July White2tea Club with 2015 Green Shroom Pu’er – Tea Review

Tea readers, I am very satisfied with this month’s White2Tea Club – having fun exclusive pu’er cakes is really awesome!

In July’s White2Tea Club – 2015 Green Shroom 250 grams and  a sample of 2005 Rocket Yiwu.

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Look how sweet this pu’er shroom looks! I’ve never owned a mushroom shape and the video game nerd in me loves the design!

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2005 Rocket Yiwu is also a fantastic offering for this month’s tea club, many people have told me that it is really good. However I could not resist the shroom and I spent way too much time messing around with my green shroom that I didn’t get around to trying the rocket in time for this review.

Uhh crap, how do I pick off pieces? A quick Google was no luck on pu’er mushroom technique so we are dumbfounded what to do. I usually break off the underside of the cake to keep the shape intact as long as possible and I’d love to keep this in shroom shape.

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The leaf on the mushroom cap looks loose and the stem is a twisted compact terror.

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From last month’s pu’er gourd that wanted blood, I knew another irregular shape could get bloody. I’ve already contacted our pro pu’er picker and he’s clueless (though he seems interested in getting a 1-up).

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I managed to break off some of the stem, and then gave up and went for the cap. Thankfully there were no stabbings or feathers lost but we did a crap crap job. Sigh.

Tasting of White2Tea Club’s 2015 Green Shroom Pu’er

I was warned by a tea friend that this pu’er is bitter so I went with a lower water temperature of 185F and really short steepings of 10 seconds to start.

Green Shroom steeps up a pale light green with soft vegetal scent.

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First Infusion: Oooh, soft fluffy sweet! The flavor is slightly vegetal and fruity but too light to pick up anything more precise. The texture is creamy thick with moisturizing lip feel. The finish is interesting like a dry knife plunged in. This is gonna get dry and my mouth tingles.

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Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Green Shroom Pu’er is sweeter. Once you plow through smooth thick texture of incense notes, I’m getting peachy aftertaste. This is a dainty delicate mushroom! As expected, the tea is getting dry, a 2/10 Dryness as the back of my tongue is dry and I got a weird mouth tingle.

Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: Wahhaha my tongue feels funny like I want to zip my tongue around like a snake. The sweet, delicate peachy ambyer flavor is stronger, waving in like perfume.

I’m wrecked guys. We’ve started the ritualistic owl dancing around the mushroom and tea pot with lots of wing flapping and hooting.

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Eighth and Ninth Infusion: Green Shroom Pu’er is still thick delicate but losing sweetness. The flavor is vegetal and I’m getting a starting of refreshing camphor and some bitterness in the aftertaste mixed with the peach. The refreshing is really light, unless I’m feeling refreshed since I’m doing pacing laps around the house. Oh and I’m sweating, I should probably sit down (yeah I’m one of those tea drinkers that is usually standing).

Tenth infusion: The color took a dive here to a tint of yellow. The flavor is almost dead and is of hint of sweet. Hey tea, the party is still going. Get with the program!

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Eleventh Infusion: I upped the temperature to 200f and went with a 5 minute infusion. The flavor is strong but not as strong as I expected. We don’t have much time! 2015 Green Shroom is sweet and delicate again. It’s peachy echo aftertaste is strong but the dryness jumped greatly and not as pleasantly, 5/10 Dryness.

Twelfth Infusion: I did a 10 minute final infusion here. It is still quite dry and that camphor fresh echo is here. Flavor is really light and not sweet. I might be able to squeak another infusion if I let it go for an hour, but I think I’ll stop here.

Cold Brew – I’ve been playing with cold brewing pu’er over the last few weeks with mixed results, fingers crossed the shroom will work!

I did the cold brew a little differently, as the tight compression of the pu’er needed a little help. I used my favorite cold brew ratio of 8 grams of tea to 4 cups/1 liter of water.

To start, I added my pu’er to a gravity steeper and gave it a 5 second rinse with hot water, dumping that water as if I was going to steep it hot. I then reached in and tried to break up the compressed leaf as much as possible. I then added all the leaf to my cold brew vessel, filled it with cool water and popped it into the fridge. After an overnight cold steep there wasn’t much flavor or colour change. The 24 hour mark was the best.

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The cold brew interestingly translated a great mouth feel – if you can believe it the cold brew was super thick in texture. The flavor is refreshing with a light smokey vegetable bitter finish. I love the mouth feel and it something I haven’t experienced yet in a cold brewing.

Comments

Overall, a fun month with rockets and mushrooms! Just like previous months, I’m very happy with the White2Tea Club, best $30 tea purchase every month!

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July 2015 Simple Loose Leaf – Tea Review

July 2015 Simple Loose Leaf tea club time!

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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!

In July 2015’s box – Lavender & Vanilla Earl Grey, Dragonwell Green, Lime & Pistachio Mate, Wu Yi Oolong and Breakfast Americano Black.

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Admittedly, I’m not too happy with this month’s box. I do a couple of the month things and often “you win some you lose some”. For this month’s box I’m not into the coffee teas. Gasp, I’m not a bit dragonwell fan either and the wuyi oolong doesn’t excite me.

Tasting of July 2015 Simple Loose Leaf Box

Lime Pistachio Mate

The dry leaf is a sweet lime scent. I decided to steep mine iced – so I steeped a double strength round with boiling water for  5 minutes, then poured the tea over ice.

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Lime Pistachio Mate sips in with a dry lime flavor. There is a bit of a lemongrass sweetness in the middle with a dry nut finish. I get an aftertaste of pistachio, which is an interesting pairing to the lime. A neat iced tea for the adventurous type of tea drinker!

Lavender and Vanilla Earl Grey

The dry leaf is sweet vanilla scent with a brush of lavender. I steeped mine with boiling water for 3 minutes.

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The Earl Grey is mostly lavender scented, with a taste of sweet vanilla, hum of lavender with a brisk finish of black tea and bergamot. The blend is lightly sweet with all the vanilla, so I think you can easily pass on the sugar for this tea. I was thinking this tea would be excellent flavor for sweet – lavender vanilla earl grey creme brulee would be fantastic!

(tea provided for review)

Summus Tea Cold Brew Bottle with Black and Oolong Teas – Tea Review

I purchased this cold brew tea set, along with extra teas from Summus Tea during the World Tea Expo 2015. I had to have it – the tea samples were delicious and the glass bottles were so pretty! Summus Tea sells fine, hand picked, organic Taiwanese teas.

Admittedly, I saw a few bottle designs at World Tea Expo, but this one was special. Summus had COLOUR CHANGING BOTTLES! OMG OMG! Summus had a few designs, a tiger, butterflies and this one which I picked: tree with leaves and birds. Out of the box, the design is white and so cute. Apparently, it was designed by the owner’s daughter, such talent!

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The bottle is glass with a rubbery silicone top. The top has a filter attached to stop tea leaves from pouring out.

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The colour changing magic happens when cold liquid is introduced. At room temperature the design is white.

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It seems cold tap water makes the colours slightly turn darker. When I added iced the glass near the ice changed colour the most! This bottle is hard to photo due to its size and being clear, so I’m trying my best tea readers!

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In goes the tea. I am using Summus Alpine Superb Black here (review of the tea below!)

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And into the fridge. The bottle is quite tall, just like a wine bottle, so it’s in the door next to my cooking red wine and some chocolate red wine that’s been in there for a year that I keep forgetting to unload on dinner guests.

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After 4 hours in the fridge, the colours of the bottle are dark! The birds are bright blue and the leaves a couple shades of pink and yellow.

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Cold Brew Bottle Performance

The colour changing bottle worked well! It pours nicely and the filter works well. I found the unit does not leak and can take laying on its side. I wouldn’t go around shaking this bottle as it is slippery due to condensation.

THE BIGGEST APPEAL of this cold brew bottle – Drinking cold brew tea straight out of a wine-shaped bottle brings a whole new element of tea drunk. The warmth of your hands also makes the design colour change as you drink it, haha!

Tasting of Summus Tea Black and Oolong

Cold Brew instructions came with the bottle which turned out to work very well and is now my cold brew method. I was using too much tea before and Cold Brewing 8 to 12 grams of tea for a 4 cup /34 oz/ 1000ml bottle is perfect!

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The box packaging is bright and pretty with creative origami elements as they are all one piece.

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Inside the box is a cute pull out tray.Summus Tea and Cold Brew Bottle - Oolong Owl  (7)

Each tea is individually packed in little foil tubs that are sealed with nitrogen to stay fresh.

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When you crack open the tub, the scent of the tea hits you like a school bus. I almost feel guilty not hot steeping these teas in a gaiwan, they smells so good!

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However, Summus Tea seems all about the cold brewing, so I will follow through. I got 4 different teas from Summus – 2 black and 2 oolong. Lets drink!

Summus Alpine Superb Black Tea

This is the first Summus Tea I brewed and is in all the photos above! The dry leaf is sweet and tannic in scent. I did a 4 hour cold brew as that is as long as I could wait for this tea. THIRSTY HOOT!

The tea is a touch golden. The flavor is delicious and flavorful! It is very sweet, with the main flavoring being quite fruity squishy mixed raisin with toasty milk bread, chestnut shells, and light wood notes. Finishes with a floral echo aftertaste. The black is super fresh and clean tasting too. The flavor cold brewed is quite close to an medium oxidized oolong, without the richness of a black.

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After I poured out a cup for the Tea Owl, I drank the entire bottle straight out of the bottle in one sitting. No regrets. Oh wait, I probably should of tried it with a longer cold brew. Oh well, next time.

Summus Apline Oolong

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The dry leaf smells very floral and lovely. After a 24 hour cold brew, I had a flavorful tea that was thick buttery, floral and sweet. The aftertaste is slightly pomelo citrus note with a lingering floral flavor. The tea isn’t grassy, bitter or astringent. This is one of the nicest green oolong cold brews I’ve had! This cold brew was also consumed in one session, yum!

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Look at these beautiful leaves!

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Summus Alpine Premium Black

The leaf in the Premium Black is thinner and more broken up than the Superb black. This one I steeped overnight, so about 10 hours.

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The taste is more floral than the other black. It’s distinctly sweet like honey, flowers with a bit of malt and hardwood. Similar to the other black cold brew, this one is also crisp and flavorful. Hard to say which black cold brew I like more – both have tasty personalities. If you haven’t cold brewed Taiwanese black teas you need to right now!

Summus Organic Oriental Beauty

It is time for a tea to steal the show!

This oriental beauty has to be the most beautiful leaf I’ve seen so far – it is certainly a rainbow of silver, gold, yellow, red, browns and greens! The leaf is perfect looking!

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Another! So pretty!

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Again, this looked too good to cold brew but I did it. At first I wasn’t convinced – at the 4 hour mark there was barely any flavor. When I tried it at the 20 hour mark, it had good flavor.

I don’t think I’ve had oriental beauty cold brewed and it is now a favorite, the 20 hour brew time was worth it! This cold brew is delicate, sweet, buttery and floral. There is an aftertaste of peach that is really nice, which also builds with each sip. That peach aftertaste is the best part of the oriental beauty.

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Like the other 3 cold brews, I drank the entire bottle in one session – it was so good! I wished I had 2 bottles of it!

Comments

I love my purchase of the Summus Teas and Cold Brew Bottle! The teas are excellent quality and the cold brew bottle is attractive. Ideally, I would love to use the bottle on a picnic – it would look very sharp pouring cold brew tea out of this wine bottle shape.  I enjoyed all the teas, especially the Oriental Beauty – that oolong was out of this world! The crisp flavorful black tea cold brews would go great with sandwiches and sweets. Alpine Oolong was also quite nice for a floral citrus drink for a refreshing hit on a hot day.

Sigh, unfortunately I could not find an online store front for Summus Teas. This might be a problem as that Oriental Beauty oolong was the best! I will keep you all posted if I find a place to order from!

Sunday Tea Hoots 4 – Weird Teaware Finds of ebay

Last Friday while eating my lunch I was looking through ebay and showing off my finds to Chatzy tea friends and twitter. Oh man did I find weird stuff! I imagine not all of you readers are on twitter, and these tea ware finds were just too crazy to not see!

I’ll link everything I found just in case someone really wants to get it. Items linked July 2015.

Tea Pets

If you get deep into the bowels of ebay and aliexpress looking at tea pets, you’ll find quite a few NSFW ones. I won’t link those. Even deeper into the bowels, all you will find is dog shampoo listings.

Celadon Ru Kiln Deer Tea Pet. That’s not a deer guys. I do like the glaze on the egg, it makes it look tasty like frosting.

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Sassy Poodle Tea Pet. I’ve seen a number of dog tea pets, but usually that floppy ear kind of dog, nothing as specific as a poodle.

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Walnut Tea Pet. I saw so many of these and they are cheap too. I’m not sure why one would want a walnut on their tea table. I could see it being a nice tea pet for only nutty ripe pu’er though.

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Cabbage Tea Pet. Whoops, this one is from Aliexpress but I had to include it since it goes with the walnut. I think I would jump on this if it was $5 like the walnuts. There’s a couple of these on aliexpress but they are over $15! A cabbage on the tea table is just so random that it would make good instagram fodder.

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WHAT IS THIS THING?! I think it’s supposed to be a dragon tortoise, but it’s so horrific I want to bleach my eyes.

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Alright, that was traumatic. I’ll show you a dangerously cute one –

Hedgehog Tea Pet. Doubles as a bashing weapon or pu’er cake tenderizer. I would totally hurt myself with this tea pet.

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Gaiwans

Fat Bird Easy Gaiwan. That’s one chubby bird! Gorgeous gaiwan too, I love the pink flowers. That bird though… it’s really fat.

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Superfine Fat Panda Gaiwan. Super fine? They look a little scruffy to me.

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Dragon Scale Gaiwan Set. I can see some guys liking this and this would be the set my Dad would buy to impress me. I think it’s the perfect tea set for a 1980’s Kung Fu movie being used by the villain.

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Supersize me Gaiwan 300ml. 300ml! Over 5 Inches wide. HOLY MOLY! And I thought 150ml was large. There was a couple designs of these on ebay but for the price tag, it might be easier to use a tea pot or a soup bowl.

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Yixing Pots

Weird Yixing pots are easy to find. You got lots of Mao ones, some NSFW freaky ones and weird lumpy animal ones.

Yinyang Double Yixing Pot. Hey, you get two pots for one! I bet if I poured tea out of them I would miss and tea my lap.

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Frog Yixing Pot. There’s plenty of yixing tea pots with little animals on the lid, however I am unsure what they were trying to do with the shape. The frog in on a blobby thing that I think is supposed to be a sea shell? The clay is pretty and the price is good.

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Bird Dragon Gourd Yixing Pot. Whoa, this is so busy that I’m not sure what is going on here. It says it’s a gourd, but it looks like two tea pots smushed together with derpy creatures on it.

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Lawn Chair Yixing Pot. I remember it was a running joke for awhile on some Cheezeburger site I used to visit before Reddit, and it was of house listings and how everyone had tacky white lawn chairs. Now you can have a lawn chair on your tea table. It needs matching cups and tea pet, I’m thinking a sprinkler as a tea pet.

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After I linked the lawn chair yixing I thought I was done. That tea pot was just too insane. Then I found this:

Yixing Tanuki/Red Panda Pitcher. The panda is bloated and screaming. This is the stuff of nightmares.

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Because you can never have too many rice pattern gaiwans and tea cups

Just keep me away from ebay and aliexpress – I keep finding these pretty gaiwans, tea cups and tea pets (I also find really weird stuff, but that’s another topic). I guess the good thing is as I downsize my tea stash, I’m creating more room for the tea ware.

The Haul:

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The first item I purchased was the cups off aliexpress. I was inspired to get a rice pattern cup off Verdant Tea, who had some for a nice price, however I wanted a cup with more colour on it. I found these off aliexpress, which were a nice price, though you have to purchase a pair. I found another helpful search word for this style of tea ware is “honeycomb”.

Ceramic crystal cutout honeycomb tea cup

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I’m overall really happy with the cups I got. So pretty!

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The Tea Owls quite like the cups too. I should really get more cups like this, they are just super cool and more fun than a white interior or glass tea cup.

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With dumb luck, I was on ebay purchasing a pu’er cake and I saw this gaiwan up for bid – which looked like they matched my tea cups. I decided I had to have it to complete the set and won it for $14! The cups are indeed the matching set as it’s the same brand and year on the bottom! This was for bid, so I don’t see the same gaiwans for sale, sorry everyone.

I’d say the cups are more impressive than the gaiwan. Since tea leaf is on the dark side and crammed into a gaiwan, you get to enjoy the tea colour less than a drinking cup.

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In action! Guess the tea!

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With that ebay pu’er purchase I just mentioned, I also snagged a deer tea pet from the same shop – Berylleb King Tea. I’m pretty sure I’ve ordered tea off these guys before, and seen them recommended by others as a reliable ebay seller. I’ve seen other sellers have a white bodied version, but I think the grey looks nicer.

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The tea pet looks even better in person. It’s so graceful and cute at the same time. I love it as it’s a unique tea pet, not the usual pig, turtle or frog tea pets. It feels sturdy, but with that long neck I feel I gotta be careful with it.

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I think I’m good on tea ware for awhile. I’ve considering a stainless steel tea table since I’m working my bamboo ones hard, but I’m in no hurry for one.

(aliexpress affiliate links)

 

2011 Chunhui Unfermented Sheng Pu’er from LongRun Tea – Tea Review

While I was at the recent World Tea Expo, I was super happy to find a seller there that carried lots of Pu’er – LongRun Tea! I walked away with 2 pu’er cakes. Looking at their website, I couldn’t find a store front. After more poking around, it appears they sell on Amazon! Hey guys, there’s pu’er on Amazon!

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Today, I’ll be reviewing LongRun Tea’s 2011 Chunhui Unfermented Sheng Pu’er. It’s a 357g cake, priced at $28.99 as I write this. I scored my cake for $20 at WTE, nice! The tea in this pu’er cake is Lingcang, Yunnan spring material from 100 year old wild arbor trees.

Unwrapping and Dry Leaf

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As I unwrapped the cake and I was blasted with that young raw scent of sweet smokey earth and leaf.

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The cake came with English instructions – you don’t see that very often.

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Breaking off a piece to steep was easy, which was less work for the Tea Owls.

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Steeping Instructions

I’m still in my gaiwan rut, so I steeped the 2011 Chunhui in an easy gaiwan ~100ml with 6 grams of leaf. I decided to go teaballs out and steep my raw pu’er with boiling water. I started with short 10 second infusions, building time as I went.

Tasting of LongRun Tea’s 2011 Chunhui Unfermented Sheng Pu’er

The raw pu’er steeps up with a strong smokey sweet scent with a clear golden hue lovely clear.

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First and Second Infusion: 2011 Chunhui raw sips in with wisps of smokey incense. The flavor is light with a hint of buttery sweetness. There is also a light dryness at the back of the throat. We must press on!

Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Infusion: 2011 Chunhui raw’s flavor is getting intense. I’m thinking a lower steep temperature would of been better but I like to live dangerously. Dangerously cheesy!

For these infusions I’m getting a bit of sourness, kind of like an unripe star fruit with singed tips. The pu’er has a vibe of fruity tart and smokey amber incense aftertaste. The aftertaste is fruity smoke. After these sessions I got squirrelly dry cheeks, 4/10 Astringency meter. Putting together the flavor notes I described and I sound pretty crazy, like this is some foodie new age camping trip menu. doesn’t make too much sense. It sounds like some sort of weird new age exotic foodie camping trip with Bigfoot crashing in with gypsy scarves and sous vide pate.

I am ripping tea drunk by the way. I have great ideas – one involves crocheting mini Bigfoot and another is having a pu’er cake named “Dangerously Cheesy”.

Seventh and Eighth Infusion: The pu’er texture is quite dry with the flavor starting to slip. My teeth feel dry. The flavor has almost lost all tart. All I taste is light smoke, a bit of peach and amber with a sweet finish.

In my tea drunk state I made a horrible mess on the tea table.

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Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Infusion: Oh yeah, this is what I sampled at the WTE! 2011 Chuhui raw is sweet peachy astringency with a hint of amber incense in the background. It is amazingly sweet in contrast to the early sour unripe-fruit with dancing Bigfoots. With these last infusions each steeping gets sweeter and clear until the flavor is gone.

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Comments

LongRun Tea’s 2011 Chunhui Unfermented Sheng Pu’er has a smokey, fruity and sour flavor that develops nicely in later infusions with lots of the cha qi tea drunk times. I think the next time I steep this pu’er I will use a lower temperature as I think that would help with the dryness. I would also like to stash this raw cake for later, maybe time will tame the sour.

If you want a pu’er source off Amazon, be sure to check out LongRun tea! LongRun also sells a two pu’er cake pack with both Fermented and Unfermented 2011 Chunhui.

(amazon affiliate links)

Matcha Brand Comparison 2 – Round 1 of 3

Hi Tea readers! Today is another installment of comparing various matcha brands. These matcha comparisons will be different than the amazon matcha comparison as these matchas are the higher quality and more expensive matchas. I have 3 Rounds to go through, with each around a specific price bracket. This round, all these matchas are on the cheap end, under $9.50 per ounce.

For amazon tea buyers, don’t fret as some of these are available on amazon.

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For full disclosure, like the last amazon matcha comparison, this is brought to you by Red Leaf Tea as they provided the samples due to overwhelming response for us to try higher end matcha.

Testing Procedure

Every matcha is labelled by number or letter. I do not know what brands I was drinking at the time. After I wrote out my results, I edited in the brands, price and further thoughts.

For all matches I used 160f and started with a 1/3cup water. I opted to weigh out the matcha – 1 gram of matcha each, rather than volume measurement.

For equipment I started with high hopes and used a chasen, but I got impatient right away and switched to an electric frother. I also sifted the matcha.

Note: these matchas are being compared to each other vs. overall from previous matcha comparison posts. Some matchas may be repeated but have a different score.

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Rating Scale Breakdown (out of 10)

Matcha Powder Colour – Colour of the unprepared matcha powder. This is important as matcha can range in colour as well as colour is usually an important factor of the quality of the matcha. Generally we are looking for a vibrant green matcha.
1 = there is no color. 10 = the green is bleeding my eyes.

Matcha Powder Scent – Scent of the matcha powder. Hey, I like smelling things!
1 = smells awful. 10 = I might be caught looking suspicious with green powder under my nose from smelling the matcha too much.

Prepared Appearance – Color mostly considered here as well as foam. However I’m relaxed on foam rating as I am using a frother than Owl muscle. Photos were taken right after whisking.
1 = I want to pour it out it’s so ugly. 10 = The tea should be considered art.

Bitter Sweet Scale – How bitter or sweet it is. I was told to rate bitter/sweet this way but it was awkward for me as something can be both bitter and sweet, as well a high sweetness may not equal good.
1 = Bitter! Someone sandpaper my face off. 5 = Neither bitter or sweet middle ground. 10 = Really sweet that I call shenanigans that this has been laced with sugar.

Flavor – This is a personal rating here, I’d take this with a grain of salt. A little tough to determine as well since if it is quite bitter I will rate the matcha lower.
1 = I regret drinking that. 10 = Nope, 10 was a slip of a keystroke. It’s truly a 1 not a 10 (as I run off to buy it all).

Price – Ranking of 1 through 6
1 being the cheapest, 6 being the most expensive out of all the matchas per oz. Prices pulled July 9th 2015 so price may vary.

Matcha Brand Comparison 2, Round 1

Let’s look at the colour of all the matchas together – it is a straight up gradient!

Matcha Brand Comparison 2, round 1 - Oolong Owl (2)

 

Another observation is with each matcha getting brighter and more saturated in colour, the weight also increased. I got more matcha per teaspoon from sample 1 than sample 5.

Matcha Brand Comparison 2, round 1 - Oolong Owl (1)

 

 

MATCHA 1 – Red Leaf Tea Starter Matcha

Starter Matcha

This is an organic Chinese Matcha, aka Green Tea Powder for the people who refuse to call non-japanese matcha matcha. Or maybe we should just simply call it all green tea powder, which is what it all is. No notes on where this tea is from or year it was produced. I do like the write up as it mostly describes the flavor than weird medical benefits.

Matcha Powder Colour 1/10 in comparison to the others. The color is grey with a chalky tint of green. This matcha looks weird as was hard to get off my spoon, it literally stuck to it. I didn’t have this issue before, I’m thinking there’s some humidity going on.

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Matcha Powder Scent 5/10 nice scent. It was strong, sweet, and creamy.

Prepared Appearance 2/10 foamed badly. I had a really hard time getting it to foam. The colour is dark green, but a little muddy. I found it odd as last time I was able to get this matcha to foam with the same methods – something is wrong, especially with the weird clumping issue of the dry matcha.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 6/10 The matcha is not bitter at all and had a nice sweetness to it.

Flavor 3/10 Grassy, iceberg lettuce and green pepper, though a little bland compared to the rest. Bit of a tangy finish.

Price #1 Cheapest out of this matcha comparison at $0.94 per oz (large size). $2.99 for 15g sample, $14.99 per 1lb. Red Leaf Tea has great prices on their matcha, however it’s a bulk size. If you know you can plow through a 1lb of matcha, all the power to you.

 

MATCHA 2 – Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha

Deluxe Matcha

Another offering from Red Leaf Tea and one we have compared before. This is also a Chinese green base and organic.

Matcha Powder Colour 4/10 better in colour than the last, a darker tint of green but not vibrant or saturated.

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Matcha Powder Scent 8/10 sweet, creamy and nicely floral.

Prepared Appearance 4/10 foamed better but still a jerk. The colour is nice with a dark green, but still kind of brown. While whisking the scent of the matcha was strongly floral.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 7/10 on the sweet side, no bitterness.

Flavor 7/10 I easily identified this matcha as Red Leaf Tea’s Deluxe due to its distinct floral, grassy, creamy and peachy tangy finish. It’s a nice floral matcha and I found makes for a great iced drink.

Price #2 for Cheapest with prices of $1.56 per oz (large size). $2.99 for a 15g sample and $24.99 for 1lb. At this time there is a sale at it is $2.39 for sample, $19.99 for 1lb. Again, if you know you can get through a pound of matcha this is a good deal for nice tasting matcha. Admittedly I bought this matcha and I’m clueless what to do besides stuff it in the freezer.

 

MATCHA 3 – JK Tea Shop Ceremony Grade Matcha

jkmatcha

JK Tea Shop’s matcha is IMO Organic certified ceremony grade. This batch is harvested April 2014, so it’s over a year old. This is also a Chinese matcha, with the base form Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Matcha Powder Colour 3/10 Still ugly but darker in tone and bit more green. Still muddy saturation.

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Matcha Powder Scent 7/10 I like it – it’s sweet tangy and fresh. The strongest scented of the bunch!

Prepared Appearance 6/10 Foamed decently, enough that it held shape and I had to move the bubbles over to photo the colour of the matcha which has some vibrancy to it. The foam isn’t thick but it’s better than the other last two.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 6/10 pretty neutral. It’s not bitter but it also isn’t that sweet either.

Flavor 4/10 Not as good but similar to Matcha 2. It’s creamy thick and fruity (not floral) with a nicer aftertaste of peachyness. However I found the flavor on the weak side. It felt like I needed more matcha or less water. I wonder if this would of tasted better 10 months ago.

Price #3 Cheapest and middle of the pack for price range. $5.28 per oz and available in 50 gram/1.78oz $9.50, 100gram/3.5oz $19 and 500g/17.8oz $94. It seems there isn’t a volume discount as the 100g and 500g are the same per ounce.

 

MATCHA 4 – Red Leaf Tea Classic Matcha

Classic-Matcha

Another rank up in quality for Red Leaf Tea’s matcha selection. This one is also Chinese and again no mention of harvest date or location. Looking at this listing and the other Red Leaf Tea Chinese matcha offerings I don’t know what makes each of them different other than taste and price. If I was buying straight, I’d feel this one is a gamble, but hey, that’s why I’m here to drink it for you!

Matcha Powder Colour 5/10 As we move up the numbers, the colour is looking better, however this one still lacks that vibrant colour. Totally 100% camouflage tint, I’d lose this matcha in the woods.

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Matcha Powder Scent 6/10 Light and fresh but quite grassy like mowed lawn. Get off my lawn!

Prepared Appearance 6/10 Similar to the last matcha but with thicker bubbles. The colour is also brighter green than the last. Despite the nicer appearance to the last matcha, the bubbles faded quite quickly.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 7/10 At first I thought it tasted pretty neutral then it got sweeter and sweeter as I drank.

Flavor 6/10 Tastes like this matcha got into the rice patch. The flavor is  toasty rice mixed with spinach greens and hay. Thinking about this one in comparison to all the matchas in this round, I could mistake this one for a Japanese Matcha due to the savory flavor, though it does lack that thick unami.

Price #4 Cheapest, coming in at $7.99 per oz. However, this one is sold per 30g/ 1 ounce and has volume discount with the more packages you buy, up to $3.99 per oz buying 600g/ 21 ounces making this technically #3 if you want huge volume like the other Red Leaf Matchas.

 

MATCHA 5 – KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Amazon)

This Matcha is sold on Amazon! I really liked this matcha but I HATE the amazon description as it’s all health buzzwords in caps/bold and mentions Dr. Oz – all this wants me to punch things with all its BS. I tell you my secret weight loss weapon you jerks, it’s the squat rack.

It states it’s a Japanese matcha (Nishio as stated in the questions) and there is an expiry date on the package (which I don’t have). It is quite annoying that information that matters to us about this matcha has to be hunted down in the questions section, as the listing is mostly about its top secret powers.

Matcha Powder Colour 9/10 We are at the end of the matcha rainbow and this one is a pretty vibrant green. I’m sure I’ve seen greener, but this one looks nice.

Matcha Comparison 2, Round 1 - Oolong Owl Tea Review (12)

Matcha Powder Scent This one is hard to rate as this one smells much different. The scent is light, but it’s clean and fresh with a hint of fruity. I’m going to rate this one compared to Matcha A and give it a 7/10.

Prepared Appearance 10/10 this matcha is sexy looking with lots of tight foamy little bubbles. I had no issues whisking this one up into thick foam that I could probably use as packing material. You’ll have to go with me that the color is a nice bright dark green as it was impossible to photo as it was foam till the last sip.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 4/10 Least sweet out of all the matchas, but not bitter either. It’s a savory matcha

Flavor 8/10 Savory and creamy. I think this gets more marks because the texture is so light and foamy from the foam. It’s toasty nutty, smooth, unami savory, crisp vegetal with almost a citrus finish.

Price #5 and the second most expensive in this matcha comparison. KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade  is $8.54 per ounce and sold in one size – 100g / 3.5oz at $29.90 (amazon free shipping).

 

MATCHA A –  Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha

Excellent-Matcha-01-720x710

This one was a late addition, so it is Matcha A rather than Matcha 6. This matcha is from Yunomi.us, seller of Japanese teas. Surprisingly, we have a kitchen grade in here. This matcha is from the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms, home of the famous Japanese guy that dances in his tea field. This is a Summer harvest (I’m guessing 2014 since it’s newly summer as I write this), and even lists the cultivar (Yabukita), 4 weeks of shading and grown with minimal pesticide use.

Matcha Powder Colour 9/10 can’t tell the difference between the this one and matcha 5 – both have a pleasant green colour.

Matcha Comparison 2, Round 1 - Oolong Owl Tea Review (13)

Matcha Powder Scent 5/10 again, hard to rate as it’s on a different level so I rated it compared to Matcha 5. This matcha has barely any scent. Kind of grassy but really fresh.

Prepared Appearance 10/10 sexy strikes again! Just like the last, foamy until the end with a pretty bright green colour.

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Bitter Sweet Scale 4/10  Hard to rate as it’s neutral and savory, similar to matcha 5 in bitter sweet levels.

Flavor 7/10 the flavor is milky and nutty. Very fresh clean tasting like mowed lawn, kelp and lots of unami and brisk finish. I like Matcha 5 more however I can see this one being a superior cooking matcha for the nice colour and strong notes.

Price #6 and the most expensive out of the matchas here at $9.29 per ounce. Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha is $32.50 for a 100 gram/ 3.5oz package. This matcha can also be purchased 500 gram /1.1 lb size. The perk and the high price of this matcha is full disclosure of its production and this matcha is shipped from Japan.

To my surprise, this is the middle priced kitchen grade matcha – they also have a basic and premium grade that price range $19.99 to $35.

 

Ranking and Comments

Best Taste and Looks

KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Matcha 5) – I love the flavor of this matcha and its gorgeous appearance.

Best Deal for Taste

Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha (Matcha 2) – If you want a daily drinker that won’t break the bank, this matcha would be best fit. If you aren’t into floral, I would jump to the KIWAMI iMaccha Supreme Ceremonial Grade (Matcha 5). From the Amazon Matcha reviewTerraVerve Matcha Green Tea Powder was also pretty good but the Kiawami was all around better for taste and appearance.

Best Transparency

Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha (Matcha A) – I’d go with this one if you prefer to know where your food and tea are from and how it’s made. You are the type that wants your Japanese matcha straight from Japan! Company wise, this one is my favorite for all the information on the tea, production and tea farm. I’m hoping Round 2 and 3 has more Yunomi.

Comments

It’s an obvious divide with the Chinese based and Japanese based matchas here. The Chinese ones were sweeter, floral and fruity vs. the Japanese ones being savory, unami, nutty. Appearance is quite a difference as the Japanese matchas (even kitchen grade!) foamed really well, especially compared to a Chinese Ceremonial grade.

With that said, it’s really hard to compare and will go by personal taste and what you are going to use it for or serve it with. With a budget of under $9.50 per ounce, you can get some pretty good matcha.

(tea provided for review, amazon affiliate links)

 

Chi Whole Leaf Tea Powder – Tea Review

Tea powder time! With matcha being the popular drink these days, we should also try other powdered teas. Chi Whole Leaf has a line up 5 different teas!

Chi Whole Leaf Tea powder - oolong owl tea review (1)

I’ll be trying 3 of the 5 today, so let’s get to it.

Tasting of Chi Whole Leaf Tea Powder

Green mint

Green Mint has a medicinal and mint scent. This tea powder contains Peppermint, Eucalyptus Leaf and Darjeeling Green tea. I was lazy so I used my DavidsTea Matcha Maker Tea Tumbler. I mixed the Green Mint tea with water and ice. It came out a deep dark army green.

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The flavor is quite refreshing – mostly herbal peppermint notes with a hint of eucalyptus. There is also an essence of green tea in the background that’s a little buttery. The mint flavors linger after each sip, leaving me thinking I can pass on the mouth wash, hehe! I found the tea had a gritty texture that I felt at the back of the throat.

Floral Herb

The powder smells nice – hibiscus and floral. This one is a rose, hibiscus, and jasmine blend.

Chi Whole Leaf Tea powder - oolong owl tea review (4)

I did this one also with ice water, as I love hibiscus iced tea. This one foams nicely! Straight, it’s surprisingly not tart. It has a hibiscus flavor with a nice rose and jasmine flavor. With a bit of agave it turns into a nice hibiscus iced tea. Pretty good considering this was made instantly vs. when I make hibiscus iced tea I steep it for 20 minutes, then chill it. This one also has a bit of a texture to it, through not as gritty as the Green Mint.

Ginger Chai

Ginger Chai is a blend of Rooibos, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, thus has a fragrant scent.

Chi Whole Leaf Tea powder - oolong owl tea review (5)

I did this one as an iced latte and it was quite good. The rooibos is nicely earthy, adding a bit of sweet. The spices in Ginger chai are at a nice moderate level with a perk of ginger and clove heat at the end of sip. The texture wasn’t grainy here. This is more evidence that powdered rooibos is amazing (and I generally dislike rooibos). I’d drink Chi Whole Leaf Ginger Chai over the instant chais any day.

Comments

I like the ease of quick tea using the Chi Whole Leaf Tea Powder. I did experience some grainy texture, but that could be since I was doing these iced. I only had enough for 1 attempt each, but I bet you can get creative and mix the powders with soda or liquor.

At this time they have free samples available if you want to test drive their teas!

(tea provided for review)

Kikkoman Pearl Organic Green Tea Soy Milk – Tea Review

I crashed my local Asian supermarket not too long ago and raided it for all the tea goodies and cheap vegetables. To my surprise, I spotted this and had to try it – Kikkoman Pearl Organic Green Tea Soy milk, for tea lovers!

I found this on the shelf as this is the type of soy milk that doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless it is opened. The packaging looks nice, though I’m confused why there’s a lemon in it.

Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk (1)

Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk (3)

Nutrition stats are pretty standard soy milk ones.

Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk (2)

To premise this review, I regularly drink soy milk. Soy juice (what my husband calls it as soy beans doesn’t have a teat) is my milk of choice since I’m lactose intolerant. I prefer soy over almond milk for taste and protein content.

Let’s get this soy milk party started! Before serving, I gave the carton a good shake which is standard for soy milk.

And what….. that colour is total fail. The green tea milk is grey muddy green. I felt my appetite decrease.

Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk (5)

Taste? It has that distinct soy milk taste with that sweet bean flavor. The texture is pretty thick and the flavor is not watery like the low calorie stuff is. There is an aftertaste of unimpressive matcha green, summed up to a  edamame-bean sweet and grassy. It’s not bad but I’ve had much better just dumping questionable old matcha in my soy milk. I didn’t taste the lemon.

I don’t mind the Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk, I did finish the carton, but it’s not one I’d go out of my way to buy again. I would have this over some western sweetened iced teas in a can, but I think I’d reach for Ito En teas first.

Kikkoman Pearl Green Tea Soy Milk (4)

In a weak moment that I didn’t have tea until 2pm I decided to double up – 1 cup of this Kikkoman Pearl green tea soy milk with 1 teaspoon of matcha. The result was the strongest matcha punch to the face I’ve had that surprisingly was not bitter. I also got really jittery and wouldn’t repeat this experience again – I’ll stick to matcha mixed in my regular soy bean juice.

Edit: you can purchase Kikkoman Pearl Organic Green Tea Soy Milk on Amazon, but not for cheap. (affiliate link)

Bitaco Colombian Green Tea – Tea Review

During the World Tea Expo 2015 I came across Colombian grown tea! It is always neat to see another region that has tea and to see the difference in taste due to the soil and environment. Today I’m going to review Bitaco‘s Colombian Green Tea.

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Tasting of Bitaco’s Colombian Green Teas

Colombian Green Tea

Let’s start off with the straight, unflavored green tea. That way we will have a base to taste the flavored tea blends.

The leaf is long, thin and wirey. The potent smell of the leaf is quite marine and vegetal reminding me of Korean sejak.

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I did a western steep of 2 mins with 175f water temperature. The Colombian green tea steeps up a pale yellow.

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To my surprise the green didn’t taste as grassy or marine as the leaf smelled. The texture is really smooth and fluffy and the flavor is light and clean. The flavor notes are savory, buttery, woodsy birch with a sweet finish. The green tea is not grassy or dry so it is really easy to drink. While I’m drinking this I’m thinking I wish they had a white tea as I bet it would be crazy good.

I did a resteep and the green was sweeter with a corn and straw flavor, but still quite light and thick.
With the light taste and its more neutral, non grassy taste, I could see right away this would make a great green back for blends.

With that said, let’s taste the Colombian green tea blends.

Tropical Charming

Tropical Charming is a Colombian Green tea blend with lulo, starfruit and mango. You don’t see starfuit teas that often and I’ve never seen a lulo one ever. The tea smells lightly tropical sweet, yum!

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Tropical Charming steeps up with a soft mango flavor with a background of citrus starfruit. The fruity flavors are carried on a fluffy cloud of thick texture. The flavor is on the light side, but I can see this one being would be amazing iced.

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Mist Forest

Mist Forest is a Colombian Green tea blend with pear, guava and soursop. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a soursop loose leaf tea either. I’ve seen soursop tea in a can though. In contrast to Tropical Charming, Mist Forest is strongly scented and reminds me of guava candy. Totally mouth watering!

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Taste wise is the strongest blend. The main flavor is the creamy sweet guava and tropical flavor. The green tea only gives off its texture so it is really in the background here. This has to be the best guava tea I’ve had so far, but also the most distinct in guava flavor. This tea also tastes close those guava juices but not as sweet. I can also pick up the milky banana soursop flavor at the end of sip. My grandma used to buy soursop and I was always fascinated on how it looked.

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Comments

So there’s tea in Colombia and its great! Bitaco also has one of the most exotic tea blends, if Colombian green tea wasn’t exotic enough. I really want to get my hands on more Mist Forest – this is my favorite of the greens teas. Bitaco also has black teas – stay tuned for reviews of those!

I don’t see a store front to purchase, so fingers crossed these teas become available soon!

(tea provided for review)