Organic Arya Diamond Second Flush Darjeeling from Canton Tea Co.

AryaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co

Tea Description:

One of the Arya Estate’s acclaimed ‘Jewel’ teas. The Diamond delivers the bright, beautifully balanced muscatel flavours of one of the most sought after teas in the world. The dark, twisted tea leaves have streaks of gold and fuzzy silver tips. When infused, the tea is smooth and rounded with a long, sweet aftertaste that evokes dried fruits and nuts.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Today is one of those rainy days where you just want to lock yourself up in your house, curl up with a blanket, brew up some favorite tea and binge watch your favorite show.  Just a day where you really just want to relax. I didn’t exactly do that but at least I was able to brew up some tea that I hadn’t experienced yet.

This particular tea is from Canton Tea Co., a tea company that always delivers wonderful flavors. I can’t remember having a negative experience with their teas yet. And I have to say, this tea delivered every note it promised in the description.

Brewed up by the package instructions, I allowed this tea to steep about 2 minutes before taking my first sip. When I did I was greeted with this gorgeous full bodied beauty with hints of fruity sweetness and an almost nutty goodness.  The sweetness is hard to really identify or compare it to. It is an overall sweetness that I am getting and I could say the same for the nuttiness.   So well balanced and the flavors mingled so well together that it was hard sometimes to pick them out because of how smooth the tea was. That is definitely one word to describe this tea-smooth. Smooth and well balanced. This is one of those teas you keep around the house to drink whenever you need a tea that won’t let you down. This tea delivers a gorgeous flavor. That is for sure!


Canton Mini Tuo Cha Cooked Pu-erh from Canton Tea Co.

canton_cooked_puerhTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-Erh

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Our own brand mini tuo cha (nests) are made from authentic chopped puerh leaves from Yunnan, not from the fannings or tea dust as most tuo cha are. We chose a maocha (unprocessed leaf) that has been aged for 4 years, giving the tea a smooth, mellow quality. The leaves are pure Te Ji (aka Tippy Grade), which give a sweeter taste. Brew quickly with hot water in a small pot for up to eight infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

There aren’t many days in the year when I wake up and crave shu, but today is definitely one. My choice of tea this morning was completely obvious, but I decided to go for a new-to-me Pu-erh rather than an old familiar favourite. I’m still on a sharp learning curve when it comes to Pu-erh, so trying a new one is always exciting! This Pu-erh is presented as a Tuo Cha, compressed into a tiny cake shape and individually wrapped. I’m brewing western style this morning, so I placed the Tuo Cha into my infuser basket, and gave it a 30 second rinse in boiling water. Now we’re ready to go!

First Steep

My first steep was for 1 minute in fresh boiling water. The Tuo Cha has more or less held its shape, although it’s fluffed up a little. The liquor is a bright red-brown, the scent strongly earthy with just a hint of fishiness. I expected the flavour to be quite pungent, but it’s actually fairly mild. The main flavour is compost – a delicious, soft, warm earthiness. It’s incredibly smooth and almost a little creamy tasting. I’m picking up a hint of forest floor in the aftertaste, with the emphasis on wet leaves.

Second Steep  

canton_cooked_puerh2My second steep was for 40 seconds in boiling water. The Tuo Cha has now disintegrated, and the resulting liquor is a much stronger, darker affair – a deep black-brown. The scent is again strongly earthy, but the fishiness has now vanished. To taste, this one remains smooth and mellow. I was half expecting an increase in the strength of flavour, but that’s not happened. The earthy, compost-like notes are more clearly defined, and the creaminess has gone, but there’s still an aftertaste of dampness and leaf mulch that’s a lot more pleasant to taste in practice than it sounds.

Third Steep

My third steep was for 40 seconds in boiling water. The liquor this time has regained a little of the reddish tint it had initially, being a deep red-brown verging on black. The scent is still earthy, but this time with more of a “damp” scent upfront. To taste, this is again smooth and mellow. I’m noticing only very slight variations in the overall flavour, which is still earthy and a little damp-tasting. The mulchy, leafy notes are slightly less present this time around, but I’d still describe the main flavour as “compost”. One thing I did notice is that this steep released a significant quantity of sediment, which has settled at the bottom of my mug.

Fourth Steep

My fourth steep was back to 1 minute in boiling water. The liquor this time shows little change from the last steep, still a deep red-brown verging on black. The “damp” scent is a touch stronger, with a little of the earthiness starting to recede. Smooth and mellow are words I’d use again to sum up this infusion. The flavour is slightly lighter than previous steeps, but still earthy and reminiscent of compost and wet leaves. The creaminess from the first steep has started to edge back in.

Fifth Steep

Another minute for the fifth steep, again in boiling water. The liquor colour is noticeably lighter this time, more of a red-brown again. The scent is lighter, too – still damp and earthy, but less so than previously. The flavour is slowly deteriorating, too. It’s still compost, but it’s gradually becoming less intense. It’s smooth and creamy, and a pleasure to drink.

Sixth Steep

My sixth, and final, steep was for 1.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is noticeably lighter this time – more of a red-orange. The scent has lost most of its earthiness, and is now primarily “damp” and wet leaf. The flavour is noticeably lighter and much more gentle this time. I can taste wet leaf still, and a hint of something that’s almost menthol – a fresh and cooling edge.

I stopped here largely because I ran out of time. I’m sure there’d be life left in this one for at least a few more steeps, though. The flavour is noticeably less than it was, but it’s be nice to see a little more of the creaminess and menthol notes that were present during the last couple of steeps. I would have liked to have seen a little more flavour variation in earlier steeps, because by the end of the day it had become a little samey and one note. I enjoyed my time with this tea, though, and it’s a shu I’d certainly consider purchasing in the future. I liked that it wasn’t too pungent to begin with – sometimes that’s the hardest hurdle for me to overcome when I’m drinking Pu-erh. It’s usually always worth it for the later steeps, though. This would make a good introductory Pu-erh, or a soild choice if you’re looking for strong compost or earthy flavours. It’s a thorough “well done” to Canton Tea Co.!

Organic Dragon Well Green Tea from Canton Tea Co.

organic_dragon_wellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This delicious organic Dragon Well is grown in the hills of Zhejiang Province near Long Jing, the village where this famous tea originated. The green tea leaves are picked young and taken back to the village where the skilled tea masters use their bare hands to press them flat in a hot, dry wok in the traditional way. This arrests the oxidation process and ensures the liquor carries the notes of freshly cut grass, rounded off by a soft, nutty flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Dragon Well has become, to my surprise, one of my favourite green tea varieties. I used to think I didn’t like green tea, but I’ve been persuaded over time by some those I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried. The leaves of this particular Dragon Well have been folded and pressed flat. They’re around 1cm in length on average, although some are longer and some are a little shorter. The overall tone is variegated, running from the dark green of pine needles to the lighter green of spring grass, some with a yellow mottling. The scent is quite heavily vegetal. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. Once unfurled, it’s clear that the leaves are mostly partial, although there are some almost whole leaves complete with stems. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow green, the scent remaining vegetal.

To taste, this tea strikes a pleasant balance between grass, green beans, and chestnuts. The initial sip is almost sweet, in the way of freshly shelled peas, but this quickly deepens to a more vegetal intensity. I’m reminded very much of freshly cooked green beans – still retaining some sweetness, but with an overriding savoury flavour. There’s a grassiness in the mid sip that continues the sweet theme, and which helps to brightens up the heavier notes of green bean. The end of the sip is mildly nutty, with a slight roastiness, putting me firmly in mind of chestnuts at Christmas. I’m usually the kind of person that drinks green tea more in spring/summer, but this one seems particularly well suited to autumn. It’s a relatively complex green tea with multiple layers of flavour, but they’re all complementary and work well together to create a beautifully flavourful cup that still possesses some subtlety. Nothing here is overpowering. I also feel I should commend this tea for its smoothness and lack of astringency. It’s almost buttery in terms of mouthfeel – silky and decadent.

I really enjoyed this cup, and I’d definitely look at Canton Tea Co. for green tea again in the future. This is a beautiful example of a Dragon Well, and I’d like to think it could please connoisseurs, while also converting those less certain about green tea in general. This tea is a green tea everyone should try.

Hawaiian Volcano Green Tea from Canton Tea Co.


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Our first Hawaii-grown tea was a revelation to us all – bursting with juicy watermelon and cucumber tastes, this has stood our as a firm favourite of all teas featured in the club.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love tasting teas that have been grown in the United States, like this Hawaiian Volcano Green Tea from Canton Tea Co.  This tea was actually part of their Tea Tasting Club, sent to me by one of the club’s members.  I’m loving this tea so much that I’m considering joining the club!

This is really quite a delicious green tea – and quite unique in taste from the typical green teas that are out there.  This has a lovely juicy taste to it, sweet and fruity … and quite like the above description suggests, I can taste notes that are reminiscent to cucumber and watermelon.  It’s very refreshing and thirst-quenching!

It has a delicate quality to it, it isn’t an overly strong or brothy type of green tea.  The thing that stands out most profoundly to me is that instead of the typical grassy or vegetative taste that one might experience with a green tea, this has more of a fruit note to it. Oh, sure, there are notes of vegetation in there too.  It is barely astringent, and not at all bitter.  Just sweet and juicy and absolutely delicious!

Served hot, the tea tastes a little thin … but allow it to cool just a few minutes (maybe three or four minutes – still hot, but not piping hot!) and the flavor and body really develops nicely!  Your patience will definitely be rewarded with this tea if you give it some time to cool to drinking temperature.

I can see why this has been a favorite tea from the Tea Tasting Club!  It is really a delightful selection!

Bai Lin Gong Fu Black Tea from Canton Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Other names: Golden Needle Congou, Bai Lin Jin Zhen Congou, Ju Hong

One of the earliest Chinese black teas ever to be produced, this Bai Lin Gong Fu is made from young wild white tea buds, twisted into tight elegant gold-streaked curls. The liquor is reddish-brown and has a full-bodied, robust flavour with distinct notes of caramel. This is a wonderful example of whole leaf black tea. It it is a glorious breakfast tea and very reasonably priced for a tea of this calibre. An everyday affordable luxury.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually steep black teas in my gaiwan, mostly because the porcelain gaiwan gets very hot, very quickly and I don’t want to burn my fingertips when I try to pour the tea from my gaiwan.  However, for this particular tea, I decided to make an exception.  I brought the water to a slightly lower temperature (195°F instead of boiling) and infused for one minute for the first infusion, adding 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  What I have now in the cup sitting in front of me is the combination of the first two infusions.

At first, I wondered if one minute would be long enough, but, as it turns out, the tea tastes incredible after steeping for just one minute, so I am glad I decided not to steep it longer.  The flavor is rich and robust and has the most delightful caramel-y undertone to it.  Earthy and a little biscuit-y, this tea is very full-flavored and has a nice, rounded taste to it.  Very enjoyable, indeed!

After sipping on this for a little while, I start to notice some spice notes emerging.  Not strong or what I’d consider spicy, really, but hints of pepper sit off in the background, providing some interest for the palate.  Subsequent infusions provided a smoother taste and texture.  I noticed some fruit-like tastes in the background by infusions three and four.  Still earthy and bold in flavor, the flavors are becoming more unified now.

A truly glorious black tea – bold and invigorating enough to start the day, as well as make a very welcome pick-me-up towards mid-afternoon.  This is lovely!