Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: California Tea House

A few weeks ago, I opened my email and discovered an offer almost too good to be true. Ani Bailey, the found of California Tea House, asked if I would be interested in sampling some of their teas! I absolutely jumped at the chance because I love all types of tea. And since California Tea House was a new-to-me tea shop, I was even more curious to taste a few of their products.

Here's a little bit about California Tea House straight from the owners' mouths:

California Tea House is a family owned tea store where you can find some of the world’s best loose leaf tea blends and organic herbal teas.  Our roots started in the local California farmer’s markets where our exclusive tea collection of loose teas and delicious dessert tea blends became so popular that we decided to take our business venture online so everyone can have an opportunity to try our tea. We have a personal love for and belief in the warmth and soul healing powers of a good cup of tea.

A few days later after the initial email, I received a package with three teas -- Lemon Meringue Pie, Chocolate Chai, and Violet Moon. I was immediately drawn to the lemon-flavored tea because I do love all things lemon; and if I'm being entirely honest, I wasn't exactly thrilled when I saw the Chocolate Chai. I'm neither a huge chai or chocolate fan, but I thought I'd still give it a try. However, the real highlight of the goodie bag was the Violet Moon because it was a blooming tea! I'd never tried a blooming tea and I was very excited to see how it worked.

Within a few minutes of opening my package, I made the Lemon Meringue Pie. It is described as "a comfort blend of fine rooibos tea, a handful of lemongrass, lemon preserves and vanilla bean bits." They also say it is delicious hot or cold, but I can only vouch for it when served hot. I absolutely LOVE this tea. It is smooth and creamy and also fairly sweet so I didn't have to add anything to it (although they recommend trying some mint leaves or Rose Petal Preserves!) It's also caffeine-free so I can drink it all day long without worrying about how it will affect me during the night. In fact, I enjoyed the Lemon Meringue Pie so much that I immediately placed an order for more.

A few days later, I decided to try the Chocolate Chai. While I didn't have high hopes for this tea, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. They describe the ingredients this way, "We used USDA Organic cocoa nibs, white chocolate pieces, orange peels, chicory root pieces, cardamom blooms, fresh-cut ginger root, whole cloves and peppercorns." I ended up drinking my entire sample and I thought it was a great dessert tea. It was full of flavor -- spicy and also very sweet; and it was definitely full-bodied. While I was surprised with my reaction to the Chocolate Chai, I was even more shocked to discover that this blend was herbal. It just tasted too good!

And last, but not least, I tried the Violet Moon. The kids and I stood around watching closely as I dropped the hand-made blooming tea ball into a pot of hot water. Within a few minutes, the ball had opened into a flower and the tea was ready to drink. I'm not so sure that the Violet Moon was as pretty as some of the blooming tea flowers that I've seen, but it smelled heavenly. Violet Moon is made of silver needle white tea and a bold Violet bloom, and I could definitely see the little needles as the tea ball opened. I thought this tea was outstanding and I loved how smooth the white tea was.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to sample a few California Tea House teas and discover a new tea supplier. (And, I'm not just saying this because they sent me some samples to try.) I enjoyed all of the teas and I highly recommend this tea shop.

And now for the exciting part...

Tthe fine folks at California Tea House created a custom coupon code for 10% off their entire tea collection for Booking Mama readers.  It includes free shipping and never expires - Code: BOOKINGMAMA10

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I'm a tea newbie and haven't even heard of a blooming tea, but I'm very curious now! Lemon teas are my favorite, so the lemon meringue pie definitely sounds good to me.

Beth F said...

Thanks to you I've put in my first order -- I'll let you know. I love lemon so that was one of the teas I ordered.

Serena said...

I don't drink a lot of tea, but these sound lovely....I have an aunt that just loves tea!

Karlie said...

Very cool! I'm so excited!

lsl_scrapper said...

I don't drink a lot of tea, and when I do, I like it iced. Wonder how these would be as iced teas. They DO sound yummy!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think blooming teas are just the coolest!

Kaye said...

Chai is one of my favorite teas and chocolate is always a fave with anything so I just might try their chocolate chai. Thanks for highlighting this company - I had never heard of them before.

iwriteinbooks said...

Oh how lovely! I just adore teas. What a cool package. :O)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Agh! Why don't these types of requests ever come to me? I LOVE tea...I go nuts in Teavana. It is almost a ritual thing with me. These all sound heavenly. You get the cool stuff, like tea and reading glasses, and I get the weirdos trying to sell their herbal energy tonics and toe fungus removal cremes.

teabird said...

Ooh, it's going to be hard to choose! Thank you for the link and delicious write-up.

Gail Wood said...

This is fabulous. I ordered immediately and am very excited to try them. Their website is very rich with information about teas, remedies using teas and the health benefits. Thank you. Just like the books you recommend, this is an excellent and delicious resource.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I have never heard of a blooming tea. It sounds fascinating! I took a peek at their website and all of their teas sound delicious! I will have a hard time choosing one or two!