Posts Tagged ‘Tea Category’
Tea Company: KTeas (website)
Ingredients: green tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 3 grams tea leaves (1 teaspoon) per serving. 140 degF water. 2 minutes. May increase steeping time 1 minute per subsequent steeping. (But KTeas says not necessary!)
This marked the last Hawaiian-grown tea I had yet to try from K Teas. Grown at the Hilo Tea Garden estate residing near Mountain View, Tea Hawaii sourced this green tea with the gentle drinker in mind. K Teas describes it as a pan-fired green tea reminiscent of some Chinese varieties. I’d say that’s a very apt description.
The curly, long, yellow-to-green leaves looked exactly like Mao Feng green tea. The buttered vegetables aroma was even there. If I was looking at this blind, I would’ve passed it up as a Mao Feng. A grassy one at that.
Brewing instructions were peculiarly light. The sample bag recommended steeping 3g. (roughly 1 tsp.) of leaves in a cup of 140F water for two minutes. That sounded rather low, but – to be fair – some green teas required delicacy. Japanese varieties, for example. This green tea looked like it was prone to spinaching if not carefully observed. I obeyed their instructions almost to the letter, save for the amount. Since the sample was small-ish, I opted for “almost-a-teaspoon” in 5oz. of water – just in case I screwed up the first brew.
The liquor infused almost completely clear, even more transparent than white tea. Heck, I’ve seen water that brewed darker. (California, anyone?) I think there was an aroma of leaves and butter, but it was extremely understate. There was a Mao Feng-ish presence on taste with a creamy back, yet in all honesty…this was water. Warm water.
I tried a second steep with the same leaves at 160F and three minutes. Now it looked like a green tea – one with a nice grass-to-floral scent. On the tongue, it was even more pleasant with a nutty mouthfeel. I likened it to a Japanese aracha instead of a Mao Feng. This proved that the instructions were way too light. So, go with your gut on this one. Brew it light but not too light. A good green tea awaits you if you oblige it.
You can purchase the Olas Green Tea directly from the KTeas website.
Tea Company: The East India Company (website)
Ingredients: Black tea, “sensuous blossoms and tantalising spices”
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 4-5 minutes
This tastes purple. Very, very purple. Crayola Purple.
Other than that, I’m at a bit of a loss to describe this one. British East India isn’t particularly forthcoming with their ingredient list, so the ability to match what I’m tasting with what the label says I’m supposed to be tasting is limited. The only other hint given on the packet is a strength of “4″ on a rating scale of Zed to … well, they don’t tell us that, either.
Dry, this blend has short, thick, dark leaves–a good black tea base. Those are accompanied by long, gold leafy bits that I can’t identify and bits and shards of the “tantalising spices.” Almost sandalwoody in character. (Which, in keeping with the Kama Sutra frame of reference, would be appropriate.)
After a four minute steep, we get a cup of deep, velvety red-brown liquid that is thick and hefty on the tongue. Flavor…well, we’re back to purple, even a little bitter. (Probably best to stay a little light on the leaf–I did a teaspoon to an 8 ounce cup.) The sensuous blossoms have a deep, dark personality–not tart and bright like hibiscus, more like violets or periwinkle or pansies. This is by no means grape flavored, but you do catch yourself holding your tongue the same way you do after a shot of Welch’s unsweetened juice.
Quailty tea veiled in a bit of mystery.
You can purchase the Kama Sutra Revitalising Tea directly from the The East India Company website.
Tea Company: Teavivre (website)
Ingredients: black tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 185 degF (85 degC) for 2 to 3 minutes
Bai Lin Gong Fu – other than sounding like the name of a cheesy 70s martial arts flick – is a black tea hailing from Fujian province, China. The territory is best known for producing Wuyi oolongs and the ever-famous Bai Hao Yinzhen (or Silver Needle white tea). The only other black tea I know of made their is Golden Monkey, which is just AWESOME! Anyway…
This was an impressive enough looking black tea with brown-to-black, curled leaves in full effect. Tippy pieces also dotted the canvas, giving a spritely touch to the earthy presentation. Smelling it was also an experience, for I found it hard to pinpoint what to call the scent; I settled on “caramel musk” – even though that sounds like a male aftershave.
Teavivre recommended 1-2 tsps. per 8oz. of 185F water steeped for two-to-three minutes. I braved a quickie brew-up at 199F water for two minutes – 1 tbsn. and a 12oz. cup. I was on the go.
The liquor brewed a deep red-brown with a smoky-sweet aroma that reminded me of a Keemun. Further whiffing turned up notes of wood, leather and chocolate. Y’know…manly things. There seemed to also be a dryness to the scent, which turned up on the flavorful forefront. However, that was thankfully minor, and it was followed up by a bold, malty middle with shades of honey. Some bitterness showed up on finish, but I owed that to my near-boil brew-up, not the leaves. This was different from the other two Bai Lins I’ve tried – which both exhibited more earthy, Yunnan-like tendencies – but I still favored its robust roundhouse kick of a taste. It’s a morning cup, that’s for certain.
You can purchase the Bailin Gongfu directly from the Teavivre website.
Tea Company: Shepherd (website)
Ingredients: Organic white tea, organic strawberry leaf, organic licorice, organic peach flavor
Vendor Suggested Preparation: near boiling water, 4-5 minutes
For a bagged tea purveyed by a modestly small little-known operation in Montana, this is pretty tasty stuff! The sellers, www.theshepherdsgarden.com, have a limited number of bagged tea varieties, with more evidently to come, and a line of mugs, accessories, warmers, and other giftware that leans toward the froofy and flowery.
This tea is neither froofy nor flowery, but fruity, and in a very pleasant way. The white tea leaves are torn and tiny, typical for a bagged tea. However, they steep into a nice base for the flavoring, even after 4-5 minutes–a bit on the longish side for white teas. No bitterness. A finished cup yields an attractive, clear gold liquid. The peach flavor tastes natural and not chemical. The strawberry leaf is detectible and a nice complement. Best of all, the licorice is not cloyingly annoying.
If you examined the means and motives of most tea drinkers, the ritual is as important as the recipe. Tea, steeped well and appreciated properly, takes time and patience to prepare and enjoy. And the good folks at Shepherd’s Tea have added a lovely packaging tweak to pass that time peacefully–a carefully chosen Scripture verse (King James for Elizabethan flavor) to refresh your weary spirit while you wait. The cup I prepared for this review reinforces the value of biding one’s time: But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4).
You can purchase the Organic Peach White Tea directly from the Shepherd website.
Tea Company: East Pacific Tea Co (website)
Ingredients: not listed online
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 3 minute steep time
My first experience with a British East India tea was highly positive, so it was with great anticipation I opened up my packet of what is advertised to be “a wonderful warming tea combining the spice of cinnamon and a subtle sweetness of apple.”
Thus, it was with great deflation and dejection I discovered this variety … well, just isn’t as advertised.
It sounds promising. It looks tasty–big, thick tea leaves, outnumbered by chunks of apple and spice; a nice rosy red when steeped the prescribed number of minutes.
And that’s where the positives, unfortunately, end. The dry mix smells musty and vinegary–it’s making me hearken back to unwelcome trips to Grandma Schubert’s basement to retrieve stored goods.The tea itself tasted tart and stale…I didn’t pick up tea, apple, or cinnamon flavors. Just vinegar.
It is possible that this particular sample wasn’t up to par. (That’s likely.) It is possible that this particular blend was crafted to appeal to the British palate, which I know differs in some ways from the average U.S. tea taster. (Less likely, but I’m trying to be diplomatic.) It is possible that another packet on another day might have yielded completely different results.
But today’s result, I’m sorry to say, was blecch!
You can purchase the Golden Apple and Cinnamon directly from the East Pacific Tea Co website.