Review: Red Leaf Tea Sechung Oolong

Oolong Tea, Red Leaf Tea 2 Comments »
Brad’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" I enjoyed this thoroughly, but the flavor is slight. I would recommend this for people who value texture and emotion over flavor."
Brad’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 5/10
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redleafsechungoolong1The scent of this dry tea is spectacular. It’s a smoky sweet aroma somewhere midway between caramelized brown sugar and charred birch. Combined with the proper visual presentation, this blend sets high expectations prior to brewing. Although most of the beautiful scent evades the liquid form, it leaves a smoggy grey aura in its place. The former is preferable, but the latter inspires an interesting mood for the cup to come.

The taste and the texture are closer to a median for good black tea and good chai than the same for black and green. A spatter of spice slips into a blue-green tea, but it only lasts during the consumption. The aftermath is almost sleepy, with the smooth and powerful brew slipping off the tongue with grace. It instills hints of warmth and reflection.

This flavor is very slight and very difficult to describe. Only the slightest hint of that earthy green tea spirals about. Honestly, it feels like it touched each of the primary taste buds with just the tiniest flicker, creating a well-rounded and simple tea.

Summarily, this tea presents itself in a very dignified manner. It is both quiet and hearty, like a slow-cooked comfort dish. I would recommend this for people who value texture and emotion over flavor. The flavor is too slight on its own to demand great attention, but the concoction as a whole is worthy of investment.

— To purchase Red Leaf Tea Sechung 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: Brad Brad
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Review: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Rum

Coconut Tea, Green Tea, Pineapple Tea, Zhenas Gypsy Tea No Comments »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"The coconut and pineapple taste were sort of fused together but I didn't find the best attributes of either showing. "
Jamie’s Teaview: 4/10
Other Teaviews: Christine gave it 7/10, Emma gave it 5.5/10, Vanessa gave it 6/10, Laura gave it 6.50/10
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zhenacoconutrumI have been seeing Zhena’s Gypsy Tea at our local co-op for a couple of months, always tempted but never trying till recently, as I’ve got a small collection of teas I’d like to enjoy before they get too ancient. My ancient teas, for obvious reasons, won’t fetch much at the market. In any case, alchemical failures aside, I enjoyed sampling another of her teas, a loose tea in a silken bag (a coconut chai) so I was quite interested to try out the Coconut Rum.

This tea bag is a flattened round disc made of some type of non bleached papery material. The smell was mostly pineapple to the nose, and a little bit bitter, even in the dry bag. This tea is part of Zhena’s new Tropical Green Tea Line.

I had three samples, and steeped each bag a little differently, varying the length of steep each time, 3, 4 and 5 minutes. I used boiled water allowed to cool to 185 to 190 degrees on all three steeps as the tea is a green tea. Each mug was unrewarding, though I hope that my persistence is evidence that I wanted to give the tea a thorough vetting. What I found most unlikeable about the tea was that there was an unpleasant, bitter oily taste to the tea, perhaps owing to the coconut. The tea itself was harsh in flavor, as well. The coconut and pineapple taste were sort of fused together but I didn’t find the best attributes of either showing. I caught no trace of rum flavor.

I found sweetening this tea to be necessary, but not necessarily a saving move.

I’m ready to try some new offerings from Zhena’s. This one didn’t strike my fancy at all, and I couldn’t honestly recommend it to anyone, but there’s much about Zhena’s that I admire. Great packaging, interesting tea bags, and a concern for ingredients and social awareness is evident at the website and leads me to want to try some other of her offerings. Zhena’s also offers everything from loose tea to “couture” tea bags, to more regular looking tea bags. I think that’s neat, to have so many options.

— To purchase Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Rum, 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: Mighty Leaf Organic Yellow Flower

Green Tea, Mighty Leaf 1 Comment »
Steven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I love that moment when I open up a package and get to smell a new tea. Upon tearing it open today, the Yellow Flower tea lit up the room with this bright fragrance, very floral."
Steven’s Teaview: 7/10
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mightyleafyellowflowerMighty Leaf offers a green tea they call, Organic Yellow Flower.

I love that moment when I open up a package and get to smell a new tea. Upon tearing it open today, the Yellow Flower tea lit up the room with this bright fragrance, very floral. The leaves are very fragrant, and I am very excited about this tea. This is pure green tea, with no additives, but it still smells very floral and fragrant. I am definitely looking forward to tasting this.

80C, 1 tsp Per cup, 2 min

This tea should probably should be 2 tsp per cup, because it’s a bit too weak following Mighty Leaf’s posted instructions to use 1 tsp per cup. But still very delicious, if faint.
Liquor is almost clear, palest yellow. But a very heady aroma, nevertheless: floral, bright, beautiful. The aroma rather reminds me of Green Hill Tea’s version of Dragonwell– quite intense with a nicely long finish. The flavor of this tea seems best when the cup is warm (rather than piping hot), and the lower-range aromas appear.

The company’s Web site tells us,

Organic Yellow Flower green tea, is a handcrafted tea grown in China’s Anhui province. Often called yellow bud or yellow flower, its slender green-yellow leaves yield a sweet, floral character and a yellow colored cup. With a clean and smooth taste this chinese tea will refresh and revitalize.

Anhui is a great tea-growing region of the world, and it shouldn’t surprise us to find lovely teas coming from here.

Special Offer! For a limited time, Mighty Leaf is offering deep discounts on their product line. If you're interested in purchasing this tea or others from Mighty Leaf, shop now by clicking this link: Mighty Leaf on Sale Today!

Teaviews Member: Steven Steven
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Review: Simpson & Vail Kiwi Watermelon Black Tea

Black Tea, Kiwi Tea, Simpson & Vail, Watermelon Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This tea has a readily identifiable fruity sweetness to it, although I am not sure that it is a natural fruit flavor. It certainly smells and tastes like kiwi and watermelon flavored candies, however. "
Vanessa’s Teaview: 6/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 6/10, Jenn gave it 5.5/10, Lea gave it 8.5/10, Katie gave it 6/10
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simpsonvailKiwi and Watermelon do not strike me as flavors that would blend well together for a fruit-flavored tea, but I like to sample teas that I would not necessarily buy or try on my own. This tea has a readily identifiable fruity sweetness to it, although I am not sure that it is a natural fruit flavor (and at the time of my writing this, this tea is not offered online at the Simpson and Vail website, so I cannot elaborate more on the ingredients in this tea). It certainly smells and tastes like kiwi and watermelon flavored candies, however. I wish the watermelon flavor was a little more authentic and more pronounced, but all things considered, this isn’t a bad fruit blend. For me, this tea was far more enjoyable as an iced tea than a hot tea, because the kiwi and watermelon flavors are refreshing. My main criticism of this tea is that the black tea base was a little too strong for the gentler kiwi and watermelon flavors. I infused my leaves for only three minutes, but the resulting brew was still dark, heavy, and to an extent, overpowering. There was a smoky strength to this tea that just clashed with the mild fruit flavors. I would recommend only steeping these leaves for two minutes or less to make sure that the heavy tea base doesn’t cancel out the otherwise light and refreshing fruit flavors that this tea has going for it.

— To purchase Simpson & Vail Kiwi Watermelon 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: Vanessa Vanessa
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Review: TeaGschwendner Assam Ananda

1 Tea Brands, Assam Tea, Black Tea, Irish Breakfast Tea, Irish Tea, TeaGschwendner No Comments »
Patty’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is no wimpy tea, but just when you think it is heading into tannic bitterness it settles into deep and gentle sweetness, without sacrificing any of its stand up character."
Patty’s Teaview: 7.1/10
Other Teaviews: Steven gave it 5/10, Cindy gave it 7/10, Dan gave it 5.0/10, Jamie gave it 7.5/10
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teagschwendnerassamananda“Ananda translates to bliss–a state of mind that this charming blend of Assam teas delivers to each drinker. The early summer harvest offers a rich and malty mahogany cup of classic character.” — from the TeaGschwendner website

TeaGschwendner is a premier professional company and their website reflects their reputation for quality. Lots of information, lots of beautiful teas and accessories. Just a fun website to go play and learn on. I’m always happy to sample a TeaGschwendner tea.

So, I’ve been looking forward to this tea for several reasons. I love Assams; they were the first quality loose teas I sought out after learning that they were the foundation for my favored Irish breakfast blends. And, I have to admit to a preference for second flush teas. The sturdiness of the summer growth provides more foundation for the flavors to dance upon, whatever the variety. It just makes for a fuller and rounder flavor profile.

And this is a flavorful tea. The dry leaf isn’t anything glamorous, small, wiry, deepest brown and dark black. Still, the aroma from my small sample was bigger than the bag containing it. A good malty and toasty Assam, this is a tea of substance. So, two teaspoons to 16 ounces of 212 filtered water, steeped for 5 minutes in my IngenuiTEA. Sweetened, no milk.

Again, malty, toasty, with a sweet undertone that brightens the cup. It’s June as I write this, but we’re having an unheard of cloudy and cool spell. Just perfect for this beautiful, coppery, bracing tea. Another aspect is very present for me, more a matter of texture and character – this tea is buttery, not exactly, but the only word I can come up with.

This is no wimpy tea, but just when you think it is heading into tannic bitterness it settles into deep and gentle sweetness, without sacrificing any of its stand up character. The aftertaste is sweet, buttery, malty, toasty, everything I’ve already said; the taste stays with you long after you’ve finished the cup.

And still the memory lingers, and pulls me out to the kitchen for a second steeping. I’m emboldened into a whole wheat PBJ to go along with this; I guess a California version of high tea. The second go-round is flavorful, but isn’t as full-bodied as the first. Still, I think 3-4 minutes would have been fine for the first and left a bit more for the second. I’m already looking forward to finding out.

At almost $11 for 100g, or $26 for just over a half pound, this really doesn’t fit into a starving student’s budget. A couple of dollars less would have earned it another couple tenths of a point. Still, it’s a fair price for what would be a great morning wake up call or afternoon bracer. I’d call it a super choice for an every day Assam.

— To purchase TeaGschwendner Assam Ananda, 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: Tavalon After Dark

Apple Tea, Blood Orange Tea, Chamomile Tea, Cherry Tea, Cranberry Tea, Herbal Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Tavalon No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This seems like a good herbal to wind down the evening with, and it is the second-best chamomile blend I have had. If you're a fan of the herb, you'll probably love this blend."
Katie’s Teaview: 5.4/10
Other Teaviews: David_A gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10, Shelly gave it 8/10, Numi gave it 7/10, Kari gave it 7/10, Joe gave it 6.5/10
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tavalon.jpgI used to think I hated chamomile more than I hate people abusing the English language (call me grammar-psycho if you wish, but the poor girl can’t defend herself) until I realised one of my favourite rooibos blends had chamomile in it. Unfortunately, I overdid it with that blend a little and quickly grew tired of it, so I have been on the lookout for another mix with chamomile since I do appreciate its relaxing properties. I had little success, but thought I give this one a go since it has gotten good reviews thus far, and I felt optimistic that it might fit my ever-so-picky desires.

After steeping, I was a bit afraid already because it smelled strongly of chamomile. The flavour is distinctly chamomile, but not in a terrible way. The tart flavours quickly give way to sweetness and herbs. I didn’t find it super-exciting or flavourful, but I did find it rather palatable, which is a lot coming from me when discussing anything with chamomile.

This wasn’t my favourite flavouring, but that’s more of a personal opinion than anything else. This seems like a good herbal to wind down the evening with, and it is the second-best chamomile blend I have had. If you’re a fan of the herb, you’ll probably love this blend.

As a random warning, I left the tea in my mesh strainer overnight, and it pretty much glued itself to the strainer and was a bugger to get out. I have never seen such a sticky tea, so just make sure to rinse out your steeping equipment as soon as possible.

Special Offer! For a limited time, Tavalon is offering 25% off for Teaviews Readers. Use the promo code: teaviews when you order at Tavalon

Teaviews Member: Katie Katie
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