Review: Canton Tea Co. Wuyi Rou Gui Oolong (Cinnamon)

Canton Tea Co., Oolong Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"There are a variety of flavors coming through, but for me the primary notes are the roasty-toasty and fruity flavors. While not the strongest flavor this tea has to offer, the cinnamon component is substantial enough to capture my attention. "
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 8.4/10
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This oolong is a roasted oolong, which is certainly my preferred style of oolong tea. The Canton website states that this tea “requires expert roasting and oxidation to ensure that the renowned delicate cinnamon aroma can be released when infused”.
The dry leaves are long and crunchy, with an intense aroma of smoke, minerals and ripe fruits. Canton suggests a very brief (as in 4-seconds) initial infusion, with subsequent infusions of the same leaves increasing in steep length. As I was preparing this tea to take with me on the road, I had to prepare one large pot all at once. I opted for 200-degree water and a one-minute infusion. The tea is a beautiful honey brown color with an intriguing and complex aroma. The flavor is truly wonderful. There are a variety of flavors coming through, but for me the primary notes are the roasty-toasty and fruity flavors. But really, there is a whole lot going on with this tea if you take the time to savor each sip and contemplate the variety of flavors present. I am not sure if it is the power of persuasion, but I have to say that I really do notice a cinnamon component in the aroma and the flavor of the brewed tea. While not the strongest flavor this tea has to offer, the cinnamon component is substantial enough to capture my attention. The Canton Tea website also mentions floral notes being a primary flavor, but personally I found the floral element to be rather delicate. In all, this is a captivating tea that I thoroughly enjoyed, as is the case with most of the excellent products offered by Canton Tea Company. This tea was equally delicious hot or at room temperature, and is the type of tea that will serve you well all day. I highly recommend this tea to anyone who favors roasted oolongs. As I write this, this product, although still likely to be considered on the pricy side my many people, is being sold at a discounted price to account for the fact that this tea was designated as being best for consumption in 2012 (one year after the production of the tea). If you have uber-sensitive taste buds, you may not enjoy this tea much in 2013, but I think that most of us will be able to happily drink this tea in 2013 without noticing a reduced quality of the tea.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Wuyi Rou Gui Oolong (Cinnamon), 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: Tozy Tea Moroccan Mint

Green Tea, Gunpowder Tea, Mint Tea, Tozy Tea No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"I've dried my own mint from my garden before and this tea tasted just like that. After discovering that there was green tea in my cup, I realized that it did make a thicker mouth feel for this tea. If you brew a shorter time it's easier to taste the gunpowder green."
Samantha’s Teaview: 6.5/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10
Your Reviews: 6/10
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tozyteamorrocanmintTozy Tea’s Moroccan Mint is definitely minty! It comes in a nice large pyramid sachet that allows the leaves to expand. I was under the impression that this tea had only mint in it, though I was a bit confused when I saw the dry leaves loosely rolled in an almost oolong-like shape. After trying it for the second time I went to look up more information and found that it has gunpowder green tea from China in it. I’m pretty sure the green tea leaves are rolled together with the mint leaves because it’s difficult to tell which is which in the tea and usually gunpowder alone is rolled a lot tighter.

I brewed this tea the first time a little bit long, it turned bitter and I had to dilute it with more water but it still didn’t really cure the bitter taste. The second brew was much better, I brewed at 175 F for 3 minutes. As I said before I honestly couldn’t taste the gunpowder green tea at all, the mint flavor is very prominent in this tea and it’s to be expected, mint is a very strong flavor. I’ve dried my own mint from my garden before and this tea tasted just like that. After discovering that there was green tea in my cup, I realized that it did make a thicker mouth feel for this tea. If you brew a shorter time it’s easier to taste the gunpowder green.

I drank this tea a few times and was also able to get a second brew out of one bag, which turned out just as strong and minty. I went to this tea as a refresher, originally thinking it’d be great since I was thirsty and didn’t think it had caffeine. Though there is caffeine in this cup from the green tea, it is still very refreshing and would be an easy addition to an outdoor summer party. As the cup cools, the mint flavor is less prominent but iced it becomes strong again.

Try this tea for an easy solution to a refreshing, lightly caffeinated cup.

— To purchase Tozy Tea Moroccan Mint, 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: Samantha Samantha
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Review: JING Tea Pre-Rain Organic Anji Bai Cha

Fair Trade Tea, Green Tea, JING Tea, Organic Tea No Comments »

jingprerainIt doesn’t get much fancier than a pre-rain Bai Cha. It’s a classy leaf and worth every penny if you get it from a reputable company that treats their teas right, and since I trust JING, I’m really excited. This leaf is harvested in early April in Zhejiang, China. I steep 1 tablespoon of leaf in a cup of 160° water for three minutes. The pale yellow liquor smells brilliantly vegetal with fruity notes.

It’s a bright, crisp cup with a clean finish. Mild and perfectly balanced, it’s got floral and fruity notes. It has a nice honey sweetness that is emphasised as the tea cools. Notes cashew and dark cocoa highlight the finish.

My 4-minute second steep is similar, with subtle differences from the first. It’s picked up a mild milkiness, and it’s less fruity, more floral than the first. I brave a third, 8-minute steep, and it’s more of a tea water than a real cup, but it’s very drinkable, and it helps squeeze our a little bit more bang for your buck. This is also a good tea to drink the super-lazy way where you just leave the leaf in your cup and add hot water repeatedly. It doesn’t get bitter, and while it loses some of its subtleties, it’s still delicious.

It’s subtle and mild, but as one would expect from a tea of this calibre, it isn’t bland. It’s surprisingly easy to drink for such a classy leaf, though the price tag prevents me from calling this an everyday tea. It’s worth it for the occasional treat.

— To purchase JING Tea Pre-Rain Organic Anji 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: Katie Katie
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Review: Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company Asian Beauty

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, Oolong Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Sweet and light, but not a sissy."
CJ’s Teaview: 9.9/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6/10, Katie gave it 7.8/10
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beauttaiasianbeautI never thought I would associate insects with something delicious.  But one whiff of these Asian Beauty leaves convinced me they were “treated” by leaf-hoppers. These tiny green insects chew just enough tea plant to add their saliva and a distinctive edge to the flavor. Once you taste it, you never forget it. At least I haven’t.

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company doesn’t advertise the leaf-hopper part of processing this tea, but other tea merchants do. Throughout its history Asian (or Oriental) beauty has been nicknamed “Peng Feng Cha” or “Braggart’s tea,” since that unmistakable flavor garnered a higher price, leading farmers to boast.

Insects aside, this tea delivered a punch of sweetness that I hadn’t detected in other teas named “Beauty.” It was flowery, but not sharply so. It quickly smoothed out with vanilla undertones that were simultaneously robust. It finished, clean, dry, and satisfying.

I brewed it for 3 minutes, using a heaping teaspoon of leaves per 8 ounces of water. When  I brewed it a bit longer, the mouth became fuller and sweeter. I could detect no astringency or bitterness in this tea, even though I brewed it longer than most of you ever will. I like the  astringency and bitterness of tannin, but its absence after a long steep indicates a very good tea. I rate it a 9.9.

 

 

— To purchase Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company Asian Beauty, 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Butiki Teas Nilgiri Frost Oolong

Butiki Teas, Nilgiri Tea, Oolong Tea, Single Estate Tea No Comments »
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Bra-frickin'-vo, Butiki!"
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.7/10
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butikinilgirifrostSo far, I’ve only tried one other oolong from the Nilgiri region of India – one from the Dunsdale estate. It tasted no different from the orange pekoes put out by the territory. In other words, like a generic black tea. There was nothing oolongy about it. So, I went into this with hopes…but reserved ones.

Butiki Teas didn’t mention what estate this was from on their website, only that the leaves were exposed to frost in the winter. I don’t know whether to interpret that as to mean this was a “winter flush” tea or not, but no matter. If I had a guess, it was probably an autumn flush by appearance.

The leaves themselves looked like Da Hong Pao in presentation – charcoal brown-to-black, relatively long and twisty. Only smaller. I can’t say they imparted much of an aroma, however. A part of me (my nose) thought it picked up hints of wood and something fresh, but that could’ve just been my imagination.

This was the first oolong I’d had in awhile, and it’d been six months since I’d made use of a gaiwan. However, Butiki Teas recommended a Western-ish approach – 170F water and a steep of four minutes. I adhered to that…but did it in a gaiwan anyway. 1 tbsn in a 6oz lidded cup.

The liquor brewed up a shiny brass color with a subtly citrus aroma, which I didn’t expect at all. I anticipated something a bit more harsh; this was a pleasant surprise. When I put lips to cup and sipped, I was greeted with something tart, sweet, citrusy and slightly nutty on the back. Holy heck, this was almost taster-note-for-taster-note like a Dan Cong. There was a bit more astringency, but for the most part…Dan Cong-ish to the core. Bra-frickin’-vo, Butiki!

— To purchase Butiki Teas Nilgiri Frost 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: Geoff Geoff
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Review: Mountain Tea Dark Roast TieGuanYin

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea, Ti Kuan Yin Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The highly contrasting, robust smoked wood and fruit flavours are invigorating, bold and unapologetic. This is not a cup for the faint of heart! "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
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mountaindarktieguanyinThis tea promises “smoky, sweet caramel and dark chocolate flavours”. These were obtained by highly oxidizing and then charcoal firing the leaves. Taking a look at my sample, the raisin-like, maroon and ebony nuggets look clearly very roasted, in not down right charred. I detect robust tobacco, smoke and chocolate notes in their aroma.

Following Mountain Tea’s recommendations, I steeped 3 grams of leaf in 200ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. The results make for a deep burnt orange cup, scented with a burnt yet sour aroma that is not all that appetizing. Fortunately this smell is is not as disturbing once you start drinking. Slightly briny and smokey top notes contrast pleasantly with the delicious sweet, cinnamon and plum finish. A long-lasting sweet and spicy aftertaste follows. The general mouth feel is smooth, with a touch of astringency to the charred flavours. Bold and unapologetic, this is not a cup for the faint of heart!

After a 3 minute-long steep, a second brew is on par with the first. The sweetness has become more distinctly chocolatey, along with plum, cinnamon and raisin overtones. The smokey flavours of the finish are also a bit more specific, reminding me of charred wood. As the tea cools, these become more and more acrid, becoming eventually a bit overbearing to my taste.

I manage to get two more decent steeps out of the leaves, following a 4 and 5 minute-long brew. The tea is remarkably consistent with each infusion, the only noticeable difference being an increasingly mild profile. Even after all these steeps, the leaves are still closed and shrivelled-looking, I’m guessing due to the intensive firing process.

Those who like deeply roasted flavours (as in verging on the acrid), will love this. This type of oolong is an acquired taste and definitely not for everyone. I found the highly contrasting, robust smoked wood and fruit flavours intriguing and invigorating but I wouldn’t want to drink this every day. Another thing to consider is that the roasting process destroys much of the caffeine content of the leaves. While it tastes quite pungent, it’s not going to give you a jolt of caffeine. All in all, this is a high quality tea with some caveats.

— To purchase Mountain Tea Dark Roast TieGuanYin, 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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