Review: Cameron Tea Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Black Tea – Formosa

Black Tea, Cameron Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"What a great cup of tea! Just sharp enough to really satisfy a thirst and delicious enough to also savor."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 8.6/10
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cameronsunmoonformosaI have enjoyed reviewing various teas from Cameron Teas. Cameron Teas is a vendor that are committed to providing best quality loose leaf tea at a reasonable price. And from what I have seen, they succeed.

My sample today consists of long black tea leaves that are fully oxidized. They are long enough that I suggest weighing the leaves rather then measuring. There isn’t much of an aroma though I catch just a hint of raspberry leaves. I set the leaves up to brew using boiling water and a steep time of two minutes. The resulting liquor is a dark, reddish brown that has a sweet, yet not thick, malty aroma again with a hint of raspberries.

Now first, I will admit to adding a bit of rock sugar to the cup as is my habit with black teas. This favor is rich, dark and bold with just the slightest hint of astringency. There is a very nice balance to this cup. Flavors of raspberries wrapped in a dark, slightly bitter, chocolate dance across the tongue followed by a supporting cast of grains and a mineral twang. And as an added treat, there is a sweeter aftertaste that lingers on the roof of the mouth. As the cup cools a faint bitterness develops so this is one tea to drink fresh and hot or let it cool down more and the bitterness will fade away. Interesting complexity.

What a great cup of tea! Just sharp enough to really satisfy a thirst and delicious enough to also savor. It’s one that I could see myself keeping around as a special treat on weekends.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Black Tea – Formosa, 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Lalani and Co. First Flush Okumidori Sencha

Green Tea, Lalani and Co, Organic Tea, Sencha Tea, Single Estate Tea, Uncategorized No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a tea for grown ups, with strong, somewhat astringent flavours reminiscent of grapefruit, seaweed and whiskey. It’s a great candidate to have with a meal, as it has no trouble holding its own when paired with flavourful foods."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
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lalanilogoThis organic offering from Wazuka Garden was initially shade grown for 9 days before being picked May 17th. This is one of the most beautiful senchas I’ve seen. Its long needles seem to shimmer they are so vibrantly green! Their scent is intriguing, mixing cloves, stewed fruit and astringent grass notes.

I made two attempts at sampling this tea. My first used 6g of leaf per 150ml, brewed in water heated to 60°C for 2 minutes. The lime green liquor featured a hearty broth-like, vegetal scent. The cup was mostly creamy and smooth, in a sweet, kelp-infused way, a hint of astringency coming from the grassier elements of the flavour profile.

Realizing that the brewing instructions actually called for water heated to 40 degrees, I tried again. This time the flavours felt more balanced and better integrated. The cup showcased more umami notes, broth, and seaweed. The finish was dry in a bitter and mineral sort of way. It reminded me of whiskey as well as citrus zest. The flavours were quite strong overall, and would have no trouble standing up to food.

I managed to get two more satisfying steeps, brewing the leaves again for 2 and a half, and 3 minutes. The cup now had more prominent citrus flavours, grapefruit in particular. The finish took on a sweet, minty dimension. The creaminess of the first steep was waning, but I still found this to be a rather flamboyant tea.

After 4 minutes, my fourth cup was now almost bland, with the exception of the fruity finish and aftertaste. A more patient tea drinker than I could probably have pulled another infusion from the leaves, given enough time.

This strikes me as a tea for grown ups, with strong, somewhat astringent flavours reminiscent of grapefruit, seaweed and whiskey. It’s a great candidate to have with a meal, as it has no trouble holding its own when paired with flavourful foods. It’s rather pricey but should please sencha connoisseurs who like a good dose of umami in their teas.

— To purchase Lalani and Co. First Flush Okumidori Sencha, 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 Scottish Blend Earl Grey

Bergamot Tea, Black Tea, Craft of Tea, Earl Grey Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It’s not a heavy blend, but light and energizing."
Alexa’s Teaview: 7.5/10
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craftteaearlgreyCraft of Tea was started by a husband and wife in Hong Kong. Their company searches for exotic and extraordinary flavors and offers a wide range of teas. Their goal is to help people try all kinds of tea in order to discover their tea preferences. If you subscribe to Craft of Tea, you’ll receive tea in sample sizes every month. I find this to be a wonderful idea!

Craft of Tea offers a few delicious looking Earl Grey’s and I got to try their Scottish Blend. On the website, this blend is described as zesty and exhilarating. It’s a very citrusy blend made from Sri Lanka black tea flavored with bergamot. Bergamot is an orange commonly grown in Italy and southern France. When you smell the dark leaves, the bergamot is very strong.

I steeped 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water. I heated the water to 206F and let the leaves steep for 4 minutes. The citrusy aroma mellows as the tea steeps and the bitter black tea becomes more noticeable. The smell lacks in sweetness and is rather bitter. The taste is sweet with just a hint of bergamot. Due to the blend of sweet orange and bitter black tea, this tea reminds me of orange flavored dark chocolate. I love these flavors blended together.

I really enjoyed this different Earl Grey. It’s not a heavy blend, but light and energizing. If you are a fan of strong black tea and citrusy flavors, then this is a must-try. I even used these tea leaves to make some earl grey tea cookies- which turned out lovely! I ground up the tea leaves and simply added them to the cookie batter. The citrus in the tea made the cookies even better.

— To purchase Craft of Tea Scottish Blend Earl Grey, 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: Aap Ki Pasand Sikkim Grand Cru Tea Buds

Aap Ki Pasand, Black Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Both complex and easy to drink."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.9/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
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aapkipassandlogoSikkim is an Indian state nestled in the Himalayas, and it produces spectacular teas. The leaves of this particular tea look like your average Indian flush tea: Small, curled, dark brown with silver streaks. They smell herby and somewhat musty, a unique and appealing scent.

I steep my usual Indian tea way: a heaping teaspoon, 195°, three minutes. The clear amber liquor has a honey, herby scent. It’s a rich, bold Indian tea with a lingering herb and honey flavour. It seems simple at first, but once I start to ruminate over it, I notice notes of malt, peach, even a lingering floral bitterness. My second steep is milder and more muddled, but it’s still a good cup.

Overall, it’s both complex and easy to drink. It’s delicious, and the sort of tea I’d definitely buy. This tea came to me from a tea company I’ve never tried before, but they’re based directly out of India, offer free shipping, and they have very reasonable prices. All that paired with such a good sample makes this a company I’m extremely likely to order from in the future.

— To purchase Aap Ki Pasand Sikkim Grand Cru Tea Buds, 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: Cameron Tea Taiwan Beipu Black Tea

Black Tea, Cameron Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This was an interesting tea but not one that I would stock. It is a complex tea but a lot of the faces just didn't compliment each other well."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 7.3/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

cameronorientbeautMy sample today is from Cameron Tea which is a Taiwanese tea company that specializes in premium loose leaf teas from Taiwan. They don’t tend to carry a large variety but what they have tends to be top notch. My sample today is an example of such. It is a fully oxidized version of a traditional Oriental Beauty tea.

My sample consists of large thin black leaves that really didn’t have much of an aroma. Just a fairly faint fruity scent. I had a slight quandary about how to brew these leaves as I had only enough for one pot. It is a black tea but I know that some black teas respond better to being brewed at a lower temperature. I would have appreciated some brewing suggestions on the web site. I might not go with them but they do tend to give me a starting place especially with the pricier teas.

I ended up brewing them as I would a darjeeling with my water at 195 degrees and a steep time of 3 minutes. The leaves seemed to respond well to these brewing parameters giving up a liquor with a reddish-gold coloring and a delightful aroma that is both woody and floral.

This is definitely a tea with a lot of different faces. When hot, it has a sharply sweet top note that lingers with a base that reminds me of apple wood. No astringency but a bit of a bite and it is almost as though the two notes don’t want to sing together. As it cools, the top note fades away and the tea picks up a mineral twang along with a sweet fruitiness. When it cools down further, it develops a flavor that I found really enjoyable. It was one of spices, baked apples and apple wood.

This was an interesting tea but not one that I would stock. It is a complex tea but a lot of the faces just didn’t compliment each other well. Would I drink it again if offered? In a heart beat. I just know to let it cool down quite a bit first.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Taiwan Beipu 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Spicely Tulsi Chai

Cardamom Tea, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Clove Tea, Ginger Tea, Herbal Tea, Holy Basil Tea, Spicely, Vanilla Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This blend features a good mix between hot and sweet spices, as good chais are wont to do. The tulsi lends a creamy yet herbaceous backdrop that allows the other flavours to shine. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.2/10
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spicelytlusichaiThis company prides itself on its commitment towards organic agriculture and fair trade practices. This particular offering features all organic ingredients, including tulsi, otherwise called holy basil, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and vanilla bean. I can also spot some cloves and ginger root in the mix, so the list of ingredients on Spicely’s website doesn’t seem entirely accurate. The blend has a potpourri air to it, with its big, chunky pieces. Taking a sniff, the sweet medley of spices is very pungent.

I brew this tisane for 5 minutes, using a generous teaspoonful in 250ml of water heated to a boil. The steeped cup is a coppery brown hue. It has a vaguely milky sweet aroma. It’s easy to pick out the individual spices’ contributions. Cardamom, cloves and cinnamon come through loud and clear. The tulsi lends a creamy yet herbaceous backdrop that allows the spices shine. I can’t say that I taste the vanilla. Overall the blend successfully manages to produce clearly spicy flavours, without going overboard.

I try re-steeping the tisane again for 8 minutes. The results are much lighter in colour and taste this time. There is just a hint of cloves and cinnamon left over. I wouldn’t bother re-brewing the blend again in the future.

This blend features a good mix between hot and sweet spices, as good chais are wont to do. It doesn’t get bitter or overly spicy when steeped for an indefinite length of time. As such, it’s a good choice for sipping at work, or other settings where precise steep times aren’t a priority. Although I didn’t find them essential to the enjoyment of this cup, adding sweeteners and/or milk are also an option. I do find this blend a bit pricey at 18$ for a 1.6oz tin. However, this is a good quality, satisfying tisane, especially suited to those looking for a caffeine-free version of a spice tea.

— To purchase Spicely Tulsi 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: Sophie Sophie
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