April White2tea Club – Tea Review

It’s Yiwu month for April’s White2Tea Club!

April’s White2Tea club/ Tea of the Month teas are both rare pu’er – 2007 Rui Chang Xiang Yiwu Old Arbor and a hand rolled 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orbs. Both teas are 10 gram samples and available if you want to purchase more. Also, with being a White2Tea club member you get a coupon code for the teas that were in the box!

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There was a surprise this month too – a pu’er tea needle! Now I have two pu’er needle picks so the Tea Owls can battle each other!

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This month I’ll be sampling the 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb.

Dry Leaf

White2Tea’s 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb is really cool looking as it’s a large oblong orb of tea rippled of dark greens and silver.

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I was expecting 10g but the orb weighed in at 7.5 grams. Turns out on the online listing is that 10 grams is a rough estimate of each orb. I’m was okay with 7.5 grams as I didn’t need to split the 10 grams into two small sessions.

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Steeping Instructions

I went with 200f and did a rinse. I started with 15 second infusions, adding additional time as I went. Not sure how much time I was adding between infusions as I get too tea happy to operate a timer or operate heavy machinery.

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Tasting of April White2Tea Club’s 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb

First, Second and Third Infusion: The pu’er orbs were pretty light in flavor. What I could taste was sweet with a little bit of hay flavor. What was strongly present was an interesting silky heavy texture. Also interesting was the lack of colour in the tea – the photos look like my cup is empty!

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Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Infusion: The flavor is opening up as the Guafengzhi orb starts to fall apart. The flavor is cream, butter, straw and hint of floral with a sweet perk at the end. The aftertaste is dry with peaches and copper mineral notes. More I drink the more dry the aftertaste gets, topping a 3/10 on the Astringency Meter. The color has gotten a clear marigold. I also cheated and photographed with bubbles – see there’s tea in there!

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The Guafengzhi orb is getting heavier in texture, so thick it’s like I’m drinking a milkshake through a thin straw… in tea form. Milkshake brings the boys to the yard… does tea bring the owls? Hoot? …. I think the tea drunk is already setting in.

By end of the sixth infusion the orb has fallen apart and filled the gaiwan’s capacity.

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Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infusion: Strong flavor punch! The flavor intensity of the pu’er orb is quite high. The flavor is a sweet peachy flavor with a contrasting mineral bitterness at the end. The bitterness is interesting, like an intense vegetal and mineral copper.

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With the tea having no signs of finishing, I had a snack break. Turns out Guafengzhi orb pairs really nice with some aged sharp white cheddar and homemade jalapeno jelly. The sour and sweet of the jelly and sharp pungent cheese complement the dry pu’er nicely!

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Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: The Guafengzhi orb is still quite thick in texture. The flavor is easing off in intensity and paving for sweet copper and more of a floral finish. The floral here kinda reminds me of orchids. Though the flavor is lighter, it is much is stronger than most raw pu’er I’ve had at this infusion stage. The aftertaste of peaches keeps this pu’er an addictive sip. With these infusions the dryness is getting stronger, producing dry cheeks, a 5/10 Astringency. Eeee such dry cheeks! Squeeze those dry owl cheeks! During steep time I was talking in a loud voice to my husband that I think owls should have antlers.

At the fourteenth infusion I removed the lid and got a leaf stuck to the lid like pulling pizza with a massive stretch of cheese!

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Fifteenth and Sixteenth Infusion: The pu’er orb is getting sweeter and bitterness is leaving. How is this tea still going? It is lighter but still had plenty of flavor left of sweet mineral with fruity floral aftertaste. However Guafengshi orb is still really dry. The taste is delicious and it’s tea drunk maximum! So much so, I automatically started drinking out of the pitcher instead of the cup.

Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Ninteenth Infusion: A bit of flavor left but super dry, 8/10 Astringency, giving me a weird gritty dried teeth sensation making me feel like I should brush my teeth. However brushing my teeth would ruin the tea flavor and aftertaste.

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Comments

Very pleased with the taste and tea drunkenness of 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb. Don’t let the bitterness or dryness stop you. In retrospect, if I steeped the pu’er orb at around 185F it probably would of been less intense. I was sooo incredibly tea drunk from 10am to 7pm and it was a good idea that I didn’t go driving as operating my phone and typing this review was a challenge (and I took over an hour to edit the next day to remove out the crazy to make it coherent).

Price check on April White2Tea Club box: $7.90 for the 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb (though this is in limited quantity as only a couple kilograms are available) and the 2007 Rui Chang Xiang Yiwu Old Arbor is a $600 cake. Both teas I wouldn’t otherwise of tried, especially the latter when the 25 gram sample is $60 (and I’m on a tight tea budget!). The perk of an extra discount for being a member is really nice!

Overall, this Tea Owl is still really happy with the White2tea club!

April 2015 Simple Loose Leaf Tea of the Month – Tea Review

Time for our monthly installment of Tea of the Month clubs – first up Simple Loose Leaf. I’ve realized that I’ve been reviewing Tea of the Month clubs for awhile that I should start adding the year in there, haha!

The Simple Loose Leaf info spiel – Simple Loose Leaf is a monthly Co-op tea box that sends 4 to 6 loose leaf tea samples (1/4oz size) – you get a wide assortment of different teas such as straight teas, blends and herbals. With being in the Tea Co-op, you get a membership ID. If you enjoy and want more tea that you’ve sampled, you can purchase it from the Simple Loose Leaf Tea Shop for 50% off.

For your first box, you can enter OolongOwl for a 50% off your first Simple Loose Leaf’s Tea co-op box!

The teas this month for Simple Loose Leaf – Taimu Mountain Green, Nutty Mocha Mate, Fujian Fine Black, Jasmine Rooibos and Tropical Green Rooibos. I’ll be reviewing four of the teas this month.

This month Simple Loose Leaf changed their box design – pretty spiffy!

april 2015 simple loose leaf box - oolong owl

Tasting of April 2015 Simple Loose Leaf Teas

Taimu Mountain Green

This is a Fujian, China green tea. The dry leaf is an interesting long twisty appearance with silver accents. I steeped this one gaiwan style with 175f water.

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The flavor in Taimu Mountain green is very vegetal – first infusion I thought celery and floral, but as the flavor got more intense in the 2nd and 3rd infusion, I found the vegetal was more artichoke like. There is a light dry finish as well.

Nutty Mocha Mate

This one smells like coffee, sporting a dusty dry leaf and little chunks of coffee beans. The steeping instructions stated 150f for 3 to 5 minutes, but I went with 160f since that is as low as my kettle would go and I wasn’t going to boot up my sous vide machine.

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Nutty Mocha Mate brews up a dark brown black that’s almost a color match on my hair, with a bit of debris on the bottom (not like my hair :P). The flavor is lots of roast, with rich hazelnuts and coffee/chicory finish. The aftertaste is more coffee chicory. The mate base is a bit watery, so it has a weak coffee kind of effect, but a eye opening amount of caffeine feel. Nutty Mocha Mate would be a great tea for coffee drinkers weaning off to tea!

Fujian Fine Black

Another Fujian tea! I steeped this one up western style with boiling water for 3.5 minutes. I’ve been running off 5 hours of sleep the last few days, so I used my big tentacle cup for a massive cup of tea!

Steeps up a really rich, dark chocolate scent.

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The taste is quite nice with a megawatt rich, dark, high percentage cacoa note with a bit of sweetness. This black has a really nice level of sweetness to it and a silky texture. There is a sweet fruity note on some sips that reminds me of dark plums. As the tea cools and the more sips I take, a light dryness starts, a 2/10 Astringency. Overall, this black is easy to drink and makes for a luxury feeling morning tea. This tea was my favorite out of all the teas in this month’s box!

Tropical Rooibos

The dry leaf smells like pear to me, which made me double check the package – it’s supposed to be passionfruit, mango apricot.

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I steeped the entire package and poured it over ice and agave syrup.

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Tropical Rooibos iced tastes pretty good. It’s mostly mango in flavor with a bit of mystery tropical notes. The passionfruit is pretty light, mixed in the mystery tropical notes. Sometimes passionfruit tastes like soap to me, but this tea doesn’t. I can taste the green rooibos at the end of the sip, which is a grassy fresh taste. Overall really good and a nice iced tea.

Also included in the box – more reusable cloth tea bags. Which Tea Owl do you think is the fastest tea sack racer?

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 (tea provided for review)

2011 Braided Sheng Pu’er – Tea Review

I was cruising Aliexpress looking for trouble and I found this sweet looking raw pu’er cake!

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This pu’er is a 2011 Sheng/raw with the leaf that has been twisted or braided and then pressed into cakes! How cool is that? I haven’t seen this style of pu’er cake before and could only find one other on Aliexpress. It was later pointed out there is also a hand braided pu’er at Yunnan Sourcing. I went with the Aliexpress cake as it was $16, which is pretty good for 357g size!

More pics!

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Dry Leaf

The twists of grey and greens leaf breaks off easily into twisted chunks.

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Steeping Instructions

This pu’er is on the young side so I went with a little lighter on the temperature, 200f and started with a rinse. After that I did quick 15 second infusions, adding additional times as I steeped.

Tasting of 2011 Braided Sheng Pu’er from Aliexpress

2011 Braided Sheng Pu’er steeps up a pale yellow with distinct cigarette scent.

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First Infusion: The flavor has a touch of smoke with essence of apricot and butter. The smoke is quite light here, a 2/10 on the Smoke meter. An interesting tea flavor – who butters their apricots and smokes them?

Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Infusion: The braided sheng pu’er got more smokey, 4/10 on the Smoke meter, with distinct charred notes with the apricots, grass and butter. There is also tobacco notes. Hey, who’s smoking the apricots? There is a slight astringency, 2/10 Dryness, that fills the mouth giving me a neat apricot aftertaste.

Each further infusion here gets more smokey reminding me of a lapsang souchong with savory, spicy and pine smoked notes. This lapsang souchong taste is super trippy for a raw pu’er – I’ve had smokey raw pu’er but not to this extent! However, I do think the contrast of savory smoke and stone fruit is neat.

Gaiwan shot!

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Yes I play with my food! I took out a braid and untwisted it! Very cool!

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As the braided sheng pu’er steeps the twists of leaf swell and unfurl. I think the tea probably would of unfurled slower if I wasn’t playing with them.

Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Infusion: The flavor of 2011 Braided sheng pu’er is still smokey pine and tobacco but also now with vegetal green pepper notes. The fruity apricots flavor is gone, leaving this pu’er completely savory. Each infusion is getting more dry adding a tight dry cheeks and tongue that doesn’t keep a flavor.

At these steepings the leaf in the gaiwan looks like normal pu’er, no longer a braid.

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The tea drunk set in late into this pu’er session. Teal “Pu’er pick” Tea Owl and I are dancing for rain! Darn this California drought! After a few dance moves, it turned out it was already lightly raining.

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Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Infusion: I’m at the end of this tea. The flavor is light vegetal green pepper and savory with a hint of smoke. It has gotten quite astringent, 6/10 Dryness, leaving the sensation that I’ve been drinking grit.

Later that day I was breaking off more pieces of pu’er for the Pu’er Traveling Tea Box and turns out the braided pieces are only on the outside with insides with lots of stem.

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Comments

For $16, having a cool looking 2011 Braided Sheng Pu’er 357 gram cake is a decent deal. Appearance wise this pu’er gets a 10/10 for fun steeping adventures!

However, the taste is more suited for someone who enjoys smokey shengs, lapsang souchong blacks, and strong savory Chinese greens with a moderate punch of dryness. The flavor for me isn’t one I enjoy, but I would probably show this cake to every tea lover who stops by my place! A part of me just wants to display this tea than drink it!

Oriental Beauty from Tea Ave – Tea Review

OOOOOLONG! YEAH! Oolong time! HOOTHOOT!

Today’s oolong is Oriental Beauty from Tea Ave, a new oolong only tea seller from my home town of Vancouver, Canada. A few months back I was able to preview a bunch of Tea Ave’s oolongs. Now that they have launched I am able to try their loose leaf!

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I also have Tea Ave’s aroma cup set. After the Tea Owls were messing around with it, I had to sit down with them and watch videos on how to use an aroma cup.

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The Tea Owls placed a $5 bet I’ll burn myself, those brats!

Dry Leaf

Oriental Beauty has a squishy dark raisin scent! Pretty dry leaf with the colors of fuzzy silver, gold, reddy brown and black.

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Steeping Instructions

I love how the sample pack has all the tea information on it as well as various steeping instructions.

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I’m going with their gong fu instructions, using a gaiwan and 85c /185 f water temperature.

Tasting of Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty Oolong

First Infusion: The flavor is of linen and butter with a soft floral. Hmm… needs more steeping! The colour of the tea is a light yellow cream.

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Second Infusion: Now we are talking! Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty is sweet raisin, bready with a very heavy creamy texture. The aroma cup smells like cinnamon buns to me, very cool!

The aroma cup is quite easy to use! You fill the narrow aroma cup with tea.

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Place the bigger cup on top, like a mushroom (OMG TEA MUSHROOM)

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Then you flip the cup pair over…

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… and remove the aroma cup. You can smell the tall aroma cup right away, or roll it in your hands to get the air flowing before you smell.

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Did the Tea Owls win the bet? They did. There’s a photo missing in there where I paused mid flip to take a photo… and burn myself with tea.

Third and Fourth Infusion: Oh yeah that’s good, best infusions here! The flavor is still sweet juicy dark raisins but now with toasty bread, honey and a bit of spice. There is a lingering floral aftertaste. The body is still very thick, adding a comforting mellowness to the entire sip. Look at that colour!

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Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Infusion: The Oriental Beauty is now easing off the thick body and getting brighter in taste. The fruit has shifted to a honey pear instead of raisin. Yum!

Eighth and Ninth Infusion: The texture has a bit of thickness left, with the flavor being quite light and mostly of honey notes. That colour though, wow!

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Desperation steep: I jacked up the water temperature to boiling and steeped this one for 30 minutes to an hour (admittedly, I forgot about it.) The flavor is a punchy strong sweet pear with a thick body. However, this infusion was on the dry side. Out of all the infusions, this was the only dry one.

Different Water Temperature: I decided to try Oriental Beauty with a higher water temperature using boiling water, steeped in a gaiwan. The flavor is actually quite different. The infusions had black cherry and honey with a powdery dryness that fills the mouth, 4/10 Astringency. Totally try brewing Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty both ways and see which one you like!

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Comments

Tea Ave‘s Oriental Beauty is a wonderful oolong! This Oriental Beauty is more on the fruity side than roasty or floral. I really enjoyed the thick texture, fruity and toasty notes. Steeped with a lower water temperature of 185f/ 85c, this Oriental Beauty is an easy steeper with lots of flavor!

Be sure to check out Tea Ave‘s other oolongs – their website is gorgeous! Right now they are having a scented oolong sale too!

Bonus Glamour shot!

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(tea provided for review)

Steepster Sheng and Shu Pu’er Traveling Tea Box

I was lucky to participate in a Steepster community Pu’er Traveling Tea box!

A traveling tea box is a community put together box full of different teas that is shipped around the country (or world) to signed up participants. Participants sample teas from the box and put in their own teas to replace the teas that were tried.  I’ve been in a few large traveling tea box with variety, ones with sample sizes and ones with a specific tea theme. I’ve seen a few pu’er tea boxes not get off the ground as to start a traveling tea box one needs a big selection of teas as well as participants to have to contribute. It’s really cool to see more tea drinkers into pu’er!

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This box arrived to me with 63 different varieties of pu’er, with the box being 2.5lb shipping weight! The Tea Owls and I had to go through the teas on the pool table instead of the kitchen island. So much tea! We are going to need a bunch of Tea Owls on hand to deal with all this tea!

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Out of all the traveling tea boxes, this one took the most work to go through. There was a lot of pu’er I wanted to try. For many pu’er I could literally drink 1 or 2 all day and if I wanted to sample a dozen teas I’d have this tea box for too long.

As usual, I’m glad to see some favorite tea sellers!

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I went through all the pu’er with the Tea Owls and put aside the ones I want to sample.

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In the kitchen, Tea Owls are weighing pu’er into 5 gram samples and labeling.

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In the dining room, more Tea Owls are packing the samples. I tend to use the sealer when dealing with pu’er samples so I know they won’t contaminate and I can take my time with them.

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Teas I’m adding to the Pu’er traveling tea box – DAT DENONG!

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The perk of being involved in the tea community is getting in on traveling tea boxes like this! With only paying shipping (though shipping can get pricey with the size of some of these traveling tea boxes and distance to be traveled) will get you the opportunity to try new teas and put in teas you want to share. With that said, totally get involved with the tea community!

52 Teas Reboot and Review

There is a 52 Teas Kickstarter going on right now and it’s going to fund! Only a few days left! If you love tea blends you really need to check out The 52Teas Reboot Kickstarter! Let’s get’em stretch goals! I’m really excited for Lime Jello Salad Green tea and that Maple Cheesecake Tie Guan Yin!

I’ve done a number of 52Teas reviews, all really fun blends. A trend I noticed, even though the flavors can be adventurous, the tea is still the center piece.

They release a new tea blend every week, occasionally reblending some. I always recommend getting on the newsletter and when you see a blend you like to purchase it right away. The tea could sell out and may not come back! My stash has a number of 52Teas I purchased that I haven’t sample yet. Let’s give one a try.

Buttercream Toffee White

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The dry leaf smells amazing like icing and sweet nutty pieces.

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I steeped Buttercream Toffee White for 2.5 minutes with 185F water temperature.

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Up front, the tea is a sweet juicy white with hearty straw and floral notes. I’m thinking this has to be a shou mei white base since the flavor is strong. Checking… yes, this blend is a shou mei white tea base! The background flavor is creamy vanilla with a finish of a light buttery caramel flavor. The main flavor is white tea and sweet cream. What I like about this tea is the blend isn’t too sweet or vanilla. which is nice to enjoy the white base.

If you like the sounds of this tea, or the idea of teas like Mango Sticky Rice Custard Genmaicha, Rainbow Sorbet, Cinnamon Roll Honeybush, Hot Buttered Banana Bread Black and Pancake Breakfast Black be sure to check out The 52Teas Reboot Kickstarter!

Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls from M&K’s Tea Co – Tea Review

Today’s review is a tea from a new tea seller! M&K’s Tea Co, located in California! Today is also a really neat tea review – Roasted Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls. This is a herbal caffeine free tea harvested from Pingli, Shaanxi China in 2014.

I wanted to try this tea so badly – any tea rolled into pearls is an adventure to steep!

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The name of this tea sounds familiar to me, I’m guessing I saw this tea in the tea isle of Asian grocery stores. M&K’s Tea Co has good information on the tea, but I decided to google search it some more.  With a quick google search it turns out people drink this tea as some sort of herbal remedy. I saw a few posts on “Drink this miracle herbal 3 times a day for a month…” Okay, once they use the word miracle I hit the back button hella fast. Anyways, here’s the jiaogulan wikipedia for more information on the plant.

Dry Leaf

The ball of Jiaogulan is twiggy and lumpy. Kind of looks like a hay ball treat I’d feed my bunny. M&K’s Jiaogulan is roasted and rolled into pearls for a fun, serving sized ready tea!

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Steeping Instructions

I steeped one pearl of Jiaogulan in boiling water for 3 minutes. I used a small glass tea pot to hopefully see some cool tea effects.

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Wow, does this tea ever steep up pretty! I wish I took video – it unfurled quickly!

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Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls steeps up a crazy saturated yellow with a light roasty scent.

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Tasting of M&K’s Tea Co’s Roasted Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls

Oh wow a neat flavor! Roasted Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls has a strong barley and corn flavor with a hint of roasty notes. If you’ve had Korean barley and corn tea, the flavor here is pretty similar. However, this herbal has a mellow sweet finish that is difficult to describe. It is pretty sweet, like sweet potatoes and herbs. The sweetness hits my mouth similar to stevia as a full mouth sweet experience. I’m not into stevia so I wasn’t a big fan of the sweetness here in this infusion, but I enjoyed the roasty grain vegetal notes.

Second Infusion: I did a 5 minute re-infusion and it was better than the first. The flavor is just as strong and of barley corn roast, but is less herby sweet. There is a bit of sweetness, but it’s enough to compliment the grain vegetal notes.

The Jiaogulan is still breaking apart – looks super cool!

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Roasted Jiaogulan dragon pearls form MK tea co - Oolong Owl Tea Review (10)

Third Infusion: 10 minute run here. Roasted Jiaogulan came out mostly corny in flavor with a bit of sweet herb finish. Flavor is lighter, so I think this is all I’m getting out of this tea. Nice third infusion!

Iced: I prefer my Korean Barley tea iced, so I refrigerated the leftovers of the three steepings (hey, I’m a solo drinker, that’s a lot of tea to get through in a sitting!) overnight. The iced version has a more vegetal sweet corn flavor than barley.

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Comments

M&K’s Tea Co‘s  Roasted Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls is a fun to steep, caffeine free tea! I enjoyed the roasty vegetal grain flavors and the resteep ability is excellent compared to other caffeine free tea options (which is usually nil). The flavor is familiar if you’ve had barley corn teas. I’d give Roasted Jiaogulan Dragon Pearls high on the scale for tea adventure! Check this tea out if you are looking for something really different for caffeine free tea!

By the way, M&K’s Tea Co has an interesting line up of tea. They have teas I’ve never seen sold from other sellers, as well as teas that are in-house roasted!

(tea provided for review)

Steep & Go Cold Brew Tea Infuser from The Tea Spot

Back at the World Tea Expo in 2014, I was at The Tea Spot‘s booth and they had these Steep & Go cold brew bottle adapters that were super popular! With the Steep & Go bottle adapter, you can turn your water bottle into a cold steeping tea vessel! All you need is tea, though The Tea Spot also has cold brew teas to go with it!

The Steep & Go comes with a drink top, filter and two adapter rings.

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This took me awhile to get around to review as times I ended up buying water I didn’t have this on hand or I’d forget and recycle my bottle. The two adapter rings are different sizes to fit various bottled water styles. In my case, the white adapter ring fits me Ito En bottled Jasmine Green. Whoops I’ll just take the label off!

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If using your own tea, add 1 Tablespoon of tea. The tea goes into the bottle and the filter stops the leaf going through the drink lid. For The Tea Spot’s teas you then cold brew for 10 minutes. Regular tea will vary, my experience is usually takes at least 1 hour of cold brewing.

Testing of The Tea Spot’s Steep & Go

Let’s sample the tea that I got with my Steep & Go, as well as test out the device.

Steep & Go - The Tea Spot - Oolong Owl Tea review (4)

Keep Fit
Keep Fit is an organic tea with green tea, green rooibos and lemon myrtle. The dry leaf smells zesty lemon – very refreshing! The tea is looks pretty diced up which is probably why this is a 10 minute cold brew.

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The main flavor is the lemon myrtle that is nice lemony without being tart. Also in the tea is the green tea that’s a little herby in flavor. I liked this cold brew, it is very refreshing for a hot day or for a workout!

Chill Out
This one is a herbal cold brew is also organic with hibiscus, peppermint and licorice root.

Chill out cold brews a pretty pink with a taste not tart as I was expecting. It’s lightly sweet fruity, with a hint of fresh mint, with the main base being licorice. If you like licorice you’ll enjoy the freshness of this one for its soothing taste. As a cold brew, I found the first sips the debris got through the Steep & Go as this blend had some finer tea particles.

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Steep & Go Comments

Now for the Oolong Owl testing of terror – I shook and rolled my bottle around like it was in my purse and no leaks or bits falling out!

The bottle top is like one of those classic sport drink style tops and works well. The filter does a good job keeping the majority of the tea bits filtered out while I drink tea. I didn’t get any particles in the Keep Fit blend (which contains small bits like rooibos), but I had some bits in Chill Out, which had finer bits.

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I did a 2 hour cold brew run with a whole loose leaf tea (a Dragonwell), the Steep & Go did exceptionally well at filtering!

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I like the Steep & Go cold brew device. It works very well in being leak free and decent at keeping tea filtered.
The cold brew blends were fair, but I wish I could try a few more that were my style (I dislike licorice). However, the convenience is nice of having prepackaged tea if you are on the go.

I packed up my Steep & Go in a little tupperware, with a couple samples of tea with me. Into my purse it goes for when I need tea!

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What I think would get the biggest use for me is taking the Steep & Go while flying. The size of the Steep & Go is compact to put in your carry on. Since you can’t bring liquids through security. When you buy your water after security, bam you have tea ready for the plane! There’s been a few airports that I couldn’t get hot water which was rough for a tea drinker like me.

Not the type who buys bottled water and prefer a reusable bottle? The Tea Spot also has the Steep & Go Cold Brew Bottle, which includes the Steep & Go top, as well as a nice reusable bottle. I wasn’t able to get one of these during WTE as they were super popular and sold out!

(tea ware and tea provided for review)

Tea Owl Tea Blending!

Hoot, Char is out sick. It appears if you are a tea blogger, you need a sense of smell and taste to write about teas. With it now being the first of April, we need to get a tea blog post up. With that said, the Tea Owls will be doing a tea blend and review, hoot!

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At the last Tea Owl union meeting, we discussed and voted on our favorite teas, flavors and blend options to create the ultimate tea blend! Our exceptional owl tastes will create the ultimate tea blend and we will rise from being tea cup warmers and tea blogging models to selling teas! With those extra profits, we can eat prime rib every week!

Assemble the tea blending ingredients, hoot!

It’s Oolong Owl, so you need oolong in the special tea owl blend!

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We are adding some ripe loose pu’er too. Tea Owls like pu’er. For pu’er, people either love it, want to love it or don’t know what pu’er is. Well now you know, hoot. Drink pu’er!

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We decided to add some red rooibos in there. It’ll act as cheap filler plus with all the other tastiness going on no one will notice the yucky wood chip flavor. We also added a dragon black pearl – a signature owl tea that looks like owl pellets!

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Now on to the flavoring – fresh strawberry, chocolate chips, coconut and pecan! YUM! Hoot, who didn’t clean the tea table!

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Pistachio was another flavor we wanted to add, so in goes some Pistachio matcha!

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And our final, secret (not so secret now) ingredient – PRIME RIB RUB! HOOT! Tea Owls love Prime Rib!

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The dry leaf looks so pretty, hoot! White coconut adds great contrast to the red berries and dark leaf! Look at the glistening prime rib rub!

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Time to introduce the water – 200F here.

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Hoot Steep Hoot! 4 minutes!

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After 4 minutes the tea is a murky dark color. Do not despair, the cloudy color is from the chocolate chips.

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Served up, it lightens to an apple cider shade, with smells of sweet chocolate, fruit, creamy and savory.

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Time to taste!

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Tasting of the Tea Owl Blend

… (> v <);;;

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…Eww, hoot! The Tea Owl special blend doesn’t work! I think it’s the coconut strawberry as it added a weird watery tart cream flavor over the savory mix of mushroomy pu’er, prime rib and chocolate. We did a good call to steep this over a tea table as you can owl barf it down the grating.

Hmm, maybe the second infusion will be better, wanna try? Hoot? I guess not.

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Have a good April 1st! HOOT HOOT!

Curious Tea – Monthly Tea Box Subscription Review

Our final Tea of the Month subscription review for March – Curious Tea!

This tea subscription box is based in the UK at £14.95 to $£16.95 per month depending on the subscription length. You get 2 teas, with a total of 100 grams of tea. Even though I’m in the US, my box didn’t take that long to arrive, so this Tea of the Month subscription is totally do-able if you are outside the UK.

What is unique to this tea subscription is you get to choose between a Light, Dark or Mixed selection of teas. Their light teas are whites, greens and lightly oxidized oolongs, whereas their dark tea box is black, pu’er and higher oxidized oolongs.

As a blogger special, I got to choose which box to sample and I went with their February Light tea box as I found their light tea selection to be a fun line up. That and I don’t think I’ve had a Lu An Gua Pian before.

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Tasting of Curious Tea’s February Light Tea Subscription

Formosa Jade Oolong

The dry leaf of Formosa Jade Oolong is a sweet floral scent. I decided to follow the steeping instructions on the package, which was a western style long infusion of 185 f /85c for 3.5 minutes.

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Formosa Jade Oolong is a light oolong with straw notes with a floral finish of buttercups. In the background there is a bit of that mystery peachy floral essence. The floral intensity is a light to moderate 3/10 on the Floral Meter.

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The second infusion I steeped for 5 minutes and turned out to be better than the first infusion! The flavor is not as delicate and more moderate in flavor. It is a moderate peachy buttercup floral with a bit of sweet tang end of sip.

Formosa Jade Oolong would be a great light tea to balance out sweets at afternoon tea, or a great spring tea. I can see this tea being awesome cold steeped!

Lu An Gua Pian

Lu An Gua Pian, aka Lu’an Melon Seed tea is a green with the leaf that is only leaf, without buds, middle vein and stems. I don’t recall having this type of green tea before so I’m excited to try this green out. Again, I followed the steeping instructions on the package which was 175f/ 80c for 2.5 minutes. The Dl is tight, long rolls of leaf.

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Lu An Gua Pian steeps up a pale citron green with an interesting almost smokey scent. The taste is vegetal and delicate with a mellow avocado and pumpkin notes with a bit of sweetness. I didn’t find this green astringent at all. The steeped leaf is quite beautiful as it comes out looking like vibrant green, like blanched spinach.

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Steeped a few rounds gongfu style (175f, 5 grams of leaf, 120ml gaiwan) and the tea was just as mellow and smooth, getting sweet each infusion. Both steeping methods are pretty good!

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Lu An Gua Pian is a neat green for those who do not want a grassy tea. I like how delicate

Comments

Both teas from the Curious Tea Light subscription box are indeed light and delicate! The Formosa Jade Oolong was nice and trying a Lu An Gua Pian was a great treat. I like the box Light and Dark (or mixed!) format as it caters to one’s tastes and you can explore within it. I do a number of “Of the Month” clubs that aren’t tea related as well, and I’m a fan of having my clubs have a bit of customization or consider my preferences. Anyways, if you are looking for a simple tea subscription with a bit of customization give Curious Tea a visit.

(tea provided for review)