Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jasmine Green Review

Type: Green
Origin: China
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 160°F-170°F, steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.3 out of 5

Jasmine Green is an organic green tea base infused with the essence of jasmine blossoms. The sweet, floral jasmine presented itself when I tore open the package. The jasmine scent was not over powering, but it prevented me from smelling the green tea. The leaves were rather dark for green tea; however, there were a lot of whole leaves and very little dust.

The jasmine aroma was the only thing I could smell as this tea was brewing. Like I said before, though, the jasmine was not over powering. I keep noting this because I have had jasmine teas in the past that were so fiercely infused with jasmine that it almost made me sick to drink. From the way this tea smells, I think it will be pleasant to drink. The liquor is a bright yellow color.

After sipping on this tea, I concluded that it was one of the better jasmine flavored teas that I have had. The floral flavor from the jasmine filled my mouth and then left a sweet aftertaste. The one negative thing was that I couldn’t really taste the green tea in this brew. Nevertheless, the tea was not bitter or astringent at all. I thought the tea was sweet on its own, but I’m sure adding sugar would enhance that quality.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tea Pouch Sale!

Now through September 2nd, Mighty Leaf is wanting to help you celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall with a tea pouch sale!

See the nifty picture to your left? You can start saving 30% on all Mighty Leaf tea pouches by clicking on it.

If you want a sneak peak at what Mighty Leaf has to offer, check out my reviews on Chamomile Citrus, Green Tea Tropical, and Orange Dulce.

Why wouldn't you want to save up to $14 per box on yummy, delicious teas? Exactly! So, here's to enjoying the rest of the summer in style!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fukamushi Sencha Supreme Review

Type: Green
Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture
Price: $22.95 for 110 grams (approx. 4 oz.)
Vendor: O-Cha
Brewing Method: Per Instructed – 3.0g of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 150°F-160°F, steeped for 1 minute.
Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5

According to O-Cha’s website, Fukamushi Sencha Supreme is a first rate, first flush green tea. It was harvested in the first round of picking in 2008. It is described as a very intense green tea and tends to be more astringent than other greens.

I barely opened the package and I could smell the grassiness of the leaves. The aroma of the leaves was hard to describe because it wasn’t sweet smelling, but very vegetal. The dry leaves are so pretty. They are very dark green specks which ranged from dust to rolled up leaves about a ¼ of an inch long.

More of the vegetal aroma was present during the steeping process. The liquor was an amazing green color. My camera doesn’t do it justice.

Wow, they were not kidding about the intense flavor. Each sip I was hit with a bold grassy, vegetal flavor that lasted a long time in my mouth. This tea was slightly bitter and quite astringent, just like O-Cha said it would be. I really didn’t mind the astringency so much because the supreme flavor is what made me really like this tea.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gotcha, Matcha!

Finally! While in Chicago with my boyfriend and his parents, I was able to obtain my first matcha set! I have wanted one for a while!

I will pause so you can cheer, dance, break open the wine, or however you celebrate.

I say obtain instead of buy because my totally awesome boyfriend is the one who actually purchased it for me. In fact, he planned the trip to the mall in Schaumburg just so he could surprise me with the Teavana store that was in there. Ok, say it with me: awwwww.

I have to buy all of my teaware and loose leaf tea online because the only tea that my small town has is the overly sweetened stuff from McDonalds. In other words, seeing all the teaware and loose leaf bins on the shelves in Teavana was freaking sweet! I wanted to buy the whole store! What really sucked, though, is that there was a “now hiring” sign in the window… and if I wouldn’t have lived 3 hours away I would have put in my application immediately.

Aside from the matcha set, I bought myself a bamboo tea tool (haha, tea tool… haha) set and a set of four cups. No tea table is complete without the proper set of tools, so I couldn’t pass that up. The drinking cups I bought are beautiful! Don’t you think? I absolutely love the green one!

It was hard to pick from all the awesome teaware that Teavana had in their store. I’m happy with the new additions to my collection and I walked out of there with a few ideas for Christmas.

Here is a description of each of the tea tools that is on the box that the tools came in:

Mini Whisk – Ideal for stirring tea with sugar, milk, matcha, honey, and lemon in delicate tea sets.

Hot Lid Tongs – A handy tool for removing lids from hot tea pots or handling sugar cubes. The bamboo is gentle enough where it will not scratch or damage the paint on the outer surface of a delicate tea pot.

Tea Scoop – A traditional handmade 6 inch bamboo spoon. Its wide head and long handle make it a comfortable tool for measuring out scoops of loose leaf tea.

Demi Spoon – A universal handmade 6 inch bamboo spoon.

Chashaku – A traditional matcha measuring scoop made from a single piece of bamboo. It is typically used in matcha tea ceremonies.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jade Green Review

Type: Green
Origin: China and India mix
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 160°F-170°F, steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.1 out of 5

Jade Green is a mix of organic Chinese and Indian green teas. I could smell the grassy green tea as soon as I tore open the package. The leaves are very tightly rolled up bits and can easily be viewed through the fabric of the pyramid.

The one thing that immediately concerned me was the amount of tea in the pyramid. There really wasn’t that much in the bag. I broke out my digital scale and weighed the tea to find out that the whole pyramid (tea, string, paper tag, and fabric) only weighed 2.2 grams. Subtracting about half a gram for the pyramid itself, which means there was less than 2 grams of tea here.

The reason I was concerned was because normally the “rule of thumb” is 2.5 grams of loose leaves per cup of water. Also, some instructions I have for Chinese green tea is 3-4 grams of loose leaves per cup of water. I know this was being kind of picky, but the leaf per water ratio can greatly affect the taste – in good ways and bad ways.

While steeping, the tea gave off a luscious, sweet, grassy aroma. The liquor is a bright yellow color. Going back to my issues of how much loose tea was in the pyramid, I started to think that maybe Choice Organic put that amount of tea in there because of how much room the leaves needed to open up. However, after steeping there was still over half of the pyramid that was empty.

I was not as pleased with the taste as I hoped to be. The tea definitely had the usual green tea – vegetal and grassy - taste to it. However, it was also a little bitter and almost sour. There is a small amount of astringency (but I don’t think I’ve found a green tea, yet, that has none). Even though the flavor was light bodied, it was not watered down. Because of that, I can safely guess that Choice Organic knew what they were doing by putting less than the usual amount of loose leaves in the bag.

I love drinking green tea that hasn’t been overly flavored with fruits, flowers, herbs, etc, so I was very excited to try this one. However, this wasn’t exactly my favorite green tea, but it was nice to have a cup of green without all of the additives.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lychee White Review

Type: White
Origin: India
Price: Sample (regular price - $8.49 for 15 pyramids)
Vendor: Choice Organic Teas
Brewing Method: 1 pyramid, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 160°F-170°F, steeped for 2-3 minutes.
Overall Score: 4.2 out of 5

Lychee White is an organic white tea base with natural lychee flavor and organic osmanthus flowers. When I opened the package I could smell the lychee right away. The overall aroma was fruity but flowery at the same time. The translucent pyramid allowed me to see the white tea leaves along with bits of osmanthus flowers.

The lychee aroma was more intense as the tea was brewing – it smelled really flowery. The liquor was a dark yellow color.

The lychee is definitely present while drinking. The tea had a very sweet, flowery taste between the lychee and the osmanthus flowers. However, I could not taste the white tea at all and I wish I could. The brew was not bitter or astringent. Even though this tea had an overwhelming flowery taste, it did not last long in my mouth.

That last paragraph was a challenge to write because the flavor of this tea had almost no after taste, at first. That sounds weird, I know, but I literally drank half of the cup of tea before I could write about what it tasted like. Normally, I only have to take a couple of sips to start writing; drinking more to confirm my opinion. But, this tea did not coat my mouth right away like some teas I’ve had.

Overall, I was pleased with this tea. Even though I could not taste the white tea, the lychee flavor presented itself quite nicely.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Iced Tea Sale

Summer is inching its way toward fall. Celebrate the final days of summer in style with gourmet iced teas from Mighty Leaf!

Click Here to start saving 25% on Iced Tea in Tins and Refills!

Mighty Leaf has 8 awesome iced tea blends to choose from. I have reviewed 3 of those blends, which include: Classic Black, Island Breeze, and Ginger Peach.

Visit the links above to check out my reviews, and then head over to Mighty Leaf to start saving, brewing, and sipping savory iced teas for the summer. Hurry, because this offer ends August 15th!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Island Breeze Iced Tea Review

Type: Herbal
Origin: Not Stated
Price: Sample (Regular price - $14.95 for 10 bags w/ tin. Each bag makes 1 gallon.) **On Sale for $11.21 until August 15**
Vendor: Mighty Leaf
Brewing Method: Per instructed - 1 bag, 1/2 gallon of filtered water, heated to 200°F-205°F, steeped for 5 minutes, added ice until liquid reached top of 1- gallon pitcher, chilled in refrigerator
Overall Score: 4.6 out of 5

Island Breeze is an herbal blend of hibiscus, rose hip, blackberry leaves, rose hip seed, and natural flavors. When I opened the package, the dry leaves definitely smelled fruity and flowery, but I could not distinguish any one certain ingredient (even though, I wish I knew what “natural flavors” were in it). It had an aroma of fruit punch, basically.

The blackberry aroma stood out while brewing. The liquor was a very bright pinkish-purple color. I really liked how the color turned out with this tea.

Just as I suspected, the tea tasted a lot like fruit punch. The blackberry made the brew very fruity, sweet, and refreshing. The other herbs gave this tea a nice, flowery aftertaste.

You all know that I never add sugar to my tea, whether it needs it or not, but I think this tea is sweet enough without sugar. However, if you would like to bring out more of the blackberry flavor, I’m sure sugar would do the job.

There was no bitterness or astringency. It was a little tart at first, but that died down after a couple of sips. Overall, I think this tea would make a refreshing, flavorful, sugar free treat any time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tea'd Off

I literally needed tea to pick me back up from this horrible experience!

When you look at this picture, I hope you enjoy the lovely scene of tea and flowers… because, for me, it reminds me of a total nightmare! Here’s the story:

My family and I took a trip to Branson, Missouri. We stayed for a week, seeing shows, going to shops, just winging it as we went. Before the trip, I went to and looked up the tearooms that were in Branson, so I could visit them while there. Sounded like a good plan, right?

Sure, I mean, I have never been to a tearoom before. In the little town that I live in there is only one tearoom and it’s the fancy British style – which doesn’t interest me too much. On I found a tearoom in Branson called The Gardens. This tearoom’s profile on did not list the style of tearoom, but I thought “What the heck, we are here. Let’s check it out!”

When we finally found the place, it looked very upscale and professional. We walked in to see the beautiful paintings and decorations on the wall and the elegant tables and chairs to match. It was a lovely scene and I was hopeful that my first experience in a tearoom was going to be memorable.

I got the memorable part right, but what happened was no where near pleasant. We were seated at a table and given menus. My dad and younger brother took one look at the menu and saw the “sophisticated food” and walked out – saying that they would just look at some shops while mom and I ate. When the waitress asked for our drink orders, I asked her about their selection of hot teas. She gave me the weirdest look and said “you want hot tea?” I paused to return a slightly confused look back to her and said “well, yeah.” She left and brought back a very small box with Stash and Tazo brand tea bags stuffed inside it.

Let the ranting begin!

I know it was about 90 degrees outside, but it was about 60 degrees inside the tearoom. Also, if I’m not mistaken, it’s a TEAROOM! After looking at their menu, there was “iced tea” and “hot tea.” That was it! No selection of iced tea and the selection of hot tea was the nastiest brand I have had yet, Stash, and a mediocre brand, Tazo.

I eyed Zen from Tazo which is the type and brand of bagged tea that I take with me when I am not able to make loose leaf during my trip or while at my destination. But, like I said before, this was a TEAROOM. A place in which one of their specialties is TEA! I was a little enraged by this point. One main reason is that while on our way to Missouri we stopped at Cracker Barrel to get breakfast. I ordered hot tea. The hot tea that they serve there is Twining’s Darjeeling – a higher quality of tea than any of the Stash or Tazo brands I was given. They also listed the type of hot tea they serve on their menu… something that The Gardens (a TEAROOM) did not do.

Anyways, back to The Gardens. My mom and I each ordered an $8.00 salad that was the size of a salad you would get with your entrée at any other restaurant – i.e. really freaking small. I was not in the happiest of moods at this point and to make things worse the owner of the store came over and not so quietly said to my mom “Where did your husband go?” My mom and I were in shock but she recovered and told the owner that they left to look at a couple of shops.

My manners finally flew out of the window at this point and I said to the owner “Is this really your selection of tea?” She did not sound too taken aback and laughingly said “Yes, and we also got rid of the coffee and espresso machines when the company changed hands…” and then took the time to mention that they would soon be open until 8pm, serving steak and seafood on the menu while entertaining guests with a singer. She promptly left, mom and I finished eating our half a lettuce leaf, paid for our meal, and left thinking of where to actually get some food.

The sign on The Gardens says “café and tearoom.” It, however, is neither of those. There is one customer review on about The Gardens. I am now realizing that this person goes on about the service, food, and interior design about this place, but never mentions tea or coffee. Now I know why… The Gardens is not a tearoom, nor is it a café.

If our small salads were $8.00, I can’t imagine what seafood or steak is going to cost. If you have no interest in the type of tea or coffee served to you, have loads of cash to blow, and want some random guy in a tux to serenade you… then head over to The Gardens. From now on, I am going to make sure the TEAROOMS I go to will actually serve TEA… and the RESTROOMS I go to will actually have TOILETS… and the BEDROOMS I go to will actually have BEDS… and the…