Chai Castle’s Berry Blend

Berry Blend by Chai Castle
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$8.00 for 50g

Chai Castle has provided me with Berry Blend for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

When Chai Castle first approached me about reviewing some of their teas, I was asked which ones I wanted to try – and honestly that kind of question makes me feel like a little kid in a candy store because I just get heart eyes about the idea of choosing teas. Berry Blend spoke to me because I’m pretty sure it was in the mid 30s (… Celcius…) that day and all I wanted was iced tea, or an ice bath. The aroma of Berry Blend really speaks to its name – it smells very fruity, you can see all the different fruit ingredients in the blend, and the aroma really reminds me of a mixed field berry jam or yoghurt.

Berry Blend came to me in one of Chai Castle’s sample baggies that are resealable. I really appreciate how clearly all the information is laid out about the teas on their labels. Berry Blend consists of: apple pieces, raisins, beetroot pieces, rose hip peels, elderberries, flavour, red currants, blackberries, black currants, and raspberries.

Preparation

Chai Castle recommends steeping Berry Blend in 100°C (212°F) water for 8 to 10 minutes. My initial steep of Berry Blend was for 10 minutes.

First Taste

Berry Blend steeps to a very bright reddish-pink, and I think we can all thank the beetroot for that amazing colour. The aroma is very fruity and still reminds me of mixed field berry jam like the dry leaf did. The flavour is sweet, fruity, with a touch of tartness that I believe can be attributed to the raspberries in the blend. The natural sweetness from the fruit is really pronounced, and I wouldn’t dare add any additional sweetener because it does not need any – and that really speaks to the ripeness of all the fruits used prior to them being dried.

I had Berry Blend both hot and iced. While it is quite delicious hot, I think it’s even better iced and that kind of mixed fruit flavour is just ideal for an iced tea.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Berry Blend, it didn’t do very well. However, I wasn’t particularly disappointed by it because most herbal or fruit infusions just don’t do well with being resteeped, since the flavours get tapped out with the initial steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Chai Castle’s Berry Blend. Sometimes I find it rare that a fruit or herbal infusion smells the same from dry to steeped tea, and then tastes as what you’d expect it to. There’s usually something missing or less pronounced than what I’d like, but Berry Blend definitely surpassed those expectations. I agree with the 10 minute steep time, and would really recommend having this one iced because it’s so fruity and sweet. If you’re a fan of mixed field berry anything, this fruit infusion is essentially mixed field berry jam in a cup.

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Chai Castle’s Gunpowder

Gunpowder by Chai Castle
Green Tea / Straight
$10.00 for 100g

Chai Castle has provided me with Gunpowder for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Chai Castle’s Gunpowder came to me in a resealable black pouch, with a nice label on the front. I love an informative label. If you’ve never had a gunpowder before, it is traditionally a Chinese green tea. Chai Castle’s Gunpowder is no exception. Chai Castle describes their Gunpowder as “brisk, tart and slightly smoky”.

Gunpowder is a Chinese green tea. The leaves are dark olive green, all bunched and rolled together. There is a mild smokey aroma. If you know lapsang souchong tea, it’s nothing like that in terms of the campfire smoke. Just a gentle, mild smokey aroma – enough for you to know it’s there, not enough for you to think there’s a wildfire happening somewhere.

Preparation

Chai Castle recommends steeping Gunpowder in 79°C (175°F) water for 2 to 3 minutes. My initial steep was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Gunpowder steeps to a lovely golden orange. On first taste, I do notice that there’s a slight astringency in the tea – but it’s not off-putting. There’s a nice smokey flavour, without making me feel like it’s over the top. It’s a very clear tasting tea though, nice blend of smoke, vegetal notes, and just that little touch of astringency at the end of each sip. If you’re not a fan of the astringency, I’d recommend steeping Gunpowder for little bit less than 2 minutes (probably start at 60 seconds and titrate up to your liking).

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Gunpowder three times, adding an extra 30 seconds for each steep. I found that the flavour profile remained fairly consistent throughout, but the third resteep was a bit weak in flavour. Overall, I think that Gunpowder can handle being resteeped at least twice and the third can be reserved for people who don’t mind the flavour being a bit weaker.

My Overall Impression

I loved Chai Castle’s Gunpowder. I really enjoyed steeping this green tea, watching the leaves open up was a nice treat that reminded me of my oolong experiences. I was a little bit apprehensive when I read that it had a smokey flavour, but it wasn’t overbearing – it was just enough, and it goes well with the name of the tea as well. For this tea, I would definitely recommend at least two resteeps to get all that nice flavour out of the leaves.

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Chai Castle’s Black Currant

Black Currant by Chai Castle
Black Tea / Flavoured
$12.50 for 100g

Chai Castle has provided me with Black Currant for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Black Currant came to me in a cute resealable black sample-size pouch. The label very clearly tells me everything that I need to know about the tea – including the varying sources of the black tea used in this blend (very handy to know!). Chai Castle also sent me samples of their retail packaging – some lovely matte black resealable bags with coloured labels.

Black Currant has a beautiful aroma to it. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten black currant fruit before, but I have had black currant candy (so good!), and this pretty much smells like candy to me. There’s a nice sweet aroma to it, and I can pick out the individual ingredients in the blend. Black Currant consists of: black tea (Ceylon, South India, China), natural flavour, black currants, and black currants leaves.

Bonus fun fact, Chai Castle is a local company! Chai Castle is based out of Maple Ridge, which is part of the Metro Vancouver area.

Preparation

Chai Castle recommends steeping Black Currant in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Black Currant was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Black Currant steeps to an almost burnt orange colour. There’s a nice fruity sweetness that wafts up from the steeped tea that is really quite inviting. On first taste, I found that there was a good amount of fruity notes while I could still make out a slight robustness from the black tea base. I found no astringency or bitterness when I steeped Black Currant for 4 minutes. The balance between the black tea and the black currant is quite pleasant. I found the fruit provided enough sweetness that I don’t really think that it needs any additional sweetener. I had this tea hot, but after cooling it down I had popped in a couple of ice cubes and found it to be quite delicious as well.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Black Currant twice. I found with the first resteep, the flavour was lovely and very similar to the initial steep. I found for the second resteep, the flavour wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. As per my usual, I add an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I would say that Black Currant is good for one more steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Chai Castle’s Black Currant. I really enjoyed the fruity flavour and thought that the flavour of the black currant really comes out well with this black tea blend. It’s both delicious hot and iced, so it makes for a versatile tea regardless of the weather. I would definitely recommend resteeping it once to get all the flavour out of it since it’s so tasty!

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