Review: American Tea Room Royal Mandarin

American Tea Room, Citrus Tea, Lemon Myrtle Tea, White Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"My first cup of Royal Mandarin really surprised me. I loved the citrus flavors and I even enjoyed the lemon. The white tea has a naturally sweet flavor and the jasmine enhances that sweetness."
Melanie’s Teaview: 10/10
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I might not have tried Royal Madarin white tea blend from American Tea Room if it wasn’t for the Jasmine. “A beguiling organic blend of white tea with notes of mandarines, grapefruit, lemon myrtle and jasmine.” I’m typically not a huge fan of citrus and I don’t put lemon in my tea. I would have missed out on one of my new favorite teas!

When I first opened the package, the luscious smell of mandarins hits the nose. But the look of this lovely white tea is even more enchanting. It’s clearly a blend of whites, with large flat leaves and long skinny silver leaves.

My first cup of Royal Mandarin really surprised me. I loved the citrus flavors and I even enjoyed the lemon. The white tea has a naturally sweet flavor and the jasmine enhances that sweetness.

One thing I always appreciate about teas from American Tea Room, is that they print the instructions right on the package. They give a water temp and infusion time.

I knew after my first cup of hot tea that I would have to try this one iced. I use a 4 cup measuring cup and put four large scoops of tea. I bring the water to the right temperature and steep it the first time for the time on the package (5 min). Then I repeat that but add a minute to the infusion time. I steep it a third time and add another min. The fourth time I only add 2 cups of water and add another minute. Then I let that cool, refrigerate until cold and serve it over ice.

I have many different white and green teas that I use this technique to make iced tea. I must admit, this is one of my favorites this summer! The iced tea is so naturally sweet, with a light lemon/citrus flavor! I have it in my cup all day long!

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

Teaviews Member: Melanie Melanie
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Review: iTeapot A Li Shan Oolong

iTeapot, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"More mineral than anything else."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.1/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9.7/10, Shaiha gave it 6.5/10, Chelsy gave it 5.0/10, Bryan gave it 7/10
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This company does one thing, which is oolongs, and so far in my experience, they’ve done it well. I haven’t had enough samples from them to make a final decision yet, but iTeapot has really caught my attention. I make no secret about the fact that I absolutely love high mountain (or Gao Shan) oolongs, especially from Taiwan, so I’m excited for yet another chance to try an A Li shan, especially from a company that has so piqued my interest. The leaves are surprisingly large balls with a brilliant emerald colour. They’re a bit twiggy for a balled Gao Shan, but they’re still visually appealing.

I put 8 grams of leaf in a 200 mL pre-heated glass teapot, rinse, and steep for 30 seconds at a temperature I didn’t bother to write down. I suspect 180°, since that’s my go-to for jade oolongs. The cup smells weak, but it tastes creamy and sweet with a hint of mineral flavour. It has a hint of floral flavour and a wonderful honey aftertaste. It could have used another 20 seconds, but it’s copacetic. The steeped leaves smell pleasantly creamy.

Steep 2 is 50 seconds. The aroma is simple and creamy. The flavour is still creamy, but now it’s more mineral than anything else. It’s simple and light and satisfying. It’s exactly the type of oolong I like to drink everyday. It’s easy to drink and affordable enough that you can indulge frequently, but it has enough flavour to keep it interesting.

Steep 3: 1.5 minutes. Four: 2 minutes. Not deep or brilliant, but straight up tasty. Five: 3 minutes, and I’ve bumped the temperature up to 195°. It’s a bit bitter, but I feel that pairs well with the mineral taste. Steep 6: 4 minutes. Seven: 5 minutes. Seven steeps at this price point is a respectable amount. This leaf does focus on the mineral aspect, so if you don’t prefer that, it won’t be to your taste. My husband made the comment, “This is how mineral water should taste,” and I have to agree.

It’s official: iTeapot does one thing and they do it very well. Sometimes it’s nice to order from a company with a wide variety of tea, but when a company focuses on a single genre, country, etc., they can do beautiful things.

— To purchase iTeapot A Li Shan 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: Katie Katie
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Review: White August King of Buddha

Oolong Tea, Ti Kuan Yin Tea, White August Tea Co. No Comments »
Bryan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Overall, this tea reaches towards being a very high quality tea, but the roughness is somewhat off-putting."
Bryan’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 6.2/10, Vanessa gave it 7.3/10, Geoff gave it 7.8/10
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White August Tea Company was founded in 2008 by Tamara Graham and her husband, Matt. Originally having only storefront, they now use their website for sales. According to their website, They offer over 115 teas of various kinds, from flavored teas and tisanes all the way to traditional teas from China, Japan and India.

The “King of Buddha” is technically a Tie Guan Yin, which is a type of oolong that is oxidized to a lesser degree than Wuyi Yancha. The leaves of the King of Buddha are medium sized balled up leaves with a light sweet aroma. The color of the dry leaves ranges from light green, like an olive, all the way to very dark green.

This tea was brewed Gongfu Style, using 3.5 grams of leaf in a 100ml Gaiwan.

The first two infusions were merely opening up the leaves. The first came through as light and with a slightly grainy flavor and a rather powerful huigan after the gulf. There were also notable notes of tropical fruit along with some tartness. Cup two, in this case, was essentially the same.

Infusion Three had a smoother mouthfeel, with less roughness resting on the tongue and cheeks. The body in this infusion was thin, mostly due to the 10 second infusion time. The aftertaste is complex and floral.

Cup four became more bitter, with a rougher mouthfeel than the previous cup. Letting the tea cool reveals a smoother mouthfeel, slightly thicker body and more sweetness. As usual, the aftertaste is floral, complex, and longer lasting than that of previous infusions.

Cups five and six began to decline flavor wise, with less of the initial floral notes in the liquor and a more dry, grassy taste. The sweet flavor was becoming distant, but the aftertaste was still there in the fifth cup. By cup six, there was just a hint of flavor left in the cup.

Overall, this tea reaches towards being a very high quality tea, but the roughness is somewhat off-putting. Don’t get me wrong though, this tea has excellent flavor and aftertaste, along with leaving a good feeling after drinking it. Despite it’s shortcomings, this is very enjoyable tea.

— To purchase White August King of Buddha, 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: Bryan Bryan
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Review: American Tea Room Confections

American Tea Room, Darjeeling Tea, Tea Musings, Tea Snacks No Comments »
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Tea bark: The source of the toothsome aroma was a luscious dark semisweet chocolate bark enhanced with American Tea Room Tangier Black Tea and bits of dried apricot. Intensely rich, a little went a long way. That’s the great thing about quality chocolate; you don’t need very much to satisfy. This one was a definite thumbs up."
Lynn’s Teaview: 10/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 6.8/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10, Chelsy gave it 9.4/10, Jamie gave it 8.5/10, Laura gave it 8.5/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10
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When I received my eagerly awaited package of samples from American Tea room, the first thing I did was inhale. Chocolate! Rich, mouthwatering chocolate! In shiny wrappers and lovely little boxes, delights made by Valerie Confections awaited my gustatory experimentation.

The next thing I did was restrain myself and brew up a pot of American Tea Room’s Giddapahar China Delight First Flush Darjeeling 2010 that I had on hand. I wanted something light and refreshing, something that would clear my palate between noshes and not overpower the other flavors. Its hint of citrus made it a very suitable choice. After all, ATR stresses the proper pairing of food and tea.

Ah, and now it was time to indulge.

Tea bark: The source of the toothsome aroma was a luscious dark semisweet chocolate bark enhanced with American Tea Room Tangier Black Tea and bits of dried apricot. Intensely rich, a little went a long way. That’s the great thing about quality chocolate; you don’t need very much to satisfy. This one was a definite thumbs up.

Brioche Tea Cake: this moist little mouthful was made with ATR’s Brioche tea and had a smooth almond flavor, with notes of cinnamon and black tea. The light icing was crunchy and not overly sweet. Very nice.

Lavender Earl Grey Tea cake- This pretty little cake, which ended up being my favorite of the collection, was flavored and scented with lavender, bergamot, and black Yunnan tea. It makes its first impressing with a sweet lavender fragrance that rises from the moist, speckled cake. I can only describe the flavor as delicate and warm, with very strong bergamot and lavender flavors, underlain by the warmth of spices like (I am guessing here) nutmeg, mace, and the tea. The tart lemony icing kept it all from being too sweet. The flavor in its entirety lingers on the tongue just like its namesake tea. Very unique. If I could choose only one sweet to have, this would be it.

Earl Grey Petit Four- “Enrobed” is the perfect word for these delicacies. They are covered in a thick layer of flavored chocolate. Cutting this one in half revealed delicate layers of cream and cake interleaved beneath the luscious shell of rich, buttery, citrus tinged white chocolate covering. The aroma was bergamot and lemon, with undertones of the tea. Citrus was the dominant note with this one and it was especially nice with the Darjeeling. It is topped prettily with a sugared rose petal.

Matcha Petit Four. My second favorite, in part because it is the most unusual. The outer layer is smooth white chocolate with a hint of lemon. The cake layers inside were matcha green and matcha flavored, tempered by the sweetness of the cake and icing. Like the Earl Grey, it was extremely rich, but the matcha leavened the flavor and doesn’t allow it to overwhelm. It is topped with a button of matcha-flavored white chocolate that deserves to be savored on its own.

So, everything was delish, and grading them is only by matter of degree. I rank the tea bark in its own category, and declare it Not To Be Missed by lovers of really good chocolate. I loved, loved, loved the pair with apricot.

I preferred the tea cakes over the petit fours. The latter were lovely, but almost overwhelmingly rich. Small as they were, I split them with my husband and was quite satisfied with half. As for the cakes, he would have to arm wrestle me for the Earl Grey. As stated above, this was my absolute favorite. The Brioche is lovely, too, but almond is not my favorite flavor. All the same, the Earl Grey beats it just by a whisker.

I spent some time pondering other teas I might have with these. I would highly recommend American Tea Room’s Ruby Black, which is smooth and unique—another Not To Be Missed item. A Golden Monkey or Yunnan Golden Needles would also be very nice. Greens would not work for me, but they might for you. I think a white would be too easily overwhelmed by the sweetness of the confections. So, a black. The trick is to keep the tea as a light compliment, rather than the star of the show, but it needs to be able to hold its own, too.

The American Tea Room carries a number of other flavors in these confections, too, including passion fruit and ginger petit fours, and a milk chocolate bark sprinkled with almonds and candied citrus. Some are available by mail; others must be experienced in the store. I can’t wait until my next visit!

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

Teaviews Member: Lynn Lynn
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Review: The Necessiteas Orange Glow Rooibos

Orange Tea, Rooibos Tea, Rose Tea, Vanilla Tea No Comments »
Emma’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Strong scents of vanilla and orange. I was afraid these flavors would overpower the delicate rose, but it did not."
Emma’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 7.5/10, Brad gave it 5/10, Vanessa gave it 7.5/10
Your Reviews: 5.5/10
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This tea combines three of my favorite tea elements when done well: rooibos base, rose petals and orange. I have always been a fan of Necessiteas’ blends, so I wasn’t afraid to give this one a try. I wasn’t disappointed.

Dry this tea looks beautiful. The intermingling of pinkish rose petals with bright orange peel is a delight just to see. As it was steeping, the scent of orange overwhelmed my kitchen to the point that my roommate asked me what I was making for dessert!

In the mug, steeped tea had the signature orange/red color of rooibos with strong scents of vanilla and orange. I was afraid these flavors would overpower the delicate rose, but it did not. The liquor tasted a lot like orange and a little like rose with hints of vanilla on the back end. All in all, the tea tasted as described, a very lovely combination.

— To purchase The Necessiteas Orange Glow Rooibos, 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: Emma Emma
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Review: White August Plum Proud

Black Tea, Cranberry Tea, Plum Tea, Raspberry Tea, Strawberry Tea, Uncategorized, White August Tea Co. No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Iced, the tannins in the leaves merge with the fruit flavours to create a definite thirst-quenching effect. However, hot or cold, the blend seems plagued with a chemical-tasting aftertaste. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 5.1/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 8.8/10, Vanessa gave it 7.7/10, Melanie gave it 10/10, Laura gave it 7.75/10, Chantal gave it 7/10, Chelsy gave it 8.0/10, Erika gave it 7/10
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This is my first foray into White August’s offerings. Their user-friendly website describes this blend as a mix of black tea, plums, cranberries and raspberries, “kissed with just a touch of strawberry essence”. Other than specifying that this is a good candidate for iced tea, the information provided is scant. I couldn’t find an ingredient list, the provenance of the tea or any brewing instructions – all things I look for before I place an order. I’m also not too keen on artificial flavourings being added to teas, but I can live with them if the results are truly delicious. At a glance my sample is rather attractive, the small ebony-coloured leaves mingling with fiery red flower petals and slivers of fruit. The aroma is tart, sweet and fruity, perhaps a little too intensely so, since the first thing that popped into my head upon taking a sniff was a dancing pitcher of red Kool-Aid…. Here’s hoping the taste doesn’t live up to that impression!

In the absence of directions, I used my standard brewing parameters for black tea. I infused a teaspoonful of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 98 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. The brew presents a nice, rich shade of brown, with a gold tinge around the rim. The aroma of the steeped cup is much more subdued, combining subtle red berry and malt notes. The flavour profile is predominantly sweet and tart, yet smooth. I would not identify this tea as plum flavoured in a blind taste test. I can easily pick out the raspberries and the strawberries though. The tea base brings no harshness or bitterness to the cup whatsoever and leaves a pleasant malty taste on the back of the tongue. An acceptable second steep can be had following a 3 and a half minute infusion. Other than being slightly less tart, and tasting more like cherries, it’s remarkably similar to the first cup. I also tried a portion of this tea iced. The tannins in the leaves merge with the fruit flavours to create a better balanced cup and a definite thirst-quenching effect.

Despite all these good qualities I wouldn’t reach for this tea on a regular basis. Hot or cold, the blend seems plagued with a chemical-tasting aftertaste. It’s a little too intensely fruity and artificial-seeming to me. This impression might be more psychological than anything, but I wouldn’t be inclined to buy this product. While certainly adequate to drink in a pinch, there are better tasting fruit blends out there.

— To purchase White August Plum Proud, 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: Sophie Sophie
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