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Posts Tagged ‘tea review’

Back in November of last year (2009) I began a new Sunday morning routine.  Hot Vinyasa Yoga followed by a Starbuck’s Orange Mango Vivanno Smoothie with matcha.  If you have never taken a hot yoga class, picture this… an enclosed yoga studio filled with 25 plus yogis and the heat cranked up anywhere between 95 to 100 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Only one word appropriately describes the experience – INTENSE! Upon completion, I have had the workout of my life, not to mention I am incredibly hot, dripping with sweat, and invigorated.  A few hours later, I love to sit and enjoy a hot cup of tea. Today’s choice Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement.

Composition: Green tea, white tea (Bai Mu Dan), eleuthero root, alfalfa leaf, stevia leaf, natural lemon and orange flavors with other natural flavors (contains soy lecithin), rosehips, and roasted chicory.

Dry Visual: It is difficult to tell as the tea is contained in tea bags.  From what I can tell, the leaves appear to be fannings. Thanks to Celestial Seasonings for the photo.

Dry Aroma: The tea bag inhibited my ability to develop an impression of the dry aroma.  However, after steeping the leaves had a strong citrus aroma with orange and lemon dominating.

Flavor: Consistent with the wet aroma Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a definite citrus flavor followed by the distinct floral tastes of roses.  As the cup begins to cool, the chicory presents itself in the middle – significantly, yet not overpowering. With the various flavors of citrus, chicory, and floral I was unable to easily discern the green and white tea flavors.  Green tea is the predominant tea ingredient; however, Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement is not vegetal.

Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup. I drank the first cup without sugar – the stevia leaf provided a delicate sweetness.  In the second cup I added Sugar-In-The-Raw to see the impact of the sweetener on the slightly tart citrus flavors.  Interestingly, I found the chicory came alive with the addition of sweetener. I prefer drinking Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement without a sweetener.  As a side note, many say ground roasted chicory can be used as a coffee substitute. I say it tastes like black licorice. You tell me…

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow liquid with a reddish hue.

Brewing Time: Celestial Seasonings recommends steeping Green Tea Antioxidant Supplement in boiling water for 2 minutes.  I steeped both cups for the requisite 2 minutes.

Manufacturer: Celestial Seasonings

Caffeine: Yes.

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

What is Eleuthero?

Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly Acanthopanax senticosus) is a species of small, woody shrub in the family Araliaceae native to Northeastern Asia. It is commonly called eleuthero, and was previously marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng as it has similar herbal properties to those of Panax ginseng. However, it belongs to a different genus in the family Araliaceae.

Reference: Eleutherococcus senticosus. (2010, April 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:19, April 18, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eleutherococcus_senticosus&oldid=354779930

**Tea was provided by Celestial Seasonings as a sample.

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Somehow, I have found myself watching Nature on PBS.  Today’s episode “Moment of Impact: Hunters and Herds” focuses on how animals both hunt and protect themselves.  I am quite amazed as I have just learned in a matter of 20 minutes that eagles have eyes that are larger than their brains. Queen ants reproduce constantly – laying over 3 million eggs per day. Jack rabbits have the ability to run at speeds of 40 miles per/hour.  And more than half of all giraffe calfs fall prey to tigers and hyenas. It is amazing how little I know about nature as I sat transfixed before the television enjoying a cup of Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong.

Composition: Oolong tea grown primarily in the foggy and wet mountain regions of China.  There is no milk or milk products contained in this tea.

Dry Visual: Dark green and yellow tightly rolled leaves with brown stems present.  Thanks to Stash Tea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: A blend of nutty, toasty, creamy almost milky with a mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor: Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong is mild yet flavorful. A lover of oolong tea, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a distinctly different feel in the mouth. It has a thick heavy texture that coats the mouth and tongue. Naturally sweet, I found this tea to delicious and thoroughly enjoyed every sip.  Unlike the dry aroma, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong did not have a vegetal quality, typical of some oolongs.  Instead it was a unique mixture of toasted creaminess.  However, I was amazed by the changes in flavor as the cup cooled – this oolong became sweeter, slightly vegetal with a floral finish floral.

Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion. However, I would never add a sweetener for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile. There is something quite amazing about the nuances found in an unsweetened cup of tea.

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: Stash recommends steeping Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.  I opted for 4 minutes for the first infusion.

Manufacturer: Stash Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

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I don’t think anyone is more excited than I that today is March 1st.  This winter, especially February, has been filled with record-breaking snow days, snow drifts, freezing rain, and below-freezing temperatures. While there is always the possibility of more snow, the likelihood has significantly decreased.  Not to mention, the promise of warmer days with more sun is highly motivating.  The countdown to Spring has begun with only 19 more days to go.  I am drinking Yanagi Bancha to celebrate!

Composition: Japanese green tea harvested in June.

Dry Visual: Rich green and yellow coarsely twisted and broken leaves with stems present.  Thanks to Obubu Tea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: A very fresh green aroma.  I am reminded of the smell of trees after a refreshing Spring rain.

Flavor: Yanagi Bancha is quite delicious.  A lover of Japanese green teas, I found Yanagi Bancha to be mild yet flavorful. Naturally sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed its refreshing taste.  A full-bodied tea, Yanagi Bancha has a hint of a vegetal quality throughout the cup with a floral finish.  I was amazed by the changes in flavor as the cup cooled.

Yanagi Bancha has a moderate astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion. However, I would never add a sweetener for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile.

Liquor: A greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Yanagi Bancha in boiling water for 30 seconds during the first infusion, 20 seconds during the second infusion and 30 seconds during the third infusion.

Manufacturer: Obubu Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Obubu Tea as a sample.

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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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“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of pausing,
And I’ve bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight,
All the way home I’ll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we’re still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

~ Sammy Cahn

It may not be Christmas time, but this song is apropos for the amount of snow we’ve seen in the Midwest during the last two weeks!  The first snowstorm brought with it about eight inches of snow. The second snowstorm showered us with eight inches of snow and this last one dumped yet another eight or nine inches of snow.  While many of you along the east coast had 30 inches, 15 inches, and who knows how many inches during this last storm may think us Midwesterners are rookies, I’ve had enough!  Call us what you will – I’m officially tired of the snow!  The only highlight of the snowstorms… the enormous amount of tea that continue to fill my cup each day.  In particular, Moroccan Mint, with whom I’ve communed with daily – multiple times per day. Even more surprising,  my non-tea loving husband has sipped  a cup with me every night.  Although I must admit, several of his cups included two shots of Jack Daniels.  Hot Toddy’s just in time for Mardi Gras!

Composition: Organic gunpowder green tea and organic peppermint

Dry Visual: Characteristic of gunpowder, the green tea resembles very dark green almost black tightly rolled musket pellets.  The mint consists of broken lighter green leaves with brown stems present.

Dry Aroma: Delightfully minty.

Flavor: Moroccan Mint is a great blend of green tea and mint.  One flavor does not overpower the other in this cup of tea. It would be interesting to know the type of green tea used as the tea does not contain any vegetal, sappy, or grassy qualities. After conducting a little research, I discovered that many varieties of tea have been used to make Moroccan Mint. It is smooth and flavorful. If you are a lover of mint tea, you will definitely enjoy this brew.

There is no astringency, therefore Moroccan Mint tea can be enjoyed without sweetener.  However, I chose to drink Moroccan Mint with plenty of sweetener as is customary in Morocco with one caveat… I did not follow the Atai method of preparation. Having steeped multiple cups this week, I have alternated between Sugar-In-The-Raw and honey as my sweeteners of choice.

Liquor: A dark yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Moroccan Mint tea in water that ranged from 175 degrees to 185 degrees for four minutes during the first infusion and five minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Sage Moon Herb Shop

Caffeine: Yes.

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

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Most people have a favorite program or two they watch every week.  Two of my favorites include Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Dressed in comfy clothes and armed with a cup of Green Tea Soothing Mint tea, it was with eager anticipation that I flicked on the television. Imagine my disappointment tonight at the realization that both shows were repeats.  After watching repeats from mid-December to mid-January, it was great to finally, finally watch new episodes.  Instead of laughing and/or crying with my favorite characters, I’m surfing the net and working on a new pet project.

Composition: Green tea and spearmint

Dry Visual: The leaves are broken and resemble fannings. Other details are not easily discernable – the tea is contained in tea bags.

Dry Aroma: Very minty.

Flavor: Green Tea Soothing Mint is flavorful, but mild.  The green tea is not easily discernible – I was unable to detect any of the characteristic green tea flavors. For example, Green Tea Soothing mint does not contain any vegetal, sappy, or grassy qualities.  However, the spearmint contained in the ingredients dominates this cup of tea.  If you are a lover of mint tea, you will enjoy this brew.

There is no astringency, therefore Green Tea Soothing Mint can be enjoyed without sweetener.  After allowing the cup to cool, I am convinced that tea lovers can drink Green Tea Soothing Mint hot or cold.

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

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 2 – 3 minutes.  No water temperature was designated so I opted for 185 degrees for 3 minutes.

Manufacturer: Salada Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Salada Tea 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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When it’s cold and dreary outside, nothing is better in my humble opinion than the aroma of flowers.  During the winter months, the trees are barren of their leaves, the sky is often gray, and the lush grass of summer is long gone.  It is during these times that I miss the burst of color found in spring blooms and the fragrance of summer gardens.  This is when I reach for and savor the opportunity to sip a cup of scented tea.  Today’s choice – Jasmine Silver Needle – a sample I received from Adagio Teas.

Composition: White tea from China. Silver Needle is produced in the Fuding and Zhenhe districts of its Fujian province.

Dry Visual: Very green rolled leaves (resembling fat pine needles) with silver fur – hence the name.  Thanks Adagio Teas for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Sweet and amazingly floral – just like Jasmine.

Flavor: Jasmine Silver Needle is delightful. Traditional of white tea, Silver Needle itself is quite delicate and mild. However, after scented with jasmine becomes somewhat full-bodied.  It is naturally sweet and quite floral as one would expect.  To be frank, the jasmine dominates the flavor.  It is consistent from start to finish, yet never unpleasant.  Instead the floral taste and aroma provide an amazing sensory experience. I found myself alternately inhaling the steam and sipping the tea until gone.  Be advised if you are looking for the extremely delicate, clean taste of silver needle this is not where you will find it. Jasmine Silver Needle is in a category of its own.

I found the brew to have a hint of astringency (no bitterness, but a subtle dry feel in the mouth).  Nevertheless, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it.  I simply cannot imagine the impact sweetener would have on the floral characteristics of the tea.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 7 minutes in 180 degree water. I steeped 7 minutes for the first infusion and 7 minutes 30 seconds for the second infusion.  I intend to play around a bit more with the steeping times as I am interested in discovering how Jasmine Silver Needle tastes with shorter infusion times.

Manufacturer: Adagio Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

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

**Tea was provided by Adagio as a sample.

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As the blustery winds of winter roll in, we are not only greeted by cold, grey, and cloudy days, but also the dreaded flu, sinus infection and colds.  No, I don’t have the winter blues, but I do have a dreaded cold.  Coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, tight chest and fatigue. During these times, nothing is better than a hot cup of tea to soothe the throat and ease the mind. I have enjoyed tremendously, multiple cups of Jade Oolong.

Composition: Oolong from Nantou, Taiwan

Dry Visual: Yellow, hints of red (some have described as brown), light and dark green curled leaves with stems present.  Thanks Rishi for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Very sweet and floral yet fresh and clean. Don’t worry, I smelled after being medicated when my olfactory system was operating properly! :-)

Flavor: Jade Oolong is simply wonderful.  Admittedly, I am biased towards Taiwanese oolongs, therefore this tea had a head start in the flavor category.  Jade Oolong is a full-bodied tea. As the dry aroma suggests, this tea is distinctly floral and amazingly sweet, yet not overpowering. I continued to taste the floral flavor in the back of my throat some time after I finished my cup. Rishi describes the floral quality as lilacs – I would certainly agree.  While drinking my cup, I closed my eyes for just a moment and could envision myself strolling through a garden full of lilacs on an early spring morning.

I found Jade Oolong to have no astringency, not even a hint of dryness.  It was very fresh and clean – a palate cleanser. Therefore, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it. I fear that sweetener would mask the subtle flavors of this tea.

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3-4 minutes in water that is 195 degrees F. I steeped 3 minutes for the first infusion and 4 minutes for the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Rishi Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

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

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48102-alt2After enjoying a late breakfast/early lunch, I decided to brew a small pot of tea and snack on some delicious bread pudding my husband purchased for me a few days ago. I figure, after eating a healthy meal and spending 30 minutes doing a yoga tape, I should be entitled to a sinfully sweet dessert. Shouldn’t I? In my opinion, nothing pairs better with an incredibly rich dessert than a delicious oolong. Of course, I’ll enjoy a cup of tea first, then eat my bread pudding paired with a second cuppa tea. Today’s choice… Oriental Beauty-First Prize also known as Dong Fang Mei Ren or Bai Hao.

Composition: Taiwanese oolong harvested at the end of spring.

Dry Visual: Very dark reddish-brown leaves dominate. Tips are present with a splattering of light green leaves. The leaves are withered, long and somewhat curled.

Dry Aroma: Sweet with a honey scented aroma.

Flavor: Oriental Beauty has a lovely taste. Somewhat full-bodied, this tea is complex. It is very floral yet sweet. The sweetness which I tasted more on the back of the tongue was that of honey and a fruitiness I could not quite discern. Some experts have claimed peach, I would love to hear your thoughts. I have steeped Oriental Beauty on several occasions playing with the steeping time. When steeped for a longer period of time, this tea also presents a toasted flavor. There is even a honey-flavored aftertaste long after the cup is gone.

I found the brew to have little astringency (no bitterness, but a subtle dry feel in the mouth).  Nevertheless, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue with a hint of red. When steeped for longer periods of time the liquor takes on a reddish or amber hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3-5 minutes in water that ranges from 190 to 200 degrees F. I have steeped for 3, 4, and 5 minutes for the first infusion. For this tasting, I steeped for 4 minutes.

Manufacturer: TeaSource

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Oriental Beauty-First Prize, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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