Review: Sanne Tea 2014 Oriental Beauty

Oolong Tea, Organic Tea, Sanne Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Salty! ...and surprisingly flat given it's multi-colored appearance."
CJ’s Teaview: 6/10
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sannelogoWhat tumbled out of the package when I opened this tea reminded me of  “Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt.” I was delighted by this cheery blend of leaves in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Ah, but my taste buds were not so delighted by the festive-looking leaves.  I was hoping for bold complexity, but got a tea so weak, (or as some would say “delicate,”) I could barely taste it.

I brewed the leaves in “fish eye” (bubbles resembling fish eyes, about the size of pearls, rise to the top of the kettle at this level of boiling, producing temperatures between 175 and 180 degrees) water for one minute, as directed.

The color was yellow, not tawny as I experienced with other Oriental Beauties. As for aromas and flavors, all I could tease out was seaweed and salt. While an ocean-evoking hot beverage is a fine thing, this brew lacked any waves of depth or mystery. Unlike other Oriental Beauty teas I’ve tried, this seemed more like leftovers than the sweet, carefully-crafted leaves also known as Asian Beauty.

Taiwanese teas dubbed “beauty” are distinctive because they are processed by leaf hoppers, tiny green insects that chew on the plants. Their saliva imparts a fruity, somewhat fermented flavor to tea leaves, but in this case it was so faint I couldn’t detect it. It was overpowered by the savory notes.

If you have  sensitive taste-buds and prefer savory teas, by all means this is for you. I think it is a fine quality tea. It just wasn’t for me.

 

 

— To purchase Sanne Tea 2014 Oriental Beauty, 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Inca Tea Machu Pichu Mango

Apple Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Inca Tea, Mango Tea, Rose Hip Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Initially, the flavour is good but generic, all sweet and tart in a very non-specific way. But then the aftertaste hits, and it's all mango and deliciousness."
Katie’s Teaview: 8/10
Your Reviews: 1/10
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incateamangomachuInca Tea is a small company that specialises in blends that contain purple corn. Whatever you care about in the tea world, they have it covered: Whether it’s non-GMO, natural ingredients, supporting non-profits, recyclable packaging, or preservative-free blends. None of those things are particularly important to me, but I realise they all matter in varying amounts to other various people. However, the thing that gets me really excited is that their tea sachets are made from biodegradable materials! I compost all my tea leaves, partly for the sake of the environment and partly because I don’t want soggy leaves leaking into my garbage can, and the fact that I can’t compost high-quality tea bags has long been a source of frustration. For some time, I cut open the sachets, threw out the bag, and composted the leaves inside, but if I’m drinking bagged teas, chances are I’m feeling lazy, so I quickly gave up on that. These suckers, however, are going straight into my compost where they will eventually, hopefully break down.

I brew one teabag in 8 ounces 195 degree water for 5 minutes. The second the hot water hits the teabag, the liquor turns a brilliant magenta colour, I assume thanks to the purple corn. It smells brilliant, all mango and citrus and delicious.

Initially, the flavour is good but generic, all sweet and tart in a very non-specific way. But then the aftertaste hits, and it’s all mango and deliciousness. The spice takes a few sips to build enough flavour, but once it does, it adds a brilliant depth. And all that is underscored by a wonderful citrus acidity.

Inca Tea’s website says you can use each bag of their teas twice, but I am sceptical, since herbals don’t tend to resteep well. I’m happily wrong, however, getting a second steep that is nearly as bold and unique as the first. I’m so thrilled with my first experience with Inca Tea that I felt the need to use the word “brilliant” four times while writing out my initial tasting notes. It’s a unique, interesting, and delicious blend.

— To purchase Inca Tea Machu Pichu Mango, 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: Majani Imara Organic Black Tea

Black Tea, Kenyan Tea, Majani Teas No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Telling you that I finished the whole tin, tells you how much I enjoyed it!"
Melanie’s Teaview: 8/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

majanilogoMajani Tea is a new company founded in 2012. Their goal is to find and sell naturally grown, organic, fair trade Kenyan teas. Fair trade benefits both the small scale tea farmers and consumers. They export teas worldwide.

They have a small but excellent offering. Two black teas, a black breakfast tea, two green teas, a white tea and an oolong tea.

My loose leaf black tea arrived in a sealed foil bag to protect it from air and sunlight and then sealed tightly in a very pretty tin. I was able to keep the tea in this bag, roll it shut and the tea stayed fresh in the tin until I had drunk it all!

The tea is a dark brown with some soft caramel colored stems. It had a scent that reminded me of a ceylon. Because the leaves were fairly large, I had a hard time using a tea scoop to measure the tea. So instead, I used 3 fingers and my thumb and took a large pinch of tea. This was approximately a teaspoon full.

I drank all of this tea in my 4 cup pot as my morning black tea. Telling you that I finished the whole tin, tells you how much I enjoyed it! I used 3 pinches for each pot and let it steep in a strainer for 5-6 min and then removed the strainer.

I always started with fresh cold water, and brought it just to boil. It’s a medium bodied tea so I preferred to steep it for 6 minutes. But if I went beyond that, the tea got quite bitter. So, unless you are like me and like to get your tea as strong as you can, I would suggest steeping it for 4-5 minutes.

The tea brews up a beautiful deep golden brown. I always use milk and sugar in my morning tea and this tea took both very well, though I had to be careful not to overdo it with the milk.

I found the flavor profile to be closer to a ceylon than an assam or china tea, and yet, it was unique in flavor. The description on the website says “toasty notes, with a hint of caramel, and sweet finish with a touch of spice”. To be honest, I think this description gives the impression that this tea is has a complex flavor. I, on the other hand, would say it had a gently simple flavor.

Simple is not bad. It’s not the type of tea that you mindlessly take a sip of and it suddenly jerks your attention to it’s flavor. It’s more like a favorite sweater you feel really comfortable in… a flavor you can settle down with and sip at leisure. It is a slightly sweet black tea, and if I was to put any flavor notes on it, it would be an after taste of orchard fruit.

All of that to say, I really, really enjoyed this tea. It’s simple gentle profile and medium body makes it a black tea that many people would enjoy. And it made for a wonderful month of morning tea for me! And I must admit, I always like it when I am drinking a tea that is fair trade. I enjoy thinking of the small scale farmers and knowing that I am drinking tea from a company who cares about people and the environment.

— To purchase Majani Imara 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: Melanie Melanie
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Review: Dachi Tea Scarlet Honey Oolong

Dachi Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Dachi Tea's Scarlet Honey Oolong is amazing, they are serious when they say it tastes like cherries. This is why high quality teas are superb, cherry flavor naturally created by the artisan tea maker in your cup with careful attention to it's processing. This is why teas don't need flavorings added."
Samantha’s Teaview: 9/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
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dachihoneyoolongDachi Tea hits the nail on the head when it comes to high quality oolong as well as their slogan “As Human As Possible” connecting us to the farmers and a tantalizing visual experience in tea. Scarlet Honey Oolong is an experience you must have. Sometimes it’s easy to drink mindlessly and not truly appreciate all that the leaves have to offer, in that case, enjoy and come back to it again when your palate has tamed and you’re ready to experience.

This tea is naturally bug bitten similar to an oriental beauty oolong which causes partial oxidation to create the honey like flavor. Produced by Mr. Ye, in the Meishan region of Nantou Taiwan.

For Scarlet Honey one tablespoon was used in 5 ounces water at 190F for 2 minutes. The first taste that struck me was the strong cherry like flavor, wow, they were serious when they say it tastes like cherries. This is why high quality teas are superb, cherry flavor naturally created by the artisan tea maker in your cup with careful attention to it’s processing. This is why teas don’t need flavorings added.

This is honestly the first cherry tasting oolong I’ve ever had, or at least have recognized as cherry. It is medium bodied, dark roast and creates an amber red color in the cup. There is an earthiness to it as well as a hint of plum and honey. The more you drink, the more the flavors meld together an the cherry becomes less dominate. For me, this makes for a great tea to transition my palate to more hearty flavors for Fall and Winter.

Scarlet Honey is a show-stopper and exhibits the craftsmanship of fine oolong tea. While it is priced steeply and may scare away beginner oolong drinkers, this tea is truly worth every penny. It is one of the most unique oolong teas I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommend this for oolong lovers. Beginners beware, this will set your standards so high for oolong you may find your self disappointed with other teas and make you a regular with Dachi.

— To purchase Dachi Tea Scarlet Honey 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: Samantha Samantha
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Review: The Whistling Kettle Scottish Caramel Puerh

Almond Tea, Butterscotch Tea, Caramel Tea, The Whistling Kettle No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The add-ins are great, but the base tea is just OK."
Katie’s Teaview: 6.9/10
Your Reviews: 10/10
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whistlingketcaramelThe leaves of this blend are a dusty brown, mid-sized, curled. There’s some bites of dried almonds and whatnot, and it smells amazing. I brew a teaspoon with boiling water for four minutes and get a rich amber-brown liquor that smells mildly sweet with the rich fishy/earthy scent of the puerh.

At first the tea is disappointing. The caramel is mostly in the aftertaste. It’s a brilliantly sweet, nutty aftertaste, but at first it’s the only really delicious part of the tea. But as I sip, the sweetness grows, building on itself into something more obviously sweet and much more pleasant. So in the end the caramel toffee flavour is there, and that helps a lot, but that brings me to the base tea.

It isn’t a bad base tea, but it isn’t great. Maybe it’s just personal preference, but I expected a smooth, mild base puerh. But while it’s got a pleasant earthiness, it’s surprisingly acidic and not particularly smooth. When I think about caramel toffee, I think smooth and sweet, and this cup only has half of that down. I steep again and get a milder cup, though very similar to the first.

In short, the add-ins are great, but the base tea is just OK. I wasn’t in love with this tea, but I got a few samples from The Whistling Kettle, and this was my least favourite. I found the other teas I tried more enjoyable, so even though this wasn’t a great sample, I’m not turned off of this company.

— To purchase The Whistling Kettle Scottish Caramel Puerh, 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: Lochan Tea Doke Black Fusion – 2nd flush 2015

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Lochan Tea, Organic Tea No Comments »
MaryAnn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Doke Black Fusion gets its name from the unique joining of Assam tea stock grown in a Darjeeling climate. This is a complex tea. It is probably smarter than I am, yet comforting in an edgy way."
MaryAnn’s Teaview: 8.2/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

LoochandokeblackHow exciting to receive samples of Lochan Tea’s 2015 products. Although Lochan also serves as a wholesale of other fine Indian teas, I follow the development of the handmade teas from their own organic gardens in Bihar with great interest.
Doke Black Fusion gets its name from the unique joining of Assam tea stock grown in a Darjeeling climate.
Dry leaves: medium sized in general with variation, wiry, tightly hand rolled, very dark in color. Rich complex earthy smell.
Infusion: Mild tannin aroma in addition to earthy, musky smell first noticed in dry leaves. Leaves do not unfold with first infusion due to tight rolling. Second infusion leaves unfurl but my experience is less complex aroma and taste.
Liquor: Amber color. Sweet aroma, some traces of rose, reminds me of a dark oolong. Sweet taste mixed with buttery, slightly bitter and malty, mild astringency. Tastes notes bounce around the mouth in lively fashion – hitting back, mid, and front of tongue before settling contentedly at back of the mouth.
This is a complex tea. It is probably smarter than I am, yet comforting in an edgy way.

— To purchase Lochan Tea Doke Black Fusion – 2nd flush 2015, 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: MaryAnn MaryAnn
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