Review: Kally Tea Ripe Raspberry

Black Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Kally Tea, Pomegranate Tea, Raspberry Tea No Comments »
Vanessa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The berry flavor is authentic and refreshing. The hibiscus is detectable, but not overly so, and does contribute a nice little zing to the cup. The Keemun base is rich and sweet, perfectly balancing out the added fruit flavors. "
Vanessa’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Chelsy gave it 9.2/10, Raven gave it 7.3/10, Alexa gave it 7.7/10
Your Reviews: 1/10
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With the exception of coconut tea, I can’t say that I am a huge fan of fruit-flavored teas. However, with the weather warming up and my iced tea consumption increasing, I do often look to fruity teas to satisfy my iced tea cravings. Today’s sample from Kally Tea is their ripe raspberry. The Kally website describes it as a Keemun tea flavored with raspberries and litchis (or lychees), although the ingredients list reads “Black Tea, Hibiscus, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Natural Flavors”, so I guess the litchi contribution comes in the form of that natural flavor. Two things struck me after I read the tea’s description. First, I was pleased to see Keemun used as the base, as this tea, with its rich fruity tones seems an often overlooked tea to use as a base for fruit-flavored teas. Second, I saw that hibiscus was there and just a bit of dread set in, as I am not really much of a fan of hibiscus.
I brewed the tea by infusing one teaspoon of leaves in about 8 ounces of boiling water for three minutes. The tea is a darker brown color with a coppery tint. I drank half of the tea as a hot tea then let the remaining half cool to room temperature before adding ice cubes to test out its merit as an iced tea. It turns out that either way, this tea is downright delicious. The berry flavor is authentic and refreshing. The hibiscus is detectable, but not overly so, and does contribute a nice little zing to the cup. This is a rare occasion for me where the hibiscus is not overwhelming and is used in the right amount to provide a nice benefit to the blend. The Keemun base is rich and sweet, perfectly balancing out the added fruit flavors. There is no need to add any sugar to this tea, as the fruit flavors added provide plenty of natural sweetness. While the tea is robust enough to serve well as a breakfast tea, it is not too full-bodied, which means that when served over ice, it is refreshing instead of being heavy on the tongue. Overall, I would have to say this is among the better fruit-flavored black teas, particularly berry-flavored black teas. As summer is approaching, I highly recommend this tea to anyone looking for that perfect iced tea blend.

— To purchase Kally Tea Ripe Raspberry, 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: Mountain Tea Medium Roast Tie Guan Yin

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This oolong has been a delight from the time I opened up the vacuum sealed foil packet until the very last sip. The dry aroma that greeted me was a a combination of gardenias and grain. "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 7.8/10, CJ gave it 10/10, Samantha gave it 8.0/10, Alexa gave it 7.9/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

mountainmediumtieguanyinThis oolong has been a delight from the time I opened up the vacuum sealed foil packet until the very last sip. The dry aroma that greeted me was a a combination of gardenias and grain. The leaves themselves resembled little fists a dark olive color.

Once brewed the liquor is a pale gold with the wonderful aroma of lilacs and gardenias. There is a slight creaminess to the cup on the first steep along with the sweetness from the floral. There is also a slight metallic component to the base of the flavors that adds interest to the cup.

This is a tea that just keeps on going. I was actually able to get four steeps from the leaves before they gave up. The second one was actually my favorite with the same flavors going strong but there was an increased creaminess which made it into a truly indulgent experience.

This is a tea that I could easily see myself stocking especially since the price is so low that it is a great value. If you are looking for a good oolong at a low price point be sure to check it out.

— To purchase Mountain Tea Medium Roast 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Driftwood Tea Osmanthus Oolong

FreshDarjeelingTea.com, Pepper Tea, Popcorn Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Those who like peach and apricot flavoured teas would do well to check this blend out. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 6.8/10
Other Teaviews: Samantha gave it 7.2/10
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driftwoodosmanthusoolongThis Taiwanese Jin Xuan or “milk oolong” has been scented with fresh osmanthus flowers. It promises soft and juicy stone fruit notes as well as a hint of natural creaminess. The rolled leaves have a sweet yet medicinal aroma, mixing the scent of dried banana chips, spring flowers and olive oil. It’s an odd and not entirely appealing combination.

I brewed this tea using the directions provided on my sample’s package for a European style cuppa, infusing 3g of leaf in 8 ounces of water heated to 90 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. The pale amber cup smells fruitier than the dry leaf, but the aroma still seems strange to me. Taking a sip, the tea provides intense peach and apricot notes. It’s actually much peachier than some flavoured blends out there. In that respect, this tea is pretty amazing. My least favourite element of the cup is the mineral finish. It has an almost bitter, dry edge to it. It fades substantially as the tea cools but I still wish it wasn’t there at all.

I try a second brew, infusing the leaves for 3 minutes. The flavours are smoother and more evenly distributed across the sip this time. The tea also has a much thicker feel. Otherwise this cup is pretty consistent with the first.

I steep the leaves twice more for 4 and 5 minutes respectively. Both cups are quite similar to each other. The flavours are subdued but still fruity enough to pick out peach and apricot notes. No unpleasant element emerges as time goes by. I could probably get one more cup from the leaves if I was patient enough.

Reasonably priced, this leaf is definitely good value for the money. Those who like peach and apricot flavoured teas would do well to check this blend out. It isn’t a favourite of mine in terms of Driftwood’s catalogue, largely due to personal preference. I just can’t seem to get over the olive oil scent to the leaves, but I could see myself purchasing this blend to round out an order.

— To purchase Driftwood Tea Osmanthus 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: Sophie Sophie
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Review: Tea Can Company Serene Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea, Tea Can Company No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Serene herbal tea combines chamomile, australian lemon myrtle, spearmint, and lavender to make a fragrant blend. In the cup the lemon myrtle was the most predominant flavor, though there was a significant over powering of lavender for me, a little too much."
Samantha’s Teaview: 6.3/10
Your Reviews: 8/10
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teacancompanylogoThis is my third offering from the Tea Can Company, so far I haven’t been totally won over but their Serene Herbal Tea is so far the best. I received one bag of tea in a pyramid bag and steeped with boiling water for about 4 minutes. There are no brewing instructions provided so I had to go out on my own.

Serene herbal tea combines chamomile, australian lemon myrtle, spearmint, and lavender to make a fragrant blend. In the cup the lemon myrtle was the most predominant flavor, though there was a significant over powering of lavender for me, a little too much. The spearmint is present and it’s scent is strong when smelling just the bag itself. This tea was enjoyable, it wasn’t my favorite herbal blend, the lavender and lemon myrtle could have been toned down but it’s so far the Tea Can Companies best blend.

If you’re looking for a relaxing herbal blend, go else where unless you specifically want a strong lemony lavender cup.

— To purchase Tea Can Company Serene Herbal 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: Samantha Samantha
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Review: Mountain Tea Organic Mountain Oolong

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Taught me a thing or too about flavor. Distinctive."
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
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mountainmountainoolongWhen I caught a whiff of  these leaves brewing  in steaming water, I thought, “ho-hum, another honey, orchid, creamy, oolong.” Happily, I am an addict; a closed-minded, ignoramus, tea addict.  Because I love tea so, I keep trying leaves from different gardens, even though I think I’ve “tasted it all.” I am incessantly astonished at the variety of flavors produced by this singular leaf grown in different parts of the world.

Despite its aroma, this was no same-old sort of oolong. It was creamy, but not sweet and flowery like other mountain oolongs I’ve tasted.  The flavor was rich and calming like a cup of warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg.  The Mountain Tea website called this quality “umami,” (a word I never heard, further proof of how ignorant I am,) which is “a pleasant, savory taste.”

This Japanese derived word has a website all its own (http://www.umamiinfo.com .) Apparently, there was some debate in the last century whether it was a  taste all its own, distinct from, sour or salty, etc. If this tea is any indicator, umami is vital!

This organic mountain oolong needs cooler, 195-degree water to release its umami and other fine qualities.  It tasted great at one minute, two minutes, and beyond. Adding more water to the pot when it got low provided even more pleasant, savory, milky, goodness. It did develop of bit of astringency after about 10 minutes, but additional water smoothed it away. And these leaves never became bitter.  What else can I do but rate it a 10?

 

 

— To purchase Mountain Tea Organic Mountain 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Canton Tea Co. Xing Ren Dan Cong

Almond Tea, Canton Tea Co., Oolong Tea, Single Estate Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"At it's best it tastes like chocolate-covered almonds rolled in marzipan. Bravo!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.2/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 8.8/10, Chantal gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 7.5/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »

This tea was made by an expert tea maker, Lin Songzhu. His tea farm is located at a high altitude, on the slopes of Mount Wudong, in the Chinese province of Guandong. Master Lin chooses only the leaves of 80 year old Ju Duo Zai trees that have an almond flavour to them. These are then carefully oxidized to enhance their special almond taste. The tea’s thinly twisted leaves are a pleasure to look at, being slender and whole. They are also an interesting shade of purplish black. Their aroma is faintly tannic and vegetal, nothing like the pungent roasted scent I was expecting.

I decided that such a special tea needed a special treatment and opted for a gongfu brewing. I mostly followed the instructions on my sample’s package, infusing 4 grams of leaf in 200ml of water, heated to 95 degrees Celsius. The directions suggest starting with a 4 second-long steep. I wasn’t convinced that my palate could make out the flavour of such a short infusion so I brewed my first cup for 20 seconds. The tangerine-coloured tea has a faint flower and grass aroma to it. The sip starts off with buttery yet mineral grass notes. These are followed by a sweet and honeyed finish. Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion but it is somewhat reminiscent of marzipan to me, with its intensely sweet yet almost bitter taste. So far so good!

Canton suggests that this tea can be brewed up to 12 times. I was able to get 6 decent cups, which is quite acceptable in my books. I might have gotten more, had I started off with shorter steep times. I increased the infusion time by 15 seconds every time, except for the second steep, which I brewed for a total of 30 seconds.

My second cup is fuller-bodied than the first, the tea developing a lush, oily feel. The flavours are generally more pronounced, toasted grain, tobacco and oak notes coming forward. The almond taste is more distinct as well, making for an interesting flavour profile.

By far my favourite, the third brew tastes like chocolate-covered almonds rolled in marzipan. Yes, really! The buttery, grassy top notes contrast nicely with the intense sweetness of the rest of the sip. This ends up being the most robust of all the steeps.

My last three cups were fairly similar to each other, getting progressively more mineral and bitter. The vegetal top notes remain very smooth and creamy but the finish eventually becomes unpleasantly harsh. There is very little sweetness left by the end.

While this tea is easy enough to drink, it’s complexity commands attention and is best reserved for contemplative sipping. Brewed the European way, the results were a less concentrated mix of the first 3 steeps. This leaf is quite pricey but currently on sale at the time of writing. If you’re an oolong fan who would like to experiment, this is definitely a masterful offering. Conveniently there are a variety of formats available, including sample sizes.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Xing Ren Dan Cong, 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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