Review: Dachi Tea Co. No. 7 Oriental Beauty

Dachi Tea, Oolong Tea, Uncategorized No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Sort of a drama queen. She has many personalities!"
CJ’s Teaview: 8/10
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Oriental Beauty is an odd tea. The flavor bouquet can be so… floral, it reminds me of soap or bath gel. In other words, it is not one of my favorites. Which is surprising, because it is so highly oxidized that it is quite close to being a black tea, and black teas ARE my favorite.

On the other hand, Oriental Beauties tend to be SO fragrant and flavorful, you can get many, many, pots of tea from one batch of leaves. And each batch is a little bit different. For these reasons, OB’s can be pricey. (Dachi sells about 2.7 ounces for 42 dollars!)

In general, a good OB can be identified by two things:
-the slightly sour aroma and flavor lent to it by parasitic leaf-hoppers. They chew on it good and long before farmers ever begin picking;
-a full, honey-like quality.

Dachi’s No. 7 scored high on both counts. Granted, the sweeter, less floral notes didn’t emerge for me until the second and third infusions, but what infusions they were!

During the second infusion, No. 7 revealed a rather cinnamon-like characteristic, just like Dachi promised. I was skeptical, but when it appeared, I was smitten.

The third time around the leaves were at their sweetest and fullest. Only the tiniest bit of leaf-hopper tang remained-just enough to remind me that I was indeed drinking an Oriental Beauty.

My relationship with Oriental Beauty is a melodramatic one. I start out hating those soapy, first dates, but I don’t break up with her. By the time I’ve put her through enough hot water, I’m glad I stuck around. I rate her an 8.

— To purchase Dachi Tea Co. No. 7 Oriental Beauty, 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: Majani White Tea

Majani Teas, White Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It has notes of honey, milk, and vanilla with an underlying faintly floral taste."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.9/10
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“White Tea” doesn’t tell me much about what the leaves will look like so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened this tin. I was pleased to find a ‘silver needle’ style leaf: Long, fuzzy white spears that rival any other white tea I’ve seen for beauty. Since they look like silver needles, I decide to brew them that way, steeping 1 tablespoon at 175° for 3 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, I get a cup with a pale, milky yellow liquor and a faint scent. The flavour is very sweet and creamy. It has notes of honey, milk, and vanilla with an underlying faintly floral taste. It has no acidity to balance the sweet creaminess, which I find mildly disappointing. Overall, however, it is a unique white tea. Its prevalent, unbalanced sweetness makes it reminiscent of a sugar cookie, so while it isn’t my favourite white tea, I appreciate it. I try a second steep, which is tasty enough but lacks character. Mildly sweet and floral, I would resteep again, but it isn’t anything special.

My favourite way to brew this tea ends up being the laziest: Throw some leaves in hot water and brew forever, sipping around the leaves and adding more hot water and leaves as I go. The complete lack of bitterness or astringency lends itself perfectly to this style of brewing, since it never gets too strong or bitter. It’s just a sweet, tasty cup, lacking much subtlety or depth as you’d expect from a tea brewed this way, but it’s so delicious and easy to brew I find I don’t care.

— To purchase Majani 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: Katie Katie
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Review: The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Co Tanzania BOP

Black Tea, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Co No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I'm so glad Kent and Sussex introduced me to this tea! How wonderful to find a tea, grown in Africa - that stands up to the quality of the typical Assam or Ceylon."
Melanie’s Teaview: 9/10
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Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company has an amazing variety of tea choices! So many companies that have a huge selection like this often lack in quality, but all 3 samples I received from Kent and Sussex were of superior quality!

I chose the Tanzania BOP because I love a good strong black tea in the morning. BOP, or Broken Orange Pekoe is a smaller, ball shaped leaf piece, and as such, gives a good strong cup of tea. However, don’t confuse it with the dust that you find in regular teabags. It’s much larger and much tastier.

Kent and Sussex Tea Company is located in the village of Pluckley in Kent England. So it made sense to me to rely on my English tea making skills and drink this tea out of my fanciest porcelain tea cups.

I started by heating my teapot with hot water and letting it sit whilst I prepared the kettle. I started with fresh cold water and brought it just to boil. I used a tea spoon I purchased in England (which are smaller than teaspoons we use in America). I used three heaping spoonfuls of tea and put it in my mesh strainer and poured the boiling water over it.

The website instructions suggest steeping it 3-5 minutes, but from my experience, most black teas are perfect for me when I steep them 6 minutes, so that’s what I did. The tea was perfect!

This tea is strong, but with little to no acidity or bitterness. I get a bit of background notes of tropical fruit, honeycomb and spice.

This tea takes milk well, and sugar if you like. It is an excellent morning or afternoon tea. It goes well with sweet treats, and it goes well with savory food. And of course, it tastes best out of a teacup!

How wonderful to find a tea, grown in Africa – that stands up to the quality of the typical Assam or Ceylon. As much as I love these those two types of tea, I could easily choose this Tanzania BOP as my regular Sunday morning tea (the day I treat my self to a pot of high quality black tea). I would certainly be willing to serve this to company and at a tea party. I’m so glad Kent and Sussex introduced me to this tea!

— To purchase The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Co Tanzania BOP, 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: Golden Tips Tea Castleton Moonlight

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Golden Tips Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The taste is bright and fruity muscatel with a dry, bitter finish."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.4/10
Your Reviews: 5.8/10
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I have a few companies I like to buy Darjeeling teas from, and this year I decided to give Golden Tips Tea a shot, putting in an order for first flush teas. I’ve gotten a few samples through Teaviews, and I’ve been happy so far, so I thought I would take the plunge. They included a few free samples, so now I’ve gotten to try quite a few teas.

This tea has light, small leaves strewn with some tippy buds. My first brew is one tablespoon per cup at 195° for three minutes. The taste is bright and fruity muscatel with a dry, bitter finish. It has underlying notes of hay and mild veggie. It’s very unique, very interesting, but also very bitter. I don’t mind some bitterness in my Darjeelings; in fact, I prefer to have a hint of bitter to add to the depth, but this is a bit much for my taste.

My second infusion is more aromatic than flavourful. It’s much less bitter, but still unique as the bitterness doesn’t overpower the hay and fruit notes as much as the first steep. I actually prefer this to the first infusion, although both steeps have an odd alcohol-like scent. Since this steep has mellowed so much, even though it’s good, I don’t try for a third infusion.

While it’s a good tea, I have had at least a dozen or so from Golden Tips that I have preferred. And for that reason, I honestly wouldn’t buy it. If I was putting together another order from this company, something I will probably do again, this leaf won’t be on the list. It’s interesting, but it isn’t for me.

— To purchase Golden Tips Tea Castleton Moonlight, 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: Plum Deluxe Reading Nook Blend

Black Tea, Chamomile Tea, Lavender Tea, Plum Deluxe Teas, Rose Tea No Comments »
Emma’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Rose and lavender are two of my absolute favorite flavors in tea, to bring the two together is fabulous. "
Emma’s Teaview: 7/10
Your Reviews: 10/10
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plumdeluxereadingnookPlum Deluxe is a tea company based in Portland, Oregon. The company was created in the memory of the founder’s mother, who taught him to make moments each day that matter. Plum Deluxe exists to help the tea drinker decide which moments really matter. All of their teas are organic as well, which is great as pesticides on/in tea leaves make me wonder about their health properties.

The company notes that most customers tell them that this blend is their prettiest tea. While I love the flavor, I have  say that the tea doesn’t look anything like the photo! The chamomile is basically ground up (in my sample, at least) and I had a rough time steeping it. Be prepared to use a very small mesh strainer with this one. Though, as this is the reading nook blend, and meant to be drunk with friends, perhaps a dainty English tea strainer is part of the whimsy.

I do love this tea all on its own. I tend to enjoy all of my tea straight up, and this is no exception. I find that all floral teas are so delicate that any sort of intervention will either completely detract from the flavors, or enhance them beautifully. This tea falls to the former. Rose and lavender are two of my absolute favorite flavors in tea, to bring the two together is fabulous. Steeped, the tea smells predominantly of rose and black tea, with notes of lavender and chamomile. It tastes light and smooth, very floral and calming. I love it any time of the day.

Teaviews Member: Emma Emma
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Review: Doehi Tea White Grape

Doehi Tea, Grape Tea, White Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The white tea shines at the start, and the grape comes through more in the aftertaste."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.4/10
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doehiwhitegrapeDoehi Tea specialises in blended teas, which is, admittedly, lately not usually my cup of tea. That coupled with their difficult to use website and the fact that they don’t ship internationally means I’m not particularly excited about this company, so you might ask why I would ask to sample one of their teas. I may not be too excited about Doehi in general, but I’ve always been a sucker for uniquely flavoured teas, and I can’t think of a single grape flavoured tea I’ve had. I’ve had lots of teas with notes of grape or muscatel or wine, but none that I recall that were distinctly grape flavoured, so I had to try this.

I dig around on the website for awhile, and there’s no “white tea” or “flavored white tea” section, unsurprising as this looks to be currently the company’s only white tea, so it takes me a while to find this tea under the “decaf tea” section. I have no idea if it’s decaf or not, but at this point I’m happy I found it, and I don’t much care. The leaves are beautiful white peony with blue flower petals. The website says the tea includes blackcurrants and rose hip peel, but I don’t see either. They smell strongly, deliciously of grapes, and I brew according to their recommendations: Two teaspoons per cup, 185°, three minutes.

The brewed cup smells milder than the dry with the addition of a hint of earthiness. The taste is surprising, with the grape much milder than I expected. Initially I’m disappointed the flavour isn’t more grapey, but soon I realise that I appreciate it being mild enough you can still taste the white tea underneath. The white tea shines at the start, and the grape comes through more in the aftertaste.

The white tea base is distinct and enjoyable. It’s earthy and slightly vegetal and balances the grape nicely. The grape is nicely fruity and surprisingly realistic. Overall, I’d say it’s not a brilliant cup, but it’s satisfactory and does what it says it will.

— To purchase Doehi Tea White Grape, 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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