The Good: Amazing flavor, Great ingredients
The Bad: Comparatively pricey
The Basics: Teavana Samurai Chai Mate might well be the best flavor of tea Teavana makes and now that it is available on its own . . . there’s no real reason to visit a Teavana store!
In my varied and sordid work history, there is a spot where it appears on my resume that I was briefly unemployed. In truth, I went through several jobs in short order where I determined that the job for which I had applied and successfully interviewed was not, in truth, the job for which I was hired. Chief among those in my memory has to be the five hours I spent employed by Teavana over the course of two days. Teavana seemed like it would be an excellent fit for me. At the time, I was writing tea reviews for a website and I had a wide and varied love of teas. I discovered exceptionally quickly, though, that Teavana was a strong sales-based job that had little to do with tea, loving tea or enjoying tea flavors. It was an annoying high-pressure sales position that required a lot of memorization and when I did not retain all of the specifics (and had trouble with their script) after only five hours in the store, we had a parting of the ways.
That said, one of the bright points of going to Teavana and working there briefly was the company’s Samurai Chai Mate tea. As it so happens, Teavana now mixes and sells the Samurai Chai Mate tea online and when my wife discovered that option for the tea we left behind with civilization, she began buying it and stocking us up. I had no idea how much I missed the tea until she started getting me bags of it again!
Samurai Chai Mate is an amazing, flavorful tea blend that is sold as a mix online or as component teas one must blend at the Teavana stores. We found ours as a loose-leaf tea, mixed already and sold online through Teavana . . . and it is every bit as good as having it blended as a sample at the stores.
Samurai Chai Mate Tea is a green mate and rooibos-based tea from Teavana. This is a tea blend that is an herbal tea without any traditional tea leaves in it. Teavana has its Samurai Chai Mate tea available year round online, but in stores it is only available by purchasing the component tea blends and mixing it yourself, which is far more expensive and does not necessarily yield the same results. Samurai Chai Mate is what I call an adjective tea; the flavor is its own, the name does not hold it to any standard other than to represent what is generally accepted as that flavor. This tea has a strongly cinnamon flavor, reminiscent of Big Red chewing gum.
Samurai Chai Mate comes in a 2 oz. resealable plastic bag that keeps the freshness of the tea in.
Ease Of Preparation
As a tea, Samurai Chai Mate is ridiculously easy to prepare. One and a half teaspoons of the loose leaf tea will make a full 8 oz. mug full of tea. I tend to make mine by the pot and four Tablespoons makes an ideally potent 32 oz. tea pot full of the tea, which is disproportionately expensive but wonderfully delicious! I have found that I can use the same tea leaves twice with no loss of flavor as long as I don’t let the tea brew for more than three minutes the first time. This is not a bad tea for those who like to reuse tea. The second cup often comes out about as strong as the first (3/4 - 7/8 as strong), provided the first steeping was not over the recommended time. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though in this method, the second brewing is - at worst - about 3/4 strength, though a third brewing is pretty much hit or miss.
To prepare Samurai Chai Mate tea, bring a pot of water to 208 degrees (Fahrenheit) and pour it over the tea leaves (once they are in the steeping chamber). This tea takes only two to three minutes to steep according to the directions. In my experience, it gets no stronger after three minutes and as a rather strong tea, it does not truly need to be stronger than it naturally is.
Samurai Chai Mate tea has a strong cinnamon aroma to it. This tea smells very spicy and the scent does not diminish even after the tea cools a bit.
In the mouth, the Samurai Chai Mate tea tastes surprisingly sweet and exquisitely spiced. This tea is flavorful and genuinely tastes like a liquefied version of Big Red chewing gum. That means it does not taste like cinnamon, but rather a cinnamon flavor consumers are meant to believe is cinnamon (there is, in fact, a difference). The sweet and spiced flavor finishes a little dry, but not in an unpleasant way.
Samurai Chai Mate has no aftertaste.
With a teaspoon of sugar, Samurai Chai Mate loses the slight dryness it possesses and it accents the faux-cinnamon flavor. With a sweetener, the Samurai Chai Mate has an enduring sweet aftertaste that lingers on the tongue for about five minutes.
The ingredients to this tea are somewhat more diverse than other teas, but the dominant ingredients ate: Green Mate, Green Rooibos, and cinnamon. There is nothing that cannot be pronounced in this tea.
In terms of nutrition, this tea is devoid of it. One 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker. There are no calories (save what one adds from sugar, which I do not necessarily recommend, as this is an inherently sweet tea), no fat, sodium, or protein. There is no indication that his tea has caffeine and none of the ingredients seem to be naturally caffienated.
Samurai Chai Mate tea is very easy to clean up, provided the brewed tea does not get on fabric. The tea leaves themselves may be disposed of in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. The tea itself will stain a mug a faint brown if it is left there for days on end, but otherwise may be cleaned up easily by rinsing out the vessel.
Samurai Chai Mate is a fairly light, reddish, tea and as a result, it will stain any light fabrics it comes in contact with. As a result, it is highly recommended that one not let it linger on anything they wish to protect and not have stained. It may be cleaned off if the spill is caught quickly, but if it lingers, it is not at all easy to wash out of clothes, linens or other fabrics.
Teavana Samurai Chai Mate is a flavorful tea that seems initially pricy, but even the 2 oz. bag yields a couple of perfect pots of tea. That makes the Samurai Chai Mate tea perfect and worth picking up. So long as Teavana continues to make and package this proprietary blend and selling it online, it will be worth picking up, especially one is no longer required to visit Teavana to buy it!
For other tea reviews, please check out:
Celestial Seasonings Jammin’ Lemon Ginger Tea
Stash Christmas Eve tea
Oregon Chai Dreamscape Herbal Chai Tea
For other tea reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Index Page for a complete list!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.