top of my list of incredible tea experiences that I have had, and highly recommend it.

For more information on Choice Organic Teas, feel free to visit their website at

Thanks very much for reading, and I hope you’ll visit again in a week or so for my next post.

Over and out,

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just for You, Just for Me, A Steaming Cup of "Just4Tea"

Hi Readers!

Sorry this post is so very late! I've been pretty busy with a new semester at the University, and also with starting and running my new business (which, sadly, isn't tea-related.)

Today, I'll be reviewing some selections from, a delightful company which contacted me some while back. They have been waiting a very long time for their review, and I hope they take some consolation in that this happens to be an especially positive review towards their teas.

The sample pack they sent me contained a number of different teas, but I will highlight a few of these that stood out to me in particular.

The first are their winter and spring oolongs. These are some very delightful oolongs, and each has a subtlety in flavor to differentiate itself from it's counterpart. The winter oolong, my favorite of the two, is very crisp and light. It has a very fine a subtle nutty quality, and a subtle cane-like sweetness, which helps to balance off the flavor. It has a very smooth finish, and a delightful green aftertaste. The winter oolong is a tad earthier than the spring oolong. The spring oolong also has slightly more sweetness, however the nutty note is not as pronounced. Both are delightful.

The second blend that I'd like to highlight is called Tie Guan Yin. This was an exquisite cup, and a perfect blend for cold winter days. Tie Guan Yin is allowed to ferment longer than traditional oolongs, and is also specially roasted to bring out it's unique flavor characteristics. This is a very deep and intense tasting tea - quite a strong flavor. Several notes are detectable - a floral note, some light fruitiness, and some moderate nuttiness. The first note you pick up on while sipping this is the floral one - a nice, crisp and pungent note to gather your attention. As the floral note fades, the fruity notes began to become more obvious, tasting somewhat apricot-ish, and the cup finishes with a smooth, sweet, and slightly nutty note, which leaves a clean and open feeling in your mouth. This tea, in particular, also has a very nice, rich cup color.

And the third blend that I believe deserves some special credit is their Jasmine Pearl tea. I've had alot of different variations on the Jasmine Pearl tea, but this one is among my favorites of the genre. Generally, a Jasmine Pearl tea has a predominant green tea flavor base, with a subtler afterthought of Jasmine. With this blend, however, the Jasmine flavor is much more pronounced, driving the cup through the end, with a milder green tea flavour. This blend also has a delightful coloration which looks great in the cup, and has a significantly strong jasmine scent, moreso than most Jasmine Pearl blends I have tried. It left a lingering smell of Jasmine in my room for 15-20 minutes after I had finished the cup,

This blend also has somewhat less astringent than I am typically used to with a jasmine green tea blend. All of these qualities combine to make this one of the best jasmine pearl blends I have ever had the pleasure of sampling, and one which I will be keeping in mind as I do other similar tastings in the future.

The packaging is also very well-thought of. The labeling is well-designed, containing all of the important information you'd need, as well as some stylish oriental symbols. It is laid out in a fashion that is very appealing and pleasing to the eye as well.

Overall, I would highly recommend that you sample from this tea company (which has a convenient sampler set containing all of their teas), as it will provide an interesting contrast to any other supplier due to the unique style employed in their creation.

Thanks very much for allowing me to sample your teas, June, and I wish you the best of success in your business endeavors.

You can all check out Just4Tea's Website at

Over and Out,