Tag Archives: Fair trade

Review: Honest Tea Peach Iced Tea

Honest Tea

Abby says:

Tea type: Bottled
Temperature: Cold, over ice
Steeped: Ready made
Served: Nothing added to start, then blended with unsweetened iced tea

As the weather warms up, the search for the perfect ready-made iced tea begins. This year we are starting off with Organic Peach Tea from Honest Tea. First things first, this is a tea you can feel good about drinking. It contains only organic and fair trade ingredients. That’s always a plus. Sadly the first thing I noticed when tasting this tea is that it is just too sweet. Weighing in with a whopping 25g of sugar, that’s just too much for me. Excessive sugar and sweetness aside, I really like the bright peach flavor in this tea. It simply reminded me of summer.

To make this tea work better for me I mixed it 50/50 with some unsweetened Darjeeling iced tea I happened to have in the fridge, made the old-fashioned way. Doing this makes this tea drinkable for me. Of course, some of the fruity peach flavor was lost, but the level of sweetness was much better.

Do you have any bottled iced teas or iced tea concentrates to recommend? Unsweetened or just a hint of sweet would be more my speed.

 

Taste: 2.5 of 5 leaves – This tea is just ok, just too sweet for me
Steepability: This tea is bottled!

Honest tea

 

 Review: Stash Organic Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea

 

 

Overall Rating:

Taste: 4.25 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

Katie says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes for the first steap and one extra minute for each use after.
Served: with a touch of honey

What a nice, strong, green tea! It has a very classic and pure green tea taste: mostly grassy, a bit earthy. This tea does get bitter quickly, but when done right it has a very clean taste and can be reused again & again! I also love that if this tea gets cold just toss in some ice because this makes a delicious iced green tea! For the 1st steep I’d recommend morning but you could reuse all day since after the first steep most of the caffeine is gone. Yum. I’ll keep this in my pantry for sure!

Taste: 4.5 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!

Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

 

 Abby says:

Tea Type: Loose leaf
Temperature: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Organic? Check. Fair trade? Check. Beautiful gunpowder tea? Check! What more could you ask for? Stash’s rolled greed tea has tons of strong, earthy tea flavor. It gets bitter quickly, because it’s a delicate tea, so don’t over steep. For the first steep 1-2 minutes should be enough. For resteeps add another 15-30 seconds each time. You will get a beautiful golden yellow cuppa full of grassy flavors and antioxidants!

This tea resteeps for days! I resteeped it fours times and still got good, albeit, light, flavor! If you enjoy potent green tea, give this one a try.

Taste: 4 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 leaves — this tea is a bit delicate.

Get yourself some of this tea here:

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Review: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

Zhena's Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

 

Abby says:

Tea Type:
Temperature: @ 195 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Here’s a twist on one of our favorite bagged teas! You may remember that we have reviewed and even hosted a giveaway for Zhena’s Coconut Chai (black tea). We love that tea for its bold flavors and interesting blend of coconut and chai flavors. Well, now there’s even more to talk about in this version. It’s green tea folks! Green tea with chai spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves) and coconut flavors. Switching from black tea to green tea means the flavor is lightened up a lot and the coconut is able to shine. It also mean less caffeine and more other good stuff that people are always spouting off about: antioxidants, anti-aging, super food etc, etc.

Though certainly a non-traditional chai, this tea still tastes really good! I didn’t taste much of the chai flavors, but the coconut flavor is pretty strong. If you like the taste of coconut, you’ll like this tea. If you are looking for a chai tea, you many want to try the black tea version. Personally, I think coconut is the bee’s knees, so I loved this tea. It is really easy to drink because the slight sweetness from the coconut blends with the grassy green tea and is more forgiving if the tea is over-steeped.

Other good news about this tea is that it is both USDA certified organic AND fair trade! You have to love that, a tea that tastes good and feels good to drink!

Zhena's Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Green

Taste: 4 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 tea leaves – this tea requires very little effort.

*Pro tip: This also makes a great iced tea!

 

Snow Day Review: Numi Winter Spice

numi

It’s another snowy day here in New England! We’re beginning to wonder if it will ever stop! Do you think it will be July before we can see our lawns again?

Overall Rating:

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 — this tea is a bit delicate.

Katie says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @200 (below boiling)
Steeped: 2.5 minutes
Served: Nothing added then enjoyed with a touch of honey.

This a a great fall & winter tea. It has all of the same flavors as mulling spices. If you like a nice mulled wine or cider try this as a lighter version. The light clean taste of white tea pairs well with this traditional cold-weather spices giving them a chance to shine through.

This a great tea for anyone cutting back on caffeine. It would also be a good choice for late afternoon if you are sensitive to caffeine later in the day. Many decaf teas are a but lackluster so try this low caffeine option instead!

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 — this tea is a bit delicate.

 

photo

 

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: @180 (well below boiling)
Steeped: 2 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Numi’s Winter Spice is a blend of delicate white tea, cinnamon, clove and orange peel. Dry in it’s bag and while it steeps this tea gives on a wonderful spicy and herbaceous aroma that makes you want to try it immediately. Although light, you are able to taste all of the ingredients in each sip. The cinnamon and clove come out at the front and the sweet orange lingers after. I wasn’t able to pull out the taste of the white tea in my first few sips, but then realized that the flavor of the tea is simply adding an earthiness or herb flavor to the traditionally sweet spices.

White tea is lowest in caffeine, so this tea makes the prefect afternoon cuppa! It  would also be a great way to warm up all day if you have made a resolution to cut the caffeine. BTW, are we still talking about resolutions now that is February? 🙂 Remember that white tea isn’t as forgiving as other teas, so don’t oversteep and make sure your water isn’t too hot!

Let’s not to forget to talk about some of the other reasons I love this tea: Organic – yay!, Fair-trade – double yay!, Non-GMO – hooray for food labeling! The more you know about where your food and tea come from the easier it is to make decisions about what you consume.

Pro tip: Resteep this tea! For the second steep I let it sit for 3.5 minutes. The second time around the cinnamon and clover were strong, but the orange peel faded. It was still tasty and worth the second cup!

 

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves: Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 3 of 5 — this tea is a bit delicate.

Little Red Cup Tea Co. Tasting at Black Cat Coffee

I was hoping to get the posted yesterday, but life.

Anyway, yesterday Black Cat Coffee on Stevens Ave. in Portland, ME hosted a Little Red Cup tea tasting from 11-1. Luckily I heard about it in time to scoot over there for a few tea samples. The Little Red Cup Tea Co. is a family run tea outfit hailing from Brunswick, Maine. Yay, Maine! They offer fair trade and organic Chinese teas. Sounds pretty great, huh?!

Little Red Cup

Today I  sampled an oolong and a gunpowder green tea. Martin, from Little Red Cup had other samples available as well, but I didn’t get a chance to try them. The oolong steeps to a lovely, rich yellow and was very hearty and flavorful. The gunpowder green was actually quite dark for a green tea, but was also good with grass and nutty flavors. In addition to being available at Black Cat Coffee, these teas can be found at the Portland food Co-Op and at most Rosemont markets.

Before leaving Black Cat, the owner offered some of the other tea available in her shop. She carries teas from Montana Tea and Spice and had three herbal blends for me to try:

Evening in Missoula – a blend of chamomile, lemongrass and other flowers and spices. Typically, I’m not a fan of chamomile, but I found this tea to be quite good and the complexity of it was interesting.

Montana Gold – roobios, cinnamon, orange and clove. A perfect tea for the season. The cinnamon is warming and spicy and the sweet roobios flavor is kept in check by the clove.

Purple Mountain Majesty – floral! This tea taste like drinking a cup of flowers. It would make a nice spring tea and would work well iced. It was a little too much for me, but I still enjoyed trying it.

Montana Tea and Spice

Overall, it was a great Sunday afternoon teatime. I’m already looking forward to trying some other teas from Little Red Cup and can see myself stopping in to Black Cat Coffee for more Montana Tea and Spice teas! If you are looking for tea in Deering, head on over and check it out!

Review: David’s Tea Chai Guarana

 Screen shot 2014-08-24 at 11.39.02 AM

Overall Rating:

Taste: 3.75 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 5 of 5 tea leaves – this tea is easy to make!

Abby says:

Temperature: @200 (just below boiling point)
Steeped: 6 minutes
Served: Nothing added to start

I first tried this tea on a Monday morning after a very busy weekend. Needless to say, I was looking for a pick-me-up and was hoping David’s tea Chai Guarana would do it. Guarana, a berry from South America contains one of the highest concentrations of caffeine of any plant. If that’s not a pick-me-up, I don’t know what is.  And don’t say “five-hour energy”, gross. Anyway, looking at the tea – it was very pretty as most chai teas are and the little berries made it even prettier. The Chai Guarana smelled great too, both and after steeping, like a good chai should, strong and spicy.

The first thing I noticed after a few sips was the cinnamon. I tasted a lot of cinnamon, but in really good way. It was spicy, but didn’t have any of the fake/candy cinnamon flavor that tea sometimes has. It tasted like real, delicious, cinnamon. The other spices like ginger and anise blended to give the hallmark chai flavor. However, the taste of the tea was not lost. There is a distinct earthiness present from the tea and maybe the guarana (not sure what that tastes like on its own). There is also a defined astringent mouth feel that often comes with strong black tea. As far as the caffeine hit, yeah, this is a strong tea. After one cup I felt like I had at least two! If you are looking for a strong tasty chai tea, give this one a try!

Taste: 4 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 5 of 5 tea leaves – this tea is easy to make!

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Katie says:

Temperature: @200 (just below boiling point)
Steeped: 6 minutes
Served: tired with cream and sugar but liked it with just a touch of sugar best

Check out all of those big chunks of cinnamon after steeping! (see above) This is a strong tea with lots of cinnamon-flavor. What the heck is Guarana? David’s tea tells us: “Guarana is a highly stimulating tropical berry, making for a delicious way to wake up and get energized.” And they are right. Wow, this tea has some real ZIP! I really enjoyed that it’s strong, and had nice tea flavor, but for me there was a little too much cinnamon and less other spices for this to be a chai. I love traditional chai with milk and honey, but this tea is really nice with just a little sugar. So i like this tea, I just wish it was called “cinnamon guarana” instead of chai. If I didn’t feel like the name was a bit misleading I’d give it an even higher ranking.

Taste: 3.5 of 5 tea leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 5 of 5 tea leaves – this tea is easy to make!

Review: Tega Masala Chai Roobios

Overall Rating:

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa.
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves – This tea is easy to make.

Abby says:

Tea Type: Bagged
Temperature: Boiling
Steeped: Left in mug
Served: Nothing added, then with unsweetened almond milk

I’m always looking for a good decaf tea. Caffeine takes its tole on me if I drink it too late in the day or evening, but I often want a cup of tea at the end of the day. Typically roobios isn’t my favorite decaf option, but in this case, the Tega roobios blends well with the chai spices. For a chai, the spice level is mild  – I also like this for an evening tea. The addition of almond milk helped to make this tea creamy and relaxing.  The toasty almond flavor paired well with the spicy cinnamon and cardamom in the tea. As Katie, points out below, this tea was initially appealing because it is certified organic and fair trade! We love that and it tastes good too!

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa.
Steepability: 5 of 5 leaves – This tea is easy to make.

Katie says:

Tea Type: bagged
Temperature: boiling
Steeped: left in cup
Served: milk & honey

This is a great tea for when you’re craving the taste of chai but want to skip the caffeine. The chai spices are very present but not overwhelming. My favorite way to have tea is with milk & honey and this was delicious served this way! This tea is also Fair trade and organic, double win! Good tea that is also good for the earth? How can you not love that?

Fun fact: Tega is a 10 year old family owned company. All of their teas are fair trade and most are organic too.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves. Quite a good cuppa.
Steepability: 5 of 5 This tea is easy to make.

TeBella Tea Company

TeBella Tea Co

On a recent trip to Tampa, FL I stopped at a terrific tea shop, TeBella Tea Company in Davis Islands. The main street that TeBella sits on is just the cutest thing. There are shops, bars and restaurants all of which are well maintained to give you a unique neighborhood feeling as you take it all in. We also stopped at Yeoman’s Road Pub for a pint, but that’s a story for another day. Now… more about the tea!

TeBella Tea Co

Look at all that tea! A dream come true. There were tons of beautiful teas to choose from and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable about the teas they had to offer. They were also very patient and let me see and smell many, MANY teas before I settled on my favorites. Thank you friendly tea folks!

Tea

One of the teas that I took home with me is their White Coconut Dulce (pictured above). A beautiful tea with bright white coconut shavings mixed it.  It smelled and looked amazing.  Hopefully you will find a review of it posted here soon. Spoiler alert: it was delicious.

Chocolates

They also had the gorgeous chocolate made by locally by William Dean Chocolates.  For some of these chocolates TeBella tea is used. Almost too lovely to eat, but not quite.

Chocolates

After drooling over the tea and chocolate offerings we finally made our selections. Opting for hot and iced teas. BTW, Tampa has wonky weather in February. Then we made out way into the pouring rain and quickly flooding streets, off to our next adventure in Tampa. Cheers!

Tea Cold and Hot

Review: Tea Forte Earl Grey

Tea Forte Earl Grey

Abby says:

Tea Type: Single-serving loose leaf packets
Temperature: @ boiling
Steeped: 4 minutes
Served: Nothing added

Tea Forst Earl Grey

Whenever I prepare these cute little single-serving loose leaf tea packets from Tea Forte I think of Edward Norton’s character from Fight Club and his theories on single serving friends. Then laugh while making my tea. I like these little guys because they are easy to use and travel with.  They taste good too.

Tea Forte Earl Grey follows the traditional blend.  They use organic (Yippee!) and fair trade (right on!) black tea with bergamot.  The black tea is well matched with the bergamot.  There is nothing outstanding or out-of-the-ordinary about this tea, but it is done well and that clearly comes through when you drink it.  The only down side I have found is that even though it is loose leaf tea, many of the pieces were quite small with a few bigger pieces here and there.  Though the convenience and good flavor outweighed this flaw.  Recommended for travel and for the office.  Super easy, tastes good and doesn’t take up much space.

Taste: 4 of 5 leaves – Quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 4 of 5 leaves — this tea requires very little effort.

Tea Forte Earl Grey

Review: Bhakti Chai (Unsweetened)

 

Overall Rating:

Taste: 4 of 5 – quite a good cuppa!
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

Katie says:

Temperature: Hot from the stove, but not boiling
Steeped: N/A
Served: With 1:1 ratio of milk, then with honey

For me this is hands down, the best chai from a bottle ever. I love the idea of chai mix due to convenience but most are just a syrupy mess. This tastes like real TEA! Also, without sweetener or milk added you can make it to your taste. One word of caution, I think real chai needs real milk. I’m talking 2% or greater…in India it’s practically cream!

I have to say, I was surprised to see Abby’s rating on this one because we tend to agree more often than not. It may just be that while she likes chai, she’s not a fan of milk in tea. And this mix NEEDS milk.  I love that I can count on the ratio and make the same cuppa more than once. If you like traditional chai with a kick of ginger than this is a MUST try. But pass the cream. 🙂

I also like that this tea comes refrigerated and has a shelf life. That certainly makes it seem more real. And, when you real the label there is in fact good (ie real) stuff in there. It’s also a pretty cool company out of Fort Collins, CO. Check out their website for their story & more of their flavors.

Taste: 5 of 5 – outstanding a must try!
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

Abby says:

Temperature: Hot from the stove, but not boiling
Steeped: N/A
Served: With 1:1 ratio of milk, then with honey

Seriously spicy! You know how, sometimes you find chai teas to be dull without the spice that you love? Well, forget all that.  This tea is spicy and has a ton of flavor. Bhakti Chai comes pre-brewed in a refrigerated bottle containing: “organic fair trade black te, organic ginger juice, organic cardamom, black pepper and other spices.” It carries the fair trade certification, but it is not certified organic. The directions call for heating the tea with milk at a 1:1 ratio and heating on the stove top or in the microwave.  It also says you can serve it over ice, but I can’t even think about that right now (too much snow everywhere for that).  Typically I choose not to add milk to my tea, but for the sake of the review I decided to be a good girl and follow the directions.  I’m glad I did because I think skipping the milk would have been a mistake for sure.  In fact I ended up adding more hot milk and a bit of honey to mellow out the spice level. This tea was good, but I will only have it when I am craving the spice!

Taste: 3 of 5 leaves: A decent tasty tea.
Steepability: 5 of 5 — this tea is easy to make!

Bhakti Chai