Review: Lalani and Co. First Flush Yabukita Sencha

Green Tea, Lalani and Co, Organic Tea, Sencha Tea, Single Estate Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Generous and loud, this tea can easily stand up to strong flavours, providing many possible interesting steeps."
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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Grown in Wazuka Garden, in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture, this first flush (Ichibancha), organic sencha is picked exclusively from Yabukita varietal plants. It’s shade grown for 10 days to enhance its umami notes. Looking at my sample, the leaves are quite striking. Their sheen makes them almost opalescent, adding depth and dimension to their dark olive green shade. Their scent is hard to pin down, sweet and grassy, with creamy vanilla undertones.

I carefully follow the recommended brewing instructions provided by Lalani & Co. since senchas are notoriously finicky beasts to brew. I infuse 4 grams of leaf in 150ml of water, heated to 60 degrees Celsius for 1 minute. The resulting cup is a murky pale green. There are lots of particles floating at the bottom. Taking a sniff, the scent reminds me of white chocolate and raspberries. It’s quite a vegetal brew, with some kelp, bitter cocoa and berry tones thrown in. The sip has a pleasantly creamy feel, up until the finish, where citrus and grass notes give off a touch of astringency. These linger for a long while after I swallow. It’s good – the aftertaste is particularly refreshing, but I was hoping for more significant umami notes.

I try a second steep, infusing the leaves for 1 and a half minutes. The brew is more immediately flavourful now, starting off a touch brinier. The finish is all grass and bitter cocoa notes. While this is quite an expressive tea from the get go, this cup has about the subtlety of a steamroller.

I steep the leaves again for 2 minutes. The cup is a bit softer this time, with smoother vegetal notes. The flavour profile is more streamlined now, with grass notes dominating. The results are still quite potent, especially for a third brew.

I manage to get 3 more decent steeps, following 3, 4 and 5 minute long brews. Sweet vegetal tones such as corn and pea notes are most prominent now. There is still also an underlying briny, seaweed-like component to the cup as well.

Generous and loud, this tea can easily stand up to strong flavours. I can see it working well with creamy deserts, its astringency providing a nice counterpoint. This is a solid leaf, providing many possible interesting steeps. However, it’s quite pricey, especially since the smallest amount available is 100g.

— To purchase Lalani and Co. First Flush Yabukita 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: Teasenz Anji White Tea

Green Tea, Teasenz, White Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Despite being a delicate tea, it is full of flavor. It’s hard to stop drinking once you get used to the unique, nutty flavor."
Alexa’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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teasenzwhiteanjiTeasenz is an international retailer of Chinese teas. All of their tea is grown and packaged in China. Teasenz’s purpose is “to tell the world about authentic tea and its fascinating culture.” I was impressed with all the detailed tea information on the Teasenz website. Their Anji Bai Cha White Tea is from the town of Anji in the Zhejiang province. Anji Bai Cha is one of the rarest Chinese teas and has a short harvesting period of around 30 days. Although this is called a white tea, Anji Bai Cha is actually a green tea. The reason for this is that the tea leaves are almost white.

I steeped 2 teaspoons of this tea in 2 cups of water at 175F. Since this is a very delicate tea, it is best steeped at lower temperatures. After only a minute of steeping, the tea leaves begin to unfurl, revealing small, light green leaves. I strained the tea into a mug after 4 minutes. This Anji Bai Cha has a very unique smell that is both nutty and vegetal. When I first took a sip of this tea, I was a little unsure. Despite being a delicate tea, it is full of flavor. This tea is hard to describe- it is fresh and citrusy and yet rich and creamy. It leaves an orchid sweet aftertaste in your mouth. The more I drank this tea, the more I loved it. It’s hard to stop drinking once you get used to the unique, nutty flavor.

Anji Bai Cha also has many health benefits. Compared to other green teas, Anji Bai Cha has almost double the amount of amino acids which help reduce stress. A big cup of this tea is surprisingly refreshing and calming. Green tea can also strengthen your immune system and prevent cavities. This tea is grown in a very natural environment that is free from pollution. Since it is low in caffeine, this is a great afternoon tea.

— To purchase Teasenz Anji White 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: Tea Adventure Monkey Chief

Green Tea, Tea Adventure No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"If you’ve never before experienced China’s eccentric Taiping Houkui, imagine super sized Long Jing leaves of an even flatter appearance. Indeed, this particular tea can stretch as long as several inches, and is the longest of the Chinese teas. Perhaps fortunately for the average tea drinker, Tea Adventure’s very own is “only” an inch or […]"
Daniel’s Teaview: 7.8/10
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monkeychiefIf you’ve never before experienced China’s eccentric Taiping Houkui, imagine super sized Long Jing leaves of an even flatter appearance. Indeed, this particular tea can stretch as long as several inches, and is the longest of the Chinese teas. Perhaps fortunately for the average tea drinker, Tea Adventure’s very own is “only” an inch or two in length, making for achievable brewing.

Further adding to its uniqueness, Taiping Houkui is cherished for its persnickety selection process. Composed not of an entire bush, the tea derives only from the bud and the nearest two leaves of each twig. Furthermore, the individual twigs picked to begin with are only those with three to four leaves in total.

All told, the actual aroma and flavor emanating and resulting from the leaves are mild. A minor floral fragrance emanates and accompanies the liquor’s tinge of unmelony sweetness. In all honesty, there are few notes to speak of, though this is to many the most splendid reality of the tea. This does not however imply that the tea isn’t complex. Far from delivering a simply lackluster profile, the lack of immediate and easy identifiers demonstrates all the more each brew’s intricate composition.

Of the Taiping Houkui that I’ve had, this one happens to be a bit more flavorful, while still being appropriately light and refreshing. The color of the leaves isn’t perfect, and it shows best in the brew itself, but it’s certainly fine enough and does result in tea satisfactory enough.

I’m not sure there’s much rhyme or reason to brewing the Taiping Houkui. Whatever measurement one should use, it isn’t one I was familiar enough with. As a result, I more or less placed a sizable portion of the spearlike leaves into a small glass infuser and determined the length of brew by color. Once of a bright, creamy yellow, the liquor has reached an ideal infusion point. Tea Adventure’s very own Taiping Houkui was more difficult to obtain the exact color desired. I frequently ended up with an infusion a tad too dark in color. This could of course be the result of my own brewing error, but the actual taste of the tea seemed right enough, at least as far as this personal offering goes.

Taken in sum, this unique varietal from Tea Adventure is a fine one for those who enjoy the finest and most delicate of green teas. In quality, the leaves seem to be, at the very least, above sub par. Nothing phenomenal to speak of, but I was quite satisfied with the tea’s results.

— To purchase Tea Adventure Monkey Chief, 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: Teayama Tai Ping Hou Kui

Green Tea, Teayama No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavour is bright, mostly a lemony citrus with a backing of smokiness and an underlying earthy flavour."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.3/10
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teayamataipingOtherwise known as Monkey Chief, this Chinese green comes in the form of giant, flat green leaves. I steep 2.5 grams (weight, not measured, since the leaves don’t even remotely fit into a teaspoon) per cup at 176° for two minutes. The pale yellow liquor smells of lemon, smoke, earthy, and, admittedly weird though not unpleasant, rubber.

The flavour is bright, mostly a lemony citrus with a backing of smokiness and an underlying earthy flavour. It has that young raw puerh earthiness I’ve seen in Chinese greens before, and it’s all finished with a citrus aftertaste. The steeped leaves end up a dull, flat green.

My three-minute second steep is mostly smoky with no citrus left. It’s easy to drink, albeit somewhat flat. It’s worth the resteep, but it’s a shadow of the first cup.

An excellent and very unique tea, this doesn’t have the vegetal flavour I usually prefer in my green teas, but I find myself happy with the taste nonetheless. As a bonus, Teayama is a Canadian company. I could definitely see myself ordering this in the future.

— To purchase Teayama Tai Ping Hou Kui, 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: Craft of Tea Spice It Up Chai

Black Tea, Cardamom Tea, Ceylon Tea, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Craft of Tea, Ginger Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"If you love your chai’s bold and spicy, then this is a fantastic option. "
Alexa’s Teaview: 7/10
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craftspiceitupCraft of Tea is a company that aims to offer exotic and extraordinary flavors. I have tried a few of their interesting teas and enjoyed all of them. On their website, their Spice It Up Chai is said to be warm, inviting, and zesty.

This is definitely some of the stronger, spicier chai I’ve smelled. The spice is by no means mellow, but is very bold. The ginger and cardamom are very evident in the smell.
This blend is made up of Ceylon black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. I steeped 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water at 212F. I let the leaves steep for about 4-5 minutes. The spice didn’t mellow as the leaves steeped but actually intensified. When I took a sip, I was surprised to find that this blend is smooth, despite the spice. It leaves a gingery aftertaste, which is rather nice.

Though I enjoy some chai’s when they are plain, I really enjoyed this one with a bit of cream and sugar. Due to the extra spice, this tea blends beautifully with a little sweetener. The bitter black tea and spices mellow out with the slightest splash of cream. If you do plan to drink this tea plain, I would suggest steeping it for a shorter amount of time, since it is strong. If you love your chai’s bold and spicy, then this is a fantastic option.

I think this is a great tea to warm you up in the mornings! The caffeine in the Ceylon black tea is also a great way to get some energy. I plan on making this tea iced next, so I can enjoy it on warmer summer mornings.

— To purchase Craft of Tea Spice It Up 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: 3 Teas Yorkshire Harrogate

3-Teas, Black Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It has a very smooth taste with a lighter mouthfeel. There are flavors of stewed plums, berries and dark chocolate which lingers in the aftertaste. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 7.1/10
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3teaslogoI love it when I get the opportunity to check out some samples from a company that I haven’t ran across before. 3 Teas happens to be such a company. They are based in Canada and have quite a variety of teas though their website is sparse on the details of the individual teas. They also do not have a currency converter on their site which makes it a bit trickier for anyone not based in Canada.

My sample this morning has an interesting look as the leaves have been CTC yet there are also stems mixed in. There isn’t much of an aroma, just the typical black tea smell.

There aren’t any brewing suggestions on the site so I went with boiling water and a steep time of two minutes. The resulting liquor is a dark reddish brown with a rich, thick aroma that has bits of dark chocolate and stewed plums.

As is my custom with black tea, I added a bit of rock sugar to the tea. It has a very smooth taste with a surprisingly lighter mouthfeel. There are flavors of stewed plums, berries and dark chocolate which lingers in the aftertaste. There is just a hint of dryness that in no way detracts from the flavor.

I enjoyed this tea with just a touch of sweetener though I wouldn’t recommend adding milk because the flavors just aren’t that robust. It does make for a nice cup of tea in the mornings as it does give a person a nice boost of caffeine.

— To purchase 3 Teas Yorkshire Harrogate, 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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