Posts Tagged ‘Iced’

Hello Everyone!  Since my last blog post did get some attention toward my Kickstarter campaign, I thought I’d come back and try again, since we’re trying again with a new Kickstarter Campaign!

52teas3The goal of the last campaign was a bit too big and I wasn’t able to attain that goal.  However, we have now reached the goal for the new campaign and if all continues to go well with it – we’ll successfully take over 52Teas!

As those of you who have read my past reviews are probably aware, I’m a bit of tea freak and this acquisition is a DREAM coming true for me.  I hope that you’ll all support me and help me make this dream a reality!

While we have reached the goal – we still could really use your help in reaching the stretch goals of the campaign.  We want a new website and we need some other equipment and the extra boost of those stretch goals will help make those things happen for me.

So PLEASE – visit my Kickstarter campaign and contribute what you can to help us!

I’ll reward you with some awesome tea!  And really, is there a better reward than tea?

Product Description:

Handcrafted soda made with Fair Trade Certified organic evaporated cane juice.  Open a bottle and taste the flavor of extracts of wintergreen, clove and anise.  Our recipe combines these ingredients with FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED ORGANIC SUGAR to allow the flavor of each of these extracts to come through.  This is the one that started it all.  Pop a top off and see why.

Learn more about maine root. on their website.

What I Think:

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of soda.  I rarely drink the stuff, usually only when I’m out to eat and the hot tea selection is dreadful and the iced tea is questionable, and even then, sometimes I take a chance on the iced tea.  There is only one soda that could change this, and that’s Aspen Soda, should Pepsi decide to bring it back.  (And no, Slice is no substitute for Aspen.  Slice is OK, Aspen was awesome.)

Anyway, I do occasionally drink root beer, and it is usually my soda of choice when I am out to eat and decide to have that rare soda.  But that root beer is NOTHING like this.  This is head and shoulders (bottle neck and shoulders?) above any of those what I’ll call “mainstream” commercial root beers.

From the first sip, I knew this was something exceptional.  I could taste the spice in this.  I could taste the clove and the touch of anise.  I even taste the crisp wintergreen as well as its cooling effects.  This is one amazing root beer!

I’m a little surprised to not see a mention of sarsaparilla in the description of this, but I am thrilled to see that it is made with pure cane sugar and not corn syrup or some other cheap sweetener.  While there are those that say “sugar is sugar” – I can taste the difference between them and regardless of the claim that the body will process both in the same way, I know which my palate prefers.  This doesn’t taste sticky or syrupy-sweet.  And I like that.

I can see why Foodzie chose this root beer to include in the Boardwalk Box.  It has a zesty, fresh, crisp quality to it that evokes thoughts of carefree, happy days on the beach.  I’ve never been to the East Coast and never really experienced a “boardwalk” like they have back there, but, this gives me the feeling that I’m there while I sip it, and I like that feeling.  And I like this root beer.

My Final Thoughts:

If I found this in one of my local shops, it would be one I’d pick up from time to time.  And, I must admit that I’m also quite interested in tasting some of their other soft drinks.  Maple Lemonade?  That sounds like a must try item to me!   As does their Pumpkin Pie Soda.  YUM!

OH… and it looks like they do have a Sarsaparilla soft drink too, which is supposed to be the lighter-bodied relative to this root beer!

Product Description:

Our most unusual ginger ale, perfumed with jasmine flowers and earthy with tannins, we infuse this with a fine, whole leaf green jasmine tea from Taiwan.  Unique among soft drinks, this seems to improve with age and has our most passionate followers.

Learn more about Bruce Cost’s Fresh Ginger Ale on the website.

What I Think:

Wowie!  Let me tell you:  you’ve never had ginger ale until you’ve had some of this unfiltered ginger ale made from fresh ginger (unless you happen to make some yourself).  It’s a completely different experience from any ginger ale I have tasted in the past.

While perusing the soft drink section of the local New Seasons market – searching actually for a bottle of the Chai Cola that I fell in love with a couple of months ago – I came across this soft drink.  What caught my attention initially was that it was a “real” ginger ale and not one of those bland soft drinks you can find in any grocery store.

Then I noticed that there are actual bits of ginger (this is an unfiltered ginger ale!) that had settled at the bottom.  A little discomforting at first, but then I read the fine print at the bottom of the label that read:  “separation is natural.  Shake gently.”  Finally, I noticed the words “Jasmine Tea” on the neck label and I was sold.  I HAD to try this.  So I put the Chai Cola away (yes, I love it, but I don’t like to drink a lot of soda, especially when I’ve so much tea at home waiting for me to taste it) and decided to purchase this instead.

Oh. My. Gawd!  This is amazingly good.  It’s zingy, zippy, zesty and all the other vibrant words that you can think of to describe a delightfully spicy, peppery drink.  It isn’t as sweet as other soft drinks including other ginger ales that I’ve consumed.  Perhaps this is because of the strength of the ginger which may offset the sweetness.  Either way, I appreciate that this isn’t overly sweet.

I wish I could taste more of the jasmine green tea in this, and I guess if I were to change anything at all about this soft drink, that would be it.  I was hoping for a bit more of a jasmine tea flavor, but, even so, this is still knocking my socks off.

My Final Thoughts:

Well, as I just said, I would like there to be more jasmine green tea taste to this, I think that the power of the ginger just overwhelms the delicate flavor of jasmine green tea.  Perhaps the next time I get this, I’ll hang on to it for a few weeks before consuming it to see if the jasmine green tea comes to life.  Either way, I really like what I’ve tasted.  If you like ginger ale, you’ve gotta try this stuff!

Product Information:

Raspberry Soda has a bright, clear flavor, shouting in all glory of peak Oregon summer. A favorite with kids, it is rich and light at the same time—the radiance of the color matched by the explosion of flavor.

The raspberries for our soda are grown in Western Oregon, picked at peak freshness, and minimally handled before getting into the bottles.

Mixes beautifully with ice cream, chocolate, other juices, tea and vodka. Very nice served with lemon or sweet lime garnish.

Learn more about HOTLIPS Soda on their website.

What I Think:

Generally speaking, I’m not particularly fond of soda.  In fact, if it were not for the fact that my husband enjoys drinking it on a regular basis, it wouldn’t even be stocked in my house.  I am a tea drinker, and for the most part, I drink tea or tisanes all day, every day.  (And while the description above does mention that it “mixes beautifully with … tea …” for the purposes of this review, I chose to drink it straight)

I do, however, on occasion find a soda that I enjoy.  This Raspberry Soda from HOTLIPS is one such example.  I was first introduced to HOTLIPS soda from a store called “Made in Oregon” which is located in the Clackamas Mall (there are other locations as well).  A few years ago while shopping at the Clackamas Mall with my family, we stopped in the Made In Oregon store to browse around, and ended up purchasing a bottle of HOTLIPS pear flavored soda, and I was very impressed with the flavor of the beverage.

This is, however, my first time tasting their raspberry soda.  It is a beautiful color – it’s a deep rose hue and looks very much like a glass of pureed raspberries when you pour it.

And it TASTES like pureed raspberries that have been carbonated with soda water and lightly sweetened. All that’s missing is the seeds, and to be honest, I’m not missing those at all.  The flavor is crisp and sweet, but it’s a fruit sweetness rather than a soda sweetness.  It doesn’t taste sugary or overly sweetened, it tastes to me as though the sweetness of this soda was derived from the natural sweetness of the berry.

My Final Thoughts:

This is exceptionally good.  It is so good, in fact, that it has sparked my interest to try some of the other flavors, including trying the pear soda once again!  And best of all, I don’t have that icky, sticky, teeth-rotting caramel-y feeling in my mouth after finishing the bottle.  This is the way soda SHOULD be!

Product Description:

Bubbling with bright tamarind and lime delights, the Sparkling Classic Gold is the latest small miracle to flow from the yerba mate tree.

Learn more about Guayakí on their website.

What I Think:

A can of this crisp, bubbly beverage was included in my Earth Day Foodzie Tasting Box.  And to tell the truth, even though Yerba Maté is something that the tea community (at least some of us) embrace as a “tea-like” beverage, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this.  I have had Yerba Maté on many occasions, but, I don’t recall having it served chilled.

But, I had some faith (or at least some hope?) that the people at Foodzie would not disappoint me, so I popped open the can and gave it a try.  And you know what?  This is really quite good!

The flavor of the Yerba Maté is there, but it shares the spotlight with the flavors of lime, ginger and tamarind, and yes, with the sweetener.  This is a sweet glass of iced “tea.”  But I don’t find it too sweet when I take into account that it is a canned, sparkling tea.  It isn’t as sweet as some of bottled ready-to-drink teas out there, and it certainly isn’t as sweet as a can of soda.  The tartness of the lime and tamarind as well as the slightly spicy tone of the ginger balance the sweetness out a little, making this beverage a pleasing contrast of sweet, tart, spice and earthy vegetal notes.

What’s more, Yerba Maté is a very energizing herb, and I can feel that effect doing it’s magic!  I had started the day with a cup of tea but it was on the lighter side, and I really needed some caffeine.  This will get you going!

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this.  I don’t know that I’ll keep it in stock in my refrigerator, however, if I happen to be out and about and am in need of liquid refreshment, I will look for this product and if it’s available, I’d choose this over a soda or even the average bottled ready-to-drink iced tea.

Product Description:

Our original spicy blend and boldest brew, with traditional flavors of cardamom, ginger, clove, pepper and cinnamon. Brewed with organic Assam black tea and sweetened with
organic cane sugar.

Learn more about Dragonfly Chai on their website.

What I Think:

I found a bottle of this chai concentrate at New Seasons Market when I visited them recently.  I had tasted (and really enjoyed) Dragonfly Chai before when I dined at Cup and Saucer Cafe, but I really wanted the chance to experiment with the concentrate myself.  So, I decided to pick up a bottle of the Spicy Black Tea Chai concentrate.

And it is SPICY!  Usually with spicier chai blends like this one, it is because they added lots of ginger, but, what is different here is that it doesn’t taste overly ginger-y.  I taste a lot of ginger, but, I also taste cinnamon, clove, pepper and cardamom.  It is spicy but it is not a concentration of peppery spice, allowing the other spices to reach the palate.

It is really easy to prepare a cup of latte:  2 parts of chai concentrate to 1 part milk.  I tried it once using coconut milk in place of my milk mixture, and I didn’t really care for it, so I think I’ll leave the coconut milk to my smoothies and keep using a mixture of 1/4 cup one percent milk and 1/4 cup half & half (to make 1/2 cup of milk mixture) and add that to 1 cup of chai concentrate.  Then you can heat it on the stove or in the microwave until its a suitable temperature … and enjoy.

Really, it’s not that much easier than to make a stovetop chai latte using loose leaf tea, BUT it is a lot less messy, and that’s just as important to me as simplicity because I hate cleaning up the mess after preparing chai using the stovetop method (that is, simmering the loose leaf chai blend on the stovetop in a mixture of milk and water for a few minutes, straining and serving) It’s messy, and for that reason I rarely make a stovetop chai.

DragonFly Chai to the rescue!

My Final Thoughts:

I’ve tried a few different chai concentrates, and there are some that I really enjoy, and some that I really didn’t enjoy at all.  This is one that I really enjoy!  I also LOVE that DragonFly Chai is a local company, based in Portland.  If you like chai, but find that you don’t want to deal with the fuss and mess of making your own on the stovetop, give DragonFly Chai a try!

Normally, I’d publish tea reviews on one of two tea review blogs to which I contribute:  SororiTea Sisters or the Tea Review Blog.  However, since this tea was part of the Jump Start My New Year Tasting Box from Foodzie, I decided to review this tea here on my foodie blog. 

Product Description:

This is tea for coffee lovers: Rich, dark, with hints of caramel and dark spice. Pu’er is green tea that’s been sun-ripened, which both mellows its flavor and increases its healthful compounds. These are believed to aid digestion, assist in weight loss and eliminate alcohol toxins.

Learn more about Five Mountains on their website.

What I Think:

It’s no big secret that I love tea.  But I don’t love all tea, and I believe I mentioned on my article about the arrival of my Jump Start box that I’m not the biggest fan of Pu-erh.  And I’m not.  If I had to list my teas in order of preference, Pu-erh may not end up as the last on that list, but it would certainly rate in the bottom three.

That being said, I am slowly developing an appreciation for Pu-erh, as I am finding more and more Pu-erh teas that I’ve actually enjoyed.  They weren’t just “drinkable” but actually enjoyable.  This Pu-erh from Five Mountains certainly rates as enjoyable.

It is a rich, flavorful Pu-erh (or Pu’er, as Five Mountains calls it) with a beautiful sweetness that tastes similar to caramel.  There is also a warmth to this tea with hints of gentle spice.  It is earthy and a little brine-y which is often expected in a Pu-erh, but, it is not quite as brine-y as some Pu-erh teas that I’ve tried, and I appreciate that.  Some Pu-erh teas can be almost fishy in taste, and it is that fishy taste that makes me not so fond of Pu-erh.  I am glad that this is NOT fishy, only a little salty perhaps, and it is a distant flavor that doesn’t disrupt the aforementioned rich caramel-y flavor and spiced tones that I find so enjoyable about this tea.  In fact, the hint of salt in the background may actually work to this tea’s favor, accenting the robust flavors of the tea just right.

My Final Thoughts:

This tea is remarkably smooth from start to finish, with no bitterness or astringency.  Just sweet, rich flavor that makes the tea an absolute pleasure to sip.  If all of my Pu-erh experiences were as positive as this one, I wouldn’t have had to preface this review by saying I’m not a big fan of it, because this is grand!