Review: Dachi Tea Co. N°8 Scarlet Honey Oolong

Dachi Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Amazingly reminiscent of Hawaiian Punch. In a good way."
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
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dachihoneyoolongI’ll call this tea “No. 8.” It is the most mysterious, unusually flavored tea I’ve ever tried. A true testament to the versatility of oolongs.

The smell, even in the package was tangy…fruity and floral with strong notes of pineapple.

I brewed it in boiling water for two minutes and got an elegant, sweet, cup that sent me back to my childhood and a drink called “Hawaiian Punch.” (Apparently they still make it, but I never see it in my grocery store.)

Back in the day, Hawaiian Punch came in big cans that you had to puncture with a pointed can opener. Donny and Marie Osmond made commercials for it, it was full of sugar and artificial colors, and it turned your mouth red when you drank it.  Great fun!

This tea is a decidedly better beverage choice than that kiddie favorite. But the fact that it reminds me of carefree days when I didn’t worry about things like grams of sugar grams or FD and C Red is a plus.

The leaves provided three robust infusions. The third batch was less fruity, more floral, and just as flavorful as the first.

I rate this a 10

 

— To purchase Dachi Tea Co. N°8 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Organic India Tulsi Lemon Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Organic India, Tulsi Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I found it to be very quieting and the perfect tea before bedtime."
Melanie’s Teaview: 10/10
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organicindialogoOrganic India began working with individual farmers in northern India that grew organic Tulsi. They have quickly grown into a large company that offers a wide variety of Tulsi teas as well as a variety of Indian spices.

What is Tulsi? It is an herb often known as Holy Basil. This is not a basil plant as we know it in Italian cooking. It is a unique herb with a unique flavor. It is considered to be a calming, relaxing and soothing herb, with no caffeine, and abundant in antioxidants (**no medical claims here)

The Lemon Ginger Tulsi tea blends the Holy Basil leaves, with lemongrass and ginger. Ginger is considered by many to help digestion and nausea. Aside from all of the acclaimed health benefits, this tea combines some wonderful flavors that provide a caffeine-free hot tea that can be drunk any time of day. (Organic India webiste says: “We recommend that women who are pregnant, attempting to conceive, or lactating consult their healthcare practitioner before consuming Tulsi (Holy Basil)”)

Each tea bag is individually wrapped. As soon as you open the tea bag, youc an smell the lemon and ginger. I drank this tea both hot and iced and it was fantastic both ways! I used fresh cold water and brought it just to boil and steeped the bags for 10 minutes. I use one teabag for a mug of hot tea. When making iced tea, I used 4 tea bags in 4 cups of boiling water. I then let it cool, and when cooled, I refrigerated it. Then I served the cool brew over ice. It makes it a bit weaker, but oh so refreshing!!!

It has a wonderful taste. The first thing you notice is the lemon with the after-kick of spicy ginger. But I’ve had many other lemongrass ginger teas before. What is really unique about this tea is the Tulsi. I find the Tulsi tea a bit hard to describe. It’s more on the sweet side than the spicy side of herb flavors. It reminds me a little bit of peppermint, without the cool aftertaste. It blends really well with the spiciness of the ginger!

I highly recommend this tea for anyone looking for a great evening tea that will not keep them awake. I found it to be very quieting and the perfect tea before bedtime.

— To purchase Organic India Tulsi Lemon Ginger 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: The Tea Shelf Billimalai Nilgiri Oolong

Oolong Tea, The Tea Shelf No Comments »

teashelfoolongOne of the new tea vendors that I have recently been introduced to is The Tea Shelf. They are an Indian company that go out of their way to make it easy for their customers. If you find a tea that you love, you can set it up to reorder at set times for you. Just imagine never having to run out of your favorite tea. My only concern is the fact sometimes I will adore a certain tea one year and the next year, it just doesn’t strike the same balance with me.

My tea today is an oolong but I do admit being surprised when I opened up my vacuum sealed sample as the leaves were long and a drab,olive gray. Just not what I was expecting. It also had a woody aroma that was quite pleasing but again not what I expected.

I set it up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of 3 minutes. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow with a really full aroma of baked peaches, apples and spices. Quite a welcome surprise.

This oolong has been a surprise all the way around. It has a heavier mouthfeel with the almost oily texture that some of the better oolong have. There are layers of stone fruit, cloves, minerals and woodiness that appear and disappear with each sip. Quite a nice complexity with a mellow feel.

This is a tea that has gone onto my wish list. It is quite delicious and very reasonably priced. It would be perfect for sipping in the evenings.

— To purchase The Tea Shelf Billimalai Nilgiri 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: The Whistling Kettle Shaolin’s Grove

Green Tea, Jasmine Tea, Mallow Tea, Rose Tea, The Whistling Kettle, White Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavour is tasty, but a bit muddled, unfocused."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.9/10
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whistlingketshaolingroveThe Whistling Kettle is a tea company with a little bit of everything, some white teas, black teas, a few flavoured teas of each type, and so on. More interesting than their tea choices, I would say, is their blog. It’s very active, with frequent, well-thought-out posts. I was nervous at first when I saw a section under “learn about tea” that listed the health benefits of tea. Yet rather than just saying the generalities that tend to bother me, such as “tea will prevent heart disease” and “tea will cure cancer,” each section links to related blog articles that have information backed by references. It may seem like a minor point, but it really bugs mean when tea companies sell their product by claiming it will do things that haven’t been proven. There’s tons of research about tea, but for the most part not enough that you can make grand, all-encompassing claims, and all I ask is that they link their sources and let you decide for yourself if you want.

According to the website, this green and white blend has floral and citrus flavours. The dry leaf is very colourful, full of add-ins, and smells amazing. I brew at 180° for three minutes and get a cup that has a light green-brown liquor that smells delicious.

The flavour is fruity and floral with a long, lingering rose aftertaste. It’s hard to pinpoint all the flavours, exactly; I get notes of lemon, rose, and maybe strawberry. The flavour is tasty, but a bit muddled, unfocused. It’s delicious, but it’s generic. I try it iced, and it’s very similar: Tasty, but unfocused and not particularly special. So it’s not a tea I would seek out again, but I enjoyed my sample and look forward to trying the rest of my samples from this company.

— To purchase The Whistling Kettle Shaolin’s Grove, 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: Dachi Tea Co. No. 11 Red Jade #18

Dachi Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Versatile and evocative of root beer."
CJ’s Teaview: 8/10
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A tea with “Red Jade” in the name caught me off guard. “Red”, in the tea world, is used for black teas. “Jade” usually describes green teas. Was this tea promising to deliver qualities of both?

The slender, twisted, heavily oxidized  leaves were quite dark. So at first glance, it looked more like a black tea.

I prepared the tea as recommended: Two tablespoons in 10 ounces of not quite boiling water for 2 minutes. The liquid was dark amber, but not the deep ruddy color indicative of a robust tea.

The aroma, right off the bat, was that unmistakable, sour-sweet, and malty scent of leaves treated with leaf hoppers. Though not aged, leaf-hopper-treated Taiwanese teas have a fermented edge to them. Farmers of such teas purposefully invite tiny green insects to munch on the leaves because their saliva alters the taste. The unforgettable result makes these teas especially fun to serve to people who say they don’t really like tea.

“It’s so delicate.”
“It’s sort of like wine”
“It’s unlike anything I ever associated with tea,”

…are among the responses I get when I share leaf-hopper Oolong hospitality with uninitiated friends.  (I confess,”weird” has also come up, but these people’s palates have been ruined by too much coffee.)

My first sip of this potion was rather root-beer like, with notes of wintergreen and anise. It possessed a slightly sour aftertaste, also typical of leaf-hopper teas.

As I drank some more, the minty, aniseed traits grew more apparent. This was definitely a rather medicinal tasting tea-almost herbal. Since I would never want to waste my daily caffeine ration on something that tasted herbal, I was inclined to say I just didn’t like this tea.

While perusing Dachi’s website, I was surprised to learn that this cultivar (also known as Sun Moon Lake because it was originally grown in that region) is part Assam. The other part is indigenous Taiwanese tea tree that was indeed “bug bitten.” The guys at Dachi praise Red Jade as lacking the astringency of an Assam, and evoking instead, “touches of honey.”

This is a fine and complex tea, and I suppose there were touches of honey in it. But I love astringency in tea and prefer a fuller taste.

Before I decided on a rating,  I tried a trick: brewing the leaves MY way…full on boiling water for a full five minutes…like a black tea.

Sure enough, MY way produced a richer, “redder” tea. In other words, it looked like a black tea in the cup. The taste had more Assam characteristics: More heartiness; more pucker. I liked it much better.

A tea that can be custom-brewed to suit different palates is a  winner in my book. I recommend it to anyone who loves root beer. It could be a tasty, sugar-free substitute.

I rate it an 8.

 

 

 

 

 

— To purchase Dachi Tea Co. No. 11 Red Jade #18, 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: Green Terrace Teas Shan Lin Xi Oolong

Green Terrace Teas, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The taste is mildly sweet and creamy, mostly vegetal with a milky aftertaste."
Katie’s Teaview: 8/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

greenterraceshanlinThis is my first tea from this company, a small outfit in Taiwan specializing in high-quality loose leaf teas. That combination of words always gets me excited, as artisan Taiwanese teas are one of my favourite genres.

This Spring flush tea comes from Nantou County, Taiwan. I decide to brew in a porcelain gaiwan, using 2.5 teaspoons per 100 mL at 200° for one minute. The brewed leaves now smell creamy and sweet. The tea has a golden yellow colour and smells creamy and vegetal. It has a smooth, buttery texture that’s very oily, coating the mouth. The taste is mildly sweet and creamy, mostly vegetal with a milky aftertaste. Because of the oiliness coating the mouth, the vegetal taste lingers.

I infuse a second time for two minutes. This was honestly a bit too long; I’d recommend closer to 1.5 minutes, instead. It’s more vegetal than cream now, lingering cooked spinach flavour mixes with a hint of underlying lemon. It’s a little sour, hence me thinking it would benefit from a slightly shorter steep. My two-minute third steep is much milder. Now a subtle honey flavour has crept in, and there’s a subtle mineral note that leads into a clean finish.

As always I had a limited sample of this tea. I used most of it for this attempt, and my newly-adopted dog ate the rest (along with an alarming amount of miso soup paste). I would have liked the opportunity to play around with this leaf a bit more because I think I could have made it really shine. It was a solid leaf overall, though, and I look forward to further samples from this company.

— To purchase Green Terrace Teas Shan Lin Xi 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: Katie Katie
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