Peruvian Spiced Berry From Inca Tea

Peruvian Spiced Berry From Inca TeaI’ve had various teas from Inca Tea‘s range before, so I was particularly looking forward to reviewing their Peruvian Spiced Berry Tea.

Until now my favourite of theirs had been their Tawantin Black Tea, because it was a way for me to enjoy a high quality black tea the old fashioned way (with a splash of milk!) but still receive the added health benefits of the purple corn being in this blend.

So their Peruvian Spiced Berry had a reputation to live up to!

Firstly, I absolutely love Inca Tea’s packaging – it’s one of the most innovative, well-thought-out pieces of tea packaging I’ve ever come across (and I’ve seen a lot!). You simply lift the cardboard mountain sleeve to reveal a tear strip on the inner cardboard box. Tear this off, and you can dispense individually-packed bags each time you fancy a brew. Genius!

Their thoughtfulness regarding packaging goes even further than this however, with biodegradable, silk-like bags and soy-based inks being used on their post-consumer recycled boxes. Great design, great ethics, and great ingenuity. I’m impressed with this brand before I’ve even tasted their blend.

Upon opening one of the sealed pouches this blend release a punchy, clove-laden aroma that is reminiscent of a good mulled wine – in fact, I can imagine this to be a good non-alcoholic alternative during the Festive season.

Equally though, it’s a fantastic Summer brew.

When the water hits the bag, an instant purple hue appears – probably from the purple corn, releasing its powerful antioxidant properties. This purple colour only gets stronger and deeper as the tea brews, developing into a deep purple/red with input from the berries in this blend.

The first sip is delightful, deep berry notes without the tartness you often get in berry-based teas, and an aftertaste of clove and cinnamon. Hibiscus in this blend lifts the whole flavour and ties together the richness of the berries, the freshness of the fruit, and the spices, giving it real flavour synergy.

Here’s what Inca Tea themselves say about this tea:

This is Inca Tea’s original blend to characterize the true ancient Incan recipe. This is the same tea that Inca Tea Founder and “TeaEO” Ryan Florio came across during his hike in Peru. It’s is an enlivening herbal, fruit tea blend of purple corn, berries and spices.

Aside from the flavour this tea delivers, its great to know that you’re drinking something exceptionally healthy too! I will definitely be adding this blend to one of my favourite teas from Inca Tea.

Pomegranate Mojito from Zest Tea

Pomegranate Mojito from Zest TeaI could literally sit and sniff this tea all day long – Pomegranate Mojito Tea from Zest Tea.

A smell reminiscent of my childhood (not that I drank mojitos as a child!) – more that it reminds me of the penny bubblegum I used to get from the corner shop. Sweet, slightly minty, and really fruity.

I’ve got an obsession with lifting the cylindrical aluminium tin up and taking a deep breath, it brings back so many memories.

Nostalgia aside, brewing this tea instantly creates a lovely light green colour in the water – almost like a light elderflower presse. This pays homage once again to the tea’s Summery, fruity vibe.

On taking the first sip, wow! These guys really know how to blend a good tea.

Light, minty, fruity – the Green Tea flavour comes through in the drinking, unlike its absence from the smell. Giving a lovely, fresh, clean undertone to the tea.

It’s like a sequence of flavours with this blend, they don’t all hit your mouth at the same time. First, it’s the citrus notes that hit your tongue, then as you swallow you get the clean, aromatic tones of the Young Hyson green tea, followed-up by the fresh aftertaste and invigorating mouthfeel of the peppermint. A true marriage of perfect flavours – one I would imagine to work well in iced format aswell as a hot brew.

As always with Zest Tea, they add caffeine to give you that kick! So it’s the perfect, invigorating replacement to the regular morning ‘cup of Joe’ – plus with the L-Theanine, you avoid the crash that you often experience with coffee.

Here’s what Zest Tea themselves have to say about this blend:

At Zest, we start every morning with a Mojito. This aromatic blend of young hyson green tea, peppermint, lime, and pomegranate will bring back memories of lounging on a beach, or maybe whatever memories you have left of college. Either way, our Pomegranate Mojito Green Tea is an amazingly refreshing blend, great for any time of day.

And I think I might just follow suit with a mojito each morning too! Of the tea variety, of course.

Blue Lady from Zest Tea

Blue Lady from Zest TeaThis week I received an exciting package of teas from Zest Tea – some sample packs, a cylindrical tin, and a pouch.

It was great to see all of the different packaging types that this tea company offers, and the amazing, vibrant designs on each of the packs.

But there was one that particularly intrigued me, and led to me choosing it for my first review. Blue Lady, a blend of South Indian flower orange pekoe Black Tea, cornflower petals, hibiscus, orange, lemon, passion fruit flavour, with added natural caffeine – said to contain a high level of caffeine, antioxidants, and amino acids for alertness and energy.

Upon opening the pouch, I got the citrus fragrance from the tea – the orange, lemon, and hibiscus being the dominant tones. Reminiscent of a tropical cocktail!

Everything about Zest Tea feels premium and of exceptionally high quality and this extends through to the silk tea bags they use.

Once infused, this blend turned the water a golden amber, with the tropical, citrus fragrance still as strong as when I opened the pack.

On taking my first sip, it’s clear this is a tea I’m going to thoroughly enjoy to the last sip. Refreshing, fruity, clean, and crisp – a truly thirst-quenching delight.

As for the physiological benefits of increased alertness and energy, I do feel surprisingly chipper for a late Sunday evening – so perhaps it’s taking effect already. After all, the scientific evidence behind caffeine and L-Theanine (the dominant amino acid) is solid, and does point towards increased energy levels and mental alertness.

Here’s what Zest Tea say about this blend:

Winner of Best New Product at the 2015 World Tea Expo, Zest premium energy teas offer the same energizing kick of coffee without the negative side effects. Despite our teas having comparable caffeine levels to coffee—about three times the levels of traditional teas—the amino acids in Zest help create a steady and prolonged alertness, instead of the jitters and crash associated with other caffeinated products.

Our Blue Lady Black blends a sultry South Indian black tea base with an aromatic mix of orange, lemon, passion fruit, and hibiscus. A peppering of vivid blue cornflower petals and bits of orange peel make for a visual spectacle. Blue lady will excite all of your senses. No wonder this is a favorite among hot and chilled tea drinkers.

And it’s clear to see why this tea is an award-winner. Delicious, refreshing, and good for mental clarity – it truly puts some ‘Zest’ in your day!

Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea by Cup Above Tea

Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea by Cup Above TeaA delightful package arrived at my door yesterday – one very delicately and intricately wrapped with care.

As I opened it, I knew it had to contain something pretty special. And it did!

It was Cup Above Tea’s Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea – packaged in a premium, black glass jar with a lovely sleek label.

As I read about the tea, I notice it has come from a batch of only 3kg, meaning this experience should be very unique – one like I’ve never had before.

On opening the jar, a lovely, light, hazelnut-like aroma escapes, and I cannot wait to brew this tea.

I pour on the 90 degree water, and watch the tightly rolled leaves unfurl, releasing a deep green liquor as they do so. The smell of the tea when the water hits becomes deeper, more intense.

On taking my first sip, I can instantly tell this is a tea of very high quality. Caramel, nutty flavours come through, with a clean, crisp aftertaste. There’s a definite texture to this tea also – it has great mouthfeel, quite substantial but not overbearing.

Here’s what Cup Above Tea say about this blend:

A tea with instant visual appeal and a rich, chocolatey aroma. Full bodied, smooth and malty with unique hints of toffee and maple. It’s bold, beautiful and best in breed. A perfect kick-start for the morning.

And I can see what they mean. Except, I disagree about it being a kick-start for the morning – this tea should be drank the day through! It is a truly superior blend and one I regard as being up there with the absolute best teas of all time.

11 Year Aged Pu’ Erh Tea from Chash Tea

11 Year Aged Pu' Erh Tea from Chash TeaWith the post-Christmas weight not seeming to shift all that quickly – I was delighted to see Pu’ Erh hiding in the big box of teas sent to me by Chash Tea.

Pu’ Erh is a fermented, aged tea that is reported to have weight loss properties, if you didn’t know this already.

What’s extra special about Chash Tea’s Pu’ Erh is it has been aged for 11 years! And the exciting thing about Pu’ Erh of this age (or older) is that ownership and therefore storage conditions can change from batch to batch. This, combined with the natural flavour differences introduced by the season, means that no batch of Pu’ Erh rarely tastes exactly the same.

Upon opening the pack, it has a distinctly smokey aroma brought about by the fermentation process.

It takes the tea around 3-4 minutes to bring the water to a lovely, mellow amber colour – much lighter than I’ve experienced with other Pu’ Erh teas in the past – but again this is the beauty of this blend, the variations you encounter from one batch to the next.

The steeping process amplifies the smokey aroma and I can smell my cup of Pu’ Erh even whilst typing right now, when it’s sat around 30cm away from me.

On taking the first sip I can tell this tea is something quite special. The smokey notes that exist in the aroma remain in the flavour, but they are not bitter or harsh – just very smooth and quite comforting. It reminds me of the bonfires my family have every November – just without the noise of the fireworks!

Because of its smoothness, I would be confident in saying this is a very high grade of Pu’ Erh, using smaller, more tender leaves to achieve that balanced flavour with no bitterness.

Here’s what Chash say about this blend:

Poor quality Pu’ Erh smells mouldy and damp; this fine example is dry and woody.

The taste,is smooth, clean and surprisingly mild
Pu’ Erh is especially good for multiple infusions. As you re-use the leaves the liquor will change from burnt oranges to deep reds, often to a quite brilliant purple hue
An elegant evening drink. The perfect end to a meal

And I couldn’t agree more.

On the front of each pack of tea, Chash states ‘If tea makes everything better, shouldn’t we be drinking better tea?’ – and this is a fine example of one of the better Pu’ Erhs I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommended!