Top positive review
119 people found this helpful
Something for Everyone; Excellent Variety Pack or Sampler.
on January 4, 2014
Having decided to give coffee a rest for a while and give tea an honest effort, I decided to purchase this variety pack of Numi teas to see what strikes my fancy. It was a fun experiment which I invited my children, ages 3 to 12, to participate in (which they eagerly agreed to) since kids often provide surprising and true insights which adults may overlook. We use filtered water, which I highly recommend to bring out the best in each tea. Otherwise, spring water would also work well. I would just like to record our impressions of each of the tea varieties here:
Pu-erh Cardamom- This was the first tea tried since its aroma saturated the box upon opening it even though its packet was tightly sealed, and because I absolutely love cardamom pods cooked whole in Indian rice. However, the flavor was quite unexpected! I cannot say this was a hit, and my kids were somewhat turned off, but it was worth trying, and I would definitely drink it again for the exotic character and strangeness. The aroma reminded us of a walk through a barnyard with a sack of eastern spices on your back-very earthy! The liquor was quite rich and deep, like coffee. There was no bitterness or astringency. I imagine it would be a nice match with curries or rice dishes, salmon and lamb. I was successful in getting a decent second cup from most of these teas. Update: adding cream and a splash of raw sugar greatly improved the flavor of this tea, to my surprise, imparting something of a traditional Arabian coffee drink quality to it.
White Rose- My second sample: superb! Exquisitely smooth as white teas should be (the only white tea in the mix); amber-colored; outstandingly powerful rose garden aroma when dry, but takes on a very different character in the cup, with sweet hints of cinnamon and honey. Intoxicating rose bouquet- I imagine an excellent choice for a formal ladies' tea party or bridal shower with cakes and hors d'oeuvres. No milk or sugar needed; well-balanced. This tea delighted our senses, and would be uplifting in the afternoon. I would probably only purchase this for very special occasions. This was my three-year old daughter's favorite, along with the Jasmine Green.
Golden Chai- This turned out to be my 10-year old daughter's favorite, and she asked for more- with good reason! This is a very warming, balanced, festive tea, with the maltiness of Assam, and the delightful notes of cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cardamom. Subtle overtones of citrus, sandalwood, and licorice. Everyone agreed it was delicious and very agreeable- perfect with a dash of cream and a touch of real honey. This would go very well with French toast and maple syrup at breakfast, or while warming before a fire in the evening with someone special. I will definitely buy again to keep on hand. One of the best chais in a tea bag I've yet tasted.
Jasmine Green- This was the first green tea we tried from the selection, and we were all extremely impressed. Numi has a marked skill in capturing the height of freshness in their teas, and Jasmine Green was no exception. The rich, romantic fragrance of Jasmine immediately saturates the senses, bringing to mind a sea of fresh Jasmine blossoms in a Victorian English flower garden. Distinguished and bright, dignified but summery: a lilac or daisy floral bouquet in a cup. Perfect tea to lift one's spirits or for special occasions and company. Honey completes it. Definitely will try this again.
Breakfast Blend- This one I had high hopes for, but turned out to be a disappointment. Not enough maltiness and depth. Edgy astringent notes were rounded off with milk and a hint of honey, but still too flat. I recommend Twinings' Prince of Wales (amazing!), or their Irish or English Breakfast over this one. Needs some work. But that's okay, because the others made up for it. I almost bought a box of this to try- glad I went with the sampler first so I didn't waste my money!
Pu-erh Emporer's Tea- I have to get used to these compressed teas. They are quite unusual. This one tastes like a horse barn smells, but in a good way (since I love the smell of horses). Very earthy. I fear milk or sweetener might muddy up the flavor, but then again, it worked out very nicely with the Cardamom Pu-erh. I think I will give it another try with milk and sweetener, but at this point it's not at the top of my list of favorites.
Toasted Rice (Sencha)- The best way to describe this spunky concoction is that it tastes like a toasted rice cake with a hint of seaweed a la sushi nori with soy sauce, and so I do think this would be a perfect compliment to sushi or fresh sea food with rice... or perhaps even granola? The brew is balanced, not at all bitter or astringent, and chewy. My kids accurately summed up the aroma as having a "hay loft smell," and it does.
Honey Bush- I tried this in the evening since it is caffeine-free. Not a true tea, but a tisane of a shrub variety related to rooibos. Now I really love rooibos, but this tea is, to me, even better, and I am definitely going to get a whole box of it, I liked it that much! Here is a robust, comforting, and warming liquor that transports you to an Arabian open market with smells of frankincense, sandalwood, and aromatic tobaccos billowing through silken textiles and linens. I was able to get three successful steepings from one tea bag, and it is best with nothing added. Exquisitely exotic and mystifying. Would pair well with coconut curries, deep-fried breads, and rich desserts.
Gunpowder Green- I have to admit that the name is not exactly appealing, but it really has nothing to do with the taste of the tea, but rather the shape of the tea leaves. Well, since it's contained in a tea bag, that aspect cannot be appreciated, but the flavor can. This clean, awakening green tea is like a brisk ocean rain shower in the coastal woodlands, or a morning hike through a mossy, misty, evergreen forest. It has an aroma of edible seaweeds. It is fresh and bright. Would pair well with sea foods, chicken, or fresh salads, as well.
Pu-erh Chocolate- Of the three pu-erhs, this one was everyone's favorite and I'd say was the best. Very appealing with a definite festive aroma. Brings to mind eating warm gingerbread cookies in front of a toasty fire, or a busy bakery at Christmas time. Does not taste like chocolate in the cup, but the cocoa sweetens its earthy character consummately. Was able to get three decent cups from one tea bag, and I do think I would buy it again, but it's not at the top of my short list. This too, was comforting, warm, and aromatic. Would pair well with an evening dessert or just to top off a satisfying meal. Stands well alone, but milk or sugar would not detract.
Lemon Mate`- If you are a fan of lemon, you will love this. It's reminiscent of lemon zinger. A smooth and easy, well-balanced tea with its own sweetness. That being said, this one is also pretty earthy. Mingling among the powerful, lively aromas of lemon drops candies, fruit loops, and lemon grass are subtle background notes of fresh horse manure (I mean that in the nicest way since I actually enjoy that smell). There is a subtle astringency felt on the tip of the tongue. It has a deep, golden-orange liquor, and cheers you up with each sip. Requires no sweetening or milk, but raw honey would compliment it nicely. Since this is higher in caffeine, enjoy it earlier in the day to boost your energy, or pair it with Caesar salad, chicken dishes, or fish.
Rooibos Chai- As they say, this is delicious with milk and is very warming. Rooibos is caffeine-free, but very similar to black tea in flavor, especially breakfast teas, so I decided to enjoy this in the evening after a meal when I was craving something sweet, but didn't wish to indulge in desserts or highly caffeinated breakfast teas. It is heavy on the cloves, but not overpoweringly so. Still, cloves are not one of my favorite spices, so I would probably not get this one again, preferring either the golden chai or the honey bush instead. If you like pumpkin pie or ginger bread, this may be for you.
Rooibos- Just a straightforward, no nonsense, high quality, fresh rooibos offering. Full of sweet maltiness with a hint of expensive pipe tobacco background notes. Great anytime of day or evening, and a great caffeine-free alternative to breakfast teas or even coffee. Great with desserts or chocolate.
Simply Green- This green tea is caffeine-free and I don't believe they have it in its caffeinated form, which is a shame, because it is excellent. Nevertheless, I will probably get myself a box of it to add to my choices for evening teas. It is a very agreeable, dulcet, no-nonsense green, with a fresh clarity that revitalizes. I had some on a long road trip, and it really hit the spot and perked me up. Another green tea that is comparable to this is Stash's Organic Premium Green Tea. This would pair well with salads and soft cheeses.
Morroccan Mint- Very intense, fresh mint flavor- not pepperminty, but more along the lines of spearmint. Sweet and cooling, this pairs extremely well with a chamomile for the perfect antidote to a bad head cold or brain fog. You can taste the healing properties, and it is extremely refreshing without the caffeine. Excellent companion to students studying late at night, or for late night drivers needing a break from the coffee jitters. Also perfect for drinking after meals to freshen the mind and breath.
Chamomile Lemon- I must confess, I haven't tried this Numi tisane as of yet. I used to love chamomile, but don't so much anymore. I guess you might say it's "just not my cup of tea." But, I think it's nice to keep on hand for company or others who might like it. And that's the beauty of Numi's Collection: there's something for everyone.
Aged Earl Grey (Regular & Decaf)- There is not much difference in flavor between the two Earls, so I combined them and saved the best for last. Here we have a robust and malty Assam aged with real bergamot, so the aromas of the citrus fruit are intense and true, not at all synthetic or perfumey like many others. I really appreciate this since I adore bergamot! Incidentally, this tea is the reason I decided to try Numi's Collection, having received it as a free sample and concluded it was one of the best teas I have ever tried. I think the Assam makes a big difference, as it is full of rich character, mellow in the cup, very well-balanced, and satisfying. If you love Earl Greys, DO NOT pass up this one! Hands down, this is my absolute favorite tea, period. Excellent for breakfast, pairing well with eggs & bacon, or hot cereals. Would go very nicely with hearty beef dishes, lamb, cheeses, and smoked meats. This is my husband's favorite tea, too (and he's a coffee drinker). He sums it up nicely: "It's a perfectly pleasant tea to drink anytime."
In summary, I couldn't decide to give Numi's Collection all five stars or only four, since there were a few teas that I wasn't that fond of. But since there's something for everyone, each person's taste is different, and the quality is so high overall, I decided to give it the full five for being an excellent variety pack. I hope we have convinced you to give it a try and come back share your thoughts, too.