Review: Tea At Sea Mountain Organic Indonesian Oolong

Oolong Tea, Organic Tea, Tea at Sea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This oolong has some potential but the more pleasant floral elements of the cup are overshadowed by bitter and rough vegetal flavours."
Sophie’s Teaview: 6.5/10
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teaseamountainindooolongThis organic oolong is grown at 800m above sea level, in the Halimun Mountains of Indonesia. Oxidized at 35%, the leaves are said to produce a light, creamy flavour. The large, vibrantly hued, yellowish green leaf nuggets smell delicious! Their aroma mixes notes of cream, honey and springtime blooms.

I follow the instructions provided on my sample’s package, infusing a heaping teaspoonful of leaf in 250ml of boiling water for 5 minutes. The tea again has an enticing sweet and creamy aroma. The pale gold cup is rather milky and mineral at first, sort of like a Jin Xuan. As it cools however, it becomes bitter and vegetal, channeling strong celery, arugula and fennel flavours. These are more abrasive than I would like but it’s not a terrible cup overall.

After a 6 minute long steep, my second cup feels a little smoother. As it cools it develops a vague floral sweetness, overtop of the vegetal tones. These are still too sharp to my taste, detracting from my overall enjoyment. It’s a drinkable cup, but not one that I would particularly seek out again.

I try a final steep, following an 8 minute long brew. It’s pretty mild but there are still some interesting flower tones present, especially lilac and lilies. There is also a hint of milk and almonds. All the roughness of the previous cup is gone. This is possibly my favourite infusion of the lot.

This oolong has some potential but the more pleasant floral elements of the cup are overshadowed by bitter and rough vegetal flavours. Using different brewing parameters like cooler water temperature and shorter steep times should help bring out sweeter, smoother tones. That said, it’s very affordable, especially for an organic tea. At this price, it’s worth experimenting, especially if purchasing some of Tea at Sea’s excellent Yunnan Organic Black.

— To purchase Tea At Sea Mountain Organic Indonesian Oolong, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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Review: Ambrosia Herb Persian Bliss

Ambrosia Herb, Banana Tea, Black Tea, Coconut Tea, Vanilla Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The allspice, banana chips, and coconut flakes create a unique flavor. This tea is worth trying! "
Alexa’s Teaview: 7.3/10
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I have tried a few teas from AmbrosiaHerb and haven’t had a bad experience. AmbrosiaHerb, based in California, offers a wonderful variety of herbal teas. Their Persian Bliss is a blend of black tea, banana chips, vanilla beans, allspice, and coconut flakes. I picked out this tea since I’m a fan of all those ingredients. This tea smelled spicier than I expected. The banana and vanilla is subtle. The black tea gives off a bitter aroma.

I steeped 1 teaspoon in a cup of almost boiling water. I let the leaves steep for about 5 minutes. A spicy, fruity smell wafted from the leaves as they steeped. As the tea steeped longer, the aroma of allspice became more evident while the fruity aromas mellowed. I could detect the banana chip and vanilla bean as I took in a big whiff of the tea.

As you take a sip, you immediately taste the allspice. A coconut vanilla aftertaste is left in your mouth as the spicy liquid runs down your throat. This is a light, yet warming and soothing tea. It isn’t bitter from the spice and black tea, as many spiced teas tend to be. It is rather mellow with a hint of fruity sweetness. The allspice, banana chips, and coconut flakes create a unique flavor. This tea is worth trying!

— To purchase Ambrosia Herb Persian Bliss, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Alexa Alexa
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Review: The Little Red Cup Mao Jian

Green Tea, The Little Red Cup No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"It's not great, but it's easy to make and easy to drink and really, really cheap."
Katie’s Teaview: 6.3/10
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littleredcupgreenmaojianLast time I tried a tea from this company, they had very little selection, but I see they’ve added a few teas since then, and one can’t help but imagine they’re hoping to continue to grow with time. It appears they’ve also started shipping to Canada, and that’s a huge bonus from me as it’s hard to recommend others buy from a tea company I can’t even buy from. They’re still sticking to their original mission and specialising in straight Chinese leaves, and one of my favourite staples from any country is Mao Jian.

The leaves are a deep forest green colour, curled, and smell richly vegetal. I steep a teaspoon at 176° for two minutes and get a beautiful honey yellow liquor that smells surprisingly faint. The flavour is faint enough I end up chugging the first cup and resteeping with 1.5 teaspoons per cup at the same time and temp.

It’s a “rough,” rather than delicate, green tea. Heavily smoky up front, it tapers off into a mid-level vegetal flavour. I prefer more buttery and vegetal notes to smoky ones, but at this price, I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by the rough edges to the cup. It is also brilliantly easy to drink, going down surprisingly smoothly. I steep again for three minutes and get a blander cup than the first, but it’s acceptable enough I’d still resteep just to make this already affordable cup go that extra mile. I’d call it a mid-range Mao Jian, not particularly flavourful or delicate, but not harsh enough that you notice.

This is a definite would buy tea. So why not a higher score? Once I was in a store in Chinatown, and they had a Thai green tea for something like $1.50 an ounce. I bought 1.2 Kilograms of the stuff, drank it all within months, and mourned its passing when I finally used that last teaspoon of leaf. When I stumble out of bed first thing, I usually have that terrible moment where I desperately need caffeine to wake up, but I haven’t had any caffeine, so I can’t put together enough brain power to make a decent cup of tea. This kilo of mid-range green tea sat right by my tea table, so first thing after waking up, I never had to think, as even the most hopeless or tired of tea lovers could make a passable cup of it. I would have given that tea a 6/10 had I rated, yet I drank it nearly daily for a year.

This is that sort of leaf. It’s not great, but it’s easy to make and easy to drink and really, really cheap. At $35/pound, I’d buy a kilo and drink it every time I don’t want to think, which is almost every time I wake up. Sure, it won’t give me a religious experience, taste-wise, but I also won’t notice that I have something disgusting in my cup (a la bagged orange pekoe teas), and I also won’t get raging heartburn first thing in the morning (how does anyone stomach coffee before breakfast?!), and sometimes that’s all I ask.

— To purchase The Little Red Cup Mao Jian, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Katie Katie
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Review: Firepot Chai Chocolate Chai

Chai Tea, Firepot Chai, Herbal Tea No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a really great chai if you're looking for a caffiene alternative that doesn't lack in flavor. Add milk to a mason jar, shake it vigorously and microwave for 30 seconds, you'll have frothy milk to enhance the flavor. "
Samantha’s Teaview: 7.5/10
Other Teaviews: Alexa gave it 7.5/10
Your Reviews: 5/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

firepotchailogoSummer has officially arrived and while I’m transitioning my palate from black to green tea, every once in a while you just have to have a good chai.

Award winning company, Firepot Chai offers a caffeine free alternative to the typical black based chai combinging Fair Trade certified cacao nibs with their chai spice blend. The blend includes organic cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, cloves and coriander.

A heaping tablespoon was used to brew for 4 minutes with boiling water. The aroma is pleasently chocolatly and spicey. The taste is deliciously chocolaty though the body is a bit thinner than I anticipated. This is a really great chai if you’re looking for a caffiene alternative that doesn’t lack in flavor. Add milk to a mason jar, shake it vigorously and microwave for 30 seconds, you’ll have frothy milk to enhance the flavor.

Thumbs up to Firepot Chai. Great product!

— To purchase Firepot Chai Chocolate Chai, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Samantha Samantha
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Review: Tea at Sea Yunnan Organic Black Tea

Black Tea, Organic Tea, Tea at Sea, Yunnan Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a truly excellent Yunnan black - creamy caramel and buttery bread notes round out more astringent tobacco and wood tones. It’s definitely worth a try, especially at this price point! "
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.4/10
Your Reviews: 5.1/10
110 reader reviews | Add your review »

teaseayunnanTea at Sea is a Canadian company that is new to me. Their website and packaging is user-friendly and quite cute, with nautically inspired themes. Their catalogue features a variety of loose organic teas, sourced directly from farmers. Grown in Menglai Hill, at an altitude of 1200-2000m above sea level, this particular tea is described as “earthy, light, refreshing with hints of caramel”. My sample comes in a re-sealable foil envelope – Yes! The leaves vary in colour from ebony to gold. Their aroma is malty and sweet, with a touch of wood and spice.

I steep a heaping teaspoonful of leaf in 250ml of freshly boiled water. After 3 minutes smooth, creamy malt and raisin notes blend with a touch of cinnamon and buttery bread undertones. Just a hint of tannic astringency balances things out. It’s delicious!

I brew the leaves again for 3 and a half minutes. The results are still rather sweet with hints of caramel, cinnamon and brown sugar. At the same time, the cup is a little more peppery in taste and feel, and thus less decadently creamy.

I try a third steep following 4 and a half minute steep. It doesn’t dazzle like the previous two cups but it’s not a waste of time either. Most of the flavour is now concentrated in mild peach and malt finish. I decide to quit while I am ahead.

Tea at Sea actually recommends a 5 to 6 minute long brew. The longer steep accentuates tobacco and wood tones of the cup, as well as its more fermented, “barney” flavours. It’s slightly more astringent than my shorter brew but also creamier and sweeter. There is no need for milk and sugar, even at this length. Re-steeping the leaves is less successful however, the leaves petering out more quickly.

Tea at Sea generally features quite reasonably priced teas. You can try all of their 11 teas for 10$! Sadly this offering only seems available in sample sizes – perhaps it’s just a glitch with the website? I can definitely see myself ordering from them in the future. This is a truly excellent Yunnan black – creamy caramel and buttery bread notes round out more astringent tobacco and wood tones. It’s definitely worth a try, especially at this price point!

— To purchase Tea at Sea Yunnan Organic Black Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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Review: Craft of Tea Fancy Rose & Peach

Craft of Tea, Green Tea, Peach Tea, Rose Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"If you are a fan of rose water, then you’ll love this blend. "
Alexa’s Teaview: 7.9/10
Your Reviews: 5.2/10
23 reader reviews | Add your review »

craftrosepeachCraft of Tea is a unique tea company. You can purchase their tea on their website or you can subscribe to their company. When you subscribe, they send you tea samples every month. This is great for people who don’t want to commit to large amounts of tea and want to try a variety.

Fancy Rose & Peach is a white tea mixed with peaches and rose petals. This tea looks and smells quite fancy. The leaves are beautiful! The white tea is light green and the rose petals are a soft pink. The leaves smell like mild white tea, fragrant rose petals, sweet peaches, and a hint of vanilla. I love all these flavors so this tea smelled lovely to me.

I steeped 1 teaspoon of leaves in one cup of water at 180F. I let the leaves steep for about 4 minutes. The tea smells mellowly sweet with a dash of perfume from the rose petals. There was also a grassy aroma to the leaves. The flavor is unique and a great change from plain green tea. The peach flavor is light, making the green tea the star (as it should be). The rose petals add a romantic element to the tea. If you are a fan of rose water, then you’ll love this blend.

I also ended up brewing a big pitcher of iced tea! This blend makes a wonderful iced tea. I brewed 4 teaspoons in 3 1/4 cups of water at 180F. I added 3 teaspoons of honey and then let the leaves steep for 15-20 minutes. After straining the leaves and letting the tea cool off, I stuck it in the fridge to cool. When cool, the rose flavor seems to stand out even more. The honey brings out the peachy notes. It’s a perfect beverage for summer afternoons.

— To purchase Craft of Tea Fancy Rose & Peach, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Alexa Alexa
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