Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tea Review: Maple Houjicha (Friday Afternoon)

Maple Houjicha
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Green
Origin: Not provided
Product Description: 
This toasty green tea pairs perfectly with mouthwatering maple for a cozy tea for harvest time. Light-bodied and aromatic with only trace sweetness and caffeine, you'll take it hiking, biking, or just sitting and sipping.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf blend consists of green tea and natural maple flavoring.

The orange infusion has an aroma of maple, roasted tea, and a hint of chestnuts with a roasty maple taste.

From my tasting notes I wrote, "omgMAPLE!" which should tell you all you need to know about whether the tea blend lives up to its name.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the bold flavor of a 3-minute infusion, a slightly shorter steeping time of 2 minutes may appeal if you prefer lighter, sweeter results.

This tea was purchased by me.




Monday, September 13, 2021

Tea Review: Hachijyuhachiya (88th Night) Sencha (Charaku)

Hachijyuhachiya (88th Night/八十八夜) Sencha - 2021 Shincha
Charaku
Type: Green
Origin: Japan, Miyazaki Prefecture, Kobayashi
Product Description:
The annual tea harvest in Japan begins 88 days after Risshun, the start of spring on the traditional Japanese calendar. Drinking tea picked on this day has always been considered auspicious and believed to bring good health throughout the year. Often reserved for family and friends, this tea has naturally limited availability. Charaku Fine Japanese Tea is pleased to offer Hachijyuhachiya Sencha this year! This Asamushi (light-steamed) Sencha from Kobayashi in eastern Miyazaki is smooth with low astringency. We hope it brings you health and good fortune this year!
Temperature: 165° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 45 seconds-2 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is sharply green and nutty with sunflower seed-like notes.

The liquor is light green with a savory and nutty aroma.  The taste is light and savory with umami, nutty, and green with sweet undertones and a long, refreshing sweet green finish. 

I followed the steeping time and temperature recommended by Charaku for the first and third infusions (2 minutes and 45 seconds, respectively) and went a little wild with a 2 minute second infusion, all with great results and no notable astringency.  Perhaps the cooler pre-autumn weather is making me sentimental because the thick, savory aroma and taste reminded me of a comforting soup broth.  The flavor in the first two infusions is surprisingly nuanced and almost delicate with fresh, spring green notes moving to the front by the third.  Results like these are why I look forward to the first (88th night) sencha harvest of the season.

This tea was purchased by me.




Monday, August 16, 2021

Tea Review: Chrysanthemum Buds (Red Robe Tea House)

Chrysanthemum Buds
Red Robe Tea House
Type: Herbal
Origin: China, Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou
Product Description: 
Made with famous Hangzhou chrysanthemum flowers, the tea’s fresh and sweet aroma never fails to elicit an “Mmmm” reaction. When brewed, the chrysanthemum flowers produce a light-bodied tea that is vibrant yellow in color. The tea has a honey-like sweetness and fragrance.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 2 minutes

The dried flowers have an aroma of savory spices, including black pepper.

The dark red liquor has a spicy aroma of chrysanthemums as well as something that reminds me of the cooling sensation of mint.  The taste is peppery and spicy with savory floral notes and a long finish.

This is probably my favorite of the floral tisanes due largely to its savory and non-perfumy characteristics.  The aroma of the dried flowers reminds me of spice shops, wooden spice drawers, and dried flower arrangements.  The flavor remained bold throughout 3 infusions with the promise of many more.  I highly recommend preparing this in a clear brewing vessel for an added touch of beauty.

This tea was purchased by me.





Friday, August 13, 2021

Tea Review: Black Tea (Zealong/Tea Geschwendner)

Black Tea (2020)
Zealong/TeaGschwendner
Type: Black
Origin: New Zealand
Product Description: 
Zealong Organic Black tea is a full-bodied, deep-amber liquor with a sweet, honeyed undertone and smooth, silky finish.

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: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

The dry leaves have a sweet and spicy aroma with notes of honey and aged wood.

The copper-red infusion has a sweet aroma of ripe stone fruit, honey, and flowers.  The taste is sweet,  with notes of fruit and honey, mild floral notes, and a hint of astringency.

This is a very forgiving tea with mellow flavor when steeped for 3 minutes and fuller flavor when steeped for 5 minutes. While the flavor is at its peak with the most nuance in the first infusion, the second and third infusions were still delicious. 

I have previously reviewed a black tea from Zealong in 2017, so it was an interesting and enjoyable comparison to the current version.

This tea was purchased by me.




Thursday, August 12, 2021

Tea Review: Orange Ginger Black (Chesser Roe)

Orange Ginger Black
Chesser Roe
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: India
Product Description:
For our organic tribute to the beloved American classic Constant Comment, we hand blend organic black tea with a hint of ginger as well as the traditional cinnamon, orange peel and orange oil. Our hat's off to Ruth Campbell Bigelow for inventing the first specialty tea in America!
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf blend includes black tea, orange peel, cinnamon, ginger, and orange oil.

The bright red infusion has a zingy aroma and taste of cinnamon, ginger, and sweet orange with low astringency and a dry finish.

This tea was spicy with just the right amount of ginger kick, delivering in taste what the aroma promises and bringing to mind the winter holidays. I preferred the results from steeping for 2-3 minutes and longer steeps will bring out more astringency for those who prefer something a little bolder.  While the first infusion has the fullest flavor, the spices remained at full strength throughout three infusions.  

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tea Review: Da Wu Ye (Chaozhou Tea Grower)

Da Wu Ye
Chaozhou Tea Grower
Type: Oolong
Origin: China, Guangdong Province, Chaozhou City, Wudong Village
Product Description: Not provided.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is rich, dark , and peppery, with notes of mushroom and spice.

The golden liquor has an incredibly rich aroma with buttery and sweet pea-like notes.  The taste is velvety with floral, creamy, and nutty notes with a long finish.

This is one of the richest oolong aromas I've encountered.  The broth is delightfully flavorful throughout multiple infusions with no notable astringency.  

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.




Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Tea Review: Green Tea (Zealong & TeaGschwendner)

Green Tea
Zealong/TeaGschwendner
Type: Green Tea
Origin: New Zealand
Product Description:
Zealong’s organic Green tea is a smooth, silky liquor, with a rich taste of floral notes, toasted chestnuts and a subtle sweet finish.

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: 175° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 2-3 minutes

The dry leaves have a sweet, green, and nutty aroma.

The light yellow-green infusion has a sweet, nutty, green aroma.  The taste is sweet and green with notes of sesame and cooked edamame.

This green tea is very approachable with a nice light flavor when steeped for 2 minutes.  Steeping for 3 minutes brings out a mild astringency for those that prefer their tea with a bit of a kick.  Overall, the taste is pleasantly mild, mellowing with each infusion.

This tea was purchased by me.




Monday, August 2, 2021

Tea Review: Green Mango (TeaSource)

Green Mango
TeaSource
Type: Flavored Green
Origin: Not Provided
Product Description: 
Sweet, smooth, and summery. Wonderful as a hot tea and incredible iced.  
Temperature: 175° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves are a blend of green tea, calendula, and natural flavor.

The golden green infusion is sweet and lightly tart in flavor and aroma with distinct mango notes throughout.

This blend is refreshing, delivering on the promise of its name, and mellowing slightly by the third infusion.  I also prepared this blend as a cold brew, steeping it overnight in the refrigerator, with great results.  

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.




Friday, July 30, 2021

Tea Review: Golden Dragon (TeaSource)

Golden Dragon
TeaSource
Type: Black
Origin: China, Guangxi Province
Product Description: 
These long, golden, downy tips produce a cup that is tremendously aromatic, very rich, complex, and thick with notes of spicy licorice and dark fruit.  

This black tea was produced in the mountains of Guangxi Province at an elevation of 3000-4000' in May, 2018 from the baihao cultivar. 
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of oats, berries, and dates.

The copper orange liquor has an aroma of fruit, berries, and dark fruit cake.  The taste has fruit, nut, and bread-like notes with low astringency.

Something I always look forward to with a tippy black tea is the fruity and berry like notes and this absolutely delivers.  The aroma reminded me of fruit cake in the best way and left me with a craving for the wintertime Scandinavian baked treats.  While brewing for 3 minutes produced excellent results, this tea could easily be brewed longer.  This was full-flavored after three steepings and still going strong while developing only mild astringency.

At the time of this review, Golden Dragon is no longer available.  Be sure to check with TeaSource for new harvests!

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tea Review: Ceylon Burning Sun (TeaSource)

Ceylon Burning Sun
TeaSource
Type: Black
Origin: Sri Lanka, Lumbini Tea Garden
Product Description: 
Awarded 1st place in the North American Tea Championship in the "Breakfast Blend" category!

This tea is a perfect blend of strength and complexity - which is pretty rare. The Lumbini Estate has blended many broken, golden tips into this tea, giving it a thick/weighty mouth feel. It has dark, fruit notes, clarity, brightness as you sip, and a lingering finish with just a hint of briskness. 

The Lumbini Tea Garden is a family-owned tea garden in the Southern Ruhuna District of Ceylon. They make prize-winning teas recognized around the world. TeaSource has been buying directly from Lumbini for more than 12 years. 
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 2-3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of oats and dark brown bread.

The dark red liquor has an aroma and taste of baked fruit with moderate astringency and a dry fruity finish. 

The second infusion was particularly bold mellowing slightly with the fruit notes moving forward again by the third infusion.  As a good breakfast blend should, this holds up nicely with milk, though the first infusion is also enjoyable without.

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.