Review: Culinary Teas Assam Bukhial

Black Tea, Culinary Teas No Comments »
JennH’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Assam Bukhail is the perfect breakfast tea to kick start your day. "
JennH’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Other Teaviews: Dan gave it 8.5/10, Melanie gave it 9.1/10, Geoff gave it 9/10, Jamie gave it 7.5/10, CJ gave it 9/10, Dave gave it 6.5/10
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My husband and I are going on a short hiking trip in Yosemite, and I’m currently racking my brain trying not to forget any essential items. I admittedly take the idea of being prepared for any situation a bit far, but if an emergency ever rears its ugly head I’ll have the waterproof matches, insulated blankets, protein bars, extra rope, and water purification tablets necessary to save the day. Being the responsible party requires fortification, so I’m enjoying a cup of Culinary Teas’ Assam Bukhail this morning to give me the edge I’ll need to prepare for any and all hiking related worst-case scenarios.

I thoroughly enjoy Assam teas. I can find an appreciation for any number of different teas, but a good, strong, flavorful cup of Assam would be my first choice more often than not. Assam Bukhail from Culinary Teas hails from the Bukhail tea estate owned by George Willamson Assam Ltd. George Willamson Assam Ltd. is the world’s largest privately held tea plantation group and it’s located near a remote region of Assam called Nagaland. How do I know this? Not only does Culinary Teas offer a superior selection of fine teas for sale, but they also offer extensive information for every tea they sell. The ladies of Culinary Tea are defiantly doing something very right.

Assam Bukhail’s leaves are leggy, wiry, and dark black in color with beautiful golden tips mixed in. The aroma of the dry leaves is sweet and malty. Once brewed, the infusion is a bright, ruddy, golden color with a nose very much as the dry leaves promised. My first sip is full and flavorly with the characteristic malty essence you expect from a good Assam tea. The rich, round body is just perfect with a clean finish that compels me to take another sip, and another, and yet another…

I brewed Assam Bukhail at 212 degrees for five minutes and this resulted in a really delicious, strong cup of tea. I enjoyed my first cup without anything added, but I put a bit of almond milk in my second cup and that developed more of the malty flavor I love. I highly recommend Assam Bukhail as a breakfast tea to kick start your day.

— To purchase Culinary Teas Assam Bukhial, 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: JennH JennH
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Review: The Necessiteas Sweet Almond

Almond Tea, Black Tea, Coconut Tea, The Necessiteas No Comments »
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The coconut seems to provide more of a creamy fullness to the tea than a ton of flavor, which is just fine in my book. The almond flavor is definitely sweet, but it's nutty more than marzipan in flavor."
Jamie’s Teaview: 7.5/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 10/10, Vanessa gave it 8.5/10, Daniel gave it 8.4/10
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I tried an almond tea many months ago that just enchanted me, it was so delicious. I have been on the lookout for almond flavored teas since then and couldn’t pass up a chance to sample the sweet almond tea offered by Necessiteas. The leaf of this ceylon black tea is short and lightly wiry and is liberally interspersed with small chips of toasted coconut and slivers of almond. Scent wise, this one has a sweet, strong almond scent – marzipan like – and coconut is not too much a part of the scent profile.

I brewed a teaspoon of leaf in 8 ounces of just boiled water and allowed it to infuse for three minutes. (The Necessiteas website mentions that you can steep this tea up to five minutes but I like to start on the shorter side of things). I also tried this sample with some light sweetener added.

The cup is tan orange in color and has a resoundingly sweet scent in which you can discern both coconut and almond. The taste is definitely sweet and almond-y, just as the name suggests. The Ceylon base is neither bitter nor sour and seems a proper, slightly delicate backdrop for the almond. The coconut seems to provide more of a creamy fullness to the tea than a ton of flavor, which is just fine in my book. The almond is more pronounced in the flavor profile and frankly I wouldn’t have minded if the coconut had been omitted. The almond flavor is definitely sweet, but it’s nutty more than marzipan in flavor. I liked that. This tea didn’t have an “extract” kind of intensity so it didn’t come across as artificial tasting.

I thought this was a perfect dessert tea sipped alongside some almond cookies or apple pie as well as making for a great afternoon tea in lieu of a snack. I loved it with a little sweetener added as it seemed to bring out the almond flavor in all its fragrant sweetness. This tea also got a big thumbs up from my husband. Very enjoyable.

— To purchase The Necessiteas Sweet Almond, 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: Norbu Tea 2010 Ban Po Lao Zhai Mao Cha Loose Sheng Pu-Erh Tea

Norbu Tea, Pu'er Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Delicious and interesting, this tea far exceeded my expectations."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9.7/10
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This is the Fall 2010 leaf from the Ban Po Lao Zhai village in Nannuo Shan. Mao cha is partly processed pu-erh that hasn’t been pressed into anything. That means that, while this is a legitimate tea, it’s essentially unfinished. Which makes it all the more impressive that this tastes and behaves the way it does. The leaves are large and shimmering with shades of green and silver, and they smell like an odd combination of smoke and mint.

I steep 1 tablespoon with boiling water for three minutes. I get a beautiful crisp and clear liquor with the same minty, smoky scent as the leaves. The taste is an odd combination that somehow melds together into a wonderful cup. I get floral, earthy, minty, and vegetal notes with a mild sweetness. The mint dissipates somewhat as the tea cools, but it wasn’t an unwelcome addition. Smooth and somewhat complex, this lacks the harshness of a young pu-erh. It doesn’t quite have the character of an aged tea, but it also doesn’t resemble a baby pu-erh.

Steep two is four minutes. I get a beautiful, smooth, and interesting cup. There is now a slight woodiness, and the cup still lacks bitterness or harshness.

Steep three is five minutes, and number four is ten. I expected the tea to last another steep or two, but the quality of the four infusions I did get out of the leaf was impressive. Delicious and interesting, this tea far exceeded my expectations. If you tend to avoid younger pu-erhs, this may be one you could still enjoy. It acts older than it is, and I found it delightful.

— To purchase Norbu Tea 2010 Ban Po Lao Zhai Mao Cha Loose Sheng Pu-Erh 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: Katie Katie
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Review: The Persimmon Tree Tea Coconut Creme

Coconut Tea, Cornflower Tea, Safflower Tea, The Persimmon Tree Tea Co, White Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This has to be one of the best coconut teas that I have tried and I know that I will be picking up some more for myself. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 9.4/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10
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A relaxing day is perfect for a relaxing tea and I have to say that despite the caffeine I have always found that white teas are very relaxing. Perhaps it is my tendency to want to just sit and savor them. Almost like a tea meditation where random thoughts are welcome to join the party.

Today my tea of choice is a white tea flavored by coconut. Anyone that has read very many of my reviews knows just how much I love coconut in my tea especially if it has that slightly oily texture from the coconut. This blend consists of white peony tea, coconut, safflowers, and cornflowers. It makes for a very pretty tea with all the ingredients making their presences known. The aroma is pure coconut and if a scent could have a texture I would say that this one is thick and oily.

I set it up to brew using 2 rounded tablespoons of leaves to 5 cups of water. I let it steep for 3 minutes at 180 degrees. It brews up into a rich gold liquor that really does smell like a coconut cream pie. Mouthwatering!

Straight from the pot, it does have a bit of a bite with a coconut chaser. The coconut itself isn’t as present as I was expecting from the aroma. Since this is a desert tea however and since I do prefer my teas with a touch of rock sugar, I doctored my tea. It really made a world of difference. Now the coconut is standing up and waving its arms about. Its there from the very beginning of the sip all the way thru a lingering sweet aftertaste. This is a medium bodied tea with the slightly oily texture that I am so love.

This has to be one of the best coconut teas that I have tried and I know that I will be picking up some more for myself. I am tempted to go grab some now but I have a few other samples to check out first. But I would say that if you love coconut teas then be sure to get some of this wonderful tea for yourself.

— To purchase The Persimmon Tree Tea Coconut Creme, 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Grand Tea White Down Silver Needle

Grand Tea, White Tea No Comments »
JennH’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"White tea is special, natural, sacred, virginal, beautiful, and sometimes very nearly tasteless."
JennH’s Teaview: 7.6/10
Other Teaviews: Steven gave it 6/10, Katie gave it 6.8/10, Rebecca gave it 7.5/10
Your Reviews: 3/10
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grandteawhiteilverWhite tea is special, natural, sacred, virginal, beautiful, and sometimes very nearly tasteless. I know that Baihao Yinzhen is a masterpiece of nature worthy of my utmost respect and admiration. I do respect and admire this tea greatly, but for me drinking a cup of Baihao Yinzhen is much like hearing a beloved opera sung in a whispered voice. As much as I know that I’m in the presence of true greatness, I can’t help but struggle to hear it.

GrandTea generously provided me with a sample of their Baihao Yinzhen that is also known as White Down Silver Needle. Two brothers with a passion for tea founded GrandTea in 2002. GrandTea’s passion for tea is evident to me in the extensive information they provide for every tea they sell. I have a great appreciation for tea companies that care enough to provide the consumer with as much information as possible about the tea they’re buying.

Organic White Down Silver Needle’s jade green buds are coved in gorgeous silky silver hairs. I couldn’t resist fishing a few of the buds out of my sample bag for closer examination, and well, to pet them. The aroma of the buds is fresh, sweet, and vaguely floral. The infusion is translucent with a just hint of a golden glow. My first sip has a slight vegetal essence and the finish is sweet. There’s very little astringency and the liquor has a lovely, smooth, mouth-coating feel. The overall flavor is predictably understated, but what I wasn’t expecting was how refreshing GrandTea’s Organic White Down Silver Needle would be. As my tea cooled I found myself greedily gulping down the remainder of my cup.

I brewed White Down Silver Needle at 170 degrees for 1 minute as per the brewing instructions on GrandTea’s website. I drank my tea free of any additives and I surprisingly found myself craving a second cup. Baihao Yinzhen may never be my first choice of white teas, but GrandTeas’s Organic White Down Silver Needle is a fine tea and I’m very glad to have tried it.

— To purchase Grand Tea White Down Silver Needle, 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: JennH JennH
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Review: The Spice and Tea Exchange Black Chocolate

Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Chocolate Tea, The Spice and Tea Exchange No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor is rich and satisfying, yet the tea maintains a medium-body and does not feel heavy or dull. This tea delivers an authentic chocolate flavor that will please any chocoholic and satisfy a dessert craving"
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8.4/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 6/10, CJ gave it 5.5/10, Dan gave it 8.8/10, Chelsy gave it 7.5/10
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Black Chocolate Tea is my introduction to the Spice & Tea Exchange, a company that offers a nice variety of food and drink related products that focus on spices, seasonings, rubs, teas, and oils/blends. I intend to spend some time perusing their website to see all of the yummy stuff they have to offer. Being a big fan of chocolate, I was happy to sample the Black Chocolate tea they offer, which is described as “Fine black Ceylon tea is blended with pieces of rich dark chocolate”. Two things struck me about this tea: first, it is a simple chocolate-flavored black tea (as I have had so many decadent chocolate-themed teas lately, but it is refreshing to have a tea that is flavored with chocolate and nothing else), and second, the chocolate flavor appears to be naturally added rather than resorting to chemical means and artificial ingredients. The blend has a fairly strong and sweet chocolaty aroma which does make me suspicious of additional flavorings being added, but since I cannot locate an ingredients list on the website, I cannot know if my suspicion is true.
I brewed the leaves in boiling water for three minutes. The brewed tea passes the sniff test, with the chocolate being easily detectable in the aroma of the tea. The flavor is rich and satisfying, yet the tea maintains a medium-body and does not feel heavy or dull, as can sometimes be the case if a tea is too heavily flavored or if a too-strong base is used. This tea delivers an authentic chocolate flavor that will please any chocoholic and satisfy a dessert craving. Have I had better chocolate tea? Yes, certainly, but this offering holds its own and is something I would drink again without hesitation and would also recommend to others.

— To purchase The Spice and Tea Exchange Black 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: Vanessa Vanessa
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