Review: Spicely Dulce Matcha Spice

Green Tea, Spicely No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs down."In a latte, the spiced powder was bearable I suppose. On its own, it definitively was not."
Daniel’s Teaview: 2.1/10
Other Teaviews: Alexa gave it 8/10
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spicelydulcematchaWhile matcha has tailored off to a less than infrequent choice of beverage, I do have much familiarity with it. Yet never have I experienced a flavored matcha such as this. Promising notes of cinnamon and vanilla, Spicely’s Dulce Matcha Spice seemed to good to be true. It wasn’t.

To start off on the highest note, the matcha is arguably passable when in a mixed drink (a latte or something of similar sorts, that is). I wasn’t crazy about my results and stopped before finishing the last few sips out of fear that I had merely sipped out all of the milk and sugar. At no point could I distinguish a prominent grassiness expected from any powered green tea.

Whisked under hot water, Spicely’s originally intriguing matcha forces a sensation akin to highly concentrated cinnamon water of a putrid brown liquor. In all fairness, the color of the drink should not be meaningfully scrutinized. With the added ingredients, it seems only natural that the look of the tea would be of a less appetizing nature. But the actual experience of the brew is just inexcusable. My first sip elicited a reaction perhaps replicable only by a sour lemon on some serious GMOs. Immediately upon tasting the prepared drink, I dumped its content down the drain and my head under the sink faucet. Okay, so this all may have been a bit dramatic. Nonetheless, my actions were in self-defense, people, and I was not having the full-blown flavor profile last in my taste buds longer than it had to.

Not a hint of matcha was to be detected in what had resulted from my first attempt. Mind you, I did have a second go at the tea, sifting it into a finer powder and adding more water to the mixture. In both attempts and after fervent whisking, I struggled to achieve any of the desired foaminess, instead ending with a collection of airy, dirty looking bubbles. From a highly concentrated result to a much more watered down one, I failed to escape any of the unfavorable elements.

In all, I was plainly disappointed with Spicely’s seemingly promising and attractively named Dulce Matcha Spice. In a latte, the spiced powder was bearable I suppose. On its own, it definitively was not.

— To purchase Spicely Dulce Matcha Spice, 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: Cameron Tea Black Tea-Ruby, Competition Grade

Black Tea, Cameron Tea, Uncategorized No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea’s honeyed malt profile is quite enjoyable. Best served in the late morning or afternoon, since it's a bit too delicate tasting as a morning jolt. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
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This tea comes to us from Taiwan’s famous Sun Moon Lake area. Grown at an altitude of 700m, this offering uses a relatively new cultivar, imaginatively named #18 by the Taiwanese Tea Research Institute. It’s described as having a natural cinnamon flavour as well as a hint of mint. Looking at my sample, the purplish black leaves are long and spidery. Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion but they really do smell like cinnamon to me!

In the absence of more specific brewing directions from Cameron Tea, I steep a heaping teaspoonful of leaves in 250ml of water for 3 minutes. The coppery cup has a malty, salted caramel scent to it that whets my appetite. The flavour profile seesaws between tannins and malt, ending on a sweet berry note. There are also some more elusive toasted bread and cinnamon tones.

I steep the leaves again for 4 minutes. The results are more cinnamon flavoured this time. Malt and brioche notes lead the way to the sweet and spicy finish. It’s good but I preferred the variety of flavours of the first brew.

I brew a third cup for 5 minutes. The flavours are now quite mild: some honey and malt notes make an appearance, as well as that promised hint of mint. On the plus side, the tea is completely smooth. I don’t bother with another steep, as the leaves seem well passed their prime.

This tea’s honeyed malt profile is quite enjoyable. The first brew offers the most satisfying variety of flavours. Since it’s rather mild overall, I would brew it gongfu style next time for best effect. I would drink this tea in the late morning or afternoon, since it’s a bit too delicate tasting as a morning jolt. This leaf would be a good introduction to the cultivar, given its reasonable price point. It’s definitely a good buy for those who like smooth, sweet teas.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Black Tea-Ruby, Competition Grade, 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: Spicely Sweet Turmeric Kick

Herbal Tea, Spicely, Stevia Leaf Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"It's sweet and distinctly turmeric with a nice spicy kick at the end."
Katie’s Teaview: 6.5/10
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SpicelyturmerickThis is my first sample from Spicely, and my pre-tasting impression it both good and bad: Their packaging looks both unique and attractive, but their website, while pretty, is bogged down. I find myself digging around for awhile before happening on this blend, and when I do I see the sell by container and while it lists shipping weight, it doesn’t actually say how much tea you get in the tin. In my browsing, however, I did get to notice the part of the FAQ where Spicely boasts their “products contain no sweeteners”. Yet this particular blend contains Stevia. It’s not a big deal, but I felt it was a discrepancy worth mentioning.

I stir a level teaspoon of the bright yellow powder into a cup of 180° water. Flavour-wise, it delivers exactly what it promises: It’s sweet and distinctly turmeric with a nice spicy kick at the end. My main problem actually ends up being the Stevia Spicely adds. In general, if I want a tea sweetened (which I admittedly don’t often), I prefer to do it myself so I can control how sweet it is and use my preferred sweeteners. Stevia, while not a bad choice and a downright good one if you’re counting calories, isn’t my favourite. I don’t mind the added calories, and I prefer the flavour of honey or sugar. But mostly I just prefer not to have anything sweet added to my teas.

Overall, though, it’s an interesting, low-maintenance cup. I’m glad I got to try it. If you like turmeric or spicy blends, it’s definitely worth a shot. At the very least, it’s worth a try.

— To purchase Spicely Sweet Turmeric Kick, 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: Ambrosia Herb Apple Cinnamon Lover

Ambrosia Herb, Apple Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Herbal Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Organic Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The goal of AmbrosiaHerb is to help their customers experience “heavenly herbal beverages.”"
Alexa’s Teaview: 7/10
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ambrosiaherbapplecinamonLast night, while searching my tea cupboard for some decaffeinated tea, I came across this Apple Cinnamon Lover tea from AmbrosiaHerb. The goal of AmbrosiaHerb is to help their customers experience “heavenly herbal beverages.” This tea company is based in California and uses healthy, herbal ingredients in their teas. As a fan of healthy, organic, herbal teas, I was intrigued!

Apple Cinnamon Lover is a blend of apples, cinnamon, orange peel, and cloves. There are no actual tea leaves in this tea, mostly just large, dried chunks of apple. When you open the bag to smell the tea, it’s as if AmbrosiaHerb captured a small piece of fall. This tea smells like a spicy, cinnamon apple pie. I steeped one teaspoon in one cup of water. I let the tea steep for 8 minutes. Since this is just a herbal blend, I let it steep longer than I typically would, hoping to draw out more flavor.

The flavor is simple, but spicy and warming. The sweet apple tastes lovely with the touch of cloves and orange. It also tasted very fresh and natural. This tea doesn’t have an extremely strong flavor, so if you like your tea flavorful, steep it for a longer time.

AmbrosiaHerb also listed some health benefits of this natural tea: the cinnamon improves blood glucose control and the orange peel is calming, as well as anti-inflammatory. Also, due to the few simple ingredients, this is a very inexpensive tea. Though I typically like my tea to include actual tea leaves, this herbal blend was tasty. It seems like the perfect fall drink for evenings- right before bed!

— To purchase Ambrosia Herb Apple Cinnamon Lover, 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 at Sea Mountain Organic Indonesian Black

Black Tea, Organic Tea, Tea at Sea, Uncategorized No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This cup’s light and smooth feel is very pleasant, as well as its concentrated spicy baked fruit finish. It makes for a great afternoon pick-me-up, but might not be bracing enough for breakfast. Overall, a solid offering at a very reasonable price, especially for an organic product. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.6/10
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This is my first time tasting an Indonesian tea. This offering was grown in the Halimun Mountains, at an altitude of 800m above sea level. It’s decidedly an odd-looking leaf. Rolled into purplish black clumps, it’s hard not to think of raisins. The tea has a predictably tannic scent, with a hint of currant and elderberry.

teaatseaindonesianblackI follow the instructions on my sample’s package, brewing a heaping teaspoonful of leaves in 250ml of water. After a 5 minute long steep in boiling water, the tea is still quite light bodied. The tan coloured cup’s aroma mixes roasted barley and currants. The sip starts off with mild mineral and baked bread notes. Most of the flavours are concentrated in the sweet finish. Roasted squash, baked fruit, cinnamon, cloves and malt really pop out and then linger. The combination makes me think of pumpkin pie.

I infuse the leaves again for 6 minutes. The cup is much less fruity than the previous, tannic wood notes prevailing, especially cedar. A semi-sweet chocolate taste has also appeared, making the feel alternatively creamier and rougher. The complexity of this tea’s flavour profile is definitely impressive.

I manage to pull a final, third cup following an 8 minute long infusion. The results are good but not great. It’s similar to the previous brew in profile, with malt, chocolate, and sweet spice notes, but getting a bit bland, especially as it cools. I decide to quit while I’m ahead.

This cup’s light and smooth feel is very pleasant, as well as its concentrated spicy baked fruit finish. It makes for a great afternoon pick-me-up, but might not be bracing enough for breakfast. Using a lot of leaf and a long steep time are essential to getting the most out of this tea. Otherwise it would be too light to be interesting. While it has some quirks, this is a solid offering at a very reasonable price, especially for an organic product.

— To purchase Tea at Sea Mountain Organic Indonesian Black, 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: Cameron Tea AliShan High Mountain Oolong

Cameron Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »

cameronalishanoolonghighI have had the pleasure of sampling some teas from Cameron Tea. They are a Taiwanese tea company based that specializes in premium loose leaf teas from various estates in Taiwan. Today my sample is lightly roasted oolong from the AliShan region. This tea is grown at altitudes of 1500 meters which makes for tea leaves that grow slower in a cooler climate.

My sample consisted of dark olive leaves that have been folded into little fists that give off a light floral aroma. I set it up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of two minutes. The resulting liquor is golden and it now has a heavier floral aroma reminding me of orchids and honeysuckle.

I was rather impressed by this tea. It has a lighter mouthfeel that is perfect for any time of the year. In fact, there is a crispness to the flavor that is really refreshing on a hot summer day. It has a mineral taste that comes from the mountains where it is grown that contrasts nicely with a natural sweetness that carries into a long lasting sweet aftertaste. As the cup cools, there are hints of woodiness that comes to the fore as the floral sweetness fades somewhat.

I was able to resteep this tea three times before the flavor started to fade and each steep was slightly different with a nice complexity. Very nice cup and one that I am considering adding to my personal stash as a treat for myself.

— To purchase Cameron Tea AliShan High Mountain 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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