Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nuvola, Taiwan Muzha Ti Kuan Yin Tea

Nuvola Description:
The saffron-coloured Muzha Ti Kuan Yin Tea has a light fruity aroma and a melting creamy mouth-feel. The flavors are strong and long-lasting even after several infusions, which leaves a sweet lingering sensation in the mouth.

My Review:
This is going to be a short review today. I wanted to note here that I have read ‘nutty’ used in reviews often, I may have even used it myself before. Honestly, I have never really known if it was nutty or not. Until today. My first thought when sipping was definitely, this is nutty! Then I note roasted/smoky, followed by creamy. I read the reviews by others, and the company description on their website, and it appears I got this one right. Woot! Oh, and YES, it is good. Thanks Nuvola.

Visit Nuvola Tea's Official Site

Friday, October 19, 2012

Zen Tea, Tieguanyin Monkey Picked Oolong Tea

Zen Tea description:
Produced in Fujian, China. In appearance this tea is a dark-roasted, highly oxidized and of a coffee-bean colour. The dry-leaf aroma is of spices and flowers. The dominant flavour of the brewed tea is dried peach with a lingering fruit and spice aftertaste. The aroma is long-lasting with hints of sweet honey and spice in combination. This tea aids digestion and also can boost energy levels.

My Review:
This sample was supplied by Zen Tea

The dry leaf is dark browns and cinnamon colored. There are a few stems visible. The pellets are solid and not as tightly packed as I normally think of with oolong. The scent they call flowers and spice. To me it is closer to paint like. Knowing that the brew is often quite different than the dry experience, I press on – literally, I guess, as I steep in a French press.

I used a healthy scoop of leaf and heavily steaming water. The steep time was about 1 1/2m. The liquor is a beautiful clear yellow / green. The leaf is not completely unfurled and is quite dark. The wet leaf aroma has a prickly sort of scent like sticking your face in a geranium. Quite different than the dry smell.

The sip reveals a light oolong. I may have under steeped. Zen Tea describes the main flavor is peach. I get what they are saying, but to me it comes off as more orange. There is a lingering floral aftertaste.

The aroma of the second cup is much darker and roasted. The taste is sweet and much more developed. The first cup was a bit ordinary. The second steep yields a really good cup.

Third cup was similar to the first cup. The leaves are almost unfurled and some of them are pretty large. It has kind of a floral melon aftertaste.

My review seems kind of blah towards this tea. I assure you the reviews on Steepster were much more positive. I guess this one just doesn't appeal to me as much as it did to others.

Visit Zen Tea

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaves, Peach

Teaves Description:
Sweet taste of summer peaches blended with flower blossoms and oolong tea. A popular summertime beverage that is typically enjoyed over ice.

Oolong tea, osmanthus flowers, jasmine flowers and natural flavors

My Review:
A generous sample sent my way from a friend. The dry leaf on this one is dark browns and cinnamon. It is a pretty CTC mix. I used one scoop of leaf and 12oz of approx 180F water in my press. Steeped 3 minutes. The scent coming out of the press is peachy keen (sorry, stop groaning).

The sip is light to medium bodied. It reminds me of Hedley’s Peach Apricot. That one has a black Ceylon base that is obvious in the mix. This one has no apricot and an oolong base. The oolong in this first cup stays mostly hidden. I guess it is the osmathus and jasmine that are responsible for what I am detecting as apricot. I am not a fan of eating peaches but I love peach tea. This is a nice light one with a long lingering peachy aftertaste. The more it cools the more peach it becomes. Just a touch of drying astringency.

On the second cup, the strangest thing happens. This turns into lemon drop tea. My friend advised me this would happen. It is still sort of peachy but this now tastes more lemon flavored. This is cool – two teas in one. It’s like Indiana weather. Give it five minutes and it will change. Can’t wait to see if there is a third cup in this leaf.

Cup three when hot is straight lemon balm. As the cup gets cold the peach comes back in to play. I could catch the tea base every now and then. I thought this on the second cup but did not mention it – the oolong base tastes like Darjeeling to me, or maybe like the tea sold by Charleston Tea Plantation. I don’t mind. The point is it does nor taste like any oolong I have ever had. This tea keeps me guessing and that makes it interesting to me. I like it.

Visit teaves website 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Win Free Tea From Paisley Tea Company

Contest Over. Winners to be announced soon.

I have heard back from both Winners - they are C.M. Powers and Nik. Congratulations to both, and enjoy your Paisley Tea!

Win Free Tea From Paisley Tea Company!

Recently I had the opportunity to sample and review two teas furnished by Paisley Tea Company. Now I am pleased to be able to treat TWO readers of The Everyday Tea Blog each with two boxes of your choice of teas supplied by Paisley Tea Company. I’ll tell you how to enter for a chance to win in a moment.

First, a little about Paisley Tea:
Paisley Tea is a premium range of traditional English-style paper teabags that is Organic and Fair Trade certified. With more bags in each box - 24 paper teabags; 10% more tea in each bag; and more robust flavour in each bag, Paisley lives up to it's tagline: "more than one might expect."

British by way of India, the paisley pattern, like tea, became popular in the 17th century. Our Paisley blends are inspired by great English tea and include four bold varieties:

Organic English Breakfast
If you want a proper cuppa', this tea hits the spot. As a specialised blend of Indian and African teas, our Organic English Breakfast Tea is traditional, but approachable. We love it in the morning with a splash of milk.

Organic Decaf English Breakfast
Why bother with decaf? We'll tell you why: It's all the flavour without the buzz. Our chemical-free decaffeination process preserves the natural aromas and rich flavours of the tea. It tastes better, is better for you and is eco-friendly to boot.

Organic Double Earl Grey
Care for a little extra zing? The legendary Earl Grey flavour made possible with citrus bergamot oil gets the royal treatment in this cup of tea with twice the zest. It is, in fact, the Bergamost! Sip this tea for breakfast or pair with sweets - we feel particularly fond of it with chocolate.

Organic Ginger Green
"Every good quality is contained in ginger," says an ancient Indian proverb. Ginger and green tea are revered for their health properties; if you fancy both, this is your cuppa' tea. Enjoy this snap of ginger by itself or with Asian food to add a twist to your meal.

Now, here’s how to enter for your chance to win.
This contest is open to US residents only.
If you qualify there are a few simple things you must do.

1. Leave a comment saying you would like to win FREE TEA by telling us which two teas you would choose if you win.

2. Follow The Everyday Tea Blog by clicking the Join this site button on the right side of the screen.

3. Follow Two Leaves Tea Company (the parent company of Paisley Tea Company) either on Facebook or Twitter.

That's it!

The contest will run through September 30, 2012. The winners will be selected at random and the winners will be posted the first week in October. If you are a winner, I will contact you (do not enter as anonymous) for a mailing address. This information will be sent to Paisley Tea Company. They will handle shipping your prize.

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Teaves, Rose Berry

Teaves Description:
An elegant blend of rose petals, strawberries and black tea. This tea emits a floral aroma that is complimented by a smooth and sweet taste.

My Review:
Sample provided by Teaves. This is rose petals, strawberry, and black tea. When I opened the pouch I was immediately hit with a blast of rose. Like every rose tea I have tried, the scent to my nose is not so much rose petal as it is the rose powder, spray, water, whatever, that I associate with the smell of our restroom when I was growing up. So whether it is natural or not I can’t say. It is just not a smell that is appealing to me. Sorry rose fans. I will try not to let my mental image affect my review, but I approach this tea with caution.

I used about 1 1/2 tsp for 12oz in my press, with heavily steaming water for a 3 minute steep. The brew is deep caramel/amber in the press. The strawberry aroma is poking through above the rose. Now this smells promising.

The sip is not bad. I smell rose as I drink but taste mainly strawberry followed by black tea in the aftertaste. The flavors are all medium bodied. Nothing is overdone. If you are looking for a cup of blasting flavor this is not it. This is a quieter cup for mellow times.

I don’t detect any bitterness or astringency. Rose tea hater that I am, even I have to say this is a pleasant cup. I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.

Visit teaves website 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zen Tea, Gojiberry/ Blueberry/ Pomegranate Green Tea

Zen Tea Description:
Now here is a combination that will turn heads! Curtain up and spot lights on: Gojiberry - blueberry and pomegranate flavours play the lead rolls in our newest green tea master piece. The scene: summer fun-filled bright red gojiberries bedded on rich, green Sencha with just the right "spritz" added by the lemon grass, the "splash" underlined by royal blue cornflowers. Allow yourself to be thrilled to the last sip: hot or chilled on the rocks a must-have this season!

My Review:
This is the identical tea I have bought from Fusion Tea. They called this tea Super Fruit Sencha. A friend found the same tea with a different name by a different company at a shop near her home. I will say no matter where you find it or what it's called; this is an excellent fruity comfort green tea. It is seriously good. If the tea + shipping to your location is cheaper from Zen Tea than you can find elsewhere, or if you are placing an order with them anyway, add this to your basket. I believe you will not be disappointed. Sample provided by Zen Tea.

Visit Zen Tea at

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wanja Teas Of Kenya, Purple Tea

Wanja Description:
Wanja Purple Tea of Kenya is a very rare tea that has sweet woodsy notes with a pleasant lingering astringency. While it is still derived from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis) that produces traditional Black and Green Tea, Wanja Purple Tea is rich inanthocyanin (a water soluble pigment that is found in red cranberries and grapes) which gives it the distinctive purple leaves.

My Review:
This is my first purple tea. It is also the first sample I have ever received that I could have used a pair of pliers when opening. I did have a heavy duty staple puller and that worked. The sample bag now looks a bit like Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet riddled automobile. I poured the rest of the sample into a different resealable bag. The adventure getting in to the sample amused me, and that is why I mentioned it.

The leaf is tiny. Almost powder. Yet it swelled enough when steeped that it worked well in my press. The leaf is dark, almost charcoal looking. Maybe it has a purple tint. Mostly it just looks dark to me. While I was heating the water I thought I smelled chocolate. Then light malt. It reminds me of Bailin Gongfu. Oooh, I think I am going to like this tea.

I used way below boiling water and 1 tsp of leaf for a 12oz mug. The instructions call for 1/2 tsp per 8oz. I steeped for 3 minutes in my press. Instructions call for 4 - that seemed too long. I don't take directions well I guess. The leaf turns green when steeped. Now it smells like Bi Luo Chun. The brew looks green or brown or red depending on how the light is hitting it. In the mug it looks purplish, like black currant.

The sip with out additives causes the sides of the tongue to tingle from mild astringency. There is kind of light smoky charcoal thing going on in the background. It is very green tasting. Not like grass but like Chinese green tea – Chun Mei maybe? I am getting some breath coolness. This has me intrigued.

I added Splenda to see what else might develop. This really extenuates the aftertaste and loses the charcoal hints. I still smell the chocolate and malt but I can’t bring them out in the sip. This is bitter but only enough to make it interesting. It is also drying.

Astringent, bitter, drying – may all be the same but I see them as separate things. Astringent I feel on the sides of the tongue. Bitter I taste. Drying is felt as cotton mouth sensation. I seldom get all three at once.

While still warm there is a flavor underneath that is kind of woodsy or possibly nutty. It fades as the cup cools and is replaced by a peppery note.

I can tell I am really totally fascinated by this tea when I look at how much I have already written and I am still on the first cup. So I will just go ahead and say it, I love this!

In cup two (3 minutes) the main difference is an added grain taste that peaked in a couple of times. Still quite tasty and unlike any black tea I have had. This still reminds me of Chinese green tea.

With cup three (4 minutes) this settles way down but is still very nice. As its final hurrah it develops milky qualities.

This tea is $8.50 for 1/2 ounce! That is way too expensive to be considered an everyday tea. On the other hand it only requires 1/2 tsp per cup and I got three steeps from it. That makes this cheaper than soda and way, way, cheaper than Starbucks.

This tea has met with some mixed reviews. Most say I like it, I think. Me, I can tell this is an awesome tea and I love it.

Visit Wanja Tea Of Kenya

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zen Tea, Darjeeling TGFOP1 Margaret's Hope S.F.

Zen Tea Description:
The wonderfully tippy leaves infuse to a medium-bodied cup with elegant fruity flavor and nutty notes. Plants of the Chinese type Thea Sinensis are almost exclusively cultivated on this plantation. The slow growth of the shrubs at the cool, higher altitudes of Himalaya forms the basis for high-grade and fully aromatic qualities! A sparkling, fully aromatic tea from the beginning of the second flush period with a full, amber-colored cup. The bouquet is aromatic, spicy and with a hint of sweetness.

How did this estate get its intriguing name? In the 1930's, the garden was owned by Mr. Bagdon, who, with his two daughters, sailed from England to India to visit the garden. Enchanted by the beauty of this garden was deeply attached to the place. Before leaving for England, she promised to return but unfortunately died of a lethal tropical disease on board the ship, never to return. In her memory, her father changed the garden's name to Margaret's Hope.

My Review:
Sample supplied by Zen Tea. The leaf has a full range of colors, from nearly black to silver, with lovely shades of brown and even a bit of green. This is curled pieces of broken leaf. The dry leaf aroma reminds me of pipe tobacco. I used nearly a full scoop of leaf – about 1 1/2 tsp - in my press with 12oz water heated to a heavy steam. The steep was 3 minutes. The wet leaf scent was fruity and also imaged a very light coffee brewing.

The sip is medium bodied just as Zen Tea describes it. It is very aromatic and fruity without being overbearing. Zen describes this as having nutty notes. I wish I understood what nutty tastes like as I really don’t get that impression with this or most other teas. It has a strong woodsy aftertaste to me, but maybe that is what they call nutty. There is a sense of dryness like found in a fine red wine. You can feel a bit of astringency along the sides of the tongue. It is well behaved though and adds to the character and complexity of the cup. I am getting a strong mint like crispness that I feel, not only on my breath, but down in my lungs. I like it. Just slightly sweet. This takes sweetener well. I notice grape like fruitiness especially late in the aftertaste. Steeped two times.

This is a very nice cup. I had it as my first cup of the day and it worked perfectly for me. Most tea drinkers would probably consider this an excellent choice for afternoon tea.

Visit Zen Tea at

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Esgreen, 2008 Raw Loose Leaf Pu-erh Yunnan Broad-Leaf

Esgreen Description:
The raw material of this tea has been stored since 2008. Now it has been naturally fermented. The aroma is strong with the special raw tea note. But the tea soup is in amber color, mellow, smooth, a little bitter but has very sweet after-taste.

My Review:
This sample provided by Esgreen is comprised of long twisted woodsy brown leaf with some copper colored tips. No discernable scent. I did a quick rinse and poured off. I don’t think this was necessary as the aroma is sweet and pleasant.

My first steep is around 30 seconds. The brew is light, clear, and amber with a bright burgundy tint. It appears orange in the cup. There is not a lot of scent to the cup. The wet leaf smelled of spinach as I removed the lid. Even the vegetable smell quickly dissipated as the air escaped the press.

I took my first sip and immediately my brain interpreted this as metallic tasting. So I added some Splenda – the great equalizer – to calm it down. This is still quite bright and young tasting. As the cup cools I realize what I thought was metallic is actually the astringency common to young puerh. This is what Esgreen calls a "little bitter". It is the beginnings of what will one day be good earthy notes. In my attempt to learn about puerh, I have read information that leads me to conclude this will make an excellent cup once it has more time to age.

If you drink your tea hot, this is pretty sharp. Once it cools, the cup settles down, and I like it. Nice sticky lip feel.
The second cup, at about 30 seconds, results in a much more musky earthy smelling leaf. The sip is similar to the first.

Cup three (30s) is really good by my tastes. It is like the lyrics of Sammy Hagar’s Rock Candy – hot, sweet, and sticky. It is still bright but sweetener calms that down.

Cup four (40s) as good as three.

Cup five I let steep maybe 5 minutes. I knew this would be my last mug and I wanted to see what happened with a long steep. This is a beautiful reddish orange cup. It looked golden caramel in the press. The earthiest tasting cup of the day. The bright taste is calmed way down. Still sweet.

Conclusion – I like this young raw puerh. It may be too astringent for some at the moment. Given a few years, this should be very good.

Visit the Esgreen web site.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Esgreen, 2002 Ke Yi Xing-Pu-erh Sheng Zhuan-Raw Tea Brick

Esgreen Description:
About the brand “Ke Yi Xing” . It is one of the time-honored brands in Yun Nan. It is built in 1925.
This tea brick package comes with 4 pieces raw tea bricks.
The raw material of this tea is 7-9 grade large- leafed Yunnan green tea. The tea bricks were stored in dry warehouse since 2002.
The ideal storage condition makes this tea brick aging and ferment mildly.

After breaking up, you could find “Golden Flower” hiding inside the tea leaves. This is the high quality assuranceery of the raw(Sheng) Pu-erh tea. Very rare on the market.

The raw tea recipe retained it’s fresh green tea aroma but 10 years storage makes this tea really mild and mellow. You will fall in love with the bright vivid red colored tea soup.
It tastes earthy, old, strong. But it is living, vivid, fresh. You will find it smooth and mellow on the first sip. The sweet aftertaste lingering around the throat after 3-4 cups.

This is a highly recommend tea brick for pu-erh tea lovers. This classic tea brick is good for daily cups,and it is very ideal for collection in the meantime.

My Review:
Sample provided by Esgreen. The leaf of this sample appears mostly loose rather than a chunk off the brick. The dry leaf is very large and looks like tree bark or even cinnamon bark. Dark woodsy color with rich deep reddish browns. There are a few yellow dots upon very close examination. More on this in a moment. It is interesting to look at. There is no discernable scent from it. I heated water to boiling and poured an ounce or so over the leaf. Swished for a few seconds and poured it out. The rinse was musty like old books or newspapers.

Poured more water for a first steep of about 20 seconds. The brew is reddish orange tinted and has a dusty scent. I am a little nervous about this one. I needn’t have worried. It tastes very mellow. It is light, slightly sweet, with just a hint of leather. It is also a bit earthy. Not in a mouth full of dirt way, but pleasantly earthy. There is also the distinct taste of tree bark. I would occasionally chew on bark as a kid. This reminds me of that experience. Adding a little sweetener made it too sweet – like southern sweet tea. This is 10 year old leaf and I still notice just a hint of astringency as the cup cools.

Cup two, I steeped for 20 seconds. It is burgundy in the press. It looks like orange pekoe in the cup. Better, more balanced flavor in this cup. There is now a bright almost metallic taste and a tingling along the sides of the tongue (astringency). I am also noticing a sticky lip feel and a rumbling in my stomach as puerh works its metabolic magic. Oh, and the scent of the cup is much more pleasant.

Cup three continues with balanced mix of musty, earthy, horsey, leather tastes.

Cup four is the darkest so far, yet it’s not nearly as dark as ripe puerh. The earthy flavors are still going strong. This is as far as I have time to go with this one today. If I were using a gaiwan this would be the equivalent of about cup 12. Esgreen says this will easily go 20 steeps. That would be at least one more cup in my hybrid western style. I have no doubt it will go one more cup, and probably further.

I looked information about this tea up on Esgreen’s website. The yellow spots on the leaf are known as golden flowers. It is actually a fungus that can grow in puerh bricks. Having it show up in the brick is apparently considered a rare and valuable thing among some enthusiasts. I am thinking this tea is a lot like my first experience with burgundy wine. I bought a pricey bottle and upon tasting realized I much prefer sweet cheap white wine. Someone who is well studied in puerh might find this exceptional. All I can go by on my level of knowledge is to tell you what I think. I like dark shu (ripe) and light sheng (raw). This is somewhere in between. It is not my favorite puerh. It is a good complex cup. I am happy I got to try a 10 year old leaf and experience golden flowers.

Visit the Esgreen web site.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mother Parkers, Orange Pekoe

Product Description:
This orange-pekoe tea offers a flavourful blend of longwise-rolled fragrant black teas with strong floral and fruity aromas with a pleasant woody note. But don't be confused by the name. There's no orange flavour. Orange-pekoe is a name that tea growers use to designate black tea leaves that are very small, hardly more than a bud. Each orange-pekoe tea bag is envelope-sealed for freshness.

My Review:
I went to Steak & Shake for breakfast one recent  morning and ordered my usual hot tea. When the little metal pitcher of water and the cup with the bag on the saucer arrived, I frowned.

“They quit ordering the Darjeeeling?”

“We aren’t sure if it was discontinued or someone just hit the wrong button when ordering”


“The Darjeeling is pretty good… I guess I’ll have to write corporate! (joking – sort of)”

So I put the bag in the cup and pour the water. The whole time I am thinking, I really don’t like hot Lipton tea. That is what I imagined this was going to be, but it is not.

This is dust in a paper bag, sure, but it is a good one. It is not bitter or astringent. It makes a strong enough cup to make me happy. It is a nice, sort of a sweet, mellow cup of tea.

While I was drinking this, Andy (our server) found the last remaining bag of Mother Parkers Darjeeling in the back and brought it to me. So of course I had to have it as well. It is a little better than the orange pekoe because it has a bit more depth and it is fruity. However, the Orange Pekoe is really not bad at all. In fact I quite like it.