Hello and welcome to Fully Steeped! How exciting to have you visit!
As I started to explore this wondrous world of tea, I realized that I wanted to share all of my experiences and thoughts– as well as hear about other people's opinions on them. Thus, this blog was created, and I hope that you join me on my journey through my cupboard of tea (one-two teas a week) :)
I got an awesome Tay Tea sampler full of morning teas from my mother's friend for Christmas. I absolutely loved every single one of them (especially the Kyoto) and I just had to review them! Although I had never heard of this company before, it is fast becoming one of my new faves. I plan on reviewing all of the teas in my sample set eventually, but I went ahead and decided to review this one first because I have yet to review an Oolong.
Dry:Nice, full, beautifully curled leaves. The flowers make it aesthetically pretty.
Steeped Tea (SO PRETTY)
1st Steep: Gold
2nd Steep: Gold-Yellow
3rd Steep: Yellow
Flavor: Smoky, full-bodied, smooth
Notes:This tea is absolutely wonderful! It has that wonderful smoky flavor that you is usually expected with most Oolongs, but what it was missing was what truly made this a new fave. I've found it hard to find Oolongs that aren't bitter and have sharp aftertastes, but this one was VERY smooth (I think maybe because of the chrysanthemum flowers). The 2nd and 3rd steeping were a little weaker but heavy enough to still be delicious. The roasted taste made this tea a wonderful tea to start a cold winter morning. Overall, I would definitely recommend everyone give this one a try.
So I picked this tea up at the supermarket because my mom had raved about this brand and I'd heard that it was a good supermarket tea. Read my review to see why I don't think I'll be getting this tea for myself again. Maybe for my mom who's still trying to get used to the flavor of green tea- the fruit flavor might help her.
Dry: Smells wonderful, you can definitely pick out the pineapple smell. Nice full leaves and very minimal tea fannings. You can see the blue cornflowers, some red flower, but I didn't see the pineapple bits that others have talked about.
1st Steep: Very nice deep golden colour.
2nd Steep: Dark Yellow
Flavor: Fruity, Weak
Notes: On first taste I unfortunately found this tea to be weak and lacking in any tropical flavors. With some previous experience with teas that have artificial flavoring, I knew that a tiny bit of sugar might help bring out the tropical taste I was looking for. After a teaspoon of sugar I found that the tea did get much better, but as the tea cooled instead of getting less bitter like other teas, it actually got more bitter. I wouldn't suggest a second steeping because its just weaker. Overall, I guess I would suggest this to someone who isn't used to Green teas and wants to slowly get into it.
This year, my christmas list for my mother had a few tea products on it. My mother took this to mean that she should buy out our local Teavana store (including 3 POUNDS of german rock sugar). I absolutely LOVE Teavana and needless to say, I was quite happy with my christmas gifts (I love you mom). Besides the tea products, the teas themselves were all expected- except for one. The biggest tub of them all was a 16 oz. canister of Teavana's Youthberry Wild Orange Tea blend. I was very excited because I'd tasted a few small sips of it because its the tea that Teavana sets out as their sampler, and the dry leaves smelled like PARADISE. Alas, all was not as it seemed...
Youthberry Price: $12.00; 2 oz. Wild Orange Price: $6.80; 2 oz.
Suggested Amount: 1.5 tsp for 8 oz. My Amount: 3 tsp for 14 oz.
Youtberry has no caffeine
Wild Orange Blossom has 1% of the amount of caffeine in coffee
Time: 2 Minutes
Time: 2.5 Minutes
Temp: 180 °F
Ingredients: Apple pieces, white tea, hibiscus flowers, rosehip peels, candied mango pieces (mango, sugar), candied pineapple pieces (pineapple, sugar), flavoring (pineapple, orange, mango, grapefruit), beetroot pieces, citrus peels, red currants, rose petals, orange juice pieces, sunflower petals, pomegranate blossoms, acai fruit powder (acai, maltodextrin)
Dry: It smells very citric and fresh. Its actually quite beautiful with large chunks of dried apples and oranges, but they vastly outnumber the white tea leaves and herbs.
1st Steep: Orange/Red/Pink (I think it would be called coral), probably from the hibiscus.
2nd Steep: Dark Orange
Flavor: Fruity (White tea flavor is pretty much lost), Smooth, Fresh
Notes: The sampler at Teavana is a lie. Well, that may be a bit dramatic but I'm pretty sure they douse that stuff in sugar. This tea was pretty weak and while I usually put NO sugar in my teas, I had to put 1 tsp of their german rock sugar (which I actually love) and 1 tsp of honey (Teavana White Gold Honey, which I also love) for this to taste good for me. I know a lot people say that this is too sweet already, but its almost like an artificial sweetness that needed more natural sugar to accompany it. While this teas biggest sell is the huge chunks of orange, I didn't really taste much citrus. I mainly tasted the hibiscus, and the tartness usually associated with hibiscus. While I initially loved the fruitiness of this tea, I quickly grew tired of its mildness. I guess it would be a good special occasion tea, because I see this as more of a hot fruit juice than tea. I bet this would be good for children who haven't really grown their palate for teas. Apart from the weak body, a few good things about this tea is that it is very smooth and you can easily tell that it is very fresh. Once again (to my surprise) I found that the second steep on this tea was better than the first. It had less of that overwhelming fruity tartness and I found that the white tea was now more prominent. I imagine that the first steep was almost pure fruit juices and the second steep was leftover fruit juice with white tea. While I would accept an occasional cup of the stuff, I won't be buying this one with my own money. Like I said before, this would be good for kids and non-tea drinkers.
I seem to always have this type of problems with flavored white teas. Anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for a good flavored white?
So I had bought a TAZO bagged tea sampler set for $25, and managed to get through the whole box in an embarrassingly short amount of time. One of my favorites was the China Green Tips, I liked it so much that I decided to go out and get myself a tin of their full leaf sachets. While it isn't exactly a gourmet tea, it's a great tea for the price.
Amount: 1 Sachet for 7 oz. (I did 2 sachets for 14 oz.)
Caffeine: 31-45 mg
Time: 45 Seconds
Time: 1 Minute
Ingredients: Blend of spring-harvested Mao Feng green tea leaves
Dry: The leaves were somewhat short and tightly rolled. A little less curly than other green tea leaves I've seen. While it didn't smell extremely fresh, It did have a pretty strong vegetal smell and I could already smell the typical rice smell that comes with many green teas.
1st Steep: Golden Honey, more yellow than green
2nd Steep: Pretty much the same as the 1st steep but this time with a heavier green tint.
Flavor: Vegetal, Not very smooth, Astringent (at first), Light-bodied, Nutty.
On the first steep this tea was VERY astringent, but I found that if you let this tea sit for a few minutes the astringency almost completely vanishes. It has a strong vegetal taste that I really like, with a nutty taste that sort of reminded me of Sencha. The tea itself has a weak body on the first steep,which can be taken as a good or bad thing. For me it just means that I use a little less water than usual because I like my tea to be strong, but that completely depends on the person.
While the first steep is just average, the second doesn't even compare. Whenever I prefer the second steeping its usually because the first was too strong, but in this case it was the opposite! I was very (happily) surprised with the second steeping. The second steeping brought out and amplified all the good aspects of this tea and had a heavier body, but had none of the astringency that the first steeping had. Maybe it's just me but if you look at the photos below, you can SEE that the second steeping is more powerful. I think what I'll do if I only have time for one steeping is do a pre-steep with the leaves first.