Review: Stash Lapsang Souchong Black Tea

Black Tea, Lapsang Souchong Tea, Stash 2 Comments »
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Lapsang Souchong is not for everyone. You are guaranteed to either love this tea or absolutely hate it. I personally find it intoxicating, and would savor it as a rare treat."
Dan’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Patty gave it 6.8/10
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stashlapsangThere’s a scene at the beginning of Gremlins where Hoyt Axton (trivia side note: he wrote the song Joy to the World, made famous by Three Dog Night!) goes into a shop in Chinatown to search for a gift for his son Billy. Everybody on the planet knows what that gift was, and the mayhem that ensued thereafter. However, that opening scene has a very darkly lit feel. A rainy night in a mysterious shop in Chinatown. An old Chinese man with a glass eye stands behind the counter, puffing on a pipe. Trinkets and oddities and beautiful Chinese handicrafts fill the room. This tea is the very essence of that scene.

Lapsang Souchong evokes a truly exotic aura – the sounds of pan flutes and images of misty covered mountaintops practically fill your mind with just a whiff of this tea. It’s really one of the most unique teas out there. The reasoning for it is that the leaves are rolled, placed in wooden barrels, and then hung in bamboo baskets over pinewood fires, thus adapting a very smoky, woody flavor and aroma.

As a dumb kid, I used to go camping and stick the ends of these reed-like stalks into the fire, then blow them out. I’d then suck on the non-lit end to breathe in the smoke. Strangely enough, it was a very pleasant taste (but who knows what havoc it had wreaked on my premature lungs!), and it reminds me distinctly of this tea. To whit, this tea apparently has become popular with cigar smokers and fans of single-malt Scotch. I can certainly picture sipping on a cup of this fine tea while puffing on a nice, smooth cigar and nibbling on a pungent gourmet cheese slice. Or a heaping plate of southern barbecue. It just screams to be paired with savory foods.

I like to brew this tea at a full boil for 3-4 minutes, as that seems to extract the perfect balance of smoky flavor from the leaves. The leaves are a deep blackish mahogany color, and remain tightly rolled through the brew. The aroma of the cup gives 99% of a hint at the flavor inside. The liquor is a deep, rich color, not unlike certain darker spirits.

One recommendation Stash gives is to add a pinch of this tea to an English Breakfast for a whole new twist. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m anxious to mix a pinch of this tea in with various rich, black teas to play with some flavors a bit.

It is inherently obvious that Lapsang Souchong is not for everyone. You are guaranteed to either love this tea or absolutely hate it. “Subtle” is not a word to be used in the same sentence as this tea. I personally find it intoxicating, and would savor it as a rare treat.

— To purchase Stash Lapsang Souchong 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: Dan Dan
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Review: Rishi Tea Organic Cinnamon Plum

Cinnamon Tea, Currant Tea, Herbal Tea, Licorice Root Tea, Plum Tea, Rishi Tea No Comments »
Jenn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This herbal blend is full-bodied and flavorful resulting in a heartwarming, comforting cup which is easy to indulge in. "
Jenn’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8/10, Katie gave it 8/10, Erika gave it 4/10, Laura gave it 6.5/10, Cindy gave it 7/10, Dan gave it 7.0/10, Kari gave it 6.5/10, Geoff gave it 7/10, Shaiha gave it 7.1/10, Sophie gave it 7.6/10, Raven gave it 8/10, Lynn gave it 9.5/10, Nicole gave it 9/10
Your Reviews: 5/10
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cinnamonplum.jpgI tend to like my teas more on the delicate side but I like my tisanes on the strong side. This particular herbal blend is super strong. It consists of cinnamon, hibiscus, currants, licorice root, and natural plum flavor. Nothing delicate in this tisane! I followed the brewing instructions and steeped this using 1 tablespoon in boiling water for 5 minutes.

The fragrance coming from my little teapot was taunting me and I could not wait to take a sip. It was deep and robust which included a strong licorice scent with a hint of cinnamon. I could also pull out the plum but this blend has so many strong flavors you really have to concentrate to bring out the individual ones. I was also surprised to discover that this has a nearly identical fragrance dry as it does steeped. The color in my cup was a deep cranberry and reminded me of the winter holidays.

The taste was full-bodied and flavorful. Sweet, spicy, and tart all describe it perfectly. This blend really packs quite a bit of punch. Some people might prefer this kind of blend in the cooler months to warm them up and comfort them. This is not what I would call a refreshing drink, so look else where if that is what you are after. However, I would drink this all year round when I needed to just relax and indulge in a heart-warming, strong herbal blend.

— To purchase Rishi Tea Organic Cinnamon Plum, 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: Jenn Jenn
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Review: TeaGschwendner Rooibush Chocolate

Chocolate Tea, Rooibos Tea, TeaGschwendner No Comments »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The rooibush provides a wonderful sweet creaminess that corresponds winningly with chocolate's many virtues. "
Jamie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8/10, Brad gave it 7/10, Laura gave it 7/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
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teagrooibushchocolateTea Gschwendner’s Rooibush Chocolate is a subtle looking blend. The rooibush is as you’d expect, coppery red, short and shiny. Pretty stuff. Made prettier by the inclusion of little broken shells and nibs of chocolate and accompanied by a rich chocolatey scent smelling as though it took the middle way between milk and dark chocolate. The scent is also reminiscent of a luscious hot chocolate. On a second, deeper smelling, along with the strong chocolate smell, I pick up on an almost alcohol like strength in the scent, remotely bergamot like. The smell is intriguing and the scent of the tea brewing definitely piques my interest.

I brought my water to a full boil after enjoying the looks and scenting of the tea for a short while. I let the bubbles subside and then steeped for the recommended 5 minutes. The flavor of the tea is like a liquidy chocolate…smooth and full with an almost slippery roundness to it. The chocolate is more subtle than I had expected from the scent, but it was very satisfying nonetheless. There is a liqueur like quality to this brew, kind of a higher pitched flavor coupled with a nice smoothness, that is wonderfully enjoyable. The rooibush provides a wonderful sweet creaminess that corresponds winningly with chocolate’s many virtues.

This is a very pleasant tasting cup, most enjoyable for an evening when you have a sweet tooth but aren’t very hungry. And nice to accompany you as you read, knit or indulge in whatever evening enjoyment you most appreciate. I really enjoyed the full flavor, and the natural way the flavor came across. Rooibush is a fine pairing with the chocolate!

A second steeping is worth the time, as well. After I pour cups out for my husband and self, I refill the tea pot and just let it steep a good long time. The resulting flavor is enjoyable and seems to stand up pretty well, especially if you give it lots of time to really infuse everything left in there.

TeaGschwendner offers a great deal on shipping. Once you reach a purchase price of $35.00, shipping is free. I really like this because I don’t like to pay for shipping, but most vendors require a $75.00 purchase, and that’s a lot of tea for me to order at one time…especially since I have plenty of tea on hand anyway. 3.5 ounces of this tea is just $7.90, and next time I make a purchase from Tea Gschwendner, I expect this will be making an appearance on my order form.

— To purchase TeaGschwendner Rooibush Chocolate, 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: Jamie Jamie
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Review: Red Leaf Tea Passionfruit Wulong

Oolong Tea, Passion Fruit Tea, Red Leaf Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The tea has a strong, and somewhat bitter flavor, which is pretty true to what one would expect from passionfruit. However, whereas passionfruit can often be overwhelmingly strong, this tea was actually relatively mild (by passionfruit standards). "
Vanessa’s Teaview: 6/10
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redleafpassionfruitwuPassionfruit is one of those fruits that often elicits a love-or-hate response, with very little middle ground. Thus, as I sampled Red Leaf Tea’s Passionfruit Wulong, I assumed that this would either be a fantastic or a really undrinkable blend. In the end, I found that this tea was, surprisingly, just okay. The tea has a strong, and somewhat bitter flavor, which is pretty true to what one would expect from passionfruit. The passionfruit flavor had a lasting effect on the palette which endured long after I finished my cup. However, whereas passionfruit can often be overwhelmingly strong, this tea was actually relatively mild (by passionfruit standards). This may be because the tea contains not only passionfruit but also other fruit pieces which may donwplay the strength and tartness of the passionfruit. However, a drawback to the muted flavor of the passionfruit is that the tea lacked substantial oomph that one might expect from a tea flavored with such a distinct fruit. Even though the passionfruit was, relatively speaking by passionfruit standards, to be mild, it still overpowered the oolong tea. I could not actually taste the oolong tea base at all, which I found to be a disappointment. In truth, I have found very few flavored oolongs that really impress me. In all, I wouldn’t tout this as an award-winning tea, but it’s still an interesting blen I recognize that this could be a challenging blend to master, and the folks at Red Leaf have done a decent job.

— To purchase Red Leaf Tea Passionfruit Wulong, 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: Vanessa Vanessa
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Review: The Necessiteas Chocolate Coconut Lime

Black Tea, Chocolate Tea, Coconut Tea, Lime Tea, The Necessiteas No Comments »
Erika’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is what lime tea should be."
Erika’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Stephen gave it 8/10, Laura gave it 9/10, Cindy gave it 6/10, Vanessa gave it 6/10, Sophie gave it 4.6/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

necessiteas-chocolate-coconut-lime.jpgLime is a flavor that can go horribly wrong in tea blends and the problem never seems to be having too little.  From my experience, the lime flavor is too overpowering and artificial, leaving a Pine-Sol like taste that is unpleasant at best.  I wanted to try this tea to see if the cleaning solution curse could be broken.  Is it possible to create a tasty lime tea?

The dry form of the tea is composed of small wiry black tea, mixed with shreds of coconut, cocoa nibs, and salt-like granules, that I assume make up the lime flavor.  As I opened the bag to have a smell, disappointment and concern took hold.  The tea smelled, as with the others, much like a household cleaner.  The tea base, chocolate, and coconut scents were completely covered by the lime.  I nonetheless pressed forward and brewed my cup, using one teaspoon of tea with eight ounces of boiling water for a three-minute steep.  The lime scent of the steeped leaves was considerably stronger than the tea in dry form and I began to loose my nerve.  But, the true test would be the taste and I closed my eyes to take my first sip.

Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised after the first taste.  Although I was unable to really detect the chocolate, and the coconut was a tad bit on the light side, the lime was perfectly balanced and there was no sign of an artificial or cleaner-like taste.  This is what lime tea should be.  With a dash of cream added, the tea reminded me of coconut lime pie.  This isn’t the type of tea I would want everyday but I could see craving it every now and again.  My only complaint is the difficultly in tasting the chocolate, but as lime-flavored teas go, this is the best I’ve found.

— To purchase The Necessiteas Chocolate Coconut Lime, 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: Erika Erika
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Review: Zhi Tea Oothu White

White Tea, Zhi Tea No Comments »
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A fully-enjoyable white tea that would appeal to just about any tea drinker. In fact, this might be an ideal introductory white tea to those who are used to drinking bolder black teas. "
Dan’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7.5/10, Jamie gave it 7/10, Troy gave it 9/10
Your Reviews: 3/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

zhioothowhiteAn organic and fair trade certified tea (also “biodynamically grown” – a method of incorporating spirituality with organic farming), Zhi’s Oothu White is a blend of white tea from southern India. Traditionally, white tea comes from the Fujian province (in addition to a few other provinces) of China, so this tea is a bit unusual in regards to its origin. The Oothu Estate is located within the Singampatti Rainforest, and is reportedly the oldest organic garden in India.

The brew results in a clear golden yellow liquor with an earthier taste and odor than the majority of white teas. Unlike silver needle or white peony, the flavor here is quite rich in comparison, yet certainly very appealing to fans of white teas. If anything, many white teas – while extremely enjoyable for their delicate nature – do not have enough of a pronounced flavor to really “say something”. This tea strays from the pack and provides a bold flavor while retaining elegance and simplicity all the same.

As with virtually all white teas, this tea is recommended to be brewed at a lower temp of approximately 185-degrees and for a 3-4 minute brew time. I held to that general guideline and did not stray far from it, as the results seemed just-right. An immediate nutty flavor erupts on the palette, giving way to slight hints of astringency that depart with a finish as clean as spring water. A second brewing of the leaves, at an even lower temperature than the first, still produced a flavorful, sunny cup.

This is a fully-enjoyable white tea that would appeal to just about any tea drinker. In fact, this might be an ideal introductory white tea to those who are used to drinking bolder black teas.

— To purchase Zhi Tea Oothu White, 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: Dan Dan
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