Review: Eco Cha Red Jade Black Tea

Black Tea, Eco Cha No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavour has notes of malt, honey, fruit, and a subtle smokiness."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.2/10
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ecocharedjadeEco-Cha is a relatively small company specialising in artisanal Taiwan teas. They have a great website, amazing shipping rates, and a plethora of information about every tea. This tea is from Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, Taiwan, a region deservedly famous for its black teas. The leaves are dark brown in colour with a long and twisted shape.

I brew according to their gong fu directions, filling my teapot 1/2 full and brewing at 195° for 20 seconds. I get a deep amber liquor that smells of malt, fruit, and honey. The flavour has notes of malt, honey, fruit, and a subtle smokiness. There’s even a rarely-found but distinctly noticeable hint of mint. “Gan” is a term popular in Chinese tea tasting, and it refers to a minty flavour as well as sensation. While this is a Taiwanese tea, I feel the need to bust out the word here, since it’s not just a mint flavour, it’s a minty character.

My second, one-minute steep is on par with the first, although it has even more of that amazing gan characteristic. The cup starts to mellow by my 2-minute steep three, but it remains complicated and supremely interesting for the remainder of the infusions, each of which I increase by a minute.

It has an insane amount of depth and character, finished with a brilliant, lingering aftertaste. I don’t tend to keep many black teas on my shelf, but this is one I’d definitely buy.

— 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: Katie Katie
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Review: California Tea House Chunky Cherry

California Tea House, Cherry Tea, Green Tea, Rose Tea, Sencha Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Despite having a strong cherry smell, the flavor is very natural. The slightly astringent sencha and sweet cherry is a good marriage."
Alexa’s Teaview: 6.8/10
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californiachunkycherryChunky Cherry was my first tea experience from California Tea House. This tea company is family owned. They started the company by selling tea in California farmer’s markets. They create small batches of tea to ensure the best quality and fresh ingredients. Their Chunky Cherry is a mix of Japanese Green Sencha, dried cherries, and rose petals. I was also excited to find that their websites lists the health benefits of their teas as well. They explain how green tea helps the mind focus and can lower your risk of heart disease. Green tea also helps regulate blood glucose.

Like most senchas, this green tea smells very grassy. The sweet cherry smells lovely mixed with the floral aroma of the rose petals. I steeped 1 teaspoon in one cup of water for about 3 minutes. As the tea steeped for a few minutes, the cherry aroma grew stronger! It reminded me of a cherry flavored LaffyTaffy.

Despite having a strong cherry smell, the flavor is very natural. The slightly astringent sencha and sweet cherry is a good marriage. The rose petals add a nice floral element, which of course blends nicely with a grassy sencha. The sencha is very mellow and doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. I was a tad worried about the cherry and rose flavors mixing together harmoniously. If the two are overly strong, they might not merge well.
The cherry was stronger then the rose so the flavors blended fine.

I tried the tea a second time, steeping longer- closer to 4 or 5 minutes. By allowing the cherries to steep longer, more flavor was extracted. Though still nice and mellow, I enjoyed the stronger cherry taste. As someone who loves cherry and rose flavors, I really enjoyed this tea. The sencha doesn’t quite compare to some I’ve had as of late, but for a blended tea, it was decent quality.

— To purchase California Tea House Chunky Cherry, 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: Baily Tea USA Ginger Ceylon

Baily Tea USA, Ginger Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I didn't just rate this on the first cup. The next day, even with a package full of new teas to taste, all I wanted was another cup of this ginger tea."
Melanie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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BailyteagingerI was excited to receive generous samples of pure Ceylon Tea from Baily Tea and I have several reviews in process. When I opened my package, I happened to be having a flare of a chronic illness I deal with which causes a lot of stomach problems. Ginger is excellent for an upset stomach, so I immediately put water on to boil to try this Black Ceylon Ginger tea.

Bailey Tea is a family run business and their teas are 100% Ceylon from Sri Lanka. I was intrigued that they have the ability to pack and ship teas within hours of being processed. What a great assurance of freshness.

It was packaged like a typical teabag, but the scent was a delicious fresh ginger scent. I wondered if the ginger would over power the ceylon tea as it can often be a very light flavored black tea.

I steeped it in a mug for 5 min and I really enjoyed the scent of ginger as it brewed. The cup of tea came out nice and dark and the ceylon carried the ginger really well. It was a much stronger cup of tea than I expected, and yet not stiff like an Assam or a blend. The ginger was fairly strong, but ginger can often have quite a spicy kick to it, and this tea is flavorful without taking a bite out of your tongue!

As I often do with black tea, I added a touch of sugar and dash of milk. The tea held up great to milk and sugar and added a nice creaminess to the tea. I really enjoyed the whole cup. My stomach felt better too!

So, all in all, this was a great first cup of tea from Baily Tea. But I didn’t just rate this on the first cup. The next day, even with a package full of new teas to taste, all I wanted was another cup of this ginger tea. I finished my samples off in record time. I would definitely like to have a box of these tea bags around, and I think it would be especially nice in the Autumn and Winter.

If you like ginger, I would definitely recommend this ginger tea!

— To purchase Baily Tea USA Ginger Ceylon, 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: Cameron Tea Assam, Premium Grade

Black Tea, Cameron Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Straight-shooting and emblematic of black teas, Cameron's Assam is no-nonsense, refreshing, and unforgivably bold."
Daniel’s Teaview: 8.4/10
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cameronsunmoonlakeMy reviews of Cameron’s collection are well behind the recent barrage of excellent reviews from fellow tea drinkers, so for practical purposes, my praise for the company itself will be concise. Obviously, the team at Cameron Tea knows what it’s doing. Each and every tea from what seems to be a shop directly nestled in Taiwan is demonstrably sui generis. Such stated, Cameron’s Taiwanese selection focuses on classics and, insofar as specific varietals, does not delve far from the norm.

Straight-shooting and emblematic of black teas, Cameron’s Assam is no-nonsense, refreshing, and unforgivably bold. Initially, I found puzzling the name of this tea, given that Assam is actually a region in India, known very well for its production of black tea. But in the early 20th century, the Taiwanese imported to their home state the famous tea, finding Sun Moon Lake (the region in which this tea is found) as the most ideal and reliable region for growing it. This, expectedly, is from where Cameron’s stock of Assam is sourced.

As a tea found in the popular blend English Breakfast, Assam black is robust and minutely astringent. Cameron’s Assam embodies both of these characteristics, and adds to its blend a phenomenally smooth taste and mouthfeel. A slight smokiness is detectable, or perhaps more accurately, a minor woodiness. For a tea so full-bodied, this special Assam is certainly not without an enjoyable sweetness.

Each infusion presents an intricate blend of caramel and subtle creaminess with a smooth and rounded mouthfeel. Notes are subtle, however, and are nothing in comparison to the general boldness of this tea’s brew. In rushes a strong, slightly tannic wave off the end of each sip, which quickly dissipates due to the dryness of the tea. To be sure, every brew of this tea is nothing short of substantive but the dryness does have the potential to give off the perception of a thinner tea.

Interestingly, Cameron’s Assam (both premium and competition) is noticeably sweeter than its Indian counterparts, perhaps due to Taiwan’s favorable climate for lush and thick varieties of essentially any class of tea. Cameron Tea of course must be awarded some of the credit for harboring a superb product.

Comparatively, Cameron’s Assam is among the best of its kind. But an Assam is still a fairly simple tea. For this reason, a rating can only reach so high. Rest assured, for any Assam lover, this is your new favorite buy.

— To purchase Cameron Tea Assam, Premium 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: Vintage Tea Company Fuxi Huanshan Mao Feng

Green Tea, Vintage Tea Company No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Mostly smooth, it's also very robust, and the buttery texture coats the mouth, leaving a lingering smoky aftertaste."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.5/10
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vintagefuxihngshanThe leaves of this tea are beautiful buds, narrow, flat, and a dusty green. I brew a heaping teaspoon in my 3.5-ounce gaiwan at 160° for two minutes. The pale hay yellow liquor smells unique – smoky and vegetal yet still sweet.

The tea is a smoky, savoury green with a strong hit of green been vegetal. Mostly smooth, it’s also very robust, and the buttery texture coats the mouth, leaving a lingering smoky aftertaste.

I infuse my second steep for two minutes, and though it’s less smooth than the first and slightly acidic now, it’s still very buttery. The third infusion is milder still, still very smoky but with a creaminess to balance.

It’s an interesting and unique tea. It’s not often you find a tea that is both smoky and smooth. I like the vegetal and buttery notes, but I’m generally not a lover of smokier teas in general. It’s not something I’d probably buy, just because of personal preference, but I’m really glad I got the chance to try it.

— To purchase Vintage Tea Company Fuxi Huanshan Mao Feng, 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: Golden Tips Mankota Exotic Assam

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Golden Tips Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"I found it to be a good Assam, but light in flavor, and bit more fruity than malty."
Melanie’s Teaview: 6/10
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goldentipslogoGolden Tips Tea may have become my favorite company to review teas for. I drink a lot of black tea and I’m always looking for good teas to drink as morning pot of tea or as an afternoon pick me up. Golden Tips Tea is 100% unblended Indian Teas. Even when it turns out not to be my favorite tea, I still really enjoy tasting all of these teas! (Also, I want to mention, that they do not just carry black teas. They have green, white, oolong and chai… all from India)

Mankota Exotic Assam did not turn out to be one of my favorite Assam’s because I tend to want a full bodied strong flavored Assam tea for breakfast. Mankota Exotic Assam is described as “robust” and “extremely malty”. However, I found it to be a good Assam, but light in flavor, and bit more fruity than malty.

I brewed this tea as a full pot of tea and as a cup of tea. For both, I start with fresh cold water and I warm the cup or pot. I bring the water just to boil. For the pot of tea, I brewed the first one 5 minutes and the second one 6.5 minutes. The five minute pot was nice, but I found it weak bodied. It took milk and sugar OK, but they diminished the taste. The second pot (6.5 min) was stronger, but it also got a little bitter and too astringent.

I think that this would be an excellent tea for tea drinkers who usually drink ceylon tea. It has just a hint of the fruitiness that a ceylon has, with a hint of malt that an assam usually has. Many Assam teas are just to strong for tea drinkers that are not used to them, so it would be a great tea for those wanting to try something new without shocking their tastebuds.

On the other hand, for those who are used to drinking a good brisk cup of Assam tea in the morning, this tea is really on the gentle side. I am one of those whose tastebuds expect a nice strong cup of tea in the morning. I did enjoy Mankota Exotic Assam, but not as much as I have enjoyed some of the other teas from Golden Tips.

— To purchase Golden Tips Mankota Exotic Assam, 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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