Review: Origin Tea Shan Lin Xi: Yang Zi Wan (A) 2012 Winter

Oolong Tea, Origin Tea, Uncategorized 1 Comment »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Smooth and nutty, with a hint of clover honey to the finish, this tea's simple and mild profile would be a good bet at the end of a long day."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.2/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 5/10, Samantha gave it 8.5/10
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originshanlinxiwinter2012Origin Tea is currently offering two hand picked, high altitude oolongs from the same village but different farms, labelled as A and B. Candidate A’s leaves have been tightly rolled into erratically-shaped nuggets. Their scent is delicious blend of clover honey and lilac. So far, so good!

A gongfu-style brew is recommended. To do so, I used 4 grams of leaf in 60ml of water, heated to 95 degrees Celsius. After a quick rinse, I start with a 15 second steep. For the most part, the flavours are fresh and vegetal. The finish takes a turn towards sweeter floral tones, lots of clover and daisy notes shining at the close of each sip.

I steep the leaves a second time for 30 seconds. The brew is more evenly sweet throughout the sip this time. A delicious nuttiness has also appeared, reminding me of marzipan and cashew butter.

After a 45 second steep, my third cup is mildly vegetal with a honeyed finish. Fennel and buttered spinach come to mind in particular. The feel remains completely smooth and creamy.

I manage to pull 3 more similar steeps from the leaves, following a 1, 2 and 2 and a half minute-long brews. The results are very consistent from one to the next. While not particularly flashy at this point, the cup is satisfying and smooth, with no unpleasant element coming forward.

I also try this tea brewed the Western way, infusing a teaspoonful of leaves in 250ml of water for 3 and a half minutes. The tea is alternately nutty, grassy and floral. It’s very smooth and pleasant. Prepared this way, I manage to get two more decent cups.

This offering’s flavour profile is smooth and nutty, with a hint of clover honey to the finish. For a review of it’s neighbour, Offering B, please click here. It’s not complicated and rather mild. I could see myself turning to this leaf at the end of a long day. Overall this tea is a good buy, considering the longevity of of the leaves and its price point.

— To purchase Origin Tea Shan Lin Xi: Yang Zi Wan (A) 2012 Winter, 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: Canton Tea Co. Jade Tips

Canton Tea Co., Green Tea No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Mao Jian, or Jade Tips is an easy every day drink that could suit the needs for any green tea fan. It is a happy medium between the citrus and vegetal flavor spectrum. This is a great cup for introducing friends to green tea, the price is reasonable and the quality is superb."
Samantha’s Teaview: 8.7/10
Other Teaviews: Alexa gave it 9/10
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cantonmianjinjadeCanton Tea Co. provides some of the worlds best sourced teas. I had the pleasure of reviewing lasts years 2012 Spring Harvest Mao Jian. I explained it as soft with a vegetal taste, not grassy nor leafy, on the more nutty side with hints of sweet chocolate.

This years harvest is vary comparable to 2012. The leaves, smooth and wiry carry a sweet chocolate aroma. One tablespoon of leaves were steeped at 175 degrees for 2 minutes. The bright yellow infusion smells a bit hay-like. The first taste is very refreshing, bright, and juicy. Successive flavors include sweet, snap peas and citrus. The over all taste is very sweet, no bitter or dry taste can be found in this cup. It would be nice to drink this years 2013 harvest side by side with last years 2012 harvest, but I used my entire sample last year and am again at a loss for saving this years.

Mao Jian, or Jade Tips is an easy every day drink that could suit the needs for any green tea fan. It is a happy medium between the citrus and vegetal flavor spectrum. This is a great cup for introducing friends to green tea, the price is reasonable and the quality is superb.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Jade Tips, 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: The Necessiteas Caramel Dipped Apple

Green Tea, The Necessiteas No Comments »
Sarah’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great" The Necessiteas Caramel Dipped Apple tea - Green Tea"
Sarah’s Teaview: 3/10
Other Teaviews: Stephen gave it 8/10, Lea gave it 8.5/10, Jenn gave it 8/10, Chelsy gave it 9.1/10, Katie gave it 7.4/10, Erika gave it 7/10, Alexa gave it 7.7/10
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necessiteas-caramel-apple.jpgRemember the harvest fair? Caramel dipped apples, the smell of straw and chilly winds were conjured when I opened this tea. The smell of the dry tea is tantalizing. Caramel grabs your senses first, with sweet apple notes winding in between. There is just a hint of the wild flavor green tea has to remind you of the evening.

I followed the directions but seeped the tea a lot longer than 3 minutes suggested. The cup was a pleasant caramel color and the aroma was a subtle version of the dry tea. It had a boiled spinach flavor with a slight caramel apple aftertaste, but it was not one that I would add to my tea chest.
Then, something pleasant happened. I left the tea seeping on my desk overnight and when I tried it in the morning, it was delicious! Cold and everything the tea had originally promised. The green tea flavor had mellowed and the apple bits had blended beautifully to become quite a pleasant tasting tea.

— To purchase The Necessiteas Caramel Dipped Apple, 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: Sarah Sarah
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Review: The Tea Can Company Rooibos Chai

Cardamom Tea, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Decaffeinated Tea, Ginger Tea, Rooibos Tea, Vanilla Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The Tea Can Company did a great job of creating a spicy rooibos chai that is caffeine-free and yet as hearty as a black chai."
Alexa’s Teaview: 7.4/10
Other Teaviews: Samantha gave it 6.5/10
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teacancompanylogoThe Tea Can Company is know for their pure, simple teas. They have limited flavors that they’ve perfected. Their tea comes from Sri Lanka, India, and China. When you order their tea, it comes in a tin that you have the option of customizing. People often buy this tea for weddings or parties since they can put what they want on the tins. I’ve been drinking a lot of different chai teas lately so I was looking forward to trying their Rooibos Chai. I was a bit skeptical since I’ve been so used to using loose leaf tea rather than tea in bags.

I put one tea bag in a mug full of steaming hot water and let it steep for about 5 minutes. I could smell the cinnamon and cardamom right away. All of the ingredients include rooibos, ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, and vanilla flavor. When I took my first sip of this tea, I was surprised by the strength of flavor. Rooibos chai tea is typically more delicate since rooibos isn’t as strong as black tea. The Tea Can Company did a great job of creating a spicy rooibos chai that is caffeine-free and yet as hearty as a black chai. This delicious tea was also sweet and rich from the vanilla flavor. I could tell that this tea had more ginger and cardamom than other rooibos chai teas I’ve had.

After having a cup of this tea plain, I added some cream and honey. Since it is more robust, the cream simply enhanced the flavor rather than overtake it. The honey brought out more of the vanilla flavor. I drank this on a chilly, rainy day and absolutely loved it. Since this tea is in bags, it is also more convenient. You don’t have to measure out your tea or strain it before you have a sip. The health benefits include being good for arthritis, reducing the risk of cancer, and stimulating digestion. In the end I was impressed by this tea and thoroughly enjoyed it.

— To purchase The Tea Can Company Rooibos Chai, 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: Mellow Monk Frosty Garden Green

Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Mellow Monk No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The buttery texture and flavour are cut through by notes of sage and berry."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.4/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10, Samantha gave it 7.5/10
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This green tea is a blend of guricha leaf and stems. I steep one teaspoon per cup at 167° for two minutes. It brews into a surprisingly dark yellow, and it’s somewhat murky, a bad sign from some teas, but very common and not indicative of much from steamed senchas.

It’s a surprisingly rich tea, full of vegetal deep-steamed goodness. It’s buttery and insanely rich, more soup than tea. The buttery texture and flavour are cut through by notes of sage and berry. The only thing that detracts from the luxuriousness of the tea is a slight hint of bitterness, incongruous with the rest of the tea. It’s extremely rich, a tea for fukamushi lovers, for those who have a torrid passion rather than tepid feelings towards green teas.

My 30-second second infusion is a surprisingly huge shift in flavour. The richness is gone, and the texture is nothing brilliant, but it doesn’t lack flavour. It is now a mild, fruity green, more like an asamushi or a green kukicha. It is here that the addition of stems really shows.

Despite only getting one really great steep, this is still a decidedly affordable tea, presumably because of the inclusion of stems. It’s one I’d happily keep on my shelf, useful for when I want to have a single cup of good, strong green tea but don’t want to waste the other four steeps I usually get from sencha.

— To purchase Mellow Monk Frosty Garden 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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Review: Mountain Tea Green Jin Xuan

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Notes of peach are indeed prevalent as promised, but any hint of cream followed by a "buttery mouthfeel" is lacking. "
Daniel’s Teaview: 6.9/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 9.4/10
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mountaingreenjinxuanWith purported elements of peach, cream, and biscuits, Mountain Tea’s Green Jin Xuan Oolong is a noticeably affordable offering of the often pricey milk oolong. As with any other tea of such a variety, Mountain Tea’s Jin Xuan hails directly from Taiwan but from the vendor’s very own tea gardens. Unadulterated, Mountain Tea’s milk oolong is devoid of the flavorings often added to those of its kind.

Despite the much-warranted applause for a straight tea devoid of supplementing additives, the brew of the Jin Xuan is significantly less akin to a top-notch milk oolong. Ironically, I had not assumed the tea to be a milk oolong at all, likening its flavor profile more to an everyday albeit enjoyable brew.

With leaves slightly darker in green than the majority of milk oolongs I have personally encountered, Mountain Tea’s oolong elicits a raised floral aroma, muting the creamy sweet characteristic associated with such a tea. While certainly pleasant, each brew is relatively unbalanced, missing much of an essential sweeter side. Notes of peach are indeed prevalent as promised, but any hint of cream followed by a “buttery mouthfeel” is lacking.

I should make a careful note in my brewing methods, as Mountain Tea recommends a cooler water temperature for best bringing about the leaves’ natural sweetness. Of course, nearly any oolong should maintain the majority of its flavor profile under a standard 190°F. A brewing temperature of 185°F, however, is recommended, and it would be worthwhile to experiment with temperatures as low as 175°F. I will concede that a lower water temperature could potentially uplift the Jin Xuan’s cream and milk elements, but nothing of the sort existed under a temperature just a few degrees higher.

As already mentioned, I was entirely unaware of the tea being a milk oolong – this even after having enjoyed several brews. Regardless, Mountain Tea’s Green Jin Xuan makes for a delightful brew and gives off every proper indication of a carefully crafted tea. Price considered, the tea becomes all the more enticing. Price entirely aside, however, the leaves fall short of a reputable milk oolong.

— To purchase Mountain Tea Green Jin Xuan, 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: Daniel Daniel
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