Monday, August 30, 2010

Boston Tea Company Jasmine


According to the Boston Tea Company, this is a Chinese Chun Mee green tea that has been scented with jasmine blossoms. The leaves were bright green with varied shapes and sizes. There were a lots of whole blossoms mixed in throughout. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker using 175 degree water for four minutes. The liquor was a deep and brassy gold color.

I was surprised to find that this tea was decidedly more fruity than floral tasting. It almost reminded me of pineapple but without the tartness. I’ve never found this kind of flavor profile in a jasmine tea and I would be very interested to find out exactly what it is that made the difference. The second steeping was just as delicious. If you aren’t a fan of the heavily perfumed aspect of jasmine, this blend is perfect for you. I would definitely recommend this tea.

You can find out more about this tea here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Look

I’ve been bored with the layout and logo of this blog for a while and finally got enough free time this weekend to do something about it. I have zero artistic ability but I did the best I could with the logo. I think that I finally have all of the bugs worked out and I’d love to hear what my readers think about the new look. I’ve also purchased the domain name teaformeplease.com. You may notice my email address is now listed as nicole@teaformeplease.com. I’ve always hated the .blogspot.com url and I think it has a nicer ring to it this way too. I also finally got around to creating a Facebook Fan Page. I need to reach 25 fans in order to make a username that gives me a shorter and easier url. Won’t you help me out? In other news, on Thursday I’ll be featured in World of Tea’s tea drinker profile! I’m really excited about it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Canton Tea Co Silver Yin Zehn

Accord to Canton Tea Co. this tea is grown in the Fujian Province of China. The leaves were completely covered in the downy hairs that silver needle is famous for. However, my sample had more than a few broken leaves. I chalk that up to shipping damage as that is not the norm for silver needle. I steeped this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 170 degree water and 2 minute infusions. Post steeping the leaves were especially plump and green. The liquor was very pale.

This tea was everything that I love about good quality white teas, delicate but with a wide range of experiences in single session. The first infusion had the typical melon-like quality that I would expect. As it cooled this flavor became more pronounced. The second infusion was more floral and had a honey aftertaste. The third brought out some nutty notes. There was a sweetness that lingered long after each sip. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Element Tea Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint

I was extremely excited to try this tea because it combines my two most favorite non-tea things in the world. According to Element Tea, this blend consists of Sri Lankan black tea, peppermint and natural chocolate flavors. The leaves were dark and twisted with a few green peppermint leaves mixed in. Their aroma was incredible. It was like I had just opened a fresh package of Andes chocolate mints. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for four minutes.

Chocolate is a tricky flavor to recreate in tea form. I find that it often comes across as a general bitterness. This is by far the best chocolate blend that I have ever had. The mint is predominant but the chocolate is there as a warm and toasty background. It was smooth and refreshing with just a bit of astringency. What could be better than drinking your after-dinner mint? The second infusion wasn’t as minty but it was just as delicious. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canton Tea Co. Pouchong

Canton Tea Co. is a London-based company that specializes in high grade, whole leaf Chinese teas. This particular type of tea is a very lightly oxidized oolong that was grown in Taiwan. The dry leaves of this tea had that gnarled and twisted look that I love in my dan cong oolongs. They were dark green in color and had a pleasant toasty aroma. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 195 degree water and 40 second steepings. The liquor was a pale yellow.

The first infusion of this tea was surprisingly light and clean. It was floral but in a very subtle way. The second infusion was noticeably less green tasting. There was some definite nuttiness coming through. The third infusion was smokier but still sweet. This tea just kept going and going on subsequent infusions. I found it to be very forgiving on steep time. I became distracted during one of my last infusions and it didn’t cause it to become bitter at all. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicago Tea Garden Zealong Pure

I’m always excited to try teas from unusual or new growing regions. Chicago Tea Garden is the first company in the United States to sell Zealong, the only tea that is produced in New Zealand. It is grown naturally without the use of chemical fertilizers. The dry leaves resembled a typical hand rolled oolong and had a strong, woodsy aroma. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 195 degree water and 40 second infusions. The liquor was bright and brassy in color.

The first infusion was sweet and somewhat floral with a thick mouth feel. Each subsequent infusion brought out subtle changes in the flavor profile that really made this tea a great experience. The second infusion became fruitier and some smokiness appeared in the third that had not been there before. I thought the smoky notes were interesting since this particular oolong is not roasted. This tea is a great example of why oolongs are my favorite type of tea. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Teatulia Organic Green Tea

sample

As is the case with the rest of Teatulia’s offerings, this tea is organically grown in the Northern Bangladesh region of India. The dry leaves had a unique appearance that was very different from other green teas that I have had. I steeped this tea using my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 180 degree water for four minutes. The liquor was a light gold color.

The flavor of this tea was mostly vegetal but in a clean way, almost reminding me of cucumber. It was full bodied without being overpowering. I loved that it had just the right amount of astringency and it lacked the grassiness often associated with green tea. It had a pleasantly sweet and nutty finish. This would make a good every day green. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Boston Tea Company Moroccan Mint

This tea consists of a gunpowder green tea blended with spearmint leaves. The tea leaves are rolled into tiny balls. The aroma was very strong, like sniffing a freshly opened pack of a chewing gum. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker using 180 degree water for four minutes. The liquor was a deep gold color. When cold brewing I used two quarts of water to 1/4 cup of leaf and steeped for five hours.

Even though I tend to lean towards unflavored teas, Moroccan Mint has always been one of my favorites. The taste of this tea was mint, mint and more mint; just the way I like it. The green tea provided just a bit of smokiness in the background but the spearmint really takes the center stage here. It was even more refreshing when I used cold brewed some iced tea. The pure and clean taste of this tea has got me dreaming up ways to use it in the kitchen. Mint infused chocolate pudding anyone? I would definitely recommend this tea.

You can find out more about this tea here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Green Tea Lovers Silverback White Tea

I was really interested to try this tea because I had never had anything but black and herbal teas from Africa and I have never had any tea from Kenya. According to Green Tea Lovers it is grown in an estate that is pesticide and herbicide free. This is always important to me when choosing what teas I drink. The leaves were a grayish green in color and covered in downy hairs. I steeped this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 180 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was a light gold color and had a sweet aroma.

The taste of this tea was just sort of plainly vegetal, reminiscent of brussel sprouts. On their website this tea is described tea as having oolong-like flavor notes but I found it to be rather one dimensional. Normally silver needles have all of these tiny layers of flavors that I love discovering but there was none of that here. The flavor was definitely different from Chinese and Indian silver needles so it was fun to experiment with but I probably wouldn’t recommend this tea.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chicago Tea Garden Lu Mu Dan Flowers

This tea features hand sewn rosettes of spring-picked Huangshan Maofang tea leaves. It almost had the appearance of a tiny bouquet of seaweed. I wasn’t sure where to go with the brewing parameters for this tea so I played it a bit safe. I steeped this tea in a glass tea pot with 180 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was a bright yellow color and had a sweet vegetal aroma. After steeping the tea leaves plumped up and turned to a brighter, more uniform shade of green.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this tea tasted. It was sweet and vegetal with just a bit of smokiness at the end of each sip. It wasn’t as showy as a regular flowering tea but it more than makes up for that in the taste department. I left the rosette in the water after pouring my first cup and it didn’t make any of my subsequent cups bitter at all. I’d love to experiment to see if this tea would be able to tolerate higher water temperatures. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Naivetea Osmanthus Oolong


Naivetea has consistently impressed me with the quality of their flavored oolongs. This selection consists of Alishan oolong infused with natural osmanthus. Osmanthus is a flowering shrub that is native to Asia. The dry leaves were a deep green in color with a few bits of yellow flowers mixed in. I steeped this tea using my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 195 degree water for 3 minutes. The liquor was a deep golden color.

The only word that I can think of to describe this tea is remarkable. This tea is smooth, sweet and buttery. The osmanthus lent a delicate floral and slightly citrus flavor without being too much like perfume. There was no bitterness and my second infusion was just as delicious. For a long time I thought that I didn’t like osmanthus very much but this tea proved to me that the blends I’ve tried before just weren’t up to par. I would definitely recommend this tea.