June White2tea Club – Tea Review

Oohhhh yeah, June White2Tea Club time! This month is impressive with newly pressed pu’er! I’m going to review both teas that were included this month, so it’ll be a long Oolong Owl post today.

So, in the June White2Tea Club is 2014 Ripe Pu’er Orbs x3 and 2015 Teaclub Gourd 100g.

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2014 Ripe Pu’er Orbs

First up, the Balls! You get 3 Ripe Pu’er Orbs and they came with instructions, if you choose to accept them. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED HOOT! The tea balls look like wrapped truffles!

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I unwrapped all three orbs. I tucked two of the orbs away, setting a note on my google calendar for 3 and 6 months from now. Each ball was about 6 grams of tea.

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For steeping instructions, I went with making my pu’er in a gaiwan using boiling water. I did two rinses and then started the steeping at 15 seconds.

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The orbs puff up during first steeping!

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The first official steeping of the ripe pu’er orb brews up a slightly cloudy tea with a reddish brown. There is a fermentation scent as well.

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: The flavor is pretty strong. The orb is heavy, woodsy, and a dark chocolate finish. The texture is pretty smooth and creamy mouth with a dryness back of throat that has a mysterious sour twinge to it. The tea gets stronger in flavor for the 2nd and 3rd steeping calling upon the powers of sour chocolate notes. The flavor is heavy, but yet face punching overwhelming as other ripe pu’er can be.

Fourth and Fifth Infusion: The flavor is losing its intensity punch. I’m left with earthy woody and tobacco notes with a sweet amber finish. There is a light dry tart aftertaste as well.

The orb has completely broken up now.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: The tea now smells sweet and with a more clear appearance.

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The leaf smells like chocolate chip bread. The ripe pu’er sips in thick little chocolate cherry wood with a tart fry finish. There is a light tart dryness aftertaste. 4/10 dryness.

Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: Getting better and better! The flavor is cleaner and sweet with a mineral, cherry wood and bright caramel. It is also not tart anymore and less dry.

Thirteenth Infusion: This one was a long steeping that I forgot about as I went to the hardware store with the husband. I have no clue how long it steeped and it was a little above room temperature when I got to it. The flavor is light, sweet and a little woody. Pretty sure I killed the orb but it was worth it.

I look forward to trying the other riper pu’er orbs and see how they change – yay for delicious tea education!

2015 Teaclub Gourd aka 2015 Poundcake

The White2Tea 2015 Teaclub Gourd was exclusively pressed for the club – however it is the 2015 Poundcake material.

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The shape of this pu’er is interesting. I was wondering why a gourd and not a handsome owl.

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Turns out, the shape is a PITA to pu’er pick tea off of. Of course, this is the day Teal “Pu’er Pick” Owl has run into the mountains to train his pu’er pick technique, so I had to do it myself… and stabbed my self twice. Apparently the pu’er wants a blood sacrifice before you can drink it.

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I was aiming for my usual 6.7 grams of tea but ended up with 5.6 grams since I stabbed myself and figure I should quit while I’m ahead.

For steeping instructions I went with 190F water temperature and 20 second steep to start. Looking at fellow tea drinkers many went 200F. I didn’t want to go YOLO boiling water since the pu’er is young. Since I already stabbed myself, I rather not burn myself with boiling water too.

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First Infusion: The first infusion is an interesting light yellow green with a fesh vegetal scent.

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Ooo kind of sweet in flavor, though pretty light here and I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Bit of dryness with a slight tingle in the mouth too.

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Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Oooloooohhh hell yeah, that’s sweet! I was so shocked how sweet this tea was that I dribbled it down my shirt with my first sip. Classy. This session is cursed, I guess I should of offered more blood to the gourd.

The tea gourd is a little floral but very sweet for a pu’er. Dang, so sweet like creamy clover honey. Fruity aftertaste weaves along with a 4/10 intensity dryness. The aftertaste sticks for 15 mins without drinking anything. On 4th steeping I was getting lots of deep breath sensations and feeling pretty weird.

Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Infusion: The tea gourd tastes like popcorn, like unsalted sweet kettle corn. Not as sweet as previous infusions but still very pleasant.

The leaf in my gaiwan is very green looking! Wow!

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Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: The pu’er has shifted to vegetal with asparagus notes, cooked till grey green beans and smushy steamed leafy greens. There is also still a bit of sweet corn notes. Interesting twist. As the steeps go on they get more medicinal herby in taste before dying off.

After this tea gourd poundcake session I proceeded to go on a massive energetic cleaning spree. My kitchen was sparkling! The powers of pu’er!

As usual, I am very happy with my White2Tea Club subscription! I’m leaning on picking up a 2015 Poundcake to compare with the gourd.

2010 Kunlu Spring Sheng Pu’er from Wymm Tea – Tea Review

Not too long ago I received a package of new samples from Wymm Tea. Oooh yeah I cannot say no to pu’er samples especially from my home town of Vancouver, Canada!

Like the last sample pack I received, Wymm Tea has beautiful packaging. I love the simplicity and the design. If you haven’t seen their website, it is also beautiful to just browse around and soak up the tea as well as pretty informative on pu’er.

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The paper (which you can also purchase extra on their site) is hand made!

I had a hard time choosing a tea to drink. I decided to go with the 2010 Sheng Spring Kunlu Pu’er. This ancient tree, big leaf pu’er promises a sweet flavor.

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Dry Leaf

My sample was big chunky looking with long flat chunks of leaf.

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Steeping Instructions

I decided to go with 200f water temperature, steeping with a gaiwan. I did 1 rinse and started with pretty quick 10 second infusions.

Tasting of 2010 Sheng Kunlu Mountain Ancient Tree Pu’er

Steeped up, the pu’er is strong scented of earth leaf with a creamy tint of lemon.

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First and Second Infusion: Whoa thick thick mouth feel! Drinking this pu’er is like drinking literal fluff. The texture is so heavy that I’m thinking I’m drinking a black tea. The flavor is lightly sweet with notes of steamed vegetables, straw and a hint of tart stone fruit. Flavor is really light but we have just begun! There is a bit of dryness at the end 2/10 on the Astringent Meter.

My tea owls love to accessorize and love when they get wearables! I like stickers myself I cover my tea tins in them.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Infusion: I’m feeling a tingle on my tongue with each sip. My tongue has a layer of dryness and mixing with the tart and thick texture, which is giving me tingly sensation.
The flavor is getting stronger. There is sweet lemon drop flavor with a bit of streamed vegetal and a lingering after taste. The texture is still thick and fluffy, though getting more dry (4/10). The dryness has spread to my cheeks, making me feel as if I’m playing Chubby Bunny with this tea, you know, that marshmallow game where you stuff your mouth with as many marshmallows as you can.

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Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infusion: The sheng pu’er is starting to lighten here. The texture is still very fluffy but the steamed veg flavor is softening. There is now a buttery note and a peach aftertaste. I’m doing longer steeps of adding an additional minute to keep it going. The extended infusions is also ramping up on dryness leaving my mouth feeling dryer than before – full on dry teeth, cheeks and tingle numb tongue (6/10 dryness).

The leaf is bursting from the gaiwan!

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Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: I did a 10 and 20 min steep for the final infusions. The flavor of 2010 kunlu sheng is light and sweet but still quite dry.

Mega leaf found!

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Comments

I preferred the early infusions of 2010 Sheng Spring Kunlu Pu’er as it got more vegetal and dry as it went on. Overall the texture was very nice and thick, great for texture tea chasers like myself. The flavor was interesting for it’s citrus, stone fruit and vegetal elements.

Check out Canadian Pu’er seller Wymm Tea – they offer sample sizes, sampler packs and whole pu’er cakes!

(tea provided for review)

2011 Sheng Pu-erh from Single Origin Tea – Tea Review

I’ve noticed my review queue has a lot of pu’er in it, I hope no one minds. I don’t mind – the more pu’er in my stash the better! Today’s pu’er is from Single Origin Tea – a 2011 Sheng. Upon further reading into this pu’er, it is a Bu Lang mountain tea.

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Dry Leaf

I have a sample, to the leaf is broken up into loose bits. The tea is softly scented.

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Steeping Instructions

I went with 190f water temperature. I did one rinse and started with 20 second infusions using a gaiwan.

My new tea pet quite enjoyed paddling through the rinse.

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Tasting of Single Origin Tea’s 2011 Sheng Pu’er

First Infusion: The 2011 Pu’er is clear with a tint of gold. The scent is mild with just an esscence of sweet.

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The sip has a creamy thick texture with notes of straw and fruity sweet. It is light for a pu’er (so far) and I could mistake this for a strongly steeped shou mei white tea. On ward!

Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: The colour developed a deeper orange tint.

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Now we are drinking sheng! The texture is creamy thick like my mouth is full of cotton. The flavor is lightly sweet. There are notes of copper metallic with a light acidity that reminds me of cooked granny smith apple skin. After each sip there is a peachy floral aftertaste. With each sip the aftertaste gets stronger eventually taking over the flavor, followed by a light dryness. By the way, there are no smoke notes in this sheng.

Sixth and Seventh Infusion: Single Origin Tea’s 2011 Pu’er is mellow and light. The thick mouth feel is still going strong. There is a strong peachy floral with a bit of dryness to keep it going. So peachy! I mostly just taste the aftertaste and hint of dry apple tart.

Feeling really chill and mellow too. I have stopped being anxious about waiting for my FedEx package to arrive.

Eighth and Ninth Infusion: I increased the water temperature to boiling to milk a bit more out of the tea. Increasing the water temperature turned out to be a good move as the pu’er got back to tasting similar to early steeps but much drier.

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Tenth and Eleventh Infusion: The pu’er quickly dropped off in flavor. It’s now really light with a mineral flavor and pretty dry. I think it’s dead Jim.

Comments

Single Origin Tea’s 2011 Sheng Pu’er is an easy to drink light tasting raw pu’er. I liked the middle infusions and the peachy flavor. I’d recommend this one for someone new to pu’er as its friendly not too dry and does not have any smoke flavor. A white tea drinker would enjoy this one too!

 

(tea provided for review)

Sunday Tea Hoots 2 – Dad

I had something else planned to post for Oolong Owl’s Sunday Tea Hoots but then realized it was Father’s Day today. Plus June 21 is also my Dad’s birthday. Poor guy, often Father’s Day is in the June 20s so he gets stuck with the same double duty gift!

I don’t think my dad really reads Oolong Owl, but that is okay he has an excuse. My dad is legally blind so he’s not that computer friendly. He can somewhat get by with a iPad, mostly for email, taking photos, playing games and watching videos I send him. (You want to know what kind of videos I send him? 100 attacks to the groin | Kung Fury). Due to his eyes, he recently retired and has been active in his hobbies of making swords or leather armor. My dad also lives back home in Canada, he visits me on Christmas since I moved to the USA, though I am seeing him this summer.

My Dad mostly drinks coffee, a couple cups a day, 1 cream no sugar. He also drinks tea. He’s a big Trekkie and when Captain Picard was drinking Earl Grey, Hot, Dad got a bunch of Earl Grey to drink too. When he visits I unload tea on him. Last Christmas we had many sessions of drinking tea while playing Cribbage. The guy skunked me a few times! His hand is the one on the top.

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Since I got a crazy tea stash, I had to narrow down what teas Dad liked. I started on Earl Greys and then expanded the black tea range. Turns out he really likes spice teas, like Chai. I find his enjoyment of spicy chais odd as he can’t normally handle spicy food. I had enough guts to give him ripe pu’er, which I thought he would like since it’s an easy transition from coffee. He tried some really good ripe pu’er that I had on hand. He seemed to like it, but though he’d drink a couple cups from my obnoxiously small gongfu cups, it would run right through him.

Despite my tea being more effective than prune juice to my Dad, he seems to like my tea crazy ways. He bought me a big tea shelf to display all my teas for Christmas 2014 – he was insistent that I needed a better set up to show it off. (Yes, I know I haven’t posted pictures of this yet, it’s coming). He was happy to go to DavidsTea, which is a short walking distance to his house, and buy me tea ware. Since then he goes to DavidsTea often, drinks the samples, and bothers the women working there by showing them pictures of his swords and gives them my blog business cards. If you are reading this DavidsTea workers – don’t give him ripe pu’er!

Anyways, I’m having a round of Mandala Tea’s Special dark thinking about my Dad. I’m out of good black chai tea since he drank them all over Christmas.

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Happy Father’s Day/Birthday Dad!

Yet again, Oolong Owl bought another ru kiln gaiwan and rabbit tea pet

I was doing my usual browsing through aliexpress and found a really sweet gaiwan! I also snagged a tea pet while I was at it!

My tea pet is one I’ve seen around instagram plus I remember a tea seller having one in her facebook photos. I’ve wanted it for some time and I finally found one for an alright price so I jumped on it. It’s a bunny on a leaf boat tea pet!

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The tea pet is pretty cute as when you pour tea on him it fills up the boat! Thankfully, filling up the boat does not lead into a tragic tea boating accident!

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No, the tea pet doesn’t float. It would be pretty cool if it did! What if the rabbit is on a boat, trying to paddle away from the tea?

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I’m thinking I will just use this tea pet for lighter teas, since my other tea pets I’m actively trying to stain with black and ripe pu’er. I quite like this tea pet as it is a loppy like my bunny Benson. Realistically, I know my bunny Benson would just sit on a boat glaring, which would propel him across the water.

The gaiwan I picked up looked quite unique to me and no other sellers had it. The listing said it is “korean style”. I ID’d the gaiwan to be a ru kiln/ruyao glaze despite the listing not saying so in English. I really like the cloud accents on the gaiwan and cup, but sometimes they look like brains.

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The design is an easy pour with little handles on the side, with a “sneeze guard” top to stop leaves from falling out when you pour. It came with a saucer and cup.

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Both the gaiwan and cup have little feet!

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The cloud “wings” makes for nice grip. I have small hands so the handles work nicely for me. It doesn’t keep your fingers cool though as later steepings the entire vessel is boiling hot! However, the gaiwan pours really nice!

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I’m curious what would get tea stained first – I predict the saucer as I spill a lot of tea. After my first use (which was an upcoming tea review) I forgot to clean up after my session and left the sheng pu’er in the cup and gaiwan and there’s already some staining.

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And the cup staining looks pretty weird. There was some tea left and where there isn’t any stain is where the tea was.

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In crazy news, I have another gaiwan and cups on the way. I need an intervention. Or maybe more people to come over for tea.

June 2015 Simple Loose Leaf – Tea Review

Time for the June Simple Loose Leaf box!

Simple Loose Leaf box info – 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!

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For June the teas are – Jasmine Chun Hao Green, Dante Pu’er, Vanilla Ceylon Decaf, Jasmine Chun Hao Green, Russian Caravan and Prickly Pear Herbal. I’m going to review three of those. I have had Russian Caravan in a previous Simple Loose Leaf box.

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Tasting of June 2015 Simple Loose Leaf Teas

Jasmine Chun Hao Green

The dry leaf is nicely jasmine scented with a green leaf.

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Unfortunately, me steeping didn’t come out well. I went with the high temperature listed on the package (195f) and it came out really bitter with a sweet jasmine finish. I didn’t like the mega bitterness at all and had to pour it out.

June 2015 Simple Loose Leaf Tea Review - Oolong Owl (4) I dropped the kettle to 175F for the second steeping and it was still pretty bitter and really dry. I used my entire sample so this was a bust folks. It happens. Figure I should show a steeping fail once in awhile as it happens to all of us.

Prickly Pear Herbal

The dry “leaf” smells like hibiscus and fruit. I’m not one for hot hibiscus tart teas, so I’m icing this tea! I steeped it at 200f for 4 minutes then poured it over ice.

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On its own Prickly Pear Herbal is pretty freaking tart. Like an 8 /10 Tart with mega pucker. I added a shot of light agave which tamed the tart.

Once I could actually drink it without puckering, I can taste the hibiscus and rosehip distinct flavor with a hint of a mellow floral. The finish is an extra fruity kick like pear and Watermelon. I haven’t had prickly pear in a long time, but I recall it being kind of watermelon like.

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I tried a second infusion and it was weaker flavor and somewhat watery but more watermelon in taste. The second infusion is alright, I’d otherwise pass unless you want to get everything out of your tea.

Vanilla Ceylon Decaf

This tea indeed smells like a cookie!

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I steeped up Vanilla Ceylon Decaf in boiling water for 3 minutes. My cup of tea smells like sugar cookies!

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Taste wise, Vanilla Ceylon Decaf is really creamy vanilla in flavor, naturally sweet with a watery background of malty black tea.  The main flavor is the vanilla – perfect for your sweet tooth creamy types. However, I would rather have the non-decaf version as I assume the black tea base would be more potent and less watery.

Either way, the blend is really good for a decaf tea and I’d search this one out to drink for evening tea – I rather have this than a vanilla rooibos any day. I had enough to make two cups of tea and immediately steeped up the next cup – very tasty! I think this was the best tea of the bunch!

(tea provided for review)

2010 Hai Lang Hao Ripe Pu’er from Yunnan Sourcing – Tea Review

Today’s tea review is a ripe pu’er from Yunnan Sourcing! 2010 Hai Lang Hao “As You Like” Ripe Pu’er! This 357 gram cake is available on Yunnan Sourcing.us and Yunnan Sourcing.com. This particular ripe pu’er is low to medium fermented that is a blend of various years of Menghai material.

I purchased this cake with a Yunnan Sourcing.us ripe pu’er order I did back in September 2014. I’m not sure what attracted me to this cake – the name is cute and the promise of future aging was interesting. An interesting note, I paid $24 for this cake, now it’s $38!

Teal “Pu’er Pick” Owl showing off his duel wielding pu’er pick technique!

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Dry Leaf

“As You Like” it has a lovely appearance of ripples of golden leaf throughout this cake.

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It was loosely pressed so it was easy to break apart pieces to drink.2010 Hai Lang Hao As you like ripe pu'er from Yunnan Sourcing - Oolong Owl Tea Review (4)

Steeping Instructions

I did my standard ripe pu’er method of using boiling water, 2 rinses. I started with 10 second infusions. I used 7 grams of tea for my gaiwan.

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Tasting of Yunnan Sourcing’s 2010 Hai Lang Hao “As You Like” Ripe Pu’er

“As You Like” steeps up a deep earth floor scent of clay and mud. I know the description doesn’t sound appealing but I’m itching to drink this, roll me in the pu’er mud! I bet it would do wonders for my skin! The tea is a pretty color too with a touch of red. Once I get grey hairs I need this brew colour matched!

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First Infusion: Sweet sweet and light but also very smooth and surprisingly nutty. It looks darker and more flavorful than it is. Let’s try this again.

Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The texture here is quite thick. The flavor is still light though gaining in strength. I find this interesting as the appearance looks close to like a thick heavy flavored ripe pu’er but the flavor is smooth and light.

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“As You Like” has an edge of hazelnut flesh with a hint of earth. There is a sweet aftertaste at the end that reminds me of golden raisins and dried apricots. With each steeping, the pu’er gets more sweet, transitioning the apricot to the sip as well. I swear I got caught snacking in the baking cubby again. Very creamy texture is like each sip is adding a coating of lip balm.

Hello tea drunk my old friend. Let’s have a break and do some tea drunk yoga whooooo! What yoga pose is this?

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Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: I doubled steep time because why not. The taste is more bright of dried apricots and agave with the smoothness of earth, hazelnuts and cream. Pretty good and strong flavor here. Each infusion is getting sweeter leaving me with a pretty sweet cup.

Last hurrah 10 minute and 25 minute Infusion: Sweet with a hint of mineral and earth. Not fruity anymore and still creamy. Even with these long infusions the pu’er is not dry.

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Comments

2010 Hai Lang Hao “As You Like” Ripe Pu’er is super easy to drink. The flavor is creamy, nutty and fruity without funky fermentation or mushroom.  This would be a great first ripe pu’er or if you are more of a Sheng drinker want a less intense ripe. Either way, I quite enjoyed this one and would most likely try the other Hai Lang Haos that Yunnan Sourcing carries.

I think this pu’er could potentially preform well with extended steeps like in a tumbler or western style infusions as well. It could also do pretty good grandpa style.

Here are the links again for this cake as it is available on both Yunnan Sourcing.us and Yunnan Sourcing.com. I got mine from the .US link for cheaper shipping.

Sunday Tea Hoots 1 – Tea Drunk Yoga

Welcome to the first installment of Oolong Owl’s “Sunday Tea Hoots”. Sunday Tea Hoots is about Oolong Owl life randomness related to tea!

Tea Drunk Yoga

I’ve been dabbling in Yoga on and off for years. This year I’ve been really pushing to re-composition my body as married life has led me to enjoy baking and eating a little too much. I am doing a bunch of stuff with success, but that could be another Sunday Tea Hoot.

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To do a bit more, I decided to do Yoga more regularly. I’m on a 30 day yoga challenge, which I’ve almost completed (eehhh I missed a few days, doubled up on a few days, but hey, I’ll do them all). There is probably some yoga-broscience (sis science? yoga is full of women, isn’t it?) on when I’m supposed to practice, and on an empty stomach, I don’t know. I seem to just do yoga when I get past my procrastination, whether that is after lunch or right before I go to bed.

Three times now, one for an upcoming review, I had my afternoon tea session right being doing yoga. All smashing tea drunk as I had many many rounds of pu’er and feeling pretty weird.

You have probably heard me mention being tea drunk on a number occasions in my tea reviews, often for drinking pu’er or oolongs. Being tea drunk is the mix of a whole bunch of caffeine hitting you plus the calmingness of L-theanine. Some get pretty meditative while tea drunk however I tend to get manic weird since I’m sensitive to caffeine, with the odd creatively insightful moods.

Before I go into the experience of tea drunk yoga, I have done Brazillian Jiujitsu tea drunk and it certainly effected my performance. If you don’t know much about Brazillian Jiujitsu (BJJ) it’s a ground grappling martial art that uses chokes and joint locks. I felt really relaxed, which was great for keeping my cool and staying loose so I could escape out of offensive attacks. However, I was also very strangley energetic and hyper. I was windmilling my arms a lot and humming this, driving my partners insane.

Mahna Mahna! Oddly it has always been my go to Tea Drunk humming tune.

Anyways, I had the biggest urge to do yoga in some sort of tea drunk manic phase. I know enough about my own exercise procrastination, if I feel like working out I should immediately do it.  Some concerns crossed my mind as yoga is more relaxation and stillness than smashy arm breaking BJJ. Often I’m doing yoga thinking I wish I was bench pressing or arm locking people instead so maybe a ton of tea in me would be fun.

Turns out, Tea Drunk Yoga for me is a whole lot of downward facing dog butt dancing at first. It was also difficult to turn off tea manic mode, as my brain was busy thinking about crocheting yoga bags, how a t rex would look doing yoga, and how I had to pee again from drinking too much tea. After that (and hitting pause for pee break) I was able to finally chill out and relax into the pose. TEA MELLOW ACTIVATE! I did find switching on calm was easier than having no tea.

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There was a problem though. My last session I messed up my lower back with an enthusiastic cobra. Alas, no more yoga for awhile. The Tea Owls still do it though as it helps with deeper hooting.

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Kyobancha Green Tea from M&K’s Tea Co – Tea Review

Hello Kyobancha! This organic roasted Japanese green tea is sold by M&Ks Tea Co. It is the March 2014 harvest from the Nakai Seichajo tea farm in Wazuka, Kyoto Prefecture Japan.

Despite being on a Japanese Monthly tea club a year or so back, I haven’t had a kyobancha before. With that said, I am not able to compare whether this is an awesome kyobancha or not.

All my other M&K teas are samples, but this one is a full size and it has really fun packaging! I almost don’t want to put it in a tin!

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Dry Leaf

The Kyobancha is really light. This pile is 2 grams!

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The leaf is quite fragrant of sweet roastyness. The leaves are flat, broken bits of light browns with a slight sheen to them.

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Steeping Instructions

The package states to use 200f water for 2 to 4 minutes. This high temperature kind of scared me as it isn’t something I would do for a green tea. However, it turned out at the 3.5 minute mark produced the best flavor for me.

Throughout the steeping this tea is very fragrant, like I lit a fire in my tea cup!

Tasting of M&Ks Tea Co’s Kyobancha Green Tea

Kyobancha steeps up a clear light gold with a camp fire scent.

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The green tea sips in totally unexpected from the scent! I thought it was going to be thick, bitter (from the high temperature water) or very smokey but this tea came out tasty! Kyobancha tastes like very clean and sweet with roasty nuts, honey, light wood birch and toasted wonder bread. The finish is a little dry but still very pleasant. The flavor intensity is delicate yet flavorful.

Comments

M&Ks Tea Co‘s Kyobancha is a roasty change of pace for green drinker looking for something different. This is my kinda green as I go bonkers for roasted oolongs over something is “green” in flavor and this green tea is a lighter option with a guilty pleasure feel to it.

Why do I think “guilty pleasure?” Do I feel guilty in betraying the beloved oolong? Or is the sweet honey on toasted wonder bread brings me back to being a kid and not eating my adult diet food.

(tea provided for review)

DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker Travel Tea Tumbler Review

Here I go again – me and my obsession with tea tumblers. I’m starting to buy these things as if they are accessories that go with my purse.

Today’s travel tea tumbler is special though, the DAVIDsTea’s Matcha Maker, which is a unique design and the first time I seen a tea tumbler that focuses on matcha.

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First off, I need to address a question that is probably is on some of your minds.

“Why is this a thing – can’t I just use a mason jar/any other tea tumbler to shake up hot matcha?”

You can, go ahead and try it shaking hot matcha in a mason jar if you would like to have the rest of your day turn into a bad one. Trust me on this.

Without some sort of pressure release, shaking an air tight vessel with hot liquid causes the air to expand. Minimum, the lid will leak and hiss out burning water. Next worse case scenario – the body cracks. After that – the lid pops off. Worst – blasted thing explodes!

DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker Review

Now that we got that out of they way, let’s take a look at the DAVIDsTea’s Matcha Maker.

Box:

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The specs on the DAVIDsTea’s The Matcha Maker tea tumbler:

  • Double Walled Plastic (BPA free Tritan material).
  • 14oz / 421ml Capacity
  • Leak Proof
  • Special frother attachment
  • Special pressure release valve
  • Tea Filter attachment

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The design is slim and sharp – I do love the white cap making it look clean and modern, along with a pretty contrast to it full of green matcha. I found carrying this tumbler around caught me a few extra glances, with a few people asking what the hell I was drinking.

Special Frother is made of clear material that snaps on. Very interesting looking!

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The lid is the same size as DAVIDsTea The Carry and will fit. The tea filter is the same model. To compare more to the DAVIDsTea The Carry, the Matcha Maker is a bit taller and also much lighter. Actually, why did they send a grey filter with the Matcha Maker? I think it should match and be white or clear.

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Upon opening the package there is a HUGE RED sticker saying to press the button. If I was designing this tumbler, I would of have it printed on to completely idiot proof the thing. Either way, get into the habit of pressing the button just in case you forgot you shook it or not.

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Both on the underside of the top lid and drinking cap are removable rubbery/silicone(?) bands to keep the tumbler leak proof. Be sure to clean under those often!DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker - Oolong Owl Tea Review (8)

DAIVDsTea Matcha Maker Performance

I’ve used the DAVIDsTea’s Matcha Maker for over a month now and overall happy with it despite a couple issues with it.

The Matcha Maker body is double walled, with the printing on the inside layer so that it doesn’t come off over time. There is a line printed to show how high you can fill up the tumbler. I think the double wall design is overkill for matcha since matcha is made with not very hot water, but as a regular travel tea tumbler it’s a beneficial design.

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This tea tumbler is indeed leak proof. You have to shake it to froth up the matcha and that never sprayed or leaked on me.

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The pressure valve is what I love most about this tumbler, above even the matcha ability. Shake shake (or jostle around in your purse, or get kicked back and froth on the table by Tea Owls) then press the button. You’ll hear a hiss of the air releasing. From my experience of flippy double lid tea tumblers, is that you should always put the first lid then the cap, not the lid/cap together – not following this order will make it leak even though it is a leak proof design. This unit is an exception as you can simply hit the pressure button after you screw on the lid.

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Matcha Froth-ability? It does the job and is pretty similar to me using an electric frother. You could probably get a better job whisking, but I can’t put a matcha bowl in the car cup holder, can I? As the instructions say, if you pour it out through the frother and screen it will remove the foam, so be sure to unscrew the lid if you want matcha foam.

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One critique I had with the DAVIDsTea The Carry was the fat lip to sip out of, which is kind of annoying if you have a small mouth like me. The design is the same for the Matcha Maker as it’s essentially the same part but different colour. However, I didn’t find the fat ridge to be annoying since matcha is a cooler temperature and the unit doesn’t keep tea ripping hot like The Carry does.

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DAIVDsTea Matcha Maker Bonus perks

1. Works awesomely with any powdered drink, hot or cold. I’ve put Aiya’s Rooibos Zen Cafe mix in my Matcha maker and it is the bomb! I have also used hot chocolate mix in my Matcha maker. I have also gone into crazy town and put protein powder in my matcha maker for post workout drinks! The matcha frother works just as good as a blender bottle intended for protein powder.

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2. Can take bag or purse abuse. This tea tumbler did amazing in my purse because of the pressure valve. Even with leak proof tumblers, with one being filled with hot liquid and getting bumped around, they are prone to leak due to pressure. The Matcha Maker can take a day at food festival in my purse with no hissing leaking lids because the hot liquid was being jostled around too much. 

3. Light weight and more durable than glass. DAVIDsTea’s Matcha Maker, due to the plastic body, is quite light weight, which makes it easy to carry around.

I’ve gotten a few recommendation requests on a plastic tea tumbler as the user needs something that won’t shatter like glass, but is still see through. Since the DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker comes with a regular tea filter, you can use it as a regular travel tea tumbler and not burn your hands since it is double walled. I don’t know how well it will hold temperature though. If someone wants me to temperature test it, I can do so.

DAIVDsTea Matcha Maker Issues

I did have a couple issues arrive with this tumbler, mostly having to do with the matcha frothing abilities.

1. Too much froth when matcha is prepared with milk. This might be a soy milk only issue, but I had an issue using the DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker with milk. You can see the froth level on the picture above with the rooibos mix that I made with milk.

I am aware milk will froth up more, so when I tried this Matcha Maker out with soy milk I was careful to add less milk than the line on the bottle. After shaking it, the froth got WAYYY too crazy and was hitting the top. I pressed the pressure release valve which cause it to spray hot matcha milk out of the button! With that said, be very careful when using the DAVIDsTea Matcha Maker with hot milk! Wait until the froth goes down before hitting the pressure release! With cold milk it still froths up like crazy, but there is no pressure due to temperature.

2. Cleaning. First off, the frother attachment has a lot of holes plus nooks and crannies that a brush can’t get into. Matcha will also build and crust up in the frother if you don’t go in and clean it well. The most evil thing is the little hole above the middle droplet shape which matcha will get into – you need to use a tooth pick to scoop out of the gunk.

This is the froth attachment after I tried to clean it with a bottle brush.

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The pressure release, as much as I like it, also will get gunk in it especially if you have an accident with it spewing milk.

With that said, owning this tea tumbler you will need a tea soak style cleaner – Mandala Tea’s Smart Soak to the rescue (as always, this stuff is amazing!).  I couldn’t figure out how to get this thing clean without a soaking or getting creative with a pipe cleaner and toothpick. Edit: by the way, the instructions on the box say the Matcha Maker is handwash only. Sorry dishwasher hopefuls!

3. Top Heavy. I found the Matcha Maker top heavy, especially since the body is plastic and light. If the bottle is almost or is empty it is prone to fall over. Luckily it is leak proof!

4. Price. At this time this tea tumbler is $35 USD, which is pretty steep for a travel tea tumbler and one of DAVIDsTea’s most expensive travel mugs. You are paying a premium here for the frother and pressure valve.

Is the DAVIDsTea’s Matcha Maker cheaper than an entire traditional matcha set up? An electric frother can run you $1 to $20 (dollar store FTW). Bamboo whisk similarly can be found for under $20. Right now, you can get a cheap Matcha whisk set for under $12 (affiliate link).

Matcha bowls are the bigger ticket item but any wide bowl or mug will do. With that said, the answer is no, the matcha maker is not cheaper than traditional matcha gear if you bargain hunt. However, if you just want one vessel to do it all, the matcha maker might be more optimal.

By the way, I have an old blog post on how to make matcha without any matcha equipment.

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Final Comments

I found DAVIDsTea’s The Matcha Maker to be a really cool looking tea tumbler and does a good job making matcha and other hot drinks. The Matcha Maker is leak proof and the pressure valve makes this tumbler the only (so far) travel tea tumbler that you can shake hot matcha in without it exploding in your face.

With that said, at high price of $35, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth paying a bit more for a travel tumbler with pressure release and built in frother. I personally found all the extra perks of the unit being light weight, durable and being able to be used with other hot mixed drinks to be worth it for me. I am also a tea tumbler addict.

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