Lychee Konnyaku from Ette Tea

lycheekonnyakuTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black/Green

Where to Buy:  Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Our newest tea formula of Jasmine green, black tea, cranberries, lychee pieces & lily blossoms. Sweet tasting & tangy as the Japanese jelly dessert, Lychee Konnyaku tea provides the added malty texture and body for the gourmet tea lover.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This, along with the Mango Sticky Rice blend that I’ve yet to try, is the Ette Tea blend I’m most excited about tasting and reviewing. I absolutely adore lychee in just about anything, but especially in tea. Plus, cranberry is also one of my favourite fruit flavours in tea so the pairing of the two got me really, really excited. It’s also a pairing that I haven’t seen done before which was really cool too.

Dry; this has some really robust smelling lychee. It’s also fairly floral which should be expected given that there’s jasmine from the green tea and also the addition of lily, but lychee is a very floral tasting fruit too so it comes from that as well. I don’t see as many cranberries in the leaf as I want their to be, though I did make sure that what I measured out for my mug had at least one included.

Wow; this smelled heavenly when it was also steeped up! It’s a very strong lychee aroma; definitely the most powerful aspect of the tea, but there’s also a really soft, soothing jasmine smell backed up by other floral elements like lily and maybe also orchid. It’s actually hard to pick out specific notes from either the black or the green tea used though. I can also smell the cranberry, but only slightly.

Thankfully the cranberry is a bit more noticeable in the taste; it cuts through pretty clearly in the start of the sip with some sweetness but also some tartness that reminds me of cranberry jelly like you’d have around Thanksgiving. However, the very lush taste of the lychee and jasmine over takes it early on leaving me feeling just slightly cheated. I want more cranberry because while it’s so different to me to see it paired with lychee the two flavours go together really well!

The lychee is juicy and rich and reminds me a lot of actual lychee or ‘cocktail’ lychee that’s been canned in its own sweetened juices. It’s mouthwatering and strong as a flavour. I can see where, paired with the sweetness of the cranberry, this could get a little too sweet but thankfully there’s the soothing presence of jasmine that brings this back down to a reasonable level and keeps it distinctly flavoured but smooth and relaxing too.

Also, now that it’s steeped I think the base teas come through just slightly more; the first half of the mug seemed to have a really light vegetal taste to it that was brought more into focus when you concentrated on the jasmine but the slightly malty black base was more present in the aftertaste along with the lingering flavour of lychee, and especially present with the last few tiny sips from the mug when everything had cooled down.

There’s definitely room for improvement, but overall this was a really impressive and well executed tea and I’m absolutely kicking myself for just getting 10g! I’ve now tried 3/5 samples and this is definitely my favourite so far. This company has yet to really disappoint me!

Kris Grey Black Tea from Ette Tea

Kris_GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Ette Tea

Tea Description:

Shaded as the quintessential earl grey, Kris Grey (Blend no. 050) is a western classic brew fortified with south east asian ingredients.

Kris Grey is a blend of black tea, javanese vanilla beans, blue corn flower, bluepea flower, bergamot oil & edible silver dust.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

My second blend from Ette Tea!

So, I’m not the biggest Earl Grey fan; not that I dislike it, but I just don’t crave it often either. Under normal circumstances I probably wouldn’t have gone for this one – but who can resist sample sizes and the idea of sparkly silver tea? And really, the dry leaf is stunning! It’s covered in this really fine, gorgeous silver dust. So pretty!

Steeped up I’m not going to lie; I’m a little disappointed. The tea is still gorgeous and sparkly, but it’s not as dramatic as I’d have thought given the amount of noticeable glimmer in the dry leaf. Maybe about the same amount of sparkle as DT’s Gitter & Gold blend that people like to ooh and aah over.

The taste is solid though; it’s a good EG with a medium level of citrusy bergamot and silky smooth black base. I feel like a little bit more of vanilla would have really sent this one sky rocketing though. As it stands I can hardly taste the vanilla at all, but as is it’s just fine too. People who really love EG should definitely take a closer look at this because while it isn’t mind blowing, it’s got a really taditional taste with that fun sparkly element that makes it different from the average EG you can get at any store.

So for me, it’s a step down from Pandan Chiffon (which set the bar very high) but still not a flop! Definitely excited to try my next tea from this company!

Asian Beauty Oolong Tea from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

AsianBeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

Tea Description: 

Delicious! This tea is probably unlike any you’ve tried before. We think it’s absolutely pleasant and sophisticated. Lighter bodied and very smooth, you might get hints of honey and cinnamon and there’s plenty of room to explore with multiple infusions. This tea is perfect for a cold winter day or equally at home in the heat of summer. This tea is also known as Oriental Beauty or Beggars Tea.  We suggest you don’t add anything to this tea as it will take from it what is already there!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I absolutely adore a good Oriental Beauty Oolong, and this Asian Beauty Oolong from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company is very good, indeed!

If you’re familiar with my Oolong reviews, you’re probably familiar with how I approach brewing most Oolong teas, but for those who aren’t:  I steeped this in my gaiwan.  I measured out a bamboo scoop of tea into my gaiwan, and heated freshly filtered water to 180°F.  I carefully poured into the gaiwan enough water to cover the leaves and I let them steep for about 15 seconds.  Then I strained off the liquid and discarded it.  I call this the “rinse” and I think that this simple little process greatly improves the flavor of Oolong teas and some other teas (such as Lapsang Souchong and Pu-erh).

Then I pour more water into the gaiwan, and allow this to steep for 45 seconds and strain the liquid into my serving cup.  The cup I use holds two infusions perfectly, so I steep the leaves again, this time for 1 minute, and strain the tea into my cup.  I continue this process until I feel like I’ve either had my fill of the tea for that day or until the leaves are spent, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.

My first cup (infusions 1 and 2) is light and refreshing.  It has a smooth note of honey and hints of peach.  I taste a slightly woody note and notes of earth and spice.  There is some astringency toward the tail.  It’s a very pleasant and relaxing cup.

The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) offers a stronger flavor than the first cup.  The notes of wood and earth are beginning to emerge a little more.  The honey is present throughout the sip and I’m noticing the sweetness in the aftertaste.  The same is true of the peach.  The warm spice is still a hint of a flavor at the start of the sip, but toward the finish I taste a little more and it does linger a little into the aftertaste as well.  As the tea cools slightly, I pick up on more honey notes.  Nice!

With the third cup, the flavors seemed to mellow into a very seamless, united taste.  The lines between the layers of flavor have been blurred to create a unified flavor that is sweet, fruity, a little bit earthy and a little bit warm.  I think this third cup is my favorite, because the flavors have all become a little less less focused, so I’m able to enjoy the soft texture of the cup and the sweetness seems to be emphasized more now.

I really enjoyed this tea.  It was beautifully flavored.  This is the tea I’d recommend to those that find Oolong to be a little too “flowery” for their taste.  This is more fruity and honeyed than it is floral.  It’s best served hot, but allow the cup to cool slightly so that those honey notes pop.  It’s alright when it’s cold/iced … but the flavors are much more distinct when the tea is warm.

Eastern Beauty Oolong Tea from Green Terrace Teas

EasternBeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Green Terrace Teas

Tea Description:

Eastern Beauty, also know as Oriental Beauty, Bai Hao Oolong, and Champagne Formosa, is one of the most famous and unique Asian teas.  During the growing process, green cicadas or “leafhoppers” bite the leaves, stimulating a hormonal reaction in the tea tree that develops its natural honey flavor.  This also means that the tea is organic, as no pesticides are used during production.  Eastern Beauty is more oxidized than other oolongs and has a very distinctive taste.  It is delightfully smooth and fruity, with naturally sweet honey and floral undertones.  Thanks to its lack of astringency, this selection is also very forgiving to oversteeping and its savory flavor persists through many infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m loving this Eastern Beauty Oolong from Green Terrace Teas.  It represents the first of the teas that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company, and I’m very happy with what I’m tasting thus far!

I brewed this in my gaiwan using 180°F water, and after a 15 second “awakening” of the tea leaves, I steeped the first infusion for 1 minute and the second infusion at 1 minute 15 seconds.  I combined the first two infusions in one cup.  For each subsequent infusion, I would add 15 seconds to the infusion time, and I would combine two infusions in one cup.  (The second cup = infusions 3 and 4 … and so on.)

The first cup was lighter in flavor and texture than the subsequent cups, but even though it was lighter in flavor – it was still very flavorful!  There were sweet, peach-like notes with a sharp floral tone.  Beautifully sweet!  The mouthfeel was soft and pleasant.  There were some earthy notes to the cup as well as hints of wood-like notes.  I detected no bitterness or astringency to the cup unless I really focused on it, and then I picked up on a slight dry note toward the finish.  It’s barely there!

And even though I mentioned the sharp floral note, this is not an overly floral tasting tea.  There is just a bit of flower there that cuts through some of the fruity sweetness – it’s enough to offer contrast without becoming a flowery tea.

The second cup had a more developed set of flavors than the first.  I could really taste the peach-y notes!  The sharp floral tone that I picked up on in the first cup is somewhat subdued now.  It is not so sharp, and instead, it is more like a whisper of flower in the distance.  This cup was more about the peach, the notes of earth and wood, and a lovely, sweet nutty tone that began to reveal itself.  I like the way the peach and the nutty flavors work together.

The third cup was the sweetest of the three!  The peach notes are profound, and the woodsy/earthy notes are softened, making way for more sweetness that is reminiscent of honey.  This is where the honey notes really come into focus, so it’s definitely worth the effort to keep on steepin’ when it comes to this tea.  The honey notes are BEAUTIFUL!

A really enjoyable tea … if it’s any indication of what I have to look forward to from Green Terrace Teas, then I’m really happy to have found this company!

Asian Pear from Tin Roof Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tin Roof Teas

Tea Description:

Crisp Asian Pear with a subtle, yet enduring flavor and mild fragrance.

Ingredients:  Green tea from India, Japan and China, orange blossoms and flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is really good. I’m really surprised at how well the flavor comes through.

So often with flavors like this, the flavoring is added either too sparingly added and cannot be tasted, or the flavor is too heavily added and ends up tasting artificial.  Here, it is perfect – not so strong that it tastes fake or masks the taste of the green tea, and not so light that I cannot taste the sweet, juicy flavor of Asian Pear.

The green tea is the strongest flavor of the cup – and it has a sweet, fresh taste.  Slightly grassy and a little bit buttery.  Very pleasant, and a nice pairing with the flavor of Asian Pear – which is sweet and delicious and very authentic tasting.  It tastes as though I have just taken a bite of a crisp, juicy Asian Pear!

I also taste just a mild floral note coming through from the orange blossom.  This isn’t a strong flavor, but the subtle contrasts it offers really pleasing to the palate.  A really enjoyable tea.  It’s great hot or cold – I think I prefer it iced, it is just so refreshing!  Light and very thirst quenching.  Nice!