Tisano’s Chai Cacao Tea

Chai Cacao Tea by Tisano
Black Tea / Flavoured
$13.99USD for 4oz

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Tisano has provided me with Chai Cacao Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

The idea of chocolate tea confuses me at times – mostly because I love hot chocolate, and I love tea, but I’ve had some bad experiences with them in the past. A chocolate tea? For me, that usually means chocolate in tea, but the interesting thing is that Tisano doesn’t actually put chocolate in the tea. The dry leaf smells remarkably like milk chocolate. It reminds me of a bar of milk chocolate or hot chocolate. Just the chocolate aroma with the sweetness of chocolate. I’ve found in the past that “chocolate teas” don’t have the richness of actual chocolate aroma, so this one is nice to smell.

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The ingredients of Chai Cacao Tea include: organic Tisano cacao shells, organic Assam black tea, organic cloves, cardamom, and other spices. All of Tisano’s tea products have a cacao shell base. Beyond chocolate, I do smell the cardamom, but not the cloves. It was a bit disappointing to see that not all the ingredients were listed – if you have any food allergies that you’re concerned about, I would recommend contacting the company directly to inquire about allergens.

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Preparation

Tisano recommends steeping Chai Cacao Tea in 200°F (93°C) water for 4 minutes. My initial steep of Chai Cacao Tea was prepared according to the recommended steeping instructions.

First Taste

Chai Cacao Tea continues to smell like chocolate as it steeps. It steeps to a clear yellow, but the smell makes me think that it should be brown like hot chocolate instead. On first sip, it tastes like chocolate, but it isn’t as sweet as chocolate would be. It has a very mild flavour to it – there’s the flavour of chocolate and I’m pleasantly surprised that it doesn’t remind me of watery chocolate. While it lacks the creamy richness that a cup of hot chocolate would provide, Chai Cacao Tea reminds me a bit of a dessert tea because of the chocolate aroma and flavours. There’s no bitterness or astringency, which I appreciate. I didn’t really find it had a spice to the flavour of this tea, which was a touch disappointing as I was hoping to experience the spices in this blend.

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I poured a second cup of this cacao shell tea and added some sugar and milk. I found that the sugar and milk helped it to taste more like a cup of hot chocolate. It lacks the thickness of hot chocolate, but it still has the flavours of hot chocolate, which I greatly enjoy.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Chai Cacao Tea but found the flavours were quite dilute compared to the initial steep. I would say that Chai Cacao Tea was good for one steep.

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My Overall Impression

3cups-2

I liked Tisano’s Chai Cacao Tea. I’m still a bit perplexed by how this tea blend actually smells and tastes like chocolate, but if you’re a chocolate lover I think you’ll enjoy this one! It was okay straight, but I enjoyed it a lot more with the addition of sugar and milk. Milk chocolate is one of my favourite types of chocolate, so I’m glad that this doesn’t have any bitter notes (although if you’re a dark chocolate fan, you’d probably enjoy a touch of bitterness). I do wish that the spices had shone more in this tea after it had steeped, since it is called a chai (for a fun fact, chai means tea!).

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Grand Tea’s Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum Tea by Grand Tea
Herbal Infusion / Straight
$35.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Chrysanthemum Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Chrysanthemum Tea is a floral infusion that I’m quite familiar with – it’s a common option available to be paired with dim sum (yum!). These floral buds came to me in a gold sample packet from Grand Tea, the chrysanthemum in this floral infusion are quite a bit younger than what I’m used to since they’re only partially opened. I found these chrysanthemum buds to be quite fragrant, it’s quite distinctly the floral aroma of chrysanthemum that also has a honeyed sweetness to it.

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This is a straight infusion, with no additional ingredients. There is quite a bit of health information surrounding Chrysanthemum Tea on the Grand Tea website, surrounding health benefits – help with dizziness, headaches, and digestion; as well as potential side effects – interference with medications and allergies. When in doubt, always have a chat with your primary health care provider or pharmacist before trying new-to-you herbs, there could be an interaction with your medications.

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Preparation

Grand Tea recommends steeping Chrysanthemum Tea in 80-90°C (176-194°F), there was no time included but I opted to steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

The initial steep of Chrysanthemum Tea was a pale yellow that was surprisingly quite fragrant despite the lightness in colour. I found that it smells exactly like the dry floral buds, and might even be a stronger aroma. The buds opened up a little bit, and I found that the infusion is delicious. There’s just a hint of sweetness when I sip it that makes it quite enjoyable. There is a mention of mild bitterness on the Grand Tea website about this tea, but I didn’t find that to be noticeable at all.

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A Second Cup?

I generally don’t resteep herbal infusions because I find that the flavour can be quite lacking compared to the initial steep. For Chrysanthemum Tea, I resteeped the floral buds twice, adding an extra minute per subsequent steep. I found both resteeps to be quite delicious, although a touch weaker than the initial steep. Despite that, I found that this herbal infusion resteeps decently enough that I would recommend doing it at least twice to get more value out of your tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Grand Tea’s Chrysanthemum Tea. This is definitely an aromatic floral infusion that is delicious, has just the right amount of honeyed sweetness naturally occurring as the floral buds get steeped. I found that there was no bitterness at all, which made this floral infusion more enjoyable. Bonus, because it doesn’t actually contain tea leaves, this infusion is naturally caffeine-free and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

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Fox Tea Club’s Aphrodite

Aphrodite by Fox Tea Club
Green Tea & White Tea / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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Fox Tea Club has provided me with Aphrodite for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I’m a fan of green tea, and I’m a fan of white tea – but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened up this packet of Aphrodite. Fox Tea Club’s green and white tea blend smells floral and full of lemon, which is a divine combination. The lemon zest smells fresh, which is energizing. I can’t really make out the smell of the white or green tea, because the lemon zest is just so strong.

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Aphrodite consists of calendula, green tea, jasmine, lemon, safflower, and white tea.

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Preparation

There were steeping instructions on the Fox Tea Club website for the Aphrodite tea. I steeped this at 80°C (175°F) for 1 minute. If you’re steeping a tea blend and you don’t have any steeping instructions, you should always opt to steep at the lowest optimal temperature and for the shortest steep time.

First Taste

Aphrodite steeps to a bright, beautiful yellow. It has a remarkably vibrant lemon aroma from the steeped tea, which is quite enjoyable. There’s a light floral fragrance to this tea, that’s overwhelmed by the lemon. The taste of Aphrodite has a subtle sweetness to it, that balances well between the floral and lemon. I think it tastes good, there’s no bitterness in the tea at the water temperature and length of steep time that I opted for.

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A Second Cup?

I resteep Aphrodite twice and I found that the first resteep was okay (and fairly close to the first steep), with the balanced flavours of floral with lemon. The second steep had very minimal lemon flavours in it, so I would say that Aphrodite is just good for one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Fox Tea Club’s Aphrodite. While this tea didn’t have me in an lovin’ mood, I really did enjoy the fresh brightness of the lemon zest with the sweet floral flavours. The white and green tea bases hold up the lemon and floral flavours well, and I enjoy the floral aromas and flavours. I’d definitely recommend giving this tea a try if you enjoy jasmine and lemon – just be sure not to add any milk or cream because it’ll curdle in a tea with lemon.

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Starbucks’ Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime

Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime by Starbucks
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$6.99 for 98.9g (20g per sachet)

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First Impressions

I was given a carton of the Via Instant Refresher in Cool Lime by a friend a while back and recently got a chance to try it out. It comes in a cardboard carton, with five individually portioned sachets of the beverage powder. I love the fact that it’s individually portioned and that makes it easy to use. The powder isn’t mixed with hot water, so it’s good for people who are on-the-go.

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Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime is made up of: cane sugar, natural flavours, white grape juice powder, erythritol, citric acid, ascorbic acid, stevia leaf extract. The powder smells very sweet and has a strong lime fragrance. The description on the packaging says that it contains green coffee, which isn’t listed on the list of ingredients.

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Preparation

The instructions are to mix 1 sachet with 475mL of water and to mix/stir, with the option of adding ice. I mixed up the sachet of powder with the suggested amount of water, stirred, and added a couple of ice cubes.

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First Taste

Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime has a very light greenish colour that reminds me of pale lime juice. I sipped it and it was very sweet with light citrus/lime taste. I can taste the stevia though, with that unfortunate aftertaste. It tastes delicious cold/iced, which I would highly recommend it iced. It fully dissolved in room temperature water, which was nice to see. I would add extra water on top of what the packaging recommends, because it’s very sweet and could be further diluted.

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A Second Cup?

Because all of the powder fully dissolved (surprise!), I wasn’t able to remix the Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Starbucks’ Via Instant Refresher Cool Lime. It lives up the name of being cool and refreshing, with a great lime taste. I thought it was on the sweeter side, which was weird because I generally enjoy sweets and desserts. The stevia aftertaste was dulled a bit with the presence of ice, so if you easily taste stevia I would add more ice. I think the amount of water that they recommend on the packaging is too little and it could be diluted further. It’s a great option for people on-the-go and want to have something to flavour their water The nice bonus is that despite the presence of coffee, I really cannot smell or taste it (which is a major plus for me). They are a bit expensive though, given that it’s well over a dollar per sachet – it’s still cheaper than buying a cup to go at a local Starbucks store.

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Grand Tea’s Keemun Black Tea

Keemun Black Tea by Grand Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$30.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Keemun Black Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

The teas I grew up loving were all black teas, so whenever a tea company asks if I want to try black teas I’m always game. Grand Tea sent me some Keemun Black Tea and I was so curious that I just had to try it. According to Grand Tea, Keemun is a high quality black tea that is loved by the British Royal family. Keemun was exported to Europe as a “high class beverage”. Well, if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s certainly good enough for me!

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Keemun Black Tea is a straight black tea. The tea leaves themselves are fairly uniform in colour. They’re short, dark, with light twists. There are hints of red in the tea leaves that may be a bit difficult to see in the photo. The dry leaf has a beautiful aroma – it’s a nice mix of flowery and fruity aroma that reminds me of lychee.

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Preparation

There were no preparations on the Grand Tea website at the time of writing. Because it’s a black tea, I opted to steep at 100°C (212°F) at 3 minutes.

First Taste

Keemun Black Tea steeps to a deep orange, and it has floral and fruity aromas that waft up. It has a beautiful aroma that’s quite inviting. If you’ve never had a cup of tea that just invites you in, this is the one. It felt like it took a while for the tea to cool down before I could drink in, but when I sipped at the Keemun, I was greeted with some bold flavours – there was a sweetness, the floral notes, and a touch of refreshing fruitiness. I found it to be well-balanced. This straight black tea has a great mouthfeel to it, it’s very smooth but just a touch of astringency at the tail end of each sip.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Keemun Black Tea three times, adding an additional 30 seconds per subsequent steep. I found that the flavours were not as strong as the initial steep, and got a little bit weaker with each steep. The sweetness got continually weaker. The additional steeps are still drinkable though, and I found them to be enjoyable.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Keemun Black Tea. The tea is bright and strong, I think that the tea would be a fantastic replacement for a morning cup of coffee – the initial steep is that strong. I really enjoyed it though, and found that the mixture of fruity and floral flavours was delicious. I wish it resteeped a little bit better, and it’d be a nice tea for an afternoon tea option.

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