Monday, April 29, 2013

Bigelow, Perfect Peach

Bigelow Description:
Here's a delightfully different blend with the aroma and taste of fresh, ripe peaches and herbs. Perfect Peach™, with its fresh-from-the-orchard flavor is a delicious treat whether you serve it steaming hot or over ice. 20 individually foil wrapped tea bags per box. 6 boxes per case. Net Wt. 1.37 oz. (38g).

Rose hips, hibiscus, peaches, natural and artificial peach flavor, spices, orange peel, lemon peel, apples, strawberry leaves, roasted chicory. Gluten free. Caffeine free.

My Review:
This one came my way through various hands. A friend gave it to me after trying it only one time. He got it from his sister who had tried it a couple times. It's not sounding good for this Bigelow offering. Ah well, maybe third time is charm.... Or maybe not... We'll see.

This is a bagged herbal tea. I steeped the bag for an undetermined time... ok, i forgot the cup. It was probably close to 5 minutes. It happens. Since this is an herbal, oversteeping should not be an issue. The aroma is very peachy. It smells promising. The cup is not very peachy looking. It is very dark and kind of purple tinted. That seems a bit strange but this does contain rose hips and hibiscus.

I let the cup cool before taking my first sip. This starts nicely peach with apple and faint cinnamon. Towards the end of the sip the flavor drops off into some darker notes that I can't determine. As it cools more the flavors balance a little more but the tartness of the hibiscus becomes more noticeable.

This is not the worst herbal I have ever tried. It could be greatly improved, in my opinion, by removing the hibiscus. I have noticed true tea drinkers generally dislike hibiscus, so I am not alone. Tisane (or herbal) drinkers apparently don't mind it. Whether you find this good or bad may depend on your tastes. That is always true, I guess, but even more so here. Personally, I don't hate it but I am not a fan.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nina's Teas USA, Magicienne

Nina's Teas USA Description:
The magical combination of pineapple and coconut. This tea, with a hint of tartness, will pleasantly surprise you. An exotic blend that will satisfy all seeking enchantment.

Sample provided by Nina's Teas USA

My Review:
This is the last of my surprise samples from Nina's. I thank you very much! The picture looks exactly like the sample. I didn't look it up before hand but this is obviously a green tea. The dry leaf is coconut scented and something else... what is it?

I steeped the sample in my press with steaming water. After 3 minutes I noticed the liquor is green tinted and a bit cloudy. The aroma I can now tell is pineapple and coconut. There is also a creamy touch to the scent. It is kind of lightly vanilla, though I don't know if there is any of it actually in here. The tea leaf expanded more than any other tea has from Nina's.

Now I must tell you, I love coconut. I must also admit I hate pineapple. Another interesting tidbit is the scent of the cup is the most intense of any of the samples so far. This is even more aromatic than their Earl grey. This will be interesting.

I should not have feared. All of Nina's teas have been sophisticated, well balanced cups. This continues the trend. The pineapple and coconut are definitely present but delightfully not overdone. This reminds me of summers at the fair eating cotton candy. Probably not the reaction Nina's was going for but that's what this does for me. I love cotton candy at the fair, so as far as I am concerned this is high praise. The green base is nice with no bitterness or astringency. The aftertaste is long lingering, sweet, and very pleasant.

This is really good!

Nina's Paris has been around for over 300 years. Just recently they have begun to sell tea in America. You can find at least some of the offerings on Amazon. They also plan to open an ecommerce webstore at ninasteastore.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nina's Teas USA, Nina's Paris

Nina's Teas Description:

Blood orange, peach, strawberry, cherry, 
This tasty blend will fill you with its exquisite fruity flavour. Orange, peach, strawberry and cherry brightened with sunflowers to please all tastes.

Sample provided by Nina's Teas USA

My Review:
Another sample I unexpectedly received from Nina's Teas USA. I love surprises. This sample simply said Nina's on the zip lock bag. Looking at the pictures, this appears to be what I will be tasting today.

I poured the contents of the bag into my press with 10oz of just off boiling water. I steeped for 3 minutes. The dry leaf scent is lightly orange. The brew looks reddish brown in the press. The aroma of the cup is orange and peach.

In the taste I am getting predominately orange, followed and supported by peach. Both taste natural. They are light and the sip seems a bit creamy. As the cup cools, the strawberry comes out of hiding. The cherry is the last to be detected by me. The black base tea is smooth with no astringency. Like all of Nina's teas that I have tried, this  is a subtle cup. This is not a bold fruit blast. It is a quiet, balanced cup, that reveals itself in layers as you sip. Experiencing this cup left me feeling quite relaxed.

Nina's Paris has been around for over 300 years. Just recently they have begun to sell tea in America. You can find at least some of the offerings on Amazon. They also plan to open an ecommerce webstore at ninasteastore.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Extra

Celestial Seasonings Description:
Nothing promotes physical and mental well being like a restful evening. So if you’re wondering how to sleep better or just looking for something to help you unwind, try a cup of Sleepytime Extra®. This relaxing and delicious herbal tea starts with the time-honored blend of chamomile, spearmint and other soothing herbs found in our beloved Sleepytime herbal tea. We then add valerian, trusted as a natural sleep aid since the days of the Greeks and Romans because of its mild sedative properties. The result is a tea with the trusted calming effect and great taste of Sleepytime, plus just a little “extra” to help you rest.

Spearmint, Chamomile, Tilia Estella, Valerian, West Indian Lemongrass, Hawthorn and Orange blossoms.

My Review:
So I had the television on for noise. It was on the Food Channel. A show called Unwrapped was on. I wasn't paying attention until I heard the word 'tea'. Huh? What? The segment was on Celestial Seasonings and how they pioneered the marketing of herbal teas. Sleepytime is their top selling tea. I found it interesting to see the lemongrass used in Sleepytime comes in bales. The show caused me to pick up a box of Sleepytime Extra. It is the same herbal product as Sleepytime with the addition of valerian root.

Upon opening the box I was meet with an inner self sealing storage bag containing the paper 'tea' bags. They are joined two together. Not sure why. I was a little afraid I would tear into the contents pulling them apart - but I did not.

The dry scent is spearmint. I used boiling water and steeped about 3 minutes then spooned the bag out, as there is no string or tag. The aroma of the cup is still mainly mint. I have read reviews that said this smells medicinal. I did not get that impression.

The taste is first mint, but well behaved. This is followed by the lemongrass. This is another example of flavors I would not have used together but it works. Look at that, me liking a spearmint herbal. The mint and lemon are the only distinct flavors I can pick out of the cup. I did add Splenda and that may be masking other flavors. What I can say is I do not taste the apple like notes of chamomile or the light bitterness of valerian. I thought it was a pleasant nighttime taste.

Did it knock me out? No, but it did relax me. I could definitely feel its affect. It helped my mind shut down allowing me to fall asleep naturally. I woke up 8 hours later feeling refreshed. I hope it does the same for you.

An update as I post - I normally do not recommend leaving the bag in the cup but since this is an herbal, go ahead as in won't hurt anything. If you leave the bag, towards the end of the cup you can begin to lightly taste the valerian. It is not unpleasant and adds another layer of interest to the cup.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Harney & Sons, Vanilla Comoro

Harney & Sons Description:

Decaf Vanilla Tea! Now you can enjoy our popular dessert tea to your heart's content, and still get a good night's sleep.

My review:
This review is for the loose leaf version of this tea. The picture is a good representation of the leaf's appearance. The brew is a different matter. I'll get to that.

I brewed this twice. The first time with 2g of leaf (about a tea spoon). I used boiling water and a 3 minute steep. The brew looked like the picture.

My review notes at the time said: Maybe the lightest touch of vanilla I have had in a vanilla tea. I liked that – most are overdone. The decaf base is very light bodied. For an evening tea that makes sense. I like it.

For my second time brewing this tea, at the recommendation of a fellow tea drinker, I used 4g or abt 2tsp of leaf. I again used boiling water and a 3 minute steep.

Now the brew looks more like coffee. One might expect a bitter nasty cup. One would be wrong. This is delicious. The vanilla is the main flavor but still more delicate than in most similar teas. There are caramel notes. It feels thick and creamy as I sip. The tea base is so smooth and lightly malty.

This is a very nice tea that happens to be decaffeinated.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Slow Down And Smell The Tea Leaves

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but here in America, we are in a hurry.  We rush out the door without eating breakfast. We gulp down our lunch without properly chewing, just so we can get back to work. We drive like crazy to get home. Then rush through our evenings, so we can do it all over again tomorrow.

Most of us approach our tea the same way. That may explain why tea is the fifth most consumed beverage among adults in America – after water, soda, coffee, and beer (Source: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2008) – while it is the number two drink in the rest of the world. We don’t take the time for tea. We are the people who pound on the microwave and holler, “Hurry up!” For most people in America, tea often means poor quality iced tea someone else prepared, or plopping a teabag in a cup so we can quickly guzzle it down. What’s our hurry?

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But, I'm in a hurry and don't know why
(Alabama 1992)

The song lyrics quoted above really spoke to me when it came out a couple decades ago. I literally slowed down while driving my car. I began to set my cruise at the speed limit and let others speed on by me.

Much more recently, my discovery of loose tea has had just as big an impact. Through preparing tea I have learned to slow down and notice what is in my cup, greatly enhancing my tea sipping experience.  Loose tea, done right requires attention. Give it the time and it will more than repay. If you are not doing so already, next time you are preparing your favorite cup, slow down and smell the tea leaves.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nina's Teas USA, Marie-Antoinette

Nina's Teas Description:
Rose petals, apples, rose
A very delicate tea, flavored with apples & rose, with a touch of strongness with ceylon tea basis Apple aroma done with apples coming from King’s Kitchen Garden – Versailles.

Sample provided by Nina's Teas USA for review.

My Review:
Another sample I received totally as a surprise by Nina's Teas USA. Looking at the leaf I could see the manila colored petals. I had not yet read an ingredient list and wasn't sure what they were. I sniffed the dry leaf and it was strong, sour, and almost medicinal. Gee, I don't know if I am going to like this.

So, I poured the sample into my press and added water heated to just off boiling and let it steep for 3 minutes. The cup was orange brown and turned darker as it cooled. The aroma is now rose (oh, that's what the petals were) and something I am still not deciphering. It at least is pleasant and no longer medicinal.

I sip and I taste the rose and apples! I have not had many apple flavored teas and certainly none with rose. what an interesting combination. I would never have thought to put them together.

The Ceylon base is very smooth. They call it a touch of strongness. They have obviously never tried any of my barbarian Ceylons. I stand by smooth, maybe even gentle.

This is a smooth sophisticated cup with balanced and interesting flavors. It is a little more expensive than my usual fare but if you want to pamper yourself, this is a very nice cup.

Nina's Paris has been around for over 300 years. Just recently they have begun to sell tea in America. You can find at least some of the offerings on Amazon. They also plan to open an ecommerce webstore at ninasteastore.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Republic of Tea, Mango Ceylon

The Republic of Tea Description:
Metabolic Frolic Tea - This favored tea is light, sweet & intoxicatingly fragrant. Mango & sunflower blossoms are blended with superior Black tea leaves to produce an uplifting cup. A favorite retreat for coffee lovers. Wonderful served hot or over ice.

My Review:
This was purchased as an individually wrapped tea bag and not in the tin pictured here. The bag is round and tagless. I heated the water to boiling and mug steeped this for 3 minutes. It produced a dark fragrant brew.

I checked the ingredient list while steeping: Fine black tea, natural mango flavor and sunflowers.

Interesting. I don't recall ever having sunflower as an ingredient.

The sip is light and kind of reminds me of a cross between apple, peach, pear and pine. I can't really tell if the sunflower actually adds anything to the cup. I also just barely taste the black tea. That is a shame. I kind of like this, but...

Once again Republic of Teas refusal to fill the bag with 2g of tea hurts them. Why don't I just use a smaller cup or two bags? Because, I am preparing this the way people in America drink tea - one bag and a mug. This is supposed to be a light tea but it seems a little muted. There is also a little paper taste in this. I drink a lot of bagged teas, so that comment is not me being a snob.

My thought on this one is if you have the loose leaf version where you can control the amount of leaf this would probably be a pretty nice cup. In the bag its drinkable but leaves me wanting more.  It does gain a little more flavor as it cools.

I need to add that I have no idea how long this bag was on the shelf. It is possible the black tea has plenty of flavor and I just didn't get it with this bag. I kind of hope that is the case.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Something To Think About

I don’t mean this to be preachy. I am as guilty as the next guy. My point here is to encourage all of us to think about what we are doing, and maybe as a result drink more tea – preferably loose leaf.

The next time you grab a soda out of a vending machine and then toss the can in the trash, think about this – depending on who you ask, it will take between 70 and 500 years for that can to break down. At the very least make an effort to recycle the can.

You know you should avoid buying your drinks in plastic bottles. What’s that? Your water and often your soda come in those plastic bottles? Did you know plastic bottles are forever? They don’t break down in the landfill.  Ever. Of course the plastic bag you brought them home in probably won’t either. Well maybe the bag will break down in 20 years if exposed to sunlight. A plastic 6-pack holder ring will take 450 years under the same conditions. Avoid them if you can - recycle them when you can’t.

If you buy your juice or ready to drink tea in glass bottles because the idea of plastic troubles you. Good. Except that glass bottle will take a million years to degrade. Recycle or reuse dude.

A simple coated paper milk carton will take 5 years to decompose. I don’t even know if you can recycle these.

Sadly, even the figures mentioned above may be understated. The modern landfill is lined with plastic and clay to prevent leeching into the ground water. The result is the contents of the modern landfill are far more likely to mummify rather than decompose. What have we done?

OK, this is a blog about tea, rather than feeling depressed, you should be feeling encouraged to drink more tea about now. It has got to be better for the environment. Why, even tea bags are better choices than anything else mentioned so far - right? After all, everyone knows teabags are environmentally friendly. Right? Well, except, maybe not, at least not entirely.

The everyday run of the mill tea bag has plastic threads mixed in so the bag edges can be sealed! Seriously? Yep, apparently so. They look so innocent. The amount of plastic is small but it's there. If you compost, tearing the bag open will help it to eventually break down. The remaining plastic threads, if not sifted out, will at least help hold the soil together. Admittedly, this is not a perfect solution but sure beats plastic bottles.

Nylon sachets, that some 'fancy' teas come in, do not breakdown. Even the pyramid sachets, marketed as biodegradable, may not break down quickly in a home compost bin. Their biodegradable label is based on industrial composting, to which most of us do not have access.

So what can we do? One suggestion is to use more loose leaf tea. Your tea leaves are compostable and contain many beneficial nutrients. When possible buy your tea in reusable or recyclable tins and packaging. This will help to eliminate or reduce plastic packaging as much as possible. If your tap water doesn't make good tea, don’t use water in plastic bottles. Filter your water. This is at least a start.

I am not trying to put a guilt trip on you. In the past I have tended to just throw stuff in the trash and walk away without a second thought as to what happens to it. Since learning, over the last couple days, what I have just written it has weighed on my mind. I needed to share. If I don’t change my ways, maybe you will, and the world will be better for it.

Follow this link if you would like to read more on the subject of boidegadable and compostable definitions.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Impra, Jasmine

Impra Description:
In this paradise isle of the Indian ocean, misty mountains rise above the central hills of Sri Lanka. This is home to some of the world's most picturesque plantations that are renowned and celebrated as producing the world's finest teas. Founded in 1994 by a group of trained and dedicated tea tasters, Impra now brings to you a range of the finest Pure Ceylon teas. The lush tea plantations in Sri Lanka produce a tantalizing variety of flavors and aromas. These excite the taste buds of even the most discerning tea connoisseurs around the world. Pure Ceylon black tea with nature identical Jasmine flavor.

My Review:
This is my first experience with Impra tea. It also marks my first experience with a black based jasmine tea. I received this tea in a recent swap. It is a bagged tea that comes individually wrapped in a paper envelope. Each bag contains a full 2g of leaf. I have no idea what to expect.

Removing the bag reveals no discernible scent. I mug brewed this with boiling water for three minutes. The cup is nice and dark. It has a nice jasmine aroma. A little different, but not horrible, from the quality Chinese loose leaf jasmine teas I have come to love. My past experience with inexpensive bagged teas has not been pleasant when it comes to jasmine. They taste fake and kind of gross. So far this is a nice surprise. The bag plumped up nicely which also leaves me hopeful.

The sip is kind of odd. I can't yet decide if the flavoring is off or if it is the difference between a black tea base and the green or white I am used to sipping. It tastes a little perfume-y, of course it is jasmine. I think the problem for me is the flavoring is a touch too strong. If the Ceylon base were more prominent I would probably like this more. It is not gross. It is just not something I am enjoying.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nina's Teas USA, Earl Grey

Nina's Teas USA Description:

Bergamot from Sicily 
The smoothness of Keemun together with the freshness of bergamot. An ancient recipe that was handed down by a high dignitary of China to Earl Charles Grey. A classic that definitely shouldn't be missed.

Sample provided by Laurent at Nina’s Paris Tea Store USA.

My Review:
Nina's Paris has been around for over 300 years. Just recently they have begun to sell tea in America. You can find at least some of the offerings on Amazon. They also plan to open an ecommerce webstore at ninasteastore.

I received this as a total surprise! I am one blessed tea drinker. The picture does the leaf justice. What it can't give you is the heavenly aroma of the bergamot. I am a sucker for bergamot. Earl Grey just happens to be my weakness. It also is the one type of tea where I know exactly what I like. I can be hard on companies that tamper with the classic. If what is in the cup is something besides tea and bergamot I expect the company to call it something besides Earl Grey. Nina's Earl Grey passes the first test. This is Earl Grey.

Most Earl Grey teas I have use Ceylon as the base. This version uses a keemun tea that makes for a very smooth base. There is no hint of smoke. There is no astringency. I steeped this for 3 minutes. I believe you could steep this 5 minutes and it still would not get bitter or astringent. The bergamot is just a touch lighter than I prefer, but just a touch. It has a wonderful aroma and pleasant taste. The cup seems very slightly creamy with the mildest hint of vanilla. It does not contain vanilla so it is just a natural part of this tea/citrus combination.

I tend to be a bit of a barbarian when it comes to my Earl Grey. I like the base tea to fight back and I like the bergamot to pack just as powerful of a punch. Nina's Earl Grey is much more refined than my usual tastes. Don't misunderstand - I definitely like it. I would love this with a fine meal or while chatting with friends. I think this blend was designed for those who dislike all the brutish qualities that appeal to me and yet demand a quality cup of Earl Grey. If you normally think Earl Grey is a big cup of 'ick' this might well appeal to your more sophisticated palette. It is nicely done.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pickwick, Tropical Fruit

Pickwick description:

Pickwick Tropical Fruit has all the taste of real fruit. Real pieces of tropical fruit are added resulting in a delicious, refreshing tea with lemon flavor. Enjoy your cup of Pickwick Tropical Fruit at any time moment of the day.

The package contains 20 individually Wrapped Tea Bags 2g each.
Net Weight: 1.50oz/40g

Ingredients: Black Tea, flavoring, fruit pieces (banana, mango, pineapple, passion fruit) (0.7%)

My Review:
I think this is the third or fourth Pickwick tea I have reviewed. I received these in a tea swap where I appear to have gotten the better end of the deal. It was not intentional. The paper envelope and the smallish looking tea bag have been deceiving. These have actually been pleasant teas worthy of a sip. Let's see if this one continues the trend.

The bag itself was only lightly fruity scented. I mug steeped this with boiling water for three minutes. The resulting brew is dark caramel. The bag, like the others, did not plump a lot. The fannings in the bag must be extremely fine cut as there is a full 2g of leaf. The aroma is of mango and passion fruit.

The taste is passion fruit and mango. I can, or think I can, pick out a light banana late in the sip. I do not taste pineapple, which is fine with me. The black tea base is present but nondescript. I cannot single it out. As the cup cools the banana does exert itself a bit more.

The fruit flavors seem quite natural. The interesting thing is the fruit is not big over done heavy flavors. They used a very light touch in this tea. Like the other teas by this company, if you can find it, for a simple bagged tea this makes a pleasant cup worthy of a sip.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mountain Tea, Heritage Honey Oolong

Mountain Tea Description:
This oolong was picked at an altitude of 1300m above sea level.  Smooth and sweet with notes of peach, citrus, and sugarcane.

Origin: Nantou, Taiwan

Water: 90°C

My Review:
This is my first experience with Mountain Tea's products. I received a baggie of nuggets from a friend as she was reducing her stash.

Opening the sample bag, this appears to be just another ordinary tightly rolled light green oolong. Not that there is anything wrong with that, or even really ordinary. I took about 5g of leaf nuggets and poured 12oz of heavily steaming water over them in my press. The first steep was 2 1/2 minutes per instructions. The brew was floral and aromatic. The leaf was only partially unfurled. I use a picture of the liquor here instead of the leaf because this is exactly what how the cup looks. Almost clear but slightly yellow tinted.

Sipping reveals a lovely light floral cup. It is sweet and there are notes of citrus. I also detect faint hints of cinnamon. I am not detecting peach yet. This feels creamy. The aftertaste is light. This is no hint of any smoke or roasted taste. Nothing bitter or off. This is a very, very, good first cup.

The second was steeped one minute per instructions. The leaf appears to fill the press while brewing. The scent is green and vegetal. The taste is bolder more floral. I now detect what could be considered peach late in the sip and early in the aftertaste. Floral green oolong flavor lingers long after the sip is over. The second cup is even better than the first.

The third mug brought out what I consider to be more of a traditional oolong taste. This is much lighter than a tieguanyin. It is delightfully floral without overwhelming. The aftertaste really lingers. Each cup is different and each is very good.

This is really an excellent tea!

Visit Mountain Tea online.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Republic of Tea, Acai Green Tea

The Republic of Tea Description:
One of the most nutritious fruits in the world, the Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) berry, has the rich flavors of concord grape and ripe blueberries. Combined with the crisp flavors of green tea this delicious duo offers a one-two punch of antioxidants. Sip your way to good health with this green tea blend.

My Review:
This is a round tagless tea bag that was individually wrapped in a large square envelope. It was bought as a single sample and did not come in the RoT round tin like pictured. I mention this because it may affect my review. I have no idea how long the envelope was on the shelf or how much heat and light it might have been over-exposed to over time. If my results don't match yours, this may be the explanation.

I opened the envelope and immediately was assaulted by a strong medicinal odor. It smelled fake and was not pleasant. Once I poured water heated to steaming over the bag, the aroma changed to a very nice fruity scent. Yeah!

While it was steeping I looked at the ingredient list printed on the envelope: Fine China green tea, hibiscus, natural flavors, and acai berry bits. Nothing fake listed.

The steep was 2 minutes. The color is kind of bronze purple.

Doing the math based on the Republic of Tea picture - there is 75g of tea in 50 bags, that means one tea bag holds 1.5g. Most American companies use 2g per bag. Often I feel the taste of RoT suffers for this reason. Let's see how this one fares.

There is plenty of flavor, though I cannot taste the green tea. What I do taste is the tartness of hibiscus blending the the fruity flavor of the acai. It is by no means horrible. It does suffer from tasting muffled, whether from the bag, storage, or age I cannot say. It has kind of a paper taste halfway in the sip. The tartness lingers in the aftertaste. Sorry not a fan.

I wish I could be kinder in my review of The Republic of Tea. This is a very popular brand. I just seldom enjoy their offerings. If you do, then simply ignore me and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taylors of Harrogate, Ntingwe Kwazulu

Taylors of Harrogate Description:

Although tea is very popular in South Africa, very little is exported. We first discovered the Ntingwe tea estate, deep in the wooded hills of Kwazulu Natal, during the 1990’s and have been supporters of this small estate ever since. This tea has a fresh, brisk flavour and a bright liquor. 

Use a warmed teapot and add one teaspoon of tea per person and an extra ‘one for the pot’. Add freshly boiled water and infuse for 4-5 minutes. Serve with or without milk to taste.

My Review:
This tea came my way when a Steepster member was reducing her inventory. Lucky me! My sample came in a clear plastic baggie. The leaf is dark chocolate in color. The most notable thing about it is how finely cut is the leaf. It is tiny, tiny. I'm pretty sure this would go through the mesh on my press. This is a job for a Finum Basket. I used one tsp of tea powder and boiling water. My steep time was two minutes. I am definitely not a 4-5 minute black tea steeper anymore.

The brew is dark. The aroma has kind of a cinnamon clove thing going on, even though this is a straight black tea. The taste is really good. It is similar to an Assam without the bite. It is drying. Not as much as an Assam but its there. This is not at all bitter but then I only steeped half the recommended time. This has some fruity notes.

It is possible since this was stored in a baggie that it has picked up some stray flavors. I am tasting very light notes of cinnamon and clove. None of the other teas that came in the envelope were cinnamon clove teas, so I am not sure. They are very light and I actually hope it is part of this tea, because it is awesome.

A really good black tea - just get a Finum basket or some tea bags to brew it in.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ahmad, Mint Green Tea

Ahmad Description:
A fine blend of green tea, enhanced with the aroma of mint for a truly refreshing experience. Enjoy our Green Tea with Mint as a healthy low-caffeine choice of beverage.

My Review:
Full disclosure before I taste - Ahmad is my favorite go to brand of bagged tea. It is pretty high quality for the price. That being said, I have never had a spearmint tea I like. It tastes like drinking tea with gum in your mouth. That might be OK except I never chew spearmint gum. This can't end well.

I was hoping this was peppermint. I love peppermint. Opening the mylar envelope and sniffing reveals the scent of spearmint. It is not overwhelming but its there. Be brave.

I heated the water to heavy steaming and steeped for about 3 minutes. The scent is minty. The taste is, uhhm... minty. No surprise. What is a surprise is this isn't horrible. I will never ever crave spearmint tea, but if someone offered me a cup of this one I would say, "Yes please!" I can actually taste the green base tea.

By far my favorite spearmint tea and no surprise it comes from my favorite go to tea brand.