Monday, December 7, 2015

DAVIDsTEA- Santa's Secret (Unpopular Opinion??)

Name: Santa's Secret
Company: DAVIDsTEA
Type: Black Tea
Price: $8.50 for 2 oz.
Suggested Amount: 1.25 for 8 oz.
My Amount: 1.75 for 8 oz.
Caffeine: Medium

I need to start with this: I can't stop smelling this tea. I mean it's actually been becoming a serious problem. Every time I walk by my tea counter, I have to open up the tin and give it a sniff. Also, I'm a sucker for the novelty, and the mini candy canes break my heart every time.

I will say however, that in my personal–and most likely unpopular–opinion, this tea makes for a great potpourri and a not-so-great tea.

Don't get me wrong, I don't actually think this tea is bad. I just don't see the hype that has had me waiting the whole year to actually get my hands on this tea.

I like the idea of the peppermint and black tea mixture, but I just felt that the tea was too weak to live up to the peppermint. After a bit of sugar, I could go for it, but it isn't something I would purchase again. So far, I've only really liked the Sweet Almond Green (which I did love) from DAVIDsTEA's winter collection and I'm a little bummed about it. 

Anyone else enjoying the winter collection more than me?

1st Steep:
  • Time: 5 min.
  • Temp: 205°F
Black tea, Peppermint, Sprinkles, and natural an (←don't know what that last one is)

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Red-Brown
Flavor: Peppermint, Smokey, Smooth, Weak

Rating: (3/5)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Teapigs- Popcorn Tea

Name: Popcorn Tea
Company: Teapigs
Type: Green Tea (Genmaicha)
Price: $9.99 for 15 Sachets (1.3 oz.)
My Amount: 1 Sachet for 8 oz. water
Caffeine: Low

First of all, let me start off by complaining about how Genmaicha is called Popcorn tea. When somethign is called a popcorn tea, I EXPECT IT TO TASTE LIKE YUMMY BUTTERY, SALTY POPCORN. For strictly scientific research purposes, I ate a whole bag of popcorn before drinking a Genmaicha tea. Let me tell you- I was let down.

ANYWAY, although I don't think Genmaicha should be called Popcorn Tea, I still am a huge fan of Genmaicha. For those of you who don't know, this tea is traditionally a green tea mixed with toasted rice. This used to be be done by the Japanese working class in order to make their tea go further. Nowadays, Genmaicha is enjoyed all.

As for Teapigs' Popcorn Tea, I could definitely see myself going for a cup of this instead of a bowl of popcorn while watching a movie on a Friday night (or more realistically while I'm watching an episode of X-Files...).

What I love most about this tea is how robust the taste of the green tea is as well as the light–yet very complimentary– nutty flavor. Like many green teas, the second steep was my favorite steeping of them all.

This tea makes me feel like I'm sitting in front of my fireplace after coming in from playing in the snow. Sorry if that's oddly specific, but thats honestly how it makes me feel. It's just an awesome comfort tea, and I would recommend it to anyone.

1st & 2nd Steep:
  • Time: 2 min.
  • Temp: 175°F
Green Tea, Toasted Rice, Popcorn (literally less than half of one popped kernel)

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Yellow-Green
  • 2nd Steep: Maintained Yellow-Green
1st Steep
2nd Steep

Flavor: Smooth, Nutty, Smokey

Rating: (4/5)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Republic of Tea- Good Hope Vanilla Tea

Name: Good Hope Vanilla
Company: The Republic of Tea
Type: Rooibos
Price: $10.00
Suggested Amount: 1 bag per 6 oz.
My Amount: 1 bag per 6 oz. 
Caffeine: Caffeine-Free

I saw another blogger review this tea and they way that they went on about it made me want to get it STAT. So, I overcame my laziness and hiked on over to my local grocery store (who, uncharacteristically have a huge Republic of Tea stock). I immediately came back home and steeped myself a cup.

... I was apathetic. While I can see why some people might like this tea, it was a little bit underwhelming as a Vanilla tea. I was just expecting a little more pizzazz with the vanilla, and I only really tasted an okay cup of rooibos.

I will say that the woodsiness of the rooibos made up for some of its downfalls. I guess I would say that if you're looking for a bagged Rooibos (and not vanilla...) then this wouldn't be a bad place to start. 

Also the packaging was a little unsettling in how they played up the whole "African Chic" aesthetic. However, unfortunately this inauthenticity is not uncommon in the tea market.

1st & 2nd Steep:
  • Time: 5 min.
  • Temp: 205°F

Rooibos, Natural Vanilla Flavor, and Vanilla Beans

Tea Liquor
  • 1st Steep: Deep Red-Brown (It's actually quite beautiful)
  • 2nd Steep: Light Brown (not as sexy as the first steep)
1st Steep
2nd Steep
Flavor: Woodsy and slightly vanilla

Rating: (2.5/5)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

DAVIDsTEA- Sweet Almond Green Tea

Name: Sweet Almond Green
Diet: Organic and Kosher
Company: DAVIDsTEA
Price: $9.50 for 2 oz.
Suggested Amount: 1.25 tsp. per 8 oz. 
My Amount: 1.25 tsp. per 8 oz.
Caffeine: Low

This tea is a literal dessert. Honestly, I had to drag my mom away from this tea, and it took bit for me to get over the fact that I only had a sample of this one. Without doing any reading on this tea, the first thought I had about this tea after one sniff was that it smelled exactly like tho italian almond cookies (marzipan??). 

Let me just get it out of the way now– the taste totally lived up to the cookie smell.

I usually love my green tea unflavored, but this tea has completely converted me. The green tea really complemented the almond flavor, and neither overpowered the other. However, I don't really think I felt the flowers in this one. I will also say that there was a slight bitterness, but it didn't take away from the tea in any way. What really impressed me was that despite its smell the sweetness was very natural– and wasn't artificial as I had worried it might be.

The second steeping was also delicious. The almond flavor fades a bit, but the green tea really holds up.

It also doesn't hurt that this tea was super pretty. The cornflowers and almond chunks made me feel luxurious. 

I was super impressed and I will definitely be by buying this tea.

Dry Leaves
Steeped Leaves
1st Steep:
  • Time: 2 min.
  • Temp: 175°F

Green Tea, Almonds, Marigold Flowers, Cornflower Petals, and Natural Almond Flavoring

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Honestly, it looked like white wine with a tinge of green.

Flavor: Almonds and a slight grassiness and bitterness.

Rating: (4.5/5)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Alishan Oolong Tea- Help me find this tea!

Name: Alishan Oolong Tea
Company: ???
Type: Oolong
Price: $???
My Amount: 1 tsp. per 8 oz.
Caffeine: Low Caffeine

I got this tea as a regift from my roommate in high school, but I never really got around to drinking it (thankfully it was vacuum sealed). Finally, after almost two years, I got around to brewing it. As soon as I opened up the bag, I noticed that the tea wasn't as pungent as I thought it would be. After brewing it though, I realized that the smell was not reflective of the taste. This tea is INCREDIBLY smooth, and has an amazing smokey vegetal taste that I think comes from the twigs that some of the leaves are still attached to twigs. It definitely had little to no weakening through the second steep.

I wouldn't say that this is the best Oolong Tea that I have ever tasted, but it is definitely a tea that I would repurchase (and I am about to run out) if I can find it. I believe that the writing is in Mandarin, but my two years of Mandarin classes in high school are proving themselves to be impractical. The logo is pretty distinct so I hope that maybe someone will see it and help me find it. Would be cool if I could find out more about it, since the logo always makes me laugh a little.

1st & 2nd Steep: 
  • Time: 3 min.
  • Temp: 190°F
Ingredients: Oolong leaves from Alishan Mountain

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Yellow-Gold
  • 2nd Steep: Medium Yellow
1st Steep
2nd Steep

Incredibly smooth, light vegetal taste, light smokey aftertaste.

Rating: (4/5)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DAVIDsTEA- Glitter & Gold Black Tea

Name: Glitter & Gold
Company: DAVIDsTEA
Type: Black Tea
Price: $9.00 for 2 oz.
Suggested Amount: 1.25 tsp tea per 8 oz. water
My Amount: 2.5 tsp tea per 8 oz. water
Caffeine: Medium

Honestly, I am a little disappointed by this one. I'm not gonna lie, I bought into the gimmick and mainly bought this tea for the edible glitter stars. 

The first problem was when I steeped this tea in a cast iron kettle instead of directly into my cup. No matter how much I kept stirring the glitter kept settling at the bottom of the kettle and mug. So the moment of glittery swirls I was hoping for was fleeting, and even then it was never anything exceptionally eye-catching. I can't even say that the taste was that memorable; it was a lot weaker than I prefer my black teas to be– even after using twice the suggested amount. I was too scared to even try a second steep.

I'd really only recommend this tea if you don't like your tea to be strong, and you don't want the cinnamon to be too strong either. Since I already bought two ounces of this tea (b/c its the smallest amount DAVIDsTEA sells), I am going to give it another try by using 3x the suggested amount. If I find this makes any major difference I'll update this post.

If you're looking for a cinnamon black tea, I'd instead suggest Harney & Sons Decaf Hot Cinnamon Spice (link), a favorite which I will review soon.

Let me know if you've had better luck with the glitter in this one.

All that glitters is not gold. (don't worry, I hate myself for being so cliché)

1st Steep: 
  • Time: 5 min.
  • Temp: 205°F
Black tea, lemon peel, sugar sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, partly hydrogenated canola oil , shellac, titanium oxide, iron oxide, potato starch), sugar, cloves, natural and artificial flavouring.

Tea Liquor:
  • Transparent medium-brown, light gold undertones.
Flavor: Light black tea flavor, cinnamon undertones.

Rating: (2/5)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tay Tea- Twiggy Loose Leaf Oolong Tea Blend

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. 

Company: Tay Tea
Price: $16.00
Suggested Amount: 1 Teaspoon for 8oz
My Amount: 2 Teaspoons for 14oz
Caffeine: Light Caffeine

1st Steep: 
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Temp: 185°F
2nd & 3rd Steep:
  • Time: 3.5 minutes
  • Temp: 185°F
Ingredients: Oolong tea leaves, chrysanthemum flowers

Dry: Nice, full, beautifully curled leaves. The flowers make it aesthetically pretty.

Steeped Tea (SO PRETTY)
Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Gold
  • 2nd Steep: Gold-Yellow
  • 3rd Steep: Yellow
1st Steep
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.