Review: Cameron Tea Formosa, Competition Grade

Black Tea, Cameron Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A velvety nature maximizes the creaminess of what is paradoxically a bold liquor and even a touch astringent when brewed for the strongest of flavors."
Daniel’s Teaview: 8.9/10
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cameronsunmoonformosaHaving tried every tea available from Cameron as well as greatly enjoying them, I found myself fortunate in the opportunity to sample what ended up being my favorite black tea of their lineup, an aptly albeit generically named Formosa black tea hailing from Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake. (As a quick aside, Cameron would do well to provide a bit more background on their teas, especially considering that their Assam and Formosa, for example, display identical profiles)

The leaves of this competition grade crop are slim, so much so that scooping them out of their container feels too dangerous a task. Nevertheless, the tea is overall quite sturdy and the slenderness only contributes positively to the tea’s tasting notes. Slightly sweeter in fragrance than Cameron’s Assam, this attractive black tea is not so prominently earthy, rather possessing a more delicate though still pungent aromatic profile.

Upon infusion, the leaves unfurl beautifully and release even stronger essences of notes akin to those aforementioned. The liquor is silky with significant sweetness, and notes of chocolate and even warm vanilla fall on the back of the tongue. A velvety nature maximizes the creaminess of what is paradoxically a bold liquor and even a touch astringent when brewed for the strongest of flavors. Despite the pronounced latter in this apparent discrepancy, Cameron Tea’s Formosa black delivers more than the forceful Assam, boasting an elevated sweetness, smoothness, and overall complexity in comparison.

The difference between the Formosa black’s competition and premium grades, though not arbitrary, is minimally distinguishable. Given its more slender leaves, the competition grade is more prone to unpleasant astringency, but proper brewing of the tea yields a more flavorful result than any from the premium grade. Frankly, money would be better spent on the premium grade in light of the near irrelevant difference in taste and aroma.

Cameron Tea’s Formosa black was my definite favorite of their black tea line, providing a sweeter and overall more well-rounded composition. One couldn’t go wrong with any of their selections, but this variety is to me the most enjoyable.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Formosa, 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Madame Fung’s Sweetened Longan and Red Date

Date Tea, Longan Tea, Madame Fung's No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Very sweet and fruity, it's almost like drinking jam."
Katie’s Teaview: 6.2/10
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madamefunglogoI’ve never tried longan fruit before, and I’m always excited about new experiences. The tea itself comes as individually wrapped cubes. They’re a dark brown colour and smell distinctly like dates. I put a cube in my cup, add about five ounces of boiling water, and stir. And stir. And stir. And keep stirring. Getting this to dissolve took a lot of agitation and about ten minutes of sitting in the water.

Eventually it broke down enough to be drinkable. It’s very sweet and mostly tastes of date. It’s got an interesting aftertaste that I assume can be contributed to the longan fruit. Very sweet and fruity, it’s almost like drinking jam.

It’s interesting and unique, and I’m glad I got the experience. Despite the sheer length of time it takes to brew, the fact that it’s individually wrapped with no set steep time makes it a portable, low maintenance drink. In the end, my big complaint is that it’s sweet. It has “sweetened” in the name, and dates are known for their sweetness, so I expected something saccharine, but this is syrup-level sweet. If you enjoy southern-style sweet tea, this might be to your taste, but it’s too over the top for me.

— To purchase Madame Fung’s Sweetened Longan and Red Date, 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: Zest Tea Blue Lady Black

Black Tea, Cornflower Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Lemon Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Passion Fruit Tea, Zest Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"When I saw this magical tea that supposedly contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, I knew I had to try it. "
Alexa’s Teaview: 7/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

ZestblueladyAre you a tea lover who sometimes drinks coffee for the caffeine? I know a lot of people who don’t particularly enjoy coffee – they drink it merely for the energy boost. Though tea contains caffeine, it’s a pretty well known fact that coffee typically contains more. When I saw this magical tea that supposedly contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, I knew I had to try it.

Zest Tea is a fairly new tea company started by two guys who were sick of the nasty coffee at their office. They create “high energy teas for high energy people”. Their teas all contain amino acids and natural caffeine. I started with trying their Blue Lady Black.

Blue Lady Black is made with South Indian flower orange pekoe black tea, cornflower petals, hibiscus flowers, orange peel, juicy lemon, orange and passion fruit flavor, and natural caffeine. Each cup contains 150mg of caffeine, which is about the equivalent of one cup of coffee.

I steeped one tea bag for 4 minutes. The tea smells like a strong, citrusy black tea. The hibiscus and passionfruit are also detectable in the smell. The taste is strong but pleasant. You initially would guess you’re drinking a citrus black tea. As you drink more you can taste the passionfruit and hibiscus. You are left with a strong aftertaste of hibiscus and black tea. It isn’t the best black tea I’ve had, but for a bagged blend it was impressive. The more I drank, the stronger this tea got. You’ll definitely want to stir the tea while you drink it. By the time I got to the bottom of my cup, the thick, strong tea was almost undrinkable. When trying this tea a second time, I steeped the bag for less time and enjoyed the blend more.

I drank a cup of this tea right before a big, 2 hour accounting exam. I was wide awake and focussed the whole time. This tea will give you an extreme energy boost. Literally 5 minutes after finishing a cup I felt like running 5 miles. It’s been 2 1/2 hours since I had the tea and I still feel like running 5 miles. It’s great.

I’m admittedly a caffeine addict. If I don’t get caffeine in the morning I’m left with a fierce headache. Sometimes though, coffee isn’t convenient enough. When I’m in a hurry, this tea is perfect because I only have to heat some water and throw the tea bag in. It’s a delicious and easy way for me to avoid a headache on a busy day. I highly recommend this tea for those busy, caffeine addicts who often prefer tea to coffee.

It’s hard for me to rate this tea because flavor-wise I think I would give it a 6.5. But due to the amazing energy boost it gave me, I’m going it a 7. I definitely look forward to trying Zest Tea’s other blends.

— To purchase Zest Tea Blue Lady 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: TeaCha Four Seasons Oolong

Oolong Tea, Tea Cha No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I was really impressed at the quality of this bagged tea and would definitely purchase some to take with me when I am out and about. It's the next best thing to being able to brew up loose leaves. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 8.1/10
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teachafourseasonoolTeaCha is a new vendor that offers a delightful subscription service that includes five different teas specifically chosen for that particular month. They also include learning notes that are designed to help one learn more about teas while enjoying the cup. Their selections are sent out in silken tea sachets large enough to allow the full leaf teas to really expand though you can also purchase them loose.

TeaCha Tea is offering readers of this review the opportunity to try out any of their packs or products with a 15% discount. Just use the code TVIEWS. It’s good until the end of August 2015.

My sample today is an oolong which is presented in a silk tea sachet which is fine enough to really see the leaves. They are rolled up into little nuggets with a light flowery aroma.

I set them up using 205 degree water and let the bag steep for the suggested four minutes. The resulting liquor is the color of old gold and has a woodsy, buttery aroma. Worth noting also is that the leaves are not fully open so it is possible to get more then one steep out of a sachet.

This tea has a creamy texture to it which glides over the tongue. The flavor is smooth with hints of nuttiness, minerals and just a hint of floral sweetness. The florals do come out stronger and a buttery taste emerges as the tea cools. There is a faint spicy aftertastes that lingers.

I was really impressed at the quality of this bagged tea and would definitely purchase some to take with me when I am out and about. It’s the next best thing to being able to brew up loose leaves. I am seriously thinking about gifting a few subscriptions for birthdays and the holidays.

— To purchase TeaCha Four Seasons 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: Tea at Sea Yunnan Organic Black Tea

Black Tea, Organic Tea, Tea at Sea, Yunnan Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's more aromatic than it is flavourful, which makes it both unique and easy to drink."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Your Reviews: 7.5/10
2 reader reviews | Add your review »

teaseayunnanThis Canadian company calls itself “nautical themed,” which as far as I can tell, means it has a lot of anchors and blue on its packaging. Thankfully, it doesn’t extend to the teas, which are called what they are, like this Yunnan Black leaf. The leaves are short, curled, and mostly dark brown with bronze flecks. Basically exactly what I expect from a mid-range Yunnan.

I brew 1.5 teaspoons at boiling for 5 minutes. The liquor is a crisp, deep red-brown liquor. It has a rich molasses, fruity, and malty scent, again exactly what I expect from a Yunnan black. But unlike what I’ve come to expect, the flavour is surprisingly crisp. It’s by no means bland, but it’s not the rich flavour I’d expect. It’s more aromatic than it is flavourful, which makes it both unique and easy to drink.

I attempt a second steep, and unsurprisingly, it’s much blander. Still smelling of malt and molasses, it’s less aromatic than before. It’s got a malty, bitter aftertaste. it’s not a let-down, but it’s not so brilliant that you should feel obliged to steep it more than once. It gets more flavourful as it cools, meaning it’s good hot, but still fine if you forget it on your counter for an hour, something I am known to do frequently.

Overall, it’s not a typical Yunnan black tea, which one could see as either a good or bad thing. It’s not extremely high quality, but it isn’t priced that way, either. I’m glad I got to sample this, and I’d definitely jump at (swim to?) the chance to try another Tea at Sea leaf.

— To purchase Tea at Sea Yunnan Organic 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: Katie Katie
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Review: Zest Tea Blue Lady Black

Black Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Lemon Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Passion Fruit Tea, Uncategorized, Zest Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor is strong and fruity, but the citrus and hibiscus makes this a bolder sharper flavor than most tropical teas I've had."
Melanie’s Teaview: 7/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
1 reader reviews | Add your review »

ZestblueladyI am a huge fan of tropical fruit flavored teas. They are one of my favorite afternoon treats. When I was offered a sample of Zest Tea Blue Lady Black Tea and saw that the main flavor is passion fruit, I knew I had to try it.

I was able to sample 2 teabags. They are very nice pyramid silk bags, and the tea is dark, sprinkled with blue cornflowers. The picture on the website is very precise and a good example of the product I received.

Zest Tea was started as a personal endeavor by Rickey and James. They wanted to create energizing (highly caffeinated) tea blends instead of drinking coffee. Of course this spread quickly amongst their friends and soon turned into the business they have today. You can find a variety of energy infused tea blends on their website.

Blue Lady Black Tea begins with a beautiful dark black Indian Tea. It is flavored with passion fruit a variety of citrus peels, and hibiscus.

The first cup of tea I made was OK, but I left the teabag in 6 (or more) minutes and this was too long. The tea was quite bitter. Being a strong black tea (which I enjoy) it took sugar and even milk pretty well and this toned down the bitterness. But I was more careful with the second cup. I brewed it in a smaller cup and for only 4.5 minutes. This was perfect!

The flavor of passion fruit is one of my favorites. You can smell and taste it immediately. The citrus is a little more in the background and blends really well with the passion fruit. I am not a big fan of hibiscus. I find it just brings a sour note to tea and I tend to avoid hibiscus based teas. But it actually blends pretty well with the passion fruit as well. The flavor is strong and fruity, but the citrus and hibiscus makes this a bolder sharper flavor than most tropical teas I’ve had.

I enjoyed this tea quite a lot. Even though I didn’t brew the first cup quite right, the next afternoon, I was craving another cup of this tea. Is it the infusion of caffeine already drawing me? Well, probably not, though it was a nice pick me up!

It’s a really unique tea that I think everyone who enjoys tropical flavors should try. If I was blending it for myself, I would probably leave out the hibiscus because it I like my black tea with milk and the sour note of hibiscus doesn’t quite couple with milk well. But overall, I enjoyed this tea quite a lot!

— To purchase Zest Tea Blue Lady 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: Melanie Melanie
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