Review: Teayama Oriental Beauty

Oolong Tea, Teayama No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"My favorite part about Oriental Beauty is the leaves themselves. Leaves contain different textures and colors from hairy white, to smooth dark green and brown. It's definitely eye pleasing. Though I hoped for this tea to be more medium bodied, I'd still recommend it, especially for iced tea. "
Samantha’s Teaview: 7.5/10
Other Teaviews: Sarah gave it 7/10
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teayamaorientalbeautyOriental Beauty is a unique tea, the leaves are left for the insects in the summer months prior to harvest. These insects, leaf-hoppers, nibble at the leaves and cause the tea plant to create a natural defense by producing an insecticide to ward them off. The result of this attack creates a unique flavor profile. Teayama’s Oriental Beauty was brewed with a heaping tablespoon of leaves at 190 F, the typical oolong brewing temperature, for 3 minutes. The resulting cup is amber yellow. The aroma of the tea is very sweet, as is the taste. This tea was a bit more of a lighter body, compared to medium as expected. The mouth feel was mineral in texture with a smooth finish. Tastes of apricot and plum are present followed by a honey-like sweetness.

As my cup cooled, I found I actually enjoyed it just as much if not more. The sweetness seems more pronounced as it cools and quickly reminded of sweet tea. Just add some honey and lemon, it’d make for an easily refreshing drink.

My favorite part about Oriental Beauty is the leaves themselves. Leaves contain different textures and colors from hairy white, to smooth dark green and brown. It’s definitely eye pleasing. Though I hoped for this tea to be more medium bodied, I’d still recommend it, especially for iced tea.

— To purchase Teayama Oriental 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: Samantha Samantha
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Review: Tea Horse Milk Oolong

Oolong Tea, Tea Horse 1 Comment »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The sweetness is mostly underneath a strongly vegetal and mineral base."
Katie’s Teaview: 9/10
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Before even opening it, I am surprised at this tea. Tea Horse suggests using 2 teaspoons per cup, shocking because I would expect them to recommend making this gong-fu style. The second startle comes when I open the bag and take a deep breath in. The leaves smell AMAZING. So creamy, sweet, and bold, it’s exactly like sticking my nose into a vat of cream cheese icing. I’m currently lobbying the Surgeon General to make cream cheese its own food group since I firmly believe we’d all be happier individuals if we consumed more carrot cake (take a wild stab at what should be slathered on top), heart attacks be damned.

I throw two teaspoons of the big, beautiful green balls into a 1-cup yixing, rinse, and steep at 185° for 3 minutes. The steeped aroma doesn’t have as much punch as the leaves, but it is more complex: Creamy and subtly floral with a mild sweetness snaking throughout.

The flavour is a bit different than I expected. The waited-for sweetness is mostly underneath a strongly vegetal and mineral base. It has a creamy flavour and texture with full mouthfeel and strong body. I was wondering before why they didn’t recommend gong fu, but now I understand – it already packs such a wallop that more leaves to water might ruin any of the subtlety that has managed to survive this long. It does mellow somewhat as it cools down, so if you find it a bit intense at the start, you can always wait awhile.

My second steep still has that creamy, beautiful scent. It’s not as smooth as before, having picked up some harshness and lost some sweetness. It’s still delicious and while it isn’t unique, it is easier to drink. My third cup tastes like an average oolong; it’t not notably intense or interesting, but it still has a full flavour. It’s just that now the higher notes of flavour are mellowed out. And my 5-minute fourth steep is more tea water than anything else.

I like vegetal teas, though it’s not exactly what I look for when I drink a milk oolong, but at least that means this cup is both unexpected and unique. And by the end of my generous sample, I’m still as enthusiastic about this leaf as I was at the start, a good sign for a tea I’ve tagged as “unique.” It’s also very affordable, so I’d say it’s definitely worth a try.

— To purchase Tea Horse Milk 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: Katie Katie
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Review: Vintage Tea Co. Silver Needle

Vintage Tea Company, White Tea No Comments »
Alexa’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor of this tea is lovely. It’s like a taste of a fresh, summer day. "
Alexa’s Teaview: 8.7/10
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vintagesilverneedleVintage Tea Co. is a company based in Australia. They search for high quality and rare teas. They mainly source teas that are grown in the same area they are produced. Their main goal is “to introduce the authentic taste of Chinese tea to the Western tea lover.” Vintage Tea Co’s Silver Needle tea was picked from a Da Bai tea cultivator. A Da Bai is a large, white tree native to Northern Fujian. This particular tea comes from Fuding which is a region of Fujian Provice. Only undamaged, unopened buds were picked for this tea which ensures more vitamins and nutrients, according to Vintage Tea Co.’s website.
I steeped one teaspoon of this tea in a cup of water for 5 minutes. The leaves are so natural looking, as if they were picked from a Da Bai tree just yesterday. They are thin, and light green with a layer of silvery fuzz on the surface. The smell is very grassy. It is also light and similar to that of cucumber and honey. As the leaves steeped, they water was lightly tinted with a yellow color.
The flavor of this tea is lovely. It’s like a taste of a fresh, summer day. It is sweet and has a honey-like flavor. It also has a mellow, cucumber like flavor. Just like the silvery fuzz on the leaves, it has a velvety finish as it runs down your throat. It leaves a light, yet more bitter aftertaste. This tea is so fresh and delicate that nothing should be added. Adding cream or sweetener, in my opinion, would be like tainting the purity of this tea.
Like it’s light taste, this tea is also low in caffeine compared to other tea. This is a great tea to drink in the afternoon after a stressful day since it is known as a relaxant. Silver Needle Tea is high in amino acid Theanine with helps reduce stress. This tea, since it is less processed then other teas, has great health benefits. It contains many antioxidants. Silver needle tea is often used to weight loss as well. This tea increases the metabolism and contains no calories.
Overall, I would say that Vintage Tea Co. accomplished their goal with this Silver Needle Tea. Silver Needle Tea is said to be the most revered tea in China. I do feel like Vintage Tea Co. provided me with an authentic chinese tea experience. I also love that Vintage Tea Co. is so descriptive about their teas on their website. They provide their customers with lots of information.

— To purchase Vintage Tea Co. Silver Needle, 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 Darjeeling Silver Pearls

Darjeeling Tea, Teayama, White Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"There's no spirit, no joie de vivre."
Katie’s Teaview: 5.7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10
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teyamassilverpearlsdarjWhen I think of a tea called “silver pearls,” I think of delicate, fuzzy balls of tea that are, well, primarily silver in colour. But I was disappointed to see that these are crunchy, dark brown balls with only the occasional streak of silver. And after three minutes, they brew into a surprisingly dark brown-amber liquor. From the sounds of the name, I expected a delicate, subtle blend, but from the look of the leaf and liquor, I was bracing myself for a heavy-handed cup that’s probably a little too bold.

Yet I got neither. The actual flavour is surprisingly bland. With a backing of malt and a slight bitterness, it’s slightly fruity and strongly acidic in a strawberry-flavoured wine sort of way. No matter; since I only used a teaspoon per cup, perhaps its lacklustre flavour could be brought to life with double the leaf. But even at two teaspoons a cup, nothing pops. The best I can say is that there’s an interesting fruitiness, but that’s masked by the startling acidity.

It’s not a bad cup, certainly not bad enough that I’m dumping it down the sink. It’s just that it totally lacks any depth or, and I know how ridiculous this sounds but please try to understand what I mean here, soul. There’s no spirit, no joie de vivre, no character. I hope you’re picking up what I’m laying down because I’m running out of metaphors. It’s so unforgettable in either a good or bad way that this fact is almost memorable in itself. I’d say I don’t recommend it, but if you asked me about this in a few days, I wouldn’t be able to tell you one way or the other. But, lest you think I’m being too harsh towards this poor, defenseless tea, you should know that my disappointment stems in large part from the fact that the other Darjeeling leaf I’ve tried so far from Teayama was rather more remarkable.

— To purchase Teayama Darjeeling Silver Pearls, 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: Daokrajai Mulberry Leaf Tea

Daokrajai Tea, Herbal Tea, Medicinal Tea No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"If you love tea but not the caffeine, this could be your go-to everyday beverage. Beware of allergies, though."
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
Other Teaviews: Alexa gave it 6.7/10
Your Reviews: 8/10
1 reader review | Add your review »

daokrajmulberryI recently had to cut way back on the amount of caffeine I consume.  “Fatigue, restless leg syndrome, anxiety, low iron, and muscle tension, are all symptoms of caffeine sensitivity,” said my progressive and diplomatic M.D.  She knew I was a tea aficionado and reviewer.  Still, she strongly suggested I cut back to “one cup a day.”  “Yeah, right,” I thought. But a few months later, I was feeling so sluggish, I decided to obey.

One cup a day did not lift me out of the fog. So I decided to go through a 30 day caffeine detox. I feel so much better, and learned that the most I can do is 12 ounces of tea once or twice a week.

Since I must always have a hot beverage nearby, I have a new-found interest in herbal teas. Fortunately, tisanes are abundant. Unfortunately, I don’t like many of them. Mulberry leaf tea, I hoped, would be salvivic.

For starters, it looked like tea. It was leaves, after all, not the needly bits of a rooibos or big chunks of fruit or flowers present in many herbal blends.  The color was a respectable light green, which fooled my brain into thinking I was drinking a Dragon Well or a white peony-in other words, real tea.

The taste was milder than camellia sinensis, but it had enough of that vegetal, umami presence to be quite satisfying. Plus it was loaded with vitamins and minerals–calcium, potassium, B vitamins and more. I loved it!

But about 15 minutes after downing a 12 ounce pot, I began to get itchy all over. My chest tightened up. Was I the victim of a mosquito or bee, or was it the tea? Before I bought a few pounds of this delicious, medicinal leaf, I did some research. Sadly, the mulberry tree or bush is full of pollen. Brewing up the leaves can trigger hives or asthma in some folks.  I have asthma. Bummer.

If you don’t have a sensitive respiratory system, Daokrajai’s Mulberry Leaf could be a great herbal drink for you. It tastes great. Allergic reaction aside, I rate it a 10.

— To purchase Daokrajai Mulberry Leaf 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: CJ CJ
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Review: Tea Adventure Huo Shan Yellow Buds

Organic Tea, Tea Adventure, Yellow Tea No Comments »
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea is subtle but not demanding, it’s well rounded profile being soothing and satisfying. A great buy, especially for those new to the world of yellow teas. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.1/10
Other Teaviews: Daniel gave it 7.7/10
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teaadventureyellowbudYellow tea is quite rare. It’s produced like a green tea, with the addition of a final step: fermenting the leaves. This particular offering comes to us from Huo Mountain, located in the Chinese province of Anhui. Only the youngest leaves have been picked to produce this organic tea. Looking at my sample, the slender, olive green leaves are indeed small and dainty looking. They are quite well preserved – there is even some down floating around. Their scent is sweet and straight forward, mixing grass, honey and vanilla notes.

I brew this tea following Tea Adventure’s directions, infusing 3 grams of leaf in 250ml of water heated to 70 degrees Celsius for 1 minute. The resulting cup barely has any colour or aroma to it. Taste-wise, it’s also very mild, but not lacking in anyway. The beginning to middle of the sip is vaguely buttery, with a touch of mineral flavour. The finish is sweet, combining fresh green bean, challah and cinnamon notes. The flowery aftertaste lingers gently on the tongue. Soft, smooth and round in mouth, this cup is like a lullaby.

I steep the leaves again for 2 minutes. The aroma is quite changed, displaying smoky barbecue notes. The tea is also much more wine-like now, with a drying grape flavour coming forward. There are also some interesting honey and chamomile tones. It reminds me of some silver needle teas, but sweeter. The results are complex and odd, but endearing.

I try a third infusion following a 3 and a half minute-long steep. Again the tea is soft, smooth and sweet, much like the first brew. However, a slight bitterness appears in the finish as it cools. The cup is also getting a bit watery tasting, so I decide to call it a day.

This offering is very reasonably priced, considering the quality of the leaves. I can definitely see myself turning to this tea at the end of a long day. It’s subtle but not demanding, it’s well rounded profile being soothing and satisfying. This tea is a great buy, especially for those new to the world of yellow teas.

— To purchase Tea Adventure Huo Shan Yellow Buds, 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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