Leaf Type: Oolong/Green
Where to Buy: A Quarter To Tea
Roasty enough to appease the coffee lover in you! The blend of hojicha and oolong makes a robust, coffee like base without the jitters. Mellowed out with chicory, chocolate, and cherries. What could be a better start to the morning?
Learn more about this tea here.
A Quarter to Teas is a fairly new tea store selling on Etsy that feautues seasonal and limited edition blends such as the blend I’m trying now and many other unique flavours like Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa. The owner, Lauren, was kind enough to send a few samples my way. I have to say my email correspondence with Lauren was incredibly impressive – she was so prompt in replying to my messages and very pleasant overall. Without even taking a sip of tea yet, I’m already impressed with the company on the grounds of their customer service alone.
That said, getting into the tea itself this smells AMAZING. I was totally expecting more of a coffee/chocolate with a subtle cherry because most blends that attempt to do cherry blends in which the cherry isn’t the sole flavour never really nail it. Instead, the smell is indicating this will be the opposite: cherry tea with more subtle coffee and chocolate. I am SO on board with that idea!
And I am so gleeful right now because the taste of the infused tea IS very strongly cherry! And it’s not some kind of gross cough syrup cherry either! Instead it’s sweet, dark cherry. So yummy and indulgent! Of course, there’s more going on here aside from the cherry even if that is the element of the tea which I’m most excited about. The chocolate notes come through well too and the pairing is a match made in heaven. However, it’s a little thin and I think that’s probably because this blend uses chocolate chips. If I could make one suggestion it’d be to use either cocoa nibs or shells instead. I think that’d kick the chocolate factor up a lot and also make the mouthfeel a little cleaner. Finally, the “coffee”. Personally I think this is the mildest element of the blend but I’m more that ok with that. As much as I don’t hate coffee and am cool with the flavour being in my tea I still prefer the tea itself to be the most dominant flavour. On that note I definitely taste the hojicha more than the oolong. I really love the idea of pairing the hojicha with the oolong as well; it ups the roasty notes up quite a bit and adds a whole new layer of flavour into the tea.
This tea is absolutely phenomenal! I’m very impressed, and I really look forward to trying the rest of my samples from Lauren. As far as first impressions go, this was a really good one.
Dark Chocolate Oolong from Liquid Proust Teas
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Liquid Proust Teas (No Longer Listed)
Ingredients: Roasted Oolong, Cocoa, Flavoring
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
This is one of Andrew, from Liquid Proust Teas, crazy ideas but one which certainly looked interesting to me. I can’t actually remember ever trying a mind blowing chocolate oolong and so the possibility of this tea filling that whole intrigued me a lot! The dry leaf looks really interesting; and it has a soft, sweet cocoa smell and some floral notes too.
Hmm, this didn’t brew up to be the most appetizing smelling or aesthetically beautiful. It’s very murky/cloudy looking, and I get the impression it may have an oilier mouthfeel. However, the really concerning thing is the aroma of the liquor coming from the cup: it’s like the most floral oolong smell I’ve ever come across mixed with mildew and wet dog? And I know that’s harsh – but honestly that’s what I’m smelling and it’s making me gag just a little bit.
The weird thing is that it actually doesn’t taste bad; and I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a tea with such a disconnect between the taste and smell since those two senses are so incredibly intertwined. I mean it’s certainly not the delicious cocoa tea I was expecting but it’s actually nice enough. There are very strong nutty notes and then more medium notes of burnt toast and cocoa in the body of the sip. There are also subtle moss and floral notes. I don’t really like the way the more natural/floral notes pair with the toasty notes and sweet cocoa – it’s kind of like some sort of unholy Frankenstein’s monster of tea.
I’m gonna call it; this is the first offering from Liquid Proust that I dislike – I could probably handle it if, when I went in for a sip, I didn’t have to smell the steeped tea but that just kills it for me. That said, every other review I’ve read has been favourable so if you get the chance to sample this I encourage trying it and forming your own opinion. It’s just not for me.
Strawberry Genmaicha Green from ESP Emporium
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: ESP Emporium
Here, we have two green teas, which were combined to an exceptional premium tea blend. The characteristic of Japanese Genmaicha is supported wonderfully by our smooth green tea. This creation is perfected by the added strawberry pieces and a finely balanced flavor composition.
Learn more about this tea here.
Since I’ve tried a few ‘unconventional’ Genmaicha blends lately I wanted to do something different with this one, which is why I cold brewed it. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever done that before with a Genmaicha blend; I can’t easily bring an example to mind.
I have to admit it was a little weird tasting a cold brewed Genmaicha; the green tea wasn’t anything exceptional nor was it disappointing but the strong, drawn out notes of roasted brown rice – which took on a near barley taste, were more intense than I would expect from Genmaicha. More like a good mugicha than anything else, to be honest.
The strawberry certainly is not the most vibrant strawberry flavour though. I wouldn’t even call it all that realistic to be honest; what it does taste like it strawberry candy. Some kind of cross between those fluffy strawberry marshmallow five cent candies you see in gas stations and a really nice strawberry gummy candy? I like the taste itself, but the pairing with the green tea/roasted notes doesn’t work for me.
So overall; I’d say there were definitely high and low points to this tea and if I revisit it I’ll definitely be trying an alternative prep method (perhaps something more traditional) than revisiting this one. It’s not worth a second taste.
Australia Houjicha Green from What-Cha
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: What-Cha
Two Rivers Green Tea started producing tea in 2001 with the aid and encouragement of Japanese tea experts who were seeking to encourage Japanese style tea production for the domestic Japanese market. The Two Rivers farm was selected as it has the same latitude of southern Japanese tea farms, idea temperatures, rainfall and great quality topsoil.
Learn more about this tea here.
Recently I placed a What-Cha order for myself, and one of the things I was looking for was a Houjicha to stock up since it’s one of my favourite kinds of green tea and while I currently have a Genmaicha stocked that I really like there’s a hole in my cupboard where a good Houjicha should be. This one comes from Australia, and personally I’ve never tried an Australian grown tea before though I was aware that they were produced. Australia is one of those regions that isn’t typically thought of as a tea growing region among people who aren’t more learned tea drinkers the same way people don’t realize tea is grown in places like Kenya or Hawaii and I’m very excited to get my first taste of an Australian tea, especially considering how affordable this blend was. It was an easy thing to gamble on.
I do think this was worth the gamble. While it’s not as straightforwardly roasty as I tend to prefer from a good Houjicha there are some very, very nice subtle nuanced flavour notes that more than makes up the different. For starters, there’s an interesting nutty notes that seems to make itself known in each part of the sip in a different way. With that first initial taste it’s light lightly toasted nuts, and then in the body it weaves in and out between the other flavours. In the aftertaste, you’re tasting the shadow of the nut flavour which once was.
There’s also some really nice sweeter notes like caramel and cocoa which gently stretch out across the surface of your tongue, creating this really nice, smooth body flavour. The finish is lightly smokey, and leaves you wanting to go back in for another sip so you can experience the flavour dynamics all over again. Overall it’s a very warming and welcoming cuppa.
I definitely think I’ll clear my purchase of this easily, and will probably go back for more after that. More than that, this only gets me even more excited to try more of what Australia has to offer!
Mango Sticky Rice Green from Ette Tea
Leaf Type: Green/Black
Where to Buy: Ette Tea
Mango Sticky Rice is a blend of genmaicha, black tea, roasted barley, mango dices & candied coconut. Very much inspired by the Thai local dessert, the tea brews like a platter of roasted glutinous rice with the coconut and mango coming in towards the finish on the palette.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is the tea that got me interested in Ette tea in the first place! The idea of mango and genmaicha is definitely very, very appealing. Really, any genmaicha with a twist gets me excited – it’s the first variety of green tea I ever really liked, and I’m still incredibly partial to it.
Dry, this is very roasty smelling with a distinct, and very fresh coconut aroma. I’m not getting much of the mango yet, but I can see several chunks of it in the dry leaf so I have faith that it’ll shop up in the flavor. For my preparation, I did a very quick 1 minute steep Western style in boiling hot water; I find that’s long enough to draw out the flavour, especially the roastier notes of a good Genmaicha, but not long enough for the brew to get bitter.
This method has worked well here; this has a very strong toasted rice flavor with absolutely no bitterness. It’s also accented by a lovely, clear toasted coconut flavour that pairs phenomenally with the rice and subtle vegetalness of the green tea. There’s also a slight creaminess to the coconut as well. There are some very light nutty notes as well, imparted both from the toasted rice and the green base. The black tea in the blend is a little less pronounced than the green; but I think that’s how it should be.
The mango is less obvious than anticipated, but still very much present and distinct; true to Ette Tea’s description of their blend it’s more show cased in the end of the sip and aftertaste and the sweet, tropical and fruity flavour it provides alongside the coconut does make me think of Thai food, though I don’t know if it specifically conjures up images of sticky rice. It’s delicious though!
This is an incredible tea, and while it’s not totally what I imagined it to be at this point I don’t think there’s a thing I’d change about it either. It’s very comforting, and because of the gentle wave of flavours both sweet and slightly savory I think it makes a really nice tea to curl up with at the end of the day. That said, unlike I would do with a conventional Genmaicha I think this would also work very well iced as something to take with you on a day out and about: the unconventional fruit flavors give this a little more life and lend themselves well to cold prep.
This is definitely my favourite Ette blend so far (something I feel like I’ve said with nearly all the Ette Teas as I’ve had them) and I would definitely buy more of this one!