Sous Vide Tea – Precision Tea Steeping

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I love my Sous Vide circulator. I have the Anova One and I don’t know how I cooked without it. A sous vide circulator heats water to your desired food temperature, and you cook your food (vacuum packed normally) in the water. Being able to cook something with precise temperature makes for amazing food as it will never be over cooked or dried out. My perfect steaks, chicken breast, pork chops and ribs are the envy of my dinner guests. If you don’t know about sous vide, I suggest checking out Chef Steps for more information.

Anyways, I have wondered what tea would taste like in a controlled temperature environment. I mean, I use a variable temperature kettle, but some heat is lost when poured into a mug. The temperature will also drop over time as the tea steeps. There are steps we do to ensure less water temperature drop – like preheating tea ware, covering the vessel, tea cozies and use of tea ware that is made of materials that will hold heat best. However, there is still error, plus you are fighting environment temperature. If I made tea in the sous vide, I think I could minimize temperature errors.

Sometimes when I compare other fellow tea lovers with tea tastings notes with my own, we aren’t tasting the same notes and intensity of flavor despite using the same methods – maybe water temperature fluctuations are to blame? I bet steeping tea in a controlled temperature environment, like in a sous vide, tea would be more consistent in flavor.

Sous Vide Tea

For this experiment, I selected a tea that would be most beneficial in the sous vide – Green Tea, most notably Gyokuro. This Japanese green is very delicate, sensitive to heat and instructions often suggest 110f to 120f (43c to 48c) water temperature, compared to the common green tea steeping temperature of 175f (79c).

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The biggest annoying I have with making gyokuro is despite having a $100 variable control temperature kettle, it only goes as low at 160f. Watching your hot water cool SUCKS. People will do stuff like pour the water back and forth or add something to cool it, but that’s annoying. I’ve actually been cold brewing my gyokuro because I could not be bothered watching water cool.

I set my Anova One to 115F, the middle ground of 110F and 120F.

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As I turned on the Anova, I added my filtered water to a 8oz mason jar placed it in the sous vide. To ensure the water level on the sous vide goes past the water level on the jar – I did about 1″ head space. Too low of water in the mason jar and it will flip over! I also turned the vent to the back on my circulator to make sure there’s less water bath movement.

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In retrospect, it is best to add a couple jars in case you want to reinfuse the tea leaves. (If you introduce cool filtered water into the sous vide – it takes about 20 minutes to heat to 115F!)

Why not use the heated 115f water in the water bath? Well I could, but I’m steeping expensive gyokuro here and I’m not steeping it in LA sewer tasting tap water, nor wasting 7 liters of filtered water in the sous vide. If you are trying sous vide tea using the water in the circulator and have good water, I could see it would be faster and easier, but be sure to clean your sous vide and container before hand.

Once the sous vide is up to temperature, it took a few minutes for the water in the mason jar to be the same temperature. If you don’t have a probe thermometer, give it 5 minutes to be safe. Time to steep!

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Introduce your leaves to the sous vide heated water. I had 2 grams of gyokuro. I used a big stainless steel infuser to ensure leaf expansion. This is a flaw in the design here, ideally you want to add water to the tea, not the other way around. Agitate the leaves. Set your timer for 2 minutes and steep!

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Once time is up, remove the filter. Add the tea leaves in filter to your next jar if going for another round. With the leaves removed, you can simply leave your cup of tea in the sous vide machine – it will stay perfectly hot and not oversteep!

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sous vide tea

Taste of Sous Vide Tea? Pretty good! The sous vide made a solid cup of gyokuro – it is not over steeped, the drinking temperature is perfect! I got 4 good infusions of my 2 grams of leaf!

With another session and new leaf, the tea tasted the same!

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Let’s compare with a regularly steeped cup. Again, I used a mason jar, 2 grams of dry leaf. I cooled the water to 115f, added my gyokuro and steeped for 2 minutes.

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At the end of steeping the temperature dropped 7f. It was a good cup of gyokuro but the flavor was weaker in comparison to the sous vide tea. I picked up more flavor notes in the sous vide tea. Actually, this standard brewed gyokuro tasted just like the 2nd infusion from the sous vide – and this is supposed to be the first infusion!

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Verdict

Sous Vide Tea make a precise cup of tea. It is kind of fussy with getting water levels correct. Sous vide is made for vacuum packed things and the unit it self requires an excess of water just to run. Depending on your sous vide machine and vessel, you may not be able to brew single cup tea. I would only make sous vide tea with delicate teas like greens and whites for best results. My Anova One will go up to 99c/210F but I have personally never needed to run it that high. If you are sous vide some vegetables, why not toss in a jar of tea? Or steep up some gyokuro with your 48 hours short ribs?

Though sous vide tea is fairly elaborate of a method, the traditional steeping of tea has a relaxing, fluidity to it. For every day drinker there is a nice feeling of having variety, though I’ve had annoyances of “Man, 2 months ago I made a killer cup and I can’t get it again”. Sous Vide Tea would eliminate steeping errors (though with some errors we cannot avoid – ie, tea age/storage) so it is an interesting idea to test out for types that want to perfect their tea and accurate tea tastings online.

In the end, I think this experiments shows that regardless of how you steep your tea, one needs to ensure they are using the right tools to keep up the desire temperature while infusing.

Finally – hey, someone make a small sous vide stick circulator to heat my water for tea? (for cheap)

Teatulia Oolong Tea – Tea Review

A lot more bagged tea has been coming my way these days and I’m not sure why. Rest assured, it’s all been really good bagged tea! I do have some bagged teas in my collection (73 according to my tea collection spreadsheet) with a mix of old stuff from big brands at the grocery store to samples that happen to be in tea bag form. However, with all these really good bagged teas I’ve been getting lately, those grocery store bagged teas have been demoted from “I might drink this or give it away” to “to be used as tea paint”.

So, how about some award winning Oolong, that happens to be in bagged tea form? This oolong is from Teatulia  and is based in Colorado. Their teas are USDA organic and sourced direct from their single estate tea garden in northern Bangladesh (the Teatulia area). Teatulia’s Oolong was awarded 3rd place in the oolong category for the North American Tea Championship 2014.

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Dry Leaf

The leaf inside the Teatulia Oolong tea bag is dark with the odd silver and gold tip. The scent of the tea bag is sweet fruit and a bit of toast.

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Steeping Instructions

The instructions call for steeping the oolong in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. I found the best flavor was at the 3 minute mark.

Tasting of Teatulia Oolong

Teatulia Oolong steeps up a clear gold color with a sweet fruity and light toasty scent.

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Oh wow, a unique taste! Teatulia Oolong sips in delicate with savory cracker/biscuit notes with a bit of buttery. The finish is a sweet lemon curd. Some sips I get a bit of a floral peach hint end of sip. The whole tea tastes pretty fresh, like morning spring. On the canister, it states notes of pie crust and sake. I didn’t get the pie crust notes, probably since my pie crusts taste like over the top butter (yum!).

Second Infusion: I did a 4 minute re-infusion of the tea bag. The tea came out a bit tart. There are more citrus notes with a savory bready end of sip. The lack of aftertaste and lightness of the citrus notes give this round a delicate touch.

Comments

I like the contrast of citrus and bread savory for this oolong. More often you get bready notes in blacks or roasted oolongs but they also don’t have citrus notes. Teatulia Oolong is easy to drink, yet interestingly complex enough for a hardcore tea drinker to enjoy. White tea lovers would particularly enjoy the freshness of Teatulia Oolong tea, as well as the delicate notes.

Anyways, if you are looking for organic, award winning tea (Teatulia’s white and black also placed in NATC) hit up Teatulia Tea Store! Browsing through their site, most of their teas are in tea bag form, but they have some blacks, white and greens available loose leaf for a fair price.

Learn more about Teatulia and their mission here: www.teatulia.com!

(tea provided for review/ tea company affiliate)

February White2tea Club – Bulang!

February White2tea Club!

If you haven’t been following my previous reviews for White2tea Club, it is a curated $29.99 monthly tea box. The teas are awesome quality with mostly pu’er, but also some oolongs and blacks. For this month the teas are two Bulang pu’er – 2012 Bulang Raw 100 gram mini cake and 15 gram sample of Spring Laochatuo from Bulang and an Orchid Dancong oolong sample to make this month less bulang crazy.

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I was super excited when I saw what I got this month from White2Tea. I’ve had bulang pu’er a few times, mostly stuff aged from late 2000s and I enjoy small nugget pu’er for their crazy resteeping abilities as well as being great for extended infusions in a travel mug. I can’t say no to Orchid Dancong too!

Tasting of February White2Tea Club Teas

Spring LaoChaTou from Bulang
So nuggety! I used boiling water and did 2 rinses to get this tea going.

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First and Second Infusion: The flavor is light, creamy and chocolate like. Come on let’s go!
Third, Fourth and Fifth Infusion: The flavor is getting there, developing a nice dark reddy colour.
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Infusion: Ah yeah getting good. Thicker and sweet. Really smooth! Look at the colour!

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Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Infusion: I realized after nine infusions that the tea is still in firm chunks, and in some spots dry to the touch! I smushed one nugget a bit and with an over a minute steep time I got a nice rich, sweet chocolate, smooth hazelnut kind of tea. The texture is super smooth no dryness. There is no evidence to show this tea is going to stop. However, smushing laochatuo was a bad idea as I got some grainy texture for that one infusion.

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Fourteeth and Fifteenth Infusion: The flavor is starting to wane and pretty long infusions were needed. Longer than I had time for after drinking more than a dozen rounds of tea to myself. I know there’s more rounds left in this tea.
Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Infusion: Day 2! The flavor is pretty constant being sweet, not overpoweringly strong, chocolate and kinda nutty. Looking back, all I had to drink yesterday was 5 grams of Laochatuo – if I was a pu’er lover and broke, this would be the tea to drink to maximize how much tea you get per infusion!

Boiled down: In the note that came with this months teas was a suggestion that you can boil this tea at the end for a delicious drink. I boiled my 5 grams of tea I steeped for 2 days, 19 times for about 15 min, which reduced the liquid I added half.

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The flavor was really good! It’s slick smooth, rich, little roasty and quite sweet. Not astringent at all, truly a bomb proof tea! I’ll need to do this again.

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2012 Bulang Raw Pu’er Mini Cake

I found the pu’er cake to be thin, when breaking off pieces I almost split the cake in half!

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I approached this tea with a touch lighter temperature, hoping to avoid some dryness, so I used 200f water. As usual, I did a quick rinse to start.
2012 Bulang Raw Pu’er had a lovely smokey scent with a beautiful clear broth with dark peach colour.

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First Infusion: 2012 Bulang Raw Pu’er sips in really cool and different from other raw Pu’er I’ve had so far. It’s thick heady in texture like the tea is tricking me that I’m drinking pudding. The flavor is somewhat savory. with mineral and tabbacco notes. Very smooth texture and satisfying.

Second and Third Infusion: And it’s bitter! Not punch you on the face bitter but just enough bitter for you to register, wahh bitter!

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eigth and Ninth Infusion: I dropped the water temperature down to 190f to combat the young bitterness of this sheng pu’er, which helped quite a bit as I got little to no bitterness. So much for my YOLO Pu’er brewing. The flavor of 2012 Bulang Raw Pu’er is interesting with lower temps, with each infusion getting calmer and sweeter, taking over the tabbacco notes. The texture is still really thick.

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Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: It’s sweet! 2012 Bulang Raw Pu’er finally get a moderate dry feeling, leaving a weird “teeth feeling clean feeling” sensation in the mouth (Mysteriously I used to eat at a noodle house as a kid every weekend and their noodle shrimp wonton soup would have that same effect on my teeth). After battling mineral, tabbacco and bitterness, you got to experience a nice finish. There are interesting lemongrass notes, over the thick body, with a lightly stone fruit aftertaste.

Comments

The February White2Tea club was a favorite for me. Though, I have greatly enjoyed all the White2Tea clubs months so far. What I liked about this one as it had an education and experimental feel to it. I got to try a young Bulang sheng and have a weekend long drinking session with just 5 grams of laochatuo! I got pretty cozy to bulang!

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The Orchid Dancong is a bonus! I’ll save that one for next time as this is a pretty lenghty review! As always, I can’t wait to see what is in store for next month’s White2tea club!

52 Teas Sampling and Kickstarter

I have a couple really good looking flavored tea blends that I’ve been meaning to open and sample. S’mores Chai and Tiramisu Oolong! Very unique teas. 52 Teas have some really neat tea blends that I hope will continue.

With that said, there’s a kickstarter going on for the 52 Teas Great Take Over, by the lovely LiberTeas at the SororiTea sisters! Man, I hope this kickstarter gets funded, I want that Maple Cheesecake Tie Kwan Yin!

Anyways, the teas I have today aren’t for sale at the moment, though you can wishlist and request them to be reblended, or pledge and at every $2k mark vote on it to be reblended for the kickstarter campaign.

Ambitious Tea Owl is helping out today. He probably volunteered so he could eat the food props for the tea photos.

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Tiramisu Oolong

This oolong tea is flavored with cacao nibs and marshmallow root, look at those bits!

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Tiramisu Oolong has a mega roasty scent like roasted barely tea with a hint of coffee.

I did a 2 minute infusion with 200F filtered water. Tiramisu Oolong came out tasty! The oolong has a roasty flavor that plays well with the dark chocolate, cakey and creamy flavors. The creamy flavor is really good like icing. There is no coffee taste just lots of roasty with a sweet finish like icing. A great tea for dessert tea lovers who want an oolong over a rich heavy black tea blend. The flavoring is just enough to notice but still taste and enjoy the tea.

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I got a second infusion of Tiramisu Oolong. The flavor is now all what I think is just the oolong, the blended bits steeped out for the from the first infusion. The oolong flavor is sweet and roasty but mostly buttery with some vegetal notes.

S’mores Chai

This unique chai blend has black tea, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, cacao nibs and marshmallow root.

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I did a 3 minute infusion with boiling water, and whoa, S’mores Chai smells spicy! I can pick out a cardamon scent in particular.

Sadly, for this tea photo someone already ate all the marshmallows, so Ambitious Tea Owl gets a cinnamon stick.

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S’mores Chai is spicy tasting – cardamon up front, with cloves, ginger and cinnamon, a moderate spice/heat level of 5/10. There is a nice sweet creamy flavor in the background, along with a bit of chocolate. This chai is still centered around the spice, with an added bonus of creamy and chocolate. I could see this one being awesome brewed a bit stronger with milk!

Be sure to check out the kickstarter for more awesome tea blends – 52 Teas Great Take Over!

Eastern Beauty Oolong from Green Terrace Teas

I love a good Oriental Beauty! Leaf Hoppers for the win! Let’s sample Green Terrace Teas’ Eastern Beauty Oolong, which is from Emei Township, Hsinchu County, Taiwan.

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Dry Leaf

Eastern Beauty Oolong has a sweet fruity and bready scent. The leaf is smushed but has gold silver brown black and olive colors. Looking at the website, the tea looks full leaf. I wonder if my sample got rolled on in post?

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Steeping Instructions

I used a gaiwan and steeped Eastern Beauty Oolong in 200F water after a quick rinse. I did 20 second infusions to start, increasing with each infusion.

Tasting of Green Terrace Teas’ Eastern Beauty Oolong

My first cup of tea had an impressive roasty scent with a golden colour.

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First, Second and Third Infusion: Surprise! Eastern Beauty Oolong sips in with lots of flavor. Eastern Beauty Oolong is a little nutty at first, then develops a sweet flavor filling out to a peachy sweet finish that sits in the cheeks. This is the sweetest oolong I’ve had to date! The second steeping has a distinct honey and peach flavor. The third infusion was getting some nutty notes layered in with the honey flavor and a pretty orange colour. Do tea owls like honey? I asked the Tea Owls what their favorite condiment and they answered prime rib seasoning.

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Fourth and Fifth Infusion: Roasty flavor alert! Eastern Beauty Oolong has that nutty roasty flavor that I love in a moderate oxidized oolong. The peachy flavor is light and more like a floral after taste.

Sixth Infusion: I accidentally did a longer infusion here as I was answering a message while I was steeping. However, the flavor turned out very well – this tea may be bombproof. The flavor is still rich sweet nutty with a slight malt caramel notes, along with the peachy floral base. Reminds me of a later steeping of a yunnan black. No dryness but I can sense it is starting.

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Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Infusion: Eastern Beauty Oolong’s flavor is pretty stable and mellow. At this point I’m starting to battle the tea with long 1 minute infusion to keep it going. The notes are mostly sweet caramel and some nutty. The peach floral finish has disappeared. Eastern Beauty Oolong has also gotten a bit dry, 3/10 on the Astringency Meter.

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Tenth and Eleventh Infusion: Just as I thought this tea was done it is still limping through. The flavor is quite sweet like brown sugar with moderate amount of dryness. Still not bad but moderate dry, 5/10 on the Astringency meter.

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Comments

Green Terrace Teas’ Eastern Beauty Oolong has great flavor – I love the journey through each infusion as the flavor changes. This Oriental Beauty oolong is also quite sweet and would make for a nice tea session on its own, maybe with some light, clean tasting snacks.

My only beef is the leaf appearance was less than desired on this oolong, though it could of been that mine was a sample and got mangled through the mail.

(tea provided for review)

Rabbit Tea Pet

I am always on the look out for a cute tea pet! I am kind of picky with tea pets, I like really only owls, octopi, turtles, dinosaurs, and rabbits. Out of all of those, the turtle is the most common find, and I already have one.

Anyways, I found this really cute Rabbit Tea Pet on aliexpress. This cutie sports an ice crackle glaze, which the cracks will darken with tea stains over time!

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Rotate the rabbit tea pet!

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The seller also had a white rabbit tea pet, a ru kiln glaze similar to one of my gaiwans, which I think would look better over time, but I went with grey in honor of my bunny Bunito, who passed away in 2008. He was a netherland dwarf who I had for 8 years! He was pretty hyper (typical of the breed) and he enjoyed running all over my apartment, jumping, throwing things and digging blankets.

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I had my tea pet for a few weeks, but I waited to post till February 12th because it is my bunny Benson 3rd birthday! Happy birthday Benson! In contrast, Benson is a holland lop and is pretty lazy. He doesn’t run laps, and his favorite hobby is destroying boxes and paper bags. When I got him when he was 7 weeks old, one of his ears stuck straight up – after a week it descended.

Embarrassing baby photo of Benson from 3 years ago:

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Today – so much destruction!

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As much as I love my bunny, I can’t have tea with them. Benson has gotten fur in my tea and has chewed up tea packaging. Of course, you shouldn’t bath nor pour tea on your rabbit, which you can do with a rabbit tea pet!

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Whispering Pines Tea’s Golden Orchid Tea – Tea Review

Vanilla is amazing! I buy my beans 1lb at a time and add to things as simple as Rice Crispy squares to make my treats extra special. I make my own vanilla extract out of various liquors, which gives great flavor to my cookies. Vanilla teas are awesome – and a real popular one is Whispering Pines Tea Co’s Golden Orchid tea. I kept hearing so much about it, I snagged an ounce not too long ago to see for myself.

Golden Orchid tea is a blend of Dian Hong and Fujian Xiao Zhong Black Tea with Hand Cut Grade A Madagascar Vanilla Beans. Ooohh yeah, real vanilla bean in tea is a treat!

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Dry Leaf

Golden Orchid tea smells like high end vanilla ice cream – sweet and creamy! My body is expecting a sugar guilt rush like that sneaking a spoonful of ice cream out of the freezer at 11pm. Pretty grey leaf with twists of tea with the odd golden strand. I know there’s vanilla in there, but the colour blends in with the tea.

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Steeping Instructions

The instructions calls for 1/2 Tablespoon of tea and it was impossible for me to get a measure with Golden Orchids’ long wiry leaf. I gave up with the spoon measure and ended up using about 2.5 grams of tea. I steeped the tea in an in-mug infuser, with 200f water for 3 minutes.

I always forget that Whispering Pines Tea Co has gong fu instructions for their teas. I simply assumed tea blend = western long infusion.

Tasting of Whispering Pines Tea Co’s Golden Orchid Tea

Steeped up, Golden Orchid tea is a pretty amber gold (that looks red on camera) with a sweet vanilla bready scent.

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First Infusion: Golden Orchid tea sips in creamy and sweet. The texture is smooth with a hint of a dry finish. Lots of different notes – getting toasted Asian milk bread, chocolate, real vanilla and a bit of fruity. Some sips taste like straight up cream.. I looked down to ensure I didn’t add milk. Nope, the tea is still an amber gold.

Second Infusion: Wow, still lots of flavor. The tea sips in malty and plums with a finish of vanilla cream – very nice! Very smooth and sweet. Can I have this tea as whipped cream on a layered cake?

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Third Infusion: Still going strong with the malt, chocolate, fruit and loads of cream, though with a dry finish, 2/10 on the Astringent Meter. I’m surprised how well the creamy vanilla is lasting – often with flavored teas you only get one infusion of vanilla, however with Golden Orchid the flavor is still here! One could probably get a fourth, maybe fifth infusion out of this tea.

Comments

Whispering Pines Tea Co’s Golden Orchid is that tea that you never never ever need to add milk to. If you add milk to you teas and want one that tastes great without – this is the tea for you!

The flavoring in this tea is great as you get much of the black tea base and the vanilla is natural tasting (it’s real vanilla!) – not that overly sweet or have an alcohol burn. With that said, this is a neat tea blend to try for those unflavored tea drinkers out there, showing the powers of a good tea blend.

Golden Orchid tea is a really easy tea to drink and would be perfect to serve to non-tea drinking friends. It is a little pricey and weighty, so this is a tea to share with someone special. I have been also told Whispering Pines Tea Co’s Cocoa Amore is another good vanilla blend. Both teas, since I purchased mine, have been on and off sold out – so if you see it in stock, grab it while you can!

February Simple Loose Leaf Tea Coop Club

It’s February! Time for a short month with both Lunar New Year and Valentines Day! Because of the short month, I feel my monthly boxes are coming so fast and with less time to sample them.

This month for the Simple Loose Leaf Tea Coop Club – Lapsang Souchong, Lemon Grass Herbal, Gyokuro Green Tea, Sheng Cha Oolong and Mint Chamomile Rooibus (probably mean rooibos). 

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They also included more of those cloth infusers. The Tea Owls have been doing their potato sack racings, so they have plenty of cloth infusers. Since the salad spinner has been put away (the salad spinner being the ultimate Stegosaurus item), my new Stegosaurus has been pretending to be a Dimetrodon. Rawr?

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I’ve been getting Simple Loose Leaf for awhile now, so here’s the info spiel:

The Simple Loose Leaf Tea Co-op Club gets you 4 to 6 loose leaf tea samples (1/4oz size) of different teas including straight teas, blends and herbals. Being in the Tea Co-op gives you a membership ID which gives you 50% off their Simple Loose Leaf Tea Shop.

You can enter the coupon code OolongOwl for a 50% off your first Simple Loose Leaf’s Tea co-op box!

Tasting of February’s Simple Loose Leaf Tea Coop Club

I’m going to sample the two prized teas in the box – Gyokuro and Sheng Cha Oolong.

Gyokuro Green Tea

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I steeped mine in 115F for 2 minutes. I did a really unusual method of infusion that I will touch on in another blog post.

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I found Simple Loose Leaf’s gyokuro had plenty of straw notes, some fresh grassy notes with a creamy texture. The second infusion the unami savory came out, with a steamed leaf flavor. The third infusion was quite light, and mostly straw/hay notes. Very nice!

Sheng Cha Oolong

Admittedly, I’ve never heard of Sheng Cha Oolong before. It seems not too many tea sellers have it. Sheng Cha oolong is basically a wild-grown tea.

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I decided to steep the entire sample (7 grams) in a gaiwan using 200F water.

Early infusions of Sheng Cha Oolong are creamy sweet with a grassy floral flavor, I’m thinking tulips and wheat grass. The oolong has a moderate level of flavor, so this isn’t a delicate green oolong! The colour is a light yellow.

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Middle infusions the color shifts to a light orange. I get a sesame flavor in this tea, which is quite nice. I love sesame flavor, so this oolong was a treat! The more I steep, the more savory the oolong gots – sesame and bready wheat in flavor and less grassy.

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I got about 6 infusions, with the final infusions tasting savory, like an unsalted cracker and sesame. The leaf was quite thick feeling. The leaf is large, but a frayed at the edges.

feb simple loose leaf oolong owl

Comments

February’s Simple Loose Leaf Coop was one of the best months, for me, so far, especially since this month included expensive (Gyokuro) and uncommon tea (Sheng Cha Oolong). I will have to acquire more Sheng Cha Oolong!

Sheng Cha Oolong is a very interesting oolong that I think a black tea drinker may be interested in. I think it was neat to have Gyokuro and Sheng Cha Oolong together in the same box, as both are savory. Actually, Lapsang Souchong is another savory tea too!

(tea provided for review)

Teatoxy Detox Tea

There’s been a few times on Oolong Owl I dip into diet and detox teas. Today’s tea review is of a detox tea line from Teatoxy – three herbals teas.

I’m not into the whole detox thing. I’m more of a “get healthy by attempting to eat less cookies and lift heavy weights or sweat in brazillian jiujitsu class” kind of weight loss person. With that said, I’m just going to review the flavor of these herbal teas. I imagine if you are going to drink tea in larger amounts on a regular schedule it should taste good.

I have the whole current lineup from Teatoxy – Teatoxy Morning, Teatoxy Energize and Teatoxy Calm me.

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The kit came with a really cute silicone strawberry shaped tea infuser! The Tea Owls had fun swinging it around like a kettle bell!

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Tasting of Teatoxy Detox Tea

Teatoxy Morning is made of organic lemongrass, rose hips,peppermint, apple, rooibos, blackberry leaf, hibiscus and marigolds. The dry leaf smells great with a nice refreshing peppermint lemongrass scent! The herbal is chunky with big lemongrass strips, cups of rose hips and hibiscus petals.

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After a 6 minute infusion with boiling water, Teatoxy Morning steeped up a pretty red orange color, smelling like those fruity mint throat candies. I don’t know about you, but that minty fruit scent has a nice comfort feel to it.

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Teatoxy Morning sips in with moderate hibiscus-rose hip-fruity-floral tartness. Mid sip the sweet lemon mint sets in and makes the mouth taste really refreshing. The aftertaste is a wonderfully fresh lemon flavor. The tart of this tea blend is drinkable, 5/10 Tart, but would taste pretty good with some sugar. I love the refreshingness of Teatoxy Morning, and I enjoy the contrast of tart and mint. This herbal blend tastes great iced and sweetened, by the way, especially if you love iced rosehips and hibiscus.

Teatoxy Energize is a blend of Thai lemongrass, pandan leaves, Moroccan rose petals, bluechai and lavender. Dry leaf is interesting with its herby plant scent, but with a gorgeous, chunky flower buds and green fat ribbons.

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This looks cool!

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Teatoxy Energize steeps up, after 8 minutes of boiling water, a very dark blue. Were you expecting blue? I was, since I’ve had bluechai before.

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Teatoxy Energize has a bamboo celery vegetal smooth, dry hay herb notes with a lemongrass finish. The herbal blend has a refreshing aftertaste. This herbal tea is quite unique and would be perfect for someone wanting a herbal that wasn’t floral, tart or mint.

Teatoxy Calm Me has German hops, Thai hibiscus, marigolf, peppermint, cornflower, goji berry, and lemon slices. The dry leaf is even more chunky than Teatoxy morning – big hibiscus and lemon chunks overtop confetti of various thin flower petals. The scent is more minty than Teaoxy Morning.

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Teatoxy Calm Me states to do a 3 to 10 minute infusion. For more benefits, a longer steep is best, but the hop can make the flavor become bitter. Challenge Accepted!

Teatoxy Calm Me steeped a classic dark red hibiscus red with a sweet hibiscus floral scent.

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After a 3 minute infusion, wowee that’s tart! Teatoxy Calm blasts you with lots of hibiscus and lemon flavor that it is so tart, it is like it’s on fire. The mint finish puts out the tart fire. I’ll give Teatoxy a 7/10 on the Tart Meter – an instant pucker.

For the 10 minute steep flavor is a bit different. It has even more hibiscus lemon tart,  9/10 on the Tart Meter, over a dry, savory background, with a bitter herby mint aftertaste. Thankfully the most of the dryness mostly evaporates after each sip, but after each sip my teeth and throat are quite dry, 7/10 Astringency.  This herbal blend reminds me of an intentionally sour beer I had once with the sour and savory thing going on. I’m not sure how this is a calming blend because this woke me right up with the tart! However, I have to sip it in short sips in order to tolerate the tart. This needs sugar!

With sugar, this is more hibiscus fruity floral sweet, but with a mix of herbal, savory, steamed mint, grassy and a little bitter flavor. I’d recommend this tea at the 3 minute steeping mark with sugar – iced even better! The 10 minute hot brew turns too dry, bitter and tart.

Comments

If you love tart hibiscus, rosehip, mint and colourful herbal teas, but sure to check out Teatoxy! After first trying these teas, I’ve been making them iced and enjoying them.

Teatoxy Morning was my favorite and had lots of great things going on for freshness and a tasty level of tart. Teatoxy Energize was very unique and a fun herbal for the lovely blue color. Teatoxy Calm Me was the weaker of the three, the hops was an neat element, but added bitter savory flavor to the mix if steeped too long. If you enjoy the flavor of hops, you will probably enjoy Teatoxy Calm Me more.

Sweet blue tea!

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(tea provided for review)

Tea Ave Oolong preview!

I’ve been excited for Tea Ave, a new online tea seller based in Vancouver, BC Canada, to launch. Since I am originally from Vancouver, I like rooting for my home town. However, Tea Ave also has something really cool about them –

ALL OOLONGS

Yes, I’m down with all oolong!

Anyways, Tea Ave is very new, launching soon! In the upcoming months there will be MORE oolong! Tea Ave will be carrying both tea bags and loose leaf. This special tea blogger got the tea bag sampling of Tea Ave’s first lineup of 12 oolongs. Today is also the new Tea Owl, Zeus’ first day! He is overwhelmed on the amount of work to be done – the unfortunate job of a tea owl on the bottom of the pecking order.

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Here is the 12 Tea Ave oolongs:

Magnolia Oolong
Cape Jasmine Oolong
Osmanthus Oolong
Rose Oolong
Jasmine Oolong
Lishan Oolong
Oriental Beauty
Alishan Jin Xuan oolong
Dong Ding oolong
Ginger Lily Oolong
Tie Kwan Yin oolong
Whenshan baochong oolong

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Packaging wise, I love the modern sleek look. Each tea also has a unique geometric design on their respective package!

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Tea Ave’s tea bags are very well done. Interestingly, the tea within the bag are not ground into dust – they are whole leaf (with exception to 2 oolongs, more on that later). The tea bags are made of PLA materials, all constructed in Germany. Tea Ave bags are also eco friendly and compostable! I’ve had some bad experiences with whole leaf tea bags (tearing open, not fine enough and leaking bits) but spoiler – Tea Ave tea bags are very nice!

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Upon inspection the bag is quite large, holding 3 grams of leaf. The material is soft like thin cloth, finely woven. Held up to the light, you can sort of see through the tea bag.

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I had these tea bags survive 8 infusions without any oolong getting angry and punching through. Flavor wise there seems little effects and the bags are big enough to let the oolong open up. My only complaint is the tea bag gets heavy so the string may snap, which happened to 2 of my teas. In reality, tea bag string snapping happens often with all over tea bags, plus Tea Ave’s tea bags are big enough that they are easy to pluck out of the cup in the event the string breaks.

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Enough of the tea bag design – let’s sample oolong!

Ginger Lily Oolong

Ginger Lily Oolong is a blend of high mountain oolong and alishan jin xuan. I steeped Ginger Lily Oolong in its bag. I used 190f water. At the 2.5 minute mark the tea was light with little ginger flavor. 3.5 minutes I felt had the best flavor.

Ginger Lily Oolong has a lovely sweet ginger scent from a lightly yellow glowing tea.

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Ginger Lily Oolong sips in light with the sweet ginger creeping in with layers of floral, butter and sweet notes. The oolong finishes with a light-moderate ginger spice that warms the throat. satisfying for fall winter to feel warm but refreshing too. Second infusion was less ginger and more buttery. The ginger was a fresh after taste. I quite enjoyed Ginger Lily Oolong – the level of ginger is perfect!

Tie Kwan Yin

I decided to hack up the tea bag and steep Tie Kwan Yin gong fu style. Bag surgery showed a nice looking dry leaf.

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I’m working with 3 grams of tea here so it’s a little dicey to steep in a gaiwan, I tried my best to keep the water level low. I got about 9 rounds of tea with 30 second infusions.

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The early steepings of Tie Kwan Yin had lots of rich flavor. There are roasty nutty notes with an apricot peach aftertaste.

Tea Ave Oolong Preview - Oolong Owl Tea Review (14) Admittedly, Tie Kwan Yin was hard for me to review. There was lots of sip. “Ahh that’s good”. Sip. “Yum”. Then all the tea is gone. The roasty nutty flavor and tasty peach breath makes this owl so happy! I also got ripping tea drunk. The later infusions of Tie Kwan Tin got quite dry, 5/10 on the Astringency Meter, giving me a dry tongue and gritty feels but ohh the peachy sweet floral of deliciousness after taste!

The steeped leaf of Tie Kwan Yin turned out to be quite impressive too!

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Whenshan Baochong Oolong

This is 1 of 2 oolongs that Tea Ave informed me had to be cut in order to fit into the tea bags – the other 10 oolongs are unmodified.
So, I’m a weirdo and did gongfu steeping in a tea bag steeping in a small cup. The oolong is good so why not?

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First infusions are flavorful especially for an unroasted green oolong. The flavor is buttery and green pepper flesh. For the second infusion the floral really pops with lots of dancing marigolds and buttercups, 5/10 on the Floral Meter. With each infusion, the tea got less floral and more green bean, green pepper vegetal.

The tea bag held up well after many infusions – 8 total.

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Osmanthus Oolong

This Osmanthus blend has an oolong base of Alishan Jin Xuan. This one I steeped in the tea bag – 200F for 3.5 minutes. I’m thinking 3.5 minutes is the sweet spot for these tea bags.

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Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong is pretty good – the Jin Xuan base is sweet, creamy and buttery and the osmanthus floral adds a nice citrus pop end of sip. The osmanthus here is light, a 3/10 on the Floral meter – this is a tea to enjoy the oolong base but with a lightly floral twist. Later infusions bring out the buttery flavor of the Jin Xuan base.

Rose Oolong

This oolong is blended with fresh Taiwanese roses! Rose oolong is pretty – the petals are pink and red, floating around inside the tea bag. I also steeped this tea at 200F for 3.5 minutes.

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The floral flavor is stronger compared to Osmanthus Oolong, a 5/10 on the Floral Meter. The oolong is light, delicate and buttery with a sweet rose finish. Rose oolong also has a fresh vibe too it, like I’m nibbling on rose petals. A very good oolong for floral rose tea lovers! I’d love to have this for afternoon tea!

Comments

So far, Tea Ave‘s oolong line up looks awesome, and from what I sampled, is good quality and fresh. My favorite is Tea Ave‘s Tie Kwan Yin and Ginger Lily Oolong, with Rose Oolong being another tasty favorite.

I look forward to trying Tea Ave‘s other oolongs and future developments from this tea seller. Be sure to pop by their site, sign up for news for when their shop is open!

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(Tea provided for review)