Review: Darjeeling TeaXpress Goomtee Second Flush 2012

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, DarjeelingTeaXPress No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"Even though I normally love teas from the Goomtee Estate, this one doesn't impress me though it looks to be a hit with quite a few folks as it is sold out."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 4.9/10
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I have to admit that I wasn’t even quite sure what a darjeeling was when I first started reviewing teas. It didn’t take long however before this delightful tea took its place as one of my favorite black teas. And the Goomtee Estate just happens to be one of the estates that I favor so getting a chance to sample this particular tea is a real treat.

I just love it when my sample comes in a dark vacuum package as the tea tends to stay fresh. The leaves of this tea are mainly a dark cocoa brown with a few spring green leaves. The dry leaves don’t have much of an aroma, just a faint musk. I set the leaves up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of 2 minutes. The resulting liquor is golden brown with a wonderful grapey muscatel aroma.

With only a slight astringency, this tea has the medium mouth-feel that I have come to expect from a darjeeling. What I didn’t expect was the flatness of the flavor. Nothing really stands out besides a lingering earthy aftertaste and I don’t find particularly pleasant.

Even though I normally love teas from the Goomtee Estate, this one doesn’t impress me though it looks to be a hit with quite a few folks as it is sold out. I wouldn’t turn down a cup if it was offered though I would doctor it up by going heavy on the sweetener.

— To purchase Darjeeling TeaXpress Goomtee Second Flush 2012, 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: Eco Cha Red Jade Black Tea

Black Tea, Eco Cha, Organic Tea, Single Estate Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a topnotch, masterfully produced example of Red Jade tea, with lots of flowery mint and honey notes. Smoother, sweeter and more floral than traditional blacks, it blurs the lines between black and oolong teas. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.2/10
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ecocharedjadeEco Cha specializes in sustainably produced offerings. Although not officially certified organic, this tea was grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides on a small, family-run farm. Also known as Taiwan Tea No. 18, this varietal is described as having “subtle hints of clove, cinnamon and mint in its complex composition”. The maroon coloured leaves are large and loosely folded on themselves. Their scent strangely reminds me of the pink peppermint candies old ladies like to eat.

Eco Cha recommends quick, repeated steepings to pull the most flavour from the tea, with the least amount of astringency. I infuse 3 grams of leaf in 250ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 1 minute, loosely following their instructions. The copper-coloured cup has a strong floral scent to it. There are distinct lily of the valley and hyacinth notes. Taking a sip, the flavours closely mirror the aroma. As the tea cools, syrupy hints of honey, clove and cinnamon also develop. An elusive minty taste pops out once in a while as well. Before I know it, I’m down to the dregs.

I quickly steep the leaves again for 1 and a half minutes. The cup is similar to the previous one, with the addition of slightly tannic brioche and toasted bread notes. The finish is also more obviously minty. It’s a very lush and rich brew overall.

After a 2 minute-long brew, the results are again more tannic and less smooth, a little roughness appearing at the end of the sip. The cup mostly features watery malt notes. I could probably get another steep from the leaves but I decide to quit while I’m ahead.

This is a topnotch, masterfully produced example of Red Jade tea, with lots of flowery mint and honey notes. Smoother, sweeter and more floral than traditional blacks, it blurs the lines between black and oolong teas. I would definitely purchase this leaf for myself and highly recommend it to others, especially considering its reasonable price point. Bravo!

— To purchase Eco Cha Red Jade 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: Lalani & Co. Jade Mountain ‘The Honey Special’ Spring 2013

Lalani and Co, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The taste is a pure delight. Starting with a grassy honey flavor, the flavor then wanders over to fruity with peaches and apricots."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 9.1/10
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lalanilogoI have gotten behind on my tea reviews because I have been having issues with migraines. Having woken up today feeling great, the first thing that I did was reach into my sample basket for a new tea to check out. I decided to leave it to chance but was really hoping for an oolong and that is what I got.

This oolong is from a company based in London England whose goal is to introduce the English to the wonders of single estate teas. This particular oolong is a Chin Shin varietal that was picked in the spring of 2013. The leaves are tightly rolled into little wads of darker olive green. The aroma is sweet and grassy.

I set it up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of 2 minutes. The liquor is a beautiful pale gold and it has the enticing aroma of honey coated peaches and apricots. The taste is a pure delight. Starting with a grassy honey flavor, the flavor then wanders over to fruity with peaches and apricots. This tea has a creamy texture which lingers along with notes of honey and tobacco.

This is a wonderful oolong that I would love to have in my personal stock. However this site doesn’t have a currency converter so it is hard to tell it if is within my price range. I know that their primary mission is to educate the English about this wonderful teas but there are those of us in other countries that would also be interested.

— To purchase Lalani & Co. Jade Mountain ‘The Honey Special’ Spring 2013, 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: Chai Diaries Organic Masala Chai

Black Tea, Cardamom Tea, Chai Diaries, Cinnamon Tea, Ginger Tea, Organic Tea, Vanilla Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"Mostly honey with a vague hint of ginger spiciness underneath."
Katie’s Teaview: 4.1/10
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ChaidiarieslogoI should start with a disclaimer, something I find I do surprisingly often: For a long time I didn’t really like chai teas. Most of the ones I had tried were either cheap bagged teas or blends with choppy, CTC (cut, tear, curl, a.k.a. Very small and machine processed to release maximum flavour in minimum time, the resulting tea tends to be strong and harsh) teas with old, dried out spices. But then I was introduced (through Teaviews, incidentally) to a proper chai company, with chai in the name and everything, and it was a magical moment when I had my first sip of really good, really fresh chai tea. Since then I’ve had a few beauties, and I’ve come around a bit, but I’m still not a fan of those dusty teabags or blends.

Since this company has the word chai in the name, I had assumptions of the tea, ideas I knew were wrong when I saw the leaves. I expected an artisinal blend with big, full add-ins, but it’s a CTC tea base with small, choppy, dry brown spices. The spices are even all the same colour, so you can’t tell what’s ginger, cardamom, anise, whatever. I go back to the website and see that, while the base tea looks the same, their picture shows big chunks of ginger and whole cardamom pods, so either something went awry with my sample or the photo is misleading.

After three minutes at 195°, it brews into a nice rich amber colour. It smells mellow, mostly honey with a vague hint of ginger spiciness underneath. My favourite point in the blend is the beautiful honey aftertaste. The base tea is expectedly a bit harsh, which could be mitigated with splash of milk and/or sweetener, but that would cover up the mild spice flavours. However, there is also a nice vanilla note which adds some interest to the cup.

I don’t mind the base tea or the added flavours, but I like my chai teas spicy, zesty, full of life, and this is a mild, albeit tasty cup, even without adding milk or sugar, essentials to a proper cup of a chai. It’s fine for what it is, and if you’re not a big chai snob, you could probably be very happy with this blend, and I doubt you’ll be upset by the affordable price. But I’m an admitted snob, and I want more from my spice blends.

— To purchase Chai Diaries Organic Masala 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: Katie Katie
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Review: Eco Cha Red Jade Black Tea

Black Tea, Eco Cha No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is indeed a unique black tea. I love being able to enjoy of cup of tea with only one ingredient and yet a multitude of flavors."
Alexa’s Teaview: 8.8/10
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ecocharedjadeSince recently trying Eco-Cha’s High Mountain Black Tea, which has a fresh, unique flavor, I’ve been excited to try their Red Jade Tea. This tea is an award winning black tea cultivated in Taian. In China, black tea is called red tea, which is why this black tea is named Red Jade Tea. The dark leaves also have a reddish tint, adding to the name. This tea is produced without use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, which can be hard to find!

I steeped 1 teaspoon of this tea in 1 cup of hot water (slightly less than boiling temperature). I smelled the leaves as they steeped. It smelled rich, with hints of cinnamon, cloves, black licorice and mint. It was also had a floral aroma. I took a sip and was once again amazed by Eco-Cha. This is indeed a unique black tea. The fresh, minty flavor is one of the first things you’ll notice as you take a sip. You are also left with a minty aftertaste. It is a complex tea. Along with the lovely mint, I could taste hints of cinnamon. This tea also really reminds me of black licorice, due to the minty flavor. The tea is very smooth and leaves no unpleasant, bitter after-taste.

I really loved this Red Jade black tea. If you are a black tea lover than this is a necessary tea to try due to the unique complexity of flavors. I love being able to enjoy of cup of tea with only one ingredient and yet a multitude of flavors. Along with providing special teas, Eco Cha also produces its tea with little impact and minimal processing. I don’t have to question the freshness and quality of this tea, which I love.

— To purchase Eco Cha Red Jade 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: Lu Lin Teas Assam TGFOP

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Lu Lin Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This very affordable leaf is robust without being too astringent. It strikes a nice balance between sweet, fruity notes, and more tannic tobacco and wood tones - a good bet as an everyday morning cuppa."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.1/10
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lulinassamThis Assam has been labeled as Tippy, Golden, Flowery, Orange Pekoe. This grading system refers to the presence of leaf tips in the tea, specifically buds or “pekoes”. Taking a look at my sample, the leaves are a dark, chocolaty brown. These are mostly broken into a variety of shapes and sizes. Interestingly, their scent is rather sweet and perfume-like, with lots of floral notes present.

I brew this leaf according to Lu Lin’s directions, infusing a generous teaspoonful in 250ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. The resulting cup is a deep, rusty red. Its aroma comes across as alternately malty and tannic. Taking a sip, the flavours mirror the scent. The sweet and sour flavour profile is smooth and satisfying to drink. The toasted bread and stone fruit notes are particularly enjoyable. There is quite a lot of tea dust at the bottom of the cup that makes the last sip rather bitter.

The leaves can apparently be re-steeped up to 3 times. I try a second infusion following a 3 and a half minute long brew. There are more bread notes this time. The cup is less sweet but also less tannic. The feel is considerably thinner as well. It’s still enjoyable but lacks the pizzazz of my first attempt.

I infuse the leaves a third time for 4 and a half minutes. There are some interesting toasted bread and malt notes to the cup but it feels very thin. The flavours become watery and mineral especially as it cools. I think I would stick to 2 steeps next time, or use more leaf.

This very affordable leaf is robust without being too astringent. It strikes a nice balance between sweet, fruity notes, and more tannic tobacco and wood tones. Its sweet and sour profile would also provide a good background for other elements to shine, for those who might be interested in mixing their own blends. This is a good bet as an everyday morning cuppa.

— To purchase Lu Lin Teas Assam TGFOP, 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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