Monday, January 28, 2013

Esgreen, 2008 Sheng Zhuan Wild Spring Tippy Tea Brick

Esgreen Description:
This tea cake is made for celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China. Totally 5688 pcs available. A rare 500g large brick. Very collectible. 

Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review:
One look at the rectangular sample brick and it is obvious why this is named tippy. The milk chocolate colored buds are very apparent. This is the most solidly packed leaf I have yet encountered. A lot of puerh drinkers would most likely have used the entire sample. I wanted to use only half. I attempted to cut it in half to make two squares. I quickly realized I would either make a mess or hurt myself. Then I got the bright idea to turn the sample on edge and split the layers. It was so easy to separate when you work with the grain. Note to self: Work with the grain.

In the press it goes and boiling water is poured over it. The steep time was 2 minutes. I went with a long western steep rather than doing a wash and then using short steeps. The brick has mostly come apart. The leaf is still tightly packed but not compressed. The scent of the dry leaf is more green vegetal than sheng. The brew is golden, turning orange in the cup.

The sip is at first bright and metallic maybe more aluminum. In mid sip it changes to a layer of flavor that is earthy – like rich dirt. Interesting. I have not experienced that in a sheng before. It is not heavy and dark like shu puerh. Running below this earthiness and coming to the surface late in the sip is a gentle layer of smoke. This seems a little drying.

I decided to add sweetener to the first cup to see how it impacted the flavors. The metallic layer is toned down a notch. The earthiness is muffled. It is almost too sweet even for me and I have a sugar monkey on my back. The sweetener does however bring the smokiness out more. I am getting a definite feeling of openness and a cooling sensation in my lungs. I am also feeling a cotton mouth. Very drying. As I chugged the last bit of this cup I got the distinct taste of horse tack. I must have more.

While cup two is steeping I notice the brew aroma is ash, light horse barn, and very light fish. Ain’t puerh fun?!? I steeped for one minute. This cup is a darker orange. The leaf is pretty much relaxed. The sip is still metallic and smoky and now a little mushroom is added. Again I use sweetener. This removes the mushroom and tames the sheng brightness. I can now easily catch the horse tack lightly in the after sip.

Cup three at 2 minutes was bright, metallic, and bitter. Adding sweetener barely calmed it down but did bring out background notes that show this is aging nicely.

Cup four at 2 minutes will be the last of the day. This is still going strong. The pot aroma is showing depth and age. Translation, it smells like barnyard. I hope to save the rest of the sample back to age, so it will loose that sheng bitterness. This one shows great promise. Under the brightness this is the best cup yet. The developing leather notes are especially nice in this cup.

I enjoyed this sheng. I think it would be really wonderful after it ages further and looses the bitterness of its youth.

Visit the Esgreen website.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Esgreen, 2005 Shu Tou-Phoenix Old Tea Tree

Esgreen description:
250g/pc, a complete pack including 4 pieces.
Shape: Tuo Cha-Tea Bowl/Nest
Type: Shu Cha Ripe/Cooked
Vintage Year: 2005
Weight: 250g x 4 per Package
The Region of Harvest: Yunnan Province, China
Plant Type: Old Yunnan Big Leaf Tea Tree
Tea Factory: Yunnan Hejian Tea Factory
Brand: Phoenix

Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review
This is one of those mornings I probably shouldn’t be making tea. I scrubbed up my press and my cup. Got out my tea. Started heating the water. Then noticed I had put the leaf in my mug instead of the press. Oh man, it’s time to wake up. Maybe I really NEED tea this morning. So let’s get started.

This was very lightly compressed. It came apart very easily without any tools. The leaf is all rust/dark chocolate colored. It reminds me of bark. No discernable odor from the dry leaf. I put the leaf in the press where it belongs this time and poured maybe half an ounce of boiling water over it then swished it around to wake up the leaf. It has a somewhat strong odor and I probably should have poured the wash off and started fresh but I didn’t. I added the rest of my water and let it steep for about a minute.

The brew is not the burgundy I normally associate with shu. It is Tetley tea color.The typical orangish color of a cup of grocery store orange pekoe. In other words, it just looks like tea. The aroma is not overpowering but has a shu poo scent. If you drink puerh, you are shaking your head in agreement, because you know what I mean. If you don’t drink puerh, you are going eew. I understand. It is a tough hurdle to get past the first time but is often worth the effort.

The first sip gives the impression of fruit. No, it makes me think of grape leaves. This is quickly replaced by wood, like an old damp fallen tree in the forest. Next I get leather. Not the horse tack leather I normally think of with shu, this is like an older leather jacket. There is nothing foul, barnyard, or fishy, in the taste. Certainly no bitterness. The back edge of the sip has rough edges. Again, this reminds me of bark.

The second cup at 30 seconds was darker and smoother. More refined leather and some kind of fruity and spicy notes.

Third cup at 30 seconds continued on even smoother and very sweet.

That’s all I had time for today. I thought this was pretty good.


Day two with the same leaf. When I put the chunk in the press yesterday it sure looked like whole leaves. Today I see almost entirely small broken pieces. I steeped cup 4 for a minute and a half. The brew is darker than the first cup but no where near as dark as the 2nd and 3rd. This tastes very bland today. I have to work way to hard to catch much of anything. Looks like this is a three cup steeper done western style. On to the next.

Visit the Esgreen website. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Esgreen, Esgreen 2011 Sheng Bing Dao Old Tea Tree

Esgreen Description:
The raw tea cake is specially made of buds of Meng Ku native big-leaf tea tree. All tea buds covered with silver hair.
The floral aroma of this tea cake is really strong, refreshing and full of vitality.
After steeped, you will find the brewed leaves are back to life. Yellowish green in color,  soft and shiny

Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review:
This is a loose leaf sheng puerh. The leaf is long dark chocolate with visible golden tips. That does not seem to agree with Esgreen's description that this is a bing or compressed cake. Hmm. Moving On. I was tempted to use the whole sample but resisted in case I made a mistake and needed to retry later. I used boiling water and a two minute steep. The brew reminds me of a clear white wine. Its scent is like a large burning tree trunk. It is not overwhelming. It is a deep rich scent.

At the front of the sip it is bright like I expect from sheng. Later in the sip this deep rich smoky note fills in the lows in the taste. Delicious and interesting. Bring on cup two!

The second cup is a clear shiny yellow that turns orange in the cup. The smoke has moved into the background. This is now taking on a bright metallic like sheng taste. Others describe this as bitterness and is considered normal for young sheng puerh.

The third cup is amber turning bright orange in the cup. The smoke is completely absent. This has become very sweet. This would go more steeps but I have run out of time this day.

Visit the Esgreen website. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Esgreen, Huangshan Maofeng Wild Tea

Esgreen Description:
Huangshan Maofeng tea (Yellow Mountain Fur Peak) is widely regarded as one of the top three Chinese green tea.
Chinese green tea can be classified into 9 basic shapes, and the Huangshan Maofeng tea is considered an Orchid shaped tea.
Grown in Anhui province, Orchid shaped teas are slightly curly. They are processed using a combination of roasting and ovening
Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review:
I grabbed a random tea as I went out the door this morning. Now I am at work and as I look at this, I don’t know what it is. I didn't have the advantage of the Esgreen description listed above as I did my tasting. The sample is in a clear plastic sleeve with no label other than the name. Is it a green tea? This is part of the monthly tea taster pack I get from Esgreen so maybe it is raw puerh? It is loose leaf and not a compressed tea. It looks like green tea, as the leaf is forest green in color. There is also some obvious white buds in the mix. The name makes me think sheng . Hmmmm. I compromised and heated the water to heavily steaming. Then I poured it over half the sample in my press and steeped for 2 ½ minutes.

The dry leaf did not have any discernable scent but as this was steeping I distinctly noted a light charcoal aroma. Sniffing the wet leaf, reveals no sign of the charcoal and really not much of anything else except vegetal. Hmmmm. The brew is nearly clear with just a tint of green amber. The leaf did dance nicely while brewing, mostly staying on or near the surface.

At the front of the sip I picture something like Taiping Houkui but not really and definitely without the bitterness. There is zero bitterness and zero astringency in the first cup. Late in the sip it develops a light charcoal smokiness. Taken as a whole it has a slight forest woodsy thing going on with some notes leaning towards mushrooms growing on the side of the tree. It is extremely milky, maybe the most obviously milky tea I have had yet. This first cup is quiet but very deep.

Later I looked this up and found this is a green tea. If you only like big bold cups of tea then don’t bother slowing down to gawk. This is not for you. If you adore light greens and whites for their subtle nuances then you might appreciate this leaf.

On the second mug I steeped for just over one minute. Now the brew is lightly green tinted. This cup has developed a brightness, up high in the flavor, that I don’t find to be antiseptic or bitter tasting. The charcoal is gone. Late in the sip this tastes green, vegetative, leafy. Again it is light but lingers into the aftertaste. The insides of my cheeks are tingling. It’s probably astringency starting to pick up though I don't notice it in the taste. The flavor is light but stronger and different from the first cup. I like it.

Third cup at 2 minutes is similar to the second, just not as bright. Still flavorful.

Fourth cup at four minutes has lost strength. The brightness is back but this is getting too weak.

Visit the Esgreen website.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Natures Tea Leaf, Natures Ultimate Chocolate Oolong

Nature's Tea Leaf Description:
Nature's Ultimate Chocolate Oolong Tea is an exclusive blend of select oolong tea leaves with a duo of rich Belgian chocolates. The oolong leaves are naturally withered under the strong sun, and wrap rolled into small beads giving this tea a roasted aroma. A blizzard of sweet creamy white and rich semisweet dark Belgian chocolate curls are expertly combined to provide the drinker with the ultimate chocolate tea experience.

Sample provided by Natures Tea Leaf for review.

My Review:
I had previously tried a chocolate mint white tea from Natures Tea Leaf. It was very tasty and well balanced between tea, mint, and chocolate. This is ULTIMATE chocolate. So it has a lot to live up to with a name like that. The white and dark chocolate curls are pretty in the mix and quite nice to munch. This calls for 2 tsp of leaf. I used one heaping scoop with the spoon that came with my press. I added 12oz of water at just below boiling.

So I am looking at the leaf in the press and I am thinking that isn’t enough – it looked like it was all chocolate. I added about a third of a scoop more. The steep time was 3 minutes. The brew is very cloudy like adding milk to coffee. As I pour, I start to notice the leaf in the press. Oops. This is oolong. Oolong usually expands a lot. I forgot. That is a lot of leaf!

It smells roasted like Foojoy Wuyi oolong. I admit to adding sweetener because, hello, it’s chocolate. The taste is mainly roasted oolong with the chocolate coming in light in the late sip. This feels milky underneath from beginning to end. As it cools the chocolate flavors pick up becoming a more prominent taste.

The oolong overpowers the rest of the cup, especially when hot. This is because I used too much leaf. I went to the website and discovered it should have been 1 tsp of leaf not the 2 tsp as noted on the pouch.

So not afraid to admit i messed up, I'm starting over. Now the dark roasted oolong blends most excellently with the white and dark chocolate curls.

For the second cup I reduced the steep time to two minutes. The chocolate and the oolong remain in balance. The roastiness is reduced and the chocolate flavor is even more obvious. If you don’t like the first cup, definitely give this another steep.

On the third cup I went back to three minutes. It was lighter than the second cup but still a lot of balanced flavor. I also notice now that the roastiness is calmed way down you can taste the floral oolong.notes. It always reminds me of the smell of the geranium plants my neighbor grew when I was a kid.

I think this would go at least one more steep but I don’t have time to find out today. If you use the web instructions this is really very good. Did I mention it’s chocolate?

Visit the Nature's Tea Leaf website.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Esgreen, Dian Hong Broken Standard

Esgreen Description:
This black tea is made of old Yunnan tea bush material. The quality is really good and could be easily re-steeped for over 3 times.

Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review:
I love Dian Hong. I am looking forward to trying this one. The leaf is dark chocolate looking twists with milk chocolate colored buds. It smells nice and malty. I used 2/3 of a scoop of leaf (about 2.5g) and just ready to boil water in my press and steeped for 2 1/2 minutes. The color of the brew is root beer. As the name says, this is broken leaf but definitely not dust. The pieces look fairly uniform and are twice the size of Twinings leaf pieces. The aroma is browned cocoa. Mmmmm.

The first sip is absolutely drenched in browned cocoa. I am in love. There is some bite on the tip of my tongue but I can’t tell if it is the tea or the fact it is so hot. Nope, it was the heat. This is nicely smooth. No bitterness.  The browned aspect seems to be coming from a light roastiness in the background. The malt that was in the dry leaf scent is not lost in the taste either. This is really good.

Oh now this is interesting. The second cup I steeped at 3 minutes. The original flavors are more subdued in this cup. This allows notes of straw and horse tack to come in to play. That may sound a little eeew to some of you but they are light and very wonderful flavors that I normally would associate with puerh. If I have had it in a black tea before I can’t recall. I really like this cup a lot.

The third cup I steeped at 3 minutes. Very sweet. The leather and straw are gone. The cocoa has mellowed into more of a milk chocolate taste. The malt is now very light and only present enough to support the chocolate notes. This is really an exceptional tea, worthy of the Dian Hong name.

Visit the Esgreen website. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ahmad Tea, Cardamom

Ahmad Tea Description:
We at Ahmad Tea are proud to present our Cardamon tea, an exquisite choice of selected black tea expertly blended and enhanced with the exotic flavour of cardamon to give a truly delightful cup of tea. A warming and relaxing experience to be enjoyed at any time of day, cardomon tea can be enjoyed with or without milk. For a truly Eastern experience, it can be used to make the infamous Indian “Chai tea” .

Known as the “Queen of Spices”, Cardamon one of the most valued spices in the world. It is one of the oldest Eastern spices and was part of the wonderful eastern delights that were shared with the rest of the world through the Silk Route trades

My Review:
I have seen cardamom listed as an ingredient every now and then in tea but usually with a bunch of other ingredients. It is often listen in chai tea. I really had no idea what it tasted like on its own, so I had no way of knowing if I was tasting it. This bagged tea is simply Ceylon tea and cardamom. I stand a good chance of tasting the cardomom :p I poured a cup of boiling water over the bag and steeped. The brew was nicely black tea dark and aromatic. 

I can taste the Ceylon tea. I always enjoy Ahmad's tea base, though the main flavor is the Cardamom. To me it tastes kind of like ginger and clove got together and had a child and then maybe sprinkled it with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is sweet. It is not exactly perfumey, but in this blend it is a little soapy tasting. I think I like it. I certainly would not turn down a cup but I am not sure I would buy a whole box either. Keep in mind I may occasionally drink chai but I never crave chai tea. This is not chai but is in the same flavor range. I think I could add a little orange zest and it would appeal to me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two Leaves, Better Belly Blend

Two Leaves Tea Company Description:
A rich-tasting decaffeinated tea you'll want after any meal. Let the ginger and fennel do the work while the pleasant taste of calendula and apple help you relax and unwind.

Fennel*, cassia*, ginger*, apple pieces*, calendula*, anise*, dandelion*, crisped mint*, caraway*, peppermint*, cornflower*(*organic)

Price: $7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

Part of the Complete Sampler Pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company.

My Review:
I love the picture of this one. It just looks like a party. I steeped the sachet in a mug for about 4 minutes. It was very pleasant and relaxing. Ok, this is a really quiet party, but a good one. The taste is primarily ginger and fennel. Fennel tastes a kind of like licorice. Neither the ginger or fennel are overpowering. The other ingredients offer background support. I could not separate these ingredients in the mix. The mint is really not tasted so much as experienced in the form of a nice cooling effect. This is a little sweet but not so much that you can't add sweetener if you are so inclined. I did.

This was the last of the 18 sachets from the complete sampler pack. If you are new to tea or just curious to try something new, I heartily recommend this sampler for its wide range of tastes. It is an education in a box.

Two Leaves furnished my sample pack but they did not ask me to say any of this. I was free to review the tea as I saw fit. It just so happens that I have been very impressed. I have seen Two Leaves products on local store shelves (and generally cheaper than online). The sampler I have only seen on their website. It may seem a little pricey at first but what's an education worth?

 Visit the Two Leaves Tea Company website

Monday, January 14, 2013

Twinings, Winter Spice

Twinings Description:
Warm up with this expertly blended natural camomile herbal tea reminiscent of a hot cup of spiced cider. The crisp flavour of apple is complemented by the sweet character of cinnamon and aromatic cardamom and clove.

Camomile, Natural Apple Flavour with Other Natural Flavours, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove

My Review:
Continuing my search for a late evening sip to relax with before bed, I was happy to find this one waiting for me in the mail. I had not previously seen it in the stores. It is a bagged chamomile tea. I was a bit apprehensive about trying it because I am not the biggest fan of apple flavoring. On the other hand chamomile tastes a little like apple so it might work.

When I opened the envelope the sweet scent of apple and spice was obvious and pleasant. I boiled the water and poured over the bag. The steep time was not very scientific. When the water looked sufficiently golden with a green tint, I removed the bag. It was perhaps 3-4 minutes.

I greatly enjoyed sipping this tisane (herbal tea). It tasted like Twinings description of hot spiced cider though a more subtle version. I could not single out the chamomile and I am not sure what cardamom tastes like. The clove was very light and comes late in the sip. The apple is sweet subtle and natural tasting. My favorite part of the sip came from the cinnamon. It tasted like the powdered cinnamon that came in the little metal spice tins my mom used in the kitchen. I had to be careful when I sprinkled it on toast or it made me sneeze. This tea did not make me sneeze but the memory made me smile.

Personally I would drink this often in the evening. It is not a bold flavored cup but it has some layers to the taste and best of all it brings happy memories to mind. Thank you Twinings.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Two Leaves, Organic Pomi-berry

Two Leaves Description:
Pomi-Berry might be the Goldilocks of herbal berry tea. With a combination of calming chamomile, zippy forest berries and fruity strawberry, it doesn't hit you over the head with berry flavor, and it isn't too herbal. It's just right.

Apple*, hibiscus*, lemon balm*, chamomile*, lemongrass*, lavender flower*, flavoring, lime tree flowers*, pomegranate peel*, hibiscus*, raspberry pieces*, strawberry* (*organic)

Price: $7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

Part of the Complete Sampler Pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company.

My Review:
To me pomegranate is a lot like goojiberry. If done well, it pretty much assures I am going to like it. This is the first herbal tea I have tried with pomegaranate. Since I have enjoyed almost everything I have tried from Two Leaves, I am expecting to have a good cup from this one.
It smells nice in the sachet, mostly of berries. I used boiling water and a 12oz mug to prepare this using a steep time of four minutes -  give or take. The brew is kind of a cross between root beer and tropical fruit punch in color. I added sweetener.
I can taste a combination of pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry. The strawberry is unexpected and a nice touch. I can also catch the lemon balm/lemongrass. The lemon fits really well with the berries. I don't notice the hibiscus or chamomile flavors. I also do not catch the lavender which is not a favorite of mine, so I am good with it not dominating. Reviewers who do not use sweeteners did report this tasting of lavender and hibiscus. Maybe the sweetener hides these flavors. It could also be they dislike these flavors and are super sensitive to them.
I really liked this one. It is a nice fruity evening cup of relaxing chamomile tea.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Does Chamomile And Valerian Really Help You Sleep?

So it’s midnight, you’re stressed out and wide-awake. Making it worse, you know you have to be up at 6:00 AM. Sound all too familiar? Unfortunately, it does to me as well. What can you do? How about a nice cup of tea? We have all heard chamomile tea helps you sleep. It has been used as a sleep aid for hundreds of years. Ok, but does it work?

I recently did a lot of Googling to research the subject. The information I found was interesting and as usual conflicting. The alternative medicine and herb crowd raved about the wonderful health qualities of chamomile including its use as a sleep aid. The traditional science research seemed to agree that while chamomile is basically a safe herb, it’s ability to help you sleep is inconclusive.

So does this mean chamomile tea has merely a placebo affect? Not necessarily, at least not by my own personal experience. When I sip herbal or fruit tisanes in the evening I am avoiding caffeine, which is a good thing in itself. Yet, avoiding caffeine alone normally does not make me feel relaxed or sleepy. Chamomile, on the other hand, does help me feel relaxed making sleep easier. Even knowing science says the proof it helps is inconclusive it still has a relaxing affect on my system.

What about teas containing valerian root? Again, the scientific evidence is inconclusive despite the wide usage of valerian to help us sleep. I was actually surprised there was no positive evidence for this one. I only recently discovered valerian and was immediately excited by the results. Valerian makes me so sleepy I can’t keep my eyes open. I drink a cup of this and I am going to sleep.

No matter the science. Chamomile helps me relax. Valerian puts me to sleep. Now the effects may sometimes be short lived. Did I just hear someone say, “A-Ha”? Well, let me say to the brainiac over thinkers, when you aren’t sleeping, getting even a few hours of rest can make all the difference in the world the next day. The alternative of no sleep, or worse the groggy, wish I could wake up, feeling from over the counter sleeping pills, is far less attractive. It is also potentially less dangerous.

Now that you know both sides of the issue, give chamomile and valerian a try for yourself. Then report back and let the rest of us know your personal results.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Two Leaves, Organic Mountain High Chai

Two Leaves Description:
In India, tea is served spiced, sold on the street by the Chai-Wallah, the chai guy. Our Mountain High Chai is like a trip to India in a cup. We'll leave it up to you to decide if you'd like to sweeten up your cuppa' chai with some sugar or smooth it out with milk.

Black Ceylon tea*, cinnamon*, cardamom*, clove buds*, orange peel*, flavoring (*organic)

Price:$7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

Part of the Complete Sampler Pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company

My Review:
Chai is something I just never crave. I have not tried that many different ones over the years and I haven't felt I was missing anything. Yeah, that's really a rousing enthusiastic introduction for this tea. I used boiling water and about a four minute steep in my 12oz mug. I then added sweetener. This smells kind of nice.

The taste is lighter than expected. My previous experience is with tea bag chai. Generally I find them to be very overdone and unbalanced. This is a pleasant surprise. I don't know that this tastes like what is normally considered as chai. This is lightly orange with clove being the strongest flavor. It reminds me of a more refined version of Constant Comment with an added peppery element. I am not sure where that comes from as pepper is not a listed ingredient.

Overall I am pleasantly surprised. The addition of orange peel makes this much more appealing to my palate.

Visit the Two Leaves Tea Company website.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Two Leaves, Tropical Goji Green

Two Leaves Tea Company Description:
We give our traditional Japanese sencha tea leaves a face lift by brewing them with mango pieces and other tropical natural flavors. What results is the sort of tea it's easy to imagine sipping while dipping your toes in the ocean. And here's our little secret: we love it iced too.

Price: $7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

Part of the Complete Sampler Pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company.

My Review:
Last year I had my first gojiberry flavored tea. I loved it. I expect great things from this one. I brewed this late in the evening because I thought it was an herbal tea. It is not. It is sencha green tea based. That brings me to my biggest complaint with the Complete Sample Pack from Two Leaves. The outerwrap of each sachet is clear. I like that. I can see the contents, however the printing on the wrap is extremely difficult to read because it is not done in contrasting colors. I think steeping instructions and caffeine content may be on the wrapper but I usually can’t read them. Also there is no ingredient list, hence my current dilemma. Fortunately this one is light in the caffeine department.

I don’t think it is necessary to change the wrappers. If you buy a box of the sachets, all this information should be clearly printed on the box. What would help is to have a printed sheet in the sampler box listing each tea and the important information about it. The majority of people may not care, but I do. Even for those who don’t care, a colorful printed info sheet would help reinforce name recognition. Ok, off my soapbox.

The sachet smells awesome when removed from the wrapper. I used nearly boiling water because I thought this was an herbal and steeped for four minutes because I thought this was an herbal. Apparently I still have a foot on the soapbox. Anyway, the tea did not care I brewed it wrong. It turned out really well. At first I taste gojiberry. Yum. Then I taste the mango. The neat thing is the two blend together so well with the green tea it ends up tasting rather like orange. The sencha separates out a little in the aftertaste so you know it is there. The overheating and long steep did not cause it to turn bitter. I really, really liked this very delicious cup.

Visit the Two Leaves Tea Company website.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Nature’s Tea Leaf, Chocolate Mint Whisper White Tea

Nature’s Tea Leaf Description:
Chocolate Mint Whisper White Tea is an exclusive blend of a select White Peony tea with pure peppermint leaves and rich Belgian chocolate. The whole leaf tea is evenly mixed with fresh cut mint leaves that are dried naturally to preserve their flavor. Belgian semisweet and white chocolate curls are expertly combined to provide the drinker with a tea that is decadent in aroma but with a flavor that is fresh and minty with hints of rich and velvety chocolate.

Price: $8.00/2oz

This is the second of three samples I received from Nature’s Tea Leaf for review.

My Review:
The first thing you notice with this one are the curls of white chocolate. Looking closer you also notice the dark chocolate curls. The leaf scent is mildly chocolate and minty. I have high hopes for this tea.

I used almost two scoops of leaf for 12oz. that is nearly double what I normally use but this is white tea and the chocolate takes up a lot of real estate in the bag. The water was lightly steaming. I steeped for about 4 minutes. The resulting brew is light and cloudy. Actually, it looks muddy. I expected this since it is a chocolate tea. The chocolate has all melted leaving only the leaf and a white film in the press.

At the front of the sip is the white tea. While the brain is trying to determine how it tastes the chocolate splashes over it. This is hard to describe as the white tea is obvious but under the chocolate. While the flavor is light, it is not shy. Chocolate is the main flavor in the cup. I cannot separate the two types in the sip. The chocolate washes into a milky treat as the mint rises and claims the aftertaste.

This is not an in your face decadent chocolate tea. The name whisper fits it perfectly. It is like a whisper in a quiet moment. Soothing. Relaxing. I often read reviews of chocolate teas where the writer says, “I just wish it had more chocolate.” My feeling is, with this one, it would be a distraction. It is perfect as is. Disclaimer: I did add sweetener to bring a little more life to all the flavors, but I would have done that anyway.

Visit Nature’s Tea Leaf at

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

First off, I am not color blind. I know the image doesn't go well with my template. Further, I don't care. It's bright and happy. It looks like a party. I like it for that reason.

Ok, let's look back for a moment - In 2012 there were 172 posts on The Everyday Tea Blog. Of those, 156 were tea reviews. That is a lot of tea! I uploaded 15 general posts and ran one contest. It was an exciting year for this blog and my tea journey. I continue to be amazed by my favorite beverage.

Looking forward, I already have maybe 30 new to me teas ready to review. My plan is to slow the blog down a little. That's my plan. It probably won't happen. This is my second post of the year already, and as long as the tea keeps rolling in I will no doubt not be able to resist sipping. Once sipped, I must write and share with my readers.

Last year was personally a hard year for me and probably for many of you as well. The new year isn't really starting all that great. So what are we going to do about it? Sit and whine? No way! Let's start with our attitude. You are free to work at it however you will. For me, I begin this year by lifting my mug in humble gratitude, giving thanks to my God for creating the leaf that brings me so much comfort and joy. 

Happy New Year and good warm mugs of tea! May this be a year of peace, health, and prosperity for us all.

Two Leaves Tea Company, Organic Better Morning Blend

Two Leaves Description:
It's time to pry your eyelids open again - try doing it with an energizing combination of lemongrass and peppermint, while a citrus aroma perks up your nose. Stinging nettle and rose hips give this herbal tea a great taste. If you decide you're a morning person, it'll be our little secret.

(all organic) Lemon balm, lemongrass, peppermint, lime, rose hips, stinging nettle, cassia, kombucha, cornflower, natural lemon flavor

Price: $7.95 for 15 sachets. Steep twice for $0.26 per cup.

Part of the Complete Sampler Pack provided by Two Leaves Tea Company

My Review:
In full disclosure, I did not have this in the morning. In my world there are three things you drink in the morning - milk, juice, and caffeine. This is none of those. I still have somewhat of a mental block when it comes to herbal tisanes. But just look at the picture. This stuff is very pretty. I opened the outerwrap and smelled mint. I'm nervous. Mint can be overdone so easy. Heated the water and steeped for about four minutes.

Took my first sip. Oh, wow! This is far better than I expected. The main flavor is peppermint, however it is not overpowering. Next, I notice the lemon. I would never think to put mint and lemon together but they really compliment each other well. I can't single out any of the other ingredients. They just lend solid support to the cup.

I had to look up kombucha, I am still not sure but I think it is a type of yeast. I also looked up cassia - it is a cinnamon. I didn't know nettle could be used in a tea. The cassia and nettle are probably responsible for the slight amount of scratch or bite on the throat. That sounds bad but it really isn't.

This is a really a very good cup. I would drink it often in the evening. Or you could drink it in the morning... if you're one of those people ;)

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