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Posts Tagged ‘oolong tea’

The last two weeks I have felt physically crappy – some days better than other – but today is the worst.  I am in need of some sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine!  It’s funny how, when feeling under the weather, we seek to surround ourselves with things that bring us comfort.  For some that means comfort food, for others comfy pajamas, a favorite blanket, or a childhood pillow.  Depending upon the ailment, there are times when hearing the voice of a spouse, loved-one, or best friend provide the needed level of comfort.  Sometimes it’s a hot steaming cup of tea.  The subject of today’s tea review and comfort of choice – Lavender Oolong.

Composition: Alishan oolong infused with natural lavender

Dry Visual: Light and dark green leaves tightly rolled with stems present.  Thanks to Naivetea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: Delicately floral – the smell of lavender is unmistakable with a hint of oolong.

Flavor: Lavender Oolong is a lovely floral infused oolong.  The oolong is mild with a distinct floral quality – I’m sure you are not surprised – that is present in the cup from the first sip to the last.  Full-bodied, Lavender Oolong creates a heavy feel in the mouth.

There is no astringency, therefore Lavender Oolong can be enjoyed without sweetener.  There is, however, a mild dryness that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion.  Nevertheless, I prefer to drink Lavender Oolong without sweetener.

Liquor: A yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Lavender Oolong in 190 degree water for  one minute during the first infusion and two minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Naivetea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Lavender Oolong tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Naivetea as a sample.

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While not a stranger to the concept of tea cozies, I never actually owned one.  That is until recently when I became the proud owner of two HOBs from  Thistledown.  Of course, I understood the concept of the tea cozy coined the HOB by Thistledown, but must admit I was curious about whether they actually worked. So when, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend Dee came over for dinner I was excited to try them out for the first time.  Armed with two steaming pots of tea – lavender oolong and strawberry oolong, I prepared to settle the debate once and for all.

After pouring cups of tea, I dressed the strawberry oolong with the smaller of the two Thistledown HOBs. The lavender oolong went naked or commando as others would say while Dee and I sipped and talked.  Sated and ready for a second cup, it was time to test my theory…

The actual pot of strawberry oolong felt distinctly warmer than the lavender oolong.  When poured into a teacup, the strawberry oolong liquor had remained warm and ready to drink while the lavender oolong required microwave subjection to reheat.  It was official, my Thistledown Tea Cozy definitely kept the pot of tea warm for a longer period of time. The test duration was 15 minutes, but the HOB is capable of keeping a pot of tea warm much longer.  (Check out the Heat Retention Experiment found on the Thistledown website.) I was pleasantly surprised! Now convinced of the HOBs utility, I’m compelled to share a bit more about this great product.

The HOB is the latest in Thistledown’s line of tea warmers and is available in two sizes 20 ounce and 40 ounce. As described by Thistledown, the HOB is constructed with two layers of high-tech mylar batting.  This batting insulates with both a layer of mylar reflecting heat back into the teapot and layers of polyester preventing heat conduction away from the teapot.  Perhaps you are familiar with mylar batting, but I however, am not.  So I took a trip to Fabric.com for help.

According to Fabric.com, mylar batting is the material that makes pot holders, oven mitts, and casserole covers safe. The material is breathable and won’t break down with washing. It contains hollow fibers that resist conduction while the reflective mylar resists radiant energy. The energy, hot or cold, is reflected back to its source. This is key to how the HOB is able to keep your pot of tea warm for an extended period of time.

Now you know the “why” and “how” the HOB works, let’s talk about its construction. The bottom of the HOB  also has two layers of mylar batting, acting like a built-in trivet.  As you can see from the picture, the HOB completely encases the body of your teapot. It is extremely easy to use: simply sit the teapot between the two “clam shells”, flip over the top and clip together with the buckle. Yes, there is a buckle – simple yet practical construction. But the greatest thing of all… the fabric is washable.

For years I have always called products like the HOB a tea cozy.  Thistledown has chosen to call this new product a HOB for two key reasons – 1) “tea cozy” was too feminine and 2) HOB defined means a shelf in the back of a fireplace used to keep things hot.  The name HOB is a perfect fit!

My HOB is pictured in the beginning of this review, while my other is two-tone red and brown.  Be sure to keep your eyes open for many new colors and patterns available from Thistledown this spring.  The photo on the right depicts a few.

To purchase the HOB visit Thistledown’s website where they retail for $35 for the 20 ounce and $40 for the 40 ounce.  If you have used this product, please share your experience.  Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**The HOB was provided by Thistledown as a sample.

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There is nothing better than enjoying a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day. Okay… so there is nothing better than enjoying a hot cup of tea on any day, especially when it is cold. Tea is even better when you get a chance to share it with someone.  Today, that someone was Ann Weimer Baumgardner, author of Pretend You’re Normal (but only when absolutely necessary).

Ann and I drank a pot of Huang Jin Bolero (the subject of this tea review), while munching on a plate of tasty Lemon Straws. Between drinking, eating, and laughing Ann shared many insights with meabout her life and début novel.  Pretend You’re Normal was one of seven Finalists in the humor category of the 2007 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.  You can purchase a copy at  Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobel.

Now onto the tea review…

Composition: Oolong tea from Anxi, China. Anxi is a county in the municipal region of Quanzhou, Fujian Province. It lies adjacent to and directly north of Xiamen.  Huang Jin Gui means “Golden Flower.”.

Dry Visual: Rich light and dark green loosely rolled or “balled” leaves. Reddish brown stems present.

Dry Aroma: Sweet, nutty and fresh like spring rain.

Flavor: Huang Jin Bolero has a variety of flavors.  A greener oolong, this tea begins with a roasted nutty flavor and finishes  with a slight honey taste.  A lover of oolongs, Huang Jin Bolero was milder than expected, but enjoyable nonetheless.  After three cups, the flavor was consistent from one cup to the next.  There is a subtle vegetal aftertaste, sometimes characteristic with greener oolongs.  Additionally, I found the brew leaves a dry feel in the mouth.  However, Huang Ji Bolero requires no sweetener, nor would I recommend it.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue. The cup is clear.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 5 minutes in 212 degree water. I steeped 5 minutes for the first infusion and 6 minutes for the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Adagio Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Huang Jin Bolero, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Adagio as a sample.

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Jade OolongI am sure many of you have begun to think… “when will Tea Escapade publish another tea review?” I have been so enamored with my trip to The World Tea Expo that many of my recent posts, okay all of my recent posts, have focused on my first experience at this event. Well rest assured, I have not forgotten about my readers who visit Tea Escapade for product and tea reviews. Thus, I promised myself that today would be the day to post a long awaited review.  It was truly my pleasure to review Jade Oolong from Mighty Leaf Tea.

Composition:  Simply oolong tea from China’s Anxi province       

Dry Visual: Very green with a hint of yellow rolled leaves with stems present. Thank you Mighty Leaf Tea for the photograph.

Dry Aroma: Quite floral and fresh.

Flavor:  Jade Oolong is simply delicious – although I am partial to oolongs. This oolong begins with a very clean and floral flavor as the dry aroma suggests.  Several sips later reveal mild grassy notes in the finish.  As the cup cooled, I found Jade Oolong to be very smooth in the mouth with slightly stonger grassy notes.  Additionally, I love the fact that  Jade Oolong has almost no astringency.  There isn’t a hint of bitterness, however, the aftertaste has a subtle dryness. Naturally sweet, Jade Oolong required no sweetener – I fear the flavor profile would be ruined by the introduction of a sweetener.

Liquor: Pale yellow with a light green hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Jade Oolong is 3 – 5 minutes in boiling water.  I steeped for 3 minutes as recommended for the first infusion.

Manufacturer: Mighty Leaf Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had an opportunity to try Jade Oolong, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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22806If you don’t know, you do now… I love tea. I know, no surprises there. For those like me who share my love of tea, there are so many options to choose from. Black, green, oolong, pue-rh, white and a myriad of flavored teas. There are no shortages of selections for avid tea drinkers.  For true lovers of tea, there is more than simply the drink, the flavors, and the blends.  Tea encompasses a culture – there are the growers; the history; the way of life.

This morning, I read an article that embraces the other side of tea – the culture. Time for Tea in the Mountains, written by Yvonne Bohwongprasert for the Bangkok Post discusses the family owned business, Oolong 101.  According to the article, Oolong 101 is one of the first family-run tea plantations on scenic Doi Mae Salong – a 40-kilometre drive from Mae Chan district in the northern province of Chiang Rai. The tea plantation is managed by Mai-chi Lu, 56 – a Chinese-Thai whose father was a soldier in the nationalist Kuomintang army. (Mai-chi Lu is pictured on the left.)

The author via the article discusses not only the challenges of starting a tea plantation, but the joys derived from tea. Mai-chi Lu describes briefly life on the plantation as well as Doi Mae Salong the town where the tea plantation is located. In addition, the article elaborates in more detail about oolong tea, which is grown on the plantation – hence the name and the health benefits of oolong tea. Finally,  highlighted briefly, you can read about how Oolong 101 promotes tourism within Doi Mae Salong through the “homestay programme” that provides visitors an opportunity to closely observe the traditions and culture of its indigenous mountain people. Visit the link and read the rest of the article to learn more about Oolong 101 and Mai-chi Lu.

Read More…

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142_0Today is the day for procrastination. All day I’ve been trying to work on homework for my Organizational Development and Change class. My procrastination is no reflection on the class, just an inability to focus. Not to mention, my husband and stepson are both suffering from the flu, so I’m playing nursemaid and imbibing them with green tea. Once again, another distraction from my day of studies. So I figured, if I am going to procrastinate, I might as well be productive. Drink a cup of tea and write a review. Tonight’s choice… Formosa Oolong Estate Tea.

Composition: Taiwanese oolong tea.

Dry Visual: A mixture of greenish reddish brown leaves.  Many thanks to Tropical Tea Company for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Somewhat woodsy yet slightly nutty.

Flavor:  Formosa Oolong Estate Tea is mildly woodsy as the dry aroma suggests. In comparison to other oolongs, Formosa Oolong Estate’s flavor leans more toward a mild black tea indicating a more oxidized tea. Full-bodied, this tea has a slightly floral finish.

I decided to steep two cups of Formosa Oolong Estate Tea before writing this review. Both cups were naturally sweet. No sweetener was required in the first infusion, however the tea presented a mild dryness. My second infusion of Formosa Oolong Estate tea had the same full-bodied quality of the first infusion with a decreased dryness.

Overall, a good cup of tea. Even now as I write this review I am boiling water for my third infusion.

Liquor: A rich amber hue.

Brewing Time: The actual steeping time was not provided,  so I relied upon prior oolong steeping recommendations for an average time of  2 – 5 minutes at pre-boil.  I steeped for 4 minutes during the first infusion and 5 minutes for the second.

Manufacturer: Tropical Tea Company

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to taste a cup of Formosa Oolong Estate Tea stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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jade_princeIt is refreshing to look into my tea cupboard and realize that I have a wonderful assortment of teas to choose from. The initial fragrance upon opening the doors simply takes my breath away – it is nothing short of amazing. The last several days, I’ve been drinking Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong. Usually I like to drink a few cups before formulating an opinion.  Sometimes another day to articulate the experience in a manner that is easily understood by others.

This morning, I awoke with the sole intention of making a dent in my Finance homework. Instead I was thinking about tea. Jade Prince actually and knew that it was finally time to write my review.

Composition: Taiwanese oolong.

Dry Visual: Very green rolled tea leaves – gunpowder “style” but not quite. Thanks Tantalizing Tea for the photo. One note-I usually don’t discuss the wet visual; however, after steeping, the unfurled leaves were quite large, whole and not broken. Very impressive.

Dry Aroma: Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong has the nutty aroma characteristic of Oolongs but with a little more “green” or vegetal aroma than expected.

Flavor: Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong is a nice oolong. It is very smooth with a buttery finish adding additional complexity to the tea. Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong has distinct green tea undertones without the characteristic vegetal quality or bitterness. Additionally, it is robust and great  for someone looking to drink a full-bodied cup of tea. As my cup cooled I tasted a distinct citrus note in the aftertaste that initially I could not immediately recognize. When visiting the Tantalizing Tea website for some assistance, there were references to “hints of pineapple” in the flavor description. After several more sips, I would have to concur.

I truly love oolongs, especially their naturally sweet and nutty flavor. No sweetener is necessary to enjoy Jade Prince and none was added. I enjoyed drinking Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong pure fearing that sweetener would alter the true oolong taste. Eagerly I anticipated my second infusion.

Subsequent infusions were sweeter, milder containing a lower concentration of the “green tea” taste found in the first infusion, while maintaining the buttery smooth qualities. My second infusion of Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong was very good.

Liquor: A very light amber colored liquor – almost gold.

Brewing Time: It is recommended that Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong is steeped for 4 – 6 minutes. I steeped the recommended 4, 5, and 6 minutes with each of my cups. My preferred steeping time is 4 minutes.

Manufacturer: Tantalizing Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had a chance to enjoy a cup of Jade Prince aka Tung Ting Oolong, please stop by and share your expereince. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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