Review: Murchie’s Tea and Coffee Diamond Jubilee

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Ceylon Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Murchies Tea and Coffee, Yunnan Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A well-done blend that brings the versatile flavors of many black teas into one robust and refreshing cup."
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8.2/10
Other Teaviews: CJ gave it 9/10, Jamie gave it 8.5/10, Christopher gave it 8.2/10
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Diamond Jubilee is a special blend commemorating the 60th of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. It is a mix of Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Yunnan, also known as the key players in the world of black tea. Most black tea blends that I have sampled before are a blend of 2 types of black tea, so I was really interested to sample this multi-variety blend. I was surprised at the diversity of leaf quality in my sample. Some pieces were very large whole leaves, others were tiny dusty particles. I considered using a conservative brew time given the smaller particles in the mix, but since the majority of the blend seemed to be larger sized leaves, I used a three minute steep time in boiling water. My first reaction to this tea was somewhat of a recoil as I realized how much bite it had. I won’t say it was bitter, but it certainly had a little zip to it. I really thought that I should add some sugar to the tea to cut what was a bit of a harsh first impression, but after a few more sips, my taste buds acclimated to the blend and I began to really enjoy this tea. This tea has malty, fruity, and muscately notes delivered in a robust tea that serves one well as a breakfast tea. I ended up having all of my sample straight up with nothing added, but given it’s rather heavy body, I think it would do fine with the addition of milk and/or sugar. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this tea was also delicious as an iced tea, where it stood out as a brisk and bold brew. Bottom line: this is a well-done blend that brings the versatile flavors of many black teas into one robust and refreshing cup.

— To purchase Murchie’s Tea and Coffee Diamond Jubilee, 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: Kally Tea White Bubbly Berry

Kally Tea, Raspberry Tea, White Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Fruity in an artificial, candy sort of way."
Katie’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Raven gave it 8.6/10
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The “bubbly” in this tea’s name refers to champagne, and this is somehow not my first berry-champagne flavoured tea. I try a couple of different configurations, and I’m happiest with 1.5 Tablespoons per cup at 180° for three minutes.

The scent lacks distinction, making it, while not exactly unappealing, unexciting. The flavour is fruity in an artificial, candy sort of way, like (it’s probably odd how often I think this) Flintstones chewable vitamins. The raspberry flavour is true to the fruit, and the champagne flavour is pretty vague, but it adds a subtle acidity. Even with lots of leaf, this tea lacks oomph or proper depth. The white tea doesn’t stand up to the flavourings, which aren’t good enough to fly on their own merits.

Both the scent and flavour border on bland, no matter how much leaf I use, and neither is stand-out delicious. It’s Okay; I’m not disappointed. I’m just not excited. It doesn’t manage to stand out as an champagne-flavoured tea, a berry-flavoured tea, or as a white tea.

— To purchase Kally Tea White Bubbly Berry, 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: Hari’s Treasure New Sensation

Hari's Treasure, Herbal Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Mint Tea No Comments »
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I was afraid this would be another case of one flavor decimating another, but in fact, the two potent ingredients play nicely together, and both seem to be tempered from their usual nature of assaulting the taste buds."
Dan’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Josie gave it 4.5/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
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Hari Tea tries to create tisanes and tea blends that evoke specific moods or feelings. With ‘New Sensation’, a blend of hibiscus and mint, they pair two powerfully “refreshing” ingredients in an attempt to evoke those feelings of youth, the excitement of new energies. The allude to the fact that as adults, we spend a lot of time and money to try to create these feelings. Purporting that this simple blend of ingredients can replace the excitement of a new car, or the adrenaline rush of winning a ball game, may be a bit of a stretch. But it can’t be denied that it is indeed refreshing, and even the marriage of the two simple ingredients is likely to be a “new sensation” to most palates.

A full-boil (slightly tempered) brewed up for 4-6 minutes is recommended, and I find the middle of that range to be very nice. The liquor brews up to a rosy pink hue. Aroma is slight, but it hints at a nice, even blend. I was afraid this would be another case of one flavor decimating another, but in fact, the two potent ingredients play nicely together, and both seem to be tempered from their usual nature of assaulting the taste buds. On the other hand, I do wish for a bit more “wow” factor. I don’t doubt these are fresh ingredients, but utilizing a tad more pungent mint might have brought this to another level – particularly when talking about a “new sensation”. That said, this now becomes a very drinkable cup – completely refreshing, and without an annoying overbearingness.

Although I didn’t try this one iced (yet), I suspect it would make a great poolside companion. When imbibed hot, the cool/refreshing notes juxtaposed with the warming sensations create a perfect sense of balanced comfort – always a winning cup to this palate.

— To purchase Hari’s Treasure New Sensation, 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: ThepuriTea Jasmine Silver Needle

Jasmine Tea, thepuriTea, White Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The leaves and the jasmine are expertly blended and complement each other perfectly. This blend's velvety sweetness and refreshing finish really stand out. Highly recommended!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.1/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 7.5/10, Kyle gave it 8.9/10, Shaiha gave it 7.2/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
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This blend promises a “robust, sweet, smooth jasmine flavour”. The needles are large, plump and velvety. A few yellow shreds of flower petals can also be seen here and there. A gentle jasmine aroma perfumes the leaves. While it’s not very strong, the blooms’ scent is rather satisfying in that it’s complex, subtle and not at all cloying.

Since I did not find any recommended brewing instructions on thepuriTea’s website, I relied on my usual method for white teas. I steeped 3 grams of leaf (about 2 teaspoonfuls) in 8 ounces of water heated to 65 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes. The pale gold-coloured cup has an uplifting jasmine aroma. Again it’s rather discrete but satisfying. The blend does not disappoint, displaying velvety smooth floral tones mixed with sweet peach, honeydew and grass notes. The finish has a delicious honeyed quality to it that is clean and refreshing. The leaves and the jasmine are expertly blended and complement each other perfectly.

I tried a second steep following a 7 minute-long infusion. The tea is much less sweet this time around, with lots of gentle hay and grass notes. It now seems to feature the leaves rather than the blooms. This is a different but equally good cup compared to the first.

A better than average third cup can even be had. After a 9 minute brew, the results are sweet and smooth. The jasmine is still there but has receded further into the background. Fortunately the leaves lend their delicate grape, honeydew and grass notes to fill the gap admirably. Again the finish is clean and crisply satisfying.

This blend’s velvety sweetness and refreshing finish really stand out. While both the leaves and the blooms are generously flavourful, the results are rather delicate overall. I’m not sure that this tea would stand up to the strong-tasting foods thepuriTea suggests as pairings. Besides, this is a tea that deserves to be enjoyed on it’s own. While it’s expensive, it does seem worthwhile considering its quality and the labour involved to scent the leaves. Also a number of formats are available starting at 3$, so jasmine fans don’t have to break the bank to try it out. Highly recommended!

Special Offer! For a limited time, thepuriTea is offering deep discounts exclusively for Teaviews readers. Get 20% off (no minimum purchase) with the coupon code: TEAVIEWS. Shop now at thepuriTea.com.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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Review: Wan Ling Tea House Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin

Oolong Tea, Ti Kuan Yin Tea, Wan Ling Tea House No Comments »
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Despite the high oxidation, the roasty, oak leaf character falls into a sweetly tart aftertaste."
Raven’s Teaview: 7.6/10
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Despite the trend in lighter oxidized Tie Guan Yin, the first one I tried was actually a heavier one. While I’m easily enamoured by the green style, I still always fall upon a craving for the dark, roasted goodness. But they are none too easy to find these days, particularly from China, so upon trying Wan Ling Tea House for the first time, their Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin seemed a must try. I was surprised to find just how heavily oxidized the tea was as at 70-80% oxidation, it trumps most traditional style Tie Guan Yin and approaches Bai Hao oolongs. Yet, with such a high oxidation, it naturally ages well and their Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin is actually from a spring harvest of 2010.

Right from the start, the tea brings riches, dressed in a gold cello package. But it was some disheartening to find the seal on the package didn’t go right to the edge, close but not quite. Yet, fully opened, the leaves bring a renewed enthusiasm from their medium roasty bouquet. While the roast has some roar, it isn’t overpowering or one-sided, bringing a bit of char and warmth to a woody leafiness, like corn husks and kindling, for a pleasant greeting. Speaking up, the leaves reveal a colourful gradation of dark browns, near chocolate brown in colour with a few greeny taupe and black ones, rolled into their familiar semi-rolled balls for bunched commas and closer wound nuggets. With a matte, slightly dusty finish, a few look a touch dry with their sides worn, likely as they tossled while imparting the roast.

To quench their thirst and bring them to life, Wan Ling Tea House recommends steeping 5-7 grams of tea in 150-200 mL water starting at 60 seconds for the first two steeps and adding thirty seconds for each subsequent infusion. The first brew begins with a lovely leafy graininess wrapped with a hint of sweetness and the roast’s shape for a Honeysmacks kind of puffed wheat aroma with a touch of willowy sappiness from a branch-ish floral. Already a medium bouquet, it has a masculine grip with an almost brothy scope as if a bit salty while gaining structure from the sap-like notes. Following suit, the medium body has a soft, woody roast flavour with some acidity lining one’s tongue that adds a bit of freshness to the darker flavours. While it isn’t overly bold flavoured, the body and feel also lightens the density of its bravado, along with a bit of caramel tinge to the roasted character. As this sweetness follows into a light aftertaste, it builds with a slightly astringent young woodiness with a hint of butter for an interesting dynamic.

The second infusion actually starts to relax with a light to medium aroma that still has some graininess with more of a mineral dark leafiness from the roast, like rain on dry oak leaves. While not astringent, the light to medium body has enough acidity to be a bit fuzzy tasting with a kind of roast nut husks flavour. The flow is slower with a touch of acidity that culminates in a medium aftertaste, playfully evoking unripe persimmons.

Although it’s hard to tell from the leaves, as they maintain a crinked kind of appearance, even after a full round of infusions due to the roast, the leaves are still lively enough for three more cups. Even with the black scents, the nourishing aromas persist from the roast with a roasted corn aroma but with a bit of a dry, mineral spin for more of roasted dry corn or grain that lapses into a lima bean-like weight. It has an inviting wholesomeness while not being really rich or starchy. The bouquets retain a slight edge with a hint of astringent vineyness to give it bark and sturdiness.

The flavour continues to have a pleasing oak leaf nuttiness, somewhat akin to walnuts. It has a waxy smoothness that verges on bitter with hint of raw sharpness that you get with the odd nut with part of the hull or raw grain but it isn’t bothersome. As the body remains light, it counterbalances the denseness of the roasty bolder flavours that maintain a soft flintiness to the leafy nuttiness. As a result, it seems stealthier and structured rather than sumptuously hearty yet, it lends an endearing stoicism like old leather chairs and cigars. Although the high degree of roast seems to bring less range to the flavour through the cups, the tea still builds with a waiver of sweetness in the aftertaste that culminates in a serendipitous fruity finale.

From the flipside of Tie Guan Yin to walk on the darker side, Wan Ling Tea House’s Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin has a mean strut. The roasty character isn’t overly robust to conjure a very fall inspired nostalgia. Yet, with its smouldering nutty soled rhythm, it’s bound to be a great way to kick back any time of year.

— To purchase Wan Ling Tea House Heavily Roasted Tie Guan Yin, 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: Raven Raven
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Review: JING Tea Nilgiri Frost

Black Tea, JING Tea, Nilgiri Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Subtle notes of grass, honey and grain; the general impression is a clean and easy-drinking cup. "
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 6.2/10, Katie gave it 8.7/10, Raven gave it 8/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

JING tea has a wonderful reputation of offering top-notch teas for the sophisticated tea drinker and the newcomer alike. I typically associate JING with Chinese origin teas, but regardless, I am always happy to receive a sample from this company, as I get the sense that they select only the finest teas to be part of their inventory. Nilgiri Frost is an Indian black tea; its name comes from the fact that the first frost announces the start of the picking season. The leaves are long and loosely rolled, and open enough that one can see shades of green, brown, and black all mixed together. With its crisp grassy notes, the aroma of the dry leaf reminds me very much of a first flush Darjeeling. Based on its similarity in appearance and aroma to Darjeelings, I treated it the same way I treat Darjeelings, which meant using a slightly gentler approach ont he steeping. I used sub-boiling water and infused the leaves gongfu style for about 45 seconds. The liquid is a rich yellow color with a sweet vegetal aroma. It is just a bit astringent, but not in an unpleasant way. Overall, it is a rather mellow cup, but that is not to say it is tasteless, as some pleasantly subtle notes of grass, honey and grain were present. The general impression is a clean and easy-drinking cup. This is not the type of black tea to which I would add any milk or sugar, and it would also not be my first choice for a breakfast tea. But I would say this is a great tea for an afternoon pick-me-up or to pair with a meal. I managed to get three decent infusions out of the leaves, and probably could have eeked out one or two more if I had the time.
As I have become accustomed to doing lately in this hot Miami summer, I let a small portion of just about every tea I prepare cool to room temperature so I can test its iced tea potential. In this case, it was a refreshing drink in that even though it is a black tea, it doesn’t taste very similar to what most people think of when they think of black tea. However, I did notice a significant loss in the strength of the flavor when the tea went from hot to cold, and given that this tea’s flavor profile as a hot drink was rather muted, there isn’t much room for losing too much flavor without compromising the enjoyment factor.
In all, this is a pretty tasty Darjeeling-esque brew that I would happily drink again.

— To purchase JING Tea Nilgiri Frost, 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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