Review: Canton Tea Co. Silver Needle White Tea

Canton Tea Co., White Tea No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This will undoubtedly be one of the best if not the best silver needles you'll ever have."
Daniel’s Teaview: 9.1/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 9/10, Nicole gave it 9/10, Sophie gave it 9.1/10, Alexa gave it 9.3/10, Emma gave it 8/10
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cantonsilverneedleAh, Canton, we meet again. If there is one company that makes me excited for tea, it would be this one. Almost invariably, any tea from Canton becomes my favorite of its kind, and the UK vendor’s silver needle proves to be no exception.

As young and undeveloped as white tea may be, top-notch varieties are loaded in profile. Canton Tea Co’s Silver Needle is a flawless example of this, with an aroma, liquor, and lasting value far superior to nearly anything similar. Mild yet packed with full-bodied flavor, the leaves promise a consistent fruitiness with an incredibly crisp and smooth finish. The liquor is quite sweet, likely from both the subtle nuttiness and more prominent notes of cool melon.

Despite the slight nuttiness, Canton’s silver needle is far more delicate than any other I’ve tasted. The youth of the leaves is unmistakably evident in each brew, given its fresh, crystal clear-like taste, aftertaste, and overall mouthfeel. Without question, silver needle is a unique leaf in it of itself, but Canton’s particular variety sets itself apart from others with just as much distinction. The subtle nature of the tea cannot be stressed enough, yet the flavors combine for an overall body far more potent than the norm.

Generally, silver needle is a low maintenance tea aside from the necessary water temperatures (155-175°). Expect best results under 2-3 minutes per each infusion. While Canton recommends 2-3 infusions for each helping of loose leaf, I achieved up to five ideal results, all largely similar to one another. Thus, I would advise experimenting with multiple infusions before throwing away the persistent leaves.

This will undoubtedly be one of the best if not the best silver needles you’ll ever have. The majority of silver needles fall within a very similar price range to Canton’s special offering. Still, the price will be a bit of an investment, but pennies saved makes for a loss far beyond anything your worthwhile.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Silver Needle White 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Mountain Tea Imperial Pearl

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea No Comments »
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The tea would make a great alternative to coffee, with something for black or oolong lovers alike in its mix of floral, spice and roasty savour that's smooth and hearty."
Raven’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 9.6/10, Alexa gave it 9/10, Shaiha gave it 8.1/10
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mountainteaimperialpearlBy name alone, I would have guessed Imperial Pearl was a green tea or perhaps, a white, but I can’t say I’d ever guess Imperial Pearl was an oolong. Yet, Mountain Tea’s Imperial Pearl is far from a pearly white. As what they refer to as a brandy oolong, it’s oxidation level is near a black, at 85-90%, trumping even Oriental Beauty, its Taiwanese kin. From past samplings, Mountain Tea’s roster of teas, grown from their own tea gardens, do have luster and it was most curious where their Imperial would round out between a black and an oolong.

Fortunately, there’s no oyster to open to ogle the pearls that tumble forth more akin to the forest than the deep blue sea from their rich walnut black hue. Though intricate and tightly woven into squiggles like some elaborate coral, they bear a light shine like their namesake despite their rustic colour. More striking, is their scent which unravels a dark, richness almost like coffee. It has an earthiness at its base like charred leaves transfixed by a lovely sweet floral. The floral is very pretty, maybe somewhere between lily and gardenia, that is quite unique, while not cloying, sweetening the smoky roastiness. It’s both surprising and compelling in the juxtaposition, as finding a shimmering pearl inside an unassuming, rugged oyster.

Mountain Tea doesn’t offer specific brewing instructions but they do allude that brewing the tea with hotter water for longer yields a spicier brew whereas, cooler water for shorter, brews a sweeter one. Happily, the suggestions prove true, adding a cool adaptability of the tea to suit one’s mood. Either way, the first infusion mists into a clear, goldy brown hue, that catches the nose as much as the eye. Its aromatic fragrance has an intriguing mix of sweet earthiness, similar to cocoa mix and coffee, peaked by a more aggressive floralish oil. Mountain Tea describes the bouquet as having “notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, malt sugar, honey, and orange peel” which does seem telling. The scent tugs at the tummy with an appetizing wholesomeness, suggestive of malty crackers. It fortifies the sweet earthiness with a delicious appeal while the floralish oil adds high points and the spicier element.

From the aroma, the first sip is a surprise as the floralish bit is the first to register, perfuming the sip as if reverberating as it evaporates off one’s tongue with a citrusy prettiness. Settling in, the flavour is full and inviting with a tasty bittersweet roastiness, like carob, peaked by the citrusy, spiciness that reminds me of nutmeg. The feel isn’t quite as engaging but the tea isn’t too dry or astringent while finishing softly round. Initially, the aftertaste is lightly grainy yet, proceeding through, it becomes more perfumey and closer to a musky nutmeg as it lingers longer.

In subsequent cups, the tea remains fragrant as they become progressively less sweet but still welcome with a palate provoking character. The second, with an aroma of woody cookies, retains a chocolatey, coffee slant with a resiny nutmeg twist. A touch drier, the cup remains smooth, rich and flavourful with a bit more of a perfumey touch to the nutmeg tinged aftertaste. The third’s scent continues to have a roasty savour flirting with a spicy sweetness, like unsweetened rootbeer and roast potatoes. The light to medium body mellows but maintains a satisfying browned potato chip kind of flavour imbued with a slight perfume exhaling from the sip. From there, the roastiness fades into spice with a mix of cinnamon bark, coriander seeds and sandalwood incense that extends into the cup, less savory or roasty and more smoky, leathery and slightly astringent.

The steeping conditions seem to swing the balance between the sweeter roastiness and the floral spiciness. I enjoyed the tea brewed either way but I think I preferred the lower temperature brews which played up the sweetness and kept the sharper spiciness less perfumey. The floral character is so pure and oolong like, as is the lack of a black tea’s bite, yet, the tea reminds me of Feng Qing black tea some, in its smoky, roastier qualities.

As delicious as the tea is hot due to the warmth of the flavours, the tea is actually quite tasty cold. Chilling enhances its chocolatey nature while the floral and the spiciness keep it lively with a cinnamon tinged aftertaste.

After trying the Mountain Tea’s Imperial Pearl, its name seems even more fitting. Although, there’s nothing delicate about Mountain Tea’s Imperial Pearl, it’s well rounded and refined, much like the delight of pearls, to make it a fine brew to string up any time.

— To purchase Mountain Tea Imperial Pearl, 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: Raven Raven
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Review: LuxBerry Tea Lychee Garden Peach

Green Tea, LuxBerry Tea, Lychee Tea, Peach Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It brews up a beautiful golden hue and smells very peachy with a tropical background. The flavor has a very light sweetness that tastes like a very fresh piece of fruit."
Melanie’s Teaview: 10/10
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luxberrylychpeachI am a tropicohlic… I love anything tropical! Lychee? Yes please! It has a wonderful combination of floral and fruity that takes me back to the islands. Add it to Peach and you have the perfect flavor for a green tea.

I’ve been so happy that I discovered LuxBerry Tea. They are a Canada based tea company lovingly overseen by a tea lover and addict like ourselves! I always enjoy perusing their website. It’s well organized and has a great tea info section.

LuxBerry Teas come with really specific brewing suggestions, which I always appreciate! And they offer advice on drinking their teas both hot and iced.

I’ve been drinking my sample of Lychee Garden Peach both iced and hot. It’s delicious both ways! I follow their suggestions and brew it at 175 degrees. If I’m making it hot, I use one teaspoon and steep it for 2 minutes. I have found I can get two more tasty steeps, adding a minute for each one. When I’m making it iced, I used 4 teaspoons and brew it three times in 4 cups of 175 degree water. I start with 2 min and add a minute with each steep.

It brews up a beautiful golden hue and smells very peachy with a tropical background. The flavor has a very light sweetness that tastes like a very fresh piece of fruit. It has a flowery side note, and a grassy/orchard aftertaste. It’s a wonderful cup of tea!

I highly recommend this refreshing fruity green tea and I have loved all of the teas I’ve sampled from LuxBerry Tea!

— To purchase LuxBerry Tea Lychee Garden Peach, 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: Melanie Melanie
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Review: The NecessiTeas Cherry Colada

Cherry Tea, Coconut Tea, Green Tea, Pineapple Tea, The Necessiteas No Comments »
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs down."Knocks you on the head with a coconut, but void of any other flavors."
CJ’s Teaview: 2/10
Your Reviews: 7/10
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necessiteascherrycoladaI’m not sure what I was expecting from a tea named “Cherry Colada.”  I think I subconsciously thought “Cherry Cola” when I ordered it.  I love cherry cola.  And cherries.  This mixture from those creative flavor-makers at the NecessiTeas was quite headily cherry, allright.  But it was also rather coconut, which makes sense, when you factor in the “colada” part of the name.  But right from the start, these scents didn’t seem to mesh.

The blend contains pineapple and rum flavors too-everything you’d need to make a party-on Pina Colada style brew.  But it just didn’t work.

While there were  plenty of broken, green tea bits in the package, none of them showed up in the flavor.  Neither did the rum, or the pineapple, or the cherries, for that matter. Once I doused the leaves with boiling water, (per the instructions on the package) the only smell or flavor present was coconut.  Not a bad thing if I were eating ice cream or drinking coconut milk.  But quite a weird thing when drinking tea.

Iced-tea lovers may find more complexity.  And coconut lovers would certainly enjoy this.  But if you want anything complex or even slightly resembling cherries or coladas, I suggest you pass on this one.  The NecessiTeas have so many other good flavors to choose from.  I rate Cherry Colada a 2.

 

 

— To purchase The NecessiTeas Cherry Colada, 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: Vintage Tea Co. Zhu Ye Qing Green

Green Tea, Vintage Tea Company No Comments »
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"...each brew is ultimately mild under even a longer infusion period and is a relative "in-betweener" of a Huangshan Mao Feng and a Silver Needle. "
Daniel’s Teaview: 8.2/10
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vintagezhuyequingTalk about an obscure company. Australian-based Vintage Tea Company is a vendor I had not heard of, and had I not gained the opportunity to sample their teas, I probably never would have (try searching for “Vintage Tea Company,” and you’ll see what I mean).

Most exciting is the stellar lineup featured on Vintage Tea’s site. Only the cream of the Chinese crop is available here, and from my recent but now multiple experiences with Vintage Tea, I can confidently assume that no purchase will generate any regret.

Among a bulk of Chinese greens, there’s Huangshan Mao Feng and a seemingly innumerable number of varieties that look and taste like Huangshan Mao Feng. Make no mistake, Vintage Tea’s Zhu Ye Qing is quite distinct and is of a noticeable resemblance to a silver buds white tea, with its soft, plump, like-sized, leaves. In taste, each brew is ultimately mild under even a longer infusion period and is a relative “in-betweener” of a Huangshan Mao Feng and a Silver Needle.

Chinese teas such as this are, above all else, simplistic in nature. Of course, the finest of similar varietal possess sides of sweetness and a notes of tart at the end of each sip. Vintage Tea’s Zhu Ye Qing boasts exactly this and much more, with a crisp yet very smooth finish. Following the first brew, each cup contains an increasing fruitiness, which makes for a long-lasting and enjoyable aftertaste.

Surprisingly, the leaves hold on to their flavor well throughout multiple brews (I consistently managed to reach five), and even the most ostensibly escaping elements are by and large just as consistent. Brewing this particular tea isn’t quite so easily affected by faulty infusions, and especially after the first two brews, the tea fares well under lengthy steepings.

Vintage Tea’s Zhu Ye Qing has further cemented my confidence in the Australian vendor. Should I fail to purchase their tea on my own, I will most certainly be snatching any of their samples to come way way.

— To purchase Vintage Tea Co. Zhu Ye Qing 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: Daniel Daniel
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Review: Tea Setter Iron Goddess Medium Grade Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea, Tea Setter No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I would highly recommend this tea. Considering I have already experienced another tea from Tea Setter I would go so far as to say do yourself a favor, before you buy try their sample pack that includes all 10 of their teas and decide which will be your favorite. "
Samantha’s Teaview: 9/10
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teasetterirongoddessTea Setter is a company that was birthed out of a passion of founder Matt Kitchen’s desire to brew tea in a way that creates for the most enjoyable and flavor filled experience. Upon first view of the website, you’re greeted by a very beginner orientated platform with quick links to how to brew, answers to common questions, and of course a place to shop and learn. My personal favorite about their site is all the pictures they provide of each tea. Included is a visual of the leave dry, brewed and the liquor color. Being able to really see what you’re buying, makes the buying experience that much more enjoyable. Tea Setter also includes flavor notes and tea origins. They also share reviews to give you a third party idea on what others think of what you may be buying. Another bonus of buying from this site is that because there are so few selections of pure tea, you can be assured that what you’re getting has been tested down to the best selection provided. The prices are logical and middle of the road, a good price for what they offer.

Their Iron Goddess Medium Grade Oolong is honestly the first of it’s kind I’ve had in about 2 months now, my palate has been slowly in a transformation from oolong to puer but that doesn’t mean I am not ready to enjoy a nice creamy oolong. This tea was harvested in Spring of 2013, grown in Anxi County of Fuijan Province, China. My sample was weighted to precisely 4 grams and came in a package stating to use the whole bag for one experience (note this is whole leave tea, no tea bags were used in brewing). They also include brewing instructions and a place to rate the tea on the package.

I used 4 grams (about a tablespoon) and brewed with water at 190 F for a series of short 20 second brews. The first brew had a very faint aroma, slighty dry mouth-feel with tastes of toast of butter. The aroma was more pronounced in the second 20 second brew, a floral taste appeared with a rose-like taste to it ending with cream and butter. There was also a tart lime and nut taste included. The third brew was extremely floral with sweet butter, toast with almonds, lime and rose.

The second brew was my favorite it had the perfect balance of all the included flavors mentioned. The leaves themselves were a bit more broken up than I anticipated, but this was a medium grade, though not lacking in flavor one bit. I would highly recommend this tea. Considering I have already experienced another tea from Tea Setter I would go so far as to say do yourself a favor, before you buy try their sample pack that includes all 10 of their teas and decide which will be your favorite.

Enjoy!

— To purchase Tea Setter Iron Goddess Medium Grade 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: Samantha Samantha
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