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scent

Dragon Lychee Pearls Black Tea from Tealyra

DragonLycheeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tealyra

Tea Description:

Well rounded, sweet, mellow and flavorsome, our Lychee tea is an exotic and enticing taste sensation! Ripe, fruity and aromatic, Lychee is delicious either served hot, or chilled and served over ice with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have some fond memories of lychee throughout my childhood, and these Dragon Lychee Pearls from Tealyra (known to my Canadian friends as Tealux) intrigued me, and for the price, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I decided to take this to work with me, but conveniently forgot to bring any type of brewing vessel along with it. No problem! This type of tea is perfect for Grandpa Style brewing. Any kind of tea rolled into balls, cones or compressed into coins, bird nests, or squares make excellent lazy brew teas. It’s these types of visually entertaining teas that I like to show off to my coworkers. sure most of them think that there is some kind of sea urchin living at the bottom of my cup, but hey, it gets them talking about tea! I threw in 6 little pellets of deliciously scented black tea into a pint glass and poured hot water over it. It didn’t look like that much tea in the glass, but the flavor was not lacking in that department.

The fruit flavoring is pretty true to a fresh, juicy lychee. It’s exactly like any lychee jelly candy you can pick up at your local Asian market. The black tea base is lighter than I was expecting, but I still get that nice, fresh baked bread and cocoa powder notes I was hoping for. The leaves popped open almost immediately after I doused them in water, revealing long and sturdy brown leaves. I was able to refill my glass three times before the leaves gave up the ghost.

This was a great tea that takes to any method of preparation really well. I liked how the tart perfume of the lychee notes persist through many steepings, and the base black tea is mellow but defined. I’m hard pressed to find a better lychee tea, and this is the most unique one yet. This tea is like entertainment for your mouth!

Jasmine Oolong Tea from Chiang Rai Tea House

Jasmine+OOlongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

To produce oolong tea is a long and delicate process that involves withering, drying, roasting and rubbing the leaves for hours. The result is a leaf that yields a delicate yet flavorful and aromatic tea. Blossoms from organic jasmine trees are added to give its strong characteristic fragrance that makes it the perfect afternoon tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  The jasmine essence in this Jasmine Oolong Tea from Chiang Rai Tea House is really strong.  It’s very aromatic and very strong, and the jasmine dominates the flavor too.

But even though it is a strong flavor, it doesn’t taste perfume-y to me.  It’s very floral, but I’m not getting ‘perfume’ from it.  That said, I must caution you that if you’re one who prefers a subtle jasmine presence in your tea, this isn’t going to be the right jasmine tea for you.  However, if you’re someone who finds the average jasmine pearl or jasmine Oolong to be a bit too soft when it comes to the jasmine notes, you should definitely try this.

Jasmine+Oolong+TeaI steeped this tea in my gaiwan, following the procedure that I usually do for Oolong tea:  a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl, heating the kettle to 180°F and pouring just enough hot water into the bowl to cover the leaf pellets and jasmine blossoms.  I let this steep for 15 seconds and strain off the liquid, discarding it.  Then I fill the gaiwan with more of the hot water and let it steep for 45 seconds.  For each subsequent infusion, I increased the steep time by 15 seconds.  I combined two steeps into my teacup, so my first cup is infusions 1 & 2, my second cup is infusions 3 & 4 … and so on!

My first cup is very floral, as I said.  But it doesn’t really taste ‘perfume-ish’ so much as it tastes jasmine.  It tastes as though I brewed straight up jasmine blossoms with some Oolong tea.

The Oolong tea is less discernible and seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the presence of the jasmine in this cup.  I do get some lovely buttery notes from the Oolong and a really nice texture from the Oolong (soft and creamy!) but that’s about all that I’m getting from the Oolong in this cup.

My second cup was much more to my liking.  I like jasmine, but I think that the first cup might have been a bit too much jasmine.  This cup is quite lovely though!  The Oolong flavors are starting to emerge and the jasmine notes soften somewhat.  Still a very strong floral presence, the softer flavor here allows me to enjoy the exotic flower much more because it tastes lovely with the Oolong notes that are now developing. The Oolong is sweet, creamy and a little nutty.  It has notes of peach in the distance.

The third (and final) cup was my favorite of the three.  The jasmine notes are softer than they were in either of the previous cups, and this cup is much more like other jasmine Oolong teas I’ve had.  I prefer the jasmine to be an accent note to the tea, rather than the tea to be an accent note to the jasmine and really, with the first two cups (the first especially) the tea was an accent to the jasmine.

Throughout my experience with this tea, I experienced no astringency, it was very smooth with a silky, buttery taste and texture.  A pleasant tea – a little too heavy on the jasmine, perhaps, but fortunately it wasn’t a jasmine oil kind of taste – and if my time with this tea has taught me anything, it would be that there is really a distinct difference between the way jasmine oil makes a tea taste versus the way jasmine flowers make a tea taste.

Jasmine Mist Green Tea from Sloane Tea Company

jasminemistTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Tea Description:

Classic green tea leaves possessing a natural honeyed sweetness blossom with an even sweeter aroma of freshly plucked jasmine.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had a few questionable jasmine teas lately.  By questionable, I mean jasmine teas that were flavored with jasmine oil instead of scented with jasmine blossoms.  When a tea is flavored with jasmine oil, the result is usually not good.  I’ve tasted a few flavored jasmine teas that turned out alright but for the most part, they’re just far too perfume-y for my liking.

Fortunately, this Jasmine Mist Green Tea from Sloane Tea Company was not flavored with jasmine oil.  Instead, it was scented with jasmine blossoms.  This is the best way to impart jasmine essence onto the tea leaf!

The dry leaf smells like jasmine and it’s a pleasantly strong fragrance.  Not too overwhelming.  I also noticed that there were no jasmine petals in the blend.  This is a sign of a good quality jasmine tea!  The aroma of the brewed tea is a gentle jasmine note with notes of fresh, light green tea.

And that’s what I’m tasting too.  The jasmine note is distinct without tasting of perfume or soap.  It tastes like beautiful, exotic jasmine!  It doesn’t taste like perfume oil that’s been poured over tea leaves and then brewed into a liquid that’s much more suited for bathing than it is for drinking.

The green tea is a sweet, delicately grassy taste.  It’s soft and buttery and complements the lightly sweet, exquisite flavor of jasmine.

In other words, this is the good stuff, folks!  I’m happy that Amoda Tea chose to include this in this month’s box – if for no other reason than to remind me what a good jasmine tea is supposed to taste like!

Thank you, Amoda!

Magnolia Oolong Tea from Tea Ave.

MagnoliaOolongTeaAve1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea Avenue

Tea Description:

Known for it’s calming qualities, Magnolia is a sumptuous, exotic tea, light and pure-tasting, Magnolia is a highly refined tea with an appealing sweet flavor and warm floral notes.  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh.  My.  Goodness!  I have often said that jasmine is my favorite flower with which to ‘scent’ a tea – but when it comes to Oolong teas, I think that magnolia is my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Jasmine Oolong – just as I adored the Jasmine Oolong tea from Tea Ave., but this … this Magnolia Oolong Tea from Tea Ave. is absolutely superb!

MagnoliaOolongTeaAveThe base tea is my favorite type of Oolong – Ali Shan! – and that’s been scented with magnolia blossoms.  The essence of magnolia is absorbed into the leaves during a baking process which imparts a lovely note of the flower without becoming too perfume-y.

The tea has a sweet flavor that is buttery, like browned butter.  I can taste a hint of caramel in the buttery notes.  It isn’t overly vegetal, although I do get hints of vegetation.  The floral notes are soft and sweet – no sharpness!  Sweet, nutty notes.  So smooth.  No astringency.  A sweet, delectable cup.

And of course, this is an Oolong – and that means multiple infusions!  With a tea that tastes this good, I find myself thrilled that I’m going to be tasting more!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was a little stronger in flavor than the first.  I found the magnolia notes to be a little more focused.  Focused – but still not what I’d call sharp.  Still beautifully soft and sweet.  This cup is a little less creamy, but I still get some of those delicious browned butter notes.  I taste a little more vegetative flavor but it’s still not a strong flavor.  The nutty flavors are more distinct now and remind me of hazelnut – like freshly toasted hazelnuts!  Mmm!

The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) was still fantastically flavorful. I am still getting the same flavors that I tasted in the first and second cups:  sweet, hazelnut, brown butter, I’m even tasting distinct hints of butterscotch!  Floral but not sharp, whispers of vegetation.  Truly, a delightful cup of tea.

Tea Ave. celebrates it’s GRAND OPENING today – it’d definitely be worth your while to go and peruse their teas!  I highly recommend putting this one in your cart while you’re there.  This is a tea that I’d recommend to all tea lovers – even those that are usually not fond of floral essence in their tea.  The way the floral notes mingle with the sweet, creamy butter notes and nutty tones is so delightful!  You really MUST try this one!

Jasmine Oolong Tea from Tea Ave.

JasmineOolong2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Tea Avenue (to be opening soon!)

Tea Description:

Jasmine Oolong is a flower tea with an inviting floral scent and a clean, strong taste.  The flavor of jasmine blossoms overlaying earthy Oolong undertones.

Taster’s Review:

TeaAvetoteSo, this review is a little bit unusual because the company – Tea Avenue – hasn’t yet opened it’s online store.  (They should be opening soon!)

A few months ago, I was approached by Tea Ave. about reviewing some of their Oolong teas on our blog.  When the package arrived a couple of days ago, I was astonished by it!  Tucked inside the large box that DHL delivered was this cool tote bag – this is the size that you’d use to tote your groceries home so this bag will be reassigned to grocery duty!TeaAveTeas

Inside the bag were three sample size pouches of tea:  Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong (a favorite of mine!), Magnolia Oolong (yay!) and this Jasmine Oolong!

TeaAveAromaSet
Aroma set – two porcelain cups with a solid oak tray!

Also inside the bag was an introductory letter and a gift card for $15 off the next purchase of $75 dollars or more … and a beautiful, white pearlescent box that opened to reveal a gorgeous aroma cup set with tray!  Wow!

I felt like I won a prize or something!

And because they sent me not one but TWO of these marvelous introductory gifts, I have an extra one to share with one of my lucky readers!  Keep reading for details on how to win!

But in the meantime, let me tell you about this tea!

JasmineOolong1Jasmine Oolong!  I’ve tried a few Jasmine Oolong teas in the past, and I’ve enjoyed most of those that I’ve tried.  To brew this, I grabbed my gaiwan.  Following a quick 15 second rinse, I steeped the first infusion for 1 minute in water heated to 175°F.  I added 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.

My first cup (the combination of infusions 1 and 2) was absolutely delightful to sip.  The flavor is distinctly jasmine, but I love that it isn’t at all perfume-y.  Floral – yes, and quite floral at that.  There is a perfect balance between creamy notes from the Ali Shan Oolong and the sweet floral notes from the Jasmine.

My second cup (the combination of infusions 3 and 4) is stronger in flavor than the first cup was, but there is still a really pleasing balance between the flavor of jasmine and the creamy notes of the AliShan Oolong.  The cup is more floral this time:  the jasmine notes are mingling with the natural floral notes of the Oolong tea, and the AliShan is delightfully creamy and smooth.  The flavors aren’t bitter or sharp.  Just smooth and relaxing and oh-so-delightful.

This seems to be about as perfect as it can get:  my favorite Oolong tea combined with my favorite floral for a tea – jasmine!  It’s such a remarkable tea!

My third cup (infusions 5 and 6) is a little less balanced versus cups one and two.  I still get a pleasant jasmine note and a lovely flavor from the Oolong, but these flavors have become more mellow.  It’s a smoother cup – more creamy while the jasmine is a little less focused.  Still wonderful though – so I highly recommend going for that third cup!

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS CONTEST IS OVER AND A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED.  THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR BLOG AND PLEASE KEEP CHECKING BACK.  WE DO FREQUENT GIVEAWAYS!

Now, as promised, I’m going to offer my second ‘gift set’ from Tea Ave. to one of my readers!  

This contest will run from today (February 15th) through  Saturday, February 21st.  On February 22, I will select a winner by random draw using Random.org.  

The gift set includes:  three samples of Oolong teas from Tea Avenue, along with a gift card for $15 dollars off your next purchase form Tea Ave., a gift boxed porcelain aroma set with oak tray and a durable tote bag suitable for reuse (as a grocery bag, a book bag, or whatever you want to use it for!)

To enter for your chance to win, you just need to comment below.  Be sure to include a way to get in touch with you if you’re the lucky winner!  If I’m unable to contact the winner within three days, I will need to conduct another random draw.

Want extra entries?  Of course!  Who doesn’t?  Here are a few easy peasy ways to earn extra entries:

  1. To earn another entry, follow Tea Avenue and SororiTea Sisters on twitter.
  2. Like Tea Avenue and SororiTea Sisters on Facebook.
  3. Tweet this contest – and be sure to link it – on Twitter.  After you’ve done this, be sure to send us a link to the tweet so that we can check it out!
  4. Mention this contest on Facebook – and be sure to link it!  After you’ve done this, be sure to send us a link to check it out!

That’s it … four simple ways to earn four extra entries to win this amazing gift set!