Published on December 20th, 2008 | by Greg0
Celebration of Tea
We’ll start with the biggest collection, from Stash, who sent us a seasonal sampler of six different types of bagged tea. Of these, about half were excellent, and about half weren’t. The Pumpkin Spice was the most disappointing, somewhat flavorless, and less than bold. The Organic Mint was one of the best, a surprisingly full-flavored brew. The Holiday Chai also turned out to be among our favorites, with gingerbread and rum flavors as advertised, though it didn’t go well with milk. In the middle were Christmas Eve caffiene-free herbal, Christmas Morning black full-bodied, and White Christmas white tea, all of which were drinkable but unexceptional. The set comes in a nice holiday box, and retails for $25, well worth it for 108 bags of tea- you can simply regift the ones you don’t like! We also tried their healthy loose leaf Acai herbal tea, an interesting blend that grew on us, despite being a tad bitter- available for around $7 for 100g (or in bags).
Next up is Tea Forte, who had easily the nicest packaging and presentation of the teas in this review. With flavors like White Ginger Pear, Vienna Cinnamon, Belgian Mint, and White Ambrosia, and classy pyramid-shaped ‘silken infusers’ that theoretically allow room for expansion, we had high hopes- but many of the teas were a bit weak, and artificial tasting. The Autumn Collection was pretty good- Apple Pomegranate, Orange Pekoe, African Solstice, as examples- and would also make a great gift for the exotic tea lover. At $24 for 20 bags, they are definitely more expensive than some other teas, but add a definite touch of class to any tea collection.
We’ll end with our favorite- Tay’s Teas. Their “Better than Sex” lived up to the name, which is quite a feat- strong chocolate, rich peppermint, rooibos tea combined without bitterness regardless of steeping time. We ordered some for friends and relatives this season, and give these hand-blended artisinal teas our strongest recommendation. Their Persian Rose tea was beautiful, both in appearance and taste, and the Raj was a coconut chai with a rooibos base that was strong enough to work with milk, and naturally fairly sweet. $14 for 4 ounces is a pretty high price, but these teas are worth every penny. We’ll be sipping plenty of tea this winter, and suggest that you do the same!