August 21st, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
Recently a new small company called Epi Tea gave a sampler of their first five teas to review. After some shipping issues (all USPS’s misdeeds) I recieved my sampler. I was touched that Epi Teas personally contacted me when they couldn’t send it the first time. They corrected the error and sent it back out! A small but varied five teas were given for review: Serene Chai, Berry Rooibos, Lavender Earl Gray, Blood Orange Rooibos, and an Irish Breakfast blend. The bags have no string and are biodegradable, earning enough approval from the enviromentalist in me.
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cardamom, Organic Red Pepper & Natural Vanilla, Cinnamon & Ginger Flavorings
I am of the opinion that good chai needs peppercorns but few seem to agree. Epi Tea’s blend included both peppercorns and red pepper in addition to vanilla, with no intrusion of cloves. I picked this first, obviously. It certainly sounded like a great chai, vanilla cinnamon, and cardamom present, peppercorns hiding in the back but when I tasted it, it was all vanilla flavoring. I got some cinnamon and an astringent Assam taste, but no peppercorns, pepper, or ginger. Re-examining the tea bag, I couldn’t find a cardamom pod and I could barely smell the peppercorns. I re-steeped in two ounces of warm water for an hour for a mild cinnamon and vanilla sip. Over all the advertised spices weren’t there, although I think a longer first steep is needed, all the bagged chai masala I’ve had before needed 10 or more minutes, spices are tougher that tea.
Lavender Earl Grey
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, Organic Lavender Flowers, Organic Flavorings
This was the second of the sampler I tried. Both Earl Gray and Lavender are refreshing on humid, cool evening, but easy to over-do. I used five ounces of water and four minutes later, it yielded a very lightly floral and orange shadowed red tea taste. Slight astringency. Perhaps as loose leaf this would be better, as Earl Gray is loved at different levels by all. The bags as is would be good for people who like but are sensitive to bergamont.
Ingredients: Organic Rooibos, Organic Hibiscus, Organic Rosehips, Organic Elderberries, Organic Black Currents, Organic Cranberries, Organic Flavorings
This had a nice berry smell, but the flavor was all hibiscus and rose hip. It would make a great iced tea or to flavor strawberry and tomato soup, but hot I don’t like it. Cooler some berry flavor emerges, but not the deep flavor of elderberries. Strawberry, I’d say. Much better cool.