Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rooibos Vanilla Chai by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

Seller Description: "Our Vanilla Rooibos Chai tea features a delightful blend of masala chai spices, red rooibos and a hint of vanilla. Rooibos Vanilla Chai is naturally caffeine, making it a perfect any-time tea. Much like its caffeinated cousin Masala Chai, this tea tastes delicious with milk and sugar."
Ingredients: Organic Rooibos, Vanilla Flavoring, Ginger Pieces, Cinnamon Pieces, Cardamom, Clove, Orange Pieces
WebsiteRooibos Vanilla Chai by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company
Facebook: The Persimmon Tree 
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 3 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

The Persimmon Tree is a tea company out of California that offers a wide variety of organic, fair-trade, and biodynamic teas. They also pride themselves on using recycled products in their packaging and shipping. Now, it can be difficult to get to know an online tea company, but The Persimmon Tree makes it a lot easier by offering a variety of $5 sampler packs, which I found irresistible. The company was kind enough to provide me with a cute little 3oz tin of today's tea, but just in case you were wondering, the Rooibos Vanilla Chai is also an option in their Rooibos sampler.

But on to the tea itself! Today's blend has all the wonderful spices you'd usually associate with an eye-opening, caffeine-packed cup of black tea. By substituting a red rooibos base in lieu of the black, this becomes a caffeine-free drink that you can enjoy whenever you feel like it. As someone who tends to bounce from the walls with too much caffeine after noon, I can sincerely appreciate that!

Rooibos can often leave me with a caramel aftertaste, but this blend has managed to avoid that. The base slips into the background and lets the cardamon, clove and vanilla take center stage with the ginger and cinnamon off to the side singing the chorus. The effect is nicely balanced, with no one element standing out too strongly and causing dissonance.

As it cools, the vanilla stands out further and gives it a lovely creaminess. It becomes less and less noticeable that I used water instead of milk while preparing it. Now, "chai" itself is a bit of a misnomer, as it actually means "tea" in several languages and not the specific blend of spices that we tend to associate with it. Actually, if I'm getting into semantics, this isn't even tea, technically. There's only one actual tea plant: the camellia sinensis. How it's treated determines the kind of tea (i.e. black, green, oolong, etc.) that it will steep.

But for a not-quite-chai and a not-quite-tea, it's quite yummy!

Prominent Notes: Cardamon, clove, and vanilla
Aftertaste: Light hints of cinnamon and lighter still of ginger
Overall: A harmonious chai blend for any time of day

As a final note, The Persimmon Tree has asked me to give you their coupon code TEABLOG for 20% off at their online store: Enjoy!

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