Review: Tea Adventure Mengding Sweet Dew

Green Tea, Tea Adventure No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavour is nothing particularly special, but the texture is brilliant."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.4/10
Other Teaviews: Daniel gave it 7.2/10, Sophie gave it 8.2/10
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adventuremendingsweetdueThis is my first leaf from Tea Adventure, and as seems to be the theme lately for me and new companies, I’m very excited to try it. The leaves are beautiful delicate curls and after one minute at 176 degrees, they brew up into a very pale liquor with a brilliant, buttery and vegetal scent.

The flavour is decadently buttery with vegetal notes, but despite the rich characteristics, it’s still a very delicate tea. But what makes this tea for me, what really makes it brilliant, is the texture. It’s smooth and buttery, not an easy texture to find in general, but it’s so emphatically velvety, it is truly unique.

The flavour is good, though nothing particularly special, but the texture is brilliant. For that reason alone, and really it’s the only reason you need, I would definitely recommend this tea.

— To purchase Tea Adventure Mengding Sweet Dew, 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: Grand Tea Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea

Grand Tea, Green Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Somewhat like a mutant Long Jin, its profile combines nuts, broth and buttery greens. Vegetal tea aficionados might like to check this tea out, if only for the wow factor of the enormous leaves."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.1/10
Other Teaviews: Samantha gave it 8.9/10, Vanessa gave it 7.5/10, Raven gave it 7.8/10
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This tea comes to us from Huang Shan Mountain, in the Chinese province of Anhui. According to Grand Tea’s website, the buds used here grow to be unusually large, due to the region’s geography and climate. These leaves are indeed unlike any other I’ve seen before. Extremely long and flat, like pressed blades of grass, they measure up to 4”! Their aroma is much more conventional however, mixing notes of hay, grass and honey.

The folks at Grand Tea recommend brewing this tea in a tall glass. I opt for a glass tea pot instead. I steep 3 grams of leaf in 8 ounces of water heated to 70 degrees Celsius for 1 minute. The pale gold cup has a slightly smoky aroma, along with a touch of buttery leafy greens. Taking a sip, the flavours are initially nutty and mildly sweet, followed by a good dose of astringent grass and hay notes. As it cools the taste becomes creamier and infused with broth notes. It’s good, but not as spectacular as the appearance of the leaves lead me to believe.

I brew the leaves again for 1 and a half minutes. The tea is more mineral in flavour now, along with some interesting broth and grass notes. The feel of the sip is still relatively astringent and dry, with a mildly bitter planty finish.

I steep the leaves a third time. After 2 minutes, the flavour is predominantly made up of green beans and grass notes, but with more bitterness to the whole of the sip. It’s not undrinkable but it’s not exactly pleasant either. However it does get smoother and less bitter as it cools, so I feel like I should give the leaves one more try.

Following a 3 minute-long brew, the tea is mellow and rather bland. The bitterness has mostly disappeared, along with the other flavours. It’s not bad but not memorable in anyway. I should probably have stopped after the second steep…

Vegetal tea aficionados might like to check this tea out, if only for the wow factor of the enormous leaves. Somewhat like a mutant Long Jin, its profile combines nuts, broth and buttery greens. This offering is also reasonably priced for the quality. I’m not sure that I would seek it out again just due to my own personal preferences, but I might be tempted to throw it in my basket to round out an order.

— To purchase Grand Tea Tai Ping Hou Kui Green 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: Sophie Sophie
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Review: Lu Lin Teas Cozy Chamomile and Chrysanthemum

Chamomile Tea, Chrysanthemum Tea, Herbal Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Lu Lin Tea No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"When it comes to relaxation and bedtime, most know of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time, your typical low grade version with tiny particles of crushed up herbs. Lu Lin takes sleepy time to a new level and provides whole chrysanthemum flowers, whole chamomile flowers, and a unique touch of lemongrass."
Samantha’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Sarah gave it 9/10
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lulincozychamchrysLu Lin is based out of North Yorkshire, UK they are committed to providing Chinese teas and making them accessible to all. “We manage the whole process right the way through from sourcing and quality checking to packing, and then shipping directly from China to the U.K. in small batches to ensure high quality control.” Their name Lu Lin, actually means Green Forest a name linking them with their previous company La Place Verte (the Green Place) and displaying health and nature in tea. For those new to Chinese tea they feature an Exploration Box featuring single estates from different regions.

When it comes to relaxation and bedtime, most know of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time, your typical low grade version with tiny particles of crushed up herbs. Lu Lin takes sleepy time to a new level and provides whole chrysanthemum flowers, whole chamomile flowers, and a unique touch of lemongrass. Chrysanthemum is commonly used in Chinese medicine and contains B carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the liver. It also contains B Vitamins as well as magnesium, Vitamin C, and calcium. Chrysanthemum is also known as a “cooling herb” which means it slows down processes and soothes irritation. It stimulates the senses, yet calms the nerves.

Chamomile is well known as a sleep aid, it also has immune boosting properties and soothes the stomach. Lemongrass is typically known for use in Asian cuisine but it also aids digestion as well as contains many vitamins. Together these three herbs provide a nice sleep and digestion aid before bedtime. I used 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture for 6 ounces of water and brewed for 2 minutes at 200 F. The chamomile is the dominate taste as well as chrysanthemum which is very light, the lemon grass is very light and provides a slight lemon taste to the cup. Over all this is an enjoyable cup that provides just the right balance of herbs. As far as it’s relaxing properties I’d say it did a good job preparing me for bedtime. It is to be noted that the herbs provided are not organic, which may or may not sway your decision in choosing this tea.

— To purchase Lu Lin Teas Cozy Chamomile and Chrysanthemum, 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: Teavivre Guang Dong Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea, Teavivre No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A deep, dark oolong with fairly complex range of flavors. Perfect for that first mug of tea in the morning."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 8.2/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 8.5/10, Daniel gave it 6.5/10
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teavivrephoeixdancongThis is a tea that I have been looking forward to reviewing as a couple of Teavivre’s oolongs have already made it into my tea cabinet as ‘must haves’. Perhaps this one will also make it into my rotation of oolongs.

My oolong today was harvested in March of 2013 and was grown in Phoenix Mountain area in Guangdong Province. The leaves are a dark olive green, and rather unusual in that they are thin and long. They give off a nutty aroma that is blended with yams.

I set them up to brew western style using 212 degree water and a steep time of 2 minutes as suggested on my the foil wrapper of my sample. The resulting liquor is a darker amber in color with a fragrance of sweet potatoes and brown sugar. There is also just a hint of flowers.

This oolong has a deeper and darker flavor then the ones that I normally run across. It has flavors of sweet potatoes, tobacco, plums and molasses. There is a lingering aftertaste that varies between tart mineral taste and a sweetness from the sweet potatoes. As the tea cools, it becomes both more fruity and twang of the minerals become more pronounced.

This is a really good oolong that makes for a very nice departure from my usual floral oolongs. It’s not one that I would drink all that often but I am considering picking some up for those times when I am looking for a change.

— To purchase Teavivre Guang Dong Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Canton Tea Co. Vanilla Black

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Vanilla Tea, Yunnan Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a vanilla blend for black tea lovers, as the leaves' contribution is of outstanding quality and can be clearly tasted. Delicious!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.3/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8.5/10, Samantha gave it 8.8/10
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cantonvanillablackI couldn’t resist trying this blend, combining two of my favourite Chinese black teas, Yunnan (Dian Hong) and Bai Lin Gong Fu, with diced organic Indian vanilla bean pods. The leaves display varying shapes and sizes. Most are ebony-coloured, covered in orange down. I can’t spot any vanilla bean but I can certainly smell it!

I followed the brewing instructions provided on my sample’s package, steeping 3 grams of leaf in 250ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. The cup quickly darkens to a rusty mahogany hue. The aroma is predictably vanilla-infused. Taking a sip, the tea base provides a savoury kick that makes a lovely contrast with the sweetness of the vanilla. It also lends the sip a decadently smooth, creamy body. The vanilla bean’s taste is most present in the finish. It’s noticeable without hitting you over the head – a good thing in my books.

I steeped the leaves again for 3 minutes with good results. The cup feels a little thinner and has lost some of its lovely briny quality. Otherwise the leaves still provide a pleasantly stout base for the vanilla. As second steeps go, this one is certainly worthwhile.

My third brew is passable, with a hint of vanilla lingering at the close of each sip. No unpleasant element develops over time, the feel of the cup remaining smooth and creamy. Otherwise this steep is not particularly memorable, so I decide to call it a day.

While I drink 99% of my black teas – well black, I found this blend just begged for the addition of milk and sugar (or maple syrup, always my sweetener of choice). While not necessary to enjoy the cup, these seemed to kick the vanilla flavour up a notch and transform the taste from good to grand. As such it makes for a terrific desert drink. Overall I would say this is a vanilla blend for black tea lovers, as the leaves’ contribution is of outstanding quality and can be clearly tasted.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Vanilla Black, 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: Teayama Tan Cuong Green

Green Tea, Teayama No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavour is smoky and vegetal with a slight creaminess and a mild acidity at the back of the throat."
Katie’s Teaview: 7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6/10, Sophie gave it 6.8/10
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teayamasuonggreenThis is my first tea from this company, but I’m already excited because they’re Canadian, something that always gets bonus points from me if only because it usually means I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.

This is a Vietnamese green tea that has leaves curled like the famed Chinese Mao Feng style. I don’t see any infusion directions on the website, so I aim for a strong cup and steep two teaspoons per cup at 175° for two minutes.

It’s got a toasted vegetal scent that’s shot through with a hint of fruit and smokiness. The flavour is smoky and vegetal with a slight creaminess and a mild acidity at the back of the throat. I love the vegetal taste, but personally, I’m not thrilled about smoky notes in my green teas.

It’s balanced, it’s tasty, but it’s not as unique as I was hoping. Objectively, there aren’t any major downsides to the flavour; it’s really very drinkable, but I expected more.

It’s good, but with the amount of leaf I used, I’m surprised it’s as mild as it is. The tea is described on the website as bold and robust, and while it’s got some bold characteristics, I find it surprisingly simple. It’s a good every day green; but for me, that’s all it is.

— To purchase Teayama Tan Cuong Green, 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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