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.

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.

Sample Packaging
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 brand!

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 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

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.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mighty Leaf- Green Tea Tropical

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.
Tea Box and Sachet
Sachet w/ Dry Leaves
Name: Green Tea Tropical
Company: Mighty Leaf
Price: $7.66; Sachets
Suggested Amount: 1 Sachet for 8oz
My Amount: 2 Sachets for 16oz
Caffeine: Not very much

1st Steep: 
  • Time: 3 Minutes
  • Temp: 175°F
2nd Steep:
  • Time: 3.5 Minutes
  • Temp: 175°F
Green tea, natural tropical flavors, natural flavors, flower petals, pineapple bits

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.

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Very nice deep golden colour.
  • 2nd Steep: Dark Yellow
2nd Steeping
1st Steeping
Flavor: Fruity, Weak

 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.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Teavana- Youthberry Wild Orange Tea

 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...
Tea Tin
Dry Leaves and Fruit
Name: Youthberry White Tea & Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea (BLEND)
Company: Teavana
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
1st Steep: 
  • Time: 2 Minutes
  • Temp: 175°F
2nd Steep:
  • Time: 2.5 Minutes
  • Temp: 180 °F

Steeped Leaves

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. 

Tea Liquor:
  • 1st Steep: Orange/Red/Pink (I think it would be called coral), probably from the hibiscus.
  • 2nd Steep: Dark Orange

Second Steeping

First Steeping

Flavor: Fruity (White tea flavor is pretty much lost), Smooth, Sour/Tart

 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?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tazo- China Green Tips Full-Leaf Tea

 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.
Tin and Dry Leaves
Company: Tazo
Price: $6.95; 15 Sachets
Amount: 1 Sachet for 7 oz. (I did 2 sachets for 14 oz.)
Caffeine: 31-45 mg

1st Steep: 
  • Time: 45 Seconds
  • Temp: 175°F
2nd Steep:
  • Time: 1 Minute
  • Temp: 175°F
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.

Tea Liquor:
  • 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.

Steeped Leaves
The First Steep                                        The Second Steep