September 2010Tea For Me Please: September 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Maiko Tea Happiness Tea (Shiawasencha)


Photo: Maiko Tea
According to Maiko Tea this blend is a combination of matcha, kukicha, genmai and kelp. Can you say green? This was probably one of the most visually interesting teas I have ever seen. There were so many different shapes and textures, all covered in the bright green matcha powder. I steeped this tea in a kyusu using 175 degree water and one minute infusions.

The first infusion was yellowish green and almost translucent because of the matcha. I was expecting a lot of vegetal flavor because of the green tea overload but that was not the case.  It was nutty and sweet in a very mild way. The second was much clearer but still very bright green in color. The taste did not change much between infusions. If you are a fan of Japanese greens then this is right up your alley. I would definitely recommend this tea.

You can find out more about this tea here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Teapod Rose Petal Green


Teapod is a UK based company that was launched in 2008. This tea consists of green tea from the Yunnan Province in China and rose petals. The dry leaves were long, thin and twisted in appearance. Rose petals are one of my favorite tea ingredients simply because they are so pretty to look at. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker using 175 degree water for three minutes.

This tea was floral without tasting like perfume or potpourri. Rose always surprises me with how subtle it can be. The green tea was just barely there in the background, adding a touch of vegetal sweetness. It was a very mellow cup of tea but sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Canton Tea Co. Bai Lin Gong Fu


This is a Chinese black tea that was grown in the Fujian Province. The dry leaves were a mottled brown color and had a fine, curly appearance. They had a very pleasant earthy smell to them. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 212 degree water and three consecutive 40 second infusions. The liquor was a deep red color that was almost translucent.

The first infusion of this tea was sweet and nutty tasting with hardly any bitterness. The second took on a pleasant maltiness that reminded me of a good quality Assam. The third was just as enjoyable and had not lost any of its strength. Very few black teas lend themselves well to the gong fu style of brewing but this one suits it perfectly. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Element Tea Mandarin Silk Oolong

Organic Mandarin Silk
Element Tea lists the ingredients of this blend as consisting of oolong tea, organic lemon myrtle, marigold petals and natural flavors. The dry leaves were dark green and twisted in appearance. I doubt the marigold added much to the taste but they provided a very pretty splash of color. I steeped this tea using my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 195 degree water for 4 minutes.

This tea was not offensive by any means but simply put, it tasted exactly like creamy lemongrass. The oolong was not discernible in the flavor profile. This blend really just wasn't for me. I am not a fan of lemon to begin with so I cannot really hold that against them. I have enjoyed several of Element Teas other offerings. If you enjoy citrus teas then you might like this one but I probably would not recommend this tea.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicago Tea Garden Silver Needle White Tea


This tea was sourced by David Lee Hoffman in China’s Fujian province in the spring of 2010. The dry leaves were largely unbroken and covered in the downy hair that usually denotes as silver needle. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 160 degree water and one minute infusions. The liquor was so pale that it was practically colorless.

This tea was everything a silver needle should be and then some. The first infusion was very sweet and delicate but it was the second really knocked my socks off. It was a fuller, rounder version of the first which really brought out all of the layers of flavors. It was at once floral, vegetal and nutty. It was good to be reminded of just how wonderful a good silver needle really can be. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Element Tea Phoenix Tropical Peach Oolong

Phoenix Tropical Peach Oolong
Element Tea’s website states that this tea is grown in the Phoenix Mountains of the Guangdong Province of China. The ingredients are listed simply as oolong tea and tropical flavoring. The dry leaves smelled exactly like peach candy. I steeped this tea using my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 195 degree water for 4 minutes. The liquor was a deep amber color and darker than most oolongs.

This tea was much more delicate than I expected it to be. The peach flavor was present but in a subtle and natural way. The oolong base wasn’t very noticeable but it did add a bit of creaminess. The only complaint I have is the ambiguity about the ingredients. I like to know exactly what I am drinking. This tea was very nicely done and I’ve been impressed by Element Tea’s offerings so far. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Monday, September 13, 2010

TeaGschwendner Rockin’ Red Apple

Rockin' Red AppleI picked up this special New York themed blend at TeaGshwendner’s Manhattan location in Rockefeller Center. It consists of black tea, natural flavoring, apple pieces and vanilla pieces. The dry leaves smelled amazing. They reminded me of really fresh old fashioned apple cider. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for four minutes.

This tea was really wonderful, sweet and spicy in just the right proportions. There was just the perfect amount of tartness from the apple but it wasn’t overly sweet the way some fruit blends can be. The vanilla added a bit of creaminess that put a nice finish on each sip. I am always impressed with TeaGshwendner’s teas and this one was no exception. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rishi Vanilla Mint Chai

Vanilla Mint Chai, Organic Fair Trade ChaiAccording to Rishi this tea consists of pu-erh tea, organic vanilla, organic peppermint, organic cinnamon and organic licorice root. The dry leaves were a mix of blacks, greens and browns. There was a faint minty aroma to them. I prepared this tea by bringing 1.5 cups of water and 1 cup of milk to boil, adding the leaves and then let it simmer for 5 minutes. I never sweeten my tea but it would be easy to add a bit of agave or your sweetener of choice.

This tea is not a traditional chai so I tried not to judge it as such. It was very rich and creamy tasting with vanilla being the dominating flavor. However, I do think it could have used a bit more kick to it. Perhaps some cardamom to balance the sweetness of the licorice? It was still a very enjoyable cup of tea. The nights have been chilly here in New Jersey and it was the perfect warm-me-up drink. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TeaGschwendner Darjeeling No.9 Himilaya

Darjeeling No. 9 Himalaya First FlushAccording to TeaGshwendner this tea is a blend of first flush estate teas. It is marked as TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). The dry leaves were varied shades of green, black and brown. They smelled very fresh and green. I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for two minutes. The liquor was a deep amber color and had the same great aroma as the dry leaves.

This tea was sweet, floral and woodsy with a dry finish to each sip. The muscatel taste is up front and center and I found it to be a bit bolder than a lot of Darjeelings that I have had. Cold brewing to make iced tea was just as delicious. Luckily for me, TeaGschwendner has recently opened a retail store in Manhattan so I can easily stock up on this. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Green Tea Muffins

I’ve been on a major cooking and baking kick lately. I was a little bored a few weekends ago and got in the mood to make some muffins. After some google searching I found this simple recipe on Food.com. They came out pretty good if I do say so myself. I think next time I’ll use a bit more matcha though since I really love that strong flavor. They made the whole house smell like green tea. The one down side is that now I am craving the delicious green tea muffins I used to get every morning from Amai Tea before they closed. Theirs were much more moist and they used to stick a red bean in the middle of each one.

Ingredients:

Directions:


Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
  1. Preheat oven at 350°F.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and green tea powder and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until light.
  4. Add the sugar and eggs and beat some more until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the dry mixture and the milk.
  6. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are just incorporated (don't overmix). The batter will be somewhat lumpy.
  7. Divide the batter among the muffin tins (If you don't have any liners, grease the tins), about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Bon appetit!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rishi Coconut Oolong

Coconut Oolong

According to Rishi Tea this tea consists of Bao Zhong oolong and natural coconut flavor. I often wish companies explained exactly what is meant by that but I suppose that would give their secrets away. Bao Zhong is a lightly oxidized Taiwanese tea. The dry leaves were long and twisted with a dark and dusty appearance. I steeped this tea using my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 195 degree water for 4 minutes. The liquor was a brassy gold color.

The base tea for this blend is wonderful. It is pleasantly fruity and floral while allowing the coconut to peak through. Typically we think of coconut as a sweet, candy-like flavor. That is usually artificially created though. This tea reminded me more of the natural, low key flavor of coconut oil. It may not be everyone’s thing but I love it. On the second infusion it was more easily discernable and a bit of toastiness also appeared at the end of each sip. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Canton Tea Co. Tie Guan Yin

Iron Buddha Oolong Tea Dry Leaf (Anxi Tie Guan Yin Wu Long)
According to the Canton Tea Co. this tea is a lightly oxidized oolong that hails from the Fujian Province of China and was harvested in Autumn 2009. The leaves were dark green and very tightly rolled. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 195 degree water and three consecutive 40 second infusions. The liquor was a light greenish gold color and had an aroma that was reminiscent of caramel.
The first infusion of this tea had a wonderful buttery vanilla quality. The second was sweeter and slightly more vegetal than the previous one. The third was the strongest of the three. The flavor profile was complex so it is difficult to describe but it reminded me very much of honeydew melon. The aftertaste really lingered in my palate after each sip. I would definitely recommend this tea.

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