Saturday, March 26, 2011

East India Tea Company Cannon Ball Green Tea

Cannon Ball Green Tea
According to the East India Tea Company this tea was grown in the Ebony Tea gardens in Sri Lanka. I found it very interesting that they give the cultivar on their website. After doing some research, I found that these trees are typically used to produce white tea. The dry leaves were dark in color and had a twisted and curled appearance. They had a very fresh and sweet aroma. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 180 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was deep gold. This tea was nutty and mildly smoky with a hint of floral sweetness. It was full bodied but delicate at the same time. Some gunpowder greens are a bit too vegetal for my taste but this one was just right. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hampstead Tea Organic Fair Trade Oolong


According to Hampstead Tea this tea was grown at Makaibari, the first biodynamic tea estate in the world. Biodynamic farming includes techniques such as herbal soil preparations, rigorous composting systems, and alignment with a planetary calendar.The dry leaves had a nutty and woodsy aroma. They were dark with a long, twisted appearance. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for three minutes. The liquor was pale amber in color.

This tea was mellow yet complex. It was at once nutty and fruity with just a touch of honey-like sweetness. There was a very nice peach finish with a slight dryness at the end of each sip. I have not tried many oolongs from India but this one made me want to try more of them. I would definitely recommend this tea. Although it is listed as organic on the packaging, there is no mention of  a certifying organization.

Their website had this great YouTube video that highlights the estate where this tea is grown.
Taken from the award-winning film, The Lord of Darjeeling, by Xavier de Lauzanne.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rishi Tea Tangerine Ginger

Tangerine Ginger, Organic Botanical Blend
Rishi Tea lists the ingredients of this botanical blend as including organic ginger, organic Fair Trade Certified™ hibiscus, organic schizandra berries, organic licorice root, organic rosehips, organic orange peel and natural essential oils of orange and tangerine. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for five minutes. The liquor was a deep red color.

I was a bit hesitant to try this selection because I have had some bad experiences with ginger and licorice in the past. The aroma of the tea is dominated by ginger but the taste is thankfully quite a bit sweeter. It was fruity but not overpoweringly so. There was a slight dryness to the end of each sip. If you love citrus teas this would be right up your ally. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shanti Tea Strawberry White

Shanti Tea, an Ontario based tea company, lists the ingredients of this blend as including white tea, rosehips, safflowers, and strawberry essence. The aroma of the dry leaves was sweet but not in an artificial way. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 190 degree water for five minutes.The liquor was surprisingly dark for a white tea, almost resembling an oolong.

I was very impressed at just how strawberry-like this tea  was. There was just the right amount of sweetness tempered by just the right amount of tartness. It wasn’t overdone or artificial tasting. The base of biodynamic Bai Mu Dan from northern India was floral and light. It made a few appearances but let the strawberry take the main stage for the most part. I would definitely recommend this tea.

One of the things that I really love about Shanti Tea is that their offerings are all organic and biodynamically farmed. They even offer sustainable packaging. I cannot stress enough the importance of making ethical choices with your tea drinking. As tea becomes more and more popular here in the United States, our purchases will continue to have a greater impact on the rest of the world.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Adagio Teas Pouchong

Pouchong from Adagio Teas
Photo: Adagio Teas
Adagio describes this as a very green oolong from Taiwan. The dry leaves were tightly curled and a deep forest green in color. They had a sweet and malty aroma. I made this tea in a porcelain gaiwan using 190 degree water and three consecutive 30 second infusions. The liquor was bright yellow in color.

The flavor of this tea was very fresh and clean. The first infusion was floral and sweet with a buttery mouthfeel. The second was similar in taste but slightly more vegetal. The third infusion had the fullest body of the three. There were notes of melon that did not really come out until the third infusion. I love pouchongs because they are so delicate and the flavor palate evolves with each steeping. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rishi Tea Ancient Tea Flower

Ancient Tea Flower (Loose), Organic Fair Trade Tea Flower
According to Rishi, tea tree flowers are hand-harvested from the same antique tea trees that provide our Ancient Tree Pu-erh, Green, White and Black Teas. The Tea Flowers are hand-harvested in limited quantities during autumn and winter. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for five minutes. The leaves were varying shades of brown and had a definite potpourri look to them. The liquor was a pale gold color.

Surprisingly this tea was not very floral but tasted vaguely like honey. The flavor was a bit one dimensional and there was a bit of mustiness but overall it was an enjoyable sip and something a bit different from the norm. Rishi categorizes this tea as a puerh which leads me to believe that it is fermented in some way. I do wish they had included some details on how it is processed. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stash Tea Guayusa and Green Tea


Guayusa (pronounced why-you-suh) is a holly tree native to the Amazon rainforest known for its high caffeine content. The leaves of the guayusa were small bits of various shades of green whereas the green tea leaves were long and flat, reminding me of dragonwell. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for five minutes. The liquor was a deep brown color and had a woodsy aroma.

This tea was incredibly earthy, so much so that it almost tasted like puerh. There was also a pleasant vegetal sweetness with very little astringency. After trying several of Stash’s guayusa blends, I’ve found that this herb doesn’t  provide a huge jolt of energy. I just feel a bit more alert after drinking it. It would be a perfect tea to keep on hand for energy emergencies at work. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TeaGshwendner Darjeeling Steinthal First Flush


According to TeaGshwender, this tea was grown in the Steinthal estate which is one of the oldest gardens in Darjeeling. When Darjeeling teas are sold, they are graded by size and quality. This particular tea is marked as FTGFOP1 (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1). The dry leaves were a mottled mix of greens and browns. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for two minutes. The liquor was a pale gold.

This tea was surprisingly herbaceous, almost reminding me of Tulsi. It was very astringent but not in an unpleasant way. The muscatel flavor was very light but there was an added maltiness that I have never experienced in a Darjeeling. This is the third Darjeeling that I have tried from TeaGshwendner and they have all been very different from each other. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tay Tea Better Than Sex

Better Than Sex TeaI’ll be the first to admit, I picked up a sample of this tea at the New York Coffee and Tea Festival largely because of the name. Tay Tea lists the ingredients of this herbal blend as including rooibos with bits of Belgian dark chocolate and peppermint. Although it wasn’t listed on the site, I could also see marigold petals in the mix as well. The dry leaves had an almost piney aroma to them. I made this tea in my Breville One-Touch Tea Maker with 212 degree water for five minutes. The liquor was a deep brown color.

Awesome name aside, this tea just wasn't for me. The chocolate was not really there as far as taste goes but I could definitely smell it. The combination of rooibos and peppermint was a bit too medicinal. There was hardly any astringency but it was almost too sweet. I find that black tea is usually a better base for chocolate because rooibos has a natural sweetness to it. I’m not a big fan of rooibos to begin with but if you are a lover of red bush then this blend just might float your boat. I probably wouldn't recommend this tea.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vosges Chocolate Matcha Bar

An image of a Vosges Matcha Bar in its packaging.I couldn’t resist picking this bar up on a recent trip to Whole Foods. I don’t see it listed on Vosges’ site so I’m not entirely certain that it is still being made. As would be expected, Vosges touts the health benefits and antioxidant levels of matcha. At 45% cacao, I would have thought that this bar would taste like milk chocolate but the green tea added a new level of richness that made it taste like a much darker chocolate. Although the matcha wasn’t really discernable in the flavor profile, this still hit the spot for a chocoholic like myself. It was a bit pricy but definitely worth a try if you are a lover of tea and chocolate.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tavalon Gravity Teapot

I picked up this nifty little teapot from Tavalon’s booth at the New York Coffee and Tea Festival. It couldn’t be more convenient to use. All you have to do is place tea leaves into the pot and add hot water. Once it is done steeping, place the pot on top of any cup and the gravity flow filter will empty the finished tea into your cup while also straining out the leaves.

I love that this pot is made out of food grade plastic that is BPA free. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe. This pot has become my new best friend at work, enabling me to drink untold amounts of tea. Who doesn’t need that dose of caffeine to get their day started? So far I’ve used it with green tea and oolong and it has worked very well for both. I would definitely recommend this teapot.