Review: Happy Earth Tea Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Fair Trade Tea, Happy Earth Tea, Organic Tea No Comments »
Shaiha’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"This is a lighter, more delicate darjeeling as befits a First Flush. Even so, it has a medium body that seems to roll over the tongue."
Shaiha’s Teaview: 6.3/10
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happyearthsungma13My sample today comes from a family owned company established in 2011. Their goal is to offer the freshest, organic teas to their customers. They offer a nice selections of teas at reasonable prices as well as handmade tea ware.

My sample arrived all sealed up in a vacuum packed bag to preserve its freshness. This is a greener darjeeling with leaves ranging in color from pale green to chocolate brown. The aroma is faint and reminds me of fresh cut grass.

I set it up to brew using 195 degree water and a steep time of 3 minutes. The resulting liquor is a golden brown with the perfume of a walk through a meadow with the sharp scents of cut grass and the  soft aromas of flowers.

This is a lighter, more delicate darjeeling as befits a First Flush. Even so, it has a medium body that seems to roll over the tongue. The tastes that I am able to pick out lean more to the vegetal with hints of yams, spinache and grassiness. There is light astringency that encourages one to reach for the next sip.

This is fine example of one of the greener darjeeling but it wouldn’t be one that I would stock as I tend to lean more to the fruitiness of some darjeelings. Even so, it would make a fine bridge between green and black teas.

— To purchase Happy Earth Tea Darjeeling Sungma First Flush 2014, 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: Teasenz Liu An Melon Seed Green

Green Tea, Teasenz No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Cooked artichokes with a strong hint of pine."
Katie’s Teaview: 8.9/10
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teasenzliumelonThis spring 2014 tea is from Liu’An village in Anhui, China. I’ve been really into Chinese greens lately, and this leaf has long been one of my favourites. The leaves are beautiful, uniform, deep green spears, and after I brew them at 176° for two minutes, they turn an even more brilliant shade of emerald green.

The soft green liquor smells deeply vegetal with a bright finish, and the texture is perfection, coating the mouth with a buttery softness.

Tasting of cooked artichokes with a strong hint of pine, the flavour is unique among green teas. It’s deliciously balanced with a slight acidity and a hint of mineral to the finish.

I brew a second steep for two minutes, and it’s a bit of a disappointment. It’s still a good green, but it’s faded enough that it’s lost all its brilliance. The first infusion, though, is subtle yet complex. It’s not a heavy leaf, but it doesn’t lack in flavour.

— To purchase Teasenz Liu An Melon Seed 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: Golden Tips Tea Halmari Gold

Assam Tea, Black Tea, Golden Tips Tea No Comments »
Melanie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Large dark leaves sprinkled with beautiful gold tips... a deep dark golden brew... a full deep malty flavor when it reaches the tongue... Does that sound enticing? "
Melanie’s Teaview: 8/10
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goldentipshalmariLarge dark leaves sprinkled with beautiful gold tips… a deep dark golden brew… a full deep malty flavor when it reaches the tongue… Does that sound enticing?

I was excited receive several different samples from Golden Tips Tea. They have been serving the tea community since 1933. They are a family business and focus on teas grown in India. You can find a great variety of Assam teas, as well as Darjeeling, and Nilgiri as well as a smattering of other regions.

Halmari Gold is a black tea. When I opened the packet, I saw a beautiful selection of large assam leaves, and a large sprinkling of golden tips. Assam is the region it’s grown in and is often associated with a malty flavor. Halmari is the estate this tea is grown on.

In their description, Gold Tips Teas describes this tea as having a “unique rich maltiness which is only found in select Assams during the peak second flush tea growing season.”

I love malty Assam tea! I brewed this tea both as a pot and as an individual cup of tea so that I could get an idea of the full range of flavors I could experience. I found both to be a very rich, full bodied cup of tea. I also found that this tea can not be steeped too long. It quickly goes from a lightly astringent tea to a very bitter tea if left too long to steep.

The package says to steep it 3-5 min. I often steep tea in my teapot for 5 min. and a cup of tea for 4-5 min. I found that 4 min. kept this tea from turning bitter, so I preferred to remove the leaves at the 4 min. mark.

I enjoyed this Halmari Gold Assam tea both first thing in the morning, and as an afternoon pick me up. It took milk very well, and I even enjoyed a bit of sugar in it. I was very impressed with the quality of this tea and the large amount of golden tips.

— To purchase Golden Tips Tea Halmari Gold, 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: Happy Earth Tea Puttabong Darjeeling First Flush

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Happy Earth Tea No Comments »
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Notes of fruit, muscatel, and herbs."
Katie’s Teaview: 7.9/10
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happyearthputtabongdarjMuch like my family, I love every Darjeeling tea, but I love some more than others, and Puttabong is one of the gardens I get really excited about. But when I put in my big, annual first flush order last year, Puttabong wasn’t in stock yet, so I’m thrilled Happy Earth Tea gave me the chance to sample this garden’s 2014 harvest.

The website recommends you brew one teaspoon per cup at 180° for three minutes. I usually brew Darjeelings at 195°, so I go with that instead. The leaves are small, curled, and a multitude of browns and greens. They smell bright and herbal and brew into a bright amber liquor. The cup smells brilliantly of muscatel and herbs.

On its surface, the flavour is classic Darjeeling: all notes of fruit, muscatel, and herbs, but there are key differences from similar leaves. It doesn’t have any bitterness or earthiness to balance the fruity notes, meaning it lacks a great deal of depth, but it also makes the tea more accessible for drinkers who don’t appreciate the bitter flavour often found in Darjeeling teas. I find myself missing the bitter note, but I appreciate the cup’s lack of bracing, acrid, or otherwise unpleasant flavours.

I infuse a second time for five minutes and am disappointed. It’s got enough flavour to be worth the resteep, but it’s more watery and bland than I’m used to from teas of this calibre. That doesn’t diminish the amazing first steep; however, and overall it’s an easy to drink, unique tea that I really enjoyed.

— To purchase Happy Earth Tea Puttabong Darjeeling First Flush, 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: Teasenz West Lake Dragonwell

Green Tea, Teasenz No Comments »
Samantha’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The brewed aroma is very vegetal and slightly sweet. The texture is very smooth as to be expected, but the characteristic nutty flavor is very lacking in my opinion."
Samantha’s Teaview: 6.5/10
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teasenzwestldragonGreen, flat leaves are typical of this style of gree tea from Teasenz. Long Jing is more commonly known as Dragon Well. It’s typically characterized by slightly vegetal and delicate nutty flavors. Upon opening the package I was a bit taken back by the film of downy hairs from the tea leaves on the side of the packaging and the scent of the plastic slightly lingered as I smelled within the package.

As for brewing, a heaping teaspoon full of leaves were used to 6 ounces of water at 175 F. The brewed aroma was very vegetal and slightly sweet. The texture was very smooth as to be expected, but the characteristic nutty flavor was very lacking in my opinion. While the nut flavor of dragon well shouldn’t be profound, I found this tea to be very bland with a flat flavor profile.

— To purchase Teasenz West Lake Dragonwell, 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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