Posts Tagged ‘Tea Companies’
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Sweet Osmanthus: Silver Needle, Orange Osmanthus and Lily
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed on the website
Canton has become one of my preferred tea companies and today I’m reviewing one of their flowering teas. It’s called Sweet Osmanthus and I expect it will be both beautiful and delicious. My glass teapot met my ceramic floor about a month ago so I’m making do with one of my Brandy glass, hoping it will have enough room to steep properly.
The dry ‘bulb’ is tightly woven into an unusual shape (unusual compared to other similar teas I’ve had), and it smells slightly floral. Placed it in my glass and poured almost boiling water on it – steeping it as I would any other Silver Needle. It started to bloom almost instantly, exposing the orange Osmanthus leaves that were hidden away in it’s center. The liquor turned a light orange color which surpised and delighted me and the scent grew more floral by the minute. The scent reminds me of lilies but with a hint of mandarin with it. Steeped it for 3 minutes then tasted it and it is really good. I expected it to taste perfumy but it doesn’t, slightly nutty with a smooth finish and a clean lingering aftertaste.
When I was finished savoring it, I rinsed the flower in cool water to put on display – hoping it will hold it’s shape for a few days so I can enjoy it…
You can purchase the Sweet Osmanthus Flowering Tea directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Announcing our First Giveaway!
Over the past year, we have received fantastic support from the tea community; from the tea companies that keep us well stocked with tea for review, and from our viewers that continue to visit and read our staff’s fantastic reviews. We figured it was time to reward our viewers, reviewers and tea companies alike with our first giveaway!
Dan from Tea Pottery Canada (http://www.teapotterycanada.ca) has graciously donated a beautiful teapot for us to give away to one lucky viewer. You can see the photos of this amazing teapot below. This hand crafted teapot has a value of over $150.00 – and it can be yours! (View the teapot here)
How can you win?
It is very simple, all you have to do is sign up for our brand new newsletter. You can do so in the right menu, or on our Newsletter page. One lucky winner will be randomly chosen from all the subscribers, past and present, to our newsletter.
Everybody is a winner!
When you sign up for our newsletter, not only do you get a chance to win this gorgeous teapot, but you will also receive special offers, promotions, industry news and weekly digests of the reviews posted on the website! We never send spam, and you only receive relevant information pertaining to It’s All About The Leaf, and tea. You really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
The draw will take place on Monday December 6th, in order to get you this special teapot in time for the Holidays. So don’t delay, enter RIGHT NOW for your chance to win!
Tea Company: Adagio (website)
Ingredients: Green Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
Gunpowder is one of my personal favourites, for green tea. However I have only ever purchased it from one or two sources, so I was excited to be able to try it from a company whose gunpowder I had not tried before. Gunpowder is a simple green tea, but sometimes the differences between the same tea from different companies can be quite noticeable.
The dry leaves hold the intense grassiness I have come to associate with most gunpowder greens. After steeping this tea and straining off the leaves, I notice that the steeped leaves have a very dark, almost smoky scent, and I worry that I’ve accidentally heated the water too hot and scalded them. One whiff of the prepared tea banishes that negative thought from my mind, as I am greeted by rolling vegetal tones with a touch of sweet grassiness.
These same aromas swell in the flavour of this tea, and the grassy sweetness permeates all taste buds. The smokiness of this tea is stronger than other gunpowder greens that I have tried, and it is a good addition, in my opinion.
I give this tea a 77 out of 100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Gunpowder directly from the Adagio website.
Tea Company: Samovar Tea Lounge (website)
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
Dear Tea Companies,
Your packages’ brewing instructions matter.
Let me explain. I have run into many a situation where I’ll get some amazing sounding tea. I’ll read the instruction on the label, and do what it says. I have to trust that the company who gives me a tea, knows how to make it the best. It will look lovely, the leaf will smell lovely, and the brew will be the most beautiful color ever.
And then that first sip will make me cry. Wonky preparation details will take my little cup of heaven and make it undrinkable.
Such was the case with my first experience with Royal Garland by Samovar. Many of my on-line tea friends experience heighten states of being when they have Samovar teas. So I was really looking forward to the experience of this tea. And then I got it, and read the package where it called for 2 tablespoons of leaf being steeped in 5 ounces of water for 3 minutes. MEH?? I know some teas, especially the fluffier ones, break that 1 cup = 1 tsp golden rule, but this sounded really funky. And everything I’d read says that more leaf = shorter steep. This just couldn’t be right.
But, I decided to trust the tea company. The leaf was gorgeous and smelled amazing. But when I tried that brew… Oh, when I tried that poor abused cup of tea, I almost sprayed the room. It was horrid. Bitter, astringent, and just plain awful. And it was a goodly portion of my tin, since it had called for so much leaf. It honestly took me a good few months to think about trying the tea again.
But, luckily, this tea story has a happy ending. I, after asking around for suggestions of brewing parameters, played with brewing some additional cups. And I’ve gotten the brew to where it’s pretty darned good. It’s a light yellow color, with a clean and slightly astringent flavor with overtones of cashews. I can get multiple yummy steeps out of the same, much smaller, amount of leaves. This is a really nice oolong. Just don’t use the preparation techniques on the container!!
You can purchase the Royal Garland directly from the Samovar Tea Lounge website.
Tea Company: Distinctly Tea (website)
Ingredients: Lapacho bark with coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, vanilla beans & natural vanilla flavour.
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Boiling water, 1 tsp per 8oz cup, steep 5-7 minutes
Recently we received a shipment of teas from Distinctly Tea, a company in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. I exchanged several emails with Distinctly Tea, the net effect being a very interesting assortment of samples being sent for review. Among these, one caught my eye personally – the Lapacho Vanilla Chai.
We are always asking the tea companies to send something different – there are only so many “Silver Needle” teas that you can review, and Distinctly Tea has definitely come through on that front. The Lapacho tea was something that I have never before seen, and I have seen a LOT of teas! So I decided to give this one a try.
The primary ingredient (base) is Lapacho Bark – something I have not encountered before. Usually that leads me to do a quick bit of research – but I was looking for something to go with my morning eggs so I grabbed this to try. The scent was distinctly cinnamon and vanilla – two things I enjoy. The sweet vanilla scent was so subtle as to almost not being detectable, but that made it more intriguing, so I brewed up a quick cup using boiling water, and steeped it for 6 minutes.
The liquor was a clear golden flavour, and the scent of the brewed cup was subtly spicy, with no hint of the vanilla after brewing. It smelled vaguely like a spiced indian chai, and indeed, most of the ingredients reflected this, but it was not an overly strong smell, which I believe is a reflection of using the Lapacho Bark as a base.
The taste was very pleasant. Not a hint of bitterness anywhere, and a sweetness from the spicing. Anise stood out to me, with a sweet black licorice undertone, but not so present to turn off anyone that does not like black licorice. All in all, the cup was very enjoyable, and I found myself relaxing into it, and enjoying every drop. I could not identify anything that I could particularly attribute to being the taste of Lapacho Bark, so I got curious and decided to check out exactly what it is.
It turns out it is the inner bark of a tree used by Incas for many different types of ailments. It is used as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-many other things. It seems that in great quantities it may have some undesirable side effects, however, in small tea quantities, no problem.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable tea, and I would recommend it to someone that is looking for a alternative to a black tea chai – it is subtle and relaxing with no bitterness or drying in the mouth – I would imagine it would be a great finisher to a Yoga session or Meditation!
You can purchase the Lapacho Vanilla Chai directly from the Distinctly Tea website.