Originally, this post was actually meant to be a flight of three teas. However, I received the same tea in my October Sips by Monthly Box. I decided to try it with the monthly box instead because I wanted to have a fair representation of the box when reviewing it. Therefore, today I will be comparing two teas – a green/mate blend, and a black tea blend.
7 AM Energy Boost
Description: “Wake up and feel empowered with this high energy blend of loose leaf yerba mate, EGCG antioxidant-rich matcha green tea, and kola nut.”
Review: I’ve said this before, I tend to not buy teas for their health benefits. However, one thing I enjoy in the morning is a bit of a caffeine kick. I used to make matcha for myself before work just to give me a little boost in the morning.
This seemed to have matcha and yerba mate which is a good combination for caffeine intake. I looked into what kola nuts are, and they are nuts that are caffeinated and from which coca-cola originated from! I find Yerba mate has a very distinctive look – every time I’ve had it, it looked like cut up pieces of leaf.
When looking at the dry blend, I was expecting more matcha powder but there was only a fine coating. The smell reminded me of a mossy forest. There was a fragrance that stuck out that wasn’t matcha or the yerba mate, which I assumed was the kola nut. It reminded me of spices.
After steeping, the blend smelled more earthy and grassy, like yerba mate. Due to the matcha, I was surprised when the liquor wasn’t overly cloudy. A few times I’ve had matcha in a blend, it made the liquor very murky. The dark yellow-green liquor had a nice classic grassy tea fragrance.
I found that there was a very minor grit to the liquor when I was sipping. The taste of the tea was very subtle; it was sweet, earthy and mild, with a hint of grassiness. While it was on the milder side, I actually enjoyed it that way. I steeped it for 2 minutes, so if someone wanted a stronger flavour, the recommendations do go up to 3 minutes (4/5 rating).
- Type: Mate tea, green tea
- Origin: Unknown
- Caffeine: Unknown
- Ingredients: Yerba mate, matcha green tea, kola nut
- Company: The Tea Spot
Description: “This classic blend is strong and bold, with an intriguing complexity—just how we like our breakfast teas.”
Review: I’ve never actually had a Russian Caravan, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have, however, had lapsang souchong, which I know can have a very overpowering taste and aroma. Lapsang souchong has a distinctive roasted and smokey aroma and taste. When I opened the package, I didn’t even have to go in to get a whiff and I was able to smell the strong smokey smell from the lapsang.
One thing that is nice is that on the website, The Tea Spot gives a short history lesson on where the name ‘Russian Caravan’ is derived from:
“Historically, teas were brought to Russia from China via large caravans of camels. They transported massive cargos of Chinese loose leaf tea over 5000 miles from Peking to Moscow: smoky black teas, large leaf oolongs, and aged puerh were mixed and consumed along the arduous journey.”
That all falls into line with the ingredients of the blend! The leaves were all dark ashy brown. As mentioned, there was a strong smokey smell; almost like a campfire. I found that it overpowered everything. Thankfully, after steeping, the fragrance was much milder and some of the earthiness from the other teas was able to peek through in the smell.
The liquor was a dark reddish brown, which reminded me more of a puerh than of a black tea or an oolong. While the wet leaves were milder, the liquor was not. Since the smoked smell was so strong, every time I took a sip, the aroma lingered in my nose and it was hard to get rid of it.
The taste was not what I was expecting – the other lapsangs I’ve had were strong hits of smokiness. However, this was earthy and actually reminded me of a herbal Chinese soup or medicine.
I think someone who likes very roasted flavours, alike to a campfire or smoke, as well as very strong teas, may enjoy this one. While I really wanted to like it, I could not get over the fact that it tasted like medicine to me. (2/5 rating).
- Type: Black tea
- Origin: China, India
- Caffeine: Unknown
- Ingredients: Lapsang souchong, oolong, assam, pu’erh
- Other: Organic
- Company: The Tea Spot
While I wasn’t a fan of the Russian Caravan, I did like the 7AM Energy Boost! In my last post, I mentioned how the packaging does not have a ziplock. However, I am happy to report that it seems that the new packaging does! Aside from the blend that I received in my Sips by monthly box, this will most likely be my last post on The Tea Spot.
I really did enjoy the teas I received from them and they would be a brand I’d consider buying from in the future! Have you tried The Tea Spot before?