Azores Teas from What-Cha

Today I’ll be sampling two teas today – a green and a black from Gorreana Tea Estate, Sao Miguel Island, The Azores, the oldest tea estate in Europe. Both teas are from What-Cha, online tea seller.

I had a classmate from the Azores who talked quite a bit about life there (and brought food from the portuegese bakery, yum!). I had no idea Azores had tea, but then Hawaii grows some awesome tea so I bet Azores would have great tea too.

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Tasting of What-Cha’s Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea

The dry leaf of Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea is really fragrant sweet fruity scent. The leaf has a low saturated green color to it with a few olive twists.

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I steeped my tea with 175F filtered water for 2 minutes and ended up with a chamomile yellow tea with a faint fruity scent.

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Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea sips in with a moderate flavor intensity, stronger than what I was expecting for a green tea.  Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea flavor starts with a smooth texture with lots of nectarine notes and a little straw notes.  At first I felt this green will be more on the robust side than delicate but then finishes off with a light delicate finish. This green isn’t grassy or that vegetal either. After each sip I get a light amount of dryness that hits the back of the throat and a delicious lingering apricot flavor. That apricot flavor is mind blowing! How does this full on taste like apricot? I actually like this more than some peach apricot tea blends!

I could see  Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea being an interesting candidate iced or cold brewed but I’m going to squirrel away this one. I was having one of those drool while I drink this tea moment.

Resteep: I did a 3.5 minute reinfusion of the tea leaves. A successful resteep! Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea flavor is similar to the first steeping bit is lighter, a bit more acidic and more dry (4/10). Still plenty of nectarine apricot flavor.

Tasting of What-Cha’s Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea

Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea dry leaf has attractive wiry black leaves with some reddish brown tips.

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I steeped my tea for 2.5 minutes in 200F filtered water. Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea steeped to to be a reddish brown cup with a very fragrant creamy floral like scent.

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In contrast to the Azores green tea I had earlier, Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea sips in light with a light creamy texture. The flavor blooms with some red wood, vanilla, and fruit salad taste – the kind of fruit salad with the diced peaches, pears and random green grape. The sip progresses to a dry brisk and heavy sweet finish. Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea is quite dry, 6/10 on the Astringency meter, and has that classic pekoe black flavor at the end. As the tea cools it has a more woodsy flavor.

Comments

It seemed the two Azores teas are opposites staring either heavy or delicate, but both teas being quite flavorful and fruity.  Both teas are unique with the Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea being nicely stone-fruity in flavor and Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black Tea being delicate.

I greatly enjoyed Azores Encosta de Bruma Premium Green Tea and I highly recommend it to green tea lovers, or tea blend drinkers wanting to bridge into unflavored teas. As much as I do love tea blends, it is impressive how a tea without any flavor added can taste like what other blends try and taste like! Azores Shade Grown Orange Pekoe Ponta Branca Black tea would be a fine tea to mix up your morning or afternoon tea – I can see adding milk would be good but best on its own to enjoy the delicate nature of this tea.

What-Cha carries 4 other Azores Teas, and you can get the whole set to try them all. Time to get all international and try teas from all over the world!

(tea provided for review)

Teeny Tiny Traveling Tea Box with Tiny Tea Owls

Another traveling tea box! After participating in a couple big Traveling Tea boxes, I wanted to try out some of the themed traveling tea boxes that are going around in the tea community. If you are unfamiliar about traveling tea boxes they are a community put together (sometimes tea seller assisted) box filled with tea that is chained mailed to other tea lovers across the country (sometimes world). This box is a Teeny Tiny Traveling tea box – one of many tea boxes going around the Steepster tea community.

With similar rules to other tea boxes such as replace as much tea as you sample and finish, the theme for this tea box is to not add a tea sample that is more than 4-5 teaspoons. With that said, this tea box came in a petite box – 12oz cup for scale. All the tiny Tea Owls came to help out!

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Lookit all the little tea samples!

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Quite a few little tea samples – this box sporting 52 teas! By 52 tea I mean 52 different little samples, though there are a few teas from 52 Teas (confused yet?)

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My “try it” pile which the Tea Owls decided to build a nest in.

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While I had the box I went on a weekend road trip to see my Grandmother-in-law for her 90th birthday! Having a whole bunch of little tea samples was very convenient for travel! This box does test you, especially if you are the type that doesn’t want to be that person who takes the last serving. I finished a few things as there was only one serving left! This box has the big selection of other larger traveling tea boxes, but the teas cycle through much faster. Someone you saw added to the box a few stops ago may not be in the box by the time you get it.

After sampling a bunch of teas (I quite enjoyed a custom Adagio blend called “Butt Touch Brigand” LOL) I replaced the teas I sampled with my own goodies. Adding my own teas was actually pretty fun here as it was mostly teas I had 2-5 teaspoons left anyways. The thought process here is, “eeehhh, I’ll put it in the traveling tea box and I’ll restock them.” Now the traveling tea box is up to 56 teas.

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Challenge: putting the teas back in so neatly. Each time I try and put the teas back in nicely, I fail as I get impatient. This time the tiny Tea Owls did the work for me!

Pass the tea sample!

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Heave-hoot!

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Overall, small sampler traveling tea boxes are pretty fun. The best perk: Cheap shipping! Little packing and small box = cheaper shipping. If you want to try a Traveling Tea box but scared of the shipping (I’ve seen shipping go up to the $17+ range within the US), try and find one of these sampler tea boxes.

2002 White2tea White Whale Raw Pu’er – Oolong Owl Tea Review

2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is a 100 gram brick sold by White2Tea, online seller of quality pu’er based in Beijing.

This pu’er cake is a steal! At the time I write this, $15 for a 100 gram brick (note, the price is going up in September 2014). Even for a 2012 raw pu’er 100 gram brick $15 is a good price. The story on this pu’er cake is White2Tea found it nice and aged in a corner, with no wrappers, in a pu’er warehouse – at a bargain – so we get this cake at a bargain too!

2002 White2tea White Whale also falls into “pu’er cakes with cool wrappers” club!

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The pu’er brick attracted a dolphin to help out!

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Dry Leaf

The 2002 White2tea White Whale  cake is tightly compressed with swirls of dark brown leaf with a spattering of gold and cream leaves.

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white2tea 2002 White Whale

Steeping Instructions

I used White2teas pu’er steeping instructions, which I follow now for most of my pu’er steepings - 1 gram of tea per 15 ml of filter boiling water. I used a gaiwan for this tasting round.
As always, I did a quick rinse before starting to officially steep and taste the pu’er.

Tasting of the 2002 White2tea White Whale Raw Pu’er

First and Second Infusion: I started with 15 second infusions (a little longer than recommended, but whatever), adding an additional 15 seconds with each infusion. 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er brews up a  lovely dark orange reddish tea with a fairly clear liquor.

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Coming from the cup is a dry musky scent. 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er sips in strong with lots of flavor, whoa! Great woodsy and enoki mushroomy, with bit of sweet smoke (1/10 on the smoke meter) and a thick body. At the end of sip there is an interesting minty medicinal camphor quality to the pu’er that adds a cooling sensation to the mouth. In addition, 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er has a hint of astringency – 1/10 on the astringency meter.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: With each steeping there is more camphor bite which nice and refreshing. Drinking 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is like getting hit by a wave from an Orca at Sea World. At the sixth infusion the tea is still a rich orange color.

white2tea 2002 White Whale

Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infusion: I began to increase the brewing times here – adding 30 seconds instead of 15 seconds. The flavor shifted, becoming very smooth of a sip with a sweeter edge to it than previous steepings. 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er has that cool camphor dancing in the background with slick resin notes throughout makes these middle infusion refreshing, smooth and crisp. The colour of the tea is finally starting to fade. End of sip there is still a gritty astringency. Interesting, I’ve noticed the flavor after each sip doesn’t linger that long.

Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Infusion: 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is light, but with plenty of minty fresh crisp camphor notes. I’m fighting to keep this tea going as at this point the woodsy and resin notes are just about gone, but it feels like the camphor notes are never going to end.

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Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth Infusion: I’ve cranked up the infusion time again, adding an additional minute tea each infusion. With each infusion, the tea is getting sweeter. 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is still minty but getting more dry - 3/10 on the Astringency Meter as my cheeks and tip of my tongue are dry.

Seventeenth “Last Hurrah” Infusion: This point I’m up to a 7 minute long infusion, so I did a “last hurrah” steeping with an extended 10 minute long infusion. The cup has a tint of colour to it, but the flavor is just an aftertaste of camphor. I might be able to get an encore steeping of 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er but I think I’ll stop here – this tea lasted a lot longer than I thought it would!

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Comments

The price of the 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is already a great deal – but with a tea with quite a bit of endurance and resteeping power, you are getting even more bang for your buck! If you start with 5 second steepings you’ll probably get even more infusions out of this tea.

Overall, White2Tea‘s 2002 White2tea White Whale raw pu’er is easy to drink, refreshing pu’er to have in your tea collection. If you are new to pu’er or would like to get into drinking pu’er 2002 White2tea White Whale is a fine cake to get your feet wet – especially to experience a cake with some age on it. When I started getting into pu’er, most of the cheaper cakes are the newer ones which taste better with more age on it. 2002 White2tea White Whale has some aging done for you, with a great price!

 Bonus: Dolphin and Owl tea bonding.

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(tea provided for review)

Pu’er Breaking Tray – Oolong Owl Tea Ware Review

Awhile back on Steepster, someone recommended a pu’er breaking tray. I’ve seen them all over Ebay and some online tea shops, but I was unsure if it was worth the $15 to $25 for one. I mean, its just a coaster looking thing.

After some messy pu’er pickings, ripped up pu’er wrappers and Teal “pu’er pick” Owl stabbing me a few times by accident, I decided to keep my eye out for one at a decent price. I considered trying to find something with a similar shape and having my husband saw off the edge.

With my last Mandala Tea order, I snagged their bamboo pu’er breaking tray. I have also seen trays for sale that have a thin drawer underneath to store a cake – a handy set up if you drink the same cake everyday.

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The Pu’er Breaking Tray has a nice, bamboo feel to it.

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I love the inscription in the middle that is lightly engraved in the middle.

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The surface is really smooth, enough to be a skating rink for the Tea Owls. Here is the tray with a 100 gram cake.

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And here is the tray with a 250 gram cake.

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Very spiffy! Teal “Pu’er Pick” Owl used the edge of the tray to hold the cake in place – no accidental stabbings here! Of course, my first prying off some pu’er was a projectile, so the tray didn’t help for that. Mmmmm, projectile pu’er. I’d drink that.

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What made this tray really handy was getting the tea out. The corner of the tray made pouring the dry leaf into a vessel super handy. I didn’t waste a single leaf! I could see this tray being great for inspecting your loose leaf tea or repackaging it.

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I don’t think a Pu’er Breaking Tray an immediate purchase, but a handy tool to have if you drink from a lot of pu’er cakes. The tray makes for great presentation if you are serving tea to others.

Bonus: Teal “Pu’er Pick” Owl summons his inner Canuck!

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Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling from Single Origin Teas – Oolong Owl Tea Review

Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling is an organic oolong from the Singbulli tea estate. This tea is sold by Single Origin Teas, online tea seller based in Texas.

I’ve never had a Darjeeling Oolong so I’m quite excited to try this tea!

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Dry Leaf

Wow beautiful tea! Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling looks close to an Oriental Beauty with colours of deep brown, silver, reddish brown and golds.

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Steeping Instructions

I decided to go with my personal go-to western oolong steeping method for this tea – 190F for 2.5 minutes.

The colour of Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling came out a clear deep gold with a light floral scent.

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Tasting of Single Origin Teas’ Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling

Sips in delicate and crisp with a fruity sweet notes, kinda like not fully ripe wine grapes.  There is an interesting warm nuttyness in the background that I would associate with another moderate oxidized oolongs. Some sips I get a wave of floral, dancing with the grape taste, other sips I get a woodsy musty flavor similar to a Darjeeling. Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling finishes off quite dry – 5/10 on the Astringency Meter – the dryness sticks to the roof of my mouth, dries the back of my throat and lingers, quite a contrast from the delicate first sip.

I’d say this tea has parallels with white wine for the grape and dryness, but this is coming from someone who doesn’t drink wine (maybe once a year).  Compared to a Darjeeling, is it pretty similar but nuttyier.

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Second Infusion: I did a 3.5 minute resteep. The flavor was pretty sweet, like green grapes and floral, however at the end of the sip the astringency jumped to an 8/10 – mega dry! Super dry! If you don’t mind dry (or doctor the tea with milk) it’s a good steeping, otherwise pass.

Comments

If you love Darjeeling and don’t mind some dryness, be sure to check out Single Origin Teas’ Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling. I found this oolong to be quite different than other oolongs for the elements of darjeeling in it, but the nuttyness of an dong ding oolong.

Singbulli Oolong Darjeeling is also a nice, light afternoon tea – I can see it being great with some fruit and light crispy butter cookies.

(tea provided for review)

Apricot Oolong from Sterling Tea – Oolong Owl Tea Review

Apricot Oolong is blend of tea, dried peach & apricot pieces, and marigolds. This fruity tea blend is sold by Sterling Tea, online tea seller based in Texas.

Little bit of confusion here – right on the box it says “Green Tea” but it also says Oolong. Green oolong? The website shows a different packaging which doesn’t mention green tea.

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I’m excited to try some fruity teas that are in season – oh man, I wish I had better access to peaches and apricots. I know they are in season now and ripe for canning! Anyways, lets have some tea!

Dry Leaf

I opened the packaged and smelled the tea without looking at it – awesomely creamy sweet oolong scent accented with a fruity sweetness. Looking at the leaf, it indeed looks like a jade green oolong with light oxidization. I didn’t find much in fruity chunks, but the oolong looks quite nice!

apricot oolong sterling tea oolong owl tea review

Steeping Instructions

I did go-to western style oolong steeping method, which was within the parameters of what is on the package of Apricot Oolong (170 to 190 for 2-3 minutes). With that said, I did a 190F water with a 2.5 minute steeping.

After the 2.5 minute steeping I had a pale marigold cup of tea that smells very creamy.

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Tasting of Sterling Tea’s Apricot Oolong

Sips in creamy, buttery green oolong that is lightly grassy and sweet. The overall flavor is on the light side. The texture is on the thick side adding a creamy mouth feel, even adding a creamy sensation to the lips. End of sip the tea blooms with a light floral (3/10 on the Floral Meter) and apricot/peach flavor. The floral and apricot flavor lingers after each sip. The main attraction in this tea is the oolong creamy base, with a twist of apricot/peach at the end.

Iced: I prepared a strong steeping of Apricot Oolong then poured it over ice. I didn’t add any sweetener. I can’t be trusted with food photography props – I eat them! It looks like little orange creamsicle Tea Owl is going for the last apricot!

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This oolong is even better iced! The apricot/peach flavor comes out stronger and at first sip, carried with the creamy floral vegetal oolong flavor. The texture is still creamy and I get a lingering apricot/peach aftertaste. Mmm, I wonder if I have a fruity breath? I think for future steepings I will make this tea iced.

Comments

Sterling Tea‘s Apricot Oolong is a great oolong with a stone fruity twist that makes a really good iced tea. I can see Apricot Oolong being a great picnic drink paired with cucumber sandwiches.

(tea provided for review)

La Perse Saffron Teas

So, when I think of a luxury tea I think of a really old pu’er cake or a taiwanese oolong blended by an old school tea master. What about luxury tea blends? Off the top of my head, teas with mulberries run pricey. How about teas with saffron in it, saffron being a very expensive spice?

La Perse, UK tea seller, sells a saffron tea collection! I met this tea seller at the World Tea Expo. From what I read on the website, their teas are fair trade.

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I have the whole collection here: Black Ceylon Tea, Chamomile Flowers, Royal Breakfast TeaEarl Grey and Green tea.

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I decided I will sample what I think are the most interesting La Perse tea blends - Black Ceylon TeaEarl Grey and Green tea.

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Each tea is beautifully packaged in little pyramids housing a tea bag. Annoyingly, these saffron teas are hard to photograph as the saffron likes to settle on the bottom. With the saffron threads settling on the bottom, I can understand why these teas are packaged in teabags.

Tasting of La Perse’s Black Ceylon Saffron Tea

This blend features Black Ceylon Tea, cardamon, rose, and saffron strands. I gotta say, the black tea leaves look pretty good for bagged tea.

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I couldn’t find any steeping instructions, so I went with my black tea standby – Boiling water for a 3 minute steep. The steeped tea has a color like no else! A mix of brown amber black ceylon color with a mysterious yellow glow as if my tea was infused with gold.

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The flavor is smooth black tea with a bit of sweetness from the saffron. I’m getting a bit of cardamon spice though quite light. The rose notes are also light, melding with the lightly rich black tea base. I do taste the saffron though, the saffron adding an interesting honey, nutty and bitter vibe to it. The saffron pairs well with the tea contributing to the smooth sweet taste that is quite delicious tie in with the soft spice and rose notes. End of sip there is a slight dryness 2/10 but overall pretty good.

Tasting of La Perse’s Earl Grey

Color wise, La Perse’s Earl Grey is very similar to the Black Ceylon blend.

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La Perse’s Earl Grey up a slim at reddish brown yellow. Not as smooth and complex as the ceylon in flavor. This has to be the lightest bergamont Earl Grey I’ve tried so far.  Majority of the sip is the lightly rich ceylon tea base and honey saffron flavor. End of sip is the citrus bergamont that adds a brisk quality to the tea. With the lightness of the citrus I wouldn’t know this was an Earl Grey unless I knew ahead of time.
Both black teas have an interesting lingering honey flavor after each sip.

Tasting of La Perse’s Green Saffron Tea

La Perse’s Green tea is blended with peppermint and saffron strands.

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I steeped my tea at 175 F for 3 minutes, a little longer than what I do for green tea, but the flavor was quite weak at first, but wow, what a great colour!  Now that is a yellow looking tea!

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La Perse’s Green tea flavor is lightly grassy, steamed vegetal flavor covered with a light-moderate peppermint flavor. The tea finishes with that honey like saffron flavor and lingering light peppermint. The blend overall was on the light side but refreshing. I found the play on peppermint and saffron and interesting combination which tasted even better when the tea has cooled to room temperature. The cooled tea has a great honey sweet mint flavor that is very lovely.

Comments

I have always chickened out buying saffron for my own cooking, having tea with saffron in it is a real treat and unique. La Perse‘s saffron teas are a great conversation piece, fun tasting experience for a foodie and have an attractive tea colour to present to tea guests. I could see La Perse’s Black Ceylon Tea a great offering for an afternoon tea service with scones and sweets.

Out of the three teas I tried, I liked the La Perse’s Black Ceylon Tea with cardamon and rose the best as it was complex in flavors and all complimented each other very well. The minty honey La Perse’s Green tea is also a great tea. La Perse’s Earl Grey would appear to someone who wants a very light Earl Grey, but I think the other teas were a stronger offering.

(tea provided for review)

2014 4th Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival

As much as I miss living in Canada, living in the Los Angeles area has its perks with lots of festivals in town. I was stocked to go to this years Los Angeles International Tea Festival to say hi to fellow tea lovers I met last year and the World Tea Expo, attend the tea workshops and most importantly – drink all the samples!

As with last year’s Los Angeles International Tea Festival, the festival was held at the Japanese American National Museum, August 16th and 17th.

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The location seemed tighter this year as there were a few more vendors this year, way more people (I’d say 50% more, but I don’t know the actual number). It was hard for me to get photos of everything as the people were clustered in tight, buying and sampling teas. The lighting was on the dark side too. Here is a photo inside facing two directions.

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I arrived just as the festival started and I attended about 2 hours worth of tea classes and spent 2 hours of touring all the booths. The Los Angeles International Tea Festival is still quite small, you had enough space to squeeze into a booth, get a pour of tea and step back to let others through. The weather was hot, a sweaty 30c/86F, so 60 to 70% of all the tasting samples were iced. Last year there wasn’t as much iced teas, but last year the festival was held at the end of September.

Trends this year – lots of Matcha! There was 5 booths that sold only or at least half their booth was dedicated to matcha (out of the 17 tea selling booths) AOI Tea company, Aiya, Sencha Naturals, Ito En, and Midori Matcha Company and they were all pretty popular. I drank all the matcha samples, so I got pretty wired fast!

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Tea blends were also very popular again and the most common tea find at the Los Angeles Tea Festival. Harney & Sons, American Tea Room, and Art of Tea had big spreads (and hard to photo with the crowd)

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American Tea room has some cute kitty teaware!

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Chado Tea Room had a huge outside tent, complete with a wall of tea and outdoor seating.

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Zenzeu had a really nice Acai Berry white blend. This tea was iced and really hit the spot for this hot day!

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Another blends tea vendor I liked was Tea Gallerie, based in San Diego. They had a pretty big tea selection with plenty of unique blends and fun fruity herbal teas. I had some lovely French Lavender Pu’er that was very smooth!

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There were a couple straight tea vendors, with JT & Tea having some nice and tiny yixing pots!

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For scale (lid was broken)

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My favorite tea vendor last year and again this year: Bana Tea Company!

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So much delicious pu’er. I was there sampling for awhile and I didn’t want to leave! I also had a really nice oolong there too.

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As usual, I’m a sucker for pretty pu’er wrappers.

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Bana Tea Company had a neat break apart tuocha pu’er – 2 squares per gaiwan!
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If I already didn’t have 5 gaiwans, I would of purchased a gaiwan here – $8! $2 cups!

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It wasn’t for sale as it was an antique – but I had tea served out of this gorgeous gaiwan – the rice shapes were see through so you can see the tea. I want one of these gaiwans so bad, so far I’ve had no luck finding one online.

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I attended two tea classes: All About Oolong by Thomas Shu (JT & Tea) and Everything you want to know about Pu’er by Linda Louie (Bana Tea Company)

The Oolong class was very interesting – Thomas talked about this history of Taiwanese oolongs and the different grades/processing/oxidization of oolongs. He went quite indepth into how Oriental Beauty was made via Leaf Hoppers and how it caught on in the west. He showed another method to serve oolong – you steep it in a gravity steeper filling up a bottle. You then chill the entire bottle in ice, serving it in wine glasses.

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The Pu’er class was packed! Wow, I was very happy to see many people interested in pu’er! Lots of great information on the differences in the camellia  sinensis plant used in pu’er (including ancient arbor trees), history of pu’er and how it got popular, how to identify a good pu’er, differences between dry and wet storage.

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Oolong Owl Tea Haul from the Los Angeles International Tea Festival

This year there was a lot less freebies. They give you a shopping bag once you get your ticket in and this year inside the bag was a program, Tea Time Magazine and a Cup (that you’ll do all your tea tasting with). Last year the bag had some extra samples to take home. I got an oolong candy as well as a sample from Waterfall Tea Company during the festival.

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I have two cups because my husband came with me, and since he doesn’t drink tea I took all his tea goodies.

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My purchases! I first snagged an Ito en Oi Ocha Sincha Green tea (only $1!)

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Sencha Naturals‘ Organic Matcha Latte mix in Tropical Mango ($10 for 10oz bag). It is so fruity! I’ll try and review this one sometime.

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I preplanned that I was going to buy something from Bana Tea Company. I bought a 2004 Denong Ripe Pu’er ($18 100grams) and it was hard to choose just one tea to take home.

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In summary, I love how the Los Angeles International Tea Festival was busier this year – the love of tea is spreading! The fellow tea drinkers I met at the Los Angeles International Tea Festival were a enthusiastic bunch to talk to.

Unfortunately, not as much freebies this year and it was packed with people while I was there Saturday afternoon. I preferred the tea festival being held a little later in the year so there was more hot tea than iced tea. I also think the venue was quite tight, with the tea classroom short on space too.

However, it was worth going for the tea classes and the deals. I noticed this year there was more sales and plenty of coupons for future purchases. Of course, I enjoyed drinking all the great tea and supporting the local tea community!

Bonus: The Ramen Festival was going on next door, so the space (and parking) was tight outside. There were a few cosplayers outside, but the coolest thing was this: HELLO KITTY truck! I’d drive that!

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Organic Medium Oolong from Arum Tea – Tea Review

Organic Medium Oolong is a 50% oxidized oolong sold by Arum Tea. This oolong is grown in a single estate tea plantation located in Halimun Mountain, West Java Indonesia.

This is another tea I got from the World Tea Expo! Indonesian teas are very good, and I got pretty crazy over this medium roast oolong, as with the name sake of Oolong Owl, I love a good dark oolong. Arum Tea also has a light roast oolong, black and green tea – I’ll review those at another time.

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Dry Leaf

These oolong wads are huge! Organic Medium Oolong has a bread crust toasty scent.

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Steeping Instructions

The instructions on the package says 1 tablespoon of tea steeped at 195F for  . For a tasty oolong like this, I decided to go with my trusty oolong devoted yixing pot with my go to oolong steeping using 200 f water and 8 grams of tea (1 tablespoon). I did 30 second infusions, adding an additional 30 seconds for each further infusion. For the last 2 steepings I added an additional minute instead.

Tasting of Arum Tea’s Organic Medium Oolong

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First Infusion: Mega roast scent coming from a pale yellow tea. Organic Medium Oolong  sips in sweet light, yet creamy body. The tea finishes off with a roasty nut and honey flavor. A light first steeping but tasty.

Second Infusion: Time to ramp it up! Organic Medium Oolong came out a richer dark golden caramel colour! Smells so good and rich. Taste? Droooooool. Organic Medium Oolong has a silky texture, with a dark roasty taste featuring notes of roasted chestnut, walnuts and honey. End of sip there is a hint of astringency 2/10 and a brief linger of roasty flavor.

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Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusions:  Best steepings as the flavors have come together to one smooth roasty sweet sip but with lots going on! Organic Medium Oolong sips in sweet roasty nutty. I got notes of cooked yellow squash, milk bread crust, with lots of sweet almost floral honey flavor. Organic Medium Oolong now has a  lightly abrasive toasty nut finish. It’s like I put my tea under the broiler to give it a nice crust.  Still a bit of astringency to keep the sipper on their toes.

Sixth and Seventh Infusions: The flavor of  Organic Medium Oolong dropped quite a bit, with the final steeping being pretty light. The flavor has soft, sweet light caramel & honey notes that peaks end of sip. There is a background of that roasty nut flavor and plenty of gritty texture adding dryness to the top of my cheeks,  4/10 on the Astringency meter.

To take a look at the steeped leaves, we got pretty large stemmy bits with some equally large scalloped-edged large tea leaves.

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Comments

Drinking Arum Tea‘s Organic Medium Oolong gives me such a comforting feeling, like I’m eating honey nut cheerios on a crisp fall morning. Organic Medium Oolong has more roasty richness and a bit more dry compared to a Dong Ding oolong but similar in flavor intensity.

I link the tin for this review, but Arum Tea also has 2 oz bags if you want a smaller package. If you are an oolong lover you need to try Indonesian oolongs!

(tea provided for review)

Aloha Girl Tea from Tea Xotics – Oolong Owl Tea Review

I was introduced to Tea Xotics at the World Tea Expo this year.  Tea Xotics is an online tea seller (and Tea House) based in Shingle Springs, California. I love the packing their teas – the graphics are pretty and there is something about white packaging on tea that makes it inviting, clean and a change of pace.

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Tea Xotics has many really cool tea blends in their tea line up. The tea we’ll be checking out today is Aloha Girl Tea, a rooibos and honeybush tea blend with island fruits such as pineapple and ginger. Yes, another Hawaii themed tea!

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Dry Leaf

I wish I had more information on the ingredients list – my package even says white tea on it, but online it says otherwise plus the tea mostly looks like rooibos/honeybush. Lots of flower petals in yellow, purple and hibiscus reds in this blend, along with big pineapple chunks.

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I found this blend needed lots of stirring as the rooibos loved to sink to the bottom of the bag. Aloha Girl Tea‘s leaf smells really fruity!

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Steeping Instructions

The steeping instructions state to steep 1 tablespoon of tea in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. After 2.5 minutes is had a fragrant and fruity cup of tea with the deep liquor, almost like a black tea!

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Tasting of Tea Xotics Aloha Girl Tea

Oh wow, lots going on in this tea! Sips in juicy, fruity sweet and very flavorful. I taste mostly a tropical fruity flavor with the main fruitiness being pineapple. There is a light hint of spicy warmth that peaks end of sip – this warmth might be the ginger, but I can’t taste it. Aloha Girl Tea finishes with a bit slight tartness, 2/10 on the Tart-0-meter. The cooler Aloha Girl Tea gets, the more tart it becomes. If you aren’t familiar with my tastes, I dislike red rooibos. Aloha Girl Tea has little red rooibos taste, masked with the huge fruity flavor, which adds a backdrop of earthiness throughout the sip. This blend is not watery as some rooibos/honeybush blends can get and no bitter or dry qualities.

 Iced: I iced a big serving of Aloha Girl with a splash of light agave syrup for extra sweetness. Aloha Girl iced is really good – I prefer this over the hot cup as it is really fruity and bright! Lots of pineapple flavor (with a tropical background fruit flavor), refreshingly sweet, and a bit of warmth from the spice.  I can taste a good earthy sweet background that matches well with the light warmth and tropical fruit flavor.

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Comments

Tea Xotics‘ Aloha Girl Tea reminds me of being on the black beach in Hilo with the sun setting. This rooibos blend has a great tropical flavor with a splash of warm spice. Best iced, this is a great rooibos tea that has plenty of flavor!

(tea provided for review)