Sunday, September 21, 2008

English Breakfast Review

Type: Black
Origin: Vietnam and India's Assam region mixed with Ceylon
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-210°F, steeped for 4-5 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5

English Breakfast is a delicate mix of organic black teas from Assam and Ceylon. When I inspected the dry leaves, I could smell the hearty Assam tea. The leaves were a mix of very small light brown and dark down bits. It did not look like there was any dust in the pyramid, but the leaves were quite tiny.

I could smell the malty Assam as the tea was brewing. The liquor was a very dark reddish-brown color. No wonder this blend is called English Breakfast - the aroma was very bold and hearty but also bright and cheery at the same time.

The taste will definitely wake you up. It was very bold and intense. The full bodied Assam with its hearty, malty taste was up front and then I was hit with its smokiness in the aftertaste. However, it is not as smoky as an Assam tea alone, so I think the Ceylon helps smooth it out.

The taste is not bitter at all. Although, if you wanted to add milk or sugar I think this tea would stand up well to either of them. It is not astringent, but refreshing, actually. The Ceylon tea probably plays a big role in caging the astringency because the smokiness of the Assam tends to dry out the mouth. Ceylon teas are one of my favorite black teas because of this refreshing factor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chai Latte: Dark Chocolate Chimp Review

Type: Chai
Origin: Not Stated (My guess is India)
Price: Package of 6 different chai lattes for $8.25
Vendor: Coffee Masters (I could not find the set that I bought on their website)
Brewing Method: added 3 tablespoons of powdered mix to 8 oz. of water, then added about 2 oz. of 2% white milk.
Overall Score: 2.5 out of 5

While vacationing in Branson, Missouri I found a chai latte set in a small souvenir shop. These lattes are in powdered form, so it just dissolves in hot water or milk – no steeping required. Nevertheless, I thought I would try them out to see how they taste compared to “real” chai.

No, that was not a typo in the title. Dark Chocolate Chimp (all of the chai lattes in this set have some animal in the title) is a mix of spices with some dark chocolate coco powder added. The full list of ingredients include: cane sugar, non-dairy creamer (coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, lecithin) honey granules, dutch dark cocoa powder, black tea extract, black tea powder, natural spice blend, natural flavors. Yummy, right? Ha! There is also 135 calories per serving in this faux chai.

Both in the dry powder and while the powder was being mixed into the hot water, the chocolate aroma stood out. I could not distinguish any other spices that might possibly be found in chai (for example: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, etc.). Of course, I’m not exactly sure what was in the “natural spice blend.”

The taste was more intense than I thought it would be. I expected it to taste watery, but it did not. It was creamy (which I’m assuming had a little help from the milk). Other than that it just tasted like hot chocolate… well, really bad hot chocolate.

I did not much care for the taste at all. It was a little bitter and, I want to say, sour. I couldn’t taste any certain spice, but my mouth felt hot after swallowing each sip so I’m sure cinnamon had to be in there somewhere.

I did not even drink half of this chai before I sat it aside. If you want “real” chai instead of this instant chai, then I would recommend Yogic Chai instead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Breakfast Tea Sale!

School has begun, which means no more sleeping in until noon and laying around all day in your P.J.'s! For those of you who are out of school, the same old daily routine can get boring, mundane, tiresome... well you know how it is.

Mighty Leaf wants to help you drag your butt out of bed and greet the day with something other your bunny slippers. From now until September 18th, select breakfast teas have been discounted!

That's right! Save 20% on select breakfast teas from Mighty Leaf by clicking on the picture to your left! Start jazzing up your mornings with Organic Breakfast, Organic Earl Grey, Orange Dulce and many more! Your bunny slippers will thank you for it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Estate Blend Darjeeling Review

Type: Black
Origin: Darjeeling
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 200°F-210°F, steeped for 4-5 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5

Estate Blend Darjeeling is simply organic black tea from the Darjeeling region. When I opened the package, I couldn’t smell the tea until I took out the pyramid and held it to my nose. Once I did that, I could smell the sweet, fresh Darjeeling. The leaves in the pyramid looked completely whole with very little dust.

Ah, who doesn’t love the aroma of a good Darjeeling? The subtle muscatel aroma was what I could smell as the tea was brewing. I really loved this aroma compared to other blacks because it was so distinctive and wine-like. The liquor was a gorgeous light orange or tan color.

The taste was amazing. I felt like I should have been drinking it from a wine glass instead of a teacup. The sweet, muscatel flavor was bold, but it did not linger for long. This was a refreshing brew with no astringency or bitterness at all.

One thing I noticed was that after brewing the leaves, the pyramid was ballooned to its full shape. The leaves had opened up so much that there was no more room in the pyramid. In other words, I was glad this tea was in the pyramid instead of a regular bag, because otherwise the tea would not have much room to open at all. However, I still think loose leaf is the way to go if one has the option.