Review: Local Coffee + Tea Selby Select

Local Coffee + Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Orange Tea, Rooibos Tea, Yogurt Tea No Comments »
Kari’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I think they should have called this orangesicle. "
Kari’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 7.5/10
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localselbyTheir motto is “sip locally“, that’s cute – they promote local products and services, protect the local environment and celebrate local treasures. They have some stores on the gulf coast of Florida, as well as a website. They also sell their products at a local farmers market. This blend was created to celebrate the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This was informative- they talk about how the plant is grown and processed, you don’t find too many places talk about rooibos.
I see good size pieces of orange rind and some dried yogurt pieces in this rooibos blend. It really smells like a creamsicle to me. The infused aroma was even more like a creamsicle, just a little milder. Holy cow, it tastes even more like a creamsicle. It has a velvety and creamy texture in my mouth – just like ice cream. It really does have an intense orange and vanilla taste. That is really good. I decided to get a little crazy and try a new specialty drink – I iced it down added some Maui sugar, squeezed some fresh Clementine juice into it and found a swanky bar glass to serve it in with a slice of the Clementine on the edge. It was really delicious. You can buy 2oz. for $9.00. They say you will think you’re drinking Flordia sunshine in a magnificently serene garden and I have to agree.

— To purchase Local Coffee + Tea Selby Select, 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: Kari Kari
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Review: Hawaiian Natural Tea Pineapple Strawberry

Green Tea, Hawaiian Natural Tea, Pineapple Tea, Strawberry Tea, White Tea 1 Comment »
Laura’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"If you gave this to me and I knew nothing about it, I can pretty much guarantee that I would guess this to be a strawberry white tea. "
Laura’s Teaview: 6.8/10
Other Teaviews: Emma gave it 7/10, Lea gave it 4/10
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hawaainpineapplestrawberryHawaiian Natural Tea is a company that I had never heard of until I came across them through my participation with Teaviews. I did not know that Hawaii was growing tea! If you spend a few minutes playing around on their website, you will find out that their tea is certified organic Hawaiian teas grown free of pollutants and harmful pesticides. I can tell you that as someone who has had the good fortune to have visited Hawaii a number of times that one of the things that stands out in my mind is the aroma of the pineapples that we could smell as we drove across the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Just deeelicious. There is also a lot of information on their website that really explains what being organic is all about for those wondering.

The tea bag is fairly typical and the aroma coming from it is pretty darn good. While I can detect some pineapple in the aroma, the overwhelming scent is that of strawberries. It very much reminds me of the smell of strawberry jam. Since their website lacks brewing instructions and the package that my tea bag came in does too, I was left on my own for brewing parameters. Since this is described as a blend of green and white teas, I used steaming water cut short of boiling as is my usual protocol when making green tea. I first infused for two minutes and then tasted the brew. It was still a bit on the weak side so I let it go to 3 minutes and thought that was as far as I wanted to push for fear of bitterness. Like the aroma the flavor is also dominated by strawberry. It is a nicely done strawberry flavor that does, in fact, evoke visions of strawberry jam. The strawberry flavor is well done. The pineapple is far less noticeable and I found myself having to work to taste it. The tea base is a little dry and is a mixture of white and green teas. I found that it didn’t seem to be of a particularly high quality, but I guess that is somewhat expected of bagged tea. Even though I stretched the brewing time to a full 3 min, I still found the brew slightly weak. If you gave this to me and I knew nothing about it, I can pretty much guarantee that I would guess this to be a strawberry white tea. I doubt that I would be able to detect the green tea nor the pineapple without knowing they were in the blend.

Overall, I found the flavor profile or at least the strawberry part of it to be pretty enjoyable. Just knowing that Hawaii is famous for its delicious pineapple makes it a tad disappointing that the pineapple flavor was hard to detect. The tea base is a bit boring and not anything to rage about. However, I ultimately like this well enough that I would consider this when brewing loose leaf is not possible and a tea bag is needed.

— To purchase Hawaiian Natural Tea Pineapple Strawberry, 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: American Tea Room Extreme Vanilla

American Tea Room, Green Tea, Vanilla Tea 1 Comment »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Overall, the vanilla is creamy and sweet and the green tea base lends a little extra mild sweetness and is a surprisingly good match. "
Jamie’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6.5/10, Emma gave it 9.3/10, Erika gave it 8/10, Laura gave it 9/10
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palaisgourmetextremevanillaA big fan of vanilla, I wanted to try this tea based on the name alone. So it was interesting to me to find a green tea as the sample base. I was surprised as I’ve never thought of green tea combined with vanilla. I tend to think rooibos or black teas would be the base in a vanilla tea.

Be that as it may, when I took a deep preliminary smell of this tea sample, I was pleased with the results and ready to try it out. The base is an organic Japanese green tea. It looks to be a sencha, (though with more the coloring of a Chinese Dragonwell) with long, medium, short and bitty pieces of green tea, nicely flattened and rolled. There are visible chunks (nice quarter inch pieces, some of them!) of vanilla bean in the tea, sourced from Madagascar, Tahiti and Indonesia, also organically grown. Along with the obvious vanilla pieces, there are some straw colored twiggy and thready bits throughout the tea that look to be there for aesthetics. The smell of the tea is distinctly vanilla, and very inviting.

I looked around the website for some information on brew times and amounts to brew and found the website annoyingly lacking in that regard. I found it curious, as well, that while a price for the tea was included at the website, a corresponding ounce or gram amount was not available. For example, this particular tea costs $24.00. Whether that’s for three ounces or one, I can’t say. I took a cruise around the website trying to determine whether a standard sized tin or package is used, which I would imagine to be the case here, but couldn’t find the information!

On to the tea itself. I opted, without more information available, to use one tablespoon of tea to our 24 ounce infuser pot. I heated our water to 175 and steeped three minutes for a first infusion. I used no sweetener for the first infusion. This treatment yields a lovely glowing golden liquor. The green tea is very mild and the distinct vanilla overlay is quite enjoyable. It’s not cloying or artificial tasting. Just very vanilla. The tea has a nice bright taste with a mainly vanilla flavor that lingers a bit in the mouth. There are lots of nice vanilla bean speckles at the bottom of the cup. I think this tea would be well appreciated by someone a little shy of common green tea taste attributes. The green tea taste I found nearly imperceptible. Given that this is a flavored green, that didn’t seem to be a strike against it in this case. Naturally, a vanilla lover should enjoy it pretty well.

My husband and I infused a second pot of the same leaves this time adding less than an 1/8th teaspoon of powdered stevia. I let the infusion linger five minutes. This is a tea I think benefits from just a bit of sweetener. Shawn immediately pronounced that it tasted like a cream soda, and thought it would be delicious iced. I think I concur. The sweetener brings the vanilla to a peak and this tea is lovely cold. I let a cup cool on the windowsill before coming back to it and it is really fine cool/cold. Overall, the vanilla is creamy and sweet and the green tea base lends a little extra mild sweetness and is a surprisingly good match.

I’d confidently recommend this tea to anyone enjoying flavored greens or vanilla or to someone looking for a drink at once sweet and refreshing for summer or anytime. This could be an interesting pairing for dessert, as well. And do try it cold or iced, if you enjoy your tea that way!

Special Offer! Free shipping on all purchases over $50 from AmericanTeaRoom.com.

Teaviews Member: Jamie Jamie
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Review: Tea Palace Afternoon at the Palace

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Tea Palace No Comments »
Patty’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Notes of honey, a bit of peachiness, what I can only call a non-specific summer-sweet-fruity fragrance. You can certainly smell elegant Darjeeling in its heritage."
Patty’s Teaview: 7.1/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 8.5/10, Joe gave it 8.5/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

palaceafternnoon“Afternoon at the Palace is a blend of single estate Darjeeling and China black teas, and has a refreshing light, aromatic taste.” — from the Tea Palace website

It seemed like a good idea to try this tea in the afternoon. (Get it? Afternoon at the Palace?) Unfortunately, my palace is in the desert, and today’s weather really didn’t lend itself to hot tea. 5:30pm showed 110 degrees outside my door, so I contented myself with appreciating the miracle of air conditioning, whilst examining the dry leaves of this tea. The dominant leaf aroma was good “sweet tea”, reminiscent of the tea portion of a tea rose. It seems funny that that doesn’t seem enough; after all, it IS tea, and good tea at that. Notes of honey, a bit of peachiness, what I can only call a non-specific summer-sweet-fruity fragrance. You can certainly smell elegant Darjeeling in its heritage. In appearance, black broken leaves, not a physically glamorous tea, but even homely leaves can turn into a beautifully nuanced tea.

I gave up and took a nap until time for Dodger baseball. It had dropped to the mid-80’s by the end of the game (10pm), so I braved the heat of the kettle and gave it a try. I followed Tea Palace’s brewing suggestions of 2 tsp. leaves, 12 oz. of fully boiling filtered water, and a 4 minute steeping time. The end result was a deep reddish amber liquor with some golden-green lights shifting through here and there. The undistinguished black leaves unfurled themselves into a muted brown calico, with reddish, greenish, even some golden hues. The flavor and texture showed the same subtle complexity. The overall character was a honeyed sweetness, but there was a deeper note, too, on the edge of tannic, but well controlled. Again, a good Darjeeling heritage is very evident.

I got distracted before I could brew my second mug, but it’s tasting really great now with some toast here at 4am. Yes, I keep odd hours, but it works for me. I steeped the second mug for five minutes, with much the same results as the first time, albeit a bit muted. The same tea rose, honeyesque (if that’s a word) character predominates, tasting more than anything like a “just plain good” tea. It tastes wonderful right now, when it’s still quite warm outside, but 66ish here in my office. Living in the desert is very odd at times. With the drapes drawn and my tea and toast at my side, it’s autumn in my imagination.

I can’t say I would or wouldn’t buy this tea, because there are a lot of good everyday teas out there. I can say that this tea is everything Tea Palace promises it to be. If you are a picky black tea drinker, in search of a classy blend, moderately priced for every day, you won’t be disappointed by this lovely tea.

By the way, for those who need convenience, this tea is also available as Crystal Tea Sachets.

— To purchase Tea Palace Afternoon at the Palace, 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: Tea Palace White Peony with Pink Rosebuds

Rose Tea, Tea Palace, White Tea 1 Comment »
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor of the white tea is not masked, but comes through well, soft, smooth, nicely rounded on the tongue."
Lynn’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 7.3/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

teapalacewhitepeonyrosebuds“White tea is the world’s rarest tea as it can only be picked for a few weeks in any one year. Authentic white tea is only grown in the Fujian province in China . . . made from a specific tea plant variety, as well as a particular processing method which raises small silvery hairs on the leaves and buds. White tea has seen a recent increase in popularity and has well-documented antioxidant and detoxifying benefits. Tea Palace is one of very few providers of authentic White Tea in the UK.” —Tea Palace website.

White Peony tea, or Dai Mudan, is a white tea, but not white, rather a dark green leaf, slightly folded. Tea Palace combines this attractive tea with whole, pink, organic rosebuds to make an very pretty mix that smells strongly of roses, with minty, slightly woody undertones.

I infused a generous teaspoonful in a cup of water just under a boil for three minutes. The resulting liquor was a clear, sparkling amber with a heady, very natural rose fragrance. The flavor of the white tea is not masked, but comes through well, soft, smooth, nicely rounded on the tongue, with just a touch of oiliness, probably from the rosebuds. Summer in a cup, you might say, just right for an afternoon with a book or, even better, if there’s a foot of snow on the ground outside, and the roses long gone. Highly recommended.

— To purchase Tea Palace White Peony with Pink Rosebuds, 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: Lynn Lynn
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Review: Grand Tea An Ji Bai Cha

Grand Tea, Green Tea No Comments »
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"An Ji Bai Cha is a real treat for any fan of delicate white teas (despite the fact this is a green). Subtly sweet, beautifully flavorful, and highly engaging. For such a supposedly-rare tea, a price tag under $8 per ounce is a fantastic bargain. "
Dan’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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grandanjibaichaGrand Tea made me laugh, unintentionally, for several reasons. For starters, I stumbled upon a tea that they offer, called Chong Cha. This “tea” is comprised solely of moth larvae feces. Folks, I cannot make this stuff up – head to grandtea.com and search for yourself. I am just hoping (praying) that Grand Tea headquarters is enormous enough so that there is absolutely no danger of my An Ji Bai Cha coming in contact with the Chong Cha.

Another reason I giggled, is that they offer videos on their website for various teas, including An Ji Bai Cha, in which you can grip the edge of your seat and watch the tea steep, right there on your computer screen,. No dialogue, just some Tangerine Dream-esque synthesizer burble, while you admire the leaves floating in the water. I suppose their intent is to show you how the leaves unfurl from their folded-in-half-lengthwise state and drift lazily down in the cup. Nonetheless, it didn’t really affect my decision to want to try the tea, it just kind of had me puzzled.

On to the goods. The majority of the leaves are of good length, and as previously mentioned, apparently “folded” lengthwise for a slender, flat appearance. “Bai Cha” translates to “white tea”, but this is actually a green tea. The confusion lies in that the unprocessed leaves are very pale in color – nearly white. However, the color is a muted yellow-green that brightens up in the cup. Teaviews’ Steven has reviewed another An Ji Bai Cha, which gives a hint of the rich and detailed history of this rare tea. To summarize, a legend from a 900-year old Chinese book mentions a tea plant with jade white leaves. In 1980, someone found a bush in An Ji that is believed to be said bush from the legend. After many years (decades!) of propagation, they are just recently able to harvest this tea in limited quantities. It is quite revered in China these days. There are twice as many amino acids as other green teas.

This tea should be steeped at considerably low temperature – in the 170’s, give or take. I’ve seen steeping recommendations anywhere from 1 minute to 4 minutes. I generally like sticking with a longer brew time, so I kept to the higher range of temp and a 4 minute brew. I may have overdone it, as I can tell the gentle flavors got a bit distorted, but the flavor is still unique and very nice: vegetal impact that sweetens slightly, followed by a mildly bitter aftertaste. I believe a new cupping should be re-evaluated at lower temperature and shorter brew time to give a proper comparison. For my second infusion, I used considerably cooler water, and a 3 minute brew. The results here seem much more akin to what I had been expecting from this tea. A mellowed out flavor, akin to many whites I have had. Way less “bitter” and vegetal than the first cup, this second cup is light as air and extremely refreshing on the palette. A slight spiciness plays up behind overall faint sweetness – with most of the flavors coming forth long into the aftertaste. Extremely pleasant cup. For a third infusion, I kept the temperature range the same as the second cup, and about 30 seconds longer steeping. This yielded entirely different results — here the spiciness was sharp and immediate (mostly on the roof of the mouth, if that even makes sense), but then immediately dissipates, and flavors are more mellow, with overall character being more savory than sweet, in comparison with the prior cup.

A second fresh cup, several days later, indicates that I made a boo-boo with my first steeping — the water temp *really* has to be cool, and mine was much too hot the first time round. Also, teh steeping time should really be kept at 3 minutes or below for the most primo quality, and for extending the quality into multiple infusions. This first cup is sublime from the get go. In fact, it’s the best cup yet, out of the four so far. Subsequent cups are even more fabulous than I remember from the first go-round.

An Ji Bai Cha is a real treat for any fan of delicate white teas. Subtly sweet, beautifully flavorful, and highly engaging. For such a supposedly-rare tea, a price tag under $8 per ounce is a fantastic bargain. All the folklore aside, the taste is what counts, and this is well worth 50 cents a cup (or about 17 cents a cup if steeped 3 times!).

— To purchase Grand Tea An Ji Bai Cha, 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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