October 4th, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
Description from ButikiTeas.com :
South Korean Green
The leaves of our South Korean Green tea are thin, curly, and forest green. This tea originates from a small farm and has a strong character and vegetal notes. Spinach notes are prominent with a juicy mouthfeel and some lingering astringency.
Ingredients: South Korean Green Tea
Recommended Brew Time: 2-3 minutes
Recommended Amount: 1 level teaspoon of tea for 8oz of water
Recommended Temperature: 180 F
This tea is savory and refreshing. It reminds me of collard greens and well steamed brussel sprout with a hint of sweetness. I think the mouth-feel is more thin and refreshing than juicy, but I’ve always brewed it a bit lightly, out of preference. It’s as fortifying as a bowl of miso soup. As the autumn chill intensifies each night I find this tea my favorite first tea of the day. It’s an enriching change from the fukamushi sencha I usually drink. I think this a great introduction to Korean tea or as staple of any cupboard.
August 27th, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
DoMatcha’s was the first matcha I bought and still one of the quality ones available in North America. I haven’t bought their ceremonial since that first purchase as my view on tea is usually to not purchase if it’s not organic. Especially matcha, which is lauded for the concentrated amount of nutrients one gets from consuming the whole leaf. So I abstained from buying DoMatcha-until they released their organic version. But at double the price I immediately looked for a cheaper daily drink.
Now they offer a 2nd Harvest Organic!
Description from DoMatcha.com
People have been asking for a larger organic option for their matcha. We’ve found a way to make it affordable and organic. Introducing the new 2nd Harvest Matcha in a 2.8 oz size. Approximately 75 servings per tin. The leaves are harvested later in the year and as a result the taste is slightly astringent (bitter). But at 40 or 50 cents a serving, the 2nd Harvest offers great value and good taste. Best used in lattes or smoothies. Certified Organic by JAS/JONA, our DōMatcha™ 2nd Harvest Organic Matcha is grown in Kagoshima, Japan. Each 1oz tin makes about 75 servings.
I had one chawan of their Organic Ceremonial saved to compare, to gauge the cost to quality ratio. Prepared traditional style, they looked identical and smell the same, like clipped grass and alfalfa.
Taste wise it’s much like cooked spinach. As usucha the mouth feel is thin and refreshing, creamy and lightly sweet, not much umami. As koicha, it doesn’t have the variation in flavor one would want but doesn’t develop an ashen taste like Scrooge like attempts to use cooking matcha for tea.
The only difference between the two is that the 2nd harvest is more tempermental to brew. The first time I prepared the 2nd harvest it was quite bitter. After a few more tries I found the water needs to be 175F spot on or it will seperate. One has to be mindful to make a bowl of simple daily matcha, to appreciate that one even has matcha. I like that.
As a single daily usucha this succeeds, it allows me to focus on the ritual and pay attention to the mental state, not self-indugent Epicurean delight, while still tasting plesant enough. I’ve had this often for a month and haven’t tired of it. I’m quite satisfied with Domatcha’s 2nd Harvest Organic.
August 21st, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
This is our blend of organic green and white teas with a hint of bergamot. Creates a smooth, mellow, fresh taste with hints of honey and citrus. Revitalizing at any time of the day.
Organic White Teas, Organic Green Teas, Organic Oil of Bergamot
Caffeine Content: Medium
Temp: 206* F Steep: 3-5 min
Available at theteamerchant.net
Preparation method: Tall aroma glass , 190 F water, one tablespoon to five, five, and four ounces water
A newly launched tea company, The Tea Merchant allowed me two teas to review, Silver Jade and White Monkey Picked. They arrived swiftly with style.
As a lover of disappearing arts who mourns the loss of penmanship and letter writing, the sight of sealing wax gave me a mirthful outlook. Even if the envelope was filled with steel wool, I’ll still be smiling next week.
Trying to ignore the charming packaging, I set up to brew with caution. I’ve seen a few green and white teas with Bergamot oil, but the ones I’ve taste were too strong and seemed to be created for the novelty or just to mark up inferior tea. I’d never had a Bergamot blend of green and white, but The Tea Merchant’s site and proprietor seemed to strive for quality and a clear conscious. Silver Jade breaks the streak of overpowering green Earl Grays. The citron oil is light and natural, well integrated with the tea, with its own lemon zest scent.
- The dry leaf resembles a Bai Mu Dan with plenty of tips.
The brewing liquid is refreshing; floral and mild citrus, perfect for the drizzly, chilly morning. It reminds me of osmanthus and some Bi Lo Chun, fruity with a savory tone from the white tea. This is light and perfect for re-hydrating and relaxing when sensitive to stimulae, especially after the superpowered rush of much matcha! The usual role of my baicha consumption is to take me down a notch from matcha and continue to concentrate; Silver Jade fits perfectly. It kept some Bergamot flavoring in the second steep, the third was a pure tea flavor and very refreshing. This could easily become my daily rainy day re-hydrator!
August 21st, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea Blend
Irish Breakfast is not my favorite type of blend. They’re strong, stout, eye openers that can take enough milk to count as a meal, but without additives they make me cough. This however is a nice exception, or rather it could be. At the start it was lightly woodsy like Assam with a touch of Lapsang Souchung. If I had to name this blend I’d call it light Russian Caravan. As it cooled it the flavor morphed to light Keemun. There was little astringency so I wonder if this was from an old batch of good tea. I like this blend’s flavors but I. That way more leaf good be used for a richer flavor that I don’t think would overwhelm like traditional Irish Breakfast blends.
Blood Orange Rooibos
The smell is true orange peel, not fake! Very hard to find these days. I steeped the bag for 25 minutes in 180 water, and the doubled steeping time worked! A real blood orange flavor emerged, slightly sweet and pungent, like blood orange soda my blood sugar can’t handle. It wasn’t as strong as I’d like but the rooibos was unobtrusive, even welcome to enhance the orange. I’m very disappointed this was discontinued. This is the first rooibos I could enjoy unenhanced, and the first truly blood orange flavored tea I’ve had. It is a good omen for future releases.
Epi Tea’s first four teas are available here.
And I will be here, continuing to hunt for a good blood orange tea.
August 21st, 2012 by batrachoidboggle
Recently a new small company called Epi Tea gave a sampler of their first five teas to review. After some shipping issues (all USPS’s misdeeds) I recieved my sampler. I was touched that Epi Teas personally contacted me when they couldn’t send it the first time. They corrected the error and sent it back out! A small but varied five teas were given for review: Serene Chai, Berry Rooibos, Lavender Earl Gray, Blood Orange Rooibos, and an Irish Breakfast blend. The bags have no string and are biodegradable, earning enough approval from the enviromentalist in me.
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Cardamom, Organic Red Pepper & Natural Vanilla, Cinnamon & Ginger Flavorings
I am of the opinion that good chai needs peppercorns but few seem to agree. Epi Tea’s blend included both peppercorns and red pepper in addition to vanilla, with no intrusion of cloves. I picked this first, obviously. It certainly sounded like a great chai, vanilla cinnamon, and cardamom present, peppercorns hiding in the back but when I tasted it, it was all vanilla flavoring. I got some cinnamon and an astringent Assam taste, but no peppercorns, pepper, or ginger. Re-examining the tea bag, I couldn’t find a cardamom pod and I could barely smell the peppercorns. I re-steeped in two ounces of warm water for an hour for a mild cinnamon and vanilla sip. Over all the advertised spices weren’t there, although I think a longer first steep is needed, all the bagged chai masala I’ve had before needed 10 or more minutes, spices are tougher that tea.
Lavender Earl Grey
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, Organic Lavender Flowers, Organic Flavorings
This was the second of the sampler I tried. Both Earl Gray and Lavender are refreshing on humid, cool evening, but easy to over-do. I used five ounces of water and four minutes later, it yielded a very lightly floral and orange shadowed red tea taste. Slight astringency. Perhaps as loose leaf this would be better, as Earl Gray is loved at different levels by all. The bags as is would be good for people who like but are sensitive to bergamont.
Ingredients: Organic Rooibos, Organic Hibiscus, Organic Rosehips, Organic Elderberries, Organic Black Currents, Organic Cranberries, Organic Flavorings
This had a nice berry smell, but the flavor was all hibiscus and rose hip. It would make a great iced tea or to flavor strawberry and tomato soup, but hot I don’t like it. Cooler some berry flavor emerges, but not the deep flavor of elderberries. Strawberry, I’d say. Much better cool.