If you’ve been following my blog, or my gram for a while, I’m sure you’ve picked up on my preference for hot beverages, which mostly includes coffee and hot chocolate, besides the occasional indulgence in mint tea.
So when Khilna Shah, founder and co-owner of Pranayum (K) Ltd, reached out to have me review Pranayum teas for my blog, I was little hesitant but decided to give the teas a try.
In any Indian (and even Kenyan) household, tea is more than just a hot beverage. It plays a significant role as a staple beverage, a cure for all sicknesses and sorrows and even the perfect accessory to a friendly chat.
Pranayum actually is a yogic loose leaf tea company started in Hong Kong by Seema (Puri) Bhatia, who regularly donate part of her profits to the Art of Living Foundation’s Gift A Smile program. The name, Pranayum, comes from the yoga term: Pranayama, which are exercises to manage one’s life energy through breathing. So, these teas are perfect for a hectic, busy life.
The brand recently launched on the Kenyan scene when Khilna, upon connecting with school friends after 35 years, took the opportunity offered by Seema to bring yogic teas to the region. She says that her heritage and love for tea inspired her to take this step: “Through combining my heritage of a Gujarati Indian tea lover with a fascination for the all things foodie, I decided to take this in my stride and Pranayum (K) was born!”
Thus, on one sunny day, I set up a little photo shoot and tea tasting area in my garden as Mom, Dad and Champy (one of our dogs) milled around, helping to arrange it all.Pranayum currently offers six yogic vegan teas, which are loose-leaf tea blends composed in Hong Kong using teas and other ingredients from all around the world. For this review, I tried all six. The teas are named after the feelings they evoke and include Nirvana, Love, Bliss, Presence, Serenity and Energy.
All the teas, except for Serenity, are to be brewed the same way. To make one cup, add one teaspoon of loose leaf tea in 200ml of freshly boiled filtered water, then allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes. Pour through a sieve or strainer into a cup and enjoy.
I tried Energy tea first, a Tulsi Rooibos Tea, composed of tulsi herb, organic rooibos, gunpowder (Not that explosive kind, but the Chinese green tea known for giving strength and focus), organic red pepper, lemongrass, ginger, orange peel and sunflowers. Tulsi (holy basil) is a common herb in India and is said to remove toxins, help the respiratory system and strengthen the immune system. Rooibos, a South African tea, is said to help with stomach cramps and hypertension.I quite enjoyed the rounded caramel taste with hints of sweet orange of this tea. Refreshing and sweet, this energizing tea would be a good way to perk up in the morning or even to sip in the midst of a busy day.Next, I tried the Love tea, a Rose Beauty Tea with oolong tea, roses petals, peppermint and chamomile. Chinese oolong tea has combined qualities of black and green tea and is a partially oxidized tea. Used in the traditional Gungfu tea ceremony by Chinese tea masters, many people say oolong tea supports weight loss and assists in blood circulation, while chamomile is calming, helping soothe subset stomachs and aids in sleeping better. Rose petals go beyond being looking pretty and help to cool and cleanse the body.I loved how invigorating this tea was and I just wanted to be sipping on this as I lounge around on a lazy day. The soothing pops of minty freshness compliment the sweet rose flavor and it would be incredible as an iced tea on a warm day. Definitely a fan favorite, I’m sure!Then, I moved on to the Presence tea, a lovely tea blend, of cooling and nourishing mix of organic green tea and organic peppermint. Said to be at the center of the Moroccan tea ceremony, I thought this tea was stimulating and not bitter at all (unlike other bitter teas). I enjoyed the freshness of the peppermint, while the earthy, grassy tones of green tea lingering in my mouth with every sip. It is the perfect tea to drink when you need a slight caffeine kick, but don’t want coffee, or when you need to recover from a heavy night out!Next, I tried the Nirvana, a Sencha peach tea, with Japanese Sencha green tea, peach pieces and sunflower blossoms. At the core of the meditative practice of senchadō, the highly sophisticated Japanese tea ceremony, Sencha is loved across Japan and is praised for its rejuvenating effects, including hydrating skin. In China, the peach is worshipped as a symbol for longevity. I thought that this fruity, but not overly sweet, tea can take you to a peaceful state as it hydrates and refreshes your skin and soul.I then tasted the Bliss tea, a Tulsi Breath Tea, a rich composition of nine powerful herbs and spices such as tulsi herb, organic rooibos, cinnamon, cardamom, vervain, ginger, chamomile, lavender, and rosebuds. Completely caffeine-free, what appealed to me was the gentle aroma of the tea and how the spices worked well together not overpowering each other and the rose just adding a little flair of slight sweetness.
Finally, I tried the Serenity tea, a Masala Chai Tea. Perhaps one of the most popular teas in an Indian household, I have tried countless varieties of this tea over the years. The serenity tea is an irresistible black tea infused with ginger, lemongrass and assorted Indian spices.Best prepared the traditional way: for one cup, heat half a cup of water and half a cup of milk in a pot, add one teaspoon of the loose leaf tea and simmer for a few minutes. Then, pour through a sieve or strainer into a cup, sweeten and relish. When poured over ice and lemon, it makes for a fantastic iced chai tea sweetened with honey.
The Serenity tea is actually a secret family recipe handed down in Seema’s family. In this exclusive mix, top quality black tea is paired with Indian spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorn, and coriander. It is believed that masala chai helps to enhance concentration levels and enlivens the metabolism. Whatever the story, Indian-style masala chai holds special memories for most people, including me.
This tea was spicy and creamy with the addition of milk. The cinnamon stood out to me, especially since I absolutely adore the spice. With the addition of a sweetener, this masala chai would be perfect for just about any occasion. What I admired the most about the tea is how with a ready-made mix of the masala chai, it is easy to brew a cup without clambering to find the assorted spices needed.
Overall, I thought these yogic teas are quite delightful and each one has different benefits and tastes. My absolute favorite was the Love tea!
Find these teas at Monty’s, Coffee Casa (they also serve them here), Royal Snacks, Spoons and JD’s Supermarket in Loresho and on Ngong Road and brew yourself a cuppa. They retail for Ksh. 1350/- for one can, and two or more cans go for Kshs. 1200/- each. You can also find the Pranayum teas at the upcoming Bizarre Bazaar Summer Craft Festival at Karura Forest on 23-24 June 2018.
If you have tried these teas, which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below.
DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Pranayum Kenya Ltd, but all views and opinions are 100% my own.
Photos, unless stated otherwise, are by Hitesh Shah