Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tea Review: Pure Oolong Tea (Zealong/TeaGschwendner)

Pure Oolong
Zealong/TeaGschwendner
Type: Oolong
Origin: New Zealand
Product Description:
Zealong’s organic Pure oolong tea is sweet with fresh-tasting leaves that are un-roasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavour of the tea.

Zealong teas are hand-picked by only the top three leaves, are certified organic, and grown in the Waikato region in the North Island of New Zealand. Known for its unique climate and growing conditions, these teas are truly special and has won many international awards.
Temperature: 195° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

The dry leaves have a sweet, mineral-green aroma with notes of nuts, oats, and a hint of smoke.

The golden liquor has a rich, buttery, and floral aroma.  The taste is sweet, buttery, and smooth with a long sweet and buttery finish.

This oolong was surprisingly light following a 3 minute steep and at it's peak after steeping for 5 minutes.  The flavor was rather rich, reminiscent of milk oolong, and something in the aroma of the second infusion reminded me of buttered croissants (hello, sudden craving!).  The third infusion was mellow and still quite enjoyable.

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tea Review: Hot Buttered Yum (Friday Afternoon)

Hot Buttered Yum
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
This butter rum flavored black tea contains little bits of real toffee for a pre-sweetened cup of decadent comfort. Pro tip: try with a touch of cream (Irish or otherwise)!
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend includes black tea, toffee chips, almonds, milk chocolate, and natural butter rum flavor.

The cloudy orange liquor has the distinct aroma of butter rum.  The taste has rich notes of butterscotch, light rum, a hint of cocoa with a hint of black tea in the back and a long butter rum finish.

This tastes and smells exactly like it says on the tin, delivering the flavor and aroma of the popular holiday beverage and setting a warm and glowy mood for the winter season.  While the best flavor is in the first infusion, a second infusion is also quite pleasant.  On a personal note, this brought back happy memories of my grandfather and the butter rum flavored candies he would share with me.   

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tea Review: Peppermint Stick (Friday Afternoon)

Peppermint Stick
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
Don't have a candy cane for stocking stuffers? Try this tea! It's the perfect, healthy replacement for those sticky treats. No sugar, just good black tea, Egyptian peppermint and natural caramel flavoring. Pair with winter breakfasts and/or mint liqueur for best enjoyment!
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend includes black tea, peppermint, and natural caramel flavoring.

The dark red infusion has the aroma and taste of sweet peppermint candies and candy canes.

This tastes just like the seasonal confection starting with a bold burst of peppermint followed almost immediately by the other flavors I associate with candy canes, including the (guilt-free!) sweetness and natural cooling sensation.  The black tea flavor came through nicely, as well.  A 2-3 minute steeping time works very well, longer or shorter depending on how bold you like your peppermint.  While the best flavor was in the first infusion, with black tea notes moving toward the front by the second, the peppermint can go a long, long while.

This tea was purchased by me.




Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tea Review: Rou Gui (TeaSource)

Rou Gui
TeaSource
Type: Oolong
Origin: China
Product Description:
These amazing, large, hand-made leaves have a slight caramel/toasty aroma and deliver a cup that is very complex and evolves as it steeps.
Temperature: 195° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of seared wood, nuts, nut shells, sweet oats, and a hint of cinnamon.

The copper-orange infusion has a pungent roasty aroma with notes of caramelized fruit, sweet spice (cinnamon and more), and something that reminded me of papaya or guava.  The taste is rich, roasty, and almost savory with notes of chestnuts and something herbaceous and a chestnut and fruit finish.  

This is a delicious oolong, which should come as no surprise since I've never met a Rou Gui I didn't like.  A 3-minute initial steep worked well for the purposes of this western-style tasting session with longer subsequent steepings bringing out more flavor.  Meanwhile, a 30 second initial steeping works very well for gongfucha preparation, followed by increased time with each new steep.  On a more personal tasting note, something in the flavor reminded me of the baked persimmons that were served as dessert at a restaurant in Kyoto, a happy memory.  

This tea was purchased by me.





Monday, December 6, 2021

Tea Review: Rebecca's Orange Spice (Friday Afternoon)

Rebecca's Orange Spice
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
This spiced black tea gives you all the fall vibes! Sip this while you walk through the leaves and embrace your witchy side.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf blend contains black tea, cloves, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, bergamot extract, and vanilla flavor.

The bright orange infusion has a sweet and spicy aroma with bold notes of citrus, ginger, and cinnamon.  The taste is spicy with citrus (bergamot), cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom notes at the front.

This tea smells so much like my favorite autumn apple cider and the spices have just the right amount of kick to wake my taste buds up.  While the first two steeping had the fullest flavor, the third steeping was also quite nice.

This tea was purchased by me.




Friday, December 3, 2021

Tea Review: Snow Globe (Friday Afternoon)

Snow Globe
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored White
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
Like gentle snowflakes drifting over a silent landscape, sweet elder flowers swirl about this blend. Smooth vanilla and bright, cheerful lemon peel balance against buttery, floral white tea for a softly relaxing friend you can sip over and over.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend contains white tea, lemon peel, elderflower, and natural vanilla flavoring.

The orange infusion has a sweet lemon cream aroma.  The taste is lightly sweet and tangy with notes of lemon and a hint of vanilla toward the end.

The aroma of this blend reminded me of scones topped with lemon curd and cream with afternoon tea.  The best flavor was in the first infusion.

This tea was purchased by me.




Thursday, December 2, 2021

Tea Review: Perinteinen Joulutee (Nordqvist)

Perinteinen Joulutee Black Christmas Tea
Nordqvist
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not Provided
Product Description:
Black tea with traditional flavours of Christmas. Flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Enhanced with dried orange peel.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf blend contains black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, dried orange peel, cinnamon and cardamom flavor.

The copper red infusion has an aroma of baking spices, most notably cinnamon, reminding me of Christmas cookies.  The taste is spicy with notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and light orange, reminding me of gingersnaps, with a long finish.

This tea smells almost exactly like my family's old fashioned ginger cookie recipe and is now one of my favorite seasonal blends.  The best flavor is in the first two infusions, with the flavor and aroma mellowing after the first.

This tea was received as a gift from a third party.




Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Tea Review: Russian Caravan (The Tea Spot)

Russian Caravan
The Tea Spot
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: China, India
Product Description: 
A bold smoky classic, with intrigue & complexity—just how we like our breakfast teas. A careful composition of 4 high-quality large leaf teas—lapsang souchong, oolong, assam, & puerh—perfectly balanced to deliver a kiss of smoke & sweetness to your palate.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry blend includes lapsang souchong, oolong, Assam, and puerh.

The dark red-brown infusion has an aroma of pine smoke and seared wood.  The taste is bold and smoky with mild astringency and a long smoky finish.

This blend was bold though not overwhelming, just right for my preference and easily a daily-drinker.  After the initial infusion, the color lightened and flavor mellowed while the delightfully smoky aroma was at full strength throughout.  A longer steeping time produced good results for the second infusion and the third infusion was light yet quite enjoyable.

This tea was purchased by me.




Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Tea Review: Monsoon Darjeeling (Chesser Roe)

Monsoon Darjeeling
Chesser Roe
Type: Black
Origin: India, Darjeeling
Product Description:
Grown at a high elevation in the foothills of the Himalayas by the Prakash family and carefully harvested during the monsoon season that lends its name, this tea brews up light bodied and bright, with a gold liquor, distinct notes of honey, toast and apricot, and a lovely, dry finish.
Temperature: 195° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have a lightly sweet white grape and floral aroma with grain-like notes.

The copper-orange infusion has a sweet and lightly savory floral aroma with hints of smoke, caramel and muscat grape.

The taste is sweet, lightly citrus, and floral with mild astringency.

This tea had pleasantly intriguing muscatel-like flavor notes and I found that I most enjoyed the results from a 2 minute steeping.  However, for those that prefer something more brisk, steeping for 3-5 minutes is the way to go.

This tea was purchased by me.




Monday, November 29, 2021

Tea Review: 7 Star 2009 Tian Jian Anhua Heicha (Bitterleaf Teas)

7 Star 2009 Tian Jian Anhua Heicha
Bitterleaf Teas
Type: Heicha
Origin: China, Hunan Province
Product Description: 
This 2009 Tianjian heicha has been our go-to post meal tea ever since it arrived. It has a gentle and warming smoky flavour that doesn’t overdo it. Having undergone pine-smoking during as a result of processing it also has some very pleasant pine and spice notes.

The soup is smooth and enjoyable, coating the mouth and leaving a cooling sensation in the throat after it’s gone.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have a spicy aroma with notes of moss and antique wood.

The liquor is copper-orange with a spicy, mossy, and almost minty aroma.  The taste is savory and broth-like with moss, mushroom, and wood notes.

This reminded me of a particularly flavorful vegetarian broth.  The savory mushroom-like notes became lighter by the second infusion and moved to the front again by the third. 

This tea was received as a gift from a third party.