Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea

Original Cacao Tea by Tisano
Herbal Infusion / Straight
$14.95USD for 4oz

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

First Impressions

Tisano sent me a sample of their Original Cacao Tea. The sample came to me in a resealable bag (thank goodness), and the aroma of the cacao shells is one of pure chocolate. It smells and reminds me of a rich hot chocolate. Original Cacao Tea is a tisane made up of only cacao shells. I’m not sure what a cacao shell is supposed to look like, but the tisane is made up of thin, light brown flakes and smell like a chocolate bar.

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Preparation

Tisano recommends steeping Original Cacao Tea at 210°F (99°C) water for 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Original Cacao Tea steeps to a beautiful golden brown colour. Surprisingly, there’s slight bit of oils across the top that I think it comes from the cacao shells themselves (since chocolate has oils). The aroma from the steeped tisane is nothing short of hot chocolate. Sipping Original Cacao Tea has the taste of chocolate, a slightly watery version of hot chocolate. There’s a slight bitterness to the tisane, it reminds me of dark chocolate.

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I added some cream to Original Cacao Tea and I found it helped to dull the bitterness and make it taste a touch more like hot chocolate, as it allowed the natural sweetness from the cacao to come through more.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Original Cacao Tea, but found that the flavour was a watery compared to the initial steep. I would recommend Original Cacao Tea for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea. I found that it was really good with the addition of cream, it made it taste like a hot chocolate. It’s a nice alternative to the sugary commercial hot chocolate mix available out there. I wasn’t too fond of the bitter notes with the straight tisane, so I recommend adding some cream or milk to make it into a rich hot chocolate drink.

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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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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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Fox Tea Club’s Watermelon

Watermelon by Fox Tea Club
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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

First Impressions

Autumn has been settling in quickly around here over the long weekend (it’s Thanksgiving in Canada), but let’s pretend it’s still summer for just a day, shall we? Watermelon from Fox Tea Club came to me in plain sample packaging with the name handwritten on the outside, and this fruit infusion smells remarkably like watermelon juice despite the lack of watermelon in the ingredients list. It’s pretty amazing how much the smell reminds me of a sweet, juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.

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Watermelon consists of cherry, foxberry, hibiscus, rose and rosehips. Curiously enough, the product page for Watermelon on the Fox Tea Club website mentions bilberry in the description at the time of writing.

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Preparation

Unfortunately, there were no steeping instructions provided for Watermelon. I opted to do my initial steep of this fruity tea at 100°C (212°F) for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Watermelon steeps to a brilliantly deep ruby red colour – likely due to the combination of all the red coloured ingredients (and the hibiscus!). The smell that comes up from this fruity infusion still reminds me of watermelon fruit, but has a bit of a tart aroma that I attribute to either the cherry or the hibiscus.

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On first taste, I can see why Fox Tea Club gave this fruit infusion blend the name Watermelon. It has a refreshing taste and just a touch of tartness that rivals the sweet. I can taste the cherry and the hibiscus. Despite lacking in actual watermelon in the ingredients, the flavours that are the result of the blend is still reminding me of watermelon – just not as sweet as the actual fruit would be.

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Fox Tea Club recommends this infusion as iced. I did try it cold and found that I enjoyed it hot more. The tartness from the hibiscus was more subtle when the infusion was iced. If you’re not a huge fan of how tart the hibiscus is, a touch of honey or another sweetener helps fix that a bit and brighten up the fruity flavours.

A Second Cup?

I did attempt to resteep Watermelon, but found that both the colour of the infusion and the flavour was lacking. I would say that Watermelon is good for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Fox Tea Club’s Watermelon. It has a beautiful aroma and the flavour of this fruit blend is delicious and very similar to actual watermelon. I think that most people would probably be less picky than I am and enjoy this fruity infusion iced or cold, so it’s definitely a contender for those who are experiencing warmer weather than I am at this moment in time. I just find it so remarkable how much this blend reminds me of the smell and taste of watermelon.

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Teavana’s Peach Tranquility

Peach Tranquility by Teavana
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$10.95 for 44.4g (12 sachets)

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First Impressions

I received this box of Peach Tranquility from a friend who gave it to me and said “I thought you might like this”. Well, it’s a form of tea so chances are pretty high I’ll love the fact that someone saw tea and thought of me. That said, this isn’t one that I’ve tried before. Peach Tranquility comes in a fairly large box for the fact that it only contains 12 individually wrapped sachets (spoiler: most of the box was completely empty/filled with air).

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Peach Tranquility came packaged in tea pyramids, and each pyramid comes in an individual foil packet. Not entirely the greatest for the environment, but what can I do about that? The smell is amazing, Peach Tranquility smells strongly of peaches with soft floral notes in the background. In reality, peaches are actually low on the ingredients list. Peach Tranquility consist of: apple pieces, candied pineapple pieces, rose hip peels, chamomile flowers, natural flavour, peach pieces, citric acid, and lemon verbena.

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Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping Peach Tranquility in 96°C (205°F) water for 5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions for my initial steep of Peach Tranquility.

First Taste

Peach Tranquility steeps to be remarkably pale, with a light orange-yellow colour. The aroma that comes up from this fruit infusion is divine though, smelling sweetly of peaches and pineapple – it’s a nice tropical blend with a floral background, much like with the dry leaf. On first taste, I mostly taste the peaches. There’s a nice sweet pineapple flavour that lingers in the background, and the floral notes were mostly found at the end of each sip. Despite all the fruit in this tisane, and the fact that the pineapple was candied, it’s not as sweet as I was expecting.

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I did try a cup of Peach Tranquility with a touch of sweetener added (I used agave syrup) and I found that the peach flavour was even stronger once boosted by some sweetness. I also poured out a cup to be iced and found the fruit infusion to be even better when iced than hot.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Peach Tranquility. I found the flavour to be lacking from the peaches, pineapples, and floral notes that I enjoyed in the initial steep. I would say that Peach Tranquility is good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Teavana’s Peach Tranquility. I really quite enjoyed the first steep of this tisane, especially with some added sweetener and iced. I’m always going to be a bigger fan of fruit infusions iced over hot. I found that the peach flavours were quite refreshing, but it needed just a touch of sweetener to boost the fruit flavours. Unfortunately, this tisane did not do well for a second steep. Luckily, I’m not head-over-heels in love with this tea, as I suspect that I would have issues finding more of it as the Teavana retail locations are closing this month in Canada.

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