Review: Craft of Tea Bright World

Black Tea, Craft of Tea, Yunnan Tea No Comments »
Emma’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The liquor is a gorgeous golden hue, the flavor is round and smooth, slightly nutty with the characteristic tang of black tea"
Emma’s Teaview: 7/10
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Bright World Yunnan Gold black tea is hand blended with high grown estate black tea and yunnan buds. Craft of Tea owners travel around the world tasting teas and choose the most high quality leaves for their blends. The company specializes in allowing customers to choose and buy small samples of tea in order to try the widest variety of different teas to decide what flavors they do and do not like.

I decided to try this tea on a day when I was feeling a bit down and wanted to change my perspective. Though the site doesn’t explain why this blend is called bright world, the golden color of the steeped tea could have something to do with it. The dry leaves smell a bit like pipe tobacco, light and slightly nutty.

I followed the directions and added 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz of water and let the tea steep for 4 minutes. I drank my tea without any additives, though I think a splash of milk would do this tea good. As I mentioned previously, the liquor is a gorgeous golden hue, the flavor is round and smooth, slightly nutty with the characteristic tang of black tea. I seriously enjoyed this tea and look forward to having a few more cups.

— To purchase Craft of Tea Bright World, 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: Emma Emma
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Review: The Tea Shelf Billimalai Long Ding

Green Tea, The Tea Shelf No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The scent is surprisingly bold, all lilac and artichoke."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.6/10
Your Reviews: 4.6/10
7 reader reviews | Add your review »

I have had a couple teas from The Tea Shelf, and so far, they’ve been consistently quality leaves. Green teas are often a true test of a company, because they can be very expensive while simultaneously being very mediocre. This long ding is reasonably priced, which usually either means it’s a good deal or a not particularly good leaf that isn’t even worth the lower price tag.

The leaves are a somewhat dull colour in my opinion, but they are a beautiful shape: Long, flat spears. I brew a heaping teaspoon per cup at 160° for one minute. The scent is surprisingly bold, all lilac and artichoke. The taste is more delicate than the scent, but it has a buttery texture with hints of floral and vegetal notes. There’s a mild underlying smokiness and a subtle mineral hint that balances the largely vegetal finish.

I steep two more times, two minutes for the second infusion and three minutes for the third. It holds up well for all three cups, picking up some more subtle smokiness. None of the steeps have bitterness or acidity.

Overall, it’s more aromatic than flavourful, which can be either good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for. It’s complex but not over complicated, making it easy to drink and simple enough to brew. It’s very affordable, but tastes like a high quality green tea, so it is definitely a good deal. I would definitely buy it and keep it around for when I want an easy brew that has some character and class.

— To purchase The Tea Shelf Billimalai Long Ding, 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: Golden Leaf Tea Charcoal Roasted Jade Oolong

Golden Leaf Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Unusual-in a very good way."
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
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I love me a roasted oolong. Never met one I didn’t like. The more heavily roasted, the better.

Roasted is another word for “baked” actually. After an oolong tea is oxidized and dried, it can be roasted for various lengths of time and various temperatures. Oolong tea is the most complicated to produce because there are so many variables: cultivar, oxidization time, drying time, and roasting time, if any.

By contrast, green tea is not oxidized at all, and black tea is fully oxidized. Green teas don’t get roasted, with the exception of Japanese Hojicha. I’ve never heard of a roasted black tea. though there is a smoked Chinese version known as Lapsang Souchang, which to me, tastes like cigarette ashes, though many a fine palate treasure it.

All that to say that a roasted oolong tea takes a lot of love to make. And it shows in the flavor. I’ll likely be ordering more of  this version because my sample was too small to get the most out of it.

What I did get, though, was a toasted, nutty, delicate first infusion. The second brew was a kaleidoscope of peach and vanilla and flowers -and a bit of nuttiness.

Golden Leaf calls this a “heavily roasted” oolong, though they admit, it isn’t typical. The difference, says their website, is rather than a long, hot bake, they give these leaves many quick roasts at a lower temperature. It was lighter in color than even most medium roasts, and the first infusion is deceptively delicate in flavor. The second batch is where the steamy aroma and complexity of flavor emerged.

I steep my teas for a long time, so I didn’t get a third infusion, but I loved the two I did get. I rate it a 10.

— To purchase Golden Leaf Tea Charcoal Roasted Jade 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Golden Tips Arya Ruby Darjeeling Second Flush

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Golden Tips Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Any and all notes are cohesive in respect to one another to the point that nothing terribly stands out and ultimately to the tea's detriment. In other words, notes are muted and forgettable. "
Daniel’s Teaview: 6.5/10
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goldentipsrybydarjeelGolden Tips is from what I understand a giant in the tea industry, in part due to the long tenure of the company. The name is presumably derived from a commonly used black tea grade Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) assigned to teas with a higher proportion of tips (or buds). This grade, famously applied to Indian teas, is often seen as the highest assignable, when applicable, though is not found in the grading processes in some countries including China, Japan, and Taiwan. It has been nearly one hundred years since the inception of this particular tea exporter, and the company has much to show for it: plenty of certifications from the mainstream tea culture and a present member of the allegedly exclusive Calcutta Tea Traders Association, among the many accomplishments.

Expectedly, Golden Tips’s comprehensive catalogue is at least almost exclusively of Indian teas, including much from the very well-known regions Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Assam. The company’s Arya Ruby Darjeeling hails from the Arya Tea Estate in Darjeeling, an estate entirely dedicated to organic tea. The leaf is a prototypical second flush, with a spindly yet sturdy frame and an attractive tones of deep russet and coffee bean. An earthy aroma predominates with a subtle sweetness in the background.

In taste, the tea is equally akin to the typical second flush, as the earthiness aforementioned still remains strongest, with some fruitiness, and a lingering aftertaste. Any and all notes are cohesive in respect to one another to the point that nothing terribly stands out and ultimately to the tea’s detriment. In other words, notes are muted and forgettable.

I am more than willing to concede to alternative conclusions regarding Golden Tip’s Arya Ruby Darjeeling, as I only had one session’s worth of the tea. Moreover, I fully accept the possibility that my perspective on this leaf was hampered by what were to me more impressive products in Golden Tip’s arsenal, despite my grandest attempts to prevent this. Without question, I would enjoy another crack at this second flush variety, but where it currently stands, there is little to make of it.

— To purchase Golden Tips Arya Ruby Darjeeling Second Flush, 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Lost Pines Yaupon Tea Light Roast

Lost Pines Yaupon Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's interesting and refreshing, and I highly recommend if if you're either a fan of green yerba maté."
Katie’s Teaview: 8/10
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Yaupon is an herbal plant native to North America. I’ve written about it before, but it’s a caffeinated plant related to guayusa and yerba maté. I recently had the opportunity to try two versions of the same leaf from this company: A dark roast version, and this light roast one.

I brew one and a half teaspoons with boiling water for 3 minutes. It’s bright and fruity with a hint of bitterness at the back of the tongue. Underneath the stronger flavour notes lies a grassy, herby quality. As it cools, the bitterness is replaced by an odd, almost soapy aftertaste. It’s a strange addition, but somehow it isn’t unpleasant.

It’s fresh and bright, very similar to an unroasted yerba maté, but distinctly different. It has a wilder, less polished flavour, something I really appreciate. After tasting both versions, I much preferred this “light roast” blend. It’s interesting and refreshing, and I highly recommend if if you’re either a fan of green yerba maté or if you’re just looking to try something new.

— To purchase Lost Pines Yaupon Tea Light Roast, 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: Martea Elite Teas – Tie Guan Yin

Chinese Tea Company, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Emma’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I love orange, but this brew hot just seemed too tart for me. I tried it iced, and it was much, much better. T"
Emma’s Teaview: 8/10
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Martea says: “This medium bodied Chinese oolong has the sweet essence of orange, perfect served hot or iced.” I didn’t think that the orange was very sweet, to me it tasted quite tart. To be fair, I brewed two cups, thinking that the orange would mellow with another infusion, but it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love orange, but this brew hot just seemed too tart for me. I tried it iced, and it was much, much better. The orange was sweeter once cold, I had two glasses then, and didn’t even need sweetener.

The look of the tea is very pretty. Dark oolong leaves mixed with bright orange bits convey the crisp scent of orange that wafts up from the tea. As it steeps the orange gets more and more powerful. I loved it iced, if you like a tart orange, you will like this tea hot as well. As for me, ice cubes please!

Elite Tie Guan Yin of the highest category, for its production uses only the best tea leaves are collected manually. Tie Guan Yin – the most famous oolong tea variety produced in the south of Fujian province, Anxi County. Good quality oolong tea is determined by the size of the sheet – it must be intact. Fermentation affects only the edges of the sheet, and the taste of oolong tea is composed of harmony of two colors – the taste of processed tea and natural. Infusion varies from pinkish to golden color with a strong peach flavor and rich aroma; Oolong Tie Guan Yin is inherent in a long honeyed finish. How to cook: 1 teaspoon infuser 150 ml. water. Brew 1 minute at a water temperature of 70-80 C. can be brewed several times.

 

— To purchase Martea Elite Teas – Tie Guan Yin, 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: Emma Emma
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