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Special Offers, Teaviews 4 Comments »

newsletterYou’ve been asking for it, and now (finally!) we can deliver it – the official Teaviews newsletter mailing list is live as of tonight.  Subscribers will get regular monthly emails with the latest tea promotions, special offers, sales and industry news, along with a quick recap of the five top-rated teas that were covered by our reviewers in the past thirty days.  It’s a great and convenient way to keep up with the latest and greatest at Teaviews from the comfort of your email inbox.

And if that wasn’t impetus enough to get you to our “Subscribe now” box, how’s this… we’ll select one newsletter subscriber every month to win a $50 Tea Shopping Spree!  There’s no purchase necessary – as long as you remain a mailing list member you’ll automatically be entered to win, each and every month!  Our first drawing will be June 1st, and the prize is a $50 shopping spree to Zhi Tea (www.zhitea.com)

So what are you waiting for?  Subscribe now!

Teaviews Member: Stephen Stephen
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Review: Rishi Tea Organic Ancient Pu-Erh Ginger

Black Tea, Ginger Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Pu'er Tea, Rishi Tea No Comments »
Laura’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The cup is very smooth and I actually found myself enjoying it and not just trying to finish it. "
Laura’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 9/10, Dan gave it 7.5/10, Troy gave it 9/10, Katie gave it 7.8/10, Joe gave it 9/10, Brad gave it 7/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

rishipuerehginger“According to traditional Chinese Medicine, Pu-erh tea has a warm and energizing property. It is known to dispel grease and toxins from a diet rich in meat and cholesterol. Our blend of Organic Ginger and Organic Pu-erh was inspired by an ancient herbal formula used as a “beauty aid” and “slimming tea” in Asia. The zesty notes of orange and ginger complement the rich, smooth flavors of Pu-erh.” — Rishi website.

Rishi lists the ingredients in this as: Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Yunnan Pu-erh tea, Organic ginger, and Organic orange Peel. This is one of the samples that when I saw that it was an option I was immediately excited because I have been dying to try this blend. I have a couple of tea peeps that drink this blend and love it. Unfortunately, they don’t live close so I can’t hit them up for a cup to check it out. I have actually considered ordering this from Rishi, but because I am not a great lover of Pu-erh, I have been too chicken to place an order out of fear that I will find it disgusting.

I find that Pu-erh tends to have this sort of barnyard aroma to it that is a little off-putting to me. However, that odd Pu-erh aroma is barely detectable in my sample package because it has a very strong ginger presence. There are lots of large ginger and orange peel pieces in this. I brewed this according to Rishi’s specs—with boiling water and let it infuse for a full 5 min. This brews up very dark—almost coffee dark. The wet leaves (this is loose leaf) have a slightly stronger presence of that earthy, barnyard aroma, but it is still quite subdued compared to any and all other Pu-erhs that I have tried. Ginger is the primary flavor of the cup, and the orange complements it nicely. The tea base is not masked totally by the flavor profile. It stands on its own and is actually quite good, and notice that I am not saying quite good for Pu-erh. The barnyard quality is next to nothing, and it also doesn’t have a soapy taste to it that I have also encountered in some Pu-erh. This is rich and a little earthy. The cup is very smooth and I actually found myself enjoying it and not just trying to finish it.

This receives high praise from me. If you like ginger and like Pu-erh, then there is little doubt in my mind that you will like this. If you are new Pu-erh, then I would consider this to be a great starting point. This is by far the best Pu-erh that I have encountered and I will definitely be purchasing some.

— To purchase Rishi Tea Organic Ancient Pu-Erh Ginger, 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: Laura Laura
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Review: Teavana Cacao Mint Black Tea

Black Tea, Chocolate Tea, Hazelnut Tea, Mint Tea, Teavana No Comments »
Numi’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea has a fuller body and depth that includes a substantive mouthfeel that, as a chocolate fanatic, I love."
Numi’s Teaview: 10/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 10/10, Jamie gave it 7/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

teavanacacaomint1It’s Girl Scout Cookie time and evil irresistible green boxes of Thin Mints might as well be labeled “kryptonite for humans”. If the Girl Scouts were truly compassionate, they would package their delicious cookies with an antidote tea—something to take away the guilt and extra pounds but still maintain the happy post-chocolate mint feeling. Teavana has stepped in to save us with their Cacao Mint Black tea. This mix of black tea and hazelnut and cocoa pieces has a medium to thick body and scent that blends chocolate and mint nicely. I adore chocolate mint candies and am still looking for a chocolate tea that will satisfy my sweet tooth, though I’m not sure it’s a worthy endeavor (with the amount of time and effort spent wishing for chocolate, I could have just had a piece and moved on with my life). Still, the quest continues, or at least has until now. With Teavana’s version, I’m happily surprised that the first sniff of brewed tea retains a deep chocolate scent that in other teas tends to be overshadowed by mint. What Teavana got right, I believe, is the fuller body and depth that gives this the substantive mouthfeel that, as a chocolate fanatic, I crave. Whereas other teas make me want to cry because I feel like I’ve been teased by having someone else’s chocolate bar merely dipped in my hot water, this one feels like there’s actually chocolate in there somewhere. The initial taste is of chocolate, with the mint lingering in the aftertaste. I want to thank Teavana for letting the mint act as an accent, rather than the main player. Too often, mint-related teas fall into the herbal category and I want to scream, “I don’t have a stomachache dammit, I just want chocolate—NOW!” I’d like to meet the person who created this tea mix because I’m imagining them with a superhero’s cape on—thank you! I don’t usually like to add milk or sugar to my tea, and while I’d prefer this tea as is, I can see how it would take either addition well, depending on a person’s tastes. I’m so into this I’m going to finish my sample and place my order right now. Thank you Teavana!

Special Offer! Free Shipping on orders over $50! If you're interested in purchasing this tea or others from Teavana, shop now by clicking this link: Shop Teavana for Teas and Tea Accessories

Teaviews Member: Numi Numi
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Review: Stash Super Irish Breakfast

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Irish Breakfast Tea, Stash No Comments »
Patty’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I've heard that you can't say "yes" or "no" in Irish. That's how I feel about this tea. I wouldn't turn it down, I wouldn't go out seeking it. It's not great, but it's rather good."
Patty’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 5.5/10, Katie gave it 4.8/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

stashirishbreakfast“Our Super Irish Breakfast blend is truly ‘the espresso’ of teas. It has a dark brown leaf that brews up a deep red liquor that is hearty, malty and rich in flavor. This “eye opening” tea is delicious with milk and sugar.”

I’ve heard that you can’t say “yes” or “no” in Irish. That’s how I feel about this tea. I wouldn’t turn it down, I wouldn’t go out seeking it. It’s not great, but it’s rather good. I’m after drinkin’ two cups now and I can’t say it’s keeping me awake. Still, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did.

It is a dark brown leaf with a promising aroma, it does brew up deep red, it is hearty, malty and rich in flavor. Perhaps not quite as much as Stash thinks it is, but there ya are. And though I’m falling asleep as I write this, it may be “eye opening” for some people. It WAS delicious with milk and sugar, which after all, being half Irish, is how I was taught to drink tea.

There were no brewing instructions, so I went with a fairly typical (for me) 1 tsp for 8oz of 212. A five minute steep, and I deemed this tea ready for business. It was pretty in the cup, almost a ruby red and rich looking. A nice aroma, fruity, with a vaguely spicy note that I couldn’t place, almost nutmeg or clove-like. Lots of depth hidden in the heavy tannins. I was glad I had sweetened it, but I did end up going to the kitchen for more sugar and a splash of milk to take some of the furry tongue out of it.

That turned it into what I think of as Irish Breakfast Tea. I was a bit disappointed with my second cup, as these leaves are only good for one brew. The second was a bit thin and pale, although I still got a taste of the tea. I know I’ll drink all my sample, and probably share it with my mom, who instilled in me her love of hearty teas. For others of you in that category, at $4 for 50gm, this tea is a good purchase.

There are many good and respectable Irish Breakfast blends out there. This is a member in good standing of that community.

— To purchase Stash Super Irish Breakfast, 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: Patty Patty
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Review: Steeped in the World of Tea

Tea Books and Films, Tea Gifts, Tea Recipes No Comments »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The gentle reading makes for a wonderful way to sit in on tea being taken round the world, sharing the flavors and a sense of company as the stories unfold. "
Jamie’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Nicole gave it 10/10, Troy gave it 8/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

steepedworldteaThe books I enjoy the most broaden my horizons in a number of ways simultaneously. Perhaps sometimes a certain feeling is evoked so strongly the sense lasts for days after the reading has “finished.” Perhaps I feel like I’ve learned something new about a person, place, thing, or method of doing something. Perhaps it’s a recipe that shouts at me to try and make it and I incorporate the reading into the eating and drinking with loved ones…and occasionally one book accomplishes all of these things and perhaps more.

Interlink Publishing’s Steeped in the World of Tea is a book that manages to leave me with all of these responses and more. For a rather slender volume, it is full of poems, the storied reminiscences of the many featured authors, and abundant breathtaking photographs. Many are closeups of tea leaves, tins, or tea time accoutrements – cups, pots and saucers. All are beautiful and will draw the tea lover in for closer inspection, perhaps sending one into the kitchen just after to brew a pot of tea after seeing the leaves so lovingly photographed. The stories and poems and photographs are many and varied, representing numerous countries, customs, generations, faiths, families and time periods. Taken together, the gentle reading makes for a wonderful way to sit in on tea being taken round the world, sharing the flavors and a sense of company as the stories unfold.

Notable stories abound in this book.

Arthur Dobrin’s “The Wine of the Poor” was exceptional in describing the “romance with tea” that most any tea lover will easily identify with. His capturing of the sense of sometimes glassy eyed wonder that we’ve all experienced when encountering the wide and myriad world of teas for the first time is delightful.

I savored Saumya Arya Haas’ story of mixing and brewing chai at home, with her detailed explanations of method and all the spices involved, along with her evocative memories of India. It left me wondering what it would be like to have grown up in that culture; the very story is laden with the scent of another life in another land. And you’ll want a spicy cup of tea handy when reading her telling of the story of The Spice Mages. The moral of her short story is not to be missed.

Meredith Escudier’s short memoir-esque account of the evolution of her love for tea in two countries manages to rightly balance in words the growing appreciation for tea that sends one on the “road to refinement,” not for egotistical reasons, but out of true love for the brew. She writes of that sixth somewhat indefinable sense so often experienced by the tea drinker; the sense of ease and harmony that comes from sharing tea, from the most humble to the most elegant, in just the right circumstances with just the right people.

A recipe for Moroccan Mint Tea from Habeeb Salloum will have you planting mint in the yard, or even in a pot in a sunny corner of the porch, like another writer does…just for brewing tea when the occasion arises.

Tolbert McCarroll shares with us his Christmas tradition of taking tea with his family and remembering those who’ve passed away…but still stay with us. His story is like so many others in this story…a chance to sit in, a gift of sorts in that you get a taste of the customs and memories of a dozen or more people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, and savoring the realization that you have a quite a bit in common with all of them…

Stephen Levine’s closing essay, “Making a Cup of Green Tea, I Stop the War” is naturally placed. Like the last sip of an especially delicious tea, in its reading you have a chance to re-savor all you’ve just enjoyed. And take it with you.

This is a lovely book, wonderfully readable. You can read all the stories at once, or come back to them as you have time and the wanting. The photographs are meant to be enjoyed over and over, as are the stories. The varying nature and subject matters of each author will appeal to virtually everyone, and the bittersweetness of many of them appeals to the reader on many levels. These stories will make you think and feel and often give you the sense of having been invited to participate in the story. A thoughtful and engaging gift for a tea lover of any age or background.

Teaviews Member: Jamie Jamie
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Review: Green Hill Tea Sencha

Green Hill Tea, Green Tea, Sencha Tea 1 Comment »
Steven’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The flavor is what I associate with Japanese food-- seaside, seaweed, grass... in short, a pretty good match for the scent of the leaves. There are bright, grassy notes, along with sort of a richness-- it must be that sense of "umami," the elusive fifth flavor."
Steven’s Teaview: 6.5/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

greenhillsenchaGreen Hill Tea (Thank you, George) sent me a packet of Sencha to review. Their Web site provides the following information:

This is a traditional Japanese-style green tea with tightly rolled, needle-shaped leaves. It’s steamed and contains high antioxidants. It was picked in early spring. The liquor is bright in color, with a clean finish. This is the everyday green tea in Japan.

Brew hint: Place one tea spoon into a cup; brew with 175-195ºF water for 3-7 minute.

THE PREPARATION
4 teaspoons of tea, in 4 cups water that was taken to the boil and then pulled back to 80C, and steeped about 3:15 in Japanese tetsubin, a cast-iron pot with enamel interior. Yes, I know it’s not a proper Japanese tea set, but I try to make do.

THE LEAVES
These leaves are very strongly fragrant. They’re a forest green, and very tightly furled into needle shapes (just as advertised on the Web site). There is a grassy lemon smell. It’s amazing how different the different teas can smell. Human ingenuity is so impressive to me. One reason I love tea, in particular, is that it is the culmination of thousands of years of human endeavor and creativity, and a drive to excellence and beauty. And these leaves are a prime example of that. How do they come to smell so sharp and lemony, with that green grass scent? I am so glad for my sense of smell! How lucky of the Japanese to be able to have this as their everyday drink.

THE STEEPED LEAVES
The leaves are completely unfurled, revealing broken pieces, most maybe an eighth to half an inch, of a very even olive green complexion, with some stem that I didn’t notice when the dry leaves were in these tight needle shapes. They have a faint (not overpowering) seaside smell, like seaweed, and salt water, and faint hints of that wonderfully complex smell of decomposition you get when walking on a beach. And with all of this, a touch of lemon or citrus. (Did I mention, I think smelling the leaves is a wonderful way to start to get to know a tea, even before tasting it.)

THE CUP
Green and transparent, but just a touch of cloudiness to it. The scent of the tea is very unlike that of the leaves, dry or spent. It’s a very laid-back scent. It appears all the power of this cup is in the actual tastebuds, not in the nose.

The flavor is what I associate with Japanese food– seaside, seaweed, grass… in short, a pretty good match for the scent of the leaves. There are bright, grassy notes, along with sort of a richness– it must be that sense of umami, the elusive fifth flavor, which is explicated here… http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15819485 This is a very fun read, though just slightly off topic.

This tea would go beautifully with some extremely rich dark chocolate, perhaps. I wish I had some to try out my theory!

The aftertaste seems to be sensed from the back of the throat, with a rich loamy sensation. Very nice. I almost think rich, dark aftertaste is nicer than the up-front brightness in the cup.

THE SECOND CUP
Ah, the all-important second cup, where the rubber hits the road, in my mind. I like to make at least two cups in one steeping, to let the second cup cool just a bit and allow the more complex flavors an opportunity to develop, by way of all the complex chemistry in a pot of tea.

The color of the second cup has taken on a more brown-gold appearance, and it is cloudier than its first cup.
It now has a much sharper edge to it. The flavors are more pronounced, the brightness enhanced. Had I only made one cup, my impression of this tea would be completely different. The mouthfeel is very full-bodied, for a green tea. The sharpness is primarily felt in the back of the mouth, like eating a very sharp grapefruit or something. There’s a lemony fragrance that is quite pronounced. But the deeper notes, the umami, are very noticeable in the mouth, and that makes it, for me, a very satisfying drink.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
Thanks, George, again, for an enjoyable tea! It’s a serious tea, and I am very grateful the opportunity to learn more about sencha with this sample.

Side note: My wife doesn’t really love this tea, because she is very used to black teas. She needed a little bit of sugar to cut the edge off of it. She finds it to be a bit woody, not grassy. She had the second cup, though, and I wonder if she would have liked the lighter first cup better.

— To purchase Green Hill Tea 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: Steven Steven
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