Review: Teayama Dong Ding Oolong

Oolong Tea, Teayama No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This is a a decent light-bodied, roasted oolong, but not the floral concoction described by Teayama’s writeup. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 6.8/10
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teayamadongdingoolTeayama describe this tea as having a fresh and vegetal orchid flavour, along with a creamy aftertaste. Looking at my sample, this is not the most beautiful rolled oolong I’ve come across. It’s a bit chaotic-looking, with some of the leaves being rolled and others simply folded. There are also lots of twigs and broken bits in the lot. Its aroma is somewhat redeeming, mixing hints of pipe tobacco and juicy berries.

Since Teayama doesn’t provide steeping directions for its teas, I have to rely on my own brewing parameters. I infuse a heaping teaspoonful of leaves in 250ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. The results are a tangerine-coloured cup, with an intriguing smoky, berry scent. Taking a sip, the results are again smoky, with roasted barley and oak notes rounding out the sip. In terms of sweetness, there is a just tangy hint of plum to the finish. While the flavours are at the more “masculine” end of the spectrum, the tea is rather light bodied and delicate in feel.

I steep the leaves again for 4 minutes. The flavours are now heavier and more insistent, with more prominent oak and barley notes. The slip of fruit of the previous cup has given way to a slightly bitter cinnamon taste. It’s interesting but it doesn’t rock my world.

I try a final third steep, following a 5 and a half minute-long brew. The cup is now smoother in taste and feel. There are still some astringent roasted barley notes present but they are toned down by an elusive marshmallow taste to the finish. A fourth steep could possibly be had, given enough time.

This is not the floral concoction I was expecting based on Teayama’s description. In fact, I’m wondering if this leaf was mislabeled as a green, unroasted oolong, when it seems it has been roasted. Being more partial to the former, I wouldn’t purchase this particular leaf myself but I can recommend it as a decent light-bodied, roasted oolong.

— To purchase Teayama Dong Ding 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: Happy Earth Tea Singbulli Second Flush, 2013

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea has all qualities that I look for in a 2nd Flush and has to be one of the best tasting black teas that I have encountered. Highly recommended! "
Shaiha’s Teaview: 9.7/10
Other Teaviews: Samantha gave it 8.5/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
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happyearthsingbulli2013Today I have the pleasure of reviewing a Second Flush Darjeeling from one of my favorite estates, Singbulli. And boy am I impressed. It has all qualities that I look for in a 2nd Flush and has to be one of the best tasting black teas that I have encountered.

The leaves in my sample are thin, wiry and are predominately a brownish/black in color. There are a few golden tips brightening up the leaves and a distinct lack of stems. The aroma is a rather faint blend of malt and stone fruit.

I set it up to brew using boiling water and a steep time of three minutes. The resulting liquor is a cocoa brown with a strong muscatel presence that is lightened up the aroma of peaches. Very appetizing.

The flavor is fairly complex and changes nicely as it cools with a smooth and silky texture all the way through. Just brewed, the muscatel is very strong and in your face. I am able to pick up hints of peaches and tobacco. As it cools, the tea becomes sweeter with the taste of fresh peaches becoming stronger leading to lingering sweet aftertaste with a slight dryness on the tongue.

This tea has gone onto my list of ones to pick up especially when you consider how reasonably priced it is at just over $7 an ounce. I highly recommend that any lover of 2nd flush darjeelings rush out and pick some up before they sell out.

— To purchase Happy Earth Tea Singbulli Second Flush, 2013, 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: Kally Tea Ripe Raspberry

Black Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Kally Tea, Keemun Tea, Lychee Tea, Pomegranate Tea, Raspberry Tea 1 Comment »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The sweet raspberry pairs good with the tart pomegranates and winy black tea."
Alexa’s Teaview: 7.7/10
Other Teaviews: Chelsy gave it 9.2/10, Vanessa gave it 8.5/10, Raven gave it 7.3/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
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Ripe Raspberry is a black hibiscus tea by Kally Tea. I took a look at Kally Tea’s website and found that they are passionate about loose leaf tea. They also have a cool deal where, if you purchase 2 ounces, you receive a free mystery tea. Who doesn’t love to try a surprise tea?
The ingredients of this tea are black tea, hibiscus, pomegranate, raspberry, and natural flavors. When looking at the description of Kally Tea’s Ripe Raspberry, I found that they also use lychee (or litchi) berries. Lychee berries are a subtropical fruit native to China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. They have a perfumy, grape-like flavor. I also found that the black tea is Keemun. Keemun is a black chinese tea. It has a more fruity taste and is also said to taste a bit like wine and plums. Depending on the variety, this tea can also taste bitter and smoky. The variety in this mix was more fruity and less bitter which means it is probably an early bud variety.
The tea smells like a mix of raspberry and grapes due to the lychee berries and Keemun. Though I wouldn’t typically combine these two fruits, they balance out well. I could smell a hint of the pomegranate which is often added in raspberry teas. This tea also smelled floral from the hibiscus. I steeped 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water for 3 minutes. The tea, once steeped, smelled mainly like raspberries. The water was a light brown-red color.
The tea flavor is interesting. The sweet raspberry pairs good with the tart pomegranates and winy black tea. The floral hibiscus is good mixed with the tart pomegranate. After a few sips I also discovered what I believe to be orchid which is likely from the Keemun. This tea is well balanced, but because there are so many strong flavors in it, it is a powerful tea. It doesn’t need much steeping time. Though the tea is sweet, I did add some honey to it. The honey added some smoothness to the tea that softened the tart notes.
This tea has great flavor and great health benefits. Due to the Lychee berries, it contains vitamin C. The Keemun helps eliminate fatigue and is very energizing due to the caffeine. Raspberries and pomegranates contain lots of antioxidants. In conclusion I would say that this is a unique tea with a lot to offer.

— 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: Alexa Alexa
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Review: Teayama Imperial Keemun Mao Feng

Black Tea, Keemun Tea, Mao Feng Tea, Teayama No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"My general lack of desire for black teas considered, Teayama's Keemun Mao Feng makes for an undoubtedly solid brew."
Daniel’s Teaview: 7.7/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 7.2/10
Your Reviews: 8/10
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teayamaimpkeemmaofengRegardless of even the most black tea-averse palate, it is nearly inevitable that every tea drinker will find themselves, mug in hand, with the most globally consumed variety. I for one will openly profess that black teas are typically not my forte. And I admit with slight embarrassment that the very tea I discuss here was, due to my hasty assumption (and complete disregard for the word “Keemun” in the name), believed to be a green in composition and far from its actual robust and full-bodied nature.

The dark russet and copper leaves of Teayama’s Keemun are small and wiry, typical for teas of its kind. A hint of chocolate immediately emanates from the dry leaves, with notes of malt and smokiness in close company. Once steeped, the leaves further accentuate the smoky aroma and stand at the forefront of the overall multifarious array.

Despite the protruding smokiness in the Keemun’s brawny bouquet, the liquor’s flavor profile holds none of it. Instead, the hints of chocolate and malt effectively work their way into its overall composition, and strong yet rounded characteristics leave out any potential hints of woodiness or astringency. These pleasant tasting notes hold firm their integrity even into the third brew, and aside from the dissipating tinge of dark chocolate, lose hardly any of even their subtler elements.

Teayama’s particular Keemun is relatively insusceptible to the woes of over-steeping; thus, any time frame from 2-4 minutes under freshly boiled water should do. It should be noted, however, that an infusion of just over two minutes is sufficient and perhaps best-suited in delivering the most out of what the tea has to offer.

My general lack of desire for black teas considered, Teayama’s Keemun Mao Feng makes for an undoubtedly solid brew. To my surprise, I found the tea to be quite delightful and well worth multiple sips – this despite my general indifference towards black teas. If balance is what you’re looking for, Teayama’s balanced and unique Keemun should be of meaningful consideration.

— To purchase Teayama Imperial Keemun Mao Feng, 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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Review: Tea Adventure Orchid Tieguanyin

Oolong Tea, Tea Adventure No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This is a really delicate oolong that really reminds me of a white tea. Not one that I would reach for when I am in the mood for an oolong."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 6.8/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 7.2/10, Daniel gave it 7.0/10, Alexa gave it 8/10
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teaadventuretiguanorchIt is just such a beautiful day and I don’t have to go to work which makes all the more beautiful. On the days when I don’t have to rush to get to work, I tend to brew up a pot of oolong tea simply because I will have the time to appreciate the tea in all of its different nuances as I resteep it.

My sample today comes from TeaAdventure. They have a delightful website that is easy to navigate and the teas have rather in depth write ups about that tea in particular and also information about that particular style of tea. My only issue with the website is the fact that their currency converter doesn’t work.

My sample today consists of tightly folded leaves that range in color from olive to a darker jade. They have a very pleasant aroma of orchids and surprisingly green apples. I set them up to steep using 195 degree water and a steep time of 2 minutes. The resulting liquor is a pale greenish yellow. There is an aroma of orchids which is a quiet whisper.

This tea has a very delicate flavor that in a lot of ways reminds me of a white tea. I am able to pick up traces of honey, a slight metallic taste and the taste of clover. This tea has no astringency or bitterness but there is a dryness that encourages one to take another sip. The orchids in the aroma make their presence in a lingering aftertastes which hangs about on the roof of the mouth.

This is a pleasant tea but not one that I would stock as I prefer oolongs that have more robust flavors. When I am in the mood for a delicate tea, I will brew up one of the whites that I have in my collection

— To purchase Tea Adventure Orchid 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: Shaiha Shaiha
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Review: Mellow Monk Yuzu Dream

Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Mellow Monk, Yuzu Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Mildly citrus balanced with the strongly floral backing of the yuzu."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.3/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8/10, Samantha gave it 8.3/10, Jamie gave it 9/10
Your Reviews: 3/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

Yuzu is a citrus fruit, especially popular in Japan. It’s a unique flavour, hard to describe, though if I had to, I’d liken it to persimmon. It’s blended with a Tamaryokucha, a unique steamed tea with curled leaves rather than straight, one of my favourites that’s also tragically hard to come by. I brew one teaspoon at 167° for 2 minutes. It brews into a beautiful bright green liquor. It smells mostly vegetal and somewhat fruity, specifically yuzu.

It’s a nicely balanced blend, the yuzu playing nicely with the tamaryokucha. Mildly citrus balanced with the strongly floral backing of the yuzu. The green tea takes centre stage, but the yuzu lingers on in the aftertaste.

The only thing I can see that’s wrong with this is that the yuzu, as one would expect from such a punchy flavour, covers up the nuances of the green tea base. It’s still a good green tea, nutty and vegetal in the unique way of a steamed green tea, but some of the subtler fruit and nut notes that you usually find in Mellow Monk’s teas are covered up. That being said, I can’t really see a way around that as the flavour to tea balance is actually pretty spot-on.

It’s definitely unique, though that may be part of the reason I can’t see myself drinking it too often. It’s a good treat, though. And if yuzu is one of your favourite flavours, it’s unsurpassed.

— To purchase Mellow Monk Yuzu Dream, 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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