Friday, December 30, 2011

Lapsang Souchong-Adagio Teas

Hmmm where’s the beef? Except in this case where’s the smoke? I love a good lapsang. Whether it’s been smoking a pack a day or trying to quit and switched to ultra lights. I love cooking with lapsang. Marinating beef for chili or throwing a little bit in the crock with pot roast. Kinda like in So I Married an Axe Murderer if it’s not Scottish it’s crap and if it’s crap it’s not Scottish. Any lapsang would make me happy but it has to have a the smoke! I am disappointed because I have enjoyed everything that I have sampled from Adagio. It’s a decent black tea at base. Much like the Gong Fu black from Teavivre or another Chinese black from the Fujian province….sadly as far as lapsangs go this just doesn’t cut it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chun Mei Green Tea (Zhen Mei)-Teavivre

Here is another sample from the lovely cornucopia sent to me from Teavivre. This reminds me of the Yunnan Emerald buds that I sampled from Teavana. Definitely different leaves from the the Dragon Well. The dry leaves are tightly rolled and have a slightly smoky aroma like charcoal. First steep a pale yellow liquor. Slightly smokey and slightly bitter. The wet leaf kinda reminds me of cooked greens and one of my favorite Christmas songs from Run DMC
The second steep is where it gets interesting. The the liquor this time is a bright orange hue. Definitely smokier and more bitter. Reminds me a lot of green pu-erh. I have not been a fan of green pu-erh so far but this is not as bad as my previous experience with the green pu-erh. Decent cup though.

Yunnan Emerald Buds-Teavana

I have no idea why I thought it was a black tea when I got it. My mind must have been thinking Yunnan=black, but not the case. Needless to say I let this one steep for longer than you should let a green steep for. Preparing for a massive dose of bitterness that I thought I would be dumping down the sink… surprisingly not bitter at all. I like the hint of smokiness in this one. It almost has an almondy oolong finish to it. I have not been much of a green man myself. I mostly like black and oolongs, but I’m starting to think my tea pallet might be expanding. Not bad at all.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Twinings-Lavender Earl Grey Limited Edition

I was interested to try this because I’ve never seen the limited editions in the states. “by appointment to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” I don’t know if I have ever noticed that before…because it’s not on Twinings teabags in the states. Not a bad blend there is a unique flavor but also a familiar one….barbasol. Dude it’s like black tea that tastes like shaving cream smells. However it’s not gross. Who would of thought the smell of shaving cream is citrus and lavender….by jove I solved a mystery

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coffee Pu'erh-DAVIDsTEA

This is maybe the third offering that I have tried from DAVIDsTea. I’m thinking I may have to start trying some more. There are many teas that I have seen described as coffee teas to try and emulate the taste of coffee…or coffee type drinks. For those of us love our coffee as much as we love our tea. Or are trying to get us to kick the coffee completely. Most of them I have tried are very good and equally as tasty…but don’t quite have it spot on. Until now! Spot on I am loving this tea! The chocolate is great but doesn’t take over the tea. There is a coffee essence that really makes this tea, and yes the schnozberries taste like schnozberries ;) After seeing what that means in the urban dictionary I don’t know that’s a great comparison but I’ll run with it. With all that being said the Pu-Erh is not masked either like in some other flavored Pu-Erhs. Ahem. Uh(cough) The Pu-Erh is a little more earthy/musty than others I have had but still an amazing tea. So far I been able to get 3 great steeps out this one. The fourth one is where I lost the flavoring, but the base tea was still great. Absolutely a teagasm tea! I think I’m going to be trying some more offerings from DAVIDsTea

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Premium grade Dragon Well Green Tea (Long Jing)-Teavivre

Thanks again to Angel for sending me this sample. So out of the packaging I notice a smell of a field. Hay, alfalfa, grass like you are in the country. Not a bad thing considering that I am surrounded by farmland at my house. The leaves look like blades of grass too. Now I must admit that Chinese greens have not been my thing in the past. I tried one before and didn’t think it was too good. So with that I just a bit pensive trying it. I also shared it with a co-worker because I knew if I let it sit in the french press….ho boy welcome to bitterness city. It brewed up a pale liquor. My co-worker said it smelled like chicken broth. MMM I got that too maybe a little nutty, however I thought noodles. Insert Kung Fu Panda!!
I do believe I had the noodle dream! Personally I like teas that have more body to them. So drinking a chinese green or a white tea I feel like there is something missing. Very good though.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea-Teavivre

I started off my morning with this today and yesterday. I’ve seen Keemun described in many ways. Woody, smokey, piney, winey, earthy, nutty, and leathery. Every time I have a cup of keemun I find myself at a loss for words on how to compare the flavor. I can pickup the keemun in breakfast blends, to some degree in Lapsangs, and in some Pu-Erh. Really I guess when it all boils down the flavor is Chinese black. Of course another great offering from Teavivre. For me the flavor of keemun is old. Not in a bad way mind you. The taste reminds me of antiquity. If that sounds crazy I’m sorry. There is a hint of cedar wood sipping keemun, a little leathery as well. Oddly enough there’s a slight hint of perfume in it. Similar to a very high hopped India Pale Ale. So maybe it’s a little hoppy as well. Overall though a very good tea!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha-Teavivre

One word. Outstanding! This is another sample from Angel brewed in my Yixing clay cup. This is very smooth, dark, and lovely. This is very comparable to my favorite Imperial Pu-Erh from Dr. Tea just in the Tuocha format. You know when you have a good pu-erh when it does not taste fishy. Some lower quality pu-erhs that I have had are good…but you get a little fishyness to the taste. I’m starting off my day with this one going on my third steep. The first two have been great. I’m anxious to see how well this tea holds up to extra steepage. I am finding that with most pu-erh tea it’s helping after a few drinks last night while DJing. I’m not the connoisseur that I used to be of fine beer. Two Great Lakes Christmas ales…and I was feeling it. I’m such a lightweight. Truly though a great tea. I am continually being impressed by the quality of tea from Teavivre.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Drawing inspiration from a decadent warm Hawaiian chocolate cake, this oolong blend is a luxurious mix of robust cacao, creamy toasted coconut, and ginger spice that satisfies even the strongest sweet tooth. Pink rose petals add romantic icing to this guilt-free treat enticing you to reach for seconds. Have your tea and eat it too! CONTAINS NUTS

Dark chocolate with sweet toasted coconut
Another one that I grabbed on my recent venture. There is a slight coffee aroma with this one. Coconut is very apparent when you smell the dry leaf. Not so much the ginger, and I have not noticed rose in here. When it all comes together in the cup…it does taste a bit like chocolate cake…Hawaiian? I don’t know. I’ve never had Hawaiian chocolate cake. I like the cocoa flavor that comes through. Looking at the wet leaves in my strainer it looks like a combo of green and more oxidized oolong tea leaves. The tea base came through on this one and reminded me of the Shui-Hsien that I have tried overall a decent cup.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Origin: Anxi, Fujian, China

Ingredients: Jade colored leaves (hand made into small, rolled up)

Harvest time: Hand-picked in May, 2011

Taste: Delightfully fresh floral taste and aroma

Brew: 3-4 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 212 ºF (100 ºC) for 1 to 3 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: Tie Guan Yin tea is the premium form of Chinese Oolong teas. Being lightly fermented, these teas are high amino acids, vitamins, polyphenols and antioxidants. These combine into a tea that reduces cholesterol and helps reduce hardening of the arteries, and so can help reduce risks of heart attacks. The antioxidants it contains can also help guard against some forms of cancer, and also help fight the affects of aging and bacterial infections.

Another offering that I received from Teavivre. I have tried a few Ti Kuan Yin Oolongs and they all seem have different characters. Some more green. Others more oxidized. Some having a nutty or honey characteristic. There is a beauty in watching the Iron Goddess unfurl to present her glorious nectar. I do like how this is packaged, I can make a pot with one package. Opening up the dry leaves….whoa! Very floral. Very green. Smells like packaged summer. I know this is not a jasmine scented or flavored Oolong but it smells very similar. The leaves produce a pale yellow liquor. The smell and flavor remind me of that first part of June when you can really start to smell the Jasmine. Another great offering from Teavivre.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Imperial Pu-Erh

Went out to celebrate a friends birthday at Wasabi. Sushi, Hibachi, and Sake! Yes life is good, but holy cow! Too much food and lot’s of Sake from our chef. So the wife and I get home feeling really full. So what do I turn to? No not plop plop fizz fizz but the good Dr’s Imperial Pu-Erh. Reminds me of a classic from a gentleman like Billy D Williams!
Does it everytime! :)

Acai Matetini Mate Tea-Teavana

Picked this up over the weekend. Yeah I got roped in by the new blends at Teavana. A very fruity aroma emanates from this one. The initial taste reminds me of Dr. Tea’s Obama’s Oolong. Further tasting it reminds me of the Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks. So it’s a very familiar taste, but with add in the fact that it’s a Mate and all is right with the world. You really can’t taste the green mate. Which if you were new to mate would probably be a good thing because I would say that un-roasted mate is definitely an acquired taste. I definitely like this one!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Toasted Nut Brulee-Teavana

Grabbed a cup of this while at the mall. My wife was getting her eyebrows done….so I treated myself to tea. A good call I think. This one is pretty good. The cinnamon just about knocks you over. I could also pick up the apple and caramel. However there was just a funky aftertaste that I had with this one. I think it was pretty good and think my mom would love this one for Christmas or her birthday. I think they should rename it cinnamon bun instead of toasted nut brulee.

2011 Menghai Dayi 7542-China Cha Dao

I’m really trying to like this one but so far is not happening. There’s is a touch of Oolong and darjeeling in it, but I’m thinking green pu-erh is not for me. It was bitter to me…lacked the smoothness that I like from black pu-erh. By the end of the of the cup I felt like scratching my tongue like Tom Hanks in Big. I am normally not one to rate a tea low but this one just isn’t doing it for me.

Ripened Rose Pu-erh Mini Tuocha

Another offering from Teavivre that I have been excited to try. Tuocha happens to be one of my favorite forms of the glorious tea that is Pu-Erh. I can’t tell you how many times when everything seems to be cramming down on me that I make a cup of Pu-Erh and I don’t know why but Pu-Erh seems to have that Je ne sais quoi that relaxes me and brings me back an even keel. For some it’s a drink of an alcoholic nature however it’s Pu-Erh for me. Now I have tried the rose tuocha from Tao of Tea before and enjoyed it. Again I love the packaging from this company and love how for the shelf life this one says ongoing. First steep the tuocha crumbled almost instantly after a minute. A nice dark liquor was produced. I have noticed with rose teas that the first cup has a bit of bite to it. I don’t know if this is a characteristic of the rose or not. It doesn’t deter from the quality of the tea just a tad bitter. Second Steep lovely and smooth. Third: lighter and tastes more like mushroom water. All said I think this is another fine offering from teavivre. I am enjoying what they have to offer.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip

So I am reviewing this one after my second tasting because sometimes with my palette I have to try it a second time before accurately reviewing a tea. First of all I have to say that I am very impressed with the ATD of this company. In the broadcast industry we call that attention to detail. Never on tea packaging have I seen the origin, factory it was produced in, date it was produced and shelf life. Now about the tea. So as I have matured in my coffee tasting and can pinpoint beans from different regions…so it goes with teas. There is a certain taste quality that you get from Yunnan blacks….slightly smokey…a little peppery…hint of leather…maybe even pumpkin. None the less this is a quality tea and I am quite glad to try it. Teavivre

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Harney & Sons Matcha-iri Genmai-cha

I received a sample of this from Batrachoid so I decided to start the day with it. The pot was ghoulishly green like a bucket of slime. The likes of left behind by a famous ghost. That the likes of Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spangler, Dr. Raymond Stantz, and Winston Zeddmore take on. I’m excited to try this since my resume of Harney & Sons is quite small. Pretty good overall but I was a little disappointed to not have that toasted rice flavor really come out. It’s seems to be more prevalent in the blends that I have found at the Asian market. Not bad but not spectacular either.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Twinings Earl Grey

Let’s face it I’m always trying to find a great deal when comes to high quality loose leaf tea. There are times when paying more is necessary(say the Imperial Pu-Erh), but in general with having a mortgage to pay and etc….as late it’s been hard to justify spending a lot on my tea appreciation(some call it a habit). I’ve had in the bagged version and thought it to be excellent, so when I saw this at Big Lots where I found the English Breakfast for 2.50 can I had to try it. So I thought I would make a pot before heading to the in-laws for Sunday dinner. The aromatic bouquet that permeates the nose is wonderful. It’s one those scents that you can walk by…take in…and be up lifted. I think I brewed it just a tad weak, it was still tasty. I have become a fan of offerings accompanied with the oil of bergamot. Not to mention who doesn’t love a good story like the one behind this tea and the Earl Grey himself. This could definitely be one added to the morning brew.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dr. Tea Matcha La Tea

So I have had this one a while and wanted get a week in of tasting it before my review. Trumpet fanfare….or not so much. This tea has very similar indgredients that the good Dr’s coffee tea has but with white chocolate instead of the vanilla. When brewed the matcha is not that noticable. It is a deep brown liquor(like the coffee tea) with oddly enough a green ring around the top of the mug. Not gonna lie that’s cool. The aroma is pleaseant a little roasty…a little sweet too. However I think that there is some sweetness in the aroma when you roast something. The sip. MMMM There is that roasted oolong and hojicha coming through…and the white chocolate. That’s the difference between the coffee tea, and BAM! KA-POW! WHAM! or my favorite KABONG! The Matcha. What the Matcha gives this is more texture. It’s almost like the consistency of hot cocoa. This is a fabulous tea. It’s definitely a great morning starter after a cup of JavaVana Mate. This adds to why more of my tea money goes to the Dr

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Arizona Black and White Ice Tea

Description from Arizona:
AriZona’s natural black tea drinks offer a large variety of flavors and contain all the antioxidents found in black tea. Some of Arizona’s most popular flavors are made from healthful black tea and AriZona’s white teas are unique and delicious offerings in the market of ready to drink teas

This is one of the hardest iced teas to find anywhere. I first tried it when my wife and I were house hunting and found this at a gas station. It’s quite tasty. Sometimes the green tea with ginseng and honey can be a tad bitter. However the combination of black and white and ginseng plus honey makes it refreshing, not too sweet, and smooth. I hope more places carry this. It is great. I did see this on Sams club website so here’s to hoping.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Caramel la tea-Dr. Tea's Tea Garden

I stumbled upon Dr. Tea about a year ago by complete accident. When I was working at Starbucks I started to get into loose leaf tea. I was looking up all I could about Pu-Erh, and found Dr. Tea's podcasts. One of his tea offerings are the coffee teas. They are oolong tea that is roasted and blended to be a coffee substitute, and help coffee drinkers to drink more tea. I can tell you that I love my coffee but I started cutting back on how much coffee I drink and replacing it with tea and can feel the difference. Drinking maybe one cup of coffee or none a day, from drinking 6-8.
I do purchase a lot of my tea from here and have found some of my favorite teas here. This is a great one in the coffee tea collection from the Tea Garden. So I admit that caramel happens to be one of those sweet-tooth weaknesses that I have. The dry leaves have a nice roasted and sweet aroma. The liquor...well it looks a lot like muddy water. Cloudy but that doesn't deter from wanting to try this treat. Yeah! This is a good one. The smooth buttery caramel really comes through in this tea. It's exactly like the coffee tea, but add that caramel and it really makes for a treat. It's also good with a splash of almond milk. This tea is going great listening to Nikka Costa's-Pebble to a Pearl album on Rhapsody.

Rose Toucha-Tao of Tea

So I have smelled rose black tea at the market and was somewhat turned off by it, but I was keeping an open mind since I like my Pu-Erh. First of all I love the tin it came int to see the little Tuochas. So I’ve tried one other Tuocha. I got it at a place called Special Teas ect in Volant, Pa and liked it a lot!
So it’s smells a bit sweet in the paper like sugar in the raw. I used too big of a cup for the first steep. Second steep was dark like coffee…..this is how I like my Pu-Erh! Very smooth and earthy. Third steep more orange-ish. Tastes kinda like mushrooms but still pretty good.
So I’m trying this one again in the studio using a method I have dubbed as Joboo’s Studio gongfu: using 2 cups, a strainer and a butter knife. On a side note now I’m going to have to break down and purchase a gaiwan. So as I have previously mentioned I’ve been formally put off by the aroma of “rose” teas…..however I think I have changed my thoughts on this.
30 second rinse.
First infusion: 1minute. Whoa! Hello Rose. And yes I think Rue Mcclanahan talking to Betty White in the Golden Girls. The rose over-shadows the earthiness of the Pu-Erh almost mellowing it. More orangish hue. Not very dark but very good.
Second infusion: 1 minute. A lot darker. Cup of coffee dark. There is more earthiness. The rose is a little astringent, and it reminds me of the autumn leaves. Fall is definitely my favorite season. Very smooth though.
Third infusion: 1 minute. More of an amber color. I wouldn’t describe it as earthy of rosey, but still very smooth. I am really enjoying this. You might even describe it as giddy.
Fourth Infusuion: 1 minute………I think the rose garden is dead and it’s time to plant tulips. I’m upping my rating on this one. I had just a wonderfull experience with this tea….and I have to clean up my mess in the air studio. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yunnan Golden Pu-Erh

This is my first tea from Adagio and my first golden Pu-Erh that wasn’t in a blend. I am very much a fan of the darker Pu-Erhs. Out of the can a nice bright brownish/orange color. 1st steep 3 minutes. Drinking this while doing the dishes I thought…nice earthy but not quite as smooth as say an Imperial Pu-Erh. It’s not as full bodied either.
Second infusion a little bit darker, and smoother. I think my favorite aspect of this Pu-Erh is that it 4 steeps until it took on the mushroomy flavor on the 5th steep. In my opinion once you hit that mark your Pu-erh is done. I like this tea a lot….however I don’t see in shelling out fifty bucks for 3.2oz as it says on the website, and I would rather pay half that for my favorite Imperial Pu-Erh for the same amount of tea. For being my first Adagio selection A+